Archive for the Wholesome Wednesday Category

Full of grace

I don't have many readers left from the old days when I did a lot of political blogging. (And drunk blogging.) My writing was staunchly conservative and I was convince all liberals were idiots. While I have not ceased being conservative, I no longer think all liberals are idiots. Actually, I think there are no more liberal idiots than there are conservative idiots. The idiots are among the far left and the far right with most people more toward the middle and just leaning liberal or conservative. See how easily I threw the idiot card? That's the number one reason I don't blog about politics. It just pisses me off and stresses me out, and it's too easy to make sweeping generalizations in a nasty way. It's also why I don't listen to talk radio. Not political nor religious. Because in both cases the underlying result is to fire up the base, and get them angry enough to fight the people on the other side. Not to win them over to one side, but to force them to agree with that side, and demonize them if they don't agree. Win at all costs. Problem is, each side just digs in their heels more or more convinced that they are right and the other side is stupid/evil/lazy/greedy/jerks. The schism widens, the rhetoric ramps up, and the media (news, entertainment, religious) exploits it all further distorting and escalating the real issue driving the schisms even wider and the people angrier at each other until hate abounds albeit while many haters deny that they hate. But their words tell a different story. And this is why I don't spend so much time on Facebook anymore.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)
I think that we Americans are sort of hard-wired to fight for our rights (to paaaaartay! - Had to. Squirrel!). But I think that somewhere along the line as American Christians we blurred the line (if not completely removed it) between our United States citizenship and our citizenship in heaven. So many of us have been taught (whether explicitly or implicitly) that the United States is the new Israel ordained by God as a favored Christian nation. As such, we have elevated our nation's leaders beyond their clearly laid out constitutional mandate as leading our nation to be spiritual leaders of our nation also contrary to what is laid out in our constitution. We demand our leaders to proclaim they are Christian before we will vote for them, and then we cry and rage when they don't live up to what is really an unconstitutional standard. It is absolutely not a constitutional requirement for our elected officials to be Christians. It is also not a constitutional requirement of US citizenship to be Christian. Therefore it stands to reason that we are going to have leaders who are not Christians serving an electorate who either aren't Christians or aren't conservative Christians or are nominal/cultural Christians. Most importantly, not any of our elected officials are perfect (Christian or not) and every single earthly government makes a crummy god.
Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:13-17, ESV)
Nero was emperor when Peter wrote that. No one in our government is an emperor nor does our government as a whole entity equate with being an emperor. Is our government corrupt? Absolutely, and so are we who elect our officials to office to serve us. So pray for them. Yes, be informed of their character. Yes, vote your conscience. Pray for your elected officials the same way you would pray for your best friend or family member. Don't demonize them because they don't do things the way you think you would if you were in their shoes. Don't demonize the people who vote differently than you do. Don't demonize unbelievers because they don't follow the American Christian moral code. Pray for everyone who doesn't think or believe the way you do not so they will become a clone of you but that if they don't know Jesus as Lord and Savior that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes to the Truth. Not what you think is true, but what is really and truly capital T Truth. Quit just throwing salt.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6 ESV
Rather than include the Beastie Boys, here's how Pastor Benji preached this concept. Hopefully I didn't lift too much of his material. ;)

Separation of Church and Hate - Part 1 from newhope church on Vimeo.

