She’s Got Issues

FullSizeRender 77The title seemed like it would absolutely fit me.  Issues.  I’ve got them.  Definitely.  In particular Nicole Unice talks about 5 issues that I would just bet to guess that most women deal with to some degree.  Control. Insecurity. Comparison. Fear. Unforgiveness.  Check, check, check, check & yes, check.  Issues.  Yep.

I’m currently two chapters in.  Nicole is setting up the tone for the entire book.  Because, let’s get real here, this could be depressing & heavy & guilt-ridden and shamed-filled.  It could be yet another reminder of all the things that are wrong in the way I’m doing this life.  All the places where I’m not measuring up.  All the nastiness that sits inside me that needs a thorough scrubbing & reorganizing.  Ugh!  And that all sounds less than delightful.  But that is not her take on these issues. Thank Goodness.

In chapter 2, Nicole talks about a wordless book.  I’ve never heard of such a thing.  I have heard of the salvation bracelet, which is about the same thing.  One summer in junior high, our youth group made a trazillion of these little bracelets with leather straps and colored plastic beads.  Black, red, white,blue, green & yellow.  Sin, Sacrifice, Redemption, Baptism, Growth, Heaven.  We were going to save the world with our bracelets.  We were.

Nicole talks in chapter 2 about the green.  Growth.  Growing day by day with Jesus.  We skip that step sometimes.  I do.  I can go straight from cleansing & redemption & baptism to shiny streets of gold.  Just take me out of here, Jesus.  Take me to paradise. {which reminds me of a Guns & Roses song…but…nevermind}  Growth.  It’s that time while we’re still sitting here on the earth when Jesus is changing us, molding us, teaching us.  He’s making our hearts more like His so that our actions and words and attitudes will be more like his.  He’s changing us to be more like him.  He is changing us.

And that got me thinking…

I have been in the adventure of straightening my teeth for 7 months now.  I skipped the braces-right-of-passage in adolescence & decided that instead 40 seemed like a great time to awkwardly shift my teeth into a straighter, more uniform arrangement.  I chose Invisalign for the job.  Molds were made & a computer came up with the exact motions that my teeth needed to make for success.  Then 31 {yes, 31!} different plastic trays were made that would ever-so-slowly, yet not-very-gently move my teeth into the straight smile I desired.  Every two weeks I put in a fresh set of the trays and every two weeks my teeth shift a little bit.  After 7 months {halfway there!} my teeth have definitely been moved, but there is still a lot of shifting left to do for them to be aligned properly.

I wish that I could just get in there and straighten them all in an instant.  Just magic wand it and make them perfectly straight.  I would love to be able to just push on them with all my strength & arrange them to fit in an orderly fashion.  Instantly.  But that won’t work {perhaps I’ve tried that, perhaps not.}  Instead, the only way that this will work well is if I allow those plastic trays to do their job at a snails pace.  They do all the work.  They have the strength to move my stubborn, don’t-want-to-move teeth.  My responsibility is to simply make sure I wear them.  They will do the rest.

I’ve decided to approach this book and, more importantly, my issues with this same strategy.  I don’t want this to just be another book that generates a to-do-list for changing me.  A book that generates enough guilt & shame in me that I try to change in order to ease those feelings.  I don’t want to read this book and be determined to pull myself up by my bootstraps and make myself better of my own power and might.  Because, he’s the deal, I can’t.  You can’t.  Just like I can’t rearrange my teeth simply using my own strength, I can’t change my heart out of my own power either.  Heavens knows I’ve tried.

I’m determined to use the green bead!  To grow.  Maybe slowly.  Maybe not always so gently.  But by using his strength and power and might.  Not mine.  My responsibility?  Just like my teeth.  For the Invisalign trays to work, I have to wear them.  For the Spirit to grow me I must ‘wear’ it.  In the Word, listening, talking to God, asking for help.  I’ll fill up with Him and He’ll take care of the outward reflection of what’s going on between us.

