Beyond "Harlem Shake" Christianity / GUEST POST


Here's hoping that not long from now, people may stumble upon the words of this post's title and ask themselves, "What is he even talking about?" A world with less of the YouTube madness that started back in February this year, would be a healthier one. But I couldn't let the moment come and go, without asking how such a thing could help us in our awareness of God.

The current "Harlem Shake" movement seems accidentally based on a very simplistic idea: 1. make it easy to do, 2. about getting positive attention, and 3. make it look fun, and you'll get a lot of other people wanting to do the same thing. The guys responsible for "starting" the movement, "Filthy Frank" and his friends never intended for millions of people to get caught up in it becoming a "thing"...and by February 12th was even saying he was ready for it to move on. They'd simply made a silly video, and 10 days later it was being copied by people all around the world.

I remember being in East Harlem back around 2001, and having kids try to teach me how to "Harlem Shake." I'm definitely not qualified for such a thing...but it was fun nevertheless. I can't imagine they're excited about this phony movement making people think they know how to "Harlem Shake" simply by thrashing around in costumes/loud music.

But I'm not really worried about the people of Harlem getting all upset that the youtube fixation (that's hopefully dead by the time you read this) has usurped their role as shakers. What I'm more concerned about, is the same elements that sky-rocketed this little video/performance by Filthy Frank, are what we often depend on to sell the gospel message:

1. Make it easy to do/simple. We hear phrases all the time: "Invite Jesus into your heart, and you're done!", "It's as simple as that!", "now you're ready for Heaven!" or boil down an entire Word of God into a distilled phrase of truth that you can fit into your pocket, a prayer that you memorize, and a box you check at the altar. But any Christian parent would agree: we don't want our children to remember the moment they "checked a box", we want them to remember how Jesus has transformed their lives. That's not easy, and takes much longer than a single moment with a #2 pencil. So we make our homes places where we are daily opening the Word of God. We wrap our lives around the Truths of His Word, and living as families of Kingdom citizens here and now. We confess to each other when we're struggling, and depend on God's Spirit to be our helper - because we NEED one.

2. Make it about getting positive attention/feedback. In a world of Hallmark endings and prosperity gospels, it doesn't take long to find followers of Jesus who will tell you - if you're following Jesus right, everything will work out for you. You'll be blessed, your family will all be healthy and in love with Jesus, and whenever you have a need - it'll be awesome to see how God will always come through to fill it. We love these promises, but the hard truth is - if we're following Jesus for these reasons, the object of our worship is actually "Self". As parents, we need to share not only the highs of following Jesus together as a family, but the struggles as well. To be appropriately honest with them, and have faith that even though it may NOT look like it in our world/lifetime, we know that Jesus IS still Lord. We look up from our tears with them, and together gaze into the future promises of God to complete what He began in Christ, and make all things New.

3. Make it look fun. In the "actual" Harlem Shake, there's a set way of doing things. 5 people standing side by side, all doing the dance will look very similar. In the current "movement", the only requirement seems to be chaos. But everyone's got a giant smile slapped on their goofy looking faces, even if it's covered by a mask. The goal is not to accomplish anything, or even look a certain way...the goal is simply to have fun, and get hits on youtube. Unfortunately, it's also a theme picked up by genuine-hearted followers of Jesus as they try to get the next generations connected to what God is doing. I'm not against VBS craziness, or playing silly youth group games at times. But what I am against, is when the "fun" becomes central, and "knowing/following Jesus" becomes a side-issue. To pull a giant "bait & switch" with our kids/teens will end up with young adults who wonder why youth group stopped after 12th grade, and decide to leave a church that doesn't "offer anything for me". We want to raise our children with an appreciation for an abundant life, deeply rich and satisfying in relationship with Jesus, others, and creation; and contributing to His "making all things New". Not simply to be an "a-mused" (not-think), and consuming force.

It may not win any awards for trending...but it will transform lives and the cosmos...:)

Chadwick Anderson is a husband, father of 4 girls, youth pastor, and freelance writer/speaker/etc. in Illinois. He loves God, and attempts to live in response to that in new ways every day. Currently, he and his family are working to bring home their 4th daughter from the DRC in Africa. To learn more, check out today!

