Mommy and Me

Mommy and Me
Sharing life with you is fullfilling

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Revelation (to me) on Abortion

I have always been pro-life, but my husband and I have been researching a bit lately to find out more about this situation our country has found it's self in, and the facts astound me. 1.21 million children are aborted legally in the U.S. every year! Wowzers... that is a lot of innocent children being murdered. According to there are 125,000 every day in the world.
I have been praying about how I can help things, my husband has been praying about it, we are both on fire for the lives of these children, I can't explain exactly how we feel, but there is a sickening in my stomach to think of all the babies who would have been here and now are not because in the first place people can not control their sex lives, and in the second decide to cover that up by murdering their unborn children. For those who believe that it is not murder because there is no child, I urge you to look at the pictures of aborted babies and see if you don't see a child there.
It also sickens me to think that people call the unborn a parasite. I believe that conception happens at the same moment as fertilization, so in that belief I also think that for the first 5-7 days of a child's life they cannot be compared to a parasite at that time. They are not using anything from their mother at all, besides that a parasite never infects its mother (at least not that I have found), and a parasite must have a host for it's entire life span, a child on the other hand starts off as an egg and sperm connected in a free space not connected to any other thing and then moves to a place where it's mother can nourish it for approximately 9 months, and in only the first 3 months it has all of its body parts that it will have at birth, the rest of the time spent inside of it's mother it is only growing bigger, no longer making its own lungs and heart, but actually using them and growing them... just as a toddler would be doing, only inside it's mother because it is too fragile to enter the world before that 9 month time period is up, which is why most premature babies are kept in the hospital until approximately their due date.
Today I opened my bible to read and found that somehow my book mark had been moved, I don't know how, I don't even know of anyone being in my room to have moved it but it was moved, and instead of reading where I would have been reading I decided to see if God had some divine inspiration for me in this newly book marked place... besides I hadn't really gotten too far where I was reading before anyway. I now fully believe that however the book mark had been moved, God intended for me to read this new passage today, it shocked me how much I received from my reading today.
When I opened this morning my book mark was marking the beginning of 2 Kings, I read and the story was interesting so I continued to read into chapter 2. As I read Elijah was taken up to heaven and 'his spirit' rested on Elisha, and I believe that spirit was actually the Holy Spirit though I don't know. After Elijah is taken up Elisha begins to perform miracles in the name of the LORD. One of which is I believe in Jericho where a spring had brackish water and Elisha pours some salt from a new bowl into the water and it is cleansed and in 2 Kings 2:21 it says this: "Then he went to the spring of water and threw the salt into it, and said "Thus says the Lord, I have made this water wholesome; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it." (NRSV)
side note: I don't particularly care for the NRSV but when I came across the word miscarriage it peaked my interest so I went to some commentaries and other versions of the bible and found a bit about it, of course never expecting to learn about abortion from the bible that day, but just interested because I have had two miscarriages myself and the subject is very close to my heart.
The word miscarriage can be translated as barrenness or abortion here as well.
Barrenness to me implies there was no life to begin with, that the mother or would be mother has never had an egg fertilized to become pregnant, but it also means she might have lost a baby or two, or more. Abortion can be used to reference the body not supporting a baby or a mother deciding to kill her unborn child, neither end with a healthy baby. And miscarriage leaves the mother without much responsibility (though some can say her lifestyle choices might affect this as well) but usually she will experience a lot of grief even if not at fault for the loss of her child. All three mean the land was lacking children (in reference to the verses I had been reading).
Elisha threw salt into the water from a new bowl so that death would not happen as a result of drinking this brackish water anymore.
Jesus is the living water, whoever drinks of Him rather than the world's substitute is given ever-lasting life.
We Christians are the salt of the earth, when we devote ourselves to God we can turn the world's substitute for something good into living water and truth.
I also think that because the salt was put into a new bowl that means something too. We have to be set apart. Not just any old bowl will do, it is a new bowl, a new purpose, a new pathway, not just to sit among the other members of the salt and season things as needed, but to get excited about a cause and dive into the world and change it to a world for Jesus.
And what happened? Death and miscarriage and abortion were abolished because of the activity of salt in water. We can do nothing without Jesus, he preformed the miracle, not Elisha, not the salt, not the new bowl, Jesus. But HE also called us to participate and if we do not, then the world will remain brackish and continue to murder the children who have only just received the spark of life, but have not yet seen the light of day, or the moon at night.
What can we do? This is my list of things you can do, but I'm still figuring out how I can go about them, pray earnestly that God can show you what you can do, and I'm sure he will.
1. Adopt a child that would have been aborted.
2. Help women in need who are pregnant and feel they have no options (i.e. feed the hungry, give clothing to the naked, care for the widow, which in our culture also can be the 'unsupported')
3. Donate clothing, diapers, bottles, formula, and other baby essentials to local pregnancy centers.
4. Donate your time to pregnancy centers, they actually work with volunteers not paid employees most of the time.
5. Speak out about abortion, if you start talking about this unspoken topic and start doing your part to help the people in need then two things will happen, (a.) they will hear your voice and maybe start talking themselves, and (b.) you will prove that the stigma of Christians who care about birth but not life will go away. We have to show them we care about the baby and it's mother before and long after that child is born as well as when she/he is in the mother's womb. All talk and no action isn't going to help, you absolutely must have both. Live the life you claim to believe in! Be a walking minister of Jesus Christ.
I almost typed here that I was stepping down from my soap box, but then I decided no, I'm not.. not ever... I will help these babies, I will be their voices! I will cry out to the world that they are killing babies, and I will reach out and help the mothers who are in need.
If you are a mother considering abortion as an option, please reach out to me. You can find me on facebook. If there is anything I can do for you I will do it no questions asked, provided it is within my means, and if it is not I will do my best to figure out how I can still help you perhaps through outside resources.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Am I becoming crunchy?

