Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Nighmare of March

The coming of March feels irrationally scary.

March 2012 was when Ryan started to get really, unbelievably, relentlessly, horrifically, violently, (any more adjectives?) sick.  It was a living nightmare and sometimes still knocks me to my knees to remember what we went through.

In some shared processing, we both feel bits of anxiety about March.  Maybe because we fear another flare up, perhaps because it conjures up gut wrenching memories...or maybe something else.  I don't know exactly.

I don't want to live in anxiety though, and worry isn't what God calls us to.  Worry really is just a way for me to control isn't it?  But it's useless and a total facade leading my to unbelief and distrust. 

 As March comes hurdling at us I'll ask the Lord for the ability to live in this truth instead...


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Word From M. T-Money

“Stay where you are.  Find your own Calcutta.  Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right there where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. … You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.” 

- Blessed Mother Teresa

I just about can't handle how ripe with wisdom this quote is.  Are you challenged?  What does this mean for your life?

   Good night she was a dangerous, unconventional, beautiful soul.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Snow Day Gifts

My Journey to 2000 Gifts
1105.  Whole wheat waffles, a new Sunday morning tradition


1106.  Sleeping in
1107.  Exclamations of snowy surprise from Ryan when he wakes up..."Wow!"


1108.  Warm naps under heavy quilts
1109.  Quiet time together to get our day off right
 

1110.  The workout of shoveling heavy fluffy snow
1111.  Soup and homemade bread for lunch
1112.  Praying for direction 
1113.  Late afternoon snacks


1114.  No agenda and the unhurried calm of a relaxing day in
1115.  Snowflakes never stopping for a moment
1116.  Brightness outside during a blizzard
1117.  A home to rest in for protection from the storm


 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

9 Days In

9 days in.

9 bulging bags.

9 loads of sacrifice.

When I committed to 40 Bags in 40 Days I forgot that I had just recently purged.  Eeek!

But the Lord didn't.  He knew that more needed to go.

Just a few shorts weeks ago I went through clothes, closets, drawers, and baskets; organizing, sorting, cleaning.  Our home became more a sanctuary and less a distraction with those unused, unneeded items gone to new places.

  The entire car trunk was full of give-aways.  

And now I am doing it again.  This time it's a little more painful, because all the "good stuff" is left.

That stinks.  I don't really want to get rid of my favorites--I held on to them for a reason!  But God certainly doesn't leave us in a comfortable limbo.  Because a "meet you where you're at God" is surely just a recipe for stagnation.  He asks to come further.  To stretch.  To perhaps welcome tension in order to grow.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
 

Luke 6:38

The real lesson of worth here is that 40 Bags this Lent represents the tiniest, ever so minuscule reflection of sacrifice.  Giving when I want to resist and releasing what I think is rightfully mine.

Isn't that a wonderful picture of the Resurrection, the embodiment of Christ's character and being?  The reason we celebrate at Easter is because what death was rightfully ours, was taken from us.  Bared by Someone else but the sacrifice's result is claimed our own.

A small surrender out of my life is certainly too small a comparison for so great an Easter gift--but lesson runs marrow-deep.

40 Bags in 40 Days simply and quietly commemorates and recognizes Lent in our home.  A time to prepare hearts and lives for coming Easter.   To give until it hurts, to give more of ourselves; to recognize the One who gave it all.

Because the truth is...we just can't out-give God.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Healing Water's PowerPure System

Ryan works for one cool company:  Healing Waters International.  Check out this super sweet video of Ryan and Marc, both on the HWI's Tech Team assebling two of the PowerPure Systems.   

They move quick :)


My Journey to 2000 Gifts
1097.  A company who does justice and loves kindness
1098.  Week 5 of memorizing with Tiffany and Hannah
1099.  Moving the Halls into their new amazing home
1100.  Playing with Rilyn and maybe not being as helpful moving
1101.  Sweet Coconut Chai tea with half & half and honey
1102.  The gift of having an afternoon off
1103.  Work 
1104.  These 10 questions

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Every Other Veggie Night = $106 Grocery Bill

I wouldn't be a good blogger if I didn't share our favorite life rhythms with you.  

A new favorite (maybe just mine, Ryan is a carnivore at heart) is eating a vegetarian dinner every other night.

In January 2013 I spent $106 on groceries...for the WHOLE month.   Just using what we already had in the house plus 2 produce grocery runs allowed this vegetarian idea to blossom.  And boy did it work to save us money!

Note:  Such a drastic bill may not be true every month.  You'll have to take that number with a grain of salt based on your home's current food status, family size, store sales, etc


This was a simple transition for our health, our budget, and a delicious shift for our palettes. 

