Welcome to My Canvas

A fun, random, delightful sort of a place where you can bring your coffee or earl grey and settle in for a laugh, a cry or some much needed encouragement...

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Proposal - What Would Be Easier?

Margaret: "There's a reason why I've been alone all this time, I'm comfortable that way. And I think it would just be a lot easier if we forgot everything that happened and I just left."

Andrew: "You're right, that would be easier."

Margaret: "I'm scared."

Andrew: "Me too." (They Kiss)

Never marrying would be a whole LOT easier in many ways. For those that are not married, I'm sure that sounds crazy considering your longing for a spouse, companion, lover and for the many, many joys of marriage (yes, there are MANY). However, for those that are married, you understand exactly what I mean. Almost every decision you make affects your spouse. For women, the cooking, cleaning and laundry doubled. I almost wrote a book and still might entitled, The Day My Laundry Doubled. Of course, it would be an encouraging book full of wisdom (that I am yet to attain) for new brides, yet I do believe everyone must know the truth about marriage instead of the false impression our Christian culture leans toward. Marriage isn't all about sex without sin, it isn't about unending infatuation or even lovingly discovering the mystery of your spouse 24/7. Yes, sex is amazing a lot of the time. Yes, I still look at my husband and often think that he is the most incredible man God could have made. Yes, there is much mystery to my hubby that I am yet to discover and yes, he is my best friend, companion and I wouldn't want to spend life with anyone else by my side. However, marriage is far from easy. In fact, it is the hardest thing I have done in my whole life and I am still doing it every day and will do it for the rest of my life, Lord willing.

That is why I LOVE those lines in the The Proposal. They accurately portray marriage. It isn't easy, they are both scared, but the love each other and are willing to sacrifice those feelings and their comfortable lives in order to spend it with each other. How beautiful!

I am currently reading 3 books and one of them I have read before I was married and I am re-reading it now that I can apply what I am learning. It is one of the most highly recommended books for newly weds and I totally agree! The title? You want to know it? Okay, okay... Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. The big question the entire book is based upon is, "What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?" Isn't that powerful?

Allow me to share with you some inspiring quotes from the book, some by Thomas and others he simply includes to prove a point or add some humor.

"By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher." ~ Socrates

"Marriage can be that holy place, the site of a relationship that proclaims God's love to this world, but Christian thinkers haven't always elected to look at marriage this way. For all their ambivalence about whether marriage is an inferior state, the early church fathers at least recognized that the analogy of reconciliation is the highest aim of marriage, pointing as a sign to the union of Christ with his church." ~ Gary Thomas

"Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion, but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting that any romance, however passionate." W.H. Auden

"Marriage is the merciless revealer, the great white searchlight turned on the darkest places of human nature." ~ Katherine Anne Porter

"A giant thread runs throughout Scripture comparing God's relationship to his people with the human institution of marriage." ~Gary Thomas

Is that enough to tickle your fancy or peek you interest? Even more than teaching me about marriage, I believe it will teach me to how to love God more. I'll keep you posted as I read along, but I just couldn't wait to share with you the incredible concept of holiness rather than happiness being our focus in marriage. What a breakthrough!! Now when Hubby and I have that argument or when I feel discouraged in our marriage, I am reminded that God is sanctifying me right now and I have an option as to how I respond. Godly or dishonoring to my husband and Christ? It can be a super hard choice, but it is easier to make the right one now that I know the purpose and God's plan in the midst of it all.

It really is beautiful and I am SO thankful that for once in my life I didn't take the easy way out.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It is high time to enjoy Red Meat!

