Saturday, April 25, 2015

Enjoying the Early Morning Sun

It's about 8:30am on Saturday.  The sun is shining, the windows are open and allowing a gentle 60+ degree breeze to ruffle the curtains.  The birds are chirping and our younger cat is stalking one that isn't watching well.  The espresso is made and breakfast is done, laundry is going, litter box duty done, and dishes await my attention.  The radio is tuned to the VCY America network and children's programming glorifying God plays.

It is peaceful.  Calm.  Quiet.

For those of you who are familiar with our family, it isn't usually so peaceful and quiet.  Normally it's quite the opposite.  That is to be expected with two 13 year old boys and an 11 year old girl, especially on the autism spectrum.  Normally the younger cat is playing extreme "chase the rubber frog or pencil grip" down the hallway or up and down the stairs with the middle child, or chasing after a long piece of bias that we call the "Little catcher", as it has a 100% catch rate for Little (the nearly 4 year old Korat) although it has nothing to hold her.  Just walk down the hallway and magically Little attaches to it. Middle child whoops and hollers and has a blast doing this all with her.  She is an awesome cat to have with this family, she's as wild as they are!

Today I've even gotten in a 3 mile dvd walk.  Here in a little bit it's time to go out and put a sedum in the ground and then do weeding at hubby's parents' house.

The past week or two has been busy.  It seems like each week has been beyond busy!  This week we had staff that work with middle child quit with no notice, which devastated him.  So since Monday we've heard heart breaking wailing throughout the house, and even a minor meltdown, as he hurts.  People who work with special needs children sometimes forget that they do get attached, and when you quit without notice they hurt.  They lose someone they've come to know and love, and never see them again with no explanation or anything.  So the search continues for a new staff person to help work with him.  Tuesday was yard work day, and Wednesday was Special Olympics day for our area.  Middle child won a bronze in the 50 meter run, and 2 ribbons in the softball throw and standing long jump.  I was there for most of it, but had to leave in order to be back for the oldest and youngest getting out of school early in their district.  Oldest has his Special Olympics run in a couple of weeks in another region that's fairly close by.  There were appointments Thursday and Friday as well.  Hubby worked his part time job, I tried to keep up in housekeeping among running all over to do appointments and take kids here and there.

The previous week middle child had a meltdown on Monday, and oldest was suspended from school Tuesday and Wednesday.  Then there were appointments around those too, and a casemanager visit that happens monthly anyway.  It was a rather stressful week, where last week was more exhausting in just all the running and tending emotional needs and physical needs.  It seems as the kids get older, the needs increase and get more intense when meltdowns flare up.

Middle child came to me this week and showed me something he was really concerned about.  He had hair on his fingers.  He is 13, but functions about 10 or 11, maybe a little younger depending on the issue.  He didn't realize he was starting to get peach fuzz on his chin too.  He freaked for a minute, until I told him that is what happens when boys become teenagers, and it's totally normal.  When he heard it's normal for teenagers, he took a minute, thought about it, and said "cool".  He really seems to like being reminded he's a teenager now.  A big kid.

Throughout the hectic weeks, I've been trying to keep up with some kind of exercise.  It hasn't been easy with all the demands, but some exercise beats none.  I've mostly behaved with eating, trying to keep on track, lots of fruits, veggies, cottage cheese, oatmeal, tea, coffee, and last night even a Little Ceasar's pizza.  I've decided to let bananas go, they flare up the sugar monster too much.  The sugar content in them is high, and evidently it's enough to trigger that "gotta have it" button.  That's a bear to get shut off, let me tell you!

How have you been this week?  I hope you're having a good week, staying safe if it's been storming where you are, and being faithful to your local church!

