Saturday, December 31, 2011

What a difference a year makes

I feel renewed. I feel peace. I feel I'm coming up from the wilderness.

If you would have asked me a few days ago, I may have had a different answer. The Lord brought us through the most challenging year of our lives and we are seeing the amazing transformation He has set up for us from the beginning.

I will be blogging more in the new year as the Lord leads me on an amazing new journey. I can't wait to reveal the things He has for me and maybe you too.

This post will be kind of disjointed, but that's because I'm super tired and wanted to get this out quickly.

A few resolutions:

Read more, play on the internet less
Eat healthier (pretty much every year, lol)
Study the Word more (this is NUMERO UNO)
Choose joy
Love more

That's all I have for now. I will be posting soon about the first part of some deep revelations.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Birthday Girl

Today is our sweet baby girl's first birthday! Where did the time go? Really... Where did it go? A year ago, I was holding her fresh out of the oven. Today she is a fast, talkative, smiley bundle of fiery haired passion.

The past twelve months have been the most challenging and rewarding of my life. Today was wonderful day of redemption. A year ago today, we were blessed with the most precious gift the Lord can bestow, but it was also fraught with turmoil. I won't go into details, but relationships amongst various family members were strained for a very long time.

Instead of joy on that day, there was alot of tears of anger and sadness. Oh, we were joyful for our wonderful daughter, but we were angry at those that would steal that joy.

Today however, the Lord redeemed the day. He always wins. We had the joy we should have had back then. We got to celebrate in a whole new way. I am so thankful! And I rejoice in the Lord's goodness! He also revealed many things to us today about the direction we need to take with Zoe and any future children. All in all it was a marvelous day.

Here are some highlights.
Zoe at 7 Acre Wood at the petting zoo. She LOVES animals!

My first cake! She fell in love. She has had very limited sugar until today.

Getting ready for bed and a story in my Narnian bedroom.

Happy birthday Zoe! Mommy & Daddy love you!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Open the eyes of my heart

I run slides at church on Thursday nights. I enjoy it typically, but tonight was hard. I struggled the entire night. It was so overwhelming that I wanted to run right out of the prayer room. A cacophonous assault of anger, frustration, rejection, and offense berated me. I couldn't hear anything else.

I wanted to enter into worship. I prayed and prayed that I could let all of it go, but it did not. I feel like the Lord was opening up my ears to the things that plague me all the time. The questions of "why am I left out of everything to do with these people that I want to grow to know", " why can't they just like me", "what's wrong with me", "why can't I move past this", and so on and on and on.

I felt a great measure of freedom back in August and felt I was completely free. Of course I felt tested in that freedom. Then I was ill for all of October and most of November. I was homebound for 6 weeks with little to no contact with them. I felt like an island. It was extremely lonely.

When I came back I expected a level of awkwardness, but I wasn't expecting the barrage of attack I would feel. I desperately wanted to run away, just like tonight. In my sense of freedom, I became complacent. I let my guard down to the enemy and I was infiltrated. The loneliness I felt was amplified. I felt like I had left my island, entered the heart of New York and was completely lost with little to no help.

Pretty pathetic huh? I feel lame just writing about this. I know in my head that I have help, but my heart was being squished and wouldn't accept the help. I hate when my heart is wrong and it wins over head knowledge. It never allows that knowledge to sink into my heart which trumps it for good.

So that's where I'm at as we end this year of ups and downs. I want the Lord to open the eyes of my heart. So that I can fully know His goodness and trust in Him. I no longer want to struggle with what I have been for a long time. I want to walk in full freedom and my heart be so full of love for the Lord that nothing else matters.

I want to worship more fully. Live for Him. Tear down the idols in my life. Lord, help me to get to this place where I come up from the wilderness leaning on my Beloved.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Fun

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone! Hope you all had a great time and lots of turkey! I know I did . We decided to host Thanksgiving at our house this year and it was really fun. I loved it and was so happy to have friends and family join us for such a special occasion.

Here are some highlights...

Zoe and Grandad

Turkey Napkins

Zoe and Aunt Sandi

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


So my stress level for the year has gotten to me. I have had shingles for almost a month now. Too evaluate what has been going on, I have to back up a couple of months.

September was probably one of the hardest months in our marriage. We went through some really rough stuff and the Lord helped us through. We had another miscarriage and we both were at opposite ends of the spectrum of how we felt about it.

When we suspected we may have been pregnant, I was scared. I cried ugly tears. How could I be ready for this when our daughter is still so young? I was emotionally not ready for this at all. I was still trying to adjust to our girl because we have had a roller coaster of a time with her. I felt like I was spinning out of control.

Please don't get me wrong. I had settled in my heart that if we had another baby so soon, we would love and accept it. But my initial reaction was panic rather than joy. I hate even admitting that, but I am human and I am not perfect. In a perfect world, I would have been overjoyed at the surprise. And please know that I have settled all of this with God as well.

So I took three tests, the second one having a faint blue line. The other two nothing. I don't think my hormone levels elevated enough to register for a solid yes. So two weeks after my missed period, I miscarried at church. That was a surreal experience. I had no idea what to feel at that point.

I got home to my hubby and baby and told him what happened and cried on his shoulder. I was not relieved, I was sad. I felt guilty for having fear over having another baby so soon. I felt crushed. I did not know what to do. But this miscarriage was different in the fact that the time I had to grieve was in short increments. My daughter needed her mom so I had to proceed with business as usual and when I got the time, I could cry and process.

