How I am trying to care for the Environment (#Write31Days)

I originally called this post “How Christians Can Care For The Environment.” Grand but misleading, it makes me sound like an expert when what I really am is someone who has taken some teensy baby steps, and is looking for encouragement and incentive to do more to take care of the earth.

I can’t remember exactly when I started to care about the environment (possibly the season when I became less dogmatic about the end times.) I probably started with recycling, which I still do faithfully even though lots of stuff put in recycling ends up in landfills. Recycling gets more attention and focus, but I’m learning that reducing and reusing are where the real earth care lives.

I began seriously considering the amount of waste our family produces about 5 years ago when I participated in a group centered around 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, a life-changing book describing Jen Hatmaker’s experience doing month-long fasts in 7 different areas of excess.  I highly recommend not just reading it: Gather a group and do it together.

In the Spring of 2014 my friends and I dragged our families through 2 weeks of REDUCING, cutting down our waste and contribution to landfills.  I learned a lot from friends in the group who are much more environmentally conscious than me. One friend was even willing to try out “family cloth“. (She was the pretty hard core and even she didn’t last with this. I was unwilling to even try, and Matt still teases me about family cloth any time I mention environmentalism or waste reduction.)

What I was willing to try & have mostly stuck with:

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Christians should care more about…The Environment (#Write31Days)

I became a Christian in a wonderful Texas church with a firm stance on the end times: Jesus is going to rapture His church, beginning 7 years of tribulation during which the earth will be purged of evil, and after which He’ll establish the Millennial Kingdom bringing in a new heaven and a new earth.

I stopped fighting about end times theology a long time ago, but I feel pretty strongly about one of the results of this widespread belief among God’s people: Since it’s “all going to burn”, we don’t have any responsibility to care for the earth.

I’m embarrassed to think about how eye-rolly I used to be about people who cared about the environment, thinking only hippies cared about recycling, reducing, and reusing. Continue reading

Christians should care… (Write 31 Days)

Today I asked Facebook, “What is one thing Christians don’t care about, that they should? (Or an issue that, because they are Christians, people should care more about…)”

My Facebook friends are proving themselves to be the most thoughtful, considerate, and reasonable corner of the internet. And making me wish that people from the various seasons of my life could meet in real life.

I am fascinated by the responses, both the variety of perspectives and the way people’s answers reflect their own values and passions.

Over the next 30 days I am going to share my answer to this question: What I wish Christians cared more about. I have about 15 things that pop to mind when I think about what I wish Christians cared more about (I think some of them will surprise you). Some topics will cover several days, and I am also going to lean into a few answers people gave that I personally don’t know that much about. I’ll share what I learn, since it is awfully hard to care about things we don’t know or understand.

I’d love to hear from you: What is one thing you wish Christians cared more about?


Since prioritizing time to write has fallen by the wayside after changing jobs and entering a new season and schedule, I am going to participate in the Write 31 Days challenge. I’m hoping this will jump start me into making time for writing again (though I most likely won’t make all 31 of the days – I’m not going to attempt to write on Tuesdays, as my Tuesdays are 3 days long as it is…)

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Love Drives Fear Away {Free Devotional: No Fear}


 

So far 2018 has had more than enough change for me: I’ve graduated a kid from high school, registered another for middle school, quit one job and started another. Every time my youngest son sits on my lap, I know it could be the last. I updated my resume and interviewed for a job for the first time since the 1990s. I let go of work and ministry that have been a part of my life for longer than my husband or children, and am learning something new.It is exhilarating and terrifying and overwhelming and great and in 2 months I’ll be 3 years from 50 (FIFTY.)I’ve needed every lesson I’ve learned about the Biblical command, “Do not fear.”

I’ve needed to know that God sees me. That His promises are worth waiting for. That He loves and chooses me. That the Lord is my Shepherd. I’ve reminded myself over and over that He is with me, no matter what happens. And I am still reminding myself that sonship (my belonging to God as His daughter) may be the antidote to fear.