A Faith Lesson Learned in Pregnancy / GUEST POST


Karrie wanted to have a natural birth when she found out she was pregnant with her second child. Late in the pregnancy, they discovered that her son was breech, and they patiently waited for him to turn so that Karrie could have the natural birth she desired. She tried everything she could think of (from going to the chiropractor to placing cold peas on the top of her stomach!) to try to help him to turn, but none of them worked.

The last option was to try to turn him manually, a technique known as “external cephalic version” or ECV. Karrie wrestled with this decision:

I wondered if the ECV would be my only shot for a natural delivery. But I had a red flag about it. Here’s the thing about red flags…you just don’t ignore them. There’s a reason they are flailing around in your subconscious face.

There was only a 58% chance the ECV would even work, and he could turn back even if it did. I finally let go and decided I would be declining this invasive procedure. (There is the first set of weights off my shoulder!) I just kept thinking if he doesn’t turn with all these things I am trying (especially the chiropractor and acupuncture/moxibustion, which have super high success rates), then I felt in my gut he just isn’t turning for a reason.

It was at this point that I realized that all of this was a lesson in faith for me. And just because you realize that doesn’t mean you are suddenly squared away and good to go apparently either. I went to my personal library and asked God to show me what I needed. I grabbed two books, Amazing Freedom: Devotions to Free Your Spirit and Fill Your Heart by those lovely Women of Faith ladies and The Remarkable Prayers of the Bible: Transforming Power for Your Life Today by Jim George.

The first message He sends me from the first book, “In a strange but marvelous way, her belief gives her a sense of freedom because she knows she doesn’t have to figure out the big picture by herself. She doesn’t have to see how each piece of her life fits into God’s big, glorious picture. She just keeps believing. Keeps praying. Keeps trusting. And she knows that in the end, God’s plan will be revealed to her, and she’ll be able to see her life as God sees it.”

The second message from the second book is from the chapter on Abraham “a man of remarkable faith.” Here’s what jumped right off the page and all but slapped me in the face: “Fear is a good indicator that we have strayed away from God’s will, for when we have fear, we are not trusting God.” And then there was a reminder that, like through Abraham’s prayers, that we should be motivated by a desire to see God glorified.

I had been praying, though not fervently. I kept in mind that prayers aren’t always answered immediately, and sometimes they never are. I kept in mind that it really is His Will Be Done, and I was ok with that….or was I? If I could just know what’s going on here, why he is breech, why hasn’t he turned, will he turn in time? I felt so much closer to peace, but just wasn’t quite there. Lessons can be such a pain. And I picture God doing the 9172981273 things a minute that He does and peeking in on me to see how my progress is going and thinking to Himself, “She’s almost there….”

So my prayers changed to focus on whatever the outcome, I would be glorifying God. If he turns head down, then God did that by His own hands. I mean He is knitting him in my womb (Psalm 139:13) so He will certainly turn him if He wants. If he doesn’t turn, then God left him in place for reasons I may not get to know this side of Heaven, but glory to Him for bringing me this child, His child on loan to me, however He planned to bring Him to me.

And then the last set of weights were lifted off my shoulders by my Father….and not because He turned the baby. I woke up from a nap and was sitting there in the quiet, gazing out the window at the greenery and listening to the birds. My mind wandered to this baby boy as it often does, but not him in my belly in the “wrong” position and wondering when will he turn or will he turn or why hasn’t he turned, but of him on my chest making those heavenly baby noises and within kissing distance of my lips. And that was it. Oh sweet peace. It just didn’t matter anymore how he arrives, God has that covered. Free at last! And oh look at that, this IS true! “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36.

Update: Here is Karrie’s son’s birth story and how everything worked out in the end!

Karrie is a stay at home mom to two boys, 2.5 years old and 8 months. She started Mostly Crunch to share what she has learned about natural health and occasionally, life in general. She also started the "Natural Living" group on Facebook to provide a place for anyone to ask questions and share information on their natural living journey.