I love home grown foods, I love flowers, and essential oils are becoming pretty exciting to me, I'm a professional doula, I try to cut out most of the high fructose corn syrup in our diets, and I attempt to eat healthy, and give my children healthy options. I feel good with my feet on the grass, I wear my babies until they get too heavy, I birth naturally, I just love a lot about the way that God created earth and feel like getting back to the way things were before preservatives and other things started tampering with out foods.
But am I crunchy? Is that still the term? I think it is.
I don't get on the websites with all the women who claim they are. I don't like being nagged (not that they all do) by others on how best to be healthy... I don't seek out all the organic foods when shopping... but I do have a healthy dose of reality when it comes to the foods that go into our mouths

When I was growing up I had terrible belly cramps and was borderline constipated almost all the time. No one knew why that was. I remember it from as young as about 5 years old. I also remember having terrible pains in my legs (growing pains they say). The pain in my belly always came at dinner time. I would be fine and then I'd sit down for dinner and just as we finished eating, or even a few minutes later than that I'd get terrible cramping in my belly that made me want to cry. My mom would tell me to go to the bathroom, I would go, and I'd just cry. I honestly don't know if I knew what I was supposed to do in the bathroom, or if I just knew that sitting on the toilet wouldn't help me, but I'd spend the time crying about how badly my belly hurt. I thought I was supposed to hide my tears, so I didn't cry in front of anyone about my belly pain.
My mom on the other hand didn't know or realize how severe it was, and thought I was just trying to get out of doing my chores (helping my sister to wash dishes by rinsing and drying them). It would have been a good idea I suppose if it were true, but I wasn't trying to get out of doing my job, I was in pain.
Fast forward to middle school, I had been home schooled for 4th, 5th and 6th grade and then returned to public school in 7th grade, my diet changed from regular meals cooked by my mother and water whenever I wanted it, to school lunches with chocolate milk and a sip or two of water between classes if I had the time to stop by a drinking fountain. I found that the belly aches were coming back again. I remember having them occasionally before this point, but it was when I entered the 7th grade that they got really bad again.
What was different? MILK! I had belly aches regularly when in kindergarten through 2nd grade, but then stopped having them most of the time once I was in 3rd grade through 6th grade. What was different in 3rd grade? Only the kind of milk I was drinking.

Just before 3rd grade my family moved next door to my dairy farming grandparents and started getting some of our milk from them. The milk we got from them was pretty much straight out of the cow, my grandmother would remove the cream from the top and put it in the refrigerator and we'd drink it anytime we wanted. I wasn't a big fan of the taste of milk to be honest and usually only had it at school or with pancakes (which we ate a lot of). But this milk was whole milk, un-tampered. And then when I was home schooled I spent more time with my grandparents and eating their farm fresh foods and drinking the whole milk they had available when I felt like having a glass. I didn't get belly aches as often, though I still would occasionally.

