Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mommy Monday- Dairy Free

At my LO's two month appointment, her pediatrician and I discussed her fussiness. He suggested a milk protein intolerance and asked for a poopy diaper. He administered the test and it came back positive where she had tons of microscopic blood in her poop. That was the beginning of my milk free diet.

At first it was very overwhelming and I did not know where to even start. I love milk, cheese, and everything associated with milk. I started out talking to a friend of mine who I knew was dairy and soy free because of her daughter. She showed me the Deliciously Dairy Free Facebook group. I highly suggest it to anyone who has to or voluntarily become dairy free. They are very helpful and make you feel at ease. Another website that I found helpful also guided me through grocery shopping or going out to eat.

Through this process I have learned how much milk is in things. Milk is in most snacks and treats that I eat. Here is a website that was very helpful for me concerning this.
Here is also other snacks that are dairy free that I have enjoyed
Nature Valley (anything that does not have chocolate)
Anything gummies (such as Fiber One's)
Rice Cakes (Only get Apple Cinnamon or Carmel corn)

Cereals was also another shocker for me. I have kept it mostly safe by just keeping with the ones I am most sure about. My favorites are Chex of course along with Cheerios (the basic kinds though).

For milk I have used Rice Dream which is actually very good. I was surprised that it did taste so good. Soy milk is good but I was told by my friend that it messes with your hormones. That is why I picked rice milk. Of course there is almond milk or coconut milk but I have never tried those yet.

Bread was kinda hard at first because on most nutrition labels, they say there could be traces of milk or made in the same bakery as milk. So I had to find something different. One lady on the Facebook group recommended Rudi's. It is a little expensive; so I don't buy it too often maybe twice a month.

For cheese I tried two kinds. First I tried a soy based cheese called Vegan Gourmet which to be honest was very good. Now it does not melt together like real cheese which brothers some people. It did not bother me though. But I decided to not go for soy and had to find a dairy and soy free cheese. The Facebook group talked a lot about Daiya Cheese. I went out and got it and tried it on my shrimp pizza. It does melt more like normal cheese but not as much as everyone seems to be excited about. It sort has the same taste as the powder cheese that you get when you make mac and cheese. I think it was better that second time I ate it though.

For butter I chose the first thing I saw at the store which is Earth Balance. To me it just tastes like butter so that was not that big of a deal.

For the fun stuff such as chocolate, ice cream or coffee creamer I have tried various things. For chocolate, I found at the Giant store Enjoy Life Chocolate bars. They tasted like chocolate but the texture is a little harder and chalk like but most definitely fixes my chocolate cravings. For ice cream, I tried some ice cream sandwiches from So Delicious. The after taste tasted like soy. It also has a icey texture to it  but it still does taste good. I also get my creamer from them which is amazing. When I go out for coffee, I just ask for a ice coffee with a flavoring or sugar and add my own coffee creamer or rice milk to it. It takes planning ahead but well worth it.

So has it been worth it being dairy free for my LO? Yes it has. I have experienced new tastes which I have always enjoyed. But also my LO has gotten a lot less fussy which has been nice. She is more predictable for now : )

Friday, November 28, 2014

Favorite Friday_ Advent Calendar

In one of my many jobs, I took care of teenagers. We had many many hours to find things to do. As staff we had to be creative to keep them from getting bored. So for Christmas for two years we made advent calendars made out of match boxes. We got like ten match boxes for a dollar at Wal-Mart. Than we got some wrapping paper. That is it! From there with their creativity, each kid who wanted to got to make one. As soon as they were complete, I filled the boxes with small individually wrapped candy like tootsie rolls or jolly ranchers or gum. In random boxes, I made out tiny slips of paper that either had a verse on it for the Christmas season or something nice they had to do for someone else. Maybe one or two of them actually did what they said but that was ok. It was so fun to see what the kids came up with and how they enjoyed making them even if they did not admit it. 

