Bread Doesn’t Have To Be A Weakness For Me

Since the start of this year (2019) I’ve been  avidly avoiding gluten and dairy products and so far I’ve been successful.7f7f0dce-8785-40e5-811d-c8cd9cee7cd7

I have an auto immune disorder (psoriasis) and I’ve discovered if I keep my distance from the two I can manage a little better. I’ve gone on these kicks before over the past couple of years where I give special attention to my diet and more often than not I’ve failed miserably…and I’m blaming bread!!!

Bread is my weakness! I mean who doesn’t love a loaf of homemade banana bread smothered in melted butter or a warm slice of garlic bread next to a plate of spaghetti (which I also bypass now due to gluten sensitivity)…

I’m a sucker for bread of all types.

Several years ago I was down in Mexico and had eaten days worth of Mexican food (which I love) but I was craving bread after a while. As it turned out our missions team headed out for a morning of shopping and happened to spot a bakery. I made a beeline straight for that store, probably even stopped traffic on the busy streets of Tijuana just to get there. I walked in and the smell about made me black-out. It was like Subway on steroids, it was glorious—dinner rolls, pastries, biscuits—sweet superfluous loaves of bread. I thought we’d stepped through the doors of Heaven.

I was sooooo completely amazed and overwhelmed that I walked out nearly twenty minutes later empty-handed!! I didn’t purchase a thing in that bread store and this was before I even knew gluten was a word! It was like too much of a good thing and I couldn’t make up my mind so I sporadically vacated, while the rest of my crew splurged. There was no reason I couldn’t have gone crazy and purchased one of every kind of bread in that bakery because at the time I wasn’t aware that bread affected my auto immune disorder.

These days though I’ve decided to be more conscious of my diet by totally eliminating certain foods in effort to make a healthier lifestyle. But I think back to that little bakery in Mexico every now and then and wonder how I’d hold up if faced with the temptation of my bread obsession and a store filled with baked goods situated on the other side of the road. Would I cross the busy street, feeding into that desire, burst through the doors, sniff around, and wipe out the shelves or simply and wisely recognize the temptation and keep my distance?

I’ve been using Luke 4 as an inspiration to steer clear of my “flour-y” nemesis. In this particular chapter Jesus faced temptation, interestingly enough it involved Satan, a stone, and none other than a loaf of bread!!!—so it really hits home for me.

Check it out: (Luke 4 summarized) The Holy Spirit had led Jesus into the wilderness where he would face temptation from Satan. Jesus ate nothing, but after 40 days he’d become very hungry and then the bad guy (Satan) shows up and says, “if you are the son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”

I’d have been like, “Yes please!! And while I’m at it I might as well whip up enough homemade strawberry jam to spread over each slice!!”

But Jesus (fully man, fully God) knows his hunger needs to run deeper than physical food and he responds by quoting scripture, ‘No! The scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’

The very scripture that Jesus referred to comes from Deuteronomy 8:3b ‘People do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.’

Jesus knew his satisfaction wasn’t in filling his tummy, but in fulfilling his soul by means of spiritual food through a committed and right-relationship with His Father’s will.

In each scenario as Satan continually tempted Jesus throughout Luke chapter 4 verses 1-13, Jesus struck Satan down by quoting scripture…

Oh how incredibly powerful is the word of God.

Finally in Luke 4:13 we read that the devil had finished tempting Jesus and left Him until the next opportunity came.

Until the next opportunity came…

For some it’ll be the temptation of a shopping spree when the money isn’t in the bank, others will struggle with lustful desires, some it’ll be alcohol tendency when the AA meetings fail to fill the void…and for myself the aroma of freshly baked bread.

Those temptations are always going to come and sometimes they’re a challenge to recognize but we must not be fooled by their existence. Temptations will for sure present themselves, not only in obvious ways but through deceit as well. We must ask ourselves is this the Holy Spirit leading me to do this or is this Satan’s way of throwing me off?

Know the difference: Satan will lead us astray from a godly perspective and goals, the Holy Spirit on the other hand will cause us to bring glory to God as we represent Him in our dealings by objecting to the defeat of temptation.

If we’re wise and self-controlled we’ll consider and model Jesus’ responses to Satan’s temptations in Luke 4. We’ll study scripture, fill up on the Holy word, and satisfy our longings with the Bread of Life (John 6) and reject Satan’s forceful attempts at throwing us off.

John 6:32-35  Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 

“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

What are some of your temptation-struggles or weaknesses?

How do you deal with temptation?

That’s Just What I Needed, Thank you!

I was trying to figure out what woke me from a deep sleep this morning at 4:15. And then I heard the loud cry of our rooster crowing on the front patio, which happens to be located next to my bedroom window.

Yesterday afternoon our rooster (Blackie) flew the coop, literally. He must’ve had enough of the hens out there and decided to relocate, hence the reason he’s now been perched out front of our house for the past day.

