star gazing

“The longer and the tighter that we hold only makes it harder to let go.” -nicole nordeman

Something very hard went down last fall, which largely pushed me to go ahead and get Lucy. I needed a big change, I needed the companionship, I needed someone or something to take up some of the free time that seemed to be in excess.

When I first started house training her, I would spend a lot of time hanging out in my backyard in the cold, and sometimes rain, waiting for her to poop. I found myself looking up and noticing the stars. Aside from having a dog, I don’t think I’d ever choose to be outside when it’s cold and dark unless I were at the beach or in the mountains. I have this memory of working at a Young Life camp in Colorado during college, and climbing on top of a cabin with a friend and seeing the stars. They have never been so clear as they were that night. But I also haven’t spent a ton of time looking at them.

In Nicole Nordeman’s song The Unmaking, she writes of God “unmaking” much of the life she had built. Sort of like my theory on creating my lovely flower pots and God coming along and dumping all of the contents out because there’s something in there that is poisoning my flowers, poisoning the air I’m breathing. Like mold or something. She writes, “This is the unmaking, beauty in the breaking, I had to lose myself to find out who you are. Before each beginning there must be an ending…sitting in the rubble, I can see the stars.” I thought about that song a lot last year as friends moved, I lost a roommate, relationships were torn apart, I was betrayed, I changed jobs, etc. I thought about the song once more as I wanted to quit all the things and then I stared up into the sky while standing in the midst of dog poop, and I started noticing the literal stars in the sky.

I’m only 29, and in the last few years my theories on how things should work have dissipated. I’m much more slow to speak in black and white, much more likely to let there be gray. God is so very much in control, and he has so orchestrated all things to bring him glory, and he loves us so much. He loves me so much. Nicole Nordeman asks, “What happens now, when all I’ve made is torn down?” I find myself asking that a lot, and I’m nudged towards trusting God, towards waiting. I hate the word waiting. But isn’t that a star in and of itself? Trusting God? The ability to say that I don’t have to know all things?

Last week my Kindergarteners had a Valentine’s Party. There are some fantastic moms who really know how to love on 5 and 6 year olds, and they threw a great party. The idea, of course, is for the 5 and 6 year olds to have fun. Well, one child was getting really anxious and wanting to be in charge of the party, and thus, not having much fun. I stepped into the hall with him to talk about the situation, and the conversation went like this:

KK: “Who’s in charge right now?”

Child: “My mom.”

KK: “Yes, and who else?”

Child: “ME!”

That conversation has so stuck with me. I was trying to help the child see that the moms and the teachers had the situation under control so that the kids could relax and have fun with their friends, but the child couldn’t see it because he wanted so badly for things to go his way.

Adults do that, too, and I think we miss out on enjoying life because of it. God holds the world, holds us, in the palms of his hands, and we fight to tell others what to do and keep everyone else from messing up our plans. What if we could lay down in the palm of his hands and gaze into his face? What if we could laugh more? What if we could look at hard things and acknowledge things are hard, acknowledge that we don’t have it all together, acknowledge that we live in a fallen world and that’s painful? What if we could cry instead of holding our breaths and aiming to not let the ball drop? What if we did more star gazing? Wouldn’t that be more honoring to him?

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for

“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;

as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’”

-Acts 17:24-28

  

Advertisements

Lovely remnants

Today I discovered that the best way to walk a dog in the snow is to get COMPLETELY BUNDLED UP. You might think I am stating the obvious, but somehow I’ve been freezing the last few afternoons because I don’t wear enough layers. So Lucy and I were out in the snow and she was having the time of her life, and I was watching the contrast of the snowflakes on her chocolate brown self and her fluff against the snowy ground. And I didn’t have my camera. I can show you our remnants though, from afterwards. That’s her pink fleece. 

I cooked dinner tonight, and I kept thinking, “Oh, I should take a picture of this.”   


Then I would skip from one step to the next and forget to take a picture, and finally the whole meatloaf was in the oven and I realized I hadn’t taken a picture of the final product before cooking. Maybe my blog should be called remnants. I guess “bits” from KK are similar to remnants.  Then, I sat down to eat the meatloaf, and the beast (a.k.a., Lucy) kept jumping up on me, trying to get to the food. I mean, I don’t blame her, but that behavior is not allowed. She continued her barking and jumping fit and jumped up against the counter, snagging this. Lovely.  

