10 Reasons Why Marriage is Better Than Chocolate

  1. 1. Chocolate doesn’t love me back. My husband knows all of my imperfections, quirks, and craziness and he still chooses to love me. Trust me, this is no small feat! For this I am truly thankful.
  2. 2. I always have a friend to share my thoughts with. I may be able to talk to chocolate, but it doesn’t respond.
  3. 3. Chocolate doesn’t appreciate any little things that I do to care for it. I have the privilege of serving my husband. This one may seem weird, but once I learned what a privilege this is, I began to enjoy (rather than resent) doing his laundry, cleaning up his shoes that he left out, cooking for him, and helping him out in many little ways throughout the day. This change meant that I had to become a little bit less selfish. Once I found joy in serving him, I found more joy in my day. And you know what? Our marriage got even better. It lead to even more of #4.
  4. 4. I have the honor of being served by my husband. Not only does he work really hard to pay the bills, but he also fixes the house (and everything in it when it breaks down), encourages me as we do life together, and rubs my back when it’s sore. While chocolate does serve to indulge my chocolate craving, that’s where it all ends.
  5. 5. In marriage, I am constantly challenged. Challenged to be more generous, more creative, and more Christ-like. The only way that chocolate challenges me is in the amount of willpower that I have to eat only a little at a time!
  6. 6. I have a strong man of God to parent my kids with. Some days when my man is away and I feel like pulling my hair out, I am so full of appreciation for the way that he helps to care for and pour truth and love into our daughters. While a little chocolate sometimes seems like a good idea when the kids are driving me crazy, the comfort it brings is momentary and fleeting.
  7. 7. In marriage I am continuing to learn how to speak in ways that build up instead of tear down. I think you would agree that when you are your most comfortable that the ugliest side of you comes out right? I believe that God gives us spouses to help us to train our thoughts and to be disciplined in building others up, especially our husbands. Chocolate’s got nothing on this one…
  8. 8. My husband is my protector; he defends me and watches out for me. Chocolate does give me some physical protection! The potential benefits of eating dark chocolate are said to include: lowering cholesterol levels, preventing cognitive decline, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems (1). Still, it won’t protect me in the unlikely event of a home invasion.
  9. 9. In marriage, I always have someone to go for a walk or bike ride with. I’ve got a squash partner, frisbee thrower, hike goer, tea drinker and book store browser. While I can go on a walk with chocolate, it just doesn’t compare to the great company of my husband!
  10. 10. The intimacy that God designed for marriage is incredible. This truly does bond us emotionally and keeps our marriage strong. Although chocolate is often identifies as an aphrodisiac, this is most often associated with the simple sensual pleasure of its consumption (2), and doesn’t last.

Be inspired,

Karen

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

  • (1)http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270272.php
    (2)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_effects_of_chocolate

    Some Grain-Free Baking Going On!

    With my 30 day food challenge underway, my girls and I have been experimenting in the kitchen. We’ve had some very cold days here, and what better thing to do than heat up the kitchen with some baking right? I received the cookbook Against All Grain, by Danielle Walker for Christmas, and it has some delicious recipes in it. They are all grain free, gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free – but they are yummy! If you’re looking for a healthy baking alternative (and not just baking, great recipes all around!), check out Danielle’s blog to try some recipes for yourself. Pictured here are some of the cookies that we have made:

    grain free baking
    grain free nut butter cookies

    The 30 day food challenge is going really well. I feel as though my bad food habits are being broken, and that I am making mindful choices about the food that I am consuming. Instead of putting junk into my body when I feel hungry for a snack, I am choosing fruits, veggies, plain yogurt, a piece of cheese, or some nuts. These snacks are much more satisfying, and don’t cause me to crave more that what I need. I have not felt hungry or unsatisfied since starting this challenge, and have eaten very well. My energy level has been high, and I have felt very clear headed. As an unanticipated bonus, my pants which became slightly snug over Christmas, have gone back to fitting perfectly!

    This area of discipline has spilled over into greater spiritual discipline and spending more time with the Lord. Praise God! He continues to work in my life and to refine me, as He desires to do with you as well. If you are reading this and want to know more about how the Lord Jesus has changed my life, please ask me! I would love to share my story with you.

    For those of you who sent me a message and are doing this challenge with me, keep up the good work one healthy choice at a time!