“God isn’t working in our issues to make us need him less.  He’s interested in moving through our issues so we can understand just how desperate we are for a constant inflow of his love into our hearts.  This isn’t about perfection, about being better, it’s about being changed-reborn, remade every single day into the likeness of Christ.” – Nicole Unice

Thank You Gifts

It’s that time of year again.  As the weather warms up, things begin to wind down.  And as activities & school winds down, the need for thank you gifts surges upward.  And I tend to be at a loss as to what to give.

Gift giving is a quality that many people possess.  I am not one of them.  I have the hardest time buying gifts.  So what does one do when they just don’t know what to do?  Pinterest.  She is everyone’s friend.

easy spring thank yous

I searched thank you gifts.  Do you know what I saw?  A bazillion amazingly crafty ideas that might take me the next two – four years to complete.  I didn’t have that kind of time.  I needed easy-peasy and pleasant-thoughtful done in less than an hour.  That search turned nothing up. So “easy DIY thank yous” was my plea.  And Pinterest, as she always does, delivered beautifully.

These are SO ridiculously easy.  But I think they’re beautiful.

You’ll need:

  • 4″ pots of thyme &/or mint
  • brown paper lunch sacks
  • yarn, ribbon, twine
  • card stock { I used 65 lb. Kraft card stock}
  • zip-lock sandwich bags
  • FREE printable tags

Also helpful:

  • quality papercutter
  • tag punch

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Here’s what you do:

  1. Place the potted plant in a sandwich size zip-loc bag, to keep your paper bag from getting soggy.
  2. Roll down the top of your brown paper lunch sack.  I used the regular sized ones and rolled about 4 times.
  3. Place potted plant in the sack.
  4. Tie ribbon, twine, string, yarn around the rolled down part on the bag.
  5. Print the free printable on your own printer using card stock.
  6. Using whatever tools you have {scissors or cutter and punch} cut out the words into tags.
  7. Secure the tag to the ribbon, twine, string, yarn.
  8. Give away with frivolousness.

Easy as that.  They are beautiful.  They are easy!  It gets no better than that.

Click on the picture below to access the free printable.

thank you tags

Thank you to A Night Owl Blog for the inspiration!  

 

Shut Up! I-Do-Love-Kale Salad

Spring is finally here in the upper midwest.  At least in my little dot.  And that means recipes are changing from warm and cozy to light and summery!  Grilling and salads and fresh fruits!  Delicious season has arrived!

Last night we had grilled skirt steak.  Plain jane.  Just salt & pepper and hit that hot grill.  Nothing fancy.  All delicious. And on the side I tried a new salad.  I had made my way to Costco yesterday & stocked up on berries, berries and more berries.  So many berries.  This new salad was sure to make great use of them.

One minor problem…main ingredient in said salad…KALE.  Kale.  It’s good for us.  And really we should love it.  But…let’s be honest.  Who really, really, really likes kale?  {crickets}  But the rest of the salad sounded so good & the reviews were well within my acceptable to try range.

I mixed it all up, massaged it {yes, you read that right} and let it sit until dinner.

I placed the salad in a fancy “company” bowl because if it’s in the company bowl, it must be good, right?  and set it on the table.  Looks of “what is this?” began surfacing around the table.  As we all dished up, the kids all tried to pass on the salad.  But, being the absolutely unreasonable parents that we are, we said they had to take some and try.  “Try”.  You know “try”?  In other words, take the smallest bite of the least disgusting part of the item and call it good.  But I am a mean-mean mama.  “Try some of the green”, I added.

Eye rolling. “Is that kale?  I hate kale.”

More eye rolling.  “Yeah I hate kale too.”

Faux bites taken, followed by a reminder, and real bites were taken.  {anyone else know this game?}

To my astonishment one of my children looked up & proclaimed, “Shut Up!  I do love kale!”

And thus the Shut Up! I Do Love Kale salad recipe was born.

