Creative Brainstorming

With a bigger, better apartment in the near future and a house of our own in the foreseeable future, I’ve been taking more consideration of home decorating and color schemes. I’ve been somewhat uncertain over the years, but it hasn’t mattered much because we’ve had mostly second-hand items that could be replaced easily when things solidified more.

Well, things are solidifying, including an income that will soon allow me to start in on this stuff one room at a time not long after we move in a few months, and that will allow us to become home owners in a few short years. My mind is, accordingly, starting to plan. I’ve some ideas going for a few rooms so far.

 

Master Bedroom

I want to focus my bedroom around this painting, which I already have.

The Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton

The Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton

I’ll need to replace the frame around it — which has a crack, anyways — in order to match it to the bedroom furniture better, but I plan on doing dark wood with cream, ivory, and red for colors. Non-cloth decor will be dark wood or antiqued metal to match the armor. I’ve already got some long swords and sheep skins, and my comforter is red and my sheets are cream. I also have a dark wood (real wood) dresser. I need to get a matching bed frame and night stands. I would love to have a complimenting lighter wood floor.

Honestly, the furniture color has been the hardest part to decide on. I’ve been going back and forth between the dark wood and black. Part of me absolutely loves wood in medium and dark colors, and it’s certainly authentic to the medieval look. I also already have a dark wood dresser, and the only black bedroom furniture I have needs to be replaced. On the other hand, black would certainly match the picture well, but would require me to strip and paint the dresser.

The nice thing is that I plan on getting real wood furniture, which means I can always just paint it later if I change my mind. For now, I’ve settled on dark wood.

 

Kitchen

My kitchen has been similarly hard to decide on. I thought for a while that I’d go with black and a nice, darker shade of blue, but that just doesn’t really feel homey and inviting enough.
So, I’ve finally settled on a color scheme of wood, a lightish green, and cream or beige. So far, dark wood cabinets with beige counter tops and green accent walls, curtains, dish cloths, etc has been the most appealing. I’ve seen a few Pinterest images along those lines, and it’s very beautiful. I’d probably do metallic appliances, but black is possible. Not white. White usually just looks too cheap to me.

Riley’s/boys’ Bedroom

So far, I’ve mostly just got “animale theme.”

By the way, no, it’s not “boys” plural yet. But it’s very probable that there will be some bedroom sharing, at least until they’re older, which would probably last longer if the next one is also a boy.

Anyways, since it’s possible that a girl will also be (more temporarily) sharing the theme, I was thinking of keeping the colors a little more neutral for now, at least as far as furniture and curtains and such go. The furniture is white so far, which seems like a safe enough color for any child’s room. I need to possibly paint the dresser, though, since it used to be mine so the white includes some very girly flowers. I especially need to paint it if the next one isn’t a girl who can just take over that dresser when Riley graduates into a more boyish one. Maybe I’ll hold off on that project until I know if that’s going to happen.

Beyond that, my inspiration is limited. This probably isn’t a bad thing, since children’s preferences change as they grow and it would be easiest for me to establish some neutral colors for furniture and then change up things like comforters and decorations as they grow, without spending too much on any one theme since it likely won’t last more than a few years.

Office/Library/Sewing Room

I’m guessing these are going to be combined. We may not even have a whole room set aside for this until we buy a home. But I’m thinking that cherry wood would be a nice way to go, with nice neutral colors to go with it all.

Living Room

This is where I struggle, and where suggestions would be most helpful. I’ve got a gorgeous painting by my great-uncle that I could potentially use to compliment the room beautifully, but it’s a painting of a lake surrounding by pines with blue-white mountains looming beautifully in the background, so it would be very easy for me to end up with a very rustic, cottage sort of look, and I’m not sure I want to go there. Or do I? I’m not sure. I feel like the “medium to dark wood” theme could easily get repetitive, but it would also provide quite a bit of continuity in the house, with some color variations to change things up. I’ve always enjoyed tans and browns with furniture, and then the accent colors could easily match the painting. It wouldn’t even have to get very country/cottage/rustic.