After about a dozen crows this morning before 5 A.M. I finally turned to my husband, “that’s it, I’m gonna go outside and talk to him!!”…surely my husband questioned my awkward statement but nevertheless I stepped out front (barefoot and nearly frozen immediately). I stooped down to eye level with the rooster and calmly stroked his back and spoke softly to him. He nestled down closer to the table he was sitting on and relaxed as if to say, “that’s just what I needed, thank you!”

I tiredly went back inside and crawled into bed and got a few more hours of sleep—beautiful, quiet uninterrupted sleep. It wasn’t until after 7, the sun was beginning to light the sky, the rooster let out a few more crows. This time his noise was gladly welcomed, with the 7 o’clock hour seeming a bit more fitting.649C1F7D-178A-4F25-9DFA-0EFC19F7F366

Not only have Blackie’s crow-times been off lately, he’d also flown into our living room window several times yesterday. And today as we’ve had wind gusts of 35 miles per hour he still insist on sitting out front in the blistering openness of frigid cold.

Although he has a warm home, plenty of food, and many lady friends to keep him company something out in the chicken coop just isn’t quite right for him.

I think of the many times I can relate to the odd mannerism of my rooster’s—the times that I’ve been confused, unsettled, and distressed much like this new adopted behavior of his. Continue reading “That’s Just What I Needed, Thank you!”

All I want for Christmas is…

All I want for Christmas is…a “prepared” Mary-like heart and attitude…

I’ve been substitute teaching quite a bit lately.

No worries, my homeschooled kiddos have a couple of amazing substitute teachers on the days I work so they’re well taken care of, academically speaking…Because I’m sure some people are reading this and like, “Gasp! What about your poor homeschooled kids when you sub?”…no worries I can assure (anyone who’s worried about it) they need a break from me, they’re fine! Don’t lose sleep over it. They’re doing great with their schoolwork with or without me at their side.

…Okay that whole paragraph above might very well be my holler of defense in regard to someone who recently hounded me about homeschooling and subbing because they’re anti-homeschooling…people are funny, even if you go to church with ‘em.

I feel better after stating that.

Moving on🙂…Every time I show up at the school it’s always the same procedure: arrive 20 minutes early, sign in at the office, head to my classroom for the day.

There’s always an organized folder with sub-notes sitting on the teacher’s desk, waiting for me to read through so I have an idea and schedule for how the day should run. And on every occasion there’s always papers tucked somewhere in the sub-folder which cover the proper procedures for handling emergency circumstances.

Can I just be honest for a moment?

I never, ever thoroughly read that part of the notes, just a little browse and that’s good enough for me. That’s part of my practical mindset. I get at least a general idea of where the emergency placards are located in the classroom, which the teacher would collect along with the students before hurriedly scuffling out of the room or school in the event of a crisis situation.

In fact, recently when I subbed, I quickly went over the emergency notes and glanced up and remember thinking, ‘K placards are near the door, good deal, it’s not like anything will happen anyway but if so I’d gather my students, emergency placards, and locate the nearest seasoned teacher in the hallway and follow her lead!’

I’ve discovered though that this limited-thinking is not okay, AT ALL, because last week there actually was an emergency situation at the school where I sub so often, where I had just subbed a few days prior. Continue reading “All I want for Christmas is…”

Grandma’s Biscuits and…Her Dementia

711FD028-E6E7-4694-B142-F42BC4353A80It’s 3 A.M. as I write…can’t sleep…

Again.

This time I’m blaming my dog. My husband might have been sleep-talking as he rambled off something about the dog and an ear infection; either way his slumbered words sound like the voice of reason to me so I’ll have to get Eli into the vet because this whining and ear scratching is obnoxious—for not only the dog but me as well. Apparently it’s not affecting Nate’s sleep, after offering his ‘unprofessional vet diagnosis’ he’s back to quiet snores before even finishing mumbling.

Anyway after my last post I wasn’t sure I’d be able to write again…ever. There’s times when I share deep parts of my life on this blog and it causes me to feel so vulnerable. It feels like rather than pushing the “publish” button, I’ve just pushed “panic” instead and I begin to get swallowed by Satan’s lies ‘you’re crazy for putting that out there, what’s wrong with you? and blah, blah, blah’…because he’s just that irritating.

But then I have to remember why I originally chose to start this blog—it was never to showcase the best parts of my life through haughty sounding words, it wasn’t to reach a certain number of followers, nor was it to gain attention. It’s always been about noting the things and areas of my life in which God has spoken to my heart, sharing highs and lows and the lessons learned along the way, creating a legacy to pass down to my kiddos. All I want is for them to see how tough life can be BUT what prevails is loving Jesus like crazy regardless.

Perhaps the best part of this blog is being able to write my thoughts out and seeing how God has and is working in my life and then when someone comments on a post even three or four months later to let me know my words spoke to their heart…goodness, there’s just nothing like it. Glory to God alone, I’m then able to grasp that this whole blog is truly For His Purpose. Amen!!?

Not today Satan, not today! Even if it is 3 in the morning, I choose to use this time optimistically.

So on to Grandma’s biscuits and her dementia… Continue reading “Grandma’s Biscuits and…Her Dementia”

Healed Through Forgiveness

Warning: This post may contain emotional content for some. I know it’s long but I’m putting it out here on the chance that it provides help to someone who might be struggling.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. —Martin Luther King Jr.

