Sunday, August 21, 2011

Media Monday

On Mondays, I will be sharing a bit of media-Bible verse, song, television show, movie, cartoon, news article, blog post, anything media-ish that has inspired, convicted, or encouraged me.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

This morning I woke up a little earlier than I thought I 2 1/2yo needed to go to the bathroom and I thought I could sneak him out of the bed and to the bathroom without being noticed by my 7mo.  WRONG!  When we came back in, my 7yo was on the bed consoling the baby and my 5yo was watching.  So 6:30 it was.  On a Sunday.  I decided to make good use of my time by doing dishes so that they wouldn't plague me the rest of the day.  I also decided to YouTube some praise music while doing so.  I knew I was in a bad mood, and I was hoping that I could coax myself into a good mood.  I grumbled along in my morning tasks until this one came up in my playlist.

"How can I keep from singing Your praise?
How can I ever say enough,
How amazing is Your love?
How can I keep from shouting Your name?
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

"I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And I fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up
Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne"

I can sing in the troubled times...and really, was my morning "troubled"?  I mean, I have a house I slept in, a bed too, 4 beautiful children, a husband who loves me and has a good job, and food to feed my family.  Can any of my complaints even qualify as "troubled"?  Probably not.

Then at church this morning, we sang this song

"Why are you looking for love?
Why are you searching
as if I'm not enough?"

"Cause I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you."

I know sometimes that I think just 30 more minutes in the morning will make everything ok, or 5 more minutes of "me time", or one more new shirt, or whatever...but that stuff doesn't make "it" ok.  God's enough, if I let Him be.  He can fill me up if I just allow Him in.  Rather than dwell on my "discomforts" in this world, I should just give my woes to Him and feel His joy.

One more song for today

"At the cross, You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees
And I am lost for words, so lost in love
I'm sweetly broken, wholly surrendered."

"Called me out of death
Called me into life"

Wholly surrendered...boy is that something I want to say about my life.  I want to say that God is the absolute center of my life and that little things, like missing 30 minutes of sleep is not something that affects my attitude.  I have my good days and my bad days and my great days and my awful days.  For ME, it comes down to selfishness...ME me ME me...MY needs, MY wants.  But when I put my family first, instead of feeling like a slave, I feel refreshed and joy-filled.  It seems like the devil attacks twice as hard the next day though and I struggle to serve my roll with a happy face.

Today at church we had the privilege of having the youth group music team lead worship and it was really neat.  The guy singing wrote his own song and shared it with us today and I loved that he included (and changed) this in his song-

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy, when skies are gray
I'll never know God, how much You love me
You'll never take my sunshine away"

How true is that?  I love it!  One last thing before I'm done, in our prayer time today, the man praying reminded us that when we give up the fight, God throws the punches for us.  So on those days that I'm just feeling tapped out and empty with nothing to give to my kids, I just need to let Him in and He'll throw the, uh...hugs for me.  I can draw my strength and stamina from Him.  His supply is endless.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just thinking

Today I was doing some thinking about marriage and relationships. It occured to me-and maybe I'm wrong, or maybe it's just the group that I "hang with" that has skewed my perspective-anyway, it occured to me that in our society, when our parents treat us poorly, we tend to say things like "well, that's just the way he/she is, I'm used to it" but if our spouse treats us similarly we jump to divorce.  I've never been in that type of situation in my marriage (thank the Lord), but I have been there with my parents.  Often I find myself reading about marriage and divorce in the Bible and trying to fit my parental relationship into the directives that God has given for marriage and I'm realizing that that just doesn't work.  I could be wrong on this one, but the thing that stares back at me the most is that I took no oath to my parents, but I did take one to my husband...and they tried to come between that on many occasions.

I see the same thing happen to many other people too (what is with these parents?!) and they either defend their parents, or just put up with it because they think they have to.

Then I see people struggling in their marriage relationship because their spouse is unloving or "unfair" and everyone jumps to say "Oh if my husband treated me like that, I'd walk right out the door".  And many of them do.

Does anyone else see this?  Am I crazy?  It just seems so backwards to me to cling to parents who are unloving, unkind, and unfair, but to quickly flee from a husband who is the same.  People looked at me like I had 3 eyes when I "divorced" my parents...and our decision was not an easy one.  It was one we had been thinking about for almost 4 years...well, it's one I had personally been thinking about since I was a child-I used to daydream that I had been kidnapped and that someday my REAL parents would find me...but as a couple, we'd been considering ending that relationship since our now 5yo was a baby.  Is it just uncommon to draw a boundary with family and stick to your bottom line?  Divorce IS common, I know that.

I don't know where I'm going with all this...maybe I just need to process it.  I certainly didn't articulate how I feel very well here, but I tried.

Anyone else have any thoughts on the matter?  I can't wait until my husband gets home and the kids are in bed so I can talk through this.  It's like a traffic jam in my brain right now.

And I just wanted to add that I'm not saying anyone whose parents ever mistreated them SHOULD end the relationship.  I think it's very individual and you have to decide if continuing a relationship with parents will threaten the sanctity of your relationship with my parents was erroding away at my family, my marriage relationship, and my ability to parent properly.  I was recently told to "be Jesus" to my parents...but at what cost?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Update on the MIAness

I have been doing a horrible job blogging! It's been busy here though. Last week my pretty princess turned 5! We had our biggest birthday party ever with 11 kids (including our 4) total and 4 adults (including us). I made her a Rapunzel dress, which is still not finished, I'm just's missing something, but I'm not sure what. And I need to lower the neckline a little. In my effort to make a modest version, I put the neckline all the way up to her neck...and she's got a great big head like Momma. So we need a little more room up there to pull it over.

I bought and started reading The Backyard Homestead. I'm loving it!! The wheels in our heads are turning about how we'll maximize our gardening potential in whatever house God blesses us with. We have been planning on buying next summer for quite a while now, but we may have the opportunity to rent a larger home from the same people who own the house we are renting now (it's getting toooooo small for us, we really NEED a third bedroom), so we're going to look into that. If we do, I guess we'll just keep up with container gardening for a few years until we decide to buy (they told us to buy that bigger house, but it comes with more property than we could afford next summer). But I'm already thinking about what next year's garden will hold.

Our garden this year was late getting planted, but it's doing awesome. The 4 tomato plants we have in one 18g tote are going crazy, with leaves anyway. I'm waiting for the flowers. The 2 tomatillos we have are just covered with flowers! It's amazing. Our peas are doing ok, they're teeny, I hope they grow up some soon. Our cucumbers are doing pretty good too, and I can see a few small cucumbers growing! The strawberry plant is filling the bucket up with shoots, which I hope means we'll quite a bit to show for it next year. Our carrots and scallions aren't doing all that great, which is a bummer because the carrots are one thing I know we'd eat the heck out of. Oh well.

