Tea Cup

Every morning, I drink a cup of tea.  Right now, decaf green is my first choice, but I’ve gone through phases of rooibos, decaf earl gray and even licorice spice.

I fill a mug with water and pop it in the microwave for 1 minute and 45 seconds.  Every day.  I take it out, plop the tea bag in and settle on the couch with my computer to catch up on Facebook and sip my tea.  And when I’m done, I take the cup back to the kitchen and set it by the sink.  Sometimes, I take the tea bag out of the cup and give it a rinse, but if I’m in a hurry, I skip this step.

If I don’t take a moment to rinse out that cup, the residual tea leaves a brown stain, one that can’t be removed with just a quick rinse, or even dish soap.  However, if I take a few moments to rinse the cup, there is just the slightest evidence of tea.

You all probably know by now that I like my metaphors.  And this cup of tea, no doubt, is a metaphor.

We are that cup of tea.  God is the rinse.  Of course, Jesus removes our “stain” when we accept his gift of salvation.  But over time, the struggles and stresses of life build up a different kind of stain – one that occurs from not daily going to the Lord for renewal.

When my tea cup gets stained, I take some extra time to sprinkle baking soda in it and gently, yet firmly scrub it out.  Prayer is the baking soda, God is the scrub brush.
Potentially an uncomfortable situation, but the world is better and brighter after we undergo this.

But there is an alternative.  We can take time daily to “rinse”.  Go to God.

Recognize his sovereignty and give him praise.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:9-10) 

Ask for help for that day.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matt 6:11)

Ask forgiveness.

“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” (Matt 6:12)

Ask for strength for the day, and protection from the Enemy.

“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matt 6:13)

And then take a moment to let the Lord respond, to fill you with peace and joy, byproducts of His presence in your life.

“Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10a)

We have the choice – we can keep our tea cups clean, or let the stain build up.  How is your tea cup looking?

Blessings,

Beth

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Which Voice?

So many voices compete for our attention.  Most of them are good/necessary.  There’s the voice that tells you when to eat, or when to give someone a hug.  There’s the voice that gently insists that it’s probably not a great idea to have a second piece of cake, and the voice that reminds you to give strangers their space.  Then there’s a voice that tells you to have no cake.  Or to not eat.  Or that you’re fat, and your pants look horrid.

It seems like the solution would be easy: just listen to the nicer voice (the reasonable voice).  Ignore the nasty voice (the ED voice), right?  Well, it would be a great solution, except that it’s not quite that easy.  The ED voice has a way of drowning out the nice voice – a way of hiding the reasonable option.  ED makes his victim believe every word, and take it to heart.

Here’s a story:

The other day, I put on a pair of pants that I hadn’t worn for a couple of weeks.  They seemed a bit tighter, and ED flung a dart.

Wow, your pants are already tighter.  Sheesh.

But I was on my way out the door to church, and I didn’t have time to really negotiate by changing my clothes, so I just went with it.  After Sunday School, I remembered that I should eat my snack.  It was nothing big, but it was a snack…and ED fired another arrow.

You don’t need that snack.  Remember how your pants fit?  Just don’t go there.

But after some thought, I ate part of my snack anyways. But by the end of church, I burned through my too-light snack, and the hunger was about to throw a tantrum.  I.was.RAVENOUS.

We went to our typical Sunday-after-church- restaurant, but found it to be jam packed.  A cranky customer and a cranky waitress later, and I was a cranky mess. I needed food and I needed it fast.

We headed across the street to another restaurant, and after we were seated, mom offered to order me an appetizer.  My family rarely orders appetizers, and as she placed the order, and ED realized that he couldn’t keep me from eating, he decided to use another tactic.  He said,

You are SUCH a burden.  Look at this, ordering an appetizer, bending over backwards just to get you something to eat.  And look how cranky you are!  Man-oh-man, they’re all just walking on eggshells around you.  What a burden.

And I believed him for a while.

Of course, after eating, I felt much better, and I was able to talk through the situation with Ron and my parents, but that sense of being a burden lingered.  So I brought it up in counseling.  Wanna know what I learned?

ED is the burden.  We all bend over backwards for ED.  We all walk on eggshells around ED.  Not me, but ED.  Even I walk on eggshells and bend over backwards for ED.  If I didn’t cater to him so, I might very well be in a different place today.

