Thursday, December 18, 2014

Doughnuts

(Okay, let's get this out of the way, I LOVE Dunkin' Donuts, but for Pete's sake, it really irks me to see it spelled "donut". Ugh.)

I am not at the point of dreaming about doughnuts - my dreams seem to be reserved for the zombie apocalypse, rampaging velociraptors, and negotiating with sentient chocolate milk floods (which steal appliances and hold them ransom) and tornadoes, NOT the gluten-free items that I can't eat anymore. But doughnuts SHOULD be a part of that. They're that freaking good... and I miss them that much.

It's strange how the brain works. When I was a kid, my mother would take me and my sister to the local doughnut shop (who was also in the habit of selling "donuts" tsk tsk) early in the morning for whatever reason (I can't remember). What I DO remember is that I wasn't really jazzed on the idea of eating doughnuts. By the time I had finished half my doughnut and apple juice, I would have a wicked-awful sinus headache, so it really wasn't much of a treat for me...

Somewhere between then and going gluten-free, I discovered Dunkin' Donuts (they didn't really have much of a presence in the KC metro while I was growing up) and I fell in love. The doughnut sticks that they package and sell in vending machines became a breakfast staple while I did the corporate thing working at a call center in my early twenties.

Now that I am gluten-free (and have been for the last 6 or so years)... aside from a few options in the frozen food section of my local Hy-Vee supermarket, I really don't get doughnuts. And I miss them something awful!

My father-in-law, bless his heart, likes to go get doughnuts on Saturday mornings, and though the intention is nice, I cringe every single time he does. Even though I am not fond of the brand, those fluffy little pastries taunt me from their box, and I resist the urge to punch them in their smirking little faces! (Okay, not really - I AM prone to some creative exaggeration here. ENFP.) And it's even more complicated now that my daughter isn't eating gluten either. (It's hard to tell a 3-year-old she can't have a doughnut when her grandparents are eating them. And thankfully, the Saturday morning doughnuts have been scaled back pretty well.)

My hubby, the dear man that he is, has tried making doughnuts at home for me. But, try as we might, they just aren't quite right, and I get that terrible sinus headache (which I am guessing is some kind of migraine) from the smell of the oil by the time we are done... and then I have NO stomach for anything even remotely fried. :(

I am beginning to think that I am going to have to go the yeasty, waking up at the crack of dawn and rolling and cutting dough route... and I am not so sure I am ready to bite on that... but DOUGHNUTS! ugh.

It irks me that the average person gets to wake up in gluten-land and drive to the shop down the street (or stop at the gas station) and grab a wad of gorgeously fried pastry - and that is ALL the work that they have to put into it! But, as for me? Nope. I get to hope I don't anger the yeast. And wake up early. To roll out dough. And let things sit and rise. And then the frying. All for a freakin doughnut!

I mentioned in passing to my mother-in-law that SOMEONE should [get off their ass and] make a gluten free doughnut shop. It would be SO nice.
But, of course, her response was something ignorant about it "defeating the purpose" of doughnuts. It's really not her fault. Pretty much everyone under the sun thinks that being gluten-free is some fad-diet that makes the pounds just fall right off, which is a WHOLE other can of works so let's just go with: it isn't. 

I'm sure someone out there would say "well, why don't YOU do it?" And that's a reasonable enough question... and my answer is that it really isn't my calling in this world at this season in my life. Not gonna happen.

So, until someone else steps up to the plate... I guess I'll be working myself up to the idea of yeast and wishing I could dream about doughnuts for once, instead of shooting zombies or getting chased by brilliant raptors. :/

Ugh.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Please forgive our dust...

I am re-clothing this blog with some pretty new graphics, so there's gonna be quite a bit of dust, and probably some really ugly clashing colours.

Okay. Maybe not so much dust, but TONS of ugly clashing colours.

Please don't mind the mess. No links will be harmed in the making of this blog re-colour (I hope). And all the colours should be back to pretty in a few days (hopefully).

