Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm Losing One of My Titles Today!

As of today, I am not working as a medical transcriptionist! Of course it's always there in the background if I ever need it for some reason, but I don't think my little paycheck is going to be missed much around here. I began working as an MT in 1997 and worked until I took about 1.5 years off after Amelia was born in 2005. I started back in 2006 and have almost been at it again for two years. I don't have much to show for those two years, and I've often wondered if those times just weren't blessed as I'm not sure I ever went back to work for the right reasons in the first place.

Nonetheless, I feel wonderfully free this morning! I'm excited about coming up with a new morning routine - I've already learned that 6:30 is probably not early enough for me to get up and accomplish all that I want before the girls make their entrance. During the summer hours it should be fine, as I'm letting them sleep until around 9:00 - sometimes later if we have a late night. When school starts, they'll be up by 8:00, so I'll need to allow more time then.

I'm thinking of adding some extra time to walk the dog around the neighborhood to get some exercise for him and me (versus just around the yard, which is the usual morning routine). The girls and I (and the dog) normally like to take walks after breakfast or after lunch, but it's just too hot then, and therefore I'm not getting enough exercise right now. (Getting plenty of exercise really seemed to make a difference with L&D with my 3rd child.)

I'm also excited about finding ways to save more money (Brad and I recently finished reading Dave Ramsey's Money Makeover book, and now we're on a mission!), which should easily make up for anything we'll be feeling by me not working. For instance, I'll have more time to research coupons and plan the grocery trips/menus, so that is definitely another plus.

Overall, with MT out of the way and with the Lord's blessing, I believe I'll be able to be a better manager/keeper of our home, which I know without a doubt is my true calling!

As I'm doing this (blogging), I'm downloading a sermon on Biblical Femininity (which is our topic for our ladies Bible study this Wednesday night). I'll be adding that to my MP3 player so I can listen as I finish up my morning chores (cleaning the bathroom is all I have left!), and then I'll probably give that "walking the dog thing" a try.


Update on Madison's finger: We visited the orthopedic doctor on Friday afternoon, and he said that from the knuckle up, the bone is bent. It wasn't bad enough for a cast (thankfully!), so all she has to do is buddy tape it when she's active. The swelling is finally much better, and it looks like we're going to have a week off from softball, so that will be a big help also.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I've been tagged!

Do you know what it means to be tagged? Here are the instructions as provided by My Sister:

"The rules of the game: Each player answers the questions themselves. At the end of the post the player tags 4 people and posts their names, and goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment letting them know that they've been tagged asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answers."

So, here we go:

10 years ago
~ I had been married for six years, and I was two years into my role as a stay-at-home mom with 2-year-old Madison and just learning that she would be getting a sister/brother the following April. I was also getting used to working at home as a medical transcriptionist at this point, staying up very late typing and doing lots of research into the early morning hours while I was trying to figure out what in the world those doctors were saying!

5 things on my list today ~ I actually don't have anything that I HAVE to do today, but of course there are some things that need to be done as the last few days have been quite busy, so here goes.... 1) Finish picking up and doing some cleaning around the house, including a few loads of laundry. 2) Do some outside chores, including watering some almost dead plants and returning some items to their proper place that have been left outside for too long. For instance, there's a bike, swimming pool ladder, wet/dry vac, and grill sitting outside the basement garage door that are sort of "ruining the landscape" at the moment. Just in case someone might actually drive by and be slightly interested in looking at our home (it's still for sale), these things need to be put away. 3) Take the girls to the library. 4) Go downstairs to school room and begin making list of needed school supplies since I'm tentatively planning to begin school in about two weeks. 5) Prepare supper for tonight: Meatloaf, slaw, cream potatoes, and cornbread.

Snacks I enjoy ~ Tortilla chips w/cheese dip, slices of jalapeno cheese with crackers, juicy apples, brownies and lemonade from Chick-Fil-A.

