Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mama is Sick

I find it sort of ironic that I am posting about being very sick in the middle of a rant on nutritious eating, but who am I to question God's timing in all of this. Also, the only reason I have had time to blog on nutritious eating is because I am so sick. Sort of funny, huh?

I have been sick with various symptoms for over six weeks now. We have only found out in the last couple of weeks what is actually going on. It was a relief to finally be diagnosed, but the recovery time is not short, and that brings a sense of anxiety to me.

I have what is called Adrenal Exhaustion, stage 3. You can read about it at the link provided if you like, just page down to stage 3.

I have had 'adrenal fatigue' for several years and have been treated by my doctor for it. It has been mild and somewhat easy to manage. Actually, compared to this, it was a cake walk.

Symptoms that I have been dealing with are:

*Extreme fatigue (unable to do normal everyday activities)
*Dizziness at all times, but especially when standing
*Very 'foggy' headed
*Anxiety attacks and shortness of breath
*Inability to handle ANY stress
*Very emotional
*Hair falling out (not tons)
*Uncontrollable feeling of freezing at times
*Nausea, general upset tummy

There are more, this is the majority of the symptoms. We are unsure if those weeks of feeling sick were actually my decent into stage 3 or if I had food poisoning or a virus that was just too much for my adrenals to handle.

As you can imagine life has come to a screeching halt here. Brian is incredibly understanding and supportive, for which I am so thankful. I feel like I might be going crazy at times, and totally unable to handle the symptoms, and he is always there pulling me through it. He has even had to get a little stern with me at times, as I can be so irrational. He helps calm me through the anxiety attacks. These things really frustrate me because more often than not, I am not even thinking anything and my body just responds to stress with these attacks. I cannot control the breathing and the heaviness in my chest and it makes me crazy!! (Control issues: one of the things God is dealing with me during this time;-)

The children have been incredible, which has been a comfort. My 19 year old son has set a timer on his watch and brings me my supplements every hour. He even called me from Costco to tell me to take them! He has really taken over with meals and the children. My 17 year old son makes sure I am drinking my water and has made me the softest of scrambled eggs everyday this week! All of them have really stepped up to help. We still have issues to deal with and this has brought out some areas that we have really fallen down on the job with training them, but it has been very good. I have a dear friend who just wants to help in any practical way possible, and to be honest, I cannot think of anything that these children and Brian don't have covered.

Apparently, the recovery time for this is about a year!!! You heard that right. Imagine, a passionate, driven homeschooling Mama of nine being told she is going to have to take it incredibly easy for a year! Good one, I thought, but the doctor assured me he was not joking!

These first 2-6 weeks are supposed to be the worst, and I can attest that they seem to be, so far.

Part of the reason I post about this is that I believe adrenal fatigue is more prevalent than most think, especially with mamas. I also believe that the diet that I grew up eating and continued eating into my married life has played a significant role in my health, as I have stated before. Poor diet is a huge stressor to the body.

One thing I have learned is that our adrenal glands do not differentiate where the stress is coming from. It could be poor diet, emotional stress, physical stress, loss of a loved one or even a smashed toe. They just do their job no matter what the stress and they can only be 'driven' for so long!

I'll end with a few of the things that we feel contributed to my adrenal fatigue.

*eating according to the Standard American Diet (SAD) for most of my life.
*several babies and c-sections, while not taking care of myself nutritionally ( I would NEVER blame having babies for the Lord for my sickness! It was how I took care of myself, not having the babies!! tell me you understand this!)
*always 'pushing through' even against medical advice.
*in the year 2000, our family experienced a horrible trauma that continued on for about five or six years, and in all reality, continues on a smaller scale to this day.
The extreme stress of those years took a significant toll on my body. I continued on with life as usual, what else could I do with several children and homeschooling?
*chronic pain for the last 10 years.
*unable to sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time

There is a whole HUGE spiritual side to this that is so overwhelmingly cool, but it is so difficult to put into words. I pray that the Lord allow me to share it somehow, sometime! He is so amazingly faithful and good.

