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Listen and Obey

obeyWhen our kids were little we had a constant saying in our house: your job is to ‘listen and obey’. It seemed to cover most every situation and was simple enough to understand, but difficult enough to accomplish that it had to be repeated many times throughout the day.

As the children got older, they started to question the command, asking me what my job was; I told them that my job was to ‘keep them safe’, and as long as they were doing their job and I was doing mine, everything was going to ‘be just fine’. Notice the three word combinations; easy words, hard concepts.

Today there is no need to follow our kids around, reminding them of their jobs anymore, but that doesn’t change the fact that they, and all of us, need to listen and obey God and help to keep one another safe and everything will be just fine.

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it. Luke 11:28

Good Example

warningFor years when my kids were little I was able to get away with a few double standards in my life:

Eat all your fruits and veggies before having something sweet

Work up a sweat every single day

And my favorite, never watch something on TV that isn’t educational and/or uplifting

There are many more, I’m mortified to say, but those quickly come to mind. I justified having these rules for my children because I was responsible for their health and wanted to teach them good habits at an early age. The problem was that I wasn’t always practicing what I preached.

Fast forward a few years and now I have three young adults who could fend for themselves and survive quite well for days on end if needed. For the most part, they make really good choices in how they care for their bodies; very similar to the way I showed them over the years, not the way I taught them. My teens are a perfect case study for learning by example over learning by rules.

These days I am taking ‘my rules’ more to heart than ever, choosing a more active lifestyle, replacing sweets with more nutritious choices, and filtering movies and books through the eyes of my children. Any book that I download will appear in my daughters’ lists, and movies that my husband and I watch are available to all in our home. Honestly, I don’t know if it will rub off on my children this late in the game, but it is worth the effort for me to live a healthier lifestyle and to be the kind of person I wanted for each of them.

Hot Summer

cool

A few weeks ago my guy came home from work to a very warm house. I had been home most all day, and had noticed it was heating up but didn’t think much of it until he told me it was 79 degrees inside. Our air conditioner had obviously decided to take an unscheduled break. It took about 20 days (yes 20) to get it back to fully functioning. During that time, many men tromped through our home and yard, trying to figure out why it had died in the first place and what to do about it. Apparently, we have a very stubborn air conditioner.

There was a dance that went on for three weeks, of me being available for a four hour time period, only to have the repairman come at least a half hour after the time allotted, if at all. Then two-three hours of being present while ‘repairs’ were made, only to have a still non-working unit after being in the hot house for many unnecessary hours. Over and over again. And countless hours on the phone with the home warranty company. Just painful.

During this time, I wondered what we would have done if there was a baby in the house, or an elderly person. We cannot go to a hotel because we have a couple of large, anxious rescue dogs who don’t cope with change well. I knew intellectually that this would be over soon, for me the heat wasn’t as bad as the lack of communication and poor execution. My goal in life became very basic: get through the day without losing it. Well-intentioned friends would check on me, asking how we were coping and when would this be resolved, and it honestly took everything I had to hold it together. I could hardly talk about it because it wasn’t reasonable to have to wait so long. I just wanted the season to be over.

I knew there was a lesson in the hot, I wasn’t sure what it was at the time, but I think it’s starting to make sense now. There will be seasons of heat in life. We rarely know how long the seasons will last, but we are responsible for how we act as we are in them. And those around us have their own seasons of heat, and we should be well-meaning, asking if we can help, but sometimes people need to just sit in it and wait it out. There wasn’t a quick fix in our situation, no fan or wall unit would suffice in the heat and we couldn’t leave. But we could learn to endure, and be so grateful when the season was finally over.

 

Peach Salsa

peachsalsa

Georgia peaches are my favorite and they are in season right this minute, so I had to try this recipe from Pioneer Woman. I made the salsa and waited a full 24 hours before serving it with grilled salmon and kale-quinoa salad and it was delicious!

Peach Salsa

5 ripe peaches, peeled and chopped

1 medium red onion (I used a white Vidalia onion to keep with the Georgia theme)

1 red pepper, seeded and diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (I used two)

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1/4 t chili powder

juice of 1 lime

salt to taste

Add all ingredients together, upping the chili powder and salt to taste if desired. Allow to sit for at least one hour before serving.

salmon

 

 

 

Look For God

nest

I was running in my neighborhood and talking to God, feeling very alone. I told Him all about it and was gently reminded that I was wrong, that He is very aware of where I am and why I am here. I looked up in a tree and there was a nest full of baby birds, chirping like crazy as the Mama bird provided their food. He reminded me that He was aware of their time and place, as well. That nest is a temporary home, it probably took longer to build it than it will be useful, but it has its reason for being here. Just like me.

God doesn’t play games. There’s no Hide and Seek going on. Look for Him every day. Look for Him in the everyday.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. Proverbs 8:17

Travel Lightly

baggageI heard a convicting sermon recently based on Mark 6, when Jesus sent the disciples out to replicate what they had been watching and learning from him. There were several boundaries that he gave:

Travel in groups of two

Take only one set of clothing, and no food with you

When you enter a new village, stay in one home until you leave that place

When someone is resistant to your teaching, leave them, shaking the dust from your sandals

These orders make sense to me, having a friend along provides company, encouragement and accountability. Bringing only the clothes on your back and no food signifies dependence on God and on the village being visited. Staying in only one home seems practical because everyone who hears of the visitors will know where to find them. And when someone resists what is being shared, leave them alone because your time should be spent with those who are hungry for the message.

How often do I follow these guidelines? Am I living out my calling with accountability, desperate dependence, accessibility and discernment? So often I set out without waiting for another to join me, praying against any type of discomfort, showing little consistency and trying too hard with those who don’t care, and giving too little to those who do.

Looks like there’s more work to do….

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them. They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. Mark 6:7-12

Grilled Sweet Potato and Corn Salad

salad

Found this recipe at my grocery store and it works! Grilled the vegetables alongside some steak and put it together quickly. We decided the leftover should be served as a panzanella – add a handful of spinach and some chunks of grilled bread. Delicious!

Grilled Sweet Potato and Corn Salad

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch chunks

1 T olive oil

1 t cumin

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

2 ears corn

3 bell peppers, chopped

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 avocado, chopped

1/4 c sliced green onions

1-2 jalapenos, chopped (I used one)

2 T cilantro, chopped

1/4 c fresh lime juice

2 oz Cotija cheese (I used feta)

Drizzle olive oil over sweet potato and place on the grill (medium heat) inside aluminum foil. Sprinkle cumin, salt and pepper on potato and grill for 6-8 minutes, along with the corn. Add peppers wrapped in foil for last 4 minutes. Remove all vegetables and allow them to cool for a few minutes.

In a bowl, combine black beans, avocado, green onions, jalapenos and cilantro. Add grilled vegetables to the mixture. Stir in lime juice and top with cheese. Serves 8-10 as a side dish, 3-4 as a main dish.

 

 

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