Monday, January 25, 2010

hard times on the horizon

right now i am watching office space, not a great movie i know. but in the scene a moment ago peter undergoes (is that the right word?) hypnosis and suddenly doesn't have many inhibitions and is living pretty free and easy. man, i'd like to be him right now. sometimes life gets a little rough and i would just like to skate through unscathed. i don't want to necessarily 'check out' and i don't want to not be alive of course, but i would just like to be able to walk around in a daze not recognizing the stuff around me that i don't want to notice.

lately i have been getting very anxious at work again. things are ramping up as far as getting ready for our busy 'season' and i am not a fan of customers yelling at me on the phone. i don't understand why people think they have the right to yell at me just because they are mad. it's rude and i hate it. i feel powerless because there is not much i can do about the situation. for most customers there is no settling the situation, they just want to yell and vent. i am the lucky recipient of their bad day and feelings about the bad economy.

also, i have a tendency to take on other people's issues as my problem to deal with. issues that they don't even know they have, but i see in them. i get upset and judgemental when they make what i consider to be bad decisions. it isn't my problem to deal with the repercussions of their choices so why do i care?

i think it goes beyond just wanting things to always go my way and everyone doing what i think they should be doing. i hate the feeling of powerlessness. i hate feeling like life goes on around me and there is nothing i can do to change it. the scene in office space just now was the montage of peter doing things his way. he takes down the wall in his cubicle so that he has a window view, he goes into work late (not in dress code)after fishing in the morning, then guts the fish at his desk on the famous tps reports. the song in the background is (yeah i cleaned it up) 'dang it feels good to be a gangsta'.

i wanna be a gangsta for a day. do what i want to do, make my life how i want it to be. all on my terms without a care for what the consequences may be. i take myself too seriously as it is.

pray for me to be able to chill out.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

mission connexion northwest part 2

saturday brought an (almost) full day at mcnw. we had two workshops in the morning at 11 and 12:30. becky and i both attended 'get on your boots' by kerri kenyon, a talk on spiritual warfare and preparing for meeting our trials by being rooted in scripture. it was a great lesson, and my biggest take-away was when kerri said that putting on the full armor of God was important, but you have to start with your boots because 'at least then you are standing', ready to start fighting. good stuff! the second workshop i attended was 'fundraising without fear' by ron frey. it was a good class and challenged some of my apprehensions in raising funds for missions. i have always felt like by asking for financial support was burdening others. i don't feel burdened when people ask me for money, so don't ask me why i think that about myself!!

the first session we went to was richard twiss, speaking on the subject of missio dei. richard is a native american man whose perspective on missions is really interesting to hear. growing up on a reservation he was exposed to a lot of missionaries who, in coming to 'share the good news' ended up causing a lot of pain in him and his people. they were told they had to abandon their traditions, learn english and assimilate to the 'american' way of life. this caused richard to grow up hating christianity and white people. he told us a story of how in the seventies he was part of the take over of the bureau of indian affairs office in washington dc and had plans to blow up the building. this is a man who had so much bitterness in his life stemming from missions gone wrong.

he then went on to talk about how missions can and should be done, and how it is most successful. the theology of missions that richard talked about was missio dei, which holds that God is the sender of missionaries and we are a participant in His spreading of His word. i think with this idea of what missions should look like, we end up asking ourselves what God would have us do, where He would want us to go and how He wants us to do it. our goal is no longer just to win souls but to share His love, be His physical hands and feet and to care for the poor, fatherless, widows and aliens. we need to realize that making people to conform to our way of thinking, acting, dressing is not missions. making the 'savage indian' into a WASP is not the goal of missions. we were all created unique with all people groups having diverse cultures. just because they are different from what we are used to does not mean that it is wrong. i'm not even doing justice to the message of this talk, so i will stop...i think you are all intelligent enough to understand where i am going : )

as i have stated in some of my previous posts, my values and ideas on certain areas of life have been challenged a lot over the last year or so and missions was one of them. hearing richard speak was really great because i was able to identify my thoughts with a name and see that i'm not just getting cynical :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

