Monthly Archives: October 2011

Boo! Beware!

Ok, we don’t even celebrate Halloween – or recognize it, rather.  Not that we’re against others who do, we just felt convicted early on that IF we didn’t have a purpose for our family to celebrate the day, the way the traditions are – then we really shouldn’t invest our time and energy into it.  It was also an easier decision since we home school, and live outside of town.   Our kids know what it’s about, and we obviously talk about it and what it means – we just don’t have trick or treaters or celebrate.

Halloween is another one of those commercialized holidays where retailers really look forward to capitalizing on the consumers needs.  Most families need outfits,  many people also buy decor, (some of which can be used as fall decor through Thanksgiving) and of course – lots of CANDY!

Beware, having too much candy around – is an easy trap to fall into.  GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE!!  (and quick!)  Especially the pieces you KNOW are tempting to you.  I used to love Crunch  bars, Krackle bars, or Reese peanut butter cups!

This is where not recognizing the day works in our benefit.  No Halloween for us – also means – no extra candy sitting around and no temptation to overeat it!

Honestly I’m not a big candy person anyway, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking a few “mini-candybars” wouldn’t hurt anything as we prepare the candy for our stores to hand out.  For me, it’s best just not to even start.  Eating sugar makes me crave more SUGAR!

Last night, a reporter was talking about the WORST Halloween candy for you, as far as fat and calories.   Reese pumpkins were at the top of the list.  150 calories a pop!!!  How can a “cute” little pumpkin be worth that!  Wow!  I think it was around 14g of sugar as well.  (Be honest, most people aren’t consuming “just one” of anything this time of year!)

So what CAN you have??  They did say the best alternatives are Tootsie rolls and Candy Corns.  Again, moderation and common sense!!  Whatever you’re celebrating – be safe and make the BEST choices while being healthy for Him!

Here's my warning, these were TERRIBLE. They looked good - and were good for you, but yuck.

“Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  – Hebrews 12:3

 

Flu Shot or Not?

It’s the time of year again… beloved cold and flu season.  How do you prepare?

Personally, I’d love the hibernation approach.  Especially with having lots of little kids, it makes perfect sense to come out again about April, when this season has passed.  If only that were realistic.

That said, we do really cut down on the public places exposure this time of year.  We no longer do the “entire family” shop nights like we do in the spring and summer.  We try to limit the exposure of the little ones to Walmart, and the grocery store if possible.  But, we still go to church… and obviously we’re around people every week.  It’s impossible to avoid all germs.  [ because believe me, if there was away… this OCD mom would have tried that approach ]

Let me justify my desire to avoid heavy illnesses like the flu…  in our family, it takes a good month for it to completely leave.  I would much rather be together, and be healthy – than be together… and ALL be sick.  Agreed?  Thank you.  I also realize it won’t ALWAYS be like this… so while it’s a sacrifice for a few years here – (hopefully) our children won’t always be putting their fingers down their throats and up their noses after LICKING the public bathroom stall wall.  YES – it has happened before. [shiver]

Most of us do get flu shots every year – for several reasons. We have family with compromised immune systems, so we want to watch out for them with having so many germ carriers.  Also, obviously something like the flu knocks this family down for quite a bit.  That said, we still got the flu the last two years.  The first year, we got H1N1 right before the separate vaccine was released – and I was pregnant.  It was terrible – and whoever said it wasn’t that concerning – apparently had a lighter strain than we did.  It was 104-105 degree fevers around the clock, and not phased by motrin.  We did have our normal flu shots – yes.  It didn’t matter.

Last year – we got our flu shots in Oct, and my husband brought back Influenza A from a business trip in February.  We probably had a weaker dose, or the virus had changed enough at that point (they can’t always guess it perfectly, and it does change throughout the season).  It knocked us all out.  I will credit with our Dr getting me IV fluids – and that helping me turn around quickly.  I will also say that being in top shape – and staying hydrated helped me bounce back as well.

So – I think it’s a complete personal choice on whether or not people get the flu shots, I think there are pros and cons with all things – but I am thankful for the option and possibly protection!  After the first year “scare” of the H1N1 – things certainly simmered down with it spreading once the vaccine was introduced into the flu vaccine itself.  Praise God.  Praying this year we can STEER CLEAR of the Influenza bugs!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” –  Matthew 6:24

Face to Face – A Healthy Marriage

One of the blessings of working on the computer at night, is listening to sermons while I work.  I’ve been able to listen to quite a few lately, and each night – I am blessed by what I hear.