If you have hung in here to the end of this monumental post, I thank you and ask you to lift our family in prayer as the Lord leads.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nourishing Breakfast Idea

A breakfast idea that is nourishing and frugal is oatmeal. Not packaged, flavored quick oats like we used to eat. :-)
Oatmeal that has been soaked is very nutritious and far superior to boxed cereals. It is so easy to soak the oats the night before and quickly cook them up the next morning.

Soaking grains is very important. As I mentioned before, we ate basically a whole grain diet and our blood work showed that we were actually depleted of the very minerals that are so high in whole grains. How is this possible? Well, by not soaking our grains we were not breaking down the phytic acids which blocked the valuable nutrients from being digested. Also, they contain enzyme inhibitors that interfere with digestion. Not only were we not getting the nutrients we thought we were, the whole grains were actually depleting us of these nutrients.

Here are some great articles on the benefits of soaking grains. You could just 'google' soaking grains and have a field day researching this idea.

We like the texture of Steel Cut Oats vs. Rolled Oats for this application. Rolled oats are too 'mushy', they say. Steel cut oats are also called Irish or Scottish oats. It is the whole oat grain cut instead of rolled. Do not buy 'quick' oats or 'instant' oats, these are too processed. You can usually find steel cut oats in any grocery store these days. Health food stores also have them.

For our family, the night before, we put about 3 cups of steel cut oats in a pan with water to cover and a splash of whey, Kefir, yogurt, lemon juice or vinegar. (It just has to be something acidic as you will find out as you read the articles)

In the morning we drain the extra liquid, add some water and simmer for about 10 minutes, until done.

I then add a ton of real butter, raw preferably, and sweeten with honey or maple syrup. You could use Sucanat or Rapadura if you like.

I like mine with lots of (soaked) chopped nuts and organic dried cranberries.

It is so easy and frugal and so, so good for you.

Home School Helps w/ Little Ones


I just recently came across these two articles that were very encouraging. I needed to read these for the season I am in and thought you all might be blessed too.

They are articles on home schooling with babies and preschoolers.

Little Ones vs. Homeschooling

The Baby IS the Lesson


Nutrition: Where To Start

I want to begin this post by reiterating one very important thing from my previous post, How Then Shall We Eat. Please only pursue feeding your family in a more nourishing way if the Lord is leading you. If this is not the right season for big or even small changes, then please do not take this on just because some woman wrote about it. Okay?

As a woman with much on her plate I realize how easy it is to get overwhelmed with what I read on various blogs. This 'overwhelmedness' is NEVER my intention. It is only to encourage and inform.

Let me also state that if you are feeding your family to best of your ability, knowledge and budget, then you are right where you need to be. We all have different situations, seasons, levels of skill and budget. My hope is to encourage, challenge and inform, with the hope that you pray, let the Spirit lead you, and find what is best for YOUR family.

Today I am going to provide you with a few links that I think will be helpful as you begin this journey or seek to take it further.

The first is an ebook by Stephanie from 'Keeper of the Home'.

A 52 Week Journey of Baby Steps to Help You Move Towards More Natural, Nutritious and Sustainable Living

I think she does an excellent job providing lots of information and it is in an easy to understand and apply format. She really makes it 'doable'. There are tons of links included in the ebook.

I have mentioned the Weston A. Price Foundation in a previous post, but there are a few lists that I think are useful in evaluating where you are and where you might want to be.

The first on is called Dietary Guidelines

You could go through the list and see how many of the things you already do and pray about which ones you should seek to implement. Some of them might be easier than you think.

