Thursday, November 7, 2013

This is a post on why the cover of this book ticks me off. Firstly, you have to know that I have not read this book, so it isn't a judgement at all based on the content. I read some of the author's blog, and I think she has some great wisdom to share! This post is, however, a judgement about the misrepresentation of Biblical womanhood displayed on it's cover that I think so many women buy into in the church today.

I am a complementarian woman. I know in my bones that God created men and women to complement one another. This permeates every facet of our beings, from the complementary way he shaped our physical bodies to the way he created our emotions and sympathies work differently, as if we were two halves of a whole. I believe deeply that God has created men to humbly lead, to graciously initiate, and to lovingly shepherd. I also believe whole-heartedly that he created women to humbly serve, to graciously submit, and to lovingly follow. I believe that a man's primary line of work is outside of the home, while I believe that a woman's primary line of work is inside the home. 

All that said, hear me when I say this: I do not believe that a woman is a 'good wife' who is actively glorifying God to her fullest capacity when all she can do is bake a nice cake and keep her house clean. 

Don't get me wrong, I see immense value in the virtues of homemaking. I love cooking, I'm learning to love keeping things clean, and my entire heart adores nurturing children. What this book cover does, though, is equate doing these things with being a good wife. I think the Bible would disagree with that. Even in Proverbs 31, the ultimate checklist of things a good wife should do, the focus is not on all the little things that the wife does for her household. I would argue that the main point of the passage is in its culmination in verse 30, which says, "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is greatly to be praised." All of the things she does to serve her household flow from the more important desire to worship and serve God in all that she does. 

The Bible speaks frequently about what it means to be a Christ-follower. It displays the character of God and perfectly outlines our identities in light of who Christ is. It teaches us how to pray, it shows us what it means to worship, and empowers us to fight sin. Nowhere in the Bible does it outline a recipe for perfectly gooey, melty and kid-approved chocolate chip cookies. That's what Pinterest is for, not Scripture. That being said, when did our womanly, and, particularly, wifely value start being determined by the quality of our table settings and our outfits and our chicken parmesan?

I think something is missing from this book cover. Do you think this woman's husband would say that her baking is the pinnacle of what makes her a good wife? Do you think that Jesus would define her as a good wife based on the quality of her gluten-fat-carb-calorie-free banana bread? The answer is, probably not. Maybe her baking is an act of service done with joy in Jesus because her husband loves it! That's great! However, even then, it alone would not earn her the status of a 'good wife'.

A 'good wife' loves Jesus more than she loves her husband. A 'good wife' scours Scripture with a hungry heart because she loves hearing from her Father. A 'good wife' encourages and supports, lifting up her family with her words. A 'good wife' creates a comfortable and encouraging home environment for her family. Maybe that includes making cookies! There's nothing innately wrong with cookies (believe me... I'm always down for a cookie). The issue arises when the Pinterest-tricks are the goal instead of a natural result of seeking Jesus and determining how to better serve your family.

We as women must love and serve our God, then love and serve our husbands and families. After you've made those your primary goals, go ahead! Make some cookies! Heck, make ME some cookies!! Bake in the freedom of knowing that you can burn them to a crisp, render them inedible, and still be a good wife.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Alright. I've got a (long awaited) story to tell. It's the story of a boy who loves a girl a whole lot like Jesus does.


I woke up on Thursday, September 19th to blaring pop music and a pitch-black room. One of my roommates had turned on some music from her laptop, and, in my ridiculously confused and lethargic state, I reached over to check the time. The clock read 4:00am... As I'm sure you can understand, I was firstly confused, and, shortly after, angry. I asked her (pretty passive-agressively), "Do you know what time it is?" She said in her strangely cheery voice, "It's time to get up!" It took about 2.7 seconds after that moment for it to register to me that something very big was happening... The rest of my roommates proceeded to file in my door, flipping on the light upon their entry, and hand me a twine-wrapped note from Collin. I opened it to see that the inside told me to wake up and pack a bag, because Collin and I are going on an adventure. It said that he couldn't wait to make memories with me. Naturally, I FLEW out of bed, took the most scattered shower of my life (I literally only shaved a cumulative 50% of each calf, and one out of two armpits...), and frantically blew my hair dry as my precious roommates packed my bag for me. Just as his note promised, he showed up at my door at 5:00am sharp, swept me off my feet (very literally. He usually picks me up and carries me if I'm not going as fast as I should be), and tossed me and my bag in the car!