Growing Up Before My Eyes

One of the things I have to remember as a mother is that my daughter is constantly growing. And not just in stature—as she's already outgrown all her newborn clothes by six weeks (not to mention that she graduated from her newborn diapers by the time she was five days old!). At seven weeks, she's now smiling and grinning more and more frequently. She's alert and loves looking around, wanting to be held less and less (until nap- and bed-time come, that is!) so that she can gaze at this world around her.

But she is growing and changing in so many other ways, as well.

While last week she could have cared less about her musical floor-gym, this week, she’s taken notice of the dangling toys and started (unintentionally) swatting at them. While the Happiest Baby on the Block technique might have worked to soothe her yesterday, it might fail miserably today. While she might have been content to fall asleep in a sling this morning, this afternoon she might have nothing of it.

These kinds of changes in her preferences can happen overnight it seems, which has become a challenge for me because I have to remember to keep trying and re-trying to expose her to new things, whether it’s an activity, an object, a soothing technique or something else. It’s all too easy for me to think that because she didn’t like fill-in-the-blank yesterday, she still won’t today, when that isn’t always the case.

It’s baffling to see how quickly these changes are coming at us, proof that she really is growing up, faster than I ever imagined.

Related Posts
Introducing My Daughter!
Waiting on God and Praying for a Child

A Call to Holiness / GUEST POST


We are to be holy. (1 Peter 1:16)

I don't know about you, but I am not perfect... let alone holy.

There are a lot of people who ridicule Christians for claiming they are perfect. Yet, in reality, the majority of Christians I know, including myself, don't claim themselves as, nor are they anywhere near, being holy.

There are people I used to be friends with or people who knew me a few years ago and I can honestly say that I am not that same person. People might look at my past and see someone insecure, rebellious, depressed, cold-hearted, and some other words I am too embarrassed to even mention. Then they ask, "You? Holy? Yea right."

I'm not saying I'm perfect. Nor am I saying that I don't strive to be. Because perfect and holy is what God has called me to be, but I am SO far from that. I strive for it every day though. And not for my self, but for God. The God who has changed me completely from the person I used to be. God says that the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). I truly believe this 100%. I couldn't be more thankful for that.

I hate when I see Christians claiming they are better than a non-Christian; like they have some sort of right to put themselves on a pedestal above another human being. Although, I have been accused of this more than once, and my heart breaks when someone sees that in me, I hate that my old self can portray such selfishness.

We are all made in the likeness of Christ, and we are all fallen and that means we are all sinful. The only difference, if we have accepted Jesus into our lives and are in a relationship with Him, is that we are saved from the consequences of sin. Ultimately—hell. This is called salvation. Salvation from hell and we are granted eternity with the God who loves us more than anyone could ever love us.

God has loved me more than anyone ever has and ever will. He knows how horrible of a person I used to be and how horrible of a person I can still be at times.

I struggle with this holiness thing.

I still grieve and mourn over the stupid mistakes I make and how I can be so harsh with people when I am called to be a reflection of the loving Christ that I serve. I hate that... I hate how my old self (also known as the "flesh") can take root in me and wreck havoc in my life. I hate how I can give God a bad reputation...and my heart breaks.

This holiness thing has been getting to me lately. I've been realizing that I am called to be holy, because my God is holy. I am to be a reflection of Him and I am to let go of my past. Because that is gone. New has come. Today is the day to decide to live a holy life. To sacrificially give up the desires that do not line up with what God has in store for me.

Strive to be holy, because HE is holy.

Stephanie says: "I’m 23 and married to biggest blessing in my life—Peter. We both work full time and stay busy with his band, A New Awakening. My passion is to spread God’s truth and love to those around me. In my (barely there) free time, I love to experiment with new recipes and to soak up good books. I’m an outgoing introvert (yes, there is such a thing!) and I am fascinated by psychology. I’m still trying to understand what God has in store for my future, but I’m holding on to the fact that He is faithful and there’s a wonderful plan for my life. You can read more about this little life journey of mine at Uncovering Hope."


