Saturday, July 30, 2011

Character: What you are when no one is watching


It was a day in early spring and 25,000 men waited expectantly as the morning dawned over the Arkansas fields. The terrain was varied, hills crossed with zig-zag fencing, pastureland and corn fields cut right up to forests covered with dense underbrush. A small creek wound its way through the land, and over all looked a ridge. Some of the men present wore Cherokee attire, others the clothing of their farm life. Still others wore uniforms of blue or grey. It was early March, the year was 1862, and two armies were about to face each other. 

The line between bravery and foolishness can be very thin, and it was hard to tell which side the Confederate commander, Van Dorn, fell on. In a push to surprise the unsuspecting troops of the North Van Dorn had divided his own troops and circled around the North in a three day forced march. The troops were ill prepared. More than a few men fainted along the way, unable to keep up the pace. Many went barefoot and it was later said that the army could be found by following the bloody footprints in the snow. The pace was far to fast for the supply wagons to keep with, therefore they were left behind along with rations and ammunition. 

Soon the skirmishes began. The first skirmish took place when McCulloc, the Brig. General in command of one of the two confederate groups--ran headfirst into a group of cannon. The North had discovered the surprise, sent out a small group to defend, and turned the tables. McCulloch didn't waste much time, he and the southern cavalry charged the cannon. The Northern unit was there only for a skirmish, and were ill equipped to meet such an onslaught. They soon were overcome, and realized that if they did not flee closer to their own lines they would most probably loose their lives. The weponry was abandoned as the men turned and ran. As they fled, however, a small group remained behind. They realized that this march of the confederates must be stopped. There was little possibility of the handful of yankees stopping half the confederate army alone, but prefering to die fighting rather than fleeing to safety with their companions they choose to remain. Unseen, they took cover behind some brush and waited for the confederates to move.

The advance of the confederate branch was halted, and in an attempt to determine the best course of action General McCulloch decided to scout out the northern lines . His distinctive black velvet suit set him apart as he rode out of the treeline and unknowingly right into the sights of the small group of yankees. A volley of shots, and McCulloch fell. Soon after this same group of yankees managed to shoot the second in command, a Brig. General, James McIntosh. The command structure for half of the present confederate troops was shattered. They remained for the remainder of the day immobilized, unable to advance without a commander.

Now, what I've told you here is only the beginning of the Battle of Pea Ridge, March 7-8. As I was touring the battlefield last week (it has been preserved into a national park) the story of the handful of men struck me. You see, up to that point the confederates had the upper hand. Van Dorn's plan, while foolhardy, was actually working. Both halves of the confederate army were advancing, and though the battle was still young, everything was working out just as he predicted. However, there was one thing he didn't count on. That handful of yankee soldiers that didn't flee with their companions. You see, because they remained behind the two leaders of Van Dorn's reinforcements were killed. Because of this thousands of men were immobilized and the reinforcements never arrived. This was a key reason why the confederates lost the battle, and ultimately, as a direct result of this battle, the state of Missouri was permanently won to the Union. 

All because a few brave men stood to fight when the cause seemed lost. Not just lost--but insignificant in the scope of the larger battle.

Which got me to thinking. We need to be like those men. Spiritually speaking, how easy is it to give in when it seems like everything is loosing? Seriously. I'm not talking giving in on big things. I mean the little things. The small battles that no one ever sees you fighting. Those men weren't trying trying to be heroes, they were just standing their ground. It is so incredibly easy to give ground for tiny things, when we would never think of letting our guard down for the larger. 
You husband asks you to do something that you don't feel like doing--do you set aside your own priority list and focus on being the help-meet you were created to be? The laundry needs to be done and dinner needs to be made--do you do it? Or do you keep reading that book (or watching that show) that you're in the middle of? Your child bothers you for the thousandth time to read them a book--how will you respond? A friend says something unkind about a family member--and it may even be true--what do you do? You hold to a conviction that none of your friends hold to, and because of this are ridiculed. Do you continue in the way God has shown you, or drop the conviction in embarrassment?

