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Hey friends! Please tell me you’re still in the process of settling into a new month and new year. I’m over here trying to get my bearings, get used to writing “2019”, and get the Christmas decorations back into the attic!
But even in this time of transition, I’ve discovered it’s possible to experience the sacred, simple abundance of life.
The Sacred, Simple Abundance of Life
If you’ve been reading my blog for long then you might have noticed the recent changes to the heading and title/tagline. I won’t bore you with the technical issues that forced the change but I will tell you that I’m glad it happened.
Changing my blog is one of the many ways I’m choosing to simplify my life. The blog change is easy to spot but other changes might not be unless you live with me or can read my mind.
I’ve been thinking and making notes about how to share a little of what I’m allowing and learning in this season of life with the intention of inspiring you in whatever season you’re in. So I left a pile of dirty dishes in the sink and slipped away to my quiet office downstairs, in hopes of communicating honestly and effectively what’s on my heart.
Let’s start with a little English lesson:
mundane: lacking interest or excitement; humdrum, boring, tedious; of this earthly world rather than a heavenly or spiritual one.
sacred: holy, blessed, dedicated; connected with God or dedicated to a religious purpose
I’m always looking for the sacred within and around the mundane. But for years I chased sacred moments, trying to catch a holy and blessed, connected-with-God life. In my mind, that meant all the dull and boring things must be done and out-of-the-way so that I could just sit at the feet of Jesus.
You know what I learned?
All the mundane tasks of life are never done.
And the hands I threw up in frustrated surrender became hands lifted in praise as I discovered my friend, Jesus, waiting for me right there in the middle of the all the dull and boring things and “the mundane became sacred”.
That’s what I want you to experience, too!
This year my aim will be to share my ordinary days with you
—where the mundane becomes sacred—
and sit with you at the feet of our Dear Friend, Jesus.
3 Things I’m Learning To Do in This Season
1. Create space
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I’m still in the process of putting decorations away. I know some of you probably had yours finished by December 31 or maybe you’re the one who boxes up the decorations on December 25 as soon as the festivities end.
I’ll admit a certain emptiness to our spaces once the decorations come down. But I’m glad to create space and see the wintry view from the large picture window again. I’ve missed the silhouette of leafless trees against the glow of the sunrise each morning.
We declutter and un-decorate to create space in our home. Perhaps we ought to do the same in our life.
In a month like January, when many join a gym to renew their healthy lifestyle, I created space in my life and budget by canceling my gym membership. I’m not saying that’s the best decision for everyone but I knew it was right for me. I’ve always exercised and had a gym membership on and off all my life. But in this season, going to the gym doesn’t work for me and I don’t much enjoy the gym environment either. I exercise at home and save money, too.
How can you create space in your home and your life this season?
2. Embrace possibility
When the decor comes down each year I’m not sad to see it go. My children don’t share this feeling. No matter how old they are, they’re always sad when the tree comes down.
Maybe I’m not sad because I embrace the possibility of what can replace the dry, needle-dropping Frazier Fir. After a few days of enjoying the empty space where the tree once stood, I moved an old trunk beneath the window and added some plants that had most certainly missed the filtered sunshine.
How can you embrace possibility in your life in this season? Does your soul need some sunshine and more time in the Son?
As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breathe it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.
3. Rest in hope
Every year after all the Christmas decorations have been returned to the attic, I manage to discover something I missed. I’ve growled in frustration at the oversight. In talking with my sweet neighbor recently, she mentioned that she always leaves one small Christmas item in each room, sometimes in a place that only she will notice. She said taking down the decorations always makes her a little sad. By leaving a small decoration in every room, she’s reminded year round of the hope that Christmas brings. What a lovely idea!
I won’t leave decor in every room (not intentionally at least) but I decided long before Christmas to leave this small nativity scene in my office year round.