In 7th grade I had little time to spend with my grand parents and didn't drink the milk they had, nor did I drink much water either, I was mostly dehydrated the rest of my school days. I of course had no idea at the time. And I would drink chocolate milk at lunch time. And then in the class immediately following lunch I would have such terrible belly cramps that I would have to curl myself into a ball, or even to my own horror lay across a chair to put pressure on my stomach. I spoke to my teacher about these awful belly pains and he agree'd that I could sit in the back of the class so that no one would notice me wiggling in pain, or acting weirdly by laying across my chair.

I told my mom about the pains and she took me seriously this time, knowing I wasn't trying to get out of anything this time. Someone suggested I might have a milk sensitivity, it seemed weird that I might, but mom was willing to give it a try. I cut out milk from my diet and the pains substantially went away, but not entirely. I now didn't have to lay across my chair in science, so at least that was good, but I did feel the need to sit with my legs drawn to my stomach at least a few times a week at different times of day. I realize now that I was compounding a problem I had with milk by not replacing my milk with water... and drinking far more of it than I had previously.

Now fast forward to me in my 30's with three children.

My first son seemed to have difficulty getting a regular consistency to his bowel movements when he was a toddler but eventually out grew it and was fine, my daughter on the other hand regularly struggled with constipation, which since I am familiar with I helped her to move past this by cutting out milks in her diet and giving her a formula that was for sensitive tummies when she was still small enough to need formula (breast feeding sadly didn't work out with her), and her problem cleared up rather well. My youngest though has the same trouble as my oldest, very loose stools, but then they started getting worse, and smelling like acid or vomit. I spoke to the pediatrician about it and they suggested that it 'could' be a bacterial problem, or that it was just 'his normal'. I don't think anyone should have so much acid running through their system and it be called 'normal'. I started him on a pro-biotic, it helped a little. His poops stopped smelling as badly and started getting a little bit more firm. But then the progress stopped and even slightly reverted. I spoke to the doctor again, they didn't have anything new to say.

Then I spoke to my chiropractor and a lady at the health food store where I buy the pro-biotics. The lady at the health food store suggested trying a glutten free diet for 3 months. I asked the chiropractor about it and he reluctantly (at first) said maybe it would be a good idea to try it and see if it helps.

Here is my understanding of glutten in people who are sensitive to it. Basically it irritates the bowels, they don't absorb it or other things the way they should and try to eliminate it as quickly as possible... quite potentially causing acidic diarrhea. This is a simplistic and not well researched method of explaining the way my son may possible be dealing with glutten in his diet.

So I've been working for about a month to get rid of all the glutten in our house. I'm not completely done with this process, but we are about 90% glutten free in our diets, and I try very hard to be sure that at least my youngest doesn't get it when he is eating.

What is the trickiest thing about changing your diet? Changing your habits! We hurriedly got ready for church yesterday and I was longingly thinking of breakfast and the thought occrured to me that there is doughnuts at church. The children ate breakfast, my husband might have gotten a bowl of cereal I'm not sure, but I do know I didn't get a bite before getting to the church. We ran right over to the doughnuts. After taking the last bite of my delicious fried plain doughnut, I suddenly realized that I was eating a food full of glutten... FAIL. Not only was I eating it, but sitting on my lap was my son who I am most adamant about not having glutten more than three quarters of the way through his own sticky glazed doughnut, and my daughter who I'm moderately concerned about having glutten (for eczema) more than half way through her chocolate frosting covered doughnut, and my oldest son just about to take one of the last bites of his glazed doughnut... FAIL! I look up at my husband as he has already finished his delicious treat and say "we are the dumbest parents on the planet." The realization hits him and he laughs "yup, we are."

And for lunch we go to steak n shake, where we carefully order things that though not really listed on the menu the way we ordered them are glutten free. My husband orders loaded fries and a bowl of chili.. a heart attack on a plate he calls it. But it comes with crackers, and he deftly takes a few from the package and pops them in his mouth and then hands a few to our son who is crying out for them.... I notice just as he pops the few crackers daddy gave him into his mouth and chews them down. UGH.... It is a habit... not an accident per-say, it is just what you do when your toddler is crying in a restaurant, give them crackers...

So no. I'm not crunchy, but yes I'm going to do all that I can to help my children when they run into problems with their poor bodies. I struggled with belly pain far too long to let my kids struggle with these things.

