What's a Duck Egg Taste Like

This year we decided to get a little more serious about cultivating our land to bless our family (and because we can't grow grass - like we are bad at it). It's part of proving faithful - being good stewards of what we've been given to bring glory to God and help feed our family. We have a couple of raised garden beds and we started a compost pile and got ducks this year.

Why ducks?

Because they lay eggs.

And you can eat them.

Yeah, I didn't know that either. But we have some ducks and they started to lay, so I had to document cooking and eating our first duck egg.

The Miserable Christian: Finding Raucous Joy

My husband passed on an article to me from The Resurgence blog entitled Raucous Joy. The article explored the fact that sometimes Christians—who have the most reasons to enjoy life—enjoy it the least.

As I read it I knew in my heart that I do not permit myself to enjoy life most days. It's nose to the grindstone, punch it out, wage war, get it done, endure, kind of life. Granted, there are brief periods during each day that I "take a break from life" to actually enjoy something (when I worked full time it was lunch-unless I packed something like a sweet potato and carrots-ugh; now it's chocolate cake in a mug after the baby is asleep).

It's quite strange to be so addicted to not enjoying life. During my short 31 years on this planet I've been known in my communities and friends to be an entertainer-loving to get a good laugh out of people; I'm known by my laugh-people know I'm in a room when a punch line is good; and I've been told I've brought joy to people in various ways.

So why so blue, panda bear? Why take a position of a gloomy martyr? Why don't I celebrate life more? Why don't I seize each day to enjoy life and be thankful and merry?

I guess I feel guilty. I guess I feel like I'm avoiding real life, you know, the mundane and boring parts. The parts that I have to do and the parts that have to be hard and bland.

Do I even sound like someone who knows Jesus? Who knows the Jesus that died on a cross for me that I might live and have ABUNDANT LIFE?! Crazy girl. I'm crazy. I'm like one of those monks that lashes themselves for penance, only I just make myself not enjoy life for the sake of not enjoying life. Yep. I'm crazy.

In this article Bob Kelleman asks this question:

Is the way Christians live life and talk about life a portrait of celebration and joy?

Don't look at me. Because my answer would not be a happy one.

Kelleman goes on, "[Paul reminds us in Titus] that the way we live our life is to make attractive the teaching about our Savior. We adorn doctrine by our joyous celebrations of life."

Oh. So by being a martyr dying for the difficult each day, I'm making the Gospel unattractive?

Boring, listless, gloomy, negative, dour, exhausted, dismal, dreary; this is not the Gospel! So why do I then refuse to live in celebration and joy?

Christian celebration and enjoyment adorns doctrine because it goes deeper than the face value of things, events, moments, and victories. It's rooted in the fact that God exists, is Supreme and Sovereign. Our celebrations and enjoyment of LIFE are a testimony to his goodness, grace, love, kindness, and the Gospel!

So I guess I need to ask myself a few questions. . .

How can I celebrate life more? How can I celebrate and enjoy life that will show the goodness and greatness of God to others? How can I teach my children to have a heart that celebrates?

I thought of a couple ways to do more celebrating and less. . . glooming. . .

Five Ways to Incorporate Celebration into Life

1. Don't be afraid or feel guilty for doing things you enjoy!

For me, I enjoy taking trips with my loves. Day trips, weekend trips, vacations. I love it! It doesn't even have to be a super special or unique place. Just going somewhere is enjoyable. I ruin the enjoyment when I let guilt creep in. . .guilt of spending money (even if we saved for the trip), guilt of leaving behind the needs of others at our church, guilt for being "frivolous" with our time. I must stop this! It takes the enjoyment out of time with my family exploring God's amazing creation.

2. Incorporate celebration into family traditions and holidays.

My mother-in-law delighted in celebrating her children as they grew. When birthdays came around (and the calendar is quite full in May), she would decorate a chair of honor for the birthday boy or girl and make the meal of their choice for dinner. It might seem little, but it's sometimes the little things that make a big impact.

3. Practice hospitality . . . with food.

There's not much that is more delicious and wonderful than food, except maybe food with friends. Invite people over and dine with them. Celebrate life by enjoying food, Jesus, conversation, and laughter. Ask questions. Be delighted by what God is doing in the lives of others. Make the night about enjoyment and fellowship rather than stressing out on dust bunnies lurking in corners or whether it's a meal worthy to be on Iron Chef.