    Thanks for reading,

    Karen

    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

     

    Daring to be Disciplined

    I have decided to start the new year off with a 30 day commitment to be disciplined in the area of food. If you know me, you may be wondering why I, a self professed health conscious person, would need to do such a thing? Food is an area where I need to grow. I get the munchies, and I over eat. I feel emotional, and I turn to food. What type of food? Comfort food of course! The saltier and sweeter the better. So while we eat a strictly gluten free diet, and our meals are very healthy, my snacking habits throughout the day are not too hot. In order to break these bad snacking habits, I have decided to make a 30 day commitment to only eat real food for this period of time. No processed food, no grains, no sugar, nothing with “natural flavour” added to the ingredient list. This will be a pretty big challenge for me, but I am excited to see how I feel at the end of the month after only putting real foods into my body. The biggest comfort foods that I will miss: potato chips, and chocolate.

    Why do I feel like I want to do this challenge? Spiritual and physical health are both important to me, and to God. When I turn to food instead of to our Lord in challenging times, this is a problem. When I’m mindlessly snacking with no purpose and no appetite, I realize that it’s a problem when it’s a trend and not an exception. I want to take this area of my life and make it healthy. I want to feel good about my food choices throughout the entire day, and I want to eat with the purpose of nourishing my body, not comforting myself.

    In Romans chapter 12, Paul tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God. When I turn to food instead of Christ throughout the day, I recognize that I am not taking care of my body as we are called to, and also that I am missing out on intimacy with Christ that I would have if I spent time in prayer instead of in the pantry. It is because of this that I am sharing this weakness that I have. We all have areas where we need to grow in obedience, and food is one of mine. I am surrendering this area up to God, I’m confessing this area of struggle, and I know that with the power of the Holy Spirit within me that I will overcome this area of weakness in my life.

    Today was day one of the challenge, and it was a great day! I ate well, made great choices, and felt satisfied and energetic throughout the entire day (well, except when I was snuggled up on the couch reading with my girls after supper and I was nodding off…I credit that to all of the great winter fun we had outside today).

    Does anyone else struggle in this area? I would love to have some company on this challenge! Reply to this post, or send me an e-mail if you want to join in on this 30 day commitment to make healthier steps in the area of food. Let’s dare to be disciplined in all areas of life.

    Thanks for reading,

    Karen

    “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5

    More than Presents Under the Tree

    gifts under the tree

    Three years ago in December, I wrote a blog entitled Avoiding the Plague of Materialism. You can read it here. This year as it gets closer to Christmas I am still aware of many of the same things, and am trying to pass on to my children the importance and blessing of giving to others, instead of focusing on all that they are going to receive. We really don’t want our children to see the celebration of the birth of Jesus as little more than presents under the tree. It is SO much more than this, but the commercialization of Christmas makes it tricky for this I want attitude to stay away from our homes doesn’t it? It means that we have to be so intentional as we live out our lives as Christ followers.

    This year we have had the opportunity to purchase gifts for children overseas and for children in our community, and because of this we are thankful that we have been able to show our kids ways in which we can look to meet the needs of others, instead of focusing on ourselves and our wants. As they grow older, we will continue to watch for age appropriate ways to serve as a family that will broaden the awareness that our girls have of the needs around them – not only physical needs, but also spiritual needs.

    My hope is that this year as our girls open up their simple gifts which we thoughtfully picked out for them, that they will be thankful. That each year as they mature, that they will grow in awareness and understanding of the responsibility as one of the wealthiest nations in the world, to care for our neighbours in the third world. That they will be aware of how many opportunities they are given in this country, and that they will not take their life for granted. That they will have an eternal perspective on life as they live out Christ’s command to care for the orphans and the widows.

    May we teach our children with wisdom and joy this Christmas season.

    Karen

    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

     

    3 Simple Steps to a Good Day

    Sometimes mornings are terrible. Like the day when you forgot to set your alarm and you woke up late, or the day where you were so tired that you turned your alarm off in your sleep. On these days you wake up and the pace is frantic and can sometimes set the tone for the day. Most of the time, the morning goes pretty much the same (whatever same means with children…). You get up at the same time, go through the same routine, and start your day. I have discovered three things that help my entire day to go better when I do them, and I will share those with you.