Here is a link where I got some inspiration. Of course googling always works too : )

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Devo

Wars. Uncertainties. Fears. These aspects of everyday life haunt us. The U.S is at war with terrorists and our country struggles with a low economy. As individuals we are at war with ourselves. We struggle to figure out what is right everyday while battling with our own uncertainties and fears. We are unsure what tomorrow will bring or how uncertain situations will work out. Whatever our fears, we are at war.
I read William Bradford's proclamation for Thanksgiving. Governor Bradford and the Pilgrims were also at war physically and spiritually. Through their first winter in 1620, after they arrived in America, they suffered a harsh winter loosing more than half of their people. As spring was approaching, they had many uncertainties and fears concerning their new life because of the brutal circumstances they had already faced. They were also at war with the Native Americans. The very moment the men reached land, the Natives were there to defend their land. Things were not looking good for the Pilgrims. But the example Bradford showed dealing with his fears and uncertainties revealed through his reflection on thanksgiving of God’s mercy.
On March 17, 1621, God was merciful to him and the Pilgrims with a Native American named Squanto. He too experienced war in his own life by being taken away from his family and becoming a slave. When Squanto returned 10 years later his family and entire tribe was gone. But by the mercy of God, through being enslaved and being away from his family, he was able to meet a nice British family who took him in and taught him English. He also was sold to friars, but they told him about Jesus and then let him go. Because of his interactions with many European people, while also holding onto his Indian ways, Squanto was able to save the Pilgrims. He showed them how to plant corn in an effective way, how to build better houses, and how to communicate and trade with the Natives. Bradford and Squanto were able to celebrate their thankfulness of God’s mercy through their times of uncertainties and fears. As Bradford stated, “and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as leading him with our complaints in the time of pressing afflictions.” Through our life of war, we too can be thankful for God’s mercy. 

There is a passage about God’s mercy in Psalm 136. The author, David, states that God’s mercy endures forever. As I continue to read God’s Word, I can see how numerous parts of the Bible connect to each other. Psalm 136 does too. The first three verses say:
"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
    For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
    For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
    For His mercy endures forever"
These verses give us the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving, which is to give thanks to our God for His goodness. Verses 4-9:
"To Him who alone does great wonders,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who made great lights,
    For His mercy endures forever—
The sun to rule by day,
    For His mercy endures forever;
The moon and stars to rule by night,
    For His mercy endures forever
These verses refer to the beginning in the first book of Genesis, praising and reflecting on how God is our Creator and how His mercy holds the world together.
In God’s chosen nation, Isreal, the story unfolds in verses 10-22. In summary, these verses start at the beginning in the second book of the Bible, Exodus, where God’s “strong hand and outstretched arm” struck down the Egyptians and brought His people out of Egypt into the wilderness. It continues telling us Pharaoh came after the Israelites, but God’s mercy saved them with the parting of the Red Sea. God mercy is shown when Isreal is able to “strike down great kings” and gain their Promise Land.
The last 4 verses of Psalm 136 show us concerning God’s mercy.
"Who remembered us in our lowly state,
    For His mercy endures forever;
24 And rescued us from our enemies,
    For His mercy endures forever;
25 Who gives food to all flesh,
    For His mercy endures forever.
26 Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven!
    For His mercy endures forever.
We have fears and uncertainties which bring us to lowly states and cause us to fear our enemies, but in these verses God’s mercy endures forever.
 So, today we should reflect on giving thanks for God’s mercy in our own lives. Let us give thanks knowing we don’t have to fight this war of uncertainties and fears alone. Psalm 136 shows us a God who takes care of the ones He loves. And as William Bradford quoted from Romans 12:2, “…by the mercies of God we may all…offer up our bodies and souls as a living and acceptable service unto God by Jesus Christ”. That’s it! By the mercy of God, we can say yes to Jesus and no longer fight the battles of knowing when to do right or wrong. We need to let go of our fears and uncertainties, giving ourselves to Jesus who came and died, not because we earned it, or even deserved it, but because of His mercy and love towards us. Let us give thanks that His mercy does endure forever.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top 5 Tuesday- What I Am Thankful For

I am thankful for:
5)The ability to express myself with words
Ever since I watched Harriet the Spy, I have always enjoyed writing. I have started many stories (which, of course, never got finished) and have written in whatever journal I could get my hands on since I was 12. I believe it is a gift God has given me in order to glorify Him by blessing others. I hope to get better as I continue to write more and more. I hope one day I get to write a book or be a contributor to a book.

