To be Content

It’s hard to be content sometimes, isn’t it? I mean, there is always someone more beautiful, richer, has a nicer house, better clothes, etc. I think our society does a really great job at making us feel inadequate with what we have and who we are. However, the Bible tells us to be content in all things (Philippians 4:11). But, let’s face it, it’s HARD to be content in ALL things! At least I find it to be so sometimes. I don’t think I’m a person who is constantly looking for the greener grass, but I do go through periods of time where that is true. Have you been there?

I’ve been thinking about all this because of a Facebook page I’ve joined recently. It’s a page that women can buy & sell their stuff for cheap. All you have to do is go to the person’s house, pick it up and leave your money. It’s been a wonderful resource for us! I’ve bought clothes, shoes, items for all of us off the site, spending very little money. For example, a brand new pair of shoes for Cora for $5! Two pairs of pants for me, with tags that said $108 (each) for $7.50 a piece! You just can’t beat that. Although I find this site to be very helpful for many things I have also noticed that it’s easy for me to become discontent with what I already have and have been blessed with. I have driven to many a FANCY neighborhood, places I will probably never live, nor would really want to, and then come back to my humble home and think, “yikes! Hope none of these ladies will buy something I’m selling!” How silly! How ridiculous! It’s just stupid, really. My home is beautiful, well-built and exactly what we need and WANT. We can afford it and are not house-poor. We don’t worry from month to month how we’ll pay the mortgage. But, Satan knows just how to make us feel inadequate, doesn’t he?

The other night we took the kids to get ice cream, yes, for supper! It was so much fun, and we were all having a grand ol’ time. In walk a gaggle of kids and most of them were wearing designer winter coats. I looked at my kids with their faces covered in chocolate ice cream and thought, “I hope those moms don’t see I have hand-me-down coats for my kids.” Just as soon as I had the thought I was so ashamed! How ridiculous!!! My kids have perfectly good coats, they’ve been kept warm all winter, the coats are nice, not ratty, not torn, nothing of that nature. God provided these wonderful coats for our kids, and they’ve never questioned the labels on them. Why should I? That little internal incident made me stop short and realize just how ridiculous things have become in our society and have filtered into my mindset recently. We’re buying designer everything for our kids, who will only wear them for a season at best. And why? Simply because we want to be sure people know we love our kids and can provide for them. Pure silliness and insanity!

Don’t get me wrong. If I find good deals on items I know are well-made, I buy them. But, in our family our motto has never been to buy the most expensive just because. And, in all reality, our family is more than happy to take hand-me-downs! It’s all a matter of our selfish humanness. And, I suppose our insecurities and not fully trusting the Lord. And so, after the ice cream incident I am more resolved to thank the Lord for his GREAT and MIGHTY provisions and not give a whit what other people put on their kids or selves.

Is this something you have struggled with? What have you found to be the root of it?

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A Little More Tweaking

I mentioned last week that we would be attempting to have a menu made up for our meals all week–breakfast, lunch and supper. I made up a whole menu, pulled all the recipes (mostly from the cookbook Against All Grain) and did the grocery shopping. We did pretty well! Honestly, we did better than I thought we would–I know, what confidence! We have gotten in the habit of going out WAY too much. I mean, really, it’s such a bad habit, and it’s one we’re trying to break. We did MUCH better with eating out. I think most of our meals were a hit, at least with David and I, and I was encouraged to keep it up for this week too!

I noticed a few things last week with having this menu. A) I had to really be on the ball with thinking ahead to make sure meat was thawed, and dishes were done in plenty of time. B) I found I was in the kitchen even more than I usually am. C) I found it very overwhelming trying so many new recipes! This week, I’ve added a couple new recipes but am doing things I’ve done many times before. I think David might be a little relieved too, because I’m guessing (though he would never say, or complain) he was getting tired of something new and different every single meal!