mission connexion northwest part 1

this weekend becky and i went to mission connexion northwest at crossroads community church. if you know me personally, you know how much i love missions. i have not been able to 'go' in recent years (partly my fault, but partly i have been feeling that God has me more as a sender and supporter for now) but oh how i have loved my previous trips. i firmly believe that missions is for every Christian and that if you are not 'going' then you need to be 'sending'. missions is not something that is negotiable, not something you can say 'it's not my bag' to. Christ clearly gave the great commission and the great commandment because they are the way to spread His good news. ok, off my soapbox now :)

the conference started friday night with one workshop (didn't attend because of timing) and then one large group seminar. the speaker that night was joseph d'souza who is the president of dalit freedom network. i had heard about dalits several years ago but even then not very in depth. the dalit are the lowest caste in hindu's caste system. according to their beliefs, they are so spiritually polluted that if an upper-caste person is touched by the shadow of a dalit then they themselves become polluted. for this reason in villages where there is some possibility that this may happen, the dalit will lay down in the street (even the mud) when someone of an upper caste walks by so that their shadow does not touch the upper caste person. HOW MESSED UP IS THIS?? these people who in reality are infinitely loved by a gracious God are told that they are so worthless and bad that they WILL NEVER HAVE ACCESS TO GOD. can you imagine the despair? to have absolutely no hope? to believe that God wants nothing to do with you-ever?

now, imagine being told that you are actually made in the image of God. imagine being told that you have dignity and purpose because God valued you enough to die for you. what would you do with that? i think you might do what hundreds of thousands of indians are doing-accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and finally being reconciled to the One True God.

i wish you could have been there to hear this account from joseph's mouth. in fact, if you want to hear it in dvd form let me know and we'll set up a time to get together and watch it. i guarantee that you will not feel the same way about the message of the gospel ever again. i had a huge 'ah ha' moment when joseph was talking about the dalit mindset and the approach missionaries use to share the gospel to the dalit. you see, in much of 'western' churches and seminars we learn about making sure a person understands that they are a helpless sinner in need of a savior, as without the belief that you are a sinner -there is no reconciliation needed between yourself and a just God. however, the dalit already know they are worthless sinners. it is all they have ever been told. they don't need to be reminded that this is what they are. what they need to be told is that they have been made in the image of God for His glory alone. that through the cross Jesus gave their life a new identity and meaning and DIGNITY.they now have access to God through Jesus because of their dignity and value as God's prized creation. the reason this struck me so much is that it challenges our cookie cutter view of witnessing and missions. using the same four step plan of salvation i learned in bible college is not going to cut it with everyone. we have to find out what a person's individual 'hang up' is with their identity/life/world view and come against IT with truth. if you had told me this in a different context i would probably say it sounds a little too liberal and might compromise the truth. but i understand now.

truth is not relative, but the WAY we share it IS. we can be completely true to the scriptures and not diminish God in any way but still spread the Word in a way that will effectively touch people's lives.

Father, forgive me for putting your message in a box! open my eyes to new opportunities to share You with the world.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

more food for thought...about food

just as my values have been challenged this last year regarding our environment and it's inhabitants, my thoughts about food have been shifting as well. it all started when i began reading posts on the passionate homemaking and morning coffee and wondered what this book was that they were talking about a lot...Nourishing Traditions. i looked into it and saw that so many of the subjects were things i had been wondering about. things such as 'if God created animals, and gave them to us to eat, how can eating them be bad for us?' and 'what are the foods God gave us to eat? how were they eaten ? did how they were prepared affect the nutrition/effect the eater?' nourishing traditions answered these questions for me (not in a spiritual sense, but i of course was able to draw the conclusion) and made me realize that the 'diet' food i have been eating all these years was quite possibly only making me sicker. sally fallon, the author of NT is the president of the weston a price foundation which is a foundation whose goal is to educate and promote ancient food preparations and 'real' food. i learned so much about enzymes, good bacteria and nutrients from the book and websites. i also read the omnivore's dilemma and in defense of food by michael pollan which further spurred my interest in real food and sustainable food production practices. the evaluation of all of this information caused a lot of bulbs to light up in my head! now, what to do with this new-found insight? how do i implement good food preparation and purchasing into my daily life and budget?