4) The experiences I have had in life: the jobs I've had and the places I have been
My dad was in the Air Force until I was 16 years old. Through those 16 years, I lived in many different countries including England and Turkey. Even after my family settled down when my dad retired, I then moved on to 4 other places. These have helped shape me to be the person I am today. Traveling from place to place has made me more flexible and more family-oriented. As I have grown, I have had to move because of jobs. Once, I worked a job where I had to travel around the East Coast setting up a three screen multi-media production in schools that told kids the choices they made today affected their tomorrow. I have also worked at a group home. In both places, I could clearly see how God was working in me. Without those experiences, I would not be the daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, or mom that I am today.
3)My Husband and LO (Little One)
My husband and I met seven years ago, and it was a God thing. We compliment each other and because of that he challenges me everyday to be the best help meet for him. It is so exciting to see how God has used our relationship to make us both grow. I am thankful that he takes seriously providing for our family in order that I might be a stay at home mom. His unique sense of humor makes me laugh. He is my man!
My LO has rocked my world! She is a gift from God. She has such a spunky personality for 4 months. When she smiles and turns her head in glee, it melts my heart every time. I am so excited that God gave her to me to mold and teach her to be a better person than I am. 
I love both of them to death and would do anything for them.
2) My Family
My family is my rock. We have been through thick and thin. They were the only ones who loved and accepted me as we moved from place to place. Because of that, we are super close. We did everything together! I am a daddy's girl. I would have rather watched and learned from him working on the car than going to shop class. He is the level-headed one in our family : ) My mom is my constant companion. We are both so opinionated. I don't know how dad handles us : ) My big little brother is my constant friend even though I am such a bad sister and don't call him as much as I should. I am so proud of him and have always been jealous of his creativity and numerous giftings. Love you guys.
1) God's Grace
I am NOTHING apart from the grace of God. It is through His grace that I am able to make it day by day. It is His grace that made me see I am a horrible self-centered person, but that He loves me all the same. I am so thankful that Christ came on this earth to die for me and conquered death through raising from the dead that His grace would be bestowed upon me. I only write because of His grace. I have been to all the places I have been and have had the jobs that I have had because of His grace. I am the wife and mother that I am because of His grace. I have the family that I have because of His grace. Who I am is because of His grace. I am thankful for that.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mommy Monday- My Mom

In preparing for this week, I have been thinking about the holidays. Unlike our society, I have been thinking about Thanksgiving and what I am thankful for in my life. So since today is Mommy Monday, I wanted to write a blog on my why I am thankful for my mom.

I am thankful that my mom and I are close

I am thankful that my mom is always a phone call away

I am thankful that, even though we don't always agree, we have never stopped talking to each other

I am thankful that through our relationship we both have become teachable

I am thankful that through our relationship we have seen God's grace

I am thankful for the things my mom has taught me

I am thankful for that she has never given up on me even when I didn't treat her nice

I am thankful that she goes the extra mile when trying to help me with something

I am thankful that around her I can be crazy and goofy and have tons of fun

I am thankful that she supports me in all that I do even if she does not agree with me

I am thankful that my LO has my mom for her grandma

I am thankful that she prays for me

I am thankful that through our relationship we can keep each other spiritually accountable even when one of us have a bad attitude

I am thankful that God planned before the foundation of the world that she was going to be my mom

I am thankful that God gave me the mom He did

Thanks mom for everything that you do for me. You always mean the very best for me.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Favorite Friday- Crockpot meals

Recently, a new favorite thing of mine is making crock-pot meals. Since my husband works in the food business, he eats at work. Crock-pot meals are super nice to have because they can last for two to three days. My ultimate goal was to find something my husband would like on the days he has off, but it ended up that I liked them more! I have tried three recipes so far which I would like to share with you.
Crock-pot Meal #1
This one I made up myself. All you need is:
  • 3 bone in chicken breasts
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cans of white beans
  • half of pack of bacon
  • Italian seasoning (as much as you like)
Combine all the ingredients in the crock-pot and put on low all day. It will be ready by dinner time.
Crock-pot Meal #2
I got this one from someone else's blog
The only thing I changed on this was the steak sauce. I am currently milk free because of my little one and the steak sauce had traces of milk in it, which I did not realize when I brought it. Instead, I put 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth. It made it a little more soupy, which I wanted. Right before I served it, I added my 5 minute rice and allowed it to cook a little while. This thicken it up nicely. I served it with a side salad.
Crock-pot Meal #3
I got also got this one from the Taste of Home website.
Now, I will admit this was kinda disappointing the first time around. But, when I reheated it for the 2nd and 3rd time it tasted so much better. I think I did not like it at first because it had a strong I-am-eating-spaghetti taste to it which I don't like much at all. I think reheating it allowed the other flavors to mix and have a less tomato sauce taste. I used red peppers instead of green and did not add the celery.   