The alternative would be a more modernized black furniture look, with accent colors that would match the painting.

Either way, I’m pretty sure I want lots of seating for company; a sectional couch is probably in order.

 

That’s what I’ve got brainstormed so far, more or less. This is, of course, without actually having a house of our own yet, but I can start preparing now with some of the furniture, kitchen items, and decor.

Any suggestions? Comments? Thoughts?

The Abyss

I had one of those terrifying moments yesterday, when you look into the future and see death.

I don’t mean that I had some premonition of when I or anyone else is going to die. I simply mean that, someday, we are going to die, and there’s no stopping that.

While, as a twenty-something year old mother of an almost six-month-old, I am far from ready to die, I generally don’t feel too worried about what will happen when I die.

I’m a Christian. I know what I believe about what comes after.

An atheist will tell you that after death comes oblivion. I don’t believe that, and the world feels like so much rubber falseness when I contemplate such a possibility. That feeling isn’t why I’m not an atheist, but it certainly inclines me towards accepting theistic evidence in cases where the evidence or reasoning stacks up relatively evenly. Although, come to think of it, I’m not sure there’s any case in which the theistic evidence doesn’t show itself to be the more probable. That’s beside the point, though.

No. Even believing what I do — that there is a heaven and a hell, and that, since I’ve accepted the chance to do so, I will be in paradise after death — the stark reality of death can still be terribly frightening.

The reality is, I can’t know with 100% certainty. I don’t have the benefit that Doubting Thomas did. I can’t touch the scars and look into the eyes of my Savior and fall down and worship saying, “My Lord and my God!” I haven’t had an angel stand before me and grant me a vision of heaven as John the Revelator or Isaiah the Prophet did. And so, while I know what I believe, to an extend it is ultimately rooted in faith.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

While I have reasons to believe what I believe, some things really do come down to hope, because the evidence isn’t in front of my face or proven by indisputable logic.

And so, last night, I stared death in the face in a moment of clarity and fear, and realized its complete inevitability and my inability to control anything that might come after, beyond the hope that my faith has given me.

I am comforted in a few things. First, that it comes to everyone. Second, that if I am wrong in my faith, the next most probably belief is atheism, which means it won’t matter that I was wrong. I won’t even know I was wrong. And third, that if I am right in my faith, which I believe I am or I wouldn’t have faith in it, then the other side of death will be a joyful thing.

But even with these comforts, I — and all other humans — will someday die, and there’s nothing I can do about it, and what happens after is totally out of my control. Someday my body won’t be able to sustain my life and hold my soul any longer, and there’s nothing I can do about it. The synapses will cease firing, my heart will stop, my lungs won’t draw breath, my brain will go dark, and I can’t stop it.

I can’t stop it.

I can only hope and pray that I will live long enough to see grandchildren and great grandchildren, that my own children will be successful in their lives and firm in their faith, so that I can depart knowing that my life was as fulfilling and meaningful as I could hope it to be. I can only try to be faithful, so that when I stand before God, as I hope and believe I will, I will hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

But no matter what I can do, no matter how much peace I have about it when it comes, I can’t stop death. It is an abyss that we all must fall into, whether we wish to or not.

Under Fire

I belong to Mars Hill Church.

Well, not officially. We haven’t done the membership interview and signed the membership contract. We haven’t really had time to do so. But we’ve been attending this church for a year, and attending a community group of other members for nearly as long, and I’ve been watching Pastor Mark’s sermons online since shortly after I was saved. His teaching has been enormously helpful in developing my faith and theology.

Pastor Mark has gotten a lot of flack over the years. He’s reformed, so many non-reformed Christians don’t like him. He’s complimentarian, so the egalitarians gets annoyed and the rad fems hate him, even though there are women deacons and such and women are greatly affirmed and protected in many ways. He’s real about this world we live in and the questions and struggles people face in it, particulatly in a culture that has sex all wrong, so people don’t like how real and blunt he is. He’s a continuationist so the cessationists don’t agree. He’s not charismatic so those who think that tongues is the baptism of the spirit don’t agree. He upholds traditional marriage and is pro-choice so the liberals get fired up.

