Staples – what do you keep on hand?

You’ve seen the list of items cooking magazines assume you have on hand. I’m wondering which items you actually keep on hand. Are there certain items you always have on hand?

  • Top ten for baking… AP flour, wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, butter, eggs, milk, maple syrup.
  • Top nine for snacking… triscuits, almonds, bananas, peanut butter, bread for toast, yogurt, chips, carrots, bagels
  • Top eight for cooking… olive oil, onions, garlic, ginger, grains, veggies, salt, pepper.
  • Five, six or seven ingredient dinner… tomatos, cheese, tortillas, turkey, taco seasoning, lettuce and/or avocado
  • Four ingredient crockpot dinner… chicken, salsa, taco seasoning, crunchy taco shells
  • Three ingredient dinner… salted pasta & sauce (Trader Joe’s Three Cheese, anyone?)
  • Two ingredient dinner… cereal & milk
  • One favorite snack… yogurt

Recently, I’ve had brown rice syrup on hand instead of maple, and fresh ginger instead of powder. Peanut butter toast, tacos, spaghetti and cereal are my go-to’s. Dare you to share next!

Resources: Personality, Behavior & Communication

Personality tests. They are all a bit different and I’ve taken a handful over the years. I went ahead and compiled a list of the ones I’ve taken here, along with a brief description and some links.

If you are just getting started, I’d recommend the first two. If you find these interesting and want to read more, #3 is a discussion in how the first two connect. I’d recommend #4 for a work or team setting, #5 if you work in a church or parachurch setting and #6 for anyone who wants to learn more about communication and relating in general.

  1. Four temperaments – click here to read a Christian perspective on 4 temps
  2. Meyers-Briggs type – probably the most well-known, 16 possibilities from a combination of your preferences for focus, taking in information, making decisions, and structure.  Take the free version
  3. Temperament-Type connection #1 – Keirsey and in chart form
  4. Disc – focuses more on behavior style, often used to help people communicate how to work and relate with others – free version
  5. Apestministry style – free version
  6. Life Languagescommunication style, this is the only one I was unable to find a free version for

Which of the above tests have you taken? Which would you recommend? Are there others you have taken or would recommend?

 

Biblical Sabbath (chapter 1)

If you missed last week’s introduction to this book discussion, read here. If you’re ready for discussion of chapter 1, keep reading below…

So what does the Bible say about Sabbath?

Rabbis & Law

The beginning of the first chapter of Rest explains that in ancient Jewish culture, rabbis typically began an apprenticeship of sorts under a rabbi whose teachings they were familiar with and shared. Every now and then, a rabbi would come along who had his own interpretation of the ancient laws and he would use verbage, such as “You have heard it said… but I tell you.” A rabbi who spoke in this way, like Jesus, was said to “speak with authority” and would have caught people’s attention because such a teacher would be saying new things about old ideas.

When someone followed a rabbi’s teaching they were said to be “taking up that rabbi’s yoke.” Jesus described his yoke as “easy,” yet He seemed to hold people to a higher standard of the law, while acknowledging it was impossible to keep. He also claimed that He fulfilled the law (Mt. 5:17).

New Rabbi, New Sabbath Law: Freedom

How did Jesus describe the Sabbath? He said it was “holy,” set apart, and He said it was “made for people,” not the other way around. What did Jesus do on the Sabbath? On the Sabbath, we see Jesus teaching in the synagogue, walking in a grain field defending the disciples choice to help themselves to a snack, healing people and eating with people.

Kent says that Jesus kept Sabbath, not as culture expected him to, but with great freedom and that if we want to take up his yoke, we too will both keep the Sabbath and live in freedom. Do those two ideas sound opposing?  They did to me at first too! She suggests that Jesus viewed the Sabbath as an opportunity to restore and reconnect people physically and spiritually.

If you are curious to learn more, read chapter 1 of Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Rest, available here. Join us next week for chapter 2, part 1!

Handyman

Handsome has been busy creatively putting together wood for practical purposes in our house. (Say that sentence five times fast. Just kidding.) It has been so fun to watch him discover this hobby and skill.

 

Washed in the Word

Get Washed

The insights from today’s post are taken from a chapter in John Ortberg’s book The Life You’ve Always Wanted. They were an encouragement to me and something I’m constantly needing to remember so I hope this post will clarify some vocabulary and encourages your heart as well.

The phrase “washed in the word” always seemed vague and unclear to me until I read it in context in Ortberg’s book. The phrase comes from Ephesians 5 where it says husbands are to to imitate Christ who “cleansed” His bride, the church “by the washing of water with the word.” Weird.

