Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How we eat...and why

I get it. People think it's obnoxious when they find out we eat primal/paleo. They think we're just following another fad. That's totally fine if that's what you think, however most people who think that about me have never bother to ask why. So I've decided it's time to answer that question. 

My mom was diagnosed with multiple auto immune diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and lupus destroyed her body. I watched it happen and it's horrible. I had read more and more about how our damaged guts play a huge part in these diseases. I had early signs of arthritis starting in my late 20s.  I had told my mom about the pains and things I was feeling and she said it sounded exactly how arthritis started for her at my age. 

Of course I thought to myself at the time that can't happen to me. And then I started having pain pretty much constantly in my knee. It was miserable and I stopped running. I decided running must not be for me, but I hated quitting. Truth is, I let my knee be an excuse for quitting.

I started researching ways to naturally cure arthritis. Everything I read kept pointing to cutting out gluten and sugar. I hated the idea of that, but I toyed around with several gluten free recipes and realized that it was possible for it to taste good. However, I still had knee pain off and on. In 2014, I had a friend start a facebook page called "Primal Mom". I had read about paleo/primal eating, but it seemed so hard. She claimed she could make it easier, so I took the plunge. Ben and I did her 10 day detox. We both lost a good deal of weight, but better than that, I was feeling better and my knee pain was gone. We decided to repeat the detox several times, mainly because Primal Mom hadn't released more recipes yet! (-: As soon as she did, you can bet I got them! 

Here we are, a year and half later, and lots of pounds lost, and I feel great. My knee pain (presumably arthritis, but not tested) only returns when I eat sugar. Hmm...so I soon realized sugar wasn't worth it, if it meant knee pain for the days that followed.(No-I am NOT perfect. I still have sugar from time to time, but it has to something really good, or it's not even tempting to me.)

So-bottom line. My mom's diseases eventually killed her at the young age of 54. I don't want that to happen to me. I want to take care of the body God gave me here on earth so I can live fully for Him and watch my kids grow up. I hate that we didn't find this way of eating in time to help my mom. I'm positive it would have extended her life. 

I wrote this, because I know people think we are crazy because of the way we eat. However, please don't judge others for their choices. Instead, ask why! You can be curious without being judgmental. (-; I don't judge others for the way they have chosen to feed their family. This was a very personal decision for me. I want to do what I see is best for our family, and this is what works for us. :)

Monday, November 2, 2015

The last time...

It was February 5, 2015. That is the last day I saw my mom outside of the hospital. She was supposed to go to lunch with me and others from the office, but she wasn't feeling well so she stayed home. I brought her lunch from Jul's. Chicken lettuce wraps...her favorite. She tried to pay me for it, and I wouldn't let her. It was obvious she didn't feel well. Her cheeks were flushed, which was always a sign of a lupus flare-up.
I gave her the food, talked for a minute, hugged and said good-bye.

I have thought about that day almost every single day since she passed away. I wish I could have stayed with her while she ate instead of rushing back to work. I wish she could have come to lunch with us that day. There are so many "I wish" moments...

On January 31st, she came with us to watch Noah at gymnastics. My dad and her came and we sat watching him while keeping up with Luke. I am so glad she got to come watch Noah. He still remembers it and talks about her watching him do gymnastics.

On January 19th, I had the day off work for MLK day. We had a campfire at the church fire pit and my parents came. I will always cherish this picture I took of my mom and Luke that day.

I think about the time leading up to her death a lot. There are so many things she missed because she was sick. We didn't get to have Christmas with her in 2014 because she had pnemonia. She missed the boys birthday party in 2014 because she was in the hospital. There are so many special moments she had to miss because she was sick. I hated it, and wish more than anything I had taken a million more pictures of the moments we did have with her. Why, oh why did I not take more pictures with her? So if you see me taking a million pictures now, you can make fun of me and think I'm crazy, but just know that this is why. I know that all moments don't need to be photographed, but when I think of all the times I wish I had gotten a camera out, I cry.

As we are coming upon Thanksgiving and Christmas, I get a knot in my stomach. How do you celebrate without your mom? Even when she was sick, she was still here. Everything is different now. I see everything through "my mom has died" glasses.

I don't really know how to end this post. I just felt like I needed to write this, even if it was just for me.

