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Forgiveness

Written May 28th, 2015

Tonight we studied something we have many times before: forgiveness.

It’s funny how the “same old” thing can be taught, but with different receptors (on my part), they connect in different ways.  Well, tonight I grasped some important bits that struck to the heart, all summed up in this guest post by (then) Jasmine Bauchman on my sweet friends blog:

And here’s a truth that floored me the other day: I don’t need anyone to apologize to me, I don’t need to be vindicated in a temporal sense, I don’t need to be acknowledge as the victim, the wronged party, in order to experience closure. Because Christ either nailed the sins committed against me to the Cross, or he will exact judgment for them on that last day. Either way, it is finished. I am not bound to sorrow or bitterness until the chapter closes satisfactorily. Because it’s already done. And I’m free from it just like I’m free from the fetters of my own sin.

Free. Isn’t that an overwhelmingly beautiful thought: freedom in Christ? Free not to be offended or wounded or prideful! Free to bask in who he says I am! Free to prize reconciliation, because it’s a beautiful thing, but to realize that, even if it never comes, we are reconciled to the God of the universe through the sacrifice of Christ.

You see, I’ve been worming my way through an abusive (for lack of better word*) situation in my past, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do to “make it right” with someone/s who has hurt me deeply and I’ve tried to reconcile with, now with a rather large rift – no, canyon – between us.  Then it hit me: it’s not up to me to make right.  Christ already did.

And I have to let Him.

Let that sink in.

(I’m talking to myself now)

Like another friend Dorothy said this evening: forgiveness is a journey.  We will never be complete of our own accord, but through Him we can be free from the burdens of anger, bitterness, fear, or vengeance.  No writing anonymous blogs or “fiction” story-telling.  No secrets or passive aggressive manipulation.  But also no hiding.  We instead can turn it into praising God and love toward others!

If I am to love my God with all my heart, and others as myself (Matt. 12:31), I really don’t have a choice in forgiveness.  Following Him means trusting Him.  It means leaving my self behind (over and over again as reminders are graciously given), including my pride and sense of justice.

I still live with the scars of the offenses that I’ve carried.  They still rear their ugly head in unexpected moments.  I perpetually remind myself that it is not truth, and that God commands us instead to think on things that are noble… just… kind…. (Philippians 4).  That He honors us when we truly give our lives to Him.  That tho’ consequences remain, it is not my burden to carry.

No holding back.

Lord I believe.  Please help my unbelief.  (Matthew 9:24)

Help me not cling to anything but you, Lord, and remove all distractions.  Cleanse my heart and mind with renewed YOU.

*random fact: use of the word “abuse” has escalated in the past generation.  Might I even say, the word itself is, well, abused.

One thing that was really important to us is to be completely open about our newfound friend Pertussis.  We’ve noticed in the past that people are afraid of sharing that they have some ‘awful disease,’ in turn infecting others and not allowing others to proactively treat against it (or step away from potential exposure).  Since we had noticed the cough before Idaho at church, we let folks there know, and have since walked several families through who seem to have symptoms and/or the infection.  This can start so mildly it’s easy to ignore.  But once you know you’ve been exposed, it’s easier to get help.

Several have asked us: Who do you think gave it to you?

My answer: Who cares?

We can point fingers, but why?  And really, because contagiousness has such a large window of time – and we’re not hermits by any means – and pertussis is on the rise and more common than ever – there’s just no way of knowing necessarily.  And again, it doesn’t matter.  Sure, I get that the Department of Health would like to track it, mostly to find out if it came from in-county/state or out.  But it’s rather petty otherwise, in my opinion.  We can make a few educated guesses who had it before us, but in reality, I don’t think only one family had it before us.  I just don’t think others realized they had it when they did/do.  Pointing fingers doesn’t help create an atmosphere of transparency.  And had the initial family we knew of not shared with Scott that they had it out of fear, we may have become much worse off before we realized our situation.  I’m thankful for their honesty, no matter where the bacteria came from.

During our time away from civilization (because now, apparently, we are hermits!), we had such a relaxing time at home.  Scott took days off work while being treated.  We couldn’t really go anywhere so as not to expose anyone, but had a wonderful time on our little compound with my Dad, Mom Chris & Elianna.  Flynn adores Elianna – those two were inseparable.  We made memories we could never have another way.

