Building a home after his own heart

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Daily Bread.

I'm feeling blessed and full-hearted, which seemed like a good reason to write.

Jim is at our new house working his booty off while I waste all kinds of time.  When I sit in front of the TV with my bowl of soup and say "Well, I have to eat, right?" and continue "eating" for another three hours... it starts to seem a little screwy.  Finally, I started to listen to the last Hunger Game book on CD, which at least required brain participation.

 I go through phases when I feel crazy motivated to devote every bit of time to all things beneficial and then other phases when I don't feel motivated to do anything.  I tend to be a little extreme in most aspects of my life.  Thankfully, over the years, I have gained self-control to keep some of my new ideas and theories to myself and try to speak cautiously.  I have changed my mind countless times on almost every issue imaginable.

All of that said, there is one thing that I have found to be true that will never change... I desperately need time with my God every day.  Not just a quick 2-chapter flip through of my Bible and on to breakfast.  Coming into his presence, just the two of us, my heart opened up before him.  This doesn't always require words, sometimes it's just a silent surrender.  Every day brings with it a new set of worries and burdens to carry.  I cannot carry them on my own.  It doesn't matter how small or insignificant (or stupid, in my case) it may seem, if it's weighing on your heart, it needs to be acknowledged and placed before God.  Worrying, worrying, worrying... not acknowledging the issue I was worrying about because it was so DUMB I didn't even want to admit that it was there.  So there it stayed, poisoning my heart, causing tension between me and every human being I came in contact with.  Every task seemed more difficult.  Every person seemed annoying.  (Disclaimer: This all may make me sound a little psychotic... most of this is going on inside of my head.  I have rarely ever lashed out at someone!  It's amazing what can go on inside that head of yours though, isn't it?)  So back to the wasting time... it's so much easier to eat pie and watch TV when you're stressed out, anxious, and exhausted.  Your muscles may feel relieved, but your spirit continues to rot.  I didn't want to put the effort into the hardest, but most relieving and freeing part of my day.  The main reason that it's so hard for me is this; before he can take out my trash, I review and analyze it.  That is hard to do!  My Creator breaks me down, removes all of the baggage in my heart and starts the cleansing process.  This is the good part... I am left renewed and refreshed by his grace and love. Given the ability to live this life as he intended for me, day by day.  To be filled by the complete joy and peace that merely comes from being in His presence, not by a change in circumstance.  To surrender to his will for my life because it is pleasing and perfect.

I have gone through different seasons of implementing "God-time".  I would sit down and open up my Bible, read the two chapters, and quickly resume my day as usual.  I didn't allow it to change me.  I simply went through the motions.  I now start my time off writing down (because that's my love language) everything that's weighing on my mind, no matter how ridiculous.  I feel silly just seeing it there on the page.  I then sometimes lay flat on my face to surrender myself and everything I've written down to him.  It may sound cheesy and ridiculous, but it is amazing.  I try to focus on the Lord's Prayer as a guide to communicating with God.  Acknowledging who he is first of all has humbled and shaped the rest of my prayers and attitude towards him.  Some days just require silence on my part with a crying heart.  Every day is different!  It's a relationship, not a class.  Reading time comes next.  Sometimes I end up multitasking with this part, depending on the day. :)  I started a "Read the Bible in a Year" program that incorporates part of the Old and New testaments, and Psalms and Proverbs every day.  I lacked this variety in the past.  I would get stuck in the middle of Leviticus and before I knew it, I hadn't read anything to do with Jesus in over 6 months.  First of all, who am I kidding, I never got that far before in a reading plan and, second, we need a healthy amount of Jesus in our study of God's word... he completes it all!  Lastly, I have kept a journal where I write what's on my heart, prayer requests for others, and then journal what stood out to me in that day's reading.  This has made SO much difference in digesting God's words.  I underline verses as I go and copy down what was on my heart when I read that verse.  Just looking through them now puts me in awe of the discoveries I've made over the past 50 days.  This has become my daily bread. Never have I felt more peace in dying to myself.  Never have I felt more victorious in complete surrender.  The more time I spend with Him, the more he has started to run over into every area of my life.  Something as mundane as running has become a spiritual experience for me.  He blows my mind, the deeper I dig to try and figure out more about this mysterious God.  There is no end to the search that will continue for the rest of my life here on earth.  I have finally given up the "checking off the list" and now experience a deep longing in my heart to seek my God.  Expect different seasons because there have definitely been days when I've sat down feeling little willingness or inspiration and have walked away more empowered than ever before. "... for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

I pray that I have encouraged you in some way!  I highly recommend the book "A Place of Quiet Rest: Finding Intimacy with God" by Nancy Leigh Demoss.  It left me feeling convicted and inspired to seek my God daily ASAP.  In it, she points out Jesus's habits when it came to finding time with God.  It humbles me to read the examples of Jesus, though he was certainly busy with the most important work, made it a priority to find time with his Father.  Even if he had to get up extra early after a long night.  That's a tough one for me to swallow!  Here's just one of many examples: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed..." Mark 1:35  I also recommend reading and praying Psalm 25.  It sums up a lot of what has been on my heart.  I'll end yet another ramble with just a few verses that have encouraged and inspired me:

"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as a symbol on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates."  Deuteronomy 11:18-20

"I rise before dawn and call for help; I have put my hope in your word." Psalm 119:147

"How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to Your word.  I seek you with all of my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."  Psalm 119:9-11

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Baby Food Experiments

I was not in a hurry to feed Sadie solid foods.  I knew that I wanted to wait until she was at least 6 months old and then see how long we could go after that.  Why, you ask?  From what I've read, Mommy's milk is just the best they can get, at least until their first birthday. I didn't want to complicate that if I didn't have to.  So it was a bit of a surprise when at 7 months, she decided that an every 3 hour eating schedule wasn't gonna cut it anymore!  After a few weeks of eating roughly every 2 hours (except at night)... we both decided maybe it was time to start incorporating some solid foods.  It completely caught me off guard!  What does one feed her first??  I haven't researched this!  All of these milestones are coming up too fast for me!  And to be quite honest, it made me a little sad.  Nursing may be difficult and exhausting at times (sometimes it feels like the life is being sucked out of you), but for the most part it has been a very special time for Sadie and I and I'm not at all prepared for that to end. The thought of her eating solid foods was just the first step to her weaning off of Mommy. :( It makes me want to cry just thinking about it!  Anyways, if you know me at all then you know that I can be a little bit skeptical of doctors and like to research things before taking their recommendation.  So I started Sadie with a banana because I knew that breast milk is pretty sweet already and thought it might be an easier adjustment.  She wasn't too excited about it... pretty funny experience for Jim and I, though. ;)

I started feeding her some food here and there, but I would honestly just forget about it at first because I've never had to worry about it before... you mean I have to find both her and I something to eat... right now??  I started feeding her some avocado and sweet potato, which she seemed to enjoy.  These 3 foods were her only solids for probably the first month or so until I decided she might enjoy a tad bit of variety!  So naturally, I started buying baby food.  I was at a little bit of a loss.  I felt like I wanted to buy organic for sure, but other than that I had no idea. Just in case you hadn't noticed, that stuff is expensive!  So let me just admit that I've been buying the organic brown rice cereal and cans of baby food for a little over 2 months with some banana, avocado, and sweet potato thrown in there.  I finally decided that our budget cannot keep this up!  I had aspirations in the past of making my own baby foods, but that was kind of put on the back burner since I'm not in my own kitchen with my own things and was just a tad bit lazy right up until a few days ago.  Here is my fancy equipment:


Tada!  I finally decided that I was going to give this a go. Like with cooking, I just had to jump in!  So my first baby food creations were sweet potatoes and then carrots.  I baked the sweet potatoes, removed the skin, put them in my mother-in-law's mini food processor (can I just say that I seriously love that thing... it shreds chicken, chops up onions, etc) and wallah!  You just add water until you think it's a good consistency.  Now for the easiest part: I could be doing this wrong, but it's worked so far... I just spooned it into ice cube trays and when frozen, popped them into labeled plastic bags.  Then I just put them in little containers in the fridge 24 hours before she eats them.  For that reason, I started not filling the ice cube trays quite as full because I couldn't fit the chunks into the bowls.  The carrots were a tad bit more complicated in that I had to steam them over the stove until soft and then did the same; put them in the food processor, adding a little water until it was the consistency it needed to be and then wallah!  I've done it again!  This is about as difficult as it gets.  So if you've had any cooking experience, you can do this, no problem.  Now this is my favorite part... it gets even easier!  I was looking for a compromise between 100% fresh baby food and better than store bought and found that buying cans of fruit, veggies, and a big tub of applesauce was an even easier way and still much cheaper than buying baby food!  I made some pear baby food by dumping my can of pears (in no syrup, only water and/or juice) and mixing it with a little water until it was the perfect consistency... or in my case more along the lines of imperfect.  I also added some applesauce to it to make things interesting. :)  I would prefer to go to Trader Joe's or something and get some organic canned fruit and veggies, but I wanted to do some experimenting before spending more money and I don't have one near. :(  One mistake you don't want to make is buying just a plain ole can of green beans and not noticing that there's salt!  Oops!  That was my bad, Sadie.  She was not too excited about that.  So do yourself and your poor baby a favor and make sure it's labeled "no salt"... I try to look at the label to be sure there's no surprise ingredients.  Now for storage... here is what works for me:

I highly recommend this storing method!  It's incredibly convenient.  You go to grab one flavor and you end up with 10 more on the floor that you forgot you had!  So I tend to go a little insane when I start experimenting with something like this... the sweet potatoes and carrots worked, so why not try every other fruit and vegetable that I could possibly imagine??  Three trips to the store in one day?  Absolutely!  Must make a year's worth of baby food... NOW!  It's pretty ridiculous.  After doing all of that work, I'm ready to stop using my brain and just get it in there!  So my current stash of baby food includes: sweet potatoes, carrots, apple/blueberry/spinach, brussell sprouts, peaches/banana/apple, pears/apple, green beans.  For breakfast and dinner, I like to add some organic brown rice cereal or organic oatmeal cereal to the fruit or vegetable to make it more filling.  I also have been giving her some little bite sized foods to feed herself.  She loves zucchini, smashed peas, bananas, etc etc etc.  The possibilities are endless!  So I hope I have inspired someone to give it a try and save some big bucks and help keep that sweet baby be as healthy as possible!  Good luck in all of your baby food endeavors. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A little bit of my heart.

