More on Fear

Last week I had a discussion with my parents and my sister about being incapacitated in life, knowing that something is wrong but not knowing what to do about it.  I have finally realized that my fear of pain is inextricably bound up in my desire to “do the right thing.”  In and of itself, the right thing is, well, the right thing.  But what I realized was that I have agonized over every decision from what flavor of ice cream I should choose to which man I should marry simply because I (falsely) believed that if I got it all right, I would avoid pain.  If I pick the right flavor of ice cream, I will like it and not be disappointed that I didn’t get another one.  (Or perhaps won’t be sad if I never get to come try the other flavors, ha.)  If I marry the right man, we will be happy (of course, arguments are normal from time to time, but overall happiness here), stay in love, never even consider divorce.  If I get it all right, pain will never come.

A friend and I were talking about newborns and I shared how much I struggle with fear of SIDS.  I constantly check their breathing, sometimes starting up in the bed, heart racing, scrambling to find them (my husband–the right man!–has felt the brunt of this more than once).  My friend told me she doesn’t struggle with that fear.  She knows it is possible, and of course, if it happened, she would be devastated, but she knows there is nothing she could do about it.  Ah, but there’s the rub.  I feel like I could.  If only I had checked right when they stopped breathing and resuscitated.  If only I noticed the telltale warning signs of whatever preceded it.  If only we had bought the right mattress or sheets or….

I’m finally understanding that I cannot bear the responsibility for the pain in my (or anyone else’s) life.  That I cannot base my decisions or actions on whether or not it will avoid pain.  There will be pain in my life no matter what, and it’s not just because ”this is a fallen world,” which seems like a lame excuse to me.  It’s because God loves me.  He knows what I need, what will stimulate me to love and good deeds.  ” ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him.  For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.’  It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.  All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness..”  Hebrews 12:5-11  I used to think this referred to punishment.  Discipline = Punishment  But no, it doesn’t, actually.  Discipline is training, growing, molding, shaping.  It’s positive, not negative.  It’s given to those whom the Lord loves.  It’s grace-ful, not punitive.  In other words, no matter how perfectly I live life, I should still hope for the Lord’s discipline.  Hope for the pain that will bring about the peaceful fruit of righteousness.  And that peaceful fruit?  That may just be the ability to love without fear.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”   1 John 4:18

Feeding the Glutton

I am most definitely NOT a glutton for punishment; in fact, my innate fear is the fear of pain (which I only discovered recently, more on that later).  Rather, I’m a glutton for information.  And, at times, chocolate.  Let’s be real; ALL the time for chocolate.

But information.  I crave it.  I want to know all there is to know about all there is to know.  Homeschooling my children is like a fairyland for me.  (Pray for my children.)  And I think this may in part explain why I’m your worst Myers-Briggs nightmare.  I don’t just find out my personality type–or yours–and move on with life.  I analyze, Google, discuss, read, process, and repeat ad nauseum.  Except it’s not ad nauseum to me; it’s exhilarating.  And (also recently discovered) an escape.  From the aforementioned pain.

Don’t think I’m being all dramatic here.  Pain for me isn’t some debilitating chronic illness or deep emotional trauma.  Pain is having to pick my tush off the couch and sweep the floor or stop searching Zillow for new houses (even though we’re not moving) to fold clothes.  Pain for me is the mundane, like housework, paperwork, errands, or any of the other numerous tasks that basically define the life of a mom with young kids.  Or the life of anyone, for that matter.  Somehow my personality type (ENFP — Enneagram Type 7) thinks work shouldn’t apply to me.  Let me learn, read, discover, adventure, visit, travel, play….anything but work.  I can work hard, but only if it’s something I actually want to do, and only as long as it remains enjoyable.  The instant something feels tedious, I drop it like a rotten potato (I almost said egg, but that would be bad because it would pop and THEN where would we be? Not reading this post, which may or may not be a good thing….).

So, all this rambling leads me to three things: 1. I love to learn, and to share what I’ve learned, and to learn what other people have learned.  Can be good, can be bad, mostly I just need to be aware of that as being unique to me.  2. I fear pain, which means I avoid anything that feels painful to me, like work.  Or relationships that REQUIRE work, avoiding them and only gravitating to those naturally bosom-friend-types.  3. Anything worthwhile requires action, i.e. not just intake but output, i.e. WORK.  And this blog is worthwhile.  So here I am, working.

I’m Your Worst Myers-Briggs Nightmare

I think I have probably offended multiple people recently by telling them to take the Myers-Briggs personality test so that I could know them better.  If you just took offense to that statement, you’re probably an “S,” but if you’re intrigued, you might just be an “N.”  And maybe even that statement is annoying.  But for me, it helps so much to understand how and why people process information, and it’s actually a way for me to love you better.  I didn’t realize it could be offensive at all until recently, because it would so speak to me if someone wanted to understand MY personality type!  So if I speak before I think and ask you to take the test, please know that it’s because you’re important to me and I care about relating to you well.

