food

Think “Fast” Finale!

Oh how I missed you, my sweet tomato condiment. Welcome back.

Break out the ketchup and the frozen yogurt people! (Not together, please.) We made 30 days with only eating 7 foods.

Lemme tell you what. It was a long month. But a blessed one.

(To recap, check out last week’s update post here.)

Anywho, I am glad to say peace out to my only menu items of chicken, eggs, bread, apples, sweet potatoes, avocados, and spinach. I am excited to welcome back things like ketchup, dairy products and seasonings other than simply salt and pepper.

But even more so, I am excited for the incredible work God did in our lives in a mere 30 days. Honestly, I could probably write a week’s worth of blog posts regarding my reflections of this experiment against the mutiny of excess. However, I am going to try and spare you a 5,000 word response and hit some of the very, VERY high spots. (There were a lot of medium and low spots too.)

  • Eating only 7 foods for 30 days is hard. It limits your ability to be social since eating out is plus/minus taken out of the picture.
  • That said, our budget REALLY benefited. We are talking a few hundred bucks, people. (Probably because we didn’t spend so much time/money at the grocery store, the option to eat out was nearly non-existent, and we couldn’t buy ANYTHING from convenience stores other than water, gum or gas.)
  • I know many of you are wondering about the physical part of this challenge… Well, first of all, I slept better than I have in months. (Possibly due to the lack of caffeine and sugar in my life?) Secondly, in 30 days I lost 8 pounds. Seriously. I’m not kidding. I have been praying about breaking through a plateau I had been sitting at for months. God delivered. Oh, and this wasn’t  “I’m dropping weight but I feel like crap” like some crash diets. I think it was “Peace out sugar, my body thanks you for it.” I feel AH-MAZ-ING.
  • I have developed a new appreciation for creative and resourceful cooking. And for pepper.
  •  I love 15 minute grocery store trips.
  • We both REALLY appreciate the incredible amount of choices that we have in our life when it comes to food. (Seriously, have you BEEN down the cereal aisle lately? 379 versions of cornflakes.)
  •  We ate 198 eggs in 30 days. (That’s over 16 dozen! Glad I haven’t sprouted feathers yet.) Congratulations, Lori Lockwood! She guessed 200 and has won herself a breakfast gift card. (I will be in touch with you asap.)

Now for the “big rocks,” AKA the spiritual breakthroughs in our life:

  • I developed a hunger (literally) for the word of God. I have never spent so much time just reading the word, letting it soak in.
  • Remember my challenge for lent when I was called to give up worrying? And how my “word” for 2012 is “Dependence?” Well, guess what? This fast tied both of those things together. I have never had such a peaceful heart! The worries that used to consume me have gradually shifted into a real submission and dependence on the Lord. Don’t get me wrong, I know my battle isn’t over– I’m sure it will be lifelong– but when it comes to being faced with so many unknown factors of our future, I found TRUE comfort in the Lord. I no longer just submit with my mouth– but my heart is following suit. I couldn’t be more excited. Praise Jesus!
  • I no longer turn to food for a comfort. Instead, I pray.
  • We feel spiritually renewed, alive and more hopeful about the future than ever. It’s incredible. I wish I could describe it.

I could go on. I really could. Words really can’t describe this experience. It has been a powerful witnessing tool when we describe to other what we were doing and why. Also, it was great to watch God’s provision show up when we least expected it. (Seriously, June was avocado month at Subway. What are the chances of THAT?)

So this was a super cool experiment and all, but I don’t want it to end here… There’s a few things we have learned and want to instigate into our “normal” lives:

  • Sticking to a food/grocery/eating out budget IS possible. So we will be striving for that here on out.
  • I am going to conscious not only of calories, fat and protein in my foods, but also sugar. I never realized HOW MUCH stuff has processed sugar in it til I went cold turkey for a month. (Plus maybe this will help me continue on the path to my goal weight.)
  • Dependence on God is a lifestyle change, not just a diet. Consider it a part of my lifestyle now.
  • I am going to continue to read the word as much as possible.
  • Caffeine, cheese, ketchup, beer etc are ALL luxuries, NOT necessities. We can live without them. So we know we can cut them from our life if we have too.

