Faith’s Story Part 1


                                                     Here I am 28 weeks gestation on my 35th birthday

Three days ago I celebrated my 36th birthday. It was a blessing and I was left with a heart of gratitude as I thought about this time last year. On April 29th, 2013 (the day after my 35th birthday) our world was turned upside down. I was 28 weeks pregnant with our 6th child. The pregnancy up to that point had been quite eventful.

I had a preliminary screening done for possible abnormalities when I was in my second trimester. The results of the screening indicated that the baby was at high risk for spina bifida and down syndrome. I had a follow up appointment with a level 2 ultrasound. While the ultrasound ruled out spina bifida there were still great concerns that the baby had some sort of chromosomal abnormality. There were three findings that were of concern to the doctor.

1. My placenta looked unhealthy, it was very thick. This was of concern because the baby’s growth could be hindered and it presented a greater possibility of having a premature or stillborn baby. From that point on they began to closely monitor the baby’s growth which meant more visits to the doctor.

2. The umbilical cord contained only two blood vessels, instead of the normal three. I learned that babies with single umbilical artery have an increased risk for birth defects, including heart, central nervous system and urinary-tract defects and chromosomal abnormalities.

3. The baby’s heart was in the middle of her chest as opposed to the left. The doctor was also concerned that there were holes in the baby’s heart. So in addition to my frequent trips to monitor the baby’s growth, I also had to see a pediatric cardiologist.

When I left the doctors office after hearing the news, I went to the bathroom and cried…sobbed. I felt that I had already met my quota for suffering while going through with Isaiah (baby #5). Wasn’t having your newborn baby stay in the neonatal intensive care unit and undergoing three major surgeries enough?  I cannot go through this again was my response to God. It was too painful. He allowed me to cry and vent and then he gently asked me if I truly believed he was in control. In that moment by his grace, I made the choice to trust God and receive the peace He was offering. Tyrone and I chose to stand in faith and had others praying with us for total healing of our baby girl. Walking by faith was a choice I had to make everyday.

On April 29th, 2013 at 28 weeks gestation, I was in for yet another surprise. Click here for part two of Faith’s story.

Reality

I have to face the reality that my body is perishing and not meant to last forever. Sure I can do things to improve my health and well being, and I am a strong advocate of doing so. However the experiences over the last week forced me reflect on a few sobering truths. I got hit hard with a nasty sickness. I had so much to accomplish on my to do list and while my mind was telling me to forge ahead, my body was screaming the opposite. I would love to tell you that I exercised wisdom and sat and rested but I can’t even begin to tell that lie. I fought like crazy to defy my reality. I was soooo frustrated. It so hard having an agenda and not being able to accomplish it. Ever been there?

I began to really think about the end. Not in a depressing way, but a lets really evaluate things here kind of way. We are each given an allotted amount of time here on earth and it’s so easy to have misguided focus. We act as if we are immortal and always assume we will have more time. We assume we will always be as strong as we were yesterday. We pursue our agenda without noticing that the clock is ticking and one day it is certain to stop. They say that there are two things that are certain, death and taxes. Hebrews 9:27 tells us of something else that’s certain after death…the judgement. When I stand before God, what will he think of how I used the time he gave me? What will he have to say concerning my priorities, did they line up with his? And my life, my heart, did it belong to him?

I am feeling better today but I have more of a resolve to build up my spirit, focus on God’s agenda because my end is one day closer. As I put him first, I don’t have to dread that day but I can look forward to it with great joy!

Forward

You are taking me to a place I’ve never been before
But I dont have to fear, I don’t have to fear
I. DONT. HAVE. TO. FEAR.
I must remind myself because the temptation is there
I can be confident because you have proven that you are on my side
As you lead Jesus, teach me to follow with a surrendered heart
Even when I don’t understand
Even when it means giving of myself beyond what I think is possible
Even when what you are telling me is contrary to what I want or what I think is best
Help me to have a joyful yes

 

There is absolutely no turning back for me
As I have put my hand to the plow, by your grace I refuse to look back
Look back to death
Look back to shame
Look back to pride
Look back to my agenda
Look back to people pleasing

 

You are taking me somewhere
I know
I don’t know how the pieces of the puzzle are going to come together
But I give you the pieces and trust you know how
I don’t know how you will word my mouth
But I will speak at your command
I hear what you are saying and if I think too hard, I become overwhelmed
Teach me not to reason but to rest
I keep my eyes on you as  you take me FORWARD!

Whole30 Day 17

Whole30 Day 17

I am on day 17 of the Whole30.  I am so excited because a few other ladies at my church have decided to
join the party.  All those that
have been doing it are reporting great results.
And me?  Well eating healthy is not the issue.  HOWEVER I find that I do a lot of emotional
eating.  I follow the prescribed meal
plan at each meal (protein, veggies, and good fat) and for the most part I am
satisfied until the next meal.  But I
find that if my tenacious toddler pushes the right buttons, or I have a lot to do, I am reaching for
something to snack on (a mini escape if you will), EVEN WHEN I AM NOT HUNGRY!  Sigh. Always something to commit to prayer, so glad God never gets tired of me.  Some of you have asked for recipes, below are a few suggestions.  Enjoy!