Another list is called Dietary Dangers
You may not be familiar with the reasons why some of these things are bad for you and this list might help generate things for you to research. (You all do know how to 'google' right? Google is a keeper of the home's best friend! ;)

So many of the things on this list could easily be avoided if all packaged food was removed from our homes. If you never learned to cook from scratch and are a 'hamburger helper and cream of mushroom soup' kind of gal, this could be very challenging. But, take heart, if I can do it, so can you! My mom left when I was thirteen, she didn't know how to cook from scratch nor did she teach me. My grandma, who helped raise us, used packaged foods and canned products, so that did not prepare me either. Where I am today was pretty much self taught, by His grace, of course;-) You can do this!

Cooking from scratch with wholesome ingredients is probably the single most important thing you can do to improve your families health. More on this in another post!
Lord Jesus, You alone are our Wisdom, guide us even in the details of how to nourish our families. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit who guides us in all things. You have a distinct and perfect plan for each one of our families and we submit this area to You, looking for You to lead.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How Then Shall We Eat

I have for a long time wanted to write big elaborate posts encouraging you women to eat more traditionally; more healthfully. I have learned so much over the last couple of years that has made a tremendous difference in our health.

I don't have the time or mental energy to go into lengthy posts full of information so I thought rather than not do it at all I would just start sharing little snippets here and there and try to provide links for you to do your own research as God leads.

There are so many great blogs out there by women who are called by God, I believe, to share this information. They have the time and mental capacity to do this. I realized I don't need to reinvent the wheel, I'll just show you where I learned it. I am forever indebted to these women who willingly and graciously share their journey to health and how they truly nourish their families. I feel like I know them well. I have poured over their writings and soaked them all up. Several of them are in my blog roll.

They are Kimi from Nourishing Gourmet, Stephanie from Keeper of the Home and Lindsay from Passionate Homemaking. Please, go meet my friends, you will be glad you did. These are just a few of the many wonderful "Nourishing Tradition" blogs.

I'll share a brief testimony. I was raised on the Standard American Diet (SAD), and since getting married have been on a journey to eat more healthful. Only recently did the Lord really open my eyes to an even healthier way of eating. For years we ate everything whole wheat, less than the average amount of processed foods, and what seemed like plenty of fruits and vegetables. Long story short, for all this healthy eating, we found out we were actually lacking in many of the normal minerals and vitamins, via a blood test.

This is about the time the Lord led me to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, and the Weston A. Price foundation. I suggest, if the Lord leads, to research these resources. I wholeheartedly believe pretty much everything they teach and God used them to connect all the dots! For years I was so close yet so far away.

My heart is to reach younger women, as well as older, so they can teach the younger. As a woman who has surrendered her body to the Lord to use as He sees fit and to bring forth as many Godly seed as HE chooses, I wish I had this information when I was younger. Not only for my sake, but for the sake of my children and their children. My body might be in a much healthier state had I known what I know now and am continuing to learn.

PLEASE, please, at the very least, pray about this. Only take this on if this is what God has for you now. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed; trust His good Spirit to lead. Maybe this is an answer to prayer, as it was for me. I am not kidding when I tell you that the way we ate before these changes would put most American families to shame. I thought I was doing so well, and I was for what I knew then, but if I was missing it, others might be too.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Marriage Monday: "Rooted in Christ"

This a quote from the book I mentioned before called,
"The Christian Family" by Larry Christenson
I once again whole heartedly recommend it.
A wife is more than a mother, housekeeper, cook, counselor, and chauffeur.
She will not find the deep places of her heart satisfied with bowling, bridge,
PTA meetings, or even church work. On the other hand,
if her sole source of happiness lies in her husband of her children,
she is also doomed to disappointment.
God did not intend us to find satisfaction a part from Himself.
A wife who puts Jesus first will be a joy both to her ‘lord’ and to her Lord! (See I Peter 3:6.)

