Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Proverbs 31

I'm a christian and a woman which means I've heard my fair share of teaching on Proverbs 31. I mean, I even did a study with an organization called P31. I've joked about how much of a  P31 women I am... ironically it was always while we were doing something highly domestic activity like cooking a meal from scratch or up-cycling some mason jar to use as a lamp or something, never that we were selling land and using the profits wisely.

Yet in all of this teaching, I've never once looked at verses 1-9. It seems we've treated these like two separate chapters and celebrate that Solomon remembered to include direction for women in his advise to his son. Thank about that for a second... if Proverbs is advise written to his son, why in the end would he all of a sudden say "oh yea... to you women out there... this is how you should act."

As we studied this chapter last night in my community group and I listened to the women once again become burdened by this list and I began reading the first 9 verses (yes we'd all conveniently skipped over those this time too). The very first verse says "The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him." WHAT?! Why do we skip that verse... it changed how I read the rest of the chapter. It continues "What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, the son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vow?" This is a Godly mother's rebuke to her son. I can hear it now "What are you doing? I raised you... have you forgotten?" After this what I would call classic mom line, verses 3-9 outlines, what I believe her son wad doing to deserve this rebuke ... drunkenness, chasing loose women, neglecting the poor and needy. And, that's when we get to the oh so famous verses about an excellent wife.

Proverbs 31 isn't a list of direction to us women on how to be a good wife, it's a Godly mom's holy rebuke to her son... "Son, what you are doing is not good... you need to be looking for this..." If this is true, it changes how I read this book. Now I read this as wise words from a Godly older woman. The preciousness of these verses isn't that women were finally remembered in a book written to a son, but that a son found so much wisdom in his mother's words. How amazing is it that he would keep the rebuke filled words from a woman (women didn't have the voice then that we do now).

Women: Reread these words in this context and see how it changes for you. Hear and accept these words as you would wisdom from an older woman.
Men: Hear the rebuke of this wise mother and chase after what is more precious that jewels.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Last week was probably the worse week of my life. Actually the last month have been absolutely miserable, but God has been gracious and faithful to show me so much about himself through this time. One of these moments happened immediately following my grandma’s visitation. 
Right after leaving the visitation, my aunt, her two daughters, and I got into her car where my aunt told us we had an important stop to make before heading to the farm. By this point we were emotionally and physically exhausted and just wanted to go home, have dinner, and relax. The thought of another draining task exhausted us even more, yet we knew things had to be done and agreed to the stop. 
She pulled out of the funeral home parking lot, went around the block, and pulled into the playground. One of her daughters exclaimed “are we going swinging?!” My aunt quickly replied “yes, we need to swing.” We pulled in and went running for the swings and climbing for the slides. It was a small break of joy amidst our suffering.

Afterwards I reflected on this small, but special moment and realized how much having fun together brings a family together. To my extended family, stopping at a favorite park to have fun and enjoy each other was not a foreign concept; it was part of their family culture. This meant that in the middle of suffering they could come together and find relief and joy. They talked to one another, they knew what each other needed without it being spoken, they could find joy in suffering together. In contrast, my immediate family, who doesn’t have a culture of fun, barely spoke to one another. There was no fun in the midst of suffering; just suffering in silence, alone. 
Having fun is universal. Having a culture of fun isn't limited to our families it extends into our work and community. And, as I look towards the summer months where my community slows down and purposely gets outside, it's impressed on me the importance of having fun. When we have fun together, we get to know one another. We bond deeply. We see what brings laughter to each other. As we learn to have fun together, we better know how to handle suffering together. 

Monday, May 13, 2013


There's this little statue at my grandparent's house. It's of a little boy with his arms folded holding a little bird. This little bird is made of lead and is pretty hefty in weight considering it's size. This little statue has been at my grandparent's home for as long as I can remember. And, I can remember fairly well, because that little bird was in my hand from the time I walked in the door until they had to rip it from my hands to go home. I surely received some lead poisoning from this little guy... effects yet to be seen. Every single grand kid (and now great-grand kid) has done the same thing. This little bird is proof that age appropriate and high dollar developmental toys are far over rated.