There are so many things in the course of day to day living that seem like small, insignificant things. Things that no one will ever see. Seemingly the only ones who know about it are you and God. But we never know what sort of an impact our actions will have. Will you stand your ground? Will you fight the battles that no one sees? Or will you turn in shame and flee the field?


Slightly modified repost from the Archives, originally published July 2006

Friday, July 29, 2011

Recipes for August



I've been keeping my eye out for creative recipes that use fish--particularly salmon--for months now.  Fish contains nutrients that are critical for a woman to have during her childbearing years. To quote from a favorite book, Real Food for Mama and Baby, "Humans cannot get by--and women cannot get pregnant--without nutrients found chiefly in the sea. They are the omega-3 fats and iodine." Because of this I try to serve fish at least once a week, more when I am pregnant.

Obviously there are some concerns about mercury found in fish, but mercury is found only in bigger, older, more carnivorous fish. Some examples of these fish are swordfish, king mackerel, shark and tuna. Other tasty fish, such as tilapia, trout, salmon, and herring do not contain mercury. I prefer to avoid the mercury and still enjoy the benefits of fish.

This month I am going to share a few of my favorite fish recipes. These are the recipes that have been tried and proven with time, and remain favorites. Stay tuned for the recipes posted each Friday!!

Still:







It is Five Minute Friday again, and this week the prompt seems to be uniquely perfect. A recap on the rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word on the prompt, “Still.”
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3.Get a little crazy with encouragement in the comments of the five minuter who linked up before you.

The prompt today is: Still...



START 6:43AM

Still. It's the word I long for, the word I strive for. To be still in God, resting in him, trusting him, no matter what comes. Stillness. It's what Daniel was when he went to his rooftop to pray three times, knowing it would be death for him if his enemies found out. He chose to be still before God.

Still is not what I have been. I've been rushing, hurried, running headlong into this thing we call life. Not taking in the moments, treasuring them for what they are--gifts from God. I haven't given them to God,   I haven't thought of God.

I crave stillness, and next month is set aside for it. Next month I resolve not to rush through life, forgetting to thank God or even think about Him. Next month, August, will be a month to be still. A month to retreat. A month to fast from busyness. A month to be still before the God of the Bible, before my Jesus, before my Lord.

Let me be a Mary, sitting at the feet of her Lord soaking in every drop of the truth and value in what he teaches, and not a Martha, hurrying to prepare for Company (even important company!) and stressed about being behind. Let me chose purposefully to lay aside the weight of the world that so easily besets and run the race that is set before me--neither looking to the right or the left as I strive wholeheartedly for the crown that is set before me.

FINISH 6:49

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Soaked Oatmeal

A few months ago I purchased a 5 lb bag of oats from a friend of mine to experiment with making my own oatmeal. It was a new thing for me and I wasn't sure we would like it, but I didn't spend much on it and figured if it didn't go over well I'd chalk it up to a lesson well learned.

To my surprise the oats went over quite well!! They are easy to prepare (even including the soaking step) and are quite tasty. I probably have this for breakfast about 4 times a week, as it is the easiest breakfast I have. I also feel much better about feeding my family food that came straight from the whole grain!


Here is the recipe I use:

The day before:
place 1/2 cup whole oats into blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, according to your preference.

Place oats into bowl and cover with water. Add 1 tbs of acidic medium (whey is my favorite because it doesn't change the flavor. Lemon, buttermilk, and yogurt are also options). Let sit, covered, on the counter overnight.

The next morning:
Cook soaked oats in skillet or pot on low or medium. Add water as desired. I top mine with about 1/3 cup milk or cream, 1 tbs butter or coconut oil, pinch of salt, and maple syrup (according to taste). You can add whatever flavorings you prefer!!