Welcoming a Baby into Your Marriage / GUEST POST


I have been following Carmen’s pregnancy from the sidelines, rejoicing with her as she found out she was having a girl, oohing and aahing over the cute projects she’s working on, and praying for a smooth delivery and healthy baby. Today I’m so excited to be able to talk about welcoming a baby into your marriage while she’s loving on her new little lady. My husband Adam and I just had our first baby (a boy named Emerson) at the end of October, so the memories of those first few weeks of being parents are fresh in my mind. Well, I guess they’re as fresh as they can be since I still feel a little sleep deprived!

Adam and I were married for 7 years before we welcomed a baby into our marriage. We loved our years just the two of us, but we always knew we wanted a family.  People say you’re never ready to have a baby (and they’re partially right) but we did everything we could to prepare ourselves for this little person to invade our home, hearts, and routines. We prayed, we took a class on childbirth, we asked for advice from friends with kids, and we talked to our parents about raising us.

I’ll be honest, there was nothing that could have fully prepared us for the change that comes with having a baby, but all the reading and talking is worth it! When you’re up for the fourth time in the middle of the night, trying to figure out why the baby won’t sleep, you need every ounce of patience to not lose your cool.

One of the most important things we did before Emerson was born was going through a study called The Art of Marriage. We knew having a baby would be a stressful, a life-altering experience, and we wanted our marriage to be solid before so many things changed. When the study talked about how we resolve conflict, how we communicate, and how we express our love to each other, we considered them in the context of our marriage but in regards to kids. Ultimately we want our marriage to set an example of Christ’s love to our kids.

Before we had a baby we had regular date nights. We didn’t have a specific night of the week set aside for us, but any night could be date night. We could catch a movie on a whim, go out for dinner after a long day at work, or head to a coffee shop whenever we wanted. That all changes when you have a baby. Three months in, we’ve been out on a few dates (which has been amazing) but a healthy marriage needs more than the occasional night out to survive!

Our solution is to get creative with date nights. Who says you have to go out to have a date? These days baby boy goes to bed by 7 so that means we have a few quiet hours to ourselves to play a game, cuddle on the couch and watch a movie or a favorite show, or just hang out! Our goal is to do this once a week.

To make the in-home dates a little more special, we take turns planning them. One week I got stuff to make root beer floats (something we don’t usually have) and picked a game to play. Even though the baby monitor was still on, we set aside an hour free from our to-do list to spend together.

At-home dates are great, but getting out of the house is even better! We’re still working on finding some go-to babysitters, but we’re not afraid to take our friends up on their offers to watch the baby. Some of them have kids of their own and know how hard it is to get out and some of them don’t have kids but don’t mind loving on ours for a few hours. The best part about these sitters is usually they’re free (we usually pay them in baked goods or a bottle of wine).

Our marriage will continue to grow and change along with our baby boy. The important thing is that we make it a priority! When we love each other well and make time for us we are better parents. It’s a win, win!

Andrea blogs about marriage, decorating, and life at Read about how she fell in love with her high school prom date, one of her favorite things about living in an old house, and why she loves decorating her mantel.


What I'm Reading Right Now: A Devotional for New Moms

Life has certainly changed since my daughter was born just over a month ago! It feels like most of my life is spent on the couch, nursing or holding or snuggling with Claire. Because there's only so much multitasking you can do with a baby in your arms, I've been doing quite a bit of one-handed reading, the most recent of which is a timely devotional I received from Tyndale to review: Mommy Time: 90 Devotions for New Moms by Sarah Arthur.

The focus of the book's devotionals is on learning to see God at work in all aspects of motherhood. She writes about how delivering her son three weeks early reminds her of God’s timing, how her trip home from the hospital with her newborn son tucked away in his car seat points to God being in control even when she is fearful, and how a mom’s concern over friendly strangers touching her young child in the grocery store also reminds her that people are sent to help. (You can check out this PDF that gives you a sneak peek into the book, including a sample devotional, which you can check out here.)

And, for some more behind-the-scenes of the book, here's a brief Q&A with the author, Sarah Arthur:

What is your hope for this book, Mommy Time?
One of the best ways I’ve found to stay balanced during the crazy transition of motherhood has been to talk with other moms. And that’s what I hope this book is: a conversation, a story, one new mom sharing with other new moms what God is doing in her life. In that sense it’s less a devotional book than a memoir, or maybe a devotional memoir, tracking my spiritual reflections during the first three months of my son’s life.

