Hiatus Over and Green Living Series!

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Yes, I’ve been gone a while. A long while. I never intended to take such a lengthy blogging break, especially so soon after starting up again, but what began as a two-week spring break became a spring and summer hiatus. During that time, I was able to focus on my family and home, two things that were in need of more of my attention, and I’m glad I did. I missed blogging, but family comes first, so no regrets. There were also things that the Lord needed to speak to my heart, that I believe will ultimately make me a better blogger. That said, it’s nice to be back!

So let’s jump right in. I get a lot of questions about “Green” living.  You may or may not know much about our lifestyle, so for those of you who don’t let me sum it up. In terms of diet, my husband and I are, when we’re behaving, organic, high-raw vegans. Not militantly so – in other words, if we go out or are at someone else’s house, we do make some concessions, but in our home, this is how we strive to eat. It has been a process of growth for us, and we are still growing, but we’ve found that the closer we stick to our dietary principles, the happier and healthier we are.

On the home front, we are, well, eco-geeks. We recycle, cloth diaper, use reusable cloth shopping bags, strive to reduce waste, and have eliminated almost all paper products from our home. I’m that weirdo who washes out Ziploc freezer bags and reuses them (I don’t buy them, so when I get one from someone, I make it stretch!) and buys nearly everything off of Craigslist or ebay so we aren’t consuming new products.  We also try to adhere to what I term a “Chem-Free” lifestyle, using very few purchased personal care or home cleaning products. I make my own laundry soap, shampoo, conditioner, body cleanser, skin care products, deodorant (yes, it really works!), household cleansers and diaper wipes, among many other things. Not only are they extremely inexpensive to make, they also work as well as and often better than their pricey, highly processed counterparts.

I realize it sounds like a lot of work, and may even seem very unappealing to some, but it has proved a tremendous blessing in our lives in many ways:

  1. Financially – Plainly put, it saves us a lot of money. My husband is an associate pastor still in the “intern” stage, and our income is very small. And because his salary comes from the tithes and offerings of our church members, it’s important to us to practice careful stewardship with those funds. Our lifestyle makes it possible for me to be at home raising our son and still manage to make things work financially. It has meant a lot of sacrifice, but to us, it’s worth it.
  2. Physically – Through eliminating our exposure to many toxic chemicals found in most purchased products and foods, we have better health. I no longer suffer from severe allergies and we get fewer colds and other illnesses. Organic food tastes better and is better for us, and our son has learned to love a large variety of healthy fruits, vegetable, nuts, seeds and grains. He’s a healthy, happy eater and is developing good dietary habits that will stay with him for life. I also don’t have to worry about him getting into any dangerous household cleaners because, well, there simply aren’t any.
  3. Environmentally – As Christians, we believe that we are called to be good stewards of the earth, This is the home God gave us, and we want to show our gratitude for this gift by caring for it to the best of our abilities. Not obsessively so, and certainly not in the earth-worshiping tenor of environmental fanaticism, but with a balanced, God-honoring regard for all we’ve been given. Besides, going back to the physical aspects, protecting the environment protects us, too.
  4. Mentally/Emotionally – I know it sounds strange, but clearing out all the extra stuff and simplifying our lives has mental and emotional benefits, too. When you have less stuff, you have less stuff to worry about. Stepping back and taking stock of what we really need and being willing to get rid of what we can happily live without makes us feel lighter and happier. We are able to give more of ourselves to the things that matter. You don’t need all those half-empty shampoo bottles cluttering up the bathroom cabinet, or three different kinds of facial moisturizer, or so many different hair products. Letting go of  them all and replacing them with things that make you feel good and are good for you is freeing. This is one area I don’t hear discussed much in natural living circles, but is important to focus on. Even if you’re not ready to “go green” just yet, you can still benefit from decluttering and simplifying your lifestyle. Additionally, removing those nasty, chemical-laden products really does help clear your brain. 🙂

So, now that you know where I’m coming from, here’s where I’m going – since I get so many questions about healthful eating and green living, I’ll be doing several posts on these topics in a series. I’m currently working on putting together a class for those wanting to learn how to make their own personal and household products, so much of what I post will be material from this upcoming project. If you have specific questions or topics in this area you’d like to see covered, please let me know, and I’ll be sure to address them.