Being counter-cultural

This may end up being a continuation of yesterday's post though not in any specific manner. By that I mean I am not publicly elaborating on the incident. Or well, at least not until James and Lee talk to a couple of other folks and get to the bottom of what led up to Saturday's incident. And to set the stage for where I am coming from on all this, let me give you some info on my background for those who don't know. I grew up in very conservative Missionary Baptist churches who considered Southern Baptist too liberal, but not so strict as Independent Fundamental Baptists. My dad was a deacon, and both of my parents were very active in the local church with my dad generally also being active in the local association. Essentially, I fall under the category of "preacher's kid." I often say I've been a Baptist 12 years longer than I've been a believer even though I no longer belong to a Baptist church. I walked away from the church when I was 19, and it took nearly 20 years for me to return. When I came back, everything changed. I wanted to read my bible. I wanted to study it. I wanted to pray, and have learned through the reading and studying and my less than eloquent prayer that praying isn't about asking for what I want that I think will make me happy. I was the prodigal son for those 20 years away. But I was also still in the mindset I had grown up in which amounted to the prodigal's older brother. And I fed that with talk radio and reading certain pastors and Christian writers. But I just couldn't keep it down. It kept me hungry all the time because somehow I knew I wasn't really growing, and was instead stressing on things that weren't mine to stress on. This is also why I don't blog about politics anymore. I was feeling too militant. Now with that out of the way, maybe I can remember what I was going to write about. ;) Using "counter-cultural" is usually used by Christians to other Christians to live differently than the world because we should not look and/or sound like non-believers. We are to be salt and light among the world to point to world to Jesus. And so we have our own culture, but if we aren't careful we make our own culture a little-g god of its own. We forget that our holiness comes from the finished work of Jesus Christ alone and start acting like we are able to behave good enough to be worthy of grace. Once we do that, then we ourselves become the judge and determine who is worthy to belong among us by imposing a "conservative" set of rules that are meant to show 1) that we ourselves are spiritually mature and 2) to impose a faux spiritual maturity on spiritual babies who will either learn how to pretend or will eventually go away because they are made to feel so uncomfortable by being unable to live up to those who have deemed themselves spiritually mature enough to be the judge. This is how many churches end up bearing more of a resemblance to a country club than a gathering of followers of Jesus. Instead of reaching out and embracing the lost, we end up reaching out to fill our pews with people who either already look and act like us or who are willing to pretend in order to fit into the church culture. Instead of making disciples, we are making cliques. Then when someone dares to buck against the church culture we unbiblically run them off (often in secret or known only among our little gossip cliques), or when someone gets fed up and leaves on their own (whether because of the gossip and backbiting/slander or not), they are shunned and treated as enemies. And then we wonder why our churches are in decline and/or outright dying and why we aren't growing. It really isn't rocket science.
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:19-23, ESV)
There is quite a contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. Country-clubbing your church isn't fruit of the Spirit. Constantly telling the single mother that she is living in sin and then gossiping about her is not a fruit of the Spirit. Having an angry outburst at a former member who has been picking up food for your food bank every other Wednesday for the last 5 years even AFTER leaving your church because he dared to pick up a bag of food for his son is not displaying the fruit of the Spirit. This is why we need people in the church being counter culture to the church culture so that the church can be salt and light instead of just another one of the world's exclusive clubs that treats the Word of God as merely a rulebook.

Battling “hunger”

I'm sticking to the schedule again. 3 days in a row! :shock: Molly blames Petra for turning me into a health food nut (for lack of a better term), but really, Dr. Garlick takes the bulk of the blame. Petra just reinforced what he has been telling me for years. Not that I trust her over an M.D., but I see and talk to her a lot more than Dr. Garlick. I don't consistently heed her advice either. But she is pretty consistently right which is why when she looks me in the eye and tells me "You need to stop _____," I tend to do it. Especially when she points out the glaring why. But I digress. Anywho, I mentioned in a post a couple of days (or weeks) ago that my lax eating led to my constant "hunger." I quote hunger because I am by no means really hungry. After reading Eat to Live and making an effort to eat that way (which was why I twice attempted to eat vegan), I learned the difference between how my body tells me I'm really hungry and when my body just wants to eat something. When I eat food that contains no msg or any artificial flavoring, I don't have a problem with the stomach growling food craving. The craving is almost always for bread/pasta, cheese, or sugar. When I eat foods that haven't been artificially flavored, I don't feel the need to eat as much, and don't get the overwhelming cravings for high-carb, low-nutrition comfort food. Yeah, so above where I digressed, now I will get back to where I started to prematurely go. Petra called me out for comfort eating and drinking. Starting with "You need to stop drinking." She didn't say it all harsh, but I had been saying it harshly to myself. And she's right. I was seeking comfort in alcohol and food instead of Jesus just like she said. I think it may go deeper than that, and that I have elevated comfort itself (or my ideal of it) as a god. This is why I have to abandon my old coping mechanisms because all they ever did was mask and deny the real problem(s) which in turn never got addressed. All this said, I am turning back to healthier eating by eliminating the artificial flavorings and colors. And definitely the MSG. I know I need to eliminate the artificial preservatives as well, but while not eliminating totally, I am keeping those minimal. And no more Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks. :sigh:

