Where Faith, Food and Life Converge


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The Value of No

The Value of No

I realized something the other day: When I say “yes” to some things, I’m being selfish. I’m not talking about wanting to eat another cookie “yes,” or buying myself a pair of shoes “yes,” although those are pretty selfish, but the kind of “yes” that […]

Monday Mondays 6.19.17

As this gets published, I’ll be driving to the big city – the REALLY big city – to get my teeth cleaned, get my haircut and go to a funeral. That’s a list, huh? The friend that died was in my German class in high […]

Monday Mondays 5.29.17

Monday Mondays 5.29.17

Is summer almost here? It feels like it, at least, where we live!  I’m one of those people that keeps my windows open until it feels like I’m a chocolate chip cookie getting all gooey in the oven.  With temperatures well above average here, let’s just say I’ve had chocolate chip cookies on my mind a lot, especially because I’ve given up sugar for the month.  First, gluten, now sugar!

(Honestly, until you don’t eat sugar, you don’t know how many things have sugar in them!  Salad dressing, lunch meat, bacon, condiments, pretty much every prepared food.  It’s really hard to eat things that don’t have sugar!)

I still have a long way to go to get this site updated, and I think that’s interfered with me actually blogging, so I’m sorry that what you get is another Monday link post – yet again – but it’s the best I can do for now…   Enjoy!

About Your Politics (And Mine…)

About Your Politics (And Mine…)

  Confession: I didn’t vote for the candidate who is currently the President of the United States. And I also didn’t vote for the candidate that won the popular vote. (I did vote, however. I consider voting to be a privilege and why would I […]

Of Baths and Bombs

When I was young, I read all the time. Everywhere. Everywhere, all the time. At breakfast I read cereal boxes. In my grandparents’ basement, I read (really) old Life magazines. At the dentist, I read Highlights magazine. During non-school, non-play, non-homework time, I could be […]

Change… How DO You Change When Reality is Really Hard?

Change… How DO You Change When Reality is Really Hard?

 

When I was growing up, a friend of my parents was driving her daughter to the mall one day.  She and her daughter were enjoying time together, laughing and talking about the kind of prom dress the daughter was looking for, when suddenly, a bicyclist rode directly into her path and she hit him.  He went flying over the car, and was killed from the impact.

It wasn’t her fault, but to say that she had guilt and remorse over his death is putting it mildly.  She struggled, turned inward and stopped enjoying all that life had to offer.  Her daughter had a difficult time too, but she wasn’t behind the wheel, and had all of life ahead of her, so she didn’t stay in a state of limbo.

The mom, on the other hand, well, as people say these days… the struggle was real.  I mean, R.E.A.L.  She was paralyzed over causing another human to lose a life.  She felt horrible for his family, because she thought she caused the accident, even though the cyclist was at fault.  The investigators told her over and over again that it wasn’t her fault.  His family absolved her.

She just couldn’t forgive herself.

How do you change the way you feel or think about something?

This is a question I ask of myself a lot more the older I get and the more complicated life has become.

I’m often flummoxed (good word, by the way) by how my emotions can color my world.  And so quickly too.

I’ve been going through a really rough patch – awful, really – for a year or so, and if I let it, the situation could keep me on the floor in a state of utter despair.

And I don’t use that word lightly.  I quite agree with Marilla Cuthbert that “to despair means to turn your back on God.”

So, how do I not despair when so many of my waking moments are spent trying to contain or override negative thoughts?  Like my parents’ friend, how do I move past it and let a good life overcome those thoughts?

For me, a lot of it comes down to reshaping the way I talk to myself.  And I do talk to myself.  Out loud and in my head.  Mostly in my head thank goodness, but I definitely have been known to talk out loud like a crazy person.  But… that’s neither here nor there…

If I’m being honest, when things overwhelm me, I don’t say nice things to myself or about myself.  Even though my parents friend knew she wasn’t at fault in the accident, she kept telling herself that she was.  I’m the same. There are some things I can take the blame for in my life – a LOT of things actually – but there are some things I blame myself for that I shouldn’t.  Often without realizing it, I tell myself that I shoulda coulda handled a situation differently.

