February 29, 2012

The oatmeal diaries

I went to see my doctor for routine checkup stuff last week.

Now I eat oatmeal every morning. No cholesterol meds for me as they make me achy and weak feeling. The problem is that I don't really love oatmeal. So I've been experimenting with making it different ways.

I heard that soaking your oats overnight with a little yogurt or buttermilk helps them to be more....digestible. This is one of the reasons I don't love oatmeal in the first place...digestion issues. To my amazement (yes, I am not exaggerating...I WAS amazed) soaking them really did help my tummy!

The second thing I did was to look for a recipe for baked oatmeal. It sounded interesting and I had heard rumors of deliciousness. And it was! Love it! It is not soupy, but firm like bread pudding. You just scoop up a hunk of it into in a bowl with a little brown sugar and milk. Yum.

After a couple mornings of getting up an hour early to put the soaked pan of oats in the oven, I decided to try something else. I put them in a crock pot overnight. It was the same recipe, but did not have good results. It was too hard and overcooked on the edges and top. The next night I tried the crock pot idea again with steel cut oats. It was too soupy and also got too done around the edges.

I decided to go back to getting up and putting the pan in the oven an hour early. Last night though, I forgot to put the oats on to soak, so I had to eat something else. And my old breakfast routine is to make a peanut butter and honey toasted sandwich, so I reverted.

Whole wheat toast, generously peanut buttered while it is still warm from the toaster. Then drizzle honey on the other piece of toast, getting it to all the edges, then filling in the middle. And as I was putting the two pieces together, I heard Bethany in the hallway ready to head out the door for work. Just as I heard her coming, the thought went through my head....she is going to want this sandwich because it looks super yummy. Should I quickly throw a dish towel over it or should I give it to her? She has never asked me for my sandwich before, so it was a strange thought, but as I put the two pieces of toast together, she came up close beside me and looked right at my sandwich. "Can I have your sandwich?" she said.

I just knew it!!

I did give it to her. She was overcome with gratitude for such a gift and squeezed me hard. She was just as impressed with it as I had been....it being a really super yummy sandwich and all. So she went away to work happily with my sandwich and I just sighed and made another one while I giggled. Don't you think God is funny to put little things like that in our day? He has fun with us sometimes, I think. I made Bethany's morning and it blessed her, so I was pretty sure He was the instigator.

And now that you have my recipe for peanut butter and honey toasted sandwiches, here is my new-found baked oatmeal recipe from Quaker Oats.

February 27, 2012

Tapestry retreat 2012

The women's retreat this past weekend was such a fun time....and very meaningful personal growth began for lots of us too. Because it would take a few pages to tell you ALL about it, I will just hit the highlights....

-Riding up with a Chris Tomlin concert going on in the back seat. :) (I was in the front seat enjoying it)
-The weather was AMAZING.
-Watching women diligently try to roast HUGE marshmallows over sterno cans, then try to make s'mores with them.
-Fun speakers, Patty and Lisa from Girlfriendit.
-Being a mocha, highly entertained by all the chai-s, lattes and espressos.
-Pondering the turning points in our lives in following such a great God.
-Sticky notes, sticky notes, sticky notes.
-Mailboxes....with mail.
-Ice cream in the park. Popcorn tasting. Dogs.
-Margie and the Walmart greeter.
-Sam Elliott look-a-likes everywhere....gee, Prescott, what is up with that?
-We like Ike.
-That crazy lady who makes us sing Day by Day in the cafeteria.
-Sticky notes on my back.....sticking stickies to everyone else as fast as I could.
-Remembering what God has brought me to, from, through, watching other people remember too.
-Merrit singing the first verse of Revelation Song in a beautiful voice!
-A huge gust of wind blowing in one door and out the other while I had my hands raised singing Revelation Song. Wind going over me like a visitation. Laughing at all the reactions to the wind.
-Wanting to leave the doors open a crack every time we sang after that happened, just in case, expectantly.
-Skit night, getting carried away---vague but very real threats of retaliation if skit night photos begin showing up in public! !!
-Sandwich board fashion show.
-Great, hot....cakes! lol
-Seeing the young women turn red.
-The coffee shop skit!
-Marchell and Shirley as identical twins.
-Good coffee
-Kelly under my bed trying to scare me.
-Making Margie laugh.
-Hiking and Prayer Cabin with Jo Ann.
-No traffic on the way home.
-Going home.
-Wanting to go back to camp. :)
-Sunday night. zzzzzzz

February 24, 2012

Lightening Up Life

Life is hard sometimes. Lori Regneir's story of ministry to families of child sex trade victims was hard to listen to today on GirlfriendIt radio. It's a subject so heavy and dark, but it is so prevalent that it has to be addressed, it has to be STOPPED. And Lori couldn't do anything else but jump in and help stop it. To find out more about this organization, go to Starbright Foundation. God bless her for using the gifts God gave her in serving these hurting families.

What has God given you that is a gift to hurting people?

The next guest on this show, Jessica Pierce, talked about not knowing where she was gifted or what her mission in life should be. Now a career finder and life coach with Career Connectors, she is passionate about helping people see their gifts and helping them focus on where they should be headed in life.

