Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two minute thoughts on Grace....


A rebirth or revival. 

I think we all need these at one time or another in our lives. A new start. Second chance.  I believe these are accomplished primarily through grace.  What's that mean exactly?

"We watched the skater glide gracefully across the pond." 

No, not that kind of grace.  Although I envy that...I have so little of it in my bones. 

Grace: A favor rendered by one who need not do so.  

Maybe that's you or me or God.  Perhaps it's all of us, meshing together, holding out love and compassion and forgiveness...newness...into the bloody beaten angry past.  Taking all the power out of what has been and giving it to what's to come.  

Renaissance.  Yes please.


*A fitting song.  It is old school Mat Kearney...slightly reminding me of Eminem.  But with much better lyrics.  Enjoy.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

MY Food Revolution.

I start today's post humbly.  Ever heard the saying, "I don't even know how much I don't know" ?  Or better stated:

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.  -Confucius

Yep, that's me today.

But we all must start somewhere, yes?

So here it is, my Food Revolution for my family...beginning with the Goal Statement:

-We are going to eat REAL FOOD.


Too simple, right?  It's anything but.   If I have learned anything over these past months of research, it's the truth that finding real food in today's world of convenience food, fast food, and diet food, is a huge...well, pain. What exactly is real food and why is it so hard to find?  I think I addressed the last part of that question yesterday- because it has been manufactured right off our grocery store shelves.  But for the first part, the answer might be a little different for everyone, so I am going to share what I have decided it means to our family.  To us:

Real Food means meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains, and snacks that are as unprocessed as possible, free of preservatives, unnatural additives, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, and chemicals...if I buy something in a box, can or bag at the store, I want to be able to know the ingredients inside. 


I honestly just got overwhelmed at the end of typing the above.  I feel lost right now.

Whenever I have this feeling, I ask myself again why eating organic matters?  This is where I share my reservations and the deep stuff on my heart...

It seems perhaps a trivial thing to me to be so concerned about our food supply, especially when so much of the world is starving.  Is it elitist of me to demand the very best for my own family?  Or should I just be grateful to have complete access to food?   These questions might seem strange to some, but if you know me, you know these questions concern me greatly.

I am also a frugal person.  I rarely pay full price for anything and I am not a brand snob...I will pick whatever is on sale as long as quality is comparable.  I have never purchased many processed foods for our family...I honestly can't remember ever buying a box of poptarts for my girls.  You may start chucking your rocks at me now, if good mothering is weighed by the amount of sugary Breakfast things we buy for our's okay, I get it.  My mom fed me Whole Wheat Total for breakfast, and I despised the stuff back then...and my mom just a little too.  American children seem to be born with an entitlement attitude towards sugar, yes? 

Back to task.

We all know organic products are more expensive, and honestly, until I did my recent research, I thought the organic branding was hogwash, employed to cause rich people spend more on everyday items...because they could.  I thought organic was all smoke and mirrors.

There it is, folks, my ignorance and shame.  Forgive me please.  I have learned differently.

My answers to my heart-ponderings are pretty simple.

Firstly, my family does deserve the very best I can give them.  If I am not going to give my best time, effort, and resources to them first, then what does the rest matter?  As Mother Teresa said so well

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”

Secondly, as to the expense factor of real food eating...I can only say I will find ways to make it work within our own food budget...


I believe the positive health benefits will far outweigh, in cost, the investment. 

There's the Goal Statement.  What about the specifics?  The 5 part Bullet plan which holds it all together?

Still working on that one.  I have become a ravenous researcher, avid label ingredient reader...and I even managed to hold back my tears in Wal-Mart last night when I flipped over the lovely dark brown gallon of Blue Bell Buttered Pecan Ice Cream and saw high fructose corn syrup as the third ingredient.  Sigh.

I love to cook however, and am looking forward to making many things from scratch. I am ambitious...and naive...enough to say I want to make our bread, peanut butter, and cheese myself, from scratch. 

Yes, you read that right.  Cheese

I could be crazy.  But it honestly seems so much simpler than the food war I wage now.  Hint: Most moms carry a lot of guilt over what we feed our families.  Do we prepare healthy meals, enduring glares and judgements from kids who just want we cave and purchase oreos doughnuts Fruit loops cereal bars chips pretzels soda pop...knowing these items aren't good for our children, but also realizing their peers at school bring these unhealthy non-foods to school every single we cave a little.  Sometimes a lot. 

Bold statement: I am done playing Guilt-Ridden Mom in the Food "Stage Play of Life" in which the Food Industry manufacturers wage sugar, sodium and chemical war on my family.  

I am done. I am out.

I have friends already holding ground in this quest for real food, two are Melissa Arthur and Brandon Mouser.  I have already learned from them and will continue to look to them for guidance and wisdom in the future. Barbara Kingsolver's incredible book, Animal Vegetable Miracle, spoke to my heart also.  She is one of my favorite authors and her family's brave and humble declaration to end the food industry's management over their lives is endlessly inspiring to me. 

