Monday, May 30, 2011

Thank You

There are no words to properly express how thankful I am to everyone who has ever served or is currently serving our country... for us. 

No, America, is nowhere near perfect.  Will we ever live in utopia?  Only in Heaven.  But... America is an amazing country and we are beyond blessed to live here.   

And we are blessed because of you. 

Because you have spent years of your life being told exactly what to do, when to do it and how it has to be done.   

Because you have watched your sons and daughters, wives and husbands, neices and nephews, neighbors and friends leave never to know if they will come back in one piece or if they will even come back at all. 

Because you have raised your children without the help, support and comfort of your spouse. 

Because you have been without your daddy or mommy to talk with, to see, to have come watch your soccer games or to tuck you in at night. 

You have sacrificed.  And we are blessed because of your sacrifices. 

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you. 

‎"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." John 15:13 NIV

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Girl and Her Loves

Kassidy and Olivia attempting to make some sort of tent.

Gotta love sheets!

Olivia has become quite the retriever... hahaha... yes, I think that is hilarious since she is part golden retriever!

You can see my not-so-good and not-at-all-keeping-the-puppy-out fence for my garden.

After a hard throw!

More retrieving!

Buddy, who is not a retriever, has probably never retrieved successfully- ever.  He just wants some love!

This is what Sara does every single time she hears or sees K reading or doing school work. 
Every.  Single.  Time.

Crooked smile K

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Done with 1st Grade & Survived 1st yr Homeschooling!!


We are done!  School is out for summer!

I have been super busy lately with lots of things that I will post about later.  I am really excited about our next school year and feel ready to accomplish great big new ideas and goals!  That means that I am over this year.  You just can't really impliment new ideas with only a few weeks left.  So I decided today (and asked Mike) that Kassidy has officially become a 2nd grader! 

I definitely learned some great lessons about many things with this being our first year homeschooling!  Maybe I will write about those lessons soon! 

I think it's pretty ridiculous to go all summer without any kind of "learning" so we will still do some math & grammar review sheets every week.  We are also going to join 3 local libraries for their Summer Reading Programs!! 

Now, I have to finish what I have to finish and start planning some things for the summer! 

Our summer plans will not be as drawn out with our families this year :(  which is sad, but that also means that we will probably be starting school a couple weeks before public school starts.  Maybe we will have a long Christmas break!  Ahhh... Christmastime!  I can't mention it without getting excited!!

What summer plans do you have?  How do you keep the learning alive? 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Book Review: Secrets of the Vine for Women

Let me just tell you that this book feels awesome... the cover is a weird super smooth texture!  It made the book even more pleasant.  I have not read The Secrets of the Vine book and will not run out to read it now that I have read this one.  I was happy that this book was short and sweet.  It didn't delve into any topics as much as I would have liked for it to, but it was a short book. 

The book revolves around John 15.  It explains better about our relationship with Jesus and God in regard to "the vine".  I, honestly, had never really thought about the fruit I produce.  Darlene Wilkinson touches on how we can simply, in our every day life, produce more fruit, which is glorifying and pleasing to God. 

She does offer a few examples as to how you can produce more fruit, while doing what you normally do.  She says God wants us to start where we are with what we have.  He placed us here in this year, in this house and in this season of life for a purpose. 

This book would probably be a great addition to The Secrets of the Vine, but it is also a great, short read for any woman who has not read the previous book.  There are also discussion/reflection questions in the back of the book, which would make this great for a small group or just for personal reflection.

I joined Waterbrook Multnomah so I could get free books!!  Yay for free!!  And double yay for new, quality books for free!!  I do not get any other compensation besides the book and agree to give my completely honest review.

Book Review: The Seraph Seal

Well, this is definitely not my type of book.  I knew that to begin with but was willing to give it a try.  Once I got the book, I knew I was in way over my head.  It is huge at 384 pages! 

I am definitely not stupid (I'm no genius either) but I just cannot follow books or movies like this, which means I just cannot get "into" them.  Obviously, this book was not my thing, but if you are into "a fast-paced, end-times tale of good vs. evil" and are knowledgeable (and interested) in those kind of Biblical/historical ideas then go for it!

The book does have great reference-type sections in the back that you can use to better follow the book.  The story line is well written, enjoyable and easy to read (thank goodness since it's so long!), but I just could not get past all of the references and ideas that I knew little about.