My husband on the other hand, was less affected. Which upset me. I know it shouldn't as men tend to process and accept things differently. I know all these facts about "a man doesn't feel like a father till the baby is in his arms", "men don't process a miscarriage the way we do because they don't feel the same bonds we do", etc... I had a hard time telling him how I felt when I wanted someone to say I know how you feel (which is highly unrealistic since he could never really know how I felt), I know your hurting, I feel the same way you do (again, not realistic), etc. I also felt like he blamed me for the miscarriage since I did not react so favorably to the idea of being pregnant again. Guilt has a way of making you feel that everyone around you is mad at you.

We finally worked it all out, but it took a few weeks to get there. We were able to express how we felt and what we needed from each other in times of crisis. Which is a great thing and it has helped us communicate better on other levels.

In the midst of all of this I was working on my second craft fair inventory and rushing to meet deadlines. I got sick in the middle of it with a sinus/upper respiratory infection. The stress of the miscarriage/marriage trial, craft fair, crazy deadlines, and illness exploded the day before the craft fair. My right shoulder and right side of my neck were ON FIRE! It felt like pins and needles shooting flames under my skin. I went to the doctor that Monday afterwards and turns out I have shingles. YAY! Not so much.

Shingles takes a long time to heal and you can't be around people who haven't had chicken pox or the vaccine. So I have not been out of the house (except walking with the hubby and daughter) in almost 4 weeks. I'm heavily involved with the kids at church and can't risk giving it to them...unless their parents want them to get chicken pox. Then they can come to me, lol.

So what have I used the past four weeks to do: Get my life right with the Lord. And deep clean/purge my house. All this busyness, stress, and distraction had left a huge whole in my life. I had not spent time with the Lord. I had let so many other "obligations" take over my time, that I had forgotten what was important. This was manifested in my home life. I was not communicating with my husband, our house was literally a wreck, I was spending less time with Zoe so I could do other things, but mostly I wasn't praying. We weren't praying as a family.

The Lord in His exceeding graciousness, found a way to get my attention and bring me back to my first love... Him! So that's where I have been and now where I am going. Back to the beginning.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Wow!

So it's been since August since I posted last. That's pretty sad. I have been so busy focusing on my two other blogs, my business, and my daughter, plus a myriad of other things. I'm hoping to heavily focus on this blog for the next few weeks.

I should have the time since I had to cancel everything and am on house arrest. You see, I have shingles. Which are very painful. It feels like someone poured acid in my veins/muscles.

Shingles can give kids chickenpox that have not been vaccinated or had the chickenpox before. I teach the kiddos at church and I don't want to spread it. Since I will be at home for awhile, I can take more pictures, clean and cook more, focus on what really matters. I can be the help meet I'm created to be and the mommy I have wanted to be.

We have had some major disruptions in the past month and a half. Lots of things have been coming at us on top of busyness. I was getting ready for a craft fair last Friday and I was feeling sick (shingles were starting) and the Lord stopped me and said, "What do I have to do to get your attention?" I honestly and shamefully replied "I don't know". Well within 24 hours I had a small rash on the back of my neck and my arm would not work properly. I thought I had been bitten by a spider cause the bumps were so small.

So yeah, the Lord has my attention. I can't go on the way I have. I have lost a lot of things in the month of September because I was too focused on so many other things. I feel so worn down. I can only blame myself. I had too many things in my hands that I couldn't hold any of the blessings God had for me.

I will continue writing on my blogs, but my focus will be different. I won't sacrifice family time for the internet, my business, or obligations that I have made that are not healthy. My daughter is now 9.5 months old and before I know it she will be 1 and I would have missed it. I don't want to miss anything!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Suburban Homestead: Fall Garden

Hello everyone. I wanted to update you on what our little homestead is doing. We finished putting in our fall garden a few weeks ago. We have had a few sprouts but a few things didn't make it (carrots and broccoli).

So far our leafy green bed sprouted and our sugar snap peas sprouted. The celery looks pretty pitiful at the moment. It doesn't help that we are going into fall with very hot and dry temperatures. But hallelujah, we are getting rain today! Watering on our own every other day only does so much when the land is this parched.

Check back soon for an update on what's growing, some recipes, and other sustainable living tips and tricks.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I Blinked

And September was gone! I can't believe that it has gone by so quickly. We are now in the 10th month of the year. That is hard to believe as well. My daughter is almost a year old. Which is happy and heartbreaking at the same time.

I have been super busy and am looking forward to October being over as well. Two craft fairs in one month will be challenging for sure. Plus our Nativity play at church (we are doing it as close to Jesus' real birthday as possible), church fellowship dinner at the end of the month, and various errands and work to be done.

I'm just asking the Lord to give me strength and stability in the next few months. The holidays are always difficult. Let's just say when people think of the holidays, they think of happy times with family. Not so much for us. But we are hoping to change that. We don't want a negative spirit this time of year.

Other than working till I pass out every night, I am trying to enjoy our little girl as much as possible. We watch this alot...
It is Zoe's favorite! Her favorite parts in order of importance: When Dory speaks whale and when Bruce the Great White shows up. She gets ridiculously happy at both these parts. She seems to get concerned (as in she will make a weird whiney noise at the TV) when Dory and Marlin are in the jellyfish forest. It's totally odd, but so cute.

Well that's what we have been up to. I will post an update on our fall kitchen garden soon.

Abundant blessings to all!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Suburban Homestead

The Lord has been doing wonderful things in our lives over the past year. He has shown us the importance of being self sufficient and not relying on the world's economy to supply our needs. He is also showing how He provides for His people.