My only tip…make sure and massage the dressing into the kale.  I put on disposable cooking gloves that I wear when dealing with raw meat and literally massaged the dressing all into the kale, making sure it covered all leaves thoroughly.  I think this is why it was so delicious.  Then add the other ingredients.  It really is great!   Shut Up! I do love kale Salad

Print Recipe

Shut Up! I Do Love Kale Salad

Source: www.thebalancedberry.com

Course: Salad

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 10 min

Total Time: 10 min

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Salad:
  • 1 Bunch Kale Finely Chopped (~ 4-5 Cups; I used Lacinato but Curly Kale also works)
  • 1 Cup Strawberries Sliced
  • 1 Cup Blackberries
  • 1 Diced Peach
  • 12 Cup Blueberries
  • 12 Cup Rasperries
  • 12 Cup Diced Mango
  • 3 Tablespoons Dried Cranberries
  • 14 Cup Almonds
  • 14 Cup Walnuts
  • Dressing:
  • 3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey (sub agave if vegan)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper until combined. Slowly stream in olive oil while whisking until emulsified.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the kale and dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale until coated and place in the fridge to marinate for a few minutes (this is a great time to chop the fruit).
  3. Before serving, add the diced fruit, dried cranberries and nuts to the kale and toss until evenly combined.

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New Adventures :: Show Pigs

PIG ADVENTURE

When we moved to our little slice of land close to town, I knew that chickens would be making a home with us.  I never would have imagined pigs.  But, friends, strange and unexpected things happen.  You see, a great family moved in across the street from us & they just happen to be pig people.  Champion show pig raisers to be exact.  They know their pig stuff.  We hit it off & especially our girls hit it off & that leads me to this::  I spent all day Saturday at a pig auction.  A. Pig. Auction.  Twelve months ago, I didn’t even know there were pig auction.  True words.  And yesterday I found myself examining pigs & bidding on pigs & bringing two little piggies home.  Two pigs are now a part of Weed Acres.

The auction was something.  All kinds {and I do mean ALL kinds} were present and accounted for.  It was like a mini state fair except with free food and no mini donuts-sad face.  They started with sheep and goats, which I’m happy to report we resisted.  That there is an act of will power.  Those little things are adorable!!  One of the goats went for nearly $3,000.  Yes, I have no words.  At that point I became incredibly nervous, but am happy to report the pigs didn’t go for anywhere near that price.  Hallelujah.

IMG_3328

Do I have any idea at all what I’m doing?  Not really.  But lucky for me, neighbors {did I mention they’re champions} & 4-H are willing to teach us.  Technically the pigs are Baby Girl’s pigs, but let’s be honest, mama needs to know what the heck is going on.  {Good thing one of my top 5 Strengths Finders is Learner.}  Pinterest and Google are my best friend in this adventure so far & having a board called Swine Time is both exciting and ridiculous.

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Paprika – Hereford gilt
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Winchester – Cross Breed barrow
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Winchester & Paprika – chowing

So, what do you do with pigs?  Excellent question.  We plan to show them.  And because 9 months ago I had no idea what that meant, let me share my limited knowledge of what that entails.  We attempted to pick pigs with the proper structure that is desirable.  So far, I think that mostly has to do with the pig’s butts.  With some back, legs and length thrown in.  We will feed our pigs a food designed to get them to their desirable show weight with muscles in all the right places and fat in the right spots {we are talking about ham and bacon after all}.  Then with the help of our local county 4-H, Baby Girl will take the pigs to the County Fair in July and show them.  She showed one of our neighbor’s pigs last year & loved it.  And with any luck, she’ll win a ribbon.  Then the two pigs will likely head to another auction where they will be purchased and most likely be prepared for eating.  I know…it’s the harsh reality of raising animals for meat.  But let’s be honest.  Most of us are eating meat & I can guarantee that these pigs will have been given the very best life they could get while living & they will meet their end in a humane and sensitive way.  That cannot be said for all the meat we find in our refrigerators today.  True words.

The auction was super exciting.  We spent a good hour walking around looking at all the available pigs trying to determine what we were looking for.  Thankfully our neighbors were there to help guide us.  We circled our favorites & tried to maintain a budget. And we were successful.  We purchased both pigs for less than we had set as our top budget amount.  Not bad.  We purchased a Hereford gilt {girl} and a cross breed barrow {boy}.  We got them home and settled and we are all surviving.

A new adventure.  I love a good adventure!

Playing in the Dirt – Spring Gardening!