I joined Book Sneeze so I could get free books!!  Yay for free!!  And double yay for new, quality books for free!!  I do not get any other compensation besides the book and agree to give my completely honest review.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mommy Advice Needed

Let me set the stage for you:
My daughter is 7 1/2.  She is very independent (most of the time) and responsible.  She is also very trustworthy.  Unfortunately, she has no siblings yet.  We are working towards fostering to adopt.  We don't have many neighbor kids that "come out to play".  Some of them have moved and some have siblings that they really just play with. 

The girl who lives next door is 9 or just might have turned 10.  She always has her little brother with her who is 4ish and is very sweet.  Her family really keeps to themselves and to be honest we haven't gone out of our way to make friends.  They also do not speak very good English.  Sooo... this little girl, Z, acts very nice to my face.  She is not so nice though.  She has threatened my daughter with not being her friend too many times to count.  She has made my daughter cry too many times to count.  She has lied about tons of ridiculous things like coming over to knock (when she knows K is not home) at like 10 at night.  I've been in the living room the whole night and know she never did... not to mention our dogs never noticed either!  She can also be very nice to K, which makes the situation even more hard and confusing.  Her parents are hardly ever home and in some ways I feel bad for her... but she is very "well" taken care of.  I, truly, do not think that she is a mean girl or that her parents are awful... nothing like that. 

Tonight, I worked at church like I usually do for a couple hours on Wednesdays.  Mike told me that K, Z and her brother were selling stuff and had made lots of money!  My daughter is definitely a little entreprenuer.  Anyways, they were getting everything to sell from our house... granola bars, bird seed, snacks, etc.  That is fine!  But... when it came time to come inside no one helped clean up (which is another ginormous issue we have with them) and Z hurried away with all of the money.  She also mentioned that she couldn't play the rest of the week "because she had plans"... well this girl "has plans" constantly but will knock the next day!  K came in crying because no one was helping her clean up and because all the money that she had worked so hard for (yes, she was the one doing all the work... holding up the sign, waving people down, taking orders, everything) was gone with Z. 

We tried to tell her exactly what to say to Z in a loving way as if Z had not meant to leave with the money.  Well, K would not!  She started crying harder!  So my wonderful (but sometimes a little short tempered with Z) went and told her that I was going to split the money.  Of course, I had to split it 3 ways even though it was all our stuff.  Fine.  No big deal.  There were several other issues with the money, like our daughter putting some in the "pot" before it was split, etc. 

Where I need HELP!!!!! 

How do I teach my daughter to stand up for herself?  She is so afraid of not having anyone to play with that she puts up with junk like this.  Z can be nice and they play great most of the time, but when she doesn't she doesn't.  We explained how Z was not being honest and was trying to decieve K.  We talked about how we sometimes become like our friends and how those are not good qualities.  Would you continue to let them play?  How can I teach my daughter that it is better to sometimes have no friends as long as you are being true to what's right and what is fair?  I feel like she is learning that it is ok to put up with people who treat you badly (when you have a choice). 

Thanks so much for the advice!! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kassidy's First Time Fishing

I love this one!!

As soon as Mike went to the car to grab something Kassidy caught a fish!!  So our wonderful friends, who invited us, helped her deal with the fish... since I was absolutely not going to touch it!

Cute girls!  Kassidy and Abbie

Monday, May 16, 2011

Opinions Needed Please :)

So I am thinking of starting a party planning business.  Mostly kid's birthdays, maybe some mom's night outs, family reunions, bridal and baby showers, etc.

Birthday parties are usually big for our family.  Our daughter gets no birthday presents from us in exchange for a great party... I'm more about the memories than the stuff.  We don't host many parties so every year this is the big one, but sometimes we just do something "big" as a family. 

Here's what I am thinking:
-It is nice to be a part of any party you are having or are at instead of always being the hostess/planner.
-It would be awesome to have quality pics of family and friends without having to chase them around with a camera while missing the actual party.
-It would be amazing to not have to completely plan, decorate and stress over a party.
-It would be sooo much fun to go to a party that was different and exciting and fun!

Which is where I come in!!!

We would be responsible for the invitations, thank you's, decorations, cake, cutlery, plates, cups, drinks, party favors, games, activities, etc.

