I Am Baker

criticism and community

I was lolly gaging along on Pinterest and this popped up on my screen.

criticism kills community

see more from Ann Voskamp

Talk about convicting.

I am so guilty of jumping to criticism.  So guilty of letting a small hurt or an unintentional rejection lead me to a path of character destruction.

And when I say lead me, I fully mean that I lead myself, allow myself, to go to a place of criticism of others just to pacify my hurt feelings.

Most recently the discomfort stemmed from social events that I was not included in.

I can’t help but think:

I thought we were friends?  Is it my hair?  The car I drive?  My inability to keep silent for longer than 7 seconds?  My faith?

Do you know what I am doing? Rationalizing my perceived ‘rejection’.

It has to be “something wrong with me”.

judging others

When people are getting together they are not ‘rejecting’ me, they are simply living their lives in the best way they know how.  Quite frankly, it just has nothing to do with me.  (And honestly, if my exclusion is intentional, then isn’t it for the best that I am not there?)

I am just not comfortable judging others motives right now.  It’s far too easy to look at someone and think they they have it all, that they have everything I want in my life, that the grass is greener where they are.

I am only seeing their highlight reel.

Everyone has a story...

I think it’s safe to say that coffee dates and parties exist to strengthen the existing relationships these folks have, and if so, I am ALL about that!  We should be doing all we can to strengthen the bonds that already exist.

The idea of girlfriends (new and old) creating time to get together to discuss commonalities and support each other and to have fellowship is exactly the type of behavior we need more of.  That is what community is.

Here is where I have had enlightenment of late: While these things are the exact definition of exclusive, that is what they should be.

Where do I grow the most?  In a crowded room of 1000 acquaintances or in a small setting where individual voices are heard?  In the smaller group of course. (There is a time and place for large groups, it just depends on what you are seeking to learn.)

We all have friends and bonds that create a feel of exclusivity among others.  Just because a group of friends gets together does not mean it is at the expense of others, no matter how it feels.<— I need to remember that!

When I LOOK for ways to feel bad about others choices, I find them.

When I LOOK for ways to see contentment in others choices, well, I will find it.

Shine and Let Shine!

When I am thankful and grateful for the life I am living (not stuck in a place of jealously and envy) that is when I find myself understanding why people do what they do. Accepting. Understanding. Feeling content.

Feeling true contentment in my life has awakened a new love in me.  I am finding it easier (every single day as I am always trying to grow!) to accept people for who they are right where they are.

When I am focusing on loving the life I have, THAT is when opportunities find a way of presenting themselves. The RIGHT opportunities.  Some of these social get togethers are not right for me right now. God knows exactly where I need to be and where my focus needs to be.  (On HIS will, not my own!)

Grateful Joy

I choose to feel grateful that I have a family that needs me and allows me to grow with love.

I choose to feel joy for others when they get to experience relationships in a new and more cherished way.

I choose to be kind to others not because I want something in return, but because that is what enriches my soul.

Journey

Next time a situation comes up that I start to feel that twinge of jealousy or resentment over what others are doing I hope I am still in a place of acceptance.

Next time I irrationally jump to critical conclusions about others choices I hope one of my friends smacks me upside the head and reminds me to take note of my blessings.

But just in case I fall prey to the gossip and criticism that so quickly invade my brain, here is a great list of things that happy people do.

12 Important Things Happy People Do Differently

Tribute to Stephen Covey

Because I believe that living a good life is a choice and not a reflection of our circumstances, I know that I need to be intentional with my thoughts and actions.  This is my daily prayer… for me and you!

Gods Perfect Love

Please let me know how I can more specifically be in prayer for you.

I Am Baker

october things, and joy

I have a thing for sunrises.  There is something entirely magical and majestic about a kaleidoscope sky growing in intensity and whose light is ablaze against the dark tree skyline.

October Sunrise

With the water being balmy compared to the air in these cooler fall days, there is an etherial fog that lingers until the sun starts warming.