The changes in our life aren’t over, but I’m learning to embrace even the scary parts. The things I fear open a door for me to wrap God’s good words around me like a blanket, to run to the truth like a fortress, to put God’s promises on like shoes and walk in them.Especially the best and most beautiful promise of all, the love of God.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. (1 John 4:18)

So much in our lives tempts us to look at obstacles, at our lack, at the things we fear. And God invites us to look to Him, to look to love.
How do you fight fear with the knowledge of God’s love?

What would it take to for us to be so sure of God’s love of us that His love would drown out our fears?

This post is the last in the NO FEAR Devotional Series. You can read all of the posts in the series hereIf this devotional resonated with you, feel free to share it using one of the links below: That really helps people to find this site, which hopefully will bless them as it has blessed you!


Love Drives Fear Away {Wrapping up the No Fear Study}


So far 2018 has had more than enough change for me: I’ve graduated a kid from high school, registered another for middle school, quit one job and started another. Every time my youngest son sits on my lap, I know it could be the last. I updated my resume and interviewed for a job for the first time since the 1990s. I let go of work and ministry that have been a part of my life for longer than my husband or children, and am learning something new.It is exhilarating and terrifying and overwhelming and great and in 2 months I’ll be 3 years from 50 (FIFTY.)I’ve needed every lesson I’ve learned about the Biblical command, “Do not fear.”

I’ve needed to know that God sees me. That His promises are worth waiting for. That He loves and chooses me. That the Lord is my Shepherd. I’ve reminded myself over and over that He is with me, no matter what happens. And I am still reminding myself that sonship (my belonging to God as His daughter) may be the antidote to fear.

The changes in our life aren’t over, but I’m learning to embrace even the scary parts. The things I fear open a door for me to wrap God’s good words around me like a blanket, to run to the truth like a fortress, to put God’s promises on like shoes and walk in them.Especially the best and most beautiful promise of all, the love of God.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. (1 John 4:18)

So much in our lives tempts us to look at obstacles, at our lack, at the things we fear. And God invites us to look to Him, to look to love.
How do you fight fear with the knowledge of God’s love?

What would it take to for us to be so sure of God’s love of us that His love would drown out our fears?

This post is the last in the NO FEAR Devotional Series. You can read all of the posts in the series hereIf this devotional resonated with you, feel free to share it using one of the links below: That really helps people to find this site, which hopefully will bless them as it has blessed you!


Audio Books for your SUMMER ROAD TRIP {Update!}

As we head into summer vacation season, I regularly get asked for audiobook recommendations, entertaining books to listen to on long drives.

Last summer I shared audio books the whole family will love (click here to see a very long list of books people of all ages will enjoy.)   I somehow failed to mention the Wrinkle in Time series, maybe I thought I’d talked about it enough online since I yelled at people all year to read the book before seeing the movie? (Really good advice, the book and the movie are two totally different things…) I read Madeleine L’Engle’s first three Time books (one, two, and three) dozens of times as a child, and listened to them with my kids a few years ago – the narrator is wonderful, and the stories stand the test of time (I can only vouch for the first three, I didn’t learn that there were more in the series until I was an adult. I’ve never read the 5th, and thought the 4th was really weird.)

This summer I’m sharing Audiobooks for Grown Ups: I’ve listened to and loved all of these, and think they’ll make your road trip fly. I organized them by topic/interest area, so you can skim through and find the categories that look like the most fun for you.

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Love Drives Fear Away {Wrapping up the No Fear Study}

So far 2018 has had more than enough change for me: I’ve graduated a kid from high school, registered another for middle school, quit one job and started another. Every time my youngest son sits on my lap, I know it could be the last. I updated my resume and interviewed for a job for the first time since the 1990s. I let go of work and ministry that have been a part of my life for longer than my husband or children, and am learning something new.It is exhilarating and terrifying and overwhelming and great and in 2 months I’ll be 3 years from 50 (FIFTY.)I’ve needed every lesson I’ve learned about the Biblical command, “Do not fear.”

