Monthly Archives: October 2009

I heart blueberries!

If you’ve read anything on this blog for, oh, the last six months, you are already aware of the continuing saga/melodrama/almost-tragedy of my baby Fiala’s battle with things that her body rejects, most of which are foods.

After embarking on a total elimination diet with her, I’ve been trying for the last 6+ weeks to expand her (and my) diet to find out what troubles her.  So far, the only things that I’m confident do NOT cause her either skin or gastrointestinal distress are only lamb, buckwheat, and garbanzo beans.  I had added in a number of other items, but after we had a major setback a couple of weeks ago, I had to scale back down to the bare bones of those three things.

The good news, I guess, is that I have successfully figured out that grapes/raisins definitely give her problems, both severe eczema and diarrhea.  I have also figured out that — I think — cranberries give her eczema, but not g.i. problems.  I also think that … duh-duh-duh-duh! (trumpet sounds) blueberries do not cause any problems.  They definitely do not cause any g.i. symptoms, and though I’m only about 50% certain that they’re not affecting her skin, that is good enough for me to continue to feed them to her, most days, once a day.

She LOVES blueberries.  “Buh!  Buh!  Buh!” she exclaims, loudly and excitedly.  (She frequently uses the first sounds for words that are familiar to her:  “Eee” for Ethan, “Tah” for our dog Tally, “Nuh!” for nursing, and so on.)

They’re no longer in season, so at first, I bought a 12 oz frozen bag from Sprouts, at a cost of $2.99.  Then, at Costco, I saw a FIVE POUND bag of blueberries for $8.49.  I figured out that at the cost of $3 for 12 oz, that would be like spending $20 on five pounds.  So, even though it seems pricey to spend eight-plus bucks on blueberries, that was a pretty smokin’ deal.

But, since they’re frozen, they tend to be juicier and softer upon thawing, which Fiala doesn’t see as a problem at all:

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The only problem, really, is that blue/purple blueberry stain gets stuck in the (lone, thank God!) bad eczema patch on the left side of her chin, and on her hands, which are quite scaly with eczema, and from sucking/chewing on her fingers.

Sweet girl.  I’m sharing in the blueberry joy;  I’m excited about something sweet to eat, too!  And, if we’re gonna eat a fruit, it might as well be a darn tasty one!

Mmmm… blueberries.  🙂

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Control that tongue!

Andree Seu

With the author’s gracious permission, here is the best article/story/encouragement/admonition I think I have ever read on the call to obedience in the face of charges of “legalism”.   (Originally published in the Oct 10, 2009 issue of World Magazine, written by Andrée Seu.)

Brothers, can we talk about legalism? I wrote a blog sharing that God is teaching me to be careful with my mouth, and that there are no such things as inconsequential words. Then I was knocked off kilter with a thread of comments charging legalism. Unless we settle this question right away, I’m afraid we won’t get anywhere.

Yes, we rest in the grace of Christ. And it is a costly grace, and costly discipleship does it require. It is a grace secured at great price, and it asks, in return, for all we have. It is a grace to relax in as regards our secure eternal destination, but a grace to strive in as regards our efforts to live for Him: “Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue” (2 Peter 1:5). It is a grace with plenteous forgiveness when we sin, but it does not logically follow from this that it is an iota less serious to sin.

I have said “a grace to strive in as regards our efforts to live for Him,” but it’s not even so much a striving as a yielding to the Spirit moment by moment rather than to the flesh.

Sure, we should always be careful of creeping legalism. The Apostle Paul was the first to say so—and also the first to command, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths” (Ephesians 4:29). In the same letter famous for his anti-legalist preaching, Paul gives counsel like “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). In Acts 15, the classic anti-legalism text, the apostles end by asking the church to comply with three bits of extraneous advice. They saw no inconsistency.

One reader wrote, “If I could control my tongue, then I wouldn’t need a Savior.” Well, we do have a Savior, and He commands us to control our tongues. The grace is available (2 Peter 1:3).