      I think I have a good excuse for the lack of writing... we're going on a year and 4 months, people.  Let's see how long I can go between this one and the next!  It'll be fun!  My tiny little 5 lb 10 oz girl is 9 months old today.  I refuse to believe it.  My heart can't take the love that grows for her everyday!

      I have become so scatterbrained with all of this pregnancy and baby business.  I can hardly have an intelligent conversation.  Of course, it all makes perfect sense in my head.  Sometimes I literally just start mumbling because the rest of the thought just isn't making it all the way out.  This is hard for someone of many thoughts and a big mouth.  "Mommy brain" does exist!  Everything about this process has been humbling.  Walking around with poop smudges on your clothes because you never thought to pack yourself a spare outfit for the moment when a poop explosion might happen on you.  Oh, and having the very loud poop explosion happen right in the middle of the prayer at church... this happened two weeks in a row.  Hilarious.  Nice knowing you, pride!  Giving birth with an audience of 5+ people wasn't exactly what I had pictured in my head.  Having your body feel that it has been stretched and broken and is slowly being pieced back together. (that sounded a little more dramatic than I intended!)  I look forward to having my sanity back, though I think my lack of sanity was God's plan for helping me get through the last year. :)  The lack of sleep is much more fun when you decide to laugh about it and give into the funny personality that results from being loopy. ;)  Not to say there weren't those difficult nights that I just sat there nursing her, crying, because my exhaustion just seemed like too much for me to bear.  But, God is perfect and much bigger than what I was feeling in that moment.  He whispers: "My grace is sufficient for you, my power made perfect in your weakness" (2 Cor 12:9) and "Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up" (Gal 6:9) The moments did pass and I cherish the memories of those late nights and Sadie cries that made no sense and a difficult adjustment to a new life.  I have found that I truly can overcome anything through Christ.  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". (Phil 4:13)  Verse that we may have heard a thousand times, but it never hurts to be reminded.  They've all been fresh on my mind since this new phase of my life, where I find myself desperate for God's word and peace in the midst of all the chaos.

"Even youths grow tired and weary, 
and young men stumble and fall,
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not not be faint."
(Isaiah 40:30-31)

      I have had a little something on my heart. Actually, a lot of somethings on my heart because I think that's what happens when you have a baby and your heart explodes from joy.  It opens up a whole new world.  I am constantly in awe and wonder at God and wanting to know more of his ways.  As I cradle this precious little one that he has gifted me with, I am overwhelmed by his beauty and creativeness. I want to learn more about this God that can make such beautiful things and touch my heart like no one else.  I know that I have only had a taste and I am thirsty for more. I cannot even begin to explain the overwhelming joy that I experienced in hearing Sadie cry for the first time, holding her in my arms.  Could this moment really be happening or have I died and gone to heaven?  As I ponder other milestones in my life, there is no comparison to that moment.  I feel like I experienced a small piece of what God has planned for us one fine day.  Oh, but getting there... that was a whole different story!  Childbirth is no walk in the park and neither is 30 hours of labor.  I plan on sharing the story for you sometime soon... for those who have a strange interest (I am now obsessed) with that whole mystery of an experience called childbirth.  Getting back to my point- it felt like the pain would never end, like I was stuck in a maze with no way out.  The whole thing felt completely out of my control and it was.  I did everything I needed to do to prepare... I walked 2-3 miles almost every day, did 30 minutes of yoga/pelvic exercises every night. I had everything cleaned, organized and packed. But when it came time, I was under God's mercy and finding it within myself to trust his timing and will for my birth experience was not easy.  The end finally came and I can say with complete confidence that it was beyond worth it.  I would do it a hundred times over again to have this beautiful gift that God has given us.  How much greater joy am I to expect when this long, difficult road called life comes to an end?  Will the God that could overwhelm my heart like he has with this tiny little one, disappoint me when I'm in his presence?  I am absolutely overjoyed and amazed by the thought of it!  "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived the things that God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor 2:9)  He has stolen my heart and will never lose it.  No matter what I might gain or lose in this life, he will always stay the same... I will put my hope in him.  Too long did I avoid true relationship with him, transparency in my prayers and the pouring out of my heart.  My efforts to hide in the garden were in vain and I was only hurting myself when all he wanted was for me to understand that he knows those dark places and wants to help me to come back to the light of his love, mercy, peace, and hope.  Four things that I longed for in my dark, lonely place.  He accepts me.  Not only does he accept me, he has a plan for me to thrive and to find joy in this life through him, the kind that doesn't compare to anything I could ever find on my own.  He is beautiful and worthy of our praise and I'll leave it at that before rambling any further.

      I hope that through all of these many words you found just the smallest bit of encouragement.  Love from this humble, rambling Mama. :)