Thursday, March 29, 2012

Prayer update

Okay. So I haven't been keeping up with my blog at all. Sorry about that - if there's anyone actually reading it, that is. Haha.

Thing is, I've been facing some pretty tough spiritual and emotional trials, and I haven't really felt much like blogging. I did write a little bit in my personal journal. I'm just trying to work through some things right now - hurts and stuff from the past that apparently I haven't processed and completely healed from yet.

Anyway, I have been praying. There were a few days there when I didn't pray much at all. Too deep in my hurts, I guess. Too deep in myself.

God has been teaching me through all this. One day, there were several things I came to understand a little better. The first was letting go of pride. There's a song that says "Letting go of my pride, I lay down my desires, just to worship in spirit in truth." That's a pretty profound line to meditate on for a while.

Then there was this: Don't pray just to pray. I don't think "small talk" with God is a good way to pray. Like when you decide you want to pray, and then after you make that decision, you start thinking about what you could pray about. Because that's doing it backwards. I think we should pray about things that are truly on our hearts. Things that we care deeply about. Things we won't forget about an hour later. Because when we take things before the almighty creator of the world, I just don't think we should be thoughtless or careless about it. I think we should be very deep about it. If that makes sense.

And then this: Don't stress - just do what you need to at the moment and then get to the next thing when you can. I've been having a hard time staying calm and self-controlled whenever two or more things seem to demand my attention at the same time. For example, I'm cooking a meal and Rachel wakes up and starts to cry. But really all I can do is decide which is more urgent at the moment and do that thing first, then get to the other thing as soon as possible. There's no need to worry about it. It isn't going to hurt Rachel if she has to wait for me for a few minutes so that I can prepare dinner for myself and Kaira. It's that simple, really.

So those are some of the things I learned. I've also been learning a lot about how to work through pain - the right way, not by stuffing it and letting it tear you apart later and lead you into depression.

Yeah. So that's it for now. More later.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Focus on Prayer

Yesterday I decided I wanted to focus on growing in one area for the next couple of weeks. There are so many areas I want to improve in that I usually don't focus on any single thing long enough to really make any progress, so it seemed like a wise thing to try. One thing at a time. Plus it should help me with my focusing in general, which is one of my four big goals for 2012.

Anyhow, I prayed about it and it felt like the Spirit was leading me to focus on... well, prayer. Then this morning I got a text from a friend - a simple Bible verse. "1 Thessalonians 5:17. Never stop praying." Well, that pretty much confirmed it for me, so until the end of the month, I will be focusing on prayer - praying more often throughout the day, going to God in different situations for guidance...

So I'll be blogging about it (hopefully) every evening, to record my experience and (hopefully) growth in this area. I'm also expecting, and actually already experiencing, some spiritual opposition throughout this journey, since that tends to happen whenever someone really tries to seek and follow the Lord.

Yesterday went really well. I was more focused than usual and on several occasions I pulled myself away from the activities and tasks of the day to pray and kind of regroup. Get my mind focused and remind myself of my priorities, and also give God a chance to sort of teach me and guide me. There's something about quiet solitude, even if it's not completely quiet or you're not completely alone? Even just a little quieter and... uh, solitudier? It makes a big difference. Hard to really listen for the still small voice of the Spirit when you're super-distracted by everything around you. Though I'm sure it's possible to learn to kind of pull yourself away from everything without actually physically going anywhere, I'm, uh... not there yet. Lol.

I will say something that I learned yesterday was that I'm very bothered by the fact that I pretty much go on autopilot whenever I'm talking to people. I've known this for some time, but it was the one thing that kept breaking my focus throughout the day, the one thing that I kept struggling with and then feeling bad about. I know I'm too hard on myself too, but I REALLY want to be good at this - more in the moment and more real, and not just this whole automatic response thing where at the end of the conversation(s) I look back and feel like I missed the entire thing. Like I wasn't really there at all.

