Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What I'm into this Month- August 2011 Edition

Let's start off with what I'm not into this month: Blogging! (Kidding) But really it seems like I've hit a wall or something. I just haven't been that inspired, I guess. I'm believing that September will be a more active month around these parts.

Without further ado, the things I actually am into this month (beware of the overuse of links- please read the whole post and then check them out. Lol)!

On My Nightstand: One Thousand Gifts- So I really didn't plan to read this book, but one day at the library, I saw it on the "new nonfiction" shelf. It just caught my eye. It has proven to be a timely read for me. Like any other book (Christian or secular), you do have to read it through the lens of God's Word. Overall (so far) I've really enjoyed it, and my perspective on this life of faith has been challenged. I don't normally get into writing with so much free prose and flowery descriptive language, but I think it's absolutely worth the read.

Want to (Re)Read: A Woman After God's Own Heart- there's just something about this book that brings me back to the of the first I read after becoming a stay at home mom. (Love!)

TV Show Worth Watching: Lately, I've been getting into Kitchen Nightmares. (Gordon Ramsey is entirely too charming, no?) I just enjoy watching it because I used to work in restaurants, plus I love cooking, so I understand what the people are going through most of the time.

Movie I've Seen (in or out of theater): Nothing! I checked out The Bucket List from the library, but never got around to watching it. That's got to count for something!

In My Kitchen: Finally a menu plan! Yay! I've been at it for three weeks now, and it's going fairly well. I've also found it more simple this time around as I don't allow myself to agonize over what we'll eat for dinner. (Did I ever tell you I have a hard time making decisions?)

Some of our favorite dinners this month:

White Bean Chicken Chili
Chicken and Dumplings
Tacos- (the old standby in our house!)

(Nevermind that it's still in the 110's in these parts.)

And just for fun:

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze- I love this blog-she has so many awesome recipes!

In My Ears: So I've managed to be more consistant with playing music in the house this month. New on my playlist:

Audience of One
Until the Whole World Hears (should totally be THE Christian Anthem)
You Said 

A Few Interesting Places Online:

Acid Reflux: A Red Flag
In the Backyard

Around our House: Well, we met our new pediatrician this past week. He's really nice and I learned from his website that he has a "special interest" in allergies (and other GAPS sort of issues) which was totally exciting for me since we pretty much deal with food allergies and gut issues all around. He ordered allergy tests for both children (food allergies and environmental allergies) and we have an appointment set for early next month to discuss the results. I really appreciate that since the results of the first allergy test my son had were only discussed by phone. It went a little something like this: Dr- "so your son has tested positive for mild allergies to milk and egg whites". Me- "Okay. So what does that mean?" Dr- "that means you need to avoid those foods entirely." Oh. Right. Hopefully this upcoming discussion will be a little more thorough.

Also, we've gotten back in the habit of a weekly library trip. My wonderful MIL allows me to use her car one day a week while she's at work. This one day also ends up being my errand day. So while I enjoy getting everyone out of the house, on the flip side, we really get out of the house. We've had adventures grocery shopping, banking (forty minutes waiting at the bank only to NOT accomplish what I went in for, thankyouverymuch.) Getting babies buckled into seats, brought out of seats, buckled into grocery carts or strollers, brought into establishment, brought out of establishment, buckled back into seats, repeat as necessary. Did I mention the lowest temp on one of our errand days was 103? Yeah, and the day we chose to go out last week, it was 117! Egads! The highs are expected to be falling below 100 by the end of the first week of September, thankfully! Though, I don't really have a right to complain since my hubby commutes to work in this weather six days a week...with "not the air conditioning" (or at least not air conditioning that he can run constantly). Anyway, I guess all that builds character or something...but that doesn't stop me from looking forward to cooler temps!

New In My Sidebar: is a great site where you can purchase Christian movies, and even sign up for a Christian DVD rental program (sort of like Netflix). If you make a purchase via Happy Christian Home, I will make a small profit (at no additional cost to you, of course).

Also I've signed up for Swagbucks, and have been using it all month. (I've almost earned enough for an Amazon giftcard- yay!) If you'd like to start earning (and help me earn some more too!) you can click on the button in my sidebar. It's free stuff for doing something you already do anyway. Gotta love that!