And I have to confess to you how NOT bland or tasteless veggie dinners are.  The complete 
opposite actually!

So what do you eat if you try this out? 

Heavy on the veggies is the only requirement we follow!  But here are more ideas for you...


"Vegetarian Dinner Every Other Night" Meal Ideas


We have eaten every single dinner listed above very recently.  Delicious, nutritious, and flavorful.

Truly this has revolutionized my meal plans.  I usually double the recipe so we have lunches for the next day, which also helps save money.  It's fun to see our initiative in decreased meat-purchasing also decrease our bill.  

And even if I spend more than $106 this month, it's still a smokin' good deal!  This new habit naturally bends us towards more health and greater frugality.  Win, win!


Try it with us?  I'll make you a vegetarian meal if you can beat $106 on your grocery bill next month :)

Disclaimer: We still eat meat!  The occasional organic red meat, chicken, and ground turkey.  But it's only about 3 nights of the week which is still plenty.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Literal Faith

For Lent I'm not giving up the last habit I think I have control over or cutting chocolate out of my life.  I am making a humble attempt for more room for the One who deserves all, because I have failed to say no to the world.


Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
 
Hebrews 13:16 
 
 
It's an epic challenge that's shaking up my little world but I am being stretched and pulled in several new directions.  It's good for me.  Please join if you're brave enough to try.

It won't hurt to at least give is a whirl, will it? 

These 40 days preceding Easter are such a dynamic of tension and anticipation.  I feel the draw of my flesh to give up but the pull of something deeper to press on for the fruit and meaning of this time.

Lent is for all intents and purposes, a time of preparation.  Preparation of hearts and life for the coming of Easter.  Ultimately a preparation for when we stand before God in Glory.

And this 40 Bags in 40 Days has my mind churning...that I want to be prepared with a deeply-true, marrow-deep, heart-sincere faith.   


Should I fear that I might be able to only offer up to the Creator of the Universe a figurative faith?

"Oh you meant that in the Bible?  Like really give away things?  Release the world and seek Your Face?  Really make you the center of our lives?  Hmmm...well I thought it was just a nice story.  I didn't think you would actually ever ask ME to do that stuff!"

I want to be drawn away from the figurative and making the words of scripture just a nice story or a far-away goal.

These words are fresh on my mind in the next few weeks of Lent.  Don't skip over it.

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Acts 20:35

That's a doozy isn't it!  But wait, it gets even better!

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. 

Proverbs 19:17

Isn't that great?  I'm not sure what God thinks of my 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge.  But I sure won't be ashamed to tell him about it when I meet Him someday--I hope it's a real semblance of these verses above and a literal reflection of His own character.


Each bag a small offering of preparation for this Easter holiday and a bigger print on the fabric of time to live out a most blessed life habit of faith and generosity.

Let's open our hands in these 40 days but more importantly, open up our hearts to a radical God who defies every single notion we've ever held as sensible.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Last Birthday Post!

I managed to stretch out my birthday celebrations to almost a full month!  That has to be a record.  

Last night the Decker family got together to enjoy a delicious taco bar, Colorado brewed beer, and an epic Reese's cake!  I feel completely celebrated!!

Most importantly, check out the cuteness of my two favorite shorties in these pictures are and how they made my belated birthday the best.  

Rilyn and Ryder were very excited, mostly just Rilyn 

They even helped blow out the cake candles!

Then Ryder's head needed to be pet/scratched/patted.  He loved it apparently.

THAT is the most delicious cake my MIL made.  A work of art and tasted fabulous too!

Have a fantastic Monday afternoon!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Obsessions of the Week

A few favorites from the week--just fun things to share that I'm digging lately!

1.  Layering gold and silver necklaces.

2.  This song.  Beautiful.


3.  Steel Cut Oatmeal.
(top it with sliced apple, peanut butter, coconut oil, and raw honey)

4.   An organic, affordable, all-purpose cleaning mix.  OBSESSED!


6.   Her blog.  Their hearts.


8.   Planning a Messianic Seder Dinner.  A communion of tradition and holiness in preparation for Easter

9.  No, I'm not pregnant and yes, we are on the 9 year plan for kids...BUT as of late I am obsessed with the baby names Ada for a girl and Gideon for a boy.  There I said it!!!!


11.  This man.

12.  Thin mints.  It's Girl Scout Cookie season.

13.  Restoring health!  One year later and he is back on his bike!  We got both our bikes up and running Sunday afternoon and are looking forward to trail riding and trips around the neighborhood

14.  Spring coming.  This picture says it all-we are tired of snow, cold, and winter.

15.  This website.  An endless encouraging resource for women seeking faith.

What are your favorite things this week?  Think of gifts around you and what sends your heart pitter-pattering!  

