Monday, October 31, 2011

NaNoWriMo Begins In . . .

. . . .7 hours and 55 minutes and 14 seconds.

Today may be Halloween, but it should be renamed  NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Eve.

Tomorrow, with hundreds of thousands of other deranged unbalanced half-brained enthusiastic writers, I am throwing every spare minute, every precious ounce of energy, and each brain cell into writing over the next month to reach a word goal of 50,000 by the end of November.  If you're interested in what I'm writing feel free to check out my (very neglected) writing blog here.

But do not worry dear friends. I have several blog posts already written, ready and waiting to go for November.  I will keep posting a weekly picture for the Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood.   I have also lined up some exciting guest posts, all just to ensure this blog does not become stagnant while I spend hours a day pecking away at the keyboard to reach a daily word goal of roughly 2,000 on my novel (I just love the way that sounds, 'my novel').  That's how much I care about you.

Anyone else is participating in NaNoWriMo with me this year? Are you as excited/nervous/terrified as I am?

Anyone?



P.S. If you are a participating this year - come be my friend over there. I need all the support and encouragement I can. 


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Sunday, October 30, 2011

At Grandma's House

When the girls are old and gray they will look back and remember their Grandma's house as if it was something out of a storybook. They will cherish their memories of the times they climbed up on the wooden swing, where they stayed for hours {at least what seemed like hours} just swaying back and forth laughing, singing songs and having no cares in the world but going faster, and higher. 
They will remember how it was at Grandma's house when they truly fell in love with nature, and gardening:

They will tell their grandchildren and great-grandchildren stories that begin:
And they'll recall all the places they got lost, explored, discovered, relaxed, and soaked in the Creator's beautiful canvases everywhere they looked. How it was that one day on a summer break at Grandma's house they discovered their passion for art, or gardening, or bird watching, or reading, or writing, or . . .

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Isaiah 55:12


Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Grandma Says: Blue Your Whites

I am beginning a 'regular' post {as in I will post many of these themed posts as time goes on - I have no unrealistic expectations that it will be on a specific day of the week, on a certain hour every week, while I stand on one foot and jump) entitled "Grandmda Says" in hopes of spreading and sharing the wealth of knowledge and advice from my wonderful Grandmother. I daily learn from her, and I want to pass this knowledge on.

You're welcome.

Today's advice is on the study of the all consuming laundry. Personal backstory: Nobody ever taught me the finite points of laundering. I learned how to work the machine, to sort the color from the whites and what water temperature each load should have (all based off the nifty guides directly on the washing machine). That was the extent of my laundry education. Everything else has just been trial and error through years of experience. I thought I was an 'expert' laundress at this point. Oh, how wrong I was.

"I don't know how you sort clothes," she beings as I take her full {and unsorted} laundry basket.

"But I like to put the blue's clothes with the whites to make the whites whiter.  Do you ever do that?"

Hmmawhat? Come again? Blue makes white whiter? Am I the last person to ever learn this? And why am I just finding out about this now?

Here is some more helpful information
about why bluing your whites works (basically no white is just white-white - and the blue-shade of white is the whitest. Think snow, and blue ice). They even sell a blue 'bluing' rinse to put in the wash help make your whites whiter. I'm not sure how much laundering blue clothes with white clothes works to make the whites whiter, but at the very least it can't hurt!

To read more about bluing check out Mama's Laundry Talk,  and Old and Interesting.

Don't let bleach happen to your whites any more! Blue is the way of the future past - the way of the future past, the way of the future past! {1000 points if you can name that movie}

What about you, have you been bluing your whites for years like an old pro, or is this the first you've heard of such fancy laundering techniques?
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Life as a Musical

You know in the movies when out of nowhere a the cast bursts into song and perfectly choreographed dance? Its perfect. Its beautiful. Its absolute rubbish. No one does that in real life!

Except it turns out: me.  Maybe its a mom thing, or maybe its just a 'me' thing, but when I hear a phrase that reminds me of a song before you can say, "Don't be so corny!" I burst out singing the first song that pops into my head. I can't shut the music off. It takes on a life of its own.  I'll even change up the lyrics as I sing to fit any situation. For instance I may hear Eleanor shout angrily:

"Annabelle! Don't! Stop!"

And my first response is Journey's "Don't Stop Beliving" with my own lyrics belted out as theatrical as I can:

"Don't stop your lovin'! Hold on to that feelin'! Sister's are people! Don't stop your lovin'! Hold on to that feelin'! Sister's are people. . . !"


They laugh. We sing some more. We keep playing.

This happens all through the day with old hymns, kids songs of all variety, contemporary pop music, contemporary Christian, country - it doesn't matter, its all fair game {except rap.  I refuse to rap - or hard rock. Or screamer. Or disco. No wait, never-mind. I do a little disco.)