What are YOU into this month?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Reflections on Five Years of Marriage

Five years and a few weeks ago I was a jumble of nerves. People fussing over me, spraying me (yet again) with hair spray (which I rarely even use), adjusting my headpiece, rushing me to get the party started already (I'm sure they meant well). On that day, there's no way in the world I would've been able to imagine what was ahead of me.

It seems five years has been such a long time but at the same time, has gone by in a flash. We've experienced pregnancies, babies, financial crises, job changes, job losses, a relocation, not to mention birthday parties, unexpected blessings of various kinds, date nights, moments of laughter and more. I think those sorts of things have a way of making time go a little faster than normal! (Maybe faster is normal).

The word that's come to me about the "theme" of our marriage lately has been "sifting". I hear this word in my head whenever something trying is happening. Sifting. (As in Luke 22:31 when Jesus says "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.")

I've come to understand that marriage is a refining process. Apparently God has His work cut out with me! Some things have been far more challenging than I could have guessed. People always say "marriage is a lot of work". That kind of statement is something you just can't understand until you're there. Kind of like when people say "motherhood is amazing" or "life-changing". If you haven't been there, you just kind of smile and nod and in the back of your mind, think "of course it is!" but you just don't understand the magnitude of that statement until it happens to you.

Of course it is. Marriage is a lot of WORK. (And it's not for the faint of heart). That's not to say it's drudgery or anything like that. But you must always bring your "A game". I don't know that there will ever come a time when I can just sit back and relax and let my marriage be on auto pilot. It just doesn't work that way. One must always be proactive and keep on stepping outside of themselves to cultivate a healthy marriage.

I think one of the most challenging things has been adjusting my expectations of what married life was "supposed" to look like. I had ideals and ideas of how things were going to go. Of course, no one expected that I would become pregnant within the first month of being married, and nobody expected that pregnancy would be difficult (both stressful physically to me personally, but also a strain on our marriage), and nobody expected that I would want to leave my job at the church to care for my son. Nobody but God, anyway. He knows everything. And He is never surprised or caught off guard at anything that we do.

There's always peace if we will just trust HIM. Trust that first of all, He didn't lead me astray when I made the decision to marry (same goes for my husband) or that we were "missing it" somehow. Trust that He knows the end from the beginning and that He'll show us exactly what we need to do (and that it may not always feel good or line up with how we think a situation should be handled). His ways are higher than our ways, and marriage is in fact a refining process. He wants us to get rid of selfishness, immaturity, impatience, pride and everything else under the sun that's not of Him. He is more concerned for our holiness than He is our happiness. (Though both are found in Him alone).

So sifting. This is about saying "yes" to God's higher ways, and leaving my own ways behind. About glorifying God with my attitude and approach to caring for and loving one of His dear children (my husband). It's about "bucking the trends" and setting an excellent example to future generations and showing others that marriage is not a lost art, or something that's simply not for today's culture.

My desire for the next five years (and beyond) is to have the discipline and courage to leave behind even more selfish behaviors and thought patterns. That I would glorify God with my actual response to my marriage situation and my husband (not just my thoughtfully composed response in the blogosphere).

Have you gone through a season of sifting? How has God used your marriage to "refine" you?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Promotion!

I've been serving in the children's ministry at our church in some capacity or another for about seven years. My first assignment in the children's ministry all those many moons ago, was writing curriculum for our (then) enormous (at least to me) elementary school age ministry. (We all know how much I like writing!) But then, I was serving as a teacher due to our church losing many of the teachers we had at the time. There was a need, and I stepped up to meet it, thinking in the back of my mind that it was a temporary thing I was "just filling in" for. Most recently, I've served as assistant director of our children's ministry (again, due to need), and now, I've been "promoted" to Children's Ministry Director!

Sometimes when God calls people to a specific assignment, they run screaming in the other direction, and I was certainly no exception! Seriously at first, I really didn't like the idea. I'm definitely not one of those "kid-loving" people by nature (my own children being the exception, of course). At least that's what I keep telling myself!

Yet, God proved Himself yet again the other night when He gave me the opportunity to share the Gospel with a young person. He showed me how I love communicating the truth of God's Word on their level, taking something that can seem complicated and breaking it down so that a child can apply it to their own life.

So that Sunday night, I talked with the little boy, and he made the decision to accept Jesus as his Savior. Even more awesome, was that it was his birthday! How awesome to be born again on the anniversary of your natural birth!

