Thursday, May 25, 2017

Chew Your Food

(photo credit: My son)

One thing I remember about my grandmother was that she always chewed her food well.  She would be the last one still eating not because she talked too much but because she chewed her food throughly.  I did not inherit this trait from her.  For as long as I can remember, I have been a fast eater.  I know I should chew longer.  As I taught anatomy, I learned how it aids my digestion to chew my food thoroughly.  But somehow I am too often in a hurry.  

This past month, I read Eat Dirt by Josh Axe.  The book talked about Leaky Gut Syndrome and how it could be the cause of many of the health problems affecting people today. In the book, Dr. Axe gave the different ways people experience leaky gut and offered suggestions on how to go about healing this leaky gut. One minor thing that he advocated was chewing our food better and more thoroughly.  Besides improving our digestion, chewing our food allows us to savor the taste of the food, and we end up eating less overall.  So I decided to start chewing my food better.  Why not?  It seemed like an easy enough thing to start. He was right! The food did taste better.  My stomach no longer felt upset soon after I ate because my food was digesting better.  I could probably chew my food even more thoroughly, but for now, I am making progress.  

Chewing my food allows me to enjoy the food that I am eating.  It makes me slow down and focus on the moment.  I also find myself listening better to those at the table with me since I have food in my mouth longer making me less tempted to talk too much.  

Chewing my food allows me to savor and enjoy as well as aids the digestion of my food.  In the same way, I am finding that I need to chew on God's word.  I need to take time to savor and enjoy.  By spending more time chewing, I am able to digest more thoroughly or understand more deeply what His word says.  

I don't know about you, but I often have a tendency to rush through my time with God.  Read a chapter,  pray, maybe journal a little bit, and I am done.  What would happen if I took the time to chew on the word rather then just swallowing it? 

When we eat, we sometimes eat for the nutrition and energy.  Other times we eat to savor and enjoy.  As I read over and chew on a passage, I find it easier to slow down and just savor.  How often we go to the word of God for quick fix, for the nutrition we need.  How different we (I) would be if we (I) took the time to chew on, savor, and simply delight in the word of our Lord and Savior. 

I have been trying to do that more this year-to chew on the word.  Here are a few ways that I chew on the word more thoroughly.

1. Memorization

For this, I use an app called Fighter Verse that is put out by Desiring God.  

Each week a different verse can memorized by doing quizzes or using the listen/share option.  Even though I only manage to learn a verse every few weeks, the verses I memorized were timely and exactly what I need for that day or week.  As I memorized each verse, I had to remember the specific words.  It gave me time chew on what that word meant and how it fit into the verse or even passage it came from.  For example, Matt 11:28-30 talked about coming to Jesus, he will take our yolk, and his yolk is easy.  In the verse, Jesus says that we are to learn from him.  What are we to learn?  How do we go about learning?  This was a part of the thought process I went through as I memorized and reviewed this verse.

2. With Art

I am not an artist, but I like to try to be creative.  A friend of mine taught me how to take a verse and use different fonts and little pictures to help bring the verse to life.  

As you can see my verses are not fancy but then again the process is for me.  As I write out the verse I am able to spend time chewing on God's word as I change the color of my pen, think about what picture would help visualize the verse, or what words I want to stand out.  This process is not only a good way to  chew on God's word but to de-stress as I let the truth of God's word take hold and the cares of this world slip away.

3. Reading The Same Passage Each Day For 3 or 4 Days

As I work through the book, Read the Bible for Life, the assignments have me reading the same passage or chapter 3 or 4 times over the course of several days.  Sometimes as I read the passage, I am to think about context such as how does culture or theology affect my understanding.  Other times, the author, George Guthrie, encourages us readers to read it each time in a different version.  Each reading has its surprises as the theme can stay consistent but the different wording helps bring a deeper understanding to the passage.  For example, this week I have been reading Romans 8.  In my last reading today in the NLT, the theme of the spirit brings life and will intercede for us was still there.  But the wording of verse 12 stuck out.  "Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do."  Yikes, there goes the excuse that I just couldn't help myself.  

