Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Big Announcement

This afternoon after lunch, Lexie needed a bath. Before I put her in the bath I asked her if she would sit on the big girl potty, which she did (which is a big improvement from two days ago!!) and she actually went potty!!!
She didn't even seem aware that she was doing it so Treyton and I made a VERY big deal about it - clapping and laughing and even jumping up and down... THEN she got excited!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Natural Living: Raw/Real Milk

Here is part 2 of our natural living series (You can find Part 1, re: cloth diapers, here)

One of the more recent changes we have made in our lifestyle is that we have started drinking raw (or real) milk. This post is to answer some of your questions - I'm going to do the best I can to guess what they would be :)

What is Raw Milk?
Raw milk is unpasteurized, homogenized milk. (Basically it comes straight from the cow in it's most natural state).

What made you think about switching to raw milk?
Short answer: Tim.
Long answer: and I'll be completely hones heret, when Tim first mentioned switching to real milk I was like "gross, no way!" but then I started researching it and I realized what I thought my kids and I were drinking was in reality not at all what it was. Then I took into consideration that at Lexie's age she drinks a significant amount of milk, this further convinced me to give it a try, and once we did and it wasn't "gross" it was a done deal.

So what did you find in your research that convinced you to switch?
Funny enough, the one thing that had worried me the most about switching to raw milk ended up being the primary reason we did. Pasteurization.
Pasteurization: The short description of pasteurizing is to heat something up in order to kill off bacteria that may be contained in it. I never even really understood what pasteurization was until I got pregnant and I read somewhere (and heard from family) that you shouldn't drink anything that wasn't pasteurized, so I didn't. The fact is this is not necessarily true.
Once I really started to think about the process of pasteurization it reminded me of what I had always been told about eating raw vegetables and how they are better for you than cooked vegetables, and that the more natural state of a fruit or vegetable is the best state to eat it in. This is true for fruits and vegetables and it's also true for other foods - like milk.
Because this is not something I know alot about I'm going to quote people who know a little better than I do about what pasteurization is and what it does to your milk.
"Pasteurization was instituted in the 1920s to combat TB, infant diarrhea, undulant fever and other diseases caused by poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods. But times have changed and modern stainless steel tanks, milking machines, refrigerated trucks and inspection methods make pasteurization absolutely unnecessary for public protection. And pasteurization does not always kill the bacteria for Johne’s disease suspected of causing Crohn's disease in humans with which most confinement cows [the cows your milk more than likely comes from] are infected. Much commercial milk is now ultra-pasteurized to get rid of heat-resistant bacteria and give it a longer shelf life. Ultra-pasteurization is a violent process that takes milk from a chilled temperature to above the boiling point in less than two seconds."

"Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Calves fed pasteurized milk do poorly and many die before maturity. Raw milk sours naturally but pasteurized milk turns putrid [I can attest to this]" (found at RealMilk.com)

One of the other things I found in my research had to do with the process of homogenization.
Homogenization: is a process that breakdowns butterfat to prevent milk from separating and has been linked to heart disease. Most people think of lower fat milk being better for you (it is low-fat after all) but the truth is the skim milk and 1% milk comes from the lowest quality, higher production cows and the natural butter fats found in milk are actually really good for you.
"Butterfat contains vitamins A and D needed for assimilation of calcium and protein in the water fraction of the milk. Without them protein and calcium are more difficult to utilize and possibly toxic." (RealMilk.com)

Does raw milk taste any different?
I am positive that there are people out there who would tell you that the difference in taste between raw milk and processed milk is HUGE, but I'm not one of them. Raw milk, depending on how long it has sat and if the cream is real thick on top and you don't shake it, can be a little thicker, but this doesn't happen very often in our family (first of all milk doesn't "sit" that long and we also shake the milk if it is thicker) so it has not bothered us at all.