“8 points from Slytherin”

I will get to that title in a moment. Being Wholesome Wednesday, I can report that I purchased fresh vegetables this past weekend. However, someone needs to prep and cook them. I did not purchase any more Progresso soups. I mentioned the other day that I had lost some of my enthusiasm with homeschooling. 2 easy days and then I was again dealing with kids who don't want to do their work. Jamie managed to get everything caught up by Friday, but Chad. Ugh. He didn't get caught up. The Algebra I is understandable, but the other 3 were just plain laziness. They both took their first tests yesterday, and each only missed one question. Retention is there at least. :) Jamie hates the English III curriculum, and feels free to express her disdain when answering certain questions. There was one question that she went on a rant about in her answer, and so she got the "Welcome to Christian homeschool. 8 points from Slytherin." It was a 16 point question, and I gave her half credit because there was a couple of sentences related to the topic. And it was an opinion question that is graded subjectively. I got enjoyment from making a Harry Potter reference though. ;) Last night, I got caught up with grading Chad's work, and he does really well when he actually does it. I got his schedule made out for the rest of this week, and told him this morning about along with telling him we would work on his Algebra when I get home. Meaning, he has to still be awake when I get home. And while we are doing that, someone needs to cook for me and put away my laundry that I did Monday. lol

Adventures in homeschooling

I know it's only been one day, and I know that I'm not the one there making sure they sit down and do their work, but I think I'm going to dig this homeschooling thing. Scheduling was a bit off yesterday, and they got started later than intended, but they finished everything in just a couple of hours letting me know that I didn't overload them with work. Granted, they were each missing a class to work on, but still. The other class material came in yesterday. Given how quickly they went through their work yesterday, I think they will do fine with the full load. There really wasn't any complaining though Jamie didn't seem to care too much for Algebra II. And grading her Algebra II work was like I had traveled back in time and was grading my own. Bless her heart. :) Chad got to a point where he was tired and not paying attention and just didn't care anymore. :sigh: But, I had a little talk with him this morning that may or may not have done any good. Anyway, I'm pretty enthusiastic so far about how it's going. Again, I know it's only been one day. I have hope. ;)

And so we will homeschool

I came up with this theme in order to talk about healthy eating primarily. I've been pretty focused for the last couple of years on the physical aspects of a healthy lifestyle while putting perhaps not so much on mental health. That said, this post isn't really going to be dealing much with either exactly. But it is in a way because my kids have issues. Our family has issues. My daughter, the firstborn, my MiniMe, failed the 9th grade then 10th grade twice. My son should have failed at least 2 grades in middle school, but scored high on EOGs and so got promoted. He failed 9th grade last year. They are both smart kids who always blew away the EOG's and pretty much any standardized test they were given. But remember I said our family has issues. Our daughter wanted to drop out the entire year last year. It was a year long fight to keep her in school. She has social problems that are getting worse the older she gets. And yes, she will be going to counseling. But, I realized last school year that the only way we would ever get her to graduate high school was to homeschool. Our son liked school, but he is ADHD and hasn't done homework since early middle school. And that was a huge fight. I told him that wouldn't fly in high school, but he did it anyway. He had the choice of going back to public school or homeschool, and he decided (last minute) on homeschool. He was in counseling for much of the last school year. And still has counseling pending for his diversion plan. Maybe. Now this is not going to be a rant about the public school system. Nor is it a rave about homeschooling. I had to make a choice, and this seems to be the best choice for us. Curriculum has been acquired/purchased. Filing system created. Paperwork in order. Grade recording system still pending, but really, how hard can that be, right? Seriously, I have an idea and it will likely be tweaked as the year progresses. We're starting the day after Labor Day because I am waiting on my last minute purchase to come in. Am I nervous? Yes. I am so afraid this will turn out worse than it already has. Attendance won't be so much of an issue because, um, they live at school now. They don't have to deal with other kids. There won't be any fire alarms to pull. We can separate them in way that we can still keep an eye on them. And so this could work, or it could be an epic fail. We'll see...