Note: The recipe can also be made with the whole oats (skipping the blender step) but my husband and I didn't care for that. The grain is very chewy when cooked whole, and not at all like "regular" oatmeal. If you like experimenting with new things you may want to try it, though!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

After a miscarriage: How to help (Part 3)

On Tuesdays I have been taking a look at different ways to support a mother after a miscarriage. Last week we focused on some common mistakes that are made. This week I want to take a more positive look at support. Our focus this week will be on ways to build up a mama after her loss, to help her focus on the Lord and grieve in a healthy way.

When giving comfort after a miscarriage DO: 

1. Remind her that she is still a mama, if the baby she lost was her first. This is a struggle because culturally the only form bereavement not recognized is that of a parent toward their children. A woman whose husband dies is a widow. A man who looses his wife is a widower. A child who has lost their parents is an orphan. But what is a mama who has lost her baby? Remind her that even if she never saw her baby she is still a mama, and that it is okay to grieve the baby.

2. Pray for her, both in and out of her presence. This is huge. When I was dealing with the start of postpartum depression this was the main thing that brought me out of it (though there were other factors, and I don’t mean to indicate my experience will be the same as someone else’s experience). It is comforting for the mama to know she is being prayed for, but it is huge for a friend to come and lovingly, personally, specifically take her before God. A good question to ask is, “Is there anything specific you would like me to pray for?” And then pray for it. Right there with her.

3. Be willing to listen if she wants to talk. Obviously, you may or may not be able to listen to the details of what the mama is experiencing both physically and emotionally. She also may not feel like talking. But if she is able to talk, it is helpful to have a listening ear. As part of this, you must be willing to ask her questions. “How are you doing emotionally?” “How are you doing physically?” “Do you want to talk about it?” These questions are ‘open door’ questions. Asking them indicates to her that you are willing to listen if she wants to talk, but it doesn’t force her to talk if she doesn’t feel up to it.

4. Give a hug. A simple hug can really lift the spirits. There’s no way for YOU to know whether the mama is on a “down” day or an “up” day, especially if she is the type to grieve in private. Either way, a hug of love and friendship can really lift the spirits.  

5. Share “war stories,” if appropriate. This will depend on the mama, but it can be helpful to hear from other women who have miscarried. “Yeah, I miscarried my first one also. It was rough. But here are the things the Lord used to help me through it.” It can be helpful to see other women model a healthy form of grieving, and this also lets the mama know who is “safe” to talk to.

6. Talk details if the experience was similar. Again, whether this is helpful depends on the individual mama (so pay attention, and give her a chance to get out of the conversation or change the subject if she needs to), but if you’ve experienced a miscarriage that was similar to the one she is going through sharing your experience can be helpful in a very practical way. In my case, last year a lady at church had experienced a miscarriage at 10 weeks, about the stage mine happened. Before my actual miscarriage occurred she was able to tell me what to expect physically, which helped me face the “unknown” with less fear.

“Extra Credit”
These are a few things that really helped me, mainly because it showed me I wasn’t “alone.” They are unexpected, but very loving gestures if you feel the urge to do something extra. I have awesome friends.

Offer to bring a meal over, or help in some other way. In some parts of the country this practice is totally foreign, but down here in the south we look after our friends who are hurting. Had a baby? Lost a family member? Dealing with a move or job loss? We’ve got your meals covered. When dealing with something major it is a big help to know that dinner, at least, will be on the table. Miscarriage is typically overlooked in the list of “major losses” mainly because the mama is still fully capable of handling her usual duties, or isn’t down for very long. But simply making the offer, whether or not it is needed/accepted, tells the mama, “I see your pain, I know I can’t make it better, but I care about you and really DO want to help.”

Send flowers. Again, a typically overlooked gesture (and certainly not expected!), but meaningful.

