Monday, December 19, 2011

child of love



One of my favorite Christmas songs. It touches my heart as I think of simply a mom holding her new baby. A miracle in so many ways. A miracle that he was even born. A miracle of a new life. A miracle of our savior!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

ponder

So I came across this blog post from another blog and I'm trying to digest it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

thankful

#1 that yesterday was a beautiful day

#2 that we saw dad and he saw us before he left us

#3 that he doesn't have to suffer and deal with the crappiness of parkinsons

#4 that he is where he was created to be

Saturday, October 15, 2011

girls make me smile

Today, Bella was packing to go spend the night with her Bibi and Poppy. Her first bag she packed included 9 pairs of shoes and 2 princess dresses. I mean, really, how could you survive one night without them?

I love my girly girl!

in memory and hope

Today, October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. In my everyday life of taking care of my sweet little girls, I can sometimes forget the pain we went through as we lost 2 babies early on in pregnancy. It was such a trying time for Jason and me. We each seemed to handle it differently and also separately. Looking back, I can understand how it was hard for Jason to truly grasp what it was to feel the loss. To him, those babies were just little spots on an ultrasound picture. I say that, but I know it had to be more than that for him. It was the hope of being a daddy and shepherding those sweet little babies to adulthood.

God is truly amazing and has completely healed me of the pain of that time. He has turned my mourning into dancing. Oh, God is good! For not only do I know that our 2 little babies are dancing in heaven with Jesus, but also our precious Lord took me through a priceless spiritual journey as we dealt with our pain. So, for me, it is a source of hope and inspiration and all good things!

But, it seems to mean a little more this year. I picked up the precious book, Heaven is for Real from the library. This book chronicles Colton Burpo's experience in heaven while in surgery. At the time he is only 3 years old, and his parents are unaware of his experience for a few months. Day by day, details emerge of what he's seen. It is an absolute amazing picture of what heaven will be someday, but what struck my heart chords the most was the revelation about his 2nd sister. See he only has one older sister on earth, Cassie. In between the birth of Cassie and him, his mother had a miscarriage. Colton was never aware of this fact. So, when he told his mom about his 2 sisters, she was shocked! For one thing, they never knew the gender of their baby they lost. Colton saw her in heaven and she hugged him real big (though he wasn't excited to hug a girl!) His mom inquired of her name, and Colton told her that she was never named because she died in her tummy. Colton reported though that she looked like her.

It gave me such hope and joy that we have 2 precious children in heaven!!! Yet another reason I simply can't wait to go to heaven. To know our 2 little ones are up there. And gosh, I hope they know we love them so much and can't wait to meet them!!! Praise God!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

makes me feel better

so, I was perusing good ol' zappos.com looking for shoes for my big ol' feet. I've got big feet. I really do. I kinda hate it. But I'm tired of squeezing into shoes that are too small, so I just buy big shoes. Anyway, while I was bemoaning the fact that I was looking for size 12 shoes, I realized that they sell size 20 for women. That made me feel better. The shoe selection went from 35,000 pair to 24. Wow! Thank goodness I have 6000 pair to choose from.

Life is all about perspective, I guess. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

reflections a year later


I cannot even believe it...my sweet Genevieve Mae is almost 1 year old! Where does the time go? I know, I know...it's such a cliche to say. But truly days are long (sometimes), but years go fast!

And I think everyday about the wonderful and restoring experience I had from giving birth. And I wish every woman could know what a good birth experience could feel like. And a year later, I don't think about the long (it felt so long at the time!) early labor or the tough transition, or me repeating to my midwife and doula, "No, REALLY, I need to poop!" (Really, I needed to push a baby out!)

Instead, my mind goes to the moment, that very moment, when I looked down to discover my sweet baby I had just given birth to. The moment when she was covered up and all we knew was that she was a baby. And the moment my mom knocked on the door to ask to come in. And the moment I got to look down and see it was a girl! A year later, I remember exactly how I felt the moment Genevieve was born. I looked around at everyone hoping to see the miracle I felt reflecting on their faces. Of course, they (excluding Jason) experience this all the time. For me, though, it was still new. My heart was exploding with wonder, excitement, accomplishment, joy, praise...just all things good! Words simply do no justice to describe the feeling.

After the "process" of delivery was done, I got in bed with Genevieve for the first time. My doula encouraged me to let her initiate breast-feeding and it was amazing how she knew what to do, where to go, just knew it all. (I had seen videos of newborn babies actually moving their whole bodies to get to their mother's breast. Truly incredible!) Since Geni was born at 10:45PM, Bella was already asleep. Jason and I decided to wake her up and let her see what had been going on. She was a little out of it when she came in, but she was curious and excited at the same time. I felt like the luckiest woman alive to have my 2 girls with me.

Later on, I was in bed with Geni (Jason was in the other room with Bella) and my mom was in the bed next to me holding Geni. I think it was 1AM and I was wide awake...and this was after 2 days of early labor, 2 not so restful nights of sleep, and one full day of active labor. The best way to describe how I was feeling was the highest peak of joy I had ever experienced. I remember just looking at Geni in my mom's arms and thinking this is the most amazing miracle I have ever seen. I could not take my eyes off of her. It is absolutely amazing to me how the Lord created our (sometimes annoying) hormonal bodies to send an inrush of hormones into our bodies at the exact right time to
1. Get us through labor and
2. To feel the greatest joy ever and
3. To bond with this precious little soul whom we just met.