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Foxe's Book of Martyrs

This weekend I started through the newer version of Foxe's Book of Martyrs. I've read the older versions in "Middle English" in the past, and thinking it's time to go back to it. I'm fine with using a dictionary if needed, the older/harder words are not a hinderance but a chance to grow in vocabulary.
That's something I have found in "new/updated" versions of old books--the language is dumbed down for our society that wants things easy. Our bibles are dumbed down into revisions that are in every day conversational English, our classic books are rewritten into conversational English, and that takes the original words and meanings out of them. It doesn't make us expand our understandings and our vocabulary, but instead drags the work down to our level. Why not bring ourselves UP to the mark?
Anyway, if you haven't read Foxe's Book of Martyrs, regardless of version, you really should. You'll see what the early church fathers, faithful women, and even children had to endure for their faith, for teaching the Gospel, for standing on the fundamentals of the Word, for simply having a copy of just one book of the Bible, or just admitting they were a Christian. What we call persecution here in the US is nothing compared to what the early Christians went through--only satan himself could think up such tortures. Sadly, with the people persecuted in the Middle East and communist countries, their stories are mirroring what happened to the early Christians. But our world is too much enthralled with the latest tv show or what is trending on facebook or twitter to pay attention.
Foxe's Book of Martyrs can be found free online to read, or you can purchase various updated versions usually inexpensively. Some libraries carry it--here ours does, but the library in the next city doesn't as it watered down its Christian section.

Foxe's Book of Martyrs on Gutenberg Project (Free)

Foxe's Book of Martyrs (Free)

Foxe's Book of Martyrs (Sacred Texts page--Free)

It is good to know what our forefathers went through, so that we may be aware and hold fast to our own faith should it be called out like theirs.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Following the Crowd

The crowd mentality is prevalent in just about any type of circle known in the world.  If a few do a certain thing, it becomes a "trend", and then the crowd follows the "trend" in order to fit in, regardless of how silly or even unhealthy the trend is.

It isn't any different in conservative circles.  We just have a conservative crowd on the bandwagon.

I got on my soapbox on my personal Facebook page yesterday about something as silly as the ingredients of "all natural" sweeteners.  It seems everywhere from commercials to hard copy ads we have people yelling at us or putting in our faces "all natural" this or that.  It's pushed in certain diet fads as well, "all natural" items that are processed in the factory for a long shelf life, "all natural" ingredients that are anything but.

The way people chase after these processed "all natural" products, it's almost treated as a god.

Something to remember, regardless of what way you choose to eat, what diet plan you follow if any:  if it's coming from the middle aisles of the grocery store, or would be found there (if you purchase online) otherwise, it's processed, has preservatives, and is *not* all natural.  If it can sit on a shelf for a year or so, it's not natural.  Natural goes bad in a short amount of time.  Natural will turn odd colors if left on the shelf a while.  Natural had a mama.

Case in point:  stevia.  It's a nice natural sweet plant.  It is green, you eat its leaves, and it grows like a bush if you keep pruning the leaves to eat.  I've grown this.  When you dry it for powder, it is not white.  It is green and brown, or totally brown depending on the depth of dehydration you go for.  If it's white, don't eat it--white is not good on a natural item.  In the stores, regardless of whether it's in a bulk bag or in little packets, it's not the natural leaf.  It's white.  It has maltodexterin, which is a starch that produces bulk and texture.  It also has "natural flavors", which when the product comes from a factory, those "natural flavors" are produced in a lab and plugged in to the product.  It's found with the baking supplies in the middle of the store, right next to cane sugar, Splenda, Equal, and so on.  A *real* stevia leaf would be found in the garden department or nursery, or in the herbs in the produce section with other perishable items.  Swerve, another sweetener, claims to be all natural, but is produced through the lab and in the factory--using extracts and "natural flavors", and a preservative to keep everything from turning funky while waiting on the middle shelves for someone to buy.

Why do these items trip my trigger?  False advertising.  Don't put "all natural" on something obviously produced in the lab and has a shelf life longer than my 18 year old cat.

If folks truly want all natural items, shop the outter aisles of your store.  The produce department, meat department, some of the dairy department.  Shop your farmer's market.  Grow your own.  But don't shop the middle aisles of the store and expect "all natural" to be natural, and then defend it to the death--you'll die in vain.

Ok, I feel better now.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

His Grace is Sufficient

Today has been one of those days.  

I'm sure we've all had them at some point, where the hurried morning routine a rush...  
All looks like it'll be great...

Then disaster strikes.

For us that disaster usually ends up being our middle child (13) freaking out when the bus pulls up to the driveway for him.  He cries "I don't want to go", screams a high pitch scream, and runs for the porch, and anyone in his path he attacks head on.  It's usually me.  Today it was his stepsister.  

