To Live and to Love

Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:19-20.

Days Three and Four January 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsschrage @ 11:28 am

Jeff and I had a very full day yesterday and I didn’t have access to the computer. By the time I got home, I didn’t care about anything except bedtime.

Day Three: Better Proteins

Day Four: Oils, Herbs, Spices

I don’t have much to say about these days, excep that I have no idea what tempeh is. ?? I feel like I do a pretty good job already of using spices and herbs regularly and heavily. I’ve been paying better attention to the items I buy – avoiding partially hydrogenated  fats, trans fats, etc. I already use olive oil liberally, but I certainly could stand to buy a better brand and buy organic. It’s pretty easy to buy organic in Asheville, and thanks to my friend Lisa, she directed me to Amazing Savings that has cheap organic rejects! Day Four suggests ways to curb overeating, like making plates instead of serving family style. We do that already, although not for those reasons, just the convenience of fewer dishes to wash… But since Jeff and I both have gained weight since getting married, I don’t think it’s necessarily helping.

This recipe suggested looks good!

So far, I’ve enjoyed Week One best. I think it offered more challenge, and more change. Now that Week Two is half way through, there has been little challenge and it’s really been just a return to normal for me. I wish The B&S Challenge had continued its thought questions and had structured Week Two to be more informative.


Day Two: Whole Grains January 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsschrage @ 11:46 am

I’m already on board with eating whole grains, but there’s so much room for improvement. The problem is that sometimes processed foods advertise themselves to be “whole grain” but not necessarily the healthiest option. How do you know which is good and which is bad? You can’t beat eating a whole grain simply as a side dish. I bought quinoa after Alicia recommended it, but never got around to making it. I am inspired to keep up with trying new whole grain recipes.


Free Audio Book

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsschrage @ 11:13 am

Thanks to Money Saving Mom’s blog, I just found out that offers a free book download a month. Pretty cool, huh?! So, I am in process of downloading January’s offer of Abandoned to God by Oswald Chambers. Check it out, get a free book!


Life, NOT Fiction. January 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsschrage @ 4:15 pm

It’s been a rough start to the new year. I have been looking for a full-time job since moving to Asheville in November, without any luck. Really, I’ve been looking for a full-time since getting married in May, but more intensely since moving again. In South Carolina, I couldn’t get a job because, quite frankly, I was a Yank and white. (No offense, just the truth.) In Asheville, I can’t get a job because for every job I submit an application (I have long since lost track of how many) there are probably 60 people in line in front of me. I went to a job fair recently thinking it was no huge deal, but it was so packed with people of all ages and appearance, even moms with kids. I felt like the job fair was deceptive and giving people craving employment false hope. I left utterly discouraged.

At the beginning of my long, drawn out job search, I suffered from my pride. Earlier this summer, when I couldn’t get a job at the Lancaster Blockbuster, I was low in a prideful way. Last week, when I couldn’t get a job at Kmart, I was low in a desperate way. This summer, I thought my education should ensure suitable employment. Now, I’m in line with people of equal if not more education. (I recently interviewed for a preschool job where the director told me she had people apply with doctorates in education.) This summer, I was humbled on the surface. I resented not getting a satisfactory job, and still felt I deserved better. Now, I’m humbled deeply to my knees.

Jeff has been my incredible support, reminding me that we don’t believe in a health and wealth gospel. When things are difficult, God is still sovereign, still loving, still our Jehovah Jireh. Jeff discovered a new artist last week (Jon Foreman) and we’ve both enjoyed listening to his work, and this song, Your Love Is Strong, has been particularly comforting:

Heavenly Father, you always amaze me
Let your kingdom come in my world and in my life
You give me the food I need to live through the day
And forgive me as I forgive the people that wronged me
Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one

I look out the window the birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune or out of place
I walk to the meadow and stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl on her wedding day

So why should I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need

Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

The kingdom of the heavens, is now advancing
Invade my heart, invade this broken town
The kingdom of the heavens, is buried treasure
Will you sell yourself to buy the one you’ve found?

Two things you told me
That you are strong
And you love me
Yes you love me

Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

Our God in heaven
Hallowed be
Thy name above all names
Your kingdom come

Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us weary sinners
Keep us far from our vices
And deliver us from these prisons

Last night, only two kids showed up at youth group. The numbers were discouraging, but to make up for the lack, we had an impromptu movie night, watching Stranger Than Fiction. The movie was good for me to see because it reminded me what life would be like without a Sovereign God. I explained “choose your own adventure” stories to the newer generation (how did they miss out on those?) and what an impact that had on me when I was younger because I was intrigued by the possibility. We discussed whether or not it is healthy to look back on life and question the things that happened, and wonder about the what ifs. It is easy to question and doubt, and harder to accept reality. No matter what could have been, the now is what is, and God is Sovereign. Sure, had we stayed in Charlotte, I would be a manager at Williams-Sonoma, but we wouldn’t be here in God’s will for our lives right now.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I am comforted to know that I can rest in God’s love for me, and that my life is not determined by a lunatic novelist.