I have some questions and I would love any and all answers!!
1) Are birthday parties big events in your family?
2) What events would you like to have someone plan and take care of?
3) How much do you usually spend on birthday parties or any other type of party?
4) Would you be interested in hiring a photographer also?
5) How much would you be willing to pay for a party planner?  Photographer? 
6) Do you know of any or many children's party planners like what I might be describing?

Thanks tons for your responses!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review: The Promise of an Angel

An Amish romance novel.  This one has an angel in it, which I thought was kind of hokey at first, but then I absolutely loved it!  I could not put the book down, but that is typical for me with any good book.  I read it all in about 6-7 hours, between staying up late the night I got it and then for a little the next day. 

In the story, the main character, Judith struggles with forgiveness and the fear of being shunned for "telling stories" about the angel who continues to visit her.  All of that while she tries to find her place as a nineteen year old who is now able to be courted.  There are twists and turns and points where my mouth fell open! 

I highly recommend this book!  I can't wait to get another one and will definitely try out more books by Reid.

I joined BookSneeze so I could get free books!!  Yay for free!!  And double yay for new, quality books for free!!  I do not get any other compensation besides the book and agree to give my completely honest review.

Monday, May 9, 2011

One of Those Days

Do you ever have one of those days where everything and/or everyone is annoying to you?  I am having one of those days... I just want to be left alone.  I want to go lay in the grass (not in my awful backyard grass) and be all by myself. 

When I get like this, I usually don't say anything because "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."  So I don't. 

There was just a few ways that a few people completely got on my nerves today.  Being inconsiderate and rude is really the bottom line.  It's like all these little things that just keep leading up to a day like today.  A day where you've just been exhausted from it.  I feel like I try really hard to be considerate to people.  I try really hard to instill that quality in my daughter.  Of course, I don't always, but I really do try. 

We invite everyone to the party or we invite no one.  We play with everyone or we play with no one.  We include others especially those who are usually not included.  We don't pick favorites when other people are around.  We try to be just as nice (if not nicer) to the janitor or cashier as we are to our pastor.  We apologize when we've offended someone.  We try to make people feel special.  Stuff like that.  Considerate stuff.  Or at least stuff that I consider being considerate. 

But I guess some people were not ever taught those things.  Maybe they were and they just don't care.  Either way it leads me to: 1) think that they must feel like they are better than other people and 2) not want to have much to do with them anymore.  {That tends to be a problem when the annoyer is my husband :)}

I don't hold a grudge against them.  I don't dislike them.  I just don't want to be around people like that.  People that make me or anyone else feel like less.

Anyways, it's just one of those days.  I'll get over it.  Alone.  Being quiet.  In the shower.  :)

Do you ever have days like this?  Am I the only one who cannot stand when people are inconsiderate or rude?  Do you have other little pet peeves?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Only When You Become a Mother

I think there are many questions that get answered and many new unanswered questions we have once we become mothers.  My mothering style is nothing like my moms.  She couldn't wait to get back to work after she had me.  She never even considered staying home with any of her kids.  She would have never considered homeschooling.  We are pretty much polar opposites in so many ways, but in others I am her exact duplicate. 

The differences (and similarities) sometimes causes friction between us and I, honestly, do not think she will ever fully understand or agree with all of my mothering choices or life choices in general and vice versa.  But there was something magical that happened when I became a mom.  Maybe not right when I became a mom, probably because I was so young.  But... there is something magical about becoming a mom... not just because of the obvious relationship with your child but also because of the not so obvious relationship with your mom and other moms.   Sometimes it brings more questions as to why and how you could have been raised the way you were, but that's something we all have to come to peace and forgiveness with.  Sometimes becoming a mother yourself means you finally (!) kind of "get it". 

You understand the love.  You understand the doubt.  You understand the guilt.  You understand the worry.  You understand the pride.  You understand the joy.  You understand the busyness.  You understand the frustrations.  You understand the excitement.  You understand it all like no one else will ever be able to.  We all join this motherhood together and no one can understand those feelings the same way we do.  And when you can feel those things with your mom it is extremely magical even if it is just a silent understood connection.        