Both girls have caught on to this habit of bursting into song at the most random moments. Annabelle will hear 'A,' or "B" and start singing the 'ABC's," or hear light, and start singing "This Little Light of Mine."  Eleanor is constantly singing and picking up new songs, like this song she learned from cousin Courtney the other day:


Life is just better set to music, isn't it?

We start the day singing, "Good Morning to You/Good morning to you/ How are you today?"

We have a song we pray before we begin our prayers: "When its time to pray I bend my knees, fold my hands, close my eyes/When its time to pray I do these things, and then I talk to Jesus." 

We sing, "Come into our hearts," after we pray. We sing the abc's as we go to the bathroom. We sing a song as we go to nap and go to bed.

I'm not a 'singer,' I have no idea what 'tone,' or 'pitch' or 'harmonize' are - but I sure know how to make a joyful noise, and so do my children.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before Him with joyful singing. 
 Psalms 100: 1,2



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Monday, October 24, 2011

Flossing Your Heart

As I was busy with Annabelle in the bathroom (as most stories these days begin), Eleanor slunk off to my bathroom and found my floss (which is pretty amazing considering the dust it must have been under) and proceeded to pull the floss from the container to her hearts content.  I stumbled upon the a cozy nest of floss sitting in the middle of my bedroom floor and my first instinct {after stiffing frustration} was to try to put the floss back into its container {since all I do all day is put things away}.

Now, this just could be because I am naive and incompetent {I'm not denying this}- but for the life of me no matter how hard I tried I simply could not feed the floss back inside the container, or open the container to re-wind the floss. Nope, once the floss is out, its out.  There is no pretending it didn't come out, or pretending that you don't care it came out. Its a mess that you have to fix.  Luckily with floss its an easy solution: cut it all off and throw it away {or if you're a saver like me: put it in a baggy and cut pieces off with scissors as needed}.

This got me thinking about words. Once a word comes flying out of your mouth, no matter what you do or say - there is no taking it back. If in anger you spray out a giant bucket of diarrhea of the mouth onto someone you love (or even someone you don't) - its impossible to swallow the word diarrhea like it had never happened. No, you have to deal with the consequences of your words. Unfortunatley dealing with the consqunces of carelessly throwing out too many meaningless and hurtful words is not as easy to just cut off and throw away (or use as needed) like floss. You actually have to acknowledge the mistake, and then follow through with the even more difficult task of apologizing.

Even beyond apologizing, the most important part of making sure you don't have to deal with the mess again is figuring out how to keep those hurtful, angry words from flowing unbidden from your tongue:  control your anger, temper your words so that everyone who knows you comes to learn that everything that flows from your mouth has been thought through rationally and respectfully, and has value and meaning. And this is most important: that your words can be trusted, and their hearts can be trusted with you.

Our children minds are the most amazing sponges, and each word that comes out of our mouths is soaked up into their mind, never to be forgotten. (I am positive this is just so they can use those words you never meant to say against you at the very worst time imaginable. Bless their little hearts.}

The dentist shames you into flossing your teeth daily, but it is even more important to dust off the best floss for your thoughts: the Word of God, and daily use the Bible to floss the plaque and tarter from building around your heart and preventing nasty cavities from forming.  Keep up the daily heart floss and you just might save yourself - and all the members of your family - some major heart surgery.


"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23


Heather writing at Saved by Love has written a very helpful post on this topic: 5 Simple Steps to Defuse Angry Mom


Clearly, this is a work in progress for me, or else it wouldn't be on my mind - but it is a work that I have been putting forth 100% of my effort into and the improvement in heart and home has been drastic. It is amazing what a daily dose of The Word can do to fix a broken heart.
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Upside of Failure


I've really been getting into this healthy eating thing, and in my recipe searching I found a recipe for vegan chocolate mouse that had pretty good reviews. It looked easy enough, and I had most of the ingredients already on hand, so I decided to give it a whirl. With a few minor tweaks of course. My cooking motto is,"Recipes are merely suggestions."

I didn't have carob, so I skipped that. I didn't want to use sugar so I subbed in stevia.  I thought I'd try a little lemon juice and vanilla extract to give more flavor since I was skipping on the carob.  

Bad idea. Very very bad idea.  

I gave the 'chocolate mouse' to the girls to in hopes they could look past the weird aftertaste and enjoy 'dessert.'

Turns out, they could not. They took one taste of it and decided I had given them paint rather than food. 

So, maybe I had?

You can't win every time. Best to just roll with the punches, enjoy the ride, and make the most of everything that comes your way; like enjoying finger paints instead of moaning over the defeat of a failed dessert. 

What curve-ball in your life can you make the most of today?

