Thursday, May 8, 2014

Gluten hypocrisy

I feel it coming.
The same way I can smell the rain before the storm and sense when someone is sneaking chocolate chips from the pantry after bedtime, I can see this coming.
There's this growing disgust and impatience with all things gluten-free.
Rather, with the people who claim to be "on a gluten-free diet".

Let's clear some things up here, mmmkay?

First of all...I've been gluten-free since before it was cool. (where's THAT t-shirt?!) It was circa 2005 when I began struggling pretty seriously with some depression. I was deeeeep into my funk of 40,000 years when my mom (probably tired of getting sobbing phone calls from 8 hours away) insisted that I come see her doctor. Her doctor did his full exam, some scans and we talked a lot, then he handed me a copy of "The Specific Carbohydrate Diet" and said "read this. This is your new life."

They say there are 7 stages of grief.

Within the first 2 weeks I had spent most of my days waffling around between the 6 less-productive stages while bemoaning the lack of anything yummy in my (stupid, horrible, torturous) diet. Somewhere around the end of week 2, I hit my stride and decided to suck it up and be a big kid and just do the thing for the (whole stupid) 6 months. I immediately dropped 20lbs, felt better, had more energy, and realized how sick I had been for who knows how long.

After 6-8 months on the super restrictive portion of the SCDiet, I began slooooowly reintroducing some foods into my diet. It was immediately/violently/horrifically obvious that gluten was NOT my friend. Think sudden onset of food poisoning while having the flu with a side of severe hangover and you've pretty much got it. Therefore, no gluten.

What is gluten, you ask? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt and triticale. It gives breads their stretchiness and allows for sweet little air pockets to form when the yeast eats the sugars in your breads and makes them rise and get all puffy and lovely. It hides in plain sight in mysterious ingredients like "modified food starch" and "malt flavoring". It is present in all forms of wheat - white bread, whole wheat bread, honey whatever brown colored bread, and sadly, biscuits with chocolate gravy. *sob*

What happened within the past two years is that several books were written which prescribed a gluten-free diet for any number of issues from IBS and IBD to ADHD and RBGH. (I made that last one up. Well, not's a thing. That's the growth hormone they give cows to make them produce more milk. But gluten may make those cows more gross... I don't know.) Popular celebrities touted the GF diet for helping them lose weight or getting rid of ____ annoying issue they were having. I know that for ME... going off gluten DID solve some big health problems, but those problems were a symptom of my gluten intolerance. I didn't do this to lose weight. It IS possible to go gluten-free and gain a butt-load of weight. (see what I did there?)

However, suddenly in the past few weeks there's been this rising discontent with those who have decided to "go gluten-free". I feel ya. There's a BUNCH of uneducated sheeple out there who have jumped all onto this GF train without knowing even what gluten IS and what it is NOT.
There are diners in restaurants all over the country (world?) who are ordering the gluten-free pasta with a mouth full of rosemary focaccia. They brag about being gluten-free "95% of the time... except sometimes I cheat a little!" Therein lies the problem. I can't just decide to "cheat a little". True gluten-intolerance or celiac disease is ONLY controlled through strict adherence to an absolutely 100% gluten-free diet. This means NO, if you have "a gluten allergy" you absolutely can NOT have just the tiniest piece of the "world's best triple cocoa chocolate chip mega ultra fabulousness cake" someone brought in to work. Not even a LITTLE! AND YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO! You'd know that the "tiny taste" leads to near-death on the toilet.

This gluten hypocrisy is the problem.

Here's what we (speaking for the majority of the truly intolerant/allergic GF community here) need for you part-time GF dieters to do:

Say "I try to limit the amount of gluten that I consume." 

See what just happened there? You've maintained your cool status by being on the latest trend, while admitting that you aren't going to be sick in bed for any number of days or spend your evening hugging the toilet if someone slips you the wrong bottle of soy sauce for your California roll.