Somehow when we got home from Idaho, our food stock was like the story of the fishes and loaves.  Our food continued to multiply instead of decrease.  We ate like kings and queens.  Some wonderful loves brought us flowers and desserts and food on several occasions.  We were well loved.

We came home to a jungle of a garden.  Us ladies went to weeding and picking.  We’ve gathered about 6 gallons of green and beautiful purple beans.  Since we were still pretty exhausted and not up for lots of canning, we cooked and froze the ones we didn’t eat right up.  Now that we’re definitely on the mend, we’ll pickle a bunch up, for starters.  We also need to work on last years berries in the freezer, so will put up a bunch of jam in the next week, I imagine.  Our purchased pig needs to make it’s way into the freezer this week, and two turkeys shortly after – and it’s still bursting at the seams from other randomness.  Uh oh!  And the biggest bounty we’ve had yet of plums & grapes is just a few days away from harvest here!  Oh.  And all the figs and blackberries.  The big, huge, juicy, sweet blackberries… We just adore this place.  So abundant and works for itself without a lot on our part.

Papa and Adyn worked on several projects (it’s what they do).  They tinkered with and finished up the hot tub that we picked up for free locally, complete with a “hot house.”  Soaking became our daily (or twice or thrice daily…) ‘treatment’ plan.  As I stated in the last post, I’m not convinced that hot steam is helpful at all, so at one point we limited the ones coughing the worst to before noon, making nighttime no worse than otherwise.  We’re still learning how to use the tub, as it’s a lot fancier than we would have expected.  We’re still dabbling with how to treat the water as naturally as possible.  It’s been a fun project and a wonderful addition.

relaxing

relaxing next to our homesteads 60+ year old lilac bush; listening to birds sing and sheep baa

Our favorite mechanics took a peek at our Suburban while we were in Idaho and let us know that the problem was smaller than we expected (yay!): a loose radiator hose clamp and some o2 sensors.  That, and some shoddy hoses that they replaced under warranty.  So thankful for a decently inexpensive, reasonable fix!  The cost combined with the rental car to Idaho actually ended up staying within our “Idaho budget”.  Bonus!  That said, our traveling hosts took the brunt of the gas/auto financials for us to head home, even if planned.  For that, and for their flexibility and adventuresome spirits, we are always thankful.

Two nights ago, after everyone was tucked in to bed, I wrapped in a blanket and sat outside to watch the meteor showers.  With scented geraniums at my feet, soft solar string lights dangling from the deck, the sounds of night, a clear sky over me… I was just blown away by how peaceful this place is.  Not just this physical place, but this place in our lives.  This season.  And then I realized I’ve been saying that – just as surely – for over two years now.  It just hasn’t gotten old or “normal”.  I realized that perhaps it’s not the season itself, but the heart of it all.  That we have continued to have a changed mind about our life; giving it all to the God above who has a much bigger plan than ours always.  Committing fully to be adaptable to whatever He desires along the way.  Come what may.

Scary, freeing words…  Come what may.

Who Gives a Whoop

Several weeks ago we left the land of living for a long season.  Disclaimer: In no way is this post advice or what I’d recommend.  It’s simply what we’re going through.  This is not an anti- or pro- vaccine post, fyi.

A couple of months ago Scott and I were sitting in church and noted a lot of coughing throughout the sanctuary that sounded the same as one of our kidlets’ – that ended up lasting a long time.  Our pediatrician dubbed it allergies, since there were no other symptoms attached.  We went to work with herbal remedies.  The old trusties just weren’t working.  Odd.  We talked with another family whose little one had the same perpetual cough who also had no luck clearing it with herbs.  But it’s allergy season, after all.  No big.  Right?  Still, we took precautions and excluded him from a lot of activity.

Fast forward to late July.  We’d been readying ourselves for our annual family reunion camping trip to Idaho.  The Suburban had made it’s way in for a once-over to the shop.  We fine-tuned every single last detail of it, including shampooing and treating the interior.  Heck, Adyn even cleaned out the windshield wiper sprayers so they’d fan perfectly.  Ooo!  And we had a beefy grill guard installed just to fit in with the locals – and perhaps protect the rig a wee bit in the event of meeting a deer along the way.

We had finished everything we needed to do, and planned to spend all day Saturday playing with Daddy, who was staying behind.  We’d be leaving Sunday morning in the wee hours, caravaning with our friends who would be joining us.

