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As my beautiful family packs themselves into the car to drive the 20 min to our local AME (African Methodist Episcopal) church this morning…I’m taking a health day. I’m sipping coffee and snuggling the pups. There is plenty I could be reading, but for now, I’m processing.
We are in a time of learning here at the Ebed House. We are doing deep soul work, life changing kind of learning. Some days I wake up and jump in with joy, while other days I find myself so affected by anxiety that I can’t leave the house or open my social media pages. We’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster the last few months. We are making purposeful choices about what we pull ourselves out of and where we will press in. We are saying hard things, we are listening to voices of color and we are holding on tight to see where it will take us. I feel like I have my eyes shut tight but I crack one just enough to peek from time to time. Honestly, I don’t know that I have ever heard my husband so passionate, so resolved, and so clear in what he believes and why. It’s all a bit soul shaking for me.
Awhile back I received a good word about making the choice to speak from our scars rather than from our wounds. This little bit of wisdom was life changing for me. It was freeing rather then silencing and gave me the permission to heal before I speak, before I write…before I teach. After five years of struggle, I am forming scars.
Our country is broken. The events in Charlottesville speak to that. Over and over and over again, those who have been wronged cry out for justice and find themselves running headlong into systems that are weighted against bodies of color. This is not new. We have not turned a corner in the road and suddenly landed here, but somehow, among many white communities, these voices have been lulled, dismissed or lost over the years. This cannot continue. Those of us who see…must speak.
Here’s the thing I have been asking myself, ‘who’ is my audience? Where do I have a voice in my community?’ My clear and unflinching conclusion is this, the church. Wish, as I may, I can’t run from it, can’t pretend…can’t hope for another audience….for different ears. I was born to you…you are my past, my foundation…you have raised me up.
Church, your hands held me when I was young. There has never been a time when I haven’t known the inside of your walls…from velvet pews to multi-purpose spaces, from a re-purposed theater to a working funeral home. You taught me, you created programs to guide my youth, and platforms to speak from as I grew. When I had questions you helped me find answers. When I went to college, you were there…your elders shared their wisdom…your leaders introduced me to the wide world and taught me how to love those who didn’t know Jesus.
It was at your feet that I learned about repentance. You showed me how to be still in the Word, how to read and understand scripture while allowing it to convict my heart…It was in your fold that I learned about the great revivals that came when the church corporately repented and asked for the Holy Spirit to come. It was within your congregations that I learned repentance demands something of us…a physical change from one direction to another. It was you that taught me that when there is no recognition of a problem there can be no hope of reconciliation.
I am confused and heartbroken. When you preach that we must repent of our sins, and that the Bible is applicable for life today…Why are you surprised that I believe you? Why are you defensive when I point the light of the gospel into our shadows? Why are sins outside of the church put up as deflections to the issues of racism and prejudice within our own walls? Why do you buy into the idea that we must choose one issue over another when both demand our attention and action? Why do you write me off and others like me when our application is other then you expected? You have been our school, our teacher, and our leader. I cut my teeth on Evangelicalism and today I find it’s nourishment less then sustaining.
Do you see church, that it is your own teaching that has brought me to this place of utter undone-ness? Praise be to God! It may be easier to place me at the top of the pile labeled ‘discontent’. Please feel free….For what you see as my sin issue, I will choose to wear as a badge that spurs me and those willing to hear, onto repentance in the hopes of growth and reconciliation. I will continue to speak into our dark places and pray that the Lord will give us all ears to hear and strength to step forward. I love you church. You break my heart, and I love you still. You steal and rob, you pretend and deflect, you label and dismiss….and the list is endless….because we are all becoming….we are all working out this great faith. Dear God help us to see our faithlessness and bring us to repentance.
She was my friend, my confidant, my sister. She was there when I needed her and when I thought I didn’t. She could mow a lawn like nobody else, in fact she took great joy in mowing a particularly tricky lawn. I think that’s why she comes to mind every time I get on my lawn mower. ‘Girl, have I got a lawn for you!’