Because when you go out to eat and you blab on and on about your gluten-free dietary needs, and how you need a special menu and how you want to be sure the chef understands that your meal needs to be totally gluten-free... but then you nibble on the bread or grab a crouton off your neighbor's salad... you are unintentionally training the servers, kitchen staff, management and other diners near by to discredit TRUE gluten intolerance as a "thing". (See previous blog I wrote about THIS tool who calls himself a chef, yet bragged on facebook about purposely serving wheat-based pasta to patrons requesting GF.)

Why am I back on my blog after a 4 month absence to talk about gluten?
Because I'm tired of feeling like a bandwaggon hopper for whispering "can you be sure this is gluten-free? No like REALLY. I have an actual allergy, not a skinny jeans problem."  
 I got sick today due to (probable) cross-contamination. That's when I order something safe (from the allergen menu on the nutritional information page from the company's own website) and somehow it comes into contact with something glutenny in the kitchen, gets sprinkled with the wrong seasoning, or SOMEthing... and I wind up wishing I had an in-home stomach pump machine. As I lay here in bed sweating with a horribly sick stomach, I read blog posts like this one and I really wish I could talk to this server in person. I shouldn't have to prove my level of gluten sensitivity in order to be taken seriously by the restaurant staff.

I am a mom of 12. My husband works in the food and beverage industry (read: gone alllllll the time). I guess you could say I don't get out much, and so when I do... I feel like I should be allowed the decency of your respect for my dietary restrictions. Does it kill you to leave off the croutons? Am I wasting your precious time if I ask what is in the marinade or if the fish is dredged in flour? You see, angry server/blogger, WE - the patrons of the restaurants - we make your job possible. No customers = no need for servers. I don't correct you when you tell me that "yes, it's wild salmon. It's wild Atlantic salmon.", because sweetpea... there isn't such a thing. All Atlantic salmon is farmed. So, please remember that even though a lot of patrons are simply testing the waters of the gluten-free abyss, there are others of us who are well-versed and know our way around a menu, we just need a little cooperation on your part.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

If you're a friend of mine on Facebook... I didn't block you. I didn't get my panties all in a wad because you posted something political/controversial and push that little "delete" button.

I took some time off of Facebook.
It's not about you.
It was TOTALLY about me.

I needed to do some soul-searching.

I was in a giant funk. Like really big. Like if you took the grouchiness over driving 26 miles to the nearest Kroger with a Starbucks to do your grocery shopping just so you could have your iced coffee made by someone other than your own self only to discover the aforementioned Starbucks was closed for a maintenance check up and COMBINED that with having ANOTHER dead chicken because, clearly, your number one thing on your nightly reminder list (above "did you brush your teeth?" and "did you go to the bathroom" and "you better not be wearing your pajamas over your dirty clothes") is "did you remember to close the chicken coop?" * Yeah. I was in a funk.
 *world's longest barely-coherent sentence. I'm not fixing it. See what a rebel I've become on my Facebook break??

So what drove me over the edge?
Well, I feel like I'm a pretty "real" person.
I suddenly felt like a "real" person drowning in a sea of over-achieving, party-planning, fun-having, happy-go-lucky, sunshine-and-roses, pooping-out-sprinkle-dipped-rainbow-colored-unicorns, life-is-grand, Mother-of-the year types.

Several of you out there have got this rose-colored-glasses thing DOWN!
I mean, (in an effort to not offend my Facebook friends, names have been left off to protect the perpetually sunshiney) here is a sampling of what I was reading:
(Artistic liberty taken, sarcastic flair added...)
"OHMYGOSH! I could just explode I'm just so in LOOOOOVE with my kid's morning breath! I mean, I'm just so BLESSED! He literally smells like a spring meadow covered in dew! #fabulouslife"

"My kids are such athletic geniuses!! All they do is WIN WIN WIN! #theygetitfromme #mygeneticpoolisbubblingwithlivingwater "

