Vaxxed

Ben, and I saw Vaxxed with the boys and Ben’s mom. I went as a form of activism, as a way to vote with my dollars to show that this is an important topic and people are paying attention.

I also wanted the boys to see it. We’ve been learning about health for the past several months. They’ve seen numerous documentaries about various health topics and I thought this would be a good way to close the year.

It was so worth seeing! Really, really well done.

There’s so much I could say, but in the end, there’s really no sense repeating the movie. That’s the sole purpose of the movie. Instead, I’ll share what’s been going through my mind lately as more deception comes to light.

Vaccines are simply a product. They are patented, manufactured, tested, sold, and advertised by large, wealthy, powerful corporations. These products are in a special classification so they are not held to the higher, more rigorous testing standards as other, similar products. At the same time, these large, wealthy, powerful corporations are, thanks to a law signed into effect in 1986, not held liable for any illness, injury, or death that their products may cause.

(How in the world does that sound like a good idea? Would we think it’s a good idea for any other product to be handled this way?)

But it gets better. For those who claim illness, injury, or death, the US government has set up a special court system to handle these cases. That alone should give us pause. We already have a court system. Why do we need a special court just for this product? These trials are held behind closed doors and if the judge rules in the their favor the recipients are awarded money. The large, wealthy, powerful corporations who created and sold this product don’t pay a cent of it. The American taxpayers do.

If this is not the definition of insanity, I don’t know what is.

But I’m still not done. In addition, one of these large, wealthy, powerful corporations has already shown their disdain for the health and safety of their customers through their actions on similar products. Their product, Vioxx, for example, claimed the lives of 50,000 innocent American citizens. Again, their greed and corruption cost 50,000 people their lives.

Here’s another way to look at this: If a terrorist cell came into the US and slaughtered 50,000 US citizens there would be a massive outcry. Hysteria. Moments of silence. Other nations would rush to our aid. There would be speeches and memorials. School children would be taught about it for generations to come.

We would hunt those responsible to the ends of the earth and bring them to justice. But for these large, wealthy, powerful corporations? It’s nothing more than a slap-on-the-wrist fine and business as usual.

And we’re suppose to revere them as some sort of champions of the public health.

Insanity.

 

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An Angel of Light

A couple of weeks ago I joined a Bible Study at our church. It’s Priscilla Shirer’s study on the armor of God and I’ve really been enjoying it. It’s a 7-week video series along with a book to work through in between videos.

 

Last week we discussed how one of Satan’s strategies is to disguise himself as an angel of light. He tries to make his deceptions look as much like truth as possible. I recognized this in a post that came across my feed today and decided to speak up.

(I know this isn’t good form, but I’m just going to post bits and pieces with no link.) If you want to read the whole thing you can google “Addie Zierman Blog.” Here are the parts that stood out to me.

I had lunch the other day with a friend. Over soup and salad at Panera, she told me about the unexpected suicide of a family member on Christmas. Then, she told me about the subsequent conversation she had with her Christian college roommate after she returned to school for second semester.

“How’s your walk with God?” the roommate asked, and as my friend told me this, I found myself rolling my eyes so far back into my head that it gave me a sudden rush of headache.

She goes on to say:

While I recognize the importance of the spiritual disciplines of prayer and quiet and Scripture reading, I no longer believe that they correlate directly to that vibrant, heady spirituality that I used to frame as “success.”

What? I mean…what? That sentence directly contradicts itself! It literally makes no sense.

Out of curiosity this week, I Googled questions that Jesus asked. I wanted to know if this How’s your walk with God business had any biblical grounding, and so I read through several lists compiled by pastors and bloggers and theologians.

This is the Jesus who doesn’t, in the end, ask How’s you’re walk with God. Nor does he ask How’s your prayer life? Are you doing your devotions? Are you in the Word? Are you plugged in to a church?

Sooo….you’re saying Jesus doesn’t think your prayer life matters? Or that devotions/Scripture/fellowship matters? Just because we don’t have a record of Jesus asking that question doesn’t mean much.

