Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Laundry, Laundry Everywhere

I used to have a major issue keeping up with the laundry in my life.  See, when I was single, I think I had about one load per week...maybe two!  Then my husband moved in (yes, he was my husband before he moved in).  That man has more clothes than any person should be allowed to have!  

Well, I got pregnant pretty soon after we were married, and never quite adjusted to the extra items to wash on a regular basis due to working full time and not having any energy left over to devote to keeping up the laundry.  

Then came baby!  Whew, that's a lot of little tiny stuff to wash!  I was kind of hit and miss with baby's stuff, I would wash it, but then pull his stuff out of the dryer or the basket in the corner of the room.  Eventually, I got into the swing of things and would diligently wash, dry, fold and put away his clothes.  That made life so much easier.  Anyone who has had a baby knows just how aggravating it can be to locate two matching itty-bitty socks mixed into a pile of other similarly colored itty-bitty items!  I can think of so many things I'd rather do. 

Well, fast forward a couple of years, and along came baby number two.  I still wasn't really "in tune" with our soiled clothing to the point of it being second nature to wash, dry, fold and put away in one fell swoop.  So, new baby, with all her extra laundry (from all the spitting up- see here for more on that)  was certainly a motivating factor for me to finally get it together. 

Actually more recently, it's been easier for me to keep up with it.  I've started making a daily list of chores to do, and what laundry to do when.  I also came across Fly Lady's amazing site in recent months and that has been a big help too.  Her mantra concerning laundry?  "A load a day keeps the CHAOS away"!  How true that is!  

For me, it's really been a change in attitude or perspective.  I've always been big about procrastination, and I think it's just a dread thing for me when I think about laundry or some other chore that needs to be done.  I build it up in my mind as something terrible and time consuming, but it's so so simple when I get down to actually doing it (a little everyday).  It's really rewarding to look into a drawer and see clean clothing neatly put away, ready for my family to wear as needed. 

Now I'm certainly not perfect about it yet, but I'm really much happier about my approach to laundering our family's clothing and towels and bedding...I like having clean items on hand and knowing where to find it quickly without having to dig for it!  It may not seem like that big of a deal, but it really is a huge step to achieving more order in your day and ultimately your life.  Don't let the chaos that is your hamper control your life any longer!  You'll be so glad when you finally realize that it's not as overwhelming as it appears to be to get a handle on it! 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Don't Eat That!

I find myself of late needing to stay one step ahead of my very curious baby. She will put anything in her mouth! Not only will she put it in her mouth, but she'll eat it too. (I know, 'cause I'm the one changing her diapers!) As my little girl grows, she'll learn (with my help) what is not supposed to go in her mouth, and what she's supposed to eat.

Much in the same way, as we grow as Christian women, we need to learn what is supposed to go into our spirits to help us grow. We need to be very cautious about what we feed on. Like that tempting little bit of paper on the floor is to my baby, so are there many things out there that appeal to us. They might not even be that bad, but everything out there has the power to influence us. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:23 "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify." (NKJV)

As Christian wives and mothers, we need to be purposeful about the kinds of books we read. Personally, I can sit and read for hours- I love to learn. But I need to ask myself, "what's the purpose of this? Is this relevant to my life in some way?" Certainly most of us only have a small amount of time in our days or weeks to devote to reading or other forms of entertainment, so I would ask; is that book you just checked out from the library going to enhance your relationship with God, your husband or your children? Is that magazine article going to help you learn new ways to be more efficient around the house? There's really nothing wrong with reading for entertainment, and I believe as busy moms, we need to take some time for ourselves, but just make sure that novel you're reading isn't causing you to become discontent with your life in some way. It might seem perfectly innocent and you might say, "oh it's just a love story" (or whatever), but then when you put it down, and reality comes back into focus, suddenly you're wishing you could be back in the story!

I want to challenge you to be deliberate about what you put in front of your eyes on a regular basis. There are many awesome books out there written by Christian authors. Get a recommendation from a mature Christian friend or your pastor if you don't know where to start. I also have a few recommendations on here of books that have been a blessing to me and have helped me to grow spiritually. Make a goal for yourself of books that you would like to read. I try to keep my reading material limited to the following categories: spiritual growth, marriage enrichment, parenting, health, and a few others. Once you are more fixed in your pursuit of growth, you will see greater results every day!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Mid-Year Resolution

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.


Thanks to the magic of Facebook, and all the groups I've become a "fan" of, I've recently read several articles relating to breastfeeding. Of these, there was one in particular (on Best for Babes) that talked about "booby traps" (pun intended, for sure!). Booby traps are different things, be it cultural or what-have-you, that hinder the breastfeeding relationship between mom and baby.