The most recent one by Mark Driscoll was about marriage, and what that should look like, according to God’s word.  He talked about how many great spiritual leaders, and writers – people we often consider “saints” in the Protestant faith, were terrible husbands and fathers.  It was great to consider just what our priorities need to be with our marriages, and our families and just to evaluate the “health” of those relationships… Looking to the perfect relationship of Christ and the church.

I counted myself blessed as I listened about several men, husbands and fathers, who had sacrificed their marriages and families in a very non-Biblical way.  Their works driven effort had neglected the commitment they had made to God in their spouse – the second most important relationship in their life.  Mark brought up that the sacrifice has been given, so we are not to sacrifice the very gifts God has blessed us with (spouse and children) in order to be “blessed more” or “work harder” for God.  He doesn’t say this in His word.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

I realized that I’m guilty of seeing good things or even better things in this world, and taking my eyes off of God – for the GREAT thing He has to offer.  It doesn’t mean we don’t serve, it just means we don’t serve in a way that sacrifices our first commitments.  IF it’s always hurting your marriage, and your family – it’s a good sign that it’s not God’s best.

Mark talked about how many marriages end up in a “back to back” relationship – each person living their own life… but not even really in the same book.  He then talked about the “shoulder to shoulder” marriages – where they’re both working for the same goals, maybe in the same book – but not on the same page.  These couples are often working independently a majority of the time.   So again, difficult to be utilizing what God designed as your “help-mate” in your spouse and it’s to see how these couples eventually drift apart.  The kids grow up, they move on – and the couple who never nurtured that friendship as husband and wife, nor do they “feel” a reason to stay together.

My view across the table on our date. Waters of course!

The focus was on getting your marriage back to a FACE TO FACE relationship.  A relationship that daily prays together, that serves one another, and holds each other accountable (no, this does not mean nagging), but is focused on God-centered goals for their future.

We were blessed tonight by our good friends watching our 8 angels while WE had some “face to face” time – which didn’t include “mommy” every third word, cleaning dishes, clothing being folded, or sitting at a computer.

(PS if you can find a couple who will swap date nights with you… do this, it is a blessing!  Who better knows what it feels like to desire some “face-to-face” time with your spouse, than a friend going through the same stage in life!   [Plus, it’s removes that guilt of being in debt to someone, always burdening family (it’s nice to have options – more dates right?), or paying an unqualified sitter – because it’s a favor you can return, at price you can afford (FREE!).]

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” – Ephesians 5:31

Getting 5K-razy

You may know – I’m not a runner.

My brothers were both all-state track sprinters all through highschool.  I think my oldest brother got 2nd in the state for what used to be the 100 yard dash and they both competed as freshman on up either in sprint relays or individual sprinting events – they were both REALLY fast.

I seem to have most of the recessive genes in the family.  I did try running some in Jr. High – but I didn’t like it.  The expectation of my last name was high, and my ability didn’t match up.  I wasn’t fast.   I didn’t ever feel the greatest while running either … so I passed when I got to high school.  I really don’t think I was in very good shape, which didn’t help my efforts.

I always wished I could run.  It was neat to watch others make it look so easy.  To watch my brothers “kick it in” with such energy [that was definitely God-given ability] was nothing short of amazing.

Now myself?  I felt like a broken machine when someone would yell, “get the lead out!!”  My “lead out” button was busted.  I’m guessing I was either made of lead, or … I just hadn’t learned some skills in the running department.

In my defense, we recently learned one of my daughters has asthma.  The Dr. and I agree – I probably have a touch of it too, and have grown out of most of it.  When I get into a heavy workout – I do notice I struggle getting deep enough breaths, but for the most part – I can control it.

So, when a friend encouraged a group of us to run at the KState homecoming 5K – I thought, why not?

[ Actually I thought….  wait a minute, I’m not a runner, I could get hurt, I don’t have the right shoes…and every excuse in the book filled my mind filled with past memories of running.  I. hated. running.]