Obviously, by this point, I knew it was happening. I knew I was going to be engaged by the end of whatever he had planned. We had been talking and praying about our marriage timeline, and I knew it was just about the right time to put a ring on it.  What I didn't know, though, is what we were doing, where we were going, or when he planned on proposing.

As we began to drive away, I started gathering clues from the things that were happening. I had a small, packed bag and my roommates had put my toiletries in a plastic bag: I knew some sort of flight was goin' down. When he hopped on the 5 freeway and started to turn near the MacArthur exit, I realized that we were definitely getting on an airplane. What I soon discovered was that he was taking me to Seattle, Washington. MY DREAM CITY. The city and state I've whined to Collin about for forever. I had always wanted to go, and, on this ordinary Thursday when I thought I'd be going to Golf PE and doing homework, I was being whisked to Seattle with my best friend. INSANE.


Two hours later, we landed in Seattle and had the incredible blessing of borrowing a friend's car for the weekend. We started, naturally, by freaking out that we were actually in Seattle... I seriously needed someone to pinch me. Then we made our way downtown and began our trip with a good ol' cup of joe. Over the course of the weekend, we may or may not have gone to 7 different coffee shops... Go ahead and judge. We like our coffee. From there, we simply explored Seattle! We made stops at cool little markets and parks with amazing views, and eventually ate lunch at Pike Place.


At around 4:30, we went to (yet another) coffee shop, where Collin opened the Bible to Matthew 6. For context: this was the chapter that we read together on our first date as a dating couple, and we prayed that God would help us to seek his righteousness above anything else as we dated. As we opened it again on this perfect Seattle afternoon, on what was our last date as a dating couple, we were able to reminisce on the times that we have sought God's glory in our decisions and when we haven't. We rejoiced together over how God had answered our prayer to help us seek him above all else. Collin explained to me later that he chose to reread that passage as a sort of bookend to our dating relationship. It was both our vision in our humble beginnings and our worship in rich hindsight.


We went straight from coffee to a place called Discovery Park. We parked and walked over to the park, and as we rounded the corner, making our way through the shrubbery, pieces of the incredible view peeked into sight before me.  The sun was beginning to set over the huge expanse of the glittering Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier was visible in the distance, and pine-covered islands studded the horizon. It was the most beautiful place I had ever been. Collin walked me through the trail, and we eventually landed on a bench with a missing plank that had the best view in the whole park. It was then that Collin reached into his backpack and grabbed a jar. It was old and blue and filled with what looked like little trinkets and scraps of paper. He proceeded to then explain that this jar had been around for a long time, unbeknownst to me. It was a memory jar that he had kept for the whole time we were dating, putting things like strips of paper with scribbled memories, remnants of old sparklers we had burnt on a picnic date, and my very first Foothills Church name tag into it. We sat on that beautiful bench at the golden hour and basically relived all of our best memories in dating. We cried as we remembered what God had done in our lives since we'd been together, and I was reminded of how incredibly grateful I was for the man sitting next to me. After I pulled out the last memory, Collin said that he wanted to make memories with me for the rest of his life. He said that he wanted to have babies with me, grow old and gray with me, travel the world with me, and wake up to my face every morning until he dies. He reminded me that our memories will never be memories solely for memories' sake, but they will always point to the goodness and sufficiency of Jesus. He told me that he couldn't picture anyone more fit to embark on that mission with him. That's when everything got hard to see through my tear-filled eyes... He stood me up, got on one knee before me, pulled the most beautiful diamond ring I had ever seen out of his pocket, and asked me with his always strong and loving voice if I would please marry him. I couldn't even choke out a yes, so I just hugged him and nodded as I sobbed like a crazy-person!