I found it at the thrift store several months ago in one of the “miscellaneous junk” bins. The pieces had been placed in a sandwich bag and marked $2.00. The color of the pieces first caught my eye but when I opened the bag at home and started removing the pieces I was surprised to discover a complete, unbroken set! What struck me, as I began to place them one by one, was their posture. Each person rests with raised and open hands, including baby Jesus.
In this season of transition as I seek to create space and embrace possibility, I will rest in the eternal hope of Christ with raised hands and an open heart. Therein lies the recipe for experiencing the sacred, simple abundance of life.
Rest in the eternal hope of Christ.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above,where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.Colossians 3:1-2
As you move through the ordinary days, weeks, and months of this year, I’d love to help you see where the mundane becomes sacred in this life. You can get regular encouragement sent directly to your email by clicking here to subscribe. I post regularly on Facebook and Instagram with the same aim. I’d be happy if you’d followed along!
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I’m so glad you took the time to read my words today. If this is your first time here you might want to click here: “Start Here“.
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This is definitely a Hearty Cabbage Soup! If you’re like me you might think “cabbage soup diet” when you hear cabbage soup. (Yes, I’ve done the Cabbage Soup diet. Hasn’t everyone?) But the men in my house want hearty, delicious food and to be honest, so do I! So when I’m cooking I’m for sure thinking of what they’ll like but I also want to stay on budget, not waste what we already have, and keep my sanity because I have a million other things to do besides cooking.
So you could call this “Keep Your Sanity and Stay on Budget” soup, or “Clean out the fridge and throw everything in the crockpot” soup or “Almost cabbage soup diet but not quite” soup. Really, all of those things are true about this soup!
Keep reading and I’ll tell you more plus share the super simple recipe below.
Keep Your Sanity and Stay on Budget
We’ve been busier than usual the last few weeks and I’ve loved every minute of it. Saying you’re busy gets a bad rap but being busy can be a good thing if you’re busy with a purpose, doing the tasks you’re called to do, and serving the people you’re called to serve. In other words, knowing your priorities and saying “yes” to the things only you can and should do, makes saying”no” much easier!
Making a home and serving my family good food is one of my priorities. But I also want to keep my sanity, serve with love, and stay on budget. Since we’ve had the privilege to go out of town a lot lately we’ve been eating out (most of it was really delicious) and spending more money than usual. (I’ll share about our recent trip to New Orleans soon!)
This week calls for simple, home-cooked comfort food and spending less to make up for the extra traveling expenses.
Thinking about supper early in the day and prepping ahead helps me keep my sanity. Eric and I are at the office until 7:00 every evening and we’re STARVING when we get home! The crockpot is the greatest invention ever!
Clean Out the Fridge and Throw Everything in the Crockpot
Cleaning out the fridge and buying a few groceries are on my list today and so I went to work as soon as everyone was out the door. Getting all the leftovers and stuff that needs to be used out on the counter helps me see my options. A bowl of leftover, stir-fried cabbage gave me the idea to make soup. I also had a bag of carrots, green onions, and bell peppers that needed to be used.
I think it’s a shame to waste food especially if you’re trying to stay on a budget. If you save money buying groceries and then end up throwing food away I don’t think you’ve accomplished much. We’ll eat leftovers for one meal but not much beyond that so repurposing leftovers in soup is a great way not to waste food. I’ve created some really delicious soups by accident a few times using what’s in the fridge.
Tip: If you’re short on ideas, just Google “what to do with ______________” or search it on Pinterest. You’ll get some really good ideas! And don’t feel like you need everything a recipe calls for. Leave it out or substitute what you have. Water in place of chicken or beef broth is fine if you season it well!
Having a pantry stocked with beef and chicken broth, canned tomatoes, and other vegetables is helpful, too, and those items are super cheap at places like Aldi.
Almost Cabbage Soup Diet But Not Quite
I love simple vegetable soup, but I’ll run to the store later and get ground beef to cook and add to the pot. My guys will be happy!
I’ve learned that they also like a creamier soup so sometimes I add a bit of half-n-half a few minutes before serving.
