So I’m slightly behind on posting my verses. Oops. Will catch up soon! My last verse was this one from Acts:
For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, we are his offspring.
As I have been repeating this to myself, I have been praying what does it mean to LIVE and MOVE and literally have our entire BEING in him. Between this memory exercise and 7, I can feel that God is getting ready to do some big things for us in 2015. I’m praying that we will have the courage to say yes to what he is leading us to.
For the last four weeks, I have been participating in a fast with two of my friends from our Sunday School class. Actually, we will be doing several fasts over the course of the first seven months of the year but this first one was food. And I think this one will be the hardest. Well, until we get to media. But we’ll cross that bridge later.
Food is 3 times a day. Every time I would finish eating, I would only be able to wait a few hours before I started thinking about it again. This wasn’t something that I chose once during the day and then I just phoned it in the rest of the day. Nope, 3 times a day, about every 5 hours.
Food is also so social. We love having people over to eat and hang out and extend hospitality. But how do you do that when you have such limited things you can offer? And you can’t really go out to eat very many places or order much.
My foods were chicken, eggs, bread, tomatoes, rice, beans, onion, potato, spinach, and oranges. And water. Truthfully, I didn’t do it perfectly. If we went out to eat, I wasn’t going to be that pain in the ass that ordered plain spinach and chicken, but I tried to keep with the spirit of the fast at least. The water was hard. My tea in the morning is such a ritual. And I did indulge in a glass of wine a few times. But overall, I felt better drinking so much water.
Ryan saved me, though. Although he wasn’t technically participating, he cooked and made it easy for me because I would have come home and eaten rice and beans every night and cried. But he made it exciting and happy and experimented with food. I’m so thankful he likes to cook.
I didn’t get all the books read that I wanted to this month. I specifically wanted to read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen, Year of No Sugar (I’m not 100% sure who wrote it and I’m being lazy and not looking it up), and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I’m currently about half-way through Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I’m loving it. The first few chapters were super dense and I thought there was no way I’d be able to read it, but now I’m loving it. Kingsolver (who wrote The Poisonwood Bible) and her family set out to grow and provide their own food for a year and anything they couldn’t grow, they sourced locally. Yes, including meat. I’m currently very excited for the Farmer’s Market to come back and am thinking about reordering our Fresh Harvest basket. And I can’t wait for summer to eat a ripe tomato!
In the middle of this, Ryan decided to do a food challenge. But basically the opposite of my food challenge. For years, every time we’ve watched Man vs. Food, he has said, “Oh, I could totally do that.” So finally, I looked at him and said then do it. He found one and one Saturday, we headed to Cheeky’s so he could try to eat a 7 lb burrito. He wasn’t able to do it, but our waitress was very impressed with how much he ate. She said he ate more than she and 4 of her friends did. I pointed out to him on the way there how ironic it was that while I’m in the middle of this food fast, praying and thinking about how we eat and food insecurity around the country and world, that he is going and eating 7 lbs of food in one sitting. We’re so American. And I don’t mean that in a good way.
I’m still not sure what my final takeaway is from this month. I’m praying that God can help us see what a privilege it is that we have so much food and that we don’t take it for granted. That we use this privilege to help local farmers and eat more real food and that he opens doors for us to help those without access to real food. And that convenience isn’t my first priority anymore when it comes to food. And that God may be glorified by the choices I make.
But I’m especially praying that I don’t make this about me. This is about God and his kingdom.
“Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Isaiah 58: 6-8
Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen?
To loose the chains of injustice
And untie the cords of the yolk?
To set the oppressed free
and break every yolk?
Last week was the most beautiful week and this weekend was pretty close to perfection. Friday night, Ryan and I stayed in and watched Gone Girl. I had read the book, but Alec had been telling Ryan he needed to see the movie for forever, so we rented it and watched it. I thought it did a good job of staying close to the book, but Ryan thought it was a little predictable, but he liked it.
Saturday morning, we woke up and Ryan fixed the best breakfast. I’m currently doing to food portion of 7 and this was one of the best meals I’ve had during it. I will say that it helps having a spouse that likes to experiment in the kitchen.
After breakfast, we took Jolene to Sweetwater Park for a hike. It was so beautiful. A little chilly when we started off, but we were soon taking off layers. And Jolene LOVED it. We will definitely have to go back more. It was only 30 minutes from us and $5 a car to get in.
After our hike, we ran some errands around town and just hung out at the house waiting on Ryan’s basketball game. I was a teensy bit sad that I missed National Readathon Day but it was just too nice to stay inside alone. I will make it up one day.
