The Five Days of Giving

Easter is coming up! One of my favorite times of the year. Why? Because it’s an opportunity to celebrate the moment that made eternity with God possible: the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

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Last year, I told y’all about my worship calendar that I had made. I was reflecting on how to incorporate worshiping God into my life and was curious how often God scheduled Israel to worship Him. In Numbers 28-29, I discovered that not only did the Israelites worship God each week, month, season, and year — they made offerings twice a day!

In Numbers 28:16-25, God gives Israel directions on holding the Passover. After the Passover, the Israelites had a festival. For seven days, they were to eat bread without yeast, the first and last day would include a sacred assembly with no regular work being done, and special offerings were to be made each day. For Christians, the Passover is only the beginning as we celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection as the fulfillment of the Passover imagery. We now take the Lord’s Supper as a remembrance of what Jesus has done and an anticipation of His return.

Because of the resurrection, worship of God has taken on a new look while we live in the church age. We no longer live under a sacrificial system in the same way the Israelites did. The Holy Spirit dwells in the body of Christ and not a physical building. In the New Testament, Paul urges the Roman believers in Romans 12, to daily “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.” He then finishes out his letter flooding the readers with ideas on how they can accomplish this living sacrifice lifestyle. 

In light of the Christian practice of being a living sacrifice to God and in reflection of how Israel held the Passover and following week of festivities, Easter weekend is not the only part of the holiday I like to celebrate. What I’d like to share with you is a practice I have adopted for the days after Easter. I call it the Five Days of Giving.

Like the festival after Passover, the Five Days of Giving is actually seven days. Easter kicks off the week with a celebration of the Resurrection. I love that day because it’s already a tradition to get together with family, have a big, special meal, and hopefully discuss the impact of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It’s a perfect way to start the week.

After Easter follows the Five Days of Giving. This is an opportunity to be generous with others as a symbol of how infinitely generous Jesus was when He died for us. Our gratitude and joy for salvation can overflow into the Five Days of Giving. During this time, or even a week before, I ask God to show me how I can give to people during the five days. It could be a gift of money, time, material goods, etc. The important part is interacting with God and asking Him to show me the needs of others and if I can play a part in fulfilling a need.

It’s fun to incorporate others into the Five Days of Giving, because once the five days come to an end, the seventh day is another special dinner! At this meal, everyone gets to recount the events of the week and how God communicated to them the needs of others. 

Celebrating in this way has made me look forward to Easter more than I have in the past. The Five Days of Giving is such a fun excuse to express gratitude for Jesus’ great sacrifice and miraculous defeat over death. It also has boosted my creativity in sharing with people the truth that God loves them and wants to provide them eternal life with Him.

Feel free to celebrate Easter with the Five Days of Giving and have fun! 

Happy Easter! He is risen!

School Update

School Update

Well friends,

The summer semester ain’t over yet, but here we are approaching the fall. The past month and a half, I have gone through a class on addictions and compulsive behavior, I’ve visited AA, NA, and Al-Anon meetings, and learned about stages of addiction and recovery, along with the damaging affects substance abuse has on the brain.

It’s been an inspiring summer for me, in which, there are changes about myself that I am looking forward to making. It has been a sad summer, as well. I’ve seen how addicts have been ostracized and neglected due to the stigma of addiction. There are great opportunities for the church to take in this area. It’s also been an enlightening semester as I’ve seen recovering addicts come together to support one another and experience life transformation together.

My experiences this summer have fueled my passion for counseling and recovery. I am pretty much immersed in it due to being in recovery, studying about addiction and recovery, and being around others who are recovering. There’s just a lot of recovery going on and I want to see so much more! God has used counseling to transform my life and show me the great joy that comes from surrendering everything to Him. I want to be a part of others’ journeys as they begin to learn what I am consistently learning through recovery.

I’ve had many thoughts over the past month and a half that I would like to eventually share with you, but for the moment, I don’t have the courage. We’ll see how I feel next week… or the week after next… 😛

As the fall encroaches so quickly on us, my tuition does, as well. I would not have been able to grow and learn as I have this past summer without you all. It was from your generosity that I was able to attend class at Dallas Theological Seminary. I want you to know that your contributions towards my education have been so appreciated. This class has been a confirmation to me that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be and that is such a valuable feeling to possess!