We all had a small cold this week. We knocked it out quickly with homemade elderberry syrup. Well, ok, not so much syrup. The recipe I found calls for honey, but I didn't have any, and I wasn't going anywhere, so we used just a little xylitol. It was not yummy, but it worked REALLY well and I encourage anyone to try it! It was super simple too. 1/2c of dried elderberries to 3c of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Mash the berries, strain, and done. Even the baby (7mo) took it.

We "started" homeschooling back up. We didn't take the summer off, we chugged along through, just at a slower pace. We did take last week off so we'd have time to prepare for the birthday party (mostly so I'd have time to sew). I think I have a new plan for working through this year though, for my oldest. He really has a hard time staying focused on his work for extended periods, so I think we're going to break it up and do Math, then Bible, a break, and then Language on M/W/F, then History and Science on T/T. My 5yo only has Math and Language to do, and at this point, I just have her do as many or as few pages as she wants in each book as long as she does at least one page.

I've also been trying to reopen some mental issues with my parents and work through them. I was challenged recently to consider reaching out to them sometime in the future, but after thinking on it a lot and talking it over with my husband, we've decided that it's not the best for our family at this point in time to reconnect with them. Our original plan was to step back and give God time to soften their hearts and keep an open heart for when/if they try to contact us with a genuine apology (not the usual snippy "I'm sorry...but it's all your fault I treated you that way")...and I think we're going to stick to that plan. I've wondered this whole time if I had truly forgiven my parents for the way they treated me, and I know I have for the childhood abuse-minus the sexual stuff...I'm still having a hard time with that, but I'm also having a hard time with fogiving them for how they treated me as an adult, undermining pretty much EVERY parenting decision I made, and trying to be a wedge between my husband and I...and I'm just not over that yet. My husband asked "what is forgiveness?" and we talked about it and he asked if I wish for bad things to happen to them...and I don't. So I'm on the right path. I'm not keeping my kids from them to torture or punish my parents (though I know they'd say otherwise). I'm keeping my kids from them so that I can protect my kids from all their "crazy". So yeah, my mind has been very occupied this last week.

And for my "excuse" reason for not internet and/or my computer hate me. It seems like everytime I think of something to blog and sit down (or stand, I don't mind) to type it out, my internet cuts out or my computer locks up. I know my computer is "old" (4y), but I'm not sure why my internet cuts out everyday between 11am and 3pm.

So there you have it. That's what's been going on with us here. Maybe I can get back on track in the next week and start blogging properly again. Maybe.

Friday, August 12, 2011

F is for Friday-Food again!

F is for Friday
Friday is basically a free for all.  I plan on posting about things like Food, Fitness, Family, Fun, Festivities, etc.  It doesn't have to be about "F" things, but look forward to me doing my best to make (ridiculous) links to the letter F. Your F can be different than mine though!

Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart is good medicine.

Pancakes! A favorite here at our house. We don't just have them for breakfast (though we did today), we can eat them for lunch or dinner too.

I found this recipe online, somewhere, a few years ago and have adapted it over time to be exactly what we really like.

*1 1/2c of flour (we are working our way towards all whole wheat, but for now we're up to 1 1/4 whole wheat and 1/4 unbleached ap flour)
*1 1/2c of milk
*1 egg
*1Tb softened butter
*1/2c pumpkin puree (100% unsweetened) or 1/2c sweet potato pureed/mash
(when we use either of these, we use less milk)
*3 1/2tsp baking powder (or now with my corn issues we use 1 3/4tsp baking soda + 7/8tsp cream of tartar)
*1/2tsp salt
*1/4tsp cinnamon
*1/8tsp nutmeg

*You can also add other things, like today we added 1 1/2Tb of golden flax seeds.

Mix it all together (it'll be thick, I've found the thinner it is, the longer it takes to cook...well, ok, when I use too much milk, it never finishes cooking, just awful).

Use a 1/4c measuring cup to put it on the griddle (I like to butter each spot before dropping the batter). The thicker batter never really does the "bubble" thing, so just check after a few minutes to see if the bottom is golden brown and then flip.

We get 12-15 pancakes depending on the day.

Friday, August 5, 2011

F is for Friday

F is for Friday
Friday is basically a free for all.  I plan on posting about things like Food, Fitness, Family, Fun, Festivities, etc.  It doesn't have to be about "F" things, but look forward to me doing my best to make (ridiculous) links to the letter F. Your F can be different than mine though!

Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart is good medicine.

F for FIRST tooth!  My sweet little Babykins just got her very first tooth yesterday!  I'm excited, but saddy-sad too because it means that she really is growing up.  She's 7mo now (and the latest teether too, my oldest son was 4mo and got TWO teeth, my older daughter was 5mo, and my youngest son was 6mo) and she's closer to her first birthday than to her birth!  *cry*

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

7 years and 11 months

7 years and 11 months ago I got to start the journey of a lifetime, nourishing my babies through the gift of breastmilk.  I do not take for granted how extremely blessed I am to be able to breastfeed successfully, I've had it really easy except for a few blips here and there. 

I didn't set out to breastfeed initially.  At least not before I got pregnant.  I remember actually walking through the baby department putting together my list of "necessities"...crib, bathtub, carseat, formula.  Yes, I read the canister and tried to figure out about how much a baby would go through a week and made up my mock budget.  We weren't ttc (trying to conceive), but we'd talked about it (and later changed our mind, then later got pregnant because I can't do math correctly apparently).  Breastfeeding didn't even occur to me...I knew that I was breastfed for 3mo and my younger brother for 6w, but I'd never seen anyone breastfeed and I didn't even know that you could breastfeed as the sole nutrition for your baby.  I thought you HAD to feed formula.

But somewhere (A Baby Story or one of the parenting magazines I got in the mail while pregnant probably) I heard about breastfeeding and it finally struck me to start researching it.  And I was sold, 100%.  No formula would pass through the lips of my baby's, God willing.  When my mother tried to convince me to buy some "just in case", I refused.  When the neighbor passed on two giant cans she didn't need anymore, I donated them.  I didn't want it in the house at all.  I didn't want that option, I didn't want to give myself an opportunity to fail.  I had faith that if I kept at it and prayed, that God would teach us how to be successful.

And then my son was born after a difficult labor (induced unnecessaril because my water broke and contractions didn't start right away and complications arose from all the medical-ness of everything).  When they finally brought him to me, I tried to get him to latch on, and he did for like 3 half-hearted sucks, and he wouldn't again.  I tried and tried with him every hour (minus the 2 1/2ish hours that my mother would NOT let me hold him while my exhausted husband slept).  The lactation consultant came by and tried to help us, but he was not interested.  The (mean) nurse came by and kept threatening us with formula, but the lactation consultant got wind of that and stopped the madness.  The nurse was claiming that my son was starving but the LC ordered a blood glucose test and he was well within normal limits.  She still left us with another threat that he'd have to have sugar water soon.  14 hours passed and the nurse rudely dropped off a bottle of sugar water and told us he HAD to have it soon.  My grandmother was there and trying to get him to drink it and I noticed him take ONE suck and demanded my baby immediately.  He finally nursed, Lord I was SOOOO happy.  The next few weeks were rough, he was a lazy sloooooooow frequent eater and often I'd cry and pray through every feeding, begging God to help us get it right.  On average, he'd nurse for an hour, and sleep for an hour, then nurse for an hour again.  It was hard, but at the same time I liked it because it meant that no one got to hold him much, and I'm really not a sharing Mommy.  I like to hold my babies.  It did drive my mother crazy though, and she fought hard to convince me to wean him and told me all the time that he must not be getting enough because he was eating so often.  My little man was a chubster though!  All of my babies have started small (he was 6lbs15oz, my oldest daughter was 6lbs12oz, youngest son was 6lbs5oz, and my youngest daughter was 7lbs14oz...ok, she wasn't small) and they were all 12lbs by 12w, and 16lbs by 16w, and 18lbs by 6m, and so far they've all been 24lbs by their first birthday.  No chance of a starving baby here.

