Beautiful encouragement for the mothers among us

One of my favourite authors and bloggers (I’ve raved about her before) was invited by Desiring God ministries to write an article for them. I found it very encouraging and helpful, and I hope all the mothers who visit this blog will read this article — you will not be sorry! Rachel’s writing is always like a fresh breath of air in a stale room because she is real about the struggles and yet there is no pity-parties — instead a clear pointer to Christ and the gospel. Go read it! :-)

Who sped up time?

How is it possible that we have been in New York City for a year already? Yes, everyone, it’s been a YEAR! When we arrived a year ago, I must admit that I viewed our ‘adventure’ with some trepidation. An adventure it has surely been! I like to say that an adventure is not an adventure if there aren’t some hard bits thrown in too! We’ve now experienced 4 seasons in this city, made some wonderful friends who have enriched our lives, and have certainly settled into life here. Talking about seasons, here’s our street in the spring:

You know what I think of when I look at that picture above? Not about the nice trees, or the cute girl — I look at that massive parking spot right outside my place! You can fit about 3 cars in there! Okay, maybe only two. Sometimes a parking spot is something to get really excited about. :-)

And remember the beautiful snowy street? Here the leaves were just starting to come out. There’s not usually that much parking on that street, just for the record. They had done road works that day. Just so you don’t think I exaggerate or anything.

This weekend we have Ben’s cousin Sharon visiting, and today I was able to take her around Manhattan and show her all sorts of touristy things. (Brooklyn Bridge, South Street Sea Port, Imagination Playground, Staten Island Ferry, Chelsea Market, and The Diner for dinner!)

You know what was strange to me? I felt at home. At home around crazy tall buildings and huge crowds and impatient honking drivers, yellow taxis, the smell of hot dog carts and stale subway carriages. I was able to go places without a map (or without even consulting a map beforehand), I knew which direction I was going in, and how long it would take to get there.

When we first arrived in New York City, I didn’t like it. There, I said it. But there’s magic here — the place grows on you. Now, for a short time, this is my home, and despite all its frustrations and quirks, I must say that I love New York. Do I miss Christchurch? Yes. Do I miss my family and friends? Yes! Do I want to live here long-term? No, probably not. :-) But while we’re here, it’s good.

About servants and serving

I’ve been thinking about my job (as a mother) a fair bit recently. After Monday’s blog post, I felt that I might have given the wrong impression of what life around here looks like. I have a policy (with myself) not to complain or whine on this blog — not about big city life and not about my family. I aim to share fun things we get up to but I don’t tell you about the days we’re all grumpy with cabin fever and scratchy with each other. I share the milestones the kids have reached, instead of focussing on their failings. I do this not to give some sort of impression that we’re some perfect happy family but because I think if you focus on the good things, you’ll feel better about life too. Sort of an excercise in contentment.

But guess what, I’ll let you in on a little secret in honour of Mothers’ Day. One that you probably knew already. Mothers make plenty of mistakes. I’m one of them. There are days when I am selfish, that I don’t discipline when I should, when I get annoyed without good reason. I have to apologise to my kids on an almost daily basis because I snap, or yell, or speak harshly. If you’re a mother, I’m sure you can identify. When you don’t have kids, it’s so easy to look at other mothers (including your own) and say “Oh, I’ll never do that.” Until you become one yourself. It’s so easy to feel superior when you’re not knee-deep in mothering yourself. And sometimes we forget that we’re knee-deep and look over to the mother who slipped up and now has mud on her nose. Then we feel oh-so much better about ourselves.

You know why motherhood can be so hard? Because when you become a mother, your role as servant begins in earnest, whether you want it to or not. Sure, we are all called to serve one another, but you can quickly tick that off the list with a ‘Yes, I helped the old lady across the street’ type of servant attitude. When you’re a mother, you simply have to serve, and the only time that becomes an issue is when we don’t want to. With the same tone of voice as a 3-year-old. It grates on us, because there are sacrifices aplenty. I was sitting in the laudromat thinking again last night that it really boils down to me breaking the summary of the law: loving myself more than God (not submitting to his will for my life), and loving myself more than my neighbour (my kids). Being a mother is not glamorous! There is no pay-rise, no promotion. Being a servant grates only because I don’t remember that Jesus iss The Ultimate Servant who calls me to imitate Him and serve others. Yes, I am called to serve the wider world, but more importantly my husband and children, because that is where he’s blessed me to be.