She taught me a lot of things. She taught me how to drive…at 24, when I should have already known, she took the time. She taught me how to truly enjoy a cigarette…. Not just smoke it. She taught me what it looked like to love people…. To love them deep down where it counts. I am a better person for knowing her and the heartbreak is that she has no idea.
When I got married, she should have been there. When we brought our children home she should have met us in the airport. When we’re young we say foolish things, we think foolish things, we believe foolish things. Grace can cover much, but not all. Sometimes the pain goes too deep and it’s too real. Sometimes it takes years to understand….and even then….
11 years ago my life changed… Just about every aspect of it. I moved to a new city, I took a new job and for the first time I knew what it was to be totally alone. I spent months sorting out my faith, and trying to figure out who I was. Although she wasn’t present, she impacted my thoughts regularly…the memory of her friendship still does.
I’ve lived a life time since we last talked. I’ve gotten married, adopted children, I’ve started and closed two businesses and moved a few times. I often feel like the person I was is only a shadow of who I am today, that doesn’t make the loss any less great. I have returned to this saved draft at least six times over the past three years. Each time I come back I update it…add to it, take away the things that don’t seem to fit…Each time I think about hitting publish, but don’t.
I figured this entry would be just the right place to star my ‘Who I am because of you’ Stories. Thank you old friend for all that you gave to me. You have been missed over the years. If you ever read this, I hope that it finds you well.
Well, here we go.
Tonight I said something so horable it left me a bit speechless. I totally wrote off an entire group of people! I was completely dismissive. I was speaking to my child!
I was actively breeding into her a misrepresentation of reality. I am NOT going to repeat what I said, but let me be clear, It was harmful. The deep rooted type of harmful that worldviews are based on.
The worst part? I didn’t realize it. Mike looked at me with surprise on his face and I literally had no idea why. The word out of his mouth, “really?” I still had zero clue. He had to walk it back for me, hold up the mirror so I could see it, before I realized what had come out of my mouth. Oh did I mention this was a teaching moment at the dinner table? AND we had company! Yep! Just yes, this was my awesome moment!
SO here we go….This was my teachable moment! This lesson was for me and it was about a whole lot of things.
Let me share a little about me, about how I grew up. This was/ is me in a snap shot…
I have been so incredibly blessed! my life has been good and I am so deeply thankful for it. I am thankful for my fathers work ethic and my parent’s faith, I am thankful that I have never known hunger or what it feels like to be homeless, my upbringing afforded me the opportunity to pursue an education and I did so with fewer hoops to jump then many.
I know these things about who I am. I also have a deep heart for people who are not at all like me. I’m really good at placing myself in another person’s shoes. I tend to be able to step back from a situation and see both sides, or to see the steps that brought someone to the place they are at. I like that about myself.
Here is what I don’t seem to have time for…people who were raised just like me, and choose to stop asking hard questions (or never start), People who don’t take the time to understand or value what is other then their own life experience. I don’t have a lot of grace for sterio typical conservative christianity. I just don’t, and it is one of my blind spots. It is easy for me to switch on the auto pilet in my brain when I’m talking to someone form this group…because I grew up here…in this mind frame…in these teachings…I know why you believe what you believe…because I was taught the same thing, believed the same thing.
Tonight I opened my mouth and out spilled the cultural norm that I grew up in. There it was. Without thought. Without reason. It sat there, and my 6 year old took it all in. Looking at my husband, hearing my own words I realized something…Sometimes people say things because that is just what they were taught. What they knew when they were young. The culture they grew up in. What I said was wrong. But it was a reflection of the culture/ time/ experience I grew up in…In that moment I found grace (small as it might be, it’s a start) for people who come from the place I come from….but have chosen to stay. In that moment I was grateful for a number of things…
a gracious husband
a gracious guest
the ability to realize what I had said
that the Lord knows my heart
that I was teachable in the moment
Most of all, That I was able to show my child what repentance looks like in the moment and choose a new narrative for our family.