    #1 Make the bed

    When I take the two minutes it takes to straighten the covers and make the bed, it’s a good way to start the day. Have you ever noticed that if the bed is made, the bedroom looks clean, and if the bed is unmade the room looks messy and chaotic? What a simple way to tidy up the room and bring some order into the bedroom. I love coming up to bed at night to a tidy bedroom; that bit of order and calm helps me to unwind at the end of the day. And come on, who likes having their covers all messed up before the night has even begun? What’s interesting about the simple act of making the bed in the morning is that this is an action that effects the very ending to the day.

    make the bed

    #2 Have a cup of tea

    Something as small as having a cup of tea makes my morning more productive by slowing me down (this could be coffee for you). It means that I’ll sit down to drink my tea, and this helps me to think about my tasks for the day and to prioritize. if I skip my cup of tea, sometimes I go through nearly an entire morning without sitting at all. A cup of tea is also comforting and it makes me feel good because I’m doing something good for my body (I choose herbal tea which nourishes my body).

    #3 Pray

    Prayer in the morning starts my day off right. If I forget to acknowledge my Creator and to submit myself to Him for the day, my day starts off on the wrong foot. Sometimes I pray before I get out of bed, sometimes I pray in the shower, sometimes I pray while I’m sipping my tea, and sometimes I get down on my knees and pray. However it is done, it is intentional, and it makes a huge difference. When I acknowledge that it is not by my strength that I’m able to do anything on this day, but only by His, I am taking a huge weight off of my shoulders. I am relying on the Lord’s strength and not mine. Not only does it lighten my load, but it orients my heart toward the things of the Lord. I begin to think differently. I begin to listen for the Lord’s nudging and prompting throughout the day, as I choose to follow Him.

    Sometimes it is the simplest things that make the most profound difference in our lives. These three things are so easy to do, yet can change the course of a day. I challenge you to try them! If I do these things does that mean that I will have an easy day full of lovely things? Absolutely not. But they do point my day in a positive direction, in which I am making intentional choices and submitting my day to the Lord.

    Do you have a simple thing that you do to start your day off on the right foot? I would love to hear about it!

    Karen

    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

    Rest for the Weary

    Today was a much needed day of rest. For a few days, my husband and I are in Southern Nevada surrounded by the Mojave Desert. The quiet is remarkable and a balm to my soul. I was feeling the stress of life and it was affecting me physically. As much as I tried to give this up to the Lord, I think what I needed was rest.

    Today I had a nap. This was glorious, and felt amazing. Even inspiring. God created us to work, and then to rest. We have been on the go for too many weekends in a row and this time away is just what I needed. Today I was feeling tired, and with no housework to do, no kids to engage, no work to do, I felt the freedom to just rest.

    Earlier in the day a new friend and I went on a long walk with a gorgeous mountain view. Our walk was wonderful – it was filled with the aromatic smell of the rosemary shrubs lining the sidewalk, small lizards scuttling from bush to bush, beautiful birds flying about, and dry desert air.

    Hiking the beautiful land beckons and plans are being made to explore the Mojave Desert surrounding us. For me there is nothing that inspires more than being in the quiet and beauty of God’s creation. It’s calming to my soul. It’s where I feel so connected to my Creator.

    May you also find rest from the noise and busyness of life. May you rest in the One who created the heavens and the earth.

    Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30.

    Thanks for reading,

    Karen

    the view of the mountains

    The gorgeous view from our backyard.

     

    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25: 4 & 5

    Encouragement Pockets

    let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25b)

    We are told many times in the Bible to encourage one another. With this in mind, I had an idea as I was reading One-Yard Wonders by Hoskins and Yaker to modify their design for mail slots into encouragement pockets. One of our daughter’s primary love languages is words (to learn about love languages read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman), and so because of that we have many little notes all over our house… I was inspired to create these encouragement pockets so that we could have a hub in our house where all of the little notes of encouragement could both be placed, and where they could be found.

    I knew right away that I wanted to use the asian floral fabric that I have on hand, by designer Ty Pennington. I love the pops of orange on the charcoal fabric and the beautiful print. I measured how large I wanted the pockets, and created 5 so that there would be one for each of us. Here are the encouragement pockets cut out, with a large piece for the front and one for the back:

    encouragement pockets cut out

    And here it is almost finished, with just the backing and hooks at the top to be added:

    Encouragement pockets nearly done

    I hung this while the girls were sleeping and they were super excited about it when they woke up the next morning! Here it is a few hours later:

    Our finished encouragement pockets

    We are being encouraged. 🙂

    Thanks for reading,

    Karen

    “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5

    New Beginnings

    With another school year beginning tomorrow, I can’t help but feel the anticipation of all that comes with these new beginnings. New family schedule, new shoes, new teachers, new friends… We spent a good part of the day preparing for all of this newness; peach muffins  and gf bread baked for school lunches; shoes, pencil cases & backpacks labelled; first day of school outfits picked out. As a bit of an introvert who likes routine, I tend to feel the same anxiety that I would have when I was a child beginning a new school year. I’m not worried for my kids, I just have a slight bit of anxiety over the unknown – the new family routine that will take a few days to get settled into; waiting to hear from my girls that they have settled into their new routine at school and are feeling content with how it’s going.