Thanks so much for hanging in there with me, dear readers. It has been a challenging but enlightening month– your prayers certainly helped. We are going to continue praying about the other chapters in Jen Hatmaker’s book “7” and let you know where God takes us from here…

Now if you will excuse me… I must go plan out my first non-fasting meal. Sushi and frozen yogurt, anyone?

Fasted and Found Him,
SGK

After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” ~Matthew 4:2-4 (NIV) 

Categories: food, sacrifice | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Think “Fast” (7 Experiment, Week 3)

7…6…5…4…3…2…1…

The countdown is on, folks! We are ¾ of the way through our 7 Foods for 30 days fasting. We are really stoked that God is working so powerfully in our lives.

And very stoked that caffeine and ketchup are soon to be back on our menu.

Set the microwave timer, folks. We are almost done!

If you are just joining us on this journey, I might recommend you take a TV time out. (or a blog time out?) to check out our previous posts about this over the last month to catch up.

Think Fast
Think Fast (Week 1 Update)
Think Fast (Week 2 Update)

Here’s a few new thoughts as to how this process is unraveling:

~We are intentionally setting aside specific blocks of time to just shut everything off and sit reading the word. Obviously this is easier for me to do than Brandon, since I have much more control over my schedule. However, we block out at least an hour on Sunday afternoon/evening to just sit, plus other periodic times in the week. It’s great.

~I am still blown away with how easy and quick grocery shopping is. Seriously. Sure, I have to go a couple of times a week since we tend to run out of a these random foods at different times (plus avocados and fresh spinach don’t last forever) but shopping now takes 15 minutes MAX compared to at least an hour or more per week.

~It’s really hard to make a deluxe apple chicken spinach salad of epicness when you are nearly out of fresh spinach. (See point above.)

~Babysitting is difficult. (No, not babysitting my husband—I mean other people’s kids.) I babysat twice last week to help some folks out, which is fine, but seeing all the tasty foods they are chowing down on make for a challenging experience. (Specifically: Popcorn at the movies, grapes and mac’n’cheese.)

~I’ve finished my 3rd batch of sweet potato soup. It’s still a great go-to food when I have no other “brilliant” ideas.

~Kudos to my sweet husband for sticking with this—He was in the field pretty much all last week, which means he can’t just run home to grab some food (and I can’t bring him anything.) He has been able to survive on MREs (Meals ready to eat) of just a beef patty/bread, as well as apples, peanut butter and bread he brought from home.

~I am currently on a French toast with applesauce as topping kick. I’ve eaten it for several breakfasts in a row and even ate it for supper last week.

~Have I mentioned that God rocks? I really enjoy the simplifying part of this project. I am getting much more done and spending more time with Him.

~We still miss caffeine, cheese and ketchup. But hanging strong. Almost there, America!

Oh, and in case you missed the memo from the last couple of weeks—we are doing a giveaway. Leave a comment below your guess as to how many eggs we will consume in this 30 day time frame to win a gift card to your favorite breakfast restaurant.

If you have already guessed before, you can enter again with a new guess.  You only have 7 days left to enter—I will be announcing the winner on next Tuesday’s wrap up blog post.

One more thing: Many of you have commented/texted/emailed/facebooked us to say that you are praying for us throughout this journey. We appreciate it. We feel them working (and it has helped us to stay strong and not give in to the temptations of mac’n’cheese, sushi or beer (Brandon)/Frozen yogurt (Me.)

The end is in sight… Come back next week to see how this month turns out. I will announce the gift card winner as well as share any profound developments God has placed on our heart.

Until then… Can someone pass the spinach?

Simplifying our Snacks,
SGK

“The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.” ~2 Corinthians 5:5 (MSG)

Categories: food, God | Tags: , , , , , | 16 Comments

Think “Fast” (7 Experiment, Week 2 Update)

Half. Way. DONE.

That’s right, peeps– my darling husband and I are halfway through our 7 foods for 30 days fast. (Click here to get caught up to speed on this crazy journey. Oh, and here is last week’s update. )

For fifteen days, I have consumed nothing but eggs, chicken, bread, sweet potatoes, apples, avocado, spinach and water.

Can I have a Diet Dr. Pepper yet? Just kidding. We are still holding strong. Ish.