I think once we do this for a good month I’ll get into a better rhythm, and it won’t feel like I’m in the kitchen all the time. I would highly encourage you making up a weekly menu. If doing a whole week of 3 meals is too overwhelming, just start with the meal you have the most trouble getting on the table. I would say for most of us that is supper. I always find it easier when I have a plan. When you get in a good routine with that 1 meal a day add another one, and so on. I do believe it helped our grocery bill, and it certainly helped our eating out “budget.” It’s always cheaper to eat at home, and with small kids, way less stressful! My goal is to do 2 wks of menu, then 3 and eventually 4 weeks/a whole month.

What’s something new you’re doing to help your household run more smoothly?

2 Years and Still Pressing On

While on vacation we hit the 2 year mark of us changing the way we eat, the way we look at food, the way we grocery shop, and the way we pretty much do life. It’s been quite a crazy 2 years. We’ve learned so much about ourselves, about our weaknesses, and what foods are most difficult to give up (dairy and chocolate!). We’ve learned how cheating just isn’t worth it and sticking to a mostly paleo diet is simply what works best for our family. We feel healthiest and best when we eat meat, fruits and veggies and keep the other stuff (starches–potatoes, bread, grains of any kind–sweets, pop) to a minimum, or in my case not at all on the grains. I did a long post last year about all the changes we had made in our first year. You can look at that list here. We have continued with these changes and have added a few others.

One of the biggest things we’ve started doing is seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis. I wrote about that here. I know it’s helping to keep us healthy, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much healthier our winter will be. For Cora, who always gets sinus infections during the fall/winter, she’s been getting sinus massages the past few times we’ve gone. We see the effects (eyes and nose running) of the massage as it’s happening. This is helping to keep her sinuses clear, and the thought is this will prevent infections. She’s already had 1 sinus infection (before we started doing the massages), and I’m praying it’ll be the only one. 

I have been doing a lot more baking using almond meal, coconut flour and garbanzo bean flour. So far the things I’ve made have been good and are things David says he doesn’t mind eating! One thing I probably make the most often are biscuits. We all like them and though they’re made with almond meal and not wheat flour David says they remind him most of the biscuits his grandmother used to make. I have lots more recipes to try, but so far I’m having fun learning to bake differently and learning the different qualities of the different meals/flours. 

Something we have discovered is we are a family who is trying to become as natural and chemical-free as possible. This means I am cleaning exclusively with a tea tree oil/water mixture, baking soda and vinegar. I clean our fruits/veggies in vinegar and water and make our laundry detergent. We don’t burn scented candles or use air fresheners of any kind. This has helped our allergies and the biggest improvement is David’s asthma, which is pretty much non-existant now! I am beginning the long process of researching the things to avoid in hair care products and make up. Changing these things in our home is the next big thing I need to do. We’ve come so far in our attempts to live a healthier life, and this is one area that has seemed very overwhelming to me. However, I (we) believe it’s the next step. We have the food pretty much figured out, and the cleaning products. Now, we need to finish with our own personal care products. 

We are also going to be adding regular exercise to our routine. Now that I’m entering my 3rd year of the best health I’ve ever been in there is no excuse to NOT exercise! I hate to do it, but I know it needs to be done. 

What have we learned thus far? Change is hard. Change takes time. Change can often be a daily struggle. Change is good. There are a lot of benefits to change despite the difficulty in it. And, most change is absolutely worth it! What is 1 thing you can change in your daily life TODAY to put yourself on the road to better health? I encourage you to do it! If you make just 1 change a week, or month, you’ll be further ahead than the person not making any changes at all. 

Ice Cream with Grandma

With my grandma living so close to us now it’s fun to give her a call and say, “do you want to go get ice cream with us this afternoon?” We did just that the other day! We took her to our favorite spot and introduced her to the wonders of this ice cream! It’s good, and thankfully, I can eat their chocolate, in fact it’s the only safe flavor I can eat! Anyway…we had fun, sat outside in the nice weather and just enjoyed each other’s company, and of course, the ice cream!

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Um, hmmm, well, uh…

Yeah, I’ve been struggling this week to have blog posts. I apologize to those of you who check here daily. Thank you for checking and I hope next week I’ll feel more inspired to share stuff! We’ve  been busy–who isn’t?–and so sometimes I wonder if you really want to know about it all! We’ve been busy getting the nursery ready (just about done!), keeping the kids entertained (does that job ever end???), checking on the garden (thankfully the deer and THREE frosts we’ve had in May haven’t done as much damage as we thought!), having time spent with extended family and well, I guess the list goes on!