A Little Disclaimer
I guess at this point I'm out of questions so I just want to add a little disclaimer statement here. I am NOT a medical professional nor an expert in this area at all. I will be the first to tell you that there is a risk in drinking raw milk, in the same way there is also a risk and a level of trust you put into (someone) when you purchase processed milk from your local grocer. My only authority comes from being a wife and mom that wants to provide the best possible options for my family and is willing to take the information I have found and make the best possible decision for my family, to be honest it was a fairly easy decision for us, but it may not be for you (and that's okay). I also want to say that if you choose to obtain raw milk you should know the farmer where you will be getting your raw milk from as well as how he cares for his cows, what he feeds them and what his milk handling process includes.

Additional Information
I got this video of of MckMama's blog a while ago this may answer some of your questions as well. To be completely honest I don't know anything about Dr. Mercola, I only know what is on this clip. However, we have our own personal family chiropractor and nutritionist (who we also happen to be really good friends with) that we see and rely on exclusively for our medical and nutritional advice - we pass almost all of our health and food concerns in front of him before we make any decisions - including our consumption of raw milk. You can find Dr. Flynn on facebook or at www.drpatrickflynn.com his site is currently under construction so there isn't much there but he does have some incredible video clips posted on his site that I would highly recommend (including ones regarding the myth of soy and vaccines).



If you guys have any other questions regarding raw milk feel free to ask - if I don't know the answer I will do my best to find out for you!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Natural Living: Cloth Diapering

I mentioned a few posts ago the fact that our family has been working on living a healthier more natural lifestyle not only in the foods we eat, but in the health care we receive and lifestyle we are living. I've also mentioned in the past that we chose to use cloth diapers with our second child, our daughter Alexa. In the last year, since we've begun making and implementing these decisions we have received several questions from family and friends about them. I've been meaning to post on this for a while, but somehow life just kept getting away from me. It's a lot of information to throw at you all at once, so I will try to be gentle, in fact, I will try to break it down into several posts on some of the specific areas that our family has chosen to focus on.

First of all, I do want to say that the changes that we have made have been implemented VERY slowly over a period of time that our family could handle and we are not fanatics about any of the "natural" ways. As you will see specifically with the cloth diapers in this post, this is not something we do exclusively, it's about what works for our family and (the biggie) when it works for our family.

Secondly, some of the information that I pass along to you may seem scary or overwhelming, but the thing to keep in mind regardless of what practices a family has chosen to do presently, in the past or even in the future does not undo or change what our God is capable of. Ultimately we know the HE is in control and is the redeemer and protector of all we have (including our children and health). That being said, I pray that the enemy will not allow any of the information that we learn to drive us into a place of fear. Our fear should be of God alone, all other fear is useless to us. Information is a great thing when we use it the right way. I am asking you now, if you have the type of personality that "freaks out" over information you receive (like yours truly has been known to do) you may just want to stop reading now until you've covered yourself in prayer - I am praying for you now.

Cloth Diapers
Our Cloth Diaper Experience
We started using cloth diapers on Lexie when she was 12 weeks old. I had looked into a while before this, but after she was born it took me a little while for me to actually "bite the bullet" and act on it. I was inspired the most when I saw a good friend of mine using cloth diapers on her son and I thought 'hmmm, that doesn't look to bad, she's normal and if she can do it, I can do it too!' (love you Cameron!)
Looking back I now remember that actually, our VERY first experience with cloth diapers was in the hospital with Treyton. The hospital that Treyton was born in, used cloth diapers and to be honest they worked just great (but we also didn't have to wash them)! However, the third day of Treyton's life was the last that his precious little bum ever felt the comfort of a cloth diaper :) Once we left the hospital and went home we used disposable diapers until he was potty trained at 2 years old. The diapers the hospital used were tri-folds with plastic covers and they weren't horribly bulky (obviously made for newborns).
With Lexie our first cloth diapering purchase were tri-folds as well, with plastic covers. To be completely honest I barely remember using them... has that much time really passed? They were bulkier to use, but were not difficult, but they did leak more than I preferred. The care of the diapers were pretty much what you would expect. I believe, we originally purchase 14 or so large diapers which I cut in half to make newborn size tri-folds (this was WAY more cost effective than buying the newborn size) and 5 or 6 plastic covers.
It didn't take us long to move from the tri-folds to the bumgenius 3.0 all-in-ones and we've NEVER looked back!! These diapers were GREAT and we continued to use them exclusively at home (but only occasionally when we were out and about) until Lexie was about 8 months old. When Lexie was 8 months old we moved and soon after Tim had his hand accident. At this time, with all that was going on, we took a break for about a month from the cloth diapering. At 9 months we picked up where we left off and were fairly exclusive for about a month and a half. After I got pregnant and began to experience morning sickness we took another little sabbatical (my stomach was much to light to mess with washing the diapers) Since then we have used the cloth diapers sporadically and lately using fairly exclusively disposables diapers.