Ground beef and half-n-half. Clearly, not the cabbage soup diet, especially if you have cornbread.
Hearty Cabbage Soup Recipe
1-2 heads of cabbage, roughly chopped
1 onion, chopped
Bag of carrots (fresh or frozen)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cups chicken or beef broth
Ground beef, browned and drained (smoked sausage is really good, too)
Seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, rosemary)
You can stir-fry the cabbage or add it to the crockpot raw.
Saute carrots, onions, and pepper in oil adding seasonings as you go. Add to crockpot.
Brown and drain meat. Add to crockpot.
Add beef or chicken stock.
Cook on low 4-6 hours.
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Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post. I love sharing about faith, family, and home and hope you’ve found this helpful. If you’d like to know more about me you can click here and if you’d like to get email updates about new posts, click here to subscribe.
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I love God and I love the way He loves me. Sometimes He loves me big—you know those over-the-top, mind-blowing, part-the-Red Sea kinds of ways. But I’m especially fond of the ways He loves me small. Not that His love is small, but the way He often shows His love is so private and personal and I’m reminded again that in a world spinning 1000 miles per hour and growing by 140 people every minute, He sees me.
It’s the whisper only my heart can hear.
His still, small love blindsides me every time. I almost feel dizzy as the world around me fades away. I want to stop the clock, catch my breath, and hold onto the moment. My words and stories here help me do that. I hope they point you to His heart for you, too
We grew up just a few miles apart in the same small town but I never got to see him play football. Under Friday night lights, he suited up as a defensive end for the Choctaws while I cheered for the Chargers across the river. Even though we saw each other from time to time, we didn’t start dating until after we graduated high school.
For 33 years we’ve enjoyed talking football (yes I understand the game) and watching football together. Today we enjoyed some football talk. I asked him about the positions he played back in the day and the various defensive plays used in football. I’m sure it seemed like a random question.
But God had whispered to my heart and I was leaning in close to listen and learn.
The Whisper Only Your Heart Can Hear
During church this week, we sang, “Lord, I Need You”. It’s still one of my all-time favorites. But this line, “You are my one defense” grabbed my attention like never before.
I sang the words out loud.
Holy Spirit convicted.
I was blindsided by the awareness that the Lord is often not “my one defense”.
When I see a problem, “the opponent”, I run through all the potential “plays” in my mind. I over think, wring my hands, beat my chest, growl, and grunt. I am determined to halt or at least hinder Problem’s progress.
Like a skilled player confident in my ability to keep my opponent from getting the upper hand or scoring points, I take my position, execute my defensive play, and shift my position or stance when necessary.
And time after time, I’m beat. My Opponent out maneuvers me.
My plays are no match for what lines up against me, seeking to devour me.
My One Defense
Today, my friend Jesus reminded me that He is my one defense.
Yet I live and move as if I am my one defense. As if winning at life is all up to me.
In football, no winning team has just one defensive play.
But in life, One is all you and I need.
Jesus is our One Defense. He’s with us, enabling us to play the position, live the life, He’s created us to live.
Together we’re a winning team.
Friend, he sees you, too. He’s loving you in big ways and small. No doubt you’ve got a million things on your checklist today and you’re determined to most of them done. I know the feeling well. But will you let these words be your little reminder that Jesus is Your One Defense? He’s all you need.
- Look for His love–In His Word, He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3). In a world where nothing lasts forever and everything has a “best used by” date, you can rest assured that your Father loves you. Always has. Always will. And more importantly, He wants you to know Him and His love. Ask Him to help you see His love in your life today.
- Let Him love you–You are not unloveable to Him. I know it’s easy sometimes to feel unloved and unlovable but that’s a lie from the Enemy. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He created you and made a way for you to be redeemed and reconciled to Him. He knew what He was getting when He chose you! Let Him love you. Being loved, knowing YOU ARE LOVED, is a game changer!
And just in case you need to hear it for yourself:
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