And now a year later, I've thought about the process of birth A LOT. Birth in a hospital, unnatural birth, and birth at home. I truly think a good labor and delivery can change a woman's life. It has mine. It unnerves me that many women trust their providers to make decisions about their bodies, their babies, and this most amazing journey of birth. I encourage women to inform themselves about all aspects of pregnancy and labor and delivery and baby care. Jason told me recently that a friend had mentioned how shocked they were just a few hours after delivery a nurse came in their room to give their brand new baby the Hepatitis B vaccine. And because they knew nothing about it, they presumed they would follow the doctors' advice and give their baby the shot. They were in no state to consider this decision and evaluate the waivers, etc. Little do they know that babies can die from this vaccine. What a scary gamble at such a critical time!

So, sure, epidurals are nice at the moment, but remember, it's a moment. Birth was created to be natural...sure it is painful, but what you remember is not the pain, but the joy and accomplishment!

(Please don't think that Bella's birth was not as memorable or as special...just a different experience. I truly think this is how birth should be, and it enrages me that sometimes the medical profession can rob women of the true miracle of labor and delivery.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

an idea i'm pondering

So, every week at church in between services, they have donuts and coffee in the gathering area. I normally don't think anything of it, and just try my hardest to stay away. Today, however, I felt a little disturbed by it. As I watched 2 children munch on their donuts and milk, I thought, "Really, is this God's best for us? Is it ok to just try and live spiritually healthy and neglect our bodies?"

I have to say an emphatic NO! Remember the scripture, Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? Well, isn't it? Why do we think it's ok to eat crap? Now, before I sound judgmental, I am a lover of foods...all kinds of foods! That doesn't mean that I eat crappy foods all the time. Part of my mission as wife and mom is to nourish my family (from food to exercise to a haven to surround them) and I seek to nourish them as well as I can. And gosh-darnet, it disturbs me that Christians of all people are not more focused on doing the same thing! The Lord gave His people a certain diet so that they could live vibrant lives. Why are we not doing the same thing?

A thought I had would be to start a little outreach like "Healthy Temples" or something. Of course, I've shared this idea with no one, so we'll see how it bounces off my sweet husband tonight. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

milk

I found this article on milk and thought I'd share.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

larabar love

I discovered larabars awhile back from a friend's blog and we have fallen in love with them. Their pricetag, I am not in love with. So when I discovered this, I had to record it for future references!


I'm sure there are more out there, but this is a starter. I need to get off the computer and get ready for my parents' visit. Bye!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

nap bliss

i'm fully convinced that naptime is more necessary for mama's sanity than for child's well being. some days, naptime is my only saving grace. and even better when they both sleep at the same time.

hall-le-lu-yer!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

sweetness

there are some moments in motherhood that i wish i could hit the pause button on. today was one of them. during worship this morning, bella was standing on the pew next to me. we started singing here i am to worship, and i looked over to see her singing in her precious voice with her hands raised. it was so humbling to me to know that even children can worship...and worship perfectly (in their own way).

thank you Lord for letting me watch your creation reflect your glory.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

the opposite of financial peace

U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000

• Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000

• New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000

• National debt: $14,271,000,000,000

• Recent budget cut: $ 38,500,000,000


Let's remove 8 zeros and pretend it's a household budget:


Annual family income: $21,700

• Money the family spent: $38,200

• New debt on the credit card: $16,500

• Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710

• Total budget cuts: $385

Thursday, August 4, 2011

radical

I don't know how to describe my current state of mind, except to say that I feel like all the ugly pieces of my heart that I don't want to acknowledge are there, sitting on the surface. And I can't get away from it.

It all began when I picked up the book Radical from the library.

I started reading.

Then I put it down, because honestly I knew it was going to de
mand more of me than I presently want to give. But I can't leave it down. I know that if I'm going to say I'm a Christian, then I need to live an authentically Christ-centered life. And I know that I'm not right now.

And it hurts. I feel like I enjoy life. I love staying home with my girls (most days anyway), photography, house design, interior design, my husband, (sorry, honey that you came 4th in line...I truly love you more than that!), music, travel, cooking. Oh and I do love you Jesus.

And that's where the problem is. God demands that NOTHING. Nothing. (now this is where it gets hard if I'm being honest with myself.) Nothing can come before God.

I like to gloss over those pieces of scripture that Jesus asks possible disciples to give up what they least want to give.

And here I am. Do I love this life...and lose it?

Or do I give my life to the Lord and gain it? I know that it has great costs to give up life. To put yourself last. To say that my relationship with Christ is more important than ANYTHING.

ANYTHING.

so I'll end my post on a lighter, but important point. in researching radical, i had to seek out others who have read it and how they process it and i discovered some cute shoes. for a good cause. because we need to realize that our money can help or hurt.

check out sseko it made me feel a little lighter.



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

an idea for creating memories for your kiddos

So, I cannot take credit at all for this idea...I saw it on a Google commercial.

I recently set up 2 email addresses for our girls. (FYI, you have to fib on their birthdate as they won't let you have an email account since they're so young...which is strange especially since Google initiated this idea) And whenever you have a second to write them a note, send a pic/video, whatever, you just email them. Anyone can email them too.

When they're older you can give them access to their account and read stories, notes, etc. I think it's such an easy way to journal about their life while sitting at the computer and forget about finding that journal while a baby is trying to steal your pen!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

simple

Thought for the day from Simple Abundance:

The simpler we make our lives, the more abundant they become.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

signs

The other day we were driving home from vacation and saw this billboard on a church:

Eat the Bread of Life

or you will be toast

Admittedly, my first response was to laugh. I mean, really, did a church just put that on their sign? Is that the way to get someone to stop in and say, "Hey! I don't wanna be toast! Help me out here!" I was shocked. Now don't get me wrong, I do believe you gotta have Jesus, and Jesus alone. And saying that is not an inclusive thing...Jesus truly is the most exclusive God out there! There is no god to compare!! But I think churches should be a little careful about what they put out there for the world to see.

