Why I Write

Why do I write?

I’ve been thinking about this lately because I’m about to enter a season of transition as we
welcome baby #4 to our family and have been wondering if I truly have time for writing.


In short, the answer is yes.


Why? Because writing is a tool God is using to help shape and fashion me into His likeness.

  1. Writing helps me to process swirling thoughts. Thoughts that I often don’t take time to
    sort out otherwise. Sometimes, God has been nudging me in multiple different ways with
    one truth that I need to take the time to process and until I actually write it down, it’s just
    up in my thoughts where I’m saying “Yeah, yeah. That’s a good truth. I’ll get around to
    addressing that at some point in my life.”
  2. Writing stretches me. Sometimes when I think about writing a post on a certain topic it’s
    an area I’m really struggling in. I think of how unqualified I am to write about that topic
    when I’ve been failing to apply the truths I am also presenting. However, oftentimes God
    has reminded me that He doesn’t need me to be perfect in order to use me and that the
    very act of writing out truth can be a tool He uses to refresh and cement my own straying
    heart.
  3. Writing is a hobby for me. I find it relaxing and inspiring to gather words into sentences
    and paragraphs in order to express thoughts or passions.
  4. Writing can encourage others. In small ways and big ways, the writing of others has
    helped to shape and fashion who I am today. Whether it’s a deep, theological book or a
    quick blog post on a day when I need some encouragement, both can have a profound
    impact on the next choice(s) I make. And while most people will never know the impact
    their writing has had on me, it’s reach is often further than they realize.

So, while it may be foggy, imperfect and sparser than I’d like in the days ahead, I plan to keep on writing. And I hope God continues to shape both me and others through the gift of words.

“Don’t heat up the house” meal ideas

It’s summer and it’s hot outside. Heating up your kitchen sounds like a terrible idea, but you still have to feed your family. What should you make? Today, we’re sharing some of our favorite supper ideas that won’t require you to turn your oven on. Salads, sandwiches and quick stove-tops will help to keep your house cool, while still providing ample sustenance for your family. (And if you’re running out of time, don’t forget that sometimes it’s ok to just make a run for takeout pizza too!)

Salads:

Beef Taco salad

Chicken Taco Salad (with black bean salsa)

Cobb Salad

Southwestern Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad

Sandwiches:

BLT’S

Chicken Salad

Ham Salad

Egg Salad

Tuna Salad

Monte Cristo’s 

Cuban Sandwiches

Tomato and Basil Grilled Cheese

Pork BBQ

Turkey/Apple/Brie 

Tomato/Cucumber/Mint

Breakfast for supper:

Overnight oats

Crepes

Waffles/Pancakes

French Toast

Smoothies

Scrambled Eggs and Toast

Breakfast Burritos

Parfaits

Grill- 

Ham and Pineapple Kabobs

Pizza

BBQ Chicken

Other:

Tuna Patties & Microwave Baked Potatoes

Sushi 

Cooked Chicken from the instant pot/pressure cooker 

Quesadillas 

Wraps

Charcuterie Board

Loaded Potatoes 

Layered Taco Dip and Corn Chips

Fried Rice (you can make the rice and saute the veggies during the cool of the day and just heat it up before dinner)


Life on a Loop

Do you ever just feel like your life is on a continual loop? Like you are just stuck in the same pattern day after day? It is often hard to avoid that as we muddle through our adult life with routines of work, school, parenting, and so much more. Whether we like it or not, we as humans tend to establish patterns in our lives. I have found that some people thrive on patterns while others grow weary of them. I am of the nature to implement routines and patterns wherever I can. It gives me a sense of stability and sense of control. But for those like my husband, it can become laborious and downright exhausting. 

These outward patterns can be more easily identified, but recently I have been giving a lot of thought to the inward patterns of the mind. Sometimes I see these inward patterns displaying themselves as I go about my outward daily routines. When I pick up the same toys off the living room floor for the 8th time in one day, it is easy to become discouraged and frustrated. when I am putting the 3rd load of laundry into the washer, I begin to feel like no one notices all the work I do around here. When I wash yet another sink full of the never-ending pile of dishes, I begin to feel the weight of all the things I need yet to accomplish while knowing the kids tugging at my leg will never allow me to get it all done.  As I allow these routines and thoughts to weigh me down, I am setting my pattern of thinking for the day. I am becoming the “Negative Nelly” that I rather emphatically deny to my husband that I am. 