But then, my husband – and the awesome encourager he is, said, “You could totally do that.  I think you should give it a try, it’s only 3 miles!”  He even encouraged me to get actual running shoes for the big day.  I had my gate analyzed at the local running store despite the fact we could get running shoes at wholesale.   I was happy to support another small business and get the right shoes, the first time, despite the cost.

Chrissy, Steph, and I... Bodies built by God for His glory!

So I did it…  I ran the race last weekend.  With just two short weeks of training inside on a treadmill – I ran a bit every few days combined with my circuit training workouts and enjoyed the run with some of my best friends.  It was an amazing day, and it felt SO fantastic to get out there and try something new.  I know I’m not the fastest, and I didn’t really have any time goals against myself.  Mainly, I just wanted to run for fun – try something new, and NOT get hurt.  I accomplished those goals, and I was happy.

I won’t lie, with the spirit God gave me [of a desire to improve],  I would like to do something like this again.  I want to know how I can improve my stride, figure out how to pace myself better and finish in a way that makes me feel I put it all out there.  Similarly to a great workout that makes me feel like shouting, “That felt GREAT, thank you God that I feel strong!”  I’ll never be the fastest, or some superstar – and I’m great with that.  But it was fun to learn something new, and feel GOOD about it – to challenge my muscles in new ways.  If nothing else it was a workout with 1200 other people that day, accomplishing a similar task, all with different goals in mind.  Out of 618 women running/walking, I got 119th place and finished in about 28 minutes.  In my mind, that’s first place for God’s glory – because I ran as an offering to Him.

I plan to continue running now and then, and maybe even continuing to do some 5Ks with my best girl friends, or husband and maybe SOMEDAY work up to another new challenge.  Who knows?

Special thanks to my dear friend Chrissy who got the itch to run, and invited others to join her – and thanks to our friend Stephanie, who is a seasoned runner – and helped give us tips in the weeks leading up to the run, and encouraged us both the day of.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us  throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,

and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  – Hebrews 12:1

We Press On!

We love Oat Bran! We use this in the weekly muffins we make! I'll post recipe soon!

Today marked the NEXT to last weekend of soccer… God willing it doesn’t RAIN next weekend.  I love soccer… mostly because the little people I love the most really enjoy running and playing with their friends.  We have been blessed with great weather this season, and over all it’s been a great time.

BUT.  I am ready for this season to be over as I look forward to some time to do some other things with our family.

I know my kids would like the season to go on and on, but I do look forward to NOT having to jump out of bed bright and early on Saturday mornings for a bit… [well, until SPRING soccer starts up].  Time that we might snuggle together a bit longer, cook and clean together… and relax a little bit too.

That’s life isn’t it…?  It goes by seasons, we try to live – one to another… surviving one to say, “Yes!  We made it…”  only to have another stage or season start-up again.

What if there was MORE to life than just surviving though?  What if we could TRULY enjoy each day for what God has made it to be?  A gift.

What if during our daily quiet time with God, we could offer up our bodies to be used as living sacrifices to Him.

Uh oh.

What does your sacrifice look like today?

Is it left overs for God?  Is it your BEST that you can be offering?

Uh oh again.  Guilty.

Being healthy for HIM isn’t some over night process or once you’re on the right path you never struggle again.  Hop back on!  Let’s Go! Let’s Go! Let’s Go!!!!!!  (Why yes, I am a former cheerleader!)

I look forward to some more sleep this weekend – and drinking more water, I didn’t have enough yesterday!!  I bet go do a workout DVD with my husband.  Bob Harper is calling our names.   You know what that means?  Good times ahead.

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,  while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”  Titus 2:11-14

A Triscuit, A Tasket…

With an ingredient list like this - you can't go wrong! WHOLE WHEAT, SOYBEAN AND/OR PALM OIL, SALT.

Yes, I must be losing my mind just a little.  Great title, I know – but my children ATE those up this weekend…  they were definitely a better choice for something snacky, salty and crunchy!

We just returned home from a little overnight trip this weekend…  It was in celebration of a child’s birthday.  (Actually it counts for MULTIPLE children’s birthdays… we don’t have big parties often, in fact – SOME of the children have never had a big party, other than family – before you beat me up, realize that there are just OTHER ways to show the child is important).

