My Fitness

Thursday, August 2, 2018

pencil dream

Last night (I wrote this on July 19) I laid my head on my pillow and immediately fell asleep. That by itself is bizarre for me. That never happens. And I immediately had a dream. It was just one image: a giant pencil asleep in my bed. I was the pencil. I was so startled that I had fallen asleep so quickly that it actually jolted me right back awake.

The image of the pencil stayed.
it was a dream. don't judge.
I know I can't draw ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I started thinking about how a giant pencil would walk and talk if we were in a cartoon. How do pencil's move? Maybe mine would fly since it doesn't have legs. This pencil would have to have someone else do the movement for her ("her" since it was me, remember?).

And then it struck me: This pencil can desire whatever it wants but it can only be moved by God.
Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

The pencil will be worn down when used. As the led or graphite is used, the pencil gets smaller.
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

It would be silly to think that the Pencil did anything. Only the One holding the pencil should get the praise.
Matthew 5:16 they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven

And when the graphite runs raw and needs to be put through a pencil sharpener, it will cut away what is useless and sharpen the pencil.
1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

So the Pencil can't even get out of bed without the Writer deciding to use her. Anything the Pencil does that is of any use is because the Writer decided to write something. And when the Pencil stops being effective, the Writer will need to sharpen her and cut away the protective covering to get to the inner usefulness, which is the Holy Spirit.
Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you...

This dream and realization and meditation on Scripture was good for me. Recently I've been rather discouraged. But this dream encouraged me to remember that life isn't about the Pencil. It's about the Author. So maybe people hate the pencil. But that's silly because the Pencil isn't doing anything and can't do anything on her own. When people hate and lie about the Pencil, they're really hating and lying about God.

And that's none of my business. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

when salt has lost its saltiness

Jesus once asked, "If salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?"

Wait.

How can salt even lose its saltiness? How can it lose its taste?

Salt
NaCl
sodium chloride








If part of this simple chemical formation is broken off, its still salt. It just becomes less salt.







Then why would Jesus warn us that we can lose our saltiness? Seems weird. I did very little searching to find out that the only way for salt to lose its saltiness is for there to be "additives" in the mix.

The purpose of us being salt is so that others would see our good works and give glory to our Father in heaven. But if our salt is impure it can rot. If we are impure, we can rot. And at that point we are only good for being trampled under people's feet: people can use rotten salt to help pave their way. Rotten salt, rotten christians can serve as a warning to not lose their saltiness. (Maybe that's a stretch. Maybe that's not what Jesus meant at all. The warning is still good - don't stop being salt or you'll be useless.)

If you mix something other than the gospel into the gospel, you think you are adding a preservative but really you are contaminating the gospel and the Christian and the salt.

You are the salt of the earth. But if salt has lost its taste how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and hide it under a basket, but put it on a stand so it can give light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to the father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:13-16

So what is the gospel? And how can we be pure before God?

In a word, love.
We should define love using scripture.
By this we know love: that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 1 John 3:16
Consider 1 Corinthians 13. Who embodies that description of love? Jesus.
How have you laid down your life for anyone today?

Consider this short message from Tim Keller below. It stayed with me because I happen to be memorizing the Sermon on the Mount (the saltiness passage) right now and I have been ruminating on it and letting it marinate in my soul. Hearing him cite it got me thinking more. I hope it will get you thinking more. Religion that is pure and undefiled is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27


Friday, July 13, 2018

so basically I published a book

That about sums it up. You can order it on Amazon in both paper back and Kindle.

I was inspired to write a book whenever I noticed that I had a rote answer for when people were "stuck" in the walk with Christ. Someone might say, "I keep stumbling in this sin. I feel like I'm pursuing Christ but I feel stuck like God is distant." I went through my answer with every person that was almost identical. The answers were always rooted in spiritual disciplines.

And so I wrote a book. Well, more like a booklet. It's devotional style and short. I don't claim to have all the answers. But I do claim to know the One who does. And by truly and actually pursuing him and not just pursuing religion or a good life, I suspect that a "stuck" spiritual walk will blossom! This book is meant to give you a taste of what that's like.

Check out and buy a copy! For the remainder of the month of July it is discounted: WARPS: an introduction to spiritual disciplines

Last year I wrote a prayer book. In my devotional, I mention that prayer book. I wrote that you can contact me to obtain it. You can find that book by following my author's page on Amazon: L. E. Mulford It was very simple and there's a link in a blogpost where you can download it. Or you can get it at cost from Amazon: 31 Days of Praying Scripture for Our Souls

I want to thank Libby Williams for helping me edit. I want to thank those friends who encouraged me. With all the sadness and evil done to me and my family this year, I am happy that God was able to still keep me focussed and driven.

I really like this book. I've reread it and still found it to be encouraging and convicting! The prayer book, too! It's good stuff and I hope that it will accomplish its purpose of pointing you to Christ.