When we look at other mothers in their times of joy, frustration, pride, doubt, fear, guilt, worry, don't we all understand to some extent those same feelings?  It's incredible how God gave us all that connection.  He gave it to us, I believe, to bond us and for us to encourage eachother.  What better and more valuable encouragement could there be from any other mom but your own?  Our moms also need to know how much we value that enouragement from them.  They need to feel like they are still needed, valued and loved.  After all, don't we want to feel that way once our daughters become mothers?

Happy Mother's Day!!


Have you heard this song before? 

{I love Nicole Nordeman.  I love her songs and her voice is awesome!}

I am trying to focus on what my legacy will be or what I hope and pray it will be.  Have you ever really thought about it?  I have definitely thought about what my legacy will be for my daughter and maybe for her children, but what about her children's children... and their children? 

Fern Nichols, Founder and President of Moms In Touch International, was speaking on the radio the other day and oh, I wish I could find the clip but I can't.  She was saying how unbelievably much we impact so many future generations.  There was one mom about 250 years ago who was a strong Christian and shared her faith with her children.  She lived a very selfless live.  Fern listed the numbers of doctors, CEOs, college professors, college presidents, etc that had come out of her legacy.  It was amazing.  Fern then talked about another mother who lived around the same time who was an alcoholic and was labeled by others as a "taker".  Her legacy was left to about 107 children born out of wedlock, 80 something "working women", and over 3.2 million dollars had been spent on her family by the state through jail costs and I assume welfare payments.  Now, I am not saying and neither was Fern that every single offspring from the two women turned out "good" or "bad". 

But I am asking what kind of legacy do you want to leave?

How do you want your future generations to be labeled?

Loving?  God fearing?  Positive?  Generous?  Joyful?  Hard-working?  Loyal?  Selfless?  Intelligent?  Empathetic?  Confident?  Driven?  Purpose Driven?  Passionate?  Funny?  Disciplined?  Purposeful? 

What do you want to be said about you at your funeral? 

When your children say "Wow, I am turning into my mom!" what do you want them to be doing or saying?
I have caught myself thinking that in both not so good ways and in some positive ways. 

It is amazing to me how much work it takes to improve upon the previous generation.  Maybe that's just me?  I do not blame my parents for anything and love them to pieces.  My mom and I have become very close and I cannot wait for the day she comes to live by us!  But... that does not in anyway mean that their "legacy" to me has been all rainbows and roses.  I struggle with certain things like organization, being an obedient wife, being a wife and mom after God's own heart, handling finances, devotional times, praying out loud, always talking freely about God, feeling unconditionally loved, etc.  Not because my mom did a bad job.  Playing catch-up is harder than having things come as second nature because you have been continuously exposed to them.  I think about some of those things that I struggle with and it's simply because I was just never taught or shown how to do them or how to be those things.  Therefore, it just takes me a little bit longer to "catch up".  We all have things we need to play "catch up" with. 

I do not want my daughter to have to "catch up" on so many things.  I want her to start ahead of the game so that she can improve that much more. 

There are definitely qualities and skills that I want her to have and I really think that the way for her to gain most of those is by seeing the example that I am.  Wow!  That is scary?!?  And intimidating!  And challenging!  And a reason to pray!  Pray, pray, pray!  It is also a reason for me to improve myself, but I can only be the woman (and example) I want to be with God's amazing grace.

The most important, foundational legacy and example I want to give her is that she has
a mom who truly, deep down loves God and who shares with everyone the amazing grace we are offered by the way she lives and the words she speaks. 

Do you have a summed up version of what you want your legacy to be?? 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Trade It Thursdays: Could It Get Any Simpler??

Here is what we use in our house to clean the toilets, showers, sinks, counters, windows, mirrors, floors, walls, doors, door knobs, tables, fridge, our carpets (!) and probably whatever else I left out:
-white vinegar
-baking soda

Could it get any simpler???

We have a bottle that has 100% vinegar in it for hardcore disinfecting and another one with about 1/3-1/2 vinegar and 2/3-1/2 water for normal cleaning.  When we steam clean our carpets we use vinegar in place of the chemical cleaners.  I do not want my daughter or our pets laying all over chemicals absorbing them and breathing them in!  I also sprinkle baking soda all over the carpets before cleaning them.   

Let's talk about what vinegar is capable of! 