You get the picture.

 

Lately, the criticisms have been taken to a new level, though, and if you’ve paid any attention to the blogosphere on this issue, you know what I’m talking about. I’m blessed to have a deacon in my community group who is in constant communication with some of the elders about these issues and who is happy to share the answers he gets, but some people have only the blogs. Here’s what I’ve noticed from the blogosphere.

1. Outright lies and unfounded/biased criticism.

Some people just want to watch a high-profile, conservative pastor burn. If you search these blogs, you’ll often also find tirades against Christians who believe in traditional marriage or a bunch of pro-choice rhetoric. The agenda is clear, biased, and not pretty. They’ll reach for anything and twist anything to make Mark and Mars Hill look bad. Truth is not required.

2. Out of context or exaggerated.

We all know that something taken out of context or exaggerated can make a situation look like something is wasn’t. The Strangefire incident is a prime example of this. Should Mark have gone and handed out his book there? Maybe not. But did that short video clip and the claims that went with it accurately represent what actually happened? No way. At worst, he was a nuisance, but not an outright liar and antagonist.

Another example would be an incident I heard about but never actually read about which apparently had to do with whether one of the campuses was violating laws with its location. I heard about it third hand, so I don’t have all the details, but what I understand is that in actuality, there was a conflict between county and state laws or something along those lines, so the church met the legal requirements of paying fees until the conflict between the laws was properly resolved. They then declined to sue to regain the fees they paid, not feeling that such an action was necessary or the best choice for a church in regards to such an issue. But of course, all the critics wanted to say was that the church was violating laws.

3. True, often blown up or without grace.

Mark and the leaders have certainly made mistakes. They are only human, and they’ve faced massive growth, often with little experience to help them handle it. That doesn’t excuse the sins, but it is only proper to put sins in their context to understand them.

One trend I noticed is that people want to see repentance and apologies, but every apology is met with criticism and any evidence of repentance and change is met with skepticism and assertions that it’s not enough or he needs to be more public about it.

The thing is, most of his legitimate public offenses have been addressed by public apologies and actions. Real Marriage, the discussion board comments, the one thing that actually was a plagiarism…all addressed. And the things that weren’t, like the other claims of plagiarism which the church and publishers investigated and found to be without basis, were explained.

Age the legitimate offenses that are being dealt with privately because they largely have to do with individuals, or because of the legal ramifications of saying anything publicly, are probably getting the most flack. In a recent video posted on the church’s website right before the Best Sermon Ever series, Pastor Mark explained that, while the actions being taken aren’t public and there’s little that can be said regarding them at this point, actions are being taken. And if he and the other elders are doing what they say they’re doing, then they are seeking real reconciliations insofar as possible.

Honestly, many pastors wouldn’t fair much better, and many even worse, if they were put under he scrutiny and publicity that Mark and the other executive elders have been facing. One of my previous pastors had been cheated on by his wife but reconciled with her. Another got kicked out of his position for his dishonesty with money, though I think he did love Jesus but just put money in the wrong place in his life, and another abandoned his struggling church because of outright greed. And this is just what I know of these pastors.

I think that, as leaders, Mark and the other elders should most certainly be required to show repentance. While they certainly have to be careful about who they apprise of the situations and to what extent, their Board of Accountability seems to have deemed them still qualified as long as they pursue reconciliation, and I’m willing to believe that that’s what they’re doing unless I see something definitive to the contrary.

It isn’t the easiest thing to  be attending Mars Hill in this season. I fully understand why some choose to leave in this time, although I truly appreciate the ones who leave quietly and are willing to extend forgiveness, even if they never choose to come back. I truly pray they find or have found new church homes with people and leaders who love and teach the Bible.

