This Abundant Life

This Abundant Life
"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." - John 10:10

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New "Wise Guy" Blog

I wanted to pass along the news about a new Blog that is sure to engage and challenge! The blogger is a man who loves the Lord, loves his wife, and loves his beautiful little triplets.

Dave is the husband of my friend Kyra. And, if Kyra is any reflection of Dave's character (and I believe she is) than I would have to say that Dave is a pretty freakin' awesome dude.

Enjoy the new "Wise Guy" Blog!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Okay, so I know it's not spring. But, I'm planning in advance and wanted some company.

I don't know if it's because there is a new baby coming or because I have to cringe when I look in the corners of my home, but I am DEFINITELY doing a spring cleaning this year. It's really been a LONG time. In fact, now that I'm thinking about it...I can honestly say, I'm not totally sure that I have EVER done a spring cleaning!

I can just see the the faces of my beloved friends now (Kelly, Mandy, Jenná...just to name a few). How did I wind up with such clean friends, anyway??

I think when things have gotten really bad, I just move...but with the economy as it is...I think I actually need to clean this time.

So, probably in March, I am going to be sending out a blog inviting anyone interested to join me in the your own homes, of course. I know, some of you do a mini-spring cleaning every month, so maybe this is more geared toward the rest of you.

I am going to assign the cleaning tasks over the span of a week and ask that everyone would check in to make sure I'm on schedule. More to come!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wonderful Blog Post about Making "Natural Living" an Idol

In response to a wonderful and refreshing POST by Passionate Homemaking.

It's such an encouragement to anyone who has also wrestled with these questions or anyone who has felt condemned by someone regarding these things. I have also pasted her words to the bottom of this post.

Like most people who find some interest in gaining a better understanding of "Natural Living", I have found myself, multiple times, at a cross roads where I think "What kind of person do I want to be?"

Do I want to be the kind of person with a "whole foods" agenda or a "non-toxic" agenda? When people think of me, do I want them to think that I'm that woman who's "into all that stuff"? Or, do I want people to remember me by my kindness and for my excitement for who God is?

These questions have helped me, greatly, in feeling more and more at rest with the decisions I do make concerning what I feed my family or which cleaning products I use. These kinds of decisions are irrelevant regarding the Lord's design for my life. And, THANK GOODNESS!!!

This doesn't mean I shouldn't enjoy the freedom to make these decisions and even share my interests (with selected friends). The Lord has blessed me with a home and family to enjoy and to care for.

The following was taken from the Passionate Homemaking Blog...

Please note: I want to express my heart from the outset of this post to assure my readers that these are musings that the Lord has been working in my heart lately, and I felt compelled to share them with you. I in no way desire to condemn anyone, but my motivation in sharing is to challenge us all to guard our hearts in this matter.

I recently encountered two stories that have challenged me in the motivation and out workings of my pursuit of natural living. The first account began with a friend desiring to throw a baby shower for an expectant mother in her church. This friend was expecting her first little one. The hostess simply wanted to bless and encourage this new mother in her pursuit. When she asked for gift ideas, the new mother stated that she only wanted organic baby clothing, wooden natural toys, organic cloth diapers, and the like. Half of the guests could not afford these products. One lady missed the memo and came with a few plastic toys.

How do you think this made her hostess and guests feel?

The second account took place when I heard a couple share that they had not been tithing for several months. They couldn’t afford it. I knew firsthand that this family ate all organic, healthy and natural foods. This could not be sacrificed.

What is more important?

I have had conversations with friends or family members on various occasions when I tried to persuade them of the health consequences or benefits of a certain product. What has resulted? Relationships have been hurt. I have left others feeling condemned or inadequate. Or at a shared meal gathering, when another mom instructs her son not to eat that food item because “it’s not food”, relationships are damaged because we exalt food over fellowship.

Do I consider myself superior to others because we have adopted a more natural lifestyle?

In the past I have skimped on hospitality because I did not want to spend the money to buy good quality food for my guests or when bringing a meal to another. I made the excuse that I couldn’t afford it. In all honesty, I wanted to keep the best of our budget for my family. This is not true generosity. True generosity takes place when I joyfully give the best that I can following the Scriptural command to do unto others as you would have them do to you (Matt. 7:12).

Where is my heart?

The apostle John’s last words in 1 John are, “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts (1 John 5:21).” These last words are significant…He wants them to be remembered.

How often do I turn a good thing into a god thing?

As Tim Keller states in Counterfeit Gods, “Most people know you can make a god out of money. Most people know you can make a god out of sex. However, anything in life can serve as an idol, a God-alternative, a counterfeit god…What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.”

Natural living can become an idol when we willingly give our emotional and financial resources to achieve it.
Natural living can become an idol when we think that it can give us significance, security, safety and fulfillment.
Natural living can become an idol when we hoard the benefits and not freely offer it to others.

What is my motivation for eating healthy and living naturally? Because I have desired to be a good steward of creation and for the health and wholeness of our family.

Can preserving the safety of my family become an idol in my life? Yes!

When I give my money first towards the purchase of good healthy food prior to giving it back to the Lord in my worship of tithe, natural living has gone too far. When I am more concerned about the safety of my family to the extent that I sacrifice relationships, the service of my brothers and sisters, than natural living has become an idol.

Eating healthy will not guarantee my family a more peaceful longer life. It will not add a single day to my life than God has already determined. Only God knows the number of my days. (Psalms 139:16) He calls me to be faithful to care for my physical body, and this includes being wise in what I put into my body, knowing that it will affect my ability to serve the Lord; but when I raise that to a god-level, it is no longer a good thing. My security must only be found in Christ. He controls my family’s health and wellness.