Have you ever argued with a 3-year-old? It’s a daily occurrence in our home right now. These tiny humans are the worst to argue with because they have little to no logic. It takes all the brain power you can muster to answer their question, “why can’t I have fruit snacks for breakfast?” for the biiiilllllionth time. You know they already know the answer but it is useless, and exhausting, and you just cannot understand why they keep asking… honestly! But imagine that same 3-year-old representing our negative thinking, the thoughts we have running through our minds at lightning speed with no finish line in sight. We logically know that we cannot expect our house to be immaculately clean all the time, or our children to never pick fights. Yet somehow, we cannot resist the urge to groan every time we see the toys all over the living floor, we cannot help but roll our eyes and yell “knock it off!” every time we hear the kids fighting in the other room. It becomes instinctual to react a certain way without even really knowing what we are doing. Just as our toddler is not taking the time to process the answer you give over and over, we are not taking the time to process what a messy house really means, or why our kids are frustrated. We habitually default to the same thoughts over and over because we have trained our minds to do so. 

I am certainly no expert on the brain nor its patterns, but it is becoming painfully obvious to me that this cognitive loop of negative thinking has directly impacted my daily routines and has taken over my attitudes. I was reading through an interesting book on this topic called “Switch on your Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf, a Cognitive Neuroscientist. She says “As we think, we change the physical nature of our brain. As we consciously direct our thinking, we can wire out toxic patterns of thinking and replace them with healthy thoughts.” She also says, “When you think, you build thoughts, and these become physical substances in your brain.” So this is what a leading cognitive neuroscientist has to say about the patterns of our thinking, but what does the Bible have to say, and does it fit with the science?

Here are some verses that relate to our mind:

 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he -Proverbs 23:7  So science is proving what Scripture already says.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” -Romans 12:2   God changes the way we think, and it is good and pleasing and perfect! Perspective!

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” -2 Corinthians 10:5 Take every thought captive… is it even possible? God’s Word says it is. But how?

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”. -Philippians 4:8 Replace! Replace! Replace!

These verses are great to keep at the forefront of our minds when trying to combat our negativity. However, even with Scriptures like these in our minds, it can be a struggle to actually carry out the “replace method.” One very important key, I believe, is found in implementing Psalms 46:10  “Be still and know that I am God.”  There is great power found in stillness, something most Americans, and many Christians, and especially moms, have no time for. When we have no time for prayer and meditation, our feelings, emotions, and thoughts will continue to call the shots. Take time to slow down, to be still before God, asking Him for His power to course through your mind as HE transforms your thoughts. This may not be an hour or two every morning. It could just be slowing down when we feel the negativity rising, and breathing a “Thank you God” in sincerity, knowing that God will continue to transform us from the inside out. 

There are other Scriptures that highlight the power of our thoughts, but I hope you see the truth behind God’s timeless words. What you allow into your mind often decides your reality and ultimately your legacy. I am reminded of this verse in Exodus 34:7 which says “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” Sobering when we remember that not only do your thoughts shape your life but that they could also influence the lives of your children, their children, and generations after that. This is a heavy thing to consider, but isn’t it true that we often take on the energy of the other people in the room? If our children are hearing all our negative thoughts out loud, it is likely they will take on our negative attitude. I think it is safe to say we had better start working on our patterns of thinking! Our thoughts can determine our reality. So, as we continue to vacuum, dust, fold laundry, and do all those other mundane tasks, what do you choose as your reality? Are you going to let the frustrations of your day take over your thoughts and life? Or are you going to heed God’s Word and allow Him to transform your inward patterns of thinking as you take on the never-ending loop that is life.

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This post was written by Rachel Poborsky. She is the sister of Chrystal Stauffer and the author of “RaisingPobos.” You can find her over on Instagram or Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/raisingpobos/

Meatless Meal Ideas

Looking for ways to save a little extra money? Running out of time to thaw and cook meat before dinner time? Today, Rachel shares a compilation of favorite meatless meal ideas. Meat can be one of the most expensive parts to a grocery bill, so why not try and cut down costs a bit? If you challenge yourself to cooking one or two meals a week without using meat, you might just be surprised at how delicious and easy your menu planning can still be.