My second baby came out hungry!  She nursed within the first hour and never had any problems.  We weaned her and her older brother at 3y9m.  I had wanted to do child-led weaning, but my husband said it was time, and I obliged.  In hindsight, I think it was the perfect age for MY kids.  I plan on weaning the rest at the same time (barring any medical issues that would require them to have breastmilk for a longer period of time).

My third baby was 4w1d early and he was ready to eat too.  I was worried that maybe he'd have a tough time, but he was a pro.  And he's still nursing, usually twice a day, sometimes though he asks a few more times and I'll let him.

My 4th baby was ready to nurse not long after birth.  She's in that distractable phase right now that oftentimes leaves me soaking wet and exposed, but it's all good.  And she's a big girl!  19lbs even at 7mo.

One of the alleged "downsides" to all this breastfeeding here is that none of my babies have taken a bottle.  Ever.  We tried at least 12 different bottle/nipple combos with my first, and he just wouldn't ever take one.  My mother ended up straw feeding him (holding her finger/thumb over the top of the straw to hold the ebm (expressed breast milk) then moving it to his mouth and dripping it in) on the few times she watched him for an hour or two, and by 5mo he could drink out of a straw.  We tried a few bottles with my oldest daughter also so that I could leave her home while I went to a weekly church group when she was over 6mo, but she wouldn't have it.  She could also drink from a straw by 6mo.  We didn't even bother trying bottles with the youngest two, but they could both drink from a straw by 5 or 6mo.  I really don't mind that they won't take bottles though because I'm never away from them (leaving my oldest was soooo hard, I cried everytime.  I hated it, but I did it because everyone said that you "have" to, bologna I say now!).

I've also donated ebm twice.  I felt a heavy conviction when my oldest daughter was a baby to donate, and I did to an adopted baby for a total of 7-8months.  I wanted desperately to provide her with 100% ebm, but I could never get more than about 20oz in a day and it wasn't long before she was taking close to 40oz a day.  Her adopted mother tried desperately to lactate and fed her with a Lact-Aid device, but it just never happened.  I think it's neat that she still got that "nursing" bonding experience though.  I felt a strong conviction again this time to donate, and I did for 4 months, again, maxing out around 20oz a day.  This time my milk went to two different babies, one adopted again!

I look forward to one day seeing my beautiful daughters snuggling their sweet babies and nursing them, and I look forward to hopefully having more of my own to nurse.  It truly is a glorious feeling to nourish your baby in this fashion.  It's worth the milk-stained clothing and waking up soaked in bed and not being able to have anyone else "help" with the feeding (honestly, I prefer to do all the feeding myself).  I just love it, and I'm so thankful that God has worked it out for us.



I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!

You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.

(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Transparent Tuesday

Transparent Tuesday
On Tuesdays I want to make myself transparent and share something that God has been working on my life, whether it be small (like cleaning my Suburban so I'm not humiliated when I open the door at the grocery store and trash falls out) or big, like submitting to my husband on an issue that needed to be addressed for many years.  You don't have to share this as many of these matters may be very private, but I encourage you to participate privately if you so choose.

Psalm 51:1-4
1)Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
2)Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
3)For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
4)Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.


The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3

Today my heart is broken for a few of my friends.  They are suffering some big hurts in their lives right now.  If you would please just pray for them, I would be so appreciative.  I know that anything is possible with God, even if they don't see it right now.  Pray for their healing (physical, relational) and for their faith.  A few of them may be teetering.  And pray for their families.  Please and thank you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Media Monday

On Mondays, I will be sharing a bit of media-Bible verse, song, television show, movie, cartoon, news article, blog post, anything media-ish that has inspired, convicted, or encouraged me.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

My Garden! The inspiration for this post comes from my friend, this homesteading blog, a new friend, and Amish fiction.

I'm finally getting around to sharing pictures of my little container garden. We rent here (hopefully we'll be buying a house in about 10 months), and we have this great back "deck" (read sliver giver) that just begs for a container garden. I had it all planned out, and then I got lazy and bored waiting for the last freeze and changed my mind about gardening this year. But we made some new friends at the kids' VBS this year and they gave us some of their plants so I had NO choice but to garden.
I had planned on a 5 gallon bucket for each plant, but then while I was at the store looking around, I saw 18 gallon totes for just about the same price! You can beat 3x the container for the same price. So I got a couple, some soil, and had my husband drills some holes for me.

In this first bucket, we have one strawberry plant. I know that strawberries come back and send off shoots, so I figured one would be good and we'd just be careful with this bucket for next summer too. I also stuck some honeydew seeds in it, not expecting them to grow at all, and they did (3 of 4)! I'm sure I'll have to pull them or move the, but it was fun seeing that they would come up.

This one has tomatoes in each corner, plus a green bean, yellow bean, and purple bean in the middle. This one needs to be split up I'm sure.

This one has two tomatillos, a row of peas at the top, a row of scallions in the middle, and a row of carrots at the bottom. I think this one probably needs to be split up some too.

And our last little bucket has 2 cucmbers.

Linking with the Monday Link-up at Joy Filled Living and the Homestead Barn Hop #22.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sing Praise

I woke up with grumblies on my lips and in my heart.  Before I even got out of my bedroom this song came to mind, forcefully! 

Sing Praise ladies! Find the beauty in your day, and if you have none, find the beauty in God's word. He is with us always, and He is a constant comfort if we'll just let Him into each moment.

Psalm 119:50
"This is my comfort in my affliction,
that Your word has revived me."

Friday, July 29, 2011

F is for Friday-Food

F is for Friday
Friday is basically a free for all.  I plan on posting about things like Food, Fitness, Family, Fun, Festivities, etc.  It doesn't have to be about "F" things, but look forward to me doing my best to make (ridiculous) links to the letter F. Your F can be different than mine though!

Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart is good medicine.

Jenetarian (noun) Person who is part raw foodie and part junk foodie.  May be seen scarfing half a greasy cheese pizza while slurping on a whole fruit no-sugar-added green smoothie.