Eating healthy and living naturally does not make me any more honorable in God’s eyes than any other. We are all in equal standing before Him.

Our first fruit of income should always go to tithe and not food. (Lev. 23:10; Numbers 28:26). Where your money is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:19-21) If I put more money towards my health and wholeness before God and giving unto others, than that is where my treasure lies. It will burn up at the end.

Unity in the body is more important than the safety of our family. (Rom. 14:1-3; Psalms 133)

God calls me to be generous, not to hoard the good stuff for myself. Am I only concerned about my health and not the well-being of my friends, family, and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? God loves a cheerful giver. I am challenged to serve the best to my guests as I possibly can. The more you give the less hold it has on your heart. (2 Cor. 8:9)

I have seen and confess to these evidences of idolatry in my heart. Am I implying that organic food, clothing, or wooden toys are bad? In no way. It is a matter of the heart. What is my motivation? Is that a God-glorifying motivation? My challenge to you all…let’s not raise being a good steward to a god position. Let’s not make others feel guilty, discouraged, or overwhelmed because they cannot afford the natural lifestyle or only in part. It’s about relationships. Let’s keep God first, love one another, and pursue giving generously to one another as we are able. Jesus commanded in Luke 10:27 states, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” I hope you understand my heart in communicating this message. There is no condemnation here. This is just a challenge to go further up and further in in our pursuit of Christ Jesus with me.

“Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them.” - Romans 14:1-3

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wanna Hear something REALLY COOL...

Okay, so after I wrote my last POST, I left the house and went to Walmart (yes, I AM a Walmart shopper). When I got home I had received an email confirming an order for one beautiful new MOBY WRAP, on its way to my house!!!!

My wonderful friend and (lucky me) sister-in-law, Jenná, wanted to buy it for me. So, she did!

I am totally shocked and completely ecstatic! And, I have realized a few VERY important things...

  1. Jenná is VERY interested in the "favorite Aunt" position.
  2. Rather than trying to find things USED, a much better way to get stuff is to have people BUY THEM FOR YOU!!!
So, any following posts will start like this..."Who wants to buy me (fill in the blank)..."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Moby Baby Wrap

Here's the fun part about getting ready for a new baby...the STUFF!

Now, I'll be the first to don't need a ton of STUFF...and most of us moms have way more than we should have actually purchased (either because we didn't know any better, or because we just couldn't help ourselves). And, actually, with this second baby...I have never been more motivated to spend as little money as necessary, while still getting some of the things I think will make life more enjoyable and convenient.

Anyway, I LOVE my New Native Baby Sling for the little baby. It's so easy to put on put baby in. I even still use it if I'm running in and out of a place and don't want to feel the whole weight of a giant Gwendolyn.
I LOVE my ERGO for the bigger baby and for daddy-use and any time we need to be active. It's awesome. I miss using it now that I'm pregnant and more aware (with strong reprimanding from my trusted Chiropractor) that I really do need to let the stroller bear the burden of a 25lb squirmer.
I am so blessed to have so many wonderful things...and, I'm now very interested in locating a used MOBY WRAP. This is one of those things that has a really great rep for being very lightweight and easy to move around with, with an to do dishes or play with a 2 year old! I would like to spend $15 or $20. Does anyone know of anyone who is finished with theirs or who never really used theirs and wants to recover some of their investment? I haven't found one on my Craigslist, yet.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A New Baby

Well, I'm a little over 12 weeks pregnant and I got an email from my Beautiful, blond sister-in-law asking me if I was going to be sending out pregnancy updates.

I had wanted to (because I'm a sucker for documentation) but I've been using all my energy to "survive" right now. But, I figured, why the heck not...the more trying times should always be written down so that you can look back and be thankful that you are no longer in the midst of them!

So, Laura, this is for you...and for ME...and for anyone else who cares...

I had always wondered why moms who were expecting a child other than their first, frequently seemed to have their other children in their pregnancy updates or pictures...or why there were all those pics of big bellies and little kids kissing them.

Well, now I know...

Although I know I will love all my children the same and am very excited about meeting this next one, the simple fact remains, the baby I carry in my belly can not yet compare to the one I carry in my arms. She is my one and only and, although time without the Gwendolyn is always welcome : ), there will never be a picture taken without her that I will consider "complete".

As for how my pregnancy is going...It's hard. I'm sick of being sick. Right now I would give anything to be getting all fat...instead of eating b/c I'm scared that not eating will make me sicker. I'm disappointed because I was definitely better by this time with my first.

But, I was in Walgreens the other day and I looked around me and saw so many people who appeared to have so much less than I do. I was saddened by the very long pharmacy line, filled with many people who probably suffer from difficult ailments each and every day. It's good to be healthy and it's good to be reminded that my health is a gift from God, as all things are, and it is not to be considered a privilege or a right...but a blessing.

With that being said..."LORD, please make me better, NOW!"

Friday, January 01, 2010

Precious Little Helper

In true first-born form, our little Gwendolyn is always anxious to "help" her Mommy and Daddy...whether we are looking for help, or not.

As any mom knows, the "helping" from a 15-month old inevitably results in extended clean-up time for mommy.

But, the other day I had such a fun experience.

When I opened the dishwasher to empty it, she scurried as fast as she could to get her hands on the silverware, just like she always does.

But, this time I said, "Give it to Mommy, Gwendolyn"...and she DID, piece after piece, as I put them in the draw!

Such a fun little memory for me. And, she knew that she was really helping.

And, Gwendolyn is always ready to praise herself, as you can see from the last photo.