I mean, I get the importance of the Word, but what does it have to do with washing? Ortberg boiled it down to the quite literal and it was a lightbulb moment. He asks why do we wash something and what happens if we don’t?

So often, we think we have to clean ourselves up so we can go to confession, attend church, read a Bible. Ortberg says the reason we come to God is the exact opposite – because we need Him to cleanse us! He says our minds our full of everything other than truth – dirt and darkness.

The effects of getting washed

When we read the Word, it cleanses our thoughts and our hearts. It reminds us to “seek his kingdom first.” A concept Ortberg describes as purity of heart or “a singleness of purpose and focus that gives consistency to [one’s] choices and commitments.”

In contrast to this, Ortberg references James’ description of “a life of divided loyalties” or double-mindedness. He contrasts single-mindedness as being connected to simplicity, while double-mindedness is connected to multiplicity and duplicity. He defines multiplicity as “ambivalence – pulled and pushed… we both desire intimacy with God and flee from it,” and he defines duplicity is “falseness… a discrepancy between the reasons we give… and the real reasons.”

These are the thoughts we all battle and he suggests the way to recalibrate, to re-orient is simpler than we think. It is not about what we do or don’t do, rather it is about bringing what needs to be washed to the only One who is completely Pure. As He washes us with His Word, we are slowly being transformed. Just like a plate with crumbs returns to its original shine when rinsed, the more regularly we dirty a plate, the more often we need to wash it!

Dallas Willard in his book The Divine Conspiracy says that people rarely think the God of the Bible has any relevance to our real lives. Either it is silly or incovenient or impractical or… there are few who consider the possibility that God’s words are what brings life to us and our world, and that therefore, it impacts every aspect of our daily lives. As a song by Tenth Avenue North says, “only you can make me new.”

The Divine Conspiracy, a book review

Disciples. Apprentices. Students. Learners.

Does that mean there is curriculum? A training manual?

In his book, The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard asks such questions and suggests that a lack of understanding of Jesus as teacher is plaguing the church and culture today. It’s long and deep, and I’m just getting started, but I’m excited to hear a fresh and candid voice on discipleship. I also love that Willard takes his ideas and applies them in practical ways, i.e. if [this] is true, then how does this truth actually impact my day-to-day?

 

Rest: an introduction

Are you in need of rest? I don’t just mean a little sleep; I mean soul rest. Join us for a Tuesday book discussion:

Why this book?

Today we begin discussing a book by Keri Wyatt Kent entitled Rest. Rest was the first of Kent’s books I read and it made a lasting impact on me. I was initially interested in reading it because I was longing to incorporate more rest into my life and I had no idea how.

Specifically, I wanted to learn more about the Jewish and Christian ideas of Sabbath. How was it originally intended to be practiced, and is there any relevance to our current time and place? The introduction and subtitle of the book is “Living in Sabbath Simplicity,” suggesting that Sabbath rest is part of a rhythm of a simple life. That thought sounded appealing to me then, and I have returned to the book since whenever I need a reminder why rest is important or help making rest happen.

What is Sabbath rest?

In the introduction, Kent says that Sabbath is both a command and a spiritual practice. Like other practices, her goal is not perfect implementation, but to share how practicing Sabbath led her to encounter God and changed her life. She suggests that the rest and recreation that come with Sabbath actually re-create us.

Kent emphasizes the idea that the practice of keeping the Sabbath is a journey. My own experience of practicing rest has also been something that I am continually growing in. There are many questions connected to the idea of Sabbath-keeping so Kent’s is one example that I have found helpful to me, personally.

For Keri and her family, Sabbath is a “day which almost always includes some activity, yet remains a respite from hurry and chaos. A day when we focus on one another instead of on our to-do lists. Still, we never have perfect Sundays. Thank God. Because often, what I need to rest from most is my perfectionism.” I’m still working out what Sabbath means for me, and Jeremy and I are growing in our understanding of it together, but we practice Sabbath on Saturdays. What comes to your mind when you think of the word Sabbath?

Share with us in a comment below! If you are interested in reading the book along with our discussion, you can order it here or check your local library. Then join us next Tuesday for a look at the first chapter and a Biblical perspective of Sabbath.

 

A hutch… seriously?!

Some friends of my parents were practically giving away this solid wood china cabinet at a garage sale this past fall. I had plans to hang black and white pictures on the dark purple wall and never imagined owning a hutch. Even now, weeks later, it feels almost too… grown-up? stately?

I’m not sure it fits our style; I want to paint it a robin’s egg blue, but then there would be no going back. It fits the space so perfectly and provides more space and easier access for dishes we use less often. It even has a light on the top shelf in a part of the room that was a bit dark previously.

So anyway, we own a hutch now!