Friday, March 25, 2011

Four Fill in Fun

Linking up again this week for Four Fill-In Fun!

1) I can’t help it, but every time I see a dog riding in a car or truck I smile.
Okay, so I know this can be potentially hazardous for the pet...but they just look so free and happy with their head out the window, tongue flapping in the breeze. :) Who can resist that kind of joy? And I'm not even really a pet person!

2) Every time I smell cantaloupe I am immediately transported back to my childhood.
I don't know what it is about this, except that my mom used to pack it in my lunch all the time!

3) When I was little I wanted to be a Ballerina...or a movie star.
Er...I'm not quite there yet! ;-)

4) If I had to eat only one meal for the rest of my life it would be pizza!
Why, yes. I am seventeen!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 3 in 30 Challenge- Week 2

It's time to check in for week two of the March 3 in 30 Challenge at AP Freewriting!

Eat 3 Meals per day with the family: Well...I definitely had more meals with everyone than I would've had otherwise! I will say that breakfast may be the easiest meal to eat together. Everyone gets what they want for the most part. Lunch is usually a choice between a simple sandwich or leftovers from dinner, so my son is sometimes not so keen about participating. Thankfully, my daughter will pretty much try anything. My son on the other hand, has been quite picky lately. That makes dinner trickier. But, generally speaking we've been pretty good about eating dinner 'round the family table.

Plan a Date Night Each Week: I think I should get an A for effort on this one! My husband is big into music (being a worship leader and all). Well, I did some major searching for something unique that he would be interested in (and free or low cost) and came across a free concert at a local church (we had never heard of the artist, but she did have music on i Tunes), and the other option I came across was hearing one of the members of Hillsong as a guest speaker at another local (mega) church. I presented both options to my husband, and we ended up going shopping for our date. I was a little bummed that we didn't do something new, but it was a good shopping trip, so I guess I can't really complain. We spent time together and that's what counts.

Declutter for 15 Minutes per Day: I actually did pretty well with this one! I didn't manage to do it every day, but I definitely feel less cluttered! I'm just excited to have made progress.

So, how did you do? Are you on track with your goals for the month?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Four Fill in Fun

1. Over the years I have had so many... places of residence! I think by the time I turned 18, I had moved more times than I had had birthdays! Since becoming an adult, though, I've cut way back on the moving. In fact, the last apartment that I lived in was the place I have lived the longest. 8 years! Wow!

2. It drives me crazy to... argue with my husband. Not because arguing is terribly upsetting, but because he happens to have a dizzying intellect, and I usually don't win! Boo!

3. Every time I walk in the house... I hang up my purse and diaper bag and other stuff on the hooks on the back of the door.

4. Right before I jump in bed... I use the potty. Ever since the two times I was pregnant, I can't stand having to get up in the middle of the night to go! It may seem like it's borderline OCD, but seriously, even if I just went 20 minutes prior, that is the last thing I do before going to bed.

So there you have it, four things you probably didn't need to know about me! :) 

Click on over to Feeling Beachie to read more!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Who is God, Anyway?

I was reading a blog post recently in which the writer encouraged women to receive what the Bible says God will do for them. A question came up in the comments to the effect of "what about what (insert influential individual's name here) says about that? How not receiving x promise may be a blessing from God?" (The question was asked genuinely, not as a challenge to the author).

Well friends, nobody is perfect in their theology...but I think that we need to dig a little deeper when questions like this come up. We need to go to the Word when we aren't sure who God is in our lives or what His intentions are toward us.

Jeremiah 29:11 states:

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

And in James 1:16-17 it says:

"Do not be misled, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse]." (Amplified. Emphasis mine).

So we can see that God does not desire for one person to be sick and yet another person to be healthy (or one to be healthy and then suddenly sick). Or one person to live in poverty and another to live in a mansion.

Bad things are not God's will for us! God does not "smite" us because He has something to teach us as some would believe. Consider the words of Job: even though God declared him a righteous man, he said "the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away..." (Job 1:21) Now, don't we hear that ALL the time? Yet, I believe because Job's heart was right before God, verse 22 tells us that he didn't sin or charge God foolishly. (God looks at the heart).

The fact is: God is good. He desires good for us. But bad things do happen. We live in a fallen world.

We may wonder why, when we pray for a specific outcome, our desire is not manifest. I've been there! There have been many times where I was so confused, thinking, "God, I prayed for this or that to happen, and it didn't!" One tends to start asking questions: Is something wrong with me? Is there something wrong with God? Is there something wrong with the person I prayed for? Is something wrong with my Bible? But as believers, we will not be dismayed if our hope rests in God, rather than a particular outcome. That's the power behind true faith. Didn't Jesus say to His disciples, "Have faith in God."? (Mark 11:22) We need to be like David who said,

"...for You [You only and altogether] do I wait [expectantly] all the day long." (Psalm 25:5 Amplified)

Let's not let our view of God become skewed through the filter of our experiences! God is who He says He is! Not (necessarily) who we flawed humans say He is."...let God be true but every man a liar." (Romans 3:3)

When things don't turn out the way we think they should, we must remember "for we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 2:7)

That means our faith in God is not dependent upon external circumstances. We must continue to believe, trust and rely on Him! 