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Theme Thursday- Accountability

Accountability is one of the keys of success for meeting the goals we set for our kids (and even ourselves). It has always been exciting to see through the years how God has put people in my life to keep me accountable. They gave me so much wisdom and insight through the good and bad times. Their lives were examples to me on how I wanted to live my life. Their presence in my life has made me a better person, which in turn will help me meet the goals I have set for my LO. 

One of the most important people God put into my life at a very hard, but self-discovering time, was a lady named Jo. She taught me that despite my circumstances, God was still working in the here and the now. Just like Christ, she always put others first. Even with her busy schedule of being a mom, staying involved in church and struggling with health problems, Jo was always just a phone call away. She kept me focused on God instead of the bad attitude I was struggling with. Through our relationship, I was able to grow and realize that I was an angry person. When I was angry, I discovered there was a emotion behind the anger. When the people I worked with made me feel insignificant, instead of getting angry I saw how they treated me made me feel inadequate. Without God using Jo, I would have gone through another job struggling with my anger toward people whom I felt were mistreating me.

As a mom now, I have a group of ladies who are also moms that I get to hang out with twice a month. It was fascinating to see how God brought these ladies into my life. They were starting a mommy group, and I wanted to be involved with a group of like-minded people. Plus, my husband and I were trying to have a LO ourselves. Little did I know that after the first meeting, I got pregnant and was able to get a head start on motherhood. When the time came to have my LO, they were even there, always a phone call away. One particular lady had four c sections and was able to be there to help me through my own. They are such a huge encouragement to me. They challenge me to teach my little one the ways of God by beginning even now, despite her being only 4 months old. I know that I look forward to seeing them every time we meet and being blessed that God has given them to me.

God has shown me through the ladies in my life who have kept me accountable how to be accountable to others. First, I need to be intentional. I need to pray and step out in faith intentionally to that person He guides me to. If I am not intentional, it is so easy to just slack off. I know that the friend of mine with four c sections was intentional with me, especially during those countless times I was not able to answer the phone. I am thankful for her being intentional with me. Secondly, when I am keeping someone accountable I need to share with them the promises of God. He is the one that made this relationship happen. He deserves the credit. He is the one who knows my heart and this person's heart and how we can encourage each other. All of that is from His Word. It is His faithfulness to us and in return, our faithfulness to that other person. Thirdly, when we are in an accountability relationship, we have to depend on God and not the other person. That person is going to let us down--no doubt about it. They are as imperfect as we are. God is the only One who is perfect and reliable. In order to be there for someone, we need a God who is reliable and stable, especially when we feel unable to help that person.

So I challenge you to look at the people in your life, past and present, to see how they have challenged you to be a better person. In return, through those relationships, you can grow and be there for your own kids.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


Monday, November 17, 2014

Top 5 Tuesday- influential verses

For this week's top 5, I have chosen to pick my top 5 verses that have influenced my life starting at 5 and counting down :)

5) Psalm 37:3 "Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness."
I meditate on this verse when I am in need of what to do in times when I feel frustrated about a situation or feel distant from God. It tells me that trusting in Him helps me to do good, but trusting also means dwelling and feeding on His faithfulness. I ask myself, "What did God do in another situation like this in the past?". Or, I dwell on times when I thought I was unable to go on and how He helped me in that situation and now it does not seem like a big deal. That is His faithfulness and when I dwell and feed on that, it helps me to trust in Him and proceed in doing good. It brings me so much peace and joy in those hard times reflecting on this truth.

4) James 1:2-6 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind."
Trials are hard times in your life when things just don't go your way. They happen. It is just life, but what you do during those trials is what is important. If I can hold on to the fact that in and through a trial 1) there is a purpose for my trial, to make me perfected and complete and 2) that if I am clueless on what to do I can ask God for wisdom and He will give it to me. These verses are a command, but also a promise. All I have to do is go through these trials with joy and have faith that what God says through His Word (wisdom) will help me get through them. I have to confess, having joy is hard, but asking God for wisdom and seeing Him work through that makes it a little easier.

3) Psalm 32:8-9 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you."
Life is not suppose to be me aimlessly wandering around with no purpose. But how can I remain focused on what my purpose is? I need to realize that God is instructing and teaching me in the way I should go. He is guiding me with His eye. I don't have to be clueless. He knows. He is leading me in the way I should go. But what is neat about God is He gives me a choice. I can make it hard and be stubborn like that horse or mule and fight Him or I can allow Him to guide me knowing that He sees what is ahead. It is kind of empowering when I let Him direct me.