Offer to give her something to remember her baby by. When a mama looses her baby after birth she usually has something physical to remember her baby by—baby clothes, a tombstone, something. A mama who looses her baby to a miscarriage, particularly an earlier miscarriage, doesn’t have that. Having a physical item can be helpful in moving through the grieving process. There are a number of different things that could be offered. Willow Tree has a few figurines that would be appropriate. I was offered a piece of jewelry with a birthstone. There is an Anne Geddes print that would be a lovely gift (though hard to find). Depending on how she grieves (and where she is in the grieving process) the mama may or may not want this. But the offer is very thoughtful and will be appreciated.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Marching to 1000 with company


141. Parents over for dinner
142. A bracelet
143. Impromptu “date night”
144. Shopping with my man
145. A good deal on a pretty painting


146. God “clearing the way” as we talked business with our landlord
147. Brightly colored roses on the table
148. A book by Elisabeth Elliot
149. My man’s arms
150. Tears

151. A cleared schedule
152. Anticipated arrival
153. Loooong clearance isles, marked 50% off clearance price
154. Our first midnight showing, together
155. Heart-to-heart talk with my man while waiting


156. 3D glasses, and silly faces
157. Impromptu company and game
158. Late nights!!! (unusual thing for me to thank God for!! :P)
159. Moxie *grin*
160. Dinner in the freezer (easy for company!)


161. Meeting old friends for the first time
162. Colossal Reunion!!
163. A $1-$5 book clearance section at Mardels
164. Walking to the store
165. Gummy worms



166. Shared testimony
167. Brother over for 10th BD



Saturday, July 23, 2011

Yet Afar Off....




 I was babysitting evening, and one of the things we always enjoy doing is reading the books I bring. I usually bring three, and they are either taken from a series (I forget the name) that teaches character/moral lessons, or the Adam Raccoon parables. For what it matters, both are excellent series--I always use them with babysitting and I've come across very few children who don't enjoy them, which is great considering the quality of books they are.



One of the books I was reading this evening was called "Adam Raccoon and the Circus".  Adam runs away from King Aron to go see the circus and ends up joining it. He doesn't even mind when the circus master takes his piggy bank, because he turns into the biggest Star of the Circus. 




Unfortunately it doesn't take long for him to be replaced, and get a job washing dirty elephants during the day, sleeping in a cage with monkeys who tease him endlessly every night, and eating banana peels for every meal (left over from the monkeys). In the end he manages to escape. King Aron was watching for him and "when he saw him afar off" he ran to Adam and welcomed him back with wide-open arms. (should sound like a pretty familiar plot. Like I said--parables)


Anyway, the retelling of this old story really struck me--especially that one line. "When he saw him afar off". I suppose most of us sometimes get the feeling that we are pretty far off from God. Sometimes that is just a feeling, and we must be sure to "keep on keeping on" despite what emotions say. But then, sometimes it is true. We've left our first love, strayed into paths of sin, stubbornly choosen our own way, and hard-headedly refused to come back. It's true--the world can look awful sweet sometimes. The funny thing is, one day we can look at the world and wonder what attraction people could possibly find in its gaudy trappings. Then the very next day let ourselves be tempted and taken in by those very trappings.

But isn't it wonderful to know that no matter how far off the path we've gone, no matter how much we have willfully disobeyed, we have a Father who is watching for us with unceasing vigilance. As soon as we turn from the "rotten banana peels" and come to him, he will see us afar off and run to meet us with open arms. Our Father will always welcome His children home. God's forgiveness wasn't cheap, but it is freely given. 




"But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.\" (Luke 15:20b)


Reposted from the Archives

Friday, July 22, 2011

Full





It's 5 Minute Friday again! The day we join Lisa Jo over at TheGypsyMama.com and spend 5 minutes writing for the pure love of writing. Here is a recap of the rules:


1. Write for 5 minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my right side bar}.3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.

 The prompt today is, "Full..."


As a child I sometimes went to church potlucks where there was an unusual selection of tasty looking food. I triedto get a little of everything, though my plate always ran out of space too fast. Sometimes one of the older ladies would notice my plate when I was through and twll me, "Your eyes were too big for your stomach, weren't they?"