This month we ended up with 4 flats of strawberries from Feed My Sheep. For many the first thought would be jam, but let me be clear…we have more jam then we know what to do with! All kinds of wonderful sweet sticky goodness all stored up and ready whenever we would like it. So jam was out for preserving this wonderful abundance! So I came up with a few fun treats that you may like to try. (One for now and One for later)
Shrubs or Drinking Vinegar can be made easily with just a bit of time. I am always looking for ways to get vinegar and other healthy foods into our diet. We have experimented with kombucha, fresh ginger drinks and ferments. Shrubs are in the same family and can be made from a wide range of fruits They are easy to make and do not need a long time to be ready for consumption.
What you need:
Mix the berries and the sugar and mash them slightly. set aside in a covered bowl at room temp. I let mine sit for 2 hours, but you can let them sit longer. This allows the juices to form.
Press the fruit mix through a sieve and set the pulp aside. Add the vinegar to your fruit juice. This is when I do a taste test. You should get a clear vinegar taste, but it should also be slightly sweet and taste of the berries. This should last a nice long time stored in the refrigerator. When you are ready to pour yourself a drink just add ice to a glass, pour a shot of your shrub and fill the rest of the glass with carbonated water. Enjoy!
Last summer we experimented with cordials and infused liquors. The results were a bit mixed so I’m trying again. Keep in mind I will not have results for these mixes for another three months, so try at your own risk…or change it up a bit. I would love to hear what you add to the mix if you make changes! I am including the recipes for the two infusions I started this week.
What you need:
I went with both options and they are made the same way. Mix the fruit with the sugar and let it stand for a bit. Then pour your alcohol over the berries and cover tightly. Shake every few hours until the sugars are all mixed in. I used a raw sugar so it took a bit longer. Set your jars in a cool dark spot and shake from time to time over about 2-3 months. After they have sat for a few months drain the berries out and save those…they are a yummy treat to have on hand! There you go! wonderful infused liquors. They can be used in all sorts of mixed drinks or pour a shot over ice with some carbonated water. I also mix with lemonade for a great summer time treat.
Hope you enjoyed these little treats! If you give them a try I would love to hear how they turn out! Have fun with your abundance!
OK, I am doing this for real….so that means I must have some level of commitment when it comes to writing each month, but I think I can swing that. Some ladies and I were chatting at this months ‘Feed my Sheep’ food distribution and it just solidified the fact that I need to be writing more about what we do at The Ebed house.
‘Feed my Sheep’ is an amazing food share program that is open to the public. If you eat food then you are eligible to purchase shares. ‘Feed my Sheep’ is a bit unique in the fact that what we receive is mostly produce. I have participated in other programs that focus more on packaged and processed foods. These programs are wonderful, but when you eat a gluten-free, paleo heavy diet it just isn’t worth it.
On the first Saturday of each month I wake up and head out of the house before the sun comes up. I drive about an hour to a little country church, I purchase a few shares and enjoy a wonderful time of community with lovely ladies while we wait to pick up our food. We often joke that the time together without kids is worth getting up so early…It’s a time for moms to chat and see each other. I cherish it a great deal.
One of our regular topics of discussion is what to do with all the food we get. When I say all the food…I mean crates of oranges, Boxes of peppers, dozens of bananas and more lettuce then can possibly be consumed before it goes bad! So, I’m blogging to help with some of those ideas. We are also starting a Facebook group where other ladies will be able to give their ideas so that we can encourage each other after we have carted all of our items home.
One more thing I have to say before I start on this months food…I could NOT do any of this without Mike’s support! In this we are a total team. While I pick up the food he is gets the kids ready for the day and gets out kitchen ready to receive all the produce. Mike chops and cans right alongside me, and we laugh and argue about what to make. Mike loves the surprise of what comes each month…maybe more then I do! I am so thankful for my partner in crime.
