changes

Think “Fast”

The sand was warm underfoot. The water flowed gently, the current making a gentle swishing sound. Puppy Justus was exploring, sniffing, digging and splashing. I was reading the first chapter of a book out loud to my husband.

It’s amazing how simple, serene moments can change your life so quickly.

My beloved and I were enjoying a sliver of time last Saturday, relaxing in our mushroom chairs on the pseudo “beach” area near a small river on Fort Benning. I had recently gotten a copy of Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess. The general premise of the book deals with the fact that we live in a society obsessed with stuff. The book documents Jen’s month-by-month experiment to eliminate the “junk” in life. Each month, the author chose a different area of her life to focus on.  Month #1? Food.

For 30 days, Jen ate only 7 different types of food. I was intrigued by this book right away, mainly because there has been quite a buzz in the writing community– plus we all already know how magnetic the number 7 has become to this ministry.

Wanna join the party? Click the image to get yourself a copy of this remarkable book!

As I finished reading the first chapter out loud to Brandon on the “beach,” he turned to me and said: “Ok, wife. I say chicken, eggs, bread…”

Wait. WHAT? I was floored. If I wasn’t sitting down, I certainly would have fallen over. My husband actually wanted to DO this?!? I mean, I had considered briefly and sort of pitched it to him a couple of weeks ago, but he looked at me like I was crazy.  I continued to pray about it, the whole idea weighing on my heart… But when he started naming and numbering foods indicating that he wanted to participate, I couldn’t help but be shocked. (The book was very convincing. Thanks, Jen.)

Oh. Plus he’s a man. An army man at that. Food is in his top 3 most important needs. Seriously.

So yes. My beloved and I started the first month of this “experiment” yesterday. It has already opened my eyes to just HOW MANY food choices we really do have and our fingertips and can easily afford. Honestly, its kind of blowing my mind. (If you want more info, get a copy of the book. It will change your life. Or at least your perspective.)

From June 4th to July 4th, my husband is only permitting himself to eat chicken, eggs, bread, beef, apples, peanut butter and potatoes. My menu choices are similar: chicken, eggs, bread, apples, sweet potatoes, avocado and spinach.

That’s it. We are only permitted to season with salt, pepper, olive oil and use cooking spray.

This is gonna get crazy, folks. I’ve barely started and am already seeking God more deeply than I could imagine. (Not to mention rejoicing at the free time of trying to decide what to cook for supper– chicken or… chicken?)

I am so excited (ok, and really nervous) at the potential spiritual growth that will result. Challenging but worth it. Oh, and let ‘s not forget how kind this will be to our time and budget. (I am anticipating some productive physical changes too.) I will be periodically keeping you all updated as we go.

Yes, there are a few things I already miss. Cheese. Diet Dr. Pepper. Chocolate. Salsa. My beloved protein bars. But I am so grateful that I still have PLENTY of food in my fridge, even if it is in “limited” varieties.

Brandon and I would appreciate your prayers as we work through this experience the next month or so. My sweet mother-in-love has joined us on this journey and if you feel so led, pick up a copy of Jen’s book and come with us as we seek the Lord.

Have you ever fasted before? What was it like? What do you think about our quest? Wanna join in? Leave a comment below!

To paraphrase Jen: “Jesus, may there be less of us and our junk and more of You and Your Kingdom.” 

It’s scary. It’s awesome. It’s hunger-inducing. But we are grateful for this opportunity to think “fast.”

Is-it-just-me-or-is-it-hungry-in-here,
SGK

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” –Matthew 5:6 (MSG) 

Categories: adventure, attitude, challenge, changes, Christ, food, gratitude | Tags: , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Just GO

As I child, I didn’t get out much. (Hey, we lived on a farm. In the country. At least 15-25 miles from a legitimate restaurant. In fact, the first 10 years of my life found us 90 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart. Seriously.) So when we did get the chance to go ANYWHERE as a family, I wanted to know WHERE we were going… Immediately.

“HEY! WHERE ARE WE GOING!?!” (Imagine this forceful statement in your best childlike slightly whiny/curious voice.)

For those of you who haven’t met my beloved Daddy, he is something of a smart aleck. (Good thing that’s not hereditary, right?) Whenever I asked this oh-so-vital question, it was met with one of the following answers:

“We are going down the road.”

