Saturday, August 29, 2015

Wolves, Songs and Nice People

Have you seen Into the Woods?


This movie has become a quick family favorite around here.

The movie is about many fairy tale characters that end up meeting and having adventures in the woods. It's a musical so there are songs that get stuck in your head and will find yourself singing at odd times during the day.

But surprisingly, to me, these songs have messages that resonate deeper than just the entertainment value.

This is my opinion on one of the songs that has been sitting with me. I have no idea is the author was going for this. Or was aiming to make the audience think, but the words spoke truth to me.

The song that I want to talk about today is I Know Things Now. This is sung by Little Red Riding Hood after she has been rescued from the belly of the wolf that had devoured her.

Here are the lyrics: you can hear the song here

Mother said, "Straight ahead"
Not to delay or be misled
I should have heeded her advice
But he seemed so nice

And he showed me things
Many beautiful things
That I hadn't thought to explore
They were off my path

So I never had dared
I had been so careful
I never had cared
And he made me feel excited
Well, excited and scared

When he said, "Come in"
With that sickening grin
How could I know what was in store?
Once his teeth were bared
Though, I really got scared

Well, excited and scared
But he drew me close
And he swallowed me down
Down a dark slimy path
Where lie secrets that I never want to know

And when everything familiar
Seemed to disappear forever
At the end of the path
Was granny once again

So we wait in the dark
Until someone sets us free
And we're brought into the light
And we're back at the start

And I know things now
Many valuable things
That I hadn't known before
Do not put your faith
In a cape and a hood

They will not protect you
The way that they should
And take extra care with strangers
Even flowers have their dangers
And though scary is exciting
Nice is different than good

Now I know
Don't be scared
Granny is right
Just be prepared

Isn't it nice to know a lot
And a little bit not

Red is admitting to not listening to sound advice that she was given and she knew that what she was doing was wrong. But there was an excitement of the unknown and even the "bad". And isn't that what sin does for us? It gives us the desire to have what we know isn't good for us because it seems exciting. Who doesn't love a bit of excitement? But with sin comes pain and punishment. And it's never just the person who commits the sin that has to deal with the pain.
You see, because Little Red listened to the wolf and strayed from the path that she was meant to follow gave time for the wolf to get to her grandmother. A path he would not have taken if he had not delayed Red's journey. And her grandmother was gobbled up. Yup, I'm telling you, that granny was caught up in the consequences of the sin of her granddaughter.

Because the wolf sucked her in. He seemed nice. And a lot of times in life we confuse "nice" with trustworthy. But in the song she says "Nice is different than good" and that speaks tons to me. People can be nice. They can say nice words and do nice things but it doesn't mean that they are good. Good is a completely different concept. Goodness is not being "nice". I've known plenty of people who are nice but are not good. And I've also known those who are good but not necessarily nice. 

Good is doing what is right. It may come in a way of challenging people in their lives, which isn't always nice. Or revealing truths to people that they need to hear. Good can be nice but it doesn't have to be.

Nice is a portrayal of what you are on the surface. Nice is what you want people to believe that you are. But in truth, nice is not what people are all the time. Even good people aren't always nice.

And I've had to learn this lesson. Nice is different than good. And I want to surround myself with those who are good. Those who believe in truth. I would rather be hurt in truth by someone good than lead along by someone "nice" who is hiding their true self. Because it will all come out eventually anyway and it hurts more from the liars who are nice.

And I have been hurt deeply by the "nice". Because I confused nice with good and nice with trustworthy and nice with kind. When people who are trustworthy and good and kind can be nice but they are also good but not all nice people are.

And what is good? Good is doing what is right. Good is following God and his son's example. Because, who is good? Jesus is good. And I strive to be like Jesus. I want to be good.

I want to do what is right and live the right way.

I want to be more than nice.

I want to be good.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I Fit in my Wedding Dress!

It's not a surprise to say that 2015 has been a rough year. There has been a lot that has happened, a lot of pain and sadness. But there have been victories as well.

Since the beginning of the year I have lost 35 lbs. This is exciting because I have been hanging out at the same weight since having Anya. But finally this year I have managed to take some of the weight off.

This last week we cleaned out our closet and tucked in the back was my wedding dress and I got the urge to try to put it on and it slipped on easily.

This first picture is of me on my wedding day over 10 years ago.