See you soon (no, really… I promise!) 🙂

Guilt-Free Friday… Springtime Soup-n-Salad (or, The Return of Caesar)!

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I took a “spring break” from blogging last week, which I truly needed, though I did miss working on a Guilt-Free Friday post. Ironically, the weather last week was less than ideal for spring, but the sunshine and warm temperatures are back, which has me craving a delicious, colorful salad and and cool, refreshing… soup. Yes, soup. Believe it or not, a raw soup can be the perfect compliment to a crisp salad on a warm spring day. I’ve been discovering some delicious raw soup recipes that are surprisingly quick and easy and taste so good you’ll feel like a gourmet chef.

First, the salad. I don’t know about you, but I love caesar salad. At least, I did until I became a vegan, after which my beloved caesar became streng verboten thanks to the anchovy paste and Parmesan cheese used in the oh-so-yummy dressing. I never really bothered trying to find a substitute because, well, how do you sub anchovies?

I should have known.

Leave it to Kristin to come up with a caesar dressing that’s raw, vegan and delicious! Thanks to her culinary genius, I can finally indulge in my favorite warm weather meal again (sans croutons, which are a caloric nightmare)!

A nice big salad may be enough by itself, but I usually like to pair it with another dish – in this case, a light but highly-nutritious gazpacho. The ingredients are simple and fresh and the taste is, well, see for yourself – it will quickly become a favorite! You can also warm this soup over low heat if you prefer. Enjoy!

Caesar Salad with Hemp Omega Caesar Dressing

  • 1 C water
  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil OR flax seed oil
  • 1/2 C hemp seeds OR 1/4 C hemp powder
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp. mustard seeds (optional)
  • 1 Tbls. honey
  • 1 -2 Tbls. dulse (or more, to taste)
  • zest of 1/2 lemon

Blend all ingredients until creamy, pour over romaine lettuce and serve. Keeps 3 days refrigerated.

Gazpacho

  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 large ripe heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 medium red bell peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 4-5 pitted dates
  • 1/4 C lemon juice
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 medium bell pepper
  • 5 sticks celery

Blend all ingredients EXCEPT avocado, 1 bell pepper and celery. Pour the gazpacho liquid into a bowl, chop the avocado, 1 bell pepper and celery into small cubes, and add to liquid. Garnish with fresh parsley or grated carrot and serve. Keeps 2-3 days refrigerated.

Guilt-Free Friday… Raw Candy!

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I’ve been getting a lot of requests for my raw candy recipes, so today’s post was a no-brainer. I’ve already talked about my killer sweet tooth, and while it’s been tamed somewhat, I’m still a sucker for a healthy, yummy treat. Or sometimes, a not-so-healthy treat, but that’s another story. I mean really, who brings Girl Scout cookies to a baby shower?! It was a dirty trick, and I fell right into it. 😐

The great thing about raw candy is that it’s quick, simple, and you’ll almost always have the necessary ingredients, because there is just one basic formula with endless possibilities. So you can use whatever you have on hand, and it will always taste great.

Basic Raw Candy Formula:

  • 1 C any raw nuts (soaked and dried is best, but not necessary)
  • 1 C any dried fruits
  • 1 Tbls. oil for adhesion (not needed if you soak your dried fruit first)
  • Spices or other flavorings (optional)

Mix all ingredients in food processor. Roll into balls, chill and serve. Keep refrigerated.

So, I could use one cup of cashews, one cup of dates (always soak dates first), a dash of vanilla extract or vanilla beans, and a few sprinkles of carob. I’d toss it all in the food processor (don’t use a blender), pulse until blended, roll into balls or press into bars, chill (not required, but gives a better texture) and serve. That’s it! Well… unless you’re me. I always roll mine in coconut or crushed almonds, but that’s just because I’m incapable of leaving well enough alone.