Hooray, hooray, hooray.  Spring is nearly here.  Even as I type I see the weather forecast for these parts includes some snowflakes still, but I am optimistic that eventually this weather will turn and spring will be upon us.  And you know what that means?  Summer is right around the corner.  Oh, how I love summer!  The weather of summer is my favorite…it really never can be too hot.  Impossible.  My second favorite thing about summer is my garden.  Oh, how much I love my garden!  Fresh produce by the bucket full!  Tomatoes and peppers and beans and zucchini and…and…and…

In order to ensure that my garden will be overflowing with all the things we love, planning is super important.  I learned the hard way that this upper midwest growing season is pretty darn short.  In order reap most things before the frost hits, it’s important to start things inside.  Last year, I didn’t pay too close attention to what I started in those cute little divided trays {read :: I forgot to water & everything died} and I ended up paying a small fortune at the garden center for tomato and pepper plants.  But, friends, not this year.  This year I will succeed at starting plants from seeds.  I am again optimistic!

A few months back I placed my seed order for all the wonderful things I wanted to eat, errrr grow this year.  I used Seed Savers.  Their selection is amazing and they are conservationist at their core.  They specialize in organic and heirloom varieties and are committed to making sure that non GMO seeds remain in our seed supply for those that want to grow “vintage” varieties of fruits and veggies.  {I am not making a statement for or against GMO’s.  But for my garden, I’m trying to go old school sometimes for no other reason than they look really cool.}  I know that there are other companies out there selling similar seeds, so shop around.  Or go to the Burpee’s section at your local garden center and pick seeds up there.  Whateverworksforyou.

My little packets of wonderfulness arrived shortly there after.  It was snowing outside, but I was looking way past that to the spring that was coming. I looked at those little packets nearly everyday, read the back and dreamed of the deliciousness they would produce.  And then I began to worry.  When do I plant them?  Should I start them inside?  Wait till the last freeze and put them straight in the ground?  What if I let them die again in those indoor starter containers?  How do I know what to do?

little packets of goodness

Introducing Zukeeni.  This is quite simply the best online gardening resource I have ever found.  Ever.  I made a free account {because free is important to me}.  I entered the names of every seed I purchased.  Some of them were weird, but Zukeeni had them in their database.  And then,like some sort of magic, Zukeeni produced a detailed plan for me and my garden.  What?  In a great week-by-week list form, it showed me what to plant when…so for example the week of March 15 it told me to start my tomato and pepper plants inside.  How cool is that?  And when I completed that task, I clicked it as complete on the screen & Zukeeni calculated when it would be time to transplant those same plants based on when I started them.  I don’t have to think or know anything about gardening to know what to do.  They think for me.  Amazing!!!

A couple of weekends ago I spent the morning getting my hands dirty.  I bought two starter trays from my local garden center and some starter soil {organic}.  Reading the instruction on the packets of how deep to bury those little seeds, I got to work.  To make sure that I knew what was growing {because although I think I will be able to remember what I planted where, I know that I in fact will not}  I used some cocktail toothpicks to indicate what was in each little square.  I used  a sharpie, so it wouldn’t run when I watered {these are lessons learned the hard way}.  Everything looked so great, if I do say so myself.  I put the greenhouse tops on my trays and placed them where Zukeeni told me to.  And slowly watched the miracle of growth begin.  It really is amazing!

garden starting 2016cocktail toothpicks!

So here I sit on this sunny April morning with two trays of spouting wonder.  I decided to locate the starter trays this year in my “office” so I’ll see them and hopefully remember to give them some water {smirk} and keep an eye on their progress.  They are actually growing.

Look at 'em Grow! I see the potential of what is to come…the hope of the veggies that will grace our summer dinner table, beginning to emerge.  It is a beautiful thing.

Stop Trying So Hard

Wed in the WordI finished up with the book of Mark while on vacation last week.  I enjoyed reading a book of Scripture through from start to finish one chapter a day.  Thanks to Courtney over at Good Morning Girls for walking us through the Bible that way.  Next she is starting Deuteronomy.  I would love to say that I’m over-the-moon excited for that Old Testament gem, but… I haven’t decided if I’ll be tagging along when it starts or venturing off on my own.


