May 2016 Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the May installment!

Current favorites:

Book: Let Us All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs. I read my sister’s copy of this book, and I quickly filled it with little adhesive flags to mark all the lines that struck my heart particularly deep. I love the idea of pursuing bravery, despite the risk, or maybe because IMG_0374of the risk. I found the author to be really relatable, funny, and motivating. The book left me processing how to be brave in my own life, and I encourage you all to pick up a copy and be brave, too!

Song: Just Breathe by Jonny Diaz.

Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life
Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel You say

Just breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

Third cup of joe just to get me through the day
Wanna make the most of time but I feel it slip away
I wonder if there’s something more to this crazy life
I’m busy, busy, busy, and it’s no surprise to see
That I only have time for me, me, me
There’s gotta be something more to this crazy life
I’m hanging on tight to another wild day
When it starts to fall apart in my heart I hear You say

Just breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need

Is to take it in fill your lungs
The Peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe
Let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe

Just breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
Just breathe

Verse: “So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘what’s next, Papa?'” -Romans 8:12-15 (MSG). I’ve been reading passages in the NLT (my favorite everyday translation) and the Message lately to meditate on them and let their meanings really sink in. I really enjoyed the Message’s take on this section of Romans. We’re called to leave the customs of this world behind and strive for a better, a higher, way of living, one that is adventurous and expectant and, dare I say, wonderful.

Food: This month, I’ve been doing my own Project 7 challenge with food, so I’ve been using only sweet potatoes, kale, broccoli, chickpeas, oats, bananas, and apples for my meals. I’ve made some pretty tasty things with them like banana oat pancakes, banana “nice cream” sandwiches, sweet potato crust pizza with hummus and roasted veggies, and banana granola. 

Memory from this month: My good friend Leanne is an exceptional cupcake baker, and img_3987she had a table at a gala last month for an event called Girls, Glamour, and Giving. None of us were sure of what to expect since it was her first event like this, but we were very pleasantly surprised by the turnout. All the sample cupcakes were devoured, packaged ones were all sold, business cards ran out, and satisfied smiles were abundant. We had a great time! (To read more about it, check out my sister’s post about the evening.)

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear them!

April Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the April installment!

Current favorites:

Book: Oddly enough, one of my favorite books this month has been What to Eat by 51TGfxEg91L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Marion Nestle, which dives deep into food, nutrition, and food politics in a way that had me gripped from beginning to end. I took copious notes on the conclusions that were drawn from various scientific studies, and felt validated when some of my own food preferences were supported. The book explained many things I hadn’t understood or known about before, and it made me wish I had studied nutrition sooner.

Song: Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw. I think the song is sweet, and it stands out to me in the way it highlights simple acts of goodness and reminds me of the wisdom previous generations pass on, which is vastly different from a lot of the music I hear on the radio. It’s a refreshing difference.

Hold the door say please say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got moutains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

When it’s hot, eat a root beer popsicle
Shut off the ac and roll the windows down
Let that summer sun shine
Always stay humble and kind
Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re goin’
Don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

Verse: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” -1 Corinthians 1:25-29. When I begin to wonder why God doesn’t do things the way I want Him to, I remember that His ways are far greater than mine– so far above me that His foolishness is wiser than my highest levels of wisdom. He uses the seemingly small, insignificant, foolish things to accomplish His purposes and demonstrate His power.

Food: For most of this month, I haven’t been grocery shopping or making many new dishes. I realized I had a freezer and pantry packed with food to the brim, and it was time to help my budget out a little by trying to use up what I had before buying and making more. That being said, I have made some things. One of my favorites was Coconut Curry Popcorn from Naturally Ella, which I had with some dried mango on the side. It was delicious!

TV Show: I have been sort of alternating between episodes of Sherlock and Once Upon a Time on Netflix. I’ve watched OUAT before, but often didn’t pay enough attention to what wOnce_Upon_aTime_promo_imageas happening and have fallen behind on more recent episodes, so I wanted to start over. My best friend recommended Sherlock to me, and I love it!

Memory from this month: I went to a girls’ night at my friend’s house that was a lot of fun! We had a wide array of delicious goodies to munch on (which I, true to form, overindulged in to the point of being super stuffed), told funny stories, played with an adorable dog, and watched some Sherlock. It was a great way to get to spend some more quality time with some truly precious women.

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear them!

A Word on Work

Ephesians 6:5-8 – “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. 6 Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. 7 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 8 Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.”

Working wasn’t something I really wanted to begin doing in high school. I wanted to just be a kid and spend my free time however I saw fit. But I realized pretty quickly that if I wanted to pay for activities, clothes, gifts, or save any money for college expenses, I would have to earn more money somehow. And with that, I entered the working world.

Work isn’t an evil thing or a punishment, although many of us often have that point of view. It can be difficult, for sure, and we may endure a season or two of jobs that don’t suit us well, but there is purpose even in those times. Our experiences serve to stretch us, teach us, and grow us into the person we’re meant to be.

We need to realize that we’re called to submit to those in authority over us, to treat them with “deep fear and respect,” no matter how we feel on any particular day. What would it look like for us to truly, deeply respect those we work for, trying to please them in everything we do, even when they’re not watching?  Reminding ourselves that we are to serve our earthly masters “as sincerely as we would serve Christ,” we just might see some changes happen in our workplaces.

If we work diligently, as if we were working for the Lord, not for people, we will likewise turn into more committed, hardworking individuals who are more valuable. Whether we love our jobs or hate them, God has placed each of us in our unique circumstances to serve those around us, being His hands and feet to the world.

In serving others as if we are serving the Lord, we are serving Him, so it’s like killing two birds with one stone. When we realize the amazing gift He gave us in His death, we ought to see our role as servants of others in a whole new light. If we think we’re entitled to be served, we’re in need of a little reality check. We’re all flawed, broken people in need of a Savior. Those of us who have encountered Him have been burdened with the glorious purpose of sharing Him with those we interact with out of gratitude and obedience to Him. Because He loved and served, we love and serve. We can never out-give or out-serve Jesus, the Servant King. Everything we’ve been given is really His, and we’re called to manage it well, which means sharing it with others who need it.

So how can you show respect for your earthly masters as a way of glorifying and serving your Heavenly Master?