Or has the doctrine of the sovereignty of God swallowed up human responsibility? A history professor once told me about an era so afraid of Pelagianism that the church became paralyzed. In the end you couldn’t even say “I need to trust God” because there was an “I” in it. You were left with ludicrous statements like “I need to trust God to do the trusting for me.”

If exhortation to godly speech is rebuffed as incipient legalism, then all preaching is impossible. Then your pastors are all legalists when they instruct you to any change of attitude or behavior. If the charge of legalism is the knee-jerk response to all advice, it puts a chill on everyone who has a word from the Lord for the building up of the saints—though Paul spent all of 1 Corinthians 14 urging such mutual edifications.

I have learned in the last few years that reading the Bible a lot and praying constantly are secrets to a sweeter communion with God. I have learned that the Bible’s commands are not glum duties but surprising doorways into intimacy with God. I am eager to share this. Must I refrain from testifying lest it be construed as legalism? Doesn’t Paul himself say to immerse ourselves in Scripture (1 Timothy 4:13) and to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)? Is he a legalist? Or does he get a special pass because he was inspired?

I have a good friend (may you all have such a friend as this) who exhorts me fervently to godly speech. He just as often exhorts me to a more confident embracing of the assurance of God’s unfailing love. And I will tell you that I love the one as much as the other. I love to be reminded of God’s covenant which binds me to Him like a strong cable. But I find it just as invigorating—and not at all burdensome—to be spurred on to greater faithfulness. Covenant is covenant, after all: a pledge of faithfulness between parties; initiated by God, to be sure, but with my own treaty stipulations.

We follow the Lamb wherever He goes (Revelation 14:4). We “overcome” (Revelation 2:3). This is seeking God with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind and all our strength. This is not legalism but the Christian life.

If you have a question or comment for Andrée Seu, send it to aseu@worldmag.com.

Out of the mouths of babes… well, toddlers anyways. Or preschoolers. Whatever.

  • Early this morning, I had 3yo Audrey in my arms, and 1yo Fiala came crawling over, to share in the love…  I schnuffled my face into them, and exclaimed, “Ooooh, I have my arms full of girls.  Oh, boy!”  Audrey corrected me, “You should say ‘Oh, GIRL.'”
  • I was getting Audrey dressed this morning, and she, delighted with a fuzzy pink hoodie, given to us by a friend (I heart hand-me-downs!), gushed, “I will be so pretty that everyone will like me!”  Me:  Pause.  “People don’t like you because you’re pretty.  People like you when you’re nice.  Being nice is being pretty on the inside.”  Granted, there are people who do like others just because they’re pretty, but we’re not going there right now… 🙄

Siblings

Can you feel the love??

I know it’s blurry, but this gives a pretty good indication of what our days are like.

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Why I’m rooting for the Angels

I’ve always been a National League kind of girl, even before the Diamondbacks came to Phoenix.  It started with my Grandpa Conover, who was a huge Cubbies fan.  I have fond (though vague and fading) memories of going to a couple of Spring Training games with him.

I can’t recall a World Series where I’ve rooted for the American League team.  This year, though, I may change that.

I don’t want the Yankees to win the ALCS — their sense of entitlement, their general “we rule the world” attitude, and and that Alex Rodriguez is on their roster means I just can’t be a fan.  Yuck.

And, I can’t like the Phillies, either, even though they beat the Dodgers, for which I’m pleased.  I like rooting for the underdog in general, and since the Phils won the World Series last year, I just gotta feel like it’s someone else’s tun.

Plus, they have Cole Hamels.

I just cannot take that guy seriously.  He sounds like he’s seven years old, especially when he’s excited.

I know that’s an immature reason to anti-root for a team, but when your ace has a higher voice than I do…

So, by process of elimination, GO ANGELS!  (Even if the moniker Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is ludicrous.)