A radiant wife, who once sought escape in intellectual pursuits,
recently disclosed her secret for finding fulfillment in life:
"It’s doing what Jesus wants me to do!"
She went on to say that Jesus can change out attitudes;
He can even change the routine tasks that were once a drudgery into a joy.
"Be rooted in Christ, not in your husband;
then you are free to be a worthwhile person,
a good wife."
Jesus gives you the invitation to take your anxieties to the cross,
and to leave the reforming of your husband in God’s hands.
The wife who is trusting God is not nagging her husband.
I loved what he said about needing to find our sole satisfaction in Christ alone. If we tend to idolize our husbands, we place a burden on them they were not meant to bear. This does not mean that we cannot lean on them and be incredibly one with them, it just means we had better not make 'gods' of them.
Be rooted in Christ, not your husband . . .brilliant!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Little Boys, Pencil Sharpeners and Grace!

I am enjoying my sweet little 5 1/2 year old little boy so much lately. When I read this post about another mom's observations of her little boy it touched my heart so.

My sweet little guy comes up to me flashing his huge blue eyes, (most of my children have huge brown eyes) and shows me his bleeding finger.

"Honey, what happened to your finger" as I wrap a tissue around it.

"I was holding onto the pencil sharpener and it hurt my finger" he says batting his eyes swiftly in an effort to hold back the tears.

"Sweetie, did you stick your finger in the pencil sharpener"

"Yaaaeeeessss" he says all drawn out and with a sweet lisp.

I hug him tighter, fighting back the urge to chuckle and say, "Oh honey, mommy is so sorry you got hurt, maybe next time we just won't put our finger 'in' the pencil sharpener, okay?"

Why do I choose to post this little story? Well, because, in my heart, it is a work of God's beautiful grace. You see, not too long ago I might of let this little guy know in no uncertain terms the complete foolishness of putting one's finger into pencil sharpeners. He would have walked away with a complete understanding of the workings of a pencil sharpener, the dangers and probably be banished from ever touching one, ever!

I am so thankful for the work that God is doing in my heart towards these children. Thankful He doesn't give up on me. Thankful for new mercies every morning. And so thankful that by His grace, I was able to look past a foolish incident and touch the heart of my sweet little boy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Marriage Monday "Receiving So He Can Give"

When talking about marriage, much of the teaching is on encouraging women in all the practical things they can do, or ways to 'give' to be a good help meet. This is extremely important, but I think there is another side to this that just might get overlooked. I know this might not speak to every woman, because each of our husbands and marriages are so different, but I'll share, none the less, seeing as how it is a struggle of mine. ;-)

As women, wives, and mamas, we are 'givers' by nature. God made us this way so we could fulfill our roles.

But what about receiving? This can be very hard for some women. If our husbands are to fulfill their calling in life, we are going to have to do our share of receiving. They cannot love us fully if we do not receive it. They cannot lay down their lives for us fully if we do not receive it. By being stoic, or prideful, or whatever, it is this that keeps us from 'receiving' from our husbands. We are actually hindering them from living out God's will for their lives.

This is a big one for me, especially right now as I deal with some pretty big health issues. I am supposed to be the one running this house, and not from bed, thank you very much! He desires to serve our family; to lay down his life, but I resist it. I think, for me, it boils down to pride, at least in part. I should be able to do this! It is stiff-necked rebellion really; refusing to surrender to God in this. And really, all that pride and angst is doing nothing to help my husband.

What about when he tells me I am the most beautiful woman in the world? Should my response be one of disbelief and refusing to accept it?

What about his encouraging words regarding my role as a mama? Should I roll my eyes and resist his words?

I recently read a post from a woman who asked her husband on their anniversary what she could do to be a better wife. She waited nervously for his answer. You know what his answer was?

"When I tell you you are beautiful, believe me."

"When I tell you that you are the best mom, believe me, receive it."

In other words, humbly receive his love! Wow! Not be a better cook, clean more, be more patient with the kids, be intimate more often, but receive his love!

When I told my husband this story, he so understood it. It's what he has been saying for years! ;-)

Do you struggle to 'receive' from your husband? I touched on only a few examples in this post, as well as, only a few reasons why we struggle with this. For many of us it goes way deeper, but Jesus can heal the wounds and past disappointments if we go to Him. Have you ever considered that when you resist your husband's desire to love and serve you it is actually hindering him, not helping him?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Perfect Pesto

Here is our pesto recipe. It is so easy to make and you can find plenty of variations online if you like. This is what we do.