My advice: Tell those around you that you love them and take lots of pictures. Tomorrow isn't promised to us.

The circle is small this month. Click here to read what Tiffany has to say about talking to chickens. It's a good one about loss and loneliness and about how God is bigger than it all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

And I'm loved by you, It's who I am...

What defines me?

I've been thinking about that a lot lately. This past year has been a whirlwind in many ways. I've always been what some would consider "too sensitive" so it's no surprise that my feelings have been hurt a lot lately. There are a few people that used to talk to me, that now don't even make eye contact with me. I haven't done anything to deserve the treatment and maybe that's why it hurts. I've been asking God daily "what do I need to learn from this?" and I believe He's slowly been showing me.

I have allowed this hurt and these people to take my thoughts captive. I have dwelt on what I wish I could say, and I've regretted ever opening up to them in the past. Ultimately, God has told me to let it go, but I feel like He's also telling me I can't just let it go, but I have to move past it and forgive them for their "mean girl" attitudes toward me. I hate thinking about what has been said about me behind my back, and that these people, who never really cared to know me, have made up their mind about me based on someone's angry ramblings.

Another thing he's shown me is that I have actual real-life friends that love me just the way I am. He reminds me of that daily with a text or phone call from a friend. These are people I can be myself around and that also show me what "The Church" should be made up of...people that love and care for each other.

Ultimately, I think God has been trying to teach my stubborn self that no one else can define me. God defines me and that is ALL I should allow to capture my mind. This song came on the radio the other day and it was my first time to hear it.
The chorus says:
You're a good, good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am
-"Good Good Father" by Chris Tomlin
I have decided to make that my mantra. When I'm feeling sad or even angry that these people have hurt me, I remind myself "I am loved by Jesus Christ. THAT is who I am. Nothing more, nothing less."

I read this on Facebook today by Ann Voskamp (if you don't follow her, you really should):
Lord, when I don't like me,
You still love me, You still like me, You still lavish me with acceptance.
When I am fed up with me, You invite me to Your feast,
When I am done -- with me, with life, with everything,
You whisper, "Hang on -- I am making *all things* -- *you* -- new." (Rev21:5)
And when I want to quit, You cup my face: "This great work I started in you? I won't stop that beautiful work until you are fully, completely, gloriously beautiful" (Phil1:6, 1Cor2:7)

So this becomes our brave & broken-hearted hallelujah, the one we sing into the dark, even when it's hard to believe:
I am His Beloved, His Beloved, His Beloved... and even now I will be held.
In the name of the only One who loved us to death & back to the real & forever life... Amen.
I think I'll need to put this on a poster and hang it up on my bathroom mirror, and I should probably post it in my office, too.

I am loved by Jesus. It's who I am. I am His Beloved. He is making all things--ME--new.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


We are getting settled into our new normal. Our boys are in love with our new place. Luke is constantly saying "outside, outside, outside" and then proceeds to let himself out if we forget to lock the screen door. ;) The boys are ALWAYS dirty. Even after a bath, they somehow find a way to get dirt on them. And most of the time, I love it! I love that they are getting to be boys. Being a boymom is a lot of fun!

Our black lab, Annabelle, is loving it, too. She loves to wander all over the place, even into the neighbor's garage (oops-they weren't too happy about it). :/

The boys love to feed the dog, and she loves being fed. ;) This was Noah's chore, but Luke loves to help :)

The best thing about being "in the country" is that they can pretty much be naked at all times. Luke now thinks that if he's outside, he should be naked...haha!

These boys are definitely in their element. They LOVE the outdoors and now they have their own woods to run around in. I'm so thankful they can grow up here.

And here's my one of my favorite parts...looking out the kitchen window. It's just so peaceful in the mornings.

Today, I could have written about all the things we haven't been able to find since moving, or the stress of knowing we will have people over soon and the house is a mess, but instead, I want to share the good. I love my family. I love being with them and I'm so incredibly thankful that through all the hard times of getting to where we are now, He held us and got us here. We never imagined we'd find our "dream home" and it actually be within our budget. We know that God had a hand in it all and today I want to give Him all the glory. It could all be taken from us tomorrow, but He is still God and He is still on His throne.

