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enjoi today | …making the most out of life…

Life’s Weeds

I haven’t blogged in almost a year, I have been silent, yet there has been much filling this mind, soul and life of mine. Last April, in the days that followed my last post, I was hit with back-to-back horrible colds/illness. And topping that, the lil baby girl was hit with much of the same. Weeks turned into months and all of a sudden, summer came. My entire spring was spent befriending Kleenex box after Kleenex box, tears of frustration falling because “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” a baby girl who found no relief from a common cold with the tiniest of noses that brought forth more flows of green gunk than I ever thought possible! So… now almost a year later, that was the beginning of what has turned into semi-permanent silence here.

Summer 2012 was full – May – July were traveling, moving apartments and Training Camp camping – yes I camped for 2.5 weeks with my then 7-month old! She was a champ but it was not weeks of ease… sweat, nursing on a cot, interrupted or absent nap times, very early mornings,  earwigs creeping… but it was a time of great love from others upon the lil gal. Times of worship and watching as teens began relationships and saw their flame ignited brighter for following Christ and serving His world.  July was more traveling to see family and settling back in at home in August. And again, this little piece of my world sat silent as adventures around the country consumed us.

And then came fall… and it’s one that was easy.

Not because we were so busy or had crazy travels, or visitors or too much school. It was one of sin. Secret-filled, of pain from the past, ok with the view behind my walls, of letting old dreams get the best of me, of NOT enjoying the present, but dreaming of my life’s “What if’s..”, of tripping over things behind me. And there that darn weed grew deeper and deeper within me, twisting its’ roots through every consumable space within me.

One day I was tending a friend/co-workers flowerbeds and God brought this to my attention. In that place, tall weeds, tiny weeds, weeds with pretty buds and flat thorny weeds, surrounded me. Most were miniscule ones, plucked without much effort. I got to those little buggers early, when most of their existence was in the light, tiny thin roots unable to hold to their ground against a light tug. Gone once and for all.

But some stood as tall as me, thick stalks, bright leaves, disguising themselves as flourishing plants so that one might not pluck them, that they’d be allowed to grow deeper, take over more space and corrupt the whole garden. These took all my strength, sweat to even slightly budge. They had deep roots intertwined with a secret life underground holding them strong. Twisting, chopping, prodding and digging all while in the heat of late summer and often resulting only in trimming the leaves off or being able to cut off what was above ground while those devious thick roots were left to continue their abiding in the garden.

It was here in this mulch-laden ground, where these weeds brought the vision of my own sin. I sat in the dusty ground, beads of sweat dripping from my face, hands raw from the attempts. God simply took a moment and gave me this vision of my sin. I commit sins that are mostly in the light, they don’t have a hold on me, I can easily pluck them, be reconciled. Yet, in my life, there is at least one huge weed that I’d let grow into something so much bigger than being able to pluck. It takes trimming, twisting the stock, chopping, tugging with all my strength, and yet it will continue to grow because I am tired and unable to do the heavy work alone. I can trim it so it’s barely visible to the standard observer yet underneath it continues to prod its way through what was fertile soil and healthy root systems. It deep and it takes more than myself to remove it completely.  It eats away and wears down the surrounding areas. Letting years and years go by simply watching it grow, watching the hold it has, trimming it back and watching it, often even forgetting about it… then a simple walk back into that garden and there it is. Deep as ever.

With the head-knowledge that the deep weeds of life can be removed and the space once again renewed, with hope, something new can grow from that broken land. But alone, I’m frail and torn, hurt and the weed wins.

This morning I was driving to work and turned on the local Christian radio station… I typically don’t listen to it but decided that my heart was a bit heavy and lyrics always speak into my life. So rather than my typical country music choice, “let’s forget it and move on to more fun things” lyrics, I thought I may find some encouragement. But I didn’t expect this… a new-to-me song that so strongly resonated…

 “Worn” by Tenth Avenue North

I’m Tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

I know I need to lift my eyes up
But I’m too weak
Life just won’t let up
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

My prayers are wearing thin
Yeah, I’m worn
Even before the day begins
Yeah, I’m worn
I’ve lost my will to fight I’m worn
So, heaven come and flood my eyes