 

For today though, I find myself stuck in a great place.  Luke.  With Easter still firmly in my front thought {that may be like forethought} you know, the thought that is just right there waiting to be turned over & over in your mind until you’ve examined every single angle it holds and played with it until it sinks deep into your soul.  Please say you do this too.  I don’t want to be the weird one.  Again.  ha ha.  so…

Luke 23:39-43

39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed [or blasphemed] at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

I very much find myself believing that those two who hung on crosses on either side of Jesus represent the whole of humanity.  You’ve got the one who is hanging there, likely beaten and bloody and dying, hurling abuse at Jesus in the midst of his their horrific situation.  And in the next breath, while meant to be sarcastic in tone most likely, he is suggesting that Jesus prove himself by getting them all out of this predicament.  “If you are really who you say you are, which by the way is why you find yourself hanging here dying, then prove it and save yourself…and me too.  Then I will believe”

On the other side of Jesus you see another likely bruised and beaten and dying fellow.  This man has clearly lived a life with less than excellent choices.  He admits that he has wronged and deserves the punishment for which he finds himself.  But in this moment, he sees Jesus.  He recognizes who Jesus is.  He understands that Jesus will reign over a kingdom.  He doesn’t ask Jesus to prove himself, he doesn’t question why the King of kings would find himself dying on a cross.  He simply believes.  And he asks him only to remember him. “I believe you are the King & I ask you to simply remember me when you are in your Kingdom.”

Such contrast.  The one who mocks Jesus and will not believe He is the King of kings unless He has proof.  The one who sees Jesus and without any proof at all believes that He is the King and will reign in His Kingdom forever.  Pride versus humility.  Proof versus faith.

We don’t know if Jesus took the time to respond to the disbeliever – it isn’t recorded in the passage.  But we do hear {read} Jesus’ words to the thief who had faith.  “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

This is the part that really gets me.  Whispers to me deep in my heart past where my thinking & logic can reach.  This man, sentenced to die for his crimes which he agrees he committed {read:: has not made great life choices}, has likely not been to church {synagog} in maybe forever, has likely not tithed or served or ever done a random act of kindness {you know, paying for the persons meal behind him at Starbucks}.  He is moments away from death, so it’s unlikely he’ll have time to join a Bible study or attend a conference or even be baptized.  He has no time to do anything other than call out in complete belief to Jesus.

If Christianity was based on weighing the “good” things against the “bad” things and hoping that the scale leaned more to the “good” side, this thief would be in bad, sorry shape.  But Jesus has no concern.  He didn’t say, “Look, I will remember you, but unfortunately I won’t be seeing you.  You see you didn’t do anything to earn your way into my Kingdom.  Not a single thing.  And look at the really awful things you did that were against my teachings.  And, by the way, I was everywhere teaching in this area, so I know you’ve heard of me before today and could have followed me sooner.  It’s unfortunate.  My Kingdom’s pretty amazing.  Paradise, actually.”  Instead, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

He didn’t do a single thing.  Not one.  No baptism, no meal delivery, no volunteering in the church nursery.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  He believed Jesus was who He said He was.  Reminds me of an Old Testament guy Abram.  {Genesis 15:6}  He believed the Lord for the absurd & it was counted to him as righteousness.  This man, hanging next to Jesus believed the absurd too – that Jesus was the Son of God with a Kingdom that would never end and it too was counted to him as righteousness.  His belief alone.

I find myself trying too hard sometimes.  A lot of the time.  I may say with my mouth, “I am saved by grace, not by works” but do I live that?  Not that I shouldn’t be tithing & serving & being kind – I should.  But I should do that as an overflow of my faith rather than a stepping stool to achieve it.  How do I know the difference in the two?  I suppose it’s all about the heart.  Do I serve with joy?  Do I give with a cheerful heart?  Do I love with grace & kindness the way that Jesus loved?  Is my “doing” out of humility?  Or do I go-go-go-go trying to prove something?  Am I wanting to win the approval of others?  Am I striving to be “better” than someone else, do more, earn more “heaven-points” {like gold stars on a chore chart}?  This “doing” is powered by pride.