Have you ever read some of the scriptures about serving others with ‘the others’ being your children? Consider Romans 15: 1-3, for instance:

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”  

(Little side note: “Pleasing our children” of course doesn’t mean giving in to their every whim, but to teach, admonish and discipline in a loving and warm environment, because it has to “built him up”. Just thought I’d make that clear, so you didn’t think I was advocating door-mat motherhood that produces brat children!)

Or have you read some of those scriptures, and considered how well your mother served you? Now that I’m a mother myself I realise more and more that there is no such thing as a perfect mother, because mothers are sinners. And yet, in God’s grace, he gives us good mothers. I think back on some of the things I thought were harsh when I was a kid, and now I realise were totally not!  I look back and see my mother’s hard work, her discipline and her support (among many other good things) bear fruit in my life, and through that even in my children’s lives. Thank you, Mamma, I love you. Thank you for serving me and my siblings so well, and so faithfully.

(My favourite photo of me & my mum on my wedding day.)

As mothers, our rewards might be small, but precious (hugs, kisses, a “look, mum, look!”, smiles, good behaviour, etc). Nestled in a chapter about good and bad servants we are reminded “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matt 25:40)   Servanthood only grates when I forget that my reward is with Him in eternity, and not with my kids’ behaviour or accomplishments or (lack of) affection.

I am a sinner and I fail daily, but through God’s grace, I can be a good mother. This Mothers’ Day, take time to remember the faithful servant God gave you who you called your mother. And if you’re a mother, let’s not … please ourselves. Let each of us please [our children]… to build them up. 

Musings on New York, the weather, and teeth.

I’ve been sharing a lot of photos and telling you about stuff we’ve seen and experienced lately (and there’s a lot more to come!), but I thought I’d just give you a little update on how we’re all doing, as well as some related thoughts.

New York smells different when it’s warm. I won’t say it smells worse, it just smells different. You can suddenly smell the concrete and the asphalt. And the people. But you can also smell the laudromats’ soap and the sweet blossoms. I’ve always been very interested in how smell and memories are connected, and smelling the summer coming in the city brings back memories of sweltering, humid days spent under the sprinklers at the playground. I’m looking forward to that after being couped up all winter. Not that I mind being home a lot — I’m a bit of a homebody, really — but when your house consists of just 4 rooms that flow into each other and the only place you can be alone is in the skinny bathroom (and not really alone, come on, I have kids!), it can get a bit much. So I’m looking forward to exploring more of our surroundings. I have a crazy idea brewing in my head that the kids and I should check out all the playgrounds within walking distance… but why limit myself — there’s the subway too — so many playgrounds to explore! Hmmm, I think I’ll have to do some ‘research’ (checking the NYC parks website).

We’ve got all sorts of plans for things we want to do and see with the nicer weather now. It’s a pity that Saturday comes only once a week. :-) There are so many NYC sights we haven’t seen, and surrounding areas too. It would be fun to go berry picking or something, just to get away from the city for a bit and also to come back with some tasty loot.

Spring has been absolutely beautiful in the city. There are heaps of tulips and daffodils everywhere and the blossoms on the trees and the fresh green leaves everywhere (not to mention the warmer weather) seems to have put people in general in a good mood. There’s a lot more street life again — people hang out and talk on the sidewalks, outside restaurants and shops and occasionally someone might even say hi.

As for an update, here’s something like it.

Ben’s been working hard, as usual, though still enjoying it. He’s been working on a new feature that will allow you to view Oyster’s hotel photos in neat ways – coming soon. I guess he might do a post about that once they release their cool new feature. Oyster recently signed a deal with Travel Channel which they hope will bring in more business. You can read the article in the New York Times here.

We have had the use of a friend’s car for a good portion of our time here so far. The only down-side to the deal is that we have to move it twice a week for street cleaning. The other day as we were approaching our block, Ben quipped that we should not only pray for travelling mercies — around here we need some serious parking mercies — it’s often difficult to find a parking spot and when you do, it’s not always easy to get into. If there is only one thing that I’ve gotten better at during our time here, it’s parallel parking!