I will be taking two classes in the fall semester: “Counseling Theory” and “Social and Cultural Foundations”. The tuition for the fall (plus cost of books) will be a *Hallelujah Chorus* of $4,000! I have applied for some scholarships, so if I receive any financial aid, I will give you all an update. In the meantime, I will be working to pay the bills, but I need your help on my counseling journey!

So, without further ado, if you would like to either continue to contribute or participate in my counseling journey for the first time, here is how you can do it:

My Etsy Shop: As an extension of my website, I have created an Etsy shop called, WriteMegButlerStudio. In this shop, you can purchase prints of my original artwork. All purchases made in the shop will be direct contributions to my tuition. For this coming semester, I have posted greeting cards for purchase. 😄 New sets will be posted throughout this month. ✨

Seasonal Set

Support a Seminary Student: Dallas Theological Seminary has made it possible to support a seminary student by contributing financially through their site! You can give online, by mail, or set up recurring monthly gifts. Click here to be redirected to DTS’ giving page.

If you give through the DTS website, the gift can be anonymous or you can put in your information. I would love to know you have contributed because I have a gift for you! When you contribute financially through DTS’ site, I will put you on a distribution list for an end-of-the-semester gift. Included in the gift will be a an original piece of art inspired by something I’ve learned in that particular semester. There will also be a letter to update you on how my semester went, PLUS, a report card!! You can post it on your fridge, share it with your coworkers, and hold me accountable to my studies!

Once again, thank you for your encouragement and support!

“Because I Wanted One” Cookies

When it comes to being an intuitive eater, the holidays can be especially difficult. Part of it is from our own struggles, but another factor is peer pressure. While you are working on replacing negative food connotations in your head with a neutral outlook, others are still trapped in the good food/bad food mentality.

For example, cookies are bad for you because they are a dessert, have sugar, chocolate, potentially multiple forms of fat in them (you’ll probably gain 20 pounds overnight from eating one)… while salad is good, because it has vegetation in it.

I struggled with feeling guilty for eating food since high school. I could never just eat something for the pleasure of it. Getting fat haunted me and new forms of diets were a way of life (surprise that none of them ever stuck).

These cookies are symbolic of my determination to become an intuitive eater. There’s always a tinge of guilt when I eat candy because, in my mind, it’s a “bad food.” Not anymore! I took my favorite candy, Almond Joy, and made them into a cookie. Why? Because I like Almond Joys, I like cookies, and when I have the inkling to eat one… I’m not going to deprive myself.

For the rest of this holiday season, practice challenging negative, rigid beliefs that come into your head about food. Listen to your body’s signals and go with them, “whether they are biological, pleasure-based, or self-protective.” (Intuitive Eating, pg. 105) 

 

“Because I Wanted One” Cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
2 cups oil (coconut)
2-3 eggs
4 cups flour
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp of almond extract
1 tsp salt
1 cup of coconut
2 oz of almonds, crushed
24 oz Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped

Directions:

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In a big bowl, combine sugar, coconut oil, and almond extract. Mix the ingredients together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well to thoroughly mix.

 

 

 

 

 

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Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture. Stir well with gumption and endurance.

 

 

 

 

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Blend in the coconut. Form into 3/4″ balls and roll in sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Place on ungreased cookie sheet 2″ apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

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Let Cool.

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Melt 24oz of Ghirardelli chocolate baking bar in the microwave (30 seconds at a time; stir in between). Add the chopped almonds to the melted chocolate.

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Dip the cookies halfway into the chocolate and place on wax paper.

Clean as you go.

Intuitive Eating Exercise: Start a food journal.

“Sometimes simply noting the time of day and what you ate can give you some interesting clues about what drives your eating. Or note your thoughts before and after you eat. Do they affect how you feel? Does how you feel affect how you behave or eat? If so, how? Consider this one big experiment, not a tool for judgment.” –Intuitive Eating, pg. 102