Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Good Drink and Some Good Reads!

On the home front, we have become OBSESSED with smoothies! It all started when we attempted to go grain-free on the Maker's Diet (that didn't work out for too long- you can read my previous "Happy Tummies" post for the back story on that). I came across this post at Passionate Homemaking, and I was inspired to make a green smoothie. It was actually really good!

I love this idea, especially as a homemaker with young children, I could use a boost during the day- and a green smoothie provides just that! The ones I make are usually heavier on the "green"- but since my husband is the Chief Smoothie Maker in our house, most of the time, they look like this:

Would you believe that actually contains spinach (a good amount, too)? And carrots? Yes, carrots. The one in the picture has frozen strawberries, blueberries, spinach, carrots and orange juice. He's even started making them with tomatoes. (I'm still not quite sure how I feel about that- and I like tomatoes!)

Anyway, they're really easy to make, and we just have a regular blender- nothing fancy. The only one in our house who doesn't love a good smoothie is my son (who calls them "smoozies" by the way), and I think that's only because he hasn't been brave enough to try one. My daughter LOVES them- as soon as she sees one in my hand, she is on me like white on rice! I love knowing that I'm getting a good serving or two (or more) of vegetables, and it tastes so good! Here are some ideas of what you can add (that I've tried) that I really like:
  • Berries
  • peaches
  • mango
  • pineapple
  • spinach
  • parsley
  • coconut milk (the stuff in a can- it adds a lot of fat which helps you stay full longer- and has many other benefits- that's a whole 'nother post!)
  • plain yogurt
  • bananas
  • orange juice
  • pomegranate juice
  • cranberry juice
Jordan Rubin even recommends adding a whole raw egg for protein (and all the extra good stuff eggs provide). Just make sure you use a good quality egg (like organic or free range) and wash it before you crack it- that's where the risk of Salmonella is for the most part. I actually did that for a while years ago during another "smoothie kick", and you can't really taste the egg- so it's not an issue if the thought of that grosses you out. :)

Anyway, now for the reading: I've come across SO many great food/wellness blogs lately and some really great posts that I just have to go make yourself a smoothie, and then come back and read them!

An interesting article about breakfast cereal and why you should consider avoiding it.
Slay the Sugar Monster in Four Steps- I love this article! So informative about different kinds of sweeteners and why you should kick the sugar habit. 

So, what kind of smoothie did you make? What did you think of the articles? Share with me in the comments!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Keys to Overcoming Anger- Part One: Humility

It had been a rough several months for me. From about the middle of my pregnancy onward, I had a daily battle of wills with my two year old son. Then the baby came. Then came sleep deprivation as my new little bundle worked out her day/night issues.

I remember one night in particular when my daughter was just a couple weeks old. She was challenging me yet again by not sleeping when I thought she was supposed to. I was getting up with her for what seemed like the umpteenth time. I headed toward the restroom before picking her up, and when she saw that, she cried even more. I snapped, "are you kidding me?! Just a minute!"

My husband was awake at that point, and said in response, "hey, don't yell at her. You're the one who told me that babies cry to communicate". I managed to mutter something snotty like, "thanks a lot" and he had to go in to our son, because by that time, he had awakened as well.

I sat nursing the baby in the dark living room fuming over that exchange. Who does he think he is? He's not the one who has to get up with her. He doesn't understand what I'm going through. I'd like to see him try to deal with what I deal with all day. I couldn't believe his "audacity." Suddenly, I heard Holy Spirit speaking to my heart, "quit making excuses. Quit blaming others for your response."

In a moment, my whole perspective changed. I felt ashamed for how I had been acting. This was not who I was. Nobody in my family had been spared from my wrath. Sitting there in the middle of the night, as I repented for my behavior, I felt God's grace wrapped around me like a warm blanket.

When my husband came out of our son's room, I apologized for how I had spoken to our daughter and to him. He quickly forgave me, and then went back to bed.