In fact, none of his questions seem posed to assess the spiritual performance of the people he’s talking to. Instead, they reach deeper, toward desire and identity.

His questions reach into the hidden places, the unwell places, the broken places – not to suggest that we get it together, but to show us that he is holding it together for us.

I agree with this. And this is exactly why people NEED to be praying, reading the Bible, attending church, and staying in fellowship with other believers!!

Toward the end of her post she says:

Ask better questions, sweet pea. Ask them to yourself. Ask them to one another. Ask that which you cannot answer and then be quiet.

This was my comment:

I’m not sure about this. First of all, Jesus didn’t ask “How’s your walk?” because he was talking directly to the person and they were talking to him. Today, as he’s no longer here on earth, this would be, well, prayer. Read through the book of Ephesians. Especially where Paul is talking about the armor of God. Prayer, Bible study, and fellowship are the bedrocks of our faith and lives. We grow and are strengthened by these disciplines. They are our lifelines! I know firsthand the blessing of practical deeds (a meal, watching children, listening) but, ultimately, the best thing I can offer someone is HIM. To direct them back to him, to a full, vibrant relationship with Jesus. There is no substitute. Asking someone about their “walk” or relationship with God is not shallow or dismissive – it is *everything*. This is how the apostle Paul was able to say, “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.b This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

8We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

11Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 If you read about the life of Jesus and his followers and the early church, you read about how they incorporated these disciplines into their *everyday* lives. And it infused them with vibrancy and power. They are so important! It’s what allows the Holy Spirit to guard our hearts and our minds and it’s precisely how we can love and serve others well!

One of the other ladies who left a comment said that she was asked this question “How is your walk with God?” when she applied for a children’s ministry position. She said she felt like replying with, “It’s none of your business.” She went on to say, “What, did they think I’d corrupt the kids as I’m serving them juice?”

Oh my.

Over the years I’ve read this type of thing over and over (cough, Rob Bell, cough). Different and yet so very much the same. These angsty Christians hipsters who are trying so hard, so desperately, to make the Gospel fresh and relevant and new. They want to be seen as deep, but they come off as shallow. Their logic is deeply flawed and their writing is full of inconsistencies and, sometimes, downright poetical-sounding nonsense.

If you want to dig into Scripture and read and study and share with others, then go for it! I think that’s a wonderful thing. I love when people bring to light cultural insights, language clarifications, etc, that help us understand context and what not. But please don’t pick out one verse, or one random thought from your own head, and try and make something out of it. Because, ultimately, there’s nothing of substance there and it will only fall flat at best and lead people astray at worst.

Listen, the Gospel is relevant. The Gospel is deep. The Gospel is enough. Now and always. Nothing added, nothing taken away. Steeping our lives in the Gospel and prayer is what gives us joy and peace and all of the other fruits of the Spirit. It strengthens our daily walk and is there for us in dark, difficult times.

Thinking that spiritual disciplines is nothing more than drudgery with no benefit is a lie straight from the enemy. He’s trying to keep us as weak and ineffectual as possible. Be wiser than his deception and dig back into the Word. Use that as your guide and it will see you through.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Ephesians 5: 22-23

 

 

 

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I Tried It and I Liked It: Beauty Counter

When I was younger, I loved dressing up and longed for the day I could wear make-up. My mom, on the other hand, wasn’t having it. She had never been much of a make-up wearer. This, of course, only added to the allure.

I remember playing with make-up at a friend’s home. She had alll kinds (even though her dad forbid it to be worn outside the house) and we would spend hours applying make-up and trying new (horrendous – it was the early 90s) hairstyles. Bliss.

I’ve never been one to wear obvious make-up, but I sure did own a lot of it. I just sort of collected it. And then never parted with it. Add in my stint with all powdered mineral make-up that had a tendency to make a mess everywhere and it was, well, a mess.

My recent purging-of-stuff finally forced me to face my make-up monster. I decided to be ruthless. I pitched some things that I’ve held on to for over 10 years!! It didn’t hurt as much as I’d feared. It felt good to let it go, actually.

So what did I keep?