"I just love homeschooling! Every day is such a fabulous encounter with knowledge and learning and fabulousness! I just LOVE glitter all over the house! Playdoh is FABULOUS! Look at these paper mache'  busts we made of the founding fathers today in History of every single minute detail of the American Revolution class! Aren't they FABULOUS!? Oh my gosh! This one looks EXACTLY like John Adams! #homeschoolROCKS #INEVERwanttosendmykidstoboardingschool #yousuck #Iwin "

"I'm just so excited for our gigantic, super expensive, you-and-your-giant-family-will-never-afford-this trip to DisneyVille with our 2 perfect, spoiled children! We only get to go once a quarter, so this is SUCH a treat!! I've hand-sewn these matching pima cotton jumpers in matching micro-Mickey-head swiss dot fabric that I purchased from a fair-trade, free-range, organic leprosy colony in Mozambique! Aren't they PRECIOUS! #notonlyarewegoingtoDisneybutIdoitbetterthanyouevercould"

I think you catch my drift.

People, I was in a funk of comparison. 
"She's a better mom than me. She's NEVER annoyed at her kids. They will arise and call her blessed WAY before she's on her death bed for SURE."

"She puts her kids in SO many activities! They're going to be so well-rounded. I can barely make sure my kids are wearing clean-ish clothes every day, much less make it to all those practices, games and coaching sessions! I must be a horrible time-manager."

"She is like the president and CEO of homeschooling. If there was a Nobel prize for this, they'd definitely win. I would not get an invite to be a seat-filler at the Homeschooling Nobel Prize awards show. I'm just glad when we get through the day without someone crying because I told them they reversed their b and d again! What's with the homemade crafty stuff?! Don't these women sleep? Where do they come up with these ideas?? My kids should begin focusing on greeting people with a smile and saying 'would you like to super size that?' because that's about where we are headed if this is the standard."

"My poor kids. They have so much less than their peers. We've never taken a family vacation that wasn't to visit relatives and we will likely NEVER get to Disney. The tickets alone are ridiculous, not to mention the FOOD these people put away! Are they storing it in their hollow leg in anticipation of the Zombie Apocalypse?? Who eats 5 chicken legs at dinner?  I don't know if they'd have agreed to large-family-life if they'd known what all they'd miss out on."

So, in a fit of "I'm tired of feeling like a failure AND tired of thinking everyone has their crap together other than me" rage, I deleted the FB app from my phone, then logged in from my computer and deleted my account. I didn't make any big to-do about it, just Poof. Gone. I went radio-silent. I have a separate account for my business (anyone who tried to add me there, I just don't use that page for anything which is why I haven't looked at my friend requests.)

And here's what I learned.
Facebook isn't about being REAL.
It's about FACE value. It's about writing the fairytale BOOK about your life. The parts of the book you WANT people to see. It's not about being REAL in any way, shape or form. AND I'm able to get through the day without knowing what you put in your green smoothie or how much you looooove your new cockapootreiver, LoveBug.

And so, I was talking with a friend a week or so ago and explaining my epiphany when she said
"YOU are that person to me. YOU are the one I can't measure up to. YOU are the one I feel like I want to BE when I grow up."
Uhmmmm... what?
Suddenly it became very weird for me. The very thing I was avoiding, I had become.
Was I giving people a false-view of my life? Was I portraying that everything here at Drama Llama Ranch is sunshine and sprinkles? What on earth...??

So... after giving it some thought, I realized that Facebook is basically hallway talk. It's passing by someone in the hall after church. You're focused on getting your kids out of their classes and getting everyone loaded into the van and hopefully not forgetting anyone and figuring out what you can feed everyone for lunch because FOR THE LOVE it's been 3 whole hours since they've eaten anything and they might DIE... and you say "Hey! Long time no see! How is everyone?" and she replies "GREAT!! The kids and I are loving homeschooling, my husband is able to be home 6 days a week now and we just bought a kiwi berry farm out on 500 acres just outside of town with a barn so we can get a dairy cow! How are YOU??"

