Monthly Archives: October 2011

What do Stay-at-Home Moms Do All Day?

Someone posted this on Facebook recently and I thought it was a nice description of what being a Stay-at-Home Mom (or Dad) is all about:

Dear Carolyn Article, taken from the “Dear Carolyn” Opinion column in the Washington Post and others…

“Why don’t friends with kids have time?” by Carolyn Hax (The Washington Post)

Dear Carolyn: Best friend has child. Her: exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, etc. Me (no kids): What’d you do today? Her: Park, play group…..OK, I’ve talked to parents, I don’t get it. What do stay-at-home-moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners … I do all those things, too. I guess what I’m asking is: What is a typical day and why don’t moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events); I manage to get it all done. I’m feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy, but if so, why won’t my friend tell me the truth? Is this a contest (“my life is so much harder than yours”)? What’s the deal? I’ve got friends with and without kids and all us child-free folks have the same questions. -Tacoma, Wash.

Dear Tacoma: Relax and enjoy. You’re funny. Or, you’re lying about having friends with kids. Or, you’re taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven’t personally been in the same room with them. I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand, while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are either lying or competing with you, is disingenuous indeed. So, because it’s validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, cleaned, dressed; to keeping them out of harm’s way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces checkout-line screaming. It’s needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15. It’s constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier. It’s constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends. It’s resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone’s long-term expense. It’s doing all this while con-currently teaching virtually everything – language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything. It’s also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spend all day, every day, with this brand of joy, and then, when you got your first ten minutes to yourself, wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend, a good friend wouldn’t judge you, complain about you or marvel how much more productively she uses her time. Either make a sincere effort to understand, or keep your snit to yourself. – Carolyn

I’m thankful that my friends and family without children currently do not have an attitude like this woman! Thanks Tiffany, Cathie, Emily, Maddy, Amy, and Shannon for being full of empathy and understanding.

Christians and Emotions

Warning, this blog entry is Scripture-heavy! And there is so much more that can be said about this topic, this rambling entry is just a drop in the bucket. I apologize if I don’t do this topic justice…

I was recently at a small group at church where we were sharing how we feel God speaks to us or leads us. One of the group members brought up Jeremiah 17:9 which states (NIV): “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, who can understand it?” to discount God using emotions or our hearts as a way to experience Him. I have heard this verse many times over the years, I even have it memorized, and believe there is truth in it, but it is a pet peeve of mine when people use it to discount our emotions.

Over the years, I’ve found that this verse is usually brought up by Christians who are analytical and big thinkers, not by people who are driven by their emotions (the very people that might want to look at following their hearts or emotions without evaluating whether they should). These people are taking a stand against having emotions play a significant role in their faith walk and would rather it be thought-driven alone. There are multiple problems with this stance.

One, it doesn’t allow for the emotional content of the Scriptures to be valued. Anyone who thinks emotions don’t play a role in our faith walk has not spent much time in the Psalms! I briefly looked into how many times the heart is mentioned in Scripture. My commentary lists that the word is used over 200 times (and this is just an estimate, I stopped counting at a certain point)! So to base all of your beliefs about the heart on Jeremiah 17:9 alone is short-sighted! And it’d also be good to know what Biblical authors meant when using the word “heart”. Does it means our emotions? Is it our attitude? How does it differ from our soul or mind? That is a study for a different day.

Two, focusing solely on Jeremiah 17:9 to describe the condition of the human heart regardless of it’s connection or redemption by God (and thus always undependable or evil), doesn’t take into consideration that our minds and thoughts are also distorted from sin and fall short of fully understanding or knowing God. Scripture talks about this over and over: Romans 12:2 states: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”, I Corinthians 1: 10 says: “For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” and Isaiah 55:8 states: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Engaging with God with our minds solely will only get us so far.

And three, it doesn’t provide for a holistic view of who we are as people walking with God. God has given us both a brain and a heart! Both are fallen and distorted due to sin, but both can and are redeemed as we draw closer to God. Matthew 22:37 is a great summary verse, “Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Our hearts are definitely called to be involved in our relationship with God, not just our minds!

I think I react so strongly to this type of narrow perspective because the Christianity I originally experienced when younger focused on right thinking and right theology which people believed should lead to right behavior. It ignored emotions and relational experiences. It was brain-heavy, but lacked heart. The mind was the focus rather than cultivating a relationship with God where as we draw near to Him, He changes not only our thinking patterns, but also our emotions. As I got older, I saw a lot of people react to this style of Christianity and swing to the opposite extreme—focusing on emotions and experiences only. This can also be seen in the move from modernism to post-modernism. In modernism, science, facts, and the mind are the ultimate, in post-modernism, there is no such thing as truth and facts are seen as overrated. Experience and emotions become the most important thing. I believe there needs to be room in our faith for truth and facts (from God’s word) but also emotions and our own personal experiences.

