Thursday, November 23, 2017

Sous chef

On Tuesday night, I had to make cookies for a work program the next day. But first, I had to run to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things.

When I was checking out, Nate called me and said that one of our friends was going to come over for dinner because his wife was working late. It was last-minute, but what can you do?

At home, Nate was sitting at the computer, working on his resume for a class he is taking. He asked me to come help, and I looked at the clock to see the time ticking away, knowing that I had to make cookies and dinner still. I felt myself getting tense but decided to quickly prioritize and calmed as I knew that this class took precedence above the rest that I could do later that evening.

I was on the second pan of cookies when Nate stood across the counter from me, "What can I do?" he asked.

"You want to make green bean casserole? I'll tell you how to do it."

He went to the cupboard and picked out the casserole dish I usually use for this veggie favorite.

"Get two cans of green beans and drain the water out of them," I said.

"OK, stop there and then after I'm done give me the next step," he said as he grabbed the cans from the cupboard.

After we successfully got the green bean casserole ready for the oven, I asked him if he wanted to make veggie dip as well, and we walked through that one too.

"I'm your sous chef," he said.

We both smiled. We got everything done that needed done by the time our friend arrived, my stress level was non-existent, and I smiled as he headed outside to start the grill.

"Thank you Lord for my husband," I breathed as I kept finishing up the kitchen duties.

I am so thankful for the man in my life. I am so thankful for a husband who cherishes me daily in the little things. I am thankful God is at work in lives, making us better each moment.

Happy Thanksgiving all! I hope you have a wonderful day cherishing your spouses too.

Monday, November 13, 2017

I live by a different standard

I've been thinking a lot about why liberals and conservatives, why non-Christians and Christians just can't see eye to eye.

In my last blog, I talked about how I just can't comprehend why people can't see that men and women are different.

There's a lot of arguments like that.

Why do people think divorce is such a good option? Why is homosexuality OK and out-of-the-norm sexual behaviors are even encouraged? Why isn't obvious that abortion is killing a child?

There are so many issues that seem black and white to me, but I have seen through the years that people who disagree are not going to come around. In fact, they hate that I even have my view. They hate that I would express something countering their views.

My husband the other night talked about how impossible it is to explain my viewpoint when it mirrors that of the Bible. When I talk about how the Bible says that homosexuality is wrong, it doesn't work because the person that I am talking to doesn't believe in the Bible. When I talk about how people divorce too easily, that it is a lifetime commitment, because it is a biblical covenant, they don't agree because their standard is not the Bible.

Christians who live by the Word of God live by a different standard.

I've always thought that means that we live "above" others. It doesn't mean we are prideful, but there should be a difference that shows that our lives are holier, are set apart, are more moral. But in this day and age, I'm starting to see that living by a different standard doesn't always look appealing to others.

Living by a different standard doesn't mean that people will want the great lives we have. It means that they don't understand me. It means that they look at me strangely. It means that I look weird. It means that they won't like me and my views.

When it comes down to the fact that my views reflect the Bible, it means that they will look down on me. It means we won't find a middle ground, because that middle ground doesn't exist. It's their way or no way. It's the Bible way or no way for me.

It also goes back to the suffering blog I wrote. I live by a different standard, and instead of being rewarded for it, like I thought when I was a kid, I'm seeing that different means I will have to suffer. People aren't going to get it.

And that's OK.

Just like a woman is different from a man, a Christian is different too.

I live by a different standard. My husband and I live by different standards than everyone else.

That is going to be eye-opening to me as I look at the world in a new way.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Women are different than men. Final word.

Men and women are different.

There, I said it.

I am utterly confused by what the problem is with that statement. Our pastor preaches a sermon on how the Bible clearly says this, and people leave the church. I watched a video today about someone who was fired from Google because he wrote something of the sort.

God created Adam and Eve. No I'm going to say he didn't create Adam and Steve. It's the simple fact that God created two that goes along with this point. Adam wasn't enough. He needed someone else. But he didn't need a carbon copy of himself. He needed someone that complemented him, someone who was different. He needed a woman.