When we first moved here, we found it so funny when people would say when visiting us “I was so happy to find a parking spot on your block!”, now we know what they mean. If you can drive into your own driveway, or park right in front of someone’s house when visiting them, remember that you are blessed. :-)

Now we move on to me. We could just skip this part, but then someone’s bound to tell me off. I’ve been pretty involved with some church things lately — redoing their photo directory, doing the nursery roster and helping organise a combined bridal shower. The photo directory is finished as of about 2 hours ago, so I’m a happy girl — it turned out to be a much bigger job than I had anticipated, but good to do.

I guess I have to mention the root canal. Yeah, I’m getting one, unfortunately. It had been over a year and a half since going to the dentist, and the tooth that had been bothering me for a while started to really bother me, so I got a quick appointment and it was determined that the tooth was beyond filling and that the only option was a root canal, which she started then. (My dentist is ironically called Dr. Ifill. If you think that’s funny, just wait — I found an optometrist on the same day I found a dentist, and the optometrist was called Dr Vu (pronounced view). I kid you not.) So tonight I’ll be heading back to the dentist for the next step on the root canal and for a general check-up to see how many other fillings I need. All fun and games.

I’m enjoying singing in the Brooklyn Conservatory Choir quite a bit — we’re singing Brahms’ German Requiem this semester and it’s full-on but very beautiful. That man sure didn’t like sticking to just one key, that’s for sure.

Talking about music — when Ben’s dad was here, we went to a concert at the Lincoln Center where the Juilliard orchestra played Mahler’s 9th symphony. It was amazing! I know a guy in the orchestra from church (he lets me play on his violin at church when I get serious violin-withdrawal symptoms) and he gave us some free tickets, which was a real score.

But most of my time is taken up by the most important people in my life, these 3 beauties:

The photo was taken on Easter Sunday (notice the girls’ new white dresses, so pretty. And not so white by the end of Sunday…) on the steps of our row house. Easter update to come soon!

I love loving these people and serving them. The rewards are pretty amazing too!

I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with new recipes recently. I love cooking and baking more and more. Like I’m fond of saying: I love making food, I love sharing food, and I love eating food! And on that note, I’ve got a bunch of recipes that I’m keen to share too. Time, however, is a limited resource.

On to Marica. She is one imaginative, creative, fun little girl. She is also very head-strong, stubborn and sometimes rebellious. Which I guess means she’s pretty normal for a 4-year-old! We’re working on turning some of the weaknesses into strengths, and to shape her character without breaking her, to turn her from sin, and to channel all that great spunk in the right direction. Not the work for mere mortals, I tell you, but thankfully we don’t do these things in our own strength alone!

She enjoys building huts, bossing Esther around, going on pretend space ships to find orphaned aliens (with mum in tow, of course), digging in the dirt in the backyard, books and learning. And much more! We’re working through some preschool books during our ‘home school’ time, and she’s been enjoying it heaps and doing very well. Reading is coming along slowly, though she seems to find counting and addition more interesting right now, so that’s what we do more of. Here’s a typical scenario: <few seconds silence> “Mum! Three plus three is SIX!” She can do a few without counting on her fingers, so hopefully if we keep doing it over and over enough all the addition sums up to 10 will become rote.

Man, I love that girl, such a pity she’s not really into smothering big hugs…

And last, but certainly not least, an update on Esther. Happy, cheery, chubby, sneaky, cuddly, sensitive Esther. She’s certainly very different from Marica, though I think that they share the stubborn streak. Esther seems to have decided that walking will not be her mode of transport and that crawling suits her just fine, thank you very much. So, almost 18 months old and still ruining her pants on the knees at the playground.

Esther is pretty quiet, except when she’s not. Then she had a pretty big voice for such a little girl. But on the whole she’s quiet, almost too quiet. She has the amazing ability to unpack drawers in a flash without anyone noticing. She can even open candy packages quietly and stuff her face full of MnM’s without anyone noticing until most of them are gone. She likes her food, that girl. Well, most of the time. She likes things until she decides that she doesn’t like them anymore and then there is no way that food is going in her mouth. I’m sorry to say that sometimes she has to get up from the table with not much in her tummy because she refused what was given her. I’m mean, I know.