Like the time the realtor called to show our house with 1 hour’s notice, and I was in the middle of Christmas baking, and the floor was a virtual powdered sugar explosion, I taught my kids that when an unexpected situation arises, it’s okay to act like Genghis Khan, The Wicked Witch of the West, a tornado and some of the guests on Maury Povich all rolled into one.  I was not a nice person, and definitely not a good role model.

The looker didn’t buy, and I realized there was no need for me to have reacted that way, especially, even if they had bought the house.  So… I went into full-on “what a horrible mom I am for behaving that way” mode.  Instead of accepting how I reacted and then choosing to move on, with hopefully a different reaction next time, I kept berating myself for all that I didn’t do and all that I did.

My reaction happened, and once it had, there was nothing I could do to change the past.  I could only change how I would behave in the future.  You know what?  While I still tend to get tornadic when someone wants to see the house, I don’t go into witch mode anymore.  It’s not worth it.

The reality is… my house may sell if it’s a little cleaner – or not – but my attitude toward cleaning will do nothing to change a buyer’s mind.  I can’t keep blaming myself for something that’s out of my control.  Instead, I need to shift my thoughts to what I can do.  Or better yet, what God can do!

Similarly, the reality of the situation I’ve been going through over the past year is that I need to talk about what I can do, which is mostly just let God change the circumstances – or not.  And ask God to give me the faith, assurance, hope and strength to get through whatever happens.

The book of Romans has so many great nuggets of wisdom in it for keeping me rooted in this truth.

When I want to keep beating myself up about something?

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

In other words, Jesus doesn’t condemn me, because I’m in Him, and He is blameless!

HOW do I stop thinking about the things that sometimes overwhelm my negative thoughts?

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5

Simply ask God to direct  thoughts away from the bad toward Him, who is always good, and always loving, forgiving, merciful, and ever present.

I don’t have it all figured out, except that I do.  God has it all in His hands.  I just need to give it all to Him.

Thoughts on Mother’s Day

Thoughts on Mother’s Day

I know a lot of mothers. Shoot, I am one.  If I had to guess at the one thing that most consistently goes through the heads of almost all of the moms I know it’s this: “Am I doing it right?” From the first moment […]

You Don’t Know what You Don’t Know

You Don’t Know what You Don’t Know

The other day my husband and I were talking about some choices that one of our kids was thinking about making, maybe a little too hastily.  It’s hard to tell your kids that life is longer than one day, you know?  Not everything has to be […]

Only God Gets to Define Us

Only God Gets to Define Us

How often do you let others perceived expectations of you define you?

I know I have.

I know I do.

Think hard about it.  Do you let someone’s else’s desires, wishes or hopes for you drive your life?  Has your boss told you that you “shouldn’t worry” about some aspect of the job because __________ is already handling it, but you think you’d be great at it nonetheless?  Was your brother better at something you always wanted to do, but didn’t because… just because?  Did a teacher tell you you shouldn’t try something because you weren’t cut out for it? Did your mother or father steer you toward a certain career path because “it’s in your best interest?”

Somewhere though, deep inside of you, you’ve always wanted, well… more.

With a few exceptions, most of us have listened to the voices outside our heads who tell us that we should be something we’re really not.

Not enough of us grow up to be the ballerinas, firemen, fighter pilots or chefs we wanted to be when we were kids, because at some point we stopped paying attention to our strengths. Instead we started attempting to find our purpose in our weaknesses.

