Titus 2:11-13

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Pressure is ON!

The month is over, payroll has been deposited, the cupboards are getting bare.... It's time to go grocery shopping, and I still don't know what I'm doing! :-) This transition to a healthier diet isn't going to be easy, is it! Thankfully, I'm in good company. Many of you who have "gone before" me have offered help and encouragement as I learn the ropes of a whole foods diet, and I'm betting I'm going to need it!

As I've been reading through Nourishing Traditions, I've realized a couple things: that modern conveniences have taken us a LONG ways from the culinary skills and habits of our ancestors; that pretty much every thing we eat--even that of the "healthy" variety--is JUNK; and that never before have I been concerned with what ingredients are in the foods I buy (Why would I be? I didn't know what all that stuff is, anyway.). As a little girl I used to say, "Technology will be the downfall of us (i.e. humans)." I'm pretty sure I had absolutely no idea what I was talking about at the time (Ha!), but perhaps I was on to something. It seems that the conveniences modern technology has offered us--including convenience foods and convenient food preparation--have certainly come at a price.

Something else I'm fairly certain of is that I'll need to take this transition to healthier eating one purposeful step at a time. To help myself be less overwhelmed, I've been trying to develop some objectives for this first month. Here's what I've come up with so far.... (You experts, please feel free to weigh in on this!)
  • Go ahead and use up foods that I have on hand, unhealthy as they may be; and as they run out, don't replace the things that shouldn't be a part of our diet. For example, I finished the last of my ice cream yesterday and don't plan on buying anymore (Did I just say that?!); our high fructose corn syrup-full ketchup is running low and will be replaced either by some from the health food store or by some homemade(!) ketchup; etc.
  • Replace sugar with natural sweeteners such as raw honey and pure maple syrup. (I bought a 1 quart jug of 100% pure maple syrup last night, and it cost $12.99. Yikes!)
  • Attempt to make my own butter, ketchup (if cost effective--Amariah likes her ketchup!), and breads.
  • Continue to learn!
For right now, I think that instead of learning new recipes I'm going to try to make appropriate adjustments/substitutions to the recipes I am familiar with. (Has anybody taken this route? Does it work?) My thinking is that as we gradually cut more and more refined/processed foods from our diet and as I become more familiar with various whole foods ingredients, it will become more feasible at that point to start trying new recipes.

It was only recently that I learned of the addicting nature of sugar--and even more recently of its destructive nature. Part of me wants to say that ignorance was bliss, mostly because the knowing has presented me with a lot of work! :-) But seriously, I've come to a point where I am actually excited about admitting my addiction to sugar and doing something about it. I'm excited about doing a better job of nourishing not only my own body and my husband's but also the four little bodies that God has entrusted to our care.

So... back to that grocery list.... Let's see how well I can work under pressure! :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eating My Words

There seems to be a growing trend toward healthy, organic, whole foods eating. As I've come to know more and more people who have changed their diets to eliminate refined and processed foods, I've said, "I could never do it." I could never do it because... I like chocolate and ice cream too much... I'm too busy to learn how to eat/cook differently... I don't want to spend even more time in the kitchen... It would cost too much money... etc.

However, after making this decided statement, I couldn't help but notice that the topic of sugar and its detrimental effects began popping up everywhere--so much so that I decided maybe I should pay it some attention. So one night about a month ago I ran out the door to the library to check out Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. It sat on my kitchen counter for several weeks waiting for me to find the time to open it up and start reading; and with each day of not reading that passed, I started to talk myself out of even trying to find the time to read it.

In the meantime, there were several occasions that I noticed I felt poorly immediately after eating a bowl of ice cream or a handful of chocolate or other candy. The feeling was "off" enough that for the short while it lasted I thought to myself, That wasn't worth it. Why eat something that makes me feel so not good? And so I was re-inspired to open up Nourishing Traditions. The day after it was due (Yes, it was overdue. Oops!), I finally sat down and started reading and then promptly called the library to renew it for another month.

I still have a TON to read and learn; but with the beginning of a new month approaching (which means a fresh start on stocking the cupboards AND a fresh supply of grocery cash), my plan is to start making some changes in the way I feed myself and my family. I'm certain this isn't going to be easy (I've been snacking on chocolate chips while I write this....), but I feel like I wouldn't be doing the best thing for my family if I don't give this my best try.

