Falling Isn’t Failing (Tuesday Devotional)

In one of my dance classes last school year I was demonstrating a tour jete (a huge, turning leap) to the class so they could do them across the floor.  I’ve been doing tour jetes since I was 9 years old.  They–like most other ballet steps–are second nature to me.  I do ballet in my sleep.  I’m not kidding.  I literally sleep with my legs in a passé position.  And, I’ve literally done hundreds of tour jetes over the past twenty years and never fallen.

Until that day in class…in front of a classroom of my students.  I didn’t just fall either.  I WIPED OUT.  I landed flat on the floor, and it hurt badly.  My whole class gasped in horror and then stood in stunned silence.  They had never seen me fall…not once, not ever.  And I fell epicly.

But…if there is one thing that dance teaches you, it’s that falling does not equal failing.

I saw their concerned faces and the tears welling in their eyes.  So I dramatically flipped over onto my back, sighed, and laughed it off.  Then the students started to laugh since they saw that I was okay.  They came over and helped me up.  “Are you okay, Miss Kirsten?”  I brushed myself off and limped over to the barre.  “I’m fine,” I said, smiling reassuringly at them.  And then I saw them all approach their tour jetes with new passion and gusto that day.

You see, when you are not afraid to fall–in dance and in life–you approach challenges with a sense of determination and fearlessness.  Instead of being too frightened to try something new because of how you might look or the risks involved, you approach everything with courage.  Nelson Mandela once said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The  brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

The inherent nature of falling does mean that the one who falls will inevitably be bruised.  But, I would rather ride a bucking bronco and be bruised all over than lead a boring, safe life that requires no risks.

God asks people to risk throughout the entire Bible:

He commanded Noah to build an ark to save a righteous remnant of humanity and every kind of animal (Genesis 6).
He asked Abraham to leave behind his home and country (Genesis 12).
He asked Ruth (a Moabitess) to throw herself at the mercy of Boaz, her kinsman redeemer (Ruth).
He called Jonah to go to a people who he (Jonah) hated and preach redemption and forgiveness (Jonah 1).
He asked the disciples to follow Him (check out the Gospels).

Is God calling you to take a risk?  To do what He’s called you to do with courage, determination, and fearlessness?  Chances are you might fall along the way.  But, by the grace of God you won’t fail.

You might hurt your derriere though…

This Week’s Experiment: The Awesomeness of Cinnamon

mad scientist with cat2'

Ever since our favorite Greek restaurant that’s just a short, dangerous walk away from our house started serving sweet potato fries drizzled with honey and cinnamon, I have been slightly obsessed with cinnamon.  I’ve ALWAYS loved the savory aroma (and who doesn’t love a good batch of cinnamon rolls?  They have been a long-standing tradition of about 19 years between my dear friend April and I!).  Cinnamon is a common herb that practically everyone has hanging around their kitchen (myself included), but when I started researching the health benefits of cinnamon, I was amazed at the awesomeness that I was enjoying!

cinnamon_2

Why Cinnamon is So Awesome

1.  It tastes great!

2.  It is chock full of antioxidant catechins that are very beneficial to the digestive system in fighting off bacterial infections, fungal infections, and parasitic infections.

3.  Cinnamon is especially useful in the treatment of colds, flu viruses, and even hypertension.  There is even some evidence that suggests that cinnamon helps balance blood sugar.

So, I was looking for some new, different recipes that included cinnamon and ended up finding some fun recipes to make!

Mock Cincinnati Chili

*My Dad is from Cincinnati and ate a variation of this recipe growing up, although he was not aware of the two secret ingredients: cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa!

I included ground beef cooked in coconut oil, and then dumped it in my crockpot with broth, onions, tomato sauce, garlic, chili powder, apple cider vinegar, cumin, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and unsweetened cocoa…

cincinatti chili 2It turned out deliciously (I always feel a slight sense of relief whenever I try new recipes and they turn out well), and Seth and I ate it for three meals this week.  Yum!  It was perfect “Polar Vortex” food!

cincinatti chili

PS-Whenever I hear the phrase “polar vortex,” I always want to go, “Rar!  The polar vortex is going to get you!”  Haha…

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

A new variation on an old favorite!