I'm participating in a blog circle with some amazing and beautiful women. Click here and see what is happening with Lori this month.  You can follow the links back around to me.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised...

**I've started and stopped writing this about a 100 times. It's a mess, so I apologize for that, but it's done, for now.

On the morning of February 8, 2015, I got a call from my dad. He said he had to call 911 because my mom wouldn't wake up. I immediately got mad. I yelled at him and told him I was so mad that her doctors had her on so many meds. He, rightfully so, got upset with me, because he was just worried about her. I still feel guilty to this day for yelling at him that morning. Ben and I left the boys with his mom and then rushed to the hospital. It was bad. She was intubated. They had no idea how long she had been without oxygen. The next 2 days were horrible and long. We waited with anticipation hoping the neurologist would have good news, but it was never good. On February 10, we made the hard, horrible decision to let her go. She never would have wanted to live hooked up to machines. We sang at her bedside for nearly 2 hours after she was unhooked from the machines, praising Jesus for the life He gave her, but none of us were ready to let her go. My mom was a fighter throughout her life, and she fought to the end. She took her last breath early in the morning of February 11 while we sat by her bedside.

Over the past few years, as her illness got worse, I used to beg God to "give me my mom back." I screamed and yelled many times. I screamed again when I found out she wasn't going to get better this time. I yelled and asked God why He hadn't answered my prayer. I realized I had been praying for healing, and in the midst of it all, that's what He did, but not the way any of us wanted. We selfishly wanted her here with us. 

My mom was a wonderful person. She cared for all 3 of her children (and many she loved as her own) and we never felt un-loved. She did that while getting her bachelor's and master's degrees. She did that while working full time. She was wonderful. As we all got older, she felt like she had failed us somehow. She said she knows she wasn't always patient with us and I could always tell she felt a tremendous amount of guilt for some reason. I constantly told her that she was wonderful and we all turned out to be great kids (in my opinion anyway). I hope she knows how amazing she was to us.

My mom was the serious one, at least that was what she led us to believe most of the time. My dad is the joker of the family, and I've always been told I got his sense of humor, but I like to think I got a little of her's as well. She definitely made us laugh and we had so, so many good times with her.

(Ine, mom, and me before the Komen in 2005)

My mom loved being a Nana. She was so excited when Lindsey had Elijah. He made her a Nana and boy did she love being Nana. She sent an e-mail to a friend in October 2014 and it ended like this: "I want to live longer than what is expected and be a good nana."

(Elijah, mom, and Noah-Christmas 2011)
I think one of the hardest things about losing my mom is that my boys won't get to grow up with her around. I'm so glad Noah got to stay with her the summer of 2014 one day a week. He loved going to Nana and Pops house and he still asks about her from time to time. For that, I'm so grateful. I'm glad he remembers her now, but I know her memory will fade as he gets older.

I would give anything to have more time with my mom. I'm so thankful for the promise of heaven and that she's fully healed now. That is the only comfort I can find in it all. 

Tomorrow, September 2nd, my parents would have been married 37 years. Please take a moment and pray for my sweet dad, because it will be a hard day for him.

"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."
Proverbs 31:30

I'm participating in a blog circle with some amazing and beautiful women. Click here and see what is happening with Bella this month.  You can follow the links back around to me.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I’d never forget you—never.

“Can a mother forget the infant at her breast,
    walk away from the baby she bore?
But even if mothers forget,
    I’d never forget you—never.
Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands.The walls you’re rebuilding are never out of my sight.
Your builders are faster than your wreckers.
    The demolition crews are gone for good.
Look up, look around, look well!
    See them all gathering, coming to you?
As sure as I am the living God”—God’s Decree—
    “you’re going to put them on like so much jewelry,
    you’re going to use them to dress up like a bride."
Isaiah 49: 15-18 (The Message)

Since 2010, I have worked at a camp called Royal Family Kids Camp (RFKC). My first summer I was so nervous. I had no idea what to expect. This is a camp for 6 to 11 year olds that are in the foster care system. Some of the kids are new to the system and are terrified. Some have been tossed from home to home, very familiar with the foster system. None of it is their fault.