Our wee little family decided to run to town for some play, when the “Check Engine” light came on in our driveway.  Talk about a blessing from God on His impeccable, protective timing!  We poked around under the hood and noted both water and radiator reservoirs were empty.  Just days after the mechanic had topped everything off.  Our oil pressure gauge was all over the place as well.  Uh oh.  That’s not a good sign.  The reassurance that the engine had been replaced some 20k miles ago, we knew this would all work out.  But we also knew it meant our travel plans were going to have to change significantly because it’s the weekend, and there was no telling how soon we’d get a diagnosis on the Suburban, or even when it could be repaired.

A dozen calls later, we found the one Big Box car rental place that would give us a one-day, one-way trip to Idaho Falls.  Our caravaning friends, Tim & Amy, were super flexible and offered to pull our trailer with all of our camping gear so we could pack light in the rental.  All was back on track.

We left early.  The drive was beautiful.  We listened to audio books and played car games.  We had an event-free drive over.  Other than the cough that I now had started.  It was out of nowhere.  I chalked it up to pregnancy.  You know, weird things happen when you’re pregnant.  My nose has been a perpetual faucet, for one.  So a persistent, wet, rather mild cough didn’t seem to out of the ordinary.  A cough that left my eyes teary and my head thumping a little by the end of the day.  Huh.  Weird.  No sore throat.  No fever.  Nothing else.  By now, two of the others had started up as well.  But again, really nothing to think twice about.  Just a little coughing.  Whoop-de-do.

We got to Idaho Falls and picked up some last-minute groceries and fishing licenses.  We dropped off the rental car and met up with Papa & Chris & Elianna, who so sweetly (and timely, again!) met us and took us in for the rest of the trip.  We made it to camp by 11pm, and bunked in their trailer that night and from then on – other than when cousins camped out together or tented it outdoors.

This cough, though.  It just kept getting worse.  The two middle kidlets started hacking pretty good during the day, especially when eating or exerting themselves.  The wee’est had all but stopped except at night.  When he did, he’d wake up gasping for breath more than cough.  Then the other two started doing this.  During the days, we forgot anyone was potentially sick and had a great vacation.  Because, again, doc said not to worry unless associated with fever or other symptoms, I struggled to decide it if it was worth getting all Mama-hen-like.  I thought maybe it was the altitude (we’d traveled uphill 7000+/- feet from home).  Then nighttime became a nightmare.  I was wide-eyed and worried I’d have one less babe by morning.  Ugh, nights.  When rationality is out the window.  I prayed a lot.

Then it happened.

I called home and Scott – oh so casually – mentions that a dear family we know has whooping cough.  Yeah, pertussis.  You know, The One sickness I just can’t rationalize not vaccinating for, but one of the two vaccines that are associated with the most adverse reactions so as making it impossible to do as well…  The disease (and vaccine) that infants notoriously die from (dramatized) – leaving a no win decision?  Yeah, that one.  Once again, like when Scott was in the hospital, I was grateful not to have Google at my disposal.  Instead, I made several phone calls (all of our doc’s, nurse friends, and a few families that I know have gone through it), and then talked to G’ma Chris about what this means for our wee family.  For one, we needed to head home.  Yet have no car.  And all of the guys are out on a wheeler trip until “dinnertime,” so we couldn’t make a solid plan until their return.  Our options looked like this: 1) Papa & Chris take us to Idaho Falls and we rent a car to head back, or 2) Papa & Chris leave Idaho a couple of days early with us and take us home.  They were coming to Washington afterwards for a visit anyway.  And where I didn’t want to stunt their trip, it seemed the option Chris was most comfortable with.  She didn’t seem to want to leave us to fend on our own, tho’ I assured her we were okay.

We all realized the need to leave the mountain (elevation & contagiousness) as soon as possible.  So we started packing up our stuff.  I wasn’t sure if Tim & Amy would want to head home with us.  They had their own vehicle, and we didn’t need our trailer – so they could stay if they wanted and bring our stuff back with them in a few days.

Well, it was after 9 o’ clock when all of the wheelers got back to camp, all pumped because the lake they found was chalk full of HUGE trout.  They had a smashing day.  Then I had to bear the bad news, and ask Papa if he’d be down for delivering us a few hours away to a rental car company, or head out toward home tonight.  He opted for the latter, no problem.

