Thursday, October 1, 2009

Can You Say Little House on the Prairie?

Meet my mill. We call her Ingalls.When it's time to mill I get Ingalls out and sit her on my counter, pour the wheat kernels in the top, turn her on, (she sounds like a jet engine by the way), and she mills my wheat into flour. I pull out the bowl at the bottom, tighten my bonnet, and bake away! See how easy it is! No heavy duty industrial equipment in my backyard, just a little appliance that fits on my counter.                                               
Why don't I just bake my breads with the flour that I can buy at my friendly Walmart you ask? Why go to all this trouble for a little flour? Well, I have a very good friend who does this and she gave me a little education about wheat. I will do my best to explain to you my bloggy friends what I'm learning, but please know I'm a newby and not an expert on this, and I'm pretty much going to just plagiarize from Sue Becker of Bread Beckers Inc. You can go to their website for more detailed information, and if this interest you I highly recommend it.Click on the site, and then click on articles to read up on more of this information.

The nutrition that is inside a tiny kernel of wheat is unbelievable, but once it is broken open, as in milling, the oxidation(looses it's freshness because of exposure to air) process begins. After 72 hours about 90% of over 30 nutrients are gone. In the 1920's new technology allowed enterprising millers to separate the components in the wheat. They removed the germ, germ oil, and the bran, and the remaining white flour could be stored for as long as needed. They were selling the bran and wheat germ as high protein food supplements  for cattle. Shortly, diseases like beriberi and pellagra drastically increased, and they traced this to vitamin B deficiencies, which was a result of the white flour. Apparently, health officials urged mills to return to producing whole wheat flour again, but they didn't want to loose their money making business of selling the bran and germ as cattle feed. Instead, they replaced 4 vitamins for the 25-30 that were being removed. This solved the issue of beriberi and pellagra, but we now have many diseases that are associated with our consumption of white flour(appendicitis, diverticular disease, hiatal hernia, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and more).

Vitamin E is a significant vitamin to our bodies. The richest source of vitamin E is found in the germ of the wheat kernel. When wheat is milled into flour the vitamin E is very quickly oxidized, so in order to obtain the vitamin E we must eat the kernel whole or use freshly milled flour. I was shocked at how our bodies use vitamin E, and I will try to explain it as I understand it, but remember I'm not the expert so I encourage going to the Bread Becker website. Vitamin E prevents fatty acids and fat-like substances(vitamin A, carotene, pituitary, sex, and adrenal hormones) from being destroyed within the body by oxygen. These fatty acids make up and form the internal structure and wall of every cell in our body, and the connective tissue between every cell in the body. Vitamin E prevents their breakdown and the disintegration of the cell. Since these cells make up every part of our body(organs, skin, blood, hair, and blood vessels), we can only be as healthy as our cells. Much of the foods that naturally contain vitamin E are now being so refined that this nutrient is being destroyed and therefore, we are so under-supplied.

 Some of you like me have so many responsibilities you may be wondering when do I find the time. Well, we got our mill and bucket of wheat two years ago in December, and I just started milling. Yeah, I know, but I just felt like when will I add one more thing. I read Sue Becker's Do Not Eat the Bread of Idleness article. If milling interest you at all I recommend going  to their website and reading this article. Proverbs 31:27 says that the Proverbs 31 woman watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Idleness simply means meaningless, senseless, or doing nothing. Truth be told, my life feels far from idle, but is some of our running and busyness not what God is asking us to be apart of ? Even if I'm a part of a lot of meaningful activity, if it's not the activity God wants me involved in, well, then it's senseless. Am I constantly asking myself and praying about this family of eights activities? I decided that for me the spiritual health of my family is extremely important, but I feel our physical health is connected to this. I want to pour into my family's overall health and that is why I am making the time to mill our wheat.

I do feel the need to disclose a few more facts. Although, I do love health, we don't always eat healthy. We treat ourselves in moderation, sometimes way more than moderation. If we come to your house and you've used white flour we will most certainly eat it :)! I know that everyone is not going to read this and feel a conviction as I did to start milling, and remember I had my mill, bread, and mixer for almost two years. We can only be where we are, and I would say our greatest work is to just let the Lord lead us from there, step by step.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Just Want Your Stuff DARNIT!

Do you ever just struggle with envy? We've been "discussing" envy in the Molegraaf house quite a bit. I have a child who would rather remain nameless that struggles with envy more than the others. Frankly, It's just been gettin on my nerves! A wise man once told me that when something about someone bugs you so much that your volume just gets loud, chances are you have the same issue in way or another. Well, even that just makes me a little ticked!