Hope you're having a great end of your weekend.

I thank my God every time I remember you.   In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy...

Philippians 1:3-4

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day Pictures!

How was your Valentine's Day?  Did you have any exciting plans or just skip it?  We really value celebrating our marriage throughout the year, but this holiday of love doesn't hurt so we went with it!

 

I felt super loved:  the dreamy Ryan Decker had flowers delivered!   They were from my favorite florist; she makes the most creative arrangements with raw cotton and juniper mixed in with those soft pinks and whites.  Such a thoughtful and romantic surprise!

Ryan woke up these goodies (pictured right) on our breakfast bar.  Donuts and lingerie from another favorite storeWhat more could a husband want :)

My beautiful bouquet of flowers.  Thank you love!

I wore red pants to celebrate and be extra festive!  

Ryan worked all day and I was busy with work and school also but the celebrations picked back up in the evening!  I told him I would fix him his favorite meal-if he named it, I would make it.  

He picked nachos and apple dumplings.  

Ha!  I love my husband.

Our table for a romantic dinner

Wine and nachos?  Sounds like a perfect night and makes for a happy husband

A night of candles, wine, and flowers

Hope you have a wonderful rest of your week and weekend!  

Our weekend is looking full but all things we are anticipating!  Dinner with my parents Friday evening and then off to celebrate a friend's birthday with dessert.  Saturday I hope we relax AAALLLL day and then we're having friends over for dinner.  Sunday we get to go to church and then are getting together with the Decker fam.  Can't wait for a weekend of people, down time, and unhurried calm.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:5

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Have a great fake holiday full of hearts and candy!!  We are cheese-fest celebrating here and it's way too much fun :)  

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

1st Day of Lent: 40 Bags in 40 Days

  Clutter.

It's headed out for Lent.

Clutter in our house, clutter in my life, clutter in my heart.

What is Lent?

Ann Voskamp puts it beautifully, 

"Lent. It’s the preparing the heart for Easter.  Like going with Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, that we might come face to ugly face with our enemy.  Our sacrificing that we might become more like Christ in His sacrifice.

 Lent isn't about forfeiting as much as it's about formation.  We renounce to be reborn; we let go to become ‘little Christs’. It’s about this: We break away to become.” Still silence. I have one last swing. 

Don’t think of lent as about working your way to salvation. Think of it as working out your salvation.”

What a beautiful preparation for Easter-the most important day of the year

In the spirit of "less" this year, I'll be giving away a 40 bags of things in the next 40 days.  To put less hope in things and more hope in Him.  These days will be about breaking away from the hindrance and clutter in my life that blinds me from what should really capture my heart.

Lent 2013 will be a process of purging excess and creating space in my heart and life for Jesus.  It goes perfectly with what I happen to already be learning and it's a terrifying thrill to learn to give until it hurts.

Yes!  

This is the list of the physical places that will be getting purged over the next few weeks...

Would you join me in this crazy purging of things and making of heart-room?

What is happening in your life for Lent?  Have you ever recognized this season before or participated in it? 

 I would love to hear--40 Bags in 40 Days, we'll see what the Lord is up to!

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

John 1:10

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thankful Things This Week

Just a few gifts to share and record.

 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 

Colossians 2:6-7 

1097. Strawberries and molecule models

1098.  The vibrant color of butternut squash

1099.  How much Ed loves his Nala dog (that would be Nala's black head underneath Ed's bear hug of love!)

1100.  How Ryan fixed and replaced our garbage disposal for $18.  Stud!!!

1101.  Quiet mornings with raspberry leaf tea and the Gospel of John

1102.  Greeting Team and matching shirts for Red Rocks Church

1103.  Game nights and Ryan Decker pre-hair cut

1104.  That this much medicine is not a part of our reality anymore!!  This pile of pills was what 3 days worth of meds looked liked for Ryan just a few months ago.  He was taking 150+ pills and 8+ medications a week when he was most sick!