I judge churches on their billboard signs and there have been a couple in town I refuse to go to because of the signs they have displayed. Maybe I'm being the judgmental one, but I think a church sign should say something more like, "We are sinners. We need Jesus. Jesus loves us. He loves us too much to leave us unchanged. Come on in if you want to be eternally changed."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Psalm 55:22 - Seeds Family Worship - "Cast Your Cares"


Check out Seeds

What a great way to help kiddos memorize scripture! And help adults too!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

belly bump

ok...let me preface this...I AM NOT PREGNANT!

but last night i was finishing up getting ready for bed, glanced over at the mirror and looked at my belly and actually rubbed it like i was pregnant. my immediate thought was, "brandy, what are you doin! you are not pregnant!" but then i thought about how it's actually nice (yes, i said nice) to have a little leftover baby bump. i know, i know...there's p90x, pilates, marathons to get rid of all that bump. but really, i'd like to keep it. what a sweet reminder of the amazing miracle that our body is a part of. i mean, really! our body (with God's help) creates another human being. is that not INCREDIBLE?!

this past weekend, i went to a friend's baby shower and found myself rubbing my belly like the mama to be! i guess i love being pregnant. after 2 miscarriages, i feel so thankful to experience it. i know so many women would do anything to carry a child.

so instead of doing hours of pilates to remove that pooch, i'm embracing my belly so i can enjoy more moments with the reasons for that pooch!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

my newest love

Check Pinterest out. Inspiring!

Friday, July 8, 2011

we love our lucy


a little tribute to lucy.

Monday, July 4, 2011

a good memory

lucy lou

The happy:

As we get back to our daily routine without Lucy in our lives, we realize how much she was part of our family. Whether it's waiting to hear her come around the corner after we dropped some food or finding one of her balls under the bed, our hearts ache for her to be back with us. I've been organizing videos and have found so many with her in them. I realize that Lucy KNEW how to live life and live it abundantly. I thought I'd record some life lessons from our sweet Lucy Lou.

1. Love everybody. She adored people (almost to a fault.) She drove Jason crazy because whenever someone would come over, she would practically assault them with love.
2. Jump in the puddles. Lucy would never miss a chance to go jump in the water. She knew what it was to be refreshed, albeit sometimes a little stinky though.
3. Never miss a chance to play. Lucy could play with bubbles until she was literally falling over from exhaustion. Even that didn't keep her from trying to jump for more.
4. Take every opportunity to snuggle. This is probably one of the things I miss the most. She would jump in bed and curl up right next to you.

The sad:

On Friday, we put our sweet Lucy Lou to sleep. It was the most beautiful and most difficult day. I had prayed that the Lord either heal her or allow her to die easily. And I feel He chose the latter. We had noticed on Wednesday that she was really slowing down. We took her on as many walks as we could, though she hadn't run with us since before we found out she had lymphoma. But she loved her walks. On Wednesday, we actually discussed Lucy's future. On Thursday, when she was not excited to eat, Jason called the vet. On Friday, it was apparent it was the perfect day, if you can call it that. My heart broke that day and previous night because we had actually scheduled an appointment. It felt like the death penalty was coming to fruition. I knew this was the best, but it feels strange to decide one's death. Probably the reason I'm not big on the death penalty.

Anyways, that Friday, I tried to spoil her as much as I could. We went for one last walk, albeit a slow one. I gave her every yummy kind of food I could find. I was an emotional wreck. It feels silly to have so much love for an animal. But we all did. We loaded up and made our way to Jason's parents' house. We were blessed to have a vet agree to come to their lake to send her to heaven. Lucy hates going to the vet, so I did not want her last memories of life to be bad ones. We arrived to their house, and were in a rush to let her play at the lake one more time before the vet arrived. Jason's mom had made Lucy some yummy treats...steak, chicken, and bologna. Lucy was thrilled. Then we headed to the lake. We decided to have Bella there so she went with me. Lucy was so ready to get to the lake. It made my heart happy. She had the energy to walk all the way. She jumped in the lake and just enjoyed it. I fed her yummy food and it all felt perfect. Until we turned around and saw Jason walking down to the lake with the vet. I finished feeding her and the vet asked if we were ready. Of course, we weren't.

I held Lucy while the vet gave her the first (of 3) shot. It completely relaxed her and it felt like she was getting the best sleep she's had in months. She had a 2nd shot...and then the third one was the one that would stop her heart. Again, the vet asked if I was ready. How do you answer that? Really? I answered out of duty. And I put my hand on her beating heart and felt it slow down and just stop. It was heart wrenching to know our Lucy was gone and also comforting to know she would suffer no more. Selfishly, I wanted her back. But I knew she would never be the same Lucy Lou we knew. I pet her for a little longer then made the walk back to Jason's car. I looked over my shoulder and saw her laying there by the lake resting. I'm so grateful she got to enjoy a wonderful dog's life. I hope she knew how much we loved her. I look forward to seeing her again someday.

Jason's dad bought a tree to plant over her by the lake. It's a nice memory of her. I also love that the tree he picked is the same kind we have next to our back deck. The Lord comforts in so many ways, and I just dig that about God. I truly believe animals go to heaven. The love that is in our hearts for them, I believe comes from the Lord. We are created in His image and we love His creation. Until then, I'll look to the sky and know that Lucy is taking the best walks of her life, jumping in crystal lakes, chasing squirrels, and playing bubbles....without any pain of a crippling disease.