And get creative – try using dried strawberries and pistachios, dates and pecans (tastes like pecan pie – yum!), mangoes and macadamia nuts, figs and Brazil nuts, apples and almonds. There really are no rules and no limits. My favorite combination is almonds or cashews (or a combination of both) and sweet dried cherries with carob and a dash of vanilla and rolled in coconut (soooooo good! I’ll be making some today!). It tastes decadent, and it’s rich enough that just a little satisfies. Unlike Girl Scout cookies. In case you can’t tell, I’m still bitter.

Now, if the basic candy formula isn’t quite exciting enough for you, you may want to try this raw candy bar, which I’ve adapted from another recipe. This one should speak to you Snickers lovers out there…

Raw Caramel & Carob Candy Bars

Base:

  • 4 1/2 C raw cashews, finely ground
  • 6 Tbls. maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 Tbls. cold water
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

“Caramel” Filling:

  • 3/4 cup raw tahini
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1/8 t. sea salt

Topping:

  • 1 1/4 cup carob powder
  • 2 Tbls. instant grain beverage crystals (some readily available brands are Inka, Roma and Pero)
  • 1 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt

1. Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment or wax paper, or lightly grease the pan with coconut oil. In a bowl, combine the finely ground cashews, maple syrup or agave, cold water and sea salt, stirring until the mixture is very thick and just holds together. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and place the pan in the freezer for at least 1 hour.

2. Make the “caramel.” In a small bowl, combine the tahini, syrup and salt, mixing until smooth. Spread the “caramel” over the cashew mixture and return the pan to the freezer for 1 hour more.

3. Make the topping. In a small bowl, mix together the carob powder, instant grain beverage crystals, maple syrup, oil, water and salt until smooth.

4. Line a plate or casserole dish with wax or parchment paper or lightly grease with coconut oil. Remove the pan from the freezer and cut the mixture into bars with a sharp knife. Dip each of the bars into the chocolate mixture, then place on the prepared plate or casserole dish. Pour any excess chocolate sauce over the bars and return the plate or dish to the freezer for 1-2 hours more or until set. Serve from the freezer. Enjoy!

So, indulge your sweet tooth in a healthy way and go make some candy! And PLEASE come back to the comments and let me know what you used for the basic candy formula and how it turned out! I’m thinking it may be time to host a giveaway for the best combination. That is, if you all do your job and follow through.

Have a great weekend!

Guilt-Free Friday… Going Raw – Italian Style!

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Click Photo for Photo Credit

It’s Spring! Well, it is here in Central California, anyway. If you’re still shivering in thick wool sweaters, my condolences to you. As I type this, I’m looking out the window at blue skies, sunshine, and vibrant shades of green everywhere. Our fruit trees are producing, our garden is coming along nicely, and our flowers have begun sprouting. The temperature has settled in the 70’s, and it’s time to pack away our Winter coats and dig out our Spring and Summer clothes. The warmer temperatures also mean the end of hearty winter soups, heavy meals and rich comfort foods. These days, I’m craving fresh, light fare, as close to its natural state as possible, which means the new, BIG nutritional changes in our family couldn’t have come at a better time. Guess what?

We’re going raw! Yep – the Dawson household is going raw for Spring and Summer, and we plan to remain 80-90% raw indefinitely. I know, it sounds crazy, or at least impractical, but we’ve been researching it for some time, and after a lot of reflection, discussion and prayer, my husband and I both feel led to enter a season of eating the purest, most nutrient rich, natural food possible. We’ve both been dealing with some stubborn minor health issues as well as fatigue, sluggishness, weight gain, and just not feeling our best. We’ve both been high raw (80% or more) in the past, and miss the numerous, dramatic benefits of that lifestyle. So, beginning April 1st, we’re all raw through August. We’ve already begun phasing cooked foods out of our system in preparation for our raw food adventure, and we’re both feeling lighter, more energetic and positive.