Thanks for understanding!! :D

Friday, January 3, 2014

When You Give God Some of Your Time...

It amazes me how much He can accomplish in me when I finally submit to Him, when I finally knuckle down and carve a slice of my day out for a quiet moment with Him.

I am incapable of being one of those morning dates with God kind of people - waking up at the crack of dawn to spend time with Him before my family wakes is impractical in this season of my life; the only quiet moments my daughter gives me are in the afternoons while she naps and the evenings after she goes to bed for the night.

I have spent a lot of time lamenting because I couldn't do the morning thing, enough so that I let myself get derailed by it.

I am the kind of person who often [mistakenly] thinks that if something can't be done "right" then it shouldn't be done at all. Honey, let me tell you that there is no wrong way to spend time with God! I have learned this the hard way, the stubborn and inconvenient way, the I-know-better-than-God way. And what I learned is that He is ready to take you as you are!

All you can manage is ten measly minutes in the shower, or the car, or right after the kids go to bed? Good; He'll take it! He wants to reserve that spot in your life. And on top of that, He wants to maximize this time.

Any time spent with God is time well spent, a sound investment. I can't count the number of years that I have logically understood this concept in my head, while denying it in my heart... Until I finally just gave in and did it, gave Him time.

It's not always a lot of time, and sometimes it is still sporadic - because I am human, horribly flawed, and still learning... but when I did show up, He showed me that it was worth it!

I started last year knowing that I had to make a change in my life, knowing that I needed to rely on Him far more than I had ever let myself before. I was drowning in the depression of being away from home and married to the Marine Corps. And though I had really fought a good fight on my own, I was losing ground faster than I could measure it!

Change began with a simple Bible study on the Proverbs 31 Wife of Valor and the very difficult choice of giving up some time with my husband. It wasn't easy.

Instead of falling asleep next to my husband, I chose to stay up an hour later on my own while the house was quiet. At first my husband resented this and felt neglected, and in all honesty, he probably was. But God took that opportunity to heal some very old and raw wounds that I had spent years trying to fix myself [ I am not a good physician]. The blessing became my newfound strength and ability to better care for my husband in other areas of our lives; it became my newfound desire to pray for him.

And the change in me, I discovered, was profound. I was [am] entirely the same woman I've always been, and yet better... better in that way that only God can make better, secure in a way that is only obtained through unshakable faith in God's unending and perfect love, capable in way that only God is capable [of moving mountains].

God used that time to prepare me, too. When life became unbelievably difficult towards the second half of last year, I had His foundation beneath me and His grace to strengthen and refresh me. When the fiery trial came and burnt so much of the film flam that I had invested my time in, I stood in the midst of the flames and took count of the blessings that remained... and I felt His grace and His strength move me, sustain me.

I continued to give Him my time, and I felt Him pour His compassion and grace into me, watched Him rebuild my marriage with the strength of gold, silver, and precious gems - not the hay that my husband and I had chosen to use. I saw my life transform into something new. As Capital Kings sing, "[He's] got me living how I've wanted all along."

And now, in this new season of my life... sometimes the only time I have to give Him are the ten quiet minutes in the shower [seriously], but that's enough.

He moves in my heart and whispers to me, "Write, Mollie, write. It doesn't have to be pretty or perfect. You don't need a fancy computer or graphics software; I have given you everything you need right here, right now. So write! Don't hem and haw over the content; I'll handle that! Just write already!"

So, I am writing... and I don't know how often it will be, or how poetic or profound it will be, or to what purpose it will serve... but I am giving Him time, and I am writing!

Friday, November 8, 2013

My Mission Statement needed a Heavenly Perspective

I've spent the last 6 years or so trying to nail down a "mission statement". I discovered Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and I knew that I needed to define my "mission" if I was ever going to have any clue of where I was going or what I was doing with my life. I mean, how could I prioritize my time if I had no idea what my priorities were?