Cloth Diapering Maintenance & Downfalls
To be completely honest I was AMAZED with how easy cloth diapering was, especially considering the benefits our family received. Obviously the hardest part is washing the diapers but, to me, it didn't feel any different than the number of onesies I rinsed out with both Lexie and Treyton in (a nice brand of) disposable diapers. Let's be honest diaper blowouts are a major part of parenting, but I can chalk one up for cloth diapering, off the top of my head I can not recall a single blow-out incedent while using a cloth diaper. That being said, there is obviously more laundry with cloth diapering and it does take some hands-on dirty work on the part of the parent.
As far as leakage goes, we did have to change the cloth diapers more often than we would a disposable and they can and do leak eventually, for our daughter who was/is a big drinker we need to change her every 2-3 hours with the bum genius diapers, if your child drinks less, leakage would obviously happen less often.

Okay, so, now that you kind of know where we're coming from let's talk about why we chose to use cloth diapers.

The Reasons
The fact of the matter is, regardless of which diapers we use most children will spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week of the first 2 - 2 1/2 years of their life in a diaper (of some sort). That means that their most private parts will be in almost constant contact with something. The question is, what is that something made of?

There were two specific ingredients (though there are more) found in or on disposable diapers that made us particularly uncomfortable:
1. Sodium Polyarcylate: this is actually what makes the diapers so absorbent - this originally powdery substance can actually absorb up to 100 times it's weight, in it's fully "absorbent" state, you can actually see them, they are the little gel balls that you sometimes find in your child's diaper (or even on his/her skin) when the diaper is really wet. This chemical was banned from being used in tampons in 1985 for it's link to causing toxic shock syndrome, has killed children after ingesting as little as 5 grams of it, causes female organ problems, slows healing wounds, fatigue and weight loss to the employees in factories that manufacture it and has also hemorrhaging , cardiovascular failure and death when injected into rats.

2. Dioxin: this is a by-product of the bleaching process used by paper mills, this chemical is a carcinogenic (a cancer-causing chemical) and is KNOWN to cause liver disease and suppressed immune function. The EPA lists it as the MOST TOXIC of cancer causing chemicals and in 1996 they stated that there is NO safe exposure level of dioxin. Dioxin has been banned in most countries, but not in the US. Now, this is not something I am sure about, but from what I have read there have been trace amounts found in/on disposable diapers, I have not read anywhere that this is a chemical used to make cloth diapers (like the Sodium Poly)
~ A great blog article I found on these very chemicals can be found here

~ As far as other health risks with disposable diapers one article I found said this about the affect disposable diapers has specifically on boy babies "In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis." (long story short - this can decrease or even eliminate fertility in a male child). I have also read several sources that say asthma and allergies can result from disposable diaper use (though I have not researched this at all).

Another reason to use cloth diapers (though I'll be honest, this was a minor one to us compared to the chemical and health benefits) is the affect it has on the enviroment/earth. A disposable diaper takes over 500 years to decompose in a landfill. This also in consideration with the fact that the amount of waste (human feces and urine) that is being disposed of in our public landfills is disturbing, and I think it's safe to say, unsanitary.