While I sat with my grandma Thursday afternoon, with tears in her eyes, she looked at me and said "we're going to have to pack up the house, is there anything in the house that you want?" I immediately started crying saying we didn't need to think about that now. She then went on to talk about her mother's silver that she's added pieces to over the years. I thought to myself... no I wouldn't want anything valuable or big ticket items. So I listened as she talked about her silver for a little while. Then it took all I had to not get my name on that stupid, little bird first and escape the emotional battle that's guaranteed with my cousins.

The next morning I read Psalm 47:4 where the beginning says "He chooses our inheritance for us..." God knows me intimately well, better than I know myself. He knows what I need, want, and cherish already. He knows what is the best for me. Now, my grandma knows me. She honestly played a major role in raising me, but as much as she knows and loves me, it pales in comparison to Christ. In this weird way, when I read that verse I pictured Christ lovely placing that little bird in my hands saying "here, I know how much this means to you."

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Simple Faith

Since crying over the phone with my friend, things have not gotten easier as I watch my grandma's health deteriorate. She has stage 3 Multiple Meyloma which a younger person in excellent health who underwent invasive treatment would live around 5 years. My grandma might have a year. She doesn't believe she'll make it to Mother's Day (tomorrow); I think we have weeks and praying she makes it to her 65th wedding anniversary in the end of June.

Thursday morning we got the message to get to the hospital ASAP. We typically gather once or twice a year at Christmas and in the summer. My grandparents are always prepared for this and have outfitted their home to accommodate us. Their basement as a row of twin beds so all the cousins share a room. Last night as we were falling asleep my oldest male cousin started praying quietly out loud to himself. I don't come from a family of great faith and prayer is something done before big, festive meals. So there was something very special about hearing this young man pray. He prayed briefly and so desperately to himself. To hear him pray was so beautiful especially since he's autistic and relates to people differently. I just laid there and listened to his simple cry to God.

"God, be with me.
God, be with my grandma.
Help my grandma.
Help me."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Community in Trying Times

The past week has been incredibly hard and I don't think it's going to be getting easier any time soon. Last Thursday my grandma went back into the hospital. She was just there the week before after being short of breath and having low oxygen. Then really early Saturday morning they transferred her to the larger hospital because the small town hospital couldn't get the fluid to drain of her lungs with oral medication. Saturday she had fluid drained from around her lungs, Sunday she had a CT scan that showed masses in her abdomen, Monday she had another CT scan this time of her whole abdomen, Tuesday she had a biopsy of the masses, and Wednesday she had a tube inserted into her lung cavity to make draining fluid easier. Today she rests.

I was with them Saturday through Tuesday. It was probably the hardest days of my life so far. My grandparents provided a refuge and retreat for me all through my childhood. My best memories are on their farm: riding their garden tractors, sewing with grandma, and sweeping grandpa's wood working shop. Every summer they would take my brother and me on vacation in their motorhome for a week or so. We saw most of the US by their sides. Now, she's in the hospital and there is no other place I'd rather be than by her side. Yet, it's not easy. I'm a couple hours away from friends and community who now love, support, and care for me.

It's this community that I am so grateful. The word cancer had been thrown around several times, but Tuesday morning the words "advanced cancer" were spoken for the first time. It was too much. I had to leave the room and eventually leave the hospital. As I walked out the doors, I texted a good friend of mine and then talked on the phone. After hyperventilating crying for a bit she spoke grace and love over me. She reminded me of the gospel and the holy spirit that is giving me strength, wisdom and courage.

From that moment on I was different. I was living out of Christ's strength and not mine. There are few moments in my life where I can distinctly remember experiencing the mystery of Christ's church interceding for me. God uses His church to speak to His people. Nothing else would have satisfied or comforted me but the words of God being spoking directly into my life and circumstance by a good friend. God's words and grace are real and felt in times of trouble. He is always present and quick to lavish His Fatherly love, protection and comfort.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Old Familiar Verses

I seem to skip over verses that are extremely familiar to me, as if I've gleaned every ounce of knowledge or power from them. Yet, it's these familiar verses that speak such volumes of truth to me; they are famous for a reason. These past weeks Psalm 23 has spoke such life into my soul.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,
     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters,
     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
     for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
     I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
     your rod and your staff,
     they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
     in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
     my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
     all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

As I look at what God does in this section and what my role is, I'm astonished at what I find...