In your book, you say that “motherhood is itself a spiritual discipline.” What do you mean by this?
Christians often talk about certain spiritual actions or practices that bring us into the presence of God, that deepen our relationship with Jesus. We talk about Bible study, prayer, worship, serving others, etc. But through motherhood, I’ve realized that we can also seek God in the everyday ordinariness of caregiving. The working class, the poor, the enslaved, and illiterate Christians have been doing this for centuries without ten minutes each morning to pray or read Scripture. It is not beneath us to pray while folding laundry. In fact, there is a sense in which having such focus requires more discipline. If we let God in, motherhood can help us grow stronger spiritual muscles and become more like Jesus.

You endeavor to help moms cultivate “awareness of God’s presence in the small things, in the daily tasks of caring for infants.” Can you provide an example of this?
It was my husband who began praying for my son’s body while giving him a bottle—since there isn’t much else to do besides sit there. He prays for Micah’s little feet, that he will stand strong in the Lord; for his legs, that he will walk with Jesus all his days; for his stomach, that he will “feed” on God’s Word; etc.—all the way up. Rather than texting or talking on the phone or checking Facebook, we can take those moments and turn our thoughts toward God.

God is in control. Why is this truth so important for new moms?
We live in a culture of fear: fear for our kids’ safety, fear that we won’t measure up as parents, fear that our children will flunk life, etc. And retailers prey on that fear. So we are surrounded by magazines and books and websites that try to sell us things to give us a false feeling of control. But the truth is, every day I have to unclench my fist and release Micah into the care of the One who made him in the first place. And that’s hard. But if I can practice it now, I can do it when Micah walks out the door with the car keys. Hopefully.

How do you carve out time to spend in God’s Word in your busy life?
I’ll be honest, whatever pattern of “quiet time” many Christians idealize was not invented by new moms. There have been seasons in my life when I deeply, intensely studied Scripture—through Bible classes in college, getting a master’s degree in theology, reading certain books, and attending certain small groups. But during this new season, I have had to draw from the well of those experiences rather than carve out new ones. I have had to tell myself, “Holding this child is what God has for me right now.” If I can free up one arm so that I can read a good devotional book, even better.

What encouragement would you provide to the new mom who is overwhelmed and feeling lost?
You are not alone. Lots of moms, including me, fall into the trap of presenting ourselves as totally together—which just perpetuates that feeling of isolation, like you’re the only one flunking motherhood. But we are all there, sister. I’m sitting here at my laptop unshowered with no idea what to make for dinner tonight, checking my phone fifty-seven times a minute to make sure Micah’s day care isn’t texting me about some crisis. So we’re in this together. And meanwhile, we have a God who holds us and our children in the palm of his hand, who isn’t particularly concerned that the same load of laundry has been in the washer for three days. We rest in grace.

Find Mommy Time: 90 Devotions for New Moms on Amazon.

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On My Reading List: Books About Motherhood and Godly Parenting
Building a Library for Our Daughter

Conquering Fear Through the Cross / GUEST POST


For almost as long as I can remember I’ve carried around an overwhelming sense of fear. I’m not sure exactly what triggered it—I can remember only a few truly "scary" moments. I don’t know where it came from but I do know that it was very much there. I remember, as a kid, being afraid of supernatural bad guys. Instead of diminishing as I grew older, the fear grew with me, morphing into paranoia of rapists, murders, torturers and fake policeman out to get me.

Once the sunset, I always felt as if someone was behind me, following me or just around the corner waiting to grab me. As a child, my only comforts seemed to be in the arms of a parent or the voice of my younger sister, whom upon hearing me awaken with a start would say "It’s okay Rachel. It’s not real." Eventually, I learned that singing "Jesus Loves Me" would stave off the fear and allow me to return to sleep.

As I grew into an adult, I struggled to find a way to stop the fear before it took hold. The fear was damaging my marriage and wrecking havoc on my sleep.