Lucy, you are the best dog ever. Thanks for loving us the way you did.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

don't want to be a grownup

we've decided that tomorrow lucy is going to heaven. she had a bad day yesterday and unless she turns around in an amazing way today, we are choosing her last day to be tomorrow. she hasn't been the same lucy for awhile and i don't know if that makes it easier or harder to say goodbye. i hate making this decision, but we have wanted to end her life in a way that she is in a happy place. for her, that is the lake at jason's parents' house. so thankfully the vet agreed to come out and we will feed her a yummy steak and let her wade in the water one more time. truly i am not sad for her. i believe with all my heart that animals do go to heaven. i am sad for us. i am sad that we won't get to see her sweet face anymore. we won't get to play bubbles with her.

i look at her now just laying beside me. she has no energy left. i feel like she looks at me as to say, "i am ready."

but i'm not.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday = Purge-day

I started thinking about how there are so many books on cleaning out clutter, organization, simplicity, etc. And I wondered if our grandparents' generation had similar books and I concluded they probably didn't. They didn't have stuff, hence they didn't need clever ways of organization. And I thought I want to be more like my grandma.

Less stuff = less time spent on finding things/organizing / cleaning / buying new things to replace things you've lost.

So I am implementing in this household that every Thursday is Purge-day. That means I must get rid of something every week! I think simplicity is a discipline, and just because I have a spot to store something doesn't mean I need to keep it. I've been doing it for a couple weeks and it's been very therapeutic for me. It is also hard to know that this day I have to find SOMETHING to get out of our house. But I do find removing stuff I don't want/need/remember I had makes space for better stuff like joy, time, laughter with kiddos, play, and on and on.

Simple life, here I come!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Forgive

Dear person who hurt me,

I forgive you. I completely forgive you. I will not let unforgiveness cause me to hold anger or resentment. I will not let it cause me to sin. Today I pray God's best for you. You are not God's best for me.

Sincerely,
Liberated

Saturday, June 18, 2011

a yummy (non-Maker's Diet) food!

So, I'm really on board with the Maker's Diet (so far!). Unfortunately it also is not a fan of pork. And unfortunately, we are fans. We cook pork maybe once every 2 months. But when we make it, we enjoy it! So, a friend had posted this article on making perfect bacon. We tried it this weekend to celebrate Daddy's Day weekend! And it worked perfectly! Yummy! And mess-free! And quick! Now, I'm trying to decide if there's any reason to keep our griddle. Hmm...

Friday, June 17, 2011

the Lord speaks to my heart

So, I had to share, even though I just wrote a post for today. This morning I was reading a devotional on my Ipad (which is amazing, I must say...even for this person who is techno challenged and techno resistant (sometimes!)) and it talked about serving. And if I were willing to serve the least person I wanted to. That's what the Lord requires of us. Isn't it great (and sucky at the same time) that the Lord challenges us SO GREATLY!

Anywho, I ran across this post (please read...it is incredible and touched this mama's heart!)...

a few snippets: Wowsa! Love it!

"The closer you get to home, the less intriguing the work of sacrifice seems. As someone once said, “Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help Mom with the dishes.” When you are a mother at home with your children, the church is not clamoring for monthly ministry updates. When you talk to other believers, there is not any kind of awe about what you are sacrificing for the gospel. People are not pressing you for needs you might have, how they can pray for you. It does not feel intriguing, or glamorous. Your work is normal, because it is as close to home as you can possibly be. You have actually gone so far as to become home.

It is easy to think you have a heart for orphans on the other side of the world, but if you spend your time at home resenting the imposition your children are on you, you do not. You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time. You will never make any difference there if you cannot be at peace here. You cannot have a heart for missions, but not for the people around you. A true love of the gospel overflows and overpowers. It will be in everything you do, however drab, however simple, however repetitive."

trying to eat cheap, GOOD food

I really aim to eat as much organic, local, natural food as possible. I love local, healthy food. I don't necessarily love that eating healthy is more expensive. I think if our country truly cared about health care reform, we would spend money on making good food affordable and less on medical costs. Anywho, I won't get on a soapbox about that. Except to say, in order to eat as good as food as possible, we do supplement our grass-fed beef, organic milk (we have decided to switch to raw milk!), local produce with cheap things...like beans! My wonderful southern husband has turned me onto the yumminess of beans. Simple, healthful, and hearty!!! I never thought I'd say it, but I made baby lima beans for lunch and LOVED them!

Here is a recipe from the Pioneer Woman. Really it's more of a method. I used lima beans instead and added a tablespoon of olive oil to the water and used a chicken base. I omitted the bacon and soaked the beans overnight to cut down on the cook time. It reduces it to about an hour of simmering. Try it...you just might like it!

And to end, Jason's limerick he likes to sing when we eat beans:

Beans, Beans...good for your heart.
The more you eat, the more you (I'll let you fill it in)
The more you eat, the better you feel.
So, let's eat beans for every meal. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

techno dumb

I am not a technological person...aka I have no I-Phone, no flat TV, no cute computer, don't even have cable. (Bella knows how to use my mom's I-Phone more than I do) .And really, I like it that way. I like to be different and it brings simplicity (even if only a little) to my life. And technology is expensive. But I am getting an IPad soon, and I find myself a little giddy. Am I in over my head?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

To raw or not to raw?