For a moment you stand there and consider dipping it all in donut glaze and rolling it in happiness, but instead...

"Well, my husband is out of town for the next 10 days, my kids have eaten cereal for 3 of the past 4 meals, I've been plagued by migraines for which I'm blaming the Polar Vortex, I feel like I stink at homeschooling since the majority of my children can't read yet and one of the ones I've had since birth asked me this week if he doubled 1/4 if it was a cup or half a cup, I'm 37 with 12 kids and for some reason I STILL want a baby and I know it will never happen but I can't let it go and it causes me great struggle in my spiritual life, I wish I made more money to do things like vacations and building a barn and a fence so we could have a dairy cow and maybe raise some for beef, too...but... YEAH we are all just FABULOUS!

What if we stepped out of the hallway every so often and shut the door into a quiet place with our friend and said "but how are you REALLY doing?"

What IF we all realized that we ALL have good days and bad days, but most days land somewhere in between?

What if we started to live life OFFline more than ONline?

What if we suddenly were able to see THROUGH the fog of happy-shroud and see the real life moments behind the madness? What if we read those super over-the-top braggy posts and instead saw the bedraggled mom who really just needs a moment to breathe, pray, have a bite of something yummy and carry on with her day? Maybe she's just a name-it-and-claim-it Facebooker. Faking it until she makes it. It's all good, Rainbow Brite! We feel ya!

If I've ever given you the impression that I have all my junk together, please let this post destroy that notion.

If I've ever made you feel inferior in any way by talking about something in my life, please know that there are 800 other things I feel like I fail at EVERY SINGLE DAY behind that one success.

And to the mommas out there dragging themselves to the coffee pot each day and begging it to percolate faster so that you can MAYBE finish that one cup of joe before the kids are all clamoring for breakfast and fighting for the "best" seat at the table... I'm right there with ya.

For the mommas who feel like they're failing at raising their children, failing at schooling them at home or failing while sending them off to are NOT alone.

For the mommas of a bajillionty kids like me who struggle with balancing the feelings we ALL have about what we can and can't provide...repeat my mantra after me "no one ever died from not going to disney." Our kids are growing up with the added benefit of living in a large family. Employers will know they can work well with others, they can be a team-player, and they will take few sick days because they've already been exposed to everything under the sun.

And with that... I feel healthy enough to come visit you in Facebook land again.

Until you start with that everyday-is-a-fancy-schmancy-holiday-at-our-home crap again.
That's the day I block your sunshiney self in the name of my own mental health.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Get it out of my brain

I have a child who I find it particularly hard to connect with.
I know....... you're all shocked.
I'll give you a moment while you silently remove my "mother of the century" label from my contact in your phone and text your besties "Did you hear the one about Chrissy.....?!?"
It makes me feel like a failure. And maybe I have failed in a lot of ways so far this morning.

Anyway, this child.
He's a pleaser. He is a perfectionist. He tries WAY too hard.
He whispers when he asks for something. He insists others follow every rule, even some he made up because he thought it was a rule I'd like. He uses phrases he's picked up in the wrong timing like "Hey mom, at least lunch was delicious!"
It has been known to drive me to the brink of insanity and make me say things like
"I just wish ONCE he'd break a rule or do something wrong so I would know he's really a child!"
I know some of you are parenting a child like this...
and you're laughing or maybe just solemnly nodding. 

Moving back towards the point... last night I was given a small gift.

Ahhh, the "golden hour". Some refer to this time period as that magical few minutes when the sun is just creeping below the horizon in the evening and everything is bathed in its glorious golden light... when photos look magical and sparkly and have starbursts of light in the trees. For me, it's those few moments when I tuck the 9 younger kids into bed at night and they give me that last piece of information for the day. I've written about it before, but last night I was given some insight into the WHY behind the crazy-making behavior.

I walked into the room just as this particular child was chastising one of his brothers and saying he was going to "tell mom". Gotta love it. I asked what was going on and when I found out that (as usual) it wasn't tattle-worthy, I asked him why he thought he should tattle or try to get his brother in trouble for something that wasn't a big deal? He answered.. "I don't know... I just thought..." and trailed off in thought.

