Thursday, January 24, 2013

I shall not want.

Our church is doing this thing on Sunday nights called P-52.  I missed the first week and I don't have the book yet so I don't know all the details but the gist of it is this: The whole church studies one chapter of the Bible for a week, and we memorize one verse from that chapter.  Then on Sunday night at the end of that week, our pastor preaches on that chapter.  I don't know about you but I think there is something so beautiful about the church body all meditating on the same thing at the same time.  It just seems so powerful to me!

This week was Psalm 23, a passage that is usually quoted at funerals but is actually quite full of life!  I started reading it the other day, but I got stuck.  I couldn't get past the first verse:
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."
I shall not want.

It struck me in a new way.  I could picture God looking down at me, smiling that knowing smile, and saying, "I think she finally gets it."

You see, every time I've read that verse (and it's been lots of times), I've read it as "I shall not want.  God gives me so much stuff!  I will never be in need because He always provides.  Man, what a great God.  He is just so sweet to give me all this stuff!"  Now doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?  Enjoy that moment.  It's fixing to end.

This is where it struck me.  "I shall not WANT." Do you know how much stuff I want right now?  I want a new liner for our pool.  I want wood floors in my house.  I want new clothes.  I want a cute monogrammed phone cover.  I want trendy pinterest worthy items to fill up the empty shelf sitting in my dining room.  I want a caramel macchiato from Starbucks.  Y'all, I could keep going, but I think you're starting to get it.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."  Yes, He does give me all I need.  And he HAS given me all I need.  So instead of wanting more, I wonder what would happen if I lived in gratitude?  What if I just sat and dwelled in all He has provided?

I don't have to get caught in the "more" continuum that culture has created because "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It wasn't me.

I am reading the book Seven by Jen Hatmaker.  It is SO GOOD.  It keeps drawing me in, and then I get convicted, and then I get scared.  Scared, because I know this conviction is going to require change.

This morning, I started the chapter on possessions.  And I read this:
"About three times a year, I rant around the house, screaming at our stuff: "What is all this?  How did this get here?  Why do we have so much junk?  How am I supposed to keep up with all this?  Where did this all come from?" And then I remember:I bought it all.I suppose acting like someone snuck into my house while I was feeding the homeless and filled my shelves with more black shirts and a fourth set of Legos against my will is probably ignoble.  To hear me fuss, you'd think I was a victim of drive-by consumerism.  Guess what, doves?I'm a part of this little game."
Wow.  I just had to chuckle a little as I read these paragraphs because THAT IS ME!  I can so relate.  Almost every day I get annoyed at our STUFF!  Except I can't completely relate to Jen because I actually am a victim of drive-by consumerism..... [ahem...or I'm in denial.]

It's one of those truths that is so blaringly obvious that I completely look it over.  I am on this great quest for simplicity.  I am fighting this great war on stuff.  And on events.  And sometimes I even think it's on other people.  But really, the war is

You know you can't really fight a war until you know who the enemy is.  I am reminded of that story in the Bible (and I can't currently remember where it is in the Bible...) when God's people were about to fight this great big fight against a bigger and better army and God told them to just sing praises to Him.  So they did.  And the other army got so confused that they started fighting each other and every single one of them ended up dead!

I think I'm that other army.  If my intent isn't focused on the right target, the ultimate goal will never be achieved, and I will actually only end in total and complete defeat.

I'm planning on (and in the process of) getting rid of a lot of things in my house.  But guess what?  I keep buying more.  I have been learning how to say "no," and learning to prioritize my time, but then I think, "Well since I'm not doing this any more, I have time to do THIS!"  I'm missing the point.  I've created a vicious cycle that I must get out of.

The problem is not my "stuff," whatever that may be.  The problem is me!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm a bread maker.

I made homemade bread yesterday.

That is not a normal thing for me to say.  I am not one of those people that "makes their own bread." I don't even own a bread maker.  I'm going old school here people!! I tried making bread one other time a few weeks ago.  It turned out pretty terrible.  Weston tried to be nice about it, but the bread was left uneaten.

I was inspired by a friend's blog post.  She is so creative and a great cook.  Her blog made her homemade bread look wonderful so I thought I'd give it another try.  I was going to use her recipe but when I pulled everything out, I wasn't sure I had enough flour.  Fortunately, there was a recipe on the back of my whole wheat flour that looked very similar, but used less flour.