I think it’s easy to polarize the types, to pit them against each other, but that’s not what this is all about.  It’s not better to be an N, or an S, and there’s a huge spectrum of S-ness and N-ness besides.  I just so happen to be an ENFP, and I found out another friend was also an ENFP, and I just couldn’t believe it.  “You’re not me!” was all I could think; I admire how this friend accomplishes so much, and one of my weaknesses is thinking and thinking AND THINKING….but never actually doing.  But then we realized that I rate 60% or more for N and P, while she’s more like a 5% for each of those.  Which means she’s way more balanced than I am!  Two other mutual friends share the ISFJ personality, and I would never have guessed the same type for them, but as we talked, they kept saying things like, “Oh, you too?!” and we all realized that maybe the test was accurate after all.  It’s not a box; all of our families, environments, and choices have shaped us, but those underlying modes of processing were there.  And now we know how to relate to one another better, to avoid stressing each other out, and to give allowances when needed.  So precious and sweet to me, because it’s a tangible way for me to love people, to learn how to speak to others in their own language.

So I have about seventeen other Myers-Briggs posts flitting about in my brain, but I wanted to throw this out there for now, to test the waters and prepare the soil.  :)   And I’ll leave you with this, this Revised Serenity Prayer:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.”

Catchy Title Here

We’re fast approaching the plethora of good intentions and shiny resolutions that coincide with the dawn of a new year, and so my mind naturally turns to this blog and my love of writing.  Life as a mom of little ones is full beyond measure (of diapers, mostly), seemingly too full for blog posts and creative ramblings.

But you know, I miss it.  I miss seeing my thoughts expressed on a page.  Sometimes I miss actually having thoughts, ha.  But as I come out of the haze of pregnancy and there are days that the sleep deprivation clears momentarily, I remember the joy of discovering new thoughts, examining them, talking about them, enjoying them, writing them.  And I want to revive that joy.

I feel a bit rusty, so it may take a while for you to share the joy with me, but we’ll get there.  I want to create new habits this year, and, by God’s grace, some of those habits are forming already.  So get ready for the writing habit to appear occasionally.  Don’t mind the rust in the meantime; I’ll keep polishing.

In Which I Fall Off A Bandwagon…or two.

Depressing, no?  But wait!  There’s hope!  I don’t have to wait for next New Year’s to roll around (346 days from now) to start with a fresh slate.  My God’s mercies are “new every morning; great is His faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:23)!!!  What’s great about that verse is that, not only does it give me hope for tomorrow morning, but it comes from the oh-so-sad-sounding book of Lamentations.  I can lament over all the bandwagons I fall off of, and then I can rejoice in the mercies of my Great God.  Not only that, but I will seek His face in the morning, seek His direction, because His directions are new every morning, too.  :)   I need to listen to His directions, thank Him for His mercy, and plow into “happening to life,” as an old friend likes to put it.

So.  Go happen to life.

Wise Words Wednesday — A Marriage Retreat

KissingA friend of mine recently asked me if my husband and I would have a chance to get away for a night alone before this baby comes.  Honestly?  It hadn’t occured to me!  But we are going to visit family at the beginning of October, and I’m sure they’d be more than happy to help us out with that.

I’m super excited, because two other ladies have recently suggested ways of connecting with your husband, both of which we can incorporate into our little getaway:

Lori, from The Generous Wife, recently posted a series of questions to ask your spouse, conversation-starters, if you will, ways of opening up to each other and reconnecting.

Christine, from iDreamofClean, wrote a guest post for The Finer Things in Life, suggesting a marriage plan and giving ideas for how to create one.

Thank you ladies, for your sweet and helpful suggestions; I can’t wait to try them out on our romantic getaway next month!

Now, it’s your turn.  What is the wisest advice you’ve ever received about preserving and improving and developing your marriage for the glory of God?  Feel free to link up, leave a comment, or both!

Wise Words Wednesday — A Question

Is truth always true?

I ask because I recently posted a link to a fabulous article about boys who aren’t becoming men. [Note: The original Newsweek article which I read has been removed, but this is a slight variation by the same author.] My brother-in-law immediately disliked the article, not because of its content necessarily, but because of its author.  And he posted a quote from the same author.  And I didn’t like it.  So does that negate the truth of the first article?

Another case-in-point.  Back in my college days, I remember reading Plato and Aristotle, and loving the idea of the “sublime.”  It resonated with me.  I have had experiences of sublimity, usually in relation to God’s word, or some sort of epiphany, or an experience in God’s creation that demonstrated His power and might.  Some of those philosophers’ ideas were so, well, TRUE.  But they didn’t come from God, or the Bible, or even a Christian.

