31 Days of Eating Paleo

I’ve been writing elsewhere this month, and I wanted to pass along an update about that. I finished my Eating Paleo for 31 Days yesterday, and I’ve written about it over at The Journey. You can read the series here.

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I promise to eventually finish the 31 Days of Being OK with Me series here, but I can’t promise when it will happen.

Thanks for reading here in my randomness! 🙂

Being OK with Me in this Culture

Being OK with Me.We want to Be OK with Me. We know we are sometimes, but maybe not as much as we’d like.

We know God loves us and designed us exactly how we are, yet we tend to forget or even not like how He designed us.

What gets us down? What distracts us from the truth? Why are we covered in grime?

There are many things, really, so we’ll be looking at them in the coming days. We’ll expose the dirt and start to brush it aside.

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We live in a culture that exalts the big names, the money, the stars. We can’t get enough of the fame and fortune.

Trends come and go like the flip of a switch. Technology is outdated before you purchase it.

“Reality” shows are staged. Stylists remodel a room on a home improvement show, and what took weeks or months to accomplish is presented in 22 minutes.

The person with the loudest voice is heard. The one with the most money gets her way.

Extreme is it. If you don’t go all out, you aren’t really living.

Our culture is in direct contrast to the Kingdom of God, where the last will be first and the meek receive a reward.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.  Matthew 5:5, The Message

Jesus ignored the pleas to pursue political power. He knew his role was different. He talked to women and children and lepers and the outsiders. He died for us so that we could truly live.

He has harsh words for those who put on a show, concerning themselves with their image or status. “Everything they do is for people to see …” Matthew 23:5

“Blessed is the one … who delights in the law of Lord … He is like a tree planted by streams of water …” Psalm 1

Trees do not grow in 22 minutes. Sure, you could film one growing and package it into a nice little TV show, but Oak trees don’t grow overnight.

(And because of the Internet, you can watch some trees grow in just a couple minutes. It’s absolutely fascinating how long it takes just for the acorn to break open in the first video. The second video shows a larger tree over 5 years. At first, it hardly looks like a tree. At times it looks completely dead, but it’s just dormant for a season.)

The only extreme living Jesus talked about was to deny ourselves and follow Him.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:23-25

But, how can we deny ourselves and be OK with ourselves at the same time? The Message gives insight:

Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?” Luke 9:23-25 The Message

Don’t chase this world or our culture of fame, fortune and quick fixes. Don’t even chase God. Just dwell in Him. Delight in Him. Let God define how life is supposed to look and how you are supposed to be.

Being OK with Me — Scrubbing the Deck

Being OK with Me.I am in the process of re-staining our front porch steps and our back deck. We’ve lived in our house for 10  years now. It’s my third time tackling this project, so I know what to expect. I can’t just buy some stain and slop it on and think everything will turn out OK. There is a process, and like any home improvement project, it always takes longer than you think it should.

It’s kind of like the process of Being OK with Me. I can’t just rub on some new cream or say some magic words to make everything OK. I thought I would start with talking about our identity in Christ — digging into God’s Word and proclaiming the truth found in Scripture. Then I started to stain my deck and realized that being OK with ourselves is much like the deck staining process. First, I must do the prep-work, otherwise the stain won’t stick.

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So, first we need to clear away the clutter, sweep a way the dirt and scrub away the grime. We might have to get on our hands and knees. Some areas will need extra scrubbing. It’s going to be hard work.

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I used an old bottle of deck cleaner to start my staining process, and it didn’t get very far. There is a distinct line where I’ve gotten some wood clean and others not. the areas that have been cleaned are already looking so much better. I hope the same happens as we explore the obstacles that keep us from Being OK with Me. We’ll take a look at the clutter and dirt and start to scrub away the grime. The bare wood will show through, and it will look so much better.

And, more importantly, the bare wood will be ready for the stain. It will soak it in. It will look beautiful.

Acorns, Tire Swings and Work

When my seven-year-old daughter was four, she said she wanted to plant some acorns. I asked her why, and she said, “So I can have a tire swing!”

It was precious, to say the least.

She did not realize that it takes years and years for an acorn to grow into an oak tree strong enough to support a swing.  As I learned how to run, and as I’ve made small steps towards eating healthier, the lesson I’ve learned is this: I don’t realize it takes years and years for an acorn to grow into an oak tree.

This story continues over at The Journey today ...

Writing Elsewhere

This space has been fairly quiet, which is not unusual. I have, however, been writing elsewhere. I post once a week over at The Journey. Some of it is recycled material from this space, but some of it is new.