Mama and Birthday Baby

Can I still call her a baby?  She is 1yo today.

Although it makes me a bit sad, I’m liking Laura/Henny’s suggestion to wait until she’s healthier to celebrate her birthday.  In April, Fiala will turn 18 months, and Audrey will turn 4.  I think it might work well to have a big party for the two of them, then.

One year ago today:

She is still SO SWEET.  I just adore her.  Last night, I was at kinship, and Martin had the boys at Ethan’s Little League game, and we had a babysitter over for the girls.  Martin got home before me, and the babysitter said, “Fiala just woke up, but I haven’t gone in there.  Listen.  I think she’s singing.”  And, sure enough, Martin went in, and she had woken up and was contentedly singing in her crib.  ~sigh~  Even with her food/skin/digestion problems, we can’t help but just be in love with such a sweet girl.

Award for my Dad’s company

My Dad’s company, Neuric, got awarded the 2009 Tech Innovation Award for Software by the Austin Business Journal.  He told me that Neuric is sharing the award with another company, but still, that’s cool.  Woo hoo!

Setback in Fiala’s skin — happy birthday!

Oh, dear.  My heart aches.  Fiala’s skin is the WORST it has been in more than a month, maybe in two months.  Both her cheeks are bad, one has a lesion, and behind her legs are scabbed and oozy again.  I had to give her Benedryl, put Protopic on her face, and triamcinolone on her legs.  😦

At first, I thought it was “just” chocolate that I caved and ate over the weekend (dairy-free chocolate chips).  But, her skin continues to worsen, so I’m thinking that it’s something that she’s being exposed to regularly.  So, I’m taking her back off of four things that I’ve added in her/my diet over the last two weeks:  avocado, blueberries, cranberries, and honey.  All have been added with caution, slowly, in small amounts, but something is hurting her.  I’m just not sure which is the source of the problem.

I’m extra-bummed out, because tomorrow is her 1st birthday, and I was planning on making a blueberry crepe for her from garbanzo bean flour, stevia, cinnamon, honey, and blueberries.  As I made a sample for myself last night, I looked at it and realized that I just couldn’t do it, couldn’t feed it to her.  Her skin is just too, too bad.

So, I guess she won’t really have a birthday cake or treat of any kind, and that makes me so sad.  The only thing that consoles me is that she won’t remember.

Happy birthday, pretty girl!

Had a little revelation…

I have a family member, whom I love incredibly dearly.  So dearly.  However, she and I fairly often have conflict of… worldview.  I am gladly, thoroughly a Christian.  She is not, and decidedly so.  Whenever we have a disagreement, she, to my recollection, has never failed to whip out the accusation of, “You’re self-righteous.”  Then, with her confidence in my self-righteousness, it then renders everything that comes out of my mouth moot, because, well, I’m just self-righteous, and who needs to listen to a self-righteous person, or even have a conversation with her, or even be kind to her, or anything nice???

I never really knew how to respond to that.

Am I self-righteous?  I don’t feel self-righteous.  In fact, I was just lamenting in my journal this morning that there is such a long laundry list of things wrong with me, and it seems like the Father has such an incredibly LONG way to go with me, that I was, frankly, discouraged over my lack of, well, righteousness.

However.  I had a revelation:  While I have no confidence in my OWN righteousness, I have complete, resolute, firm, convinced, unshakeable understanding and belief in the righteousness of God.  I believe Him.  I have seen, a million times over, His principles proven right.  I have had, too many times to count, had the thought, “Oh.  Duh.  So THIS is why God tells us to do it THAT way, um, the way I didn’t do it.  Ah ha.”  I have also sadly witnessed others purposefully choosing to do something that goes against the principles of God, and, well, it just doesn’t turn out well.  Like, ever.

So, I’ve read about God.  I’ve experienced the way He works.  I’ve observed His principles at work in others.

I am confident in God.