This is almost on schedule, revolving around visits to his dad's 3 hours away and in the next state.  It's been happening a lot lately, and it leads to more interactions with outside agencies in which we don't really want a lot of contact with in that manner.  Thankfully, almost everyone in contact with him understands his limitations.  They get that he has autism, that he has mild mental retardation, and bi polar disorder, and treat him accordingly.  When he has these meltdown sessions, it's like a different child emerges, one full of rage, fear, anxiety, that can't handle the day to day activities of life, and definitely couldn't handle the real consequences of actions if he were treated as an average 13 year old doing the same actions.  

Most days he is the sweetest boy, with lots of hugs and "I love you's", likes to tickle and play around, is goofy and silly.  He talks a few miles a minute and makes all kinds of interesting noises, and laughs a lot.  Then on some days, the "other" side of him emerges and we have to rely on God's grace to get through.

Today is one of those days.

Today, I decided to let him hear one of my prayers from his room, as I prayed for healing to his heart for whatever is hurting him.  I prayed for him to have peace, healing, rest, and protection.  I cried the entire time.  

He did too, and then fell into a deep sleep for an hour or so.

God's grace helped him find some rest and peace, and he awoke calm, able to handle a 15 mile drive to school, and continue through his day.  

God's grace has helped us with the stress of the day, as other pressures have mounted since just this morning that had to be addressed.  

Today, we had another glimpse into the power of prayer, and the sufficiency of His grace.

Isaiah 26:3 - Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee.

Philippians 4:6 - Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

John 16:33 - These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

I am so thankful that the Lord puts His Word about peace, about mercy, about grace, where I can find them.  As parents with special needs children, we need them daily.  

I know I am not alone, there are many many special needs parents out there who need that daily dose of peace.  

For you, special needs parent (and non-special needs parent), a great big hug....

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Overeating on the Word

It's Sunday afternoon and we've already finished up our lunch and enjoying a quiet afternoon.  Some of us are still stuffed from the variety of foods offered for the meal.  We're talking chicken, large lettuce salad, veggie and rice soup, apples, corn on the cob, and so on.  If anyone left the table hungry it's their own fault.

Today Pastor Mike mentioned something that caught my attention.  He mentioned how people tend to overeat on food, but not on the Word.

Wouldn't it be nice if we DID try to overeat on the Word of God??  Wouldn't it be amazing how much different life could be if we indulged until we were totally full on the Bible?

The last few months, my emphasis has been on weight loss, cutting back on food consumption, and exercise.  This tends to the physical body.  Pastor is right, we need to tend the spiritual body too, and feed constantly on the Word, filling up as often as possible to all that God would have us know.

You would think a freight train hit me--I *knew* I should be putting more time in the Bible, but to hear it like that, put into the frame in which I've been operating, it hit home.

Time to overeat---on the Bible!

Are you with me????

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Remember Your Worth

In the past months, my posts have been mainly on weight loss.  This has been my main focus as I work through the layers of fat to get to a healthy body and less weight.

Something I neglect to say often is this:  we are not a number.  There's many many of us out there battling against the growing numbers on a scale, the higher sizes in clothes, the seatbelts that don't fit, and chairs that were made for size 0 folks.  The battle becomes a hyper focused area in our individual worlds.  It becomes who we are in our own sight.

That's not how God sees us.

God sees us as His creation.  He loves us no matter what our body size is.  He loves us regardless if we walked 10 thousand steps or a hundred or none at all.  He sees beyond the body, He sees into the heart.  He cares about whether we have His Son as Lord and Savior.  He cares that we worship Him, that we want to follow Him, to live for Him.

There's room at the cross for everyone, whether size 40W or 0.  He doesn't care what the scale says we weigh, He wants us to love His Son Jesus.  He won't turn you away because you may weigh 400 pounds or 100 pounds.  It's not your body size He's concerned with--it's your heart, your faith, or lack of.

Your worth in God's eyes is far beyond your body.  Don't let the numbers on the scale or clothing tags distract you from how God sees you.  Granted, a healthy body can do a lot more for Him, but that's not how He judges us.

Be encouraged, God loves you where you are no matter your size/shape.  Remember your worth in His eyes!

Shared with:  Darling Downs Diaries, A Proverbs 31 Wife, What Joy Is Mine, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, The Modest Mom, The Beauty in His Grip, Time Warp Wife, Teaching What Is Good, Embracing His Will, Raising Homemakers,, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman, Best of Baby

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Weight Loss Challenge--7 Months!