Even if you’re not ready to embrace a raw or high raw lifestyle, it’s still important that a large portion of your diet consists of fresh, uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. But if you’re anything like me, you can only eat so much salad before your taste buds stage a mutiny, so it’s extremely helpful to have at least a few raw recipes on hand that are decidedly un-salad tasting. Today’s first recipe is one of my very favorites, raw or otherwise. I was first introduced to it ten years ago by a friend in Lodi, and I’ve loved it ever since. I bring you… angel hair zucchini marinara!

The summer before my freshman year of high school, I had a job harvesting zucchini for a local farmer. It was horrible work – hot, humid, long backbreaking days hunched over a conveyor as we worked our way down the field, for a grumpy, high-pressure boss. Zucchini plants are prickly, so we had to wear long-sleeve shirts and gloves and still got painful scratches on our arms. It was so bad my grandmother and her sisters were betting on how long I’d last, if at all (I stuck it out all summer, thank you very much!). After that summer, the very smell of zucchini made me sick, and I determined that I would hate it forever, flat out refusing to eat it in any form. Fortunately, my friend was an amazing raw cuisine chef, and I’m so glad she talked me into trying this raw “pasta” dish – after just one bite, I was hooked! I’m betting you will be, too. 🙂

If you don’t have a spiral slicer, you can use a vegetable peeler to create “fettuccine” instead of angel hair. I highly recommend getting a spiral slicer if you’re able to – they’re inexpensive and fun, and it’s a great way to get kids excited about eating their veggies.

And what’s pasta without a side salad? I’ve recently discovered the curly-leafed wonder that is kale, and this Mediterranean Kale Salad is a scrumptious way to load up on living foods and get more of those all-important dark leafy greens into your diet. Add it to your “pasta” marinara, and you’ve got a delicious raw meal packed with loads of nutrition. Your cells will be bursting with energy!

Zucchini Marinara

  • 6 medium zucchini or yellow crook-neck squash (or combination), cut in half (by width, not length)
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil*
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
  • Dash of cayenne
  • Dash of black pepper substitute (optional)
  • 2 tsp. dried basil, OR 1/4 C fresh
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano, or 2 Tbls. fresh

*OR dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for 3 hours or more (overnight is best) in 1C water. Add tomatoes AND water.

Create zucchini or squash “noodles” using a vegetable peeler or spiral slicer. Place all other ingredients in a food processor fitted with the S-blade and process until smooth. Keeps for 3 days refrigerated in a sealed container.

Toss the zucchini noodles with enough marinara sauce to coat well; serve immediately. Makes 6 servings

Mediterranean Kale Salad

  • 2 small bunches lacinato or curly kale, stems removed
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, soaked 10 minutes, drained, and rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper substitute (optional)

Stack the kale a couple of leaves at a time. Slice into very thin strips and place in a mixing bowl along with the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Toss well with your hands, working the dressing into the greens. Add the pine nuts and raisins and toss gently, then season to taste with black pepper substitute (optional).

Bring to room temperature before serving. Mediterranean Kale Salad will keep for 3 days refrigerated in a sealed container.

Variation: Eliminate the raisins and the pine nuts. Add 1 seeded and diced tomato, 1 diced avocado, one diced red bell pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper.

Makes 6 servings

Guilt-Free Friday… Food Addiction and Cashew Cream Cheese

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Very often, I find that food is closely tied in with my memories, and just seeing a certain food will remind me of an event or feeling. The opposite is also true – sometimes, a certain place or experience will set off a craving for a specific food. I used to snack while reading, and I find now that whenever I re-read a book, I find myself craving the food I was eating when I last read it. Food is powerful! This connection can make it very difficult to break a food addiction or eating cycle, as we are often more attached to the feeling we get from food than to the food itself. The realization of this has been very important to me as my husband and I embark on our journey toward radical health and a raw foods lifestyle.

One of my favorite childhood memories is of climbing into my mom’s bed on Sunday mornings to eat bagels and cream cheese and watch old black and white TV shows from the 50’s. Even now, when I see a bagel with cream cheese, I think of those times snuggled up next to my mom, laughing and relaxing together, and bagels have remained one of my favorite foods.

