A New Recipe (accidentally)

I baked some whole wheat bread from scratch today.  (This happens very rarely so don’t go getting these far-fetched super awesome homemaker ideas about me.)  On these rare occasions that I bake bread, I love it.  The house smells so good.  The process is fun.  I like knowing all the ingredients that I’m eating.  And the bread is just so pretty.  I wonder why I don’t do it all the time, and then I remember, oh yeah, it takes like 3 hours.  Anyway, once the bread is cooled, all I want is a sandwich.  This entire day I’ve anticipated having my moment with my sandwich, an egg salad sandwich to be exact.  My regular egg salad recipe is very simple…hard-boiled eggs, a small spoonful of light mayo, a teensy sprinkle of Lawry’s season salt, and a few cranks of fresh black pepper.  It really is tasty; even our kids like it.  So tonight I am on my way to my moment only to discover we are completely out of mayonnaise. I’m not sure this has ever happened before in the history of my life and of course, it had to be tonight.  I did a quick scan of our groceries, looking for something creamy…hmm, salad dressing, eww (translation: eww: pronounced “ooo” meaning gross) ; milk, super eww; avocado, interesting.  Out came the food processor, in went 2 hard boiled eggs, 1/2 an avocado, the same sprinkles of salt and pepper.  And the result?  Super delicious egg salad.  This accidental success = permanent Bryant menu staple.  It is creamy, tasty, fresh, healthy, and the perfect complement to my bread.

True confession: I’m eating round 2 as I type.

Fasting

Fasting seems to be such a hot topic these days.   I just did a little google search on “fasting” and got 9,170,000 hits in .3 seconds.   People are going nuts over fasting to cleanse, detox, diet, pray, etc. and I’ve felt like I’m totally left behind.   I’ve heard of fasting before in the Bible.  Even Jesus fasted and prayed as part of His spiritual life.  It’s kind of an intriguing thing to me but I must admit that I’ve never really understood it.  As I’ve read my Bible and come upon a passage involving a fast, my mind usually thinks, “I just love food way too much to do that.  And besides, I get crabby when I’m hungry.” So I had literally never tried to do it in my personal, spiritual life.

Recently, I read Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.  In the book, she journals her experiences as she “fasts” from 7 areas of excess in her life.  I thought it was a fascinating book which challenged me in good ways.  I don’t feel motivated to live as extremely as she did but the book did motivate me to further explore this idea of fasting.  It was the first time I thought of fasting in connection with things other than food.   If I had to define “fast” now, I would say it is intentionally denying yourself to make more room for God.  It is physically living more simply in whatever area you choose to invite in more spirituality.  Simply said, it thaws the ice off our souls.

So I’ve started small with certain fasts one by one… a break from Starbucks, a break from sweets, a break from spending, etc.  The most poignant fast for me so far began before Christmas.  It produced such a “thaw” in my soul that I had to share my experience with you.  The opportunity for a part-time job came up and I really wanted to pray thoroughly about it. But I thought, when am I going to pray about this?  It’s Christmas, our schedule is bursting at the seams!  So I decided to fast from all things about my smart phone except for phone calls and urgent texts.  I still nurse our baby about 3 times a day and usually, I use my phone to look at Pinterest or play games during that time.  Fasting from my phone would provide the perfect opportunity for prayer 3 times a day.  At first, it was really hard (I know I’m pitiful!).  My mind wandered, bouncing back and forth between praying and thinking.  But slowly, the thaw came.  I began praying more consistently, less distractedly.  I began to look forward to this time to pray and be with God. I felt both rested and rejuvenated by these consistent times of prayer because of the fast. Many things began stirring in my soul and I prayed about much more than the job opportunity.  I not only gained great time with God but also realized the way I was wasting my days.  This fast really did make more room for God in my soul.  It felt like clearing out clutter.  And by the time my interview came, I felt completely prepared and directed by God about what He wanted for our family.

What would it look like in your life to fast?  I’d love to hear from you.

A Simple Way to Study your Bible

I know that studying my Bible can sometimes overwhelm me.  If I don’t have a plan or a method, I fumble around or read lazily without much comprehension.  And I have a sneaky feeling that I am not the only one.

So I’m going to share my simple way of studying the Bible.   I really enjoy God’s presence as I meet Him this way.  It is nothing profound but more a way to converse with God through His Word.  I write in a journal as I do this but you could also just read aloud or to yourself in prayer.   Psalms is one of my favorite books of the Bible and I enjoy beginning my time with the Lord by reading a Psalm.  So for today’s example, we’ll use Psalm 4.   For clarification in my journal, I write Scripture in cursive and my thoughts in print.  In this post, Scripture will be bold and my thoughts will be regular.

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! O Lord, thank you for hearing and answering me.  I am all unrighteousness.  You are all the righteousness I have.  You have given me relief when I was in distress. Yes Lord, thank you!  Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!  

O men, how long shall My honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?  Father, I know I have loved flattery and vain words.  I know I believe the lies and offers of this world.  Forgive me.  Thank you for your forgiveness.  Give me an appetite for truth and truth alone.    But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for Himself; the LORD hears when I call to Him. Lord, thank you for being merciful and hearing me when I call to You.  Set apart my entire family line for You.  Father, claim every head for your Kingdom and let us be light for You in this world.

Be angry and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. O Lord, I need your help with this one.  Give me wisdom to be quiet, introspective, thoughtful instead of rash and judgemental.  Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD. Yes Lord, may my offerings to you be true, right, whole-hearted.  You are trustworthy.

There are many who say, ‘Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!’ Father, may I not be one who just wants you to show me good.  You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.  Thank you for giving joy that is more full than what any worldly thing can give.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep ; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. In your presence is peace, my God.  When I lie awake at night, anxious, remind me of the safety I have in being close to You. Thank you for being my refuge.

I hope you enjoy some time with God today.  As a wise lady once told me, “Above all else, stay close to Jesus.”

Word of the Year

Disclaimer: I’m totally stealing this idea from my friend over at Morning Glories.  I read her post about having a theme word for the year and it got me thinking, “what would my word for the year be?”  After pondering and discussing with my hubby, there was only one word that came to my mind…TRUE.  Here’s why…

1.  God is TRUE.  There is not even a shadow of turning in Him. He is totally, undeniably reliable.  My foundation on Him is solid, only because He is solid.

2. It is TRUE that I am His daughter.  I am very thankful for the security found in being His.

3. Over the last few months, God has reminded me about who I am in Him.  In some areas, I had forgotten the unique ways that God designed me and began acting as someone different.  Thankfully, God stopped me in that weirdness and brought me back to truth.  This year, I desire to make choices that are TRUE to my unique design in Christ.

4. More than any other virtue, I want truth to reign in our home.  “Finally, brothers, whatever is TRUE, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8  How I long to live this and teach our children to do the same.

Happy New Year to all of you precious friends. What word would you choose for  your year?