She’s very talkative, and her babytalk is slowly becoming more understandable. At least some words are. Like “Bubbles, hmm?” said at about 3 octaves higher than the average person speaks and meaning, blow some bubbles for me, will ya?

Her teeth are also rapidly increasing with her currently cutting her 4 canines. All at once. So now the count will soon be at 16. Despite all this, she has continues to sleep through the night, for which I’ve been thankful!

I think this is quite long enough already, and I’ve run out of things I think you’ll find interesting.

Drop us a comment or an email every now and then and make our day! Hint-hint, nudge-nudge. :-)

Why Barbie is a big deal

Today’s post goes out on a limb a bit. It’s probably going to be controversial and many of you won’t agree with me, but these are some thoughts that have been swirling around in my mind for many months, and that some of you might find beneficial. I know that I have some young readers (hi nieces and nephews!), so if that’s you, ask a parent before you follow the links — not all are what you would call wholesome, but they are necessary to prove some points.

Barbie dolls have become such a common toy in little girls’ toy boxes that hardly anyone these days would question owning a Barbie doll. They’re everywhere, and pictures of them adorn backpacks, lunch boxes, bedding and pretty much anything else a little girl might own. I owned Barbie dolls when I was a kid, I loved them and never thought too hard about it. And then, last year, I followed a link to a blog article titled Naked Sex with Barbies.*

While I’ve always had some ideas about why I don’t want my kids to play with Barbies, that article brewed away in my mind and prompted me to put my reasoning on paper — for myself, but also for when people ask. This has turned into something much bigger than I first thought it would be, and has led me all over the internet, reading lots of different opinions and making me realise that my defence of “Oh, but it’s just a doll!” was weak. There’s a lot more to this topic that we think –at least, much more than I ever thought.

I’ve been thinking hard about the effects Barbie dolls have on the girls playing with them and have come to the conclusion that Barbie is not welcome in our house for 2 main reasons. Here they are. If you disagree with me, I won’t think any less of you. Just please don’t give my girls a Barbie doll for Christmas. :-)

(If you’re interested in a bit of history, wikipedia has pretty good articles on the Bild Lilli Doll (the doll that Ruth Handler, the co-founder of the Mattel toy company who makes Barbie, based the first Barbie doll on), and on the history of Barbie.)

So here are my reasons:

1. Her sexualised body, immodest dress and how girls play with their dolls.

A very young girl might play with her Barbie doll in a very innocent way, but it doesn’t take very long before the reason for Barbie’s voluptous curves start creeping into play, especially when Ken joins the show.

If you really think that kids are going to play with Barbie without exploiting her physical features at some point, you are naive. There is of course the school of thought that argues that sexual play is important for kids to discover their own sexuality. In short, I’m not in this school of thought, but would rather not expand on it right here and now.

Disclaimer: I’m by no means suggesting that when kids play with Barbie dolls they only ever play ‘naked sex with Barbies’. I enjoyed many, many fun hours as a kid building houses for my Barbies, putting clothes on them, etc. But I think you can find other kinds of dolls to do this with who don’t have the exaggerated female anatomy of Barbie.

A pop group of the ’90s, Aqua, put out a song called Barbie Girl when I was about 13 and it’s remarkably close to the truth. Sometimes pop artists capture things really well, even in parody. At the very least, it shows me I’m not the only one who realises that Barbie-play isn’t always innocent! Here’s the chorus and one verse for your, uh, edification:

I’m a barbie girl, in the barbie world
Life in plastic, it’s fantastic!
you can brush my hair, undress me everywhere
Imagination, life is your creation

I’m a blond bimbo girl, in the fantasy world
Dress me up, make it tight, I’m your dolly
You’re my doll, rock’n’roll, feel the glamour in pink,
kiss me here, touch me there, hanky panky…
You can touch, you can play, if you say: “I’m always yours”

Part of the fun with owning dolls is that you can make dolls’ clothes and put them on the dolls. The problem with Barbie’s wardrobe is that a lot of it is immodest and skanky. Yes, there are modest outfits and there certainly are very pretty gowns, but the majority of clothing leaves very little to the imagination. I wouldn’t let my daughters out of the house wearing this, why would I let them play with a doll dressed like it? I guess you could make modest clothes for Barbie, but that won’t change her anatomy.