 

I am worn, tired and weak, not just because of what I’ve spoke of above but because of a lot of life things. I’m not all down-in-the-dumps overall but the struggle is there and the weight doesn’t let up in these certain areas of life right now. There’s decisions to be talked about, prayed about, discernment to be made, relationships to invest in, marriage to work on, there’s a lil girl who needs taught, dreams to be dreamt, and a present day to enjoy. But in the deepest, most truest parts of my being, which usually only are shared in my prayer journal – only between my Savior and me – I share. I need light. I need to be real because I’ll never write on this blog again if it’s not real, if it’s not honest and deep. If I think about each person in my life who may or may not read this and sensor it to protect myself from their comment or response, then I’m not writing for me, or for the reasons I feel I am to write. To encourage others through writing & sharing life – it’s one of the things that makes me who I am, it’s how I communicate best. And I feel it pulsing within me to share, even in the hard stuff, so I will. Even in this, I trust that redemption will win.

And honestly, life is hard right now. Decisions weigh heavily when there’s no clear direction, conversations become muddled, the desire to relax overcomes the desire to work hard, and even the sin seems too deep a weed to pull. But if there’s a glimmer of hope, if I hope in what I know to be true of my Creator and Sustainer, then I sit here crying out for maybe the deepest rescue of my lifetime. To be renewed, to see new dreams come, to see weed plucked, no matter how hard the work. To see myself shining bright in His light, doing the things I know my life is meant to be used for.

I’m posting this without any editing, I need something raw. I’m sure I’ll reread it a handful of times and think of a million ways I should have used better words, chosen to not say some, and been more creative in descriptions, but alas, I’ll leave it. It’s my journey, it my life. And the things that fill my life are worth fighting for. I won’t process it all here, but I want my corner of the web to be real, a real encouragement, it’s not all sprinkled with sugar and gumdrops! It’s rough and tough, a journey worth learning from. And this will be mine.

Still ENJOYING TODAY for all the joys that fill a day, for the smiles that shine, for the love that fills, the adventure and fun between sunrises and sunsets.  But knowing that there are things to work through, things to pull and purge, weed out and make room for anew.

Enjoi Today, 

even in the struggles

SCK

 

so.worth.loving

So Worth Loving

Today’s the day! It’s been in the making for about a month and a half – today, I’m posting over on another blog!

That’s right – today is the announcement of me joining the team of lovely ladies over at SO WORTH LOVING! The post is a simple intro into who I am and why I think SWL is such an important message that women (& men) across the globe, in all age ranges need to hear.

So Worth Loving is a community of people dedicated to spreading that message and helping empower people to pursue their dreams. We handcraft shirts that remind you you’re loved.

 

I “met” Eryn, the founder, via the blog a few months ago (which Keith actually found through Eryn’s husband as he worked on web/blog design stuff!) and when the opportunity to write periodically for SWL’s blog came up, I jumped in! I’m excited for the message and community to grow, for girls & women to see that they are worth loving simply because their life is precious! And that they are so valuable no matter what struggles or heartaches they face day-to-day.

Hop on over to So Worth Loving today to read the post!

You may learn a few new things about yours truly!

 

ENJOI TODAY!

SCK

 

Good Food

Coffee & Muffin Montreal

Each week, I attempt to meal plan for our family. It cuts down on wasted time each evening scouring the cabinets to put something together, it allows me to have a plan and list what I need to get each week at the grocery store, and it frees the Mr. and I from having the dreaded “what do you want” conversation each night as we’re starving! I not only plan our dinners, but I also host a small group of women each Wed. night in my home and I plan the snacks we’ll have.

Being hospitable is a part of who I am! It’s a part of the family I grew up in and a part of how we try to live now as a family. I can’t just put out chips and dip and be satisfied. I love planning and putting special effort into these things to make it great! (Tonight’s theme is wine & cheese with desserts that compliment!) I cannot tell you the freedom and weight that meal planning ahead of time has given me. I go through cookbooks, food magazines and food blogs to get ideas and put the week of dinners together, then I write it on our little weekly calendar on our fridge. And finally, I make a shopping list of what I need to make those meals. It takes time but it ends up saving me time each night and even allows me to do some prep throughout the day if I already know what the end result is going to be!