In reflection, for every nasty statement from ED that day, there was a counter-statement from the reasonable voice.  When ED berated me for my pants feeling tighter, there was another voice cheering – by the grace of God, I’m meeting my goals.  When ED didn’t want me to eat the snack, there was a voice reminding me that I need the snack for energy and body repair.  When ED told me I was a burden, there was a voice reminding me that my loved ones want to take care of me.

Two voices.  One constructive, the other destructive.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

Two voices.  One the voice of God, the other, the voice of the enemy.

Which voice will you listen to?

A Salad And a Lesson

Well hello!  I hope you’re all having a lovely and excellent weekend!

Yesterday, I was blessed to be able to visit with my aunt and uncle (who live nearby) for a bit.  They picked me up at the ferry (I walked on…SO much less pricey than driving!) and we headed to Langley to find some lunch.  We went to a new pub called Mo’s, and enjoyed some tasty food and good conversation.

It was cold and rainy and I REALLY wanted soup and salad…but the soup of the day didn’t sound too good to me (Cheddar Poblano?) so I went for the next logical choice: a “side” of mac n’ cheese and salad.  And the “side”… was as big as my face (but a good price for the serving, that’s for sure!).  The mac n’ cheese was topped with parmesan and paprika.  The sauce was creamy, salty, warm, gooey…pure comfort food.  But the problem with it was that the sauce was creamy, salty, warm, gooey…and a huge portion.  I nearly panicked for a moment when they put the plate down in front of me.  We joked about the size and I shared a few bites with my Aunt.  But I knew that I wouldn’t be able to eat all of it even if I didn’t feel too full.  Oh, but it was so tasty!

When I reached a point where I felt satisfied, I decided to put my fork down and ask for a box.  And then we had dessert.  But at least we split it 🙂

I knew dinner would be a struggle, though.  I felt like I had completely indulged and that whatever else I put in my mouth for the rest of the day would be too much.  But.  At the same time, there was this voice that kept reminding me about how much calcium I just gave my body.  That eating a meal like that sometimes is okay and ultimately, I just did a good thing for my body by feeding it (and feeding it what sounded good, no less!)  And the origin of that voice just didn’t want to agonize over my lunch for the rest of the day.

So as I thought about dinner, I wanted something that would be healthy – of course, salad was the first thing that came to mind.  But rather than rejecting the notion, I decided to work with it, and in a sense, to compromise with myself.  And this was born:

Yes, it’s a salad.  No, it may not have had a TON of calories involved.  BUT it did have: lettuce (with carrots and cabbage), tomato, and  asparagus.  And then there was tuna, beans, hard-boiled egg, shredded cheese and a dollop of cottage cheese.  With an oil and vinegar dressing.  And toast on the side.  Sounds like a pretty solid salad to me!

It tasted good.  It made me feel good.  It was nutritious, yet light.  Choc full of vitamins and protein, to boot!

And I ate every bit of it.  And I count it a success.  Oh, and I had some snackage later, too 🙂

It was dinner-time, and I didn’t let that nasty Eating Disorder voice win.

I just had this thought: The Eating Disorder voice is mean and controlling and demanding.  I could counter it in the same manner, but that feels too much like…well, like war.  And if my goal is to make food (peace) rather than body war, it seems like compromising and being gentle is the way to go.  Hmmm…I’m gonna have to explore this more!  And I’d love your input!!

I’ll leave you with this today:

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 27:13-14

Take care, friends!

Blessings,

Beth

** If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, please, PLEASE seek professional help.  A great resource to get started is the National Eating Disorders Association.

** If you’re interested in reading some great pro-recovery blogs, here are a couple of my favorites:

Healthy, Happy, Whole

Recovery Bites

 

The “Live Dead” Challenge

Hi folks!  I know I keep promising a recipe, and I promise it’s coming…I’ve just been quite busy this week.  As a matter of fact, I should be doing homework right now.  Sooooooo I’ll make it a short and snappy post 🙂

Here at school, we’ve started the “Live Dead” challenge this month.  The idea is to learn how to “die to self” – take a look at John 12:24-25.  This is accomplished by spending some intense time in the Word and in prayer.  The focus is unreached people groups in a region of Africa, so in each day of the challenge, prayer focus is placed on one of these people groups.