Saturday, 4/4/15, marked 7 months on the journey!

Thank you all so much for hanging in there with me, for your encouragement and prayers!  Without God and you all constantly encouraging and reminding with Scripture, I doubt I'd be as far as I've gotten!

This past week I laid low on the exercise.  I gave the knee a chance to heal a bit, and lo and behold, I'm up to near where I was before the last injury that really messed with the nerves and knee that already had problems.  It's been 2 weeks since injury, it was accidental, and am determined it isn't  happening again.  Instead of pushing harder and doing the 4 miles, I rested a couple days and then did a 3 mile dvd, and then took another day off and then another dvd, instead of push push push.  It made a difference, and the pain that had such a grip is mostly gone.  Yay!  I did a 3 mile walk today, and am doing my regular routines around the house with little issue, and back to climbing the stairs without wincing at each step in either direction.  I haven't been totally lazy, there is still a house to clean and things to do, so no sitting on the job, let me tell you.

Eating has been great!  Ok, I did have a Cadbury Easter candy.  So I shot the 21 day no junk thing....  I made it half way.  But--instead of continuing on with more candy, I was able to cut it off at one (can you hear the Hallelujah chorus here??).  No sodas, no chips/cookies/white bread/so on and so forth.  Just one Cadbury caramello, and it was worth it.  Otherwise, I've been back on lots of fresh fruits, lots of apples (at 59 cents a pound, I have lots of them!), fresh raw veggies in season--so that'd be lettuce and bagged salads right now, strawberries, asparagus, and so on.  I made a small pot (small in comparison to the big water bath canner I normally use to make soup in) of a beef broth based veggie soup with onions, celery, carrots, a bag of frozen mixed veggies, and some tomato sauce, simmered with some fresh from my herb bed oregano and thyme, and let me tell you it is good--those are my favorites, using up things already in the house!  I was really impressed to see my oregano and thyme with lots of green already, it's so early in the year.  Anyway, also been drinking lots of water, trying to drink at least 4 bottles of water (20 oz) a day.  Yes, it's the same bottle, constantly refilled.  Plus the morning coffee, and a cup or two of tea as well.  I should be floating by you all soon, just wave as I go by! lol

This week I've been working back on sewing again, as it's something I love to do, but don't get to do much of it anymore.  I have 2 machines and tons of hand sewing needles, tons of fabrics and scraps as well as clothing to reuse into projects, and this week I finally got to work on them.  This weekend I cut down a project I'd started last May, making myself a dress back then at the largest size and never got to sewing it.  I re-worked the skirt of it and made a twirly skirt for Jessica, and she wore it to church on Easter.  I also finished up 2-12 inch Dresden plates in harvest colors as a first time run on learning to make those.  While at the table and ironing board, I've been working through smaller scraps and cutting 1 1/2 inch, 2 1/2 inch, and 6 1/2 inch squares and putting them in containers to eventually use them in either 4 patch or 9 patch blocks.  When possible, I'd like to make some more clothing, using string blocks and patchwork--like a string vest and the jean skirts made from commercial made jeans and fabric added to them.  I saw a jacket an older lady at church wears, made in a pineapple log cabin style block that looks nice, and has really had the wheels turning in how I can use my scraps and stash to make something wearable.  Then also there's the hand stitching and working on the hexagon quilt that has been in progress since 9/13.  This week I went through more of my mom's dresses and my dad's flannel shirts to make hexagons to put into it.  While time consuming, it will be something that can be handed down eventually, if it ever gets done! lol  I am planning on backing it in patchwork from pieces of my wedding dress (dark blue cotton floral) and more of my mom's dresses in larger pieces.

It's also tornado season in Kansas!  We went from snow/ice/brrr to hunkering down for tornado season.  That's when you know it's spring--the calendar says one day, but it ain't official til the sirens wail and the sky turns funky colors.  Now don't get me wrong, we take them seriously, they are nothing to fool around with.  They are also a part of living here in the area we are, in southern Kansas bordering Oklahoma and Missouri, like earthquakes are for California and hurricanes are for the southern coastal areas, tornadoes are a part of life here.  Welcome spring!

How have you been doing this week?  I hope you have been enjoying the warmer weather, getting out and enjoying fresh air, and having a great time!

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

He Is Risen!

He is Risen!!

(Song:  "At Calvary" by Gaithers)

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