“North.”

“Forward.”

And my all-time favorite…

“We’re going crazy.”

Needless to say, I led quite an exasperating childhood. 🙂 Unfortunately, I haven’t grown out of this need-to-know attitude. I still do the same thing with my Heavenly Father.

And, not surprisingly, His answers are similar to my Dad’s answers from my days of youth. (Minus the “crazy” response.)

Stop-go

Source HERE

Last week, my beloved boss/coach/mentor/friend Kelli and I attended the Blackaby Spiritual Leadership Coaching Seminar. It was a pilot program and we went not really knowing where it was going to take us.

We went hoping for some information– but came home with transformation. WOWZERS.

On that three day journey, we had an opportunity to experience God at a very deep level. He revealed some incredible things within our hearts. And gave me a new path down which to travel.

He has called me to become certified as a Spiritual Leadership Coach.

It’s a long story, but it was literally life-changing for me. When I realized this affirming call on my life I was excited. I was tearful. I was grateful.

I was terrified beyond all reason.

I didn’t really want to go there. I mean, this was big. Like, potential career stuff. I don’t know what it all looks like for me yet. I tried to convince God that perhaps He had the wrong person. On Friday morning before we departed, we had an opportunity to spend a few moments in His presence as we “Reported for Duty.” (It was a short time of “CRAVE”– experiencing God through prayer and listening.)

As I sat there with my head on my table, arguing with the Lord to change His mind about this Spiritual Leadership Coaching hoopla, He silenced me. He gave me this word:

“My beloved. GO. Go out. Go forward. Go faithfully. Go humbly. Go with Me. Go all out. GO! You don’t have to know specifically where you are going… But go with Me so you can live as you fully went.” 

Oh snap. Ok, Jesus. You have my attention. I was encouraged… Yes, I was still nervous to turn in my commitment card to begin down the path of Spiritual Leadership Coach certification, but I knew I had to GO. Just GO.

Is God calling you to something right now? What is holding you back? Where is He asking you to go? What will it take to follow Him? I would love to hear (and be encouraged!) by your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

Honestly, I don’t know for sure what becoming a Spiritual Leadership Coach looks like. I am not sure where it is going to take this ministry or our lives. However, I do know that I would love to be look back and say that I WENT with all I had. Won’t you join me on this journey? Don’t hesitate. Don’t worry about all the little details, corners or where you will end up. If we are going with Our Father, we know it is going to be the trip of a lifetime. So let’s buckle up and JUST GO.

Just Going Down the Road with Christ,
SGK

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” –Hebrews 11:8

Categories: adventure, affirmation, call, challenge, changes, Christ, faith, fear | Tags: , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Change and Chocolate Mousse

I’ve always heard that change is inevitable… except from a vending machine. Ain’t that the truth? (Yes, I said ain’t. I’m being grammatically lazy today.)

Change IS going to happen in all parts of life: family, weather, jobs, circumstances, finances, our age… everything. If it is such a common occurence, why do we fear it so much?

I know people personally that will go out of their way avoiding change, even tiny changes that involve finagling schedules or trying a new restaurant. That must be exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong. I love stability and consistency. I sometimes struggle with the ever-changing “plans” of the army, our future, our life. But I love the adventure of experiencing something new!

The other day, a friend here at Fort Benning emailed me a new recipe… It sounded extremely bizarre, and even my adventurous “I will taste anything once” self was a bit skeptical.

The recipe was for avocado chocolate mousse.

Say what??

That’s right. Avocado chocolate mousse. I like avocados. I LOVE chocolate. But together?  As a a female, I thrive on opportunities to eat seemingly fancy foods that are easy to prepare and relatively healthy.

So I decided to try it. I was going over to a friend’s house for Valentine’s Day since my husband is away doing army stuff and her hubby was working. Instead of eating an entire bag of Dove Chocolate to satisfy my V-Day semi-solo self, I thought I would give this avocado chocolate mousse a try.

It took a whopping 4 minutes to prepare. I made a “half batch” of the following recipe.

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup agave nectar (I used honey) 
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Cup open avocados and scoop out the insides. Combine with other ingredients and blend until smooth.

And guess what? Even though I was apprehensive, it was AWESOME. For real. It is super rich, so the half batch essentially made four generous servings. We paired it with strawberries and blueberries. You would have thought we were eating a $30 dessert on some fancy island somewhere.