Henry David Thoreau said, “In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.” I really have no idea who he is or what he did to merit that anyone record or remember his words, but those words stuck with me none the less. Never mind the altitude, how could I hit any target if I didn't have the slightest idea what I was aiming at?

So I put pen to paper and, following the directions given to me, I wrote down everything that came to mind. It was good -I usually thing everything I write is good- but it didn't sing; it didn't resonate with me. Instead, all the great words fell flat on the paper and I felt even less motivated than when I had begun.

Next, I tried the free wizard on Franklin Covey's website. I answered the probing questions then tweaked it on my own in Microsoft Word. It was better. I learned some things about myself and pointed out some rather obvious fluff about myself. (I mean, when I wrote "I am most effective when I am happy and positive", seriously who isn't? How does that help me stay positive? And what happens when I am inevitably not happy and positive?) It made me feel a little more energized about what I was doing, but it still missed the mark. I would look at that paper and think, "Is this all there is? People rave about their statements, and mine is just... meh. No singing."

I resigned myself to thinking that mission statements were just another crock of bull sold to insecure self-help junkies, and I certainly resembled that conclusion at the time. So, I filed my statement away and decided to do some soul searching, because maybe I just had no idea of who I was or what I wanted. And boy was I right!

Fast forward several years and I have a paradigm shift. Suddenly, I realize that there's more to my life than my selfish pursuit of liberty and pleasure above all else. I discovered that all the statements about material gain that had felt empty years before felt that way because they were empty pursuits. Sure, I wanted things and stuff, but they had lost priority when I fell head-over-heels in love with Jesus. Suddenly, like a light bulb had clicked on in my head cartoon-style, I knew who I was and I knew my purpose.

But the mission statement was the farthest thing from my mind at that time. Then one unassuming night during my private study time with God, I just felt His Spirit stirring in me. I had words in my heart that I needed to get out. So I grabbed some paper and wrote the following:

My life is a great gift from God. The blood of Christ has redeemed me and through His blood and sacrifice, I am born again and no longer dead. He is the Great Love of my life.

I will choose daily to remember that every new morning is a gift and an opportunity. Therefore, the following is the manner in which I will choose to live my life:

- I will celebrate every breath I take because each one is a blessing. I will seek to let go of petty things and transgressions. I will choose to remember that every good thing, big or small, is of and from God. And I will stand strong and courageous in the face of opposition because I know that, even in the midst of the storm, God is with me, cares for me, strengthens me, and blesses me.

- I will seek out God's Truth as I continuously purpose to be more like Him. By actively seeking Him and keeping His Word (Jesus) close to my heart daily, God will provide all that I need to triumph over the lies, temptations, and struggles of this world.

- I will remember that God alone gives me my value and dignity and that no one can take them from me. I am never alone: God goes with me everywhere. (Therefore, I will aim to not take Him into dark and sinful places.) I do not have to fear because He goes before me to clear my path, stands behind me, and walks beside me as I travel through this life. I am never left exposed, bare, or vulnerable to anyone because I am clothed in His strength and majesty.

- I will surrender and forfeit every aspect of my life and submit every thought in my head to Him, His Will, and His Word. I will work with diligence to uphold His Word in my every thought and action and I will bring before Him every darkness and transgression I create so that they may be rebuked, be healed, and be perfected.

- I will endeavour to fill my time with productive tasks and cast off the chains of idleness. I will remember that, in all things, I work for God and not for man.

- I will cultivate humility, compassion, and patience in my life because that is the example my Lord has given me.

- I will live a life of more than just planning. I will take action - because my God is an active God!

- I will remember that my marriage is the single most important relationship in my life, second only to my relationship with Christ. I will be ever conscious that it is the flesh-and-blood example of my Spiritual covenant with Christ. Therefore, I will purpose to love my husband as Christ and as Christ loves me - because the three of us are intertwined into one fiber, never to be broken by earthly hands. My husband is my own flesh and I will treat him with great care, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. I will also stand by him and support him in all seasons of life and work to renew our relationship daily.