"But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:6-7

God gives us grace when we humble ourselves. When we stop blaming others for our reactions. When we stop blaming others for our anger. When we stop trying to act like we're not the problem. His grace enables us to sit up in the wee hours of the morning with a restless baby. It enables us to receive criticism from others. His grace gives us the ability to clean up our toddlers "accident" or whatever it is that can get us annoyed.

If you are battling anger in your life right now, are you accepting responsibility for your behavior? Or are you passing the blame on to others? Do you find yourself saying (or thinking) things like "if they wouldn't act like this, then I would not get upset"? Take a moment to humble yourself before God.

Lord, forgive me for my behavior. I ask You to show me where I am wrong. Show me ways that I can better deal with the pressures in my life right now. I ask that You would pour your grace upon me right now. Help me to become more like You. In Jesus' name, amen.

Do you struggle with anger? I welcome you to share your experience in the comments. 

Linking up at Time-Warp Wife

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Introducing Happy Tummies!

So you've probably noticed the Happy Tummies tab underneath the header (you have, right?) and you may have wondered what it's all about (right?). Anyway, I will begin adding related content pretty soon, but I wanted to explain what I mean by "Happy Tummies". 

Happy is the opposite of SAD, which stands for "Standard American Diet" which is a diet full of unhealthy food, low in fiber and complex carbohydrates and high in sugar and processed foods. I think I first heard the term "SAD" back when I first read The Maker's Diet (which is a great book to read- even if you don't do the 40 day diet) about seven years ago.

My Journey
Like many, I think I pretty much grew up on the "standard American diet". I remember eating a lot of sugary cereal and things like Pop Tarts for breakfast, sandwiches on white bread for lunch...most the time we ate something home cooked for dinner, but at busier times we would eat pizza or fast food or boxed, highly processed convenience meals (think "just add water" and ground beef- or mix the day-glo cheese powder with margarine and milk). As a teenager, I distinctly remember eating candy bars and soda for "breakfast" and Taco Bell for lunch...and top ramen for dinner. I continued eating this way into my early adult years, until at one point I was probably about 30 pounds overweight from eating fast food all the time (that may not seem like much, but on my small frame, it was really noticeable).

It was at that point that I began to make some changes- and when I did, I saw the weight come off pretty quickly. I stopped drinking soda (for the most part) and started adding in more and more fresh fruit and vegetables to my diet. I started cooking more food at home and enjoyed recipes from a "quick and healthy" cook book that I had. I still use some of those recipes from time to time, but I actually started using real eggs and butter in the recipes that called for "healthy" egg substitute and margarine several years ago.

Then, about seven years ago, I participated in a healthy living seminar at my church, and started learning about organic, whole foods, and other "super foods". I also read The Maker's Diet around that time, and from that point I've learned more and more about how to take care of and nourish this body that God has entrusted me with.

Now, I pretty much try to avoid "fake food" altogether or, as I like to call it "frankenfood." When selecting something that is not a whole food at the grocery store I usually follow this criteria:

  • short list of recognizable ingredients
  • no high fructose corn syrup
  • no Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  • no artificial colors or artificial flavors
  • organic (sometimes- usually if a packaged food is organic, you can count on it to be free from unhealthy sweeteners, artificial flavors and colors.)

I try to purchase and eat food that is as close to it's original state as possible. I'm still growing on this "real food journey" so I still will use some items for convenience like canned tomatoes or beans- but I am big on learning how to make stuff at home. Pretty recently, I learned how to make chicken stock at home- it is so much tastier than store bought, and I know exactly what's in it! I also learned how to make homemade yogurt which takes a long time, but is rather easy. I had one failure with the yogurt, but it ended up as ricotta cheese instead!