Back to the Challenge

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsschrage @ 11:22 am

I didn’t even look at what Day Seven was all about, Sunday was way too busy for us (Jeff preached, church dinner, and then youth group at our house). “Ease Back In” it said, but no so much easing back in at a church covered dish! (That’s a “pitch-in” dinner to my yankees back home.) Although, I did pick up a spoonful of a black bean and brown rice dish. I was happy to see something more inline with the diet meal plan!


Week 2: Eat Right

I really like the layout of this week’s plan! And it has a lot of useful information, like this list of items to stock a healthy pantry. Today, Day One again, is all about fruits and veggies. It suggests trying two new vegetables a week. I picked up an eggplant the other day without any idea how to use it other than eggplant lasagna? I’m going to try it today in stir fry.


Last week was interesting to experience, even if I didn’t follow the detox diet exactly. It was good to eat and know that what I was eating was 100% healthy. I think I even lost weight too, although I don’t own a scale to check. I’ve been much more interested (long before the challenge) about learning how to eat and cook without preservatives and I’ve been more conscious of whole foods. I felt better with eating more whole grains last week – I even enjoyed snacking on almonds and rice cakes, two things I normally don’t like.


This is for my Mom.

Dear Mom,

I’m sorry for all the times you tried to make us eat brown rice and 100% whole wheat bread. I’m sorry for not supporting your efforts to make our family healthier. You deserved better than that. We were supposed to “rise up and call you blessed” and instead we complained and called you “health freak.” Thanks for trying even though we were, in fact, brats. Please, forgive me.



Day Six: Reflect January 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsschrage @ 10:58 am

Today’s To Do: An Epsom salt foot bath. Nice. I’ll save that for after I get home from closing tonight.

Review your journal entries from the past five days.Which habits make sense? Which don’t? Use a highlighter or a pen to circle the problems that resonate with you and that you’d like to fix.

Makes sense: Eating well and exercise.

Doesn’t make sense: Letting fear of the future translate to stress which translates to poor diet choices.


Day Five: Brush and Steam January 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsschrage @ 11:05 am

Dear Whole Living’s Body and Soul Challenge,

I was starving this morning when I woke up and couldn’t control myself. I had a cup of coffee with milk and sugar (it was delicious) and toast with berry jam (it, too, was delicious). Please forgive me for breaking the fast, but I really needed some breakfast!


Shannon the Break Fast Girl.


Today is “Brush and Steam.” I am supposed to take my good hairbrush and brush it all over my body to exfoliate/detoxify? Okay… that’s a new one, but I’ll try it. I mean, I have special loofahs for that purpose, but sure, I’ll try the hairbrush. They should have included a way to clean the hairbrush after finishing. Weird, but it actually sounds nice. I’m imagining what it would feel like…. yes, I think I’ll try.


I’m running out of ideas for meals. I know it’s supposed to be purely whole grains and cooked vegetables, but I’ve gotta feed a “meat and potatoes” husband too! Last night I made this salad, except I didn’t have tomatoes so I substituted tomato sauce and made it a warm salad instead of cold. I should try again the cranberry bean dish that I made for New Year’s Day. (It was tasty before, but I didn’t cook the beans long enough. So it was a little like chomping on kindling.)

It’s also really difficult to enjoy the media fast in a tiny apartment where the TV is always going. I believe I’m starting to resent the TV because it is constantly present.


In general, are you satisfied with the level of energy you have each day?

Yes, I’m usually energetic. Exercising would help make me feel like I was using my energy purposefully.

How do you feel when you wake up and go to sleep?

I feel… bored. Without a full-time job, it doesn’t feel like there’s much reason to wake up. By bedtime, I’m exhausted, but on the days I don’t have hours, I really haven’t done much.

What feeds your energy?

Having a reason to wake up in the morning. Exercise. Having something to look forward to in my day.

What drains it?

Not having a job. Arguments. Negative people.

Do certain aspects of your lifestyle (exercise, sleep routine) affect your vitality positively or negatively?


What would you do with more energy?

I don’t even know what I would do right now with more energy. I don’t have a way to spend the energy I have. I’m not near friends who want to spend time together, I’m not near family where I could babysit nieces, I don’t have a real job, I don’t have money to go out, it’s too cold to go for a bike ride, and I can only clean my apartment so many times.