It was after a few minutes of crying and staring back and forth from my newly-bedazzled ring finger to my fiancé that he finally pointed out the photographers that had apparently been stalking us the whole time, capturing every moment of his beautiful proposal. OF COURSE. I will for the rest of my life be grateful that they were able to capture such an incredible moment.


After our sweet new photographer friends Jenny and Mike left, we spent a solid chunk of time freaking out together over the fact that we're getting MARRIED (I'm still freaking out a little). We soaked in the moment for a little while, I called my mom, we sent a text to some of our closest friends, and then we shut our phones off for the night so we could celebrate solely with one another. Once the sun set, we walked back to the car and he took me to the best sushi dinner I've had. Sushi is one of my favorite foods, so he found the best spot in Seattle and bought me some post-proposal Japanese noms. We headed over to Molly Moon's after, where I had the BEST ice cream. Literally nothing will ever top Molly Moon's in my book. I got a split scoop of Honey Lavender and Earl Grey (my three favorite tastes all in one cone... Ugh). After dessert, we finally made our way back to the hotel where Collin's Grandma had graciously provided us with two rooms for the night, and crashed hard after the best day of our lives so far.


We spent the next day and night in Washington. We started with some more city sights and food, and eventually made our way up to a city called Anacortes on Fidalgo Island where we spent the night at our wonderful friends' home. We drove through Washington park, seeing incredible sights full of tree covered islands and expansive waters. My favorite part was all the baby deer!!! Southern California doesn't have many of those, so I geeked out seeing them all over the place. I wanted to pet one so badly, but I couldn't get close enough! Our friends treated us to an amazing home-cooked dinner at their home, and we went to sleep early because we were waking up early to take our full engagement shoot in the morning! Jenny and Mike met us the next morning at a place called Deception Pass, aka the most insanely beautiful place I've ever been (Discovery Park is a close second, but this one takes the cake), and we explored the pass with them as they took pictures of us! Here are a few of my favorites, but go check out a fuller selection over on Jenny's website!


After the engagement shoot, it was time to say goodbye to the sweet state of Washington. It was everything I had dreamed and more. While I was really sad to leave, I was also really excited to get to see my family and friends and tell them all about it. We hopped on the plane back to California, and headed back to Collin's house for what I thought was going to be dinner with his family... It wasn't. We parked the car, walked up the driveway, and I opened the door to a house full of all of my family and friends, everyone I held dear, waiting to celebrate with us. Collin's last surprise was a party created by a few of our closest friends, complete with all-night pour overs from our favorite Orange Country coffee shop, Hidden House. I found out later that my sweet friends had worked all day long on that party, setting up decorations, figuring out photo prints and slideshows, and making some incredible food. I have the best friends in the world. Here's a video of the surprise from my precious friend, Neph Trejo!

I can't even begin to tell you how perfect it was to get to spend some sweet time together in Seattle, celebrating only with one another, and then to be able to come home and celebrate with the people we love. Collin was so incredibly thoughtful in all of the work he put into our weekend, and I will always look back with immense joy on this sweet time that God gave us. While Collin worked so hard and put an unfathomable amount of hours into it, it was our loving God who had his hand in every detail. He provided so immeasurably for us throughout the whole weekend, from little things like perfectly clear weather (in Seattle!! Can you believe that?!) to big things like our friends loving us enough to work for hours on a party for us. I am so grateful that God has blessed me with such an incredible man who seeks him before he seeks me, and I am THRILLED that I get to spend the rest of my life with him. Collin Jeffrey Mayjack is the most incredible man I've ever known, and I can not wait to be his wife.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We're getting married!!! AH!!! The reasoning behind the absence of a post on Thursday was that I had been unexpectedly flown to Seattle and proposed to by the most amazing man on the face of the earth. Story to come in Thursday's post! Get your Kleenex and popcorn ready, because, I promise, it's a good one.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I love lunch. I know, it's kind of the weirdest meal to love... People are usually dinner people or breakfast people, who don't mind skipping lunch if it means they can have a nice big [insert meal-that-isn't-lunch-here]. I'm in the very small number of humans who loves sitting down to a good afternoon meal. Think about it for a second... When you ask a friend to grab a meal with you, which meal is it normally? Lunch! It's the casual, social, authentic, community-fostering (okay maybe I'm going a little too far... but you know what I'm getting at) underrated meal!