More recently, I adopted an allergen free diet. Shortly after my daughter was born, she began exhibiting allergic symptoms that were alleviated when I cut out the "big eight" allergens from my diet (milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish). The first four were the toughest for me, and the others not as much because they weren't a huge part of my diet anyway. (I am breastfeeding, by the way). It's definitely been an interesting experience, and I've learned even more about health. I've also realized the strong possibility that I have been experiencing "leaky gut" (or increased intestinal permeability) which would (at least in my mind) explain why my daughter would be sensitive to food that I eat to the extent that she is.  My son also tested positive for food allergies (also breastfed). I've recently tried to follow The Maker's Diet (which is basically grain-free) which meant reintroducing eggs and milk, but my daughter is still reacting to those foods if I eat them in larger quantities. I've had to re-assess and have made the decision to go back to the milk, egg, wheat, soy free diet.

As you step out on your own journey, just realize that all the little changes that you make will make a big difference in your life and in the lives of your family members. You don't have to make the changes overnight! It's not an all or nothing venture. You can start out like I did (depending on where you're at) by cutting out sodas, for example. And just go from there!

Healthy, Achievable, Properly Prepared and Yummy! That's what "Happy Tummies" is all about! I plan to post something on a weekly basis related to this- whether it be a recipe, or information that I feel like I need to share.

Where are you in your journey to "real food?" Is there anything in particular you would like me to address? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Most Frightening Prayer

"Change me, Lord."

"Change my heart."

Frightening because you have no idea what God is going to do with that liberty.

I have found myself hesitating to utter those words at times, not sure what will happen.  Not sure what part of myself I would lose.

But, think of what you could gain!  Psalm 37:4 states "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart."

God will never allow you to surrender a part of your soul without replacing it with something glorious.  A new passion.  A new perspective.  Wisdom.  Grace.

Those "desires of your heart" might even be a desire so deep you didn't even know it was there. 

Are you struggling with something right now?  Marriage?  Motherhood?  Ministry?  Another relationship?  Something else altogether?

Cry out to God.  Ask Him to change the situation...starting with you!  Allow Him to show you things you've never seen before.  He will!  The Bible says in James 4:6 "But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:  'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'"

So whether you're dealing with unforgiveness, or something you don't feel like doing, or some other kind of tough situation, God has the answer...but it may not be what you think!  Allow yourself to be surprised by His answer to the situation!  You won't regret it.

Linking up for Women Living Well Wednesdays:

I'm Guest Posting Today!

Look for me over at Donna Perugini's blog!  I was honored to be invited to write a guest post for her about my perspective on serving in the children's ministry.  Click on over and check it out!  And don't forget to check out her book trailers- she has authored several great children's books that tell the story of the Gospel and other Christian messages in a way that children can understand and receive. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Faith Box (Long Overdue!)

Back in October, I entered a giveaway on the Good Morning Girls blog to win a My Faith Box. It's concept interested me, as it's a box that contains a journal for a parent to track the spiritual progress of their little one. It includes areas where you can record specific prayers you've prayed for your child, family information and more. It also gives you "resources and ideas for how to be intentional in helping your child know, love and follow Jesus." (From their website).

Anyway, I was surprised when I got an email announcing that I had won a My Faith Box! Come to find out, that the lady who was giving them away saw the overwhelming response and didn't want to choose just one winner (she was thinking maybe giving away two My Faith Boxes) but her uber-generous husband provided a box for all of those who entered the giveaway!

So, in return, I agreed to write a post about my experience winning a My Faith Box- but I meant to do it later that week- not three months later! Whoops!

This would be a great tool for you if you have little ones, or even a great gift for an expectant mama. I'm looking forward to using My Faith Box as a way to keep me on track with spiritually encouraging my children through the years (I may need to get another one though!)

What are some effective ways you have used to encourage your child in their relationship with God?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Look Back, A Look Ahead

As we start a new month and a new year, I wanted to take a few minutes to look back at my blogging experience thus far and also look ahead at what's to come!