I grew up when the culture started to shift from “a woman’s place is in the home” to a “she can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan” mentality.  It changed from most of society expecting a woman to aspire to nothing more than bringing up the children and making a comfortable home to expecting a woman to do it all.  The mindset became that all the doors once closed to women were suddenly thrown open and we needed to run through them boldly.  Because of growing up during that cultural transformation, there’s always been a tug-of-war in me that wanted to be “just a mom” with also wanting to “go out in the world and make my mark.” Happily, I was able to be just  a mom for many years, but it wasn’t without feeling somewhat out of the loop for quite a while.  On the other hand, now I feel like I should be something, but what, I don’t know.

The world has taught us that we’re defined by its standards.

Except, as Christians, we’re not defined by them.  It just feels that way. As I’ve learned lately though, feelings aren’t truth.

In a sermon I recently heard, the pastor told how he was the firstborn in his family and his family had a business going back three generations.  As the oldest, he always felt he was expected to go into the business. However, he knew that God was calling him into the ministry.  While his family was a little disappointed, they ultimately were okay with his decision.  Yet, for the first several years of his ministry, he felt that he had to prove he was worthy of that decision.

And don’t we tend to feel that way about our purpose in life?  That we have to prove to somebody – our parents, our spouses, our kids, ourselves – we’re doing what God is calling us to do.

If we had to take a show of hands, I’d be that geeky kid in the front row, waving my hand, going “oooh, oooh, me, me!” because yes, I always feel like I have to prove myself.

Except… except, I have nothing to prove.

You have nothing to prove either.

You are His, and that’s enough.  

In fact, that’s everything.

In Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.  Colossians 2:10

Sometimes I get too caught up trying to prove that I’m worthy enough to be someone’s wife, mother, daughter, friend, co-worker, etc…  Sometimes it’s enough to imagine that they think I’m not enough, and then I let those feelings start to define me.  Most of the time I think I’m a strong person, but most of the time I’m also masking the feeling that I’m not more.

More what, I don’t know.  Just… more, somehow.

We all feel that way.  We all think we’re strong and yet we all feel as if we aren’t enough.  We all are missing something as humans.  We all have a hole inside that can only be filled by God in our life.  Our purpose can only be filled and fulfilled by Him.  We can only be defined by His will for our lives. Not our will.  His.

Only His.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.             Ephesians 2:10

When you start to feel like you’re not enough, remember that He created you to be you.  Not your neighbor down the street.  Not your sister.  Not that woman in the carpool lane that looks like a living Barbie doll, got into MIT and and is the second coming of Martha Stewart.

No.

You.

He loves you utterly and completely.

In the words of Mark Darcy, à la Bridget Jones Diary, he likes you just as you are.

 

 

 

Monday Mondays 4.24.17

A year ago, I was here:  at Paul, in Paris.  One of few chain restaurants in France, the food is consistent, with luscious macarons, baguettes, and brioches.  (The best were the kalamate olive baguettes!) It was close to our hotel, and still retains that “French boulangerie” […]


My Diary

Post ID:

I realized something the other day:

When I say “yes” to some things, I’m being selfish.

I’m not talking about wanting to eat another cookie “yes,” or buying myself a pair of shoes “yes,” although those are pretty selfish, but the kind of “yes” that I almost automatically say when someone asks if I can do something I’d rather not do, because God forbid, I make them unhappy. When I do that thing to make someone else happy at the expense of my own… I’m selfish.

Sometimes saying “yes” to make it easier for someone else, puts me at such a disadvantage that it also puts everyone around me at a disadvantage too.

The other day I was supposed to help Person A  – let’s call her Betty – work on a project.  It had been planned for at least a week, and I’d cleared my schedule of anything that might interfere.  There was another person involved – let’s call her Veronica – and she’d set aside time to help as well. The appointed time arrived, and both Veronica and I showed up to help.  Unbeknownst to us, Betty had received a call the night before from Archie, asking for help with something he needed, and Betty said “Yes, of course.”  So when Veronica and I showed up, Betty said we would have to figure out everything without her.  Neither Veronica nor I knew what we were doing, but it still needed to be done. We both felt unprepared, overwhelmed and more than a little miffed.

