Category Archives: Karah

Filling up on Cotton Candy

Last week we went on the mother of all road trips. We were away from home for six days, and four of those days we spent driving at least 11 hours per day. The other two days we spent on a college visit and playing tourist in Seattle. It was exhausting, and I still feel off my schedule and behind on everything after four days back at home.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’ve been revamping my eating and exercise habits lately. But eating healthy and getting enough exercise when you’re sitting in the car all day, feasting on gas station snacks and fast food meals, is nearly impossible. One thing I noticed during this trip is that the more junk food was available to me, the less and less it satisfied me. At home, eating a clean diet and getting regular exercise, a rest day feels restful, and a treat is, well, a real treat. But a steady supply of laziness and junk stops satisfying.

On the way home I found myself standing in a truck stop in Montana, looking for a snack to tide me over so we could keep moving without a lunch break. I looked at the candy and chips, but nothing appealed to me. I looked at the beverages, but I just didn’t want another soda (or the ensuing potty break it would necessitate). I could have anything I wanted, and I just didn’t want any of it.

Since we’ve gotten home I have felt the same way about my behavior. I have so much that I need to do to get caught up – laundry, grocery shopping, getting back to the gym, etc., but as soon as I get a spare minute, I waste it playing games on my phone, drawing/coloring, or reading. The whole thing came to a head yesterday when I was praying about what to post this week. I confessed to the Lord that I just felt sluggish and out of touch with writing and with His heart. As soon as I confessed that, I began thinking of the ways I’ve wasted time lately. No wonder I’m unsatisfied, I’ve been filling up on cotton candy.

I’m not saying that you should strictly schedule every second of your day full of practical and efficient busyness. Down time and rest are imperative, and hobbies are wonderful and fulfilling. But it’s just like the treats I ate on the road. When it’s truly a treat, it’s fun and special. When you fill your life with fluff and junk, it stops satisfying.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Rest when you need rest. Engage in hobbies that allow you to have a creative outlet, physical exercise, or just a good laugh. But don’t fill up on the cotton candy. Fill your days with things that bring glory to God and bless others so your treats can be a treat.

Catching Up

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. Though I haven’t had technical difficulties, haven’t been sick or injured, and haven’t been busy (well, no more than usual), I just stopped blogging. For a few weeks I felt bad about it, but the longer I went between posts, the easier it got to let it slide. But if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to start up again. Since it’s been four months since my last post, I thought I’d start with a quickie to get us caught up with each other. So grab a cup of coffee and pretend we’re old friends catching up after months of saying “we should get together sometime” (or am I the only one who has to have that conversation six times before I actually get together with people?)

First of all, I am completely and totally healed up from last year’s knee surgery. And even better, my recovery and physical therapy were the catalysts I needed to start a regular exercise routine and to make some positive changes to my eating habits. I’m down 30 pounds, and for the first time I can remember, I actually accomplished my weight-related New Year’s resolution.

Speaking of resolutions, the other things I focused on in 2017 were committing to buying only Fair Trade clothing, shoes, and accessories for myself, and living out my word of the year, honor, by finding ways to serve, encourage, and love on others. If we’re grading this pass/fail, I’d say I passed on the honor goal, but failed on the Fair Trade resolution. I believe I made it 5-6 months before the need for things I couldn’t find Fair Trade tripped me up. And, typical Karah, when I slipped, I jumped right off the plan and gave up. But I think it’s a worthy goal, so I re-upped for 2018. Expect to see posts in the near future about Fair Trade and second-hand retailers. Mixing weight loss with ethical shopping is going to be an interesting challenge!

My word for 2018 is “warrior.” When I first started to feel attracted to this word, I was afraid. I still am, actually. I figure that God calls up warriors when there is a battle to fight, and I don’t really want to get into any battles, thank you very much. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we all face battles all the time. Each of us has to chose if we are going to be a warrior or a victim.

So here are the things I jotted down:
2018 – My word is “warrior”
I’m done wishing, done hoping
I’m ready to fight.
– Learn what the Bible says about being a “warrior.”
– Learn to take orders: to go when called, to act when called upon, to shut up and obey.
– Do no harm, but take no *crap*
– Put on the armor of God
– Stand up and Fight!

If that doesn’t fill you with a mixture of passion and terror, then you need more coffee!

So I hope you’re up for another year of inspiration and information sprinkled liberally with faith and humor. As always, I welcome comments, questions, and ideas of things I can research for us. Leave comments here in the blog, or on the Food Shelf Friday Facebook page. Thank you and welcome back!

Light it up!

Matthew 5:13-16 – You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Last weekend my family and I packed meals for Feed My Starving Children‘s #LoveSomalia mobile pack event here in the Twin Cities. Our first shift was on Sunday, so of course I came down with a migraine that afternoon. Some prescription meds and a nap later, I called on my faithful prayer warrior friends to pray that I would have “a supernatural burst of health and energy” for the event. God answered our prayers, and a burst of health and energy is exactly what I got! By the time the introduction/training portion of the event was done, I felt great. And as we developed a rhythm on the packing floor (I run a sealer and Jacob is a pro boxing coordinator/table lead. Scott usually helps in the warehouse, but for this event he stayed with the fam and scooped the vitamins and veggies), I was having a lot of fun! Jacob and I had a rhythm going. As I finished sealing a bag, I tested the seal then flipped it into the air, and he would reach out and snatch it up and put it in the right place. (We were very careful. I never threw them high enough to damage a bag if he didn’t catch it, and I tossed them over the sorting table so they didn’t hit the floor. One actually missed the table and landed right in the box!) We laughed, we sang along with the music playing in the arena, and even danced a little (or what passes for “dancing” in our family…) I physically worked to pack meals for about two hours, yet I left with more energy than I had going in! When Scott and I talked about it later, the only way I could explain that energy and why I keep signing up for events like that was to say that it “lights me up.”