Things I would do if I were a millionaire ~ Purchase a country, spacious home (not too big, not too small, but just the right size) on lots of acres for organic gardening and recreation with a barn for our grass fed milk cows and horses - we'd also have well water and solar power. We'd have an assortment of other animals also such as chickens and goats and a Great Pyrenees dog to take care of everything. Of course we'd need a swimming pool and hot tub. I would have a comfortable-size RV for taking family trips and maybe a condo or home on a beach somewhere for those times when we don't feel like driving the RV. A guest cottage would be built on the property for the in-laws when they're visiting or for other friends/family/someone-in-need needing a temporary place to stay. Lastly, we'd go ahead and get that minivan and pontoon boat. I could probably go on and on, but I'll stop there.

Places I have lived ~ Buchanan, Ga.; Tallapoosa, Ga.; Bremen, Ga.

You have now been tagged:

Elizabeth - Finding My Heart at Home
Cari - The Peanut's Gallery
Madison - Maddie's Space
Becky - Better Make It Through Today (Becky, I know you've already been tagged, but that just makes it that much easier! I don't actually know any of the other people whose blogs I read.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Results.

We didn't win, but we did have a great time. Madison played really well - mostly at short stop but did play a couple of innings at 1st base. Her team did a good job each night for the first few innings but somehow fell apart in the last two innings. Usually after these All-Star tournaments, there's a bit of crying going on among the girls as they're sad about losing and sad about it being over with, but this year it was different.

The girls seemed to leave as happy as they were when they started. I think it may have something to do with the fact that it's really not over for all of them. Madison is the only homeschooler on the team, but she and a few of the other girls tried out for a new, local travel team a few weeks ago, so they'll be playing throughout the summer and fall on that team. It's not a rigorous schedule at all, and I think it will be a good opportunity for her to learn more and at the same time get away from rec. ball, as this same travel team will be playing together next spring. Not that rec. ball hasn't been fun, but she could only play another year or so there anyway. The rest of the girls are trying out for the local middle school team, which tryouts/practices last until August, so they had that to look forward to.

Another fun aspect of our trip was that Madison has a friend whose family has a lake lot at Lake Weiss, which was only 35-40 minutes from the ball fields. The wife and daughter invited me and my girls to spend the night there with them on Monday night in their RV and spend the day Tuesday at the lake before traveling to the game Tuesday night. (The dads had to work Tuesday.) We took them up on the offer and had a great time. It was like a mini vacation.

Now we have other things to tend to today. A ball hit Madison's pinky finger in a strange fashion on Sunday during a practice, and it does not seem to be getting any better. She kept it taped up during all of the games, and it really hurts to even touch it without the tape on. It's a little crooked and swollen (I had thought it was just jammed, but now I'm not sure), so we may have to have it looked at today.....

Monday, June 23, 2008

District Softball Tournaments


We will be going this afternoon and tomorrow to the 12 and under girls district fast-pitch softball tournament in which Madison will be participating. Please pray for safety for the girls on the field and everyone as we are traveling - it's about a two-hour drive one way.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Childbirth Without Fear.......Really?

I've been doing a little research on natural childbirth, and when I was at the library last week, I checked out a couple of books on the subject. (I'm also awaiting 3 or 4 more via interlibrary loan.) The first book I'm reading is Childbirth Without Fear by Grantly Dick-Read. I believe it was originally written in the 1930s with some updates up to the 1970s. Obviously, a lot has changed in this arena since that time, but there are of course some things that never change.

I like the idea of what he is saying, but I have a hard time believing I could put it into practice. As we're awaiting birth #4, I often think about the previous three. If anyone mentioned natural childbirth to me during those times, I was likely to stick my fingers in my ears and close my eyes. That is a subject I intentionally stayed far away from.

Upon arriving at the hospital with all three, I was anxious to get the IVs in and the drugs started. Every time the doctor would come in, I would ask the question, "Is it time for the epidural yet?" With the first two, I was actually given morphine to help me relax and get the labor going. It worked with the first delivery, and the whole labor and delivery is quite cloudy in my mind as I was pretty out of it with such a strong drug. With the second delivery, the morphine didn't help as it was actually a false alarm and I was sent home - where I slept off the drug for several hours. When I returned a few days later for the real delivery, all I was given was stadol, so that delivery was a little more clear in my mind - probably also because it was the most traumatic of the three. Not that anything went wrong, but she was 9 lbs 1 oz, and the other two were 6 lbs 13 oz and 7 lbs 7 oz - a VERY noticeable difference! The last delivery was definitely the easiest and quickest, so I'm hoping this one will be as well. (I was also given stadol round the clock with this delivery from beginning to end, along with a useless epidural.)