I said I could never do it. I hope I was wrong....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Falling Apart Just to Hold It Together

I've changed... temporarily and necessarily.  There are some things about me that are different now than they were five months ago.  Becoming a mommy of twins has required some adjustments--neither good nor bad, just necessary.  I just started noticing some of the changes this season of life ("season" = breastfeeding and caring for twin infants and getting no more than three hours of sleep in any one interval) has produced in me.  Anyone who knew me pre-children would probably think I've fallen apart (lol!)--and maybe by the world's standards, I have--but the way I look at it, I've really just done some necessary shedding in an effort to hold it all together!

I've had to become okay with the fact that I don't look quite the same in my pre-pregnancy clothes as I used to (Granted, it's slightly easier to be okay with this since I plan on it being a temporary change! :-)), and the fact that an earlier bedtime has become slightly more important to me than a spotless kitchen (It can wait until morning, right?...), and the fact that I now need a little more help from my husband.  I've had to become okay with the fact that I cannot figure out how to fit a trip to the gym into my daily routine, and the fact that church and grocery shopping and doctor appointments are the only things I leave the house for, and the fact that I am tired all the time.  I've had to become okay with the fact that sometimes it's easier and more practical to wear the same outfit two days in a row, and the fact that I don't have time to fix my hair and makeup or even to take a look in the mirror on my way out the door.

In fact, maybe I've become a little TOO okay with that last point.  There have been numerous times that I've rushed out the door for a timed trip to the grocery store in between the babies' feedings and then realized while in route that I have no idea what clothes I even have on, let alone what my hair looks like.  And when the momentary feeling of panic passes, my next thought is, Who cares.... I'm on the job.

The funny thing is, though, that I used to care.  When we were first married I drove my husband crazy with my having to change my clothes and redo my hair and touch up my makeup before we could go anywhere.  So what has happened to me now?  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not a total slob... most days.... And I really do care what I look like.  But I guess that in the process of trying to hold it together, I've had to temporarily--and necessarily--let myself do a bit of "falling apart."

Hear me right on this.  I'm not complaining.  I am totally content with and blessed by my circumstances (Well, except for the part where my clothes don't fit right. (Ha!)  My husband keeps reminding me, "Honey.  You just had TWINS.); and I am thankful that by God's grace I have been able to make the necessary adjustments to not just "cope" during this season but to manage it well and to thoroughly enjoy every moment of it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Harvest of Friends Blog Party: 20 Questions

My blogging friend Lynnette is having a blog party! If you would like to have a little fun--and maybe even "meet" some new blogging friends while you're at it--click on the button above to join in!

20 Weird Questions That Will Give a Little Insight Into Who I Am

1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while you're blogging?
I usually don't take time to eat while I'm blogging, but any other time that I might be snacking, it's probably on CHOCOLATE!

2. What is one thing you wouldn't want to live without?
I wouldn't want to live without my Bible. We are so privileged in this country to have such easy access to the Word of God.

3. Beach, Mountains or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?
I would live on a farm and take vacations to the beach and the mountains!

4. What's your least favorite chore/household duty?
I dread dusting the window blinds. It's one of the few household duties that I don't enjoy doing. However, I must say that my new cleaning rags have made this chore much easier!

5. Who do people say you remind them of?
In personality traits and personal habits, people say I'm like my dad (patient and persistent, perfectionist in some things, deep thinker--and thus, sometimes poor listener). In appearance, people say I look like my dad and my Uncle Curtis (and when I was younger, Mariah Carey :-)).

6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying at home with the fam?
I enjoy a healthy balance of both, and whatever I'm in the mood for probably depends upon how my day/week has gone. As far as social settings go, I prefer small groups to large groups.

7. What's your all time favorite movie?
Dirty Dancing has to be my all-time favorite movie! One of my childhood friends owned it, and we would watch it every time I spent the night at her house. At some (pre-DVD) point in time, my parents finally bought the VHS copy that I still have. There are several other movies that I could watch time and again, but I think I will always go back to Dirty Dancing as my favorite!

8. Do you sleep in your make up or remove it like a good girl every night?
I do not sleep in my makeup. But don't be too impressed--I wear it only about once a week (and even then, it's only eye makeup). :-)

9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you've never had a chance to learn? What is it?
No hidden talents that I know of. But I have always thought it would be fun to learn to play the violin. They make such beautiful music....

10. What's one strange thing you're really good at?
According to my husband, I'm really good at ironing... and making nachos.

11. What first attracted you to your spouse?
Travis' relationship with Jesus is what first attracted me to him. I always remember one particular time in college that I was studying in the balcony of the library. When I looked out over the study cubicles on the level below, I saw Travis. He had a backpack full of textbooks, but the book he was studying was his Bible.

12. What is something you love to smell?
I love the smell of coffee. It's so... inviting!

13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.
I get lost in my thoughts--especially when I'm reading or writing--and therefore tend to space people out when they talk to me (see #5). It's irritating--and hurtful--so I have to be cautious of it.