I love the Scripture that says "Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4). I really believe that sometimes we don't know (or we deny) the true desires of our hearts, but when we do delight ourselves in Him, He gives us the most amazing of gifts. Even if it's something that we didn't expect to find joy in.

Anyway, our children's ministry is small, but growing, and I pray that I (and the rest of the team) can be used to help reach out to all children from birth to sixth grade in our community.

I would so appreciate your prayers as I enter this new season in ministry! 

What exciting ministry opportunities have you had lately?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tips for Nursing Toddlers

I was reminded recently that this week is World Breastfeeding Week! Not sure how I could have forgotten, but I share nutrients with another person still, so that may be part of it. Here's a list of helpful tips for your nursing toddler to make their your nursing experience even more enjoyable!
. . .
If you are a toddler, this handy guide will assist you in all your nursing endeavors. These quick and easy tips will make for a mutually rewarding experience between "nurser" (that's you) and "nursee" (your mom).
My inspiration for this post- between nursing sessions. ;-)

  • Please refrain from pinching. This includes but is not limited to breasts, belly, arms and face. Repeat this mantra: "Pinching HURTS mommy!"
  • Nursing sessions must be a minimum of seven minutes in duration, with no less than 15 minute intervals between sessions.
  • Mother's blouse must not be lifted up while she is attempting to nurse discreetly in the presence of your grandmother.
  • If a cover is used in public, it is there for a reason. Please do not attempt to remove it at church, in the food court at the mall, the library or any other place where mother may not particularly want to expose her naked flesh. (Yes, it's natural, but your mother may still be the inhibited type).
  • Mothers typically do not like to nurse while using the bathroom. Don't ask!
  • Further, please don't attempt to nurse while standing upright.
  • If your mother gets up to prepare a meal or do housework after sitting for a prolonged period of time, it is not a signal to you to initiate a feeding.
  • While engaged in the act of breastfeeding, it is important to stay focused on the task at hand. There will be plenty time later to identify parts of mommy's face, people walking by, or pictures of babies on the computer monitor.
  • Your feet do not belong in mommy's face. Even if she does try to bite them when they are there.

As a toddler, nursing can be a great way for you to stay connected to your mother (in more ways than one)! It also still provides plenty of important nutrients- especially on those days when you only want to eat toast. Not to mention all the great benefits for mom! Keep it up, toddler!

Moms: Is there anything you'd like to add?

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Banana Incident

That my son is particular about his food is an understatement. Just recently, while we were waiting for company to arrive one Saturday morning, he asked for a banana.

He loves bananas, and he's quite methodical about the way he eats them. I open it for him, peel it down slightly and he'll take a couple of bites. Then, he takes the peel off the rest of the way, and throws it in the garbage. He's really rather predictable.

So, after serving his banana to him, I went about my usual business.

Then I heard a cry. I went in to see what was the matter, and distraught, he tells me, "my banana is BROKEN!" It had broken right in half. (I guess he got a little too enthusiastic whilst peeling it).

"Oh, well that's okay. You can still eat it," I offered.

"No! It's BROKEN!" he replied, followed by a short period of wailing. "I need another one."

After attempting to explain to him that his banana was perfectly fine, and in fact, still edible, I realized there was just no reasoning with him. I reluctantly let him have a new banana.

I guess this just wasn't his morning for bananas, because moments later the scene was repeated. Ever the cool and collected mama, I shouted "no more bananas!" which was met with more wailing. "Sorry, Bud...we can't keep wasting bananas because you don't want to eat broken ones," I explained once I gathered my wits.

Thankfully, a couple of banana-incident-free days passed and one morning he asked for another banana.

Well, wonder of wonders, he managed to break yet another banana. Unbelievable! This must have been one of those things that I was made to repeat until I got it right. Why a broken banana? I may never be sure. But amazingly, I came up with a solution that pleased the four year old banana breaker.

I dug in a kitchen drawer to find a pack of rarely-used toothpicks. I stuck two picks into the bottom portion of the banana, and stuck the top portion on top of the toothpicks and presented it to my son. "Look, it's not broken any more."

"Oh!" he said, pleased with the result. He happily ate the "repaired" banana and life went on. (And he was able to eat AROUND the toothpicks with no issue for those that are wondering.)

What kind of mommy drama have you survived lately?

Linking up today for the brand new blog hop, Mommy Monday at Simply Prudent. Be sure to visit for more mommy-hood posts! (And link up if you have a post to share!)