So currently we are a light on the milk, glutten free (attempting) peanut free (daughter has an allergy), no high fructose corn syrup, fresh or frozen fruits and veggies kind of family.... and it is HARD!!! But I'm hoping it is absolutely worth it, an even if it is not I feel like it is worth it to try.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why I don't wear skirts every day.

Over the last few years I have felt an incredible draw toward being more feminine, I have always looked like a girl, and loved things that were entirely girly, but never even thought to adhere to the 'skirts only' lifestyle that I am seeing become more and more common among christian women. When my husband and I conceived our third child I found that pregnancy in the summer of northern Michigan was difficult, not because of heat, though we had a little of that. The reason was actually based on our location and the population of the area. Due to the area being somewhat more rural it was incredibly difficult to find maternity clothing that fit me, really it was difficult to find maternity clothing in general. So I began buying the ever so popular maxi dresses. I loved them, but my husband pointed out to me on a few occasions that my skirts were see through and rather revealing. I have to say I wasn't so nice about the information... mostly because my choices were so incredibly limited in the area we lived. To buy clothing that was both modest and appropriate for my growing belly I would have had to travel at minimum an hour from my home to shop, and the options in that town were not guaranteed to satisfy. I did what I could by making sure to wear leggings under my skirts, this didn't protect from someone seeing my outline in the sunlight, but made me confident they couldn't tell the shape or color of my underwear, which was the best I could do at the time. I found maxi dresses to be very comfortable and continued wearing them after the birth of that baby. We also moved to another much more populated area where I could shop a lot more freely and I found that I just actually enjoyed the skirt so much more than pants, my movement was so much less restricted by a skirt than it was by pants in most cases. So I began to buy more skirts, stretchable soft skirts that I could wear comfortably while working and feel pretty in. My husband a Christian man who believes women should be women and men should be men began to tease me by suggesting I was trying to become Amish. I wasn't anywhere near that, but he did worry I was about to be one of 'those' women. At this same time I started making my own Jams and Jellies, canning corn and tomatoes, and started my first and so far only garden (I do hope to have another next year!). It wasn't surprising that he was worried that I was about to change completely on him. When we married I wore pants, hardly ever putting on a skirt, and loved the city life, not because of the worldly parties and closeness to stores or restaurants but because I was so much more near friends than I ever had been in the past. This is all still amazingly true of me, and I do love the city for these reasons still, but things have been changing in me, and I desire to have a garden and make my own food that I know doesn't contain chemicals that really are not good for consumption, and I really love the beauty of flowers and wide open spaces. I also home school our three children (admittedly the youngest is too young to be schooled, but he is involved). This arena of home grown, and skirts and home school all have something conservatively christian about them. But my faith in God (which is strong and unquestionable) isn't the reason I'm doing them, I'm doing them because they interest me and will benefit my family. I seriously considered going to the 'skirt wearing' side for a long time, I thought maybe even God was leading me that direction but made very little effort to actually do it, I was just riding it out and enjoying wearing skirts for awhile. Then we started attending this church in Oklahoma City. The people welcomed us, were super super friendly and nice and I just felt right at home with them. The worship experience was exactly that... an experience. People paced and danced in front of the stage, young men and sometimes not so young ones would run the perimeter of the sanctuary, people spoke in tongues (loudly) all over the sanctuary, clapping would deafen you, I'm not kidding it would! They spoke about the 'Holy Ghost' constantly. I've never liked calling the Holy Spirit a Ghost, I don't know why.. it is weird to me. They were eccentric. The atmosphere was buzzing every Sunday. At first I noticed only that the women had beautiful hair styles, and wore beautiful clothes, but didn't so much notice what kind of clothes. Then time started to reveal to me that the women didn't wear pants. There were a few in the back of the church with pants but it was pretty obvious who was a church member and who was not once I started realizing just how many wore skirts. I asked one girl about this and she said it was her personal conviction and that she didn't feel like everyone needed to wear skirts. I asked another girl about it and got the same message, and another, and another, and continually they all said they had 'chosen' to wear skirts because they felt that it honored God and they personally were convicted to wear skirts. At first I felt like that was great, that there was no judgement or condemnation with these women, that they could accept that some women felt convicted and others didn't. The topic became a rather heated one with my husband. He didn't want me to