Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pure & Lovely

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Phil 4:8
I'm guilty of often glossing over the depth of this oft quoted verse, but today, when attending a revival at my cousin's church, I was became moved and motivated by it.  I have been disobeying my God about a particular issue.  Really, I've been behaving like my toddler, digging my heels in, writhing away, using that slithery "dead weight" posture that toddlers are so good at, kicking and crying, "No, no, NO!"  I've been using every excuse to continue behaving in this sinful way.

"God, don't take this away from me.  I love you.  It doesn't hurt my relationship with you.  It's totally separate from my relationship with you."

Hearing that verse from Philipians today though made me realize that I need to do what I try to get that wild toddler to do, and go to my God, repenting, and lay down this trivial, selfish little thing at his feet and walk away from it.  That verse is the standard by which I should measure all of the things that I allow into my life.  If anything is not beneficial to my relationship with my God, then it is detrimental to it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

IBS Update

I am seven weeks into my new plan for handling the IBS that I've suffered with since I was 16.  I needed to share that it is going great!  I feel like a different person!

I went to the beach with my mom and the kids for a week, my hubby stayed home to work on our remodeling, and I was able to travel without worrying about where we would stop if I suddenly needed a restroom.  If you are an IBS sufferer, you know how big a deal that is!  Wow!  Although I don't like to drink it a lot anyway, I also have been able to drink coffee (a big trigger for me) every other morning or so with no interference with my daily life.

IBS sufferers, there is hope!  Keep trying until you find something that works for you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Review: PrayerWalk by Janet Holm McHenry

As a mother of three young children, I often find that prayer and exercise often fall by the wayside many days. When I received my copy of PrayerWalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength and Discipline, I was interested to see how another mom built up her body and her relationship with God in this one activity.

PrayerWalk was an interesting read, beginning with the story of how the author, Janet Holm McHenry, began prayerwalking. The book is written in a friendly, conversational tone, and goes on to include useful information on such topics as the benefits of walking, strategies for making time to prayerwalk, walking safely and comfortably, and prayerwalking partners under the section heading “Part 1: Becoming a Woman of Strength and Discipline.” The second portion, entitled “Part 2: Becoming a Woman of Prayer” includes encouraging food for thought on how to pray, who to pray for and praising God, as well as a chapter detailing some prayers answered as a result of the author’s prayer walking. My favorite inclusions are at the back of the book, where you can find study questions (including scriptural references) and a 30-Day PrayerWalking challenge with a daily prayer focus and fitness challenge.

I enjoyed PrayerWalk, finding it to be very meaty for a small book and very easy to read. Ms. McHenry is a humble champion for the reader who desires to make some changes in his or her spiritual and physical lives. If you want to read about Ms. McHenry’s plan for doing just that, you can get a peek at the first chapter of PrayerWalk here or purchase the book here.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Tough Day Full of Blessings

Today was TOUGH.  A family that we are very close to is traveling this week and we are house-sitting.  Because all our kids are very little, we opted to have all of us sleep in the master bedroom instead of letting any of them sleep upstairs in the kids rooms.  They also have three dogs, who are wonderful, but might frighten them a little bit if they awoke to a big, lickity German Shepherd on top of them. :-)  Anyhow, we brought the Pack N Play for the toddler, the crib mattress to put on the floor for the preschooler, and planned for the baby to sleep with us. (We are sometimes co-sleepers.)

The morning went something like this:

3:00am: Preschooler wets bed.  (Guess what sorry Mama forgot to bring a change of sheets. Yeah, this one.)

3:30am: Hubby gets ready for work.  Dogs bark.  Preschooler is talking.  Loudly.  A Lot.

4:00am: Toddler hears preschooler talking, wakes up and starts babbling.

4:30am:  Everyone is still talking.  Only the baby and the dogs are asleep.

5:00am:  I find my phone to call hubby.  It's dead.  I have no charger with me.  His number is long distance from their house. Baby wakes up and I feed him perched on the edge of the bathtub while the preschooler potties and the toddler is bombarded with a never-ending chorus of "Don't touch that"'s.