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood


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Friday, October 21, 2011

Heard Around, Part Septième (7)

"Suck it!" Annabelle cries reaching for the binki that I take away from her.   She is a sucking fiend, and the house rule is that binki's are only for nap and bedtime. So, if she can't suck on a binki, or suck on - eerrr - nurse (since we weaned back in August), she is bound and determined to suck on any part of my body that she can get her mouth on and cries "suck it!" as she chases me around.  Its not awkward at all.

*                             *                              *                             *

Eleanor walks into my bedroom after cleaning the playroom and announces, "Oh my goodness I am so exhausted. I need a drink!"

She meant water, ya'all - water.


*                             *                              *                             *

"Thanks for being so patient with me, Heidi," Grandma says getting into the car after a trip to the yarn shop.

"Oh of course. No problem!" I reply.

"Mother - do not tell Grandma no!" Eleanor scolds me in best mommy voice from her car seat.

On the one hand, she's being disrespectful to me - but on the other hand she is looking out for Grandma. Grandma trumps me, ergo Eleanor is still being respectful. That's how it works, right?

*                             *                              *                             *

"Elmo! Elmo!" Annabelle calls from her high chair at breakfast (or really anywhere, anytime of the day or night. However, this particular story took place in her high chair).

A little exacerbated with hearings shouts of 'Elmo,' Grandma asks Annabelle:
"What has Elmo ever done for you?"

Annabelle pauses, looks at Great-Grandma seriously, shrugs her shoulders and holds out her palms face up, "Well? Sings! Happy!" she says slowly and pointedly, making sure we all understood her loud and clear.

You can't scoff at happiness - even if it's source is an obnoxious a silly red monster.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Christian's Dilemma: To Halloween Party or Not?

The year is 1948. The leaves on the tree's have transformed into vibrant shades of red, gold, and brown. A crisp wind nips the night air, and young lady wrapped in a knee-length wool coat graces the arm of her dashing escort, her husband of only two years.  Together they enter a brightly lit, cheerful home and are welcomed with the warmth of laughter and merriment of their family and friends. The house pours out its love from each crack and crevice, promising everyone who enters the shelter of home.

The young man takes the coat from his wife as they enter the too-warm home, and together they greet her parents with hugs and kisses. They quickly move through the house greeting and catching up with dear friends.  Presently,  an ice cream maker is produced and the young couple and their friends work on the task of making ice cream: chocolate and orange sorbet.  Each of the guests take a turn at the wooden crank of the ice cream maker. They sing songs as they churn the crank - spinning the bowl of sugar and cream past the salty ice as fast as they can pump it.

After the guests have exhausted their strength turning the crank, the young woman's mother, the revered hostess of the gathering,  brings the merry makers into the living room where she has each person tie a blindfold around their eyes.  The young adults wait expectantly in their seats for the tricks to come.   The young husband takes hold of the first object and moves it around slowly in his hands - small, round, cold, and slimy. The intent is clear, and he passes the object to his young wife on his right, who feels the object - makes her guess of 'eye balls,' and passes it on.  The young man is handed yet another object: wet, cold spaghetti noodles that slip and slide through his fingers, as he scrambles to take hold of noodles he silently concludes, "intestines," and passes it to his wife.  The group howls in laughter as they play "The Withered Corpse,"  and the men poke fun at the ladies as they scream in fright when the 'eye ball's and 'intestines' slip and slide through their delicate hands.  More objects are passed around, more screams and groans of delight are heard through the house. 

The hostess instructs the guests to take off their blindfolds and turn their chairs to face the outside wall where they notice a white sheet has been hung. The lights dim, and a small light appears from behind the sheet that instantly throws moving shadows on the curtain, showing in shadow a doctor performing surgery on her patient. Music crackles from the record player, enchanting the audience to the story playing on the screen while the guests are served the rewards of their hard earned work with the Acme ice cream freezer.  Pop corn drizzled in oil and salt is produced and passed around.  The young couple leans against each other, sharing their ice cream and a bag of popcorn, enjoying the company of their friends and family; enjoying the comfort found in each other, and the merriment of the night, and especially the sight of their mother (and mother-in-law), the respected Mrs. J. H. White, acting so gaily behind the curtain. 


*****
Fall of 2011. My grandmother pushes her walker, and I push the girls in their stroller as we walk past our neighbors homes decked out in spider webs,  pumpkins, and signs that boast, "You call me a witch like its a bad thing." Suddenly memories of Halloween's past flow from her memory, and as she tells me the stories I realize I had never given much thought to how my grandmother celebrated Halloween. I suppose I had assumed they  never had participated in any Halloween celebrations or parties. My grandfather being a pastor, and my grandmother just as devout in her faith as he had evoked images of the two of them with their church hosting bible studies or avoiding the day altogether. 