Do you know the feeling of being lit up? Maybe you LOVE babies, kids, or teens, and spending time with them gives you that burst. Maybe you’re an actor, musician, comedian, or public speaker, and you feel the thrill of the live audience. Maybe creating artwork, playing a sport, or writing your novel gets you too excited to sleep. I’ll bet that there is something in your life that energizes you in spite of the calories it burns. This is passion. This is what you were put on this earth to do.

That may leave some of you baffled, or even insulted. The first time I heard a sermon on giftings and passion, I was hurt. I remember sitting in church and praying, “God, I make good cookies. What are you going to do with that?” I didn’t see my passion for food as something God could or would use. My “spiritual gifts” test always came out as “helps” which means pitching in where needed. So my passion was food and my gifting was pitching in. I thought that was pathetic. I thought it relegated me to bake sales and funeral lunches. But I wanted to make a difference in the world!

It took time for me to mature and for my interests and giftings to come together into something I could think of as a calling. Now here I am: writing, sometimes raising funds, and volunteering to my heart’s content for the cause of global hunger relief. I believe that when I asked God what He could do with my talent for making cookies, He had a fatherly chuckle and said, “Watch me.” Your talent may seem small, or like something that doesn’t coincide with spreading the gospel or changing the world, but God doesn’t make mistakes. He gave you your gifts and personality because He needed just that you in just the life He gave you. Let your light shine!

My Confession: Off the Wagon

I have a confession to make: I fell off the wagon. No, I’m not becoming an alcoholic. I haven’t even failed at another diet. No, I’ve failed at a different goal. Back in January I made a plan to go through all of 2017 without purchasing any clothing, shoes, or accessories for myself that were not fair trade produced. I thought I could pull it off because I have a bathing suit that fits, and I didn’t need new athletic shoes. Those are typically the hardest things to find fair trade. But I only made it to May.

This week I went looking for a sundress or two for some summer events we have coming up. I found a couple options on Amazon that were made in the USA. Since there is a minimum wage in America and labor laws in place to protect workers, I figured it was safe to buy American. I’m not sure where the fabric was produced, just that the construction was done here, so it was a bit of a compromise.

Then my favorite bra turned on me. There is nothing quite like being stabbed in the heart… There are a few companies making fair trade under things, I’m a big fan of my Pact Organic socks, and I buy their undershirts for my guys, but I haven’t found a company that caters to plus sized people. In fact, everything fair trade is hard to find in plus sizes, but undergarments and swimwear are the worst.

Since I was already making an order, I bought a few other things. That’s how it goes, isn’t it? If I mess up my diet, I eat the whole buffet. If I break my shopping fast, I make it worth paying shipping. I didn’t max out a credit card or anything, but I picked up a bathing suit cover-up and a pair of pajamas along with some underthings.

My husband is turning 40 this summer, and he decided that rather than throw a party, he would like to go on a short trip, just the two of us (as an introvert, this was more his style). So we booked a birthday weekend in Vegas. In August. Yikes. August in the desert… Since I already failed at my goal, I bought a second bathing suit for the trip, and a pair of cute shoes that were really cheap.

I did it. I messed up. I can’t change that (well, I could return some things. But that’s not always an option). But I have to pick myself up and start again. I went four full months without buying anything that wasn’t fair trade. That’s pretty good. I learned some things about need vs. want and making do with what you have, and I practiced saying no to my urge to medicate my feelings with shopping (it’s like eating your feelings, but more expensive…). Because of my commitment, I also learned about some great fair trade companies. There were some wins, for sure. Now I need to dust myself off and start again. It’s never too late to do the right thing. One binge does not make me a bad person. I’ve only failed if I don’t pick myself up and get back on track. (I’m trying to convince myself here. Is it working? I think so.)

I’m always looking for fair trade retailers, especially if they carry hard-to-find items like swimwear, plus sizes, and athletic shoes! Share your favorite fair trade or American-made company in the comments!

When it Rains, it Pours (aka, I’m still here, I promise!)

OK, I haven’t even posted here in three and a half weeks, and readership is up. There is just no understanding platform building! Thankfully my plan has been to faithfully put up the best content I can and not worry about attracting followers, because if I was trying to figure this out, I would make myself crazy!

I hope you don’t think I’ve abandoned you. In over two years at Food Shelf Friday this is the first time I’ve taken a break from blogging. It’s been one of those “when it rains, it pours” periods in my life. On the day before Thanksgiving, I fell on untended sidewalks and messed up my right knee. I had a post ready for that next Friday, but then took off Dec. 16 to attend my own college graduation (Yay! I’m done!). The week after that was Christmas, and the week after that was reconstructive surgery on my knee. It’s been a real trial; I’m off pain meds now but recovering my mobility is a slow process. Anyway, thank you for your patience with me. I’m sure with the holidays you weren’t spending a lot of time reading blogs anyway.

For now I just wanted to check in, say hi, and let you all know what’s been going on with me and why I haven’t been posting lately. I have a notebook full of post ideas, and a huge stack of books to read and review, so I’ll be back soon with lots of great content!

Thank you, and happy new year!