31 August 2015

Less Band-Aids, More Life-Support...and why I'm praying for Anna Duggar

What's the difference between band-aids and life-support?

Band-Aids are a temporary fix to heal something little and minor, like a paper cut. If you put a band-aid on a gaping wound, it does nothing to heal or fix it. Life-Support is much more drastic and intense. It involves complicated, intricate procedures to help an individual.

As I have read the headlines about Josh Duggar, and others like him, my heart breaks and grieves for their families, but I'm also reminded of the reality that the Church needs to more ardently give Christians life support in the face of these sins and enemies, not just band-aids.

This isn't just about Josh Duggar. It's about the Church standing up and doing battle with evil itself.

When it comes to this whole Ashley Madison scandal, yes its very sad, but more than anything it
angers me. 

I'm angry because at almost 30 years old I have heard 1 sermon in my life on the evils of pornography addiction.

I'm angry that only when a big sex scandal like this comes out do people start talking about sexual sin and acknowledging it. The rest of time there is no discussion of it, because sadly it has become a socially acceptable and even "normal."

I am angry that my faith tradition (Catholicism) still in many ways is silent on these issues when it comes to preaching in church on a Sunday morning. I am angry when well-intentioned people make idiot statements in ways that don't help the issue.at.all. 

I am both angry and sad when I see young people I know struggling and getting caught up in the web of sexual sin. We as a Church need to stop avoiding and start talking about the messy.painful.difficult. stuff. This means preaching about affairs, divorce, pornography/sexual sin, and other difficult issues. Not talking about the messy stuff only gives it room to grow and destroy families.
I know there is a wide array of thoughts towards the Duggar family for SO many reasons. 

This sad reality of leaked information about the secret life of Josh Duggar is a staunch reminder that pornography, infidelity, and sexual sin are rapidly becoming a growing problem in our culture.

Over the last week, I have found myself thinking of Anna Duggar and her young children. 

I cannot imagine the pain and shock she must feel and trying to manage it all with three little ones plus a newborn baby. I pray she finds help, healing, and the right resources. I pray for her courage, wisdom, and discernment in the coming weeks and months. I pray she gets proper counsel from the proper people. I'm praying for Anna Duggar not because I'm a fan or even that I necessarily agree with her, but because she too like me is a wife and a Christian.
And yes I pray for Josh Duggar too. 

I pray he wakes the Hell up, repents, and changes; but not by just reading his Bible or doing manual labor but that he chooses to enter into recovery for himself, his wife, and his children. 

I pray he realizes the damage his selfish choices have done to his family.
You can hold whatever opinions you want on the Duggar family and even Josh himself, but might I ask you to say a prayer for his hurting wife and children today? Because they are the ones that have to deal with these life-changing realities moving forward. No wife wants to wake-up the to reality her husband cheated multiple times, but to do so in the face of great public scrutiny is unimaginable to me.

Sin is real. Evil exists. Our choices always have consequences. With all that in mind, let's stop avoiding the messy. Rather, embrace the painful realities many of our brothers and sisters sitting in the same pew as you are battling. 

Part of being church is to walk with each other through the painful mess of life. 

And the mess of sexual sin doesn't need anymore band-aids.

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27 August 2015

The New Serenity Prayer

I have written before here about the power of the word serenity and what it has been teaching me. Serenity is something I will be be working at the rest of my life, but I am slowly starting to see how real, daily serenity is changing my life in ways I never would have dreamed. 

One of my favorite authors and most interesting people to follow on social media is Fr. James Martin.  Fr. Jim Martin is a Jesuit priest who writes about everything from Ignatian spirituality to the culture. He is one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter and everyday tweets a sermon!? #waycool
A friend recently sent me this new, updated version of the Serenity Prayer, which Fr. Jim Martin wrote. And I thought it was way too good to not share here:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, which is pretty much everyone, since I'm clearly not you, God. At least not the last time I checked.

And while you're at it, God, please give me the courage to change what I need to change about myself, which is frankly a lot, since, once again, I'm not you, which mean I'm not perfect. It's better for me to focus on changing myself than to worry about changing other people, who, as you'll no doubt remember me saying, I can't change anyway. 

Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up whenever I think that I'm clearly smarter than everyone else in the room, that no one knows what they're talking about except me, or that I alone have all the answers.
Basically, God, grant me the wisdom to remember that I'm not you. Amen.
-Fr. James Martin, SJ

One of the biggest lessons life has taught me so far is learning to accept I cannot change or control anyone in this world, except little ol' me. I have wasted SO much time in life getting frustrated about difficult people in my life or getting a lesson in humility that I should yank the plank outta my eye first before going telling another person about the beam in their eye. 