Life is like that. As I'm going through life I see lots of things I want. Some of them are better than others, just like those potluck dishes. But often my appetite for new and different is a lot bigger that what I actually can handle, more than is good for me. I want this, and that, and something else also. My eyes are too big for my life.

David said in Psalms, "Give me that which is needful to me, not to much lest I forget you, nor too little lest I curse you." David's eyes weren't "too big" for his plate. He wanted only as much as God gave him, not too much, nor too little.

The Apostle Paul also had a good grasp on "fullness" in life. He claimed that he learned "in whatsoever circumstances to therewith be content." He had discovered the secret in following the Biblical exhortation to "in everything give thanks."

We should take example from these two men of the faith, and learn to recognize when our life is full. It's full when we have everything, no more, no less, that God wants for us. It's "full" when we have learned to take all of life as a whole and say with Paul, "I have learned in whatever circumstances to be content, and in everything to give thanks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Soaked Honey Wheat bread

When I got married there was never any question in my mind as to whether we'd have homemade or store bought bread. My parents had switched us to exclusively homemade bread several years ago, and we became so used to the tasty homemade goodness that on the rare occasion mom would get store bought bread as a treat it would go untouched for weeks before she had to throw it out. Unfortunately, my own bread making experiments had met with (very) mixed results. I didn't know if I could consistently pull off a tasty and well risen loaf of bread every week.

It did take a bit of trial and error, but I've finally got the recipe hammered down and consistent. My hubby loves it when I make this, and I enjoy sending him to work with a hearty home-made sandwich for lunch. So, without further ado:

Soaked Honey Wheat Bread
1 1/4 C water
1 tbs whey, yougurt, buttermilk, or apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup of honey (be generous)
1.5 tbs butter
3.5 cups flour

Place this in bread machine and run dough cycle for 5-10 minutes to mix into dough. Turn off bread machine, allow to rest for 12-24 hours. (For more about why I soak grains see: Soaked grains?)

After allowing the dough to rest, add:

1 Tbs + 1/2 tsp  dry milk
1 3/4 tsp  salt
2 tsp active dry yeast

Turn on machine and select whole wheat setting.

*Tip: if your machine has a timer setting, you can go ahead and add in the dry milk, salt and yeast on top of soaking flour, and set the machine to start in 12 hours. This way you don't have to come back and do something else with it, just let the machine do the work.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

After a Miscarriage: Things NOT to say

Last week I promised some guidelines that will help you help a loved one work through their grief after a miscarriage. I'm going to start the list off with some things to avoid doing when your loved one is grieving the loss of her child. These things are easy to do, and are based on either false assumptions or thoughtlessness.

While these are gleaned from personal experience over the last month, I didn't necessarily experience the "negative" side. My friends and family were extremely supportive of me throughout this season, and I truly couldn't have asked anything more of them.

If you don't have time to read through the rest of this post, the gist of it can be had in one statement--remember that she just lost a REAL BABY and treat her accordingly. Most of the inconsiderate things people say would never have left their mouths if they had ever seen and held the baby themselves. Mama's bond with their babies much earlier than anyone else. As soon as a mama finds out she is pregnant she forms a bond of love with her child, a bond that doesn't just "go away" when she miscarries.


When your loved one has had a miscarriage DON'T:

1. Talk extensively about how the loss made YOU feel.

Just as a pregnancy announcement is greeted with joy amongst friends of the new mama, news of a miscarriage can be grieved by more than just the parents. The mama probably understands this, but at the same time she’s working through her own grief. It's important to her to know how you feel, but she may not have the emotional reserves to be told every little detail of your grief.