And this next one is from last week. After a 35 lb weight loss. Back in my wedding dress!

Yes, I'm standing in my closet. I don't care that my body is not perfect and I know that I still have more to lose to be healthier but it felt so good to put on that dress. I've never even dreamed of wearing it again... of being able to fit in it again. I really thought it was going to sit in my closet forever tucked in the back and forgotten.

Here is a six month difference in my face from losing the weight. I really didn't realize how round my cheeks were before.

It's the small victories that help to get through the rough spots.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Homemade Salsa

Last week while I was grocery shopping I was in the produce section when I smelled the most wonderful smell.

Fresh cilantro!

And it gave me a hankering for homemade salsa.

Jarred salsa, refrigerated salsa just can't compare to the the taste of fresh made salsa. And it's so easy to make! I'm going to share this quick basic recipe that I used.

Homemade Salsa Recipe

3 cans diced tomatoes
1 large yellow onion chopped 
1/2 red onion chopped
1 bunch of fresh cilantro chopped
2 jalapenos seeded and chopped (add seeds or more for heat)

Pour tomatoes in their juices into a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients salt to taste, mix. Cover and put in the fridge to let the flavors all come together for a couple of hours. Enjoy!

If you prefer your salsa less chunky, you can throw everything into a blender or food processor to blend it together.

It makes a lot. So I canned some in mason jars as well. 

Teamed up with veggies or tortilla chips made this a simple snack or a side to a meal.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Nothing Formed Against Me Shall Stand

 I have heard the song Whom Shall I Fear  by Chris Tomlin so many times.  It has been playing on the radio for years.

It was one of the first non preschool song that I remember MJ singing regularly.  He would sit in the car and sing about the God of angel armies. He was so little.

I've sang the words so many times but didn't really listen to the words.

This week it was different. As I stood there in church worshiping God I felt tears streaming down my cheeks as I sang:

"Nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in your hands
I'm holding on to your promises

You are faithful"

The last six months of my life have been blockades and obstacles and trouble. There are those who are against me. There are those who want nothing better than to see me fail or cause that failure. I am no fool to think that I am not under attack from my enemies; from the enemy.

But God's word is clear.

Isaiah 54:17 (ESV) states:

"no weapon fashioned against you shall succeed,
and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgement.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
and their vindication from me, declares the Lord"

Nothing can stand up against me because I am God's. He bought me at the price of His Son and I am his. Weapons, whatever they are, may be made to be against me but the will not succeed in their task of tearing me down because God stands before me and behind me.  He has an entire army for my protection.

I needed to be reminded that I am protected and defended. He has promised me life in Him and that is what I am in trusting. It's not always easy. But I know who I can depend on. I know who is there with me, before me and behind me. I'm learning to trust him more and more. I know that he's got this. Whatever "this" may be as each day passes.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Where Have I Gone?

For the three people that actually read my blog they may be wondering what has happened to me over the last 6 months.

I've had periods on no posts before, but never for this extended amount of time.

My life, six months ago, took a completely unexpected turn. Everything has changed. Very few things look as they did then.

So, what happened?

That night still feels like a movie. My husband, Michael confessed to a six month long affair and left. I don't plan on getting into the nitty gritty details of it but I was devastated. I asked him to stay. I told him I loved him and he left.

A very dramatic ten days later he humbly came back, seeking forgiveness.

We've had a lot of work that we have gone through and that we are still going through but our marriage is gaining strength with every hurdle that we have had to leap over.

I would never wish the pain and sorrow on anyone. But we are surviving.

And through it all I cut back on a lot of things. My blog taking the first big hit. I avoided it. I wasn't ready to face writing somewhere that I talk I about our lives and having to tell of what a wreck we are.

But I am real. I have challenges that life has thrown at me that I have had to face. And I miss writing. I miss creating and sharing. I miss talking about what's going on, what I'm reading or cooking. I miss sharing my life.

I have isolated myself away. I've spent the last six months focusing on the work that it takes to heal my heart, my marriage and my family. God has been making huge strides for us.

And now it's time to reenter the world. I am strong enough to live my life. And I want to live and not hide. I have been learning who I am, who God is, and where my family belongs.

So, pray for us. As we continue to work and grow. I may share things from time to time but I am ready to write. I am ready to update and get back on to here. I've missed it more than I could've imagined.