Vinegar is a moderately strong acid with a pH of 3.1 (for all of you super scientific people out there) which means that it is good at cleaning alkaline type dirt, etc.  Examples of alkalies are hard water stains, soaps, soap scum, mineral deposits, etc. 

Vinegar is not so great (at all) for cleaning up grease.  Think about oil and vinegar... they separate.  Really just some good soap and water is best for those kind of problems. 

Vinegar is also a very good disinfectant.  In 1997, O. Peter Snyder, Jr., PhD. with the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management did a study about the effectiveness of our current system of washing and sanitizing in the hospitality field.  His conclusions were that "The FDA code and health departments across the United States have emphasized the use of sanitizing chemicals as the critical point for making food contact surfaces safe. These data show that this assumption is not always accurate. Wiping the surface with a clean cloth soaked in vinegar appears to be a very effective sanitizer, based on the data. Simply rinsing and scrubbing a dirty surface with flowing water seems to be more effective than cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces with a cloth dipped in a quaternary ammonium compound solution. It is also known that when a quaternary ammonium compound solution becomes dirty in an open bucket into which dirty cloths are dipped, the solution becomes susceptible to degradation by filth, dirt, and other debris."  and "It is recommended that action be taken to get vinegar approved as a food contact surface sanitizing agent, especially for the home."  Basically, he found that the vinegar was the best sanitizer and that wiping a surface with flowing water is more effective than cleaning them with previously used cloths from an ammonium compound solution.  Of course we do not always use the same solution while we are cleaning but he also states that it would be especially good for the home as a sanitizing agent.  In case you want to read about the whole experiment.

The Heinz spokesperson, Michael Mullen, stated that the only reason why vinegar has not been labeled as a disinfectant is because they have not registered it with the EPA as a pesticide.  How weird would that be to see on their bottle?  You can read about the EPA's standards and requirements here.

An interesting idea: I know my house (the clean parts) are perfectly fine to lick.  I don't worry about germs, bacteria, or dirt.  I believe that the vinegar takes care of most of that important stuff.  I also know that drinking vinegar has excellent health benefits, so lick on!  On the other hand, when I would use other commercial cleaning products I was paranoid about my daughter ever coming into contact with the chemicals obviously, but also with her rolling in the carpet that was just cleaned with major chemicals or touching the counter and sticking her finger in her mouth!  Ahh!  Oh and who wants to rewash the same thing over and over, which is what you are doing when you rinse off the chemicals and you are usually directed to do so from the label. 

Here's another study, which explains a study done about cleaning fruits and veggies.  We also use vinegar to clean off all of our fruits and veggies before any of us eat them. 

Baking soda.  It is a mild alkaline that has soo many uses... I can't wait to find out more!  It is obviously non-toxic, as we use it in baking, and it occurs naturally but can be made artificially.  Here is a simple explanation as to what exactly baking soda is along with many more uses.

Just a little sprinkle:
-to put out grease fires
-to help get rid of odors in fridge, carpet, litter box, anywhere
-to clean out drains add some then rinse down with vinegar (great thing to show the kids too as it bubbles up!)
-to clean silver
-remove scuffs
-sooo many more!

Just try it!!  What's the worst that could happen?  You have a little vinegar and baking soda laying around?!?

Start Small....
Let your kids clean the windows with vinegar this week!  I would use the diluted bottle for that.  Let them go at it!!  and maybe they can do the mirrors, too!!

Next week we are Trading our conventional chemically laundry detergent for a super inexpensive, easy to make, environmentally friendly and more importantly- family friendly detergent!  This is something I have yet to do, but my wonderful cousin will be our guest blogger and will be teaching us all how to do it!!  Here is what you will need:
-1 c washing soda
-1/2 c borax
-1 bar of castile soap
-5 gallon bucket with a lid

That is for a year's worth of detergent, depending on how much laundry you do.  I'm going to make about 1/2 & stick it back in an old push-spout laundry bottle.  See you next week!!!

What is something that you would like to know more about Trading??  Shampoos, dishwashing soap, house clutter, organic, processed, upcycling clothes?  Any ideas???

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Priceless Memory Jar

My Grandma is one of the most special people in the world to me and my fondest childhood memories are with her.  I wish I was able to spend more time with her and I really need to make that a priority. 