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Just going to go pause here. This is the second time Papa has been to Idaho during our family reunion for some 30 years.  His kids and grandkids are here.  It’s one of his favorite places to be, and holds some of his dearest memories.  It was a real joy and excitement that he was able to come this year.  So imagine the disappointment of leaving.  But nope.  He didn’t mention it – there wasn’t even a hesitation.  He just reassured us that he wanted to be with family, and had no problem with this decision.

We had packed most everything up, but had a few more things to wrap up.  We loaded the wheelers.  Tim & Amy decided to adventure home with us instead of stay at camp.  By 11pm, we were on the road.  The long, dusty, rocky road.  Just when we hit the pavement (about an hour from camp at the speed we were going), Colby threw up.  No fever.  Not associated with coughing.  Had been sleeping.  Over the next 12 hours, he threw up every 45-60 minutes.  He couldn’t keep anything down.  I thought he may be dehydrated until Kendra started up, too.  Then, not long later, reports of a few others at camp were doing the same thing.  I was glad it was just an unassociated 12-hour (ish) bug that we could get through and move on from.

We found a nice pull off near Salmon, Idaho, already significantly lower in elevation than our camping spot, and much nearer to an [albeit tiny] hospital, in the event that we needed anything urgent.  We set up camp and rested.  In the morning we got gas, and loaded up on vitamin C & electrolytes (later at an apothecary, more herbs and probiotics, etc).  We stopped by an old tradition of ours, Bertram’s Brewery, and filled some jugs of their delicious homemade soda to bring home for Scott.  Then we hit the road.

Other than still having a couple of sickies (the vomit bug), the drive was uneventful and fun.  We love road trips and traveling.  And with Papa & Chris & Elianna – and Tim & Amy – we got to point out and share all of our favorite spots, or stories from things that happened along the way.  Remember, we’ve been making this drive for decades, so have accumulated some real keepers.

We settled into a nice campground in the mountains near Coeur d’Alene, and by dinnertime – and after a cool swim in their pool – everyone was very on the mend from the vomit bug.  The cough was definitely still alive and well.  Mine had gotten pretty impressive by now, too.  In fact, by the next day, my back and abs were pretty out of sorts (cool!  I still have ab muscles!), and I’d have to hold on to the upper handle in the car during a fit to deal with the pain.  That evening, at a gas station in the Tri Cities, I coughed and felt/heard a POP!  It turned out that I dislocated and bruised a rib or two.

All was downhill from there…

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Sunday night something went wrong.  I couldn’t move/breathe/cough/talk.  A trip to Urgent Care Monday turned into a whirlwind of activity.  I was in more pain than I’ve ever been in my life and was so scared.  Doc said all of the symptoms match a pulmonary embolism, and where it may not be, wanted to be safe since that was so life-threatening.  A CT scan later revealed no clots (thank God!).  Excellent meds allowed me to sleep better than I had in weeks.  An unrelated pertussis swab taken that day came back positive late Wednesday eve.  Department of Health was alerted (the wrong county at first – then later, our county… which was closed for the day – go figure).  Treatment immediately started for everyone.  Papa & their crew visit was adjusted and extended, complete with treatment as well.  We have kept ourselves under quarantine through it all for several weeks now.  We have learned a lot.  Here are some random things we gleaned through it all, in no particular order:

  • you are contagious 3 weeks before symptoms, and up to 6 weeks after coughing begins, if not treated
  • if treated with antibiotics, the CDC, Department of Health, and doc’s agree that you are not contagious after 5 day treatment – tho’ your cough will persist
  • pertussis bacteria kills the lining of your airways.  the damage is done and not reversible except with time. early detection and treatment is key.
  • early symptoms are runny nose, low-grade (unnoticeable, often) fever
  • the most dangerous part of pertussis is secondary infections, when the lining is damaged and can’t effectively ‘move’ mucous out of the lungs – causing pneumonia or other problems
  • the “whoop” of the cough does not have to come after a cough.  it can be the initial ‘gasp’ that starts a coughing spell.  usually this is associated with your airways becoming constricted because of spasming
  • there are ten of thousands diagnosed with pertussis each year (an increase to years ago), even more undiagnosed (in our family, only one was officially diagnosed, tho’ 5 had symptoms)
  • the number of deaths in the U.S. associated with pertussis is minimal, all things considered – this helped lessen (not eliminate by any stretch) my fear knowing we had it, and couldn’t do a whole lot about it
  • we should not live in fear
  • vitamin c therapy has proven to many to decrease (not stop) coughing episodes; we’ll see
  • wet steam is not helpful, even seemed to hinder;  use a vaporizer vs. a humidifier
  • this cough was very mental. if someone else coughed, it’d start a chain reaction.  i could mentally will a cough away long enough to breathe.  weirdest thing ever.  total mind games.  one of ours has had to literally train himself to stop gasping for breath at night
  • eating will initiate coughing fits.  don’t starve yourself.  stay hydrated. deep breathing will also start up a coughing fit. don’t starve yourself of oxygen.  try to just take breaths slow
  • probiotics are a must during antibiotic treatment
  • antibiotic treatment will likely have side effects.  learn about them, and proactively feed your body to balance the fight.
  • department of health was extremely helpful and non-invasive
  • pertussis is called “cough of 100 days” in other countries.  the cough will last.
  • be prepared for horrible things: peeing your pants, hemorrhoids, fractured ribs and pulled muscles, burst blood vessels from violent coughing, scary coughs that are hard to get your breath from (red/purple faces), slobbering yourself silly, vomiting from coughing, swollen eye balls that are excessively leaky, sleepless miserable nights… you’re going to be exhausted
  • natural immunity can last anywhere from 0-30 years.  stats are sketchy
  • booster vaccinations are recommended every 5-10 years for adults; and during the third trimester of every pregnancy (I would have been due for one at this weeks appt)
  • there are lab tests (ask a naturopath) to see if you have antibodies to fight pertussis (etc) – some choose to receive boosters only when needed
  • according to the manufacture, the pertussis vaccine (DTap, Tdap) does not eliminate your chance of getting the disease, but reduces the symptoms.  don’t live in false security.  if you have signs, get tested/treated/quarantined
  • home is where my heart is at. being required to lay low with my loves was the best, even if it was also filled with yuck
  • life lesson: flexibility is key.  from the get-go of this trip (ha, of this life!) is not holding any of our plans so close to us that we can’t be joyfully flexible to adapt to whatever our situation is

One of our young friends was embarking on an extended road trip, which aroused a lot of family discussion. Among the several questions, the one that held the most conversation time was: why might this be a good use of one’s time?  It led us into the several-week long discussion about gaining perspective.  Life permitting, everyone could benefit from a retreat.  A rest.  A time to focus on few things; things that matter.  To reflect on life, and what matters.

You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything. – John Maxwell

We discussed how almost every year that I went to Idaho in the summertime for our family reunion (a tradition that carries on still) as a younger girl, I learned something new that impacted my life significantly.  Things that I’ve carried with me into adulthood.

Our last road trip was to Arizona for a couple of weeks with our whole little family.  Getting out of our comfort and familiar zones, we were able to experience new things and – most importantly – learn together.  How to be flexible, adaptable, to see from others’ perspectives – to serve.  To be reminded that our wee little life bubble is simply that: a bubble.  That life is much larger than our wee bitty (seemingly huge sometimes) issues.  This can clear a lot of fog.

Here are some things that we all spoke about on our return from holidays in Arizona, true to many’a times we’ve taken a reprieve:

Road tripping and vacationing make me realize how little we want.

#majorpurge

We live in a culture of consumerism.  It’s not something I want to be a part of.  And so, with renewed energy, we see our things differently on our return.  We realize that the bulk of our things are non-essentials.  That they are easily replaced or shared or borrowed.  And that sometimes they take more space visually, mentally and resourcefully than they’re worth.  We also realize that our time may not always be managed well, and extra activities also may need to be reconsidered & some purged.  Knowing when to gracefully say “no” is a good thing.

Road trips & vacationing made me realize we always end up sleeping in the same space.

#wedontneedmuch
#makingmemories

Sure, we visited lots of places that sported beds for all, but still we’d end up squashed together – usually spending the late night dark hours talking about the day.  When camping, we always end up sardines in our rig or tent.  Even in the bus, all four kiddo’s end up crammed on the wee futon to sleep instead of the double bunks when they pull an all-nighter out there.  Every morning at home, for at least a half hour, everyone’s piled in our bed.  It’s time we cherish.  And recognize there is little need for so many mattresses.  It’s a luxury we’ve noted unnecessary but handy from time to time.

Road tripping and vacationing make me realize how very not-real Facebook is.  It also reminded me not to take it too seriously. And that friendship/communication (or lack of it) on it doesn’t count for diddly. 

#interactionsmatter
#legitimatefriendship
#lifeoutsideofascreen

I have learned to be very comfortably using the “do not follow” button, restrict button, and [less often] the “block” button.  Because folks can pursue me in real life, not glean in a false world without investment.