Truth be told, this mama struggles with envy.

"Life is war. All talk of a Christian's right to live luxuriously 'as a child of the King' in this atmosphere sounds hollow - especially since the King Himself stripped for battle ... An evidence of how many have been deceived by... Western commercialism and materialism is how little we give and how much we have." -John Piper's The Dangerous Duty of Delight. I read this quote and it stirred my heart, and convicted me greatly.

Don't ya just hate when you are trying to "fix" your kids and then God shows you how your walking around with a log in your eye? I feel like in this whole parenting thing it's always right back on me. I'm here trying to raise and teach my children, but in the process I realize I'm the one who needs some teachin!

My advice to my nameless child was that sometimes not having everything we want is really a gift. I related with him, and confessed my struggle. I then told him how when I have a lot of what I want it's kinda like a drug, cause it satisfy's for a little while, but soon enough, I'm on to wanting or "needing" the next thing.

Living this missionary life has given God quite a bit of control over our finances. If you know me well you know this has been a struggle for me, but I'm moving into a time of joyfully receiving this as a gift. I'm beginning to realize how I was finding joy in "stuff", but it was a counterfeit joy. This is why it never kept me full, I had this constant longing. God withholding some of the unnecessary "stuff" has surely been a gift to this little greedy girl.

Going without some "stuff" has allowed my heart to experience true joy. After you experience true joy for a while, you recogonize when your settling for the counterfeit. I'm thinkin God's on to the fact that I need a little longer on this, cause He's still asking me to go without some things that I'm struggling with not having.

I'm guessing that when my children see mama content and full of joy without so much stuff, they'll find their way in this also. I'm learning that I can't teach what I'm not living.

God, would you continue to fill me with true joy, even if it means going without some "stuff", even if you know it needs to be for a long time? Would you help me to be about what your about? Thanks for never giving up on me God, and for loving me enough to not give me everything I think I "need". It sure is helping me to experience so much more of you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Healing Please!

I love when I'm seeking God's answers to questions I have, and He reveals a truth that I know will change me, forever.

The question I've had for Him lately is "Why, Lord, do I lose my temper and end up being so harsh with my children?" I know we all have our weak moments, but this is something I'm just not okay with, and I've been pleading with God to make me different in this area for quite some time.

There have been pieces to this healing over the years, but today so much came together. My heart just "got it", and for me, knowing the why behind my behavior is always a beginning road to healing.

The answer I heard as I asked God "why? why do I get so worked up, and end up yelling and losing my temper?", was that I have a selfishness issue. God then showed me how a lot of my selfishness comes from childhood wounds.

One of my big ones is growing up without my Daddy. He was not there for most of my life. Little girls depend on things like having our daddy's around. While, I had a step Dad who did a lot of things right, there were also a lot of things he did get very, very, wrong. As a little girl I could remember thinking that if my Daddy only knew how my step Dad was treating my brother and I, then he would come and save us. As time passed the hope of this ever happening grew less and less.

Growing up, so much of my life was out of my control. Things I should have been able to depend on, I couldn't. Very quickly I began to control all of my relationships and many of my circumstances. I controlled and manipulated people, my fears ruled, and I was very selfish in many ways. There was so much dysfunction in the way I handled friends, boyfriends, and family. This was a way I had learned to "self protect" myself at a very young age and it just continued to grow.

As I carried on this conversation with God, He revealed to my heart that most of my "losing it" comes when my "agenda" is not carried out. I have an "expectation" of how I think things should go, and when they don't I have a choice to make. I can choose to believe the truth, that the God of this universe controls every single situation, and if He has allowed a certain hiccup in my day, then it has purpose, or I can fight it. When I do fight it, I find myself short tempered, and treating the people I love the most in unfair ways. It's a selfishness issue. I want what I want, when I want it!

My dysfunctions seem to rear their ugly head when life gets hard, and hello, I don't know about you, but over here a lot of days are just hard! My work here, is to not have so many stinkin "expectations", hold loose to my "agenda", and be willing to very quickly let it go! Children are not robots, and I'm not real sure why I expect mine to be completely trained obedient adults when they are five :)! God has given me the gift of awareness, and he has shown me some of the why, behind my behavior. Now I will just invite Him to be who He is, and heal my heart. He is my Healer!