Part of all of this has been a burden to store supplies, become more frugal, and to look at things from a survival perspective. So I decided to start documenting our family's journey through this process.

I have made my own laundry and dish washer detergent thus far. We will be starting a fall garden this coming week! And we are looking into power alternatives (i.e. solar, fire, going without, etc).

So welcome to our series Suburban Homestead. I will blog all the things we are currently working on or doing to make our lives more God reliant (we can't really say self reliant since we are to fully rely upon God).

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Addiction

Food addiction is very real. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. I have heard it all before "there is no such thing", "yeah I'm addicted to breathing too, haha", "food is essential to your life, you can't be addicted to it", and so on and on and on.

Well I know for me it is a big problem in my life. I felt compelled to confess this because I know if we confess our sins and repent we will be forgiven. Not that eating is a sin, but how and what I am eating is!

My mother and I went to Party City the other day to buy things for a "Black Beauty" book party we are throwing in a couple of weeks (more details on that to come). My mom pointed out the black and white M&Ms and I was like sure! Let's get some. She said ok, we will store everything at your place and I said "WHOA!" No thanks, we will store it at yours cause I will eat those stinking M&M's. It's only two small bags you say, but I know I will eat them all IN ONE SITTING! Which is in no way healthy or in moderation.

Well lo and behold the bags got left in my car and we bring them in. The chocolate calls to me the whole day. I can't get them off my brain. I finally break down and get the white M&Ms out. Start chowing down like there is no tomorrow. It's like it's my last meal! What is going on?

I put the bag down, much lighter than when I picked it up. I now have a headache from the sugar. I am ashamed of how much power this stronghold has on me.

So I decide, that's it!!! I'm throwing these bags away. We don't need them at the party since we will have cake. We don't need the extra sugar. We certainly don't need them in this house! So in the trash they go.

Step one complete!

I wanted to include in this post some characteristics of a food addict.

1. Being obsessed and/or preoccupied with food.- I will often think about dinner or lunch before I even have breakfast. And not in a menu planning sort of way. I will think about how good it will be or how I can't wait. And I will think about it ALL DAY LONG!

2. Having a lack of self-control when it comes to food.-See above.

3. Having a compulsion about food in which eating results in a cycle of bingeing despite negative consequences.-Again see above.

4. Remembering a sense of pleasure and/or comfort with food and being unable to stop using food to create a sense of pleasure and comfort.- Check!

5. Having a need to eat which results in a physical craving.- I eat when I'm not hungry. I eat just because someone mentions something about food.

There are other facets and caveats to this addiction. Food addiction is a control factor also. You may eat "uncontrollably", but in reality you are eating because it's the only thing you can control at that moment. I eat more when I'm sad or stressed out. I still eat a lot when I'm happy, joyful, and even indifferent or bored. But times of stress I tend to pig out! There is so much chaos going on around me that I will eat for the comfort of it and say "this burger is the only thing in my life at this moment in time that is constant. Everything else may be falling apart, but right now this burger is what makes my life happy." SICK! MY JOY DOESN'T COME FROM A BURGER!

That is what I need to keep telling myself over and over till it sinks in. My joy does not come from x, y or z, but from Jesus! That's it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adventures in Eating: It's a messy business....

... This cooking thing. My sink was empty not five minutes before this. Guess that's what happens when your cooking more at home and you make your own baby food. Lots of dishes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adventures in Eating: You look away for a second...

This is what happens when you run to answer the door while feeding a baby sweet potato. I had set the bowl far enough away that she couldn't reach it. Well, she figured out if you pull the towel, things faraway get closer to you. I come back and she is covered in sweet potato. This pic does not do it justice. It's down her chest and all over her face. And of course she has the spoon in hand and is messily feeding herself. Good heavens, my child is a nut! She is also a smarty pants.

It was very not funny at the moment. But is slowly becoming funny.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Peas Please

So it's been awhile. We have been busy around here. Lot's of things going on. Teething, croup, ear infection, etc. But we did let Zoe try some peas. She loved them for the first two days, but then decided nah! It could have been that she was not happy with a cooler temp. Who knows? Babies can be fickle, that's for sure.

We will be trying peas again soon. Up next carrots and butternut squash.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Response

I had the amazing privilege of attending this once in a lifetime event. The Lord was there and over 30,000 people broke down denominational barriers to cry out to God with one heart, one mind, and one voice saying "HEAL OUR LAND, LORD!"

We got their early to get good parking and because our friends we rode with were apart of a prayer team that had to meet an hour before the doors opened. We settled into our seats and already I felt the attack. Some of our group were sitting in another area. That rejection thing started gnawing at me. I wrestled with "is there more anointing in that place?", "why can't we all sit together", and "they are going to be blessed more than us". (So ridiculous right!)

While these things are floating around in my brain, I start to tell myself quit that! You are being so silly! Well the Lord chimes in with "Close your eyes!" So I closed them. He revealed to me how I was looking at everyone with jealousy and contempt. I was envious of what was going on "over there" when I needed to be content with what was going on "right here". I spent about 30-45 minutes with my eyes closed repenting to God for these ugly things and asking Him to take them away. My heart breaking with each revelation.

Then He told me "Open your eyes." So I did and a wave of love washed over me as He said "Don't you see how beautiful this is!" I began to weep as He showed me a picture of Himself weeping with joy over His Bride longing for Him in unity. He was so moved and the thought of it makes me cry even now. He longs for us so much, but how often do we long for Him? I know not nearly often enough.