As an aside, it seems unfortunate that most people like it that way. I’m afraid I forget where I found this quote, but it’s interesting:

“Disney doesn’t have to come out with more conservative Barbies. Consumers buy Barbie dolls like crazy and have never demanded more conservative versions of them. Parents buy what’s available…either Barbies in adult suggestive clothing or Barbies dressed in gowns. Neither of them represent how little girls dress.

Except sometimes it does represent how little girls dress. And then it certainly is not healthy.

She has a boyfriend (and ex-boyfriend)tattoos, she is the ideal woman and also a bimbo, she is the spiritual mother of Britney.

Does all this really encourage little girls to just play innocently with their dolls? Maybe so — unlikely, but possible. Yet nobody can ignore her body, so here’s my second reason.

2. Her unrealistic body and what that does to girls’ viewing of themselves

Barbie’s body proportions are about as natural as the plastic she’s made out of. Let me say first off that I’m not against beauty, but I AM against unrealistic beauty!

We know that long legs look nice, full lips are appealing, bigger eyes and breasts are attractive and a small waist and large (comparatively) hips are feminine. The makers of Barbie exploit this and have made dolls that exaggerate all of these features, plus some, giving young girls the idea that one person can have all these features of beauty.

So it’s not really a surprise that many women who are perfectly beautiful in their own right have self-esteem issues because they think they are fat, or that their legs are too short, or whatever. I am not the only or the first person to write about this — this is usually the reason people give for being anti-Barbie. Barbie gets blamed for eating disorders and for giving girls bad self-esteem. But guess what — even so, Barbie has been accused of having fat ankles (?!).

Barbie’s body proportions are very unrealistic, and whether this is true or not it has been said that a woman with Barbie’s proportions would not be able to menstruate due to a lack of body fat. But Mattel doesn’t put up with too much criticism, as what happened when The Body Shop had an ad to celebrate normal looking women.

Do all girls who play with Barbie dolls want to look like Barbie? Probably not. But I think the number of 10-year old girls who wouldn’t want to be a Doll for a Day would be pretty small.

Now, I’ll admit that I’m not sure how far to take this — will I only ever let my kids play with realistic toys? If a truck doesn’t have realistic dimensions, will I not let my kids play with it? If the baby doll isn’t to exact proportions, are they not allowed to play with it? No, of course not. Mainly because I don’t think there are bigger underlying issues with those kinds of toys.

But this goes further than just little girls playing with Barbie dolls, because those little girls grow up, and become women. Women who are bombarded with The Perfect Body everywhere they turn. The totally unattainable, unrealistic, Perfect Body. Barbie’s body is seen as the perfect body. Why? Because the 5% of the population who is considered beautiful (with a bit of make-up and photoshop for good measure if you’re lacking in any way) looks just like her. Don’t believe me? They are the women you see in ads all the time. Ads that objectify women. Ads that make you look like someone else. Ads that are so incredibly harmful and destructive. (You might want to turn your sound off for that one. Some people might find some of the ads shown in the previous link disturbing, just as a warning.) Feminist Jean Kilbourne has a lot of good things to say (even if she might come at it from a different angle) about women in advertising and the harm it can do. Her book, So Sexy So Soon, has some interesting things to say about the effects of Barbie and Bratz dolls on young girls. Have a look at chapter 2 here.

Everyone who knows me in person know that I have a fair bit of extra padding. :-) I recently lost some weight and left the ‘obese’ group on the BMI behind and have joined the ‘overweight’ group. (Yes, size 14 is considered obese these days.) I won’t go into detail about what kinds of insecurities some extra flab brings to a woman, because I think that most of you are at least to some extent familiar with it. Let’s just say that even though I have an amazing husband who tells me that I’m beautiful every single day, I only believe him on the days I don’t feel fat.