5:30am:  I can't call my hubby.  I don't know where the dog's food is.  The preschooler and toddler are STILL talking, and I let them get up and feed them a piece of cheese while I try to find the dog food.

5:45am:  Still can't find the dog food.  Everyone's still awake.  Still can't get in touch with my hubby.  I pack the kids in the van and head for home to get my charger and a few hours of sleep.  I thank God on the way home that I have three little ones to keep me up at night.

6:30am:  We are home.  Everyone is asleep.  My phone is charging.  I found out from my hubby where the dog food is.  I pray that everyone will stay asleep.  They do, and I sleep too.  (Praise the Lord!)

10:30am:  I wake the kids up, feed them breakfast and give them baths because the toddler has an Unknown Sticky Gross Substance in her hair.  Get them dressed, feed the baby.  Discover that the baby has a tick in his scalp!  Panic ensues, as I've never had to remove a tick before.  Google tells me how, and the procedure is successful.

11:30am:  We feed the dogs and cats, let them out and hang out for a bit.  I find out from my mom that we can use my dad's boss's beach house for a week at the end of July while my hubby works on home renovations.  YAY!

3:30pm:  We get an unexpected check in the mail from the congregation at a friend's church where my hubby had preached in May.  YAY!

6:45pm:  I snuggled up with three beautiful little ones, read a devotional and half of The Lorax.

It's 9:35 now, and as I look over all that I just wrote, I am so thankful.  A night with little sleep, a tick in the scalp, forgotten charger and sheets... Every day cannot be perfect, or even good, but it's so important to recognize the blessings.  The check and the beach house are blessings, yes, but the real blessings are the people God has put in my life.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My IBS Cure

I wouldn't really say that I'm "cured," but I will share with you, as I promised yesterday, the little regimen that has changed my life in the last few weeks.

I'll start by saying that I am not good at remembering to take medication.  I am particularly good at forgetting to take medicine that tastes bad.  :-)  Yes, I've even forgotten many, many days to take my prenatal vitamins when I was pregnant, and almost never took them while nursing.  However, I was/am tired of being a slave to this illness!  Secondly, my initial IBS symptoms appeared when I was experiencing extreme stress and anxiety, and is almost always worst when I am nervous, and I often get anxious/nervous about being sick, so it's really an ugly cycle.

I'm not saying this will cure everyone, or even anyone else but me.  However, if you are suffering from IBS-D and you know that anxiety is one of your major triggers, it may help.  So, here are the things that I am doing:

The "meds":
  • Sustenex (probiotic)
  • St. John's Wort (2 capsules/day)
  • Prenatal Vitamin
  • B-Complex Vitamin (this is the yucky tasting one!)
The non-meds:
  • Walking almost every single evening with my husband and kids.  Most nights it's about a mile.
  • Avoiding a lot of greasy foods.  I still eat some occasionally, but it's really not worth the pain.
The results:

I did this for one week inconsistently (the forgetting to take pills thing) and two weeks infallably, and for the last two weeks have not had any attacks.  I had not been two weeks without an attack for the last two years! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My IBS Story

Since the spring of the year that I turned 16, I have suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  It was triggered initially by stress (peer issues), and I spent the last 12 years enslaved to my illness.  I could not go anywhere that there wouldn't be a restroom and I missed many important events because I was sick.   I took Immodium for almost every single day of my junior and senior years of high school, as well as almost every day at college.  I was briefly on anti-anxiety medication, to see if it helped, and it did some, but made me feel like I was not in control of my body and mind.  It removed my "filter" and everything that came into my head went out of my mouth.  (Not good in a business setting for sure, which is where I was at the time!)