I have begun reading The Maker's Diet which is very intriguing. From what I've read so far, it aligns with our eating philosophy. I don't have time to go into all the detail of the diet...but I've been considering replacing our regular ultra-pasteurized milk with raw milk. From my research so far, I found this article to be the most balanced. If anyone out there is considering raw milk, check it out! And let me know your thoughts! It seems like such a big decision to me!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

33

I turned 33 last week. I've been really reflective of the fact that Jesus was 33 when he was crucified. And I think about how wise and how together he was. (At this point, Jason reminds me that He was God, you know!) Ok, so that makes me feel a little better about not feeling like I have it all together. But I thought it might be cool to right 33 random things about life, me, my ideas, really whatever. And it might be neat to reflect on it 33 years later and see how things have changed or maybe stayed the same.

1. Gosh, I'm blessed. 1 loving husband, 2 beautiful, healthy girls. A sweet dog. And Jesus loves me.
2. Architecture inspires me.
3. Even as much as I hate to admit it, I love some reality TV. Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor. (I kinda think Jason likes watching it with me.)
4. It is no fun to church shop.
5. I love learning about food. Gosh, what a huge world. It's hard to not let it consume you.
6. At this point in my eating philosophy, I aim for natural, natural, natural. Butter's cool. Whole milk is cool. Feedlot beef is not so cool. Coconut oil is intoxicating. But I still enjoy a Chinese buffet every once in awhile. What can I say?
7. Marriage is work. I had no idea. And I'd like to think that Jason and I have it easy. But it still involves a lot of growing and showing you things about yourself that you don't really like to see. Maybe to put it more succinctly, marriage is like a mirror. You want to see the good stuff, but you tend to be reminded of a few things you don't like about yourself. Ok...maybe a more than a few.
8. Being a mom is cool. Hard sometimes. Ok, really hard sometimes. But also the most amazing.
9. My views on abortion laws have changed in the last few years. Hear me...I whole-heartedly feel abortion is wrong. However, I don't think abortion is a legislative issues. It's a personal issue. If you want someone to not have an abortion, introduce them to Jesus (for the best results, introduce them to Jesus way before they're ready to have an abortion.) Jesus did not appeal to the government to change their ways. He loved people.
10. I eat dark chocolate everyday. Because I like it and because it is to help reduce stress. It makes me happy.
11. Smoothies are a mommy secret of mine. I can sneak in healthy things they never know about like spinach, broccoli, carrots, kefir, coconut, walnuts, flax seed. Yummy fruit makes it all complete! Yum!
12. I love Etsy!
13. I hate friends full of drama.
14. I'm watching a sweet dog endure the trials of cancer. I realize how harsh cancer is. Not cool.
15. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. However, I think the Christian community has not been Christ-like to gays. Are we not all sinners? I think we all need Jesus just the same.
16. I wish there were a modern day Rich Mullins. His biography was a life-changing book for me.
17. Childbirth was life changing for me. I thought I had prepared myself the first time around and thinks took a turn that I did not expect. However, I have no regrets. I know if I would have had the natural birth I wanted the first time, I never would have experienced homebirth. To this day, I reflect on my homebirth and it left me healed and restored. I could write a book on this.
18. I love Oprah...I'm really sad that her show is ending. I wish we had cable so I could watch her network.
19. I also love Ellen. Her joy is contagious! And I think we should dance everyday!
20. Online shopping is my savior. I just bought a whole lot of clothes from my favorite store, Ann Taylor Loft. I plan to try them on and return anything I don't like. I need me some simplicity and online shopping does it for me.
21. I love cloth diapers!
22. I hate recycling...but I feel too guilty throwing stuff away to not do it.
23. I don't understand how anyone stops having babies. They're just so sweet. That and I adore pregnancy (well, all except morning sickness!)
24. Aging is not a bad thing...isn't it wonderful to be closer to heaven?
25. I love photography!!! I really want to take a class to learn more. I feel guilty that I have Photoshop and I know .01% of what it is capable of. :(
26. My midwife is one of the wisest women I know. I think the world would be a better place if more people had relationships with midwives.
27. Jason and I had the most amazing dating relationship. Ahh...I can still feel the feelings I felt when I opened the door to his blue eyes.
28. I'm very thankful for generous parents and in-laws. Giving is far more precious than consuming.
29. I sometimes wish I would've gotten a degree in architecture instead of engineering.
30. I spend too much time on the computer.
31. I wish I could hang out with my brother more.
32. Food comforts me. I think I need to do a fast where instead of eating when I'm stressed, I just pray.
33. Today, I'm going to throw Kale into our smoothie. We'll see how that goes. :)


Thursday, May 5, 2011

simplicity, minimalism, whatever you wanna call it

So, I had a thought today as I was unpacking a box that was packed at least 6 months ago! Boy, talk about realizing how you don't need your stuff!!!

I had a variety of thoughts as I unpacked this box:
1. Oh boy, I've missed this item!
2. I don't even remember this item!
3. Really? Why do I even have this?

So, I'd say, those items that were #2's and #3's, 'BYE-BYE'!

I thought that might be an interesting challenge...box up some random items you don't necessarily use often. Put a reminder on your calendar 6 months out to open that box. And make a decision. Chances are you'll be visiting the Goodwill store to make a donation! I also heard a good thought about clothes in your closet...on those clothes you don't wear often, put the hanger on the pole backwards and in 6 months if it's still backwards, give it away. I like. :)

My Dear Simplicity, I will achieve you someday!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"s" is for simplicity

One of the ideas I've adopted into my life is instead of New Year's Resolutions, I like to focus on a theme for the year. Last year my theme was simplicity, and I love it. To live simply is a challenge, but worth it! I would not say I'm there, but I'm on a journey to simple life (and probably will be for the rest of my life!)

I wanted to save this site for future inspiration: MINIMALIST ADVENTURES

I'd love to explore it more, but the theme I've been experiencing the last week is "Let's sleep at complete opposite times so that Mommy gets no time to herself!"