1105.  Sweet friends, old and new

1106.  Decaf coffee in bulk!
1107.  This recipe-recommend it to all vegetarians out there!
1108.  That this cleaning tip really works and saved our dishwasher from being replaced 
1109.  Week 8 coming up of memorization
1110.  Friends getting engaged!
1111.  Meeting Bowen
1112.  Confident, spirit-led new parents
1113.   Samples that get my husband excited at Costco
1114.  Afternoon lattes
1115.  How my husband lends a helping and generous hand wherever it is needed
1116.  Understanding Anatomy and enjoying the class
1117.  How intricately we are formed down to the tinies atom and molecule!
1118.  Filling out applications to Nursing Schools
1119.  Bowling league, work, and date night this week
1120.  Anticipating this holiday soon -the most meaningful of celebrations and my new favorite day of the year
1121. Setting goals together as husband and wife in all areas of our lives
1122.  The slow pace of a Sabbath      

Monday, February 11, 2013

Woo Your Husband For Valentine's Day

Two of my best friends and I chat on Facebook throughout the week just to say hi, pray for each other, and e-mail ridiculous things back and forth.  


Or wedding dress photos.  There is no sound reason why for that one.  We are all married--just nostalgic reasons?

Anyway, one particularly encouraging thought came up last week!  Wooing our studly, hunk of burning love husbands for V-Day. 

Yes, yes I hear you cynics out there.  It's a commercialized holiday meant to drive the consumerist force that will surely lead to our country's destruction and desmise.  Corruption by candy hearts and fat naked babies carrying weaponry.  Whatevs, I'm into it, man!

Try making them this rich, (healthy!), decadent dessert 
Fortunately for the dear ladies in my life and myself, our husbands woo us most of the year (minus those under the cover midnight farts or forgetting to flush the toliet...TMI.) so this day is just extra fun to pay them back for all that love.

One of my friends wrote her husband a love letter because they just had a new baby and didn't want her love to go unspoken that day.  Good idea!

My deep contemplations of this holiday have left me thinking I'll prepare Ryan's favorite dinner (nachos) and make these for dessert.  And wake him up to this on our kitchen bar.  I love the cheese factor!

I like the extra push to show the special someone in our life that we LOVE them, and I don't mind the romance in the air!  I vote to eat heart-shaped foods, and down chocolate like it's your job.

 Indulge in a fun mid-winter holiday!!   I know you can feel the peer pressure from here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Apple Striving For Justice

Sometimes when I read articles or reports about modern day slavery it's a pretty bum deal.  Mostly despair, and not much hope.  It's such an enormous problem and I've often asked myself:

 "What can REALLY be done?"

Well this post is a far cry from the hopelessness that often surround the issue of justice.  It's about a company taking individual steps to make great progress for justice.  Though I bet they are not a Christian company, they are accidentally showing off Micah 6:8 where God asks us to do justice and love kindness.

Check out this article.  Apple (big world influencer-praying others follow in their steps!!) has been making major strides in its Asian companies to eradicate chid labor, limit the work week to 60 hours, and provide fair wages.  That is the coolest thing I've read all week.  

Just some encouragement that ONE company can powerfully affect a person's life.  And your ONE life and everyday choices can too.

Cool stuff.

source unknown

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?


Micah 6:8

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dating By Faith at Missional Women

I'm over at Missional Women today chatting about action-based dating to God's glory.

"The Lord has created us FABULOUSLY, and at our core is an innate, though sometimes ignored, sense that anything worthwhile takes action.

Are you really believing that?  That dating will require steps of faith on your part?"
 
Read the rest by clicking here...
 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Homemade Taco Seasoning

When I can keep our grocery budget low and make the expensive extras myself, I surely will!  Lately on the homemade list has been: bread, vanilla extract, hummus, salad dressing and taco seasoning!

Let me share with you how I made it and then how you can put it to good use!!  


Homemade Taco Seasoning

Ingredients:
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano (didn't have it for this pic)
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper

Directions:
Mix in a jar or baggie and use whenever your heart tells you!

P.S.  Many mainstream taco seasoning brands include things like partially hydrogenated soybean oil, silicon dioxide, and ethoxyquin (that last one is a yucky food preservative AND pesticide.  ugh!!).   When you make it yourself you avoid those unneeded extras and skip poisoning your family.

So now that you know how to whip that up, here is the easiest dinner ever I adapted from Pinterest.  

Shredded CrockPot Salsa Chicken 


Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp homemade taco seasoning
1/2 jar of salsa


Directions:
Place chicken breasts into the ole crock.  Sprinkle 1 tbsp of taco seasoning on each (totaling 2 tbsp-- aren't you glad you have me for advanced math problems?).  Pour 1/2 jar of salsa on top of the chicken and cook on low for 6 hours.  Then shred the chicken with all that season-y, salsa-y goodness and it's ready!

  The original  recipe was implied for tacos but I was either too tired or too adventurous to go to the store...so we went the gluten free route.  We put the shredded chicken on rice and black beans, topped with sliced avocado, shredded cheese, and a dallop of plain greek yogurt. 

Yum!

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