2) 2 Samuel 22:31 "As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven;He is a shield to all who trust in Him."
This verse has gotten me through so much! For 5 years I waited to have a child. My husband wanted to wait to have a set income and be more establish. I have always wanted to be submissive or servant-like to my husband, even when I disagree because God has called me as a wife to do so (Ephesians 5:22). But it was so hard because I wanted a little one so much. Being a mommy was my dream job. So I had to trust in God to know that this was the way He had for me. It was perfect for me no matter how much I did not like it sometimes. How did I know His way was perfect? Because He showed me through His Word how reliable it is and how He is a shield for me when I trust in Him. I can say now with my little 4 month old that His way was perfect because of who I am now and how my husband is with her too. This is one of the ways He was so faithful to me. 

And now for #1... Psalm 139. 
I cannot pick just one verse in this chapter because there are so many good ones. This has become more real to me ever since my daughter was conceived. In verses 13 and 14a, it states that He knew her while she was being formed in my womb and was being fearfully and wonderfully made. What is even more amazing is in verse 16 that when her substance was yet to be completely formed, He had written down every single one of her days. He knew when she was going to be born. That she was going to be breech. That she was going to be a fireball. He knows when she is going to take her first step or say her first word. He knows when she is going to be disobedient. He knows when she is going to accept Him as her Lord and Savior. He knows what she will be when she grows up. Like it states in verses 2-4, He knows her sitting down and her rising up and her thoughts far off. It is freeing when I reflect on these verses to know that her father and I, no doubt, have a role in her life because He has written it down, but that also He is ultimately in control of her life. No detail is misplaced. No event is an accident. He knows it all. Scary, but also exciting. A big responsibility to teach her these things, but to know ultimately He will be glorified through her.     

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mommy Monday

I am a visual person. I have to see things in order to understand pretty much anything. That's why I have always loved a good music video. My favorite are the ones that tell a story or when the artist actually makes a video that has to do with the lyrics. I can't stand the abstract ones! I was thinking about this when I ran into a post on Facebook of the top ten Christian music videos of 2014. I recognized only one person on the entire list (I guess I have always enjoyed the "classics" not so much the Christian music today). But being a music video fan I had to check out some of them. Number two's title caught my eye, "When Crazy Kicks In" by Francesca Battestelli. So I watched it. It was absolutely perfect for all mommies out there! It definitely encouraged me to hold onto why I have quiet times with God, especially being a mom. See what you think.

Also check out her You Tube channel especially the song "This is the Stuff" 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Being a Martha and a Mary

In order for my goals to be met for my little one, my relationship with my husband should be a top priority. This is something that I have really been pondering on a lot lately. I have been wanting to write on other topics, but I feel like God was really pushing this on my heart. I am a firm believer in placing God first, my husband second, and my little one third. If the order of these relationships get mixed up, all the others will suffer. I have been feeling very torn by this because currently I feel like it is all about my little one, which I enjoy, but I also love my husband. Amid his long and busy hours at work, I try to spend time with him, but every time we are intentional about it, she cries. It is so hard to listen to her cry in the other room while I am in the middle of spending time with my husband. He is very understanding most of the time which I am thankful for, but I am still hard on myself. I have always been that way, not showing much grace to myself and expecting too much. I always want to give everything I do my all and if I don't, I feel like I am disappointing those whom I love.
This morning at 4am, while I was feeding my little one, God put on my heart the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible. I read Luke 10:38-42 for my time spent with God which says:

"Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, 'Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.' And Jesus answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'".

Here's what I have gathered about both women:
  • Oldest
  • Hard worker and takes it seriously 
  • Detail oriented 
  • Pleases people through what she knows she needs to do 
  • Recognizes and is comfortable with who Jesus is 
  • Bold, speaks her mind 

  • Youngest 
  • Has a yearning for the Lord
  • Soaks in what the Lord has to say
  • Sits at His feet- humble and personal
Nothing was wrong with the traits of Martha. All of them showed me she wanted to do what was right. But she got caught up in doing that instead of drawing near to the one Person who used those traits she had. All of those things she thought were more important to do were things that were not going to last. Jesus is the only thing that will last in the long run. When I get old and grey and my body and mind are unable to do what I used to be able to do what will I be able to rest in? As I think about older people I know that are unable to do things because of their body or mind, I see they are sad, disconnected, and yearning to fill up those longings with drinking, gambling, relationships with others, or even food. But they're still sad. On the contrary, I then think of the people who are older and drawing near to God and they seem happy and focused. There is a reason. They have their focus on God. He, in turn, guides them and helps them to do the things they can do. God will help me be the better wife and mother if I just draw near to Him. Everything else will be done when He enables me to do so. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" as it says in James 4:8.
Now, I am not saying to abandon all and just focus on God. But rather seek out His face and give to Him my fears and my time. He wants me to invest in my relationships with my daughter and husband. He wants me to teach her about Him. He wants me to be that help meet for my husband. God will last forever in my life and also the lives of my husband and daughter if I only rest in Him first.    