2. Tell her miscarriages are usually due to a genetic problem and her child wouldn’t have survived anyway.

It is surprising how often this is said. While yes, this is a possibility, is it really one that needs to be told to a mama in the midst of grieving? Frankly, this to me seems about on the same level as telling a mama at the funeral for her 1 year old child, “It’s just as well he died now, because he most likely wouldn’t have turned out well, or would have gotten into trouble, or would have died sometime soon anyway.” Is this a possibility? Sure it is. But who would dream of saying that? In most cases there is no way to know why the miscarriage happened, particularly if it is a first miscarriage, and this kind of speculation just isn’t helpful.

3. Quote statistics.

This is the only one on this list that might be helpful in some situations. If the miscarriage is early, and the mama doesn’t know that the majority of miscarriages happen within the first 8-10 weeks of pregnancy, perhaps the knowledge will help her concerns about future pregnancies. All the same, I don’t recommend mentioning this. It isn’t something that helps with grieving, and you can assume that someone else has already mentioned it to her if she happened to be ignorant. Leave the statistics to those people who don’t know how deal with a grieving mama—there are plenty of those people in the world already (and she’ll probably be hearing this more than once).

4. Talk about another friend of yours who had a miscarriage.

If you haven’t had a miscarriage yourself, it can be very tempting to share the bit of experience you’ve had. But talking about a stranger’s recent miscarriage probably isn’t something the mama wants to do, particularly if it is in detail. On the other hand perhaps you would have mentioned your friend’s miscarriage anyway. You mentioned it not considering the fact that the mama you are talking to had a miscarriage of her own recently. It probably came up naturally in conversation (to you) but to the mama before you it may have come as a slap of reminder about the grief she is still working through herself. Don’t be awkward about it, but when you realize the mistake please do change the subject or at least avoid giving gory details or talking about “how hard it must be” on your other friend. It is hard. And the mama you’re talking to knows exactly how hard it is.

5. Avoid any mention of her miscarriage.

Right after the miscarriage occurs this can be downright confusing. The mama has the difficult task before her of spreading the news that she is no longer expecting. It can be easy to forget who’s been told and who hasn’t—often this is clarified by a cheerfully ill-timed inquiry about the baby. If you make no mention whatsoever of the miscarriage it puts the mama in the awkward situation of trying to figure out if you know or not in order to head off a potentially painful and awkward situation. If you don’t want to talk about it or hear about it, simply say “I’m sorry to hear of your loss,” to let the mama know you’ve heard, give a hug and move on.

6. Feel obligated to talk about it.

This may seem opposing to the previous point, but it really isn’t. Give a hug, say you’re sorry, and if you don’t know what to say after that just be quiet!! In this case it’s better to shut up than to talk stupid.

7. Assume an earlier miscarriage means less grief and pain than a later miscarriage.

Assuming an early miscarriage is less painful than a late miscarriage is the same as assuming that loosing a newborn is less painful than loosing a one year old. When that pregnancy test came back with two pink lines the mama started dreaming. She planned nursery colors, wondered if it was a boy or a girl, and sat in awe that there was a microscopic someone in her womb who would someday be a person, entirely separate from herself, who she could know and love. Her entire perspective on life was radically reworked. From that point on the mama will grieve the loss of her child as she would grieve the loss of any other family member—regardless of whether the loss happens at 6 weeks, 6 months or the day of the due date.

8. Assume ANYTHING about her emotional state.

Within the grieving process it is completely normal for a mama to have up days, down days, and pronounced mood swings during both. There will be days that her baby is on her mind constantly, and days that she barely even thinks of the loss. Her grieving process may look different than what you expect, even if your expectations are based on personal experience. Two days after she finds out she may be happy, content and trusting God. Four days after she finds out she may be dealing with spiritual attack, depression, and difficulty even reading her Bible—much less “trusting God” with anything. This is a normal occurrence and will pass with time.

Next week will be a more positive look at things that you can do for your loved one that will help focus her on the Lord and work through her grief in a healthy way.

Sisters


"What would it be like to only have in my life today that which I murmured thanks to God for last night?" ~Ann Voscamp


118. New pets
119. Eyes to recognize the evil inside
120. Impatience for purity, to be refined
121. Freshly done laundry
122. Herbs! Arrived!!


