Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


Faith Lessons from a Steak Knife

I have written most of my essays for seminary. And though I’m not finished, I’m not feeling so overwhelmed about it now. I think I need to visit the campus before I’ll be able to finish one essay, and the remainder is resume stuff that I can do in fits and spurts: what areas of Christian leadership I’ve been involved in, campus activities I was part of in college, and my employment record. And then, I’ll submit it. Oh my!

In the meantime, we are really just feeling overjoyed and excited lately. There is so much to be hopeful for. I suppose there always was, but we had lost that excitement of trying to conceive and now it’s back–for the moment. I hope treatment works and works quickly! And we are so very grateful that God has given man this ability to research and find ways to overcome medical challenges. I am so glad he has not withheld from us even these good gifts of medical science.

Last Thursday we had small group to our house for dinner. I love hosting our group (we take turns), but last week was a busy week and I was feeling frazzled. This time I had started early and I was determined to have dinner ready by 7:00. I had from scratch tomato soup in the crockpot (best recipe ever), butter melting on the stove for a roux to add creaminess to the soup, and an assembly line for baked grilled cheese sandwiches (on gluten-free bread for me!) with avocados, tomatoes, and bacon laid out on the counter. The stove had just told me that it was preheated and ready to go. With about twenty minutes before small group was supposed to start–and with my husband still not home from work–I started chopping a frozen stick of butter with a steak knife to fit it in a small bowl to melt so it could be spread on the bread. And then–OUCH! I am not sure why the knife slipped, but I felt the injury before I suspected anything was amiss. I looked down to see a bloody gash on my left index finger.

Now, I can give a shot with expert precision and usually not even feel it. I’m perfectly comfortable reading biological research papers on gamete development, reproductive anomalies, surgical procedures, and hormone functions. I can discuss with doctors all manner of surgical procedures, results of blood work, and what they may be looking for. But friends–when I saw that blood on my finger, I about passed out. The room started spinning and I felt so very hot and I knew I had to snap out of it and get moving.

I ran to the sink and held my finger under cold water for a while. I pinched it together to close the wound, but as soon as I let go, the blood just kept coming out.

I managed to move to the bathroom, where I cleaned the wound properly and bandaged my finger–probably a little too tightly–to stop the bleeding. I called DH and fussed a little about it, because I knew he’d talk me up off the floor and get me back to the kitchen. He did.

By the time I got back to the stove, my butter was burned. I dumped it and started over. And dinner was a bit late. Well, a lot late. We didn’t sit down to eat until 7:40. I love my small group. They didn’t mind. Didn’t bat an eye at the tardy meal, and we had a great meeting anyway.

Later that night, I unwrapped my finger, cleaned it again, and changed to a bandage that wasn’t cutting off the circulation of my fingertip. I checked it and felt sure I didn’t need to go to the emergency room or anything.

As DH and I were snuggled into bed Thursday night, after we’d prayed together, I lay there a moment thinking to myself, huh… we didn’t pray that my finger would heal. And I knew why I didn’t ask God to heal my finger. It’s because I trust, and have no doubt whatsoever, that my finger will get better. That’s part of God’s design for us–cuts can heal themselves. What an amazing thing. And this is something I have taken for granted. I thanked God for healing my finger and fell asleep.

In my prayers, I often want the quick fix. The miracle fix. The supernatural fix. And maybe sometimes that means I’m missing out on what God is doing in the natural, how God is changing my circumstances even without any drama or fanfare.

The next day–really the next few days–my finger was sore. It was painful. And I expected it to be. Although I knew God would heal me, I didn’t wake up Friday morning or Saturday morning or even this morning and find that my finger had  been magically put back together without any time or waiting or effort. I am typing this now with a little medical tape still wrapped around the finger, giving it a little protection from the keys and the germs and keeping it from splitting open again while it is still vulnerable. But even as I am waiting, I don’t feel any less sure that my finger will be healed.

And I think this is faith. I have faith that my finger will heal. And I don’t know if I have that kind of faith for everything. But I want to. I want to have this kind of faith–this certainty, really–that what God has promised will be. I have this faith for my salvation. I really have no doubt that I am forgiven. But I don’t know if I feel as sure about the things that aren’t as straightforward as cut skin or the gospel message. Do I believe God is using me for his glory today? Do I believe that he has ordained my path for a reason? Do I believe that he is working all things for my good?

Some days are better than others.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

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Busy, Busy

*Baby pictured in post*

I had a little rhythm going and then it all got thrown off last week. First, because I was feeling a bit down. And don’t you know: it’s so much harder to do anything when you feel down. On the heels of my little pity party came the ragweed, which had me holed up in bed most of Friday and Saturday until I figured out it was allergies and took a Claritin on Saturday (Sudafed, my standby for colds, had behaved very poorly against my headache and stuffiness). So bullets today?