Linking up with Women in the Word Wednesdays

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What I'm Into this Month- February

Ahh...the end of February! Is it already upon us? This month whizzed by. (Actually, now that I'm about to click "publish post" it is already March- I really tried to finish before midnight, but that didn't work out! I'm going to go to bed soon, I promise!)

What I'm Into this Month is inspired by Megan at SortaCrunchy. Read her latest "What I'm Into this Month post here.
On My Night Stand: Okay, so you must know that I technically don't have a night stand. Despite that harsh reality, I do have books that I'm reading. I just started The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and I'm on the second or third chapter in a row about corn. I had no idea there was so much to know! :P I actually just finished In Defense of Food, which has so changed the way I look at food. Actually it kind of goes along with a lot of other research I've been doing about food in the past couple of years. I'm really amazed at how much I didn't know!

The other book I'm desperately trying to get through is Living in Love by James and Betty Robison. I'm going to do a review of it for my other blog, Happy Christian Home. So far it's a wonderful book, but I think the fact that it's kind of "required reading" (albeit self-imposed) is really messing with me. I've made the most reading progress when I've actually left the house by myself to go read somewhere (what bliss). I've been taking notes and doing the review questions and everything. Anyway, expect that review sometime in the next few weeks. I won't tell you how long I've been working on it.

Want to Read: The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. I've heard so much good stuff about her books. Have you read anything by her?

TV Show Worth Watching: Ummm...I really have to say that I don't watch much television. Though I am a sucker for pretty much any cooking show. Especially the ones on PBS. We don't have cable (thankfully!) so I don't get to watch Food Network (that may be one of the handful of channels I would watch if we had cable). I love America's Test Kitchen and one of my other favorites is Lidia's Italy. It is so fascinating to watch other people cooking.

Movie I've Seen (in or out of the theater): Babies. I loved this movie! We checked it out from the library. I had wanted to see it since I saw the preview for it in the theater, but I just never got around to it. It was beautiful though. I loved watching all the differences between the cultures, but also saw so many parallels in the way the babies were parented, and the family structures, etc. I took it a step further though, and went to the official website and read the bios of the babies and their families. I was especially interested in the family from Africa. I would love to learn even more about their culture. The Mongolian family was interesting too. They were such an odd mix of modern and traditional living. You saw a goat drinking out of the baby's bathwater, and then an older sibling playing with Legos.

On My Mind: Wow, some big things are happening! I'm trying to determine the best course of action for myself in one particular area. I want to get involved in the childbirth education field, or perhaps become a doula, but I'm not exactly sure which route to take. I know I don't talk much about this subject on either of my blogs, but I'm so passionate about pregnancy and childbirth. I'm really leaning more toward childbirth education rather than becoming a doula, at least for now, as I really don't feel like I can commit to the (potentially) odd hours that a doula must agree to.

(Not as) Quick (as I had hoped) testimony: My husband and I were out to dinner one evening when he suggested that I go into this field. It was sorta random. I kind of responded with "hmm...yes". We talked about it a little more in depth, and that was it. Well the very next afternoon, an expectant friend sent me a message asking me to be her labor coach. She said that God placed it on her heart to ask me to do it, but she kept arguing it away thinking that I wouldn't be interested, and I have two little ones to look after, etc, etc. She only knew that I had had two un-medicated births, and she wanted my support in having a natural birth. Well that ended up being an amazing experience. Her doctor had previously suggested that she have a C-Section if her baby was "too big" (more than 8 lbs) and she really wanted to avoid that if possible. She had gone in for an ultrasound (I guess so her doctor could get a better idea of the baby's size- which I really think is not entirely reliable) well they didn't get the results back before she went into labor. She delivered a healthy 9 1/2 pound baby boy, completely un-medicated, no induction, no augmentation- nothing! Amazing.

Along those lines, one of my sisters is due to have her baby within a few weeks from now and has asked me to come and support her during labor. I'm so excited!

3 Most Recent (Even Somewhat Notable) Bookmarks: How to Crack Open a Coconut (video). I had great difficulty with this by the way! They made it look so easy! We got two coconuts in our produce basket from the co-op this week. I am determined to use everything we get- especially if it's unfamiliar territory for me. I'm still going to try this method with the second coconut. I'm determined! Lol! Blogging Your Way. I haven't explored this one yet, but it looks promising! Gluten-Free Vegan Chewy Molasses Bars. Don't these look delicious? (Pay no mind to my comments at the end) :P

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month:  The birth of my sister's newest baby. Also a Pampered Chef show or two (I'm a consultant). Looks like March will be an action-packed month. I'm hoping for my son to be completely diaper-free as well. He's been doing so well on the potty the past couple of weeks. He was not really feeling using the potty for the longest time, so I'm glad he's finally doing so!