4. Discover what you enjoy about each season.

I do not like winter or spring. Least favorite. I could let a mild depression sink in. I live in Colorado, so these seasons are "mild" snowy season, but they are still cold and unpredictable for this Florida born and raised girl. It's hard on my heart to go from a 60 degree sunshine day to 30's and snowing the next. But instead on dwelling on what I don't like about a particular season, I decided to discover what is enjoyable.

For your reading pleasure, my enjoyable lists about winter and spring:

Winter: skiing, Christmas, the mountains in snow, wool socks and scarves, hot chocolate, quiet slow evenings because it gets dark so quick

Spring: crocus that come up early, planning and prepping the garden, baby season a the local farm, Easter

5. Be thankful and teach your children to be thankful.

When I worked at Eagle Lake Summer Camps, Mondays were the worst-even at summer camp! Sundays were high energy,preparing and welcoming new campers for the week. Mondays were days for strong coffee, lots of pancakes with peanut butter, and dark dark sunglasses. My friend Renae instituted "Monday Morning Thankfulness" and encouraged the counselors to make a list, even a small one, of things they were thankful for on Monday. Sometimes my list included showers, a heated dining hall (summers in Colorado mountains are still cold), and forks, but hey-it helped my attitude; it helped me remember to enjoy the things I'm thankful for, even when the day feels like a drag.

What about you? How do you celebrate and enjoy life? Any suggestions on how you incorporate enjoyment and celebration?

How to Make New Friends In a Grown-Up World

Friendship is a gift. There's just something so good about a person that "get's you," that you can ugly cry in front of, that knows your favorite color even if you don't, and who chooses to indulge in DQ Blizzards with you even when you were supposed to go to the gym. After all, Proverbs says there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (or in my case, sticks closer than calories in pizza - I love pizza).

While friendship seems to remain important and highly desired, the way we make friends tends to change as we move into adulthood.  Your time gets consumed by work, distance cramps your style, you move to a new town, and then add a husband or some kids to top it off, and how the heck do you keep making friends?!

I get a lot of women who mention how difficult it is to make friends in a new place. I get it. After I married my husband we moved to a new city, started attending a new church, and basically started from ground zero with friends. But even after getting "plugged into" a church, these women say they still have trouble connecting with people.

Because friendship with other women is important, I really wanted to share truth to help us continue to pursue friendship even when the ground seems fallow.

First, let's look at what a friend is, and then let's get into the nitty gritty to help you make some new friends.

The Biblical View of FRIEND

(What's the Bible say about Friends?)

  • Friends Love and Help Each Other - "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17
  • Friends Speak Truth and Life to each other - "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy."  Proverbs 27:6
  • Friends Sacrifice for each other -  "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
  • Friends Communicate Value to Each Other - "Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name."  3 John 1:15
  • (There is so much more to friendship - look up "one another" on biblegateway.org to learn more about friendship.)

How To Make New Friends

(Hard, but practical truths to get you back into DQ with a new bestie.)

1. Get Plugged Into Your Church - no seriously. I don't mean "plugged in." Many people use the term "plugged in" to mean they attend regularly and maybe participate in activities here and there. Being plugged in actually means contributing, serving, using the gifts God has given you to serve the body of Christ in the church. Start volunteering at your church and you'll meet a crew of others who are like hearted.

2. Learn How To Ask Good Questions - The art of good questions asking is seriously taking a nose dive. Good questions lead to meaningful conversations, which translates into friendships. But often we don't know how to ask beyond the basic questions: "how are you?" and "how was your week?" Everyone has a story to tell; everyone has things they like; everyone likes to talk about themselves. Learn how to be curious about someone and ask good questions (check out the How To Ask Good Questions Series - coming soon).

3. Greet People at Your Church - For real. Greet people when they walk in (and out) the church doors. Strike up a conversation, not just a "welcome!" (see #2 again). The more people you greet and get to know, you'll begin to meet people you connect with - women who have similar interests, or are in similar seasons, or who you just think are fun!

4. Practice Hospitality - That means have people over to your house and feed them. Opening up your home to someone is a form of opening up your heart. You are extending an invitation to them that shows their value and your desire to get to know them. Don't be consumed with perfection (spotless house, homemade everything, matching dishes), but be willing to extend love even in your weakness. (And when their over, practice #2.)

5. Fight for Friendship - As silly as it sounds, sometimes we just need to pursue the heck out of people and not give up. Keep loving, keep helping, keep inviting. Let go of any lies you may be believing about friends - that they have to be in the same season of life as you, that you can't be friends with someone you disciple, that you can't be friends with someone who is older or younger.

Do you have tips on making friends? Share in the comments below!