So many labels, so many issues!  I have blogged about my food issues here you can see it's an issue that really just plagues my mind and my family suffers because of my craziness about it.  I may have it figured out finally though.  I have suffered stomach cramps my whole life...I remember having them from my earliest memories on up.  Back then I thought it was normal-I didn't really trust my mother enough to talk to her about it, plus she could always be heard talking about "gut aches" and passing gas rudely and loudly where ever she felt the need...same with her whole family.  Now I just always convince myself that I'm not eating "clean enough" and that that is why I get the daily stomach aches...but honestly we eat pretty darn good most days (excuse the weekend trips to places like Chuck-A-Rama or the local pizza buffet).  Some days they aren't too bad and I can function fine and ignore the gas and bloating and pain, other days I have to go lay down until they go away.  Some miraculous days I don't have any, but those days are few and far between.  Still I was wondering if it was normal, but my husband doesn't suffer everyday, and he eats pretty much the same as me.  So do the kids, and the two middle ones seem fine, but I think my oldest suffers from the same tummy troubles that I always have.

I noticed this year that ANYTHING with powdered sugar was giving me an almost instant stomach ache with cramps and painful bloating.  I even drew a devil's face on my bag of powdered sugar (which my husband made me throw away lol) and referred to it as "evil sugar".  I thought (why?) that maybe it was the sugar, that somehow because it was ground that it was bothering my body more than regular sugar.  It wasn't until the 30 hours that we went gluten-free (ah the insanity of it all makes me point and laugh at myself) that I realized it was the cornstarch, not the sugar, that was giving me stomach cramps.  We had a homemade gf tortilla with our eggs that morning and one of the ingredients was cornstarch, but no sugar.  Duh!  Making that connection made me rethink my assumption that my body was rejecting "junk food" (read yummy things like Snickers and Fireballs)...I was trying to figure out WHY my body was feeling so ill after indulging occasionally, and now I'm thinking it's the corn syrup.  I also used to eat grits here and there as a kid and a teen, but I hadn't in a long time.  In the last year I have TRIED to eat a bowl many times, but with no success.  My stomach starts churning and bloating and I canNOT force myself to finish it.  I kept thinking that maybe I was cooking it wrong, but really, what can go wrong when you add water, cook, and stir in milk/xylitol/butter?  I've also had instances when I've added corn meal to baked goods (like the bottom of pizza crust) or to make fried chicken, and again my stomach just flip flops!  Yesterday I even realized that the amount of cornstarch in my baking powder is just too much for me.  I didn't even finish my pancakes before my stomach cramped up.  My parents used to make cornbread all the time when I was a kid too and I remember that never sitting well with me either.

I still need to try straight up corn.  We haven't had it often in the last few years since our barbeque died.  We would usually eat a bbq'd corn on the cob with steak once a month or so.  I do vaguely remember stomach aches, but I figured that maybe I was eating too much in one sitting because we'd go big on the steak.  Maybe I'll get some this next shopping trip and try it out on a day that I know I haven't had any other corn products.  It wouldn't surprise me if REAL corn didn't bug me, just all the processed stuff.

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to wheat (lol) for blaming you for my problems all these years. 

It honestly doesn't surprise me that I may be developing a corn intolerance (isn't an allergy when you get hives and can't breath?  Yeah, that would be me on pineapple or grapefruit) since I already have two food allergies and lots of medicines I'm allergic to, not to mention all furry creatures (both slobber and dander, especially cats), grass, and lots of other things.  I am thankful that this seems to be just an intolerance though with stomach cramps and nothing further.  And I do wonder if maybe it's because SO much of our corn is GMO in this country and they find ways to put it in almost everything!

I've been reading on this corn allergen site and the list of things corn is tucked into is mind-boggling.  From what I understand, not all things may affect all people, or may not affect them the same.  I know that lots of xylitol is made from corn (I'm guessing the bulk xylitol I get at Fred Meyers is), and that if I eat too much of it at once (like in my coffee while eating oatmeal with xylitol in it) I do get a stomach ache, but that if I space them out, I'm ok).  I am thinking about ordering some xylitol that is guaranteed to be made from birch so I don't have to worry about it.  Thankfully I don't eat many pre-packaged foods, so it's not going to be too hard of a transition for me here at home.  I've already started using a combo of baking soda+cream of tartar in place of baking powder (though there is baking powder made with potato starch instead of corn starch) I think it's probably going to be really difficult eating out though...but I can suffer through a stomach ache for a special occasion (like the pizza buffet for the kids' birthdays) here and there.

Maybe once I get my tummy all feeling better on a consistent basis I can stop dissecting our eating habits and criticizing myself for not having my family eating a "perfect" diet and my family can eat in peace.  So here I am, a happy Jenetarian.  Not a vegetarian, not gf, not raw, not a junk food enthusiast.  Just me, a happy combo, and maybe a little less crazy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Strange Dream

I had a dream last night that I was in a hospital walking around...not sure why, but ok.  A nurse asked me to come and sit with an old woman who was going to die soon.  She was VERY old, she was all shriveled up and looked like a raisin.  She was raspy and barely able to talk and they said she would die within a few hours.  They were going to use some of her organs to save a middle aged man's life. 

I sat with her in silence for a while, listening as it got harder for her to breath.  I felt compelled to ask if she knew Jesus, but I was scared.  Scared of what though?  Just scared like I always am to ask someone this question.  I don't know what to say after, even though I know that the Holy Spirit can speak through me and give me words...I mean how many times has He given me the words to speak when my children ask difficult questions?  Have you ever had a time when you're talking about something Biblical that has confused you for a long time, and suddenly it clicks?  There can be no explanation for when it happens to me other than God suddenly and fantastically making it clear.

Finally, I asked her if she knew Jesus.  She perked up a little and said some of the usual stuff, He was a man, He did great things, but she didn't really know if He was God, it sounded too far fetched.  So we talked for a while and she asked hard questions, and I witnessed to her, and she came to know the truth.  Suddenly, she was a healthy 2 year old!  She looked just like herself, only 78 years younger.  Skin clear and pudgy and new, hair soft and blond instead of wiry and white.  I carried her around the hospital trying to find a nurse to see this strange thing that happened.  They were as confused as I was.

I woke up still completely confused and told my husband my dream.  He said "well did you miss the symbolism in your dream?  She was born again!" it makes sense!  She was a fresh new being.  Maybe God is trying to give me courage to take the plunge and just ask someone...I have someone in mind actually, and I know what the answer to the question will be.  I know this person is not saved, but I honestly don't know how to pursue the conversation.  This person is immersed in some scary stuff right now and the whole family could use prayer.  I've felt a strong calling to this person for over a year now, but I've been...afraid I guess.  I guess it feels confrontational to me to just ask point blank, and confrontational is NOT a word I'd use to describe myself.  I just keep waiting for this person to ask me questions, but maybe that will never happen and I need to be the one to initiate.  Any words of wisdom or encouragement?  You can comment here, or you can email me at hearmenurture (@) gmail (.) com.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Media Monday

On Mondays, I will be sharing a bit of media-Bible verse, song, television show, movie, cartoon, news article, blog post, anything media-ish that has inspired, convicted, or encouraged me.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

My inspiration for today's Media Monday is this awesome book that we got my husband for his birthday. The Heavens Proclaim His Glory by Lisa Stilwell. My husband is a space lover, and our kids seem to be following in that direction too. They love talking about all things space with him. Yesterday our 7yo asked if we believe in aliens, so we had a discussion about that. My husband told him that God created US in His image with a plan for salvation, but that the Bible doesn't talk about any other self-aware creatures in space. We aren't saying no 100%, but for us we don't see the evidence. He also said that no matter where you stand on aliens, that God made the universe so vast to show how big He is...a point that my 4yo reminded me of this morning in our prayers/Bible time. She WAS listening!