As we walk through the park, my grandma weaves the story of the parties that her mother threw (the mother that spent 9 years as a missionary in china, and wrote christian novels, and books of poetry and sabbath school lessons, and . . . ).  As she describes to me the gaiety of their celebrations, my mind whirls with thoughts: surprise turns to questions, turns to understanding, and finally to full  appreciation. I begin to see these women whose blood runs through my veins, and their lives and faith in a whole new light. A light I bask in.


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The topic of Halloween is controversial for Christians: ignore the day completely, participate in "Harvest Parties," go trick-or-treating in non-witch/ghost/goblin/demon costumes, or host bible study sit-ins and prayer groups? Celebrations on Halloween are held in quite a different light than other pagan-based celebrations (*ahem* Easter and Christmas) which almost all Christians celebrate without the guilt that Halloween celebrations heap on believers.

Are we as Christians allowed to have fun, enjoy celebrations, family and friends? Even on Halloween? My evangelical conservative grandparents and great-grandparents said yes. Why?  What does the bible have to say - if anything? I like what James Walkins has to say on the subject in his article 'Should Christians Celebrate Halloween,"  when he writes

The Apostle Paul deals with these [Halloween] kinds of issues when he addresses meat offered to pagan idols. Is this wrong for the Christian—who doesn't believe in the false gods to whom the meat was offered— to eat meat offered to idols? Here's Paul's advice:
    So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall (1 Corinthians 8:4-13).
If Paul were alive today, he might write something like . . .
    Don't worry about the ancient association of these holidays with paganism since we know there are no gods of sun and death, and that the dead don't roam the earth. You're not appeasing Samhain when you go "trick-or-treating" or sacrificing to the gods by carving a jack-o-lantern. But if your family or friends have reservations about these things, don't encourage them to do something they feel is "sinful."
At least that's my opinion among the nearly one thousand other perspectives."


I agree with Mr. Walkins interpretations fully.   And let us remember too that God created joy in us,  the ability and desire to enjoy life and each other.  We who have the faith and the assurance on Halloween that there has already been One that has triumphed over the grave should have no fear of death or the 'threat' that the day holds for some.  We know that there are no such things as ghosts and zombies, as 'the dead know nothing," (Ecclesiastes 9:5).  There is no fear in death, and as the leaves come falling to their death,  reminding us of our own mortality we can celebrate with our friends and family the joy of our living now

Whether you participate in celebrations on Halloween, or near, or whatever you choose to do - may you find joy in the life that He gave and saved for you for with the family and the friends that He blessed you with.

As for me, I'm looking forwarding to enjoying the blessings of a large bonfire shared with friends and family, hayrides to take, pumpkins to carve and paint, and caramel apples and caramel popcorn balls to savor. 

Note: My grandmother would like to make clear that they never have and never will endorse participating in anything related to spiritualism or the occult as part of any celebration.  They simply endorse having fun, and not being so 'stiff,' joyless, and solemn all the time, (which is why so many young people probably feel that the church is too judgmental). Life is meant to be enjoyed!  Just as it is okay to not celebrate Halloween in any fashion, there is also nothing wrong with getting together to have fun with friends and family, yes - even on Halloween.  

**Historical Note for those interested: The shadow play behind the curtain that my great-grandmother used as entertainment was most likely discovered in 9 years living in China, where shadow play - a precursor to modern theater - has been an important part of their culture.  

*****Additional Historical Note for Family: Grandma's brother Don was killed in a car accident that Halloween night of 1948 that I wrote of. The family learned of it the next day. Great-grandma never hosted another Halloween party.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

{Healthy} Banana Oat Bars


I promised I would add a few of my favorite recipes that I've been using these past few weeks as I have adapted my diet to be a 'nutritarian.'  We call these "Banana Oat Bars" simply cookies in our house.  Doesn't cookie just sounds much more delicious than "healthy banana oat bars?" It does, trust me.   And the great thing is, I don't mind if they have seconds or thirds or even fourths of these 'cookies.'  You can even have them for breakfast with the milk of your choice {almond is our favorite}, or as a quick afternoon snack.  



I adapted these Banana Oat Bars (which are vegan) from one of the recipes in Eat to Live which called for coconut and dates. The girls aren't fans of coconut, so I left them out. I didn't have dates, so I put in raisins instead.  They are incredibly adaptable and simple.  Change the dried fruit and fresh fruit and nuts with any combination you can think of (or skip the nuts altogether). Add in whatever spices your heart desires.  If you like shredded coconut, toss that in too.  I also added no sugar added applesauce to add moisture and a touch more sweetness - but it is not necessary.

Here is the recipe:




Enjoy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Keeping It Real


The state of the playroom at the end of a long day, and even longer week, looks like my heart feels: cluttered, chaotic, and disorganized. Its no wonder that finally having the time to organize the playroom with the girls lightened a heavy load that had been hanging over my head.   One large bag of toys to donate, and many more still to follow. How did we wind up with so much stuff?