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Goals for my little one

Ever since I could remember, I just wanted to be a mom. When someone asked me what I wanted to do, I always told them I wanted to be a mommy. As I grew up and matured, I realized the world did not revolve around me. People grew old and died. Others were less fortunate than me  economically and relationally with their loved ones and just seemed lost with no direction. Life was not about me. Old and young people needed me to encourage them and love on them. I saw how many young people grew up in dysfunctional homes and did not see anything wrong because that was normal to them. Often they continued on in their parent's footsteps, repeating the cycle. It made me sad to see the hurt and pain they experienced but unable to turn away from it. We live in such a sad world.
When I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted to be as ready as anyone could be to be the best mom possible. I saw in the lives of others and the lives of my own family members how one decision could change everything.  I did not want to continue on those family choices that were carried down from generation to generation. I read many books, studied God's Word in the Proverbs, and joined a mommy group. But even now, as a mommy with a 2 month old, I realize I have a lot information and resources with little ways to implement them. I have to set goals for my little one. Who do I want her to be? What are things that I want to discontinue in my own life to be a better example? Who do I have in my life to encourage me? How is my relationship with my husband? These are questions that cross my mind. 
So here are some of my goals, simple or long term, based off of information and words of wisdom that I have gathered from my research for my little one:
1) I wish for my little one to know who Christ can be in her life
2) I wish for my little one to know and rely on the Word of God
3) I wish for my little one to see others that are different from her as opportunities for her to bless them and help them
4) I wish for my little one to learn sign language to communicate, but also to develop her language skills
5) I wish for my little one to experience skills such as cooking, gardening, budgeting money, canning, being resourceful and many other things that can help her to be a responsible young lady. 
6) I wish for my little one to be independent and confident through effectively and emotionally communicating with me, her dad and others in her life
These are just a few of my wishes. What about you? What are some goals you have for your kids? Having kids means being intentional at a young age. As parents we cannot wait until they get older to teach them. They need to know at a young age. Even parents with older kids, it is never too late to set goals. The following blog posts will be on the research I have done. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Blog Theme

I have recently joined a new Facebook group; it is about moms who blog about their lives. I look at their blogs and realize I have a lot to learn. I really hope to use this Facebook group as a resource to make my blog look better. So for starters I had to pick a theme, which was the easy part. The theme was being a new mom and expressing my thoughts on what God has been teaching me during this season of life. But the next part was a little harder. How was I to decorate my blog to show my theme? As some of you saw previously, I had a picture by Norman Rockwell; this was because
I thought he was an amazing painter.The picture I had was of a grandma and a little boy praying. This represented to me the importance of family and prayer, which I believe is what God was showing me what He wants me to learn. But I felt like I needed more than just that. That's when zebras popped into my head.
For quite sometime, I have been loving anything zebra. Why you ask? Well a few years ago, my mother mentioned this ladies ministry that was happening in California that she really liked. A friend of hers started this ministry based off of the idea of a herd of zebras. Apparently, a zebra is very vulnerable when it is alone. But when they are in a herd, God made their stripes to blend together to make them look like a larger animal than what they are. This in return frightens their predator, and they are left alone. It is like this with women in the church. We are vulnerable as individuals with our emotions, our fears, our need to control; this is where Satan likes to attack us. 1 Peter 5:8 states,

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour".

We are designed as women to need each other. As Christians we also need those relationships to build each other up, through God's Word and what it says about who He is. Through this Zebra Ministry, women join together once a month focusing on a scripture verse describing one of the attributes of God. They are then challenged to meditate on that scripture and pray over it that month, so that when they return the following month they would share with the other ladies what God taught them. During this time they pick a name out of a hat of person who they are to meet with that month in order to keep each other accountable and to also encourage each other. It is such an awesome ministry! So every time I see a zebra or zebra print it makes me think about the relationships I have with other women and how I can encourage them.