"I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God." Abraham Lincoln

This book has some really stunning pictures of space, and the kids love sitting with Daddy and looking through it. Our 4yo has been sleeping with it lately too (they like to read in bed).

I love this too (just love John MacArthur favorite Bible right now is a John MacArthur Study Bible).

Common-sense logic suggests that every watch has a watchmaker.
Every building has a builder. Every structure has an architect.
Every arrangement has a plan. Every plan has a designer.
And every design has a purpose.

We see the universe, infinitely more complex than any watch and infinitely greater than any man-made structure, and it is natural to conclude that Someone infinitely powerful and infinitely intelligent made it.
"For since the creation of the world

His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature,
have been clearly seen, being understood
through what has been made" (Romans 1:20)
~John MacArthur, Battle for the Beginning

If you've got any space lovers in your family, check this book out!  It's fabulous.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sweet Heaven Babies

My friend at Joy Filled Living is having a blog link-up on miscarriage this week. Go and check it out!

Before I got pregnant with my first child, I was scared to death that I may never actually have children of my own-something I'd wanted my whole life. I was born with hip displasia and my mother told me I had at least two dozen x-rays on my pelvic as a baby and that she figured my eggs were radiated. When I did become pregnant (unexpectedly and out of wed-lock with my soon-to-be-husband) I was ecstatic...literally jumping up and down and screaming with joy. We were not planning on having kids for a few years...technically. I WANTED them right away, but the plan was to wait. My poor sweet fiance was initially much less excited than I was, but he came around in a few days. I hadn't ever really given much thought to miscarriage. I believe that a few years before one of my cousins had suffered one, but it was all very hush-hush, and then a coworker suffered one not long before I got pregnant. It was in the back of mind all the time though, especially with another coworker telling myself and a fellow preggo that if we were overworked or stressed out that our babies could just die *snaps finger* like that. Thank the Lord we made it through the pregnancy just fine and came home with a beautiful, healthy baby boy.
My next pregnancy was completely different. I found out I was pregnant the next time a few days before my period was due and had about a week of elation, then it was all over. Crushed would be a great way to sum up how I felt. And alone. My husband just couldn't mentally or emotionally deal with it between the "wow" of it happening and his schedule (full-time student and full-time working). My son was about 17mo at the time and I had so desperately wanted my kids to be right about 2y apart. With that loss, I knew my hopes were gone for that. I recovered as best as I could emotionally. Physically I felt fine.
A few months later I became pregnant again. I thought surely I would carry to term this time...not many people have two miscarriages in a row right? But when the tests got lighter instead of darker, I knew it was doomed. And a few days later the baby was gone. My husband was more available to me this time and a great support. He fielded questions at church like "when are you going to give your little guy a brother or sister?" with answers like "we're doing our part, just waiting for God's time".
Again a few months later I became pregnant. I made my husband a cake with a Bible verse on it about how children are a blessing from the Lord and had it ready when he got home from school late one night. He didn't understand at first what I meant, but when he figured it out he was so excited! And again, just like before, we had a few days of joy followed by immense sadness. This time, we talked about it. I talked with a friend at church who lost twins, and with another woman who prayed for us. It felt so good to share my suffering with someone who would listen and pray for me. Even still, I felt very sad and bitter. I gave away all of our baby stuff except for a few precious outfits, convinced that my body was indeed broken like my mother had told me. I did find solace in Chris Tomlin's "Not To Us"

When he sings "Your children are dancing, dancing, dancing, yeah! It's all for You!" I immediately "saw" my little ones in Heaven, safe and happy, dancing for their Savior and mine. I realized that they were safe, taken care of, and their life was a purpose that I couldn't understand. But Jesus knows. And I'm honored to be the Mommy of members of a precious army in Heaven.

A few months later total 11 months after the first miscarriage, I became pregnant again. I am a sucker for excitement and just latched on emtotionally and mentally right away. I tried to convince my husband, but he wasn't going to allow himself to become attached until we'd made it through the first few weeks. Everyday until we passed our latest miscarriage date was stress and anxiety filled...but we did. We went for an ultrasound at almost 7w and saw a teeny little baby in there with a beautifully functioning heartbeat. The pregnancy continued and we were greated with a beautiful, STUBBORN and strong-willed little girl.
When our daughter was 1 1/2yo, I became pregnant again. We lost this baby too in the first week of knowing again, but it was very different for me emotionally this time. I thought back to the song and to the knowledge that my babies were safe and blessed to be with Jesus. I surrended myself to Him at that time and decided that if I became pregnant a thousand times but never birthed another live baby, that I would be ok doing His will. Because these babies aren't wastes of time, and they are VERY important to Him. Why would He give us Mommies an immediate emotional tie to them? Why would He have us love them so deeply even though He gave us such a short time to grow them in our bodies? They're special and we'll never forget them, and He'll never forget them...and the party that will maybe thrown when we meet them in Heaven...can you just imagine? Our homecoming and reunion with Jesus and our sweet babies? Fantastic! Can you imagine your babies teaching you about Heaven? I can.

I became pregnant with our 2yo after that miscarriage and I was so surprised that he "stuck", I thought for certain that I would lose a few more babies before getting to keep one. He is as stubborn and strong-willed as his big sister too.

I became pregnant with our youngest baby without having a miscarriage before...I was certain my "lot" was to lose a baby before having another, but God is full of surprises. I know now that if I do lose another baby, that I will be sad, but I will also be so happy for that little one to have skipped the tradgedies of this world and been given entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven right away.

I can't imagine going through miscarriages without knowing WHERE my babies are and WHO they are with. I am so comforted by "Not To Us" and being able to visualize my sweet missed blessings in Heaven. And I can only hope to provide another Momma comfort if she needs it.

Please share if you'd like and link up to my friend's blog. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Late Monday/Tuesday post

Media Monday
On Mondays, I will be sharing a bit of media-Bible verse, song, television show, movie, cartoon, news article, blog post, anything media-ish that has inspired, convicted, or encouraged me.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Transparent Tuesday
On Tuesdays I want to make myself transparent and share something that God has been working on my life, whether it be small (like cleaning my Suburban so I'm not humiliated when I open the door at the grocery store and trash falls out) or big, like submitting to my husband on an issue that needed to be addressed for many years.  You don't have to share this as many of these matters may be very private, but I encourage you to participate privately if you so choose.