Strawberries, blueberries and yes, AVOCADO chocolate mousse. Best. Dessert. Ever.

Here’s the kicker… I wouldn’t have known what I was missing if I didn’t take that chance to change things up a bit. What was the worst that could happen? So it could have tasted like poo and I would have thrown it out… Big whoop. (Not that I am a proponent of wasting food. I try to be a good steward.)

As I was indulging in this decadent and healthy dessert, I couldn’t help but thing about all the changes that God puts into our lives for a reason. Like the mousse, the “idea” might make us wrinkle are noses and immediately take on an attitude of skepticism. God, you want me to do WHAT? Why? When? NOW?!? 

Is God calling you to change something in your life today? Perhaps change a habit? Turn away from sin? Be more courageous in sharing your faith? Start small. Submit to Him and embrace the change. Make your own version of avocado chocolate mousse, even if the ingredients He gives you don’t really seem to fit perfectly together. Trust our Master Chef. Be  obedient and take a step of faith to answer His call of change… If you do, He might just reward us with an experience that is smoother, richer and more incredible than that avocado chocolate mousse.

Satisfied by His Recipe for my life,

SGK

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” –Romans 12:2 (MSG) 

Categories: change, changes, chocolates, food, God | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Regain your Breath

Ever had the wind knocked out of you?
Source here

I am going to guess that the answer to that one is probably yes. It might have been the physical wind knocked out of your lungs… Like when you, as a 2nd grader, thought that jumping from the low bar to the high bar on the jungle gym at recess was a brilliant idea. Next thing you know, you are flat on your back on the ground, staring at the sky gasping for breath.

(That’s a totally hypothetical situation of course. I certainly never did that. Completely made up.)

Or maybe your breath was taken away when you received some sad news about a friend or a relative. Perhaps the wind was whooshed away when your beloved proposed marriage to you.

There are a million different possibilities. For me, specifically as an army wife, the wind-knockage experience will typically come from my husband either in person, on the phone or via text.

It usually starts with the phrase “So, I’ve got some news…”

Let me tell you something, readers, falling off the jungle gym or getting bucked off a horse can’t compare to the “Hey-baby-got-some-news” army marriage wind-knocking conversations. Because whenever I get in that situation, I am trying not to panic while I keep my breath, fight back tears, AND not to throw up all at the same time. (Fortunately, ALL of those don’t usually happen.  Not because I am a pro at keeping it together, but because it would  be a mess. And if I am dealing with profound breath-takingly uncertain conversations, I don’t have time to clean it up.)

When you love someone as deeply as I love Brandon, it is hard to get “news.” I am so thankful that news coming from first from Iraq and now here at Fort Benning hasn’t resulted in reporting any injuries or catastrophically terrifying information. (Thank you, Jesus!)

Instead, this “news” usually revolves around changing schedules. And time apart. So forgive me if you think it sounds a little melodramatic. But hey, I love the man, I love spending time with him and he is kinda my best friend. Plus, I am a planner, so when I get the “first news” I process it, pray and prepare. When the “news” changes, I have to do it again. It’s exhausting.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a “strong, independent woman.” (My Mama’s words, not mine.) But when the Holy Spirit gets ahold of me, coupled with an awesome husband who’s job takes him away on a semi-random yet regular basis, I become much more vulnerable. Which means I cry more. Which I hate. SIGH.

I had one of those wind-removing moments yesterday afternoon. The past few weeks, I have been preparing my head/heart for Brandon to go to Ranger school. In a nutshell, it’s a two month (ish) long training where he doesn’t come home at night and communication is minimal. He was planning on attending pre-ranger school, which according to our calculations, started February 16th.

Apparently, our math skills stink and our calculations were incorrect.  I received a text yesterday saying that it started on the 10th. Yeah, in like 14 days. Dear Lord. Cue living room breath-leaving-the-lung moment. (To you non-military spouses, six days might seem like peanuts… and I suppose big picture, it kind of is… but it’s still hard to be like “Yay honey, we are going to be apart even longer!”)

If I am being completely honest, I have to say that yes, being apart is difficult… but the changing schedules and unknown of “Will he pass? Will he get recycled? How long will this take? etc” is almost overwhelming.

