Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Day in the LIFE (in which I attempt to write something humorous on a dead brain)

I am about to commence an end of the day, entirely at the end of myself, barely have a brain left, post that describes a typical day in the life as a stay at home mom. I shall write this post by quoting Israel, Jericho and myself.  There shall be a narrator, and that narrator shall be myself, since I am writing this blog, and I want my own personal thoughts inserted. Is this even making sense? I'm not sure. Like I said, I am at "barely have a brain" stage. Whatever. Here we go.  No...wait...please make sure to read the "DISCLAIMER" at the end of this post, ok?

5am
Me: Rolls over...feels for hubs...hubs is up already getting ready for work.  "Phew, I have 21 more minutes until Israel wakes up to try to grab a few more z's!"
5:21am-
*thump* *thump thump thump* *eyes staring at my face at the side of the bed*
Next 45 min-
Israel: (in bed with me) "Hummm hummmm"...."nose kisses mommy! 'boop boop boop!'"*kick, flop, roll.*
Me: "Want to watch a movie?" 
Israel: "How bout that one!? no THAT one! NO not THAT one!" 
Narrator: "Sarah likely is having a conversation in her head at this point about how worth it is it to try to grab a quick shower while her son is corralled in his high chair with a banana, apple and on his lucky days, coconut macaWOON.  Any minute Jericho will wake crying and isn't 5 min of laying in bed far surpassing of clean hair?"
Me showering: *Insert various and sundry interruptions and neediness pulling me out of said shower.* 
BREAKFAST: 
Narrator:  As narrator, I choose to delete the plethora of conversations or noises during the kids' eating, diaper changes, more eating, more diaper changes, and re-discovering of the toys put neatly away the night before. 
Me: *Looking longingly at the coffee pot.* Coffee, glorious coffee. 
Israel: "Mommy gotta make some coffee, mommy?" 
Me: *smiles* Thinks, "gosh he knows me well!"
2-3 cups coffee later
Me: "Wow, thank you Lord for the grace of coffee! Thank you for this energy which wasn't here this morning! Thank you for the joy they are and for the blessing it is that I get to be their mommy."
Narrator: The above prayer is actually a genuine one, not at all sarcastic.  However, it may or may not be a tad bit influenced by copious amounts of caffeine, but nonetheless, Sarah is well aware that it is a command of God's to be joyful always, and always we can find joy if we ask and look for it.
Early morning pre-nap:
Cars, crayons, crying, trains, play-doh...and THEN:

Israel: "Mommy! Israel go poo poo potty and pee pee potty and then get a SSSCHLOCOLATE CHIP!? One for pee pee one for poo poo!?" 
Sarah: Cleans up melty chocolate after the two deeds are done and the treat doled out...and eaten. Slowly, savored (melted) and eaten. 
More playing, laughs, tears.
Israel: *walks over to a corner where Jericho made a huge mess and exclaims to himself 'are you serious!? Are you SERIOUS!?'" 
Jericho: *cries and fusses*
Israel: "Golly Jericho, stop whining!"
Me: (about to tell Israel it probably won't help Jericho to tell her to stop whining, especially in that tone of voice, then realizing that he is probably saying that as a repeat of what I likely said to him moments before) *opens mouth.* *Closes mouth.*

NAPTIME!!!
Narrator: Again, I'll spare the little details of diapers, water cups, sheet on, sheet off, door opened, noise machines set, etc etc. 
Sarah: *scuttles off to make some lunch* *Fixes lunch.* *sits down to eat...*
Jericho: "Waaaaaaahhhh!" 
Me: "Are you serious? Are you SERIOUS!? You're going to kill yourself from sleep deprivation, little girl!"
Narrator: What Sarah probably means in the statement above is: "YOU'RE GONNA KILL ME WITH YOUR LACK OF SLEEPING, LITTLE GIRL!" but...no need to really point that out...
The remainder of Israel's naptime is spent playing with Jericho in a room where her delicate noises won't wake him.
Jericho: "cah-cah? CAH-cah!? CAH-CAH!"  
Narrator: (cah cah is Jericho's universal word for food, and it is translated as "cracker"). 
Lunch-
Narrator: lunch is lunch....some days hot dogs, other days... hot dogs. And maybe some eggs. Why don't we skip to post lunch...
Post lunch on the way to the grocery store-
Israel: After sitting silently, suddenly calls out "mommy don't gotta wiener!" 
Mommy and Israel: *discuss who does and doesn't have a wiener*
Grocery store-
Narrator: "Beenana chips" munched on as Sarah tries to make it through the store. Of course, this isn't too hard as both of her kids are so well behaved and sit quietly munching in the shopping cart, smiling at strangers, loving life, and even helping Sarah remember items on her list at times....of course!
Checking out at the grocery store-
Cashier to Israel: "Hi, how are you?"
Israel: "I like scones!!"
Narrator: ummm...sweet!?
Home late afternoon time-
Bathtime-
Israel: "Can I take this car in bath? This one? How about this one!? And this one?"
Sarah: "Sure, just take the whole bucket!"