No I am not God. Sometimes I both hate and love that at the exact same time. Constantly being reminded that I cannot change others and only have control over me continues to be a reality check. I'm constantly reminded that I cannot change/look at others without seriously looking at myself first. Walking in the way of serenity is a choice to make every single day, and some days are easier than others. Deep down though, I am slowly learning the path to growth and insight comes with surrender and constantly realizing I am not in control.

I'm not in control. You're not in control. And even though sometimes that sucks, its actually a very, very good thing.

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21 August 2015

Adventures in How NOT to Make Laundry Detergent

While Jim is busy enjoying some new essential oils this week, I have been busy making our first batch of homemade laundry detergent. 

I first looked at this recipe and had planned to go with it. But being a newbie, I thought it might be good to ask a friend her thoughts to see if I left anything out. Well good thing I did, because apparently I was lacking a very basic ingredient, soap. Specifically a laundry soap called Fels Naphtha. Yeah say that 10 times fast.

So there I am sitting on the porch with my 5 gallon tub of laundry soap, half done right. #pathetic Because I made such a large amount I had to run back to the store for 8 bars of Fels Naphtha soap. I came home, found a cheese grader, and started shredding. Have you ever got writer's cramp from shredding soap? Well now its a real thing.

8 bars later plus a lot of mixing, Team Hubbard has now plenty of laundry detergent for easily the next year...and maybe then some.

Lesson's learned??
  • Start out small-don't make a huge batch only to realize its missing a key ingredient
  • Use a blender/food processor to make Fals soap into a powder, grating got old way fast
  • Don't break the cheese grader (see above)

If you're wanting to start making your own laundry soap, use THIS  recipe by Amy. This woman knows what she be talking about. 

And if you're in the area, swing by our place! We've now got laundry detergent coming out our ears would love to give you your own batch. Thank you and You're Welcome:)

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19 August 2015

Mindless Eating & 1 Question to Keep You Accountable

This summer, I have slowly started reading more books on real food and healthy eating. One of the best books I read was one all about mindless eating. It was absolutely fascinating! I was amazed to see how many hidden cues and persuaders that surround us on a daily basis that impact how much we eat and our food choices. 

What made me think the most was when the author specifically studied the science behind mindless eating and asked one particular question to help you keep in check why exactly you're eating (real hunger or mindlessness).

The next time you're watching TV and feel like you need a snack or are just bored stop and ask yourself this simple question: If I'm really hungry, would I eat an apple right now? If you're really hungry, a proper fuel choice such as an apple or some crunchy veggies is what your body actually needs. But if you're thinking that pint of Ben and Jerry is the answer to your "hunger pains" you're definitely towing the lines of mindless eating.

The power behind is this that mindless eating and actual hunger are two totally, completely different things. If you're truly hungry, that means your body needs nutrients and the proper fuel to keep moving. If you're not really hungry, then its more about a craving or using food even as a way to distract yourself from certain feelings and emotions. 

Part of the reason I stay connected and follow Weight Watchers is because I know my relationship with food can be a little twisted and it needs more improvement and growth. And mindless eating is one of those ways I need to become more self-aware about. Even beginning to ask myself this question has helped me see how mindless eating is as second nature to me as brushing my hair. 

I see how much power food has and how easily I can misuse it. Heck, just last night as I was putting finishing touches on our first batch of homemade laundry soap I started snacking, both mindlessly and endlessly. Why? Well because I wasn't paying attention, didn't care, was bored, etc.

The more I read and get into running I am seeing how food really is fuel for my body, and not just about living to eat. With my first half marathon in October, I want to prep my body well and give it the best possible fuel. I want to better understand how the right foods will actually make me stronger and hopefully run faster. Mindless eating is something I'll always have to be aware of and intentional about. But I am surprised how asking myself that question has helped keep me a little more in check the last few weeks.

What's your relationship with food like? How do you keep yourself honest and in check with mindless or emotional eating? Dish below, I want to gobble up all your suggestions!

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17 August 2015

Ministry is Not All About Numbers

I have been working in youth ministry for going on 9 years now. Over those years, I have had lots of highs and lows....oh and made plenty of mistakes along the way too. I have wrestled with and doubted if I'm supposed to be doing this or if I am even making a difference in this work.