While this is still a wonderful memory for me, it is also somewhat sobering to realize what a large role food addiction has played in my life. I struggled with eating disorders from my late teens into my late 20’s, and I still have to fight an emotional connection with the foods I eat, as well as the temptation to sinfully judge myself based on my eating habits and food choices. I must carefully guard against my tendency to believe the lie that if I eat healthy, don’t snack and drink the right amount of water, I am a good and worthwhile person, but if I eat something I shouldn’t or fall short of my high nutritional standards, I am a failure and less valuable in God’s sight.  I must continually preach the gospel to myself and remember that nothing I do – or eat – can make me more or less acceptable to God. He did not save me because of my pantry stocked with organic food; I did not become worthy of salvation by virtue of a vegetarian diet. My salvation is in Christ. I did not earn it, I do not deserve it, and, therefore, I can not “undo” it by eating something less than ideal. I can however, surrender my will to Christ and allow Him to guide my choices, and that is what I seek to do.

I realize it may sound a bit strange to tie food in to the gospel, but this is an area of sin in my life, and the gospel speaks to our sin, no matter what form it takes.

Now, back to the bagels. 🙂  When I became a vegan, my beloved “bagel and schmear” had to go (the TV had to go too, which went a long way toward overcoming certain food addictions. Those commercials are serious temptation!), and while I knew it was for the best, I always missed the wonderful contrast of cold, creamy cheese on a hot, crunchy, toasted bagel (I’m getting pretty nostalgic just typing it!). I was thrilled to discover sprouted whole grain bagels, but finding something to put on them was a major challenge. I tried the soy cream cheese I found in stores, but it was grainy and had a strange aftertaste and was, well, soy, which I avoid for a number of reasons. I also avoid processed and packaged foods, so the whole concept of buying a tub of artificial white goo was just completely unappealing. I basically gave the whole idea up until one day, when I found a recipe for cream cheese that was creamy, delicious, raw and completely guilt-free. Enter: cashews!

Cashews are rich in a number of health-promoting nutrients, including magnesium, copper, tryptophan, and healthy fatty acids. A diet that is rich in high quality raw cashews can aid tooth and bone health, as well as helping to prevent high blood pressure. Additionally, eating cashews with a carbohydrate-rich food at your last meal of the day can help promote a good night’s rest due to their high tryptophan content.

Best of all, cashews make an ideal alternative to dairy products in recipes because of their creamy, blendable texture and mild taste that works in both savory and sweet dishes. This dairy-free cream cheese puts real nutrition into your cells and promotes energy and vitality.

Cashew Cream Cheese

  • 2 C raw, organic cashews
  • 3 Tbls cold pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3-6 Tbls Water
  • 1-2 Tbls Green onions or chives (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend into a smooth cream. Add just a few tablespoons of water at first, and add an additional tablespoon at a time as you blend until you reach the desired consistency.

If you enjoy cream cheese with fresh herbs, add a heaping tablespoon of green onions, chives, or any other fresh herbs that are readily available to the mix before you blend. For a sweet option, use 2 Tbls EVOO and 1 Tbls organic coconut oil, omit the herbs and add a drizzle of raw honey, a light sprinkle of cardamon and a pinch of coriander. Spread over a sprouted whole grain bagel or toast or, better yet, some raw, sprouted flax crackers and top with a sliced apple or carrot for an amazing energy boost. This makes a great meal for toddlers and kids, too. Enjoy!

The Soft Landing… and a Safe Baby Giveaway!

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It’s no secret that I’m passionate about safe, eco-friendly products for my family, especially for my son. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to receive a stainless steel, 100% BPA free sippy cup by OGGI from some good friends of ours last night for Kade’s first birthday. I am really excited about this sippy cup! Clearly, our friends know us well (thanks, Reindl family!), and I am so grateful that they blessed Kade (and us!) with such a thoughtful gift.  And it’s a great way to introduce today’s post. 🙂

I’m so excited about this giveaway on Veater Family Adventures. They’ve teamed up with The Soft Landing, a favorite site of mine, to offer a chance to win some great, safe products for your little ones from Dandelion Organic, Kid Basix, and My Dentist’s Choice. I’m a big fan of the Safe Sippy from Kid Basix – love it!