****30 min of "easy entertainment" time is ended abruptly early as Sarah has to follow through with discipline...dumping water out of the tub onto the floor...on purpose...equals all done bath.****
Narrator: More left out details of continued playtime, snacks, diapers, laughs, cries, and...oh! Sarah forgot to mention that she got a load of laundry in the wash (so what if it's still wet in the washer and not in the dryer 5 hours later!?) and 8.89% of the dishes done from the day!
Sarah finds out from a friend that Israel informed her that she had "lots of milk!" 
Narrator: "Milk," according to Israel, are...breasts. Yup, I just said it...breasts.  Annnnnnnd the outspoken observations from a thankfully loveable toddler begin...
5pm-
THE SWITCH!
Narrator: The switch is the time of day when both kids...no matter how good the day went for them and how well behaved they were...turn into wild, naughty, screaming, crying completely exhausting children, all whilst Sarah is trying to make supper. 
Sarah: "Jericho, stop hanging on mommy's legs!"
Sarah: "Jericho! My PANTS! *looks around* "Glad I'm alone in here!"
Narrator: Yes, Jericho did pull her mommy's pant clear to the floor one day.  How's that for a laugh?
Israel: "Israel gotta watch REAL trains on mommy's computer? Daddy gotta fix mommy's computer!"

Jericho: *cries some more*
Israel: "Israel gotta eat some of Jericho's puffs?"
Narrator: Puffs are the little cheerio-like snacks for babies...only they are real "natural" flavors such as "blueberry-blue sweet potato-banana."  I'm not joking!
Post two hours of terror, 7pm-
BEDTIME
...The routine. Total sweetness. Songs, prayers, jammies, teeth, diapers, water...
Israel: *belts out from his bed* "Amaaaaaaaaaaaaazinnnng GWACE!!!"
Me: "Amazing grace indeed....thank you Lord for this day and for getting me through it.

Oh, in case you were wondering, here is what I look like immediately following my morning coffee:



Here is what I look like at the end of the day after the coffee has long since worn off :



Some pictures of late:


Ok, this is just total cuteness to me right here...a "moment" we shared 2 min before the 5pm SWITCH!










Here is a day we mixed it up and had NOODLES with our HOT DOG!


****DISCLAIMER: I absolutely LOVE being mom to our dear children.  I wouldn't change it for the world.  This blogpost is real life, people...and sometimes I need to put a little humor on that real life at the end of a hard day.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's not THAT bad





Psalm 66:17-18:  "I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened."

This scripture verse is like a battering ram to my heart...in a good way.  See, here has been my problem:

I have since becoming a new creation in Christ, a believer and one who is saved, known that I am called to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27).  And, I have wanted to love him this way, OH how I have wanted to.  Prayed to.  But...while I have experienced and shown evidence of Luke 10, it hasn't been until now that I have found such depth of revelation and affection.  

Here is my confession, the ugly truth: 

-I often saw my sin as less than other people's sins.  
I haven't ever seen my sin as that big a deal.  As that significant.  I have prayed only half-hearted and almost vague non-specific prayers about the Lord killing my idols and helping me love him most.  I have never truly invited him in to show me the base level depth and weight of my sin, and therefore I have never FELT a great need for a savior.  God intended for his law to crush us...so that we can rejoice in the glorious, undeserved gift of the Gospel.  

-My sins were small, and therefore my savior was small.  
I know that the sins of anger, unforgiveness, self-pity, lovelessness and revenge are just as bad as any other sin.  I have wrestled with these particular sins all my life.  Yet, I had not invited the Holy Spirit to work change in my heart, and help me kill the sins, even while knowing there were even deeper sin issues at the root of them!  Hence, the "cherishing iniquity in my heart."  I, unlike the Psalmist in Psalm 66, was not having my prayers to love/value God most answered, and it was because I was not humbling myself in confession, nor was I pursuing the death of certain sins. 

-I wanted to feel loved.
I crave for my feelings and emotions to back up what I know to be true.  But, when I didn't let the Lord into the areas of my heart that needed tending to, it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to feel the full weight of forgiveness and love from God (or thankfulness TO God) ...because I wasn't dealing with the sins to even confess them.  Therefore, I was not going to FEEL love from his forgiveness.   

-I esteemed being viewed as godly over actually being godly.  
 I was scared of pain, discomfort and rejection (of people) more than I was concerned over the disobedience of my heart in not valuing Christ as I ought.  Therefore, I allowed myself to be "content" to find my value and worth based off of the impressions people got of my godliness, and the affirmation they gave me for it.  

-I wanted glory and affirmation for myself.
 Sarah was Sarah's idol.  These confessions kill me because I didn't want to live like that!  It's not what true life is!  God says to live is CHRIST to die is GAIN (Phil 1:21)!  Yet, I didn't want to suffer the pain of dying...dying to self and the death of my sins (which would hurt my idol of ME).  I. was. THE idol.  

I was strongly convicted by this quote when I started reading John Pipers book "God is the Gospel:

"Most modern people can scarily imagine an alternative understanding of feeling loved other than feeling made much of.  If you don't make much of me you are not loving me. But when you apply this definition of love to God, it weakens his worth, undermines his goodness, and steals our final satisfaction.  If the enjoyment of God himself is not the final and best gift of love, then God is not the greatest treasure, his self-fgiving is not the highest mercy, the gospel is not the good news that sinners may enjoy their Maker, Christ did not suffer to bring us to God, and our souls must look beyond him for satisfaction...We are willing to be God-centered, it seems, as long as God is man-centered.  We are willing to boast in the cross as long as the cross is a witness to our worth.  Who then is our pride and joy?"   

So.  Who am I really?  I am: 

Proud. Self-consumed. Hypocritical. Wounded. Always wanting to make justice happen. Unworthy of all things good.

Who is God? He is:

Gracious. Full of compassion. Rich in Mercy.  Loving. Holy. 
Worthy, for he IS all things good. 

Isaiah 30:18: "Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for him." 

I have talked about my confession in past tense because the Lord has done a great work in my heart! I finally humbled myself before God and confessed. 

James 4:6-10:  "But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the pround, but gives grace to the humble.' Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Huble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." 

"My strength is found not in how intensely I struggle but how completely I surrender."  -Ken Gire.  

I surrendered my fears to the Lord.  Confessed my desires to be made much of, and asked him for help to see my sins as crushingly huge.  I wanted to make much of my Savior and the death he died for those sins I'd seen as "not that big of a deal."  You know what I found??

NO CONDEMNATION! (Romans 8:1!)
JOY!
THANKFULNESS!!
Hunger for more of Christ to a level I'd never felt before!
FREEDOM! Freedom to confess to the world and to God that I am a wretch...but because of Christ...I am seen as PURE and blameless by the Father! (Again, to a new level). 


GOD IS THE GOOD NEWS!! GOD IS MY SOURCE! I AM TRANSFORMED (2 Cor 5:17)!

Yet...
I had not been living as one who is saved. A new creation. I had not been walking in free grace with the absence of condemnation.  

I was not delighting or loving God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind because again, I didn't see my sin as great.  More often, I was seeking God for me, and what he could do for me, not because He is EVERYTHING good and I want to know more of my creator God, his splendors and ultimately, worship him.  I was using him. And, because of this, I was ungrateful.  Entitled. 

THIS should be my heart: 
"What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning, test him at every moment?" -Job 7:17-18

IN AWE that the GOD of the UNIVERSE pursues me.  

I am so thankful for what God has been showing me lately!  Since he has revealed to me the deep uglies of my heart (and I know there are more to be found), I am excited to pursue God, grow, love, serve and relish the joy in HIM that's always available.  Because...I will say it again...God is the good news. 

I still wrestle with my flesh. Pride. Selfishness (always will while here on earth), but I have realized this:  I can want all my life to esteem God as highest--to value the gift of forgiveness--yet never actually do so. 

Until I was willing to face my sin head on...to humble myself before God and ASK him to HELP me die to self, I didn't value the greatest gift I have ever had and will ever have. My flesh wants to run from sin.  Divert. I want to be praised.  I want the glory.  Of course I don't "feel" like running into the pain of growing and killing sin.  But, I can know, that if I choose to "cherish iniquity" in my heart, that I will have a wedge between myself and the fullness of joy that is found in Christ. 
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks find, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." -Matt 7:7-8

I am praising God right now for opening the door to me!  For answering my prayers to see my sin as great and deserving of God's wrath...not so I would be hopeless in guilt and condemnation, but so that I could rejoice in the greatness of my savior who died under God's wrath in my place.

To find GOD as THE good news is to find never-ending desire for more of him while simultaneously living in complete satisfaction in him.

To GOD be the GLORY great things he has done!!


....next time maybe I'll have a weightier post for you all...  ;) 




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mommies, Plow Your Field.

Mommies, Plow your field.  This title came to me when talking to my husband (via text message which you can see a blip of below) about how I just don't feel cut out to be a mom.  More days than not I feel exhausted, overwhelmed, clueless and inadequate.  "Well," Joshua said, "that just means there is more room for grace!"  More room for grace.  Yes.  Today I was tempted to melt down in a puddle of tears because I just felt stuck in a place of "I can't do this anymore, but I have to...they need me."  I worked my butt off yesterday just being a mom and then all it seems that I got from it was the *occasional* tantrum, demand for more of me than I felt that I had to give, and a way too late bedtime.  Then, as I fought all day for patience, I slip up at the end of the day and express frustration and impatience in my tone to my littles leaving me to go to bed fighting guilt on top of all the other battles.  Grace.  I need to remember grace.  Grace to receive and grace to give.  Grace to keep plowing.  
Hosea 10:12 "Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow (unplowed) ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness on you." 

The Lord has gifted me with these precious children.  Yes, they are hard work.  Tears. Sweat. Blood.  Each day can be a battle to walk into, often time with inadequate armor.  (By inadequate I mean not enough bibs to protect from projectile rice cereal flung from the spoon you are attempting to hold onto but your baby grabs it and catapults the cereal directly onto your shirt, or not enough YOU to feed your baby while simultaneously dealing with your son's watermelon drippage down his clean shirt, into his high chair and onto the floor).  But...as hard and messy as being a mom can be, we have unplowed fields here, ladies.  We have souls that are ready to have the seeds of the love and truth of Christ poured into them.  We have a responsibility that is ginormous but we have grace.  We have the LORD who is longing to be gracious to us (Isaiah 30:18) and when we seek to be obedient, to lean on the Lord for help and give our children HIM, he comes and RAINS RIGHTEOUSNESS on us! I will let scripture speak for itself and post a few more truths/promises/encouragements to hold onto: 

Hebrews 12:11: "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace by those who have been trained by it."

Proverbs 10:28: "The hope of the righteous brings joy..." 

Nehemiah 8:10: "...for the joy of the Lord is your strength." 

SO, as my husband says in these text messages below, PLOW YOUR FIELD





Thank you, hubby for your wisdom and for inspiration for this short, likely discombobulated but heartfelt blogpost.  :) Now, as I get ready to wrap this post up, I'll leave some pictures that capture some of the moments that make all my sleepless nights and -0 alone time seem totally worth it. Well...almost. ;) 

Israel took a "solfie" on my phone. Seriously? Lord, I pray I would not foster a little narcissist by owning and sharing my i-phone with my toddler. 


Something funny to look at when Joshua and I really want a laugh in the midst of exhaustion:




Remember that watermelon mess I mentioned above? Well, the little helper was amazing at helping me clean it and then some up with this handy dandy mop: 



                                    Bumbo baby with another bracelet = butter hearted mommy:


                              Another heart melter....he had to keep his hat on all day just like daddy.  


My favorite person... on the third floor. Haha...He's my one and only third floor. 


And....coffee.  Yes. 





Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Storm




I am in the middle of a storm. A big one.  Perhaps the most raging and dark one of my life so far. Perhaps not, but it's hard to remember how bad storms were once they blow over. I am in a swirl of circumstances that all are either hard, painful, stressful, crushing, frustrating and...very near to making me toy with the word "DESPAIR."  As a believer I know that I am not called to a life of fear, anxiety and hopelessness....rather, I am called...commanded...to have a life of joy in every circumstance.  To not fear or be anxious but to present my needs to the Lord in prayer and petition.  To be hopeful because Christ is my hope.  He already died and rose for me, which is all I need, so there is already victory.  

Yet...wave after wave of circumstances slap me in the face like I was born to eat sand. I hear a constant voice of "you can't do it, it's too hard, you're a failure, this is never going to get better, you're alone, God's not listening or answering, God is able to do great things but he won't do them for you, give up, give up, give up, GIVE UP!"  LIES!  Lies lies lies stupid, evil lies. Yet, my emotions (stupid emotions) join in the chorus and I struggle to not crumble into a melted puddle of tears after exhausting every sob and sigh.  

I know I sound desperate. Dramatic...two words that I find very negative in these sorts of contexts and certainly don't want to apply to myself.  But...I know I am desperate. Dramatic. Blast!  God, please help me.  I want to be desperate for YOU and dramatic as I tell of your greatness! I am completely exhausted physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally, yet...I am called to press on, keep fighting.  

I know that God's tender mercy is very real. Very present. His wisdom and grace are generous.  His ways are not to be questioned because He is perfect and He is good.  Always.  Therefore, what he allows in my life is part of his perfect and good plan.  I am called to be joyful always...

I told someone the other day that I felt like I was reminded of the passage in Kings where Elijah had just had a huge victory, but then when Jezebel chased him...he ran away.  He was discouraged and fearful, and totally worn out and he said:

"It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”  And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.”  And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again.  And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.”  And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God."

I know I have what I need to fight. To be victorious.  God. My help, my rock.  But...I feel like I don't have enough in me to even fight and just need God...to feed me. To nourish me...as he did through the angel for Elijah. 

Recently I have realized that I have lived most of my life coping with hurt or fear by controlling areas I "can" control.  Or at least "feel" like I have a measure of control.  I have made control my security, and because it has been security that is greater than God my rock, it is an idol.  Well, right now I don't see any circumstance that is in my control.  There is nothing that I can grab hold of (that's not God)  to feel better or distract me into feeling like I can "do something" to fix all the problems.  All the pains. All the hard. 

GOOD.  You know why?  I am at the end of myself.  PERFECT.  You know why?  It's because that is where I realize that it never was me on my own anyway, but Christ in me, helping me...and He still will give me what I need to carry on.  Christ is:

My everlasting surety.  
My rock. 
 My help.
 My wisdom.
 My grace
My provision
My hope
My love
My strength
My song
My joy
My everything

God may not show me why he is allowing everything to seem as if it is crashing in around me.  As if nothing will get better, just worse. But...He is sovereign and I have always found him faithful.  He has never failed me and I know he never will.  His love never fails. His glory and goodness are everlasting.  I. can. trust. HIM.  I can trust Him.  I can trust him!!  GLORY.  

When I feel like I am totally out of control, (which I do) and that my path in front of me is despair, I must remember James 1:2: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

My emotions are a very real shadow trying to present as reality. My physical body is fragile and in great need of restoration.  My spiritual (faith) is very weak.  My mind is raggedly trying to remember truth. So I now cry, my God, please give me wisdom.  Give me YOU.  I don't have what it takes to pull myself out of this in my own strength, so give me YOU who are more than enough.  Let me remember that you hear my cries and you answer and I can trust you are working good even when I don't see the good.  Let my soul find rest in you. Let me take up the Word and wield it as the ultimate truth that will leave me victorious in battle.  Let me walk through this hard, not run away.  Let me grow and mature in my faith and my character.  Produce holiness in your child as a result of a chaotic fatiguing battle.  
I am weak.  But when I am weak, I am strong. (2 cor 2:10). 

This post is raw.  Not well edited.  I am not through the battle...but I am continuing the fight with these verses:

" I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth." -psalm 121:1-2

"When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!" -Psalm 142:3

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable." -Isaiah 40:28

"Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act." -Psalm 37:5

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him." -Psalm 28:7

"Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me." -Psalm 50:15

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." -Matt 11:28

" Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." -Isaiah 43:2

"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?" -Jeremiah 32:27

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." -Is 26:3

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." -John 16:33

"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison," 2 Corinthians 4:17

"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" -Romans 8:32

"The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand." -Psalm 37:23-24

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13
 

Monday, May 5, 2014

CIAO and CHOW: Two Weeks Down




Well,

We have successfully completed 2 weeks today of our dietary experimenting (again, if anyone wants to read about it, you can go here ).  I am going to keep this short and sweet because...I'm hangry.  Yes, I just used the word that I only know from my brother in law Chris, the combination of hungry and angry.  Perhaps it is a well known word but I just attribute it to Chris. :) ANYWAY.  Because I am hangry, I don't feel like writing much.  So, just a brief update on how we're doing.

1. We have not cheated.  Ok, I take that back...Joshua has not cheated....I have...once.  It was for a burger and fries with a friend.  I had to.  I just did.  It was good.  But I got right back on the bandwagon, and yeahhhhhh.

2. We have found some french fries at a restaurant that are made in 100% olive oil, are organic potatoes and are DELICIOUS.  We may have eaten a few rounds of those.  Ok, Joshua has eaten them once.  Me, twice.  As you can tell, there seems to be a theme starting here of "Joshua is doing better than Sarah" (by just a bit).

3.  Still enjoying the recipes we have found or come up with, still feeling over all satisfied with meals, just...still....CRAVING all the THINGS.  You know....the P word, the C word, the I word, the...(oh, those letters stand for pizza, cookies and ice cream just fyi).

4. As far as "are we feeling better?" from eating so healthy?  The answer is NO.  Not yet anyway.  I don't know if it just is going to take at least 2 weeks to detox and our bodies to adjust but here's the quick list update on us both:

JOSHUA:
-Still exhausted, slightly weak at times
-No energy.
- Still not getting the same food crashes after meals that he was getting before we started this thing, so that's a plus.

SARAH:
-Increased bloating (like woah momma, are you a MOMMA again?) every day all day it seems.
-Rashes.  Rash rash rash rash rash aspodifu paosidufp oiaudsfpiu stinking rash.  All over.  Hives.  I have inflamed swelling itchy patches, tiny bumps that appear all throughout the day in different places.  Eyes, inside ears, neck, chest, fingers and toes esp, the palm of my hand, stomach...yeah.  rash. The first week I felt pretty good, the second this started up.  I had a little of the same rash before the experiment but it was far more sporadic.
-Decent energy but lots of body weakness
-HUGE bags/puffy eyes (pollen?)


Ok, so I just spent more time on my symptoms and how I feel, but if Joshua were suffering from rashes too, I would have paid him the rash homage on an extra bullet point as well.

What are we going to do for the last two weeks?  STICK WITH IT, Lord willing.  We really want to finish this through until the end, even though we really REALLY want pizza.  I think the last few weeks may be more helpful than the first two as in the beginning we are still getting all the bad out of our system and getting adjusted.  I am also going to try to not eat nuts (almonds) just in case, to see if things die down in the itch department.  I'm thinking likely it is still Candida issues for me.

So.  I hope this update doesn't discourage.  Hoping next week will reveal more positive fruits.  FRUITS.  hah.  nice.  Pun unintended, but I felt the need to point it out once I realized it could be punny.  Cus...you know...all we are eating lately are stinkin' FRUITS.  Ok, anyway (ahem), I think my hanger has turned into a crazy loopy sarah-needs-to-stop-typing-now situation.  With that....I'm out!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

CIAO and CHOW wk 1: Recipes and quick update

WEEK 1

So, we are successfully 6 days into our eating experiment (which you can read about here )
and so far we have not suffered too much.  ;)

Quick update and then some of the recipes we have really enjoyed:

Joshua and I both have been "cleaning out" a bit more and both of us have felt less of a post meal "crash," especially Joshua.  While energy isn't up (which, we have two littles who don't really help in the energy dept anyway), it isn't worsening after a meal as it was before with carb/refined/sugar/dairy heavy foods.  I have gotten hives for several days in a row now, but I noticed it was after I started eating peanut butter in one of our recipes (which I will post).  I have been tested positive in the past for a peanut allergy.  I also noticed some of the scalp pain after the peanut butter was incorporated, so I'm keeping an eye on that.  Other than some cravings, both Joshua and myself have found it quite manageable to eat this way.  We shall see how much money it costs in the end, if it will even out to past grocery budgets or need to be adjusted...

So.  The good stuffs. Recipes.
(oh, really quick side note...we added 65% no dairy organic choc chips to this experiment to stay sane in our treats cravings....and one recipe calls for the tiniest bit of honey)

MEALS:

Ok, so we are only using quinoa for a grain, so I'm trying to get creative with the quinoa.  Pictured below are from top left to Right: Asian Cabbage Salad, Curry Coconut Oil Fried Quinoa and on the bottom of the collage picture is a bean salad over quinoa. 
ASIAN CABBAGE SALAD:
1 bag shredded cabbage
Shredded carrots (to taste)
Chopped green onion (I used about 3 stalks)
Cilantro (to taste) 
2 small avacados
Sesame seeds (to taste)
Chopped almonds (about 1/2 cup)
Olive oil to taste
1/2 lemon's juice
Prep ingredients and mix! Nom.


CURRY QUINOA
Cook two cups quinoa in 4 cups veg broth
Saute 1 cucumber and shredded carrots in coconut oil, curry powder and other desired seasonings
Add quinoa to veggie mix with a little more c. oil and stir in pan a few more minutes. 

BEAN SALAD:
2 cans black beans
About 3 chopped tomatoes
Diced red onion (1/2)
Cilantro to taste
1 bag organic sweet corn
Small spoonful minced garlic
2 chopped avacados
1/2 lime's juice
Prep: stir all ingredients and mix in quinoa!

MANGO CUCUMBER QUINOA
1 cucumber chopped
2 mangoes chopped (I used Trader Joe's frozen cubed ones, thawed)
About 4 tbs pumpkin seeds
Handful of cilantro
chopprd walnuts and almonds to taste
1/2 lemon's juice
about 4 tbs olive oil
2 cups uncooked quinoa 
salt and pepper to taste

Prep ingredients and mix...can enjoy hot or cold! This recipe was so refreshing to us.



BREAKFASTS:
Not gonna lie, breakfast time is comfort food craving time...but we have enjoyed these few dishes:
SMOOTHIES (not pictured)
-Protein powder (vegan) and produce, different varieties

QUINOA CEREAL (not pictured) 
Cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups almond milk with vanilla, cinnamon and chopped apples.  Stir in Almond butter to taste when cooked.  I found this surprisingly delish!

BANANA WITH ALMOND BUTTER AND CHOC CHIPS (splurge)
picture enough needed

SNACKS!
So we have been chowing down on these nut balls, eh heh heh.
Mix and shape:
2 cups almond flour
1/3 c choc chips
2 tbs peanut butter
2 teas vanilla
1/4 c coconut oil (soft and solid)
1 tbs honey

BAKED APPLES DELICIOUSNESS
half apples of choice and core middle. spread and fill hole with a little coconut oil and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon.  Bake in oven until desired softness.  Easy and a treat!





Monday, April 14, 2014

CIAO and CHOW: A month of saying goodbye to crap foods and shoving veggies down the gullet instead

We are doing it. For a month. Sweet deprivation   Clean food indulgence.  Did I mention for a month? Starting April 21st. 


Let me explain. Joshua and I have been learning more and more about nutrition and how the food that we eat can drastically help or hurt our bodies and also just how modified almost all of the food we eat is (GMO).  After much research and some experimentation in the past, we have come to the conclusion that almost everything we eat almost is killing us somehow and we should go into a deep depression about it.  That was sarcasm, a bit of dry humor (ha ha?)...but for real...minus the depression part.  I won't go into all the science that we have learned but I will jump to the experiment we are going to do as a result of our learning.  

GOALS for the experiment: 

OUR HEALTH:
Joshua and I both have been suffering from some really debilitating health issues (which I will list below) that we want to track as we eat clean, and at the end of the month, see if any of these issues improve.  We are aware that eating clean may not "fix" a more serious problem going on in our bodies, that we may require medical help, but we know it can't hurt our bodies to treat them well, nor make the problem worse.  

Joshua's Symptoms:

-Fatigue 
-Fatigue
-Fatigue
(yes, clearly I'm saying he is tired.  All the time)
-Lack of quality sleep
-Leaky gut symptoms
-Irritability
-Brain fog/inability to concentrate
-Forgetfulness

Sarah's Symptoms:
-Fatigue
-Joint aches combined with "burn" like sensations to touch on random parts of skin (scalp, arms, leg, fingers)
-Swelling (inflammation)
-"Zingers" shooting pains up neck into head
-Extreme bloating (aka like board flat stomach in the morning to 3 mos prego immediately after eating...I kid not people). 
( a lot of my symptoms seem to be autoimmune and inflammatory responses and sugar is linked to inflammation issues, so I would expect to see positive changes in my symptoms by eliminating most sugar).  

WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY BEEN DOING:
Just to clarify, we have already been primarily eating organic produce and try whenever possible to eat organic meats.  We have also done stints of gluten free, dairy free and sugar free eating.  However, we feel that we have allowed too many "exceptions" and been often inconsistent.  

WHAT WE WILL EAT:
-Organic veggies
-Organic fruits
-Quinoa (organic)
-Organic beans
-Balsamic vinegar and Organic Olive oil (yes, not quite "clean" but will help us maintain sanity in cooking)
-Coffee (in moderation) (Heh!) ( yeah right) (but really)
-Herbal teas
-Nuts

That's. IT.  
Please people, if you have some awesome recipes that work with these ingredients, please message me or comment on this blog with them!  :) 

PREPARATION FOR LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Our goal isn't just to eat this way for a month, but to incorporate some major changes into our lifestyle while giving provision for cheats out of necessity or the occasional treat. 
Given the culture we live in, eating healthy is almost a novelty and seems unattainable unless you get blessed by the Whole Foods fairy who delivers free produce at your doorstep daily (of course by way of the eco friendly hybrid car she drives), and honestly, I'm starting to believe this fairy doesn't exist. :(  Therefore, I want to track how much eating strictly organic whole foods will cost our family so we have an idea of a budget we can handle (or need to modify).  Currently (not including eating out) our family can easily put $600 in the grocery budget and just make it to next paycheck before spending more on food.  I am well aware that may be really high for some of you families but please understand our family consists of 2largestomachcapabilitiesMEN plus a healthy nursing girl who loves to consume her momma's calories so rapidly that momma has to eat just a liiiiiitttttllleeee extra to keep up. I plan to track how much this month of revised eating costs and strategize how to incorporate the lifestyle changes without upping our budget.  

Another complication that comes with our culture (food loving fatties fraternizing over foods), is that eating a purely organic diet around social gatherings or during our occasional family foodie movie nights will be impossible to maintain without cheating sometimes. So, we will learn to cheat and being ok with it.  #heckYEStohavingaCOOKIE!



Nonetheless, with all we have learned about nutrition, and especially if this diet produces positive changes in our health, we can't justify going cold turkey back into our current way of eating.  We are also aware that once you take foods that irritate your system out of your diet for a period of time, introducing them back into your diet can wreak havoc on your body like never before.  I have friends who could tolerate dairy until they got off of it for a few weeks.  When they tried to go back, they had horrible stomach issues etc.  Thus, we know that doing a month of this eating puts us at "risk" of making some of the foods we now eat, impossible to bring back without really drastic effects.  Anyway. We shall see, shan't we? 


GOALS of blogging on the experiment: 

I would love to use this blog as a bit of education for others, motivation for us and others, accountability for us (b/c really, I will want to "cheat" in the first 2.5 seconds of the experiment).  SO, I plan to post weekly updates on how we are doing, recipes for you readers, and finally, again, we would WELCOME any yummy recipes you peeps may have successfully tried that fall in line with what we are going to eat/not eat. 

So...updates to come after April 21st! 

Ciao and CHOW!