    I realize that I have spent all of this time preparing the tangible things. The stuff. If I’m honest I admit that I haven’t spent that much time preparing for this new year in prayer. A much more important way to prepare. Just imagine if we prayed for our children’s schools, for their teachers, for their classmates, for their friends, for the kids they ride the bus with, their bus driver, their lunch monitors. When I think about my lack of spiritual preparation for this new school year, I then wonder if I had been earnestly praying for this school year if I would feel this bit of anxiety that is common for me. Perhaps this would be replaced by the anticipation of what God is going to accomplish this year in the life of my girls as they spend many of their days at school.

    With this new beginning tomorrow, I commit to prayer. In this, I know the Lord is faithful.

    Along with the new beginnings that come with a new school year, I am also really excited for this new beginning as I begin to blog on My Inspired Family!!! As some of you know, I had been blogging a bit from Koala Pouch Baby. For a while I had been feeling like I wanted to take on a new direction with my blogging to incorporate more of my faith journey. It felt incomplete to blog about what was going on around here and to leave that aspect out of things. Because of that, I have spent quite a time preparing for this new journey of blogging and I’m very excited to share with you regularly (at least once per week) about what is going on in our home and in this heart of mine as Christ continues to teach me how to be more like Him. I have written a few new blogs already, and I’ve also transferred some over that had some relevant content. I hope you’ll be challenged and inspired as I write about running this race with perseverance (Hebrews 12:1).

    Running the race with perseverance!

    Please give me some feedback! And if you’re interested in what I’m writing about, I would love it if you would sign up with your e-mail address to follow my blog.

    Thanks for reading,

    Karen

    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5

    Truth and Chalk

    Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. 

    Deuteronomy 6: 4-9

    I love these verses. They say so much about how to do life, and especially how to parent. Basically, talk of God’s truth and love should be oozing out of us in all that we do and all that we say. I am doing my best to take the part of writing God’s truths on the doorframes and gates literally, and I’m trying to surround ourselves in scripture as I add it to more and more places throughout our home. This is helping me to keep an eternal perspective, and it’s helping me to memorize more of God’s word.

    My latest project involved a blank wall, an antique wooden picture frame that I found at a market, and some paint. I decided to make a chalkboard that I could use to write messages on, mainly scripture that we can learn. Here’s a picture of the frame when it’s almost done getting the first coat on (I forgot to take a before pic!):

    A look at what the original frame looked like

    It had a cool gold finish on it which shows through after I finished distressing it. Here is a pic of what the final product looks like. For the center, I purchased a piece of masonite which the nice man at the hardware store cut to size for us. I then primed it, and gave it two coats of black chalkboard paint.

    A look at the finished chalkboard.

    This chalkboard is right in a crucial hub of our home – it is the first wall that you see when you come down the stairs to the main floor, and it’s the first wall that you see when you enter our home from the outside. A great place to be reminded of truth!

    What are some creative ways that you learn scripture?

    Thanks for reading,

    Karen

    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4 & 5

    Everyday Life with Kids

    Lately I’ve been feeling so blessed. I love being a wife and a mom to three beautiful girls! As I go through everyday life with three girls 5 and under, I am savoring this time. I am able to be home with them and spend this time with them when they are so young, so impressionable, so loveable and let’s be honest here – so exasperating!

    What do I love about everyday life? I love the singing and dancing, I love the baking, watching the baking, tasting the baking, I love the giggling and tickling, I love the hide and seek, I love the snuggling and reading, I love having helpers that make each job much longer but so worth it. I love seeing my kids grow up into confident little ladies, I love seeing them smile. Their smiles and bright personalities make all the work and energy that we pour into them SO worth it.

    Z's smileS's smileK's smile

    When I look into these faces, I am just so thankful that God has given me these precious little ones to look after.

    Loving my everyday life with kids.