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!
Did you know that bratwursts have bones?
This was some new information I stumbled upon as I sat out on the patio of the Marshall family. I was sipping a mug of coffee and hanging out with 7-year-old Aiden and five-year-old Charlie. Their mom, Becky, was inside tending to Audrey (3) and checking on Kate (1), who was napping. Aiden and Charlie had discovered some bones in the grill from a previous evening’s dinner. “Oh, from the brats!” They exclaimed concerning their findings. Ok, they were actually the remainders from some grass-fed T-Bone steaks they enjoyed earlier that week, but I let the boys run with their imaginations.
Becky and her husband, Chuck, are church planters. They began Waukesha City Church in early 2012. Not only are they nurturing a young church, but also four young children of their own!
Chuck and Becky have been married for nine years, and both come from very different culinary backgrounds.
Chuck was raised in Venezuela as a missionary kid. His mom strived to provide balanced meals for her family, and his grandfather tended the garden on the missionary base. However, it was difficult to grow many vegetables in the finicky Amazon soil, and so Chuck’s mother had to “fill in the gaps” by using canned vegetables when fresh were not available.
When I asked Becky what types of food she was raised on, I was shocked. Becky is the epitome of health. In the whole food world, I look up to her; aspiring to prepare foods in the same way she does. Surprisingly, her origins in the food world eerily resembled my own; far from anything fresh, whole, or nutritious.
When I asked Becky about her diet growing up, she replied, “Sugar. Lots of sugar. I used to add sugar to kool-aid packets and eat them straight.” Becky recalls partaking of many Happy Meals as a child . Her brown bag school lunch would often consist of a sandwich composed of white bread, american cheese and bologna, or a Lunchable. In her mind, a “healthier” alternative for lunch was microwaveable instant white rice coated in margarine, topped with melted slices of American cheese.
Just like me, Becky was a picky child. Her reluctance to branch out coupled with her preference for and access to junk food landed Becky in the same scene most kids in America live in today. It is why so many chronic illnesses are on the rise even in young children: little to no thought is given to what we are putting into our bodies, and the effects of food on our everyday lives are being grossly understated.
Becky says that the access she had to junk food meant that she never learned moderation. If she wanted to sit down and eat a dozen Oreos, she could help herself. Not only did she have free reign to processed “goodies”, but she had little access to fresh foods. Again, just like in my own story, Becky’s dad did not enjoy vegetables, and so they were a rarity at the dinner table. It goes to show how eating patterns are passed down through generations, and how our own health and nutrition can (and will) reap blessings or consequences on our children and grandchildren.
As health nuts we can be so nutty. I recognize this about myself; I can become so excited, passionate, and convicted about the foods my family is eating and why, that judgment can take root and fester. It’s incredible how much of our sinful nature as human beings goes unnoticed by ourselves. A quick comment from an acquaintance about what they’re preparing for dinner; a mother at the checkout piling boxed cereals onto the conveyer belt, the minivan ahead of me puling into the McDonald’s drive-thru; these are the things Satan can use to make me prideful.
Yes–I am absolutely convinced that whole foods are the way to eat, and we have a responsibility to nurture our bodies and families through them. It’s a fine line we walk, however, in following our convictions about food, and judging others for their own choices regarding what they eat. My goal is instead to inspire and enable more families to discover just how great whole foods are! No, my own parents didn’t make fresh vegetables a priority at the dinner table, but what they did do was encourage me to be creative, think outside of the box, write, photograph, cook, and have convictions. All of these things played a vital role in the conception of this blog, and the journey my own family is now on.
Did Becky turn out for the worse because she was allowed free access to junk foods and afforded little access to fresh foods? If she had not sat right in front of me herself, and openly shared where she had come from, I would never have guessed that this slim, beautiful, energetic mom of four used to eat a diet that contained many processed foods. Becky gives hope to those of us who set out on this journey to better health not knowing a darned thing about anything that comes from the ground or a tree.
The Marshall family revolutionized their way of eating seven years ago. When I asked Becky what brought about this change, she explained that it kind of happened by accident. She was pregnant with her first child, Aiden. Some of Becky’s friends began discussing vaccines; the options of if, when, and how often to give them to babies and children. This sparked Becky’s interest, and she began researching the topic for herself. This research led her down the path to discovering real food. “Everything in the health community interconnects.” Becky explained to me. As she began to read about the options for vaccinations, she began also to discover the options she has, as a mother, in the foods she can choose to nourish her family with.
I asked Becky if, when she began talking with her husband about her findings, he thought she was crazy. “Not too much.” She replied with a smile. There was some confusion at first that they had to work through together. In the beginning, Becky couldn’t shake the mentality behind food that our culture strategically and covertly feeds us. She couldn’t grasp how fat, as something so cursed and feared in our society, could actually be beneficial to our bodies. Chuck was a little more straightforward as he helped his wife work this one through. “Becky, God made it.” Chuck would point out. Becky says that to her and Chuck, everything about real food made sense. “It’s what God gave us.”
I like that explanation. Simple. Humble. A Gift. Whole foods are simply the foods that God created to bless our bodies by. He created us to thrive on them. They are unadulterated; untouched by science. Whole foods are the purest form of the beautiful and wholesome ingredients that we find in their closest state to nature. From a tree. From the ground. From an animal in its natural habitat.
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!