October Sunrise

Sunrises.  Pink streaked skies. Enveloping morning mists.

There is something to be said about nature and my relationship to God.  It is humbling to see the stunning beauty that is (seemingly) effortlessly created day after day, all to the delight and enchantment of this grateful servant.

October Pond

As the day progresses and the demand of little people and tasks forces my focus away from Him, I am so thankful for the reminders.

The afternoon sky glowing bright with cyan hues reflecting perfectly against the leafy pond.

October Fields

Autumn.  One of the things that keeps my heart endeared here, in Minnesota.  I get lost in the colors, the Grand Design.

October Ponds

Indebted to a hard working husband and a generous Savior, I have never known peace and contentment like I do here, on our land and home.

So many things have changed for me in the last 30 days, and all of them being significant life changes.  Those changes that shift a perspective or a alter a view of the way I am.

I have never felt such joy and peace in growth. Life is beautiful, even if it isn’t.

Some of it comes from a desire to change, but most of it comes from a God eager to help me follow His will.

October Puppy

The little things, the small business that keeps a day flowing, they bring contentment.  My puppy Dodger (an actual puppy no more, but his small size allows the description to fly) enjoying the sun in the middle of a dying forest.  He feels it too, I know.  The joy.

October Sunset

With dinner done and kids starting their nighttime routine, the sun makes her way below the tree tops.

That last few minutes of her descent, where every last ray is reaching into the shadows, that is my favorite.

It’s a forgiveness for every falter.  It’s a reminder to seek her out in the morning.

I just have to say, thank you.  Thank you for new friends.  Thank you for one of the most beautiful autumn transitions I can remember in years.  Thank you for loving teachers and mailmen and pastors.  Thank you for family who didn’t choose me, but makes the best of it.  Thank you to my patient and accepting and exceptional  husband.

Thank you for the grace of a Heavenly Father.

Praying (it is my greatest wish) that you too feel the love and joy and peace that only He can give.

I Am Baker

thou shall not steal

In the crazy world of online life, one theme is (sadly) forever rampant.  Stealing.

In my specific little online world, there is recipe stealing, picture stealing, and idea stealing.

That last one is a bone of contention for many, as they do not think “ideas” can be stolen.

I feel differently.

ten commandments from The Standard Canvas Etsy ShopThis print can be purchased from The Standard Canvas Etsy Shop

“Stealing can be as blatant as taking from another.  Or it can be subtle: stealing includes cheating another, not dealing fairly with others and stealing credit for another’s work.  Treat others as you wish to be treated.”

-life:beautiful magazine, summer issue 2014

When I read that in this months life:beautiful, I was taken aback.  I had not heard it phrased in quite such a simplistic way before and it struck a heavy chord in my heart.

Pink Rose Cake ~ #rosecake #original #rosettecake #iambaker

I have spent years tracking down people who stole my idea for the buttercream rose cake piped with a closed star tip.  I asked nicely, I asked not-so nicely, and I demanded.  We all knew the truth, they had seen the idea somewhere and copied it.  But they lied,  they were defensive, they attacked.

And it hurt.  I could not get my head around the concept of someone stealing my idea and when confronted, to lie to my face.

Due to a recent (heated) interaction, God put it on my heart to give up that battle.  Like, seriously give up the fight.

Let Go Let God

image credit

I knew that I should never again email someone about it, that I should never leave another passive aggressive comment, that I never needed to say another word about it.  I was not ‘fighting a good fight’.  I was wrong.

I was not honoring God in demanding credit from others.  I was trying to further my own Kingdom, totally consumed and wrapped up in my unhealthy pursuit of being credited.

I was being a very poor example of a Christian.  I had forgotten my role and my place on this earth.  And it was time to let it go.

I have for the most part, and God has honored me with a peace that I had not known concerning the subject.  The stealing is still rampant, but the acceptance of it is new.