However, three years ago, I experienced a beautiful reprieve from the pain and embarassment.  Pregnancy!  When I was pregnant with my first baby, Brooke, I felt amazing.  It was like I wasn't sick anymore.  I didn't have even a touch of morning sickness with her, and I could eat whatever I wanted (which I unfortunately did!) So, when I became pregnant with Lauren, 8 months after Brooke was born, I thought the good feelings would continue.  Alas, they did not and I felt incredibly ill, morning sickness until almost mid-pregnancy, and my IBS was back in full swing.   Then, four months after Lauren was born, I became pregnant with Sam, and my IBS got even worse.  I rarely even made it to church in the last few months of that pregnancy, because I was so ill and didn't want to spend the service hiding in the bathroom.  I also had incredibly bad morning sickness, again until around 20 weeks, and as soon as that let up, I developed some gallbladder pain. 

But... I am excited to say that for the last three weeks, I've hardly been sick.  I've been able to eat a few treats here and there that I wouldn't have normally been able to eat.  I've been able to go to places without restrooms nearby and without needing to scope out bathrooms immediately upon arriving places.  I've been able to spend time with friends without having to leave abruptly.  I'm still tired, but we can blame that on the three month old.  :-)  Want to hear about my miracle cure?  I'll tell you tomorrow!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Not A Creature Is Stirring

It's quiet right now, all the children are sleeping and my hubby is off helping out a friend of ours.  After a day that seemed like it would never end, it's nice to have a few moments of quiet.  The day started with a preschooler who had wet the sheets, followed by a spilled mystery substance being spread around the house by tiny feet and naptime was interrupted by a toddler who has learned to remove her diaper... all before Daddy got home for dinner.

It's so easy to be thankful for the blessing of children when they're sleeping.  It's not as easy when everyone is cranky, not the least of whom is Mommy, and you find yourself crying in the bathroom... while everyone else cries outside the bathroom door.  (That didn't happen today, but it has!)  However, we are blessed to have an awesome God, who loves us even when we are not the Mommies we want to be, or that he wants us to be.  In those quiet moments, when we realize that the day was not what it could have been, and that although we want to blame the children's attitudes and behaviour, we know that ours did not help and maybe were worse than theirs, we can lay it all before our Lord and he will wash it all away.  He will cleanse us and give us a fresh tomorrow.  The circumstances of tomorrow may be no different than those of today, but we will be starting anew.

When we remember the love He has for us, and we try to extend that love, grace and mercy to our little ones, being attentive to opportunities to show them who God is through our behaviour and attitude, and keeping our focus on Him all throughout our day, externally and internally, we might find that when the quiet of the night comes, they were blessings all the day long. 

Remember why you're doing this.  It's not because you thought changing diapers and wet sheets for a dozen years would be fun.  It's because you accepted the stewarship, the challenge, the fun, the not-so-fun, the reward of a child (or three.) 

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thank God if your day just stunk, repent for your part in making it stink and pray for the peace and energy to do it better tomorrow. 

Sam is 3 Months Old!

Our first little boy, a sweet, cuddly, smiley guy, is three months old today.  Time does fly when you're having lots of fun and no sleep.  :-) 

He is hilarious and happy.  He loves his sisters and they are over the moon for him!

Caprese Salad

My first blog-stop on Thursday mornings, the 4 Moms, 35 Kids, is hosting a linkup for summer/picnic recipes. 

To be honest, we haven't exactly been picnicing much, because it's been unbearably hot most days, and when it hasn't been that, it's been raining. But, we do have a garden that is filling ours and lots of our neighbors homes with lots of fresh produce, and I've been making this salad because it helps use some of that produce, and keeps me from having to turn on the oven in this heat.  Also, because I have IBS, my digestive system cannot tolerate a lot of raw foods, but it can tolerate this (yay!)  Anyway, enough about me, and on to the recipe!  Oh, a warning... I don't really measure, but I included to the right of the ingredients the amount I used when we shared with a family of six (before our veggies came on), and it was enough for us as a group of 10 eaters.

Caprese Salad

Cherry tomatoes, halved (1 pkg)
Fresh Mozzerella, cut into chunks/cubes (1 pkg)
Basil, roughly shredded (10 leaves)
A drizzle of olive oil (a bigger drizzle)
Baby spinach (optional) (one bag)

Mix it all together.  Eat it.

Please go here to see more recipes or share your own!