God:                                          I:
shepherds                                   follow
commands                                  lie down
leads                                           walk
restores                                       sit
calms                                          dwell

Too often I think I need to command (even God), it's my job it go to Him, I must discipline and fix myself, I have to prepare my way and a place for me. Yet, God says to me follow, lie down, walk with me, sit with me, dwell with me in the home I've prepared for you.

May I remember God's goodness in these verses always, and never believe I've gotten everything I can out of them.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Moderate Success

It's been over a week so I was so frustrated. The week proved to be helpful and was met with moderate success. I didn't loose the 5lbs I wanted to, but I can't get angry over losing 2.5. Each week I feel like I learn more and more...

I don't think I'm eating enough. Which seems contrary to logic... losing weight = eating less. But, many of the days I found myself with points left over (sometimes up to 10 or 12). I wasn't hungry and I often ran out of time in the day so I just didn't eat them. But, I think I wasn't fueling myself to actually lose fat. Kind of like you have to spend money to make money... you have to eat fat (good fat, moderate fat) to lose fat.

Changes for this week...
1. use all my daily points
2. keep moving
3. take it day-by-day: one night I just couldn't imagine how much further I had to go and how I was going to make it there. I started to get overwhelmed when I finally asked myself "can you do this tomorrow?" After answering yes, I decided that's where I'd start. Eat right, drink water, exercise tomorrow and go from there. One. day. at. a. time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I'm frustrated, angry, annoyed, emotionally drained, tired, and probably a little cranky. It's been a long couple of weeks and I'm just about through with it. Today I stepped on the scale and I was up a little over 2 pound! WHAT?! How can this be?! I've been eating healthy, working out 4 times a week, eating within my points, and feeling great!

So... I did what any rational person would do, step on the scale three more times to see if the number would change.


Oh! I know, change the batteries in the scale, that's got to be it!


Ah! Last week you weighed yourself straight out of the shower.

Oh yes... there it is just +.2!

Still... I'm frustrated. I'm convinced God is calling me to really lose weight this year... 100 pounds to be exact. I'm convinced that I need to glorify God with my body. Then, how can I not be succeeding in this?!

Have I been perfect? Absolutely not!
Have I been trying my best and eating within my means?! Absolutely!

So, I'm frustrated. After I sat in that for awhile and texted my friend. I came up with a plan.

This week my goal is to lose 5 pounds. I know, I know, that's a lot. But, I've done it before and I feel like I'm due for a really good week. To do that I'm increasing my protein. Recently I've switched to a lose, but fairly close to vegan diet. I believe it's much healthier (when done right), but I just can't get in the recommended protein that I need and stick within my weight watcher's points. I don't want to give up eating vegan yet, so I'm going to try including a couple servings of hemp protein. On top of that, I'm increasing my workout times and quantity. I've only been doing 4 days at 30 minutes. I'm loving my gympact account, but I think I feel like I'm done once I hit my pact. I've increased that to 6 workouts a week. And, I'm going to get back to distance instead of speed in running. I'm just more comfortable with the distance than I am with speed. However, I know I need to work on speed so one of my days will be in the gym on the treadmill doing speed work.

I'm frustrated.
I have a plan.
I will glorify God with my body.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

31 Challenge

My dear friend and motivator came up with a brilliant and I do mean BRILLIANT plan a few weeks ago. She's always sending me new goals and challenges we could do... I'm not a huge goal setter/challenge taker (okay...aside from the whole marathon thing). But, this was just too good to not partake in. Ladies and gentlemen we present to you....

Confession... just last week I texted my friend and said I couldn't do it...that I was changing it. Of course, ever being the encourager/motivator, said I was being a wimp and that I took off less time from my 5K in fewer weeks.