On Saturday, I was reminded yet again that sometimes ministry cannot just be about the numbers. Because at the end of the day, its all about souls not numbers.

Our diocese was offering a day workshop through St. Paul Street Evangelization in equipping and teaching young people how to share their faith, particularly in street evangelization. Not the screaming-preachy-nut job on a corner but with love and kindness. I was really excited to see the offering and encouraged our team of youth leaders at church to attend.

Well Saturday was drawing nearer, and I had 1 young lady who wanted to go and was free. Honestly I felt defeated and frustrated. I started doubting if it was even worth taking her all the way downtown to the seminary for the workshop. In my mind, I was basing the value of this opportunity on the amount of young people going. As the weekend drew closer, I really debated calling her and canceling because we "didn't have enough people."

One night over dinner, I was just overwhelmed and crying about it to Jim over spaghetti. He gently reminded me that what kind of message would I send to this teen girl in canceling an event because she was the only one who wanted go. It could send a message of "Well, we only do things if there popular or enough people sign up." He told me that even for this one young lady it could an opportunity for her to grow deeper in faith. 

And you know what? I took that one young lady to the workshop and I am SO glad I did. I was amazed at how much I even enjoyed it and took away deeper conviction and idea's to implement in our youth program. One the way way home, I was asking this girl what she enjoyed, what surprised her, and what struck her most about the workshop.

Her answer was so simple, but made me glad I took her. She said, "Well at first when they were talking I was scared to talk about my faith in such a bold way (street evangelization) because I didn't know if I could do it; I didn't know what to say. But they showed me talking about faith/God doesn't have to be scary and I can do it anywhere--in big or small ways. God uses it no matter what."

As she was talking I just smiled thinking, "Okay God, I get it." Hearing her share on the way home with me reminded me not to judge the value or impact of something based purely on the numbers. Yes, numbers matter to a certain extent. But when ministry becomes solely a "numbers game," it raises the bar for burn-out and comparison. 

Our youth program may never be the largest in terms of actual numbers. But as long as our purpose remains helping young people to know Jesus more that is what is matters most. Jesus wasn't all about the numbers game either. Heck He had 12 guys in his posse, but even then they weren't perfect and certainly wavered in the commitment to Him.

Ministry, discipleship, and all that good stuff is not about how pretty or big we make it. Its really not about how much I can do, but how much I get out of the way and allow God to lead and work through me wherever He has me.

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14 August 2015

Going Paste-less//An Adventure in Toothpaste-less Living

No we are not crazy.

For awhile now, I have slowly been getting into natural living and using less chemicals at home. Heck this weekend I am gonna try for the first time and make our own laundry soap! Watch out Pioneer Woman.
I have been amazed at all the ways hazardous chemicals are in so many different products we use daily in our homes. I love getting inspired by other bloggers trying new idea's to live a more natural life; like when Olivia went on her toxic deo detox.

A good friend a mine had a Norwex party at the beginning of the summer. Norwex is a company that works to create and offer products for people to radically reduce chemicals in their homes. They everything from window cloths to toothbrushes that don't require toothpaste.

So as Jim and I looked together at the catalog, we both were instantly struck by these toothbrushes that don't even need toothpaste. So how does that work?? 

The toothbrush has microfiber bristles that have an INCREDIBLE amount of surface area and "grabby" power that lifts off the strep bacteria that cause cavities and bad breath. It also has silver in the brush bristles that when met with water is a way for the toothbrush to actually clean itself. A self-sanitizing toothbrush?! I know. #crazy

Yes we do still keep toothpaste at home, and use it on occasion because honestly who doesn't like the minty aftertaste? And Jim is a mouthwash snob so he uses that as well. 

I go to the dentist in a few weeks. Gotta wonder what that conversation goes like when I tell her I am going paste-less...
But one thing, no mo paste at least gives me back some dignity when tooth brushing. Because more often than I'd like to admit I looked like this:

Are you into natural living and using chemical-free products? What are your favorites? Why is it worth the effort for you and or your family?

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11 August 2015

Goal Setting that Creates Change//6 Months Later

I have always been intense on setting goals and working hard to achieve them. Sometimes I would flake out and give up, but other times I would rock it out hard-core style like this training for a half marathon insanity.  