What is it that has messed with our minds so much that we can see the beauty in so many things around us except ourselves, unless we meet that impossible ideal of beauty? It’s the images and shapes we are bombarded with from childhood through to the day we die — first through toys like Barbie (or Bratz, etc.), then through advertising. It almost feels like a conspiracy organised by the giants in the industry: toy manufacturers, advertising groups, the fashion industry and photoshop (to name only a few). Is this really all just about money? Is it about trying to bombard us with their worldview up to the point that it becomes ours? So we will buy their products? Is it that base, that low? Or is something else going on here?

So there you have it. Bye-bye Barbie (et al!). I want my girls just to be girls as long as possible! Is it possible? I pray for it. And like the mom in this blog post, I will fight for it. This is at least a start.

——

* While I don’t agree with the writer’s responses to her daughter, I do think that she is doing a great job of talking with her daughter about sex. Kids should feel comfortable talking to their parents about sex without any feelings of shame, and am especially thankful to my own parents for giving me that when I was growing up.

Just do the next thing

There are times in life when we get overwhelmed. Sometimes we have too much work to do, sometimes we’re ill, sometimes we’re just dog tired, sometimes earthquakes strike. The world keeps spinning, life carries on and we have to somehow deal with it.

You’d think the world would just stop for a little while to show some respect, but it doesn’t. It seems impossible that people can still get up, go to work, laugh, eat out or go shopping when it feels like your own world is about to collapse. And still the sun rises and sets, another day.

How do you carry on? You do the next thing. Get up. Get dressed. Eat. Change the baby’s diaper. Wash the dishes. Attack the pile of papers. Have a good cry. Shovel the silt. God brings us through everything, one step at a time.

This poem, by an anonymous author, captures it well.

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “DOE THE NEXTE THYNGE.”

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Thrust them with Jesus, doe the nexte thynge.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all results, doe the nexte thynge.

Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, doe the nexte thynge.

–Anonymous

To our dear family and friends in Christchurch, know that we are praying for you. Praying for strength — physical, emotional and spiritual — to do the nexte thynge.

The beauty of bread

Here in the States, I’ve taken to baking most of our bread from scratch by hand, because I can’t stand the taste of the bread here. Specialty breads here taste great, but I do still have a grocery budget to stick to! I’ve gotten pretty used to it by now, and I don’t consider it to be a lot of work, and the rewards of fresh homemade bread sure outweighs any cons!

When you see the kitchen bench looking like this, you know what’s been going on, and that you’ll be smelling some good smells soon!

The happy results:

Happy results become even better with butter! (If you’re interested in what recipes I use, this is my white bread recipe, and this is my brown bread recipe. They are both from TheFrugalGirl blog and have nice detailed steps and photos.)

Anyhow, as I was kneading some bread dough this morning, I got all thinky and waxed philosophical about life. You know, we humans are just like a lump of dough. Before we’re kneaded we look ugly. We need some hard knocks and pounding and pulling and stretching. And life is full of those. There is not a single human on this earth that I know who hasn’t had his or her fair share of tough times.

Do you know why you’re supposed to knead yeast breads? It won’t rise much at all if you don’t knead it, because the gluten in the flour needs to be developed. Likewise, we can’t rise to maturity if God doesn’t send us difficult times in our lives to develop and grow. While you might grow slowly during the good times of your life, it’s the difficult times that causes you to run to God, and to grow in real, lasting maturity. Neither you nor I are above all this, even you and I need to develop into something better.

But that’s not all. After you knead dough, you leave it to rise. In life we have periods where everything goes well for a long time. We get so proud of all our puffed-up glory. Do you know what you do with a batch of dough after it has risen? You punch it down, because it is not finished yet. The shaping is about to begin.

We don’t only need to grow and develop, but we need shaping into the people God wants us to be. Not what you thought you should be, but what God intended you to be. We can get so bitter because our lives, or the lives of those around us, did not turn out as we had planned. We forget that we can plan all we want, but that God will direct our steps. God shapes you for His purposes, and His glory, and you might never understand why ‘things didn’t work out’. So, you wanted to be a nice big loaf of soft bread, and you find yourself in a crunchy breadstick situation. Stop longing to be what you can not be and start glorifying God in all your crunchy breadstick splendor!

Sanctification is a life-long process, and I realise that the dough analogy falls flat at some point (hee-hee). But these were my thoughts as I pounded a ball of dough this morning.