 

Here’s what my journal looks like!

I officially began the journal today.  (Isn’t it amazing how close the word “journal” is to “journey”?  ….. )  Like I said, learning to “live dead” is accomplished by spending meaningful time in the Word and in prayer.  One significant aspect of this challenge is to tithe our time by giving a tenth of it back to the Lord.  Folks, this means almost 2 1/2 hours each day.  That’s a lot of time.

They provide a basic frame work for how to go about spending this much time with the Lord – reading the Bible (and journaling) for an hour, memorizing scripture for 5 minutes, praying for 30 minutes, worshiping for 30 minutes, then listening/being still for 5-10 minutes.  We use the Live Dead journal as a springboard for all of this.  I’m still just blown away by how much time that is.  Man!  And the bigger thing…how on earth could I ever find that much time to spend on this…to spend with the Lord?

My first thought: “I’M A STUDENT!  I have so much homework, so many commitments, so much to do!”

And then I thought: “This is impractical.  Who has that much time to devote to reading the Bible and praying except for pastors?”

The journal topic dealt with tithing time, and then it prompted us to think about and respond to this concept of tithing time.  I began to contemplate and write a little about how huge of a commitment it felt like.  And then…conviction.

I thought about tithing money – I feel strongly about tithing the “first fruits”, not what’s left after taking care of other financial responsibilities.  So how is time any different?  Is it really any different to give God whatever time is left after I do my homework, write blog posts, browse pinterest and review Facebook?  I don’t think it is.

We, as followers of the Lord, tithe money in faith.  Ten percent of a paycheck feels like a lot sometimes, but God is faithful to provide when we’re faithful to give and have faith.  The writer of today’s devotional in the journal writes, “If we tithe…10 percent of the time He has given us, He will take what remains of the day and bless it, making it more fruitful than we can believe possible.”   Perhaps I ought to tithe time in faith also.

This is tough.  I want to give time and believe, but the numbers…the time…it just doesn’t quite add up for me.  But remember the man in Mark who says, “I do believe!  Help me overcome by unbelief!” (9:24)?  Yeah,

So what shall I do?  I think I’ll work towards spending more and more time in the Word.  And I’ll pray about it.

That’s the best thing.

Do stay tuned for a recipe…it’s coming soon! 🙂

Take care!

Beth

Wording

You know which kind of post is my favorite to write?  The ones that I don’t plan in advance; the ones who’s topic suddenly surfaces and I know I must write.  So you could say this post is a disruption in the regularly scheduled programming…for something quite important.

If you google “Bible translations”, you’re gonna find a ton of hits.  New International Version, New Revised Standard Version, King James, New King James….the list goes on.  Now, while all these translations deliver the same message of Hope and Salvation in Jesus, along with great ideas for joyful, peaceful and right living,  the precise wording does differ.  I came across one of these discrepancies the other night.

One of my favorite passages of scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6.  It speaks of fully trusting the Lord, not on your own view of the world.  And when you recognize Him and seek Him in your day-to-day life, He will help you.  Obviously, this is my paraphrase 🙂  I’m familiar with two popular translations of this passage:

From the New International Version:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

 

From the New King James:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

I’m sure you noticed the purple letters in bold 🙂  So what’s the difference?  Both suggest that when you recognize God, He’ll help you out, right?  But for me, it’s the specific implication.

To say that God will “make your paths straight” implies that the road will be easy; that the Lord will remove all your problems, which He certainly could do.  While I don’t believe that God likes to watch us squirm in discomfort, I DO believe that God allows us to experience or endure challenges for a time to facilitate growth, thus not just getting rid of the challenges in life..  And we all know that growth isn’t easy

So this is why I prefer the second translation listed.  The word “direct” makes me think of my dad helping me back out of a tight parking spot by pointing one way or the other.  He didn’t just hop in the driver’s seat and back out for me (remove the problem) but helped me work through the situation by directing me, allowing me to become a better driver.  Allowing me to grow.

Heavy thoughts for a Saturday morning!  But it just felt so important.

What do you think?  Do you agree or disagree?  Is there another scripture which has given you a similar experience?

I’d love to know 🙂

Have an excellent weekend, friends!