He then showed me another vision of myself as a very little girl running to Him and getting tangled in His robes as I hugged His leg. You know, the way little kids do when they see their parents. He was showing me that that's who He is. A good parent who delights in us and wants us to run to Him with faith like a child.

We all heard powerful prayers and praised, worshiped, and loved the Lord with all we had that day. The intensity and sincerity of it was palpable. I have prayed that I would not become complacent again, that I would press on and go even deeper with the Lord, but sadly I have felt the tapering off again. This has made me want to push past the plateu and keep going. I don't want to get complacent. I don't want other things to distract me. I don't want another lover of my soul. I want You Lord and that's it. "I'm in love with God and God's in love with me. This is who I am and this is who I'm going to be and that settles it. Completely"

I wrestle now with my time. I give so much of my time to things of this world. I can't be a friend of the world and a friend of God. It doesn't work that way. I notice when I spend all day working at the computer for my business or watching trashy daytime TV game shows, I feel those things the Lord broke off me that day start to scratch at my door begging to come back in. I have to keep my resolve no matter what.

Father God, My prayer today is that I will rest under Your wing and that You will shelter me there. Because it is under Your wing that the heartbeat is. I want to lay next to Your chest and hear Your heartbeat just as John did. That is the source of true intimacy with You, God. That we would consistently ask what Your thinking, what Your heart wants. Reveal Your heart to me and my family God. Would You let me love You more. I am lovesick for You, God. I do not want to run from Your presence. I want to run to it! With a zeal unmatched by anything that could catch my eye. Help me to guard my heart, eyes, ears, tongue, and thoughts God. I know these are the inroads to death in the spirit Lord and I want nothing to do with idleness. I want to think on things lovely, noble, and righteous. Even now as thoughts try to creep in of rejection, praise, and doubt, let me shun them and say "Out! For this mind is in love with Jesus! You have no place here!" Father God, reveal to me your heart. I am listening.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Adventures in Eating: The First Tooth

Zoe has her first tooth coming in! It is a little sharp ridge at the moment. It's still a little under the surface. I wanted to cry when I felt and saw it! My baby is growing up!

So to help relieve the teething discomfort I gave her a teething feeder with a frozen sweet potato cube inside. She loves sweet potato so this was totally right up her alley! She went to town on that thing and of course got it all over herself and everything around her.

This thing was an instant hit! She loved the coldness and it was safely enclosed in the mesh which she found that feeding herself this way was perfect for her.

Mmmmm, that cold sweet potato is great. Helps relieve the gum pressure!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yet another mountain

I know in the process of removing things that hinder love, is the process of removing internal things that are hindering my relationship with the Lord.

One of these things is the fear of rejection and the praise of man. I hate this mountain! It stings far more than I like to bear. Which is why I only gain a measure of freedom and not full freedom each time. I wish it were an easy fix. That I could rip the band aid off and just be free!

Sadly, that's not how this is. It is a constant struggle. I am constantly worried about what people think about me, feel deep wounds when we are rejected in any measure (intentional or unintentional), and feel judged when we have revelation about something that others don't. This causes many sleepless nights for me, I am so sad to admit.

I have always marched to the beat of my own drum. Never cared for what people thought of my clothes, my appearance, my choices, but when it comes to having acceptance for loves sake I haven't been able to shake this. I want people to love me and my family. But sometimes that just doesn't happen. Sometimes you don't get the pat on the back from that person you enjoy being around. Sometimes you don't get the invite from the person you really want. Sometimes you are just not apart of the "in" crowd.

I know how silly this is. How much people's opinions really matter. It's just vapor. I want that to settle into my heart and never leave. I want to never be concerned about the way others view me again. I know that the Lord loves me and that I am His favorite! Now why can't I just let go and let God?

I read last year at the urging of a sweet friend, Bob Sorge's book, Dealing with the Rejection and Praise of Man and it was eye opening! Sometimes God uses rejection as a tool to dig a deeper well of love for Him in a persons life. The only catch, it is coupled with the equally difficult demon of praise of man. Yuck! Two things in one. So to conquer one you have to conquer the other. So that means, it's not a quick easy deliverance. It's years of cultivating a fasted spiritual lifestyle of seeking God only. His advice and counsel is far better than any person's counsel. Not to say that God doesn't send people to reveal things to you of course. But He should be my Go To Guy! Run to the throne, not the phone.

I also need not worry what people think of what the Lord is doing with our family. He is leading us down a path that some may not want or need to go. And that's ok. He has tailor made our walk with Him to suit us perfectly. We need not worry about what everyone thinks of our walk either. We have had a lot of backlash for it and we should expect it and count it all joy!

Father God,
I lift this part of my heart up to You and I say please have Your way. Please take it. Take this part of me and mold me and shape me into what You want me to be. I know You won't relent until You have it all. I desperately want to give all my heart to You. I know I can't follow You while dragging my baggage, saying "but can't I just keep it". You want me to lay my burdens down and that is what I want to do right now, lay this burden down at the foot of the cross. I want to be so in love with You that the voice of others is drowned out by Your magnificence. I know You have gone before me and the victory is already won. I ask that we see the full manifestation of the victory here in the natural. I want to look back a year from now and have the greater measure of freedom. I want to be content where I am in Your church. That I wouldn't seek affirmations from man, but from You. I want to grow where I am planted and to do that I have to get rid of weeds. I ask that You remove this weed in my life for it does not bear fruit or any good thing, but chokes the life out of the fruit I have already cultivated. Father God, You are good and You will finish the good work You started in me.