For my eyes, I kept this Urban Decay Naked2. It has all the colors I need and then some. It’s rated a ‘2’ on EWG.

Mary Kay’s mascara. A 4 on EWG.

I’ve also been using a cheapy blush. I don’t recall what brand and I’m too lazy to get up and look.

I started thinking of all of this because I just (finally!) ran out of the foundation I’d been using. I chose it because it was supposed to be healthy. I hated it. Like, HATED it. It’s like a liquid powder. It gave good coverage, but it was too chalky which is not a good look for maturing skin. Yuck. But the biggest frustration was the packaging. It leaked. Like, seeped put from under the lid and had to be wiped down constantly. It was a nightmare when travelling. No love here. I only stuck with it because it’s not cheap.

 

Which brings me to now. A lady in my holistic mom’s group is a Beauty Counter rep. I’d read good things about it from the other moms and saw that it had a low EWG rating of 2 so I decided to take the leap. Love it.

 

I also grabbed one of these lip sheers. It has a rating of 1 at EWG! It’s such a nice color and smooth texture and it smells like vanilla. I love it so much!

 

Their make-up isn’t cheap, but since I know how long it lasts me and how clean it is compared to other brands, I’ll be upgrading my blush and mascara in the future. Hopefully. Maybe for Christmas. 😉

 

 

 

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Mother’s Day Weekend 2016

Mother’s Day is always a nice day for me. Ben makes sure of that! This weekend, though, was extra special. Chelsea had notified me earlier in the week that she and Nate were planning an impromptu trip up here for a few days!

I purposely didn’t tell the boys they were in town. When I picked them up from Dayspring and they were begging me to take them to the Science Center to meet up with friends, it was awesome to tell them no. And why. They were so excited.

The only hitch was that we knew we had some rain coming in on Sunday so we were scrambling to get our yard in shape beforehand. That meant getting a trailer-load of dirt, spreading it alllll over the side yard then laying a pallet of sod on top to control erosion. All that to say that we weren’t the best hosts on Friday because Ben had taken the day off to do yard work. Oh well. We still had a nice visit.

They returned on Saturday. My brother came over and they shot for a while. Chelsea and I met mom, Anna, and Tiza at a nearby restaurant to catch up a little. Chels and I realized that we couldn’t come up with a single picture of just Anna and Tiza so I made that happen. Love these two.

Anna and Tiza

Anna and Tiza

Chels and I headed back and played board games with the guys all night. It was good to spend some non-yardwork time with them!

I wish they could have stayed for a week longer. At the least. Sigh.

On Sunday, Ben woke up early and made me breakfast. He’d picked up some blueberry sausage (it was good!) and he also made cheese eggs and sliced up some kiwi. Plus, coffee. Always coffee.

He and the boys had picked up two plants for me and a garden-themed coloring book! Plus a sweet card with a ginormous “Best Mom” button on it. He also picked up a plant for his mom which I thought was really sweet. In the past he’d just leave the gift buying/giving to me, but we’ve been working on that kind of stuff. I was so happy he remembered his mom.

We’ve been taking a into class at our church so we had that to do, but afterward we went with Tim, Karen, and Don, to the Al Foster Trail in Wildwood. I’d never been there before and really enjoyed it! It was beautiful and I told the boys that we’d be sure to go back asap!

Al Foster Trail

Al Foster Trail

Worm

Worm

Train Tracks

Train Tracks

RR Crossing

RR Crossing

There’s a mini train that you can ride for $4. We didn’t have any cash on us, but next time!

Lucerne

Lucerne

Karen and Don

Karen and Don

Dandelion Fluff

Dandelion Fluff

The Bluffs

The Bluffs

Church provided lunch and we had leftovers for dinner. This means I went a whole day without cooking anything! I’d say that’s pretty good!

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My Thoughts On: Pastors Being Removed

I’m not going to name names, but I’ve been reading about how the pastor of a former church has been removed from office because of “a pattern of sin.” The removal letter I read was fairly vague – which is fine – about the reasons why. But it was a board decision as a way to address an issue (well, several issues) that has been going on for a while now and I trust that the removal is valid.

It’s still sad.