What about things that Mohammed said that actually line up with things that Jesus said?  And Buddha?  Or (gasp!) some of our presidents, or…. Hitler?  Does the identity of the speaker change the truth of the words?

Are wise words always wise?

Wise Words Wednesday – My Blog and Monetization

Little Girl eating ice cream

Things I chose to do this week instead of blog. :)

My wise words this week came from two fellow bloggers, Amy and Steve.  Both of them have their own niche, their own mission, their own goals.  And they don’t let anybody tell them how to run things.  They don’t conform to the blogger norms, the accepted ways of driving traffic and creating readership; they don’t follow the rules.

Steve’s post about creating traffic really struck a nerve with me.  He writes posts that are too long, he doesn’t allow comments, and he most definitely is not creating community.  I realized I have been trying to do all those things, not because I wanted them, but because that’s what I thought I had to do to be a successful blogger.  I want to impact people, and that doesn’t require a post every day or a long list of comments; it simply requires me to sit down, pray, and write something that can impact people.  (And let me just tell you, inspiring you to write a menu plan wasn’t the sort of impact I had in mind, though stories about Big Mommy’s cooking are still fun. :) )

Amy‘s post about comparing yourself to others just pounded the point home.  I don’t have to share pithy tips or heartwarming pictures like my friend Alicia (though I absolutely LOVE reading hers!); her seemingly instant success has nothing to do with my blog, whatsoever.  I’m happy for her, and for Amy, and for Steve, and all those other bloggers who are following their goals and dreams and (hopefully) making a little money into the bargain, and I want to follow their example by not copying their example.

Conclusion?  I’m here to write.  To write well.  To be a peg for God to hang His glory on.  And I’m here to give voice those older and wiser than me who have so much to share.  And to give voice to you, who can pass on their words as well.

So please, share away.  I want to learn something today.


Coined by Jill Bond (who wrote Dinner’s in the Freezer!), “C.O.R.D.” stands for “Clean Out the Refrigerator Day.”  Sometimes Jill Bond would make C.O.R.D. soup with what was in her ‘fridge, but quite often she just set everything out in a buffet.  I loved picking up this book off of my mom’s shelf and perusing all the recipes and ideas!

Anyway, this week, my refrigerator looks like a bomb went off in there, so we’re going to eat and eat and eat whatever I find that’s still good (including the butternut squash ravioli and chicken enchiladas from last week) until it’s gone.  And then I’m going to the freezer and organizing there.  Whew.

That said, the plan for tonight is chicken enchiladas, tomorrow is ravioli, and Wednesday is chef salad.  Thursday my husband and I are celebrating together (an “inside” celebration), so maybe dinner out?  And the weekend?  Lots and lots of veggies, because it’s time to finish up with the garden and go to the farmer’s market!  I’m also planning to eat up the Magic Cookie Bars I made with my sister and brother-in-law who were here visiting.  I miss them.   *sniff*

Oh, and snacks are coming from Kaia Foods [now "Alive and Radiant"]….  YUM!!  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win some snacks for yourself!

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at

Yummy Snacks – And a Giveaway!!

Little Girl eating kale chips

She loves them...really!! :)

Guess what I’ve been munching on today? Kale chips. Yeah, I know, I was lost at first too. Don’t think potato chips; think snack mix. It’s a blend of dried kale, sprouted sunflower seeds, sprouted sesame seeds, and sundried tomatoes. Barbecue flavor. And all I can say is, YUM.

This week I got a box full of natural snacks from Kaia Foods [now "Alive and Radiant"], and let me just tell you, my family is in heaven. Even my husband, who is a white-bread-eating, vegetable-shunning, steak-and-potatoes kind of guy, had to admit that he liked the Lime Ginger fruit leather I gave him to try.  Liked, mind you, not tolerated, put-up-with, or managed-to-get it down.  :)   I’m sold.  And my little girl has been begging for more kale chips all day!

Cocoa Molé granola

I'm totally addicted.

The sprouted sunflower seeds are so yummy, and especially good for me, since I’m a snackaholic.  We tried the Curry and Cocoa Molé flavors, and both are good.  I think the Cocoa Molé may be my new go-to when I need a chocolate fix!  And the Cherry Pie granola?  Packed with nutrients and flavor.  The best part about this is that it’s all organic, sweetened with agave nectar, and totally, irresistably good for you.

The next best thing?  Kaia Foods is giving away one product of YOUR choice from their website!  Congratulations to Emma Peel, who won this giveaway and will be receiving her pick: Lime Ginger Fruit Leather!

This post is linked to,,,,, and