It only took fifteen minutes, and when I was finished I realized what it was. It was the mission statement that I had agonized over for hours upon hours stretched over many years, that very statement that I had tried to force out so many times! And here it had flowed so easily as God's Word guided my hand! Once I had realigned my perspective, there it had poured out, as effortlessly as water from a glass! And, as I'm sure you have guessed, this one sings!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Experience with Morning Quiet Time with God, and Why it's Not Always the Best Plan...

Champagne Castle by Slack12.

I won't deny that Jesus gives us an excellent example (well He always does, but specific to this post) in Mark 1:35, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." I have read it over and over again suggested in many Bible studies and devotionals that a Christian should wake up early and spend time with God in His Word. I'm not going to say that's a bad idea, because it is excellent to get our thoughts on God first thing in the morning. But, I want to encourage Christians to take heart if morning quiet time is just not feasible at this season in their lives; God just might have other plans for you...


My experience with morning quiet time...


I really really wanted to wake up bright and early in the mornings and spend quiet time with God, but it wasn't working out for me. An obstacle was that I have a toddler who is an early riser and the moment anyone else is awake in the house, so it she. This meant that I would either have to wake up at 4 am or spend time with God in the evenings after she went to bed. Another obstacle was that I just couldn't seem to get myself out of bed before 8 am and couldn't seem to get to sleep before midnight - so waking up at 4 am was absolutely out of the question. And yet another obstacle was the difference in the state of my mind in the morning and at night - somehow, for some reason I couldn't fathom, I was having an easier time opening myself up to scripture and concentrating on studies at night than I was in the morning. 

I decided to go with the flow of my body and spend my study time with God at night after my family was asleep and the house was still and quiet. But, I have to admit, I felt guilty because I wasn't doing it "right". Sure, I was spending time with God and that's what is important (and was having a grand time doing it, too), but certainly there had to be a purpose to why everyone pushed for morning time. Was I missing out on some great blessing because I couldn't seem to get myself out of bed early enough?

At this same time, I was having horrible problems with feeling very vulnerable at night before bed. It was common for me to think very depressing and self-depreciating thoughts, hold arguments with my husband, generate storms of paranoia and worry, and pick apart my own self-esteem. The enemy of my soul seemed to be having a grand time taking advantage of me in my weakened state and it took all my energy every day to piece things back together after each terrible night. Of course, this had been rather commonplace for me since I was a teenager and was feeling the full force of my mother's emotional abuse, so I assumed it was the way life had to be and thought nothing of it.

I used the nights for my time with God for over ten weeks, and in that time I began to set up a habit. I got used to thinking about God before bed and holding a bit of an open prayer with Him as I feel asleep after my study time. The study time at night made it easier for me to keep Him in my thoughts because it was the last thing I did before bed. Some nights I still had a difficult time. But instead of giving in to the negative thoughts, I found myself either pleading for God's help, reciting scripture, or simply telling myself over and over in my head, "God loves me, no matter what!" The more I kept up with this habit, the easier my nights became, and the easier it was for me to wake up earlier in the morning!

When I looked back on events, I realized that having my quiet time at night was exactly what God wanted! He used that time to fortify my nights and helped me to greet the day easier. I realized that maybe there was a reason why I was facing so much resistance to waking early, and it solidified the idea that meeting God exactly where I am is the best plan.

I hope that anyone who reads this can take heart in knowing that you're not "wrong" or "bad" if waking in the morning and spending time with God just doesn't fit. Sure, it's a nice ideal to strive for, but maybe God has other plans for you right now. Maybe there is something in your life that can be healed through night, evening, or afternoon quiet time. Don't do like I did and feel guilty because you're not fitting some standard that other Christians have established. Follow God. ;)