Pastors and teachers in the church are called to a high standard and for good reason. They are called to be accountable and for good reason. And when their sin isn’t being addressed they need to be removed to protect the church and to give the pastor an opportunity for regeneration and reconciliation.

As far as I can tell, this particular pastor lost a lot and it’s a sorry situation all around.

Reading the comments of any article is always interesting. The comments I read on this particular situation was no different. First you have your fan girls and yes men. The Pastor in question can do no wrong, it’s really NBD, blah, blah. On the other hand you have those that are calling him a money-grubbing charlatan who had destructive intentions all along. Oh my.

Pastors are real people. They deal with sin, too. They aren’t immune to the pull of the world. It’s always surprising to me when people act sooo shocked that this happens. I think this thinking is to be expected, though, when people have put other humans on a pedestal. Pastors belong at lecterns, not on pedestals.

The Bible is also clear, of course, on the qualifications of a pastor. They need to be held accountable and restored to a healthy walk with Christ. If that’s not possible then they absolutely should be removed from their position. Yes, it’s damaging when a pastor is caught in sin – but it’s even more damaging when the sin is overlooked and allowed to continue.

This particular pastor published one successful book. Then another. He became the chaplain of a major-league sports team. His church exploded from around 30 families to 4,000 attendees in less than 15 years.

It doesn’t surprise me, in this success-driven culture, that this appeals to people. People look at a man like that and all he’s done and it makes him more credible in their eyes. How many books has your pastor written? How much growth has your church seen in the last decade?

The reality is, for most pastors, the answer to both questions is “none.” And that’s okay. And maybe preferred. After all, the office of a pastor is a big deal with a lot of responsibility. How can you keep the pulse of the congregation, train and equip leaders, and be held accountable when you are always writing and promoting books and stretching yourself thin in a million other ways?

I wish Americans could be okay with “good enough.” A pastor who is committed to his family and congregation. A pastor who isn’t obsessive about numbers, but faithfully does as he’s called and leaves the rest to God. A pastor who loves his wife and family and is committed to them and involved with them. This is authenticity. This is credibility.

So, with a heavy heart, I’ll be praying for healing and restoration for this pastor and his family. I’ll be praying for peace and direction for the board members and leaders in this church. I’ll be praying for the church members as they grapple with all that this removal entails. And I’ll be praising God that he is a healer and restorer and makes all things work together for his good.

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I Tried It and I Liked It: Dairy-Free Cheeseburger Soup

It’s not supposed to be soup season, but the weather here has been rainy and chilly so I thought it was the perfect time to try out this Cheeseburger Soup recipe from The Spunky Coconut.

I really liked that it looked thick and chunky and hearty. Otherwise, it’s hard to convince my husband that soup can be a whole meal.

My tweaks:

  1. I used the chicken broth I had on hand instead of beef.
  2. I added in about a 1/4 cup of soft goat cheese. I know, that doesn’t make sense because it specifically says “Dairy-Free” in the title, but we can have goat dairy so I add it in whenever I think it’ll boost the flavor.
  3. I only used 1lb of ground beef!

Despite the fact that I only used half the meat, it was still thick and hearty and we had plenty of leftovers.

Ben seemed pretty meh about it, Luke barely choked it down, and Gabe said it was good as long as he didn’t look at it! LOL. I think they’re all crazy. It was really good and I’ll for sure be making it again, whether they want it or not!

Next time, I just may add bacon….

Posted in Food, Glorious Food, GAPS Diet | Leave a comment

I Tried It and I Liked It: Pizza Quiche

I was stoked to find this recipe at The Spunky Coconut because pizza is another food that we have a hard time with. Grain-free crusts are just not tasty or quick. We’ve tried so many and have not been impressed.

The texture was very creamy. I joked that it was a pizza mousse. But the flavor was excellent so I’ll be making it again!