I began to search the Bible and turned to the Lord in prayer. The Lord led me to several scriptures that stopped my fear in its tracks. The first Scripture was one that I’d heard many years ago but never bothered to memorize (in fact a few of the verses that I turned to at first were on a handout about over coming fear/anxiety that the mother of an ex-boyfriend gave me out of the blue during my freshman year of high school, that I’d managed to hand onto. Doesn’t that speak to you about the magnitude of God’s awesome plan?).

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear but you received the spirit of adoption. Romans 8:15

These two verses were key in my struggle to overcome fear. These verses state outright that God has given me and sound mind. This combated the overreaction of my mind to sounds and shadows. I am not crazy. There is a rational explanation for that shadow (it’s the full length mirror or the shadow created from the light of my phone reflecting through a lampshade). The second verse showed me that when God made me his daughter he broke the bonds of fear and I have no reason to let them take hold over me. They don’t own me. He does.

The next verse I memorized, and call on frequently is Isaiah 12:1-2: "I will praise you, O Lord. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely, God is my salvation. I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation."

I cherish this verse for many reasons and I recite it when I feel fear creeping in. When I need help remaining calm, I turn to Romans 15:13, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. It reminds me to turn to the Lord and that he will fill me with the peace that I need.

There is always a lesson within a lesson (sometimes several) and in this case using Scripture to fight fear taught me the importance of having Scripture committed to memory. It’s a powerful weapon. As a child I had been told that it was important to know Scripture but it never clicked until recently.

I want to quickly mention a few more things I’m learning while in the process of trusting Jesus to remove my fear:

1. Fear is not just a focus on the bad guys. It can be a fear of inadequacy, humiliation or social stigma. But there is no reason to be afraid. If the disciples could stand and authoritatively address a crowd (and religious leaders) in Jesus’ name then so can you and I. The Holy Spirit will show up and empower us. That is promised in Luke 12:11, When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.

2. Worry is also a type of fear. My favorite verse to combat worry is Luke 12:22&29: "....Therefore I tell you do not worry about your life…Do not set your hear on what you will eat or drink. Don not worry about it for the pagan world runs after such things and your Father knows you need them, but seek first His Kingdom and these things will be given to you as well." There is no need to be afraid that our needs will go unmet. God created us, he knows what we require and he will be there to provide it. It may not come in the form we expect but it WILL come.

3. If you can trust God with the things that scare you the most, you teach yourself that you can trust him with anything. I am learning that nothing can harm me. They may harm my body, but nothing can touch me…FOR I BELONG TO THE LORD!

P.S. I recently heard this song and highly recommend you give it a listen.

Rachel says, "Hey ya’ll! I’m very thankful for the opportunity to guest blog for you today. I'm a writer and legal assistant, the latter of which as cut down the amount of time and energy I can put towards my own blog, Diary of a Chocoholic, but I try to keep it up as much as possible. I’m a Southern girl at heart, although I’ve currently transplanted to PA (and miss the beach terribly!). I love to read, write, bake and travel and am learning to cook. I’m a newlywed of two years, and my husband and I are trying our best to live as disciples of Jesus."

The Super Easy Way to Make Your Own Baby Food: Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker Review

Even though my daughter is only a couple weeks old and we’re still getting the hang of nursing, I know that like everything else with parenthood, time will fly by and soon enough, she’ll be guzzling down solid foods and growing up before we know it.

So that is why when I got the chance to receive the Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker from NUK through the Moms Meet blogger program, I was excited to add this to her arsenal in preparation for those days ahead of us.

The Freshfoods Baby Food Maker is an all-in-one steamer, blender and food processor so that you can make your own, homemade baby food from scratch in one convenient appliance with minimal effort. Since I’ve always been one to make as much of my own household items from scratch as it is, making my own baby food was always something I’d intended anyway. But this food maker simplifies it so that even the most novice of mommas can whip up good-for-you meals for their babes, lickity split.

With the food maker, you can make up to four meals at a time and select whether you want smooth or chunky texture. The machine itself is pretty small so that it’s quite manageable (as compared to my regular food processor). You steam (if necessary) and blend in the same container so it’s not very messy at all, and clean-up is simplified. Plus, if you want to steam two different foods at once, there’s a separate steam compartment so that you can multitask without hassle. Once you set the choices, it only takes about fifteen minutes or so to steam the veggies and then a couple more minutes to puree them and you have fresh, whole-foods dinner ready for baby.

