Christians and Viral Stories: A Caution

lakewood-church-flooding

Photo courtesy of Lakewood Church

Last night we had a prayer service at our church for Houston. When I got there, my friend Anna said, “You know we are praying for Houston tonight, right?” However, what I heard her say was, “You know we are praying for Osteen tonight, right?”

We laughed… but, yes. I prayed for him too.

I do not agree with much of what he preaches, but I still do not understand why some Christians will share information that attempts to discredit other Christians. By calling out Christians as hypocrites, especially in a false news story, you damage the good that other Christians are trying to do.

Common sense should have told many people that there was much more to the story than a big-time Pastor not opening up his church doors to people in need. If people would have paused for a moment, instead of immediately clicking “share”, perhaps people would have logically considered other reasons the church may not have been immediately opened as a shelter – instead of jumping on the “he’s such a hypocrite” train.

A rule of thumb I use for any viral news thread… wait 24 hours before sharing – if it is even worth sharing by that point. I check the credibility of the sources, consider their motives, and I do my best to cross-reference the information. This gives time for the real story to come out and facts that may have been missed, skipped, or altogether left out of “news” stories in an attempt to bash or discredit someone.

The reality in this situation is:

  1. With a history of their building flooding, Lakewood had online services on Sundayand cancelled classes all weekend, so as not to endanger people with the flooding that was expected to affect their building and the safety of people traveling to and from the church.
  2. Lakewood had flood damage. How can you house people when the building may not be accessible or safe?
  3. By the time the story went viral, Lakewood had not yet been asked to provide shelter from the City of Houston. Rather, they were asked to point people to other shelters that were smaller and more manageable.
  4. Lakewood had already partnered with Samaritan’s Purse to do what they could to help flood victims.
  5. As soon as they were asked by the City of Houston, Lakewood opened up as an emergency shelter.

Friends, let’s be cautious of viral news stories and how we share them. Let’s give a little more time for the stories to flush out and the truth to be told. Often times a story will end very differently than where the story began.

The Chores are Working!

ListJust having moved (again), I decided it was a great time to start a new routine with our kids. Enter… new chore charts and cleaning bins. I scoured Pinterest for something I thought would work for our family and combined a few different ideas. We told the kids that helping out around the house is just part of what we do as a family. And, since they are part of the family, they need to be part of the solution to keep our house tidy as well. The kids are not earning money for these chores, however, they can earn money for additional chores.

Each day our kids have standard chores to do around the house and then most days of the week they have a “weekly” chore. When I was describing this idea to a friend, she told me, “It’s just SO much work trying to teach the kids how to do all of this. It’s easier if I just do it myself.” YES! In the short term, it is easier and quicker to do this  yourself.

However, two things jump out at me… 1) We are trying to raise our kids to be responsible adults and live independently from us. I don’t think there’s an official age for this to start, but there comes a time when the kids need to learn responsibility and take ownership. For us, this started awhile ago and continues with this new routine. 2) Cleaning the bathroom may be quicker to do on your own initially; but as you teach your kids how to do clean for themselves, you can actually save a lot of your time in the long run.

So… what are we doing?

BinsOur daily chores consist of their morning routine (making their beds, getting dressed, brushing hair and teeth, etc), feeding the dogs, unloading the dishwasher, picking up their room, and their evening routine of getting ready for bed. Their weekly chores range from taking out the trash, sweeping/vacuuming, cleaning their rooms (which includes changing their own sheets and doing their own laundry), helping to clean the kitchen and bathrooms, and helping me cook dinner.

The first week it took me a LONG time to help them learn how to effectively clean certain areas – like the bathroom and kitchen, and helping our 7 year old learn how to do his own stinky laundry. However, now that we are in week 3, most of these are done with very little help from me. To do this, I also created cleaning bins that have everything we need to clean that specific room. They are filled with cleaners, washcloths, microfiber cloths, paper towels, dust pan and small broom, magic erasers, and dust and mop pads. And to boot, these bins come with a check list of how to clean each particular room. It’s awesome. I love it! And, best of all… IT’S WORKING!