Sometimes, I wonder why the Lord has trusted me with all of these kids, and is He sure I'm supposed to home school them, all of them, really? There are so many days when I'm certain he picked the wrong girl! Then I'm reminded of the truth, God never makes a mistake. Six kids and home school just seems to stir the pot of my dysfunctions, but I'm entertaining the thought that these situations are all part of my "healing" journey. May-be home school is for me? May-be God loves me too much to let my life be "easy"? When I think of times that I've really learned something, something that's changed who I am for the better, it's always been hard. The truth is I never want to stay the same. I want to be different tomorrow than what I was today.

I must choose, even when it's hard, I will choose not to run my life! Today I choose to have a plan, but to hold it loosely, so that when my plan is tossed aside, it's okay!

Lord, I know this will not always be easy. Thank you for revealing this truth to me. I give it to you. I know my healing will come through abiding in you, so that your heart can flow out of me. I want to treat my kids the way You treat me. Change me God, heal me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I am a Work Alcoholic!!

Hans and I were chatting the other day about workalcoholism. Not real sure that's a word, but you get it. Well, he was sharing with me that he has always thought himself to do really well in this area of balancing family/work. I used to think we did too.

Recently, at Family Life, we have had to lay off several people due to the condition of the economy. This means less people, but same work load. Hans has been finding himself coming home stressed out, feeling as though he just didn't do enough that day, and having a hard time being really present with us. This has been a topic of conversation for a while for us, and he just came to the realization that maybe he's a workaholic after all. Even though he leaves and says this work will always be here, and now it's time to go home, he comes home torn up over all he still needs to do. He confessed that their are many times it consumes him, and no matter how hard and diligent he was for that day, he still feels as though he should have accomplished more. Hmmmm.......

This got me thinking about myself and my struggle. I have been having a hard time too. We started school in August and since then I feel torn up inside also. I realized that at the end of the day I'm frustrated. I can work myself into a frenzy at night just thinking about all I need to accomplish the next day. Often times my day seems impossible before it's even started. Hans will ask me to voice what I need to do the next day, thinking if I just hear it I'll realize it's not as bad as it seems. Then I give him the list, and he responds by telling me that he's overwhelmed just hearing it, he explains to me how it seems extremely unrealistic to think that any human being could accomplish all that I have set out to accomplish in one day. When I return to my sane mind and think it through, I realize he's right.

I ask you then, why do I continue to put this pressure on myself? I can advise Hans all day long, to just make his list in priority, work diligent to the Lord, and rest at the end of the day by coming home and enjoying his family. The truth of the matter is that a large portion of my "job" is to love on, pour into, and care for our children. I know this is the right  "answer" so why can my heart not grab on to this truth and live as though it really is the truth?

It seems I start living in this dysfunction when my life is stressful or feels out of my control. Hello, six days out of seven my life is stressful. This stress isn't going anywhere, so I must break free from this lie! This is why I love weekends, summer,  people who visit form out of town, or when friends just pop in. For some reason my heart gives my brain permission to rest and enjoy.

I think the frustrating thing for me, is that with six children four of which are homeschooling, two toddlers running wild, laundry, meals, and sanity, there just isn't a whole lot of time for anything else. Why do I think I should be able to have my coffee time with God, workout, blog, school, play with the babies, lunch, clean, laundry, clean out a closet or two, organize my school stuff, cook supper, and oh, have something left for my husband when he comes home. This was my "to do" list yesterday, and when Hans heard it he told me that it was crazy. I knew the night before he was right, but at the end of the day I felt defeated because it wasn't all done. When the Lord called me to home school, I knew this meant sacrifices in other areas, Bible Studies, lunch with friends, spotless house, extravagant meals, meal planning altogether, (praise God for e-mealz), a shower; yeah, I'm not always guaranteed a shower until right before bed. The truth is my heart is willing to sacrifice these things for the call to home school.

I'm not sure of the exact definition of a workaholic, and most days we pull away form the work and say "no", but all the while torn up inside thinking about how we just needed more time to "do" more work. In context of looking at the heart, I think it's the same. So, today I recognize and confess that I am a workaholic.

God, I know enough to know that it's your power alone that changes me. I have just been ponying up and walking away from the work, but still feeling utterly controlled by it. I need your truth to change my heart, this is a heart issue. Continue to call me to Your truth, and let it change me, from the inside out.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

True Joy Anyone?

I'll have a shot of that! A shot of true joy, that is. Do you know what I'm talking about when I say true joy? It's very different than happiness. Don't get me wrong, I got nothing against happiness. I like being happy, but joy is different. I'm happy when things around me are just flowing. When I have true joy it just fills me no matter my circumstances. When I have it, it seems to control me, and my heart is full of peace and truth. So, my question is ,if I love joy so much why do I let some of my days go by where I experience so little of it?