Arrhhh! But I am so blessed!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

food 101

On our little vacation back home, I picked up some books from the wonderful library. I wanted to read Pollan's (Food, Inc.) books, so I got Food Rules and In Defense of Food. 2 very intriguing books! I think a few things I've pulled out that I would love to do are:
  • Eat more fruits and veggies...and try new things! I'm excited to go to the Farmers' Market soon! To not be afraid of certain foods.
  • Jason and I discussed eating more wild food. He's going to go hunting...we're planning to add deer to our eating. Go fish and eat more fish we catch ourselves. I'll leave the dirty part to Jason, though.
  • Make sour dough bread. My wonderful friend who is all about making her own food inspires me! And she suggested this, so I'm going to try it! Plus fermented foods are good for you!
  • Eat less! I picked up some organic sausage from our local store and I found that I honored it more. We ate less because it was expensive, but it felt good to actually appreciate that it took care to grow this pig. Eating a full pound in a matter of an hour does not honor that pig's life. That might sound corny, but I don't care. :)
  • Eat the full fat version, but eat less. I'm sure my dietician mother will not want to read this! Bring on the whole milk, baby! Pollan discussed that making full fat products skim uses additives to reach that product. Real food = good! Preservatives = bad!
  • Buy products that have 5 ingredients or less. Not easy, but I like it.
  • Celebrate food. It is not the enemy. It allows us to live and thrive and love!
I wanted to list some websites included in Pollan's book to keep on hand:

Center for Informed Food Choices www.informedeating.org
Eat Local Challenge www.eatlocalchallenge.com
Eat Well www.eatwellguide.com
Eat Wild www.eatwild.com
Food Routes www.foodroutes.org
Local Harvest www.localharvest.com (I've used this site a lot!)
Weston A. Price Foundation www.westonaprice.org

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

r-e-s-p-e-c-t

I don't know that these thoughts will make sense, as I'm worn out from a teething little girl and another girl who just would rather be up than sleep. However, when I have something on my heart, tis best to write it down so it doesn't linger too long on my too-full mind.

I think how people spend their money and utilize the resources God has given them, speaks VOLUMES of their lives. And I have witnessed 2 polar opposites recently. First of all, the good. I completely admired the owner of Jason's previous business. I mean, he's a billionaire, a billionaire. That's a lot of zeros to one's name. But the thing is, that's not what makes him great, at all. He is simply a great guy because of character. For one thing, he is simply a nice guy, not arrogant, not pompous, even though he could be. Jason has told me that when he would have a meeting with him, and they'd go in the conference room, this CEO would INSIST that Jason go first. Secondly, he operates his business very conservatively. Assets far exceed their debt. And because of that, they have succeeded in a down market, while others have failed. In fact, not one layoff. Very cool. At their Christmas party, the company always has tons of door prizes. He and the CFO have given away their personal garage spaces at the office. I mean, like everyone parks in the parking lot and they have actual garages. They give away their spots for not April, not August, but January (in Kansas!) Seriously, I wouldn't do that! And probably the coolest thing is not about him, but his wife. So, the wife of a billionaire...what do you think she'd drive? Maybe a Lexus, an Audi....close, an old Honda Civic Hybrid. Impressive. The scripture, "Your treasure is where your heart is." shows that their treasure is not their money. Just hard work and generosity. RESPECT!

And then on the other end of the spectrum seems to be the previous owners of our house. When we were looking at this house, of course, people knew who were selling this house (it is a small town after all!) We were told they were wealthy and had built a HUGE house in a new subdivision. The more we live here and discover another area of this house that has been neglected, I'm painfully aware of how little respect they had for this house. The care they did not give this house is probably what allowed us to get this house. I have a passion for houses and house design. Houses have stories to tell, and this may sound weird, but whenever I see an abandoned house, I always feel like I'm looking at house "corpse" (a previous body (house) without its soul (house-dwellers)), and it makes my heart a little sad. They were blessed with this beautiful home, but they did not give it the care it deserved. And I fear they're doing the exact same thing to the million dollar home they're residing in now. It breaks my heart.

Of course, this concept can be applied in SO many different areas. To our time, to our bodies, to our money, to our families.... May we just give honor to what we've been given, all along acknowledging it is not ours, but the Lord's.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

inspire

My favorite aspect of our new town is that I feel inspired. In so many ways. And one of my favorites is the architecture in this town.

My heart has always been passionate about design, and the older I get I realize that is by design (no pun intended). I am made in God's image. And God is the ultimate Creator. And we are all creative, whether we think so or not. So I've been challenging myself to seek out creativity in other areas of my life. (If interested yourself, check out Hidden Art ) And one of my favorite areas right now is interior design.

I found this website and had to share: theinspiredroom.net It inspired me!



Friday, April 8, 2011

natural clean

This is an appropriate follow up to my previous post...but wanted to write these down so I don't forget them! I'm all about natural cleaning....it makes me feel good to know I'm surrounding my family with nature rather than chemicals. Plus, it's cheap. (That's why Jason likes it.) :)

All Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner:
2 tsp. Borax
4 T. Vinegar
4 c. Water

I'll add some Essential Oil to make it smell yummy. Either Tea Tree Oil or Lavender. I need to get some more EO's for cleaning purposes.

Natural Dishwashing Detergent:
1 c. Vinegar
2 T. Lemon Concentrate
1 c. Borax
1 c. Baking Soda

Shake it up (it will bubble) and use half the amount you normally do. Also, vinegar is a great substitute for the rinsing agent.