Though there are several other reasons I could list, I'll list only one more and that is the cost factor of cloth diapering. The cost advantages of cloth diapering are proven, I am not going to break down the cost for you all hear but if this is an area of interest to you a simple google search will get you the numbers you are looking for.

To be completely honest with you, this is not an area that I am an expert in by any means, I have done no actual research besides reading and searching the internet to learn about the risks associated with disposable diapers and the the benefits of cloth so I am only as good as the resources that I have found and I have no actual proof of their accuracy - however, the articles and sites out there that repeat the information I have shared with you here are great, and people much smarter than I agree with the studies that have reported these findings. I cannot and will not try to prove anything to you, but I would encourage you, if you don't believe me and what I found, do the research for yourself. If you are interested in a few of the resources I found (and used) they are below if you want to read more information these are certainly good places to start:
All About Cloth Diapering Specifically Why?
Real Diaper Association this site has great resources for their article if you are interested
Geocities - New to Cloth Diapering
Diaper Safari - Why Cloth Diaper
Diaper Hyena
National Association of Diaper Services
Cloth Diaper Blog

Friday, October 23, 2009

Treytonisms


Treyton  and mommer were making Pumpkin pies, when Treyton went to crack the eggs into the bowl Mommer said "don't get any egg shells in there." Treyton said "I know, I know, but you're making me nervous here." 


~~~~~~

When we were on the way to the Casting Crowns concert we saw a couple of big trucks and tractors. Uncle Terry said to Treyton "Cousin Trent likes tractors."
Treyton: "Why?"
Uncle Terry: "I don't know why, he just did. Do you like Tractors?" 
Treyton: "No, I like turtles." 

