936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
Two months ago I wrote about our “time of de-processing“; a two-month experiment we were embarking on in order to launch ourselves deeper into eating real, wholesome foods. This was our attempt to “cleanse” our bodies from some of the processed foods we ate during my first trimester of pregnancy, and our month-long visit to my parents’ house in the Ozark mountains.
Here we are 8 weeks later, and where has this experiment landed us? Indeed, we have for the most part rid our home and bodies again of processed foods. We’ve experimented with unfamiliar wholesome ingredients. We’ve tried many new real-food recipes, and learned new techniques in cooking. We’ve eaten delicious food, and eaten out when our attempts at cooking delicious food failed!
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned throughout this time is how important it is to fashion our way of eating to our family’s individuality. At the outset of these two months, I set myself up with some pretty high expectations for the way we would eat. Looking back now, I realize that this set us up for failure. Although I had good intentions, I placed our family on a rigid track that went against what we believe about food, and how we enjoy it.
I had great plans to completely rid our home and diet of any refined carbs–anything white. White bread, white flour, white sugar, white rice, all of these were out. For the most part, this was a success. However, as with the recipe included in this post, I realized that some foods, to be true to their character, just must include white flour!
The pastry crust for our “Goat Pie” called for 1 and a half cups of white flour. I almost caved to my real-food inclinations and substituted whole wheat pastry flour. However, the pie simply beckoned to be allowed its dignity; to maintain its light, buttery, flaky pastry spirit. I happened to have some “baker’s choice” white flour from our natural health food store, so I let the crust remain true to itself.
Our Goat Pie was a huge success, but I wanted to know if I could remain true to our whole food agenda, and so I baked a roasted vegetable quiche with the same crust as the Goat Pie, but substituted whole wheat pastry flour for the white flour. The result was a very crumbly dough, difficult to roll out and shape, and the flavor of the finished crust was less than desirable. It proved a valuable lesson in making some small allowances, such as a little bit of white flour on occasion, is sometimes necessary to create something truly wonderful.
We found the same lesson true with bread this month. To my dismay, our regular supplier was out of our whole wheat bread flour for a whole month. After a couple of weeks, I gave in and bought some white bread flour. Yet this “caving” was not necessarily a failure, rather it allowed us to take joy in some fresh, delicious french bread and focaccia.
Oh how good it was to have bread again! Our supplier has in the meantime replenished their supply of our whole wheat bread flour, and 5 pounds of it sits in my freezer, waiting it’s destiny of warm, fresh, whole wheat peasant bread.
Have we compromised? Was that fresh roasted garlic and herb focaccia a little menace, beckoning to us to return to the “dark side” of refined carbs? Goodness no, it was simply a delicious treat, and one home made with love in our own kitchen.
My expectations were perhaps a bit too high for us for these two months. I failed to look at our family–the uniqueness of who we are, and what we believe about taking joy in great food. This is, after all, what I encourage everyone to do when I’m asked how to integrate a real food diet into one’s home and family. In all things, consider your own family–make this yours personally, so that your family can count it a delight to eat real food rather than a burden.
A wholesome diet of real food is not a diet of strict rules and regulations. Rather, it is a way of eating that celebrates personality, creativity, and uniqueness; established on some over-arching principles of eating wholesome foods which benefit our bodies.
Is this not the same when it comes to our view of God and how we live for Him? In our humanity, we often establish extra rules and regulations to “help” us live better lives for God. We set up certain expectations in our minds about how God would have us live.
God has indeed called those who believe in Him and His Son, Jesus, to live a life of high moral standards. However, this calling is not burdensome! Christ says, “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.”” (Matthew 11:28-30)
In Christ we are freed from the burden of laws, rules, and regulations. This does not mean we are to live carelessly, or that we are not subject to a certain standard of obedience. Rather, because we have found freedom in Christ, it becomes pure joy to us to live in obedience to His commands! And what are these commands?
“Jesus answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ All the law and the writings of the prophets depend on these two commands.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
The standard to which God holds us is this: Love God. Love your neighbor. Yet this is not an encumbrance to us, for in His perfect love, Christ enables us to love as He loves. When we love through His own love, we will find the rest of our lives aligning in obedience to Him. Under the umbrella of these two great commands, we take joy in allowing Him to use our unique character, personality, gifts, strengths, and talents to serve God in creative ways.
Likewise, in regards to our diet, we have established over-arching principles around the foods we will and will not eat. We’ve called ourselves to higher standards so that we can pursue greater health and vitality, and be better able to serve God with our lives. However, just like with our faith, these standards are not burdensome. Rather, we take pure joy in them, knowing that as we follow these prevailing guidelines, we have freedom within them to celebrate the uniqueness of our family, and take joy in great food!
If you’ve never made a pastry dough dish, this is a fantastic one to begin with. The crust is very easy to handle, and the dish is simple in character and preparation, and down-right delicious!
Recipe slightly adapted form “Homestyle Vegetarian”, Bay Books
We are coming to the end of April, and here is my final post of our weekly grocery expenses! On occasion I’ll continue posting what we buy and for how much, as I hope it’s helpful for readers to have a glimpse into what we actually buy and eat week in and week out!
Trader Joes (1 Trip): $59.67 (Pictured below)
Fruit and Cheese Market (1 Trip): $15.67 (Pictured above)
Natural Food Market (1 Trip): $7.75
Super Market (2 Trips): $37.12
What are just some of the things we ate with these ingredients, plus the ingredients from last week?
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!