A few things Francis Chan’s Crazy Love has taught me.

If you know me in real life, there’s not a lot you may know about me currently. I’ve been Facebook and Instagram free for awhile now and it’s felt, well, wonderful. I met a woman yesterday, and we were talking about a homeschool group that’s exclusively on Facebook and she made the quiet comment that she’s not on Facebook, expecting me to give her the “ARE YOU INSANE, LADY???” look but when I said I wasn’t on Facebook either, our eyes locked and it was like we were transferred back in time to a period where people actually took two seconds to truly know each other. It was refreshing. So what have I been doing? Homeschooling my daughter, for one. It’s been an amazing roller coaster ride of perfect moments shuffled in with the imperfect ones (think a Vegas card dealer who doesn’t know what he’s doing). But overall, a great experience and the way she looks at books now is the exact way I look at books. So mission accomplished. I’ve also been writing. I’ve given up on novels, and I’m allowing myself to be okay with that. I know. How dare I. But every time I attempt one, I frustrate myself, and if the end result of me trying to write one is me being angry with the world, then I think I’ll pass. I have, however, been writing poetry. I have, however, grown in my relationship with God and have struggled with the idea that I am a Christian. I’m not a fan of your typical Christian who enjoys their Starbucks lattes, oversized SUVs, and smacking an “I Vote Republican” sticker on the back of their bumper. So you can imagine that having to say those words out loud is a little like biting off my own tongue. But I AM a follower of Christ and have seen how He changes lives, my own included. Thankfully, Fancis Chan is a reasonable, logical Christian and I kind of just love what he has to say in his book Crazy Love:
Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America. Just as the prophets in the Old Testament warned Israel that they were not safe just because they lived in the land of Israel, so we are not safe just because we wear the label Christian or beacuse some people persist in calling us a “Christian nation.” – Francis Chan, Crazy Love
That noise? I do believe it was the mic dropping. Dude. YES. For the longest time I didn’t want anything to do with Christianity because I thought it meant I had to be like the typical smug American Christian. And maybe that’s not fair, but you have to admit there’s A LOT of them walking around. But you know what’s wrong with my assessment of people like this? They’re not Christians. They may call themselves that. But they’re not. Something else I’m taking from Chan’s book is the fact that I must ALWAYS be running towards God and self-assessing my own life. If I get too fat and happy, I’m doing it wrong. So really, this whole country is doing it wrong. You can’t love Christ and your big screen TV. You have to take up your cross and follow Him. And if you’re not going to do that, then okay. But stop calling yourself a Christian. It’s just getting embarrassing at this point.

I know, no social media, and I get all up in arms about everything. But I promise I’m not cranky. I’m just finally getting IT.

So now, a prayer. That all of us walking this path can find love in Christ. In others. That we stop kidding ourselves, believing the safe path is the best path. If things aren’t confusing, uncomfortable, or the opposite of everything you’ve ever wanted, it’s time to pray. To find out what God truly wants. And to set aside those creature comforts and your need to prove yourself to other people in order to prove yourself to the only One who matters.
Advertisements

A low-cal social media diet.

social media image
Every once in a while I take my life’s pulse.

Simply put, I scan for areas of improvement and start working on the better version of me.

(Blame Oprah.)

I’ve recently found one such area that I’m tweaking (twerking? hahaha…no), and I’m already feeling oodles better: my social media life.

My teeth are rotting. Help.

I hate Facebook and Instagram. There, I said it. And I know, I know, you’re all like, “But Ericka, you’re a social media maven with slightly decent hair and a Romanesque nose that just won’t quit.” And yeah, maybe the old me was. But now?

I’m tired. I just want to live. I want to stop comparing my life to others’. I want to stop inwardly seething at blatant political posts and getting all frazzled, not because somebody I know has a particular political mindset, but because they’d much rather exercise their right to incessantly chatter into an online void instead of realizing how it might make others feel. I’m also tired of taking photos of my sandwiches.

This me, me, me generation is starting to rot my teeth, you guys. And frankly, my soul.