It thrills me to be able to put good meals on our table, prepare a well-thought out menu for a small group and put energy into the details of each. (This also transcends to party planning! LOVE IT!)

I’m not the best cook or baker, but I can follow a recipe and get to the desired end product. And I love good food, in fact, good food is so important to me that I recently told the hubster that I would pay up to $1000 to be able to enjoy a Doner Kebab from Germany! Good thing that’s not possible because we’d be out a lot of money for one meal!

The last Doner I had… on our honeymoon in Germany 2008.

Not everyone has these interests or even cares about good food and in the recent weeks I’ve noticed this more and more. In my day-to-day life with family and friends, those around me do care about food, whole foods and real food. But stepping out of that and I’m hit with the reality that most people are not “foodies”… it makes me sad but it’s true. Some see meals and eating as a means to just get energy and a need for our bodies. Others just simply don’t have the experience with good food or the difference that it makes in your life. I want you to care! I want you to know the difference between a GOOD dinner and one that’s just getting you by! Life is way too short to not enjoy the food you’re eating and make it worth eating!

 

Latte & best mixed berry muffin I’ve enjoyed – Montreal

I’m not an arguer or debate-driving person. I often find that no good comes of turning in a simple evening of hanging out into a debate on subjects that just bring division… recently I was surrounded by a few people who see food the way I do, and some that don’t… those that didn’t would have loved to get into a debate about it and I entertained it for a bit but decided that it wasn’t worth it. However, I know there are a hundred truths and studies to prove that what they were saying is not true. Even in knowing that real food makes a difference in your body, energy levels and overall enjoyment of the food – I’m not willing to argue about it. Just know that I will always fight for good food!

As my family strives to stick to real foods (non-processed, pasture raised animals, natural and organic produce) I’m continually surprised at the amount of people that have no interest in even learning why these things are important! I can tell you from personal experience that the Mr. and I not only agree on the importance of this but can taste the serious difference between REAL food and everything else – garden grown produce vs. mass-produced. We no longer buy conventional fruits & veggies – because organically grown produce is FAR superior in taste!

Some say this makes me a food snob – so be it! In fact, one of my best friends and fellow food snob is coming to visit this weekend and I’m thrilled to be able to take her to some of the tastiest joints in the cities! If you’re not a foodie, I hope you will be one day and care more about the quality and taste of what’s going into your mouth and body. Beyond the health benefits which cannot be ignored, there’s plenty to be said about tasty food! I think people settle way to often for junky/crappy food due to the way our marketed society gives in to advertisements and the next bag of chips on the end cap at the grocery store. It’s not only about eating healthy, to me it’s also about savoring and enjoying what you’re eating.

Being someone who cares about food and has the “researcher” genes, I enjoy watching many food-amentaries and reading books such as In Defense of Food by Michael Polluck. Some of the best films I’ve watched include Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead; To Market, To Market; Fresh; Food, Inc. and there are many, many more! I suggest you watch at least one of them, or find a different one that will give you some prospective on GOOD food. What it means to eat organic, why it’s important and how it impacts your body.

Recently someone I was talking with was somewhat dumbfounded that the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) allows pink slime in our beef and couldn’t believe they would let things that are not good for us into our supermarkets – I’m afraid that this is the common thinking and it’s scary. Take time to educate yourself! Take time to know what’s best to serve your family and what’s just not good for their bodies! Just because something is advertised as good for you, typically there are lots of loop holes and only percentages the companies’ have to report! Dive in and learn for yourself. Sit down with a grocery store carrot, and one plucked from an organic garden this summer – you’ll taste the difference immediately!

My mother-in-law makes fun of me (in a fun way) sometimes because I’m known for taking pictures of my food/plate before diving into the deliciousness. It’s not something she really cares about and may not really ever understand but for me – every meal is an opportunity, a learning experience, a chance to really enjoy the tastes and aromas. To relax usually with friends or family. And capturing that plate is part of my experience!