And finally, my husband.  While I was mostly tuning out his rants against the government and the food industry a year ago...forgive me, dear...he made a quiet stand against high fructose corn syrup.  Asked if the girls and I would do the same.  We complied and cut soft drinks from our diet.  Thus began the journey...

Thank you husband.  I know you requested our soda ban to protect our health.

Let the Food Revolution begin...


Monday, July 16, 2012

Food, glorious food.

When I was nine, I auditioned and earned a spot with the Roanoke College Children's Choir.  The early days were sweet, we did a Christmas concert all in German, an original Fairy Tale musical entitled, The Queen Bee, in which I was a duck, resplendent in purple gingham bonnet and apron with very yellow tights...maybe that's where my color yellow love started...but the first song I learned during my earliest professional Choir experience was from Oliver Twist.  I only recall two lines.

"Food Glorious Food!  Hot Sausage and Mustard!"

Does sound glorious, doesn't it?  Can't you hear poor, starving young Oliver's longing for nourishing food?  I can.

Warning, bold statement coming...

Here in America, as the most overfed and indulged nation on Earth, we are starving too.

Seems a contradictory notion, yes?

I've been doing research the past several months...

Sure, we have Food, Glorious Food and lots of it...packaged, processed, modified, enriched, and stuffed full of chemicals.  Sugar-fied.  But not really.  It has a taste like sugar but it's not quite that.


Somewhere out in the endless corn fields of Illinois there's an ear of corn saying,

"Look, I can do a great impression of sugar cane!"

And high fructose corn syrup was born. I dare you to find a loaf of bread in your supermarket which doesn't contain the stuff unless you proactively seek it out.

Most of the food we consume here in the US can be categorized as non-food.  Our crackers, chips, poptarts, cold cereals, soft drinks...all those "low-fat" and sugar-free alternatives...are mostly just chemicals, white flour and sugar.  So much sugar in fact, most Americans consume around seventeen four-pound bags of sugar per person every year.*

During the French Revolution, the infamous "cake" Marie Antoinette wanted the starving masses to consume wasn't gonna keep them alive...and it isn't going to nourish us either.

Adding to our fake food problem is the issue of meat and potatoes. Three fourths of all the antibiotics consumed in America are stuffed into our feed-lot cows, in a pitiful attempt to keep the beasts healthy enough to pass the very low FDA inspections.  Why must antibiotics be used?  Because the cows' lovely and nourishing grasses...and fields...were taken away and replaced with modified corn feed and overcrowded, dirt feed lots, so we could get as much meat for the money as possible, regardless of the condition of the "meat".  This new way of cow life exposes our cows to malnourishment and unlivable, disease-ridden conditions.

Did you catch that?  Three fourths of all antibiotics consumed in this country go into our cows...BEFORE WE EAT THEM.  

Do we believe we are what we eat...eats?  We do in the case of breast-feeding mothers.  They must watch their diets very carefully, yes?  All the nasty things going into our food before it becomes our food doesn't just magically Poof  away when we pluck it from the grocery shelf.  Into our carts. Down in our stomachs. 

But we delude ourselves into thinking so, don't we?  I know I do.

Small, family-owned farms in this country are walking away from their an average of 300 per week.  It's a sad statistic, yes, but why does it matter?

Because we are giving our fields over to government control, called industrial farming. Regardless of how one feels about big government, we can agree the government doesn't grow very good crops...the largest cash crop these days is modified, non-edible corn which becomes gasoline and high fructose corn syrup.  I will post a great and informative website at the end of this post, which explains this controversial subject much better than I can.

This is weighty stuff...infuriating, confusing, saddening.  For me it all boils down to a simple question:

What's a mother to do?

Specifically, what am I going to do with this information when it comes to feeding my family?

A simple question with complex parts.  But an easy answer.

We need a Food Revolution.



I will share the war strategy...tomorrow.  Stay tuned.  I'm pretty stoked about this one.

Peace dear readers. 

-Great website discussing the Farm Condition:

*Statistic cited from:


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Doing all the wrong things with what we don't understand or agree with.

I was going to write about something else this morning, but my mind can't seem to get away from a few topics being discussed on facebook.

It started with this yesterday afternoon:

Go ahead and read the fine's too deliciously awful to skim over.

Did you just say WOW with me?  I find myself uttering it and shaking my head...smdh, in fb-speak, ...every time my eyes get pulled back to it.

(My friend, Brandon Mouser, posted it from another friend's page...he's been sHISdh over it too.)

Then, this morning, my favorite fiction author in the entire universe...Mr Ted Dekker...threw down the following:

"We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another." -Jonathan Swift. It's a complicated, this thing we call "religion". But do you agree? If so, LIKE.