#2

Thank goodness it's Friday! Because it's not even 10AM, and there has been more poop in this house than should be allowed. Before 4AM, Jason discovers our poor Lucy had a serious issue last night. Not 1, but 5 instances of poop. Bless his precious heart for cleaning up that mess. Before 6AM, I had a sweet little girl with poop on her PJ's. And just now, Bella tells me in a worried voice, "Poop come out" and I discover poop on the rug, her leg, her skirt. Ahh...being a mom truly is a glamorous job. So many people tell us to enjoy this precious time, but really, I could live without so much poop!

But we are so blessed. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

don't read if you want political correctness

One of the few shows I watch regularly is The View. Call it my lazy way of staying informed on what is going on. We hardly have the TV on and if it is on, it's usually a Shirley Temple movie for Bella. So, The View is kind of my hang out time with girls when I'm stuck inside. Except they get their hair and makeup done and I'm usually in yoga pants and a ponytail. Nonetheless, I enjoy it. I want to yell at the TV a lot...and today was no exception.

They had Mike Huckabee on, who happens to be someone I admire. He just seems authentic and nice...2 qualities that I find rare in today's political world. Mike had written in his book about the statistics of children in single parent households. Of course, a couple women attack him for his audacity to be critical of single mother situations. However, he was not attacking them, he was stating the facts. And they aren't pretty. But that's not my point.

He went on to say that because many fathers do not pay child support, our government must pick up the tab. Whoopi goes on to question him about the fact that many women want to forget their children's fathers. So, Huckabee is sympathetic to that. And I was thinking, "No! Why did you sleep with this man in the first place?!" Ugh! This drives me crazy! I am pro-choice...pro-choice in the fact of "You have a choice to not sleep with someone!" I think "waiting until you're married" is considered an old-fashioned idea. But, you know when you think about it, IT WORKS! Why would you sleep with someone who you would never consider marrying, but HELLO, there is the potential you could have a child with?! It makes no sense. The underlying purpose of sex is to procreate. The Lord did make it an enjoyable act, but there's a reason that it is to be between a husband and wife.

What would this world be like if family was a more paramount issue? What if a child did have 2 parents? And what's scary is that is a never-ending cycle. A single mom has a child. The child is raised with no father. She seeks out attention from another man, because she did not receive the self esteem that a father can give her. She becomes a single mom. And on and on an on.

I think this country needs a revolution for young women to see they deserve better. Be strong women! You deserve a man who treats you right! You are precious! Do not allow a man to undermine your value as God's child. I could go on and on about how this applies to the whole being a lady and making a gentleman out of your man. But I'll stop my bloviating because this soapbox is telling me I'm too heavy and need to get off.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You Are More


I love the words:

But don't you know who you are,
What's been done for you?
Yeah don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

Cause this is not about what you've done,
But what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

Isn't it great to know the Lord remakes us? You know how we all love new things...I can't be the only one that loves to come home with something new and perfect. And then I think, "That's what the Lord does for us. He remakes us!" We are new! Who else can give you that?!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

the hole

This morning we listened to a sermon from one of my favorite pastors. He's one of my favorites because his message always convicts me.

The message all boils down to looking inward and finding that one thing that you least want to give to the Lord...and then giving it to Him...because that is the one thing He wants MOST. It all comes from this scripture about the rich, young ruler who was asked to sell his treasure.

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth." And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:17-22)

I tend to think I truly love the Lord. But loving God is not just saying, "I believe Jesus is God, and I love Him." It is truly putting Him first as your treasure. And that is where I say "ouch".

Because I do love God.

I do pray before meals.

I do read the bible.

I do go to church.

I do give.

BUT...do I put Him before EVERYTHING? Do I love him more than anything else in my life?

For me, the least thing I want to give to Him is my time. I mean, I get an hour (if I'm lucky!) of time in my day that is only for me. I want to do whatever I want with that time. But I wonder if the reason my time seems unbalanced is because I have not given my time to Him.

So, here is my personal experiment...lots of people give up things for Lent. Well, there are 4 weeks until Easter, and I want to give my TIME to God. Being diligent and disciplined with my time. He gives it to me. May I honor Him with how I use it.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. ~Luke 17:33

(For a more succinct message, go to the source: http://www.mychristchurch.com/messages.html )


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

mood food

I'm a big believer in using food as your medicine. I'd much rather change my diet to improve my health than be put on medicine. The other day I caught a blip on a morning show about foods that improve your mood and it was very interesting.

This is what they said:

To help your brain think better, eat spinach (iron source) and pair it with high vitamin C.

In need of energy, have an apple with peanut butter.

PMS'y, have a grilled cheese.

If you're angry, drink a cup of green tea.

If you are feeling stressed, have a piece of dark chocolate. (I like to eat chocolate even when I'm not stressed.) :)

Yum! :) Have a HAPPY day!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

a new view on life

This is Lucy. Our first baby...pre-Bella, pre-Geni. Our very first sweet girl. And we adore this doggy. She brings so much life and joy to our family and home. We found out our precious Lucy has something called lymphosarcoma...a cancer of the lymph nodes. She's 3. There is no cure. We have the option of trying chemo or just giving her steroids to make her comfortable. Chemo is not a great option, so we've chosen to give her steroids to hopefully make her feel as well as she can.

The prognosis is 4 weeks to 8 months.

I don't like it.

It breaks my heart to look at this sweet dog and know there is a deadly disease taking over her once strong body. She's going to die. And then I realize we're all going to die. There's something different about Lucy and the rest of us...I guess we all feel like we have awhile before we go. Lucy doesn't. Don't get me wrong, I'm praying for a miracle everyday. The way we're living with Lucy now is different. We don't take the simple things for granted. We love on her every opportunity we get. We go outside as much as we can.