Into the food processor goes:

1/4 cup Toasted Pine nuts, you can substitute almonds or walnuts too.(these can be found for a great price at Sam's or Costco, don't buy them at your local store or you will pay a ton!)

3 cloves of garlic ( I don't like raw garlic in this recipe, too strong. I use the chopped garlic in a jar for this.

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

1 small handful fresh parsley (mostly for color, could be omitted)

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt to taste

1/4 cup REAL Parmesan or Pecorino Romano (Again, find it at Sam's or Costco)

Just waz it up until until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. I don't really measure the ingredients every time, it is just sort of by eye. I have batches that don't have enough salt or too much because of this.

This is what it looks like when it is all done.

We use this for pasta just about every week. We also make the most divine tasting Pesto Pizza with this. Or, sometimes we make a delicious foccacia and slather this all over the top of it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Walk Through the Garden

Today I am going to share a peek inside our gardens. You need to know right up front that we are NOT professional gardeners/farmers, though we do try!

Each year I plant tons of basil, as we love to make our own pesto and freeze it for the winter. I seem to never grow enough! This year we have about 30 plants, some doing better than others, but still it is not enough. Last year I think we had more. We would go out with a laundry basket and pick the plants nearly clean. We would make batch after batch and freeze it in small containers. I personally love the "Italian Large Leaf" variety. You get way more bang for your buck, and the taste is divine.

This is an adorable little ornamental pepper plant. The peppers start out purple and then turn red. They are extremely hot! I bought them mostly because of the purple peppers. Purple and green are my favorite colors!
It is kind of hard to tell here, but we have corn in the fenced in area. We have a nasty muskrat who was eating my dear husband's corn. Tomato plants to the right and two rows of potatoes. We have grown potato plants for a couple of years now and wanted to plant more this year. We dug trenches and kept covering the potato plant each time it popped out to encourage more potatoes. We hope to have some to 'keep' this year. It is hard to plant enough because with such a large family we eat so much.

Above are the pole beans. We love green beans. There are tons of flowers and a few tiny beans starting.

This little box is what I call the 'Brassica' box. I call it that because that is the type of plants that are in there, Brussel Sprouts, Collard Greens, and Kale, they are from the Brassica family. I learned that from Alton Brown on "Good Eats'. I try to impress my family every now and again with my vast knowledge. Oh, and about the collard greens, I forgot that I planted them. I kept wondering where the cauliflower was, then I remembered that maybe I planted some collard greens.

This box has more pole beans with carrots planted in the front. We put straw down in the paths to try to keep the weeds down, didn't work;-)

My beautiful purple cabbage! Don't you just love purple?

And my green cabbage! I am going to make some lacto-fermented sauerkraut from this beauty!

We also have lots of peppers, hot peppers, strawberries, more basil, snow peas and lettuce.

I hope you enjoyed a tour of our little garden.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Marriage Monday "Your Tips"

For today's installment of Marriage Monday I am asking you all to help out and share a testimony or tip you have about marriage.

I would love to hear your heart on this most wonderful subject, as I am sure others do too. Let's pool the resources of wisdom out there and encourage one another in the heart of Titus 2!

Maybe you have a testimony of a struggle you have found victory over in your marriage.

Maybe you have a tip or two you could share.

Anything on your heart regarding marriage would be a blessing. You can leave your thoughts in the comment section or link to your own blog.

My little tip of the day is:

Try to greet your husband at the end of his work day with a smile, hug and kiss. I realize some days this seems nearly impossible, but try to put your own 'self' on the back burner and cheerfully greet him. Also, it would be really sweet if you could refrain from dumping the burdens of your day on him, at least until he comes in the door. ;-)

I am looking forward to hearing from your heart. Thank you!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I have learned . . . . . . .