14. When you have extra money (HA!) what's the first thing you think to do with it?
My first thought is usually to pocket it until something comes up that I really want. I like to think through purchases before spending my money; and even once I decide how I want to spend my money, it takes me a long time to actually do it.

15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?
I'm more of a silent laugher than a loud laugher, though most of my laughs are at least audible. I think my mom and my sister probably make me laugh the hardest, but my kids are close behind!

16. Where is your favorite place to shop?
I buy almost all of my clothes from Maurices. Usually any "extra" money that I get to pocket (see #14) ends up getting spent there. :-)

17. What's one thing you'd do more often if you had more time?
I would love to read more.

18. Are you a big spender or frugal?
I am definitely frugal, but there are times when I wish I could be a big spender!

19. Who is your favorite character of all time (from a movie or book)? (Can't be real)
I don't know if she's my favorite... but I really like Meg Ryan's character in the movie You've Got Mail. She's so real and laid back. And, of course, the romance.... :-)

20. Would you want to be famous?
I think it would be okay to be famous as long as I could continue walking in a manner worthy of the One who called me (see Ephesians 4:1).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Remember

Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. People all over the world are invited to light a candle at 7:00 tonight in remembrance of babies lost to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, still birth, or infant death.

We will be lighting a candle in memory of our baby Ande Lynn whom we lost to miscarriage on July 14th, 2008. The pain of our loss was very real, and although time has brought healing, I still sometimes find myself thinking about and missing this baby I never knew. I see babies who were born around the time of Ande's due date, and I catch myself thinking, That's how big Ande would be now. I wonder what he/she would be like at this age.... But, despite these momentary sad feelings, I can honestly say that I am okay. I am okay because God has used this loss for our good... and because I know that we have a baby who is already with the Lord.

To my many friends and family members who have also experienced the loss of a child--whether it be due to miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy or infant death--my thoughts and prayers are with you today, and I am remembering your babies as well. May our God be your strength, your hope, and your joy today and always; and may you find comfort in His promise.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kids Say, vol. 3

During supper, Abel asked me what ketchup looks like; so I turned the question back on him, encouraging him to describe it to me.

Abel:  Ummm... it has tomato juice in it.
Me:  What color is it?
Abel:  Red.
Me:  And what does it feel like?
Abel:  Hurt.
Me:  Hurt?  What does that mean?
Abel:  If you don't like it, it gets hurt.


Abel has become quite the problem solver.  Often when I give him a reason why we can't do something that he asks to do, he comes up with a "solution."  Following is just one example of his problem solving skills.... (*Note:  Amariah has a pair of sandals that light up when she walks.)

Abel:  Mommy, can we go to the park?
Me:  Not tonight, honey.  It's already dark.
Abel:  Well, we could take Sissy's shoes--they have lights on them....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Still Singing...

One year ago today marked the beginning of my knowledge of one two of the greatest blessings I've ever known. On October 13th, 2008, just three months after having a miscarriage, I found out I was pregnant again. Little did I know then that in a year's time I would have 4 1/2-month old twins! Knowing what I know now, it's fun to go back and read what I wrote shortly after seeing the appearance of The Second Line....

A year later, I am still singing, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow!"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award (and 7 things you might not know about me...)!

I got a blog award from one of the neatest women I know! I "met" September McCarthy in the blogosphere earlier this year and have been very encouraged by her love for God and for her family. I am so glad that her blog is on my "reading list," and I am humbled that she is passing an award on to me.

THANK YOU, SEPTEMBER! (Click on her name below and visit her blog.)

My friend September over at One September Day gave me an award and asked me to pass it on to 7 of my "Kreativ Blogger" friends. Here are the rules:

Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.

Copy and paste the award and post it.

Tell seven interesting things about yourself that people might not know.

Pick 7 Kreativ Blogger Friends to pass on the award to, link to them, and ask them to list their 7 things and to pass on the award to 7 of their friends, and to link back to you.

Okay, here we go! I've already done the 100 Things and the 10 Things, so let's see if I can come up with...

7 More Things You Might Not Know About Me!...
  1. I enjoy doing laundry and ironing. There is something about having everything neat and clean and in its place! :-)
  2. The change of seasons always gives me the urge to spend money on new clothes for myself. Even so, I usually don't buy anything unless I really need it. (Honey, I just had twins four months ago. I might really need some new clothes this winter!) ;-)
  3. For having four children under the age of four, I think I keep a pretty quiet and peaceful home (most of the time!).
  4. I wish I could remember everything I read.
  5. I like to make up songs and sing them to my kids. I guess my kids bring out my weird silly side! :-)
  6. I never paint my fingernails because I can't stand the fingernail polish looking any less than perfect. (And it never stays looking perfect for very long!)
  7. I love city living way more than I ever thought I would. It's so nice to have people and places in close proximity to home!
And here are 7 of my blogging friends!...