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Ree Reads: May Book Reviews

I’m reading 9-10 books a month these days, well on my way to reaching 100 books in 2018 (want to read more? Try these tips!) With so many books to cover, I decided to make these reviews shorter, or only review the real winners each month. I’ll have to start next month, because May was ALL WINNERS. Non-fiction wise, I have a refreshingly different Christian book, a Pulitzer Prize winning presidential biography, and an inspiring feminist memoir that read like a novel. Fiction-wise, I started a new audio-mystery series, continued another, listened to a delightfully soapy book I wanted to read before the movie comes out, and FINISHED the last of the books-I-previously-abandoned from my failed April reading challenge. I fully recommend all of these books (with one exception), how can I not tell you about them??

May Books

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When Fear is Good {No Fear Devotional}

Over the last 5 months of Tuesdays we’ve looked at the various places where God commands His people, “Do not fear”, and seen reason after reason why we as people of God have no need to be afraid. Precious promises:

God is a shield to us. He sees us. The Lord will fight for us while we stay silent. He is with us,  at our side. The Lord is our shepherd. God has called us by name, we are His. We’ve been given the spirit of adoption, not the spirit of fear. He is our Helper.

With those reasons and promises not to fear, God also gives us a call and command to fear.

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Endings and Beginnings and a Mama’s Heart at Graduation

This weekend found me in the basement digging through old pictures with tears in my eyes, gathering snapshots of Luke’s life to display at his graduation open house. I’m not sad that he’s graduating (he is SO ready to be done with high school), I’m not even sad that he’ll be moving out in a couple of months (ask me how I feel about this in August and maybe you’ll get a different answer?)

I’m sad that time passes.

I’m sad for the moments we won’t ever get back.

I’m sad that I’ll never again kiss that little stubble-less face, or feel the fierce love of his 5 year old body jumping into my arms. I can still see the mischievous gleam of his younger self in his adult eyes, that kid will never outgrow his love of shenanigans. But he has outgrown  hearing laughter in any room of our house and running to be in the middle of whatever is going on.

He’s also outgrown my mommy-super powers. I can’t kiss his owies and make them better any more. I used to be able to cure hurt feelings, overcome any insults his day held, by saying, “Are you kidding me? You’re AWESOME dude!” My words were weighty, but they haven’t worked that way in 5 years.

We’ve already seen how the hurts and hardships of adolescence shaped and made him stronger, so I know I  shouldn’t shield him. But boy, do I wish I could. I want to fold him into my arms and protect him from his own mistakes and others’ opinions and the heartbreak of living in the world. But I can’t, and I won’t.

So we’ll release him out into the world, taking the next big step in the journey of trust that is parenthood. We’ll trust our kid, and we’ll trust the seeds that we planted all these many years, and we’ll trust that his roots are deep enough to hold him strong through every season. But most of all, we’ll trust our Father God to work all things for good, to take even the saddest things in his life (and ours) and make something beautiful.

I can’t stop time, or hold onto the past. So I’ll remind myself that – like all the best things in life – this is both an end and a beginning. All I can do is be present, and give thanks.

I’ll keep seeing the little boy in this amazing, strong, Jesus-loving man we raised, and I’ll thank God. For Luke, for our family, and for time, even when it seems like there’s never enough.

 

We've already seen how the hurts and hardships of adolescence shaped and made him stronger, so I know I  shouldn't shield him. But boy, do I wish I could. I want to fold him into my arms and protect him from his own mistakes and others' opinions and the heartbreak of living in the world. But I can't, and I won't. So we'll release him out into the world, taking the next big step in the journey of trust that is parenthood.

(Because I know I’ll get asked… The hand-lettered sign in this pic was my Mother’s Day gift, done by Lovewell Lettering, in partnership with The Hope Venture and Mercy for Mamas. I LOVE it almost as much as I love the organizations its purchase supported, I assume they’re still available if you want one!)