My husband and I are — watchfully — sticking it out at this time. One thing we can say for Pastor Mark is that he’s always taught the Bible, often very well, and we certainly appreciate that. We are willing to extend forgiveness to our very human elders and to stay as long as we see repentance, and hope that other Christians see it in themselves to forgive as well, particularly where there is evidence of repentance.

 

Lord, I pray for the pastors to be able to repent fully, change the course of the church in they future so that their actions better reflect you, and that they can stand firm through the trials. I pray for the critics, that they may lose the strength of their criticism as repentance is seen and that perhaps their hearts may even be softened. I pray for those genuinely hurt or wronged, that they may find and accept reconciliation, and that many would be willing to make their acceptance public to shut the mouths of the unrelenting and extend grace to Mark and the other elders. In Jesus’ name, amen.

My View on Spiritual Gifts

1 Thessalonians 5

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21  but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

 

This is a good sermon to understand my view. http://www.thevillagechurch.net/sermon/eccentric-and-faithful/

But I’ll share it on my own, too.

I want to make a few things clear before I begin, mostly because this is a topic that Christians disagree on. Well, obviously, or else it would be pointless to share my take on it.

First, I am not a charismatic. I strongly believe that many, or even virtually all, Charismatic churches cross the line and aren’t any better than the church at Corinth, which Paul rebuked for their abuse and misuse of the spiritual gifts.

Second, I don’t believe that you have to speak in tongues in order to prove that you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. I never have spoken in tongues, many devoted Christians I know have never spoken in tongues, and my own pastor has never spoken in tongues. Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that one must do so in order to prove that they are saved or that they have the Spirit.

Third, I am not sharing the post to condemn those who believe differently or to try to preach the Word with authority to other believers, as if I were a preaching pastor or an elder. Neither of those are my object. I believe this to be a secondary, non-salvific issue, and I am simply sharing my position and why I hold it.

My position is, quite, simply, this:

I believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit still exist within the Church today, but that they are used and given at the discretion of the Spirit (rather than the believer), that they are meant for the building, edifying, and directing of the Body of Christ, and that they are to be used in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the Bible, particularly the New Testament.

Why I’m Not a Cessationist

Open up a Bible to 1 Corinthians 13:8-14:5. Notice the part where it says that prophecy, tongues, and knowledge will pass away when the perfect comes, and that only love, hope, and faith will remain. Based on this, many Christians believe that “the perfect” spoken of was the completion of the canon of scripture, and that spiritual gifts passed away when the canon of scripture was completed.

I reject that view. I don’t think that “the perfect” is the canon of scripture. I base that on the New Testament in general, which promises the coming of the perfect Kingdom of God, but also on verse 12, which states that

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

I — and, more importantly, respected teachers and scholars of the Word of God — believe this to mean that it will be the coming of Jesus and his Kingdom that is “the perfect.”

This makes more sense to me, since the gifts will be useless at the point of the coming. We won’t need prophecy, because all will be fulfilled. We won’t need a spiritual gift of knowledge, because we will have Jesus and all knowledge will be immediately accessible to us through him. We won’t need tongues (or their interpretation), because we will all be united and made one in Christ. We won’t need healing, because all will be made new. We won’t need evangelizing, because all will have already been judged and there will be no second chances. We won’t need teaching, because we will have the perfect teacher in our midst.

None of these are true yet. I honestly wonder how cessationists explain why we still have teaching and evangelizing if we don’t have spiritual gifts, especially since this view is being taught from the pulpit. I’m sure some have given their answers for that, but I have yet to hear it.

Proper Use of Gifts

I do understand the hesitation many Bible teachers have with the gifts. It doesn’t take much to see the problems that many Charismatic and Pentacostal churches have, as far as improper use of the gifts. You can open up a New Testament, usually to 1 Corinthians 12-14, and find specifically where their use of one gift or another has specifically been said to be an improper use.