We a great time, we ate out some, we ate in the room some… we snacked some – and ran around lots.  At the end of the day, the kids were cashed.  So were we.  I’m not sure when the last time I got seven hours of sleep in a row was… but it was nice to get it last night.  I appreciate sleep WAY more now, than I ever did as a child, teenager or college student.

Purposefully staying up for FUN, vs. having to stay up because someone really needs you, or that’s the ONLY time you can count on to think, plan or do chores is something totally different.   You sometimes reach a level of exhaustion and believe that your normal for weeks on end!

I truly AM working on this.  I think during this season of life, of having lots of children at home, (schooling them and working from home) – I will always battle this.  If it’s not one deadline, than it’s a sick child – and I’ve come to just accept this as my life…

At a get together last week, a mom asked me about doing something late at night… another mom overheard the conversation and thought I was having trouble GOING to sleep… (as in, I couldn’t FALL asleep on my own…)  Believe me, that isn’t the problem.  The minute my head hits the pillow.  BAM.  I’m out.

Most of the time, people often ask me if I ever sleep…  (and I think no… it honestly feels like I don’t!)  Then they tell me I must not need much sleep to function.  I would agree with that, I’ve always gotten by on less sleep than most.  I wake up extra early and don’t rest well if it’s longer than 6-7 hours most nights.  BUT… do I need sleep and does it catch up with me when I have several nights of only 4 hours of sleep?  FOR SURE.

Saturday afternoon we worked on Monday’s school work – so when we returned, we wouldn’t be off schedule or BEHIND!!!!  (If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m slightly OCD – and I embrace that so tease me all you want!)  While I was waiting for a child to do a test, and my husband was in the other room … I laid down my head to “rest”… with my “eyes closed”… while hearing lullabies in my head.

Ever done that?

Waaarrrrrrrrrrm sunshine coming through the windows…. sweepy time…  ahhhhhh.  Zzzzzzzzzzzz…

I rarely nap, but my body has required TWO “tip over I’m so tired naps” this past week and I’m glad I listened.  My husband likes to tease me when I crash and burn like this because he is GOOD about following signals his body gives realizes when he NEED rests.  I am stubborn.

If this happens to you, this is a pretty good SIGN one needs more sleep!  Feel free to check in with me… I truly AM trying to be consistent with more rest.

 “God comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:4

Homemade Oatmeal Pancakes

This is a recipe from a friend, that has been switched up just a bit to exclude refined sugar.  My kids *love* these, and a double batch makes enough for our whole family!

1 1/4 c. low-fat or non-fat buttermilk (can substitute 1T lemon juice per 1 c milk)

1/2 c. quick oats

1/2 t. vanilla extract

1T canola oil

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/4 c. whole wheat/white flour

2T Sucanot

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t. salt

 

Combine buttermilk, oats, and vanilla  – let stand 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Stir in egg and oil.

While oats are soaking, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flour, sucanot, baking soda, and salt in large bowl.  Add oat mixture to flour mixture, stirring until smooth.  Spoon about 1/3 cup of batter onto a hot nonstick griddle or skillet.

** Great to add sliced bananas or blueberries to the batter.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  Proverbs 17:22

 

Flapjacks for You… Flapjacks for ME!

 

Our homemade pancakes cookin' up!

 

This new move by some restaurants to post their nutritional information is a great move in the right direction.  I’ve read reports that say people are eating 300-600 fewer calories when they’re eating out – AND paying attention to the information provided.  That will certainly add up over time – in your favor!

Personally I think it should be offered as a courtesy and then the restaurants might try a little harder to make things better for their consumers because I can almost guarantee some of those dishes wouldn’t sell NEARLY as well as they currently do, as people ignorantly gobble up endless calories and FAT.

When my husband was in Portland on business, he said that it was a state law that all of the menus had the information.  Which, while helpful… also made him feel a little ill about eating out so much.  For those of you who travel a lot for business or otherwise, I feel for you – it’s much more difficult to be creative meal after meal on the go.

One of the most difficult meals for him was breakfast.  He always used to enjoy pancakes on trips such as these… and those meals had 1000-1500 a pop.  Whoa.  Can you say almost a days worth of calories for someone like me?