~~~~~~
When I was telling Treyton about what we were going to be doing for school this week I said 
"We're going to be learning about the letter Rr and rainbows."
Treyton: "You've got to be kidding me?"
Me: "I am not even kidding you." 
Treyton: "Sure you are, it's too much." 


~~~~~~
We went through the McDonald's drive-thru the other day, which does not happen very often at all now that we have tried to become a healthier more natural family (yeah, we're doing all the crazy stuff: cloth diapers, raw milk, home-grown eggs, organic fruits and veggies, whole-wheat flour, etc. don't get me wrong we're not fanatics about it, we're just doing the best we can) Anyhoo, all that to say we've told Treyton we don't eat at McD's anymore because it isn't good for us. 
On this particular day, it was fairly nice out so Treyton asked to have his window down to talk to the lady in the drive-thru. 
When we pulled up to the window the lady said to Treyton: "Were you good today that you got to have McDonald's as a special treat?" 
Treyton: "Yeah, but we don't eat McDonald's because it's not good for our bodies." 
Luckily the lady was real nice about it. 

Mcd's Lady: "That's true, it's what cookie monster calls 'an every now and then food'"
Treyton: "Sure" 




Monday, October 19, 2009

Our Darling Alexa

This weekend I went to Women of Faith up in St. Paul. It was such a blast and I learned alot - I hope that I will have some time a little later to update you all to some of the awesome things I got out of it.

For now, I just wanted to post a few pictures that Tim snapped of Lexie while I was away (he always gets the cutest pics!!)



Lexie is 15 months old now. She is growing so fast. She isn't saying too much - same 4 words she's been saying with a few new surprise words every now and then, but nothing regular. She loves Treyton's school and I really look forward to the time that I will be able to do some real school with her.

For right now we are primarily just reading books, working on body parts, and I have a few tot-school motor skill tools I use with her (I will actually be posting soon on our refined metals site about a few of them).
She LOVES music and is actually starting to learn the ABCs song just by repetition. She knows "I" for sure and can sing it almost every time she hear's the song. When I work with Treyton on the sounds that letter makes she is not shy about helping out!! Especially with the letter B /b/!
Alexa uses our refrigerator magnet toys way more than Treyton ever did and probably her favorite thing to do is carry them around making the sing the same song OVER and OVER and OVER again... it's a trip!

As far as her personality... she's a true girl! Some days she's laid back and relaxed taking life in stride other days she's a little go-getting firecracker! She is a really good girl and is learning to listen well, but certainly has her little attitudes, and her worst fault is major drama when things don't go her way. (Side note: it's interesting to see the differences between the two kids - Treyton certainly pitched LOUDER fits than Lexie but much less often, but Treyton was much more likely to directly disobey a "no" at this age whereas Lexie rarely continues once you tell her no, but she is MUCH more dramatic and quick to pout when anything does not go just her way.)

There has been a switch in her family member roles lately - She is still Daddy's little girl, but lately has also been a little mama's girl (took long enough :~)) Mama is now who she wants went she is hurt or sick. She is much more likely to pick a parent according to who told her no last, whereas before Daddy was always the apple of her eye.
Lexie LOVES to wave good-bye and she is almost always the first family member to greet anyone at the door. She's loves to come and go and is a busy body by nature (more like her dad than Treyton and myself).

She is becoming quiet independent - this weekend Tim taught her to grab her own diaper and wipes for diaper changes as well as to throw them away. If someone is getting ready to leave, she goes and grabs her shoes and if she can reach it her hat. It's so fun to watch her figuring things out on her own.

She is also a great little helper - she likes to sweep, do laundry and can also pick up her own toys (when she wants to).



I'm sure there is so much more I could tell you but my time is up (for now). I'll try to write again soon, as she is changing so quickly I don't want to miss a thing!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Who is Treyton?

His name means three or third, and so he is in our family. The third member (after mom and dad).

He is a helper of all, lover of God, inquisitive learner, energetic wrestler, sensitive older brother, imaginative player, craft enthusiast, (newly learned) independent seat belt buckler, cabinet door washer, favor-er of orange, dis-liker of yellow, couch climber, letter learner, compassionate nurturer, phone answerer, fake-smile picture taker, laugher of the simple, crazy dare-devil, miracle worker pray-er, mail getter, veggie tales fan, learner of Jesus and first-year Christmas choir member.

I really didn't have time to put a long post on here, but had on my heart to share a little bit about our four year old, first-born son, Treyton.

Fall Into Reading Challenge: The Pursuit of God


I just finished up The Pursuit of God written by A.W. Tozer as part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge. For those of you, like me, who thought this might be an easy read by looking at the small size of the book... think again!! In perfect Tozer fashion this book is complex, in depth and takes many re-readings of certain "meaty" sections. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. But I almost wish I would have read it with a small group of some sort in order to discuss it and more fully reflect on some of the heavier topics throughout the book. Even now, only days after finishing the book, I'm still a little like "Wow... what did I just read?" Each chapter was powerful in and of itself but I often failed to draw the connection between each chapter.  To be completely honest it may have just been me and my "pregnant brain" too, and the fact that I typically read a chapter in the morning after/during my quiet time (not always my most alert moments of the day :)) 