I realized that Betty – being the people pleaser that she is – couldn’t and can’t say “no.”  Especially to Archie.

But because she said “yes,” it caused a ripple effect, not only to Veronica and me, but also to our families and the people we work with, because they had to step in to pick up the slack due to the change in plans.  The ripple not only affected Veronica and I, but also other people whose schedules are intertwined with ours.

Betty said “yes” to Archie because she was afraid to say “no.”  She probably thought he wouldn’t like her, wouldn’t want to spend time with her, wouldn’t value her as much if she said “no.”

Or maybe she thought that only she could help Archie; he couldn’t do it himself or find another person to help.

Whatever the cause, she was being selfish, trying to prove to something to either herself or Archie, and in the process, making things really difficult for the other people around her.

See where I’m going with this?

Sometimes, we say “yes” because of our own insecurities.  We think that by saying “yes,” it will prove our value and worth.  We think that saying “yes” means we’re doing the thing for someone else, therefore, we’re being unselfish. A lot of the time though, we say it not to help other people, but ourselves.

Help ourselves look better to someone else.  Help ourselves feel better about our perceived inadequacies.  Help ourselves prove how valuable we hope we are.

I read a blog the other day about the power of saying “yes.”  It can be a really good thing.  We often insulate ourselves and say “yes” to the things we don’t want to do, while on the other end of the spectrum, say “no” to experiences, outings or people we should say “yes” to.

Stay at work to help out the same coworker who is always behind or go home and play with your kids?  If you say “yes” to your coworker – again – you’re just an enabler.  If you say “no” to your cubicle buddy but “yes” to your kids, which is going to have the bigger payoff in the end?

Spend every evening staying home to watch TV or accepting that invitation to a friend’s house for dinner?

Save up all your $ to fix up your house, pay off your car, or say “yes” to that mission trip that promises to be life-changing?

So saying “yes” isn’t always a bad thing.  But it can be if that’s our stock answer when it only furthers someone else’s goals and path forward.  “No” can be just as powerful, if not more so.

I recently read this: “No” is a complete sentence.

We all have choices.  We may feel like we don’t but we do.  We often feel backed into a corner, and “yes” seems like the best option out.  It may be the easiest, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best.

If you are backed into a corner, and you’re expected to say “yes,” that’s often an indication that you’re doing XYZ in order to make that other person’s life easier, not yours.  They’re selfishly using you up, and you’re using you up too.

So think again. Maybe do what’s counterintuitive and say “no.”

It might be the least selfish thing for everyone…

 


All Time Favorites

Monday Mondays 5.29.17

Monday Mondays 5.29.17

Is summer almost here? It feels like it, at least, where we live!  I’m one of those people that keeps my windows open until it feels like I’m a chocolate chip cookie getting all gooey in the oven.  With temperatures well above average here, let’s […]

Of Baths and Bombs

When I was young, I read all the time. Everywhere. Everywhere, all the time. At breakfast I read cereal boxes. In my grandparents’ basement, I read (really) old Life magazines. At the dentist, I read Highlights magazine. During non-school, non-play, non-homework time, I could be […]

monday mondays 3.20.17

It’s been a fun couple of weeks around here with a new puppy, although, my hands look like they’ve been mutilated by a miniature vampire, all those puppy bites! The puppy, who might have a name soon, after almost 20 days without a name (other […]

Monday Mondays

I really don’t think there’s anything else in the world that can make a bad day better – or even a good day better – than letting puppies crawl all over you!  Tails wagging, licking your face with that oddly skunky but wonderful puppy breath, […]

Help My Unbelief

Help My Unbelief

  Any long-distance plane trip seems to have free seat-back entertainment anymore, but I prefer to spend long flights taking advantage of unadulterated reading time.  Case in point, last week I finished two books, a rarity for me these days. One of the books, Coming Clean: […]