I wanted to wait until we were on Week 3 before posting these ideas. It always seems easy enough in our house to do something for a week. But, when we can establish a routine LONGER than a week and keep it up consistently, that’s when I know I’ve found something good! OH! And I found this awesome mop on Amazon. No chemicals needed and it cleans incredible. Just make sure when you use the wet mop that you get it fully wet and then rinse in your sink! No buckets needed!

Well, since today is bedroom day, I’m off to go clean mine now, while the kids finish tackling theirs! Two loads of laundry already going and all I did was help my son pour the Scent Booster… cause when you have a 7 year old boy, you NEED a Scent Booster!

Q. Do you have a chore routine in your house. If so, what do you do?

Whole 30, Day Nine

tortillas-520808_1280Today started with an early morning trip to the Emergency Department. My love was in so much pain that we needed to get him evaluated. After today, I am not sure how much longer I will be able to juggle both a husband in pain and Whole 30.

Our Meals For the Day:

Breakfast: Fruit cup – went to the Hospital coffee shop, walked past all the pastries and grabbed a fruit cup. Oddly enough, most of the pastries didn’t even look appetizing. Of course, I’m sick to my stomach already worrying about my husband, so that probably helped too.

Lunch: 2 eggs and apple sausage

Snack: Apple with Sunbutter

Dinner: Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant – I had chicken and steak fajitas. No cheese, no sour cream, but lots of veggies, pico de gallo, lettuce, and salsa.

Water: 90 oz in water

Exercise: Rest

Supplements:

Breakfast: GX assist – GI Cleansing Blend

Lunch: 1/2 dose of Lifelong Vitality Supplements (LLV), plus DDR Prime (Essential Oil Cellular Complex Blend)

Dinner: GX Assist 1/2 dose of Lifelong Vitality Supplements, plus DDR Prime.

How am I feeling?

The morning was so busy trying to help Todd, that around mid-afternoon I remembered I had a dinner to go to that night. At first, I found myself a little overwhelmed going out to eat (because remember, my stress level is already really high). And then I thought about fajitas and how it would be fairly easy to keep that Whole 30.

As we sat at dinner, I watched my daughter start stressing over the menu. Monkey see, monkey do.

She was asking me all kinds of questions about what’s in the food, what she can and cannot have, and I watched her begin to stress out. This is not at all what I envisioned for this program. This was a program my husband and I were doing for ourselves, not necessarily for the whole family. As I watched her stress level increase, I grabbed a tortilla chip, dipped it in the salsa and ate it. Her eyes got wide, as she said, “MOM, you are not allowed to have that!”

I looked at her and said, “Baby, I never want us to get to a point where food controls us. Food can’t think. We can. And, while we need to make wise choices of what we put into our body, we cannot become paralyzed by the decision.”

You see friends, we learn over time. We try to make one good decision, and then another and slowly change habits. Eliminating a whole bunch of food groups all at once, may not be what’s best for your family. Sometimes you need to learn what your personal or family limitations are, and maybe bump that edge occasionally, but not totally jump off the ledge.

For our family, I see this Whole 30 journey coming to an end before the full 30 days. We will take it one day at a time and still work towards clean eating, but we cannot live consumed by this program. For my family, that is not what is best. Stay tuned to see how it all works out with us…

Whole 30, Day Eight

barbecue-1305024_1280We made it past Week 1! Whew!! Honestly, it was a tough week. Many days I felt overwhelmed and stressed with finding new foods, buying all the groceries, looking at every.single.label, looking at six different types of sausage before finding one that would work, and preparing new foods. I am still trying to find balance with all of this.

Our Meals For the Day:

Breakfast: Cashews and an apple.

