on being radical.

I have this desire to be radical. It's one of those things that's engraved deep within me, a yearning that has been a part of me for a long time. I'm not sure where it comes from exactly - maybe a desire to stand out, a need to matter. I'd like to couch it in spiritual terms, to make you think that I love Jesus so much that I want to do something big for him. But if I'm being honest, I think there are some selfish motivations driving that. Because if not, would I really want to be radical, or just obedient?

It's been about a year and half now since I started doing stuff that I would have considered radical a few years ago. And you know what? It doesn't feel radical. It just kind of feels like this is the way I should have been living all along. And hopefully, as God keeps teaching me, the stuff that seems radical now will just seem normal in a few years. I have no idea what that will look like. But in case you're in that place of wanting to be radical but not really sure how to start, here are a couple things I've learned.

First, it starts with the small things. If we're not willing to be faithful in the little things of every day life, what makes us think we'll say yes when God asks for something more? If I won't be generous with my free time when I have so much of it, am I really going to be willing to sacrifice it later when it seems there is much less to spare? And if I don't trust him with all that he has given me so far, why would I trust him with more?

Second, in the end, it's really about the small things. Even the big decisions are really lived out in the day to day. For me, it's cooking more often than I ever have before, because one meal doesn't lead to as many leftovers as it used to. Sometimes it's stopping what I'm doing, or skipping what I want to do, to give someone a ride or pick someone up. It's the choice to be patient when I really want to be left alone, or the decision to stay engaged when I want to find a place to hide out for a while. It's doing the dishes again. Like with so many other things, the real impact is not in the one big decision, but the daily little ones.

the latest.

After wrestling for a couple weeks on what to say and how to say it, I think I’ve finally figured it out.

A few months ago, T and her 14-year-old daughter K moved in with me, because they needed a place to stay for a few months. For reasons I won’t go into, T is going to be unavailable for a while, so K will be living with me, along with her 17-year-old sister A. In addition to this, M and her young daughters A and B are living here, which makes for a wonderfully full house.

(Full of females, including the dogs, which gives some male members of my family a little bit of anxiety at the idea of coming over).

So this is where I find myself these days – making doctor and dentist appointments, planning meals on a regular basis for more than just myself, checking school grades and helping with homework, and learning what parents mean when they say they feel like they’re running a taxi service. And although I am not the girls’ mother, I’m still getting a crash course in parenting. I am certain that I am exactly where God wants me, even as I’m getting used to this new schedule and the myriad new responsibilities that come with it.

I started reading The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson today, and these words jumped out at me:

“I felt underqualified and overwhelmed, but that is when God has you right where He wants you. That is how you learn to live in raw dependence – and raw dependence is the raw material out of which God performs His greatest miracles.”

This is where I am – sure that I can’t do this job, but confident that He can. And anticipating that God will do miraculous things.

new recipes, part 6.


[Sources: 1 – Taste of Home, 2 – Stay-At-Home Artist,
3 – Our Best Bites, 4 – jujugoodnews.com]

Enchilada Stuffed Shells – These were okay, they just didn’t have a ton of flavor. Not bad, but just not one of those recipes I would absolutely keep to make again.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup – I love chicken noodle soup, and I love thick, creamy soups, which this definitely is. It was pretty easy to put together, even with the addition of the cream sauce. It made a lot, and it got rave reviews. It’s definitely something I’ll make again, especially as comfort food this winter (after I’m done hobbling around on crutches, that is).

Baked Sweet Potato Fries – Honestly, I kind of winged it on this one. I didn’t measure out anything, just peeled and cut the sweet potatoes, then dumped olive oil and the seasonings on them. I also skipped the coriander, because I didn’t have them. The result was definitely tasty, but I wasn’t careful about laying out each piece so they weren’t touching (I was in a hurry), so they weren’t very crispy. Still, they were good. And easy enough that I’ll make them again.

Orange Chicken Vegetable Stir-Fry – This recipe just really didn’t have much flavor! The orange flavor didn’t come through at all. It was edible, but there wasn’t much to it, really. I have another recipe for orange chicken (from here). It’s a less healthy, but much tastier and easier. Maybe I’ll try a hybrid someday.

what’s going on.

So here’s the weird thing about having a blog. It’s a great way for me to process the stuff that’s going on in my life and the things that God is teaching me, as well as share the projects that I’m working on. But it’s also a public forum, and since I never really know who is reading my tiny little corner of the Internet, there are some things that I just don’t feel comfortable sharing, at least not right away.

And then, when my time and mental energy and sometimes even money is consumed with this BIG THING I can’t talk about, I don’t always want to talk about anything else. Sometimes it’s easier to just be silent, then wrestle through what I want to and should say.

My reason for saying all of this is just to explain that there are some big things going on over here, that I can’t talk about. Maybe soon I can. Or maybe I’ll find the words to share some of these things without sharing the details I shouldn’t. I don’t know. In the meantime, if things are sparse around here, or maybe even just not very deep for a while, you’ll know why.

So, here is one thing that I can share. At the beginning of September, I dislocated my kneecap while playing kickball. Actually, let me clarify that – we were practicing kickball (my sisters, brother, and brother-in-law are all in a kickball league, and I signed up for the fall season, too). Before the first game, I was out of commission. This is, of course, after I signed up and paid my registration fee. My bright yellow jersey is hands-down the most expensive t-shirt I own.

So after a few weeks of just following my orthopedic PA sister Kelli’s advice, my knee just didn’t seem to be healing the way it should. I got better, but then things kind of stalled, so Kelli referred me to one of her coworkers. I started physical therapy and got an MRI, and a couple of days ago, I got the news that the reason my knee wasn’t healing, and probably the reason that it was so unstable that I dislocated my kneecap in the first place, is because I have a torn ACL.

This was a complete shock to me. Kelli, too – she may or may not have said a few swear words when she saw the MRI results. I’ll admit, it threw me for a loop. On one hand it’s good to have an answer. On the other hand, with everything else going on (the stuff I can’t talk about yet, Grandma’s death a few weeks ago, normal Christmas-is-coming chaos), in that moment, the weight of everything just felt like too much.

I’m handling it better now. Surgery is scheduled for December 19 (which means that I have even fewer days to finish my Christmas prep). I’m supposed to be on crutches for several weeks and unable to drive for a while. I’m taking off work for a week, and have the option of taking more time or partial days after I see how I feel. My boss has made it clear that we’ll work things out, however I need to. My sister has put in a request for a specific anesthesiologist (we get nervous about anesthesia around this family, and plus all medical questions fall under her area of expertise). My mom has already offered to do my laundry, and several friends have promised to help with meals or rides as I need them.

God is faithful. Sometimes I remember that well. Sometimes I need reminders. Sometimes it’s a truth that I hold on to with everything I have, because I know that when I forget it, I’m lost.

Thanks for letting me just unload a bit!