It has been challenging. And intense. And rewarding.  We have had a few revelations since last week:

~My current go-to meal: deluxe spinach salad, that includes chicken, apples, hard boiled egg, salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of olive oil. Oh. And sweet potato chicken soup. I just finished my second batch of it last night and will be making another batch momentarily.  My husbands current go to meal? Anything that involves meat. Like chicken. Or beef (yes, beef made his list.) And tater tots. (I fought this point, saying he needed to eat “real” potatoes, but finally let him have this one… mainly because I was running out of ways to cook his potatoes.)

~I am developing quite the taste for pepper. I never used to use it hardly at all, but when it is one of your two choices for seasonings, beggars can’t be choosers, right?

~We. Miss. Cheese. The end.

Our latest invention: My hubby’s deluxe frittata, complete with eggs, steak, and potatoes. His thoughts? “It’s good, wife… But would be better with cheese.” Sigh. Isn’t everything, sweetheart?

~Traveling and fasting is HARD, especially with these dietary restrictions. I *almost* cried last week during our time at Chili’s when I was faced with another chicken avocado sandwich. But God turned it into a HUGE blessing through our latest Factor of 7. 

~Huge kudos to my hubby for sticking to his fast even after he hadn’t eaten for more than 18 hours last week after he got out of eye surgery. I had brought a partial loaf of french bread with me to snack on, so he chose to eat it, the provided peanut butter and apple juice post surgery. I was impressed, not gonna lie.

~Have I mentioned that we miss cheese? 😉

~My time with God has been rich, rich, RICH. I am obsessed with my new Bible.

~It’s been challenging not to get distracted on thinking about how positive this is for our physical bodies and our budget. While those are definitely great, that’s not the point. The purpose of this month is for God to cultivate grateful hearts in us for all of our incredible blessings and to seek His will for our lives, not focus on the numbers on the scale or how our checking account is faring.

~We haven’t cheated. At all. Which kind of blows my mind. It’s been super tempting to say “I quit” or “Screw it, bring me the frozen yogurt/Dr. Pepper/somethingcoveredincheese/justonebiteofchocolate” but we have held strong. Thanks, Jesus.

~We are still eating a lot of eggs. (I am so glad it is a semi-cheap food! And so diverse. Reminds me of those old commercials “the incredible, edible egg.”)

Oh, on that note and in case you missed the memo– we are doing a contest to guess how many eggs my hubby and I consume in a month. To enter, just leave a comment with your guess. (If you posted last week, you can enter again with a different number by leaving your feedback and a comment below!)

The prize? A gift card to your favorite breakfast restaurant (Winner will determine what restaurant the card is for- perhaps Ihop, Waffle House, Starbucks, Cracker Barrel, Huddle House etc.) That way you can go get yourself a big ol’ plate of eggs for breakfast.

Or a heaping, steaming stack of fresh chocolate chip pancakes smothered and covered in syrup, strawberries and maple syrup with a side of bacon, fresh fruit and a Diet Dr. Pepper. (Typing that was a bad idea. I should go eat an apple. Sigh.) Again, leave your comment below of your “egg guess” to win your breakfast gift card of choice!

So that’s where we are– God is moving and we are continuing to seek Him with our heart, soul, mind and strength. (And stomach. Let’s not forget stomach.)

Now if you will excuse me… I am going to go pretend that my apple is a stack of chocolate chip pancakes.

Hungry for More Jesus,
SGK

 “Appetite is an incentive to work; hunger makes you work all the harder.” ~Proverbs 16:26 (MSG) 

My breakfast frittata– eggs, chicken, spinach and sweet potatoes. (And for a dash of feisty, spread some smashed avocado on the top.) But yes, it would be better with cheese

Categories: attitude, blessing, food, God | Tags: , , , , , | 27 Comments

Think “Fast” (7 Experiment, Week 1)

It has been one week of eating only eggs, chicken, bread, apples, sweet potatoes, avocado, and spinach. That’s right folks. I’m eating only 7 foods for thirty days.

If you missed last week’s entry about this fast, let me catch you up. (Or you can click here to read the entire post.) My beloved hubby and I are fasting for 30 days by only eating 7 different foods. Only water to drink. No seasonings other than salt, pepper, olive oil (sparingly) and cooking spray.  This concept is inspired by Jen Hatmaker’s book “7: The Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.” In short, it has two main purposes: to seek after God at a deeper level and to restore a heart of gratitude for all the incredible choices we have in this world.