Yes - that is Annabelle with only a shirt and underwear on (you do what you gotta do when potty training) and half-way-wearing an old butterfly costume.  It's how we roll.



Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

The (Not So) Dreaded Scale

Ever since I was a little girl I have hated bathroom scales.  They don't tell you how healthy you are. They play mind games. You work out and the scale goes up! They make you depressed. Scales are your worst enemy. You should focus more on how your clothes are fitting than what the scale says. What about my bones? My bones must way much more than everyone else's.
Then I read in a book, or online - or well, somewhere - recently that people who own a scale in their home and weigh themselves regularly are more likely to lose weight than to gain over a year's period. I pondered long and hard about this and determined it made sense.  I also reasoned that with starting the Eat to Live Six-Week Plan I should to keep track of how quickly I was losing weight (if at all). 

And, oh my word - can you say obsessed? I have never in my life been so aware of my weight.  I am aware of my weight when I first wake up, after I shower, after I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I even weigh myself in the middle of the night when I wake up to use the restroom.

The good news is the girls have seen me do this so many times they now stand on the scale, hold perfectly still, and look down expecting jellybeans to come pouring out at them. They must think I am losing my mind.

And if you're wondering: between morning and evening is a four pound fluctuation. I only count the morning weigh in.  Yes. I understand weighing everyday is obsessive - but when my friend Lisa told me she was losing a pound a day after starting the six-week plan, I just had to see if I could lose a pound a day too. I am not competitive at all.

Two weeks into this eating-plan and I have lost 7 pounds, and {ignoring the emotional upheavals and many life stresses} I feel great.  So great, in fact, I decided to finally go to The Store {Ahem. Target.} to celebrate with a new pair of jeans. The first new pair of jeans since I got pregnant with Annabelle. Yes, that's right - my first pair of new jeans in over two years.  Part of me worried about buying a new pair when I still have 4 more weeks to go on this plan, and potentially (in a perfect world) 20 pounds to lose.  But I thought - nah, forget it! Yo homes to Bel-air!  

So, you know how you always think you're thinner than you really when you are staring the jean sizes down, so you pull from the rack a size smaller than you really are because well - you could have dropped a size between leaving the house and getting to the store? No? That's just me? 

I grabbed the size smaller jeans like I normally do and thought dismally, "why do you do this to yourself - you'll just try them on, get frustrated they don't fit, get discouraged - throw the you're-too-good-for-them-anyway-jeans in the discard cart, walk off in a huff, and not end up buying anything after-all."

And now you know why its been so long since I've bought a new pair of jeans.

Sure enough, the jeans didn't fit. Only this time - they were too big. But was I happy? Oh no, no.  Of course not. I even more pessimistically went out and grabbed the next size down thinking, "of course - the next size down will be way too small and I won't be able to wear any jeans comfortably. Eh, what's new?" I have had that happen to me one-too-many-times. I'm not naive.

Luckily for me my fairy god-mother joined me in that dressing room (either that, or Target is getting really good at vanity sizing), because they actually fit. Fit without having to do the awkward jump-squat-leg-lunge-and-shimmy-into-your-freshly-washed-jeans-dance, suck-in-your-gut-while-you button trick. You know what I'm talking about.  The size of jeans I haven't fit into since freshman year of college actually fit. Comfortably.


And I'm only two weeks into this way of living.  Let me tell you, the best motivation to keep eating so healthy is how much more comfortable I feel in my own body - and how much better I feel overall. 

Yeah, sure - I have nibbled on foods that 'I'm not suppose' to nibble on, but they just don't taste as good as they use to.  My taste buds are evolving and learning to enjoy food the way it was created for us to enjoy (without the mask of all that salt/butter/oil//cheese/sugar). 

I will try to post a few recipes that we have all been enjoying later this week as soon as I have a chance. 


Question For You: How do you feel about a bathroom scale? Do you weigh yourself regularly to guard against gaining too much weight, or do you keep in hidden away so as not to wrap up your self esteem in the numbers on a scale?


Note: This is not intended as a look-at-me, toot-my-own-horn, kind of post - my intention is to encourage others that want to lose weight, or to just eat healthier to feel better and live better, that Eat to Live really works wonders on the body and mind.  If you give it time and allow yourself to adjust to the major changes in diet, the pay-off is huge (or should I say skinny?)


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Explaining Death to a Child

We have had many brushes with death in our home. Seven mice. Thousands of flies. Cockroaches and ants galore (please do not infer that we live in a run down hovel. We just seem to have had a bit of a pest problem is all).  Through all these deaths we have never once thought to shield it from our girls.  Death is a natural part of living.  So, why hide it?  They have done surprisingly well with handling these deaths. {I was really only worried about the mice, as mice play such important roles in our storybooks.}  But they have taken it all in stride, accepted it as we have accepted it.