Yesterday, we went to church and Sunday School and then Ryan and Ross headed to Greensboro to bring the pool table up here. Ryan has been working on the basement and this was part of it. It was a little scary watching them and Daddy take those huge pieces of slate downstairs, but they did it! Now we just need to have someone come and put it back together and refelt it and we will be in business!
We ended the weekend at Clay’s with Pease and Ross and an early bedtime. I was definitely sad to see this weekend end.
This year, I am participating in Beth Moore’s scripture memory team. She is very passionate about scripture memorization because it gives your mind a place to go when it starts to fill with negative thoughts. I have done a little bit of memorization in the past, and I agree with her on that. When I am laying in bed, stressing about this or that, if I remember to pull out a memorized verse or passage, it quickly calms me down. I am hoping that 2015 will be a year where I can do more of it. Beth (we’re on first-name basis) suggests using shorter scripture to learn because it is easier. And I will totally agree with her on that. So my first verse for the year comes from The Message.
“I have pitched my tent in the land of hope.” Acts 2:26
I pray that this scripture will be a reminder for me to keep my tent pitched right here in the hope of Christ.
I have to admit that the end of December was tough for me. Work was more difficult than normal and I shed some tears. I wasn’t excited about Christmas or the birth of the Christ child and I felt a lot of guilt over that. And now the new year has started and I’m wondering what it has in store for me. I’m going to spend the first half of the year fasting in different ways and I’m praying that God will use it as a time of worship and preparation for what’s coming in my life, whether things will change externally or not.
Anyway, besides that, it was a good month! Lots of time with friends and family and food!
At the beginning of the month, Monica had her annual ornament exchange. Mama came up and spent the night and Sarah and Pease came. We had a lot of fun and we always strategize to get what we want. It usually works out!
We also had Ryan’s work Christmas party and our Sunday School Christmas party, both of which I took zero pictures at. In the moment, I never want to stop and take a picture (plus, I feel a little awkward doing that), but then I end up wishing I had. Oh, well. It did all end up working out that every Christmas party we had was on Friday and then we had Saturday night to chill and hang out. And lest I forget, watch tons of basketball. And by that I mean Ryan watches while I read.
Of course, we put Jolene in an Arizona t-shirt. She actually tolerated it, unlike the Falcons jersey Ryan put her in. And yes, she always sits back on her butt like that with her legs kicked out. Other people think it’s hilarious, but I just always wonder how their dog sits on the sofa…. Isn’t that normal?
Sometimes I worry we won’t like our kid as much as we like the dog.
Of course, my favorite party of the year is always Kathleen and Avery’s Tacky Sweater party. This year is actually the first year Ryan didn’t have an excuse to get out of it (jokes) and we had a great time!
I think this picture may make our Christmas card for 2015. It’s too bad Jolene’s not in it because then it would be a sure thing. I probably shouldn’t spoil the surprise, but let’s be real. No one is going to remember that. Ryan is totally obsessed with that sweatshirt though and I’m quite sure it will be seen a lot more this December.
Because I am a lame blogger, I use the same picture collage that I posted on Instagram here. But that bottom picture is totally my favorite ever and I’m thinking of having it blown up to put over the toilet in our hall bath because Ryan likes having things to look at while he’s in there.
The next night I made Ryan take me to Tanaka because we hadn’t had it in a while and it seemed like a good way to kick off Christmas. (He got a vest for Christmas when Monica took him shopping and when he wears that vest with his hat and the beard, oh man. He’s the cutest thing.)
Christmas Eve was spent at church with Pete and Monica and then dinner with them and Kylie and Mama R.
Christmas morning, we woke up in our house and opened presents. I got Ryan socks and he got me a trip to the Grand Canyon so we were both happy.
We went up to Ryan’s parents and had breakfast at Waffle House, which is our new tradition. It’s awesome and totally one of my favorite things. Those hashbrowns are the bomb dot com. (I realize no one says that anymore, but it was the first thing that came to mind and I’m sticking with it.)
This was another one of my Christmas presents from Ryan. I’m somewhat obsessed with it.
All of Ryan’s family came in for Christmas and we had so much fun with the kids. After dinner, Ryan and I went downstairs and wrestled with them. Too much fun. Until Ryan took their side and helped them get my shoes off to tickle my feet. And while I was tickling Carter’s feet, things got a little crazy and he kicked me in the face. Totally worth it though, when he came up to me later, put his arms around me and said, “Aunt Sloan is my favorite.” Kid, you can kick me in the face anytime.
Well, that wraps up our month through Christmas Day and this is long enough. Stay tuned for part 2!!
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is all of the Christmas cards! I love sending and receiving them. Of course, this year, we got to include our newest family member.
(I do wish that I had put the year on there. I will have to remember that for next year.)