A few of my favorite chapters in the book were on the presence of God, Faith and God's speaking Voice. 


I wanted to pull out a few of the quotes that stuck out to me as I read through these chapters:


"And always He is trying to get our attention, to reveal Himself to us, to communicate with us. We have within us the ability to know Him if we will but respond to His overtures. (And this we call pursuing God!) We will know Him in increasing degree as our receptivity becomes more perfect by faith and love and practice."

This was such a fresh reminder to me that if I will draw near to God He WILL draw near to me. His presence is all around me, all the time, He is waiting to reveal Himself to me.... am I paying attention, am I practicing looking for His presence? The results will far exceed anything I could hope for. I am so ready for that!! 


"God's word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God's word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful." 
"It is important that we get still to wait on God. And it is best that we get alone, preferably with our Bible outspread before us. Then if we will we may draw near to God and begin to hear Him speak to us in our hearts. I think for the average person the progression will be something like this: First a sound as of a Presence walking in the garden. Then a voice, more intelligible, but still far from clear. Then the happy moment when the Spirit begins to illuminate the Scriptures, and that which has only been a sound, or at best a voice, now becomes an intelligible word, warm and intimate and clear as the word of a dear friend."


I have nothing to really add to this - I have had the true blessing of hearing God speak to my heart. It took a deliberate drawing near and quieting of my soul but, oh, how it was worth it. Those moments are some of the most treasured in my life. 


"Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.... Faith is a redirecting of our sight, a getting out of the focus of our own vision and getting God into focus." 


I love that Tozer defined faith without using the word believe - for me, this was helpful. Faith is an area in my spiritual life that I am currently praying for more of... for now, I suppose I will just leave it at that. 



Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cute as a Pumpkin

Today we went to a local pumpkin patch. Of course we ended up picking the coldest day of the year so far to go, with a temperature high of 43 degrees.
This is a picture of us in front of the new state record pumpkin weighing in at 1,569.5 pounds!

Treyton picking out a pumpkin to bring home. We decided to just get a couple small ones from the pumpkin farm and get our big ones from the local grocery store pumpkin fest (cause they're cheaper :~))

Treyton finally found one!!

Cute as pumpkins (Yes, I am aware this picture is a little off center, but I wasn't quite ready to take the picture but when I saw they actually all got their heads in a hole and lexie wasn't crying... I just started snapping... I think it turned out pretty good!!)

Seriously, I think Lexie and I are going to have a serious shopping problem... isn't she just the cutest thing you've ever seen.


This is a picture of Lexie and daddy, I just love how nice this picture looks with the tree behind them! Lexie, excited about the wagon ride... Treyton, he's cool with it.

All in all we had a good time, though it was short. We got pretty cold pretty fast so we didn't even do the kids corn maze or pumpkin bowling... maybe next year we will pick a warmer day to visit!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Second Blog Award


Last week I received my second Blog Award from one of my bestest friends, Jaime over at For His Glory. I am so honored to be on the receiving end of an award, thanks so much Jaime!

Of course there are a few minor details that we must cover.
In order to receive the award I have to:

1) To accept the award, post it on my blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link, as well as a link to This Post from the original Superior Scribbler!
2) Pass the award to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
3) Add your link to the list of Superior Scribbler Awardees. This will promote your blog AND officially add you as a luminous Superior Scribbler!

The five blogs/bloggers I would like to nominate (in no particular order)
1. All You Have to Give, I have been following Lori's blog forever and have never been disappointed. I love her encouraging posts and look forward to reading her blog as well as viewing her newest graphics - she is so talented!
2. Daisy and Pear I've given Catherine an award before, but I really do love her blog and her personality. I consider her a true blog-friend and look forward to her posts as well as her comments on my blog
3. Heavenly Humor this is a newer blog that I have started to follow but have really enjoyed it so far, and can't speak highly enough about Debby's witty and encouraging writing style.
4. Template Mama - what can I say, I actually get giddy when I see that Alison has posted again. I look forward to her newest templates and blog tips... oh yeah and did I mention it's FREE!
5. Mom Blog - Lisa is actually a friend of mine and I love following her blog, especially lately because I can't stop drooling looking at all of her newest hobby... cake decorating!! She is extremely talented... take a look at some of her creations (after just one class!!)

