D-Day

The “D” in D-Day literally just stands for “Day” – for the military it’s still used, but more loosely now, to indicate the starting day of an operation (like the day of the Normandy landing).  On this 75th anniversary of D-Day I’m reminded of my grandfather, who died 8 years ago at the age of 93, who was part of the Normandy invasion.  I saw a video today of a 97 year-old man who parachuted today into Normandy to reenact the invasion.  It really made an impression on me – not so much that he parachuted at 97 years-old (although that was amazing!!), but that he thought it was that important to reenact and remember the invasion.

John 15:13 says: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”  The D-Day invasion was a laying down of life for the saving of others – of strangers.

For those that have painful memories haunt them or who are going through horrific events, similar in intensity to D-Day but different by all other counts, there is one who can walk through the fire through you, and His name is Jesus.

“…I’ll count the joy come every battle
‘Cause I know that’s where You’ll be.” Hillsong

His Name is Jesus

Greatest man in history, named Jesus. Had no servants, yet they called Him Master. Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher. Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer. He had no army, yet kings feared Him. He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world. He committed no crime.. Yet they crucified Him. He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.

-unknown

#hisnameisJesus

In the Waiting

We are all waiting or wishing for something that hasn’t yet happened. And when it happens it may be beautiful and perfect for a time, and not necessarily measure up to what we hoped it would. But there are good, pure things that are always worth the wait.

When my husband was in the Army we had our times of waiting. The first time he was deployed we had been married for just four months. He was deployed for a year, with a two week leave in the middle. Three years later, the second time he was deployed (both times to Iraq), it was for 6 months, with two weeks of leave in the middle. Each time it was hard but it was harder not knowing if he would stop deploying. One day he received word that his deployments would be no more – that was such a good feeling and brought so much peace.

You may be waiting for the next job promotion. Or to get married. Or to finally get pregnant. Or for justice to finally come to that horrible boss. You are not alone.

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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was an outspoken critic of the Soviet Union and communism and helped to raise global awareness of its Gulag forced labor camp system. One of his most famous quotes: “The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.” Once we realize this, can we run to the God who has a solution?

We have a family friend battling cancer and that prompted me to write this article. There are so many situations that burden us and are uncertain. God promises to never leave us nor forsake us, and if we are right with Him through Jesus we have certainty that we will spend eternity with him. Let us trust in this and love others.

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

Calling

People say that hindsight is 20/20.  I believe that God calls people to specific places for specific times, and all of us have different callings.  It’s funny how I believe that God is in control but sometimes it’s hard to see in the moment how He’s working.  It is so powerful to look back and reflect on what He’s done.  I could go on and on.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to talk about and easier to write about.

When I was in 6th grade they asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, and they published it under our names in the yearbook.  I said ‘Accountant’.  Funny thing is now I am a Certified Public Accountant.  If you asked me in my senior year of college what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would tell you that I had no idea.  4 years of education.   2 majors and a minor, and I didn’t really know but I would tell you that I wasn’t keen on accounting – seemed boring – and I liked my other major, Spanish, so I thought for the time being I’d pursue that.  A partner at the accounting firm that I interned at thought that I’d become a hippie and not pay social security.  Well that never has been true but it took me a couple years to ‘find myself.’  I’ve been in public accounting for 10 years now.

When I left college I went back to New Jersey and was a Spanish teacher for a couple years.  All throughout college I told people that I thought that I needed to marry a guy from New Jersey.  I guess God had placed that on my heart.  As it turns out I met a guy who grew up a couple blocks away from me but we never met until after college.  This guy is now my husband.  For years in college I felt that I wasn’t going to meet my husband there – I was going to meet him in New Jersey – and that’s exactly what happened.

Fast forward a couple years.  All throughout college my dad marveled at western Pennsylvania, where I went to college.  He liked the culture and the affordability.  He was always looking at houses and showing them to me.  Then when my husband was in the military, especially when he was overseas deployed, we would dream together of owning a home in Pittsburgh.  It helped to have something to look forward to.  We wanted to settle down and start a family in a place where we could afford to buy a good sized home.  For about 3 years we dreamed about this and then it became a reality, and for the past 10 years we’ve now lived in Pittsburgh.