Finally...or not...because it seems to be one of those facebook days...Brandon Mouser wrote a thoughtful sharp important blog, entitled Lifeway, The Blind Side, and Narcissistic 'Pastors'.  If you follow me on facebook, you might have seen me re-post it this morning.  It is a blog addressed to Lifeway Christian Stores, over a recent issue.  You should go read it in its entirety, but I am going to post part of it here:

"Dear LifeWay,
The power of social media directed me to a story on The Christian Post about a decision you recently made to stop selling a movie called The Blind Side; a movie that you have sold in your establishment since its retail release in 2010 with no consumer complaints. That is, until Pastor Rodney L. Baker of Hopeful Baptist Church decided to petition the Southern Baptist Convention to get you to pull The Blind Side from your shelves because of the movie depicts a certain level of reality that he, apparently, just isn’t comfortable with, or because it depicts a reality that just isn’t Christian enough for his tastes.
And I get it. People using rough language, drinking, guns, gangs, drugs, poor folk, homeless folk, KFC, interracial families (by adoption), etc is definitely not a reality to which real Christians need be subjected. It’s much safer for real Christians to stay cocooned in their white, suburban, gated communities, far away from the sin and depravity of ‘those people’ on the ‘other side of the tracks’. God forbid a real Christian actually encounter this alternative reality… then they might actually have to take Jesus’ teachings seriously!"

Double wow!  Brandon, my friend, you get a standing ovation from me for those steppin on my toes, uncomfortably honest words.  

Truth:  I am all angry turmoil confusion inside right now. 

I think all of the above sums up to a sentiment held by a man I admire, one who has clearly seen how Christianity...and "Christians"...are viewed by the rest of the world.  That would be Mr Carl Medearis, former missionary to Beirut, author of several books, including Tea with Hezbollah, Sitting at the Enemies' Table...well, he's got more informal and formal titles than I could name...and he was once offered his own television show on Al Jazeera, to have the opportunity to share his faith daily.  

He paraphrase of what I've heard him say many times before:

I don't like to call myself a "Christian".  Not at all. I call myself a "Christ follower".  

Oh how I agree.  I even cringe a little these days at the word "Christian".

Not that I don't love Jesus.  Or hold my faith as immeasurably precious and dear.  I do.  But as Ghandi said so well, or perhaps it was Ann Rice...who knows with misquoted quotes these days:

"I like your Christ.  I do not like your Christians.  They are so unlike your Christ."

Boom. Ouch. 

When did our religion of love get hijacked by hate?

(I bet there are Muslims across the world wondering the same thing about their own religion right now.)

And I also would wager to guess I just lost a lot of you on that last sentence.  I am sorry to see you go, but I know the price one pays for having an opinion which contradicts the status quo, and I believe there are Muslims out there who don't actually hate you or me. 

The "religion" of Christianity was founded on's our whole unique deal which sets us apart from all the other religions of the world...

crazy irrational complete and all encompassing sacrificial love to the point of absolute death, love that gives all without expecting demanding brokering for anything in return...perfect love which does not demand its own way, but allows for complete acceptance or refusal of love's offer.  

Raise your hand if you have lived that way today.

Me either.

But that's the reality Christ's love calls us to...the true message of the religion of Christianity. 

Not hating avoiding belittling marginalizing judging mistreating ...afraid we are going to get sullied by the "World" if we interact with those heathen people that are going to Hell.  

Maybe I am making it too simple.  Perhaps it is foolish of me to believe Christ has full capability to deal with the sins of others...just as He deals with mine every single day...without my interference.   

When are we Christians going to stop making everything into an "Us against Them" mentality, with them being all those people out there who don't have the same faith as us.  Because I am pretty sure the only reason I am in the "us" category is because I made a choice.  Yes?

It is the same choice we Christians seem to hold out as our weapon of choice when breaking down the ranks of people in this world.  

The choice Christ died for to give us in the first place.

"For God so LOVED the world that He GAVE his only Son..."

Love freely lavishly given.  When will we learn this lesson?

I have a friend whose ex-wife once made this statement years ago:

"I never asked Jesus to die for me."

At the time I heard this, I thought it was the most horrible awful blasphemous words ever to be uttered.  I was very surprised God didn't strike her dead right on the me, I waited for it.  But there was no clap of thunder from the heavens, no displeasing voice damning her to Hell.

Because Christ's love is not a forced thing.  It is arms wide open waiting.  Just waiting.

Our love, human small conditional cannot truly fathom a love given fully and absolutely with no guarantee of love in return.  Love which continues to give its all even when we spit in its eye.

I truly believe the best course of action for Christ followers...take your word "Christian" with all its judging hatred and go away to love.

My prayer:  God, uncocoon me and show me how to love.


Always love wins.

(Even if one doesn't agree with the way Rob Bell explained it.)

Peace dear readers.