And I don’t want to add to it.

Let’s start a different conversation.

When it boils down to it, I think blogging gives me the freedom to fully express what’s dancing between the sheets of my brain. Instagram and Facebook are just tiny nuggets of truth, and half the time, they’re not even that truthful.

Do you know how many times it takes me to snap a selfie? 72. And that doesn’t even include choosing a filter.

Here’s my truth: my skin isn’t always clear, sometimes I’m a little hungover, I snap at my kid, I snap at my husband, I love them more than my heart can take, I fail God like I’m Judas Iscariot’s twin sister Jane, and I don’t always shave my legs.

But I’m still loved and accepted and don’t need to worry about mindless swiping, mindless likes to make me whole.

Know thyself.

If you’re eyeing my home page right now, you’ll see links to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. For me, these don’t count. I’m never on them and if I do happen to take a stroll down Pinterest lane, I’m probably looking up 5 million ways aloe is going to turn me into Jennifer Lopez (I’ll keep you posted).

You gotta know what’s working and what’s hacking at your inner peace with a chainsaw.

And for me? Those channels barely tickle.

Challenge time.

So if you want to chat with me, human being to human being, I invite you to check out this page and send me your inner thoughts. I’d like to get to know you while having absolutely no clue what your lunch looks like.

(Oprah would be proud.)

Oh and one more thing. Which social media channel do you need to give the ax to?

The Clay Family Guacamole Recipe

One of our favorite things to do is cook together. Tonight we’re making tacos and Ava’s making her signature dish: guacamole!

THE CLAY FAMILY GUACAMOLE RECIPE:

• 3 avocados
• 1/2 a lemon
• 1 roma tomato (chopped)
• 1 clove of garlic
• Coarse sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

1. Remove the skin and seeds then smoosh those suckers in a bowl with a fork.
2. Squeeze the lemon half into the bowl.
3. Fold in the tomatoes.
4. Use a garlic press to smoosh the garlic and fold it in.
3. Salt the heck out of it!

Eat, enjoy. And go have some vodka. Because Saturday.

from Instagram: http://ift.tt/1Pvcwlh

5 Ways I Stay Healthy

I’m kind of a health nut.

I’m kind of a regular but, too, but that’s neither here nor there.

What’s most definitely “here” is the looming fact that society expects so much of us in terms of the way we’re supposed to look.

So it’s one of many reasons I ditched society and got on board with God.

But that doesn’t mean I can ignore my health. In fact, for the very first time, I understand the incredible importance of maintaining and respecting my body.

Here are 5 ways I do just that: • DETOX! This one is so important. It helps your body get rid of so many nasty things that can make you sick and pack on extra pounds or even make your body actually hurt. I drink lemon water every day and do an Epsom salt/baking soda bath once a week. • CLEAN EATING! We make almost all of our meals at home , being sure to include tons of veggies and going easy on gluten and dairy. • NO COFFEE! This one was hard and originally sucked. But now I’m an herbal tea maniac and will never look back. Coffee started to give me severe stomach aches and anxiety attacks so I had to nix it. • WORKING OUT! I got to the Y twice a week to do the leg and arm machines. I used to be hardcore lifter, but I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. Now it’s less about bikini body and more about respecting my body. • PRAYING! This one sounds weird, but I pray for my safety on a daily basis. I need to stay strong (and frankly, in one piece) to be a good mama so I ask God to keep an eye out for me.

How do you take care of yourself?

#healthtip #healthtips #cleaneating #healthnut #healthy #detox #tealover
#coffee #tea #workout #prayer #writerslife #workingout #prayerworks #twitter from Instagram: http://ift.tt/1PgT2SP

Instagram Peeps You Should Follow

#followfriday newbie alert! I just wanted to share a few accounts that have offered me inspiration and have strengthened my faith in the “something more.”
Posts from @hibbzhouse are incredibly thoughtful and well said. She gives you the beauty of real life while keeping it just that: REAL.

@thefreckledfox is an amazing woman who is helping her husband battle his health struggles while gracefully raising her beautiful children.