Psalm 51:1-4
1)Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
2)Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
3)For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
4)Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.

Gosh I am terrible, forgive me for not getting this done yesterday! My 6mo is teething and has gone from a VERY easy going baby to a very a clingy/cry-y baby...and my 2yo is having a rough week too! He's freshly nursed and she's asleep right now, so let's see if I can get my thoughts out.

I was reading some testimonies on Above Rubies while trying to gain some knowledge on the subject of submission. Check those out, they are so wonderful to read and very convicting. "Please Yourself, You Usually Do" had a huge impact on me. It was two fold...both in my submission to my husband, but also in my leadership over my children. Just like her, I thought I had been doing a great job submitting...let me just pat myself on the back here...but in reality, I was only submitting on the easy things. Things that weren't really a challenge to me anymore. Things that I've been willingly submitting on for years now. But there are some areas in my life that I've been letting excuses rule for far too long. Laundry comes to mind. I'm ashamed to say it, but if you just showed up at my door any given day of the week, you would see a love seat piled HIGH with clean clothes that I haven't put away. Being completely honest here, sometimes I go 2-3 WEEKS...yes weeks, not days, without putting them away. I blame it on busy-ness with 4 kids, a lack of interest in laundry, tiredness, you name it. It's just "not my fault", know what I mean? But my husband is a neat and orderly guy and I know it just drives him absolutely bonkers to look at it all.the.time. The other day he asked me to put them on the floor in the bedroom so he didn't have to look at them all the time anymore. Wow. I've just failed so big right here! So my mission right now is to submit to him in this area and do what he'd really love to see, and get those clean clothes put away in a timely fashion so our living room looks better and we can actually use that love seat.
Now for my secondary thoughts on this testimony...she said she had so robbed her husband of his place of leadership that he was reluctant and slow to take it back up when she'd submitted to him again...I feel like this is exactly what has happened with my children and I. They're just kids and kids just push boundaries and try to negotiate their way out of things...and I've really let them take over a lot of times. I just get so tired of fighting with them and standing firm that it's EASIER to just let them do whatever it is as long as no one gets hurt. But in reading the above testimony, I realized that I am not doing them one bit of good by letting them take over. I'm actually harming them. Now I'm not talking going "Nazi" on them and taking away every freedom or choice. No, I'm just talking about making my "No" a real NO and sticking to it. I've been trying diligently since I read that to impliment this...and I tell you I've already seen a difference! My 4yo especially loves to ask as she's already doing something, and when I say "no", she just continues until she's finished. And just like the woman's husband would say "Please yourself, you usually do" I'd find myself saying "why should I even bother saying no, you'll do it anyway". And boy is that wrong! I'll be honest and say that this week she's not been very fond of the new Mom who stands behind her no, but I know it will only benefit us and in time she'll find security in it. We're going to work on not doing something until asking also so that I can get a chance to actually decide if it's something I'm ok with her doing. I am hoping that this will ease my frustration too when things build up. It's really hard to maintain my cool when I'm being constantly hounded and walked on. But I'm ready to take back my position of leadership and do so graciously but firmly.
Did anyone catch "19 Kids and Counting" last week when Michelle took Josie for her big appointment? Jessa was putting Johannah down for a nap and Johannah kept getting up to plead her case (boy...when we watch Johannah she just reminds us SO much of our 4yo!). Jessa was amazing! So calm and collected and firm in her no. It was really encouraging to see. That's how I want to be.

Monday, July 18, 2011

This week...

This week I'm going to be having a combo "Media Monday"/"Transparent Tuesday" post...tomorrow. I've got a lot swirling in my head about it right now, just need to make some time to sit down and get it all out! It will be on the topic of submission, both wife to husband and kid to parent.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fashion-F is for Friday

F is for Friday
Friday is basically a free for all.  I plan on posting about things like Food, Fitness, Family, Fun, Festivities, etc.  It doesn't have to be about "F" things, but look forward to me doing my best to make (ridiculous) links to the letter F.

Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart is good medicine.

FASHION! Oh how I have longed for a long denim skirt for YEARS now! I've just never been able to find one I liked AND can afford. Not that I find many anyway...but the few I have seen have either been way out of my price range or have the super high waist lines, which I just can't bring myself to wear. I felt hopeless that I'd ever find one, so I decided to make one. I know my sewing skills aren't up to making one from scratch, so I made one from two pairs of old jeans. I have what seems to be like a zillion pairs of jeans in various sizes since I refused to wear maternity jeans my first 3 pregnancies (finally found THE pair of mat jeans this last time ::love:: ). So I took the nicest looking pair and found another pair that was similarly colored. You could also go for contrasting colors, or fill in the missing area with a panel of fabric.

Pick the stitching of the legs out, and on up through the crotch.

I actually had to go quite a ways up on the picking. I stopped when it would lay flat-ish...which was about the bottom of the pockets (which also gives me another idea, you could embellish the pockets, or take them off and replace them with some fun fabric).

At this point I tried it on because I knew that even though it would lay flat on the table, it might not hang straight. And I was right, see all the bubbly-ness?

So I took it off and adjusted again and again until I got it to where I was satisfied. Pin it good so it doesn't slip on you!

Repeat and do the same thing on the front. Again, I had to pick the stitches up pretty high, right to the base of the zipper enclosure. Be sure to NOT cut those threads too short though, later you'll use the leftover to tie it off in the back.

Now decide if you want to leave the raw edge out, like above, or fold it under like this. I decided to go with raw.

Next, grab your other pair of jeans and cut the legs off as high as you can...and for the love of all things holy, please don't wear the leftovers as shorts. There is not enough fabric there to cover a baby's booty, let alone yours or mine, ok? Use that as scraps for something or make a purse out of it. Then unpick the stitching up the legs of these jeans.

Now you need to figure out the circumference of the bottom of the skirt. I used a soft tape measure and measured my ankles while taking a really wide step. I can't remember the measurement, but it seemed I wish I'd gone a little bigger because I do occasionally trip and almost fall on my face. You could go bigger, or you could put a slit or flap in. I like the clean look, so next time I'll just go bigger. Then center your fabric how you want...I wanted the yellow seams on mine...and pin away.

After you get it all pinned, look at it flat on the table and make sure everything is laying right. Try it on too. Make adjustments as needed.

You'll notice in this picture that I have some terrible bubbling going on. It's from the knee of the second pair of jeans, so the fabric itself is warped.

I unpinned a ways down and made the best of it. It's not perfection, but I'm satisfied. I put some extra pins in to hold it steady as I sewed and took out the primary pins.

All sewn up. **DON'T do your finishing stitching before you try it on and lay it out a bit. You just never know, you might need to adjust something or smooth something and you really don't want to sit and pick 2367743763836 million zigzag stitches out. So just do a loose straight stitch for now.

Now turn your skirt inside out and tie your thread off. Both your sewing thread and the gold thread from the jeans.