We have a busy summer ahead. Not just with the baby coming! Ben will be turning 2 in 20 days (eeek!!! How did that happen? And, will his sister be here before or AFTER his birthday?), Cora will be starting swim lessons for the first time (for 3 weeks), and going to vacation Bible school during that time. Not sure why everything seems to be falling in June, but there you have it! I have a feeling our July and a lot of August will be filled with the usual newborn stuff–no sleep, eating schedules, etc. we plan to head to WV to see David’s family and let them meet the new baby. Phew. I’m tired just writing all of this!

David and I have definitely hit the point of being wanting to be done with the pregnancy stage! We are more than ready to meet our new little lady and can’t wait for her arrival! No, I don’t want to hurry things along because I know it’s in her best interest to stay in as long as possible, buuuuuuut…well, we’re ready to be a family of 5!!!

What are your summer plans this year? Are you getting to go on the vacation of your dreams, or will you be staying home? Are you moving, starting a new job, or doing nothing at all?

Random Bits of Stuff

We had a good weekend, did you? After traveling for the past 2 weekends, 2 funerals, and then all the Easter stuff before that, it was so nice to have a low-key, non-traveling, non-holiday weekend. We did stuff, but kept it small. We got the kids new shoes (thanks to their great aunt and grandma!), which they badly needed–unfortunately, we unknowingly had Ben in tennis shoes 1 1/2 sizes too small!!! Poor kid! We, as in my dad and husband, painted our bedroom! It looks so nice!!! I’ll do photos later after I get our new curtains hung, and the new carpet gets laid–which we still have to order! No sense in doing multiple posts about our bedrooms. I’ll spare you all of that and just do it in ONE post! We were also able to meet with our small group, which consists of 3 other families all in full-time ministry, too. We are a group of 4 families–8 adults and 12 kids, with 2 on the way! Yep, it can get nutty, but we always have a great time and find much encouragement and refreshment in spending time together.

My before-the-baby-comes list is getting completed little by little. We were able to purchase a really nice, all wood, sturdy dresser off craigslist for the baby. It’s the only dresser we’ve had to buy for our 3 kids, and it wasn’t expensive, so we feel blessed about that! We, as in David, still need to get a second coat of paint on the nursery walls, and then I can start organizing the room. We’re also planning to replace the carpet in our room/hallway/nursery (they all kinda go together in a line) this month. We need to get Ben a “big boy” bed (which my family is getting for us as a baby gift…I know, a little round-about, but it makes sense to us!). I want to try to get him through this change before the baby comes. We shall see! I’m still on the hunt for a cute quilt or bedspread for him that won’t cost us an arm and a leg. Geesh–it’s ridiculous how expensive that stuff is! I can’t believe I’ll be 31 weeks tomorrow!!!! Not much longer!

We’re hoping life at church slows down a bit now. David performed funerals #19 and #20 last week (yes, he’s done 20 funerals in the last 2 1/2 yrs!!!) and well, that adds a lot of extra time. David will start doing more research again on his thesis. Thankfully, he has the proposal done and turned in, but the work is never done. He has a great schedule set for himself to stay on task. I’ll be glad when we’re through all this. It hasn’t been horrible, but it’ll still be nice to have it done and behind us!

Well, I hope you have a wonderful a week this week! Don’t forget to find the blessings of the Lord and praise him even for the seemingly little things!

Spring has Sprung!

I do believe spring has sprung! It would seem we’re going to have a full week of temps over 50 degrees and this past weekend was just lovely! We were down in the big city my MIL and sister live and Friday was gorgeous! The kids and David were outside playing in the yard and I decided we ought to document our first nice day of being able play outside without coats or jackets! David spent a lot of time with Cora refining her catching and  throwing skills, they played “kick,” and it was hilarious to watch Ben toddle around and follow his dad and sister around the yard trying to do everything they were doing. Oh, and the dog had a good ol’ time rolling around in the grass in the sun.

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