We started on June 4, so we are one week into our experience. In two words: EPIC. CHALLENGING.

The first two days kinda sucked. Like, a lot. My beloved and I both had a headache, which honestly was to be expected. We were no longer drinking any caffeine. Plus, I was probably going through sugar withdrawal.

But once we made it through Monday and Tuesday? It has been epic. We are using the extra time that we would have normally spent grocery shopping/cooking/discussing what’s for supper to spend time in prayer and in the word.

Additionally, this has been awesome for our food budget. Great for our heart. And our physical bodies feel pretty incredible.

PLUS (yes, it goes on) God has brought out my hidden gift for creative and resourceful cooking. Seriously, I have created more shockingly tasty meals with limited foods than I have in my entire adult life. Here’s a brief glimpse of some of my creations:

Breakfast:

  • Power breakfast sandwich– egg, avocado, shredded chicken on toast
  • Eggs & toast
  • French toast with unsweetened applesauce
  • Scromlet– scrambled eggs, spinach, shredded chicken
  • Fritatta– eggs baked with shredded chicken & spinach with avocado on top

Lunch/Supper:

  • Spinach salad including any/all of the following– shredded chicken, avocado, spinach, apple, hard boiled egg, salt, pepper, olive oil
  • Sweet Potato Chicken soup– chicken stock, chicken, sweet potatoes, salt/pepper (BEST. INVENTION. EVER.)
  • Baked Chicken dredged in egg and coated in bread crumbs
  • Egg/chicken/avocado salad sandwich (It looks a little funny  but tastes fine)

Snacks:

  • Dried apple chips (homemade)
  • Toast with unsweetened applesauce
  • Hard Boiled egg
  • Croutons (homemade)
  • Apple Leather (it’s like a fruit roll up, homemade out of applesauce put in the dehydrator)

My sweet potato chicken soup and spinach salad… with homemade croutons. Nutritious, colorful AND tasty. Thanks, Jesus!

God has really brought about a new, refreshed and grateful heart in the both of us. He has also revealed how I turn to food when I am stressed– but now I am turning to Him first. Here’s to returning to our First Love!

So in short, it’s going great. Definitely still challenging every time I pass by a Starbucks or see free oranges for the taking at the gym. (And don’t get me started on the Diet Dr. Pepper situation.) But guess what… I have one more surprise for you.

I am doing a giveaway at the end of this experience. The prize will be… well, a surprise. (But it won’t be lame. I promise.)

To enter, you can share this post via Facebook, Twitter, email etc. You can like my Facebook page if you haven’t already done so. But to make it an “official” entry, leave a comment below with your guess of how many eggs my husband and I will consume by the end of this fast. (Hint: We like eggs.)

Random, I know. But hey, don’t judge me– I haven’t had any sugar or caffeine for a week. 🙂 Plus, I think it is going to be eggstremely entertaining.

What do you think so far? We would love your feedback–leave a comment (and your eggsact guess) below.

Loving this Jesus eggsperience,
SGK

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” –John 6:35

Categories: blessing, budget, challenge, Christ, food, God, gratitude, life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Sometimes Flat Isn’t All That

“Hey, what do you want to drink?”

“Hmm… I will take a glass of Diet Dr. Pepper.”

“Ok, coming up.”

“Thanks…(gulp) OH YUCK. IT’S FLAT.”

We’ve all been there. We wait in anticipation for our favorite carbonated beverage only to be disappointed to realize all the fizz has departed long ago. Blah. The same goes for stale chips or popcorn. What a let down. Sigh.

Is your faith fizzy or flat?

On one hand, flat can be a good thing– flat stomachs, beautiful flat prairie, a house built on a level and flat foundation. But much like the example of soda pop, sometimes flat isn’t all that.

Flat soda. Flat tires. Flat flavor.  Flat line. Flat out. Flat faith.

Many people in the world are living “flatly,” satisfied with the status quo and social norm. Why go above and beyond when “barely” works? Great theory, but very unfulfilling. As Christians– we aren’t called to be flat. We need to rediscover our fizz.