Blessings,

Beth

 

The [Fearsome] Appetite

At about 9:00 every night, I hit a wall in which I can no longer do homework.  I could read something ten times but I still won’t retain or comprehend it.  I used to push through it until I realized that although perhaps valiant, my lack of comprehension makes it rather pointless.  So instead of studying for my Biology lab final (eeek!) I’m writing to you! 🙂

I suppose the title of this post is quite confusing.  Aside from the Sunday School answer of “sinful appetites”, what appetite could be considered fearsome?  If you’re new to my blog, I’m recovering from anorexia (take a moment to read my about page).  I feel like I’m doing better, but I still have an instinct to restrict my eating, and an overall fear of eating “too much”.  So when I have a bigger appetite than usual, it’s kinda scary.  What’s gonna happen?  Will my jeans fit tomorrow?  And why am I so hungry?  These types of questions fill my mind.

“You shouldn’t eat that.”

“You don’t need that.”

“You don’t need anymore to eat.”

“See, your tummy is already rounder.”

Phrases like that are fired at my mind with the one goal of tearing down my defense system.  I used to listen; used to let it completely rule me, obeying that voice without a question or a second thought.  It must be true.  Right?

But then I realized this voice was full of it.  A lying Enemy.  This realization didn’t occur overnight…it took time and a lot of trusted people telling me over and over.  And they still have to tell me sometimes – to remind me that these words whispered in my heart are indeed lies.  But I fight back.  I find something to eat.  And I eat something else if I’m still hungry.

And then I remind myself of a few things:

My fight isn’t against flesh and blood, but against powers of the dark world (Ephesians 6:12)

If I turn my head to the right or the left, I’ll hear a voice reminding me of the path to walk (Isaiah 30:21)

Satan comes to kill and destroy, but Jesus came to give abundant life (John 10:10)

Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14)

And

The Lord rescues me from my enemies when I call to Him (Psalm 18:16-19)


In the same way God gave us tasty food to be enjoyed, He gave us an appetite to desire these food-gifts.  And therefore, an appetite isn’t something to be feared 🙂

Snack time?  Perhaps!

Blessings,

Beth

 

A Few of my Favorite Things…

I have a lot of things I’d call “favorite”.  Things like family, heaters, ice cream, and The Sound of Music top the list.  Another that rates pretty darn high is simple food.  You know what I mean.  Food that’s easy to cook, tastes good, and just…feels good!  For me, this primarily means food that doesn’t give me a tummy ache.  There’s one meal in particular that I can nearly always count on to provide this for me.  I eat it often, but tonight it just hit me….why don’t I blog it!??!?  Duh.  So here it is – my favorite, go-to, simple, easy-on-the-tummy meal.  Perhaps you will enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

Tada!  Here it is.  Nothin’ too special or fancy, just tasty!

Our star – a piece of spelt toast, spread lightly with butter (yes, the real stuff!), and crowned by a scrambled egg that was whisked with a splash of milk, S&P, cheese and a slice of deli ham, then topped with a sprinkle of cheese.  Delish!  Comfort food at it’s college-cheap finest 😉

An eggy breakfast-inspired dinner just isn’t right with out the ‘taters!  A little bitty Yukon Gold potato, to be exact!  I TOTALLY cheated on cooking this, though.  2 minutes in the microwave, sliced, tossed in the pan to brown…but it works, and that’s what matters to me, friends!

Oh, and if you’re curious about my trio of sauces: sour cream, ketchup and some extra ranch…I will shamelessly admit…I like my dippin’ sauces! 🙂

If you know me very well, this element of my tasty, simple meal shouldn’t come at all as a shock…the salad.  I topped this one with tomato, zucchini and celery, drizzled on some Wishbone ranch (no high fructose corn syrup!!!!!) and crushed some tortilla chips for crunch (’cause this girl is too cheap for formal salad toppings).  YUMMY VEGGIES!

I enjoyed my dinner with a glass of water and this:

THE DECEMBER ISSUE OF REAL SIMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!

Not that I’m excited or anything…..

But I should definitely add it to the list, ’cause there’s NO doubt – it’s one of my favorite things!


I think I’m gonna call it a night!

Check back soon for a birthday-month update and a recap of a mysterious adventure I’ll be taken on by non other than my dear roommate.

Oh!  This has been encouraging me this week – perhaps it will do the same for you 🙂

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus”

Philippians 4:19

Have an excellent day!

Beth