It’s a battle us humans all face.  It’s in our nature.  But it’s so clear that Jesus & His Kingdom don’t operate that way.  He invited the man hanging beside Him to join Him.  Even though that man could do nothing but believe before his final breath.  Believing was enough.  Believing is enough.  Good enough.

Related Post

Easter 2016

After a week of rest & relxation {mixed with warm and delightfully humid air…sigh} I am back.  Some families have weekly movie nights or board game tournaments.  We do family vacations.  It is our time of togetherness.  Our time for laughter.  Our time for time well spent with each other.  It was a great week.


Eph 2-89Yesterday was Easter.  My favorite of all celebrations.  I have faith that there is a God who loved us all enough to send his Son to reconcile us to Him.  This reconciliation was accomplished through Jesus being crucified and buried on Friday and rising again to life on Sunday.  “Friday a thief, Sunday a King” our worship leader sang yesterday.  He is King today! {although sometime it seems that our world is not under his reign} But He is the King yesterday, this morning & forever.

Easter is that reminder, I always seem to need, that I am not saving myself.  I forget often, first, that I need saving.  I mean I would never say out loud that I am a.o.k & really don’t need saving.  But do I live that?  Or am I more apt on occasion to look around with a “I’m not as bad as they are” attitude.  It’s subtle, of course.  Pride has a funny way of being that way when you know you shouldn’t be holding it.  But truly, I need saving.  I am self-righteous, unforgiving, prideful and a whole host of other things that I just cannot rid myself of on my own.  But Jesus can.  And I need Him & His power to save me from the wrongs that entangle and snare me.

Second, Easter reveals that I can do nothing to erase the stain that my sin has left.  {sin=anything that differs from God’s will in my life as laid out in Scripture}  I can work and work and work and try very, very hard to earn the right to be a child of God.  I can do great things for people, love people, do random acts of kindness, give away my money, go to church, serve at church, work with charities, adopt babies from all over the planet, be kind, be a good person BUT none of it will erase the stain that sin has left.  Again, in my head I know this…Ephesians 2:8-9 ‘For grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  But, again, do I consistently live this?  Or do I rush around trying to prove my goodness, trying to reveal how much faith I have, trying to earn something that is un-earn-able?  Ugh!  If I have the faith that Jesus did it all, then I need not rush around proving anything.  I can rest in what He has done.

I won’t say I completely understand how the cross works.  For me it is a great mystery how Jesus could die in my place, how He could take on my sin {and yours} and transfer to me his righteousness.  But I believe it.  I suppose that is faith.  Easter is that reminder I need that my life isn’t all about me {shocking, i know} but about Jesus.  My life should be a reflection of Him rather than a race to get closer to Him while knocking everyone else out of my way to get there.

I hope your Easter was a great celebration & a reminder of the risen King.  He is alive.  Hallelujah!  My Redeemer Lives!

 

Forgetful Disciples :: Mark 8

Wed in the WordI’m reading along through the book of Mark with the gals over at Good Morning Girls.  One chapter a day, Monday-Friday, until the book is done.  This week is chapters 6-10.  I have been enjoying reading at a leisurely pace through one book, something I don’t think I have done before.  It makes room for making connections that I often miss if I’m skipping around studying a particular topic or person.  This was completely evident today as I read Mark 8.

First let’s back up in the book just a smidgen to a fairly familiar story.  It can be found in Mark 6:30-44.  Jesus & his apostles were trying to get away for a little rest and rejuvenation.  {verse 31-32}

side note::I love that Jesus recognized that there are times when we need to take a break, get away, and rest.  We needn’t be go-go-go all.the.time!  ::back to the story  

While trying to get away, the crowds found them anyway.  It must have been a bit frustrating to always have people chasing after you.  The Bible says people “ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them”.  {verse 33-34} Ugh.  They just wanted a little break & people would not leave them be.  Kind of like when you need a moment, just a moment, when you have toddlers and you escape to the bathroom for a minute of R&R, not because you have to go but just because you need to be alone- just for one little moment.  And just when you think you’re in the clear, you see those tiny fingers reaching under the door.  Ugh!