It frustrates me to no end that feminists think that men and women have to be exactly the same to be equal. We don't.

I truly believe that I, as a woman, have equal worth to men. I am capable. I am valued. I am worthy.

But I am not the same.

I think emotionally, at first. I can be logical, but I know that my go-to is to think with my emotions until I realize it and back off. That's OK. But it is different than men are wired.

I am weak(er). I work out. I lift weights. But there is a limit to my strength, and when it comes to that, I'm OK with a stronger man taking over. It doesn't make me doubt my worth, but it does make me different.

I provide a nice home. I decorate to make it comfy. I clean to make it comfy. I cook to make it comfy. I work but I also serve at home. Because I serve my husband, it doesn't make me unequal or unworthy. In fact, I think it makes a wife more worthy. It makes her different.

I support my husband. I've said before there can't be two heads of a household, like there's only one president, one CEO of a company, one director at my job. There has to be an ultimate decision-maker or things are in chaos, and I'm proud to support my husband and to let him shine by being the leader of our household. It doesn't mean we're not of equal worth, but we're different.

I don't think I'm saying this all that well, probably because I'm so passionate about it.

I love being a woman. I wouldn't want to be a man. I love the way that God created me.

Woman are always wanting to say that we should love who we are, that we should appreciate the bodies we have, that we should be proud of ourselves.

But if we don't appreciate our womanness and are always trying to be "equal" to or just like a man, what are we proud of?

When did being unique become a bad thing? People talk about how good it is to be different yet try to make everyone the same.

I was raised taught to be the woman that God created me to be. That means a woman that is selfless, generous, takes care of her family and her home, works hard and listens to others. That means a woman who is a helpmate to her spouse but chooses to let him have the final word on things, because she was blessed with a husband that God chose to lead their home. That means a woman who is strong enough to admit she is wrong, and flexible enough to bend when things don't go her way.

I am different. I am unique. I am a woman.

And that means I am different than a man.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Suffer well for the gospel

Nate and I started attending a small group through church, something we haven't done together before. His work schedule is so erratic, there has never been a time that we could consistently attend.

We started going through the book of Jude for a month before we dive into a different study once the youth pastor joins our group, and it was an interesting discussion.

"...I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).

To contend for the faith, to fight for it. Another translation says to contend for the faith that had been entrusted to the saints. Entrusted --- to give something valuable for someone to protect.

Dave Ramsey often talks about how we are stewards with our money, that it doesn't belong to us, but God has entrusted us with it and we are to use it wisely and for God's purposes. How much more does that apply to the gospel message? We are given a huge gift, a valuable gift, and we are to protect it, to share it wisely, to make sure that it doesn't just die with us.

In a world that constantly wants to make me hug my faith and keep it all to myself because no one else seems to treasure it, it's also important that I contend for it. I have to keep fighting for what is truth.

This morning, I'm proofreading one of my pastor's sermons, and it is on the same lines. In a study of Colossians, Paul also wrote about how contending for the faith is not easy. We are expected to suffer when we talk about our faith.

I often feel like if sharing the faith isn't easy, if it hurts, then I'm doing something wrong. That's not the way to look at it though. Jesus suffered. Stephen suffered. Peter suffered. Paul suffered. Martyrs throughout history have suffered.

Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save us from our sins. Truly, nothing else matters.

But it's scary to truly live like that.

I hate to admit that. I hate to admit that I'm fearful. I serve a God that I should fear, not the people around me, not what is happening in this world.

It's one of those things that has come up twice, and when that happens, I always know God is trying to tell me something.

Be without fear, daughter. Suffer well.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hitting pause

"Did you quit blogging?" Nate asked me last night.

I looked at him, kinda guiltily. "Noooo... I've been busy."

OK, so maybe I have had a few moments where I chose to watch TV (more than a few) than blog in the past two months, but I'll try to get better at it again.

It's not that I haven't had anything to blog about. I have. When thinking on it, I thought about several instances that I should have written down when they happened.