One of my absolute greatest blessings is that my daughter is always going to be able to hold onto her memories with them.  I cry now thinking of how I used to count the years as they went by waiting for her to be old enough to remember them in case they weren't around much longer.  It was so important for me that she be able to know such special people and I treasure the time they spend together.  My grandparents are in good health and should be around many more years, but I still need to treasure our time together, as I need to with everyone in my life. 

It has been really pressing on my heart lately to get to know my Grandma better.  When you are a kid so many of your conversations revolve around you and when you get older it seems like there is not ever enough time to sit and ask all the questions that you would like to know or should know.  Some of the questions on my list should be common knowledge but they aren't and I am ashamed that I do not know some of them. 

Soooo... I got this idea of a Memory Jar, I guess we can call it.  I filled it with questions that I wanted to know and with quotes about Grandmas.  I gave her a journal to write the answers in and the quotes are just to bring a little smile, laugh or happy cry to her day. 

When I think about why this would be important for me to have this is what I come up with:
1) People like to talk about themselves and in many cases write about their lives.  Ahem.  I hope that she will enjoy looking back on her life and reminise about the great times she has had and the wonderful family she has raised.
2) I would love to read a journal from a great grandparent that I never knew.  It would be a fun time capsule for what life was like "back in the day" and I will treasure the journal I get from my Grandma and will pass it on to future generations.
3) I love my grandma!  I love her and yet I don't really know her story.  These questions are not going to tell me her whole life history or her whole story, but they will give me a glipse of what is important and valuable to her.  I can't wait to read it!

I am going to make copies of the journal for the rest of the women (we are almost all women) in our family.  I think that I am going to ask each of them to write a couple memories/favorite qualities/etc down for her to refill the jar up once she is done with the questions.  Any other ideas on how we can give this all back to her?  Maybe a collage of our memories? 

The questions are below and the link above has the quotes I used.  Yes this is an old mayo jar, which makes this such an inexpensive, practically free, Mother's Day present.  It woud be perfect for a mom also!  I just used some scrapbooking paper to make the decorations, but you could use whatever you have laying around.  I think it would be cute to wrap it in fabric... just make sure that you don't obstruct opening the jar.  It would be great for birthdays, Grandparent's Day, Christmas, Anniversaries, or just because.   

How did you meet Grandpa?
What did you first think of Grandpa?
What was your first visit like with Grandpa's parents?
Did your parents and Grandpa's parents meet and get along?
How did Grandpa ask you to marry him?
What was one thing you were really afraid of doing that you did anyways?
What makes you afraid?
Where did you want to live when you were younger?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What is one of your happiest memories?
What's your favorite place in nature?  What is your favorite flower?  Tree?
What are your favorite sounds?
What are your favorite smells?
What's one of the most meaningful gifts you have ever received?
What's one of the most loving things someone has done for you?
What's one of the most loving things you've ever done for someone?
What music, poetry, art, books or movies have most inspired you and why?
What's one of the best places you've ever traveled?
What's one place you'd still like to visit and why?
If you only had 6 months left to live what would you want to be sure to experience?
What's your favorite prayer and/or Bible verse?
Where did your parents get your name?
What are you most grateful for?  Why?  Count your blessings.  Name 10.
What's the best compliment anyone has ever paid you?
What's one of the nicest things you've ever done for yourself?
What do you value most in yourself?  What do you value most in Grandpa?
What contribution in your life are you most proud of?
What is one of your favorite memories/things/qualities of ____ (each child and grandchild)?
What is one of your favorite memories/things/qualities of each of your Grandmas?
What is the most important advice or wisdoms you have for life?  Marriage?  Motherhood?
What is the most important legacy you wish to leave behind?

I'm linked up to share other homemade Mother's Day gifts.  The link is that little box... I can't seem to make it any bigger :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Book Review: Living in Love

This book is great!  It is definitely a book that I would recommend to any newly engaged or newly married couple.  It is even a great book for someone who is eventually wanting to be married.  It would also be great for couples who need a little help with the rocky parts of marriage.  I loved it!

It has questions for reflection or discussion at the end of each chapter, which I actually wrote down in a journal.  It really pointed out some things I hadn't really thought about before in regards to my marriage, what I want from it and how I can get that. 

