Thursday, October 8, 2009

Got Fruit? (There's a point, about halfway down the page)

The lyrics are great, if you don't want to watch.. LYRICS 

This somewhat cheesy music video has a song that I really like in it called, "Got Fruit?".  It's all about the different fruits of the spirit (as found in the Bible, book of Galatians, 5:22-23).  
The FOS  is 

and self-control. 

 Nine. There are nine of them.  Some translations may word them differently, arrange them differently, but there are nine (9!!) of them.  Unless, you're a shower curtain from Meijer.  Yes, I said a shower curtain.  

I found a curtain at Meijer a couple weeks a go that had similar colors to our bathroom and had a square pattern that would go with the square pattern on our rug.  Here's the big picture:

Sorry about the poor picture taking.  I'm not the best, but you get an idea.  Cute right?  FOS themed, with a supporting verse paired with the different fruits.  

Well, don't read the verses too closely.. especially the one that lists the fruits of the spirit:

Joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith.  That's SIX! Only SIX!  

What the heck?!  Where is quality control in all of this?  Did their design team get lazy?   Imagine the uproar if a periodic table was printed and sold missing six elements.  OR!  What if the alphabet was missing six letters?  If Harry Potter had six words missing per page?  If popular music was missing lyrics!

I got a heretical shower curtain.  Or, at the least an uneducated shower curtain.  

Anyway,  I've been thinking about the FOS a lot.  Joyce Meyer has a really good way to explain the FOS.  She said, that all Believers have the FOS inside of them.  (Hard to believe sometimes, especially when thinking about myself!)  She said however, the FOS are kind of like a picture taken with a disposable camera.  You know the picture is in there, you just have to  develop the film to see it.

We need to develop the fruit that is inside of us and then it'll show on the outside.  Makes sense.  Just because we're save and now walking with the Living God doesn't mean that we've got it all together, that our character flaws are magically erased, that we never sin again, that we never say an unkind word or think an unkind thought.  There might be some things that improve right away, but for most things, we're going to need to work at them. We're going to need to be disciplined.  

How do we develop our FOS?  How do we improve on those 9 things?  How do we become more God-like? 

I think what it comes down to is making a decision.  Deciding to change, to improve to be more Christ-like.   I'll write more about decision making in another post.

Ephesians 4:22-24 says, 

"But that's no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

When we decide to put off our old, sinful life and take on new life in Christ, we are deciding to work on our less than holy parts.  Maybe this means stopping yourself every time you have a negative thought and looking for the joy in a situation.  Or maybe it means improving your self control and not wandering to the fridge when you're bored, buying every new CD or video game, every latest fashion.  Maybe it means waiting on God to show you His way instead of you pushing ahead without patience.  It could mean any number of things.    

Wow, what a high standard to live up to.    Don't get too stressed out about it though- 

Matthew 5:48 tells us to "be perfect as your father in Heaven is perfect" or 

"In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."

What is intimidating about these translations is that it makes it sound like if you were hard, you're going to arrive at perfection.  Truth is, we won't be perfect until we're either reunited with God in heaven or Christ returns to us here on Earth.  

I read once that in the original translations, the verse reads more like, "Be in the PROCESS of perfection, so you may be more like your Father".  

That's a little more manageable to me, keep moving, keep processing, keep growing. It doesn't mean we can't work toward irradicating as many of our less than Godly parts, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't strive to a higher standard, it just means that we're not going to be perfect until Christ returns.  

I think of a few practical ways we can be developing more Christ-like character, our FOS.  

1. Be aware of where your short falls are in the FOS arena.  Know what you need to be working on.  I'm sure if you just read & pray through the passage and think honestly about yourself with each word, you can come up with your strong and not-so-strong areas.  

for fun:  a FOS quiz. :) 

2. Ask people who know you well and know at least a little about your walk with Christ what they think you should be working on.   Maybe talk to your small group, a pastor you know, a mentor, or just a close friend.  Get an honest outside opinion.

3. Read supplementary books or Bible studies. Topics like holiness, purity, character development, fruits of the spirit,  etc. would be good subjects to check out.  I'm sure a quick or google search would be.. fruitful. :) ha! 

4.   Read, read, READ your Bible!  What better way to find out how to be like God than to read the instructions He gave us?    Maybe start with the New Testament epistles (letters).  Try Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans!  All great starts to learning about Godly character.  I can't emphasize the importance of digging into the Bible.    

Some online resources to help you read the Bible more are:  


Both free, both easy to use at work or home or anywhere.  Let me know what you think.

Wow, long post and I feel like I've only gotten to the surface of a huge topic.

One last thing,  some friends and I are doing this thing called "The Proverbs 31 Challenge".  

Brandon pointed out that there are 31 days in October and there are 31 chapters in Proverbs.  The book of Proverbs are a bunch of ideas on how to live a good life, little sayings that are meant to guide someone to live a healthy life.  I guess a modern day proverb would be, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer" (Don't get me started on what I think about THAT!)  or "Misery loves company".  I don't know why I thought of two negative ones. :P  

Read one chapter a day and you'll be done with the whole book by the end of October!   Sure, it's October 8th, but it's not too hard to catch up, even if you read two chapters a day.  The chapters are easy to read and understand (I recommend the Message translation and the New International Version if you're worried about not understanding).  

Let me know if you want to do the challenge too. We've set up an email address that anyone can email to share their thoughts on passages, encourage each other, ask questions, etc.  It's pretty exciting!  

Thumb Woes

Awhile back, I posted on facebook that it looks like I may end up needing to have my left thumb nail removed.  Random, I know.