So, I made it.  And guess what....  IT IS SO GOOD!

Umm.. yes they're a little uneven.  That's the beauty of homemade bread, right? :)
It turns out it wasn't hard to make.  But it took time.  Usually things that take time make me anxious.  All that's running through my head is, "I don't have much time.  I have things to do.  I have places to go.  I need to hurry up and get this DONE!"  But Kinsley has been a little sick, so I cancelled my plans and we all just stayed home to rest.  And bake bread.  With no time constraints and no pressure.  And I enjoyed it!
I had a little helper.  Yes, that is flour EVERYWHERE! 

It made me realize that maybe there is a little bit of validity in this whole "doing less" thing.
I am finding that in doing less, I can do more.

It seems we all have the mindset that everything should be fast and easy.  I've been reading the Bible and I haven't read anywhere that life is supposed to be like that.  In fact, I think it is quite the opposite.  The investment of my time, into my family and my friends, is going to bare fruit.  And that is a fact.

I want to be more intentional with my time.  I want to bake my own bread.  And I want to enjoy it.

P.S. In case you're interested, the recipe that I used can be found here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I'm usually not into New Year's Resolutions.  Mostly because they never get done.  Twice in my life, I have made resolutions and kept them.  And it was the same resolution- to not drink cokes for a certain amount of time.  My senior year of high school, I didn't drink cokes from New Year's until graduation.  Then the next year, I didn't drink cokes from New Year's until I went on a trip to the Amazon in August.  Both of them= accomplished.  Did it impact my life much? Nah.

Last year, I started a blog post about how I don't like New Year's resolutions, but I didn't finish the post.  It ended up somewhere in the land of half done, much like resolutions do!! Irony much?!

This year is a little different.  The past year has challenged me a lot.  In fact, I don't remember much of it, as I think I have just blocked it all out.  Having children 18 months apart is challenging in the beginning.  Balancing a newborn and a strong willed toddler can be quite trying, to say the least.  And then add post-partum hormones and anxiety, and you've got a recipe for disaster.

As Kinsley has gotten older, things have gotten so much better, but I decided there had to be a change.  I still have moments of anxiety but when I take a step back and look at things, it's simple really.  We are always going and doing.  I am staying up late to do more things and the wake up call from my cute little redhead comes early.  We eat terrible foods.  A lot of Chick-Fil-A.  A lot of Starbucks, Dr. Pepper, and sweet tea.  I am always cleaning and picking up the house.  It seems that no matter how much I clean, there is always stuff everywhere!

There seems to be one solution to my problems and it is this:

More time at home.  More sleep.  More tickles and giggles with the kids.  Less stuff.  Less toxins. Less, less, less.
More of the good.  Less of the bad.

I wouldn't have to pick stuff up all the time if we didn't have so much STUFF.
I wouldn't be anxious about getting everyone together and to [wherever] on time if we just stayed home and didn't go so much.
I would feel a heck of a lot better if I put good things into my body instead of a bunch of chemicals and additives that taste great on the tastebuds but do nothing else for me except make me feel bloated and yucky.

Instead of a resolution, this year I came up with a motto.
"Health and Home: Keeping it clean in 2013"

I am trying to transition us to mostly clean eating.  Less processed foods and more whole, natural, organic foods.  [Don't you worry, I am NOT giving up chips and salsa, or Chick-fil-a.  It's all about moderation, people!!]  I am planning to make more things at home.  I told my husband and bro-in-law that I'm going to make homemade ketchup and ranch dressing and they just gave me weird looks and said, "ok...."  I have a feeling I'll be getting a lot of reactions like that.  :)

I'm going to simplify my home.  I'm going to get rid of A LOT of things.  The kids don't need a ton of toys.  I don't need a pile of papers on my counter at all times.  I don't need to buy more and more and more.

It's not that I'm never going to leave my house.  The kids and I would go insane.  But I'm going to prioritize.  I'm going to focus on my first and highest calling- and that is to be a wife and a mom.  I think we will all benefit from this.

And I think this is a New Year's "resolution" that is going to make a difference.