I’ve known @lucilleinthesky via the interwebs for awhile now and think of her as an incredibly wise soul who doesn’t balk at change or embracing life.

And @christ_within gives me a beautiful wake up call on a daily basis.

Go, run, follow, you guys! 😊

from Instagram: http://ift.tt/1HgxEKs

Book Review: The Last Embrace by Pam Jenoff

I was asked by the author’s publicist to read and review The Last Embrace by Pam Jenoff and to post my honest option about it. I didn’t receive compensation for this review.

So here goes. Oh and heads up, *THERE MAY BE SPOILERS*

I wanted to read this book because I was intrigued by the storyline. It’s about a young woman, Addie, who is shipped to America from Italy during WWII to live with her aunt and uncle in Atlantic City where she meets the Connally family. The Connallys basically become her surrogate family and she begins to develop feelings for the oldest Connally brother, Charlie.

But war (and the actions of the middle brother, Liam) changes everything and Addie escapes to London where she becomes a war correspondent, rebuilding a new life until Charlie steps back into the picture once again.

Told ya it was intriguing.

But I have a few issues with the book:

• I feel like there’s a lot of telling and not so much showing happening throughout the book. For instance, there’s a fight that occurs later in the book between Charlie and Liam and Addie narrates the scene as if she’s hiding behind a bush, blindfolded. I know the protagonist is looking back on her life, but action needs to happen in front of your readers’ eyes. Always.
• Addie has not one, not two, but three love interests and for me, it made her seem a little all over the place. However I understand now that this is more romantic historical fiction than historical fiction, so if you like the former, it probably won’t bother you.
•When the author did show a scene versus just telling it, she quickly added a “telling” line right after it. I know it can be difficult to avoid over-explanation and to truly trust your readers, but readers are smart cookies. They’ve got this.
•There were a few editing issues. For example, photograph is used instead of “phonograph” in one chapter.

Despite these issues, I still give Ms. Jenoff a solid 3 (out of five) stars. ✴✴✴

She’s a decent writer, the book’s premise is well thought out and just because I’m not a romance fan shouldn’t be the reason you don’t read this book.

I Gave Birth to a Golden Girl

She’s finger knitting while watching The Andy Griffith Show.

If I couldn’t be a Golden Girl, then gosh darn it, I was going to give birth to one!

#goldengirls #anyoneneedsomethingthatfaintlyresemblesascarf #kidsofinstagram #kidsofig #twitter from Instagram: http://ift.tt/1MmjqZ4

Being an Adult is Hard for Me

I’m volunteering at Ava’s school today, so I decided to go as an adult (or what a tiny wood nymph would imagine an adult looks like).
FUN FACT: I was having lunch with Ava at school and after getting on to our table, her teacher goes: “Oh, I’m sorry, Mrs. Clay. I just assumed you were one of the children.”

You and me both, lady. You and me both.

from Instagram: http://ift.tt/1kcuvl6

How to Use IFTTT for Your Blog

A few of you chimed in on my last #ifttt post letting me know that you love it just as much as I do! It’s such a great tool for #bloggers and #writers who love sharing their work online but give a major thumbs down to the extra time and effort it can take.

So here’s what’s to love about IFTTT:

• It’s free to use. Just sign up with your email.

• You can create “recipes” that link one of your social media accounts to another.

• It’s incredibly user-friendly (says the girl who still has a hard time tying her shoes…what?)

How I use IFTTT:

• I link Instagram to Twitter. By simply using the #twitter hashtag on my photos, they’re automatically posted to my Twitter account, not just the link to my pic but the ACTUAL picture. Way more eye catching to your Twitter followers.

• I also link Instagram to my WordPress account. I’ve chosen a photo-friendly blog theme and have set up the recipe so that it includes the caption to my photo as the text in the post. I do, however, have to manually go in and add a title and featured image to my WP posts, but the WP app takes care of that.

There are TONS more recipes to try. Which ones do you absolutely love?

And be sure to check out IFTTT’s website!