But it’s only overwhelming if I let it be. No, I was certainly not thrilled with this new information. My fleshly side of me, as I was trying to stay composed (and briefly failing) wanted to just jump off the deep end right there. I wanted to get down in my living room floor and throw a tantrum. Sobbing, snotty, kicking and screaming. Very adult. Real professional.

Somehow I refrained. I’m not gonna lie, I did have a few tears… But I immediately engaged my newest army wife mantra. As I took deep breaths to restore my composure, I started saying out loud, “I trust you, Jesus. I trust you, Jesus. I trust you, Jesus.”

It worked. I was able to breath again. And even managed to blog about this. Good work, Jesus. Very impressive.

We won’t always understand WHY things happen in this world, whether they are small-scale like 6 extra days of Ranger school/spouse mandatory separation or life changing-scale level like dealing with cancer of a family member. But we can trust the unknown to a known God.

Trust all things to Jesus. He didn’t promise that this life on Earth would be easy. But He does vow that trusting Him is worth it. Let Him restore your composure. Allow Him to be the air you breathe. Ask Him to help you regain your breath.

In-through-the-nose-out-through-the-mouth,

SGK

“And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” Acts 17:25
Categories: army, challenge, changes, faith, trust | Leave a comment

Getting SMART with 2012

Welp. It’s a New Year, America.

 

Sorry. That was kind of an obvious statement. But obvious or not, Happy 2012. I hope you are excited… because I am!! (After sitting in church yesterday morning, I have a feeling God has some BIG plans for us this year.)

I used to be a person of big “resolutions.” I would have all these grand plans of losing a bajillion pounds in a week and reading one letter of the encyclopedia per week. (Only a slight exaggeration.) Then of course, in about 3-5 wks  (if it lasted that long) I would lose steam and be back where I started… If not further off course.

So. What’s the key to setting successful goals? They have to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound.

It’s okay if your resolution-ish statements don’t lend themselves to all of these traits. But let’s try to make it happen… Together… With God’s help.

I am going to make myself pretty vulnerable here. By sharing with you my SMART lifestyle changes (note: I did not say resolutions) I am calling you out as my accountability group. GULP. (That being said… I would LOVE if you would comment and share a 2012 lifestyle change of your own.)

Here we go. Deep breath. Saying some prayers. Annnnddd…

SMART Change #1: Operation Fort-itude Fitness. Let me explain. I had this idea during our time on leave in Kansas. I knew I needed a new workout routine… I have done Couch to 5K, P90X and even used a personal trainer. But I want something new. And free. Heres the idea…

Over the next ten months from January 2nd to October 2nd I will “travel” from Fort Benning, Georgia to Fort Riley, Kansas (Fort-itude– get it?) by walking, running, swimming, biking and elliptical. It is 980 miles total and breaks down to about 24 miles per wk. I will log my progress on a wall map to see where I am hypothetically “traveling.” But Sharita? What about strength training? Never fear, that too shall be incorporated into my routine… I will log 25,000 reps of strength/core work by the time I “reach” Fort Riley. (Average: about 104 reps per day or I can do a couple hundred reps a few times a week.)

WHEW. That was a big one. Here are some more, yet simpler SMART lifestyle changes that I will incorporate or continue to improve on.

SMART Change #2: Spend at least one hour per day in the Lord’s presence by using my new Jesus Calling Devotional and studying the accompanying Scripture. I will also continue to keep a prayer request list in a notebook and/or iPad.

SMART Change #3: Complete my 1000 Gift List (inspired by Ann Voskamp’s book) by the end of 2012 (although I believe it could be much sooner than that… if so… I will just keep adding to it!)

SMART Change #4: Memorize a book of the Bible, starting with 1 John.

SMART Change #5: Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry and submit to God DAILY in all areas of my life. (Not super specific, I know. But I do know what I am supposed to be doing with it and have been working on it for a few months now anyways.)

Some of these SMART changes will flex up and down throughout the year… some new goals may surface or God could lead me in a whole different direction. But now is the time for change. We worship a God of fresh starts. Ask Him to wipe the slate clean and join me in getting SMART with 2012.

With a heart of anticipation,

SGK

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” –Roman 12:2

Categories: changes, Christ, fresh start, goals, God, reliance | 7 Comments

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