Then, as if God himself gave me this picture in my brain, I said "Hon, WHY are you always so WORRIED about EVERYTHING?? You live your day WAaaaAAaaaY up here (hands up above my head - frantically shaking)... 'ohmygosh Mom is going to be mad at me! Ohmygosh what if I do something wrong!!' and I want you to bring it WAAaaaaAAAaaay down HERE (hands out at mid-waist - smoothly washing back and forth)... and just relax...'s all going to be okay. Do you understand?" (This is a very important question when dealing with kids who didn't speak English until they were mid-Elementary school aged.) I could tell he didn't fully get it.

So I walked over, knelt at his bed and said - "You are SO worried all of the time... wanting everyone to follow all of the rules, wanting Mom and Dad to be happy with you, but when you are so scared and worried and 'way up here'... mom and dad get worried and frustrated and get 'way up here' too. Do you know why you are so nervous all of the time?"

I got this small glimpse.
A tiny, itty bitty little glimpse into the world from whence he came.

"In my brain I just still think like I was when I was at the care center. I just still remember the nannies and they were not nice and I just can't stop thinking about them not being nice and I get scared and think I have to be very, very good. I don't think I will ever get it out of my brain." and he started to cry.

I share this not to give too much personal information about our children... as I have not mentioned names or given specifics as to which child I'm referring to. I share because, sometimes we don't really SEE why the behaviors are there. I know I knew on a very logical level that he was pleasing in order to feel accepted, but I had no idea the depth of that fear. And I'm his mom. It's my job to know.

So... I looked at him, touched his face and said...
"Oh, honey. That's not okay with Mom that you're sad. I'm going to help you get it out of your brain. Do you know that the way they treated you was wrong? The way they treated you was not kind. The things they said were not okay. Those ladies were NOT your Mom. They were just women working at their job. That's all. They may have made sure you had food, but they did too many things that hurt your heart, and that's not okay. Jesus is going to get this stuff out of your brain. Did you know that when Mom and Dad got to the care center and we brought you out of there and to the guest house, that was the first day you were really ours? You weren't the "care center boy" anymore. You became OUR boy and got OUR name. That was the OLD you. This is the NEW you. We even gave you a new name, didn't we? That's because we want you to be able to say 'that was the old life, this is my new life.' Those things happened to you, but they are over and done and far away now."

At this point, I'm stuck between anger at the life my kids led for a year and such happiness that they don't have to live that life anymore.

"Any time you feel afraid, or feel like your brain won't let you forget how you were supposed to live at the care center, I want you to pray inside your brain, right where you are, whatever you're doing - 'Jesus, I don't want to be the care center boy ANYMORE! I want to be my Mom and Dad's son. Please change me.' Can you do that?"

I empowered my son to rid himself of the fear, anxiety and distrust he's been living with for so long now. I taught him to lay his stuff at the feet of Jesus and that he doesn't HAVE to be stuck in that place anymore.

What an immense privilege. 
What amazing power we have as parents.
And yet, often times we don't use it. 

And, as I have said a hundred times before...
Because he can't say the words without smiling.
And I know inside he gets warm fuzzies.
Because I do, too.
I looked into those weepy eyes, smiled, and said:

    "I'm my mommy's baby. 
              My mommy loves me. 
     I am precious. 
             I am a treasure."

And he smiled and simply said  


Saturday, September 28, 2013

I was a cloud.

I just turned 37 this week.

Let's let that sink in for a moment, shall we? Yikes. I don't "FEEL" 37... not sure what that's supposed to feel like anyway... but I think the years speed up after your early 20's and somehow you wake up one day and you're closer to 40 than you are to "young and stupid".

I was thinking about that this morning when I woke up.

I've come a long way, baby!