Living flat faith might look like this: go to church on Sunday, say that we believe in Christ if cornered. That’s it. While it’s a great start, that kind of faith isn’t going to inspire anyone to take another drink. We can live a fresh, fizzy life– through words and actions in our life.

Fizzy faith is going to involve living a flavorful life of love. We can be kind. Love others. Be generous. Seek to be like Christ.

Everything we do speaks to who we are. When someone meets you, what do you them to know about you as they walk away? That you are flat and unflavorful? Just kinda there?  Or do you want to infuse them with some of your fresh Jesus fizz with your words and actions.

I don’t know about you, but I want to live as if I am fresh can of soda, full of flavor and fizz… not a trace of flat.

Is your faith fizzy? Or has it gotten a little stale and flat lately? What do you think you could do to regain a fizzy faith that is encouraging and inspiring to those around you? I would love to hear your feedback. Leave a comment below.

It might be time to check your fizzy faith factor. Ask the Lord to make your faith life flavorful again because let’s be honest– sometime flat isn’t all that.

Bubbling over,
SGK

“Salt is excellent. But if the salt goes flat, it’s useless, good for nothing. “Are you listening to this? Really listening?”‘ –Luke 14:34 MSG

Categories: faith, food, God, life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Junk Food of Life

It’s everywhere you look. On TV, in the newspaper, throughout the aisles of the grocery store, by the checkout register. Colorful packages beckon you to reach out and take them home. We love it. We sometimes think we need it. Oh baby, we gotta have it.

Such is the junk food of life. Cookies, chips, soda, candy, anything deep-fried and covered in chocolate. Now that’s tasty right there. Talk about instant gratification.

For the general American population, we tend to take a things for granted. We can have a bag of Cheetos and 32 oz ThirstBuster of Coke in our hands before you can say “$2.53, please.” We can get a full meal in our hands via drive-thru in about 4 minutes or less. And we can eat pretty much whatever we want.

Junk Food Still Life

The junk food of life… It’s everywhere.
Source: Flickr/awrose

Now, I am a huge proponent of all things in moderation. Sure, my husband and I are limiting ourselves to eating only 7 foods for 30 days, but you can bet your ketchup bottle that I will be grabbing me a Diet Dr. Pepper and something that involves cheese when that time expires.

Yes, snarfing down that entire package of Oreos or slamming that Mountain Dew like you just came out of the desert sure tastes good– and it makes us feel good.

For a little while.

Until our stomach starts to hurt. And we start feeling guilty about our choices.

Here’s the thing with stuffing ourselves with junk food… it doesn’t leave room for the “good stuff.” Yeah, you know, the meat/dairy/veggie/fruit/bread kinda stuff that your Mom always told you to eat (or else.) Something about “Young lady, put the cookies away before you ruin your supper!” (Sigh. Why do Moms ALWAYS have to be right?)

This concept isn’t just true for actual “food” that we eat. It is also true for the junk food of our life. If Jesus is the bread of life, then what are the Skittles?

The junk food of life comes in many forms… too much TV, Facebook, thinking about what “might have been,” worrying about tomorrow,  focusing on material possessions… the list goes on. If we are consuming these areas of “junk food,” then we probably won’t have much of an appetite for Jesus.

It says in Matthew 5:6  (MSG) “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.” Working up a good appetite for God starts with not stuffing ourselves with the “junk” around us.

What areas of your life do you consider “junk food?” Are they in moderation or out of control? How do you think you can work up an appetite for God? I am excited for your feedback– please leave a comment below 🙂

Today I challenge all of us to take a good look at our “shopping list” and “menu” when it comes to our junk food vs. good food Jesus ratio. If it is a little off-balance and we find yourself full of the “junk food,” let’s take a moment to bow our heads and ask God to clean out our pantry or fridge of the junk food in our life. He is the Main Course that will ALWAYS fill us up and satisfy our appetite.

Hungry but satisfied,
SGK

“God—you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you!  I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts.” –Psalm 63:1 (MSG)  

Categories: chocolates, Christ, food, God, health | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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

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

Love, Peace and Jesus Cheese

“Would you like cheese on that?”

Talk about a moment of truth. You haven’t really given any thought to the question prior to this very blip in time. It doesn’t matter if the person behind the counter/at your table is asking about a salad, a Big Mac (ick) or Subway sandwich.