  • Black bean tacos
  • Cheese or bean quesadillas 
  • Potato bar with any left over veggies in your fridge or a can of beans
  • Quiche
  • Pancakes/waffles
  • Eggs and toast
  • Zucchini tacos
  • Egg salad sandwiches
  • Black bean and rice skillet
  • Black bean burgers
  • Omelets
  • Bean and cheese chimichangas
  • Baked oatmeal
  • Tomato soup
  • Veggie grilled cheese
  • Regular grilled cheese
  • Garden lasagna
  • Potato Au gratin
  • Frittatas
  • French toast
  • Meatless Taco salad
  • Bean burritos
  • Veggie chili
  • Shakshuka (an Israeli dish)
  • Falafel (Israeli dish)
  • Cream of mushroom soup
  • Ratatouille
  • Lentil spaghetti
  • Granola and yogurt with fruit
  • Hash-browns and eggs
  • Crepes
  • Potato or zucchini fritters
  • Oven roasted root veggies

Grace for Today

It’s a rainy day here and all the kids are down for naps. Time to write! So many thoughts have been swirling through my mind over the last few weeks and sometimes it can be hard to know how to put them into actual words. I’m sure many of you can relate as you continue to face your own trials in one form or another. 

However, one thing I’ve been realizing as I look back over the last 6-8 weeks of quarantine is that God has carried me one-day-at-a-time. There have been moments of meltdowns/tears (and not just from the children! 😉 ) and there have also been surprising joys and blessings. There have been moments of anger and there have also been moments of forgiveness. There have been moments of loneliness and there have also been moments of complete satisfaction in my God. And through all these differing moments God has been here. He has confronted my sin and He has also comforted my soul…over and over. 

Trials are a normal part of life. God knows this. He doesn’t ask us to act like they don’t exist and He certainly doesn’t ask us to try and handle them on our own. Instead, He asks us to run to Him when our hearts feel overwhelmed. He asks us to trust Him. 

We are going to have moments of weariness, frustration, sadness and grief, but He invites us to come to Him with those feelings. He is the only one wise enough to truly carry our burdens, changing us as we ask Him to make us more like Him. 

On my own, I’m not strong enough to patiently care for my children for weeks on end without a break. 

I’m not strong enough to serve my husband with joy when I feel tired. 

I’m not strong enough to make one more meal, wash one more dish or pick up one more toy. 

I’m not strong enough to face potential financial loss. 

I’m not strong enough to face a shortage of food. 

I’m not strong enough to experience loss of freedom. 

I’m not strong enough! 

Period.

I’m not strong. 

And neither are you. 

But God is! And depending on God is the strongest thing we can possibly do. 

So, what does this look like? 

The next time my children are getting on my nerves, I admit to God that I am weary and I ask Him to give me strength for this task. I ask Him for a creativity and love that I currently don’t possess. 

When I’m tired of the meal-making, the scattered toys and the dirty dishes, I ask Him to help me to be faithful and that I would just do the next right thing. 

When I’m worried about finances, I ask Him to give me wisdom in how we spend our money; that I would care about the things He cares about and not my own selfish ambitions. 

When I’m afraid of being stuck at home for even more weeks ahead, I ask God to help me face today and to remember that He will be at my side in whatever He calls me to face. 

When I feel overwhelmed and tired, I run to God, asking Him to exchange my weakness with His wisdom and strength. 

When I sense my dedication to Him waning I ask Him to renew a steadfast spirit within me. I ask Him to give me a hunger and thirst for His Word where currently it is lacking.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Cor. 12:9-10

This passage used to confuse me. How can true strength be found in weakness? Humanly speaking, life doesn’t work that way. Yet, the more years I spend walking with God, the more I’m beginning to understand how this paradox works. Self dependence and strength (or even dependence on others) is not really strength at all. It can be taken away in an instant. Physical health, stamina and resolve can all be removed. In contrast, dependence on a God who never changes is strength. He never removes us from His grasp no matter what we may face. In fact, the more needy we become the more heavily we can find ourselves leaning in to Him. 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed looking ahead to all the unknowns of the future and worrying about all the what-ifs and many probabilities, but God hasn’t called me to take care of those moments yet. In fact, as far as I am to be concerned, He has only called me here for this very moment in time. So, I have a choice: am I going to run to Him right now or will I try to do life on my own? 

The same choice will be mine when those future hard days do come. He’s promised that His grace will be enough for me in those moments, if I choose dependence. And when I do, He’ll be there to sustain me, just as He’s been doing all along…one. day. at. a. time.