Once upon a time, I was a pissed-off teenager. I was the oldest of two, my parents divorced then remarried, I became the oldest of 5, and my inner control-freak was fuuhreeeaking out.
I was scared.
Fear looks like anger sometimes. At least it does with me.
They are my synonymous emotions.
Fear/Anger. Usually those closest to me can't tell them apart.
So, I looked angry.
I was mad at my parents, mad at their new spouses, mad at myself, mad at life, mad at God - whoever I deemed Him to be at the time, and mad... well, just because it was easier that way.

Pissed-off teenagers are even more stupid than regular, happy, well-adjusted ones. They make other people miserable. They ruin family events. They ruin the best days. It can be 70 degrees, sunny with a light breeze, great music playing and no pressing events to tend to... and one single pissed-off teenager can screw it all up.

That was me. The screwer-upper.
I remember when my mom coined the phrase "you are such a cloud!"
But it was so incredibly true.

My parents were worried about me, with good reason. I consistently made poor choices. I hung out with the wrong people. I stayed out too late, snuck out, broke rules and broke laws. I was your everyday, ordinary, cliche delinquent teenager.

I married my husband at 18. We thought we knew what love was. We thought we were SO smart and independent and wise beyond our years. We were both strong-willed, first-born, tough-as-nails, independent people. We thought we had this whole thing figured out.
He was far wiser than me and we had a conversation one night under the stars that amounted to "if we get married, it's forever. There's no exit plan. Deal?"
Yeah, I told you we had it all figured out.
Except not. 

For years, we struggled. We were head-strong kids playing house and learning that love is a decision and a choice. It wasn't always easy, but it has been worth it always.

However, every time we got together with my family - even though I was married, had kids, and was living differently for all to see - I was reminded of what a horrible kid I had been. I felt reminded of my poor choices, my poor lifestyle and all of my mistakes. It made me angry, it made me embarrassed, and it reminded me that my family hadn't magically forgotten all of my sins...any more than God had. And He knew them ALL, not just the public ones everyone could see. I'd never be forgiven. I'd never be able to move on. I'd never live down the junk in my past.
I was marked, sealed, finished.

Fast-forward a bit...
we were living in Colorado Springs, land of beauty so amazing you just look around and know that none of this could have ever possibly have just accidentally happened. Glorious blue skies - bluer blue than anything you've ever seen, giant mountains that seem to guard you from whatever is on the other side... it's very small-making.
One day I remember standing in worship realizing how screwed up my life had always been, wondering if I'd ever really meant any of those times I walked down front, got sprinkled, dunked or re-dedicated. I just knew I wasn't really forgiven.

I realized I was tangled, trapped, caught, sinking, drowning in the weight of my history and I was struggling to even gasp for air. Emotionally it reminded me of the time I was caught in an undertow in the Atlantic. The panicked struggle, the fight, the smothering weight of fear. It's so incredibly heavy.
I felt like a fraud.
I felt like a failure.
I needed help.
I needed a rescuer.
I needed a hero.
My husband couldn't save me. 

This is when if this were the Bible it would say "but God..."

Being an independent, strong-willed, first-born, tough-as-nails 20-something means you figure things out on your own. I didn't want to hear what the pastor said... he didn't know my story. I didn't want to listen to whoever was speaking at Women of Faith that year. She didn't know me personally.
I prayed. I listened. I changed my radio dial to the Christian Music station. I absorbed those truths like I was being marinated in them. Slowly, slowly, slowly... my frantic gasps for air became life-giving breaths. My panic began to slow. My brain could reason again. I was able to hear, feel and speak to the Lord. The Holy Spirit was audible and palpable in my heart. I heard him louder than my failures, louder than my doubts, louder than my fears. When I felt myself again sinking back into the waves of failure, inadequacy and regret... I would hear "Take my hand. I've got this." I would breathe deeply the truths I was learning. I would shake off the ropes entangling me, dragging me back into the depths, and I was just so thankful to be rescued.