This recipe called for applesauce, coconut flour, honey, eggs, cinnamon, coconut oil, vanilla, and baking soda.  They turned out great!  I loved them, and they passed the hubby stamp of approval!  We enjoyed them with our breakfasts for a week–yum!

apple cinnamon muffins

What is one way that you use cinnamon?

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and I don’t play on one TV (or the internet).  Any experiments are from my own personal health journey and research.  My goal is to help inspire you on your own health journey and educate you to make informed decisions on your own.

Cool side braids, archery, and unlikely heroes

Okay, so maybe your year wasn’t quite as good as Katniss Everdeen’s…

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklers

2014 is just around the corner, and I want to jump, shout “Huzzah,” do cartwheels, sing Disney tunes, and dance around at its imminence.  2013 was a beast with ugly horns that growled (yes, I did intend those words in that order).  It was CRAY.  And yet, through it all I can honestly say that the Lord sustained me, strengthened me, and led me through this wilderness season into a new season of growth and abundance.

After all, it was my year of “more.”  Not more money, not more candy…But more of Him.  And, as this year has unfolded and I have been surrendering to Him each day, He’s been revealing more of Himself through every aspect of this year.  You see, the more we get to know God, the more we want to know God, and the more we learn to trust Him wildly through every single day to do great things.

No matter how good or bad your year was, it’s important to take stock of it.  Reflecting on your year, remembering what God has done in your life and in the lives of others, assessing yourself, and making goals and plans for the year ahead is essential to your personal and spiritual growth.  Here are some questions to ask yourself:

What are three words to describe your 2013?  Mine would be CRAY (in a hilarious and not-so-hilarious way), UPHELD (the Lord surely upheld me through the twists and turns of this year as only He can do), and BEAUTIFUL MESS (I know, it’s two words!).

What are your biggest accomplishments of 2013?  I had several big personal goals this year:  Enjoy running enough to complete a 5k, read the Bible through chronologically, carve specific time each day and each week for rest, and connect with people who I don’t get to connect with on a regular basis.  By the grace of God I have done all those things!  Yay God!  Magdalene was a huge accomplishment in so many ways, and I give God the glory!  I also consider any opportunity that I have to mentor and invest in others a huge accomplishment as well.  Reverence celebrated 5 years as a small business dedicated to the Lord, which was HUGE!  On a very personal note, this year I wanted to do a lot better at keeping up the house!  It’s been working pretty well, and it’s made it so much easier for when people drop by or when we have a friend call at 8:30PM asking for a place to stay that night. :)

What has God done in your life in 2013?  He’s forgiven me, loved me, showed me grace, and moved me into a new phase of life in incredible ways.  If that would have been all that He had done for me, it would have been sufficient.  He’s given me incredible relationships with my husby, family, friends, studio families, and random strangers who I’ve been able to reach out to!  He’s grown Reverence Studios as only He can do and allowed us to be recognized as only He can do.  He’s provided restoration and healing and hope.  He’s increased my faith even as He enlarged my territory.  Thank You, God.

What do I need to let go of before 2014?  Too personal for me to post online, but something I’m definitely asking the Lord!

What did I do to step out of my comfort zone this year?  I tried lots of new foods this year…and learned to love them!  I reached out to people who hate me…and God gave me grace to extend them grace!  My husband and I went through the home study process…and if you know nothing about that process, it is highly invasive for this extremely private lady!

What does God want to do through me in 2014?  Each year the Lord gives me a different word to focus on–a gift that He wants me to unwrap throughout the entire year (I love how He is a deeply personal God who speaks directly to each of His beloved children!).  A word that He’s been impressing on my heart for 2014 is: accomplish.  I’ve had many things on my heart–requests, concerns, dreams, hopes–that I am trusting wildly in Him to accomplish next year as only He can do.  And, in the process, I’m believing that there are some things that He wants to accomplish in and through me as He graciously allows me to be a part of His plan on earth.  My theme verses for this year are: Isaiah 55:10-11, “For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return there without saturating the earth and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.”