So that was yesterday. Today I was really tired, (we stayed up late last night hanging out with Matthew, who's visiting from Germany) and I even though I prayed quite a bit I also spent a lot of time over-thinking things and then over-complicating my thoughts and feelings, and just laying on the couch watching TV with my girls. Spiritual opposition? Maybe. Maybe I just don't do very well on my own with two little ones all day. Wes was gone all morning with the Germans doing mission stuff (which is awesome!) and then he had to leave for work almost as soon as he got back, so I've been kinda lonely and I've had my hands full... And it's hard for me to process thoughts and feelings in my head. This is something I learned from talking to Sarah yesterday. Apparently I need to either talk or write things out in order to really process them. Which I guess is another reason I'm blogging, huh?

So today I felt pretty down at times. But I continued to pray and sing to God and try to focus on Him and on my blessings, and on being content. I won't say I did a fantastic job, but... well, there's always tomorrow, I guess. Forgetting what's behind and pressing on to what is ahead. Living in the moment. Seeking the presence of God.

Yeah. So this is me signing off for tonight. I gotta get some rest. I think that'll make a big difference in my emotions. Guess I'll find out tomorrow, haha.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Great day, plus an amazing recipe for EPIC CHOCOLATE ALMOND COOKIES!!!

I had an amazing day today. We have some new friends, Joshua and Sarah, that we met a couple of weeks ago at Southside (our church). Apparently they've known Wesley's uncle/our pastor for quite some time, but our paths have only just now finally crossed - and I'm so glad they did! What a BLESSING!!!

We had a great time the other night starting a game of Lord of the Rings Risk, which we finished today. And even more exciting, both Josh and Sarah are writers, so we got to spend a ton of time discussing our books, our reasons for writing, characters, plot outlining, and all that good writer stuff. :) They also really reminded me WHY we do this - we're writing not just to entertain, but to share a message. We're essentially teaching God to the world through the art of story, and as teachers of God's message we bear a tremendous responsibility to do our absolute best. It was very motivating, and I think we're going to be a great encouragement to one another, not to mention how wonderful it is to have like-minded people to bounce ideas off of... I'm so excited about this new friendship!!!

They were here all day, so we did some other stuff too - among which was BAKING! :) Sarah is very sensitive to gluten, so she eats only gluten-free foods... so we made THESE. They were SO GOOD. I should have taken pictures. Sorry about that.

Anyway, Sarah and I adapted this from a recipe I loved from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, written by Sally Fallon. (You can find the original recipe either in the book, obviously, or copied down on another blog here:

Here is my and Sarah's variation: Epic Chocolate Almond Cookies :)

1 1/2 cups almonds
1/2 cup softened coconut oil
1 cup arrowroot flour
1/2 cup whole sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Place almonds in a blender or food processor and process to a fine meal. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended. (I didn't have enough almonds, so I made up for it with extra arrowroot flour. My dough turned out pretty dry, so we added some water to moisten it.) Form dough into walnut-sized balls and place on cookie sheets. Press down on the cookies to flatten them a little.

Bake at 300* for a total of about 20 minutes. Let cool completely before moving to an airtight container. Store in refrigerator.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Profound Revelation

This is going to be really quick, as I have some writing I'd really like to work on this evening. But I had to jot this down so I wouldn't forget. I was just heating up some dinner for myself (a seemingly mundane task, right?) when I suddenly realized something very profound. It was one of those Holy Spirit things, I think. And here it is:

I should be spending a great deal more of my energy in striving to love God and serve him where I am, rather than spending so much of it on trying to get someplace better.

Whoa. Right? Enough said. I could meditate on that thought alone for... well, weeks, probably. Maybe it'll be some help to some of you out there, too. I hope so.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Quote of the day

Ran into this on Facebook and wanted to share it here. Going through some internal struggles right now, and this really spoke to me.

"You need faith for the big picture, to never lose sight of the outcome God has prepared for you. But the moment brings a deep need for trust, in that the God awaiting you at the end will guide you toward getting there. Trust is today’s experience with God." –David Stephens