So what does that have to do with me being a mom? When I found out I was having a little girl, I knew exactly what theme I wanted for the nursery, zebras, black, white and pink. One day I want to be able, in detail, to tell my little girl why I picked the zebra theme for her nursery. I have written it in her journal, and even as I change her diaper and she's looking at her hanging zebra, I tell her, "We need to stick together". We do have to stick together. God has put this little girl in my life to teach her about who He is in order to build her up, but also to train her in order for her "to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11). It always gets me excited when I am in her room and look at the theme and realize the huge responsibility I have to teach her. I need to teach her that we serve a God who loves us to the point of showing us who we are apart from Him. We fall short of the glory of God because we have all sinned (Romans 3:23); but even in our defiance and pride, He demonstrated His love towards us by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for us even when we don't deserve it (Romans 5:8). All my little one (and each and every one of us) needs to do is accept that she is a sinner apart from God and that it has to do with nothing she can ever do but simply just believe. It is by His grace and love that she can accept His gift of salvation. I just can't wait for the day for the day when I will be able to share that with her because of the zebras.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

He is Still in Control

Wow time has gone by fast since I have written on here. I am a mommy now to a 2 month old and every day I look at her I am amazed that she came from me. I love looking at her little everything. Her feet. Her hands. Her ears. All her little parts encompasses this little human. It is hard to believe one day all those little parts will be as big as mine. She also continues to make me see I am not the one in control. Even though, my little one is only 2 months old and fully relies on me, it is so hard to let go and see how God is in control. He has been teaching that to me these past few months.
For some of you, you probably remember my post in December of last year on how God is my ultimate ultrasound and I needed to trust in Him for that. ( Well He did not stop me there either. At my 30 weeks appointment, I asked the doctor if my baby's head was in the right spot and she said that it was too soon to find out and that her bottom and head were the same size. So at my 34 weeks appointment, I asked the doctor again where she was at. She tried to by squeezing  the areas where my little ones head and bottom was suppose to be. She said that she was not sure but felt like she was head down but I should not count on that. At my 36 weeks appointment, I asked the doctor where she was at and this time he told me that he thinks she was breech and that he was going to do any ultrasound. I was very nervous walking into the ultrasound room and getting onto the table. He prod around and found out indeed she was breech. He began to tell me my options and I had to make a decision that weekend.  I was devastated! At this point, I went to birthing classes, practiced my breathing, did yoga, and listen to hypnobirthing CDs. I expected and was told to look forward to this natural birth that I was anticipating and preparing for and it was not going to happen. Yes I had the choice to do the ECV which I did not feel at peace about and as a first time mom had only a 50/50 chance for her to flip. I tried all the exercises and even combined it with hypnobirthing CDs. Nothing seemed to change. But then I had to remind myself who was in control. Who was I to change what God deemed for me? How do I not know it was for my good to do the c section? The following week at my 37 weeks appointment, they did another ultrasound and there she was still where she was the previous week. She looked so uncomfortable in there with her little face squeezed between her feet. It was good to see her though. I told the doctor that I planned do to the c-section. So they set a time exactly at 39 weeks on July 11 for my little one to be born. 
When July 11 came around, I was so nervous but more than ready to have my little one. She was born at 1230 that afternoon 8 lbs exactly and 21 inches long. It blew my husband and I mind that she was that big at 39 weeks. I was born 10 day late at 7 lbs 19in. So I assumed that she was going to be small too. I like to think that if I waited any longer she could have gotten bigger and I was probably going to be late and because I am such a small person, I could have had an emergency c section. So I think God knew what He was doing. She was healthy and beautiful and we love her so much. It was just amazing to see how God worked in and throughout my pregnancy to draw me closer to Him. 
The verses I held onto during this time was 2 Samuel 22:31,
 "As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him". 
Proverbs 16:3,
 "Commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts will be established".
Psalm 119:37,
"Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things; and revive me in Your way".