When I took the Myers-Briggs personality sorter, it even confirmed my suspicions that I am basically put here to entertain, as comic relief. And while that is a tongue in cheek statement, it is true to a big extent. If I get carried away, my children even look at me with serious eyes and say, "Mom, focus....really." But God has been so kind and generous to me, to use my silliness as a way to minister to people who are hurting. Time and time again, I am drawn to people in pain, trying to move through healing and find myself making them double over with laughter. It's kind of shocking sometimes, I don't even try to do it, but I let God use it when it comes out. (What else can you do?) I feel like it comes from a deep place of compassion for them though, so it's somehow appropriate.

Two years ago, another ministry family, David and Diana Johnson, had a tragedy happen with their son on the other side of the world. They got a call from Africa to inform them their son had been killed in a motorbike accident while traveling to a village to teach. He was 21 and a semester missionary in Mozambique, Africa.

Four months later, I found myself traveling to Africa with them and my husband to visit the places Jeremiah had worked and meet the people he ministered to. It was a match made in Heaven, because they needed comfort and help to walk through those places and to hear the testimonies of how their son touched so many people. I have never appreciated my gift of humor more than this trip. I didn't go thinking that would be my offering, but it was and I thanked God for letting me have something to offer. My journaling on that trip is here if you would like to read about how one young man touched the world and our visit to those places. In the end, it was an honor to be able to go on that trip and share that hard experience with my dear friend and add some comfort...in my own way.

As Patty Wyatt asked on the show, "What had God put in your hand?" What is God already using in your life to help people? I found humor was not shameful and immature (most of the time) but was quite healing and freeing when used appropriately.

Just remember to handle humor with care or you get in trouble...a lot of trouble. As a pastor's wife, I know this to be true. *ahem*

February 19, 2012

Blog skins

Blogger must have changed something, because my template didn't match up with my columns anymore. I never did like having 3 columns anyway.

Now I'm making excuses!

I feel strange without my pink flower template. So this may all change up a few times before I find one that I think suits me. Any suggestions??

February 17, 2012

When healing is a long process

Cute little saying, but isn't it the truth! The world is crazy scary these days and it's hard to keep from dwelling on fearful things. I saw this on the internet this morning and laughed. But as God often does, He showed me later on in the day how He is a God of bringing all things together to teach us things and catch our attention.

Today I listened to a podcast of GirlfriendIt radio and it was this very principle (not feeding your fears but putting on a brave face) that led Sandy Tremp into a  total mental breakdown. She had emotionally and mentally distanced herself from some horrible childhood traumas. She locked it away, not knowing how to process it as a child. Then one day the repressed memories came flooding back. She collapsed and had to be hospitalized, incapacitated by fear and shame.  Through years of counseling and support, she says that she not only survived childhood abuse, but has finally learned to  thrive in God's healing and victory. She and her husband Scott wrote a book about actively pushing through Sandy's healing process instead of repressing it. It's called Surviving Life.

I encourage you to listen to this GirlfriendIt session and then ......maybe listen to it again to catch what you missed. If you have discovered repressed trauma or have trauma that haunts you every day; if you have friends or loved ones who are going through this or want to know how to respond in case anyone ever confides this kind of thing to you, I really hope you'll listen and gain more understanding about how to be sensitive to people with this issue.

As a minister's wife, I see a glimpse of the damage childhood abuse does to a person's life and I think it's something that really needs more attention, response and action from the church.

I have a young friend who asked if she could talk to me one day about 4 years ago. She was exhibiting some outward signs of inward troubles. Cutting herself was becoming a habit that she could no longer control and she was afraid. After many meetings to talk about the cutting, and encouraging her to tell her parents, she told me one day that she needed to tell me something. We sat down and talked about a few things and then she began to cry. I told her to take her time. I had no idea what the words were that she needed to release from her mind. Then she took a piece of paper and wrote on it, then she handed it to me and turned away weeping. "I was raped," the paper read.

She had carried this secret in her head for 7 years, from the time she was 10 years old. It was her shame and her curse. I was the first person she ever told. After we cried and hugged, I asked her how she felt. She said she was glad she told me, glad it was out there.....glad to have someone to share the burden and help her. There is freedom in confession, even though it wasn't her sin (not at all!), it was her burden. But that isn't the end.

A friend's sympathetic listening ear is a great gift to someone who is processing a trauma, but they usually need to find professional help as well. Often times after they confess the event out loud, they go through even more turmoil and outward self-defeating behaviors as their mind tries to understand and process it. That is what happened to my friend, and in late January we said goodbye to her for a year as she goes to an in house treatment and counseling center. She was excited to go though. She was ready to push through and begin really healing and getting the help she needs. I am so proud of her.

Allen McCray also gave some great tips on developing a healthy and positive self identity while you face the traumas in your own life. One of those is to be more "self compassionate".  Extend to yourself the compassion that you would to a friend who also had past issues to deal with. That way we are not sliding into self condemnation as we process our past, but letting God work powerfully in our lives to give overcoming victory and healing. Wouldn't that be something.....if we could help each other, give each other the permission to not have it all together, and go from trying to put  a brave face on top of our mess, into truly abundant life and freedom in Christ?

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3: 12-14