I ask this in Jesus name,

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Bread making

The hubster and I have been on a journey of frugality and food storage for a few months now. We have been searching for ways to store, save, and be prepared for when disaster strikes. It can strike at any moment and we are aware of that.

A good friend of ours from Zimbabwe told us about the economic collapse of his home country. A loaf of bread cost an entire months salary. It did not happen gradually, it happened over night (warning signs preceeded of course). New Zealand is still reeling from devastating earthquakes months later. Again, not over time, but in the blink of an eye.

The Lord has been impressing on us that we should store and be prepared for anything that could happen. Which in Texas could be a number of things: earthquake, hurricane, economic downturn, and many others. We want to be obedient to the charge, but we have had to start small which is just fine with the Lord. He knows where we are and He is guiding us through.

Anywho... This post started off heavier than expected. But He leads how He leads.

As for the bread making, we think it is a simple and easy way to save and store. A loaf of bread these days is pricey especially for a decent wheat bread.

Today I am making beer bread. A sweet friend from church brought a loaf to us after Zoe was born along with an amazing Italian Wedding Soup (post on that to come soon). We were instant fans so she sent us the recipe.

3 Cups Self Rising Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 12 oz bottle of beer (any kind will do, we use Shiner Bock)
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, and beer then pour batter into a 9X5 loaf pan. Place in oven and cook for 45 minutes or until done. When the bread is done, take it out and pour the melted butter on top. Let sit to cool. Slice when cool.

That's it! Simple, easy, yum!

I am also making a honey whole wheat bread in the bread machine my sister in law gave us recently. I won't share the recipe as each bread machine is different. We are so blessed to have two bread machine that were given to us by sweet people in our lives. My goal is to have both machines going and a few loaves of beer bread in the oven. This way we can share with others or freeze some for anything that may come up. It's all about heeding the call... and saving money.

Adventures in Eating: Super Baby Food By Ruth Yaron: Review 2 and Super Porridge Pics

Silly Face Girl
We are now past the 6 month mark so Zoe's eating adventures are branching out. We had our first Super Porridge from the Super Baby Food book. You would think that Super Porridge would be really difficult or complicated, but it's super easy. We use old fashioned rolled oats and water and viola! Of course there are a few more steps than that, lol.

I am really enjoying this book. The only draw back I see as we get older, is that the book is a little hard to read. Not too hard, but just a little bit. The recipes are somewhat dispersed throughout the book so it's a little bit hard to find them all. That's the only thing I would change.

I have also been looking at fun new websites for great additions to our recipe arsenal. I will share a few of them soon.

Ok, onto the cute baby pictures.
First Bite

Mmmmm, give that back

Content baby, full belly makes me happy

Do I have something on my face?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Removing things that hinder love

This feels familiar. Oh yeah, this has happened before. I keep going around this mountain. I imagine I will do it again and again.

I have been in a spiritually dry place in my relationship with the Lord. I know that this is cyclical and it happens each time the Lord is drawing me deeper into His dwelling place.

I have given up so many worldly things in my walk with the Lord, but there is more still. These things hinder my love for Him who is I AM. The hubster and I have had a lot of conviction about the way we spend our time and what we give our hearts to.

After Zoe was born we got Netflix for our Wii. I was very nervous about it because I know myself. Lo and behold, I'm addicted to the thing. It was wonderful while Zoe was going through the worst part of acid reflux. She would quiet down for Word World, Veggie Tales, and Backyardigans. I would be able to zone out when I was overwhelmed with everything going on.

I also spend so much time on the internet, which I know some of it is unavoidable as I do business on the web. But I spend too much time.

I have also been watching, listening to, and reading things I know I shouldn't. Secular music, violent and evil movies, and books written by those who are known enemies of the Lord. What am I thinking? What is going on? Compromise is going on. I compromised myself and what I had promised to the Lord and now sin is rampant in my life.

We heard amazing testimonies today from our youth who came back from the Fascinate Conference at IHOP Kansas City. It impacted our hearts so deeply. The hubster came home and got rid of Netflix immediately and we discussed how we are to purpose our time from now on.

The Lord is so good that He saw to it to convict us both at the same time. Praise the Lord! Now to walk it out. Which is the hard part. God has grace for us though. We are going to win because God has already won the battle for us!

I have longed to feel this fire for sometime and I don't want to let it go again. I know the Lord will prune things from us in the future, but I don't want to fall into complacency and compromise again. Lord, help me to be faithful to You and only You! For You are exceedingly faithful to me and never fail me.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Adventures in Eating: 3 Ingredient Meals-French Fried Onion Mustard Chicken

We had this meal last night (sorry no photo). It was really really good! We will be having it again and soon....

2 Chicken Breasts
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
Crumbled French's Fried Onion (enough to cover or more if you like)

Put a tablespoon of mustard on each chicken breast and then cover with fried onions. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook chicken for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

So easy and so yummy!

I'm loving these quick easy meals!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Mommy Confession

Our daughter eats way better than we do. She is on an organic lactose and soy free diet, while we eat fast food, sweets, and packaged garbage. [Hangs head in shame]

We get so wrapped up in the busyness of life that we sacrifice our health because it's convenient. We know better, we know what to eat, we know portion sizes... So why is it so hard. In a word-Us! We are the ones who get in the way because of exhaustion or laziness.

The Lord has been showing us that if we don't take time to eat better and take care of ourselves, we will have to take time to be sick. The hubby and I both have health issues and we don't want to see them get worse.