Moreover, I have seen His goodness.  I have witnessed His mercy.  I have experienced His love.  And His power.  I have tasted His supernatural presence — I always have a feeling of standing on the precipice of a cliff and leaning over, but there rising a wind that supports me to keep me from falling off — scary in a sense, but more on the exhilarating side of scary, like being simultaneously washed over, supported, and filled with protective all-encompassing power… and one day, I’ll be able to SOAR off of that cliff.

That, to say my experience of God is so real, so palpable, that I think it does disservice to my faith.  I mean, when there is a situation that I just have to hold out and believe in what I can’t see happening… well, I’m not very good at that.  Or, if I need to believe God, when the circumstances are contrary, that’s hard.  So, I can’t even claim great faith!!  God, to me, is as real as an orange.  I mean, if I’m holding an orange in my hand, and I say, “That’s an orange” it takes no more faith for me to say that than it does for me to say God is real, powerful, good, and righteous.  In other words, God is so real to me, that it takes virtually no faith for me to believe in Him;  it is not exercise of my faith whatsoever.  So, I can’t even have righteousness credited to myself via my faith!!

Word for word, my statement is right outta I Corinthians 1:30-31

“By His doing [I am] in Christ Jesus, who became to [me] wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, just as it is written, ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.'”

I probably need to still work on my tone of voice, and be more aware of how my words are being perceived by others — in other words, basic communication skills.  I’m sure I’m doing something wrong that would lead to my family member’s frequent accusation.  But, maybe it’s not all just me;  it’s probably that my basic, underlying belief in, and confidence in God is offensive, and I’m just not going to — CAN’T — WILL NOT — change that.  So, I had to ask her to stop labeling my confidence in GOD as confidence in MYSELF.

I don’t know if that’ll work, or if my explanation of her misplaced accusation will be effective.  But, I feel a whole new level of… confidence in my understanding of who God is, and how He works, even how He works in me.  In my un-self-righteous self.

Hm, what to do? (Or, SCORE!!!)

So, we’re short on flatware.  Lord help us if I neglect to wash dishes directly after one meal, because then there won’t be enough for the next meal.  I’ve been holding out on purchasing more, because I really only wanted “MY” flatware pattern, Oneida Easton.  However, when each fork is like 15 bucks, one can’t just go out and pick up a dozen.

On Saturday, I saw a Freecycle post about free silverware.  It happened to be right by the Target I was going to be heading to, and I responded.

Now, I have a love/hate relationship with Freecycle.  I get fed up with no-shows, or people who offer their stuff to folks who have the best sob story, or people who ask for things like a portable DVD player that someone might have “lying around,” and it makes me wanna cancel my “subscription” because it fills my inbox with about 20-30 annoying messages a day.  But, each time I reach the breaking point, it seems I hit the jackpot.

Saturday was a jackpot.  I picked up the case, and opened it to find an almost entirely unused (still in packing) silverplated SERVICE FOR 12.  12 forks, 12 small spoons, 12 large spoons, 12 place/butter knives, three serving utensils, and a bonus of 12 coasters.  Wow.  Bless God.

I did a little search, and found out that the set I have is called Enchanted Rose.  Granted, it’s not a pattern I would pick out, left to my own devices, but then, IT WAS GIVEN TO ME.  For free.  It’s a set worth at least $100.  Amazing.

I wanted some more tableware for every day.  However, now we’re thinking, “Should we use this for everyday?”  My hubby thinks not.  Should I sell it?  Tempting, but I don’t think so.  That goes against my Freecycle ethics.  Should I just keep it in the box and use it for special occasions?  I considered that, but then I would still need some everyday tableware.

It’s a nice dilemma to have.

So, here’s the plan:  I cleared out the drawer that’s adjacent to our normal silverware drawer, and my plan is to buy a new silverware caddy, and just dip into the nice silverplate when we run out of “normal” forks, or when we have guests, etc.

Or, maybe I should just be more faithful to wash dishes after every meal…  😉

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