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Hope for the Future

Hope for the Future‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’  –  Jeremiah 29:11

It’s been one of those seasons – where life happens; and life’s not fair; and it’s a huge, crushing blow.  Where you crawl back home, and ask all the why’s, and realize that tomorrow suddenly looks starkly different from how it looked before.  And I’ll say that it doesn’t necessarily bring out the best in us – okay, maybe it brings out the worst – the pride, the jealousy, the snarkiness.  It’s easy in these moments to venture far too close to hopelessness.

But no.  My God – who I’ve put aside, and pushed past, and defied – He says that we are never hopeless.  And I get it.  It’s hard to make that a part of our reality during these difficult seasons.  Putting all of our effort into the happy face and the cheery demeanor – that’s not the point.  The point is to hold on to God who brings light into darkness, hope to the hopeless, and rest to the weary – nothing else is enough.

Have I missed it the whole time?  Every year?  This advent, we’ve walked through Jesus’ family tree.  And God’s spelling it out for me.  In every step of His story, otherwise hopeless people are handed a leading role.  I mean, seriously:

+ Noah – one of the only people left on Earth, floating in a giant homemade boat
+ Sarah & Abraham – elderly, childless, & supposed to be the beginning of a great nation
+ Joseph – sold into slavery by his own brothers
+ Moses – couldn’t speak well, ordered to demand the release of his people from slavery in Egypt
+ Rahab – a prostitute in a city that God ordered His people to destroy
+ Naomi – lost her husband and sons after being forced away from her homeland by famine

…should I go on?  These are the people God chose to prepare the way for Christ.  I think He’s making a point.  And it’s not like this realization makes the hurt go away or resolves all the questions.  But it does remind me that there’s more to the story.  There’s hope.

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
-Romans 8:28

{this moment} 10.3.14

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{this moment}* ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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2ndAnniversary-11-682x1024

*inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} 9.11.14

. . . . . . . . .

{this moment}* ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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Lucy-1-1024x682

*inspired by SouleMama

a month of real food

House-1-1024x682Back in May, Ryan & I committed to a month of real food.

We made so many good changes that have really stuck with us, like:

+ reading: nutrition labels, ingredient lists
+ substituting: white whole-wheat flour for all-purpose flour, honey or pure maple syrup for white sugar
+ making from scratch: bread, salad dressing, marinara sauce, yogurt, etc.
+ eating local: shopping at farmer’s markets, planting our own veggie & herb garden, canning & freezing

Possibly the most difficult part of the challenge for us was the social piece.  And to be honest, we made some exceptions there.  We love good company, and we realized how much connecting happens gathered around the table.

The second most difficult thing was giving up sweets.  I love to bake and we both have a sweet tooth, but after a while (read: weeks) the sugar cravings started to fade and fruit (like grapes and berries) started to suffice as dessert.  And when we just had to have baked goods, I made these brownies or these pumpkin muffins which are sweetened naturally.

So what did we learn about how eating real food affects our bodies?

+ We had more energy.
+ We had zero (yes, zero) stomach aches.
+ We felt full after eating a lot less food than normal.

And how have we incorporated this into our lifestyle?

When we moved into our new home at the end of May, we made sure to just restock our pantry with the basics.  We cook at home most nights and try to keep it “real”.  🙂  We’ve certainly made some exceptions this summer, like buying uber-processed hamburger buns, devouring s’mores, and baking with white sugar.  We also go out to eat every once in a while with our family and friends.  Sushi has officially been declared an exception to any guilt for always and forever because it’s our favorite.

Seriously, though, this challenge taught us a hugely valuable lesson – to think before we eat – and that is something that we will definitely hold on to.

Aside from the ones I’ve already linked, here are a couple of our favorite real food recipes:

+ White Whole-wheat BreadNaturally Ella
+ Yogurt – The Homemade Pantry
+ Granola Cereal – The Homemade Pantry
+ Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos (on homemade tortillas)  – Cook Smarts
+ Tortilla Soup100 Days of Real Food

Do you have any questions about our experience?  I’d love to hear about your journey to a healthier lifestyle!

July 24, 2014 - 1:37 pm

Kathleen - This is wonderful! Great job. You guys are an inspiration to me!

bits & pieces of our house

We’ve been here for almost a month (aside from traveling almost every weekend) and there are still boxes and paint cans and drop cloths everywhere.  We love it here and are so excited to be making this space a bit more “us”; we’re just coming to terms with the fact that it’s going to take some time.  But we’re enjoying the planning – the choosing paint colors and matching fabrics and deciding on room layouts – and, yes, even the “budget committee meetings” (mostly because we eat some sort of chocolate/ice cream/etc. to keep us from crying over how much it costs to renovate a bathroom).

So until I get my act together enough to actually write about something, …pictures:

More soon!