Isabel and Elliana's Four-Month Check-up!

On Friday I took Isabel and Elliana in to the doctor for their four-month well child exams.  As a breastfeeding mother, I was excited (and proud!) to learn that both girls are growing well and that Isabel is still closing the gap in size between her and her sister.  Two months ago Isabel was approximately two pounds smaller and two inches shorter than Elliana; now the difference is only about one pound and one inch!  Isabel is continuing to grow faster than the average growth curve, and Elliana stayed on about the same curve.  Here's their stats....

Height:  23 in (just over the 10th percentile)
Weight:  11 lbs 6 oz (10th percentile)

Height:  24 in (between the 25th and 50th percentile)
Weight:  12 lbs 3 oz (between the 10th and 25th percentile)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Let It Rain

"...he who waters will himself be watered." (Proverbs 11:25b NASB)

Do you ever feel like you are in a sort of "spiritual drought?"  I, myself, go through a dry season every now and again, and I am realizing that the cause always tends to be my circumstances the way I handle my circumstances.  All too often, I let my circumstances determine the fullness of my spiritual rain gauge.  When my circumstances lead me to--or are favorable for--spending time in the Word and in prayer, my rain gauge is full; but when my circumstances do not lead me to--or are not favorable for--spending time in the Word and in prayer (and I therefore fail to spend time in the Word and in prayer), I enter into a drought.

Sometimes when this happens, God, by His grace, allows a storm--a trial--to come my way (for certainly He knows that in times of trial I draw nearer to Him).  Other times, He sends another source of water:  a Brother or Sister in Christ who is joyful and strong in the Lord.  God recently used a couple such Sisters in my life to "water" me; and when I came away from talking to them, I thought to myself, "Wow, that was refreshing!" 

Proverbs 11:25b says, "He who waters will himself be watered" (or in the NIV, "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed").  I am so thankful for the people who are sources of water in my life.  I wonder if they realize how refreshing it is to be in their presence, where their joy and strength--the products of their own time spent in the Word and in prayer--are like water to the soul.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Kids Say, vol. 2

Yesterday I rearranged Abel and Amariah's toys, moving a lot of what was in their bedroom to the basement.  I've noticed that every time I move toys around, there is a new level of excitement in the kids--almost like they are discovering each toy for the first time.  This excitement combined with unfamiliarity of where each toy goes (Have I mentioned before that I'm particular? :-)) creates ample opportunity for mess-making.  Tonight, as I observed both bedroom and basement toys lying all over the main level of the house, the following conversation ensued.

Me:  You guys have gone through this place like two tornadoes making a mess.
Abel:  I'm not a tomato!  I'm a pickle!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Highlight of My September!

Where did September go?! I guess time flies when you're having fun busy! :-) Anyway, it's been awhile since I've posted, so I decided to make time for it today....

This past Monday the kids and I returned home from a week-long visit to my parents' house. With them living six hours away (or more like eight hours when traveling with two infants!), we don't get to see them nearly as often as we would like to. So when Travis suggested that I load up the kids and go visit Grandma and Grandpa, I was super excited!

My vacation visit to my mom and dad's was so fun and refreshing! I got to hang out with my parents, see my sister and both my grandmas, engage in adult conversation, eat my mom's delicious cooking (which boosted my milk supply!), watch a little television, see an old friend, video tape my Grandma Arlene reading Bible stories to a very curious and attentive Abel, and watch my parents interact and bond with their grandchildren. It was a truly wonderful trip--definitely the highlight of my busy (but fun!) September!

Mom and Isabel

Dad and Elliana

Grandma Arlene with Isabel (left) and Elliana

Grandma Arlene with Amariah and Abel

Grandma Arlene and Elliana

The Rice side--(L to R) Amariah, Grandma Arlene,
Elliana, Angela, Isabel, Terry, and Abel

Dad pulling Abel and Amariah behind the mower

Grandma Verla with Elliana (left) and Isabel

(L to R) Grandma Verla, Elliana, Mom, and Isabel

The Chambers side--(L to R) Amariah, Angela, Abel,
Grandma Verla, Elliana, Isabel, and Tammy

Abel and Amariah playing with Grandma and
Grandpa at the park

Dad with Abel, Amariah, and dog Bear

My sister Rosanna with Isabel

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