  • This website has a list of 31 family recipes for Whole 30.  If that doesn’t work for you, try this website.  I am a big fan of her recipes.
  • Baked sweet potatoes are simple and delicious. Poke holes in unpeeled sweet potatoes and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for a hour or more.  I sometimes bake them for a hour and a half. I find that the longer I bake
    them, the sweeter they are.  Once cooked, top with coconut oil or ghee.  ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!  The longer I go without added sugars, the more I can appreciate the sweetness of the SWEET potato.
  • oven baked sweet plantains These are delicious.  You can also fry them.  I prefer to bake them with either olive or coconut oil because I can pop them in the oven and forget about them.
  • Roasted vegetables are delicious.
  • Green plantain chips are delicious.  Use an oil that is Whole30 approved.  I personally love these with coconut oil.
  • cauliflower rice can be used for stir fry or experiment with different seasonings.
  • Roasted portobella mushroom  you can use this as a “bun” for your hamburgers (may be bending the rules here a little bit).
  • Visit this website for some great condiments recipe.  Or again, you can do a google search on Whole30 condiments.  Pinterest also has some great ideas.
  •  Get a roasting pan and/or crock pot.  Believe me when I say you will not regret
    these purchases.
      I find that when I braise the meat and put it  in crock pot or roasting pan and let it cook for a few hours, the meat is ALWAYS super tender.
  •  When possible try to season meats night
    before.
      This technique combined with
    cooking the meats at low temperatures (I normally do 300 in the oven) always gives great results.
  •  Go easy on the salt.  Experiment with different herbs.  Go crazy with garlic and onions.
  • I learned from the this cookbook that
    adding foods like tomato paste and mushrooms to a dish adds another element of
    flavor, its so true, try it!
  • Challenge yourself to buy a new vegetable each
    time you visit the grocery store.
      Don’t know
    how to cook it, no problem, Google to the rescue.
      I LOVE GOOGLE!  You can find a ton of WHOLE30 approved
    recipes on the internet.  Don’t assume that  because you didn’t like a
    certain vegetable as a child you wont like it as an adult if it is prepared a different way.
     
  • Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night,
    it really makes a big difference in your eating habits.
      If you want more of the scientific
    explanation, Google it.
  • Don’t be too uptight, have fun in the
    kitchen.
      EXPERIMENT!  And if it doesn’t turn out right, there is
    always tomorrow to try again!

If you are doing the Whole30, I would love it if you left a comment to let me know how its going.

Gods Truth Isn’t Accommodating

Gods Truth Isn't Accommodating

“I’m glad it’s going to warm up in the next few days,” said the librarian. Are you kidding me? Did she just say warm up? It’s amazing how after dealing with temperatures below zero, the mid 20s can be referred to as warming up. Her experience with the bitter cold caused her definition of warm to be redefined. As I was sweeping my kitchen floor later on that day I began to reflect on the comment made by the librarian. That’s exactly what has happened to a lot of “Christians” today. We live in a culture where sin is rampant and we have become desensitized to truth. We give in to the temptation to redefine Gods standards, something we have no business or authority to do. Contrary to popular belief, truth is not relative. God has not called us to be versatile Christians, willing to redefine his truth to be more “accommodating.” He has called us to be holy , standing for truth even if it’s not embraced (1 Peter 1:16 ). His truth doesn’t change like the weather. It’s constant.

Greed, lying, homosexuality, fornicating, stealing, cheating is NEVER ok (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). As my pastor previously mentioned, God created marriage so try as we might, we can’t redefine it. it’s so easy for us to give a nod of approval to the very nice gay couple or the well educated boyfriend and girlfriend who are living together and fornicating. Or say it’s ok for the poor person to tell a “white lie,” because they are struggling and the system has robbed them anyway. I mean after all we are seeing worse sins happen around us so that ain’t too bad. WRONG! It is that bad, not because that’s my opinion but because God said it. Believe me, I am not trying to act as if I have never sinned or that I am perfect. I have displeased God many times and have not always lived out or loved HIS truth. But hear me when I say, I thank God for mercy and grace and Him giving me a chance to repent and get it right. Cause Lord knows I haven’t always done right and was a very nice sinner. The good news is, that opportunity for repentance was not only extended to me, but to all (John 3:16). How awesome!

Truth is God will never change his mind about his truth(Hebrews 13:8) no matter how extreme sin gets, and it will continue to get worse. The manual for holiness will not be rewritten, sorry no updated copies of the bible where that extreme holiness is edited out. He wants us hot or cold (Revelation 3:16), not lukewarm, not straddling the fence, not somewhere in the middle, not a versatile Christian. By his grace I want to remain hot and live out and speak His truth…and you?

Whole30 Day 1

Today is my first day of the Whole30 program and I am super excited!   A few ladies and friends at my church have decided to join me and I am looking forward to all the great testimonials that we will have.  If you are still on the fence about joining the challenge, come on, why not?  I don’t think you will regret it.  If you are feeling a little challenged in the kitchen and need some ideas, visit Here for some great suggestions.  Don’t forget to take a before picture  and don’t obsess over the scale.  As a matter of fact, they recommend that you  not step on the scale until the end of the 30 days. It really is not worth obsessing about the number on the scale, focus on how your clothes fit and how you are feeling.  I am big on journaling, so if you are up to it, record changes in moods, energy level, emotional connection to foods that you didn’t realize you had over the next 30 days (what triggers eating when you are not really hungry, etc.).  I made this yummy super easy crockpot chicken with baked sweet potatoes and roasted veggies today to start the Whole30. I sure hope you jump on the bandwagon!