enter: sustainable living on a budget workshops and more blogs such as the nourishing gourmet.

by attending the sustainable living workshops i learned how to make yogurt, kefir, sour cream, kombucha, kim chee, sour kraut, and much much more. knowing how to make things yourself is not only key to controlling ingredients but also the cost. food on the supermarket shelves takes a lot of money to make. it also makes it very convenient for us to purchase it, so we take it for granted. i know for a fact that i use way less mayonnaise now that i make my own.

which brings me to another 'a ha' moment about food. i take it way too for granted. there is a lot of mindless eating that happens in my life, and i want that to change. i want to eat not only to fill me, but to satisfy and nourish my body. so many foods we eat are 'dead'. they have been pasteurized and processed so much that companies have to add vitamins and enzymes back into food to give it any nutritional value at all. a controversial topic is the one of raw milk. through reading on the real milk site, nourishing traditions, etc i learned that most of milk's benefits are lost in the pasteurization process. i have had a problem for years with being lactose intolerant, but not now! raw milk actually contains lactase, the enzyme that breaks down the sugar lactose in milk. lactase is destroyed in the pasteurization, thus leaving your body to have to try and break down a sugar that you were not supposed to have to break down on your own. raw milk is nothing to be feared, contrary to what the government would have you believe. in washington state is is perfectly legal to purchase raw milk (it is against the law in many states, including oregon) and the state certifies raw dairies. these dairies have to meet strict guidelines for sanitation and the health of the cows. more stringent i should tell you, than a regular dairy! i feel good about drinking milk that ensures that the cows are being treated better than the average dairy cow!! i can also tell you it is delicious and not thick or creamy like i thought it would be. to me, it's worth the extra expense.

since this is new to me, i wanted to make some goals for myself this year concerning food:

  1. continue to purchase raw milk
  2. continue to purchase pasture raised beef and chicken
  3. continue to purchase eggs from pastured chickens
  4. join a local csa
  5. introduce sprouted grains/beans into my diet

i am mainly trying to 'crowd out' the bad food in my life with good food. i am not making drastic, over-night changes here. yes, i still hit the drive through at taco bell. i am taking a few areas of my diet and changing them to fit what i feel God's plan is for my eating habits. it is a little challenging, but i believe He will bless it as i feel that He is the One directing me towards a more natural and conscious way of eating. hopefully this time next year i'll be able to report i am NOT hitting taco bell anymore :)

a new year, a new address, a new me?