wear skirts all the time and said that not only did he feel like skirts were less modest in many cases but that he liked me wearing pants sometimes. We agree'd that I would not completely switch to wearing skirts, but that he would be more open to skirts sometimes. Then I started noticing the women's hair. No one wore short hair. Mine had always been long so I didn't think much of it until I started feeling like cutting it, not because I wanted short hair but because I'm in my 30's now and I feel like if there was ever a time to be adventurous with my hair now is that time... I don't want short hair as an old woman so if I ever wanted to see how it looks short now would be the time.. plus my husband had showed an interest in my hair being incredibly short when we were first married and I turned him down, so I wanted to honor him. He changed his mind about having my hair very short, but encouraged me to have a hair cut if I wanted one. I didn't end up with the super short locks I had anticipated going into the hair salon, but I did get a lot cut off, and the whole time I was worried about the backlash of the church we were attending.. would they think I was a rebel? it didn't affect my faith, but I was worried about what they would think. Then Sunday came and I had not done laundry and had one dress I could wear paired with a tank top because it was too low cut in the front for my own comfort. I felt confident that I was dressed modestly until we walked into the church, and I noticed that though it was upwards of 90 degrees outside all the women inside had nice sport jackets, or shawls, long sleeves, or other things to cover their shoulders and arms... how had I missed this all of the last 7+ months? I felt practically naked in my cleavage completely covered, skirt down to the floor tank top strapped bare shoulder'd dress... To be honest no one ever said a word, I didn't see their eyes judging me even once. There were other things though that let me know that I was a 'rebel' that I wasn't submissive to my husband or pastor, that I was stepping out of line. On Tuesday evenings the pastor and his wife came to our home to give us a bible lessen. It was indeed a bible lessen, but when we signed up for it they presented it as a 'bible study' that goes through the bible and answers 'our questions'. It wasn't what we thought it would be at all. They directed the questions, they determined how long it took to get through the bible, they didn't ask where our understanding of scripture was, and assumed that we knew very little or nothing from the beginning. The teaching style is one that I have been subjected to several times as a christian, it is confrontational and makes the student feel like they are either stupid or disrespected. I avoid that style of teaching as often as I am able, and if I am ever told that is the way I teach I swear I will try my hardest to change! While in these bible studies (in my own home) there were a few times I butted heads with the pastor and we once got into a rather heated discussion, in the end he said "I'm not upset, of course 'I'm not upset'", as if he was above that emotion and it was only me whose face was red and blood pressure skyrocketing. From that point on it was an underlying issue that I was not submissive. He asked once if I ironed my husbands shirts out of fear or love, and I replied 'I don't iron his shirts' and he looked at me confused and said "What DO you do?" and I gave him a list... "I cook, clean, take care of the children, teach them their school work, paint the house, do the laundry, mow the lawn, and a number of other things." he sort of laughed and then used the most manly tasks I had mentioned as an example "do you paint the house and mow the lawn out of love or fear for your husband?" I share all this about the church I attended because I was offended and began to wonder about the clothing issue, was I being 'unteachable'? I wanted to sing in the worship team, but I learned I wouldn't be able to serve in any area of the church unless I wore skirts all the time, and unless I attended this other class they offered at the church. I didn't mind wearing skirts on Sunday to adhere to their wishes and most of the time I was wearing skirts anyway so it shouldn't have been an issue except that my husband and I had already discussed this and had determined that I shouldn't wear skirts all the time, plus (TMI here) during my cycle I feel a lot more secure if I'm wearing pants, and I won't even entertain wearing a skirt then, I need the support of a pants waistline on my belly, and the security of pants for other reasons during that time as well. So pants just were not an option for me during those four days. I also began to think about the tasks that I do that would make wearing a skirt immodest. Climbing a ladder to get on the roof, which I had done several times this past spring and summer were number one on this list. Do women just never climb ladders in this church? Granted I have not had much need for it during the last month or two but I will again very soon as we begin again to paint the house. So the only logical answer to discovering who was right and who wrong about this skirt issue seemed to be an in depth bible study on the matter. I read about 7 commentaries on the matter, looked up many many blogs written by women who had made the change in their own wardrobe. I looked for bloggers who had like myself not chosen to wear skirts but didn't find any. Every resource I came to I jotted down the bible verses, I didn't even bother to note why they were important to that writer, I just copied the verse down and read another commentary or blog on the subject. When that part of my study was done and I had been filled with thoughts from other people I virtually stopped reading anything written on the internet and went to looking up and typing out each of the bible verses, determining if they had anything to do with the question at hand, and then moving on to the next verse, most times I would read the surrounding verses, occasionally the verse was just so clear that I didn't need to read more surrounding it, or I was familiar enough with the passage that I didn't need to, but usually I did anyway. A lot of people who choose skirts will quote Duet 22:5, so I started with that verse. Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. This brought out a few questions to ask myself. 1. Am I wearing anything that looks like men's clothing or is men's clothing? The answer, I suppose if you think pants are absolutely men's clothing you could say that, but cut, style, shape and color often determine whether something is men's or women's, and there are not many men in the world who wear or even can wear a pair of pants cut for a woman, so no, my clothes don't look like men's and they are not men's. 2. In the bible everyone wore the same type of garment, a robe and coat most often. The men and women alike wore the same garment, the only difference (as I found in several concordance commentaries) had to do with color, style, and adornments on the garment. 3. A few commentaries suggested that 'pertaineth' actually had to do with the warriors battle armor and tools, rather than his clothing. and that the word 'man' was actually talking about a warrior because the word used in this particular verse is different in Greek (or Hebrew I always get these mixed up) than the previous references to man in other verses in the same chapter, and it has to do with a warrior rather than just a man. I'm not speculating on this because other people disagree'd with it and because it isn't really that relevant to the rest of my study, but it was food for thought. Another commonly used verse for women who have chosen this lifestyle is 1 Peter 3:1-5 1 Peter 3:1-5 1Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. This brought up different things for me to think about. 1. Chaste means modest, am I modest? What does modest mean? I suggest to you that modest means that we dress in a way that doesn't insure that people look at us, or show things that draw the eye and make it hard to turn away. Cleavage should be covered, the bend test should be done. Can you bend over in that shirt without people seeing your bra? no? Put a tank top under it that will prevent that (not all tank tops will help). Can you bend over in your skirt without worrying if someone can see your underwear... if you are worried then it is too short, if you can see them it is too short. There are some skirts that can be completely modest when standing but not nearly so when bent, sitting, or kneeling... if it is one of these consider a different skirt or wear some leggings under it. These are my personal thoughts on modesty and I have many more... like how tight is that? Can you move freely in it? Can you breathe? Is it the right size for you? I examined my style preferences, I examined my clothing choices, and I determined that I was modest. My pants (thought I have one pair that I love but will not wear because they are too tight) are pants, but they are not immodest. My shirts are mostly all modest and the few that are not I have special tank tops to wear under them to make them modest. One of my most modest shirts while standing upright is my absolute most immodest one when caring for short children, this one I will never wear without a tank top under it. 3. When God said not to let our adornment be mearly outward I think he hit on it perfectly... it should be the hidden person of the heart that has the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.... This seems to be the catalyst under every verse I read. Where is your heart? Why do you dress the way you dress? Is it to show off your beauty? Is it to make people look at you? Or is it to be modest, humble and beautiful in that perfect way God designed for you? Honestly you could dress in the most ill fitting old fashioned clothing you can find and still have the heart of a wretch and not have done any good for yourself... Or you could dress in the most scandalous clothing available and just not realize what your are doing and have a heart of gold that honors God... now that being said if you are that person and you realize your clothing does this you may need to consider finding something more modest to wear once the realization hits so that you can keep that heart of gold and honor God... No matter what you wear it is your heart that either honors or displeases God, not your clothing. Verse after verse after verse proved this, and I have to say after this extensive study (contact me if you want my full notes on the study and bible verses) just proved over and over and over to me that God cares more about the intent behind what we do, and the heart of the person than he cares about the actions we take. Are our motives clean? Or are we drawing attention to ourselves by what we wear? Are we wearing skirts to be feminine, or to make a point about other people not being as holy as we are. Are we being modest? These are the things God seems to care more about. In the end the choice was simple for me.. I like dresses and wear them frequently, but every outfit I put on should entertain the Lord, not men. I'm going to wash and dress my heart before my body from now on.

