Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gratitude and Guilt

I've always been perplexed by the idea of appreciating what we have because there are people "less fortunate" than us. It's not that we shouldn't appreciate the things we have, but often times this "appreciation" is driven by guilt.

Surely, contentment and gratitude has to be more than that.

After all, at some point, there must be the possibility that someone will be totally destitute and not have any worse examples so that they can feel better about themselves or their situation. However, that seems so far fetched and surreal. We most likely have not or never will meet someone like that. But what if that someone were us? How could we respond?

Last week I was reading to my kids the bible story about a widow who had only enough flour and oil to make bread for her son (1 Kings 17:9-16). The drought was so great that the poor widow expected to eat that and then wait to die, as there was nothing left for her and her son. Then the prophet Elijah comes along asking for something to drink and then asks for bread. Here is a woman who didn't have enough for her household and now this man asks her for some food. She was honest and told him of her situation, and then Elijah assures her not to fear, and that God would not let the flour and oil run out until it rained again. And the flour and oil did not run out.

So, here is one example in the Bible of someone less fortunate than any of us. No husband, only flour and oil to make bread with. Can you imagine eating the same thing every day for several years? Can you imagine it being just bread and water? My dietitian brain just screams with the lack of variety and balance in their diet. But it was sufficient. However, upon reflecting on this, I realized that it's not that we ought to be thankful that we are more fortunate, but rather that we can be grateful to have a God who is with us even in dire situations like that widow's.
I still have much to learn, but the following words from the apostle Paul are starting to sink in:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13
We all have hopes and dreams for our lives, and often times our identity (even God's identity) gets wrapped up in it, rather than in the truth of His word. However, I am learning that even when we hurt and go through disappointments, God is still there with us, just as He said (Hebrews 13:5 is one example). It may seem cliché (especially when we are in the thick of things), but I can testify to the statement that "When God is all you have left, then you will see that He is all you need." And the truth in that statement will never be taken away from me (Romans 8:38-39).

And for that -- in addition to many other things -- I am grateful!
Have a blessed and guilt-free Thanksgiving!

Related Posts:
Tributo a Iehovah (Jeová)
His life in my life

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Three things I never thought I'd do as a parent

1.Tiptoe around the sleeping baby. There comes a point when you just want your baby to sleep and stay asleep.
2. Establish a routine/structure during infancy. Well, for the first couple of months, I don't really do this. Especially because I can breastfeed on demand. But I soon realized the need for structure in my home. Otherwise my son would be sleep deprived and hungry (and in the preschool years -- bored).
3. Bribe my kids with candy and sweets. I hope I won't get my registered dietitian status revoked, but sometimes a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of right now. How about you?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Potato Rosemary Rolls

Here is the recipe I used for my turkey rolls from a few years back. It comes from Tone's Easy Entertaining cookbook.

2 3/4 - 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) rapid rise yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp minced onions
1 tsp salt
1 tsp rosemary, crushed (if dried)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup instant potato flakes or buds
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp olive oil

1 egg, slightly beaten
Rosemary leaves, crushed

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, onions, salt and 1 tsp rosemary. Heat milk, potato flakes, water and oil until very warm (120-130 oF) Stir into dry ingredients. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Cover; let the dough rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into rolls. Plcace rolls, 2 inches apart, on greasted large baking sheet. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until rolls are doubled in size, about 20-40 minutes.

Brush tops with egg. Sprinkle with rosemary as desired. Bake at 375oF for 15 to 20 minutes or until done. Remove from baking sheet; cool on wire rack.

My Notes:

  • I have used leftover mashed potatoes instead of the potato flakes and water (it's been a while, I think 3/4 cups?), but check the dough to make sure it is not too dry
  • I have used fresh and dried onions and rosemary (red onions are really good)
  • I have made this in the dough cycle in my bread machine. In that case, 3 cups flour is usually enough.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some insights on 1 Peter 5 and the importance of building relationships

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11

Recently, I was reading through the above passage where we are encouraged to cast our cares upon the Lord because he cares for us (v. 7). As I continued reading the next verse, I noted that casting our cares on the Lord also helps us be watchful against the enemy, who wants to devour us. But it was verse 9 that really struck me: The key to resisting the devil and to be firm in our faith is to KNOW that our brothers and sisters all around the world experience the same sufferings.

But how will we know if we don't share with one another? I am convinced that our enemy has deceived us into thinking we are suffering alone. The devil likes it that way, because it provides an opportunity for him to attack. But the truth is that God is with us and that others also suffer or have suffered similar trials. When I miscarried, I was so grateful for the people who opened up to me about their losses. I didn't have much to say to them for comfort. But I listened to them and shed some tears with them. Little did I know that healing would come to both of us from that.

But going back to verse 6, for us to share with others, we need to humble ourselves before God. It is easy to vent about our frustrations and feel sorry for ourselves, but it takes humility to really share with others so that God will truly transform us and give us victory over our trials.

How many times have you answered, "I'm fine", when a friend asks you how you are doing? I know I have done it many times myself. And I'm not really lying. I am typically happy to see people and naturally don't dwell on the hard things in life. So, it doesn't really cross my mind. And some people have shared with me that sometimes they don't share how they are feeling because they are tired of thinking about their suffering. That they don't want to feel like they are complaining.

On the other hand, how often do you go deeper than asking, "How are you?" to your friends? Or when they mention what is going on, you just keep it at that? What if you asked, "and how does that impact your walk with Christ?" Either you will know what to specifically pray for that person, or you will be encouraged by what God is doing in their lives. How many times have you gone to encourage someone only to be encouraged by them? But the blessing also is that that friend has the chance to proclaim God's goodness, which is mutually strengthening. One way or another, you will be building one another up. Just as God designed it to be.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Hebrews 10:24

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

2 weeks and counting

Well... I never thought I'd take this long to announce this, but within the next 2 weeks or so, I'll be giving birth to another child.

This picture was taken by my talented brother about two months ago, so that basketball looks more like a watermelon now, lol!

Boy or girl? Well... it's either one or the other! (but it IS just one).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bill Cosby and smart choices

I haven't been as fluent in blogging these days, but the recent attention on the cereal companies' "smart" choices reminded me of this Bill Cosby clip.
Maybe there is a great calorie discrepancy, but the rationale is the same (except the obvious that Cosby was not being serious). Besides, I have wanted to post this video for a LONG time. Enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A great article about food sensitivities

What happens when you like a food, but that food doesn't like you?

Check out this article about food sensitivities from Austin Fit Magazine.