You may say to yourself that you don’t have stories like this but I promise you that if you live by faith in the God of the Bible you will, but more importantly you’ll know that He calls you to know Him.  I’ve been playing this song over and over again recently and it keeps hitting me, and I encourage you to play the YouTube version:

“As You Find Me” by Joel Houston, Matt Crocker & Benjamin Hastings © 2018 Hillsong Music Publishing CCLI: 7124065

VERSE 1: I’ve been strong And I’ve been broken within a moment I’ve been faithful And I’ve been reckless at every bend I’ve held everything together And watched it shatter I’ve stood tall and I have crumbled In the same breath

VERSE 2: I have wrestled And I have trembled toward surrender Chased my heart adrift And drifted home again Plundered blessing Till I’ve been desperate to find redemption And every time I turn around Lord You’re still there

PRE-CHORUS 1: I was found Before I was lost I was Yours Before I was not Grace to spare For all my mistakes And that part just wrecks me

CHORUS: And I know I don’t deserve this kind of love Somehow this kind of love is who You are It’s a grace I could never add up To be somebody You still want But somehow You love me as You find me

VERSE 3: Who am I To think Your glory needs my praises But if this borrowed breath is Yours Lord Take it all You are faithful and You are gracious And I’m just grateful To think You don’t need a single thing And still You want my heart

PRE-CHORUS 2: I was found Before I was lost I was Yours Before I was not You wear the scars For all my mistakes And that part just wrecks me

TAG: Your love’s too good to leave me here

BRIDGE: If You want my heart I won’t second guess ‘Cause I need Your love More than anything I’m in I’m Yours Your love’s too good to leave me here Your love’s too good to leave me

 

Avocados are Amazing!

This blog post is an ode to the avocado!  If you haven’t gotten addicted yet to avocados – go for it!  It has the nutrients your body needs and is very heart-healthy.  One avocado contains nearly 20 vitamins and minerals including: 14g of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), 0 mg cholesterol, 12g carbs, 3 g protein, 24% DV Vitamin C and 708 mg potassiumthat’s almost 2x potassium than in a banana!  It is high in fiber – improving digestion.  Avocados are also known for decreasing the risk of depression  and protection against cancer.

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Having a MUFA at each meal is said to help with weight loss and heart-health, just to name a few benefits.  Eating fat slows down the breakdown of carbs, which helps to keep sugar levels in the blood stable.  Fat is essential for skin health too.

Almost everyday I have an avocado in my morning smoothie, an avocado in my salad for lunch, and guacamole for a snack with pita chips and carrots.  You can say I’m obsessed and I’m proud of it.  It’s really hard to get enough potassium, and many gurus try to sell their powdered drinks so you’ll reach your potassium for the day, but I think eating real foods is the way to go – ahem…the avocado is the way to go!

Avocados can be expensive, so I usually buy the bag rather than individual ones – it’s always cheaper.  If you shy away from how to cut them open, watch a YouTube video or two or just buy an avocado cutter.

KonMari with Kids!

Do you long to declutter? Does it seem impossible with kids? There’s a Facebook group called KonMari with kids that I’ve found to be super helpful – check it out!

Marie Kondo has been popular for a while but recently her popularity has soared with her new Netflix series! Before having baby girl #3, I Kon-Maried my house from top to bottom – mostly between the hours of 2-4am when I couldn’t sleep (all my kids were real active in the womb)! Also – just like Marie Kondo, I’m super into going paperless (I have another webpage devoted to that and my e-pamphlet ). I have a lifestyle of promptly throwing out, shredding or scanning papers – I HARDLY HAVE ANY PAPER IN THE HOUSE. It’s wonderful! I feel like it’s a huge stress reliever.

Anyway yet again we decided to KonMari our kids toys this past weekend. Here’s how we are organizing them:

You can see how each bin is labeled (LOL dolls, Hatchimals, Shopkins, Barbies, etc.). Very few toys live outside these bins and it’s been very helpful to teach the girls to clean up. Still, usually every Christmas or early winter we KonMari our house once again. Maybe we need to take a year off from getting Christmas presents (or something)! Still getting new gifts gives us a chance to share our used ones with someone in need.

Let me know your thoughts on kids and clutter in the comments below!

Kristen

I Have a Dream…

Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr died decades ago, but yesterday our nation again continued to remember him. The national holiday day is on or about his birthday – celebrating his birth – although the holiday didn’t exist nationally until he died. He had a dream not fulfilled in his lifetime, but he had hope and more importantly the Holy Spirit giving him the words to say: “Only light can drive away darkness…”

This year for the first time I read a devotional by one of his daughters, Rev Dr Bernice King: “Cultivating a Heart of Mercy.” I was reminded in this devotional not only of the need for mercy, but that God in His mercy has given us as believers in Jesus the Holy Spirit, and that true mercy is given to others in the power of the Holy Spirit.