123. Homemade mayonnaise—a batch that finally “worked”
124. A package from China
125. A gallon of cleaner
126. Glass vases, 30 cents each
127. Homemade lotion, tweaked to perfection


128. Green mud masks
129. Laying on the floor by my sister, cucumber slices over our eyes
130. Painting her face green
131. Fresh flowers on the mantle
132. Being able to pray for my husband when we are apart


133. Knowledge of a God whose ways are mysterious, but good
134. Dreams of future adventure (not future fear!)
135. A headrub for a headache
136. Enjoying old-time movies, together
137. Learning to desire, again



138. Freshly painted nails (with glitter!!)
139. Pretty glass jars
140. Laundry--clean!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dear Christian,



I wrote this for 5 minute Friday with The Gypsy Mama, but it took wee bit more time to write than the "allotted" amount. :-) The prompt this week was "Loss."


My dearest Little Christian,

It was a month ago Thursday that I lost you, that my body broke and you went to be with Jesus. A month ago since life changed completely.

I've thought of you so very often since then--the little boy that your daddy and I loved so very much. I think of you when I walk into my bedroom and see the sign I posted all those months ago on the wall behind our bed, the evening I first told your daddy that you were on the way. I like the sign so much I can't bear to take it down. It says, "We Love you, Daddy!" And I hung it with pink and blue hearts and streamers (because we weren't sure whether you would be a boy or a girl).



Even though I miss you so very much, I have enjoyed thinking about what you are doing now. I wonder what you have learned? Has God taken you through all the AMAZING events He orchestrated in history, the ones I never got to tell you about? It would be so much better, I think, to see them before hearing about them--when you don't know at first how the story ends and have to watch it unfold. In heaven can you watch as God parts the Red Sea for Moses? Do you wait with baited breath to see what happens when Daniel is thrown in the Lions den--or his three friends into the fiery furnace? (and while you watch, can they watch with you? because I think that would be pretty neat--like an old family video too good to be allowed to collect dust)

It would be different watching from Heaven, I think--because here on earth there is a fear of dying, or at least, the feeling that the story ends "better" if the hero/heroine DOESN'T go to heaven, but lives. I think if you were watching from heaven, while the story would still be suspenseful, either ending would be rejoiced at. Either it is a record of God's amazing intervention, or a record of a precious saint's home coming. From heaven's perspective that's win-win, right?

I wonder sometimes what you're doing and who you have talked to or met. A friend of mine lost her husband a year ago--he met you before I did. Grandmother would have also. I also wonder what exactly you look like. Do you look more like me, or like your daddy? Is it a little of both? Or do glorified bodies not work like that?

Christian, even though it has hurt to never be able to see you, never be able to carry you to term, never hold you or take pictures of you--I am amazed by how truly GOOD God was to take you. I don't know why He did, and I don't think I would have chosen it for myself, but I can still praise Him for it--and so can you, but in person. I can imagine that right now. I wonder if you, our eldest son, will be the one to introduce me to Jesus?

Because I think that would be just perfect.

Your Mama

Soaked Grains?

One somewhat unusual thing that I do with my whole grain staple recipes is to soak the grain before I use it. Most of us are familiar with the idea that it is more nourishing to use whole grains  than white flour. Whole grains (especially freshly milled!) contain vitamins, minerals and fiber that is completely lost in the refining process of white flour. Unfortunately, whole grains also have something called phytic acid.


Phosphorus in the bran of whole grains is tied up in a substance called phytic acid. Phytic acid combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in the intestinal tract, blocking their absorption. Whole grains also contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion. Traditional societies usually soak or ferment their grains before eating them, processes that neutralize phytates and enzyme inhibitors and in effect, predigest grains so that all their nutrients are more available. Sprouting, overnight soaking, and old-fashioned sour leavening can accomplish this important pre-digestive process in our own kitchens. Many people who are allergic to grains will tolerate them well when they are prepared according to these procedures. ~Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon, Pg 25
I have found that my body responds much better to soaked grains than to unsoaked grains, therefore I try to include this step as often as possible (though there are occasions where, due to a lack of planning, I'm in a hurry and skip it).