Lunch: Spaghetti Squash with meat sauce

Snack: Pistachios

Dinner: Chicken Apple Sausage, grilled zucchini, baby carrots

Water: 120 oz in water

Exercise: Rest

Supplements:

Breakfast: GX assist – GI Cleansing Blend

Lunch: 1/2 dose of Lifelong Vitality Supplements (LLV), plus DDR Prime (Essential Oil Cellular Complex Blend)

Dinner: GX Assist 1/2 dose of Lifelong Vitality Supplements, plus DDR Prime.

How am I feeling?

Today has been a good news, bad news kind of day!

Bad news: My love threw his back out and has been in pain all day long. It’s absolutely miserable to watch. I really hate seeing him in so much pain. For anyone with chronic back pain, and those who love them – I feel ya! I’d rather go through labor, than watch my husband deal with this.

Good news: I’m down 6 pounds, in essentially 7 days. I think this is good news, though it seems like a pretty rapid weight loss. Of course now I am obsessing over whether I am doing this correctly, whether I am getting enough calories, whether I am eating the right foods, blah, blah, blah… it’s never ending people! The amount of things in Whole30 you can become consumed with is, in itself exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy about shedding weight, but again I ask, at what cost? Is this a healthy way to do this?

Take this all with a grain of salt my friends. I am worn out. I am tired. I am worried about my husband. Hopefully, the anti-inflammatories will kick in for him and tomorrow will be better. Until then…

Whole 30, Day Seven

apple-tree-360083_1280Here on Day 7, I’m beginning to notice that apples taste much sweeter than they used to. In fact, most fruit and vegetables taste sweeter. I am wondering if it’s because we have eliminated sugar for the last week. I am also wondering if my body is starting to catch up to the fact that I have eliminated so many things from my diet; as I have been really tired most of the day and my stamina to do things appears to be decreasing.

Our Meals For the Day:

Breakfast: Cashews and an apple. This is quickly becoming a favorite breakfast for me. It’s quick and easy, which works well for my life.

Lunch: Pineapple Salsa and half an avocado. I know this doesn’t sound like a lot of food, but it was filling and really yummy.

Snack: Lara Bar, Pistachios

Dinner: Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce. This dinner was awesome! I went off-the-grid from all the Pinterest ideas, and just made something that sounded good. It was a huge hit. Check out the recipe below.

Water: 100 oz in water

Exercise: Rest

Supplements:

Breakfast: GX assist – GI Cleansing Blend

Lunch: 1/2 dose of Lifelong Vitality Supplements (LLV), plus DDR Prime (Essential Oil Cellular Complex Blend)

Dinner: GX Assist 1/2 dose of Lifelong Vitality Supplements, plus DDR Prime.

How am I feeling?

Physically, I am really sore from our adventures at the Trampoline Park yesterday. Most of my upper body is sore, probably from all the attempts to swim out of the foam pit! I am also battling a bit of a headache that has lasted a little bit longer than normal. Though, the weather out here is incredibly intense with storms, so I suppose it was to be expected.

Emotionally, I am worn out. I chatted with Todd today about this Whole 30 and how my mind is consumed with what we are going to eat all.the.time. It’s absolutely exhausting. He is also feeling it, and we are both struggling to find the balance between developing better eating habits without developing worse habits of becoming stress paralyzed by everything we are consuming. I like the elimination diet portion of this program, and even the physical results I am already seeing. My pants are looser and there’s definitely been a change.

But, at what cost?

I honestly can’t answer that yet. But, I will try and figure this out one day at a time as I continue to process this. And, of course, I will update you on my progress.

In the meantime, here’s that Meat Sauce Recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

1 pkg Sweet Spicy Sausage

1/2 lb of Ground Turkey

2 Cans Tomato Sauce

1 Can Diced Tomato (drain)

2 tsp Italian Seasoning

1 drop Oregano essential oil (optional)

1 drop Thyme essential oil (optional)

Cook up sausage and ground turkey. Once cooked, add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for 30 minutes.