  • Saturday night, we (TCU) lost our season opener against LSU. We had a few friends over (including our godson, sporting DH’s TCU hat) and it was fun to be back in the swing of college football. Last season had me lamenting with a “couldn’t we at least have a good football season” post, but Saturday night we looked pretty good despite the loss. I’m cautiously optimistic this season will top last year’s. Well, and I really, really hope it does! We have season tickets this year (so excited) so we’ll be heading to Horned Frog country this weekend for our first home game. Yay!

Our Godson Rooting for TCU

  • On Sunday and Monday we labored. That’s what you’re supposed to do on Labor Day, right? When we bought our house last year we planned to turn the study into a little library with cabinets and bookshelves to the ceiling to house all of our books. (And we have a LOT of books.) Sunday and Monday, DH’s parents were over to help us hang wallpaper and do some painting and move some electrical outlets (two outlets will be behind cabinets and had to be moved up). We have had the cabinets in boxes in our living room since May, so I’m really excited we’re finally getting started putting things together. Hanging wallpaper wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be. It is going to be the backdrop of the bookshelves. DH and I finished painting the rest of the room last night–a deep, denimy blue. I love it! I’ve inserted a couple of pictures of our progress so far. Can’t wait to get it all finished!

One Piece Up

Painting the Library

The Wallpaper and Paint

  • Last week I had training to be a core group leader for my Bible study, and tomorrow the ladies will come for the first day. I’m so nervous and slightly overwhelmed and excited… and still a little wiped from the work we did this weekend.
  • Today is my 11th day completely gluten-free. It has not been as challenging as I expected–there’s always gluten-free pizza if I really am craving it. And we found the most delicious gluten-free whole grain tortilla chips on Sunday at our HEB. Yum! The hardest part is when we’re with others … but I did stand firm and turned down pasta salad and brownies the other day at a lunch with ladies in my Bible study (thankfully there were some gf options).

Hoping to get into the swing of things and back into my routine soon. I like routines.


Grab Bag: A Recipe, Hot Air Balloons, and Healing

Today is a hodge podge of things I want to talk about–a sort of set of mini-blog posts.


Ummm, so I’m not as disciplined as I should be. There are so many tasty gluten things out there! We have successfully been eating only gluten-free food when we’re home. So that’s good. But there are so many little tests when we’re out with others. I guess that’s okay. We are debating cutting gluten completely for 21 days and then reintroducing to see if we have any actual adverse effects from eating gluten. But whether we do or not, we will continue to keep minimizing gluten on the understanding that, like most Americans, we probably generally consume too much. We are working on selecting a start date for that 21-day thing. We are going to someone’s house we don’t know well for dinner on Friday, so maybe we will start 21 days on Saturday? That way we won’t inconvenience our hosts.

In my eating gluten free, though, I created a super delicious, super easy dish by accident. We eat a lot of quinoa, but I find it takes a lot of seasonings to make it tasty. The other day, I was craving tomatoes, so on a whim I threw a can of diced tomatoes into my rice cooker with the quinoa. It was delicious. I may never eat quinoa without tomatoes again. Unless, of course, it’s in a specific recipe. So, for tomato quinoa:

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 c. dry quinoa
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces or whatever)
1 c. water

Put the olive oil in the rice cooker. Swirl around until the sides and bottom are coated pretty evenly. (This helps tremendously with clean up later–seriously. We do it for any grains that go in the rice cooker). Dump in quinoa. Dump in full can of tomatoes (don’t drain the can). Add 1 c. water. Turn on rice cooker. When the rice cooker pops, fluff and let stand (with the lid on) for about ten minutes. Enjoy.

Lemon Chicken and Tomato Quinoa

Last night I made a delicious lemon chicken (I used dried spices because I don’t have fresh–one day I will have an herb garden) and served it with this quinoa. It was so easy and tasty and completely gluten free! Yay! A new go-to meal for us, I’m sure. Note that the chicken has to marinate for 2 hours–I hadn’t read the recipe on Monday when I planned to cook this until it was too late. Ooops. (I followed the recipe as written, except I doubled it. I used the same amount of thyme and rosemary as it called for but dry–so I didn’t double the spice amounts.)