Having been a therapist for years, I have seen up close and personal how it is not just messed up emotions that lead to problems, but also thought processes. Problems arise not just when we let our emotions get the best of us, but also when we don’t check our thoughts against truth (both anger and anxiety are two easy examples of emotional problems that have HUGE mental components to them). Our thoughts and our feelings are closely linked—not just to each other, but also to our behaviors. How often do our thoughts justify our behaviors—behaviors that hurt others, behaviors that are selfish? One of the psychological theories most often used (and most effective) with juvenile delinquents and adult criminals is called cognitive behavioral therapy. Simplistically, it states that if you want to change behavior, you need to address the thoughts behind the behavior. This concept lines up with Biblical concepts. II Corinthians 10:5b reminds us, “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ…” So from a biblical and a secular standpoint, it is clear that trying to curb or change behavior or character without looking at your thoughts won’t get you very far.

Our emotions are also an important part of what it means to be human. They tell us something about ourselves, our experiences, and are a crucial part to relationships (with both other people and God). We shouldn’t be led by them, but to fully ignore or discount them is wrong. There is a reason we were equipped with negative emotions such as fear, guilt, or even anger. To let these emotions take over our lives is unwise, but they can protect us, challenge us to make a change, or make us aware that something wrong on injust is occurring. And to forego savoring more positive emotions or experiences such as joy, peace, happiness, delight, well, that is just depressing!

God calls us to love him with our hearts and minds, checking both what our emotions and minds are telling us with our knowledge of Him through His Word. A faith walk that ignores either emotions or thoughts is not a holistic, healthy faith. By focusing solely on one part of it, you miss out on a whole other way of knowing God.

*Are you more of a thinker or feeler?
*How is this tendency seen in your faith journey with God?
*What is more risky to you—exploring your feelings in relation to your walk with God or digging deeper into the intellectual or thoughts-aspect of faith?

I like how the Message translates Jeremiah 17:9-10 because it addresses not only the heart, but also the mind. “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”
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Jeremiah 24:7 “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”

Psalms 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

PediaSure Boy

Evan found a PediaSure box and climbed in. The irony is that he has drank so much PediaSure (a high calorie, nutritional drink for children) over the past 1 1/2 years, he’s basically Pediasure in a PediaSure box!

I made the mistake of pulling him around in the box, which he loved and kept begging for more…my back did not appreciate this!

Evan on a Fall Day

We are blessed with a huge back yard. Evan loves to run around in it, kick his ball, play with dirt, push his doll stroller (and sit in it–he’s still small enough to do so), and chase Zoe!


Evan was fascinated with the dirt but then didn’t like when his hands got dirty!

Today’s Musings

Keep a clear eye toward life’s end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God’s creature. What you are in His sight is what you are and nothing more. Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received—fading symbols of honor, trappings of power—but only what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, and courage. –Brennan Manning, p. 86

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Psalm 62
5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

11 One thing God has spoken,
two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
according to what they have done.”

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He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young. (Good thing because I need it!)

Isaiah 40:11

Another Yummy Recipe!

This recipe is courtesy of the Greenwood Community Church MOPS Favorite Recipe Book. The specific recipe is from Jennifer Ridge–to give credit where credit is due. We had this the other night for dinner (it’s technically a breakfast dish per the book) and it was DELICIOUS. Ryan’s not a super huge vegetable eater and even he loved it! Can’t wait to make it again:

Zucchini Pie

1 lb. ground sausage (I used a chicken sausage and it tasted great)
1/4 c. butter
4 c. zucchini, thinly sliced
3 c. onion, chopped
2 large eggs
2 c. cheese, shredded
1 (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. oregano (fresh if you can, I used dried)
1 tsp. basil (fresh if you can, I used dried)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease an 11×7 baking dish. In a large skillet cook sausage over medium high heat until brown and crumbly. Drain and set aside. Melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and zucchini: cook over medium high heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently or until most of liquid has evaporated. In a large bowl whisk together egg, parsley, mustard, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir in sausage, zucchini mixture and cheeses; set aside. Unroll cresent roll dough and press into bottom and up the sides of prepared baking dish pressing edges together to seal. Pour mixture over rolls. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve. Serves 8-10. **Freezes and doubles well. Freeze before baking.

Next Step Feeding & Behavioral Services–God’s Latest Blessing!