over the past year or so my values have been challenged. in a good way. as you can read through my posts, i have dealt with issues of community, money, missions, family and a little about food. the Lord has been challenging me to really try and see things through His eyes. if He created everything in this world and at the end of the day called it 'good'....i surely have a responsibility to honor it.
i feel like i have taken advantage of His creation for the last (ahem!) almost (louder cough) 30 (hacking now) years. i have not given much thought to the way animals are treated, how people around the world are treated or how our universe is cared for. frankly, when i started trying to see these things through new eyes and appreciation, all i did was cry. that made me want to stop looking around, but i didn't stop. my heart was broken. i wondered if this is how God feels when He looks at the injustice and pain and carelessness all around us. i know it pains Him, and it hurts Him much more than it could ever hurt me.
everything in this universe was created with a purpose. to bring glory and praise and honor to the Most High God.
a star shining in the distance, with it's miraculous chemical and gas composition. no scientist could ever replicate it. unfortunately, our governments send satellites, rockets and experimental machinery into space where they will never be brought back to earth. space trash litters the universe.
the incredible, healing, oxygen giving amazon is key to being able to sustain life as we now know it on earth. it's lush forests providing shelter to countless creatures and plants unseen outside of it's boundaries. yet, it is burned, cut down and bull dozed so that the land can be mined, built up and profited upon.
animals, created so skillfully and diverse, are a beautiful example of God's creativity. some are so sophisticated that they have real communities; they mourn the loss of a friend; they show affection; they build tools. however, too many are seen as expendable and too low on the food chain to care about. they are poached, abused, neglected and eradicated.
have we really taken our God-given domain over the earth too far? i think so. when i really take a look at how we view the world, my heart sinks and i feel so ashamed. it's not enough for me to feel bad about what i see. it's like when i consider salvation; it's a great thing i am saved, but if i don't share the good news with others then the victory is kind of hollow.
this burden has caused me to change the way i think about a lot of things, and come to terms with the fact that i cannot change the minds of every person on earth. all i can do is change my actions and try to consider how my choices impact the world around me. i am not perfect, never will be until glory.
things that i have committed to doing going forward, as long as i am able to:
  • being a better steward of the earth's resources through reducing energy and water usage
  • supporting farmers who practice humane animal husbandry and ecologically sound food production
  • striving to eat foods that God provided for me, not 'frankenfood' that barely resembles what it's supposed to be and has little or no nutritional value left
  • living more simply by cutting back on purchases of brand new items and carefully considering what new (or new to me) purchases enter the house. paring down the possessions will leave more time and money for Kingdom worthy causes

i say these things not to make you feel bad about anything, or to try and 'convict' you of something you have not yet felt the Spirit leading you in. i do want to help you consider these things though. my prayer is that God will be glorified through our actions, and that He would soften our hearts toward His creation.

what are your thoughts?

Monday, January 4, 2010

yikes! it's been a while, eh?

well hello again friends! :) i'm not quite sure what caused me to be so derelict in my blogging but i promise it will never happen again. i know i've kept you all waiting on the edge of your seats the last three months ; )
seeing that it HAS been three months since i have posted, let me fill you in!
october...nothing really interesting happened. didn't do anything on halloween, i think i may have been sick?
november....not too much to report in the beginning of the month. middle of the month becky and i applied for our new apartment (which we now live in...details up soon) and i started getting ready for yet ANOTHER move this year. i have moved 6 times in the last 4 years. i'm done moving to say the least! thanksgiving was super low key. mom had pneumonia so i made dinner for dad, seth and myself. it turned out really well, and i made it super easy on myself by doing the sweet potatoes and green beans in crockpots. i highly recommend this method of cooking! it totally left the oven open for cooking the turkey and dressing. it also cut down on some of my 'kitchen time' since the crockpots were already cooking away. the down side of thanksgiving was when i realized that the dishwasher detergent compartment was not closing. at. all. this meant that i got to wash all of the dishes by hand. i know some of you who do not have a dishwasher would not think this is a huge deal. please understand me. i am a child of the 80's. i have never in my youth or adulthood lived in a house without a dishwasher. washing a dinner's (especially thanksgiving) worth of dishes is not fun. it hurt my back and gave me dishpan hands. sick.
black friday was great fun, as i went shopping with my dear friend carla. we hit target, bed bath and beyond and joann fabrics. scored big time on some things i have been holding our for like a cricut cutting machine for crafting. i got it $100 off!!
at the beginning of december i moved into the apartment. for the first couple of weeks i was by myself as becky hadn't moved yet. it was refreshing to be here alone for a while. for the last year and a half i have lived with other people (roomies and my family) so it was nice to have the place to myself and have some alone time. as time went on and becky moved in, the house started looking more like it was inhabited by women and not college aged males. we're still not completely settled, but it is definitely liveable. i am excited to have a spare room (we got a 3 bed/2bath apt) where i will be able to set up my craft and sewing stuff. the thing i hate about crafting is having to pack everything up and put it away. such a buzz kill! but once i get that all set up i won't have to worry about that anymore. it will be so fun and i'm sure i will craft a whole lot more than i do now.
there are more things i am going to post on soon, like recent awesome developments in my health and what the Lord is doing in this little life of mine. stay tuned. same bat time, same bat channel.