The funny thing is that I'm always anxious to get the epidural, but it has never worked on me. Every time, it only works on one side, and it is almost unbearable on the side that doesn't take. I do wonder if that makes things worse as the pain is centered at one spot instead of spread out... But, another funny thing, whenever I receive an epidural, the dilation process speeds up tremendously! That got me thinking.....

Dr. Dick-Read says that relaxation is the key to having a "pain-free" birth (I know, as a man he never actually experienced labor & delivery, but he did have a lot of case studies, so even though my mind is not believing what I'm reading, I'm trying to convince myself that there may be some truth in there somewhere). It seems I'm always anxious up to the point where I receive the epidural, and even though it doesn't work properly, there is some sort of relaxation that takes place afterwards - maybe because I know that I've done all I can do in regards to pain relief so now it's time to get the baby here? It does make sense that having your muscles, face, basically your whole body tensed up would fight against this natural process and even make it worse and more painful. I just wonder if I could convince myself of that while the event is actually taking place - without the aid of drugs/epidural?

I don't know if I could "relax" on my own. I distinctly remember arriving at the hospital with #3 after my water broke and sitting in the bed shaking so badly that I needed lots of covers. It wasn't because I was cold - it was because I was scared! One chapter in the book is about relaxation and how to make yourself relax, which was kind of helpful. In fact, I dozed off while reading it and doing some of the things it was suggesting - but it isn't anywhere near time for real labor & delivery, so that was a piece of cake!

I know that it's probably one of those mind over matter things, so I'll continue to read and receive more education in this area and then make a final decision - maybe. But of course I'll watch the epidural video beforehand so I'll be qualified to get it should I need it. After all, I have been receiving the chiropractic adjustments for the past four months, so who knows? It might would work this time. On the other hand, I read where chiropractic care, on average, decreases labor & delivery time by 30% and is supposed to aid in the overall process. So that definitely adds a plus to doing a natural delivery. (I wanted to note that I believe it is certainly helping at this point in the process as I don't seem to have the usual aches and pains, i.e. backache, as before, and I really don't even feel pregnant except for the change in clothing sizes!)

This is #4 and I should be a pro at this - yeah, right - but truth is, I'm not. Not even close. In fact, I haven't been able to think much about the actual baby as I've been too worried about getting it here. This is definitely something I'm praying about and asking for wisdom on.

If anyone knows of a good book I should be reading about this subject or an experience that would offer encouragement, I would love to hear about it. Feel free to e-mail me.

On another note, this Friday they'll do a sonogram and may be able to tell if it's a boy or a girl. I'll be sure to let you know!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Biblical Diet Pyramid & Menu Plan Monday


I was needing a little motivation this past week in the area of healthy eating, so I reached for my favorite book on the subject, "The Word on Health" by Dr. Michael Jacobson. While I've been under the cloud of nausea for the past few months, I've been resorting to eating what sounds good at the moment - sometimes it's been healthy and a lot of the time it hasn't! So, now that I'm feeling better, I needed a little push to get back on track.

As I was skimming the pages, I came across the Biblical Diet Pyramid. From the bottom up, here is what it suggests: DAILY - 6 to 10 glasses of pure water, 6+ whole grains (bread, cereals, pasta, rice), 4-6 vegetables (at least half raw), 3 fruits (fresh, raw), legumes (1), nuts, yogurt & cheese, and olive oil and butter for cooking, baking, dips, and dressings. A FEW TIMES A WEEK - poultry, fish (1-2), eggs (~4), tiny amount of sweets (I'm surprised that one is on there - I guess they realized we'd do it anyway so might as well give permission for a few?). ONCE A WEEK OR LESS - red meat.

