Friday Brain Dump

Who knows if this will become a regular Friday thing, but I thought it would be fun to do a stream of consciousness post. Here is what I've been thinking about this week:

1. Clutter

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Blogs can be deceiving, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I present you with my storage room. It is terrible. I have no active plans for making it better in the near future, but I just wanted to put that out there to show that all is not pretty in my house. I have plenty of ugliness to redeem. To that end, this book looks surprisingly practical and helpful.  I am by no means a minimalist, but I am realizing that extra stuff causes me stress and keeps me from focusing on and loving my family. I would like to tackle it all at once, but that is not real life. Someday soon, storage room, you and I will have a weekend getaway.

2. Raw Milk

I know very little about this topic, but this article was really interesting and enlightening. Did you know that many people with milk allergies are able to drink raw milk with no issues? Unfortunately, raw milk sales are illegal in Virginia. These are the moments that I wish I could live in Washington, Oregon, or Maine... See here for state by state regulations.

3. Photos

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R is 20 months tomorrow, and I am just now getting around to putting his photos in his album and baby book. It feels amazing to not have that hanging over me. But I still find myself so guilt-ridden, when I look at his book and realize I didn't write down things like his favorite food at 13 months or when he said "Muffin" for the first time... I often mistakenly think that my effectiveness as a mother equals perfection as a mother. But, I know these are just pressures that I put on myself—the point is that he can someday look back on his little life and know he was loved. Photos and books are just one way of doing that. 

4. Persecution

It seems absurd to put this in the same list as the other issues I have been thinking about, but I figured I would put it last for greatest impact. I am used to living in a country where I can worship how I want. I can read my Bible where and when I want. I can meet with my friends and talk about Jesus. The things that hinder me are usually my own laziness and other priorities. But this is not the norm in many countries.

Lately, I have been hearing about the severe persecution experienced by Christians in Egypt. Burned churches, discrimination, and threats of harm are daily realities for many of them right now. As I try to wrap my brain around this, I realize I don't have a category for what this must be like. It is easy to live a life insulated from the reality of suffering. Have I truly counted the cost of what it might mean for me to follow Christ? Am I willing to follow him into difficulty or harm? How can I support other Christians who are suffering around the world? How does my role as a weary stay-at-home mom play into the larger picture of God's kingdom? I don't have the answers here, but I am hopeful that thinking about these things is the first step toward making a difference. My church has recently started pursuing some opportunities to help Egyptian refugees who have just arrived in our area, and I am very interested in how I might be able to help... 

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Finally, I have been aware for a number of months of a situation involving US citizen, Saeed Abedini. He is a pastor who was doing Christian relief work during a visit to Iran. While there, he was arrested by Iranian officials and is being held at the notoriously brutal Evan Prison, suffering internal injuries from regular beatings. Next week is the one-year anniversary of his imprisonment, and Secretary of State, John Kerry, has been speaking out against the sentence, putting pressure on Iran's new president to release Saeed. It is hard for me to imagine that this is happening to a US citizen. I want to be more diligent in praying for people like Saeed, who are suffering simply because they want to follow Jesus and love others. I am inspired by their faith and courage.