But not all deaths are so easy to accept. What happens when we don't accept the death of someone as easily and nonchalantly as the death of a pest?

Death hit us in such big way this weekend that I reeled for a moment and one of my first thoughts was, "How do we tell the girls? Oh, I don't want to tell the girls," because suddenly death held much more weight than the passing of an insignificant rodent or insect.  (Great) Grandma Craig is a part of our lives.  She is someone we love - someone we have played with and laughed with and loved, oh how we've loved.  Someone that we look at in our photo albums and talk about all the fun memories that we have shared with her. She is someone that we have held not just with our arms, but with our hearts. It is not easy for either Brandon or I to accept her sudden passing, and I knew this alone was going to make a big impression on Eleanor.

Luckily, Annabelle has no clue, she is still too young to really understand.  But Eleanor? She gets it.  She's seen what a dead mouse and a dead fly is, and she knows where they go when they die: the trash.

"Where will Grandma Craig go?" Eleanor asked me yesterday with big concerned eyes, and instinctively I knew what she was thinking. I eased her fears, and talked about Heaven, reminding her about the songs we've sung about heaven, and how when Jesus comes again we'll meet her there. For now it is just like Grandma is sleeping peacefully, awaiting Jesus to come again to take us to Heaven with Him. When that day comes we'll have one big reunion, and get to play with Grandma Craig and all the animals that she loved so much again.

Then Eleanor asks a lot of questions about who else will be in heaven with us (mommy? daddy? sister? Grandma? Papa? Grandma-with-the-walker?),   and then she asks me with her big sad eyes, "Mommy, can we please take Grandma Craig to my hospital so they can make her better again? They can make her better at my hospital!" How assuring it is to be able to tell her that there is One that can make her whole again one day. What an amazing hope we have in Jesus!

"Because I love her, I don't like her to die," Eleanor says to me as we look through pictures of Grandma.  "I don't like dying," she said.

"Me either, kiddo. Me either."

Then it happens, the hardest question of all.

"Why did she die, mom?"

Thud.  What to say? Don't mess this up, don't mess this up.

"Well. . . . uh . . . when you get older that is just what happens. Everyone dies, sweetheart," sweat pours out of every single one of my pores. Will it be sufficient? Will she understand? Should I say more? Explain exactly what happened?

"Oh yea," she says processing, "like our clothes get old," uh oh.

"Well, not exactly like clothes . .  ."

"Yeah, and when our clothes get old - we sell them!" She says excitedly, making an important connection. "Do we sell old people?" She asks solemnly.

Ugh. I knew I was going to mess this up.


(Our last visit with Grandma Craig this summer)
Grandma, we miss you more than tongue can tell, and oh! How we look forward to the day when we will be reunited again in the glory of the resurrection. Until we meet again --

We love you more than tongue can tell, than tongue can tell, than tongue can tell! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

True vs. Toxic Hunger {Giveaway Winner}

At the end of my review of Eat to Live I asked you tell me how you know when you are hunger - and all of you answered the way I would have - my stomach growls, it feels empty,  I know I need to fill it!

I was shocked to discover that that is not actually hunger. I'll give you a moment for that to sink in. No really, its not! Trust me.  I had a hard time with this information too. Especially since I can feel my stomach growling right this instant. Isn't that hunger? No?  I had to look it up. Many times.  This is  legit folks. I even quadruple checked it - see for yourself: source1, source2, source3, source4.

We could go our whole lives without ever experiencing true hunger. This makes our nation one of the most overfed and malnourished in the world.  Overweight and undernourished. It doesn't even seem like its possible. But its disgustingly easy.

So yes, I'm telling you everything that we've felt our whole lives is a lie. Its not real hunger. Isn't it a devastating feeling to find out  headaches, fatigue, nausea, weakness,  confusion and irritability, abdominal and esophageal spasm, fluttering and cramping in the stomach. . .  all the symptoms that we have ever felt that have told us "put food in my body now!" is not really true hunger at all but toxic hunger.

Toxic hunger symptoms are the same (mild) symptoms a person goes through when withdrawing from drugs or alcohol. Which I guess means everyone I know is an addict. Does that make me a hippie?

Now the tough question, is this an addiction I really want to give up? You just try to take away someone's meat/dairy/soda/ice cream/candy/addiction of choice and find out how truly addicted they are. On second thought, no better not. You may not escape with your life.  Even the mere suggestion of taking away these foods in my home has caused me to be met with serious mistrust and violent-looks while hoarding the aforementioned foods.  Its not pretty people.  