All this to say – Food Matters! It’s not always about being super healthy in my book, it’s that good food makes a difference, not only in your experience at the meal table. I urge you to grow to appreciate good food! I’m off to make a snack now! Rest assured I will ENJOY it!

Steak & Shrimp anniversary dinner (not the healthiest- but very tasty!) – Montreal

Enjoi Today

SCK

Friday Reminder

In the quiet stillness of this morning the sun illuminated every space of my kitchen, as my breakfast was sizzling on the stovetop, I reached for my God Calling book from atop the tiny shelf. Flipping through the well-worn pages, April 20th, “Life is a Love-Story” the title read. Words jumped off the page and intertwined themselves in my heart and mind. Exactly the message I needed to hear this morning as the day began. With Lil Miss in my arms, pondering the previous night’s unexpected news from a friend and earnest prayers, my spirit was lifted and my mind told the things I need to understand today.

 You need Me. I need you.
My broken world needs you. Many a weary troubled heart needs you. Many a troubled heart will be gladdened by you, draw nearer to Me by you both.  
Health – Peace – Joy – Patience – Endurance, they all come from contact with Me.
Oh! it is a glorious way, the upward way, the wonderful discoveries, the tender intimacies, the amazing, almost incomprehensible, understanding. Truly the Christian life – Life with Me – is a Lovestory. Leave all to Me.
All you have missed you will find in Me, the Soul’s Lover, the Soul’s Friend, Father – Mother – Comrade – Brother. Try Me.
You cannot make too many demands upon Me –
nor put too great a strain upon My Love and Forbearance.
Claim – claim – claim – Healing – Power – Joy – Supply – what you will.  

– From God Calling, A.J. Russell

Lil’ Miss – 6 Months

6 months

My oh my… my little lady is growing up and getting her little self all around this place! Today marks 6 months since she arrived in our arms and took over our lives! She is truly awe-inspiring and makes us drop our jaws in admiration and joy over her life and her abilities every single day.

(Celebrating today!) 

She now thoroughly enjoyed her Johnny Jump Up that we hang in the doorways and is getting to know her new-to-her activity center. Thankful to not only have to lay on the ground and scoot to get toys, she enjoys being up and seeing the world as she plays.

She’s well on her way to mastering the crawl… not completely there yet but that doesn’t stop her from moving all about to get where she wants to be! She’s up on her knees, nose-diving, booty in the air – working her way to places she wants to be!

We’ve begun to have family mealtimes with her in her Bumbo at the table! (She’s always sat up there with us but as of two weeks ago, she gets food too!) She has taken a liking to a few foods she explores and “eats” – carrots & green beans have been enjoyed along with red peppers pulling in as a favorite! Adding a few attempts at some pork and chicken! She’s well on her way to knowing what GOOD food is and savoring her meals. (I plan to do a post on the way we’re going about her beginning food/eating stages in the near future –

we’re not doing any purees – technically called baby-led weaning or, self-feeding… it’s more in line with how babies develop naturally than spoon-feeding! Like I said, another post regarding that is in the works for next week!)

We are so proud of her and thankful beyond what words can express for her being a part of our lives and God allowing us to raise a precious child of His. I am in pure amazement most days at how much she has learned and accomplished in her short 6 months… and so excited I get to observe and take part in how God shapes her life in the future.

I’ve already seen God use her to bring about smiles, laughter and joy in others’ lives. She is nothing but content, happy, a silly one and will gladly pass along a smile to brighten anyone’s day. There is no stranger in her eyes and she definitely has my curiosity of things – which I cannot thank God enough for! I love watching her discover and figure things out. I hope she’s always willing to discover, seek and find, enjoy new experiences and learn from what is around her. I want her to know she is free to explore the world as her playground, that she will discover other cultures and love on people in places far from her comfort zone!

(Papa was her playground last week!) 

In her 6 months of life she’s been to Wisconsin, New Jersey, New York (& NYC), Illinois (Chicago), Indiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, Mexico… I’d say she’s off to a pretty good start on the traveling thing! She’s a trooper! (My Dad used to tell me that when we were traveling and touring the umpteenth cathedral during our years in Europe!)

We’re celebrating her 1/2 year today and so thankful for what she’s brought to our family!

Enjoy today!

SCK

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