I’m so excited about incorporating this time- and space- and sanity-saving device into our routine. In the meantime, I’ve already tested it out for steaming some sweet potatoes for me and my husband one night for dinner and could not be more pleased with how easy it was to use; it only took 17 minutes to steam two tubers and then about five more minutes to puree them into mashed sweet potatoes. It's super efficient, so there's no need to only relegate it to baby tasks. I intend on using it in the future whenever I want to steam veggies, since it does the task a lot faster than I can on the stove-top and with less clean-up involved.

If you're interested in trying it yourself, you can download a $20 coupon for the Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker as well as print a coupon for any Freshfoods accessory. Find out more about the Freshfoods Baby Food Maker and other Freshfoods products for baby (including freezer trays, a food mill or popsicle molds) on the NUK website or by following NUK on Facebook.

Find the Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker on Amazon.
Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinions on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

A Letter to Myself / GUEST POST


Dear Me,

This blinking cursor is staring me down something fierce. I wanted to begin with something heartfelt and touching, but it looks like instead we'll have to start with some honesty.

I haven't loved you very well. If I had made vows to you as I did my husband, I would certainly feel as though I was not honoring them.

Ok, fine, let's just spell it out. I haven't honored you.

I have believed lies about you. Some lies were told to me by others, but most were whispered into my ear in the moments I am most vulnerable. The moments we are most vulnerable. When our familiar guest Condemnation brings his good friend Shame, and they both bring so much luggage that it simply overwhelms the tiny space we're in. No windows are open, and the air is hot and thick with their words. It's hard to take a deep breath let alone speak aloud disagreement with what they are saying:

You're not thin enough.

Not pretty enough.

Your hair is boring.

Your thighs are large.

You're not good enough.

You fail at being a good friend, daughter, sister, wife.

You don't call enough, do enough, pray for them enough.

You screw up all the time.

If everyone isn't 100% happy all the time, it is probably your fault.

You let people down all the time.

* * *

Oh, how sorry I am that I have not only believed these lies, but repeated them to you over and over.

Please don't give up on me. I am learning now what it means to love and be loved, and that the One who created us is able to open all the windows in the room and let the fresh air in. I am learning how to tell our unwanted guests to take a hike, and how to rebuke the lies they tell.

I'm so sorry for the damage I have done.

For cursing you instead of seeing the gift you are

For wishing you looked and acted differently

For making you feel so defensive and on guard, unable to believe the beautiful truths about yourself.

I'm sorry I compared you to so many others instead of seeing who's image you were made in.

* * *

I hope you can forgive me, because I really truly do love you. And I'm so proud of the progress you have made:

You wore shorts this summer, for the first time in ten years!

You went back to your natural hair color (and love it).

You've made real strides in not measuring and weighing your food, and not counting calories at every meal.

You believe your husband when he tells you that you are beautiful.

Because you are.

There are no songs as beautiful as the music that fills my soul when I hear your voice, especially when it is comforting and counseling others.

Your hands, which are calloused from the work of days gone by, are still so soft to the touch. They hold other hands, lay on shoulders in prayer, and make gifts and food for those in need of blessing.

Your eyes are indeed a beautiful color, and they sparkle with tears of both joy and sorrow. Your emotion is what makes you you, and it is beautiful.

Your body is exactly what your Creator had in mind. Honor it, yes, but do not spend your life wishing it was something different.

Your heart is bright even in a dark room. And even when you do nothing for anyone else, you shine. All on your own. You don't have to do anything for me to love you—I just do.

I'm sorry I haven't been very good at loving you, but thanks for sticking out the harder times. I can't promise there won't be more to come, but I can promise you that we are better protected now.

I love you so much.

Melissa is a twentysomethin recently married gal that among other things enjoys the chilly air and gorgeous leaves of autumn, delicious food, tattoos, and the satisfaction of cleaning something really dirty. (A bit of a nut!) She has a heart for women to know their worth in Christ, and a passion for all marriages to not only succeed, but be exceptional. She blogs at Gracefully Falling Down.
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