Character

In Sunday school, our teacher shared that he had read there are three things that can tell you a lot about a person’s character…

1. What makes a person laugh?

2. What makes a person angry?

3. What makes a person cry?

Those are questions that have me thinking about myself. What about you?

One of my catch phrases that I   am known for telling my family when having to do something they don’t like is this…it builds character.

In Romans 5:3-4, it says…we glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character, hope.

Can we truly experience hope without having experienced suffering?

Think back on some of your most challenging times. These may just very well have also been some of your greatest moments of Hope and Blessings.

Hope even in the smallest dose is still hope.

The smallest step is still a step.

Character is built of the stuff in us that refuses to give up and keeps pushing forward.

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Beauty

What do you see more beauty in?

This overgrown patch of flowers where weeds are wildly surrounding every single flower?

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Or this flower, a sign of new life, of the promise of spring?

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I believe God sees beauty in both. I believe He meets us where we are…whether that be in the messy situations of our lives where circumstances like weeds threaten to kill the beauty and joy of everyday life or whether that be in the realization of new birth, of realizing His promise that joy comes new every morning.

I am learning that joy and pain can co-exist in my everyday life. Life is messy. Sometimes, I get so overwhelmed by the circumstances around me that they can threaten to overcome the beauty of everyday moments just as the weeds in the flower bed (yes, that is a picture of my flower bed from last year…no green thumb here!). If I focus too much on my circumstances, insecurity, fear, perfectionism, and performance driven mentality, can overgrow in my soul making me weary and tired. When I focus on who God is and not on the circumstances surrounding me, then I can pause, reflect, and embrace the beauty of a single glimpse of hope…something as simple yet so profound as a flower bursting forth the promise of spring. God’s hope is like that…He promises to take care of us. If we just focus on Him and not on our circumstances, we will begin to see the beauty in every day life. I’ve heard this saying before…only God can make a message out of the mess.

I am learning…to rest, to pause, to reflect, to trust without fear, to breathe, to confess, to surrender the anxiety and insecurity…and it is freeing.

God sees beauty in us just as we are, exactly where we are. If we can only see it in ourself, allow Him to love us as we are and to trust Him to speak His promises through the messiness of every day life so we can allow ourselves to see the simple beauty in our every day life, every day moments….how much lighter we will feel.

I encourage you to take a moment this weekend, to pause, breathe, reflect on the beauty around you and thank the One who sees beauty so much greater in you.

 

31 Days of Surrender: Unbelief

Lord, help my unbelief.

The prayers we pray…the things we need, the things we long for…do we really believe You listen, that You will answer?

All is possible with God…do we really believe?

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we can not see. Hebrews 11:1

In 2007, our family began the journey of international adoption…a long process…a process that teaches patience and trust. We submitted our paperwork known as the dossier, and we waited. We learned in September 2007 that our dossier had been accepted. We waited some more. Months went by without hearing anything. And then…September 2008, the day after Labor Day, I received the phone call. We had a son in the Philippines. The paperwork was overnighted. His picture, the eyes…the eyes that said so much. And then, we waited some more. Everything that could go wrong in the process to hold it up seemed to be happening. A co-worker came up to me in the hallway at work and asked if things like this ever fell apart. I spoke in confidence that no, everything would work out. Then, I remember going back to my desk in the solitude of my office and clinging to the promise of Hebrews 11:1 which I had penned on an index card… “now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we can not see.”

Fast forward a few years…our son will be celebrating his 12th birthday in a few weeks. He is well-adjusted. He loves his family. He was baptized this year in August. God fulfilled the promise of my desire for my son.

God has been faithful in so many things. As I face the challenges now of work issues, health issues, and other life stuff….I pray, but I wonder, do I truly cling onto the promise that He is faithful. As I reflect on His faithfulness through our adoption waiting, I know there were times of questioning, but He was faithful.

Lord, help my unbelief. I surrender my unbelief when life seems too hard and circumstances all-consuming. Lord, help my unbelief. Help me to focus on Your promises, on the hope of things unseen yet to come. And thank you for your reminder of Your faithfulness through the words of my son Jay-R and his childlike faith:

possible

Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Food Reactivity

Last week, I shared something on Facebook that another friend had shared with me about top anti-inflammatory foods. The list included several foods I eat fairly regularly such as walnuts and those I eat almost daily such as turmeric. But, that post led to a comment by another friend who suffers from food intolerance issues as well. She shared with me that she is currently following “The Plan” by Lyn-Genet Recitas. I requested the book from my local library and began to search for more information on the internet. I located a food reactivity chart that is part of the plan. It takes several foods and rates their reactivity level. Not surprising to me, several of the foods I have been eating were rated high on the reactivity chart.

Quniona….50 % reactivity….every time I eat quinoa despite it being a gluten free grain, I end up with achey joints. Every Time.

Non-organic spinach….85 % reactivity…my tongue itches every time I eat raw spinach that isn’t organic.

Cauliflower and cabbage….85 % reactivity…every time I eat these foods, I end up with a very upset stomach and it triggers a colitis attack. All those Paleo cauliflower rice recipes, never tried any of them for this reason.

So, all week, I have been trying to eat on the low-end of the reactivity chart. I have avoided the four foods I know have triggered reactions for me personally…my beloved coffee, chocolate, peanut butter, and even bananas. My friend who is going through “The Plan” said we crave what our bodies react to, but if we quit feeding our bodies these things, then we quit craving them.

So, how do I feel after just 4 days of eating like this? Better, not perfect, but better. I have been eating bone broth, Silk almond milk with Orgain, chicken, organic greens, broccoli and carrots, sweet and white potatoes, raw nuts, berries, and flax/buckwheat flatbread that I make. I am trying to be very careful, and it seems to be helping.

Last Saturday, my stomach hurt, my joints hurt….I was a mess. This week has been better. I am hoping the book is in at my library soon so I can really dive in. I also plan to see my nutritionist soon so she can guide me and help me. I continue on my supplements..I need them!

Here  is the link: http://www.doctoroz.com/article/reactive-foods-list   and

http://lyngenet.com/

People who eat whatever they want with no adverse reactions sometimes think this stuff is crazy. If you have food intolerance issues, you understand the effect food can have on your body. You understand the frustration, sacrifice, and struggle, but you can celebrate the successes, no matter how small.

This week, I have experienced small successes…no bloating, no pain. I’m willing to press on.

Hope