Thank you ladies for your devotion to your blogs, I can personally say that you inspire me and encourage me throughout my day and week.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall Into Reading Challenge: Following Jesus

I am one chapter away from being done with my first Fall Into Reading book, but thought I would post on it real quick while I had a little time (I was supposed to be catching up on some scrapbooking, but am not feeling very creative at the moment :)).

I started reading Following Jesus actually before the reading challenge, so it was an easy selection to try to finish first. I got the book during my Beth Moore Esther study because Beth had read a section during one of the video portions that was jaw-dropping (for me). Well, I finally got to that section and WOW!! The entire chapter was sovereignly planned for when I read it. I mean it was good when Beth read it but it was life-changing when the Lord finally brought me there myself!

But, I'll get to all that in a second. First, I want to give you a little bit more about the book. The first half of the book Wright breaks down 6 different books of the New Testament (Hebrews, Colossians, Matthew, John, Mark, Revelation) explaining specifcally how that book portrays Jesus. The second half of the book he takes six key New Testament themes (Resurrection, rebirth, temptation, hell, heaven and new life) and reflects on these topics in relation to Christians/Christianity.

Parts of the book are a little scholarly for me, but that was the nature of the book from the beginning and expected, overall the message was good, but I easily lost my motivation to pick up the book (until I got to chapter 7, the chapter I am about to discuss in more detail). If I were to rate the book I would give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

So on to my favorite part of the book.

The Chapter was on the Resurrection (called: The God Who Raises the Dead) and most of the chapter was spent relating how it is through the resurrection that God shatters the image of being an over-bearing, rule driven, angry God. He explains.

(from this point on I am going to give you the main points that I got from the chapter)

#1. The most common command in the Bible is "Do not fear" which is great because it's waht we all want to hear, but not so great in the fact that we have no idea how to obey this command, which brings me to the second point.

#2. We are living in a world that is not only consumed with fear, but motivated by fear (swine flu vaccine... ever heard of it!! LOL... okay not funny, but seriously, a great example). N.T. Wright says it this way
"This command bursts in upon a world in which we eat, sleep and breath fear.... we contemplate jobs, and we're afraid both that we mightn't get the one we really want and that if we get it we mightn't be able to do it properly; and that double fear lasts for many people all through their lives."
Double Fear --- How true is that?!?!

#3. Can you image (even for a moment) a life without fear? Stop seriously and consider this, because if I were being honest, which I'm trying to do here, I would have to tell you that I couldn't.

#4. Fear is why we imagine God as a rule-giving, legalistic, disappointed ruler -
"We project our own fears, yes, and our hatred, up on to the creator of the universe; we call this object, this idol, "God"; and we are afraid of, and resent, the God we have thus made in our mirror-image"
#5. It's a life-long process allowing the power of the resurrection to permeate (reach) all the areas of "our thinking, feeling and worrying lives". He used a great example of Paul writing the the Corinthians and how he describes how he was severely depressed at one point 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (now I don't know all the details of this point in Paul's life... I'm taking Wright's word for it) regardless of whether Paul was severely depressed or not, he was certainly severely distraught. Paul says the reason he experienced this was so that he would rely deeper on God. Using the great example of Paul, we can see that the process of reaching the fears that run so deep in us can take years to receive/surrender those fears to the good news of the gospel. The exciting part is that the gospel can and does reach that far!!

#6. It is a learning process - to live by faith rather than fear. The process often starts with a crisis/rock-bottom (of sorts) to begin, a place where we have none of our own strength left.
* Even confronting our fears can by scary and often painful

#7 Many of our sins and issues stem from 1 fear or another:
Lying (fear of embarrassment)
Lusts (fear of rejection or loneliness)
Insecurity (fear of rejection, embarrassment, abandonment, etc.)

#8 As our fears are met with true love (from God) our wrong image of God begins to be transformed as well.

I hope that you have gotten something out of this post, because for me, this week, this stuff was... powerful. I cannot really even describe it to you (well) how much this chapter affected me this week. You see, I have been dealing with mucho grande issues in this season of my life.... in fact at one point I literally threw my hands up to the Lord and said
"Lord, I don't get it, I cannot possibly deal with ALL of these issues at once. Is it supposed to feel this overwhelming?"
I was dealing with insecurity, feelings of not being good enough, anger issues, sin issues, pride, avoidance issues and the list goes on. Through reading this chapter, and several other confirmations in my life, the Lord so lovingly pointed out to me The real issue, the underlying issue that you are dealing with is fear, and a lack of trust in Me. I cannot tell you the weight that was lifted off my shoulders, instantly. It was so freeing.

Now don't get me wrong, I still have a long road of process ahead of me, and these are still some pretty big issues but now it doesn't seem as impossible, because I know with God, and the close friends and family he's placed in my path, I can and will get through this.