nourishment


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lots of tasty stuff there, right? i have been fixated on the concept of nourishment of late. actually, i think that word is a bit of a theme for our year.

paying special attention to feeding my body what it needs and what it wants. eating for health and eating for pleasure. balance. drinking wine and celebratory libations but sipping green juice and smoothies too. eating chocolate and pastries when my heart wants it but feasting on vibrant veg when my body needs it. moving. staying still. feasting. fasting. lemon water. frothy coffee. brave and bold and spontaneous. but also measured and quiet and patient.

i know that i cannot live on clean foods alone. it can’t all be about discipline or restriction. life needs some fun and indulgence. kale and butter. superfoods and comfort foods. salad and pizza.

and as i ponder this concept as it relates to food, my mind wanders to other areas of life. and i wonder: am i truly finding nourishment? following my passions. exploring new paths. examining the nooks and crannies of my mind. chasing my dreams. scheduling and ordering and balancing. am i numbering my days, that i may obtain a heart of wisdom (pslam 90:12)? am i feasting on the goodness of the Lord? am i indulging in the richness of His Word? am i sucking up the marrow? am i enjoying this moment, hour, day, week, month? am i savoring? i know that i am full in Christ…but how does that inform my day?

do i have a spiritual eating disorder? do i have dysmorphia when it comes to my spiritual body? am i binging on junk? am i not eating enough heavenly manna? am i starving myself?

as a person, a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter, a worker, a whatever i am; it is crucial that i am properly fed. i need nourishing fuel. i need to be full so that i can pour into others. quantity of nourishment matters, and so does quality. an anemic life is no life at all. moreover, am i nourishing others? my relationships. my marriage. my children. do i bring value and blessing and pleasure and enjoyment and fullness and satisfaction to these important areas of life – to these people in my life? or am i stingy with my portions?

i have been thinking about this A LOT as it relates to my relationship with my children (i feel old and weird every single time i type or say that, by the way). as a parent, i am commanded to provide for the needs of my little ones. i am to “nourish” and “nurture” them. meeting their physical needs while also meeting their emotional and spiritual needs. educating them, disciplining them, supporting them, bringing them up in the fear of the Lord. i am to provide nourishment of all sorts for them. sometimes that looks like a morning plant-powered protein shake. sometimes that looks like enjoying a big cookie together. sometimes that looks like running around outside. sometimes that looks like taking a nap. sometimes it is applying a band-aid. sometimes it is telling them to collect themselves and get back on the horse. sometimes it is a stern look. sometimes it is delicate instruction. sometimes it is another warning or reminder. sometimes it is a spanking. sometimes it is forceful words. sometimes it is a forceful hug. sometimes it is rowdy play. sometimes it is quiet reading. sometimes it is encouraging their childlike wonder and questions. sometimes it is reigning them in.

life. it’s not for the faint of heart. twists and turns. muck and mire. tough stuff and total bliss. deep caverns and majestic mountaintops.

i am so grateful that life and relationships and even, ourselves, are not simplistic. i love the complexity of it all. i love that God created us to be complicated and interesting beings. multifaceted. and may i be mindful of this and live a rich life. filled to overflowing by my extravagant Savior.

all you need is love GIVEAWAY

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in honor of valentine’s day, i am ticked pink to bring you a GIVEAWAY that is all about things that i love. a few favorites that are absolute musts for the day of love. this jam-packed box of goodies is filled with snacks and treats and sweets for you to enjoy plus a fabulous treatment to make sure your lips are perfectly kissable for all those smooches for your valentine plus foodie themed cards and punny pencils so you can write sweet nothings or kind notes to friends and loves. pretty perfect, right?