Next cut the extra off. Leave yourself some wiggle room for fraying. Also, be sure to put your hand between the scissors and the skirt fabric. I have accidentally cut through the good stuff before and it's so devastating!

Finally, decide your length. I wanted mine floor length, so I tried it on and marked all the way to the floor knowing that I'd lose some length to fraying.

Do all your finishing stitches now (*cough* so lazy...I still haven't and I've been wearing my skirt for a month).


You could also make these with khakis or courdoroys. I plan on making my 4yo a pair from khakis that are too small for her 7yo brother. Please let me know if you make a skirt and link up some pictures!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Transparent Tuesday

On Tuesdays I want to make myself transparent and share something that God has been working on my life, whether it be small (like cleaning my Suburban so I'm not humiliated when I open the door at the grocery store and trash falls out) or big, like submitting to my husband on an issue that needed to be addressed for many years.  You don't have to share this as many of these matters may be very private, but I encourage you to participate privately if you so choose.

Psalm 51:1-4
1)Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
2)Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
3)For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
4)Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.

Transparent Tuesday 7/12/11

Oh the issues I have in my brain. I've long known that I have OCD tendencies...back when I was a little kid, I would arrange my stuffed animals *just so*, then in high school it was my clothes, hung up in color order and sleeve length. The OCD things died down quite a bit when I came to Jesus at 19, but I still struggle with them. Sunday, a heart to heart with my husband (I've mentioned him before right? And how awesome he is at talking me down from crazy? I really appreciate that he is willing to confront me, gently, and tell me the hard things I need to hear) revealed that I am still struggling with some OCD things, just not in the way I was on the look out for.
Food. It's food. Food. I was a vegetarian from 13-21. I didn't like meat (though I realized that when it's cooked properly, some of it IS yummy...just my family liked to over cook and over season things to the point that they were just not delicious) and I didn't like that animals were dying. Animals became an idol to me, being a vegetarian was a prison. For almost a whole year I felt a strong calling to put down my chains and eat freely, and I finally submitted to that calling. Am I saying it's wrong to be a vegetarian? Absolutely fact, I appreciate the health benefits of being a food-savvy vegetarian. What I'm saying is that it was wrong for ME at that time. It was keeping distance between myself and God, and myself and my husband. It was also holding back my son's development in theory(at that time he was about 18mo). I didn't want him to eat meat. Turns out that didn't really matter because now at almost 8, he doesn't really like meat and will eat it VERY sparingly when we make him.
Fast forward a few years and my almost 5yo is just born. We decide to start cleaning up our poor diet (literally poor, when I was pregnant with her, we had to budget to the penny and our food choices were not that great as I didn't realize that cooking from scratch was healthful and frugal). We finally had moved to the next phase in life (husband graduated, new job with better pay started), and it felt great to eat healthy. We lost weight, we lost our taste for things like corn syrup, and when we'd eat out occasionally with family, we'd be ill that night because our bodies weren't used to junk food. Then we got lazy and slipped into eating just regular. Fast forward a bit to just before getting pregnant with our 2 1/2yo. We were researching autism spectrum disorders at the counsel of some trustworthy friends and really came to believe that our oldest and I both were most likely in the range of Asperger's Syndrome (along with my father and brother). We decided to try a gluten-free casein-free (gfcf) diet and did really well with it for 4 months. It was hard though, and very time consuming. And limiting. We abandoned it when I became pregnant because I could not bring myself to eat any of it. Since then we've tried to eat healthy and evaluted and reevaluted what we eat...mostly just to the point of making me crazy and changing our eating habits for a few weeks at a time and reverting back to just a general healthy eating (fruits and veggies, yogurts, mostly whole wheat, no hydrogenated oils, no artificial coloring, no corn syrup/hfcs, no packaged food-except for Annie's mac n'cheese and their bunny crackers). I guess reading that it sounds pretty good, but I always find some way to beat myself up about it. For instance, the kids and I really just don't like meat. My 4yo will eat it willingly sometimes, occasionally she'll ask for chicken and excitedly devour an ounce or two, and my 2yo will also eat it *usually* when we give it to him, he'll also eat more of a variety of meat too. But we could easily take it or leave it. It bothers me to no end that my husband, who very much likes meat, has had to change more to fit us than the other way around. I guess I feel like he eats "normal" and we don't. So I try to change the 4 of us and try to force us circles to fit in a square hole, and it never lasts...and it causes a lot of heartache too sometimes.
We were just about to go gf again this week, but on the second day breakfast failed and I was upset. I was lamenting to my husband and he saw the opportunity to help me sort through all the stuff, and wow. I can see now that I DO beat myself up about our food choices. We eat things like sweet potato or pumpkin pancakes with real maple syrup, or homemade tortillas topped with beans and avacado and cheese, and we're drinking raw milk now. I hide things like butternut squash in macaroni and cheese and broccoli in "alfredo". We eat green eggs (spinach), and I always have something healthy in our muffins that are sweetened with sucanat. I make our toothpaste (and now mouthwash). I breastfeed for a long time (I am so blessed in this area and have not had any real struggles since we finally mastered it when my oldest was about 6 weeks old). All these things I do, consciously, prayerfully, and I still try to tear myself down. I'm always comparing myself to other moms who I just feel like do a better job than I do, or their kids are less picky, or x, y, z...and honestly, it wouldn't really bother me so much, but my husband said it hurts my kids when I do that, and I can't hurt them! So here is one step in the right direction. I've been bound by all this self-imposed legalism in our eating, and I need to just let it all go.
My husband read Galatians 5:1-6 to me. Verse 1 says "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."
I'll never be perfect, and my kids are never going to like everything I want them to. My oldest is probably going to always have dental issues (like me, and both my parents), and THAT sucks. But he'll be ok, just like I'm ok. I will just do my best and not rage at myself for not being able to do more than my best. I had a moment of clarity yesterday after our talk. God gives us endless opportunities to benefit and bless our family...and I was beating myself up for not taking advantage of every single one of them. He didn't create 3766340963467 ways for me to fail...because that's what it feels like, he created 3766340963467 ways to bless our families so that when I cast my net wide, I can catch onto the ways that work for our family. If I succeed at 4 things, great. That doesn't mean I failed because there are 3766340963463 ways that I missed or that simply don't work for us. I'm not cured of my crazy OCD "must be in absolute control of our eating"ness, but I'm feeling better about my outlook. I don't feel hopeless now. I don't feel like there is no way on earth I'll ever succeed, because I'm succeeding daily. I just need to reasonable.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Media Monday

On Mondays, I will be sharing a bit of media-Bible verse, song, television show, movie, cartoon, news article, blog post, anything media-ish that has inspired, convicted, or encouraged me.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Monday 7/11/11

I love this song by Joy Williams, Hide.


I first heard this song when I was new to Christianity. I knew that I was forgiven, but I didn't really know what all that meant, and I didn't really understand that Jesus wanted to meet me right where I was, warts and all. I saw these people at church who seemed all put together and figured out. They'd been Christians for a long time, many of them since childhood, and I felt like I couldn't be "holy" like them. We'd just gotten married AFTER getting pregnant, I'd spent many years as an outspoken athiest...I didn't feel like I would ever be good enough. I knew that Jesus would forgive me, but it just didn't connect fully. This song helped me.