Eight commandment, thou shalt not stealimage credit

Today I was researching a recipe and came across someone else stealing an idea.  It wasn’t my idea, but that anger and bitterness immediately rose to the surface and I got feisty.  The thief was being praised and awarded and actually financially profiting from the idea they stole.  It was wrong!  And I felt the need to say something.

But those simple words written above came to mind.

And while those words apply to every Christian, but it is not up to me to police them.

Those words need to first apply to me.

I need to make sure that I am always giving credit where it is due.  That I am going out of my way to offer credit for the idea, for the recipe, for anything that was “gifted” to me by an outside source.  The only person that I need to police on the subject is myself.

Again, the realization has brought me peace, but I wrote this little prayer in the hopes that if the feistiness ever returns, I can call on these words to calm my anxious heart.

Dear Jesus,

You know my heart and my desire to see good.  You know how injustice triggers a “fight”mode in my mind and how I get completely focused (obsessed even) on seeing justice through.  But Lord, You also have taught me Your word and that I need to focus on the plank in my own eye.  Lord, help me to place less judgement on others and focus more on improving my own actions.  Help me to understand Your commandments better!  To see that You have given me the tools to be kind, to be honest, and to be faithful.  I want my actions, personally and professionally, to be pleasing to you oh Lord.  Thank you for caring so much that You are willing to remind me over and over again.  Thank You for loving me.

Amen.

I Am Baker

struggles

Today’s guest post by Gianna Kordatzky from Traveling Thought and Family Fun Twin Cities.  So honored to have Gianna back and thankful for her willingness to share her faith with us!

 

 

For once, we didn’t have anything planned. No festivals, no time-consuming projects, no errands. Nothing. The weekend was a blank page.

It was splendid.

Then, the weekend started. With no structure, the kids were really crabby with each other. They cried. They whined. They fought. They stopped listening to directions thinking they were suggestions, not commands.

Consequences ensued and everyone was unhappy, including Mama and Dad.

We suffered for hours together clenching our teeth and pulling our hair out. Chris and I had had it. One more minute like this and so help me…

Suddenly, there was quiet. Peace.

gianna-iamservant

They were playing together.

After supper there was happiness, kids running in and out of the play house, digging in the sandbox. Conversations. Giggles. The kids were transformed.

I looked at Chris and said, “I know this sounds crazy, but they need more unstructured play time. They don’t know what to do with themselves when nothing is scheduled. And the only way to learn is go through it and figure it out.”

Sometimes that’s how it seems that God works in our lives. It seems He lets us struggle through trials and even our emotions like He’s had enough of us and just wants us to figure it out on our own.

But God isn’t like that. Of course, there are times we have to go through a seemingly never ending struggle, but our struggles are not afterthoughts. God doesn’t see us in the middle of something and think, “Oh, they need more of that.” God has ordained each moment. He may not seem close, but He always is. He is always by our side even though He doesn’t always step into our circumstances. He gives us wisdom when we ask, and He is our strength. So we can walk through whatever test we are put through victoriously.

Romans 5:3

image from biblepic.com

I Am Baker

calming my anxious spirit

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Gina Horkey.   Gina is a freelance writer, with a background in finance. She’s passionate about Jesus and designing a flexible lifestyle suited to meet the needs of her young family…while honoring God of course! She hopes to inspire others to do the same and shares her story via her blog. Next year at this time she hopes to be writing and traveling around the U.S. in an R.V. Please stop by her Facebook page and say hello!

 

“For I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” ~Philippians 4:11

 

Do you struggle with an anxious spirit? If you’re nodding your head yes, you’re not alone. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one in the whole wide world that can’t get out of your own head or that can’t shut off your brain, but it’s not true. Tons of people struggle with anxiety, me included.

 

This weekend’s church sermon was one that I felt was spoken directly to me. I’ve felt this way before, but never quite so directly. Our church is ending a message series on being “More Than Happy.” The context is that like Paul in the book of Philippians, we as Christ-followers should find joy in all circumstances, rather than being focused on finding temporary happiness.