‘Cause I like to eat

I think I have made 2 contradictory statements about cooking before. 1, that I hate it, and 2, that I kind of like it. They are both correct because while most of the time I hate cooking and will only do it because I want to eat real food and not processed chemical-laden stuff, sometimes the mood hits me, and I actually enjoy the sights and smells of preparing food. And either way, I like to eat. ;) So after mentioning that I made my own cream of chicken soup to avoid gluten (even though I glutened myself twice that day), MacBros wondered how I did it without flour. And through some Googling, he found a site selling all kinds of gluten free stuff and blogged about it: Gluten Free Noodles? Me, being me, I felt obligated to link whore, and explain how I did this. First off, I will produce the original recipe for what a friend from way back in the mid-90's at Tinker referred to as "rice shit." He loved it, and was going around asking "Who made this rice shit?" I thought it was hilarious, and, yes, that is what I call it. Anyway, I got the recipe from a cousin at one of my wedding showers because the cousin who hosted it thought it would be a great idea to have everyone attending to give me a recipe. My whole extended family likes to eat. Both sides. :) photo(8) First translation, "oleo" = margarine. That is a pet peeve of mine that my parents heard me complain about for years because they would not drop the "oleo" label and call margarine margarine. And having looked it up, perhaps I will stop complaining about that word. After all, I have been known to call margarine "butter" which is most certainly is not. Anyway, I used real butter instead of margarine, and locally produced butter at that. ;) This is the recipe I used to make cream of chicken because of that pesky gluten intolerance I have: Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute But I used Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour as opposed to ordinary bleached wheat flour. Yes, I realize I admitted earlier in the post to having glutened myself otherwise twice that day. And yes, I am paying the price, but thankfully I don't get migraines with a glutening. And it isn't so bad as I expected so maybe praying over the communion bread did help. I didn't pray over the movie theater popcorn that I wouldn't have eaten had I not been the keeper of the bag due to keeping my children separated in the theater because they fight. But I digress. Next came the Homemade Cheez Whiz. I didn't alter that recipe in any way, though I only buy white cheddar because cheddar isn't naturally orange, and the stuff they use to make it orange bothers me. I know, who knew? I did not, however, use my food processor as it was not clean, and so I used my blender as a food processor. I should have just cleaned the food processor right then and charged on because blending cheese is tricky. But I made it work without injury. ;) And I used brown rice, but rather than buying fresh broccoli, I followed the recipe and bought it frozen. Stop judging me. lol

Oh the pain

It's funny. Sometimes I can connect the dots right away, and sometimes it takes me a while. And, yeah, sometimes it's after the fact. With the exception of a couple meals last week with cornbread, I've been eating vegan since the 5th. I know this would involve detoxing, much like I did back in January, but I didn't expect it to be painful. Sure, I am probably reaching, but the migraine last week followed by joint pain this week is almost the same as I went through back in January when I gave up the artificial flavors/colors/preservatives. Which makes me wonder just how bad was I really eating since I didn't give up meat back in January. Regardless, Monday and Tuesday I had awful leg pain without having been on my feet enough to justify that kind of leg pain. Yesterday, it was concentrated mainly in my left leg, though it was in general the entire left side. Today it is the right side. Weird. Anyway, so I am now losing the 5 pounds I gained thanks to the Halloween candy container that is located in my office. I have noticed another benefit of giving up meat, but I will spare you that despite the fact I shared it with Petra already. She was very appreciative that I told her. hahaha! I got on pinterest again and found a few more recipes that were either already gluten free/vegan or were easily modified. It would be great if I actually liked to cook, but alas, I really would rather heat up a box or bowl full of chemically enhanced "food" than prep. :sigh: So really this point of this post is just to whine because I want a bacon cheeseburger. And I want it on a gluteny bun. And the hubster wants me to cook the usual big Thanksgiving spread. :sigh:

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