This month we were blessed with an abundance of beautiful peppers! Red, green and even some smaller yellow ones. Beautiful! I made a few things with this months peppers. We currently do not have much space in our freezer, so I knew i couldn’t chop and freeze them. However, I did fill 2 gallon Ziplock bags with fajita fixings and played Tettris with the freezer.
Next I chopped a bunch into small bits and layed them out on the dehydrator. I sort of mounded them…but it all worked out and the next day I filled a few jars with dried peppers that I will be able to toss into soups and other dishes. Peppers keep a great flavor when they are dehydrated.
The last thing I tried was a bit of an experiment. I chopped the peppers and blended them down into a pulp. I placed one of those fruit leather sheets in one of my dehydrator trays and poured the pepper pulp in. I dehydrated for a day. when the pulp was dry I crumbled it into my food processor and made a powder. Now I have peppers in the consistency of a seasoning powder. I will be able to use it to season many dishes and (I think) it may aid in the thickening of soup…but I haven’t tried that yet.
We made a number of other things this month as well, but the peppers were the processing highlight. I hope this helps and gives you some ideas if you ever find yourself with an abundance of peppers.
A few months ago we started participating in a food share program called Feed My Sheep. Once a month I pack up the van with a bunch of laundry baskets and some dear friends and we drive about 45 minuets to a little country church to pick up a few shares of food, and lets be honest, a little mom sanity time!
This program works for our family for a number of reasons.
This post on lacto-fermentation will be the fist of a series on food preservation focused around the items we receive from Feed my Sheep as well as from the abundance of our garden. If you keep a garden you know there comes a time when you are racking your brain for another way to use those zucchinis or, if you live in MN, the frost comes before all of your tomatoes have ripened….what on earth are you going to do with a gallon bucket of green tomatoes? Well, I have a few ideas that I am happy to share with you.
The last time we picked up a few shares of food we received a laundry basket full of organic carrots. They are beautiful! Amazing and crisp, but what do you do with 20+ bags of carrots? Some will be used for soups and broth as well as every day munchies, but that amounts to 1/3 at most, so fermenting it is. Carrots can also be blanched and frozen or fully canned, but my family LOVES ‘spicy carrots’ as the girls have named them and I am long over due for a batch (or 5).
If you are still reading I promise I’m getting to the actual work of fermenting the carrots, but I am sure some people are a bit curious about what lacto-fermentation is. Just about every time I talk about it someone asks a really good question, so let me direct you to This link for a bit more clarity. It is worth the read and Cultures for Health is a wonderful page to explore. There are more recipe ideas there as well. Now on to my carrot project!
That’s about it for the Lacto-fermented carrots that we make. I do just want to make a note that when it comes to food preservation make sure to do your research! I have come to the methods I use after lots of time on web pages and with book that I trust. There are years of trial and error that have gone into this process for me…don’t let this page be your only resource and don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t work the first time. Try it again…and tweak ideas (where safety permits) to make them your own.
This is a previous post from my old blog….I’ve been thinking about it a lot and felt like I should add it and its part 2 here!
I have been finding my heart saying over and over, “I’m so in love with_______.” Often the blank is filled with the name of a person. Many times a person I didn’t expect to fill that space. I am sometimes shocked….I stand back and wonder where the thought came from.
Haven’t I been praying for love? That the Spirit of God would fill my heart and shift the way I think…the way I ‘hear’ the world around me and so he is…just not the way I thought….as always, the hand that guides me looks nothing like I thought it would.
Moved to tears by the strength of a dear one bringing life into this world. Her courage blows me away and it is an honor to call her friend. “I’m so in love with _____!”
Surprised by the love and kindness in the words of a young man who fights for his faith and to be honest in ways I can’t imagine. “I’m so in love with _____!”
The visit with an old friend I haven’t seen in years brought to town because of deep, deep heartache…years that have passed and a grown man stands before me. “I’m so in love with____!”
Spring melt that bring bird songs and muddy driveways….free range chickens pecking the ground and fresh air. “I’m so in love with spring!”