I had just finished giving a presentation of my life story to a group of ladies. As I packed up my notes and props I noticed a girl whose face was covered in a stream of tears.

Oh no, was it something I said?? Way to go Alicia…My self-conscious way of thinking began to prod away.

Slowly the melancholy faced girl made her way toward me while the noise of music quietly played in the background.

My heart raced forward as I thought about what words may come out of her mouth…would I be prepared with a response or an answer..I’m just a woman who loves Jesus and wants others to know about Him….what if she needs help and I don’t know what to say…God you know I’m a writer, not a talker…

I felt incredibly unprepared for this moment. I hadn’t considered I’d be doing more than simply sharing my testimony, so the thought of anything beyond that certainly overwhelmed me. I quickly pleaded with God in my mind..I did my part God, I shared my story in front of these women, I’m not prepared to further speak—much less counsel someone if this is what’s about to happen…

She now stood right before me. My eyes met hers and I could see there was hurt deep within…she had my full attention…

“How did you do it?” she pushed the words through trembling lips without hesitation….How did you do it??? The words echoed throughout me. I paused long enough to collect my thoughts…

“How did I do what?” I asked with an empathetic whisper.

After-all I had just shared the disarrayed story of my life—starting with the responsibility I felt being raised by an epileptic mother, to experiencing life with a loving but drug and alcohol addicted father; and not failing to include childhood stories of a homicide in front of our California home, sexual abuse, and my own substance abuse as a teen and young adult and the poor choices I made in all of that. I had shared the pain I felt with my dad’s death and then how I finally had my come to Jesus moment in my late twenties.

I had covered many life lessons and emotions just moments before as I gave my testimony in front of this group of women so to pinpoint the one thing she was searching an answer for, would be a challenge in itself.

But it was the sexual abuse that she was referring to…“how did you get past the sexual abuse?” she managed to bravely stutter the words out. Continue reading “Healed Through Forgiveness”

Finding a New Perspective Through Zip Lining

I sat, securely in a harness, suspended from a cable about fifteen feet off the ground. My husband walked alongside my kids who were down below cheering excitedly. They pulled me and my attached equipment to the starting point where they’d release the rope and send me sailing on a zip line amidst a thickly wooded grassland.

Adventure? Yes.

Enthusiasm? Not from me at this moment.

When my family was invited to an evening of fun at what has been dubbed “magical” Narnia, we quickly accepted the offer. This tiny slice of Heaven belongs to our Pastor and his wife and sits on ten acres with a river gently flowing along the edge of the property. With four-wheeler trails, rope swings, a camp fire area, shooting range, zip line, and lots of space to climb, roam and explore, it really is a good time for an outdoor enthusiast and it’s entertained many over the years.

But as I sat anxiously, about to be whisked away, I was far from impressed but hesitantly persisted on—in hopes of overcoming my fear. Knowing the set-up was completely secure still didn’t alleviate my anxiety. I tried to ease my mind—It’ll be over in seconds…I’m probably the five hundred and eleventh person to use this zip line…my insurance deductible has already been met this year…my kids and many others have been zip lining all evening and they’re still in one piece…

Let me tell you, when you’re afraid of heights—NONE of these things matter—AT ALL.

Without warning, my family freed the pull-rope and there I went zipping along wildly at the expense of Tarzan and his chimp’s amusement, AKA Nate and kids. My emotional state heightened far beyond my physical suspended height, and when it looked as if I was going to smack a tree that sits way too close to the zip line trail it was game over for me. “I don’t like it!!” I shouted down to my amused onlookers.

And then just as soon as it began it ended. It was over. I made it to the end. I was safe.

…I thought about how at an earlier point in my life I had enjoyed the thrill of zip lining and other wild adventures.

But that was before a husband. Before kids. Before adult responsibilities. Continue reading “Finding a New Perspective Through Zip Lining”

A High, Low, and a Funny

3ED6D797-AE3C-4C5E-B52C-64F8CDB523E9
Photography taken by R. Peters

At our house we’ve adopted a great conversation starter when we gather around the table for dinner at the end of the day. Each of us verbally notes our high for the day, then our low, and lastly the funny of our day. It always amazes me how some days we’ve spent all day together yet each of us has something different to point out. Side note: sometimes when it’s my husband’s turn to state his high for the day he’ll keenly rattle off the “high temperature” for the day…before giving us his true answer.☺️

These table conversations are important because they cause us to know one another’s hearts, feelings, cares, and concerns a little more. Our kids enjoy the idea of being the only one in the “family spotlight” for a few moments during their turn, highlighting whatever it is for the day that stuck out most to them. Often times these smaller talks lead to larger discussions, taking it to a deeper level where we can really reflect, analyze, and engage with one another.

Since you and I most likely won’t be sharing dinner any time soon I thought I’d share my high, low, and funny over this past week (via the blog). Please feel free to do the same in the comment section below if you wish. Continue reading “A High, Low, and a Funny”