To know true hunger, you will feel a gnawing sensation in the throat, have increased salivation, and enhanced taste sensations, (pg. 154 EtL).  I have never felt this. Have you? According to the good doctor it can even take up to two-to-fours months of eating a very healthy diet to detoxify your body and reach the state of being able to feel this true hunger.  Sounds long and painful. Or, I have read that you can fast until you begin to feel true hunger, and pick up with your healthy eating after that.  Fasting has never appealed to me, but I am curious to see if I can feel this 'true hunger,' so I may do it. Maybe. All in the same of science, that is.



I am still doing the 'six-week eating plan,' and the pros: I'm eating healthy. I'm losing weight. Even with all the beans I'm eating, I'm not gassy or bloated. Its a win-win for everyone.

Cons: I can't stop thinking about salted caramel ice creampeanut butter truffle's,  pumpkin cake rolls, and this peanut butter truffle mouse cheesecake.
Oh and chocolate caramel tarts.   

Honestly, I must stop torturing myself. 

Now for the lucky winner of Eat to Live
Congratulations LG!! You did not leave me your email so I have no way to contact you personally.  Please leave me your email in a comment below,  and if I don't hear from you before Monday I will draw another winner. 

Happy weekend friends!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Potty Training Catch-Up

It has been almost about a month since we began our potty training adventures with Annabelle. And, oh this tongue can't begin to describe to you the gauntlet my emotions have been whipped through.

I have cried.

Thought about giving up.

Been elated.

Sure I am doing the right thing training her now.

Completely torn up inside, could I be ruining her chances at a normal life one day?

But through it all - (for the most part - I'm not perfect ya'all) I have remained calm and cool on the surface.  Sure, there are moments I have been less than proud of myself, but let's not focus on that, k?

See, she began this journey very strong. Annabelle would tell me she had to go before she went, and would have only one accident in her training underwear a day. And now?  She hides it from me and has even cried a few times "mine!" when I take her to the potty - as if I am torturing her by taking her bodily wastes away from her.  But I am calm, but mostly stubborn, and we are not going back to disposable diapers.  I will wash loads of these training underwear every day if I have to (and I do).  I liken it to using cloth diapers now instead of disposables. And no one was ruined by wearing cloth diapers, right?  There is no point in her wearing diapers so she can stay dry and pretend to herself that she didn't wet herself.  She will feel it, and one of these days weeks months she will learn to control it. I'm patient. I am calm. She will get there in her own time with my patient coaching, modeling, and sitting her on the potty, even after she's wet herself and doesn't have to go more (though most of the time she does).

We're really having a great time on the potty too. Getting her off of the potty is more of a problem than getting her on the potty.

When training Eleanor I had a basket of books and special toys in the bathroom to get her excited about going and staying on the potty.  This time I have less books, and fewer toys. Sure, some days we sit and read a book, but mostly I bring the laptop into the bathroom, sit on the floor next to her (she is adamant about sitting only on her little potty - not the big toilet which morphed almost overnight into an evil succubus waiting to devour her), and we watch 1-2 Sesame Street clips from You Tube. 

Here are some of our most recent favorite clips:



A Glee spoof on the letter G.
And Sue as a Muppet? Even more hilarious than the 'real' Sue. This whole clip is full of win.


The Deadliest Catch Spoof of The Heaviest Catch
Was Captain Heartburn his name in real life? If so, how did I miss that?
Eleanor now likes to say, "Is this the heaviest catch?" As she carries her toys up the stairs, or if she's struggling with something, "Oh I can't do it - its the heaviest catch!"

 
"Everyone makes mistakes, so why can't you?"
"Even you mom? You make mistakes?" Eleanor asks me now. Yes. Everyone makes mistakes!

Feist Sings about her favorite number 4.
"1, 2, 3, 4 Chickens just back from the shore," now that's cage free! 

India Arie Sings the ABCs with Elmo.  
Both girls have learned this version of the ABCs and sing and dance/bob along. Its very catchy. Much more fun than the "regular ol' ABCs"

Heard Around, Part Sixième (Part Six)

"No, I want to stay up for lots of longs!" Eleanor pleaded when I told her it was time for nap. She now uses "lots of longs" for anything that she wants a lot of. I think I will cry when she stops using it.



*                             *                             *                                *
 Another nap-time adventure laying Eleanor down for nap she announces, "Mommy I don't want to sleep! I want you to stay here with me forever!"

"I'm sorry sweetheart, I have to leave - but don't fall asleep! Whatever you do! Its just quiet time, stare up at the ceiling and don't close your eyes - keep them wide open, remember don't let them close!!"

"But what if I want to close my eyes?" She says fiercely.

"Oh, I suppose you could if you wanted to."

"I do want to!"

Ah, the beauty of reverse psychology.