Since 2011, I have also worked at a camp called Teen Reach Adventure Camp (TRAC). I was equally nervous my first time there. It is for teens 12 to 16 in the foster care system. Some of these kids have been in the system since they were little. There is little hope for adoption and many don't expect it anymore. It's heart wrenching.

There was one girl at TRAC this year that I can't get out of my mind. She was tall and beautiful. My heart broke thinking about what her future could become. The sad statics are that she will end up homeless, working for a pimp, and broken.
When I first saw this girl, straight off the bus, I thought-Man, she's beautiful. I hope she beats the odds and doesn't become another statistic.  But what if, because of the weekend at TRAC, she goes a different direction? Maybe, just maybe, a seed was planted and she will slowly change her perspective.

Here's what bugs me. This year at girls TRAC camp (the boys and girls camps are separate weekends, because-HELLO! Teen girls are boy crazy--haha!!) we were short adult workers. The camp went smoothly, by the grace of God alone, but there were definitely times that another trained adult worker could have been used. We are CALLED--every one of us that calls ourselves a believer--to take care of orphans. 

Learn to do good.
    Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
    Defend the cause of orphans.
    Fight for the rights of widows.
Isaiah 1:17 (NLT)
"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."
James 1:27 (NLT)

So-here's my challenge. Find a way to take care of orphans around you. That could be mentoring a child, volunteering at a camp, becoming a CASA volunteer, etc...
There are TONS of ways to get involved. Guess what? Start praying--maybe you're even being called to adopt!

RFKC is an international camp. They are all over! Look it up and see if there is one near you. I promise you will never be the same. I can't imagine not being at camp every summer. I've even gone when I've been pregnant with both my boys. It's just too life changing for me to miss. It helps open my eyes every summer, and re-adjust my way of thinking. When life gets stressful or things don't go how I expect, I can think about the faces of the campers. It helps give me perspective on what I should and shouldn't be concerned about.

The theme at TRAC this summer was Joseph. Joseph was hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, lied about by his master's wife, and thrown in prison. He had no control over his situation. It seemed hopeless, but Joseph never gave up and kept trusting in God. Joseph was 17 when he was sold into slavery. He was 30 when Pharoah called him out of prison to ask him to interpret his dream. Joseph said he couldn't interpret his dream, but his God could. Oh what faith!!  After 13 years, Joseph was finally freed from slavery and prison. God didn't forget him. He was using him and had a purpose, just like God has not forgotten these orphans in foster care. He has a purpose for them!

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

I'm participating in a blog circle with some amazing and beautiful women. Click here to see what Suzy has to say this month!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

This God—His way is perfect...

“This God—His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” 2 Samuel 22:31 ESV

My son is 3 and his bible verse at church this month is "God's way is perfect." 2 Samuel 22:31
I love to hear his sweet voice and the way his pitch goes higher as he gets to the end.

I wonder how often we believe that, though. Do we REALLY believe God's way is perfect? There is a VeggieTales song that goes like this:

The Lord has given this land to us
No need to fuss, He knows what He's doing
We know that He will take care of us
If we will follow Him.

God's way is the best way,
Now that I know He loves me so
His way is the best way
And that's the way for me! 

Recently my family bought a house. Our contract said we would close on June 29th, but that didn't get to happen. Thankfully we were given 2 more weeks to close, but up until a few days before our deadline, we weren't sure it would happen. I was frustrated, annoyed, angry, and every other emotion you could imagine. I just couldn't understand why God would take this house from us after we had been praying about it for over half a year. Well, it turns out He didn't want to take it from us, but He did make us wait until the very last moments to let us know it would be ours.

Why? I still have no idea. I do know I have a HUGE trust issue. I feel like I should be able to do everything on my own. When I can't control a situation, it's hard for me. I need to be able to help in some way to get things done. So maybe through it all, I will remember this next time I am questioning God and His timing. Because you know what? He knew, back in April when we signed the contract, that we would close July 10th. Wild, isn't it? Even though everyone involved would have preferred it to happen much earlier, it didn't. That didn't surprise Him at all. Not one bit.

A lot of other junk happened during this process. And I'm reminding myself even as I write this that none of that surprised Him either. So today, I'm finding my comfort and peace in that. I'm so thankful that He knows what is best.

My family is so excited about what the future holds, but what I know now is that whatever happens, God already knew it would happen. I'll rest on that today.