We'll be having a virtual 5K on both of our birthdays when the time comes. Will you join us?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


As mentioned in previous post, I've fell back in love with my local library. Specifically checking out various cookbooks. The problem is I try these and love them, but return the book. The blog seems the easiest place to store them. And, let's be honest, get them on my pinterest board...where else is a girl suppose to look for meal ideas these days?!

I don't think I've mentioned, but I've become vegan. Although, a very loose vegan. So, I checked out a vegan cookbook to see how this could be done...if it could be. I'm on day two and so far love it. Okay, to be honest, I haven't really been vegan at all these two days. I refuse to throw away good, healthy food because I switch up my diet. Once all the yogurt and eggs are out of the house, I'll be a strictly vegan cooker.

Last night Stir-Fry 101 was on the menu...

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/3 onion, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup diagonally sliced carrots
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
1 cup sliced red bell pepper
1 cup sliced bok choy
1 cup trimmed snow peas
1/4 cup stir fry sauce

Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Add the broccoli, carrots, and chick-peas and cook, stirring often, until the carrots are almost tender (about 5 minutes). Add the bell pepper, bok choy, snow peas, and sauce and cook, stirring often, for 1-2 minutes.

Confession: I never follow a recipe to the t. It's really more of a guideline than strict directions for me. This mean when I decided my grocery list was too long I nixed the snow peas. And, when the green bell pepper was half the price of the red one, I switched. Also, I didn't measure anything. It's stir-fry how can you really screw it up?!

It was delicious! What really made it was the stir fry sauce from Trader Joe's! Oh man get this next time and use it on everything!!!

This time I remember where I got it from as it's the only cookbook I have right now, Cooking Vegan. I'm thankful for this book that makes going vegan seem almost simple.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Deck of Card

Being a marathoner and half marathoner, I don't know much about exercise outside of running. Whenever my schedule says "cross train" I'm at a loss of what to do and generally end up walking and/or on the bike at the gym. Then I saw Bob Harper's deck of card workout on the Biggest Loser a couple weeks ago and it seemed like a good idea to try.

Here's the how to:
- Assign a different exercise to each suit.
- Shuffle
- Flip over one card at a time and do the amount of exercise of that card
  (kings, queens, jacks = 10, aces = 11)
- Try not to die

- I had to take a break in the middle the first time I did this.
- I cheated and by the end could barely do half a push up and used my couch for the burpees
- I decided it's not actually "cheating" if you are doing the movement to the best of your ability.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Nacho Black Bean Burger

I'll be honest up front... this post as more to do with me getting this recipe on my pinterest board in order to use later, than sharing it. Recently I've rediscovered my love for the library. This love resurrects itself about every 4 years when I re-learn that I don't have to buy books in order to enjoy them. And, who would have thought to check out the library for cookbooks?! What a genius move...I rarely, if ever, want a cookbook...I mean... who uses them anymore since we have the world wide web?!

Okay, probably a lot more people than I realize. But, why spend $25 to get a few recipes?! So I get online, search cookbooks, and place a hold. They magically show up at the front desk and I run in and check them out in about 2.2 seconds! Before returning, I snap pictures of any recipes that I want to try later. GLORIOUS!

To be fair, I've already forgotten which cookbook I stole this recipe from. It was someone from the Food Network. This and one other recipe were the only one's that looked remotely worth while. When I say this one is worth while, I say TRY IT! It's awesome!

2 cups cooked black beans
1 small onion
1 cup finely crushed tortilla chips (I used Doritos)
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 hamburger buns (I used english muffins - it's what I had)
olive oil
greek yogurt (for serving)
cilantro (for serving)

Use a food processor to finely crush the Doritos, set aside for later. Use the food processor to "mash" the black beans and chop the onion. In a bowl, mix beans, onion, Doritos, salsa, cheese, beaten egg, salt, and pepper. Let sit for about 10 minutes in order for the Doritos to absorb some of the excess water.

Shape mixture into 4 patties (I actually halved this recipe and had enough for 3 good size patties). In a heated pan with oil, cook each patty until golden brown, flipping once.

Serve on bun with greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), salsa, and cilantro.

Serves 4
10 WW points (includes english muffin)

On track

I'm a blog failure...I weigh in on Wednesday and am just now, on Saturday, getting around to posting my success.