Last June, I started my blog, and I've been blessed to meet many new and wonderful people (you, of course!) I wrote 50 posts in that time, and here are the top 5 (based on page views):

My Mid-Year Resolution (in which I vow to overcome my fear of breastfeeding in public)

It makes me laugh (and scratch my head a little) at what has had the most page views. "My Mid-Year Resolution," I understand, because it was part of a blog carnival type thing. But the others? Well, I don't really know. So here are my top 5 personal favorites (that were fun or meaningful to me- and ones that you may have missed):

Calling Me Home (My personal story about becoming a stay at home mom)

Pregnancy Series Part 1: What Are You Thinking? (As well as the others in the pregnancy series)

I'm also happy to say that I've had 42 page views on my tab "Got Happiness?" where I share the Gospel message with readers.  (That's kind of the ultimate purpose behind my blog).  The Bible says "some plant, some water" and while I would imagine that many that have viewed that page already have a relationship with Jesus, you never know! 

Now looking ahead: I will be sitting down in the next couple of days and creating a calendar of posts I would like to do. One thing I know I will be starting is book reviews! I'm really excited about that. I love reading (though I haven't been reading nearly as much lately) and I would love to introduce you all to some great titles that are relevant to your life as a woman, wife, mother and daughter of the Lord (not necessarily in that order!) That will probably take place on a monthly basis.

Food will be the another thing that I will highlight in the new year. I will be focusing on whole foods, for the whole family, and teaching how you can break away from depending on processed foods in your family.  I'm still growing in this area too, and learning new things all the time, so this will be fun!

Now, I would like some feedback from you! As you can see in my header, the purpose of my blog is to provide "Biblical encouragement for the woman of the house...and some other useful stuff!" Are there any areas that you especially need encouragement? Maybe you need ideas to keep your home running smoothly, or maybe some Biblical insight for raising children or being the wife God created you to be??? How about the "other useful stuff" part? Is there anything you would like to learn about this year that maybe I could help with?

Let me know in the comments (or if you prefer, you can contact me by email at happychristianhome(at)! I'd love to hear from you! :D

Be Strong and Courageous!

"Be strong (confident) and of good courage, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them." Joshua 1:6 Amplified (emphasis mine)

That's a big responsibility! Thankfully, I'm not Joshua and I don't have the entire nation of Israel depending on me, but that Scripture still spoke to my heart! I have others depending on me, and while it may not be an entire nation, it still is a group (however small) of very important people.

Who depends on you, friends? Your children? A ladies group at church? Your husband? Whether you realize it or not, you are a person of great influence! God desires for you to "be strong and of good courage" because people are watching you! They need to see your light shining in the darkness.

Once upon a time (okay, it was about six years ago), our church went through a very difficult time. People were leaving the church left and right, and, at one point, it even crossed my mind to do so. In a peaceful moment, God spoke to my heart, and He pointed out several people that I would be affecting if I left too. Well, that was too big of a price for me to pay. I could not bear to risk hindering someone else's walk with God.

You may be thinking, "are they really my responsibility?" YES! They are! (To a certain extent, anyway). Romans 14 reminds us of the impact we have on our brothers and sisters- and warns us to not cause them to stumble.

I encourage you to take steps to strengthen your walk with God- wherever you are at today. Do you need to spend more time in fellowship with God? Make a commitment to spend at least a few minutes reading your Bible, or in prayer. Or maybe you need to commit to spending more time in fellowship with like-minded believers in a church or small group setting.

Make it your goal to positively impact everyone you come into contact with. Speak words of encouragement; words that edify (build someone up)- whether it be your husband, your children, another woman, or a child you come into contact with throughout the course of your day. You never know how far reaching your influence can be! Your positive influence can cause others to inherit the promises of God!

For me, that's a good enough reason to get my act together! God is depending on me to help others receive all that He has for them!

What are some ways you can impact others in your world for God?

Linking up for Living Well Wednesdays