Had I been an apostle {again unlikely because I’m a woman and not Jewish} but if I had, I would have wanted nothing more than to see Jesus tell these folks to go away.  Heck, Jesus just told us to take some time to get away from all these crowds and rest.  That sounds like tropics and a nap in a hammock to me.  But now all these people have found us?  Seriously, Jesus, can you just tell them to go away?  Maybe in your rebuking voice.  I like that voice…when it’s not directed towards me.  Ready, Jesus?  Rebuke!

But instead, Jesus has compassion {darn his perfect character qualities} and begins to teach the crowds.  The apostle in me would have definitely been complaining to another apostle about the outrageousness of how my little vacation had been interrupted & I definitely would have been a little more than upset with Jesus, ruining our rest and all.

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And then, not only is my vacation ruined, now Jesus is asking me & the others to find some food.  For over 5,000 people!  In a desolate place {where I was supposed to be relaxing by the water with a cool drink in my hand, remember?  I’m still not over that}  And Jesus doesn’t even bat an eye.  But the apostles {I see so much of me in them} question Jesus, I imagine asking almost with a sarcastic tone, “Shall we go & buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” {verse 37}  Translated to sarcasm:: “Ummmm, so Jesus.  You want us to feed all these people?  Do you see how many?  We’ll just take all this money, that we don’t have, and go buy enough bread for everyone.  Sure.  We see no problem with that.”

And then, ignoring the disciples’ tone, and as only Jesus does, he simply takes what’s there and provides for everyone in a miraculous way.  Five loaves and 2 fish feeds them all.  Bam!

Onto Mark 8.  Verses 1-10 and 14-21

Jesus is teaching a crowd that has been with him for 3 days.  He asks his disciples to get the crowd some food because he’s afraid if he sends them home on an empty stomach they might faint on the way.  And he has compassion again.  {verse 1-3}

The disciples ask Jesus “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”

Seriously?  Were you not paying any attention?  Just not too awful long ago you were in a desolate place with a crowd who was hungry & Jesus managed to feed them all with five loaves and two fish.  And you took up 12 baskets of leftovers  Remember that?

I love that Jesus just goes on without hesitating.  He doesn’t even acknowledge their question.  Verse 5 he asks them how many loaves they have.  There are 7 loaves and a few fish.  And again, miraculously, Jesus feeds the crowd of over 4,000 and there are leftovers.  AGAIN.

After feeding that crowd, Jesus and his disciples get into a boat.  They forgot to bring bread along.  Forgot bread?  Seriously?  {verse 14}  I chuckled just a little reading this thinking that of all the things to forget, bread would be the least of my worries given that Jesus, the bread & fish multiplier, was along.

But, oh, silly, forgetful disciples.  They have a long discussion with each other about the fact that they had no bread. {verse 16}  I can imagine it included a lot of “I told you to get some food before we got into this boat” & “that’s not my job” & “I got it last time”.  Back and forth like irritated and hungry siblings.  This time, in the privacy of the boat,  Jesus finally says something after listening to them bicker about their bread predicament:

“Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread?  Do you not yet perceive or understand?  Are your hearts hardened?  Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember?  When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up? And the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?  Do you not yet understand?”

Humbling.  How often do I see the hand of God all over something written in my life?  And then, just a few pages further along in my story I find myself in a predicament & cannot fathom how it could ever be resolved.  I forget.  I see Him feed the thousands yet when I need to feed another thousand or even myself, I forget that He can do it.  And what’s worse, how often do I drag others into my issue – bickering, blaming, complaining together?  Oh, the patience of Jesus.  Thankful for the patience of Jesus.  I am so much like those silly disciples.

Jesus didn’t get rid of His guys.  Even though I think they probably drove Him to the brink of sanity at times, He kept them around.  He continued to teach them, to love them, to trust them with the most important message.  And even though I am forgetful & have a hard time understanding & perceiving, I know He will keep me too.  -smile-  He asks tough questions sometimes & He pushes me to have more faith & trust, but He never walks away, arms raised up, saying “I’m done with you!”  Hallelujah!

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