You have people who have a problem with adding to the Word of God instead of subjecting themselves and their “prophecies” and “revelations” to it. The verse at the beginning of this post condemns that by saying that we are to test prophecies and only hold to that which is good, and we are told in 1 John 4:1 to test the spirits because there are false spirits. You will never be Isaiah or Hezekiah or any other major or minor prophet. You will never be able to assuredly say, “Thus saith the Lord.” You are subject to the Word of God and the oversight of other Christians. To stray from such is to invite in false teachers and false teachings.

You have people who will speak in gibberish in front of the church, sometimes even multiple people at once. This is not right. Tongues are meant to be used either where there is interpretation available, or in private for personal edification, which is often known as a “private prayer language.” 1 Corinthians 14 has a very clear outline of the proper use of tongues, which includes both restrictions on its use and a clear command to not forbid it.

You have people who get so caught up in the ideas of the Spirit that they’ll use “feelings” and “feeling the Spirit” as their litmus test for everything, to the point of being unreasonable. A Bible-teaching church may not be about making you “feel good.” You may not “feel the prompting of the Spirit” before doing something good. The Bible itself is our Word from the Lord in many, many things, and there is no “word from the Lord” that trumps the teachings of the Bible. “I had a word from the Lord” can’t justify marrying an ungodly spouse. Nor do you have to wait to have a “word from the Lord” to marry a spouse who is Godly and good and who you love very much.

I love this, from the sermon I posted above:

You don’t need some prophetic word about whether or not you’re supposed to romance and love and serve your wife. You don’t need some prophetic word about how to live either with stingy hands or generous. You don’t need a prophetic word. You have the Word that has said, “Do this,” the very Word of God. In fact, I’ll push further.

If you ever want to hear from God his actual words, it’s right there. If you want to do it in the morning, read it. It’s the Word of God. If you want to hear it from the Word of God later in the afternoon, bam. Just flip a few pages. There he is again. Our God is an ever-speaking God. It’s right there. This is what we mean by the prophetic.

Conclusion

I’ve never spoken in tongues, or interpreted tongues, or even heard someone speaking in tongues. I have never healed anyone.

But I have experienced evangelizing. I have experienced teaching. I have, perhaps, even experienced prophecy, but have not been bold enough to share it because I have never been sure that what it was prophecy rather than just my own mind anticipating something. I do believe I have been given certain gifts from the Spirit, as has every believer, though the particular gifting each person has looks different and is used differently based on the individual and the Spirit’s plan for them.

I believe in the proper use of the spiritual gifts. I know there are many Christians who disagree with me on this. I know a lot of that comes from a push-back against their improper use, and I agree that improper use of the gifts can be damaging and grieving, but that doesn’t mean that the spiritual gifts are somehow or for some reason no longer available to us. We must evangelize still; therefore we must be Spirit-empowered to evangelize, and some will be more gifted in doing so. We must teach the Word still; therefore some will be Spirit-empowered as teachers of the Word,  most especially preaching pastors.

Do you believe in the continuation of gifts until Jesus comes? Which gifts do you think you have most strongly in your life, and how are you using them?

Book Review: Baby Wise

 

I wish I had read this book sooner.

This book was recommended to me, but exactly what it contained and when it could be implemented wasn’t communicated to me until my son was five months old, at which point I went out and found it at Value Village and read it through the next day.

Since that was today, I obviously haven’t implemented it yet, but I have heard about other moms’ experiences with it and seen their children, and it’s very encouraging. I will likely report back on the effectiveness of the method at some point.

The point of Baby Wise is to help establish a routine and awareness of how a baby’s needs can me met best within a (flexible) routine, with the outcome of establishing sleep,  eat, and wake patterns that lead to sleeping through the night faster and to a better sleep schedule and a rested baby in general.

One of the keys to this is feeding upon the baby waking, rather than feeding the baby randomly or feeding the baby to sleep. This encourages the baby to feed when it has the most energy to get  a full, good feeding, to not use feeding as a sleep aid and therefore not learn to self soothe or fall asleep on his/her own, gives plenty of energy for fun, productive, happy wakeful times, and decreases reflux and gassy tummies.