With that in mind, I tried to follow some of these suggestions while making out my menu for the week. Here's what I came up with:

BREAKFASTS:
Saturday, Sunday and Monday are usually busy, so I opted for oatmeal, cereal, or bagels on those days.
Tuesday - Whole wheat pancakes with maple syrup, kiwi
Wednesday - Fresh baked whole wheat banana bread, strawberries
Thursday - Scrambled eggs with jelly toast (We like Polaner All Fruit grape jelly as it is sweetened only with fruit and fruit juice.)
Friday - Whole wheat cinnamon biscuits, fruit (whatever is left)

LUNCHES:
Saturday - softball game, had to eat out
Sunday - Delicious Father's Day meal at my sister's house
Monday - Fish sticks, organic macaroni & cheese, watermelon
Tuesday - Brown rice with organic gravy, organic baked beans, fresh peaches (I found this organic gravy pack at Ingles. All you have to do is add water and let it cook. I'm very interested in seeing how it's going to taste.)
W
ednesday - Whole wheat pasta salad, grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat, apples
Thursday - Turkey sandwiches on whole wheat, carrots w/dip, fruit (whatever is left)
Friday - out to eat (the girls & I generally eat out on Friday afternoons. We use coupons or eat off the dollar menus.)

SUPPERS:
Saturday - still playing softball (all day tournament), so had to eat out again!
Sunday - Whole wheat grilled chicken wraps, watermelon
Monday - Salsa chicken soup w/tortilla chips
Tuesday - Baked potatoes with organic chili, sour cream, butter, and cheese, and a salad (using regular lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, olives, cheese, bell pepper, celery, and boiled eggs)
Wednesday - Baked Talapia, brown rice, steamed broccoli w/cheese, whole wheat rolls
Thursday - Lasagna (using normal recipe but using ground turkey in place of ground beef and adding spinach and zucchini to the layers), whole wheat rolls
Friday - Leftovers or Brad and I order out or go out to eat (the girls have a standing date with my parents on Friday evenings)

So that's our menu for the week. It's hard to get in those 6+ whole grains, 4-6 vegetables, and 3 fruits a day, but I guess you have to start somewhere and then sneak them in where you can!

If you'd like to see more menu ideas, CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Something to consider -

Since my husband resigned as a pastor back in January, we have periodically been meeting with other families on Sunday mornings for worship. For the past couple of months, we've been meeting regularly, and what a blessing it has been. Up until two weeks ago, we were meeting in a local community building. We enjoyed meeting together there, but still something didn't seem quite right. Someone had suggested meeting in homes instead, and I immediately had the thought that maybe everyone would not fit comfortably in "our" home. My husband and I discussed it, and we thought we should give it a try and see how it worked out.

For the past two Sundays we've met in our home, and in my 36 years of life, I don't think I've ever enjoyed church more! We've been joining together in the living room and bringing in extra chairs as necessary. We have prayer requests and prayer, sing hymns, and have in depth study of God's Word. Afterwards, we have true fellowship as we sit around the table and eat our meal followed by lots of Biblical discussion with questions and answers (most of the time! - some things have to be studied), burdens shared, and an atmosphere created where we can truly get to know one another and learn from each other. It is so much more comfortable meeting in a home and allows for more intimate fellowship, which Christians definitely need more of.

A friend of ours sent us a link to an article that I just read this morning. It is amazing how it articulates, explains, and instructs in exactly what I am finding to be true! We don't usually try to explain to anyone what we're doing in regards to church worship as most people just don't understand how you can worship if you're not in a formal church building. In fact, my husband and I have both had people ask us where we're going to church, and when we say we're meeting in our home with other families, we usually get the "Oh, I am so sorry you can't find a church" look and then they go on to invite us to their church. It's like they are trying to sell us something as they go on to say what wonderful Sunday School classes they have, along with children's church - and don't forget the remarkable youth group! I usually just smile and say "thank you for the invitation." It would be great if I could print out this article and hand it out during times like this and say, "this is why we're doing what we're doing." But I really don't feel led to do that either. I guess that's why I'm posting it here - in case some of you that know us have been wondering why we're doing what we're doing.