Last year, I was attacked by a dog.  It didn't end up being that bad because of some training I had that taught me how to react if a person bit me.  I, somehow in the middle of it all, remembered this little tidbit and got my hand away from the dog fast.  

The dog mainly got my thumb and the inside of my hand.   Here's a low quality picture of part of my thumb:

I ended up going to University Health Services (I was still working on my MSW at the time) and having them look at it. I didn't need stitches for either side or down farther on my hand so it was basically keep it clean, change the bandages, etc.  No sweat.

Well, the thumb nail bed must have been destroyed in the process because this is what my thumb looks like now:


Kinda weird, gross, and cool all at the same time, right??

It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't hurt ALL the time.  Hot water, cold water, pressure, nail polish (which is pretty much a must because of how messed up and flimsy the nail is), hand holding, etc. all suck.

So, I saw my family dr. a couple weeks ago and she said she thought my two options were most likely:  1. take it off so it never comes back  and 2. take it off so it might come back and see what happens!

She offered to "numb it up" and take it off right then and there, I politely declined and asked, "Doesn't one NEED their thumb nail?!" and she replied that eventually the skin would get hard and leathery and it would most likely be okay. Ick.  

I'm seeing a specialist on the 13th to make a game plan.  

Initially, I was a little freaked out by my dr.'s  gung-oh nature with just taking it off then and there.. and then I was reminded..

In undergrad, my right thumb nail somehow got a flesh eating bacteria in it.  Gross right?  It was also the same time I discovered I was allergic to Neosporin.  Random, right?  Anyway, the Dr.s there thought they'd take my thumb off at the knuckle so that it would demolish the bacteria, etc.  I ended up *begging* for more time and the bacteria was obliterated by medicines and my thumb nail, which I was told would never grow back, has come back in just fine and looks amazingly normal.

So, I guess, if I came to grips and accepted that I might lose my whole thumb, I think I can come to grips with losing just a nail.  

I'll let you know what ends up happening, and you KNOW there will be pictures.

Like the popular Kuntz family saying goes, "It is what it is".  

*special thanks to the husband for teaching me how to use digital macro on his neat camera. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Work from home Monday!

I usually avoid scheduling things on Monday just so I can have the luxury of working from home. Mondays usually involve a lot of emailing, phone calls, and such for NLC.  It also involves laundry,  dishes, and odds and ends around the house.  I like work from home Mondays.  

One of the odds and ends today was putting up bird feeders and taking down some of the hanging plants.  Our Bleeding Heart made it a long time (even frosted at least once!) but it has been sent to the back porch and has been replaced by a suet bell.  The cats are overjoyed at the appearance of the bird feeders.  In a small defiance toward my father :), I  like to leave the feeders up all year round.  He firmly believes that bird feeders are only for fall and winter or the birds will get lazy during the summer.  We just haven't had  them up lately because our previous ones got destroyed by squirrels and chipmunks.

I got a new feeder, inspired by my friend Alison, for Josh.  It's supposed to be squirrel proof (a "squirrel buster") but it's not working.  The squirrels and chipmunks cleaned it out last week faster that I could even fathom.  It is supposed to work by having a cage around the actual area that the seed is in that is weight sensitive.  If something heavier than a robin gets on the cage, it is supposed to drop down a little, sealing off the seed access points.  My hope is that the chipmunks and red squirrels who currently weigh to little to trip the cage will now be sufficiently overweight after last week's buffet.  We'll see.

We had a visitor last week!  Our friends Jim and Alison went on a vacation and their fur baby, Lloyd, came to stay with us.  He's super cute and we had a lot of fun with him.  I'm sorry this picture isn't better. :)  Josh took his camera and his awesome pictures with him to work today and I didn't get a chance to snag his card.  This picture, unfortunately looks like something I might send J&A to get ransom money. :P

Josh and I try to be "eco-friendly" in life.  For lots of reasons.. God gave us the Earth and has asked us to take care of it, we have to live here, and (maybe to us most important?) one day our children will have to live here and we want them to have a safe and healthy place to grow and thrive.   

We do things like take reuseable bags to the grocery store, try to buy things only in containers that can be recycled, recycle just about anything we can, "compost" in the backyard (currently involves us just chucking things into the tree line. :)), unplug things we aren't using, use the heat and AC minimally and never when we're not home, if we're buying coffee from a coffee shop, we only buy if we bring our own mugs (that are made from recycled #5s!), I try to buy only organic meat and eggs for my husband, I'm a vegan, our cats use compostable/recyclable litter, we have biodegradable garbage bags, we have a water efficient shower head, etc.  We try to do practical things. Things that people wouldn't even notice and that they could easily do themselves.  

We've been talking lately about stepping our game up by doing some "Vermicomposting" or worm composting.  It involves creating a habitat for worms and then adding food scraps from your garbage to this habitat.  The worms don't actually eat the waste, they eat the bacteria on the garbage.   Things they are given are mostly food scraps like fruits and veggies, but I've also seen them eat paper plates (not that we use those..), egg shells, and tea bags.  They can handle just about anything that isn't glass, metal, rubber, etc.  Pretty neat.

Since it's getting colder, we'd have to put our setup in the basement and Josh isn't thrilled about the idea.  We may wait to start up when it gets warmer out.  From everything I've read though, if you keep the box properly oxygenated and the worms healthy, it's supposed to be really low odor.   

Anyone out there have any experience with this?  

I'll try to post again soon.  I've gotten a lot of questions about New Life, doulaing, and some other things.  :)