"And if you feel like no one understands
Come to the One with scars on His hands
'Cause He knows where you are, where you've been
His scars will heal you if you let Him."

Just wow. Obviously I'm not saying trust everything you hear in a song, but use it as a launch-point for diving into your Bible and finding the truth.

Hebrews 10:22
Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

So come with me, if you're scared or unsure. Crack open that Bible and look for some love verses.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Wow, it's hard to believe that someone would die for me, ME, while I hated Him. And He died for you too, whether you've loved him since your earliest memories, or if you aren't sure right now. He loves YOU.

I John 4:19
We love, because He first loved us.

John 3
16)For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17)For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18)He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

"He who believes in Him is not judged"...again, just wow! I get this "free" pass. All because Jesus loves ME. No more hiding, no more wondering if I'm good enough. No more thinking others deserve it more than me or that others are better than me. Jesus picked them, but He picked me too! And He wants you too. He wants to share His never-ending, knowledge-surpassing, all-encompassing, hurt-healing love with you.

Monday Blog Link-Up at Joy Filled Living

Sunday, July 10, 2011

10 Thanks July

10 Thanks
On the 10th of each month, I plan on sharing 10 things I'm thankful for.  Big or little, new or old.

Psalm 28:7
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him.

For some reason Simply-Linked isn't working for me right now, so leave your blog link in the comments please. :)

1) I am thankful for the servant's heart that my 4yo daughter is growing. this morning she told me that if I wanted to sleep in next weekend that she would get up with her 2yo brother and watch him.

2) I am thankful for my A-MAZ-ING husband. God has blessed me more than I could ever have imagined with just my husband. Wow. He's incredible...possibly one of his most useful talents is his ability to talk me down from crazy (which I will talk more about on Transparent Tuesday ). He's so wise and so rational.

3) I am thankful for the opportunity to be a mother. I was told by my own mother that my chances to be a mother might be lessened from dozens of pelvic x-rays as a child. I don't know if it's true or not, but it sure did worry me.

4) I am thankful for chocolate and coffee. Silly I know, but it's a way to connect with my husband, he loves them both. I love just sitting with him and eating some chocolate-something and drinking our coffee together.

5) I am thankful for some truly awesome friends. I'm not the best at being a friend. I'm a complete and total introvert, but when we get together, it doesn't seem to matter and we can talk all day.

6) I am thankful for the area I live in. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am home. It's just a great place to live, safe, big enough, but plenty of country in and around the city too.

7) I am thankful for the internet. I can remember life without it (we didn't have internet until I was maybe 14 or 15) but I can't imagine life without the opportunities it gives me to learn now, especially as a mother and I need to be able to quickly research something.

8) I am thankful for pencils. I hate writing in pen. I NEED to be able to erase things. I'm also thankful that I'm not still in english class in 10th and 11th grade when my teachers required me to write in pen. Oh the nights spent up late re-writing an assignment because I made a mistake at the bottom of the back of a page and couldn't stand the site of the "X" through it.

9) I am thankful for my Bible. It's a MacArthur Study Bible (NASB). I've learned a ton from it. I also have a Life Application Study Bible (NIV) and a Women of Faith Bible (NLT) that I loved too.

10) I am thankful for my Jesus, who loves me no matter how awful I am, or self-loathing, or prideful. I love Him because He first loved me and I am thankful that I get to spend ALL eternity in His gracious care.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Frizzy Hair-F is for Friday

F is for Friday
Friday is basically a free for all.  I plan on posting about things like Food, Fitness, Family, Fun, Festivities, etc.  It doesn't have to be about "F" things, but look forward to me doing my best to make (ridiculous) links to the letter F.

Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart is good medicine.

My F today is Frizzy! I have dread locks. Mostly dread locks. Some of my hair is still free. I haven't counted them...but I guess I probably have like 60. The bottom bit of my hair in the back is STILL undone, 4 months after the two week long process of slowly backcombing them in (it took me 2 weeks because I have FOUR kids! Ha! And I did it all myself here and there during the day when no one needed me, otherwise I could have busted it out in about 8-10 hours solid probably, but who has 8-10 hours?). I also undid the 2 at my ears because my glasses were just mutilating them and the 2 above those ones because they just didn't want to stay in. And my bangs are not done. I don't know when I'll finish up the back. Maybe soon, I hope. The distance between the bottom of the dreads and bottom of the undone hair is now about 4-5" and looks kind of silly. I usually wear my hair up in a big blob anyway, so it's not a huge deal.


I don't have dreads because I identify with that fact far from it. I have dreads simply because I like the way they look. I have a lot of hair. Unruly hair. Semi-wavy when it wants to be (usually on days I want it straight), semi-straight (usually on days I want it to be curly). I don't like using product to get it to obey...well, ok, my hair obeys WITH product about like a 2 year old, and without product about like a cat. It's just unmanageable. Except when super duper short. Which is cute, but I've always wanted it long and this seems to be the best way for me to have it long. Without dreads, it lays flat on my head at the top and gets all bubbly and yucky everywhere else, I can do ponytails, but they're just "eh". I've never been able to get my hair to hold an updo, it just falls out because I have a lot of fine hair. But dreads are awesome! I can do so much with them (when they don't need to be toned down a bit...they're trying to merge in the back right now and desperately need some attention...that I don't have time for at the moment), and when I can't do something cute, a simple wrapped up ponytail is still super cute.
I've had dreads before, actually about the same time of year last year (March to the end of June last year, this time end of February to now and beyond) and I tried doing the whole "un-poo'ing" thing with them, which is basically letting your hair regulate its oil on it's own and just washing with baking soda a few times a month. That didn't work for me very well, my hair was just too oily and too flaky at the same time. My husband was less than impressed, and I want to be pleasing to him. So I combed out my dreads (ouch) and went back to "regular" shampoo. Regular for us anyway. We use Avalon Organics Volumizing Rosemary Shampoo and love it. My husband likes it because it cleans all of the mechanic-y greasiness out of his hair, and I like it for the kids because the ingredients are free of things like sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate , and I like it for me because it takes away that oily feeling and keeps my scalp from drying out too much and getting flaky.
I've read over and over again that when you have dreads you should avoid common shampoos and not overwash your hair because the hairs will have a hard time binding together and you'll wind up greasy, but I have not experienced that this time at all. In fact, as far as binding, I'd say washing my hair 3 times a week (as opposed to 3 times a month, plus rinsing another 4 or 5 times a months last time) and using this shampoo has HELPED my dreads tighten up faster! And it's definitely doing a great job keeping the oily grossness away, and the flakes too. It's just awesome stuff. I have the complementary conditioner too, but I don't use that on my hair very often because I know that will untangle my hair and I don't want that. But pre-dreads, I did like it very much. Awesome stuff.