Year End Goals

A few years ago my husband and I talked about setting goals, long term, short term and in the middle ones... we wrote them down on a not so fancy piece of scrap paper and posted them on the side of the fridge. I don't remember what they all were, but I do remember that some of them have changed and others we have gotten more serious about. Changes include my husband finishing his degree. He was at the time actually pursuing it, but then changed his major and now isn't doing it at all, but researching his options to be sure of what he actually wants to pursue. The serious goal that we set for ourselves is to own our home. We didn't put a specific time frame on that one, but hoped to be actual home owners in the next 10 years. This goal was set in the spring/summer of 2013, and now it is summer/fall of 2015. I'm excited to say that we are not only on track to pay off our mortgage by December 2017, but we are probably going to make the goal even faster than that, if of course everything goes well. We have been fortunate in our family to have Patrick as our head of household. In the beginning of our marriage I really didn't understand his need to store up money in the bank, and he didn't understand my need to pay everything off as quickly as possible so as never to have debt. Now that we are eight years into our marriage we've both leveled out a bit. I know that he needs X amount of money in his bank account to feel secure and confident in his ability to care for his family, and as long as that amount is there he lets me pay off our loans as fast as I like, which is an excellent place to be. I honestly never thought about how quickly we could manage to pay off our mortgage, that is such a huge bill that I just figured it would eventually get payed off, but not for many years. I payed extra where I was able, but not on any kind of schedule for the first year, and then we attempted to pay extra here and there for awhile, but the bank didn't like our method so they switched it on me and it got a little more difficult to pay any extra for a few years, but we set our payment schedule so that by the end of the year we'd be a month ahead and I still applied a little here and there toward it. We had a renter living in the house for 5 years, and he was only required to pay what our mortgage cost us under the agreement that he would take care of the house maintenance while we lived out of state, so we were not making any kind of profit off from the arrangement. Since 2014 we have been in a spot financially where we have been able to pay a little more than normal on the house, and have decided to put all of our tax returns toward paying off this debt, and this year we have been able to save money in other areas (having moved back into our home) and apply our savings toward the principle of the loan, and it is a very exciting thing to get our statements monthly and tally up the number of payments we 'jumped over' with our little extras. I feel like God has blessed us so much, and I'm excited to see what else he has in store for us. We are hoping to pay off this home, and either sell it or rent it out again (this time for profit) and buy a home more fitted to our family and the other goals that we have. Goals like planting a garden that will sustain our family for at least a large part of the year. Goals like having a yard large enough and secure enough to let the kids play outside more often. Having a driveway long enough that they can ride their bikes on it without having to turn around after 5 ft of peddling. Having enough space in the living room to host a gathering of church members and friends for special events, and finding a home that is ours forever. I have always been sad that when my parents lost our home because of a bad loan and work situations involving my dad's company, they also lost all the memories their grandchildren could have made in that home. They lost the ability for their children to walk in their old bedrooms and remember where their furniture was, and how the room used to be painted, because not too many strangers will let you wander their home. I want my children to have those opportunities. I want them to have a place to come home to when they have grown up. I want to preserve those things for them. Don't get me wrong, one of their bedrooms is going to probably turn into a craft room, and another a guest room, but they will always be welcome home, and always have a place in it to stay the night or visit for a week, their children will always be welcome with their grandma and grandpa.. so long as I somehow, one day, am able to own my home and stay in it. I long for that stability so much... For this year, the goals I hope to meet are small. I hope to see the birth of a dear friend's baby in December. I hope to celebrate my dear little 'moo moo's 2nd birthday with friends surrounding us. I hope to have a great party for Sapphira and Caeden, and I hope to enjoy more of our home school journey instead of just trying to get through it alive. Life is a journey, not a destination though, and no matter what my goals are for tomorrow, it is how I pursue them today that matters.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