Rant aside, I love lunch, and I love cooking lunch for both myself and others. Hence, this recipe for one of my favorite yummy power-foods! This is a delicious concoction that I threw together a couple days ago, and have whipped up a few times since then (okay, maybe every day since I first created it. Addictive personalities: high five!). It's quick, super filling, and DANG good. I hope you all will put your own spins on it, and just maaaybe grow to love lunch as much as I do!

Start by making a lil' bit of quinoa! This is customizable (along with most of the elements of this recipe) in that you can choose any type of quinoa your lil' heart desires! I'm really enjoying this Tricolor Quinoa from Trader Joe's, but you can use pre-cooked quinoa if you want to cut even more time! Follow the cooking directions on the package, adding two parts water to one part quinoa, and either stove-cook it or microwave it! I'm usually a microwave girl because it saves time, but I do admit that I like the texture better when I cook it on the stove. For this lunch, I used about 1/2 a cup! You can let your tummy lead when deciding how much you'd like to use, though!

Here's where the substance kicks in. Add some cooked & seasoned ground turkey in about a 1:1 ratio to the quinoa. If you don't have ground turkey cooked and ready, like I usually do, then this part will take a little more time. You'll want to cook the ground turkey in some olive oil with a good amount of sea salt, pepper and whatever seasoning you find yourself gravitating towards. I really like thyme with turkey! Now, don't be shy with those seasonings. I think that's the #1 mistake new chef's commonly make: failing to season their meats well. Seasonings cook out a little bit, so feel free to slather those seasonings on!

After adding the turkey, crumble some goat cheese in! Grocery tip: it saves money to buy the regular hunk of cheese instead of the crumbles! It's way more cheese for way less money! It's also way more moist that way. 

Now, here's another customizable part! I like to chop up and throw in about 3/4 of a persian cucumber. Other choices could be avocados, cherry tomatoes, arugula, bell peppers, or any combination of those! If you're feelin' crazy, use 'em all!

Mix it all up, drizzle some olive oil on top with some sea salt and fresh pepper, and PRESTO. You've got yourself a yummy, power-packed meal. Add your lunchtime drink-of-choice, and you're set (mine bounces between iced green tea and Pellegrino, for now).

Enjoy! Then watch for that extra lunch-eatin' bounce in your step. I promise, a good lunch will brighten your day and put a smile on your face. Happy Wednesday!
(Tell me what you did if you customize it!! I LOVE lunch ideas!)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How many times have you heard an incredible truth about God, or have seen his goodness in scripture or in your life, and thought to yourself..... "Oh, cool." 

I've talked a little on this blog about the fact that this summer was one of the most difficult spiritual seasons of my life. One of the things that made it so difficult was the seemingly consuming apathy that I felt towards God. I would hear his word preached, force myself to pray, open the Bible only to shut it five minutes later, all the while feeling like God was too far for any of it to make a difference.

Since that season has come to a close, God has revealed countless reasons for why it was so hard. God was instilling faith in me that could withstand testing. He was ridding me of some deeply rooted sin. He was preparing me for a quickly-approaching move towards adulthood. Through it all, even when God felt so incredibly far, what I'm now coming to see is that he never left me. He was always working, always molding, and always loving. Where I was quick to think that he had abandoned me, he never once did. Not for one moment. 

When we feel far from God, our sinful natures immediately assume that he has left us. When we conclude that God has forsaken us, we decide that he is not as good or loving as we once thought he was. I now see God's hand all throughout the season in which I thought he was the furthest he'd ever been. He had never ceased to be perfectly good, perfectly loving, or perfectly faithful; however, I did. I would become frustrated at God, allowing myself to lie in sin and doubt. God saw my sin, loved me through it as he always does, and lovingly led me back to himself.  

Not for a moment does he forsake us. Not for a moment does he abandon us. He consistently proves himself to be faithful when we are faithless. He never has, and never will leave us. 
What a comforting truth!