Saturday, April 19

Big God

Our church had a really beautiful Good Friday service yesterday evening.

At least, I think they did. I was just a little busy walking in three minutes late and making sure my baby didn't take the lid off the permanent marker she found and monitoring trips to the bathroom & the drinking fountain and holding an almost 3 year old who can't stay in the same position for more than 4.8 seconds and telling my kids to turn around and noticing that my son was wearing jeans with a hole in the knee (even though I specifically asked him before we left the house if he had holes in his jeans) and trying to keep my 4 year old from whining and noticing that my 6 year old maaaybe didn't get her hair brushed today anytime in the past three days and making sure the receipts that my littles were digging out of my purse didn't crinkle too loudly and watching - horrified - as one of my children picked the fuzzies out of their toes. DURING THE SERMON.

I wish I was joking. I wish so badly that I was joking.

We have six kids, people. Six kids under ten years of age. That's half a dozen. And can I let you in a little secret?

I literally....have no idea what I'm doing....pretty much all the time.

There. I said it. I have no idea how to parent. And if we've met in person and you've seen me interact with my kids for more than, like, two and a half minutes, you've probably already thought to yourself...

Wow. She literally....has no idea what she's doing.

And you're right.

I admire the people who have it all together. Those people don't usually have six children. And I'm pretty sure they don't actually have it all together. But if they really do, well, I admire them.

However, I'm not one of them.

Parenting is hard. Everyone tells you this before you have kids, but if you were anything like me, you probably figured you would be the first person on earth who would ever be able to handle it juuuust fine. And then you had kids.

I love my kids. I love homeschooling my kids. I love spending time with them. But most nights, after we finally get them all in their beds, I let out a little sigh and think to myself....

Wow. I have no idea what I'm doing.

Thank goodness I serve a big God. A big God who loves my kids way more than I ever could. A big God who knows their future far better than I could ever imagine it to be. A big God who gives grace to my kids - and to me - every moment of every day. I seriously have no idea how people parent without serving the big God that I serve.

If you're a parent and tonight you're feeling frustrated or overwhelmed or distracted or confused or disappointed or lonely or horrified over something your child has done, I just want you to know...

You are not alone.

There is a big God out there. And He sent his own child to earth to live a life of perfection. To endure a painful death in your place. To pay for your sin. And to place on you His righteousness. To give you open access to His throne.

There is no greater gift. No greater sacrifice. No greater news. And no bigger God.

There is no one who can come alongside you as you parent your child(ren) and replace your frustration with joy, your feelings of being overwhelmed with peace, your distractions with focus on what matters, your confusion with clarity, your disappointment with hope, your loneliness with friendship, and your moments of feeling horrified with encouragement for the future.

My God is big enough to do all those things. And He does them everyday.

This Easter, I am thanking God for the indescribable gift of His Son. And for all those incredible things He does for me every day as I stumble through this parenting journey.

Wednesday, April 2

Random Miscellaneous Unrelated (Redundant) Blog Post

1. Are you guys wondering what happened to me and my food diet? No, because nobody actually reads this? Well good. Then I won't tell you.

2. Just kidding. I gave up.

3. Just kidding again. (Sort of.) But we were very spur-of-the-moment gifted with a week's stay in Ft. Lauderdale and so I did give up on my strict guidelines while we were gone. Aaaand I'm still trying to get back in the groove.

4. Did I mention that we went on vacation? It was amazing. Longest vacation we've ever taken, and it was so lovely and refreshing. Even if it was insanely windy.

5. I'm considering setting up my studio in the basement. But I'm afraid of my strobes. I only ever used them when I absolutely had to. But I miss taking photos of my babies.

6. On that note, I'm thinking about occasionally posting pictures here again. Because it's more entertaining than listening to me drone on about nothing.

7. I bet I'll even go back to completely not posting for long periods of time. That's just how I roll.

8. My baby is 10 months old today. Wah! Make it stop.

9. We have two months left of school for the year.

10. It's 2:30 and I haven't even thought of what we're having for dinner tonight. I want to get back on the meal planning bus, but I'm just...not....getting it.

11. I am really anxious to go running! I planned to run on the trip, but that never actually happened. And then we had a birthday Monday and yesterday didn't happen and now.....well, I'm just ready.

That's all, folks! Happy Hump DAAAYYY!

Wednesday, March 12

Not About My Diet

Yesterday I woke up feeling weak and a little feverish. Several applications of Purification and Thieves essential oils throughout the morning pretty much took care of that for me, but I was still pretty tired throughout most of the day. You see, my nine month old doesn't believe in sleeping. She never really has, except for those first few months, which were just a total tease. And now, with the daylight savings time adjustment, she doesn't believe in sleeping at all. As in, she's been up in the middle of the night for 2-3 hours every night since Saturday. Yes. I am sleep deprived. (Why am I even still awake right now?) 

My husband let me take a nap yesterday evening, which was lovely and refreshing (and confusing when I awoke), so I finally climbed back into bed around 12am this morning, after spending a few hours up and around the house. Just about as soon as my head hit the pillow, I felt an urge. No, not that one. I do go to the bathroom before I go to bed. I felt an urge to get up and....copy some Scripture.

Now I have to admit, this is a strange urge for me. It's not something I've done a lot of in the past several years and I know that's to my disadvantage. I don't have a lot of quiet time around here in this house of crazies and when I do, just surviving by reading God's Word is usually as far as I can get. And I'm pretty much always interrupted. Even if all the kids were sleeping when I began.

So anyway, I rolled myself out of bed, found my Bible (iPhone reader here! I'm a little ashamed I had to search for the actual book), laid it out on the table and grabbed a notebook and pen. Okay, two pens. Because the first one was dead. And then...

It was beautiful. You see, earlier in the day, while sitting down to nurse my sweet baby girl, I observed the way she lunged for my breast when it was time for her to eat. She literally lunged from her position, even though I would have pulled her to my breast within 1.4 seconds if she hadn't done so. But when she did, the Holy Spirit prompted me to recall the verse in 1 Peter that tells us we should crave the spiritual milk from the Word like a baby craves and yearns for milk. Dear mothers, if you are not in this phase of life right now, do you remember what it's like? Can you picture your baby fussing as soon as they realize they are going to be eating soon and nearly working themself into a panic if the breast (or bottle) is not in their mouths just as soon as they are ready? Can you? Because THAT is what the Lord desires of us. And you know? I fall short. I fall way short.

I wrote 1 Peter 2:2 at the top of the page and then turned to James, a book I love dearly. As I began to copy the first chapter of James, the Lord opened up even more things that He wanted me to hear. When I got to verse 5, I read this:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." 

It WILL be given him. And I realized that I have been struggling over an issue with my children for weeks on end and not even once do I recall asking the Lord for wisdom. I asked my friends for wisdom. I asked my husband for wisdom. But I neglected to ask the Lord, the one who holds all wisdom and gives it freely if I just ask

Woah.

I copied down several more verses before my hand, not used to copying much text in any form other than typing, let me know that it was about time to call it a night. I spent some time in prayer, asking the Lord for wisdom over several areas of my life. Areas which I have failed to even discuss with Him lately. And I was so blessed. It was so freeing to know that I don't have to know the answer right now. He knows and He will give me the wisdom that I seek. How refreshing!

What if I had ignored that midnight whispering to my heart and just rolled over and tried to sleep? What if I had looked at the clock and pushed that urge aside (as I have many times before)? 

I would have missed out. I would have really missed out.

Don't push the Lord aside, as I do all too often. Listen. And follow His leading. I promise you will be blessed.

Monday, March 10

Day 10 - I'm Alive and I Feel Good!

Confession: Even I am amazed at the amount of discipline I've so far put forth into this 30 day challenge.

On Friday, we took a last-minute trip to Brown Country. I brought along lots of fresh fruit and ate well while we were there. Meats, veggies, and fruits only. Oh, plus one baked potato and a tiny portion of hashbrowns. So a little bit of potato, I guess.

Last week I logged 9 miles of running/walking and discovered how amazing my RC essential oil is when it comes to my breathing while running! Truly a night and day difference! I'm thrilled!

This week I have yet to plan a specific menu (which is okay because I didn't really follow my menu all that much last week), but I'm keeping lots of meat, eggs, veggies, and fruits in the house and that's working well.

I haven't gotten my official measurements from my official measurer yet (that'd be my husband) but I know I'm getting toned and losing some because today at the YMCA, I nearly lost my pants while running on the treadmill. So after dinner tonight, I went straight to Target and bought myself a smaller pair. Nobody needs to be seeing THAT.

The scale at the Y seems to be dreadfully unreliable. For example, I weighed myself last Saturday and then again this morning. I "gained" five pounds. Then I stopped by the Y again tonight (long story) and just to see the reliability factor, decided to hop on the scale while I was there. I had "gained" three more pounds. So I'm a little baffled over that. I thought those old scales were the most accurate. *shrug*

My goal for each week is 8 miles on the treadmill, and I exceeded that by a full mile last week. I'm at 2 miles for this week already, so I'm on my way!

I miss my coffee creamer. And tonight I really missed Coke. I stopped to get a gas station Coke for my husband who is doing some amazing stuff in the kitchen right now and it was soooo hard not to sip steal from his cup! I really do feel great though. I just miss stuff. Stuff that is delicious. Like the other day when I reeeaaaallly wanted some salsa but didn't have anything to dip into it. And then suddenly I thought of really thin slices of carrot - even though I hate raw carrots - and so I cut one really thin and ate it and it was pretty close to awesome!

Mmmm. Now I want salsa. But we're out of carrots. Phooey.

Wednesday, March 5

Day 5 Is (Almost) In The Books

Whew! I made it five days! My kids have been conspiring against me lately and I have gotten so little sleep. This morning I was longing for that sweet HFCS-filled creamer that I just love in my coffee. But alas, I had water and kept on moving. I'm not going to lie. I do fully intend to go back to that horribly processed coffee creamer in April. Also, cookies. Big giant skillet cookies with ice cream. Mmmmmmmmm....

So why am I even doing this, you ask? Well, I've been pregnant or nursing for about - ohhhhh, 10 years now. And since I can't do a full-on detox during pregnancy or breastfeeding times, I figured this was probably the best I could do. Eat whole foods and cut out the crap. So this is my fake detox.

I'm doing well with my workout routine. I'm at the YMCA 3-4 times each week and running/walking 2 miles each evening I'm there as well as trying to build and tone this body that has birthed six children. It's going well and I can see some changes beginning to happen, so that's encouraging for sure. Since I joined the YMCA about five weeks ago, I've lost close to 10 pounds. I wasn't going as often for the first few weeks either, so I'm so anxious to see what changes may take place this month with me eating so much better. (I feel like I keep saying that. Can you tell I'm anxious? I seriously need to get rid of some of this extra baby weight that just wears me down.)

I've fallen in love with sweet potatoes topped with coconut oil and maple syrup, which is a pretty big shock, considering I've never been a fan of sweet potatoes at all. I'm shooting to get in 4-5 servings of veggies each day. I'm not keeping track of my fruit intake, because that's basically what I eat whenever I need a snack. It's probably around 3-4 servings per day.

I don't even know if anyone else is reading this or cares, but I feel like it helps me stay motivated to blog about it. So....tough luck.

Monday, March 3

My headache is gone! Yay!

I woke today without a headache! Hooray! It's actually pretty miraculous too because my wee one was wide awake from 11pm - 4am last night. Yes. You heard that right. I took the first half of that stretch and then my husband took her to the living room where she played and he napped for the second half. I have NO idea why she was awake. She wasn't in pain. She wasn't hungry (as I fed her a thousand times in hopes that that would put her to sleep, to no avail). She was just...really really awake. So I'm pretty tired today.

I gave up coffee a few days ago because I didn't have anything suitable to put in it and I have ZERO interest in drinking black coffee. I usually drink decaf or half-caf, but I sure wish I had some caffeine to drink today!

Last night I made a cabbage stir fry with bacon, apples, onion as garlic. The rest of the family ate it over rice. I ate it by itself and it was....meh. Definitely not my favorite thing I've eaten. After the kids went to bed, my husband made salsa and I ate it with sweet potato chips. That was an interesting flavor. I almost caved and ate tortilla chips, knowing that I eat a healthy amount of salsa per chip and that I wouldn't actually be eating that many chips...but then I chose to stick with my veggie chips.

I am eating more food, more often...which is an interesting adjustment. For breakfast today, I had eggs with spinach and bacon, with apples and strawberries. A very tasty breakfast. And for lunch I had garlic chicken with asparagus and tomatoes. THAT...was delicious.

I have shredded beef in the crockpot for dinner tonight and I'm planning to eat that in a lettuce wrap with some cooked carrots and roasted cabbage.

I'm feeling fewer sugar cravings already, if that's even possible. And I'm anxious to get to the Y tonight to finally get an accurate weight in the books. Also, I have grown to love that time away. I love my family, of course, but I am so thankful for those few hours in the evening away from the craziness that comes with having half a dozen kids in the house at all times.

Sunday, March 2

I'm hungry. And I have a headache.

Today is Day 2 of my real food journey. I woke this morning with a slight headache and it has remained all day. I'm guessing this is just part of the real food "detox" (not really a detox), but it's annoying. I'm hungry all the time. I mean, I'm eating constantly because I actually feel hungry all. the. time. I think I need more protein maybe.

I'm glad I made a menu plan but I'm horrible at actually following it. But I know I have all the ingredients for everything so I just move it around as I feel the need.

Yesterday I ate breakfast really late so lunch didn't happen. I snacked on sweet potato and kale chips yesterday afternoon until dinner. Today I ate 3 pieces of bacon, 2 eggs with spinach, and four strawberries for breakfast and sauteed veggies with honey for lunch. But I'm getting ready to make a smoothie because I'm still hungry. Is this normal? If not, what am I doing wrong?

I failed to get body measurements yesterday but I had my husband help me with that today. I'm very curious to see what, if any, physical changes ill experience this month.

I have a beef roast in the crockpot for tomorrow's lettuce wraps and am planning on chicken for dinner tonight. I think.

Yesterday was only hard on our date when I REALLY wanted a sip of my husband's Coke. And frozen yogurt. No date today so no temptations like that.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow being Monday. Normalcy in my workout routine will be very welcome.