One thing that they pointed out was the fact that oftentimes breastfeeding moms feel "ashamed" of feeding their babies, and go and "hide" in another room away from friends, family or the general public. (This would be a cultural "booby trap") I have absolutely been guilty of this in the name of being "discreet"- just my own personal awkwardness with potentially exposing myself. The thing that I never realized though, is the impact that something like that would have on other women. I consider myself to be a "lactivist" (ha ha), and one of my goals is to promote breastfeeding, but how can I effectively do that when nobody ever sees me feeding my baby in the most natural and beneficial way? There's a generation of women who have not yet had babies, and those that are planning on having more, that just flat out don't have the support and encouragement they need to venture out into this relatively "unknown" territory (at least in our modern formula feeding culture). I used to be one of them! (This is especially true in the state I live in, where 85% of moms are breastfeeding when they leave the hospital, and by six months, that rate has dropped to 14%!)

I've gone to extreme measures (just out of my own insecurity) to avoid feeding in front of other people. Some of those "extreme measures" include feeding in the family bathroom at Wal-Mart (yuck!) where every time I had to adjust the baby, or scratch my head or something the sensor on the toilet would activate and the toilet would flush (Lol!). I've also ducked away to the ladies room at church conferences (where there's usually a sitting area) and I would inadvertently miss out on something important. I've hidden myself away at family and friends' houses (you know who you are) and missed out on spending time with those I hold near and dear. With that example, though, (and the implication that it's something that takes you completely away from social situations for "one year or as long as mutually desired") who would want to breastfeed?

All that being said, my (almost) mid-year resolution is this: (Now that I'm on my second nursling) to breastfeed my baby comfortably and confidently wherever I may be that any bottle-feeding mom would feel comfortable and confident feeding her baby. In a restaurant, with friends, at family gatherings...wherever. Whenever. I resolve to not rush home with a screaming infant just to avoid my own perception that someone else may be uncomfortable with what I'm doing. If I don't get invited to your house anymore, I know why (just kidding!). My goal in doing this is not to make anyone squeamish or uneasy (and I hope it doesn't), but to bring breastfeeding to the mainstream of our culture. It's normal. It's healthy. It will impact generations of people and turn around our deplorable state of "nutrition" in this country. I may never know who I will influence with my actions, but I would rather influence the future of our society in a positive way by not making breastfeeding seem like some kind of social torture.

***Note: this was actually written a couple of months ago, and so far, so good!

Art by Erika Hastings at

Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public

Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.

Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.

This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:

July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World

July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child

July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.

July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives

July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It

Friday, July 2, 2010

Every Day Counts!

How do you track spiritual growth? Is it by how happy you feel? Is it by how calm you act toward your family members? Is it by how frequently you attend church?

I saw a startling reflection of my growth just the other day. My method of studying the Word includes keeping track of the days that I spend time reading my Bible and praying. I have a printout of a Bible reading plan that has dates and a corresponding passage of Scripture to read. Each day that I read my Bible, I put a circle around the date on the page. Then if I complete that day's recommended reading, I cross off that Scripture reference on the sheet.

This is the second year that I have done this. And it really helps me to realize just how much of my life I spend reading God's Word. I actually took the time the other day to tally up how much I had read, and frankly I was shocked. I knew that I had missed a day here and there, but looking at the numbers on the page was a reality check for me. I know the following may be too painstaking for some, but I added up the number of days I had read my Bible versus the number of days in the period of time from January 1st to June 30th (yes, it's the middle of the year now, yikes!) and calculated the percentage of days that I had actually spent.

Well dear reader, it added up to all of sixty percent! I seriously had to re-calculate just to make sure I was getting it right. It came out the same both times.

I don't share this to be legalistic, or to shame myself or anyone else who may spend the same amount of time (or less) reading the Word.

Romans 8:1 says "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."

That is me, I am in Christ Jesus, and I suspect you are too, if you are reading this. I share this because I can see a correlation between the number of days I spend reading the Word and in prayer and the number of "better" days I have with my husband, children and other loved ones. A better day for me is one in which I walk in the Spirit, and have that "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control." (Galatians 5:22-23)

Those qualities apply to every area of my it my relationship with my husband, my children, my duties around the house, my commitments outside the home...whatever. I perform much better, feel much better, act much better, relate much better, the more time I spend in communion with God and His Word. It really does make a difference! And it is so important for us to set spiritual goals for ourselves.

What are your Bible reading goals? And how do you measure your progress?