So for those mommas and daddies out there parenting that first-born, strong-willed, tough-as-nails kid... don't give up on them. Love them in the middle of it. Speak truth into their lives. Tell them you love them anyway. And that you always will. Assure them of their value. Assure them they are worth it. Pray for them. Then pray for them some more.

And me?

This past summer my mom told me about how she had always been praying for me. All along. In the middle of the junk, the angry teenage years, and beyond. She told me that she'd given me over to Jesus and just asked that He wouldn't let me get hurt beyond repair. It was the first time I'd heard her heart in that way.
And she told me how proud she is of who I've become.

All of those years, I thought she didn't care. I thought the "cloud" she saw when I entered the room was a storm cloud. Maybe she did. But, now I see it was the cloud that was blocking me from being ME. It was a cloud of fear, doubt, anxiety, lies and anger. These things don't come from Jesus. They come from the enemy.

Now that I'm all old and junk  37  I can see that God TRULY does work ALLLLLLL the things together for good. It may not feel like it now. It may look hopeless. You may be saving up so you have bail money when you need it or just praying to get through each day with your child. You may still be that child.

I'm here to tell you... He saves.
He saves you, he saves me.
You call, He answers.
And... oh yeah, He forgives.
All of it.

I'm living proof.

And I'm no longer a cloud.

I was fought for all along. Not just when I realized I needed rescue, but before that too. Way back in the beginning. I was rescued and saved for a purpose. For a time such as this. I'm going to do something amazing someday... even if it's done in my every day... and at the end of that and in the middle of it too, I can say "all because of Jesus."

So, I'm sharing with you the words that meant so much to me, still do. The verses that bring me peace, that give me a sense of worth and value.

Psalm 18: 1-19
I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded. 
He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where have you BEEN!??

Oh, hi there!
This may have been the single longest blogging hiatus in my humble blogging history.
Sorry 'bout that!

July... we had an extra baby friend visiting while my friends were in Lithuania bringing home their newest baby boy! He was with us for 18 days and was absolutely the most adorable distraction to everything else I probably should have been doing!

Also in July we found a house to buy! As soon as my sweet baby friend's mommy and daddy came home we started packing and we moved August 2nd!

The first two weeks of August were unpacking here and cleaning/painting/repairing at the other house to get it on the market, which happened mid-month, and then in testimony to the amount of hours spent cleaning/painting/repairing at the old house... we were under contract in 11 days! Woohoooo!

Also noteworthy...
We (hello, my name is "We") started homeschooling.
(I'll give you a moment to address the irony of this while reminiscing over this post from last fall)
HOWEVER, I still totally stand by what I said in the original post. And I saw some of that from the homeschooling mom pages I'm on when school started back. "All of these moms celebrating that their kids are going back to school today... it's so sad how happy they are to just send them away!" HARSH! And GEEEEZ... I was a twinge jealous of those cute Pinterest-y chalk board first-day-of-school photos! AND, this year I would have just two kiddos at home during the day. Those grocery carts that look like race cars seat two kids. See how easy that would be?? Yeah. I GET IT! But, right now, this is the season we are in.

And, truth be told, it's slightly fun.
I may even be enjoying portions of this season.
                                                                 But don't tell anyone. 
...more on home school later.

So...our new house!
We bought 15 acres with a great house that was a foreclosure property... and with that got apple trees, blackberry bushes, walnut trees, a run-off pond, 14 Muscovy ducks and assorted critters that live in the woods! We also got mystery wiring, a few leaks, some drainage issues and vintage appliances!
But it's awesome and we love it.
We've already put up a tire swing and the trampoline, picked 150lbs of apples, gone shooting shotguns in the woods.

So, the baby duckling needed to be separated from the others. 

S'mores... yummmm

Giant hydrangeas by the front door

Hiking in the backyard

Muscovy ducks

The kids found this cow bell and tag in the yard

Bringing some crushed moving boxes to the fire pit

Boys + fire

Boys + mud

Boys love turtles


So... that's where I've been!
More updates and topical stuff soon!