The soaking process is quite simple. Just take your grain--I usually use the grain after it has been milled, and soak it in some water with 1-2 tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar, Yogurt, Lemon, Buttermilk, Whey or Kifer. (I choose the acidic medium based on what I'm making and what I have on hand). 

While this does add one more step to cooking, it is a simple step and I haven't found it to be a problem provided I plan ahead. It is certainly something worth doing for the health of my family!! 

I will post a couple recipes that I have developed using this technique starting on Wednesdays. Stay tuned!! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cook With Me Wednesday

 When I first got married one of my biggest concerns was how well I'd be able to manage my kitchen--Would I be able to consistently have three meals on the table every single day? Wold they be TASTY meals? Would they be HEALTHY meals? Would I burn things? Could I plan a menu and stay on budget? While I knew I'd make mistakes along the way, I still wanted things to be as perfect as possible from the start.

There has been plenty of trial and error along the way, but over the last year I've gotten the hang of keeping my kitchen running smoothly. We now have a running list of favorite recipes, recipes that I keep coming back to because they are simply too good to eat just once.

For the next few months I am going to post each Wednesday with a recipe that my family enjoys regularly. These are either the staples of our week or treats we save for special occasions. For the rest of this month I'm going to focus on some favorite whole grain recipes.

Check back next Wednesday for my own Soaked Honey Wheat Bread recipe!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

After a miscarriage, Part 1: How to support during grief

The loss of a child, at any age, is one of the deepest pains a parent or family member can experience. The thought of what might have been can be very difficult for a parent to work through. While it is hard to know how to support someone who has recently miscarried, this is the time in a woman's life when the support and love of family and friends is most needed.

There are a lot of assumptions made about the grieving process after a miscarriage that are simply not true. Based on these incorrect assumptions it is very easy to say things that are unintentionally hurtful. At the same time, there are things that friends and loved ones can do to help the mama process her grief in a healthy way and move through it.

Over the next two weeks, on Tuesdays, I am going to post some "Do's and Don'ts" when it comes to  helping your friend work through her grief. I'm sure there are many more things than I will write, but these will help you think through the grieving process your loved one is going through. Support won't mean taking away the pain, but it may mean that you will be able to lighten the stress they are feeling by being understanding and well informed.

What NOT to do (Part 2)
How to help (Part 3)

Monday, July 11, 2011

1000 gifts



I haven't written down much in my little book the past week, but I have taken some pictures--so this week "Multitude Monday" will be fully illustrated!! :-)

110. Silly sister pictures on a family vacation

111. Learning how to use a
camera timer!!

112. A 100th birthday reached!!
Praise God!

113. a belated Fathers Day gift for my man.


114. Pretty ballerina hair for a pretty ballerina


115. Little people giggles posing for a picture


116. Miles of flags lining the street.

117. Fireworks,  unexpectedly seen from our porch.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

This month

This month has been a challenge to keep up with blogging. There have been days that I wasn't able to write, and days that I could have but really needed the quietness.

While I've weathered the storm since finding out about loosing our baby a month ago, it was a tough one to weather.  I trusted God through it all, utterly confident that His will was best, but somehow I naively assumed that "giving it to God" meant I wouldn't have such a hard battle with grief. I quickly found out otherwise. It's been tough, but by God's grace the worst is now passed and I can still say with joy and confidence that God is good. ALWAYS good.

 Though I've been quiet this past week, I've been handling some "behind the scenes" work that will keep the posts coming more regularly in the future.

I've also been thinking about some different things I can do with this blog, and have some neat ideas for the upcoming months. I'm looking forward to this next month, and am excited about some of the new content that is already in the works!!

Stay tuned!!!