I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with Zoe. Which I may not have really had. It may have been my gastroparesis. When the food in the stomach finally moves into the intestine, it skyrockets the blood sugar. But I digress... Either way, it's concerning whether the diabetes was there or not. I need to be looking out for warning signs.

I was pretty diligent about what I ate while I was pregnant after I found out about the diabetes. I was so worried about something happening to my baby girl. Why can't I think in those terms now? What kind of example am I setting, what if I get sick and can't be around for my baby girl? I need to consider all of these potential eventualities.

Part of the reason we are postponing giving Zoe fruits for the first year is the fact that we want her to want vegetables more than sweet foods (even fruits). If we can wrap our minds around the same way of thinking for ourselves, we would be on our way to health and well being.

Now comes the hard part, actually doing what I am talking about. I am going to purpose each week to make a meatless, veggie rich dish for the hubster and I. And then after we master that... We will see what we can add into this new way of life (or what we could take out).

At the end of the day, I don't want to obsess about what we are eating tomorrow. I don't want to live to eat, but eat to live.

Adventures in Eating: Sweet potatoes for my sweet potato!

Little Ms. Ham getting ready for her first sweet potatoes! She has fallen in love with the camera!

First bite...
Hmmm, not sure...

Oh yes Mommy! More please!

She has officially given up on rice cereal. Which is ok cause I have lots of new recipes to try out in the next few weeks.

She gobbled up one cube of homemade organic sweet potato, so I may move it up to two cubes tomorrow. We will see what she thinks.

Also, my apologies for my baby always being in just a diaper. I always said "my baby will never just run around in a diaper all day long!" Well between the Texas heat, acid reflux spit ups, and lots of diaper overflow (it's great that she is a consistent pee-er, but dang can we reel it in on the volume!), she stays pretty much onesie less. We were doing 4 to 5 wardrobe changes a day which was getting out of hand laundry wise.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Rotovirus or something like it

Zoe's solid food feeding schedule has been pushed back again.

When I posted last about the rice cereal she had just started showing signs of diarrhea. She would have nasty bouts with it and would cry because it was causing horrible diaper rash. Poor baby! It broke our hearts to see her that way.

But it was odd. Other than the diarrhea and rash and the occasional refusal of food she was totally fine. No fever, very little spit up, happy most of the time, playful and alert. We had heard that teething can cause all her symptoms so we chalked it up to that.

Well yesterday Zoe was a little lethargic. She slept later than us which is extremely rare! In fact that never happens. So I went up to church, checked in to see about Sunday School (I teach the toddlers), saw I didn't have anyone then left and took her to urgent care.

Turns out she had a mild stomach bug (probably rotovirus, but it's hard to say) and she is now on the upswing of getting better. I maybe could have just waited it out as she was never dehydrated or anything, but for peace of mind, going to see a doctor was worth it.

That means no new solids for Zoe for a week. We will FINALLY start sweet potatoes next Monday. I'm so excited! I hate that we got so behind because of busyness. I can go on and on about the dangers of busyness, but that's for my other blog...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Adventures in Eating: 3 Ingredient Meals-Goat Cheese Pesto Pasta

Yet another success story from Real Simple's 3 Ingredient Recipes. Up to bat tonight: Goat Cheese Pesto Pasta.

Cooked pasta
Goat Cheese
Ready Made (or homemade) pesto

Mix ingredients and viola! DELICIOUS!

It was a hit and there was no meat in the entire dish. I served it with a side salad and hubster approved. I believe it was a 4.5 out of 5 star meal. The goat cheese, while delicious and nutritious, tends to have the consistency of peanut butter and wants to stick to the roof of your mouth. Other than that, adding this one to heavy rotation list as well.

Sorry, no picture again. Just too dang hungry...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Day of all new recipes!

Yesterday the hubster stayed home due to a respiratory infection. =( Don't get me wrong, I love having him home, but don't like to see my guy sick.

He was running a fever, so I decided, hey feed a fever. Not really, just that we were behind on our menu plan for the week so I made one of our quick meals I had planned out for another night for lunch. We made goat cheese pita pizzas. SOOOOO YUM!

Here is the recipe:

Crumbled goat cheese
Pizza sauce (canned or homemade)
Various veggies

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes. Viola! Deliciousness!

We are a fan of the goats milk/cheese. So much better and less processed than cows milk. Which we aren't supposed to have in the first place. That's another blog post all together.

For dinner we had marinated steak kabobs and ranch potatoes.
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive or Sunflower oil
Minced garlic

Marinate steaks from 15 min to an hour

Various veggies (we used red peppers)
Marinated Steak-Cubed

Alternate steak and veggie cubes on wooden skewers (if putting on outdoor grill soak skewers in water)
On outdoor grill or indoor griddle (suggest doing it outdoors its really smoky) place kabobs and rotate till cooked evenly.

Ranch potatoes:
6-8 quarters new potatoes
Ranch dressing seasoning packet
Sunflower or Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place ingredients in Ziploc bag and shake until evenly coated with oil and seasoning. Cook for 30-40 minutes

Dessert was the easiest tart I have ever made!

It was from the Real Simple 3 Ingredient Recipes in the July Issue.

The recipe called for nectarines or peaches. Well our peaches went bad really really quick. But we did have blueberries from blueberry picking last week so I improvised.

Blueberry tart
1-2 cups blueberries
Refrigerated pie crust
2 tbsp Raw Sugar
1 tbsp Butter (optional)

Roll out pie crust on parchment lined cookie sheet and pour blueberries in center of crust. About an inch in from the edge, fold up and over to create the shell. Wet your fingers with water and pinch crust together so nothing spills out. Brush butter (I accidentally left this part out, and it still turned out great!) over crust and berries. Sprinkle raw sugar over everything. Bake in the oven at 375 for 30-40 minutes. I did 35 and it was perfect.