Today is my 43rd birthday and I have been reflecting on things I have learned over the last 43 years. I know I have not lived long enough to have tons of wisdom, but I just want to document what I do know for sure. I am surprised at how many things I know to be true, as I have become increasingly aware of all the things I don't know!

So, here goes,

I have learned . . . . . . . .

That God is more than enough to meet my every need.

When Jesus saves, it is to the very uttermost that He saves.

That through every heartache, every trauma, every trial, small and earth-shattering, He remains faithful and can be trusted.

These simple truths, God is sovereign, He is wisdom and He is love. Learning these simple truths and applying them to every aspect of life brings great peace.

That God’s hand is in everything! Nothing touches my life that doesn’t pass through His hands first.

I deserve hell, even on my best day, but I have eternal life only by His grace.

My heavenly Father loves me, accepts me, even cherishes me.

My Father can be trusted with my every hope, every dream and every desire; my very heart.

My marriage and my children are THE ministry God has given to me.

My relationship with my husband is the most important relationship I have here on earth.

By serving and honoring my husband I always somehow get blessed a hundredfold.

True intimacy between a husband and wife is indescribable!

My children really and truly are gifts from the Lord, even on bad days.

My children teach me more that I could ever teach them.

Thanking God in all things IS His will for me.

Time really does go by faster than you realize and before you know it you will graduate a child or become a grandma.

That sweet baby smell doesn’t last forever.

Teeny, tiny piggy toes eventually aren’t so fun to kiss and nibble anymore. So gobble them up while you can.

Nursing a baby in the wee hours of the morning while the house is quiet and dark can be one of the most precious and holy times ever!

Friendship with my teens/adult children is better than I thought it would be.

One God-given friend who is totally and utterly on the same spiritual page as you is better than a hundred casual friends.

Every sunrise and sunset should be viewed as a glorious picture God painted just for you today.

His mercies really are new every day!

Taking time to come before His throne for everything is the only thing that I absolutely cannot live without.

I better stop now, I think I could gush on God all day long! As a matter of fact, I think I will, but just not here.

What have you “learned” in the years you have been here on earth? Maybe take the time to record them, someday your children will thank you.

We will not hide them from their children, but we will tell to the generation to come the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonderful works that He has performed. (Ps. 78:4)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Marriage Monday "Carrying Out God's Plan"

This is a really great quote from a book my husband is reading called, The Christian Family by Larry Christenson. (Actually it is Larry Christenson quoting Peter Marshall) This book is amazing. We have read SO many books on parenting and family, and I would have to say that this is probably in the top two or three all time favorites! It is an older book, from 1970, but can be found used on Amazon. I highly recommend it.

‘A Good Wife. . . More Precious Than Jewels”

In A Man Called Peter’, Catherine Marshall tells how her late husband tended to put women on a pedestal. She quotes the following from one of his sermons:

“Modern girls argue that they have to earn an income,

in order to establish a home, which would be impossible on their husband’s income.

That is sometimes the case, but it must always be viewed as a regrettable necessity,

never as the normal or natural thing for a wife to have to do.

The average woman, if she gives her full time to her home,

her husband, her children . . .

If she tries to understand her husband’s work. .

to curb his egotism while,

at the same time, building up his self-esteem,

to kill his masculine conceit while encouraging all his hopes,

to establish around the family a circle of true friends . . .

If she provides in the home a proper atmosphere of culture,

of love of music, of beautiful furniture and of a garden. . .

If she can do all this,

she will be engaged in a life work that will demand every ounce of her strength,

every bit of her patience, every talent God has given her,

the utmost sacrifice of her love.

It will demand everything she has and more.

And she will find that for which she was created.

She will know that she is carrying out the plan of God.

She will be a partner with the Sovereign Ruler of the universe.”

I also thought this post went great with the post I wrote for

Please go check it out and maybe share a little of your "journey home".

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