I began a new adventure in 2015, a different but more intentional way of chasing after my dreams and goals in life. For awhile now, I had been hearing about these things called powersheets, a product created by Lara Casey to help people strategically plan their goals while focusing on what really matters in life. Sure a stack of papers in a binder are not magic and don't just figure life out for you. But the intentional work and focus I have put in them the last 6 months has really stretched me in the best possible ways.

What I have found most helpful about using powersheets are the prep work to help you get started. It gave me space to write down big dreams, while honestly reviewing what worked and didn't work for me the last year. I became reminded of the purposeful living I wanted more in my life, and what really fires me up and fills my soul.

As I began working through my goals over the last six months, I began to see little by little that action+patience+grace makes things happen. I realized that getting something done is more important than having it perfect.

Where I succeded/grew:
  • Exercise became a regular part of life...go figure I actually like it now! I never realized how prioritizing my physical health would help me love myself better
  • Learned how to be more spontaneous and live life less by a schedule
  • Read A LOT of good books (so far I'm already up to 36 this year!)
  • Boundaries and less negative self-talk
  • Embracing more simplistic way of life
  • Keeping a gratitude journal
  • Forming genuine friendships

Where I struggled:

  • Even with growth in more structured social media use, I saw how MUCH it can overtake my life and prevent me from enjoying the present moment in front of me
  • Becoming aware of codependant and mothering tendencies in my marriage (thank you therapy:)
  • Making my phone an idol
  • Trying to stick with doing a pure social media fast every other weekend...pretty much crashed and burned here
  • Journaling about my feelings every single day (thank you therapy X2)
  • Creating structure every morning to make time for both running and prayer/Scripture reading 

Six months ago when I started my first set of powersheets, I was uncertain and fearful about a lot of things in life. I had big dreams but seriously doubted how or if I could make them a reality. But here I am six months later, and life feels a little more intentional and richer. Life is not by any means perfect, but it is filled with more simplicity, joy, and peace.

Are you into goal setting? What helps you make your dreams and goals happen? How do you not lose focus?

P.S. If you are interested in finding out more about powersheets, head over to Lara's website. For the next year, she will have several different options for using the powersheets in your life. Go check them out, I personally have found them very helpful and encouraging:)

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10 August 2015

The Makings of Genuine Sisterhood

Making real friendships over the years for me at times has proven difficult and confusing. It has taken me awhile to find "my people." This past Saturday, reminded me yet again of the important need for real, genuine sisterhood in my life.

On a whim over the last month, Rakhi, Jenna, and I decided to host together a BIS brunch to ladies of southeast Michigan. What started off as pondering over a Facebook message, turned into the loveliest morning with over 40 women present. 

Great food, beautiful women, an awesome talk on authentic sisterhood by Mary, and did I mention we had mimosas coming out of our ears?! ;-) I don't know how to describe but there is something so enriching for my soul to gather with other women and just be together. 

Mary gave a heartfelt talk that hit home with all of us on what makes up genuine sisterhood. Her inspiration came from C.S. Lewis' words on friendship. But being the spicy gal Mary is she tweaked them a bit to relate to talking on sisterhood: "Friendship is born at that moment where one person says to another: What, you too? I thought I was the only one."

True sisterhood begins to blossom and grow when you can look at each other and say "What you too? I thought I was the only one!" Sometimes as women it is so easy to feel alone; alone in our jobs, vocations, marriages, and certainly our struggles and burdens. We cannot have true, genuine community if we hid behind our masks and keep pretending. 

Mary specifically mentioned affirmation, honesty, and unity in prayer as tangible things that make up genuine sisterhood. We have to be willing to be real with each other. Lay down our messes and stop hiding behind the allure of a picture perfect Instagrammed life. We as women need to be each other's cheerleaders and affirm the heck outta each other!! This is crazy important especially as the culture today does more using, abusing, and objectifying of women than has ever been done before. And how can it all work together if we are not united in prayer?! 

All of us need each other, no matter our vocation or job status. As the culture grows more toxic, women of all ages need each other for support and encouragement. Each of us has gifts that we can share and use to build others up. And somehow when we can come together united in our faith, the world seems a little less scary and threatening. I become encouraged and know I am really not alone.
Some of the richest and most meaningful friendships I have developed over the last year have felt like the words of that C.S. Lewis quote. 
When I know I am not alone it gives me courage to keep trucking onward...and to share that with other women is exactly what makes up genuine sisterhood.

What do you think makes genuine sisterhood? Have you ever experienced that with a community of women in your own life? How has that made a positive impact in your life?

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