Words that bruise and break miraculously also heal and prepair the ground of my heart for new life. “I’m so in love with this process!”
The humility, and love that exudes from the man I married. The willingness to admit mistakes and choose to be ‘for each other and this marriage.’ “I am so in love with my husband!”
Little fingers and curious minds, always learning, always asking, always doing. “I am so in love with my children!”
I fight so hard to do it all ‘right’ only to see the utter failure in the end. Thinking too highly of my own ways and looking back at a path that has taken me far from my goals….far from my loves…the knowing…deep down that it can be changed, forgiven and reset. “I’m so in love with Jesus!”
The honesty of a new friend, an almost stranger as she takes up the banner of truth and calls life like she sees it bumps and all. A deep knowing that we are alike in ways I’ve prayed so long for. “I’m so in love with ____!”
One who knew me young, but not as I changed….he is grown now with a family of his own. The weight of his load has brought him purpose. Oh the pride I have in him as he stands tall after a day of hard work and smiles that same smile I knew as a child. Full of mischief and wonder! “I am so in love with___!”
They speak hard words…drenched in honesty….ask the questions that need to be asked…there is love in their eyes even when it hurts…they hold hope and truth and invite me in….messy parts included. “I am so in love with these women!”
These love moments are like snap shots I don’t expect….my heart flows over and there they are….deep and real. A practice of entering into truth in the moment. It is changing my world and blowing me away.
The things I Love, Love, Love….again (post 2)
How could I not revisit this post? The things I’m in love with just keep rolling into view!
The joy of twins opening gifts…they turned 4. The kindness of family who remember and miss them! Gigi and Papa sending fun kid cards! That little blond cousin who loves dress up and pretend! “I’m so in love with this family!”
The squeals that can only mean one thing…bunnies! A new batch of kits right on top of the last! That poor mama! She gives and cares. Her weight is down but those bunnies are healthy and growing! “I’m so in love with new life and how The Lord sustains it!”
Little green shoots! It’s May! “I am so in love with green, growing things!”
Growing, growing, growing…the green blades of barley grass and the twisted root mats that feed our animals. “I am so in love with learning this process of caring for our animals in a healthy way!”
And then there are the people dear and true…those who meet us in the every day scruff! We clean and sort…we laugh and cry…we sing and bake…we learn and we teach…we get covered in mud and wonder why we have chosen to live ‘like this’ and then we remember…this is life and it is love and it is whole and healing even when it is hard. And, as we work we enter into the real. We reach out and one hand meets another and arms embrace. “Oh, I am so in love with these people.”
Words deep and true holding layers of meaning that only time can pull back and reveal. Thank you friend. “I’m so I love with you.”
The voices are different…sometimes loud and at others only a whisper. Often, views are stated harshly. You don’t look like me.
You don’t live like me.
You don’t sound like me.
Always, it seems, There is a deep yearning to be heard….payed attention to…seen!
I see you.
I hear you.
That hurt…I know know it too…I’ve lived here for some time now.
“And yes, I’m so in love with you too.”
Beautiful wonderful spring and all that it brings with it…the joy of children’s floral chains and small bouquets of ‘weeds.’ Yards full of yellow remind me that summer is just around the corner and oh so thankful the pollinators are back! What would we do with out those beautiful bees and butterflies?
Our fenced orchard area is filled with freakishly large dandelions! I’m not kidding! The grass in there is lush and the weeds are mammoth! I think it has to do with the consintration of animal droppings over the past few years! Either way I’ve been holding off mowing.
This past weekend was beautiful so mike went out with the girls and picked many of the flower heads. (I’ve seen the buckets full, but still there are soooooo many left) Last year Mike made dandelion wine. Yep, that’s real! It’s a thing, and we make it! Also a real thing (apparently) dandelion jelly! It tastes a bit like honey, and smells amazing! Mike has the heads steeping for the wine and he made the jelly last night. The girls are over the moon excited to have it in their lunch tomorrow! I love how excited they get about the projects we do.