My tweaks:

  1. I didn’t use the sweet potato for a crust. I was wary because I’ve tried that before and the potato is hard to slice just right. Too thin and it doesn’t even register, but go too thick and it doesn’t always bake all the way through. So ours was a crust less quiche in every sense of the word.
  2.  I thought I had sun dried tomatoes, but couldn’t find them for the life of me. I used tomato paste instead. Half a little jar.
  3. I did however have some roasted red pepper so I threw that in the blender because, why not?
  4. I used the goat milk we had on hand instead of opening a can of coconut milk.

It was an easy dinner to throw together and was liked by all. No leftovers though so maybe next time I’ll make two!

 

 

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I Tried It and I Liked It: Mexican Meatloaf

I stayed true to my word and tried out a few other recipes from The Spunky Coconut’s recipe stash! This one so happens to be featured from another blogger, Paleomg. Both sites are worth checking out.

I was really happy to see a recipe for meatloaf because meatloaf recipes are usually easy. I used to make a really good brown sugar meatloaf, but it has waaaay too much sugar for our diets these days so I needed something else.

The fact that this is a Mexican meatloaf is really nice because we love Mexican food, but can’t have any grains so that makes it difficult to pull off. Not anymore! I served this with a salad topped with cilantro and avocado slices. it was a bit hit all around! Yay!

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Sod

After working ourselves raw last weekend, moving a whole load of dirt around the yard, it rained. Hard. Stormed, is more like it. Hail, crazy winds, branches down, etc. At one point I looked out back and an 8ft wide river of mud was running across the driveway. I wanted to cry.

The next morning we scraped and shoveled up as much of the mud as we could an put it back where it belonged. Then we dammed up that area so that the next rain wouldn’t do more of the same. It was too gloppy to do anything else.

It stormed again but this time it wasn’t as violent and the dam did it’s job. We knew it was supposed to rain again Saturday but weren’t sure exactly what we could do since there wasn’t enough time to dry everything out.

We debated back and forth and finally decided to pick up a pallet of sod yesterday. I noticed that the weather report was now calling for rain on Friday evening instead of Saturday as was originally predicted. I picked the boys up at 2:30 and we headed straight home. Ben pulled in right behind me with the sod and we changed clothes and got to work.

First, we had to pick up all the rocks the rain had exposed. Then we had to shovel and rake the dirt back into place to cover all the gullies the storm had produced. It was exhausting!! One pallet wasn’t near enough to cover all the bare spots, but it was good enough to get the areas most in danger of washing away.

Laying sod is heavy, back-breaking work, but it’s so satisfying, too! It really makes a difference and fast! Of course, our yard looks even weirder now, for the time being, because it’s so haphazard, but it rained again last night and everything looks good. No more gullies!

As soon as the garden area dries up – it’s a shin-deep mud pit right now – we’ll get another pallet and do that as well. Then, finally, I’ll be able to plant. Hang in there vegetables, it won’t be much longer!!

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Weekly Update 4/30/16

I’m ready to be done with school for the year. I think I’m struggling more than the boys at this point! Well, not much longer, thankfully!

We’re done with math for the year and we only have a couple of Presidents to go for social studies. The boys will each be making a personal health book that will serve as a review for all we’ve learned about health. Both boys finished LA early so I started them on new books, but we’ll just stop when everything else peters out.

Classes at Dayspring are finishing up at the end of the month with the finale falling on the first weekend of June.

We’ll continue music lessons through summer because it’s basically what Luke lives for at this point. He practices guitar and keyboard for hours a day. I did decide to have him take lessons somewhere else, though. We were driving for half an hour because the lessons were so inexpensive, but the prices have been raised twice now and we found out on Wednesday that the local place gives lessons for the same price as we’re now paying. It’ll cut my drive time in half!

On Wednesday we’ll be checking out a co-op in our area. I’m excited about it because I’ve been a part of the FB group for about a month and I’m loving the classes they offer. I think it really shows promise and I love that it’s so close. I’d honestly love to do that instead of Dayspring next year, but Luke loves the Acting Skills class so much that I don’t have the heart to pull him out.

Hmmm, what else?

I’m feeling pretty good about the curriculum I want to use next year. I just need to decide if I want to use Life of Fred on it’s own again or if I want to throw in Saxon, as well.  Thankfully I have some time to decide!

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