 

The final message was for those of us specifically battling anxiety. Personally, I been having my most intense battle this past year with this very thing. My ears perked up and I found a pen to take some notes. I wanted to share in case there were others like me that could benefit from hearing this message.

"Prayer is the Language" by Leland Francisco

“Prayer is the Language” by Leland Francisco

 

“I want you to know that what’s happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” ~Philippians 1:12

 

The teaching pastor offered us three ways to overcome anxiety:

1.Don’t bury it! The worst thing you can do is to keep your feelings of anxiety and worry all to yourself. That’s what the devil would prefer of course, but that’s not what God wants for you. God wants for you to share your burden with others and especially with Him. The pastor went on to say that we as a church sometimes project perfection, but the truth is that we are all broken. “It’s okay to not be okay.” Ask someone to fight alongside you. Tell others. Be vulnerable with God and with your Christian friends who will lift you up.

 

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all that He has done.” Philippians 4:6

2. Work on it! It’s best to do this BEFORE anxiety inducing events arise, as the last thing you want to do when in these situations is oftentimes what will help you the most. Pray without ceasing. Get in the habit of praying more often. Pray when things go right, as well as when things don’t. Pray when things are status quo. It’s easy to see what we’re lacking; instead let’s work on seeing what we’ve been blessed with and thank God for it instead.

 

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

3. Defeat it! With God’s power you can defeat anxiety, instead of letting anxiety defeat you. You can’t change anything by worrying about it, but if you give it over to Him, God can! You are not helpless; you are powerful and in control not due to your own actions, but because of Jesus. He has employed the ultimate strategy of defeat on our behalf already. Accept it and own it!

 

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” ~Philippians 1:21

 

I’m sure that for me anxiety could easily be a lifelong battle if I let it. As a young woman dealing with the stresses of raising kids and figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, there’s no shortage of things to worry about. Showing up and letting others see me warts and all, is the real challenge. Maybe by me sharing a little of my story I might be able to help someone else.

 

Have you dealt with anxiety? How has it affected your faith?

I Am Baker I Am Baker

A Prayer Request and a Praise!

UPDATE:  Chad’s cardioversion was not successful.  His heart went back into AFib within a minute of being converted.  We are looking into what our options are at this point.  Most likely they will recommend more (increased dose) drugs and another cardioversion.  After that they look at ablations.  We are trusting in God that He has us exactly where we are supposed to be right now.  Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

 

Tomorrow my husband is going in for a cardioversion.

The last seven months have been a roller coaster of emotion for this family, from dealing with Chad’s fathers death, to finding out we are pregnant, to his grandmother’s passing, then my great-grandmothers passing, then finding out that Chad suffers from a similar heart condition that his father suffered from.

Chad has been on medication for the last month that affects his energy, his blood density, and his heart rate.  His diet has been restricted and he has had to limit many things that he was used too, including limiting sodium, leafy greens, and  his beloved coffee and soda.  (A good thing I know, but a big change none the less.)

Its been hard to see a man who was so full of life to suddenly be tired all the time.  The uncertainty of his future complied with the devastation of his past has been challenging to say the least.

Tomorrow they will be shocking his heart to see if it will return to “normal” rhythm.

If you would be willing to pray, we would be so thankful!

Prayer Changes Things!

Our specific prayer request are:

  • That this cardioversion will work. That Chad can discontinue the drug regiment he is on.  That his heart will return to “normal” rhythm and stay that way.
  • That even though his father, mother, and brother have all dealt with similar heart complications, that this seemingly hereditary condition will end with Chad.  We are so hopeful that none of our five children will have these heart issues.
  • (selfishly) That I will not be exposed to any illness that would harm me or the baby during our time at the hospital tomorrow.

 

And on a much happier note… I read this on facebook today and was choked up.  We serve such an awesome God!  I attend the same church as both Andrea and the amazing lady she is talking about… so to see this miracle and know these folks is even more awesome!

Best Facebook Post Ever

We are so thankful and grateful for any prayers you would be able to offer, and if there is any way I can be in prayer for you please do let me know.  God Bless!