(Pause to make you smile: I just got up because the microwave beeper went off. I opened it to get my hot apple cider. I forgot to put it in the microwave. It was still sitting on the counter. The inside of the microwave was toasty though.)

For a class, Nate read "Cherish" as well, and I have seen plenty of ways that he has tried to cherish me since reading it, and I have been over the moon about how he has implemented small changes that really make me swoon.

For instance, one night, we were watching "Generation Kill" on Amazon Video. I was in a chatty mood and kept talking to him, and I could tell he was trying to watch and listen to me at the same time. He finally picked up the remote and put the TV on pause while I talked.

I finished the story quickly, thinking that I had annoyed him and he couldn't hear the show, and said, "Sorry. I'll stop talking."

"No, I just put it on pause so I could listen to you. I'm cherishing you."

Wow.

Mind blown.

Like so many things, I had jumped to a conclusion. I immediately figured I was just bugging him, and instead he was just truly listening to me. He put what he wanted to watch on pause so that he wasn't distracted and could actually hear what I was saying.

And, guys, I have to say, that was huge to me. He paused a show for a grand total of 20 seconds to listen to what I was saying, and it made a huge impact. This was a couple of weeks ago, and I still remember it because I felt so treasured, so cherished.

It's the little things people. Make small choices to cherish your spouse today.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Like a dog to its vomit

This weekend, we celebrated our fifth anniversary.

And we celebrated in a way that I must admit I wouldn't have expected we would have. Looking back, I probably would have expected a more extravagant vacation, even a weekend trip somewhere.

Instead, we decided to camp on our land.

And it was perfect.

The picture of our fifth anniversary wasn't as awesome as the one on our third, when we were at the top of Pike's Peak in Colorado. However, I love this picture. We're in T-shirts, and our tent is in the background. We are comfortable. We are outdoorsy. We are ourselves. We are in a place where reside our hopes for the future.

It's truly the perfect picture of our fifth anniversary.

While we were camping, our dog was doing what she does best, eating sweet grass. She loves it. She goes outside our house sometimes just to eat the fast-growing grass that isn't caught by the lawnmower due to the cement blocks surrounding our garden. She ate and ate and ate it on the land.

Then she ate breakfast.

Then she threw up.

She had the courtesy to walk away, and she threw up twice, all of her breakfast and all of the grass she had eaten but not chewed.

We told her to stay away from it, and she longingly looked at the pile of disgusting throw up. She layed down with a sad look and just stared at it.

When she thought we weren't looking, she moseyed over and started licking it, not stopping when we told her to until Nate gave her a little swat on the behind.

She walked away but continued to look at it.

At one point, she even walked about 20 feet away, around the lawn mower and then came back the other side.

"What is she doing?" Nate asked.

"I think she's trying to act like she's not going back to the throw up but she is."

Which she was.

She made her way back to the pile of puke and started licking it up again.

We finally put a bucket over it, so she wouldn't be tempted but she could smell and still pawed at it a bit before she gave up.

It was like watching the human race. All I could think of was the verse in Proverbs that says, "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."

How many times has God watched me look longingly at my sin and seen a disgusting mess that he can't imagine why I would want it? How many times has he scolded me not to return and had to punish me when I have? How many times have I sauntered around acting like I'm not going to sin, trying to fool Him and myself then moving toward my sin again? How many times has he had to pull me away, put a barrier up and I still try to get what I want?

It's disgusting when you think about it. Why do I want vomit? Why do I want trash? Why do I want something that useless?

Like a dog to its vomit. Think of that next time sin is looking enticing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Ultimate Utah Vacation: Good-bye, hello Las Vegas

A few hours after we went to bed, we were back up, packing up everything for our flight home.

We arrived at McCarron International Airport about 5:10 a.m. for our 7 a.m. flight and booked it pretty quickly through check-in and security. We walked to our gate and quickly heard an announcement that it had been changed to a different terminal.

Then, before we were to start boarding, another announcement came over the Allegiant intercom.