Everything was so quick and easy! These are all favorites and will be put into heavy rotation at the house.

Sorry no pictures we were so hungry we just ate quickly.

Adventures in Eating: Restart

We have been soooooo busy lately we have been inconsistent with Zoe's solid food feeding schedule. In fact it's been non existent. We have traveled a lot and there was the miserable summer colds that hindered progress.

I tried to reintroduce rice cereal last night and she wasn't having it. I tried again this morning and same thing.

I need advice... any one deal with this before? Has she lost the feel for being spoon fed? She loved it before, will she love it again? Is there something I can do other than keep offering her rice cereal to make feedings more fun?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Adventures in Eating: 3 Ingredient Meals-Bacon Wrapped Chicken

I have been trying to find new recipes that are super simple. I'm gearing up for my first craft fair in a couple of weeks. I am up to my ears in fabric. So I have little time to put a bunch of stuff together for dinner.

I went searching on the interwebs and found a quick, simple, yummy looking recipe. Just 3 ingredients? You have to be joking!

Bacon Wrapped Chicken

2 Chicken breasts
4 Slices of bacon
Italian Seasoning

Sprinkle Italian seasoning on chicken breasts. Put in greased pyrex dish. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap bacon around chicken breasts. Cook for 20 minutes and then put on High broil for 2-3 minutes to make bacon crisp.

It turned out really yummy. I cooked ours a little too long so it was slightly dry. That's what happens when your in the middle of sewing and can't tear yourself away.

Real Simple has a lot of 3 ingredient recipes in their July issue. I will be trying these out!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! I wanted to share our Father's Day surprises.First off, Zoe and I made breakfast in bed for the best dad ever. Blueberry panckaes, maple syrup, bacon, and a tall glass of OJ. Then for dinner, one my hubby's favorites, Alabama Chicken (chicken with white bar b que sauce), southern potato salad, and green beans with bacon. Lots of bacon on this day, lol. The hubster is from Alabama and the white bar b que sauce is only available in northern Alabama. It needs a little more tweaking before I share the recipe. It didn't turn out quite right this time, but it was still really yummy. I loved making these meals for this guy! He is an amazing father and wonderful husband. I love him so much! Father's day should be once a month!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

So It's Been Awhile...Subtitle: Our Journey through Infant Acid Reflux

Us at our family photo trip to Brenham.

It has been quite some time since I posted here. Which is sad, I must say. I have started another blog called Adventures in Eating, but I don't want to abandon this one at all. I like to keep this one for revelations and life musings.

So what has life been like the past few months... busy, stressful, tearful, joyful, ready-to-pull-my-hair-out crazy, amazing, blessed.

I had not posted for so long because Zoe, our sweet baby girl, has been struggling with weight gaining issues and a nasty case of acid reflux. She cried for HOURS everyday for 6 weeks. At first we thought it was colic, but she was in some serious pain.

There would be days when I would cry right along with Zoe, not knowing what to do. There is nothing in this world like that hormone (that horrible, horrible hormone) that releases when your baby cries. It makes a mom insane. It makes you feel the need to soothe the baby and make things better. Well when there is nothing to be done because nothing works, you feel helpless, hopeless, and all around mad at the world. I felt like such a failure at times.

I finally broke down after trying EVERY possible colic remedy (none of them being successful) and took her to the doctor. I know a lot of people would have taken her in sooner, but we would call the pediatrician and she would say, sounds like colic, try X,Y or Z. We would and nothing. We talked to friends and they would say, sounds like colic, try X, Y or Z. We would and nothing. You can imagine the frustration. I literally got sick of hearing "that sounds like colic".

When we went in, it was determined that I needed to switch her formula and put her on children's Prevacid. The day we started these things, we had a completely different baby! I praised the Lord for this amazing transformation. We had prayed and prayed for the answer and we finally had it.

Since then Zoe has been the sweetest, cuddliest baby you have ever seen. She only gets fussy if she is wanting to snuggle and is sleepy but fighting it. Which she fights the naps during the day with all her might. I think she thinks she is going to miss something. She will be on the verge of sleep and her eyes will shoot wide open and look around. Silly girl is just like her Momma when she was a kiddo.

Some of this stuff is hard to admit to myself let alone in public, but I want to be real. And in the interest of being real, I fully admit I felt horrible about myself as a mother during that time, I did not enjoy my baby (please don't confuse that with not liking or loving her, I did both of those, I just could not enjoy my time with her, it was constantly being spent consoling), none of my preconceived notions of parenthood and child rearing happened the way I wanted them too, I need to trust my instincts more, the Lord is pruning me for being judgmental (OUCH), and I have a lot more growing to do (which was a no brainer, but this experience has shown me how far I have come and how much further I need to go).

I know that the seasons of our lives are changing. We have moved from distress, worry, and frustration to more peace, joy, and the stability of routine. The Lord saw us through it all and we will press on as each new season comes.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Crepe Practice

The image above is not mine in the slightest. It was from Google Image Search. You will understand why in a minute.

I attempted making crepes for the first time today. They were super tasty, but a little thick. And slightly off in shape (more like they were oblong rather than circular). And they didn't fold very neatly when off the griddle... But did I mention they were super tasty. =\

I got a quick easy recipe off and slathered them in Nutella and blueberries. YUM! Nutella makes alot of things better, especially the fact that I did not have beautiful crepes like you would have in a restaurant. Oh well, practice makes perfect.