The book is written as somewhat of a dialogue and I enjoy that kind of writing, especially in a book about marriage where there are most definitely two different points of view!  They encouraged, throughout the book, for husbands and wives to read it together and I think that would definitely be a great idea also.  They have been together for 47 years and share many different experiences.  Great book!

I joined Waterbrook Multnomah so I could get free books!!  Yay for free!!  And double yay for new, quality books for free!!  I do not get any other compensation besides the book and agree to give my completely honest review.

Book Review: Elemental Journal

By: Tammy Kushmur

Well, I was kind of surprised when I received this book today in the mail.  Yes, I am already done reading it!  The book is beautiful and obviously very easy and quick to read.  The cover reads "composing artful expressions from items cast aside".  I did not really read what the book was about, which is why I was kind of surprised when I openned it.  The whole book it about making journals from junk, bark, trash, and other little treasures.  I love the idea of upcycling and this book is filled with beautiful ideas.  There are several contributors and many different ideas that come with step by step instructions for how to create the same kind of journal. 

While I will probably never make a single one of the journals (these ladies must have rooms filled with the journals because each one only has a few pages in it), I did get some other ideas on how to upcycle some things that I have been meaning to work on.  There is some not so pleasant little passages that accompany explanations of some of the journals including that one of the contributors has OCD (there is literally about 3 sentences about it) and some of the journal entries share struggles from other contributors, but you have to go out of your way to read the journal entries. 

The book definitely inspires some creativity and I will probably reference it many more times.  Some of the journals are a little over the top in my opinion, but the ideas could be used for many other projects.  I will probably share it with my 7 year old, knowing that she will not sit and read the actual journal entries.  She will only look at the pictures and I think it's a great way to inspire thinking outside the box! 

I joined BookSneeze so I could get free books!!  Yay for free!!  And double yay for new, quality books for free!!  I do not get any other compensation besides the book and agree to give my completely honest review.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Reshaping It All- Link Up Wk1

Sometimes what we need in life is given to us from God like a smack across the face and sometimes it's not so obvious... I prefer the smacks :)

Let me give you a little back story for my most recent smack...

I grew up being skinny, not at all like a stick, just with a great metabolism and nice size 2-4 jeans.  The number on the scales was always more than most people thought though and when I was a size 4 I weighed about 135.  I'm only 5'4 (and a half... haha).  Now this part is hard for me to share with people who are not complete strangers.  Don't you sometimes find that it's easier to share things with strangers than it is to share with people you really know?  I do.  When I was 15 my relationship with food changed forever.

Things in my life would happen and I would cry soo hard and be so upset that I would get nauseous.  One day, I just allowed myself to throw up instead of trying to hold it in (I mean who likes to throw up?).  Wow.  It felt great once I had nothing left inside.  It was such a strange feeling of control, when I felt like I had absolutely none.  And if I was going to throw up then why not eat everything in sight beforehand?  Right?  So I did, which I much later realized was called binging.  So I would binge and purge.  Binge and purge.  Even now, I can remember how empowering that feeling of control was.  I did this for about 5-6 months and did lose about 15ish pounds.  Not much, but I did also eat.  It was not about losing weight for me.  Ever.  It was about control. 

I moved from Ca where I lived with my mom to live with my dad in Tx right before I turned 16.  I quit binging and purging cold turkey and there was not a single issue with quiting.  Except.... that I had completely screwed my body and mind up when it came to my relationship with food.  Completely.  To this day (8 years later), I still cannot cough after I eat without my body wanting to throw up.  I can barely put anything (spoon, fork, pen, etc) in my mouth while I'm eating or after I'm done eating for the same reason.   
Then, I got pregnant at 17 and gained 65 pounds, lost it all but 4 pounds at my 4 week check up and was almost back to normal (minus the nice unstretch-marked, unflabby tummy, of course!).  I had an IUD put in and gained literally 5 pounds a week for about 6 weeks... and even after I got the IUD out I kept gaining weight, slowly but surely. 

I hate calling my previous issue with food bulemia because... I don't really know why... partly because I know I didn't have it nearly as bad as other bulemics... partly because my issue was not really with food (although it totally was at the same time)... I don't know.  But now my issue is totally with food.  I hate being overweight.  Hate it.  I was not made to be overweight and I really don't think anybody is.  I am also not made to be 100 pounds. 