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okay, so what exactly will the winner receive? glad you asked. thanks to the generosity and all-around amazingness of some super sweet companies, one lucky duck will receive a big ol’ box of:

3 boxes of sweet and salty vermont maple & sea salt popcorn from quinn snacks

a set of 5 foodie greeting cards + a set of 8 food pun pencils from EAT healthy designs

1 box of bunny fruit snacks from annie’s homegrown

1 pomegranate & goji super dark chocolate bar + 1 guajillo & chipotle chili super dark chocolate bar from vosges chocolate

a be fierce lip treatment from tata harper skincare

fabulous, right? now that’s my kind of valentine’s day. this giveaway will run from february 9 through february 12 on the blog and on instagram. head over there to check it out and play by those rules (i am @madameswanky).

blog rules:

comment below and introduce yourself! just your name and how you are planning to celebrate the day of love. a winner will be randomly chosen and contacted on february 12. have fun! and good luck.

and goodness gracious, thank you to the dear dear companies who contributed to this fun giveaway! xoxo.

p.s. don’t forget that you can use SWANKYQUINN15 at quinn’s online store to receive 15% off your order AND use VDAY2016 at vosges’s online store to receive 15% off valentine’s chocolate gifts. the discounts are good until valentine’s day. mwah!

childish ways

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having children is a profound thing. and a humbling thing. there are so many sweet and light and lovely moments. but there are also exceptionally weighty realities.

one of the greatest blessings of raising up these little souls is that their existence helps me to better understand the relationship of my Heavenly Father to His children. and it helps me understand my nature.

when i lay out ALL the toys and distractions and fun things for ridley to enjoy, a smorgasbord of entertainment and pleasure. i give him whatever he could want. i sit on the floor to play with him. i tell him that he can take his pick of objects, he can have it all. but that cable plugged into the wall over there? that’s the one thing that’s off limits. do not touch. and then, without fail, he makes a beeline for the taboo item. it is then that i understand that urge, that nature that is at work within us. that nature that was at work within adam and eve in the garden and is still at work. that nature which, in spite of having it all, wants to pursue the one thing that is off limits and not good for us.

when elinor is going and going and running herself ragged and i tell her that it is best to slow down and take a break – regroup, recalibrate, relax but she resists and then twirls herself into a wall and ends up in an emotional mess on the floor. it is then that i understand why God commands us to rest. why He instructs us to walk with Him by the still waters so that He can restore our soul before destruction or distraction or clumsiness can overtake us.

when the little ones get a cold and all they want to do is sit in my arms and snuggle. those remarkable and rare moments of quiet and rest and nothing and just being held. i find myself enjoying those times. almost being grateful for the cold that came upon their bodies and gave us that special time together. and that sounds terrible to say but then i think, no, it’s okay to be grateful for those times. those moments are sweet. and they are a necessary part of life. life can be busy. days can be full. and children’s bodies are always on the go. buzzing away. onto the next thing. they are not inclined to being still. it takes an external force, a strange occurrence, a peculiar circumstance to make them stop. but isn’t that just how i am as a child of God? sometimes it takes something jarring or sickening to make me stop and allow myself to be held by my Father. and i am sure that while God hates to see me sick or sad or tired (or whatever the adult equivalent of teething is) just as i hate to see my little ones like that, i’m sure that there is also a part of Him that savors that time. breathing a sigh of relief that we have ceased our striving and are allowing Him to gather us up in His arms, frail and sick as we are, and hold us near. still. peaceful. safe. wrapped in His loving embrace. sometimes, pestilence and plague and famine and wars come into our lives because they draw us nearer to Him. they slow us down so that He can sit with us and care for us. acting as a balm to our weary and harried and ravaged souls. and what a cherished time that is.

may He continue to use my children as instruments of instruction and grace – in my life and in the lives of others.

 

worn this week

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monday

vans herringbone slip-ons × j.crew wool city crop trousers × j.crew plain white t × j.crew sequined cardigan × michele watch

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tuesday

christian louboutin leopard heels × j.crew embroidered pencil skirt × j.crew appliquéd t-shirt × j.crew plaid cardigan

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wednesday

on me → j.crew cream flats × j.crew high-rise jeans × j.crew tissue turtleneck × vintage fur coat

on her → freshly picked moccs × crewcuts frayed denim × crewcuts tissue pocket t-shirt × crewcuts puffer sherpa coat