I have a friend who listened to Ephesians every day as she ran.  She was memorizing the whole book a verse at a time but hearing it all in context day after day had to be helpful to her understanding of each verse.

What are some ways that you chew on God's word?  I am wanting to try out Lecto Divina in a small group.  Ruth Haley Barton describes it here.  Has anyone ever done it before?  

(Note: the links to Amazon are affiliate links which means if you decide to buy that book I get just a bit towards my book habit at no extra cost to you.)


Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Mother's Day Musing

This Mother's day afternoon, I sit in my favorite chair in a corner of my room.  The house is quiet.  My husband has left for a business trip.  My daughter is in the states getting ready for her summer adventure, and my son will be here in a month.  It is quiet, but I am not alone.  

Mother's day can be hard for many.  Some are grieving a mother who has died, and others are grieving that their arms are empty due to infertility.  Some are in conflict with their children while others made some mistakes that are affecting their children in a negative way.  Whether today is a day of joy or weeping, we are not alone. God is with us through the good, bad, and the ugly.  All we need to do is turn to him.

This year has been different for me as a mother.  It is my second year as an empty nester.  Both of my children are on different continents than I am.  How do you best mother your children from a distance?  I fully realize that I am not in control of what they are doing and how they are doing.  I find this funny since I often thought I was in control of all that when they were living with me.  They are in the hands of God who is in control.  It is a season of mother from a distance filled with time in prayer for these dear ones. They are not alone just as I am not alone.

Most days I find myself not only teaching but mothering the 4 teens that God has placed in my classroom.  At the same time in another place, someone is giving my child guidance or a much needed hug.  I often think it is ironic that I teach other people's children while my son is in boarding school.   I sometimes doubt myself and that I wasn't enough, God reminds me that we are to train our children in the way they should go.  For my son in this season, it is in a school far away where he is thriving and growing in his faith.  It is a reminder that God works in his way and timing.  It is not about me but about Him.  It is such a blessing to know that my children are not alone in this season as we are apart.  God is there, but also people God has put on their journey to help them become who He wants them to be.

So today I am thankful, first of all, for my mom and the example she has been for me.  I have never doubted her love and know that she is always there for me.  I am thankful that I am a mom to W and D but that I also have the opportunity to mother on other people's children.  I thank God for the ladies who have mothered not only me but also my children.  But most of all, I am thankful we are not alone not matter what our journey is or where it is taking us.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Quotes: Spring 2017

Sometimes it's good to take the time reflect onwhat I have been reading that last month or so.  It is so easy to keep reading the next book and taking in more and more information but never letting that information take seed and grow.  So today I thought I would share a few quotes that I found as I looked back on the last few months of notes and highlighted texts on my kindle.  

From Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines:
"If you can't find happiness in the ugliness, you're not going to find it in the beauty, either." p. 168

From At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider:  (I am hoping to read the full book soon.) A reminder that traveling is fun but there is no place like home.
"I like having my passport full of stamps, but I need a drawer to keep it in."
From St. Teresa of Calcutta:
"A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, and must empty ourselves.  Give yourself fully to God.  He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your weakness."
Oh, that I would I would believe much more in His love than in my weakness!! 

As I seek to do a better job of connecting with those around me.  
From Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequest:
"Saying yes means not hiding.  It means being seen in all your imperfections and insecurities. Saying yes is doing scary things without a guarantee that they'll go perfectly.  Saying yes is telling the truth even when it's weird or sad or impossibly messy.  Saying yes is inviting chaos, and also possibility.  Saying yes is building a new future, regardless of the past.  Saying yes is jumping in anyway." p.207
From Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst:
"Living loved is sourced in your quiet daily surrender to the One who made you." p. 34
"Here's the secret shift we must make: Do I walk into situations prepared with the fullness of God in me, free to look for ways to bless others?  Or... Do I walk into situations empty and dependent on others to look for ways to bless me?" p. 45

What is something you have read this past month or so that is something you want to take seed and grow in your life?  

(note: Affiliate links included.  This means that if you click the link and buy the book a few cents go towards my book fund at no extra cost to you.)