We’re pretty old school with our phones.  Our family currently shares one non-smart flip phone (one that has better coverage than any of our smart-phone-friends, I might add).  That means that when the kids and I are in town (and Scott’s got the phone at work with him) – or when the family’s on vacation – we don’t really give a rip what’s happening on social networks.  The drama of people’s opinions – and my incessant need to respond just as excitedly – now come out in face-to-face communication.  Our conversations, in turn, tend to be more civil as we practice manners and listening skills.  Our differences (or similarities) are more productive and beneficial to relationship and life.

The adverse affect is that it makes us want to have a little too much “fun” when we get back to posting on social networks.  Because it just isn’t real.  It’s entertainment, at best.

Road tripping and vacationing make me realize I should not be afraid of people.

#fearnoman
#biggerpicture
#knowyoucouldbewrong
#livegracefully

We are faced with this conundrum daily as we face ‘superiors’ and ‘inferiors’ in our workplace, business, schools, church… heck, even the grocery store – despite knowing what God’s Word says about who we “follow” or to think less of, even subconsciously.  Always comparing.  Our culture defines value based on position, instead of recognizing the wholeness of each individual together in community.  As we walk away from familiar politics and social circles, we are free to be just us together.  In all of our mistakes, our smarts, our stupid, and our yearning-to-grow-ness.  There are fewer expectations and pedestals, and there is a lot more humility, raw reality, and growing on all our parts.  A lot of lovin’.  It fosters an environment of regeneration.  And it’s our natural inclination to bring that home with us, reminding us to pursue that perpetual ideal within our community.

What we need is not “sustainable,” but regenerative. – A Simpler Way

Curry Cashew Ice Cream

Whisk together:
3 goose egg yolks (or 8 chicken egg yolks)
3/4 cup sugar (or sweetener of choice; maple would be amazing)
Heat:
2 1/2 cups sheep milk, warmed to hot.  Slowly add to egg mixture while stirring constantly.  Return to stovetop.
Add additional:
2 1/2 cups sheep milk
1/2 cup chopped cashews
1/2 cup shredded coconut
juice from one lemon
2 T olive oil
2 T curry spices
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
Simmer gently for 30 seconds.  Chill.  Churn.  Enjoy.
This ice cream recipe was inspired by a new favorite dinner, recipe here:
img_5512

Chicken Shawarma

  • 3# chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t. salt
  • 2 t. cumin
  • 2 t. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 t. turmeric
  • 1/2 t. curry powder or paste
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • black pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients and marinate chicken with this paste in zippy bag for up to a day.  Grill when ready.

Rice 

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/2″ wedges
  • 2 bell peppers, any color, cut into 1/2″ wedges
  • cubed eggplant (whenI have it on hand)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ t cinnamon powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of cardamon powder
  • 14oz can chickpeas, drained (opt)
  • ¼ cup raisins (opt)

Add onion, garlic & bell peppers (and eggplant) to pan.  Saute for 2 minutes.
Add rice and stir to coat with oil and become a bit translucent.  Brown lightly.
Add remaining ingredients.
Bring to simmer, then place a lid on (or cover with foil) and transfer to oven.
Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 10 minutes. (I often cook this on the stove instead, uncovered, about 35 minutes; then cover ’til ready to serve)

Serve with sliced cukes & wedged tomatoes, your grilled chicken & yogurt sauce:

Yogurt Sauce 

  • 2 cups greek yogurt
  • juice of one lemon
  • 4 T. garlic, minced
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • chopped parsley

Mix together.  Serve in dollops.

These are just two of the homemade items we keep on hand at most times to relieve aches and pains.  Thought I’d share.

Ocean Spray

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 T. himilayan pink salt
  • 1 pinch magnesium flakes (you can use epsom salts)

Mix together until dissolved, then put into amber or cobalt spray bottle.  I made this first in 2013, after reading up on the incredible healing attributes of ocean (salt) water and dealing with a wee rash.  Now to step it up a notch and work on a soaking tub of sorts.😉

Healing Ointment (our alternative to triple antibiotic ointment)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 T. comfrey leaf
  • 1/2 T. plantain leaf
  • 1 t. calendula flowers
  • 1/2 t. rosemary leaf
  • 1/2 t. yarrow flower
  • 1/2 t. echinaccea root
  • 1 T. beeswax pastilles
  • 1/2 t. grapefruit seed extract (GSE) or vitamin e

I infused the herbs and flowers into the olive oil (sometimes I add/use emu or coconut), then lightly melt in beeswax.  Mix in the GSE.  Now and then I add a few drops of egyptian rose geranium essential oil.  We use this pretty often!