Hot Air Balloons

So, DH loves me. Before we knew we were infertile, I was constantly designing and redesigning our nursery in my imagination. The last theme I had settled on before our diagnosis involved hot air balloons. The reasons for this are probably apparent (who doesn’t love hot air balloons?). After our diagnosis, hot air balloons came to symbolize–to a certain extent–our hope for a baby. I may or may not actually decorate the nursery with them. But for my birthday (last week), DH got me a beautiful hot air balloon charm (from Fossil) that I wear on a necklace. It’s our little way of saying we haven’t given up hope. And it’s pretty. Other people can see it, but only we know what it means. I love it! He is so thoughtful and good to me!

hot air balloon charm


To end, I just want to leave you with a quotation from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling for August 20 (we read it together before bed). The whole entry for yesterday is beautiful, but here is just a part of most of it:

I am a God who heals. I heal broken bodies, broken hearts, broken lives, and broken relationships. My very Presence has immense healing powers. You cannot live close to Me without experiencing some degree of healing. However, it is also true that you have not because you ask not. You receive the healing that flows naturally from My Presence, whether you seek it or not. But there is more–much more–available to those who ask. . . .

When the time is right, I prompt you to ask for healing of some brokenness in you or in another person. The healing may be instantaneous, or it may be a process. That is up to Me. Your part is to trust Me fully and to thank Me for the restoration that has begun.

I rarely heal all the brokenness in a person’s life. Even My servant Paul was told, “My grace is sufficient for you,” when he sought healing for the thorn in his flesh. Nonetheless, much healing is available to those whose lives are intimately interwoven with Mine. Ask and you will receive.”


Gluten-Minimized Diet

This week marks the start of our “gluten-minimized” diet. As I mentioned last week, infertility has really encouraged us to make some changes to our diets. Apparently gluten can be blamed for a whole host of problems, so we’ve been thinking about minimizing gluten anyway.

DH at Acupuncture

DH at Acupuncture

On Saturday, at an acupuncture appoinment, we asked the doctor (she is an MD–and used to be an OB/GYN practitioner) about gluten. Her thoughts:

  • Most Americans eat too much gluten.
  • No harm can come from minimizing the amount of gluten in our diets.
  • Being completely gluten-free isn’t necessary unless a disease or severe intolerance is present (such as celiac), but we may see benefits from cutting back on our gluten intake.

That last point was really what we wanted to know. Is gluten an all or nothing deal? A lot of people claim that it is, but we aren’t ready to be dietary extremists. The idea of getting rid of gluten when eating at home is a little overwhelming (DH loves his whole-wheat cereal, for example), but manageable. But getting rid of gluten in our diets when out to eat or at a friend’s house seemed too much. At least, more than we’re willing to commit to for now.

So, beginning with this week, I am no longer buying or making foods with gluten in them. To clarify, I’m not worried about trace amounts, like in some condiments. We are trying to make gluten-free choices where possible when we do go out to eat. And when we’re choosing the restaurant, we’re trying to go places that will have healthy options. But when we’re with others, our motto is flexibility.

So why gluten-minimized?

We’ve come to the decision gradually. We hemmed and hawed about it quite a bit before deciding officially (this weekend) to take the plunge. We’ve debated. And there are several reasons we decided to do this.

  1. I read this article discussing how gluten acts like glue. In bread, this is how it traps the air bubbles that yeast releases. For some reason the thought of what that meant gluten might be doing in my stomach and intestines suddenly seemed really repulsive. That may not have been a deciding factor, but it’s helped keep my desire for breads at bay.
  2. When I read through the symptoms of gluten intolerance (and celiac), I was alarmed at how many sounded familiar to me. If severely reducing gluten could get rid of or minimize my fatigue, near-daily headaches, occasional migraines, and unexplained muscle and joint pain, I’m in. So beyond worrying about the link between infertility and gluten (which is apparently actual for people with celiac and possible for people with gluten intolerance), maybe cutting back on gluten can help my health.
  3. I can’t find any downsides to significantly cutting back our gluten intake. The websites that caution against cutting gluten all talk about how gluten-free foods (as in processed foods that are made without gluten) may in some cases be less nutritive than their gluten-filled counterparts. They talk about the importance of getting the nutrients that we need–which means eating more whole foods, healthy meats, etc. But none of them have presented any convincing evidence that eating gluten is beneficial or necessary for a healthy diet.
  4. The real deciding factor is that we don’t want to get to the final steps of treatment and feel like there may have been something else we could have done. If cutting gluten has a chance to help relieve or lessen our infertility, we’re going to try it.

So that’s it. I may venture into the world of gluten-free baking at some point (been craving banana bread, so that will likely be first) and I am definitely not cooking with gluten. If I come across (or create) something especially delicious or disastrous, I may share in coming weeks.

*And, of course, a gluten-minimized or gluten-free diet may not be for you. If you are concerned, please consult a medical professional. I am not a medical professional.*