The Season of Rest

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"In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength." Isaiah 30:15

This is the season of rest.

It is the season of repentance. It is the beginning of Lent.

For many of us, the word "repentance" seems foreign. It may conjure up images of groveling, shame, or scenes of a confessional.

But repentance in the Bible is rest. A turning around, an end to running away, or hiding. It's stripping off a mask. It's being real, or even "authentic" to borrow one of today's over-used buzz words.

As Martin Luther said, "When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, 'Repent,' he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance."

Repentance isn't a one time thing you do to "get saved." It's a process. It's a lifestyle.

It's not a picture of standing ashamed before a stern judge. The picture the Bible presents is that of the prodigal son returning and his father running to wrap him in arms of joy. The son no longer has to scrounge around, eeking out an existence alongside of pigs, but can rest in the lavish love of his father. In his father's presence he finds the peace his soul was looking for all along.

Lent isn't ultimately about depriving oneself or some sort of self-deprecation. It's about the rest repentance brings while we wait for resurrection.

What I'm Into Right Now (January 2018)

It's time to share some of the good stuff I've been enjoying lately.

Listening:

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I've been loving Emily P. Freeman's podcast, The Next Right Thing. All her recent episodes have been hitting me in all the best ways. Not to mention she has such a soothing voice and at 15 or so minutes I can easily get it on a busy day. Her messages are a great reminder on how to focus my days and my work.

Also, the last audiobook the kids and I finished up was Navigating Early. Wow, was that book ever good! I'm really glad we did audio over reading it because I think that really helped add to the experience. All the kids loved it and I did too. It's the type of book that has so many layers! I'm sure I was getting things out of it they weren't. For instance, I loved the whole "epic quest" aspect that is reminiscent of so many other great books like The Odyssey or The Lord of the Rings. Yet is was uniquely American.

Reading:
Thus far this year I really enjoyed Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. I tried reading it a year ago and it just didn't resonate with me and I didn't get very far. This year I stuck with it. It still took a while to hook me but it really did. I teared up at the beautiful ending. I also just finished The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Newbery Award books never disappoint and I loved this novel just as much as I did when I read it when I was a girl--maybe even more! I'm always a bit nervous to return to a book I loved as a kid. Sometimes they don't hold up to age and time, but this one did.

For Christmas I got the BEST book light ever! I've tried several different types in the past and this one is way better than any I've ever had. It's the Mighty BrightIt's bright, but dimmable, and has stays put and the neck isn't flimsy. 

Watching:

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The current Netflix series I've been LOVING is Longmire. Who would think I'd love a Western? Not me. But it has the things I realize I love about a show: strong lead characters, a unique location, and an overarching mystery. I'm also fascinated by the race relations between the Cheyenne tribe on the reservation and the rest of the community and law enforcement. Also, Walt Longmire has an aspect to his character I really like. Kind of reminds me of a bit more broken, more western version of Inspector Gamache. If you try it, give it more than one episode. They get better and better as they go. 

Eating:
Last week I made BBQ Chicken Tacos and we all agreed they were delicious and nice twist on the standard taco. For the Super Bowl a friend made these French Onion Beef Sliders and they were so incredibly flavorful. A great way to feed a crowd. And this week I'm looking forward to making these Sugar Cookie Bars for Valentine's Day!

What are you into right now?

A Comforting Family Recipe | Take Them A Meal Guest Post

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Have you heard of Take Them a Meal? It is a fabulous website that allows there to be ease in scheduling meals for someone who needs them. It is easily sharable and everyone can see who is taking what and on which day. 

I had used the site many times before I realized the founder was actually someone knew! Adina, one of the founders of Take Them a Meal, had gone to church with me years ago--actually her father had been my Sunday School teacher!

So I was thrilled when Adina asked me to share my own "take them a meal" story as well as some of my favorite go-to recipes for when I deliver meals.

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...

I sprinkle flour on the countertop and knead the dough, pressing it down with my palms in a rhythmic motion, before shaping it and placing it into a well-oiled bread pan. The recipe was my husband's grandmother's and now that she is no longer with us, it still makes me smile to make her bread.

I'm prepping a meal for a family who recently had their fifth child. The truth is I don't like making meals to take to others. I like it in concept, but it always feels a bit complicated, to be honest. What to make? When to take it? How to package it all up? Will they like it?

But, I've experienced the blessing of meals during hard times and it was such a comfort I'll always sign up to help someone else in this way if I am able.

Join me over at Take Them A Meal's website as I share the rest of my story and recipes.

How to Overcome Evil With Good

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We showed up for our homeschool classes on a typical Wednesday morning. As we entered the building, a mom took me aside and whispered in my ear:

“We’re on lockdown. There’s an active shooter in the area so don’t let your kids back outside.”

That day we went home safe. But it was a stark reminder about how quickly a day can change. Evil, abuse, and controversy scream from the headlines. At times our culture celebrates it, other times it rightly abhors it. Regardless, it can leave me feeling helpless. What can I do?

The answer that the Lord has whispered in my heart over and over has been this: overcome evil with good. I can’t stop evil men from carrying out evil deeds. But I can in my own small way overcome evil by doing the good, God-glorifying work that Christ has called me to do.

Join me over at iBelieve as I share 6 things each of us can do today to overcome evil with good.