I am pretty much an all or nothing kind of girl in about 90% of the things I do.  When I start cleaning I want to clean up every single piece of dirt, even though I don't get much accomplished when I do that because who can clean everything?  When I've had a "real" job, I've noticed that I can become a workaholic.  And why would I want to do part of my homework (when I was in school) or housework every day when I could just get it all done in one night... one whole entire night.  Yes, part of that is procrastination and part of it is that when I start something I just like to finish it all thenWhy drag it out?  I just don't like to do anything, nor do I like when other people do things, halfway.  At all.  Why do something if you aren't going to go all the way?  Those philosophies are not always the best to have I know, but often times it is good. 

Back to food... this is what my attitude towards food has been for the last 7ish years: If I am not on a diet (which will start Monday) then why not eat this or drink that?  And since I am going to start that super serious hardcore diet/lifestyle change on Monday then why not have that one last dr.pepper?  Guess what I have right now that I am trying to savor my last sips of?!?!  Ding, ding ding!!  A dr.p!  And yes I have actually had my last one be my last one for a lonnggg time.  It is when I have allowed one to creep back in as a once in a while thing that it becomes more of a constant than a once in a while. 

I have gained and lost and gained and lost and gained around 400 pounds over the last 7ish years.  Maybe more.  When I am doing "well" I am really probably not being as healthy as I should be.  I eat very little and usually exercise alot, but boy do I get those pounds off!  Thinking that it might take me a year to lose the weight I want to lose seems absurd.  Absurd.  Why would I take that long when I could just suck it up and work really hard for a couple months?  That's my mentality.     

So lately and maybe you all would have realized this years ago... but I realize that I have still been binging and purging.  Mostly binging till my next big get-serious plan...the one that I actually follow through with.  And no I do not purge, like in throw up, anymore.  To be honest, I have probably about 10 times in the last 9 years and yes, it was about weight when I did it.

Bottom line: I need to get healthy. 

I do not want to focus on the scale, although that is a good tool to measure success.  I want to feel good great!  I, honestly, do not know how to break the unhealthy cyles on my own.  I do not know how to give up one thing a week to slowly weed the "bad things" out or how to "reward" myself with a little treat here or there.  I need to learn how to keep up and maintain a healthy lifestyle without it being something I alllwayyysss have to think about.  I need it to not be a "quick fix".  I need it to become a lifestyle filled with lots and lots of healthy foods.  The kinds you can eat tons of.  I need it to be filled with exercise.  I love, love, love when I workout.  I feel great and want to eat better.  What a concept, right?!?!

My smack in the face: Candace Cameron Bure's Reshaping It All.  Total side note but: I have probably seen every single episode of Full House.  Literally.  It is such a great show.  Great lessons from usually respectful kids in a loving family.  My daughter is now watching it when she gets the chance and although she wouldn't be allowed to watch the later episodes when they are all teenagers, I love that she gets to watch the same great show.  I am going to go buy Cameron's book in the morning and start reading it right away.  There is now an online support group for the book!!  I am SOOOO excited!!  Her book talks about her relationship with food (I guess she also did some binging and purging) and how to break the cycle of having really awful relationships with food.  Exactly what I need from someone who I love!  Candace is a very strong Christian and also discusses the relationship between us, food, and God.  I think God is the other key to all of this... what isn't He the key of?!?!  I have felt lately like I am not honoring God with my food/health habits.  I know I am not and I so want to be (and will be)!  I have never tried to invite Him into my journey/struggle with this and I am going to focus on doing just that!  I can't wait!! 

If you have had a bad relationship with food, I invite urge you to join me on this journey!  If you don't have those negative relationships with food but you would like to get a little healthier or lose a little weight, I would love for you to join me also!!  We all need the support!!  At least I do!  I also need accountability. 

HERE'S WHERE YOU COME IN: Every Sunday night I am going to post my goals for the week and also share how I did the previous week, also noting any good tips/hints/etc from Reshaping It All.  I would love for you to share also!!  I will definitely check it out and leave some encouraging words!!! 

My Week 1 Goals:
-take my vitamins every day
-walk for a min. of 20 minutes for at least 4 days
-spend 20 mins min. quiet time with God every day
-eat slower trying to feel when I am actually hungry

Share Your Goals/Struggles/Accomplishments!!