Posts Tagged With: sacrifice

True Love Is… (Just A Quick Reminder)

Hello darling readers… due to my continued exhaustion via life/pneumonia/army, I am taking a quick brain breather and resharing with you one of my favorite posts… about marriage and Jesus. (Two of my favorite topics!)  I would love to hear your fresh thoughts on what YOU believe true love really is in your life– in marriage, in your relationship with Christ or when/where ever! Leave a comment below. (Please and thank you.) 

Thanks for your continued patience while I get back on my feet. Looking forward to getting back in the groove sooner than later. (Jesus willing.) 

Much love, 

SGK 

******

I can think of a variety of descriptions for “True Love,” specifically within marriage. Some of these ideas include rewarding, challenging, refreshing, educational, hilarious, frustrating, growth-oriented, blessed… Oh, and we can’t forget that true love in marriage is precious (both truly precious and also sometimes a little sarcastically precious.)

Recently, I was reminded how truly precious true love can be, especially within our marriage.

Some might say that true love is small acts of kindness, roses, chocolates, hugs and kisses. While all of those things are great (and I love them all) here are a few different ideas about what true love is for us.

True love is… a husband and wife constantly debating the appropriate temperature  on which to set the thermostat, and still being able to suck it up when the “other” temperature wins out for the day.

True love is… not completely freaking out to the point of hysteria and/or silence when a wife realizes that her husband has used her toothbrush simply because his bathroom was “too far away.”

True love is… a husband that remembers to roll the garbage out to curb on Thursday nights without being asked.

True love is… a wife “babysitting” her husband’s brewing/fermenting batch of beer that has to be kept cool and adding ice to it while he has overnight staff duty… without being asked.

True love is… receiving a text from a husband asking you to ice his fermenting beer and the wife has already completed the task 10 minutes before.

True love is… a husband grilling a steak willingly and hesitantly steaming some veggies for supper while a stressed out wife works on homework/church stuff.

True love is… a wife submitting to weekly trips to Buffalo Wild Wings.

True love is… a husband supporting a wife’s fitness goals, while at the same time reminding her that she is beautiful just as she is.

True love is… a husband trying new foods cooked by his wife, even though he initially said he wouldn’t like it– then being humble enough to admit it was awesome.

True love is… going to church together whenever the army schedule allows it.

True love is… doing each other’s laundry and dishes, no matter who’s turn it is.

True love is… an army wife remembering to be frustrated with the army and not her husband when schedules are jacked up and less than productive decisions are made.

True love is…. a husband patiently holding his wife while she cries for a reason that cannot specifically be determined.

True love is… a husband and wife willing to lose valuable sleep to talk out issues just to avoid going to bed angry.

True love is… praying together for others and remembering to turn to God in prayer in the middle of an argument.

True love is… awesome to experience, blessed by Christ and an opportunity to grow together.

This list might be a little bit unorthodox… but for us, it’s all true. Another sign of true love is sacrifice. The greatest form of sacrifice that I can think of was the body of Jesus Christ– what an incredible representation of true love! I am not only thankful to be in a marriage that is based on true love, but also in a relationship with Christ that is the epitome of True Love.

So what IS true love? True love is sacrifice. True love is Christ.

Love to love and be loved,

SGK

“God, God, a God of mercy and grace, endlessly patient—so much love, so deeply true—loyal in love for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin.” — Exodus 34:4 (MSG)

Categories: God, marriage | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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

God Only Knows Where We’d Be

I was never a crier. I was the tough girl. I once went through an entire semester at college without crying.

And then I fell in love. With a soldier. And with Jesus.

At one point in my life, my heart was hardened. I was not compassionate and completely confident that I could make “it” on my own. Tears were not an issue. I had it together.

And then I feel in love. With a soldier. And with Jesus.

Today is Memorial Day. A day of tribute. A day of remembrance. I am forever thankful for our soldiers– and for Jesus.

Many people post tributes and touching pictures on Facebook in support of our troops. That’s great. But I have quite a different perspective. See, I am married to one of those soldiers. And not just married to him, but deeply in love with him.

My beloved has served overseas three times. He’s been shot at. He’s watched his battle buddies fall. All the while– he clung tight to Jesus. And led me into a relationship with Christ much deeper than I could have ever imagined.

As my relationship with my soldier and my Christ has deepened, my heart as been softened. I try to avoid “tearjerker” videos because I still don’t like to cry. But it is hard not to be overcome with emotion– primarily in the form of gratitude- when I stop to really consider what my beloved husband AND what Christ has done for us.

They both have willingly offered to DIE for me. Simply the thought of this type of love moves my heart.

The song “Soldiers and Jesus” by James Otto sums it up pretty well.

(If you couldn’t view the video in your email, click HERE to watch.)

Have you EVER really stopped to think about the sacrifice from Christ and our soldiers? How does it make you feel? How have you experienced life from another’s sacrificial love? Please don’t be shy… Share your comments below.

So today, lets take a moment to give thanks for those who have given us a hope and a future by laying down their lives. There’s only two people who have ever died for me… Soldiers and Jesus. Without them… God only knows where we’d be.

Thankful beyond measure,
SGK

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” –John 15:13

Categories: army, blessing, Christ, cross, death, fight, freedom, glory, God, Jesus, life, sacrifice, soldier, Tribute | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: