Sunday, February 24, 2013

What I ate to live today:

So I have had like 3 successful days in a row, therefore I'm feeling cocky enough to pretend like I know something about this Eat To Live journey that somebody might want to read. Here's what I ate today:

For breakfast I had a smoothie, and I admit I'm in a rut with this. 3/4 c unsweetened almond milk (Trader Joe's is the cheapest), 3/4 cup pomegranate plum juice (on sale at Aldi), half a bag (5 oz) spinach, 2 cups frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries, peaches, mixed, whatever), and a banana. I'm out of flax, or I would put that in as well. It's ugly, it's green, it's huge and I eat the whole thing.

For lunch, I had a bowl of my Montreal (cuz I use Montreal Steak seasoning) vegetable beef soup, minus the beef. Green beans, black beans, corn, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, your basic clean-the-fridge, never the same pot twice kind of soup. I also ate a full bowl of Eldest's version of Broccoli Raisin salad, which isn't NEARLY as good without the bacon.

For a snack I had grape nuts with strawberries, blueberries, hemp seed and sliced almonds, and unsweetened almond milk. Yum.

And for supper, it's a Southwestish kind of salad: a huge bowl of romaine, pinto beans (with cayenne and garlic powder), black olives, orange bell pepper, and dressing made with rotel, onion and avocado. Pretty spectacular, huh.

About half the things I make don't work very well and either have to be adjusted, suffered through, or pitched. I hate to throw away healthy, expensive food. I am working out the kinks. But the more I do it right, the better it tastes and feels.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Terrible Two

Today my sixth son is 2. He goes by many variations on his name, but mostly I call him Buddy. He has straight blond hair, "moonblinked" blue eyes (from the owl Guardians movie which I have not seen) and today, bright pink cheeks to go with his birthday fever.

His favorite song, the only one he sings, is Happy Birthday. He just sings, "Happy, happy, happy." So it's good that today it really is his birthday. We have had a big snow storm here and were not able to get the presents we waited till the last minute to buy, so sometime today I'll send some big kids scrounging to the attic with the goal of finding some toys he would like but hasn't noticed yet.

And I now have 2 two year olds. They've been 2 for a while, for all practucal purposes, due to the monkeyseemonkeydo factor. And it dawned on me yesterday, again, that concept that has risen to the surface a number of times over the years: if I want to get pregnant again and have more children (and I do) I really ought to stop complaining about the ones I have. Even more, if I honestly want the Lord to give me twins in my old age (and I do) I should stop whining about my 2 Twos.

So this is my rejoicing over the screaming, furniture-markering, diaper-removing, fighting, compulsive-dancing, food-throwing, knee-deep-in-cuteness existence of my too terribly 2 Twos.

Happy, happy, happy, happy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sick babies, big kids

Sick babies

Big kids

The greatness and agony of my life right now lies in the straddling of these two parallel universes. The small, sick, sad, needy and the big, nervous, emotional needy. The middle kids don't need as much. In fact, they'd just as soon be left alone, so they can play chess or clay or put a half cup of sugar in their tea, avoiding school and chores like the plague, brandishing wooden swords and light sabers and nerf guns with no ammo but still deemed effective because they make that cool poof! sound when you pull the trigger. But the smalls want held and the bigs want to practice their speeches. Little cries and long stories both claim my ears and brain cells. And I don't mind. There's nowhere I'd rather be, nothing I'd rather do. Except maybe fold laundry.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

On feeling inadequate

Ways I feel inadequate today:

My oldest child has a broken toe, I'm pretty sure.  She didn't want to go in when the youngest had a checkup yesterday, and I didn't make her.  The doctor said you don't have to bring her in unless the toe is crooked.  Well, it is.  It is also purplish gray an inch into her foot.  But the same toe on the other foot is crooked too, I think the same way.  I feel inadequate because I don't know if I should take her in and because I'm pretty sure they can't do anything to fix it.

My youngest daughter ate a cough drop tonight, but for a few frightening moments I was afraid she had drunk half a bottle of benedryl.  She came to me with a cough medicine smell on her breath and a sticky hand with the same smell.  Scary.  I'm imagining ipicac and stomach pumping and trying to keep her awake.  S'ok, just a cough drop.  But that's where I went.

I feel like my babies' skin does better with disposables, plus I'm about a decade behind on laundry, so I have a whole supply of cloth diapers I'm just storing right now.  And I feel bad about that, inadequate.

My children have been listening to Adventures in Odyssey and my husband has been Netflixing The West Wing, both of which (along with ALL television/movies/radio drama/plays/commercials) I cannot handle the suspense of, so I feel emotionally manipulated and not myself.  I know it is all made up, but tv stresses me out.

I did about a B- job of eating the way I want to today.  There are just honestly moments that I want comfort from food, and even though my comfort is in the Lord, sometimes I forget.  And sometimes I make poor choices.  It is especially hard to resist the healthyish but not completely beneficial to me food that I make for my kids, things like chocolate whole wheat chia seed zucchini bread and's totally addictive cornbread. 

My baby did not gain the weight my doc and I thought he should since his last check up.  This hasn't happened to me in about 7 kids, and even though I've learned a lot since then, part of me just wants to give up and do the bottle thing.  On the other hand, if he is the last baby I have, I'd hate to have quit nursing early without a fight.

Fifth daughter has a cough I can't help with, the kind a 3 yr old gets that would be so much better if she just knew how to cough and wasn't afraid to do it, but instead just keeps coughing and puking because she doesn't know how yet.  I wish I could cough for her. 

Little physical things wear down a mom's confidence, her feeling of 'all's well'.  Little character things, lack of discipline, fights between siblings, unforgiveness, do the same. 

And I'm back in that place of mistaken identity where I think being a good mom (or wife or human) is about how healthy or diligent or kind my kids are or how organized or thin I am, when in reality, my value is something calculated in the eyes of the One who formed me. 

That He can love me and cherish me in that Psalm 139 kind of way, having searched me and known me, my down sitting and my uprising, being intimately acquainted with all my ways, knowing my words, thoughts, actions, and days before there is yet one of them, that escapes me.  I spend my life trying desperately to earn love and acceptance THAT I ALREADY HAVE.

I have laughingly considered (laughing because of how very angry it would make my mother) getting a tattoo across the knuckles of my right hand, in Hebrew, "Belonging to the Lord".  Isaiah 44 - poplars that spring up like grass, with resiliance, saying belonging to the Lord, written on their hands. 

Ok, I'm not getting a tattoo on my hand.  But I wish it was written there, to help me remember that before and after and in the midst of everything else, I am His. 

What I say, what I do, what I eat and drink and feel.  He is intimately acquainted with all my ways.  My soul knows it very well.

All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live

I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blesses Savior
I surrender all

Friday, February 15, 2013

For the record,

I have never wanted to be pregnant more. It's that whole biological clock ticking thing, I guess, knowing that all women eventually stop getting pregnant. And being near as some of my dearest friends have lost or are losing babies. And saying goodbye to a friend who finished her race. Life seems so precious and fragile and incredibly desirable/priceless/indescribably wanted - having trouble really saying what I mean to say.

Because I still cherish the 'yes' and the 'no'. If I never conceive again, or if I never give birth again, I am completely and entirely thankful and content and so glad He has been in charge, without contest, for much of my fertile life. I have obviously nothing to complain of.

I just want to go on record as saying that if there is ever to be another person for us sometime, that would be even more wonderful, if that's possible, than all the previous 13, because, I don't know. Because He doesn't HAVE to. He doesn't have to give me anything. He doesn't have to bless me anymore. And if He did, does, would, if, well, yeah, I'm just saying that would be indescribably marvelous.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

To err is human, to forgive is . . .

a really, really good idea.

Here's why. When you do not forgive, it's like saying to the enemy (and there is one) please come in and mess up my heart really bad. You give the enemy a foothold. Picture a rock climbing wall. The little knobby things you step on - those are footholds. How hard would it be to climb the wall if those weren't there? Hard. If someone were trying to come in the back door and it was closed and locked, it would be hard to come in, right? But if the door was open and someone had their foot in it, a foothold, how much easier would it be? Way easier, right?

We have a real enemy who comes to steal and kill and destroy. The enemy seeks to divide us and drag us off (in unforgiveness) and make us feel depressed and alone. The enemy wants us to take sad or hard things that happen to us, accidentally or on purpose, and dwell on them, and rehearse them, and believe they represent how people and God have and always will let us down.

When we get hurt, and we do, and we will, and if you haven't, let me be the first to warn you that it will happen, we have an opportunity to choose what to do with that pain. We can say, "Jesus, this hurts. Will You please heal me and help me forgive and flood this pain with Your great love for me?" (and then He says YES! every time) OR we can think on it and practice what we would have said and what we will say next time and notice the similarity between this pain and that other pain I felt the last 37 times something sort of similar to this happened and carefully close off the part of heart that got messed up so it WILL NOT GET HURT THAT WAY AGAIN. Not saying don't have boundaries or use wisdom or cross the street with eyes closed carrying lucky cricket. Not saying that. But we have a choice. And when we choose to hold on to the pain instead of asking and letting God help us forgive, we issue an open invitation to the enemy of Jesus and us to come and make himself quite comfortable in our lives. And it just goes downhill from there.

I had a conversation like the above one with my most emotional kids this morning, when they were already at each others' throats before 8:30 a.m. on VALENTINE'S DAY FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. It stemmed from another conversation I had with a friend about where so&so was and how so&so is doing and realizing how many so&so's go away hurt, and thinking, geez, what is it we (the church/body of Christ) are doing, hurting so many people so bad? Well we bump into each other a lot. That's true. But we are just a bunch of redeemed sinners, we're bound to bump into each other. And when I look at some of what we did, hurting each other, I'm not so sure I'd have the wisdom to do it differently if I was walking through it again.

Anyway, I am trying to train my humans to forgive. To have mercy. To bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. To keep no record of wrongs. Crap like that. Kindness. Kindness is on her tongue. (me, the proverbs 31 woman) I try, from birth, to build love into their relationships with each other.

And I realized, in the aforementioned conversation (it was a great talk), that this marvelous life we have that we did not initially choose (remember my initial plan of 4 kids spaced 3 years apart?) is wonderful in a way I don't think I had figured. Our children have a great fall back system for when things get tough in relationships in the future. Duh, right? My friend explained to me that for him, with just one sister, when his friends made unwise decisions, and he had to take a stand, it was just him - he was alone in it. But my children have each other. Not only for accountability, but also for support. They watch out for each other and stand watch over each other. They guard and buffer.

That is, if I can teach them not to accuse and kill each other.


In other news.
I went to the OB today, for that followup checkup that is supposed to happen when baby is 6 weeks old, 'cept that he's 6 months old. I mostly went because I think I broke or fractured or injured my tailbone giving birth, and needed to have him confirm that yeah I probably did and there isn't a dang thing he can do about it. That was confirmed. We also chatted about how statistically I'm past the age of getting pregnant easily, but that God can do anything, look at Sarah and Elizabeth. They were glad to see me and are cheering for me, hoping I'll be back again soon. And I was oh so close to being under the 200 lb weight on the scale. If only my appointment had been in the morning. Or if I had pooped first.


I have been pondering, again, getting off the fence in my feeble compromised Nazarite fast and really giving the Lord what I think He wants. I don't want to make a rash vow, like King Saul, "nobody gets any food till we win this battle". Yeah, that was a great idea. I don't want to do that. I don't want to promise something I can't deliver. And the line is really hard to draw. Caffeine, is, well it is pretty simple. Sort of. Not hard coffee. But what about decaf? What about white tea or green tea or chai? What about chocolate - like come cocoa powder in my smoothie? Then there's sugar. Okay, not white sugar. Or brown. But how about honey or pure maple syrup? What about artificial sweeteners? How about agave? Do I eat fruit sweetened things? Fruit juice? You see what I mean? It simply isn't as simple as smoking or not smoking, drinking or not drinking.

But this is what I think God wants, and therefore what I want. I want to not eat the things that are addictive for me. The things that I cannot stop eating once I start. But I have really struggled with how to make that work, from a health perspective, and from a coping perspective. Those are things like: bread, waffles, pancakes, white rice, anything chocolate, most dairy, anything with sugar or artificial sweetener.

I am excited about that Eat to Live book because I feel there is wisdom from God for me in it. It seems to me that the Lord is saying to me, like He said to Adam and Eve, "Here I am giving you all these things to eat, just don't eat from this tree." He has given me all the same things He gave them. He even says, in Proverbs, if you find honey, don't eat too much of it. But I can eat as much as I want of fruits, veggies, beans, and some nuts and seeds and grains (brown rice and steel cut oats are cool). There is freedom in that way of eating, and that way is also, according to all kinds of studies (describe in Fuhrman's book) the very healthiest way to eat. It makes sense - that is what they ate in the garden, and that is the way that studies have shown best prevents the diseases people in wealthy countries die from. In poorer places, people die because their water is not clean or they don't have adequate medical care or enough to eat. But they are eating the right stuff, so they don't die of the stuff that kills us. In wealthier places, we choose to eat what isn't as good for us because it tastes good, is more convenient and we can afford it. We don't die of the stuff that kills them because we have clean water and good medical care. But if we ate the stuff they eat, fruits and veggies and plant products, we could have the best of both worlds, clean water, good medical care, AND healthy food and bodies.

Today is Valentine's Day. I made monkey bread for my kids for breakfast. I had a smoothie (soy milk, pomegranate juice, half a bag spinach, 2 cups frozen fruit, an apple somebody took a couple bites out of and left for dead, a tbs cocoa powder in honor of Saint Valentine, and some vanilla). For lunch I had a gynormous salad (3 kinds of lettuce, kidney beans, walnuts, almonds, yellow bell pepper, shredded carrot (which sort of reminds me of cheese), celery, tomato, broccoli, and Trader Joe's greek dressing). And for dinner we went to my favorite Indian restaurant, where I had chai, veggie palak on rice and naan. And then I shared a sugar free (Simply Lite) chocolate bar from Trader Joe's (in my opinion the best sugar free chocolate) with my valentine.

There were some Valentine style splurges there. But mostly I'll be doing the smoothie, soup, and salad existence. I won't be hungry. I will be satisfied with Jesus and with the food He has given me.


This is some of the stuff I haven't been writing about. Sorry for slacking. I just haven't had time. One of my dishwashers is busted (just a couple weeks past the one year warranty - they said I could extend it for $250, OR I CAN BUY ANOTHER DISHWASHER) and my Laundry Pure croaked, still under warranty, so we're washing clothes with soap and hot water again, and guess what?! The clothes are not cleaner, they just smell like soap now. The Laundry Pure really does a better job, I am convinced of it now. I think mine died because of being a refurb. Or maybe because we do a normal family's decade's worth of laundry in 6 months. Anyway, they were very gracious, and I look forward to having it back.

Also, my washer has been on the fritz, stopping half way through a load, and then my 8 and 9 year old laundry helpers put a load of dripping wet clothes and blankets in the dryer and it takes 3 cycles of dryer time to get those dry and ba-da-bing-ba-da-boom, we're grotesquely behind on laundry. Wretched. And I'm still not unpacked completely from two road trips ago.

Another thing taking up a lot of time is all this salad making and cooking I'm trying to do. Making oatmeal and pancakes and homemade stuff takes so much more time than cereal and chicken nuggets. But, I think it's worth it.


Okay, I'm feeling somewhat caught up. Do you feel better? I'll try to keep up a little better. Thanks for reading.