Criticism

I think I’ve shared with you all before, but it seems often in my life there is a running theme, changing once or twice a year.  Right now, it’s criticism.  Quotes and books and events keep cropping up that make me stop and pause to reflect on criticism; what it means, how I should respond, and how I should(n’t) dish it out most of the time.  My heart is an ugly place so often.  Thank God for perpetually reminding me things.  He is the potter.  I am the clay.  Mold me, even when it hurts.

I’ll start with a story.

I have always felt blessed beyond what I deserve.  I believe I live a charmed life.  Funny, when I share the minute (huge) details of struggles out loud, it doesn’t match up to that description in the slightest.  But I still believe and know it to be true.

Reminds me of this quote by James McDonald:

There will always be enough injustice and irritation to keep you in the wilderness if you choose to murmur and complain and criticize and covet and doubt and rebel. But life also has plenty of people and situations to generate thankfulness and love and faith and submission and contentment-attitudes that cause life to flow with “milk and honey” of God’s blessing and abiding presence. The choice is ours. 

One thing I’ve clearly noticed is that when I walk in faith, peace reigns.  Even in the tumultuous times.  I can’t take the credit for this.  I tend to over-think everything.  To wrap myself up in nonsense.  To give a good nudge to escalating things.

I don’t know if it’s aging…  Or if it was our life-and-death experience at OHSU almost two years ago now…  Or if it’s our (finally) decision to take a massive leap of faith several years ago and follow Him no matter what… But God has given an extra measure of peace in our hearts during this lengthened season.  Even during the scary moments.

All of this to lead up to a conflict I was in a couple of months ago.  It was surprising how foreign it felt (considering it used to be the norm), and yet how quickly it felt so “normal.”  Only this time was different.  It was brief.  It got ugly.  I got hurt.  But it didn’t stick.

The next morning we were doing extended family devotionals, and someone shared this link.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  God used it to keep my heart soft.  To keep me in His ways, instead of the slippery slope of my old ways.  I think it’s an excellent article that I’d encourage anyone to read, not just about criticism, but about how to deal with tough situations and people in your life…  I know it’s another click, and another thing to read, but I think you won’t regret it.

Another excellent bump-in I’ve had with criticism, and learning about how damaging it can be, was when I was reading Lord, Change My Attitude, by Josh McDowell.  I could identify so much with:

“Too often I have heard myself speaking words of criticism that, upon further reflection, were rooted in the pain I felt from being harshly treated. This is not an acceptable excuse.
Some of the pain that fuels criticism must be quickly dismissed as not worthy of our attention.
I encourage you to turn down the volume on the critics in your life. Center your attention on what God thinks of you, and life will be better. Otherwise, it’s so easy to get sucked into the wilderness by someone who seems to love it there.  Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ (Gal. 1:10).”  

The context here is how to deal with people who are continually criticizing (quick to speak, murmur’er, lacks humility), not wise counsel or godly confrontation. It also reminds ME how to deal with an attitude of (wrong) criticism in myself.

And lastly, this paragraph in the same chapter of McDowell’s book really resonated with me.  It convicted me to want to remember/share/incorporate specifically as I blog/share (and read/absorb others):

Here’s a third principle about criticism that we find illustrated in the attack by Aaron and Miriam: Criticism is self-exalting. Ultimately, criticism inflates the self. Oswald Chambers, the great devotional writer, wrote, “Beware of anything that puts you in the place of the superior person.” Anything that makes you feel superior is not conductive to your spiritual life. That’s what critiscm does: It takes the focus off me and my faults and highlights me as the one who knows. “I know; I see.” Criticism elevates me as the highest and best. Criticism reduces the pain of being in the spotlight and gives me the fleshly satisfaction of running the spotlight. And in a sick sort of way it can feel good to put that kind of pressure on others. People find it much harder to see my life if I am shining the glaring light of criticism on others! Be careful you don’t find yourself saying subconsciously, “if I can’t make my mark in this world by what I do, maybe I’ll make it for knowing what others could do better.” Criticism is self exalting, and God will not honor that. ~ James MacDonald
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