Why did I write under the name "L. E. Mulford" instead of Lauren? I've always done so. Since I was 6 or 7. Back then I was LEB and once I got married I changed it to LEM. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I didn't tell my family that I wrote a book. But I did mail my parents a copy. Here's their reaction to receiving it:

Friday, June 29, 2018

read scripture aloud

Many of you received person invitations from me inviting you to come eat food and read the letter to the Ephesians. I am so excited to be writing that we had fun and gained some insight in how to make the next one run even smoother.

I was inspired by The Bible Project broadcast about Reading Scripture Aloud


I hope you will try it on your own. Or consider joining us when we finish reading Ephesians. We got through chapters 1-3 tonight.

As you can see from these clips, we had babies and kids being a distraction and themselves distracted. And that's ok. We took turns reading and then we shared a couple of observations. Our biggest take-away was that we are to be loving just like God is loving and the way we show that love is by sacrificially serving others.



so much food!

people and food

friends

children

friends

watching TBP video I shared above

PIE!

he says he wants to be a preacher now

she slept through the whole thing

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

up-cycle shirt to hairband (edit- also added a strap to a bag for a cell phone pocket)


I had a very old shirt that was worn thin but still fit nicely. But then it got a stain on it that I couldn't get out so I decided to up-cycle it into a hairband. I constantly need new hairbands because my kids get them and use them for various fun, imaginative play that inevitably ruins them before I discover the mischief.

It's really simple: start with an old shirt.


Cut a thick band off the bottom.



And twist (pictorial tutorial at bottom).


The end.

If you want a prettier knot, I've found some great tutorials on YouTube. But if you just want to get your hair out of your eyes, this is as simple as an up-cycle gets! Voila! Finish of the 'do with a lateral braid for a nice touch.


edit add>>
I've been wanting a "pocket" for my cell phone for when I don't have any pockets on my clothes. So I used more of the poor shirt as a strap. I just cut and hand stitched it in. It isn't fancy at all. It works though!

how it hangs empty

how it hangs while carrying a mobile
<<
Pictorial Tutorial for Twisting
start with a loop



make a figure 8




continue in the same twist
bend one side on top of the other
pick it up like this so you don't undo your twisting









Wednesday, June 13, 2018

loving day

Lauren + Felipe 
June 12 is National Loving Day celebrating the end of banning interracial marriage. Some 42 years later, Felipe and I would get married slightly unaware that this law protected us. So bizarre.

Yesterday, I received Trillia Newbell's book God's Very Good Idea. I read it to Caleb. Caleb said a couple of interesting things.

First know that we don't have any pictures of Jesus hanging in our house. Jesus makes a pictorial appearance in Jesus Storybook Bible book and DVD and in maybe some Christmas books we have at our house. We absolutely do not have any blonde Jesuses. Caleb noticed how Catalina Echeverri drew Jesus. His words that he chose were interesting. He said, "But why isn't he plain? He is dark."

My kids insist they are not white but pink. And despite the brown influence of their father, Felipe, they all have to be outdoors for hours before they tan. Caleb is especially almost translucent and the only exception to tanning.

I explained to Caleb that Jesus looked more like that picture than he did like us. I was genuinely surprised that he didn't already know that because I thought we spoke about it a lot. But maybe what I'm recalling is talking to Felipe about it, and since Caleb rarely pays attention to anything except Minecraft and Mario, he didn't know.
God's Very Good Idea 

Jesus Storybook Bible

















The other interesting thing Caleb said was at the end. "Well if God said it, it must be true." That made me smile. Thanks Trillia Newbell and Catalina Echeverri for giving me a great book to talk to my kids about Jesus!

Consider talking to your own kids about the white-washed Jesus and the truths of Scripture which are sadly often different from the truths of the church. Here's a great article on why it matters. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

thoughts on elijah

Here are some of my passing thoughts on Elijah. I'm not studying him. I only read through his story. You can read it in 1 Kings 17.

I feel like I relate to him in a small way. I'm not a prophet but it seems whenever I start speaking truth to God's people that might be uncomfortable for them to hear, they try to get rid of me, including most recently lying to CPS and showing favor to liars instead of helping the oppressed. The tiny bit of injustice that I've been served from my church makes me marvel at the restraint of entire people groups within the US.

So I've faced my Ahabs.

I've not had any miraculous flour and oil jars. But I feel like I've seen God show up in other ways while I mock people's idols. And then the next day ran and hid because I suddenly forgot God's provision and love for me.

I've helped others when they were lost and crying but I had no one to help me when I was lost and crying. I got lost in February. I cry myself to sleep and sometimes don't sleep at all. It's getting better. The Holy Spirit is my only help. I don't know why the church doesn't care for me. The church isn't the Church. The church enjoys her Baals. She doesn't enjoy me pointing it out.

Today I wait (but not hiding in a small cave) listening for the still, unwavering, whispered voice of the Lord. He is reminding me:

I'd rather be Elijah in the wilderness than Jezebel in the palace.