Well....it is a cold, snowy, Saturday afternoon and I am sitting at Panera doing what I do best...eavesdropping. I know, "how terrible!" you may think...but actually it's A LOT of fun and you can learn so much about the human population. For instance, let me share with you about the ladies next to me. One is pushing 40...she has stated that several times... and the other is in her young twenties and "was on the cheer squad" (so was I but I think her's was a little more..."elite" if you know what I mean). Until a few moments ago I was utterly bored with their conversation but the women at the other table are not speaking English and Facebook has nothing new so I resorted to their dull conversation. I know, "how rude!" you may be thinking now, but honestly, it has been 20 minutes and so far we haven't covered anything but food, health, weight and money management. Boring! And then...alas...two key words struck my ear drums, resonated down to my heart and brought me the inspiration I was longing for today. What could those two words possibly be? RED MEAT. Yep, you guessed it...they weren't talking about how delicious it is, or the numerous health benefits or even how gorgeous those big black Angus calves can be. It was very negative...in fact one of them doesn't eat it at all and one avoids it if possible. Utterly heartbreaking. They stressed the importance of eating "plant based foods". Now, hear me out, I am all about eating healthy, staying fit and having balance in our diet. The key though is balance. This uneducated world is turning their back on another element of God's creation that offers so much to our diets! It would surpise you how often I hear similiar conversations. Oh my, National FFA Organization, we have much to do. For some of you, this means nothing. You may even eat red meat regularly (if so, thank you from the bottom of my heart) but you just do not understand my current rampage. This would be an important place to note that my daddy is a beef cattle producer. Not just any beef cattle producer but he has the most beautiful Angus herd I have ever seen. They look like velvet and taste like a million bucks, but I promise you that's not what you have to pay. I know the quality, health benefits and taste of that red meat so when I hear outright lies being spread about it I grow quickly frustrated. They are not only missing out on truth and the joy of beef, but they are also a part of the society who is hurting my father's business. For example, what if your dad was a chef and you know that he does an amazing job, serves creative dishes and runs a clean business, but one day you are sitting at a coffee shop and you over hear people discussing that they heard from so and so who knows that one person who said they have a cousin who got sick after eating at your dad's restaurant. Now a large portion of your town believes that your dad's food isn't good for them, it tastes bad and isn't clean. What would you do??? What would you say? How would you bring out the truth??? Those are the questions before me. The problem is I am up against a growing portion of the nation not just my town.

I beleive the real issue is that most people have not had a good steak. So many restaurants and people do not know how to fix red meat in a way that makes your mouth water, your toes tingle and your lips curl into a brilliant smile of satisfaction. Have you ever had that experience? If not I feel deeply sorry for you. This needs to change. I wish with all my heart you could taste one of my daddy's steaks that my hubby has grilled to perfection after days of marinating. Wow!

When I was home for Christmas I shared with my dad the concerns I have and the conversations I hear now that I am in "the city". He said that if I came up with a marketing plan he would be more than happy to sell his home grown, corn and grass fed beef to these city folks I have encountered. Our cattle are not massaged or petted daily, but they are never mistreated and have open pastures, no added hormones and little to no antibiotics. I know they will sell and if I can also put together information on the health benefits of red meat and some great recipes it will be a great start to educating the public and opening their eyes to the truth and to the delight they have been missing.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share with you one of my many passions. The cutest set of twins have just strolled in and parked with their parents at the table to my left and I'm eager to hear them "coo" and an odd looking couple just sat down behind me with the most curious expressions. Oh yes, those other two ladies are still here...they have moved on in their conversation to family pictures and the princess doll she just got her daughter - not that her daughter needs any help being a princess I'm sure! All this talk of food and beef though is making me hungry! It's lunch time and I think I am gong to enjoy an Asiago Roast Beef sand which with potato soup. Yes, even Panera, the "healthiest cafe of our time" serves Red Meat!!!

P.S. Here are some health benefits of Red Meat in case you are preparing your weekend dinner menus: Lowers risks of heart disease and high cholesterol. Red meat is a source of iron. Red meat also contains protein, levels of creatine, minerals such as zinc and phosphorus, and vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B, thiamin and riboflavin. Red meat is the richest source of Alpha Lipoic Acid, a powerful antioxidant.