My Body is a Tool

As some of you read in my previous blog, I had a C-Section because my little one was breech. At the time, God put a peace in my heart about it. Even to this day, I believe it was the right decision for my baby and I. But as time has gone by, I still don't regret but nor I am excited to have another little one. I want to but after having a C-Section, it does not appeal to me. My thoughts are, "My body is now messed up. It is not fully equipped to have another baby because they tore into me and damaged what was not suppose to be damaged. My body is now weak. I most likely will have another C-Section because no one or rarely does any doctor try to have a VBAC." LIES!! But I still worry. Even now I am looking at support groups or other hospitals that do VBACS. But why? I am not planning any time soon to have another one. What would it do? I know this is wrong and I give it over to God but it is still a struggle.
But I serve a God who knows my heart and needs. He knows me as a person who longs to do His will. He knows me as one who wont give up even when I am not the one in control. But He is still faithful and guides me. About 2 weeks ago, a nice girl at church gave me this book called, Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic. ( I strongly suggest it to all moms. There was a chapter in her book that addressed what I was feeling. This is what she said,
                "...our bodies are tools, not treasures...Let it be used. By the time you die, you want to have
                 a very dinged and dinted body. Motherhood uses your body in the way that God designed
                 it to be used...But motherhood is what your stomach was made for-- and any wear and tear
                 that it shows is simply the sign of a well-used tool. We are not to treat our bodies like
                 museum pieces. They were not given to us to preserve, they were given to us to use."
She goes on by saying that loosing weight or walking around in sweatpants all the time are things we might have to work at in order maintain our "tool". Our bodies need to be maintain in what season of life we are living in. It might be just taking care of our kids or it might be the season of being pregnant consecutively.
She ends by saying,
                 "Scars and stretch marks and muffin tops are all part of your kingdom work. One of the 
                  greatest testimonies Christian women can have in our world today is the testimony of
                  joyfully giving your body to another...But the answer to these obstacles is not to run away
                  in fear as the world does, but to meet it with joy and in faith."
My body is a tool to serve God's purpose in my life. He decided for me to have a C-Section. Instead of fearing constant "major surgery", I need to see it as a sacrifice to a little human being that God has given to me to take care of.
Now don't get me wrong. This still does not settle with me well but this is a start for me to mediate on and continuously give over to God in prayer. Because as I said before, He is faithful and I am His tool. Am I going to let go of this and allow the all knowing and all powerful God to do what He pleases with my body for His glory?
Here is a verse to finish off this blog found in Psalm 119:73
"Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn Your commandments."

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pregnancy/labor is a Spiritual Battlefield

I have not written in awhile because I am in pregnancy land, comsumed with every exciting and scary thought while riding waves of hormones and emotions. But I have seen God work in alot of ways which is the most peaceful feeling in the world.
As a first time mom, I want to be prepare as much as I can be for everything for the next 4 months and 3 weeks, from labor to breastfeeding. So I have been reading and researching on things that I find important. But than my flesh kicks in. I feel so many emotions from so many different ranges, anxiousness, grumpiness/complaining, fear, negative thoughts or not uplifting thoughts, needing to be the one in control or fretting, and impatience are the ones I have felt. I even started to wander to the darn-you-Eve thought. But than it got me thinking. How did that come about? The fall and the curses that fell on man, woman, and Satan. Now this is part my opinion and part biblical but I began to think about how much pride Satan has for that day and the curse that fell upon man and woman. He of course finds pleasure when he sees us fail by feeding on these feelings and tries at every length to put those thoughts in our heads when we are so weak.
So of course in my indignation towards him and all the work he tries to do, I want to have a plan and focus on those certain feelings that I have now and even prepare for labor. The only place we have to go to is the Bible. So here is my first word: Anxiousness

I am anxious about:
     the health of the baby
     how labor will happen
     wanting to give birth naturally but wont be able to
For other people, it might be the uncertainities of a high risk pregnancy

Jeremiah 17:5-8
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear[a] when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
* a man who trusts in man= a shrub in the desert
        no good will be seen by this man
*man who trusts in the Lord= tree planted by waters
        no fear when heat comes or anxious  when the year of drought comes because it will not yield
Psalm 18:31-36
For who is God, except the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength,
And makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of deer,
And sets me on my high places.
34 He teaches my hands to make war,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;
Your right hand has held me up,
Your gentleness has made me great.
36 You enlarged my path under me,
So my feet did not slip.

*Our God is our rock
*Our God arms us with strength
* Our God makes our ways perfect
*Our God gives us the shield of His salvation
*Our God holds us up with His right hand
*Our God's gentleness makes us great
*Our God enlarges our paths so our feet do not slip

Psalm 107:30
Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So He guides them to their desired haven.

*Our God guides us to our desired haven

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

*I dont have to be anxious because...
     by prayer and supplication my requests can be made known to God
     the peace of God surpasses all understanding
     the peace of God will guard my heart and mind through Christ

More to come
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