Wednesday, July 27, 2011


           Ubuntu is an African saying. Defined it means: 
           "I am what I am because we are." 
           "Ubuntu means each one of us can only effectively exist as fully functioning human beings when we acknowledge the roles that others play in our lives. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, says: “Africans have a thing called ubuntu; it is about the essence of being human, it is part of the gift that Africa is going to give to the world. It embraces hospitality, caring about others, being willing to go that extra mile for the sake of another. We believe that a person is a person through other persons; that my humanity is caught up and bound up in yours. When I dehumanise you, I inexorably dehumanise myself. The solitary human being is a contradiction in terms, and therefore you seek to work for the common good because your humanity comes into its own in community, in belonging.”"
           Tyler sent me an email the other day about this concept that they talked about at his work devotion. It's beautiful, huh? Remember this is an African concept, not a specifically Christian concept. Do we love our neighbors and truly model this as the body of Christ? So much of God's word emphasizes the importance of true community. We are united in Him. No matter what I say or do, I will always have been raised in South Dakota by Roger and Robin Neth. My best friends were Hilary, Cassie, Staci, Kelli, and Kelley. I dated two different boys and was hurt by both. I went to Calvary and my youth pastor was Jeremy Nelson. Then, I attended NWC and roomed with Morgan De Jong. I played women's basketball and have long term friendships from my team, my wing, and my apartment. The Lord worked through them and I am shaped into who I am today. Now, I'm living in Sioux Falls with my husband and have a new God sent crew. "I am what I am because we are." 
           While in Israel, we talked about the sand on the seashore. Have you ever noticed how it clumps together when wet? God is the living water that unites us all (see Ray VanderLaan) God tells Abraham, "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore." Ever wonder why he used that picture? "I am what I am because we are."
          The beauty of Christ's body always baffles me. The Lord is always placing those perfect gifts in my life to point me to more of Him. "I am what I am because we are." Who are the people in your life that influence you the most? Do they point you to more of Him? Do they bless you and give you joy in your life? Encourage them. Bless them. Peace out dudes....Love you all!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nuts Ninja

 Today, after biking back to our apartment from my new part-time job at the neighborhood coffee shop, Oscars, I was determined to succeed at making the ultimate almond butter. You see, I am what you might call a nut butter lover. Yes, please laugh. :-D Many of my closest friends would easily be able to tell you its one of my favorite foods. So when antiquing with my new added family (Tyler, his mom, and his brother) I was far too excited when Cindy (mother-in-law) showed me a peanut butter jar from the 1930s. Cindy bought it for me as an early birthday gift and since I have been hoping to master the art of making my very own nut butters.
This is where the ninja comes in....The ninja is actually a blender/food processor that Tyler and I received as a wedding gift. I used multiple recipes from different blogs to try to create my very own nut butter. After approximately an hour, feeling sick from trying little bites here and there, and a very warm ninja, I finally gave up. My nut butter is still not creamy and delicious like I would hope. My peanut butter jar is filled with lumpy almond paste. Maybe my ratios are wrong? Maybe my ninja is not the best for nut butter creations but only for delicious breakfast smoothies, frappes, and blizzards? Maybe it was too full or not full enough??? Who knows? Any pointers out there???
Anyways, I think that this frustration is similar to parts of my life lately. I'm working at being a good wife, daughter, friend, and worker. I'm working to pursue a career and love Jesus and others wherever I'm at. I'm lumpy almond paste. I'm striving...But mostly striving to continue trusting while being obedient. You see I like control. Which is why I like trying to make things.. :-) I'm glad that even when I fail there's hope. I'm glad that God reveals my imperfections to me so I remember that I need Him and I can't do things by myself. I'm glad God blesses me through things like old peanut butter jars, sunshine filled days, and time to just sit and talk to Jesus. I praise Him for not giving me control and for showing His faithfulness in so many ways. I'm thankful for the husband He has given me (Yes, husband...weird, I know), the family He's surrounded me with, the friends He speaks to me through, and His ever present Spirit.
Maybe someday I'll be creamy almond butter perfected through God's food processor. :-) Sorry, I meant maybe someday I'll be able to make creamy almond butter.

What's in your peanut butter jar?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Psalm 23

 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures. 
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

1 When you picture the green pastures what do you see?
Yep, the South Dakota farm girl in me probably pictured the same things you did...the flat grassy plains of the Midwest? Yes, please!
However, this is the green pasture:
Straight from the Judean Wilderness, this picture shows God's heart for His flock. Israel has about a three month span when they get nice rainfall (none in the desert areas) and during the rest of the year they get very little rain, if any. However, at night there is a dew that settles on the ground and without it any plant life would completely die off. This dew takes the little roots in the ground and allows them to spring up just a little bit over night. 
A good shepherd leads his flock to their needed amount of food each day. He never overgrazes an area. He never leaves his flock starving. He provides. 
What do we really need today? How much do we worry about the things that we don't need until tomorrow?
 2 The number one cause of death in the desert is surprisingly drowning. During the rainy season there are many floods.The nearby limestone mountains do not allow rain to soak in quickly so it rushes over the land, carving deep canyons over the years called wadis and wiping out whatever is in its path. The picture above shows the kind of cut I'm talking about. During the rainy season, there might be water pooling here. This is when you need the good shepherd. He knows to take you to the quiet waters where there is no chance of suddenly being swept away. 
3 I learned in Israel that sheep are not smart animals. They would walk right off a cliff while the sheep in front of them. But, they do know their shepherd's voice and follow it. I feel like a sheep sometimes. I do dumb things. Do we know our shepherd's voice?
4 Nights in the desert get really, really dark. But even when we can't see clearly which way to go we know our God's voice. 
A good shepherd would never hit his sheep. He uses his rod to defend sheep from predators and his staff to hook and guide his sheep away from something dangerous. 
5 Hospitality is huge in Israel. They would drop anything to even just give directions for you to travel somewhere. When eating at their house, they fill your plate over and over again. Your cup is filled to overflow. 
Olive oil is very valuable, due to is many usages in Israel. One value is observed when they pour it on your head to keep the bugs away. Kings also have their heads anointed with oil. 
6 Our God is so good. I want to dwell in His house!!