One More Thing: Okay, so I know all of you who live in snowy climates are probably not going to really appreciate this one, but it snowed here! In the desert! Here's a picture of snow-capped Superstition Mountain (taken from the gas station around the corner):
I think it's pretty amazing! (It didn't stay long though- this pic was taken yesterday after church, and the snow is completely gone now!)

What are YOU into this month???

Friday, February 25, 2011

3 in 30- Goals for March

I cannot believe that February is almost over! It is a shorter month, but it felt super short for some reason. I noticed over at AP Freewriting that it's now time to make some new goals. I opted out last month, as I blogged about a few weeks ago, but I'm back this month!

This past month has been more orderly for me, even though I didn't actually set any real goals. For this past week or so, I've been sticking with my daily routines, and that has been really helpful. I'm not as prompt about doing things as I would like, but for the most part, they get done. So, I feel ready to aim a little higher!

Here are my goals:

  1. I want to start eating three meals per day with the family, because it seems like we just kind of eat on our own all the time. My son wakes up, he asks for food when he's hungry, then my daughter gets up...I fix her something else to eat whenever she seems hungry, and I eat sometime after that usually. We don't usually have a regular "lunch time" per se. Dinner time is not that big of an issue, but I do want all of us to sit at the table together each night. I wanted to create more structure in our meal times, but also cultivate the habit of spending meaningful time together. Also, I won't feel like I'm constantly in the kitchen if we have distinct meal times. I'm sure I'll discover other benefits to doing this, but even if I don't, I think I will experience more order in my day. I really need that!
  2. Next, I would like to create the habit of spending 15 minutes per day de-cluttering/tidying up. I do this from time to time, and I'm always amazed at what a difference it makes. I feel like creating this habit will help make it easier to maintain order (there's that word again!) around the house. I don't like to feel overwhelmed when I look around. 
  3. Third, I want to plan a date night each week with my husband that is either free or low-cost. The expense issue is not quite as important as the intentional time with my husband. We used to be pretty good about making it a point to spend time together alone, but you know how it just get caught up in doing other stuff, and it gets pushed aside. 
Anyway, that's what I'm up to! What are your goals? Are you taking part in the 3 in 30 Challenge?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Health Improvements

At the beginning of this year, my family and I started on The Maker's Diet. We stuck with it for about two weeks. (!) It's a forty-day program, by the way. I actually opted to go off of it because of my daughter's reaction to it. She's breastfed and since she was about six weeks old, she has shown allergic reactions to various foods I was eating. I blogged about that "ordeal" here (in case you wanna read).

Her recent reaction wasn't really severe or anything, but the diet is quite heavy on dairy and eggs, and those are two of the foods I had eliminated previously. She started getting itchy and so every time I would change her, I would see new scratch marks on her. (That only started since I reintroduced dairy and eggs). The reactions used to be a lot worse, so she has improved, thankfully.

Anyway, since going off of that diet, and going back on grains, I've noticed that I don't feel as good as I did on The Maker's Diet. I've also been consuming more sugar than I was. I'll spare you the details of how I feel when I eat a lot of grains, but I'll just say I feel much better when I don't have them (I think I look much better when I don't eat them as well).

One thing I have made some progress on is giving up caffeine! I'm so excited that I have done so. It really is freeing. I don't need it. I don't even really want it. I like a hot beverage in the morning, so I've switched to herbal tea with honey. I used to drink a lot of green tea, which has many health benefits, but I think for me, the bigger health benefit is not having caffeine.

I've been reading a lot about adrenal health, as well as gut health (more about those issues here), and I just came to the conclusion that caffeine was something that needed to go. I really did try to hang on to it for a while, but I just felt awful every time I would drink coffee or whatever. It was just time. I think it's pretty safe to say that I had been addicted to caffeine in some form or another since I was a teenager. (Like 16 years or so for anyone keeping track!) In the form of sodas, coffee, tea and chocolate. (I haven't totally given up chocolate...but that may be next!)

I guess you could just say that I'm "tired" of not feeling my best. I think once you know that you can attain to a higher level of physical function, giving up unnecessary things is not so difficult. I will say that is harder, and less convenient for sure...but it's kind of like the story of Daniel. He was surrounded by a culture that didn't adhere to the same diet that he had, but he felt way better than everyone else. He was physically healthier. That's what I'm aiming for. Not so I can say I'm healthier than the general population or anything, but I would like to show people that vibrant health is not unattainable.

I've also been reading a couple books that have totally changed how I look at food. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan has been an awesome read. I also read part of Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. (Only part of it, because it was due back at the library before I could finish it, and someone had placed a hold on it so I couldn't renew it. I'll have to purchase it, or check it out again at a later time.) Anyway, those books have really influenced me to change not only how I eat, but where we get out food from. I highly recommend them if you're looking to improve your health.

Anywho, back to The Maker's Diet. I may return to that at a later time, but for now, I will definitely cut back on grains, and dairy. Dairy is pretty easy to avoid and still eat a really good variety of other food. I may look into getting raw dairy, as I've heard that people who are allergic usually don't have issues with raw dairy. It's something worth pursuing, anyway.

Have you made any recent health improvements? Have you been "on the fence" about anything health-related lately? Let me know in the comments!