I step back and think, "Why don't we ALL live this way?" I read in Job yesterday, "Life is but a breath."

Live EVERY DAY to its fullest. One time I was in a coffee shop and I overheard a man saying goodbye to his friend and he said, "Tom, have the best day of your life." Pretty cool, huh? I like it.

I hope to give Lucy the best days of her life. I am thankful we know about her future. I rejoice in my belief that she'll be in heaven. I just wish we had a little more time to take her on runs and to the lake, and just see her happy. I will choose to celebrate these days instead of mourning. I'll be sad later (I am still working on this, as I'm crying thinking about her not growing up with the girls.)

Ok...forgive the blubbering....not much eloquence in this post.

I need to go hug a dog.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

ugh

i hate it when i have a fight with my hubby. i love him. he's amazing. and it just completely breaks my heart when we don't get along just right. ugh :( and i really don't know why i'm putting this on my blog...but i am.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

life stories

This morning, we went to one of our new favorite breakfast places...still can't replace our beloved First Watch. However, we are feeling more at home there!

We were finishing eating our yummy meal when an older man came up and started chatting with us. He was drawn to us because of our sweet girls, and began to tell us about his life. He is 86, never had kids, fought in World War II, and was married. His wife of 3 years left him for their pastor. He still carried a picture of her in his wallet.

Life is full of ups and downs. My heart was touched by his obvious loneliness. We can get so caught up in OUR lives that we can miss those around us who are hurting.

Lord, give us eyes to see Your people and their pain. Give us Your love so we may pass it on. And God, may we give thanks in all circumstances. There is value in it all.

Friday, February 11, 2011

the good, the bad, the wonderful

The good: We are homeowners again.

The bad: We are no longer debt-free.

The wonderful: We can begin making this house our home. And it's Friday. And it's supposed to get warm.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

the big o

ORGANIZE!

I love organization...I do. My heart races when I see a well-organized pantry, closet, workspace, anything really. It does...it really does! Is that strange? In my mind, I assume everyone else is the same. I'll go on believing that... I think it all goes back to the scripture about your body being the temple of the Holy Spirit. Granted, I know your home should not be your temple, but your home does hold you. So, in essence it is your temple's temple. So, it is my pursuit (and hopefully not an obsession) to keep it warm, welcoming, and tidy.

I've been researching online how to decorate the girls' new playroom and I stumbled across Martha Stewart's website. Granted, I'm not big on Martha Stewart, but I do love what she does. I'll share just one picture, but tis a glorious picture.
Is that not lovely? Ahhh...it makes my heart happy. Let's see if we can do that in our new home. Let me point out a cool little detail: she used chalkboard paint on the pantry door to use as a list making device. Isn't that neat?!

ahh...well, this post is being interrupted by a girl awaking from naptime

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

home, part 2

We move into our new home soon. We are thrilled. We simply can't wait to unpack (finally!) and make someplace our home.

I think what makes me so excited is just dreaming about what is to become in our new home. What will unfold for us? What will change? Who will we have over? What room will we have the most laughs in? Will we really use the treadmill more on the 2nd floor (or is that wishful thinking)? Will the girls love their very own play room? How long will be there? Where will we enjoy drinking coffee (or tea for me)? Will we welcome another child (or 2 or 3 or 4) in this new home? Where will enjoy our quiet times? Will we like our neighbors? What dreams are next for us?

Lord, please bless our next home and just let us glorify You in it!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

not so big


I don't know how many people know that I have a huge passion for architecture, specifically house design. I love, love, love houses!!! I think I started designing floor plans around the age of 8. There's something about them...it's like writing a story for someone to live in. It's just amazing to see a house come together. However, it is not an easy task. To look at a floor plan and envision living in that space is complicated. How will you feel in this space is a mystery, and that mystery is what is intrigues the heck out of me! I think I chose architectural engineering to study because it had the word architecture in it! Ahh...I just love it...I read house plan books like they are the best books ever written.

Anyway, I'll stop rambling on my love of houses and share my favorite architect with you. Sarah Susanka started the Not So Big House revolution and I love it. To sum it up, her theory is that modern day houses sacrifice design for space. And we are not happy living in a huge space with no character. She intricately designs certain elements of houses to make it feel like a home, not a museum. And it makes perfect sense.

If anyone out there loves house design, you must check out her books on Not So Big Houses. Or check out her website. It's a different way of thinking, and in my opinion, a renewed and necessary sense of thinking towards house design.

Friday, January 28, 2011

simple thought

I know this is a completely simple thought that everyone knows, and I'm mainly writing this more for a friendly reminder to myself...

But, you know when you have a task that you simply hate doing, and you put it off, put it off (for me, one thing I HATE to do is cleaning out the fridge) and then finally you make yourself do it...you realize that you spend more time dreading doing the task than you do just doing the task. And the satisfaction of FINALLY doing the task is so worth it!

So note to self, DO IT, DON'T DREAD IT! GET IT OVER WITH. Make room in your mind for happy thoughts.

Ok, back to your regular programming.

Friday, January 14, 2011

my favorite things


This is a few of my favorite things this week....

Our new home...
we simply cannot wait to move in and make it our own (and finally unpack all the boxes!)

The Beco Baby Carrier...
With 2 kiddos, this is one of my necessities! And I love that it's cute!

Hot Tea (White, Red, Green)...
I love on a cold day, a hot cup of tea can be so comforting. I try to avoid caffeine so this is my compromis and I love it!

A Neobulle Woven Wrap
I love to carry our babies, and I've heard such amazing things about woven wraps...so I am checking this one out now!