I believe I was down 1.6 pounds which brings my yearly total to just over 4 pounds!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

100 pound challenge

2011 was a great year! One in which I had success losing weight. It was the first time I really put my mind to losing weight and for the first few months it was actually pretty easy and was on track to lose 100 pounds that year. Obviously that didn't continue and I didn't meet that goal... not even close. 

An entire year has gone by and I've not gained ALL the weight I lost in 2011, but I've come pretty close. I've gladly said goodbye to 2012 and am looking towards a successful 2013!

Today I started the 100 pound challenge! 

In 2013 I'm committing to losing 100 pounds!

I've learned a lot about myself since 2011. A lot about why I failed before. A lot about God. I'm taking what I've learned and committing it to memory... I'm sure you'll hear more of this I'm sure. 

Weight Watchers. It's how I lost weight before so I know it works. They have the app which is awesome.

Keeping God and glorifying Him at the center of all this. Yes, my goal is to lose weight, but I will only do this by bring God glory. 

Having this ever before me...if you followed me during my Chicago Marathon training, you saw my chalkboard count down. This morning I was thinking of ways to keep this ever before me and a new count down began...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2012 Picture Review

Met my niece.
Sent a friend off
Traveled to Austin, TX where God changed how I saw community and mission.
Traveled to Memphis.
Learned about soccer and cheered for number 11.
Completed the Springfield, IL half marathon

Saw 6 friends get baptized.

turned 30

Completed the Indy Mini
Traveled to Haiti

Traveled to Chicago with great friends
Completed the Color Run in the midst of a 16 miler
Traveled to Hait again where the women of the church prayed I'd get married within the year.

Helped launch The Journey Southern Illinois
Completed the Chicago Marathon
Celebrated this guys' 90th Birthday!
Got my first tattoo
Celebrated this litte girl's 1st birthday

Even with all of these great things that happened, 2012 felt more like a year of struggle. Some years have been much worse when I think about all that has happened; nothing monumental or life shattering happened. However, the overall tone of my year was one of internal struggle, processing past issues and circumstances, and spiritual battle. I don't remember a year that I more looked forward to the New Year... a clean slate, a fresh start. Here's to God capturing and renewing my heart once again in 2013.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Meal Planning Stress

I'm not good at asking for help... for a couple of reasons. First, it means that I'm failing at something, which is unacceptable to me. And, second, it means "bothering" someone and asking them to take time from their schedule to help me. These are both horrible lies, one that I believe that I'm perfect and since God is the only being who is good, right and perfect, I'm believing that I am in fact God. As well as, I'm believing the lie that people don't love me enough to want to help; want to spend time refining me and making me closer to the person of Jesus.

With this in mind, my friend and I came up with a beautiful plan. She'd help me with meal planning and I'd run with her. I'm thinking she got the lesser end of this deal!

I HATE meal planning! I've tried to sit down and make one before and gave up after about 30 minutes of looking at recipes and writing a grocery list. But, goodness, I was spending WAY too much money on groceries and eating out. And, surely there's a better way!

So, a few weeks ago one Sunday morning, there I sat at my friend's dining room table, cute weekly meal plan/grocery list paper in hand. I sat there with nerves awreck as she gleefully exclaimed how much fun this was and talked about all the different weekly challenges we could do. I nervously smiled and exclaimed "I HAVE NOTHING FOR LUNCH! WHAT CAN I EAT FOR LUNCHES?!!!??!!"

I've accomplished four weeks now and let me tell you... it's getting less scary. Because of the holiday's this past week I was on my own and I DID IT!

Here's what I've learned:
1. check your schedule - on nights where you know you are going to be busy, plan simple meals and/or pre-cook the night before.
2. check the weather - no one wants to eat soup on a 70 degree day!
3. allow for flexibility - I have a general plan, but I'm okay with changing it up through out the week.
4. know what you need - Not only do you need to know what you need at the grocery store, but what you need to survive a week. This took a week for me to figure out, but I now know I really only need to cook two meals a week. The rest of the week I eat left overs or simple sandwiches.