The Soft Landing Store is the first of its kind, offering over 45 brands of 100% BPA, PVC and Phthalate-free products in one convenient place, with the goal of taking the headache out of making the switch to safer gear. They’ve definitely done that for me! This is hands-down one of the best resources I’ve found for safe, high-quality children’s products. I love being able to go to one place to find out what products meet my standards of safety, quality, and sustainability. Their thorough research, detailed descriptions and informative articles and reports mean I spend less time online reading and evaluating, trying to protect my son, and more time being able to relax and just enjoy my sweet little monkey. Add The Soft Landing to your list of favorite sites and let them do the work for you.

So get on over to Veater Family Adventures and enter this giveaway! There are lots of ways to enter, so go check it out and be sure to let me know if you win!

Where I am, Where He is

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This is an updated re-post from 2007. I was trying to put my heart into words this week, and then realized I already had, nearly three years ago. So, I refreshed it and added an excerpt from one of my favorite books. Blessings!

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“The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be.” John Stott

When viewed this way, my life here on earth comes more clearly into focus, and I am reminded that in all I do, I must keep the gospel central in order to keep me in my place, and Christ in His. To my shame, I must admit that I have been sorely neglectful in this. It is far too easy to drift (or race) through my days, consumed with the dailiness of life, forgetting eternal things, even when – or maybe especially when – those eternal things are part of my job description.

When kept in the forefront, the gospel changes who we are on every level. For this reason, I do not work to earn a living or to receive the praise of others, but to glorify God, because He gave His life for me. That changes the way I work, and the way I feel about even the most mundane assignments, the most menial tasks.

I do not love to receive love in return, but because the Savior of this world has first loved me, and desires to love others through me. That changes both who and how I love, and prevents me from becoming offended by the words and actions of others, regardless of their motives.

I do not serve to be served, but because I have already been served with the most unspeakable gift – the grace of God. That changes the way I treat others, and puts in me a servant’s heart, eager to give without thought of receiving in return.

I am painfully aware, as I have wandered dazedly through the past few weeks with little focus, little energy, and little cognizance of my true condition, that I have repeatedly put myself in the place of God in my life. When I make my own choices, contrary to His word and the urging of the Holy Spirit in my heart, I am assuming the throne of the Sovereign of Heaven. When I neglect to give Him the glory and praise due His name and testify to others of what He has done, when I fail to seek His wisdom and blessing on every aspect of my life, acknowledging Him as King of the universe, King of my heart, I am making an idol of myself, and a mockery of Him.

So, where does that leave me? How do I remove myself from the place of God in my heart, and allow Him in? The truth is, I can’t. And that has always been my problem. I am completely powerless to act with sovereignty in my own life, because I am not sovereign. God is. My sinful attempts to supersede Him on the throne have proven that my only hope is to ask God Himself to cast down my idols and take possession of my heart. I love these words from the book Christ’s Object Lessons:

“In one way only can a true knowledge of self be obtained. We must behold Christ. It is ignorance of Him that makes men so uplifted in their own righteousness. When we contemplate His purity and excellence, we shall see our own weakness and poverty and defects as they really are. We shall see ourselves lost and hopeless, clad in garments of self-righteousness, like every other sinner. We shall see that if we are ever saved, it will not be through our own goodness, but through God’s infinite grace…

“No outward observances can take the place of simple faith and entire renunciation of self. But no man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be, ‘Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul.'”

If you have never read this book, please get it – I cannot commend it highly enough. This excerpt is from Chapter 13, Two Worshipers, one of my favorites. The entire book will leave you breathless at the beautiful grace of God.

I am so grateful that God loves me enough to reveal, and then mercifully remove, my sinful arrogance. I can only say with the Psalmist, “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that Thou thinkest of him? Ps. 8:4

My prayer today is that I will choose to keep the gospel as the central focus of my life, and keep my Savior in His rightful place on the throne of my heart. I humbly invite you to do the same.