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives! Today is the start of new progress with Evan’s eating because today we met with the most amazing professional who has given me true HOPE for the first time in a long while. Hope that we are going to get some weight on Evan and get him eating a variety of foods. Today was our first session with Nissa from Next Step Feeding and Behavioral Services. Check out her website at: www.nextstepfeeding.com.

God has blessed us with other amazing specialists: Tiffani (physical therapist) and Erin (speech therapist who also specializes in oral/motor and feeding issues) have done amazing things with Evan’s developmental delays. Both were strength based, fun for Evan, effective at working on his issues, and encouragers to Ryan and I as well, but Evan’s feeding issues have stumped many a professional. After a year of begging for specialized feeding help, our special education service coordinators have hooked us up with Nissa, who was strongly recommended by Erin and by another feeding expert in the area. She will be paid for by our special education services currently which is a huge answer to prayer as other feeding specialists run $800-900 per day and most insurance companies do not cover them.

After my first conversation over the phone with Nissa, I was so excited. Then she sent me her web address and I read the testimonials and started to cry. One parent’s comment verbalized what I felt after talking to her, “…then, we met Nissa and the main thing we took away from the first encounter was that there was HOPE and there might be a solution.” The tears just started flowing and didn’t stop for a while. It made me realize how I had started to feel hopeless that things would change with Evan’s eating. I’ve been pushing through feeding Evan daily and trying not to get depressed that he’s not growing (some days are better than others emotionally), but under that desire to try to maintain a positive attitude and trust God, I guess there was such a feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness that I wouldn’t let myself dwell on. Experiencing true hope again felt like I was so thirsty and finally had something to drink!

Nissa is setting us up with a feeding schedule that will allow us to increase the volume of how much Evan eats without pressuring him too much. She’s also advising on us on high calorie options for food and beverages (Evan drank high calorie Pediasure for 1 ½ years but has started to refuse it—now we’ll start giving him Resource Breeze, a high calorie juice I knew nothing about) and will teach me how to make high calorie purees (as baby foods have a lot of water and are lower calorie). We will also implement new behavioral techniques to address the ways Evan avoids eating during meals: food refusal (he keeps his mouth closed, will lock a spoon into it by biting on it hard, makes noises with his mouth, turns away, etc.), spitting out his food, and yelling. Evan will eventually connect that the only way he gets down is when the required food is gone but it will be done in a fun way instead of a power-struggling way. I’m excited to get better at this as I do not enjoy power struggling with a toddler!

When Ryan heard how well the first session went, he too got emotional. This issue has taken a big toll on our whole family. It’s so stressful worrying about your child’s health and watching them get thinner and thinner every day. The threat of having to get a feeding tube has been very real in our lives, but we believe with this new treatment, it won’t happen. We are praising God for this new season in our lives with Evan and can’t wait to celebrate as the numbers on the scale get bigger and bigger.

Fall is here…which means warm, comfort food….

Here are a few of the things I’ve been cooking up (or baking) lately…

Corn & Wild Rice Chowder

Ingredients:
5 fresh ears of corn or one 10 oz. pkg of frozen corn
3 slices of bacon
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups of milk
1 1/2 cups of water
1/4 cup of flour
1 Tbsp. snipped fresh parsley
3/4 cup of cooked wild rice
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (crushed)
2 tsp. instant chicken bouillon
1 bay leaf

Instructions:
1.) Cook up the bacon, cut or crumble the bacon up, and set it aside for later. Sautee the chopped onion in the bacon drippings.
2.) In a deep skillet, add sauteed onion to 1 1/2 cups of water, parsley, thyme, bouillon, bay leaf, pepper, and corn. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.) Stir in 1 3/4 cups of milk. Combine flour with the remaining 1/4 cup of milk and stir into the corn mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for one additional minute.
4.) Add wild rice and cook until heated through.
5.) Remove bay leaf.
6.) Garnish each serving with crumbled bacon.
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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (Mom’s Recipe)

Ingredients:
2 Sticks of Imperial Gold Margarine
4 Eggs
2 Tsp. Vanilla
4 Cups Flour (I usually use whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 to 2 and 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of milk
7 large, ripe bananas (approx. 3 and 1/2 cups)
2 tsp. baking soda (in high altitude, reduce this to 1 tsp.)
1 cup of chopped pecans
1/4 cup of raw sugar

Instructions:
1.) Cream imperial gold and sugar.
2.) Add eggs, vanilla, and milk, beating well.
3.) Alternately add mashed bananas and flour and baking soda.
4.) Stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.
5.) Pour batter into three bread pans (lined with aluminum foil).
6.) Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips on top. Then sprinkle raw sugar on top of the banana bread batter (this makes the top nice and crunchy–like Perkin’s muffins).
7.) Bake for 50-60 minutes at 325 degrees or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.