We aren't so different

we aren't so different Dear girls-

It's been quite some time since we've met here. But here we are, once again, and on a new space.

This space is meant to be a source of encouragement to you. My hope is that on this space, you would see that you and I aren't so different. Our age may say differently, the world around us may suggest otherwise, but deep down in our core...we are very much alike. Don't believe me? Let me show you, sweet thing:

I want to matter.

I am often driven by the approval of man. I may ignore this at times, but when I ask myself what the purpose of an action was...I am faced with the truth that I was acting out of assumption of what others may think. When I feel the mark of disproval from a handful of influential people in this life of mine, the mark becomes a crippling bruise, inviting me to a prison place of pity. Why? Because someone was disappointed in me; my longing to be approved, applauded, and amazing has come up short and I am suddenly less than. And I want to matter.

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. Galatians 1:10

I long to feel beautiful. Radiantly beautiful, from within.

I will make you beautiful forever, a joy to all nations. Isaiah 60:15

I crave to be known, not misunderstood. And I want this life to count for something; I don't want to die wondering if my legacy was one of His love or one of selfish ambition. I want to leave this earth knowing that others experienced Christ in me.

Do you see that we aren't so different? It seems the more I understand you girls, the more time we spend together, your beautiful heart is revealed. Your heart longs to make someone proud, to be seen as and feel beautiful, to make life count. You want to matter.

And you do.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.They cannot be numbered! Psalm 137:17

My dear girls, you matter so much to Him. Let that be enough. His heart is to overwhelm you with grace, enveloping all that you are into Himself, letting it be known that you matter to Him. His thoughts about you cannot be numbered. If there is one thing I pray to leave you with, it is to chase Him. Pick up your Bible, open it's cover and let the pages whisper sweetness to your souls - you will never regret that decision. It is dripping with His love for you and more than anything, I desire for you will fall in love with Him.

Because He is for you. God is pro-YOU. His love letter is drenched in that Truth.

Always sincerely,

Natalie

 

Meal plan + Verse of the week

It's been too long since I've meditated on a specific verse or passage for the entire week. It is time to revisit this. Without the discipline of writing it down every Monday and having something to think about through the week, I find my mind easily wandering off onto rabbit trails of worry and fear, shriveling and withering. Even with reading the bible every morning, if I haven't purposed in my heart that I am going to use a specific chunk to meditate on throughout the week, I tend to trail off. It's the secret of truly meditating. Who knew? The Bible proves true every time:

But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. Psalm 1:2-3

20140714-161855-58735778.jpg Delighting in The Lord. Meditating on His word day & night. When we do this, we are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each and every season! All of the time. We don't wither and shrivel from fear or worry or anything at all, but prosper in all that we do. Even when our circumstances should be shriveling us. Yes. I want to get back to that. I want to meditate day and night and night and day. But the only way for me to really do that, is to be in His word everyday. And having something to always draw upon.

So this week, I choose Psalm 23. Will you join me? I read it three times this morning. While on our 16 mile bike ride, two of the verses echoed through my head. The Holy Spirit used what I had read to help me meditate on His word. "The Lord is my shepherd. I have all that I need...Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me." 20140714-153116-55876074.jpg20140714-153113-55873930.jpg

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As I go through my week I'll read this passage every morning in addition to anything else. As I catch myself alone or need something to think about

besides my lists or "what if's," I have something that will easily pop into my heart. So can you! Just ask the Holy Spirit to take captive of your thoughts, help you meditate on what is pure and lovely, from the heart of Jesus. I promise that releasing our fears and replacing them with prayer and His truths brings SO MUCH FREEDOM. It is so delicious.

On another note- what are you eating this week? Here is my dinner meal plan:

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I've been asked by a few peeps now how I meal plan. I'll give you a quick run down.

Our usual day off is Monday. I plan my weeks as Monday being the start of it, rather than Sunday - it's how my brain works & categorizes life. Every Sunday evening or Monday morning, I sit down with my board and my calendar and I begin the process. I ask Loren if he has any requests, which usually he has one. This week it was enchiladas. I am not going to lie - we eat almost the same meals every week. I'll switch it up a bit, but mostly, they're the same. We eat a lot of tacos but this week, they didn't make it onto the menu!

When planning meals, I look at what's going on that day. Will I have an hour or 15 minutes to prep dinner? Will we have something going on for hours where we need to stock up on lots of food or is a simply small meal going to do the trick? I am gluten free and I avoid mass amounts of dairy such as milk and any sort of cheese or ice cream. When we make burgers or BBQ hot dogs, we skip the buns. We don't ever buy flour tortillas; if we are craving some sort of tortilla for our tacos, I'll either make a paleo wrap (found on my Pinterest board) or we will splurge and get corn tortillas. Loren enjoys it all just the same.

Lunches? We are very blessed to have space for a garden. I eat a salad with canned chicken on it; I'll add nuts or berries or avocado. Loren eats a sandwich or hot dog. Since I don't use cheese in our main meals, I no longer purchase the large blocks. So instead of spending $8 on cheese a week, we spend about $3 and buy the pre-sliced for his sandwiches. Not only do we save $5, but I get to save time! No slicing!

We eat about 5 dozen eggs a week. Yes. 5. At WinCo, we can purchase a 5 dozen pack for $7-8 depending on the week. Worth it! For breakfasts we both eat about 4 eggs. Whether scrambled or in a quiche or fried with some turkey on it...we eat eggs. If I don't have a salad for lunch, I eat eggs. Scrambled or hard boiled. I love eggs!

Hard boiled eggs, nuts, and whatever fruit is in season are great snacks to pack as well. I am all about picking local berries and storing for the year! Last year we filled 4 gallon zip lock bags of blue berries. It lasted us 11 months! It maybe cost us a little more than $40, but if you compare a years worth of blue berries at the store versus picking them, it's like you're stealing. So we get all the berries in the summer! Strawberries, black berries, raspberries, and blueberries.

We do most of our shopping at Trader Joes. Not only is it all great produce and free range chicken and grass fed beef, we have found that 75% of it is cheaper than WinCo and Walmart! Definitely cheaper than Safeway and Fred Meyers. Our food budget is about $75/week. Email me if you have any questions.

Enjoy your week and feel free to share any recipes you love, or scriptures that you're meditating on!

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