Childhood Nostalgia

Recently, my Mom and I were reminiscing about the chaos and joy surrounding the arrival of the Sunday Paper in our living room when I was younger.  Everyone pulled their favorite section and as a family, we poured over the paper for a couple hours. Before he could read, I remember reading the comics to my brother and later we would fight over who got them first.

This small conversation with my Mom had me recalling other aspects of my childhood that I remember fondly.  For instance, if the summer temperature in Oregon went over 100, we had ice cream and fruit for dinner.  I remember walking to the comic book store with my Brother so he could spend his allowance…and on the way, there was one particular ‘barkless’ dog that we would play with through the fence.  I remember going crawdad hunting with chunks of hot dogs tied to a string.  I also remember my parents dancing in the kitchen.

These are each endearing memories of my childhood.  Each remind me of how family can be structured in moments of happiness.  

I recognize that not everyone had such pleasant childhood memories or parents who were so involved in the children’s lives.  I also recognize that I’m remembering great memories and often gloss over the not so amazing memories.  It was not all sunshine and butterflies for me.  And I know it wasn’t for others either.  

However, the not so nice memories are cloaked in the comfort of scripture.  

A scripture that I often lean on when thinking about family is from Ephesians 3:15 (NASB), which reads “from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.”

When reading this verse, it’s important to know that the word ‘family’ is closely transplanted in the original language as ‘father.’ In both the Old Testament tradition, as well as our current society, it’s easy to think this verse is referencing families taking the name of the Patriarch’s family.  This is still seen now, as brides take their husband’s last name.  

In reality, the verse is much deeper.  It refers to ‘every family,’ as in ‘all believers’ in Christ.  All of us…as one big family.  Furthermore, we all derive our names from that belonging to Jesus when we adopt the name ‘Christian,’ as derived from the name ‘Christ.’ 

This is a family of hope and love. Can you imagine how that family will interact?  How much greater Heaven will be than pursuing the comics out of the Sunday paper?!?!? There’s no need for nostalgia with a future like that!

No matter what our childhood’s looked like, our future is one of hope through Christ. 

~Emily

The Mustard Seed

The idea of faith has been on my mind a lot.  How much do I trust God?  How much faith does it actually take to move a mountain?  If God says that faith as little as a mustard seed can move mountains, then just how strong is my faith?  I have surrounded myself was some amazing and faithful people of God.  I see their faith poured out on everything they do.  Am I the same way?

These have been just a few of my thoughts as I’ve had my morning time with God.  I’ve been reading in the book of Joshua, bits at a time as to not miss anything.  I’ve heard the story of Jericho my whole life, so this passage of scripture is not new to me.  However, at 42 I see it differently than when I was eight.

Joshua told the army to march around the city of Jericho once a day for six days.  They didn’t say anything or attack the people.  They simply walked around the outer wall of the city.  However, on the seventh day, they walked around it seven times.  When the priests blew the trumpets after the seventh time, they gave a “great shout” and the walls came tumbling down!

This was all because of direction given to Joshua by God.  He told Joshua that He would give him the city.  I think about Joshua hearing that from God and maybe thinking, “Did I hear Him right?  We don’t say anything?  We don’t fight?”  I wonder about the men called to battle.  They were perhaps ready to go and defeat the city and then hear the directions and think to themselves, “Walk around the perimeter once a day?  Aren’t we just giving them open targets?  You want us to just shout at the end and that’s it??” 

Yet, they obeyed.  They had faith that what Joshua told them came from God.  They had faith that God would protect them and give them the victory.  They had faith that Jericho would be theirs.  Oh, to have that kind of faith!

I would like to think I wouldn’t bat an eyelash at God’s instruction, but I do it constantly.  My idea of faith is so worldly…I’m given a direction and I add my own 14 steps to the mix.  As a Christian, I have faith that the Bible is real, that God is real, and that Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be fully God and fully man to die on the cross for a sacrifice and raise from the dead.  But often, I second guess decisions and directions.  How silly of me when we have been given example after example of faithful men and women in the Bible who just had relentless faith that God would lead them. 

When we truly have faith, we don’t need to worry or pick our problems back up.  It doesn’t mean that things won’t be a struggle for us.  We’re fallen people in a fallen world.  However, when we have faith even as little as a mustard seed, we need not hold it the way we would without our Faithful Father. 

To have the faith as a mustard seed…this is my prayer.  Now to watch it flourish!

~Erin 

Cilantro Pandemic

As a professionally trained chef, I know it’s an unwritten rule to state that you hate a type of food or seasoning.

And yet, here I am.  I hate the taste of cilantro. There, I said it. True Confessions of a chef.  To me, cilantro tastes like soap.

Fun fact: The people who dislike cilantro for its soap-like taste have a genetic likeness.  It’s a variation of olfactory-receptor genes that allows us to detect aldehydes, which is a compound found both in cilantro and is also a by-product of soap.  We even have a name: “cilantrophoes” which are the people who taste soap when they eat cilantro.

Two groups of people associated with cilantro.  Those who like it and those who don’t.

In the last few weeks of apocalyptic behavior with the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m also seeing two “reaction” groups of people.

One group is the chaos group.  These are the “sky is falling” people. These are the people on social media who are flaming the fire of chaos and drama.  They’re the ones trying to profit off an unstable stock market and the ones running to the store to “stock up” on more than they could possibly need for two weeks. These are the fighting in the grocery store aisles on YouTube people. They are the ones blaming everyone for everything.

The second group is the hope-filled group.  These are the “glass is half full” type of people.  They are our realists, as well as our optimists.  They are the ones giving us hopeful memes and helpful tips for survival.  As far as leaders’ decisions they hold some accountable while praising those who are doing a good job. These are the visit nursing homes through a window or open the stores early for the elderly type of people.  They might have worries but they are prepared for the outcomes.

Either group can include Christians, but I believe Christ would want His followers to be the optimists and realists who are providing guidance and hope.  They recognize that God may provide differently than we are expecting, but that He will provide.  He will provide. Every time, all the time, always.

DNA dictates which cilantro group we fall into.  Our heart and relationship with the Father dictate which “reaction” group we belong to.

As we look at the next few weeks of pandemic uncertainty, search yourself about which group you’d like to be known for…the chaos group or the hope-filled group.

~Emily

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. ~James 1:17 (ESV)

cilantro