I read yesterday the words of good ol' Oswald Chambers. He said "living a full and overflowing life does not rest in bodily health, in circumstances, nor even in seeing God's work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the same fellowship and oneness with Him that Jesus Himself enjoyed." Oswald is saying I can enjoy the same oneness and fellowship Jesus did with God. Yeah, I'd like that! He also said that it can be stolen by giving too much thought to our circumstances. Jesus' words are that, "the cares of this world....choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful." (Mark 4:19) After reading this I just sat and thought, what is choking a full and overflowing life from me? What am I allowing to steal my joy? Is it true, I mean really true, that in some of life's hardest situations I can still experience joy?

I thought through some of my greatest heartaches that I've walked through with the Lord. We buried our baby Kamryn after only 30 days of life. Caleb was extremely sick when he was born and my heart was gripped with fear that we would bury him too. We have had times where we didn't know how we would pay bills or buy Christmas gifts. The list goes on, and I know it does for all of us because we all have hurts. I have hurts and hard circumstances that we are dealing with right now. Today my daily life is what I allow to rob me of my joy.

I know that this joy that Oswald and Jesus speak of is real. I know it's real because time and time again I've experienced it! I just want to experience more of it. I want to have it in my day to day, in my normal routine that I'm not always excited about. I want full life and true joy in some of the mundane jobs of just being a mom. Can I have this joy when I'm doing a mountain of laundry and I don't want to be? How about when we are doing school and the kids just aren't getting it, or they're just being difficult? What about when the house is a wreck, and even when I clean I get nowhere cause the mess is just so stinkin much? How about when as full time missionary's we just aren't bringing in enough donations to get a full paycheck? I can so easily get wrapped up in circumstances, and very quickly have my joy hijacked! I do think however, that even in the midst of all of life's yuck, I can experience full life and true joy, and I think God's heart longs for me to experience this.

For me the only answer to experiencing this true joy lies here in this verse: "Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me." (John 15:4)

Lord, will you give my heart a longing to abide in you today?

Monday, September 15, 2008


Me and my Caleb-he was playing house,and this was his outfit!! HA!

This morning was a glorious morning.....sorta.

We started our Fall schedule, and for those of you who know me you know this can be a little difficult for me. My nature is to fly by the seat of my pants, but I do realize the freedom a schedule brigs to our family and how essential it is for a homeschooling family. So, last night my amazingly organized husband created a schedule for every member of our family.

This morning I was sipping my coffee under a blanket reading God's word and just having some special time with Him. Then I hear it.....the sound of little feet. Little feet that should still be sleeping. Even though I don't see the little feet I know who's feet they are...Caleb. He was the last to fall asleep last night, but the first to rise!! You would think that since I'd been up having quiet time with my Lord that my response to my sweet Caleb would be, well......sweet??? I must confess my first thought was something like- How can I tie that boy to his bed?!

Caleb turns the corner and enters the room with the biggest bed head ever. He has this precious smirk, and he is carrying his Bible. He doesn't say a word he just sits next to me and opens his little Bible. My heart melts. He looks my way and in his sweet Caleb voice says " I'm gonna have my quiet time Mama". Preciousness.

I begin to realize that he is only copying his mommy. Now in this situation I love that he is copying my behavior and it was a sweet precious moment, but I couldn't help but wonder what behaviors of mine he is copying that aren't so precious? Ouch.
What behaviors are just second nature to him because he's seen his mama live them out?

God thank you for my sweet Caleb. Would you empower me to be the mama that would point his little heart to yours? Father, when I get it wrong, and I confess sometimes I do, would you help me cling to your grace and forgiveness? Lord, would you let his little heart see and understand the truth that we all get it wrong sometimes, but you have us covered. Oh, and thank you Father for the times I get it right!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Word of the Day

One of my favorite words right now is BIAPER. Translation in the English language- DIAPER. Caleb started the BIAPER trend and my heart ached when he learned to say it correctly, but now my sweet Tinslee says BIAPER, and I love it. She has been potty-trained for some time now, but still wears a Biaper to bed.

This morning I was alone downstairs sipping my coffee when I heard the approach of the BIAPER. My sweet Tinslee comes down the stairs very quiet,and the only sound I hear is her little feet taking one step at a time, and the swish swish of the BIAPER. She greets me with a sweet morning grin and then runs to jump in my arms. When she runs all I hear is that BIAPER.

I dread the day when our house will have no more BIAPER sounds.

Lord Jesus, Please forgive me for the days I complain about all the BIAPERS. Help me to remember in the chaos the thankfulness my heart feels now.