When we first looked and curbing our intake to be inline with what our bodies were designed to handle, we were shocked at several of the breakfast restaurants information online – pancakes especially … because it almost didn’t seem to matter if you got “plain” pancakes, vs the wheat germ ones… the portions, calories and carbs were just TOO much for one person.  Maybe not a big deal once in a while (but you still are going to have to use or burn through those calories SOMETIME so why eat them all at once if they’re going to just turn into FAT?) but if you’re on a vacation, or a business trip… those are REALLY going to add up day after day.

(People WONDER why they gain 5-10 pounds on a trip like that?)  BINGO!

We’ve tried out some healthier pancake options at home… because we LIKE them, and we wanted to see what we could do to improve the option, vs doing away with pancakes altogether!  There are two great mixes we’ve used, and we also have a homemade recipe that was modified from a friend that I will soon share.  Both are much better options, and still enjoyed very much!  That’s the key… we don’t have to STOP eating EVERYTHING we enjoyed… we just need to cut it back, change it up… and make it BETTER for us and our families.

A couple of the mixes we enjoy! We have pancakes maybe 1-2 times a month.

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” – Romans 11:36

Health and your Relationships

 

Did you realize that you can be in tip-top shape, eat great, and STILL struggle with your health?

I was amazed to find out about how external relationships and internalizing stress can really ADD to the deterioration of your health.  When I had gestational diabetes, I was unable to always control my numbers with diet and exercise because of my stress level that I would internalize.   We had to focus on triggers and try to avoid those things that we knew made me literally “sick”…

I’ve read book after book on relationships and how to better myself, and learn how *I* can change how I think about a situation, vs trying to change someone else…  but sometimes – things don’t work like they do in the “helpful” books.  You’re not always able to “fix” the things God has allowed to be broken for a reason.  We must go to Scripture for the final authority.

Now I’m not saying always avoid anything that makes you feel uncomfortable – because God does want us out of our comfort zones sometimes, and that allows us to trust in, and grow closer to Him.    But DO pay attention to those unhealthy relationships in your life, and don’t continue trying to mend a situation that God may have allowed for a reason.  Recognize your limitations and surrender them to God.  He will always show you the Truth, and ways you can improve yourself, or at least your thinking on the situation at hand.

Praise Him for the diversity He made in creating so many different personalities and unique human beings, but be aware of situations and people who are not drawing you closer to investments of eternal value.  Encourage one another, and build eachother up!

 “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  Col. 3:2

 

 

Harvesting… What did you Plant?

As fruit seasons change - I thought I'd share what we use as our default "fruit" option from our freezer. Defrost some of this!

God tells us in His word that we shall reap what we sow.

If we plant good crops, and take care of them… we shall ALWAYS reap good crops.  Right?

Well, sort of.  Not always.

What did God mean then?

I was thinking of this in regards to our lives… what we invest in – what we reap.  We can apply it to many things.

Work, parenting, investing in lives of others and…our health.

We can do all of the “right things”…  work hard, plan, put in our best efforts…

BUT.  Sometimes –  things aren’t going to go the way we “plan”.

In those situations, we learn to honor God in our efforts and wait…. and see how God will use the situation to bring Himself glory.

It’s not always as easy as it sounds… believe me – it’s sometimes been a real struggle as we battle the world’s ways.  I think part of why I got gestational diabetes was stress and lack of sleep as I tried supporting our growing family financially, while schooling, and raising 5 other kids.  I tend to internalize pain and struggle, before surrendering it to God… and it was showing up – in the diabetes for sure.   I wondered what God was doing … as we struggled to feed and clothe our children.

Looking back, God needed us to trust Him.  It took us a while to get that.

Our job is always try to do our best, as an offering to God.  Not by the world’s standards, as if someone is watching you – but ALWAYS as if God is watching you.   In our work, parenting, investing in others…AND our health.

God doesn’t promise that if you take care of your body, that you’re going to “never get ill”, have set-backs or pain… or that you’ll never struggle with trying to lose or maintain weight, ever again.  He reminds us that our efforts are what He blesses… and He knows our hearts and the level of OUR effort that is pleasing to Himself.

So don’t bother lying to yourself… (I’ve tried that, it didn’t work!)   Not exercising, and not eating right WILL catch up to you.  Do the right things, for the right reasons.  Remind yourself of the reasons to be filled with the eternal desires of God… not the short-term satisfaction of yourself or the things of this world.


 “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” – Galatians 6:7

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