*                             *                             *                                *

In the car back from the grocery store Eleanor announces, "Uncle Matt told us we didn't have to wear our seat belts."  It has been 3 months since she stayed with Uncle Matt while she and Brandon stayed there for a few weeks this summer.   Apparently what happens at Uncle Matt's doesn't stay at Uncle Matt's anymore.

"You mean he told you you didn't have to wear your seat belt?" I asked.

"No mommy, I didn't say that!"  Yeah, pretty sure you did kid.

"Okay, tell me again what you said."

"He said we didn't have to buckle this bottom part, to just clip the top together."

"Okay, I think I understand now. Do you know why he said that?"

"Hmm, I dunno!" She says happily.

Your secrets are out, Uncle Matt!


*                             *                             *                                *

"'Top it da-da!" Annabelle squeels, warding off tickles from Brandon - which sounded more like 'do-do than da-da.'

"Stop it dodo!" Eleanor bursts into fits "Dodo! Hey dodo!" More fits of laughter.

Sure glad she inherited her father's sense of humor.





Monday, October 3, 2011

Eat to Live Review {And Giveaway}


If you don’t want to read my review of Eat to Live but you’ve heard of this book and want a chance to win one for yourself, skip to the bottom*

            We are all addicted.  And our addictions to processed (and toxic) foods are socially acceptable.  Not just acceptable, but encouraged at every corner. Do we allow our children to sit around the table smoking cigarettes and throwing back shots of whiskey? The very idea is absurd, but nobody bats an eye when children sit around the table scarfing down greasy slices of pizza, French fries, hamburgers, and milk shakes. Yet that kind of diet is doing just as much damage to our children’s bodies as tobacco and alcohol, but because “it is difficult for parents to understand the insidious, slow destruction of their children’s genetic potential and the foundation for serious illness that is being built by the consumption of these foods”(pg. 21) we let them eat, we give in their cries for 'cookie'! (I am no hero - my children have cookies almost every day).

            I’m not going to lie – its not going to be easy. Dr. Furhman even says, “A common criticism of my eating plan, which all knowledgeable authorities agree is healthy, is that most people won’t stick to such a restrictive regimen. This is an irrelevant point. Since when is what ‘the masses’ find socially acceptable the criterion for value? All those naysayers have missed the point; my plan was not designed to win a popularity contest,” (pg. 313, 314).

            (To find out more about the six-week eating plan go here)

            God has called us to be stewards of our bodies. We were not created just to eat, God created food so that we could live and thrive, but how many of us really feel that we are thriving on the heavily processed diets we are eating?  I don’t know if Dr. Fuhrman is a Christian, he never mentions God  once in his book, but when he says, “There are subtle nuances and nutritive interactions that create disease resistance from the synergy of diversive substances in natural foods. Like a symphony orchestra whose members play in perfect harmony, our body depends on the harmonious interactions of nutrients, both known and unknown. By supplying a rich assortment of natural foods, we best maximize the function of the human masterpiece,” (pg. 146), I can’t help but see how wonderful our Creator is that He made such perfect food for us to stay healthy and fight disease.
             
            The great thing about this diet is you never have to count calories (which I’m horrible at) or eat small portions of food (which I’m even worse at) or workout 500 times a day (you don’t have to exercise at all to lose if you don’t have the ability to). You get to eat large amounts of really delicious food and still lose weight (I’ve already lost five pounds in a week, and I’ve hardly been as strict with the six-week plan as I should be).  I can’t prove this from myself, but it has been known to reverse heart disease, drastically lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and can completely get rid of type II diabetes. It has a high nutrient density for a powerful way to prevent cancer and gives the opportunity to rid yourself of many chronic health problems related to the toxic foods we stuff our faces with. Read these Success Stories.

            I could go on and on about this book, but I will restrain myself. You need to read it for yourself.  Seriously. Don’t just skim it or use it as a resource, really read it.  This tongue of mine can’t tell you enough how important it is that everybody {even those that think they are fit and healthy already} read this book and share it with their loved ones. I love it so much; I’m giving away a copy.  Now that’s love.   
 
Next up on my to read: Disease Proof Your Child, and Eat for Health (which is very similar to Eat to Live though it gives 4 stages of gradual eating changes reducing the amount of animal products and processed foods instead of the radical changes that Eat to Live would have you make) 
            *                        *                        *                        *                        *

            To enter for a chance to win a copy of Eat to Live, in the comments section below answer me this:  How do you know when you are hungry? 

            Don't forget to leave me your email so if you win I have a way to contact you.
            And because I really want to spread health knowledge, for an extra entry re-blog this post and let me know in the comments.

            I’ll leave this open for submissions until Thursday Oct. 6 and will announce the winner Friday. 

Note: This giveaway is sponsored by me, myself, and I. Dr. Fuhrman has no idea who I am. I could stroke out this moment and he would never know or care. I just think he’s brilliant and we all have something to learn from him.