Our new Christmas tradition starting this year will be Christmas Crepes... So that means I have a whole 6 months to practice.

On another note, some other things we have coming up this next week... VBS at church. So much fun! At the end of that we will be heading to Lake Whitney to one part of my side of the family's reunion. It's every year during Father's Day weekend. I'm so looking forward to it! It's been a few years since I attended. The hubster has never met this side of the family either and we will have our Zoe with us too. I will take pics of the ridiculous amount of food there is every year and of the dishes I make and share them!

Other updates: Our storage room is coming along nicely, hope to finish and have pics up by the end of the week. Zoe is up to 3 meals a day. We are going to start her on sweet potato this week so expect pictures of that as well. Currently Zoe and I are sick with a summer cold (Zoe's first ever illness) =(.

Man that's a lot of randomness for one post, but that's what happens when you have to catch everyone up on a few weeks worth of stuff. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Adventures in Eating: The Joy of Juicing

Hello again. Just wanted to update you on the liquid diet.

The last two days were not so good. I had lots of food. I mean LOTS of food. We had Zoe dedicated at church on Sunday and we had a fellowship lunch after the service. I ate alot there. Then of course yesterday was Memorial Day and we had some friends over for BBQ. So I ate alot yesterday too. Who can pass up BBQ on a holiday? Come on...

Well needless to say I was very sick last night and it just reaffirmed why I have to continue on this path.

A sweet friend of ours let us borrow her juicer and I juiced for the first time today. It was DELICIOUS! I juiced 2 apples, a few handfuls of spinach and about ten baby carrots. It didn't look pretty but it was so good!

No pics for this one though, sorry maybe next time. I can't wait to try to juice more! If I keep this up, I may want to invest in a juicer for our household. The benefits are great!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Adventures in Eating: No Ice Smoothie

Since this liquid diet is in effect that means smoothies for breakfast.

We had a small bag of tropical fruit blend in our freezer and I thought I would give it a whirl. Har har.

Easy No Ice Smoothie Recipe
1 small bag fruit (I used mango, papaya, strawberry mix)
1/2 cup almond milk (for the lactose intolerant)
3/4 cup orange juice (I'm technically not supposed to have this on my new diet but we did not have apple juice)
1 1/2 cups of water
A pinch of raw sugar or applesauce for a little extra sweetness

Turned out really great! I have to make a store run tomorrow for more ingredients and produce for the juicer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Gastroparesis and Reflux

Yesterday I had an endoscopy. I have had digestive issues my whole life. A few years ago I went to countless doctors for answers and after about a year of testing and no answers, I quit. No more doctors I said! I was tired of being a pin cushion with nothing to show for it.

Well with a recent diagnosis one of my friends received, I decided to try one more time. I talked to a new doctor and he scheduled me for an endoscopy.

After all was said and done, I have an answer! I have gastroparesis and reflux. Gastroparesis is when the smooth muscle of the stomach does not move your food through to your intestines the way it should. Basically what I ate yesterday could still be in my stomach today. GROSS!!!! and most of the time painful. Coupled with that is severe chronic reflux. Basically heartburn 80-90% of the time. Hooray!!! (Hooray for diagnosis, not actually having it.)

So now I have put myself on a liquid diet for two weeks to see if I can get those muscles moving more efficiently and the doctor prescribed a high dose Zantac twice a day. And there is a LOOOONNNNG list of foods I have to avoid from now on. BUMMER! I love food =(

A sweet friend of ours loaned us their juicer while I'm doing this. So that means I will post some pics and recipes of different juices I'm trying.

Here's hoping this works.

Adventures in Eating: Outtakes Pt. 1

I thought I would share some random pics with you from Zoe's adventures in eating. These are the pictures that are not quite main post worthy, but too cute to get rid of.
The "Really?" face. She is so expressive.
Oh the unfortunate-ness of this picture. I love it cause it's so sleepy and weird. Hahahah! Of course this was caught in mid blink or she was about to sneeze, I can't remember which. But it's too funny to delete!
And this one is just preciousness. Love this little girl. Check back later today for another post regarding my adventures in eating.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Avocado Yumminess

So we started avocado yesterday. We were too busy to take pics, but we got some today. Zoe is ready!
Ummmm, what's this? She made a sour face at first that I didn't get to get a photo of =(
Avocado dribble on the face. Hey give that back! It's mine! She was a fan of the avocado. We decided to just be in the diaper so that it would make it easier to clean up afterwards. She gets super messy. It's adorable, but lots of laundry after. She has her rice cereal feeding at night now that we know she isn't allergic. It fills her up for the night and she sleeps beautifully! It's pretty wonderful.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Two Feedings a Day

Daddy got in the rice cereal adventure yesterday and got to feed Zoe with a spoon for the first time. I just love how they love each other! Zoe get's this look in her eye when she sees her Daddy and it melts my heart.

She is so cute covered in food!
She keeps trying to "help" when we are feeding her by grabbing the spoon and "guiding" it to her mouth.
Then she grabbed the spoon away from Daddy. And fed HERSELF!!! WHAT???? She is only 4.5 months!!!!

And then looked at Daddy for approval.

She is now up to two rice cereal feedings today. I am going to make avocado puree today and freeze it, so in a few days we can add avocado to the mix. I hope she likes it... Oh and if anyone is curious, she is eating Gerbers Organic Brown Rice Cereal. Have a great day!