Do you have an annual self-reflection ritual?  How was 2013 for you?

Action Words

My mom and I are co-leading a ladies’ Bible study this fall (we’ve done it together and on our own before throughout the past ten years–sometimes with our church and sometimes from our individual homes), and we are having a cathartic time going through Kelly Minter’s study No Other Gods.  It’s a great book that includes 5 days of homework (while not as extensive as some of Beth Moore’s that I’ve done, it still requires about 30 minutes of homework a day/5 days a week) and great group discussion (it also has wonderful recipes to pull from for your group gatherings).

One of the activities in the homework from two weeks ago was to read Isaiah 55:1-9 and list out all the action words that God was asking the Israelites to do.  Mine looked like this:

Come
Come
Come
Buy
Eat
Come
Come
Buy
Listen
Listen
Eat
Give ear
Listen
See
Seek
Call on
Let

I found this to be an incredibly helpful exercise in looking at Scripture differently.  So often we walk around with internal dialogue happening in our head, but we don’t take action.  It’s easy to make a lot of good points and do nothing with them.  Yes, there is something to be said for “being still” (and it’s what we’re commanded to do in Scripture), but it is important to note that we are called to be an “active” people.  Andy Stanley wrote, “It’s much easier to make a point then to make a difference,” and I heartily agree.  The commands of Scripture should take root in our hearts first and then be multiplied through our actions.

When we were asked to read a Psalm at the end of that day’s homework, I decided to journal my Psalm out in a semi-same manner.  I chose Psalm 37 and it looked something like this…

Do not fret
Trust in the Lord
Do Good
Dwell in the land
Enjoy safe pasture
Delight yourself in the Lord
Commit your way to the Lord
Be still before the Lord
Do not fret
Refrain from anger

Isn’t that a neat exercise?  I was greatly challenged and very uplifted after doing so!  I would encourage you to choose a Psalm or passage of Scripture and do the same!  If you do it, I would love for you to leave a comment below and share what your words were!

Things I Learned in October

anniversary flowers

1.  He still remembers our wedding colors as evidenced by the picture of the bouquet he bought me on our anniversary.  On our wedding day someone told us that our memories of that day would fade into oblivion as the years passed, and we were slightly depressed by hearing that as we ate our wedding cake.  So, each year Seth makes sure that he remembers details about our wedding and we talk and laugh about them together.  In your face, Negative Nancy.  Haha…

fox

2.  Seeing a fox on your morning jog is a pretty cool thing.  It also inspires the overuse of jokes about my “foxy” husband and me thinking about the animated Disney movie Robin Hood.  And the bunny birthday party where the bad sheriff takes the coin and the bunnies are crying!  GAH.  That part always made me sad…

3.  Teenagers most often remember the things that you don’t want them to remember.  So, a key to teaching is to slip in a few things that they think you are trying to hide and use it to your advantage!  Case in point:  I was giving public speaking training to the El Emet/Cor Ignis teams at the studio, and I did a skit on what not to do in public speaking.  I wore my flip flops on the dance floor and made a big deal about texting and instagraming my boyfriend.  When I asked them what they remembered about that training a few weeks ago, they said, “You shouldn’t text a boyfriend when you have a husband.”  So true.  Aren’t they precious?  I saw their halos gleaming above their heads as they said that…knowing full well that I had been acting.  But the lesson stuck…at least that’s what I tell myself.

Caspian's International Superstar Status is starting to go to his head...and the rest of him.

Caspian’s International Superstar Status is starting to go to his head…and the rest of him.

4.  Prince Caspian really loves crickets.  A few weeks ago he caught a cricket in our basement, presented it to me, and ate it right in front of me.  As I sat there watching him rip a cricket limb from limb and devour it, I tried not to throw up while praising him for actually showing the catlike instinct to catch things.  Yum?

5.  This was one of my favorite memes from the month:
hipster meme

How about you?  What did you learn in October?