For me, the answer is almost always yes.

Cheese is awesome. I am a non-discriminatory cheese eater. My only stipulations are if it smells like a foot or comes in a can,  it is not going in my mouth. Other than that, bring on the cheese baby!

Just last Saturday, my supervisor Kelli and I traveled to Macon, GA to do some SHAPE training for a church plant. As we were discussing each person’s spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality and experiences, we got to the topic of “filling” holes in ministry with volunteers.

Now, this is a baby church, just being planted and doing the work to get off the ground. Their numbers are small, so “filling holes” within their group was a challenge. But one participate piped up and jokingly said, “Holes aren’t bad. Just think of swiss cheese. People love swiss cheese. We are the swiss cheese church.”

This comment not only made us laugh, but it got me to thinking. We know that Jesus is all about love and peace… but how would he feel about cheese? Specifically, swiss cheese. (Hang in there readers… this will make more sense momentarily, I promise.)

We have already determined some types of cheese are “holey.” And I don’t know about you… but so are our lives.

Let’s start with our holey selves. We are full of holes. Looking to be fulfilled. Broken. Searching for something greater. Seeking love and peace. Completeness.

So where do we find it? In Christ. Jesus fills our holes with His eternal love and neverending peace. We can be wholly His. ALL of us can live in Him. Lean on Him. Trust in Him… And ultimately we can become…

HOLY.  This is a good kind of holy. Fully, deeply and completely dedicated to Him through our actions, words and lives. We can live a full un-holey life by being holy. Our original holes are filled to the brim with love and peace through Him.

So maybe Jesus is a cheese fan like me and you. He understands our “holes” and embraces our longing to be filled wholly with Him… to make us holy FOR Him.

And let’s not forget that Jesus STILL has holes… no, not the ones that are needed for perfection. He needs nothing, because He is perfect. But He himself has holes in his nail-scarred hands. The holes in His hands ultimately compensate for the holes in our lives caused by sin.

Don’t be ashamed or concerned if your life looks like swiss cheese. Mine does. Instead, find the love and peace from Jesus. And next time when someone asks if you want cheese on it, you can simply reply, “Sure, but I’ve already got some… I have love, peace and Jesus Cheese.”

Life is cheesy,

SGK

“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence.” Acts 4:31 MSG

Categories: Christ, food, fulfillment, healing, hope, Love, peace | 2 Comments

A Family Tradition

“Pass the green bean casserole.”

“White or dark meat?”

“Bahhaaahaa! Look at Dad… He’s snoring on the couch!!”

“Hey, who took a bite out of my pumpkin pie?!?”

“Let’s pray…”

In case you didn’t get the memo, it’s Thanksgiving. I know that folks have been blogging, talking and preparing for this festive holiday for days, ready to discuss of overeating, conversation, football, worship and in my family’s case, activities that involve shooting rifles and/or hunting.

Just like the quotes above, families throughout the world have a variety of traditions. Some do the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes route. Others order a pizza and watch football until their eyes go googly. Others are busy mapping out their Black Friday shopping domination strategy. Some gatherings have dozens of people present (high blood pressure anyone?) and others might just have a wife and husband with their new baby, or some due to circumstances or choice, fly solo.  My family here in Kansas has a few traditions as well…

We usually have the staple Thanksgiving foods listed above, but add things like cornbread stuffing (Grandma Neva’s recipe) and fried okra. We usually dine early afternoon and then our tryptophan-induced activities post-gorge include lounging, TV (maybe football… eh) and maybe even doing some target practice in the front yard. Then, after a light supper of leftovers (since we are typically still reeling from the afternoon feasting activities) we bundle up, strap on our headlamps and head to the trees for a round of coon hunting with our hounds. (But that’s whole ‘nother post…)

Regardless of your personal family traditions, there is one that we all can share together. If you are member in the family of Christ, we can worship Him for the sacrifice of The Son. No matter how you slice it, I firmly believe He is the reason we are here, with the ability to give thanks today.

I’m thankful for my faith. And that, my darling family of Christ, is a family tradition we can all share.

Thankful for Jesus,

SGK

“These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.” -Psalm 42:4

Categories: Christ, Family, food, sacrifice, thanks, tradition | Leave a comment

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