"Flight 442 with service to Moline will not begin boarding. Due to a flat tire that needs to be changed, boarding will begin about 7:30 or 7:45 a.m. We will continue to update you with information that we receive."

Then, an announcement began from the gate next to us.

"Flight 454 with service to Dallas will not begin boarding. Due to a flat tire that needs to be changed, boarding will begin about 7:30 or 7:45 a.m. We will continue to update you with information that we receive."

The passengers at our gate just looked at each other with questioning eyes. Does our plane have a flat tire or is the one next to us? Are they confused on the tarmac?

Well, as it turned out, both planes had flat tires.

It didn't bode well for how the rest of the day would go.

I'll sum it up for you.

We got on the plane 45 minutes late. We sat on the plane for an hour and were then told to get off the plane. (They never announced it, but because we were sitting in the front seats we overheard it was issues with the navigation system.) We ate a quick meal and got back on the plane, now about 10 a.m. We moved 100 yards onto the tarmac. We sat for an hour. We pulled back to the gate due to engine troubles. We got off the plane. We were given $8 to eat something and it bought a small sandwich. We sat for an hour.

"Your plane is unusable."

What!?

"Your flight is not cancelled. We will let you know when we find out what will happen."

We waited for an hour.

We received an e-mail that said our flight was now at 8 a.m. the following day.

We waited 15 minutes.

"Your flight has been cancelled. We are working on finding hotel rooms for everyone and will let you know when rooms will be assigned."

We waited a half-hour.

"We will not be getting hotel rooms for you. Good luck."

---

We ended up having to get a hotel room at Treasure Island, which usually runs around $70 per night plus the $39 resort fee. However, when rooms are completely booked and it's a Friday night at the last minute, those rooms then run $450 per night.

But we didn't have a choice, and we were supposed to get reimbursed from the airline, so we made our way in a half-hour Uber ride to Treasure Island.

Grumpily, we made our way up to our room, which actually turned out to be gorgeous, and the people there were incredibly nice, making sure we had a room with a view of the Las Vegas Strip.

We walked around for a while, not quite knowing what to do with ourselves on this unexpected evening until we were chatting and I remembered that Nate had wanted to go to Hofbrauhaus, an authentic Bavarian restaurant, but we hadn't gone with our friends the first weekend we were in Vegas because we weren't sure they would like it.

Deciding to make the most of the annoying situation we were in, we ordered another Uber and made our way to the restaurant.

---

The ceiling was hand-painted. The waitresses were in authentic German garb like you would see during Oktoberfest. The seating was at long picnic tables.

Looking over the menu, the waitress encouraged us to order an appetizer that included every sausage made in house as well as soft pretzels.

Which we ordered, for dinner.

I'm not huge on some German cuisine. I like sausage, but I don't like mustard, sauerkraut or potato salad. I don't even really like beer.

However, I had never tried authentic German food and authentic German beer with it. Layering a dark beer, with absolutely delicious sausage and potato salad not made with mayonnaise, I was in heaven. I even sampled some sauerkraut, and it turns out that when it doesn't come from a can it's pretty darn good.

I will admit though, I didn't try the mustard. We ordered a beer-cheese sauce that I almost licked clean before Nate started in on his pretzels.

"You wanted some of that?" I asked, when he looked quizically at the almost-empty cheese sauce container.

"No, don't worry!" he said sarcastically, laughing at me.

"I thought you would want the mustard. I'm sorry!"

He laughed, scraped up what was left of the cheese sauce and then finished his pretzel with mustard.

---

Back at Treasure Island, we were headed to our rooms when we passed an older couple holding waffle cones with creamy ice cream scoops on top.

"I want ice cream," I said, not at all hungry but just obsessed with the dessert.

We followed a sign to an ice cream shop and ordered our own --- me a waffle cone complete with a scoop of coffee and a scoop of chocolate.

Back in our room, I finished my ice cream --- my stomach complaining about how full it was --- while staring at the sunset going over the desert mountains. The lights of the Strip were coming alive, and people were starting to head out for the night.

We said good-night to Las Vegas and crawled into bed.

It was 8 p.m.