I'm not trying to encourage everyone to leave their church and start meeting in their home. I'm just excited about what I'm experiencing, and I wanted to share the article I mentioned as it has too many important truths to miss.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts from - or ideas that I can truly relate to:

"Thomas Vincent (1634-1678), remarking about God’s judgment on the city of London after the Great Plague, laid the responsibility for the errors and waywardness of the people at the feet of the churches and of the pastors. They had left preaching the whole Word of God in not preaching judgment and repentance for sin. He soberly remarked, “…when so many pillars were removed, no wonder if the building tumble to the ground.” Similarly today, the pillars of truth are removed from where they are needed the most. Our nation is already reeling back and forth, about to collapse as a swelling wall. Why is this so? Does not America have an abundance of church buildings in every community? Are there not church programs available in every age group and interest? How can there be so many church organizations, yet our nation so cold toward God? Why are there countless hundreds of thousands of professing Christians who are so lukewarm to the things of God that their ‘light’ couldn’t even be seen with night vision? Why are there countless ‘Christian’ organizations, programs, and institutions that are filled with useless salt? Why does one have to search high and low to find a Christian brother or sister who is sold out for God?"

"Why can Christians be so fervent and zealous in their attendance and participation at ‘church’ events, yet have little appetite for the things of God? The answer is that they are never told or instructed in what the Church truly is. Most Christians grow up learning that the church organization down the street is the only God-ordained method of growing in the Lord, and that any other mode is backsliding. Hence, week after week, they perform the same rituals over and over again, ever mindful not to miss a single service – because if they do, then ‘obviously’ they do not love the things of the Lord. Nothing could be further from the truth. This mindset has subtly convinced many Christians that their spirituality is not their dedication and relationship to God, but comes from their dedication to a position (pastor) and to their organization (local ‘church’)." (I have DEFINITELY been there!!)

"I strongly believe that many ‘churches’ in America today think of ‘church’ along Roman Catholic lines – that as an organization with a similar power structure. The Assembly/Church is not a ‘church’ in the sense of the Sunday ritual that most Christians go through the motions of. It is not even limited to the sense of a Bible study. It most certainly has zero resemblance to the modern “cell group” nonsense. The Assembly/Church is a gathering of believers as the ekklesia or called-out people in Jesus Christ that is arranged and likened to a family."

"So many Christians have their concept of ‘church’ opposite of what the Bible teaches. Many people think that ‘church’ is a large group of people, and if you are not in a large group, you are backsliding, or stealing people from the pastors........Oftentimes, the sincere followers of Christ are not in large congregations. Most often they fellowship with each other in small groups throughout the week. Often, most Christians will tell you that ‘church’ is where you go to a building, sing a song or two, pay money, and then sit quietly for about forty-five minutes listening to a pastor preach. However, again, the Bible lays out that the true Church is defined by it interaction and fellowship like a family. Nowhere does God tie the New Testament concept of church with a building or location."

"It absolutely breaks my heart to see so many ‘churches’ and Christians with a shallow understanding of what true fellowship is. Fellowship is not greeting one another, talking about the sports game, weather, school activities, or some other trivial stubble. True fellowship is not even what takes place in these expensive ‘fellowship halls’ that ‘churches’ build. Most of what takes place in the foyers and halls of churches would classify as social activity. Nothing wrong in that, except that it is mistaken for fellowship. True fellowship is communion and intimate familiarity. How many of the Christians at your local ‘church’ do you know their spiritual burdens and joys? How many of them know your ‘spiritual temperature’ and exhort, edify, and encourage you accordingly? The early church had “singleness of heart, praising God…” not because they all had the same membership, or the same pastor’s mindset, or because they had just started a collective building program – no, they could all praise God because they had a closeness with each other to where they could encourage each other in what was most important to all of them – their walk with God."


I could go on and on, but I'll stop there. If you want to read the article in its entirety, click here and then scroll down and click on the article The Church: Edifice or Family.