One good thing about this method is that it goes to neither extreme. It doesn’t schedule feelings so strictly that the baby could be left hungry for long periods or hurt the mom’s milk supply, nor does it leave a mom a slave to a baby’s unpredictable schedule or every cry. It doesn’t leave a mom constantly holding a fussy, sleepy baby, nor does it leave a baby with absolutely no comfort or as a slave to a schedule that might not work for his or her developmental stage.m

It makes sense, but more importantly, I know a number of moms who loved this book. If only I had sooner understood why! I fully expect to be among those moms who have gotten good results from this method. And I am so, so looking forward to my little man sleeping through the night finally.

The Culture of Self Righteousness

I spent the first nineteen years of my life in the LDS/Mormon church. There were many beliefs and mentalities that I abandoned upon converting to Christianity, but one of the most prevalent — and one that I still have to work on — is self righteousness.

Self-righteousness is not unique to the Mormon church. It can be found in all sorts of people and circumstances, but most notably in any legalistic culture among those who fulfill the requirements relatively well. Active, and particularly temple-“worthy,” Mormons are often self-righteous. As a regularly-attending, non-swearing, sacrament-taking, temple-worthy, young women’s-attending, tithe-paying Mormon, I fit right into that niche.

It’s generally not even a conscious thing. You’d never say “I’m better than them,” and you might even never think it, but there there’s still an air, a feeling, an attitude. The person who struggles, who smokes, whose life is falling apart, who doesn’t attend church regularly, who drops a swear word sometimes when they’re not even angry…there’s an unspoken, often un-thought, but very real attitude and feeling of self righteousness towards them. Sometimes this is a feeling that they should just work harder and change, because, well, you and lots of others have. Sometimes its a silent acknowledgement that you don’t have their problem. Sometimes is patronizing advice, or gossip about other peoples’ issues that you don’t actually need to be talking about but you’re glad you don’t have those issues and, well, they brought it on themselves with their pride or sinfulness.

It’s all very Pharisaical, even as they take pride in not being like the Pharisees. Because, well, I would never pray in the temple the way that Pharisee did.

But you don’t have to pray it, or say it out loud, or even expressly think “I”m better,” to have the same attitude.

Luke 18

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous,and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Self righteousness misses the mark. We’re all sinners.

Romans 3

23 …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

Our righteousness isn’t about us, profits us nothing, and means nothing apart from Jesus. We don’t come to Jesus “good enough” to be “worthy” of him. We don’t come to Jesus having “done our best” and present that to him. We come to Jesus as sinners. Some sins may be more serious in their consequence, in their rebellion against God, in their persistence and recurrence, but all sin separates us from God, and self righteousness separates us just as surely as greediness, adultery, or lying. Who are we kidding when we see ourselves as better, subconsciously or overtly, just because we actually attend church and tithe faithfully? Who are we kidding when we pity someone because they said the wrong thing and we didn’t? Who are we kidding when we think someone is getting what they deserve for their actions when we’re busy feeling higher in our “worthiness” than they are?

Our self righteousness cheapens what Jesus did.

Why do we think we’re better than someone else, when we need Jesus just as much as they do?

I have to remind myself of this regularly. It’s gotten easier over the years, but as someone who likes to try to pursue knowledge and wisdom and apply it to my life and enjoy the fruits of doing so, it’s all too easy to look down on people who don’t, or get frustrated with them. Such an attitude totally misses the mark on loving them where they’re at, and loving them into a better place, all the while never losing sight of my own sinfulness and need for the Spirit’s transforming power in my life.

What do you think? Don’t think about other people’s self righteousness. Look for your own. Where do you tend to feel superior or better than others, even if you’d never expressly think or say it?

Food Prep and Figuring Out Being a Railroad Wife

Food prep can be a significant time saver when it comes to making meals, and can even save money by getting produce to last longer.

I’ve never been very good at it.