I also need to get out and gather some dandelion to make an oil infusion for salves. I used it to make one last year and we really liked it. I will be sure to blog about that process when I am able to get to the project!
If you find yourself out at the Ebed House be sure to ask Mike about the wine or Jelly. He is always happy to share his projects!
I’ve been listening…sorting….purging….on repeat.
It’s spring after all, the best time of year for the maddening clean out of all things old…those bits that have been hidden by the depths of cold winter. It’s Spring! Most years it comes slow around here allowing my heart to thaw out. Breathing in the warming air…sitting on the stoop as the chickens scratch the ground looking for the tender bits of green or the rare early insect. Spring!
It doesn’t take long for the household purging to turn inward…This life is a holistic one. How can I purge only the physical? In this question something called to me in a deeply profound way…I am not just cleaning our home. I am not just taking care of the business of life. I am not just saying and doing hard things. I am in the process of spiritual detox.
Detox: A process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification.
I mentioned this to a friend and he looked at me quizzically….’what does that look like?’ If you have never done a detox I can see how this analogy will likely fall short for you. I have been sitting in this place for a few weeks trying to figure out how to describe what it looks like to others when it feels so deeply natural and personal to me.
There is a deep cleansing that takes place when a person detoxes. They make choices to abstain from many normal foods or activities. Often a supplement is taken to help the body release toxins that it has built up. I won’t get into the whole process…but feel free to do some research! At the end of a detox the goal is for your body to have returned to a more natural, healthy place. A starting point or baseline for your body to do its best natural work…healing itself, growing strong, digesting the foods you take in at a much better rate.
However, it doesn’t end there. The foods we take in and activities we pursue after detox are just as important as the detoxing work itself. In order to maintain good health going forward we must make wise choices about what we put into our bodies….
And there it is. Can you see how this idea relates to our spiritual health? Still a bit foggy? Let me unpack my own experience and maybe that will help a bit.
My soul has sat in a place of spiritual unhealth and buildup for years. I was not able to process much of my own thoughts or feelings clearly. I took the first step of detoxing by stepping away from all types of leadership knowing that I was hurting others. (When a leader chooses ‘the work’ over health ((theirs and others)) there can often be wounding and death that takes place.) I removed myself from my daily norm and began to purge.
The purging took two years in my case and was by far the longest stage of my detox. I went back and forth and ended up confused more then once. I would carve something out of myself and then wonder if I had cut too deeply, if I should pick something up again….sometimes I would and I would quickly discover the pain again…that old feeling of doubt, distrust and dare I say hate. (Like eating that beautiful scone filled with gluten…not a good idea if your body can’t process gluten)
Here is the thing…there is only so much cutting the body can handle…only so much you can take away….in order for there to be a healthy healing it must also be filled with what is good. In a physical detox this is why healthy supplements, lots of water and specific foods are prescribed. In a spiritual detox we don’t always remember or know what the good things are…so we go to trusted sources…Here is where I praise God day after day for the list of good things he has given me to fill my broken spirit with.
And slowly this soul came back…but still not fully…
In my case I had to physically remove myself from the place we had worshiped for years. This was a decision that took a long time for Mike and I. I wrote about it here a few months ago. It being a deeply personal decision and frankly brutal in many ways I won’t go into it other then to point out that sometimes you just need new surroundings. sometimes you need to allow new people the right to speak into your life, to pour into and mend up what has been damaged. So we left. Walking out from all we had known for 5 years and trusting the Lord to bring us to a place of new beginnings. Just as we need to replenish our bodies with new eating habits sometimes we need a new space to grow into.
As I sit here thinking about how to bring this blog to a conclusion…I am wrestling. I don’t have a neat way to wrap up these thoughts. They are raw and new and hard. Detox is not pretty…but it is good. It is a slow, long work that takes endurance and at 3 years in I feel like I’m only part way there.