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friday

jimmy choo heels × j.crew high-rise wool cargo trousers × j.crew chunky knit sweater × j.crew collection jeweled bracelet

fight or flight

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in our community group study, we have been delving into the realities and complexities and vagaries of the christian life. from the theological to the practical. i am a fairly black-and-white person, but when it comes to how we do this thing called christian life, sojourning together toward heaven, there are some areas that aren’t as easy as the textbook sunday school answer. and even when the answer is that easy, it isn’t always prudent to toss that out as a response. you know, like when a friend is dealing with MAJOR issues and really needs a shoulder to cry on. someone to trust. someone to listen. that isn’t the time to just give them chapter and verse. it requires tact. grace. kindness. discernment. YES, point them to scripture. YES, point them to christ. YES, speak truth to them. but be real. be a comfort. love them. wade into it with them. let them be vulnerable. do not judge. do not be quick to answer. be slow to speak. be willing to listen and hear their heart. and be ready to speak the truth IN LOVE when the moment is right. and let the truth do the cutting and burning and molding. you, you bring the love.

as i have been wrestling with some weighty topics in class and in my community, there have been times when God has pointed me to verses about being a person of patience, mercy, grace. but he has also been speaking to me about this idea of fleeing. there are numerous occasions in scripture where Jesus commands us to flee. he even instructs us that if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away (matthew 5:30). that’s kind of severe. but it is what we must be willing to do. better to lose a limb that lose our life. some sins are so strong and so dangerous that you simply cannot mess around with them. like a cancer. or a ferocious creature. you can’t tangle with such a beast and expect to win, to emerge unscathed. some forces are too risky. you need to cut it out in order to survive. you need to flee.

and yes, we have power over sin. the power and victory of Christ’s death and resurrection is at work within us. we can have confidence in the work of the Spirit. but that doesn’t mean that we should trifle with sin. we shouldn’t tow the line. dabble. or even, try to stick it out and fight. sometimes, fighting means fleeing. sometimes we are commanded to withstand. to endure. but sometimes, we are commanded to turn. to run. we must always respect the power and deceptiveness of sin. because sin paired with our depravity can mean disaster for us.

and when God tells us to flee, he means it. we don’t stroll, amble, lope, meander from sin. we sprint. fleeing involves effort. it involves straining. it involves speed. it involves pivoting, turning away from the path we were on and going in another direction entirely. it involves drastic changes. sacrifices. you flee when you need to find and experience safety from a threat. you flee when it is too dangerous to remain where you are, when standing still would put you in mortal peril. the mature christian knows when it is time to hightail it out of there.

we are to flee youthful passions, self-indulgence and selfish ambition and the other passions and excesses of youth (2 timothy 2:22). we are to flee materialism, the desire to be rich and to be known and respected for what we have accumulated (1 timothy 6:9-11). we are to flee from sexual immorality, flee at the first hint of sexual sin (1 corinthians 6:18). we are to flee from idolatry (1 corinthians 10:14).

okay, but what about that verse about resist the devil and he will flee from us (james 4:7)? we are the victorious ones, right? we have the power of Christ! shouldn’t we just stand our ground and make the devil be the one to move? yes, there are times for that. but that verse also says that we are to submit ourselves to God. sometimes that submission involves standing firm and sometimes it involves running fiercely. we need to be tapped into the power at work within us while being keenly aware of the powers at work around us. sin is something dangerous to the soul. we are never to treat it cavalierly. it is not something that we come to terms with or negotiate with. we aren’t to give satan a foothold. we do not associate with it. we do not linger in its presence. we get as far away from it as possible as quickly as possible.

we don’t just flail and run every which way, we run with purpose. we pursue godliness. we run toward something, we don’t just run away from something. we flee a vice and we pursue a virtue.

we pursue righteousness. we pursue godliness. we pursue faith. we pursue love. we pursue steadfastness. we pursue gentleness. as stott says: “this is the double duty of christians. we are both to run away from spiritual danger and to run after spiritual good, both to flee from the one in order to escape it and to pursue the other in order to attain it. thus, we are to deny ourselves and to follow Christ. we are to put off what belongs to our old life and to put on what belongs to our new life. we are to put to death our earthly members and to set our minds on heavenly things. we are to crucify the flesh and to walk in the Spirit. it is the ruthless rejection of the one in combination with the relentless pursuit of the other which scripture enjoins upon us as the secret of holiness.”

Soli Deo Gloria. Coram Deo.