Mostly, I just don’t take the time to do it shortly after grocery shopping. As a result, I have to do everything when it comes time to make the meals, and often waste produce that goes bad too soon.

bnsfMy husband recently started working for the railroad, which means he’s gone for as much as three days and nights at a time now. Since he’s still training, his schedule is especially busy, since he doesn’t have any days off yet and they’re working him constantly. Apparently, the idea is not only to train him, but to show him what “the worst” is so he knows exactly what he’s in for. By extension, that means me too.

On the road, he’s put up in hotels each night, none of which have a kitchen in the rooms, only a mini fridge and a microwave. That means that even if he has a grocery store within walking distance, and I’m not sure he does as most of the hotels, he’s stuck with precooked or microwaveable food, almost none of which is healthy, more or less Paleo. If I were in his place, I wouldn’t even want to spend my time off the tracks walking to grocery stores and figuring out my food for the next day, I’d much prefer to be utilizing my free time with a book, a laptop, or the hotel gym or pool.

As for me, it’s much harder to bring myself to cook full meals when Steven is gone, because it feels like I’m just cooking for me, and I have a baby who’s still young enough that he rarely can entertain himself long enough for me to cook a full meal. This has resulted in me eating fast food way too much, and in neither my hubby or I eating Paleo very well. Neither of us are as healthy — or as low in body fat –as we’d like.

For me, this means that meal prepping is getting very important. After I chatted with both my husband and with another railroad wife, we got Steven a cooler just big enough to hold a few days’ of meals, and I plan on making a few meals in a single day a couple times a week, probably when he’s heading home or when he’s sleeping right when he’s gotten back after working all night. .He’ll be able to take all or most of his meals — breakfast, lunch, and dinner — in his cooler, which means better quality and healthier meals through his trips and little or no money spent on food while he’s out. He may get teased a bit by the other guys on the road for bringing his cooler, but as the other railroad wife I talked to said, they get jealous when he pulls out a home cooked meal for dinner. For me, it means I have meals ready to go while he’s gone, which means I’ll be able to just heat them up and not have to worry about my son being either entertained or sleeping while I cook, or about cooking for only me every day, so I’ll also spend less and eat healthier. 

Bell peppers, strawberries, blueberries (in the colander), romaine, spinach, and broccoli and cauliflower (in the sink).

Bell peppers, strawberries, blueberries (in the colander), romaine, spinach, and broccoli and cauliflower (in the sink).

Today, I started in on it all. I chose a bunch of meals — more than a weeks’ worth, perhaps as much as two weeks worth depending on leftovers — to go shopping for. I did one big shopping trip for it all. And then I started doing prep.

It’s true that prep takes time, but it’s worth it. It just takes a bit of planning. Do it on a day when you actually have time to do food prep, so you don’t have to worry about it on days that you don’t.

My big goal was to get all the produce washed. Washing produce is helpful for removing dirt and such, but also for making it last longer. Washing it in the (clean) sink in water and a little apple cider vinegar helps kill bacteria that will cause it to go bad faster. I also removed stems from the spinach and broccoli (the cauliflower was already chopped) and separated the leaves on the romaine hearts before washing.

Prepping greensI recently learned of a good way to make greens last longer, so we’ll see how it goes. Wash them well, and then spread them out on a towel or paper towels no more than a couple layers deep so they’ll dry. After they’ve dried fairly well, transfer them onto a dry towel or paper towels, no more than two layers deep, and lay another towel or paper towels over top. Roll it up and rubber band it, and store in the fridge. This will allow moisture (which makes them go bad faster) to wick away, and make it easy to pick out any individual leaves that are going bad. Throwing out produce that is starting to go bad and leaving the produce that is still good preserves produce longer, as the produce that is going bad speeds up the process with produce that is still good.

Next on the list of food prep will be to cook up a few meals and food items in one go. For instance, I have breakfast sausage links to go with breakfast, and I can do multiple meals with ground beef, and then maybe the next set of meals I cook would be with chicken, which makes thawing out meat ahead of time easy to plan for.

 

Do you  prep your food? How do you do it?