No need to prepare

The last few days I have had pregnancy on my mind. As a precaution I decided to test this morning. The thing is, I didn't believe for one second that the little test window would have two lines in it. I knew intuitively that I wasn't pregnant, but I wanted to have proof, you could suggest waiting for the inevitable show of my period, but that takes a few days...and I had no patience this morning. As I sat down to do the business of testing my heart suddenly traveled back in time, I had sat in this same place when I tested positive for my oldest son, in this same place when I tested for my dear Saera who only a few weeks later left me while sitting in this same place. I placed the test on the bathroom scale to wait for it's answer and I realized that although I didn't think I was pregnant, I wanted desperately to be pregnant. I've been searching for an answer for why God gave me a baby and then so soon took it away. I know God gave me Saera, he told me I was going to be pregnant before I even got pregnant. He told me to trust him, and I did, I still do... then a little while before finding out I was pregnant I woke up just knowing that I was pregnant for a girl. I laughed at myself because I didn't even have proof of being pregnant yet and just knew I was carrying a little girl. My daughter's sister, a little girl she could share her bedroom with, and play with, and dress up with, someone she could get excited with as a teenager, the way only girls can. I wanted so badly to see this relationship, it was one of the first things on my mind when I had the thought of being pregnant for a girl. Then unexpectedly my baby was gone. A little bubble on a piece of toilet paper, frail and clear. She was gone. Now I am waiting in the bathroom to find out if there is another baby in my womb and hoping that there is, even though I know there is not. The test gets darker and darker, the time passes and finally the time is up, if there were going to be two lines they would have both shown up by now... there is only one. Unexpectedly I begin to cry, not little sad tears, big crocodile tears. I'm not crying for a baby that never was, I'm cying because Saera should be kicking in my womb right now. She should be nearly here. I should be less than four weeks away from saying hello to her. I should have gotten Moo moo out of the crib and into his own big boy bed in preparation for the coming baby. I should be crocheting little booties and sewing little clothes. I should be preparing for birth, my birth. I should be round and swollen and beautifully pregnant, but I'm not. I am in fact the skinniest that I've been in the last year. I should be feeling Saera's head and patting her butt the way I did when I was pregnant for my three living children. But the reality is that I'm not. I'm not pregnant with Saera, I'm not pregnant at all. Somehow the idea of being pregnant right now would make Saera's disappearance more manageable right now. I could say "God needed this new baby in the world to do something amazing that only it could" or something along those lines to make myself feel better, but the truth is that God gave me Saera and then decided to take her back home long before I could decipher a finger or toe, before her heart was even fully formed, before I had a chance to feel her move or see her on an ultrasound, before the world could even know she existed. I don't understand, but I don't blame God for this loss. I don't understand, but I still love God deeply. I know he has a plan for my future, a plan to bless me. I can't understand everything, it isn't for me to know everything. All I know is that I have three children on this earth, and likely won't have any more, and that I love them deeply, and will soldier on through my hurts, frustrations and struggles and teach them about the goodness of God, while silently mourning the fact that I can not do the same for either Jaemi or Saera. They are my precious babies too. I can't stop loving them, I can't forget they were there, inside me, and I can't forget that they didn't get to feel a hug from me, or be cradled by my arms, but they are hugged and cradled by God, and who is better than a mother cradling her child? The creator of that child must be! Jaemi, and Saera, Mommy loves you, and I miss you daily. I may never have gotten to prepare for your births, I may never have felt your movements in my belly, but I have loved you deeply every moment since you came to be. I can't wait to see you in heaven one day, and for the first time every hold you in my arms. Love Mommy.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Meeting kindred spirits

I have been off from facebook for a long time, but recently got back on, I don't enjoy facebook at all, and am not exactly excited to be on it again, but my business really needed it. At least I hope it does! I am a doula, I think I've mentioned that once or twice. We are usually known for our ability to work with other doulas. It is an area that doulas pride themselves on, the ability to network and not feel competitive with other doulas. In that, I realized I really need to get to know other doulas, and it was unfortunate but I wasn't getting anywhere emailing them. So I turned to face book. I couldn't send anyone a message using my business page, but I could if I had a personal page again, so I signed back in, after about 2 and a half years of not having that thing dictate my life. I realize now that the problem isn't with having a profile, it is with people who read it, and the amount that I allow them to see into my life. I don't have to be validated by others if I don't post every thing I do in a day for everyone to see. I don't have to feel like a failure when I see the successes that other people have when I'm not posting either. One thing I wasn't prepared for was the flood of emails Facebook would send me after signing back in. I actually went through my friend list and just knocked a bunch of it out, you know the people who have not tried to contact me in the last 2.5 years.... they were gone. Granted I'm a push over and friended them again as soon as they asked me to... but I figured they missed me and wanted to know how I was... so I'd let them. The thing I have really loved about getting back on though is that I really have connected with a few women in the doula community! I only knew of one before, so I really only had one contact that I could refer people to if needed, but now I have about 10 women that I intend on getting to know on a deeper level and really know if I could pass business along to them. The BEST thing ever is that I've invited a few to a tea party at my home this month, and while I kinda thought they sounded excited to come to a tea party I was shocked to see that they wanted not only to come, but to PARTICIPATE... I mean with the dresses and hats and everything! I love the friends I have already, I couldn't ever even consider replacing those relationships, but I'm excited to get out and get to know more women who are like-minded! I'm a little girl at heart, and I'm so happy to have found a few women who are similar!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Things I love

This is the kind of afternoon I wish I could have every day!
This or attending a birth.