  I got mad at her, and then remembered how she loves me without condition, how she reminds me that dark brown can be beautiful against the clean white snow, and how she has helped turn some broken things into lovely things. 

Also, here’s the meatloaf recipe.
Zucchini Meatloaf

1 lb ground turkey or ground beef

4 medium size tomatoes 

1 zucchini

1 onion

1 egg

2-3 T almond meal

1 T minced garlic

Salt & pepper to taste

Dice the onion in a food processor, add tomato and pulse to desired consistency. Slice and quarter the zucchini. Add all of the mixture, plus the egg, almond meal, s & p, and garlic to a mixing bowl. Mix well. Add ground meat, mix well. Pour mixture into a loaf pan, and bake for 1 1/2 hours on 375•. Drain off liquid and, oh my, you are in for a treat.

Oh, and this is Whole30 compliant!

 

surviving salads and saturdays

This morning I woke up and decided I had way too much to get done with a dog around. I dropped Lucy off at doggie daycare. The benefit of doggie daycare goes far beyond the 6 hours that she is actually playing. She comes home exhausted, and I don’t have to take her for a walk or play outside. I know those things are part of dog ownership. I’m thankful for the walks we get to take together, and I smile a lot when I watch her run towards me with her ball in her mouth and her fur slicked back against her face in the wind, but the break today was really nice. Also, she LOVES to play with other dogs, so it’s a win-win. Here she is currently as her tired self:

IMG_0168

I came home to do laundry, clean, cook, go to the grocery store, and pay bills, and surprisingly had some good phone conversations with friends.

The last item on my to-do list was to cook dinner. I drew a sad face next to it because I always think that I’m not going to like cooking, and then I get started and the process isn’t so bad. Someone asked me today why I was doing the Whole30 challenge, and I told them I had gotten really used to eating out of convenience…grabbing a cheese-stick, ordering Panera for lunch, cooking a frozen meal for dinner. Even though I was eating gluten free, I was eating a lot of junk and convenience foods. It’s embarrassing to type that out. Needless to say, it’s taking some effort to change my lifestyle and cook my meals.

I wish I had a picture of what I made tonight for dinner, because it was really good. I consumed a good amount of protein earlier today, so at dinner time I stocked up on veggies. I made a salad with mixed greens, tricolor peppers, different types of olives, avocado, and red wine vinegar. Then I sliced a sweet potato and broiled the slices (both sides) in the oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Delicious.

Since I don’t have pictures of my dinner, here are some pics of what my fridge and pantry looked like yesterday. I know, sooo interesting. I didn’t bother taking a pic of my fridge before I started the Whole30 challenge because I woke up, decided I was doing it, and immediately started throwing things in my fridge away. They say preparation is key, but I dove in on adrenaline. I’ll be sure to take a pic at the end of this whole shindig as well. Some of the these items already got thrown away today. I was holding on for sentimental value, and in the thought that I would eat them after the 30 days were over, but I changed my mind today. I am just feeling so much better! I’ll be getting rid of the hot chocolate mix, too, because I’m making the switch to 100% cacao bars and powder. Stick with me here. I know these pics aren’t amazing, but I’m keeping it real. This is all part of the process.

IMG_0132

 

 

a game changer

Hello, my name is Kiersten, and I just recently realized I’d fallen off the cliff into the depths of unhealthy eating. Last Saturday, I woke up and realized that the night before, I’d eaten an entire bag of potato chips. Ya’ll, that’s totally not who I used to be.

Lately my energy level has been going up and down and I’ve been moving through my days exhausted. There are probably a lot of things that factor into this, but one thing I realized I could change is the way I eat. So I accepted the Whole30 challenge. I cut out dairy, grains, legumes, added sweeteners, and alcohol. After 2 days, I could already tell a difference: much more energy and I was sleeping better.

I bounced into school on Monday and told another teacher that I had made a life changing decision. I may keep this life style up…we’ll see. Seven days in and I’m now craving a piece of gluten free chocolate cake and a glass of wine, so I really need to come up with some creative recipes to take pictures of and write about to keep me tasting and motivated! I’m probably not going to be one of those people who posts an update or a meal log daily, or even every other day, but there might be an occasional Whole30 post. Cheers!…without the wine glass =(.