Here’s some of my posts:

Progress, Not Perfection ::

I have really had to embrace the idea of progress, not perfection. I’m a human, so I’ll never be perfect. I’m going to skip exercising some days. I’m going to give in to a craving from time to time. I’m going mess up. But it’s not an excuse to give up!

Learning to Run ::

I have to wonder how many times I have sabotaged my own progress by trying to start off too fast? I decide something like: “I’m going to get up early, exercise, cook breakfast for my family from scratch, do a load of laundry every day, reorganize the whole house and end world hunger all before 10 a.m.!” Am I the only crazy person who does this?

Giving Up :: Lessons learned from giving up sugar for periods of time. (Basically my unfinished 31 Days to Change One Habit all in one post.)

 Apple Peanut Butter Snack Bars :: Hungry? These are easy to whip up and yummy, too.

Looking Around ::

The problem with looking around is that we have a tendency to look at the best and compare to our worst.

 

 

Day 14: Three Strikes

I knew changing my online habits was needed in my life, but on Tuesday of last week I got more confirmation that I was, indeed, working on the correct habit.

I’m doing Beth Moore’s Bible study on the book of James, and what do you know, but her lesson Tuesday talked about social media. She pointed out that The New International  Commentary of the New Testament translated James 2:1, “Do not try to combine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, our Glory, with the worship of men’s social status.” Like me, she said that social media is not wrong, but we must be careful how we use it.

Then, later that day, my daughter brought home a book home from school. The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit! She probably wondered why I laughed when I saw the book.

“OK, God,” I thought to myself. “First it was Bible study, and now this book. I get it. I’m paying attention.”

The real kicker, though, was a conversation with my son who is 8. When I was writing the post about defining the details, he was looking over my shoulders and reading my words. On Tuesday, I took a picture of his name written in cursive and posted it to Instagram. He said something like, “Didn’t I read something about how you were going to quit posting stuff?” I explained that I wasn’t quitting, but I was trying to not spend as much time online so that I would do a better job of being a mom. “Yeah,” he said, shaking his head in agreement, “one time we (he and his sister) talked about how, ‘All Mom cares about is her iPod.'”

Ouch.

Certainly I care about more than my iPod. But if my kids think that’s what I care about most, then I have a major problem. This habit thing is no joke. It is essential to recognize the things that are causing issues in our lives, families and relationships. And it is even more important to not just see the problem but ACT on the problem.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. –James 1:22-25

Let’s be doers. Let’s kick our bad habits and work on good ones. It may have been a day of three strikes for me, but I am not out. We are not out. We always get the chance to start new. This is not a waste of time. This is life. It’s worth it.

Day 6: Define Your Details

This is it, the last assignment. Hopefully it has been helpful for you to really think about your habits and how you want to tackle changing one. 

Today we will define exactly how we plan to change our habit. We will incorporate everything from our previous assignments and write out a solid plan.

The habit I am changing is to tame my online time. It’s impossible to avoid social media, so I can’t just “quit” it. I can be intentional about how I use it. I currently have a laptop and an iPod touch with WiFi access. I don’t even have a fancy smart phone or my problem would probably be much worse. Here’s my plan for reducing my online time for the rest of the month:

  • Check email first thing in the morning, at lunch and then after the kids are in bed. No more checking email every time I hear a “ding” notification from my iPod that I have a new message. The messages won’t go away. (I think I can disable the “ding,” and I should look into that.)
  • Only check Facebook from my computer, and most likely only in the evening. Remove my Facebook app from my iPod to remove the temptation. (Yikes!) I will make an exception if I get an email notifying me of a message I feel I need to respond to sooner than later. In that case, which should be somewhat rare, I will log on to Facebook and only respond to that message, not browse anything else.
  • Check my Twitter feed in the morning, at lunch and after the kids are in bed. I prefer the app on my iPod for checking Twitter over the official website, so I’ll keep that app but try to ignore it during the day.
  • Take a 24-hour internet “Sabbath.” From Saturday evening to Sunday evening I will not be online. At all. (Double yikes!) I’m picking that time frame to spend some time on Sunday, a traditional day of rest (in theory) for our family, resting from the internet. I’m not just blocking off all of Sunday because I feel it helps get Monday off to a better start to catch up on emails Sunday night.

So, there you have it! My plan to *gulp* reduce my time online. It’s a “gusto” plan, I guess, since I’m not gradually adding any of these steps. I’m just jumping in and going for it. Since it’s Saturday evening, I guess I’ll go ahead and start right now by signing off. Feel free to start your habit on Sunday or Monday, which ever makes most sense for your plan.

See you in 24 hours!