Merciful Days: What to do about Halloween

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Halloween

Halloween.  Nothing holds greater power to make good friends bitter enemies than Halloween.

It’s a clear-cut issue.  Halloween is the funnest day of the yeartotally evildress-up funof the deviltime to be sillytime to be vigilantcandy heaventooth decayfun for the whole familythe devil’s playgroundclassic American culture… a horrible dark thinga great way to build community with your neighborhoodan opportunity to stand against darknessthe best holiday of the yearthe most evil day of the year… not clear-cut.

I was born and raised in a country where Halloween was not part of the culture.  At some point it became a cultural import but most people, especially Christian people, did not embrace it.  Now I live in West-coast America where Halloween is as culturally prized as apple pie and Fourth of July!  It was a big shock when I first moved here, to see really wonderful godly people decorating their homes and encouraging their kids to dress up.  I didn’t understand why Christians would be involved with such a dark-themed holiday.  And then, as youth pastors, we had to work out what to do for our community of teens and families who demanded a safe and positive October 31st event.  It pushed me to have to pray…

What is a Christian supposed to do?!  What does God say about Halloween??  [Continue...]

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Merciful Days: Still doing the church thing?

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Still doing the church thing

So, after all these years, you’re still doing the church thing?

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I live with a man.  We share a bathroom sink, two kids, and a whole bunch of household chores.  I am here every day.  With him.  And the life we share.

I love to look into his eyes.  I love how his hand wraps around mine.  I love sharing life with him.  Even all the tired, boring, mundane parts.  We lean together to dream.  We lean together to make ends meet.  We lean together and face the odds.  And it is bliss.

He is good.  He is kind and generous.  He gives and loves and invests.  He is handsome and strong.  He is brilliant.  He is a natural engineer in every setting.  He finds answers when no when else has.  He fixes what no one else can.  He brings peace and stability and strength where ever he goes.  He is fun and funny.  He amazes me every day.

Life with him… in our rental apartment… with the heat at a bare minimum… and big dreams in our hearts… is glorious.

[Continue...]

Merciful Days: Inspection Fear

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Inspection Fear

Heat-herding curtains hanging in the stair-well. Electric blanket on the bed. Drawers of summer clothes half-way traded for tubs of winter ones.  Outdoor play pieces and summer toys piled in the garage.  It’s Fall.  Suddenly.  Sadly. Unusually early.  The cold, rainy season is here.  And amidst all these season-change-over activities, I regretfully felt inspired to clean off a bookshelf and contemplate every book we own.  This resulted in piles upon piles of books waiting for new spots on our shelves.  (Or a trip to Half-Price Books if I can get my heart to admit that I’ve been treating books like they are family members.)

It was a mess.  An unending loop of uncompleted tasks. Daunting tasks that are great excuses for not completing other ones.  Like bathroom cleaning. Bed-linen washing. Meal planning. Homework supervising. Blog writing.

I haven’t quite got the hang of having a kid in school.  And our home is showing the fruit of my inadequacies. Our home looks like my heart and mind does.  Disorganized. Unraveling. Cluttered. In-process.

On Wednesday night I found out our landlord was coming to do an annual property inspection on Friday. [Continue...]

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Merciful Days: What I Need

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Neh 8v10Dinner time battle with the almost-3-yr-old. Him: “My body doesn’t need food.” Me: “Your body DOES need food to be strong and healthy.” Him: “Nope. My body needs toys.”

Yep.  Almost-three is a glorious age.  He makes me laugh.  And he makes me think. His funny commentary on life makes me think about important things.  Like whether I, too, prefer toys over food.

I mean, let’s be real.  I face this decision between toys and food in a hundred ways every day.

Something that will sustain me vs. Something that will be fun. What’s good for me vs. What’s exciting for me. Making medical bill phone calls vs. Having coffee with a friend. Beans and rice vs. Thai takeout. Nourishment vs. Entertainment. Essentials vs. Luxuries. Needs vs. Wants.

Please.  I want the fun choice every time.  Except I usually don’t choose fun because I’m responsible… or something. [Continue...]

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Merciful Days: Favorite Things: Amazon

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Fav ThingsHuge fan of Dave Ramsey and FPU… but sometimes this gazelle gets tired.  And so, I love finding budget boosters that give us free treats and cost savings.

We have Amazon Prime membership for my husband’s work.  He needs to two-day-ship things regularly.

Bonus: I get to use it too. 

[Continue...]

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Merciful Days: Beautiful Words

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Ps 119v103“Your test results are really good.” My doctor smiled.

Oh what words!

I am one year and five months into a medical treatment that is projected to last for three to five years.  It feels like each day of the past one year and five months has been giant.  It’s been a fight.  One step forward and two steps back.  Battling an illusive monster.  It’s been quite a year… and five months.

My doctor is the only human who really knows what my past one year and five months has been like.  She has become very precious to me.  I long to see her.  She is my coach.  My trainer in this long race.  My cheerleader.  My advocate.  She knows my enemy.  She knows my story.  She knows how far I’ve come.  She is in the valley with me.  I have come to love her.

Her smiling words were so full.  Full of understanding and celebration. I have been so desperate to hear words like this.

Her words mean so much because she knows so much about me.  Her words carry more weight than any others.  Her words give me strength, joy, energy, focus, hope.

I’m thinking about my true Coach. Trainer. Cheerleader. Advocate. Guide. Mentor. Savior. Father. Shepherd. Hope.

[Continue...]

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Merciful Days: GF DF Blueberry Waffles

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Blueberry Waffles2My husband’s family has an incredible breakfast repertoire.  Grandpa was a baker. Dad was a baker.  And my husband has their genes.  One of his all time favorite family recipes is Grandpa’s Cornmeal Waffles.  They are incredible.  And full of gluten and dairy.  We have been working on modification experiments for months.  So happy to have a tried and true recipe base!!  It is the perfect host for all kinds of mix-ins and flavor variations.  Go wild with your favorite flavors.  Our favorites have been blueberry & lemon and pumpkin with pie spices.

Blueberry Waffles
Modified from Grandpa’s Cornmeal Waffles
Gluten-Free | Dairy-Free | Sugar-Free

[Full recipe...]

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