I Am Baker

Rejection and Forgiveness

I came across this quote recently and couldn’t help but take notice.

Inspirational Quote

 

“When you forgive, you heal your own anger and hurt and are able to let love lead again.  Its like spring cleaning for your heart.”

-Marco Schimoff

I sorta dismissed it because I generally disagree with the concept of “healing thyself”.  But dismissing it right away wasnt right.  Because dont we need to let God in so He can do the work He needs to?  Dont we need to make the choice to forgive before forgiveness can begin its healing properties?

Recently the value of this quote shed some light.

I have been struggling with rejection.  Worldly rejection.  Familial rejection.  Just… rejection.  And I just happen to be that person that lets things fester.

The other day I woke up and it was wonderful.  I worked out, had great devotional time, started the kids homeschooling… everything was going well.

Quite by accident, I found out that some friends had decided to exclude me from a new project.

Now, I have no idea why they made this choice.  It could have been because they had too many people with the same name as me.  Or because it was Wednesday.  Or because they needed a change.  Or because they truly didnt think about me and knowingly reject me.

But in my mind, it was completely intentional rejection.  How could they do this and not include me?  It had to be intentional.  They made a conscious choice to exclude me.

I was devastated and it proceeded to ruin my entire day.  I just couldnt let it go.

In bed that night, the situation kept running through my head.  Since there was no logical way to reason out the situation, I decided that my only option was to reject them back.  Without them knowing why, I was no longer going to support them and their choices.  If they didnt want me as a part of their project, then that choice was going to ultimately remove me from their lives.

I could almost feel the bitterness growing.  My choice to react and reject based on a situation that I had no clear facts on had planted a seed of resentment in my heart.  It grew when I fed it.  It grew when I didnt.  It was quickly growing beyond my control.

The only remedy to this kind of bitterness is forgiveness.  The absolutely only way that I would be able to get my heart back would be to forgive them.

To forgive them.  To make the choice to let go of any hurt I had perceived they caused me.

I had to pray, “Lord, you know my heartache in this.  But I trust you.  I know that sometimes you put people in my life to teach me just like you remove them to teach me.  Lord, help me to truly forgive these precious ladies and to simply love them.  Remove my judgement.  Remove my bitterness.  No matter what they may say or do, help me to love them as You love them.”

Prayer

In all honestly, prayers such as that are not life long in their healing.  Since I still do not know the reasoning behind my friends actions, I still have occasional doubt and insecurity when I interact with them.  But now, instead of feeding into bitterness, I know where to direct those un-godly feelings.  And remember to look to Him for my value.  To trust Him that when I am in His will, He has me exactly where I need to be.

Funny things is that they will never know the heart struggle that their actions inspired.

But I am thankful for their actions non the less, because through them, I am learning to lean more on God.

I Am Baker

The American Bible Challenge

Do you like Biblical trivia?  Are you a wiz whenever Bible questions come up?

You have got to check out this new show that is starting on GSN!

It is being hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, of ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5th GRADER fame. (and also “you might be a redneck if…” fame for me.  I just crack up at those jokes!)

You can click HERE to find out if the auditions are coming to a town near you.  (that link has all the important info!) Even if they aren’t, a road trip might be in order! :)

According to the official press release:

GSN is looking for teams of three people who have competitive spirits, great personal testimonies, a familiarity with pop culture—and, of course, an awesome knowledge of the Bible.

I can think of a few people who would be perfect for this!

And I gotta tell ya, to think that there would be a show on TV that is seeking out personal testimonies and glorifying God by showing His followers’ passion for His word… well, that is just AWESOME!

If you can think of anyone who might be perfect for this, I pray that you will send it to them.  I am so excited that Christians have an opportunity to share the Word and do it in a fun and educational format!

 

I Am Baker

Gratitude

 

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

Colossians 3:13 NLT

This verse is speaking heavy to me today!

 

All photos are taken on my phone unless otherwise indicated.  The verse is a reflection of what is on my heart.