Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pressing Onward

As much as I enjoy blogging, I haven't written any this week yet.  I got a little cold that started Sunday morning.  It seemed to get a little better, so I went on through my regularly scheduled activities.  Feeling fairly normal when I went to bed last night, I thought it might be behind me.  As it turned out, I would've made a good candidate for a Breathe Right strip during the night.  I've pressed on through the normal wife and mommy tasks, but in order to do so, I'll have to hold off on a new post so I can nap and get over this momentary light affliction.  Until then, if you've not read it yet, here's one of my favorites: Not All Good Things Are Best - Enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sugar Control

I've admitted my love of all things sugar before.  If it's sweet, it doesn't much matter what's in it, I'm most likely gonna love it.  Except for congealed salads - what's up with those?

Anyway, until two months ago, I had spent nearly seven years being pregnant and/or nursing.  I had one little break that lasted almost three months.  Oh, and that is an and/or.  One can totally nurse one baby while pregnant with another.  I do my best to eat well while pregnant, and I do a fair job while I'm nursing, but I don't give up sugar, and praise God, I've yet to experience gestational diabetes!

One of the best benefits to a mom that nurses is that breastfeeding burns 500 calories a day!  Woo-hoo!  Burning 500 calories while sitting on the couch or bed cuddled up to your baby sounds good to me!

There are a few foods I give up while being pregnant and especially while nursing.  Broccoli, uncooked onions, and carbonation seemed to give my babies gas.  I don't do caffeine, except in the form of chocolate.  I never was big on caffeine anyway.  Known for goal-setting, the first I can remember setting was to give caffeine up when I was a senior in high school, and I did for a very long time.  To save money, my husband and I have never much kept sodas in the house.  A couple of years after we were married, we even gave up what Tom Barton calls "the nectar of Southern goodliness", sweet tea, in our own home to keep from having so much sugar.  I pretty much just make it when company's coming. 

Strangely, however, I desire to eat onions and drink soda when I can't have it.  Two months ago, when I weaned my baby, I thought, "Freedom!  I'm going to eat whatever I want whenever I want it!"  and so I did. 

This could only last for so long.  Those 500 calories a day I was burning through nursing could now potentially find their way to my hips or elsewhere.  I enjoyed myself for a few weeks and then began to reign it in after our anniversary trip.  It had to wait until after that trip because, hello, Kaminsky's is now a must during any trip to Charleston!  Go find it on Market St. next time you go.  They have awesome desserts.  Be prepared to wait.

In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul wrote about our bodies being members of Christ.  He was primarily writing about not joining ourselves to unholy people with our bodies, but I don't think it's wrong to apply it to whatever food we put in our bodies. 
"Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body." -1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Let's keep our bodies pure!  I'm not calling for anything very difficult.  We've taken some easy actions for health in our house.  Obviously, as I've already mentioned, soda isn't a permanent fixture in our home.  It hurts me to see kids drink sodas when milk, a little juice, and water are what their bodies need as they grow.  We genuinely crave water because we drink more of it.  We eat whole wheat bread rather than white.  We drink skim milk rather than whole or even 2%.  Once you make the change to skim, everything else is just too thick.  We don't fry, we bake or grill.

And all of that is not to say you can't have those things on occasion.  God's gracious to us and wants us to enjoy good things.  Most of the time, I get water at restaurants because I love to drink it, but also, it's usually free.  When I go to some places, I must get sweet tea.  Shane's Rib Shack is one place I've just got to have it.  My usual water is what enables me to more thoroughly enjoy the treat of sweet tea when I'm there. 

And I haven't given up sweets entirely.  That sweet tooth still craves it!  When I'm somewhere where it's offered, I'm getting it.  I made a special treat for the kids this week.  We ate peanut butter blondies out of a 9x9 pan over the course of three days.  I can enjoy these goodies as special gifts from God, giving Him the glory for it, as Paul reminded me to do:
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God's glory."          -1 Corinthians 10:31

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Closet Control

I must write. Right now. 

I'm trying to keep my mind off the crying coming from down the hall.  It's my son's first attempt at naptime without a paci.  It will be just fine.  We've been down this road three times before and emerged stronger, more resilient people sans pacis.

Until then, I thought I'd share a little of what I've done the last two days with my homemaking.

You know how some people keep mounds of clothes that are too little for them hoping they will fit into them again one day when they lose weight?  Their closets and drawers become full of items they can no longer wear and may possibly never wear again, because if the weight does come off, the fashion will probably have changed by then.

I have had the opposite problem.  My closet and drawers have been full of clothes I no longer wear because they're too big.  I know, I know, that's a good problem to have.  I am incredibly thankful for the good genes given to me that have enabled me to lose more weight than I've gained with each pregnancy (except one time, I fell four pounds short), well those genes and breastfeeding.  The problem is that I don't know if God's done growing our family, so I've been holding on to my post-partum clothes, those that I had to buy to keep my sanity during those moments of not believing I can possibly make it another day wearing maternity clothes when I'm not even pregnant anymore!

After my last baby, I decided to get rid of most of my maternity clothes.  I gave them to my cousin, thinking how silly it was to hold onto them any longer after four babies.  I gave away baby girl clothes once I found out I was expecting a boy, along with anything else my tiny two-year-old (then still wearing 12 month clothes) had outgrown.  Even with that clearing out and the clothes my youngest daughter has since outgrown, I'm still currently holding boxes of clothes for girls 18 months to size 6, for every season of the year.  That's a lot of clothes!

But when it came time to give away my newborn boy clothes, I couldn't do it.  One boy had worn these clothes for just a few weeks.  Then, it was the 3-6 month clothes I packed up, and subsequently, kept in the closet, just in case.  And so it has gone with those post-partum clothes, except I allowed them to stay in my closet, causing one terrible mess.

The last two days, I have taken every article of clothing from my closet and from my drawers.  I have thrown away the clothes that have spit-up stains or that aren't in fashion any longer.  I have made a pile of clothes to donate that I used to wear to teach back in the day.  I hung up the clothes I actually wear.  I put the shoes that belong to this season neatly on a shoe rack.  The out of season shoes now go in one of those plastic drawer "thingies" I added to my closet.  I also use one drawer for my pajamas, after pulling out my post-partum, great for nursing in the middle of the night, gowns.  The third drawer is for all of my swimsuits.  Yes, all of them.  I think I had seven swimsuits.  We enjoy the water a lot at our house.  I summoned up enough courage to throw away some of my college t-shirts that had faded.  I just couldn't throw away my NGC Survivor Homecoming 2000 t-shirt.  Those memories were too much fun, fellow NGC or NGU grads!  I threw away several nursing bras, but kept a few to put with the post-partum clothes.

Those post-partum clothes are in a stack, awaiting my trip to the DG to buy a plastic box for them, which will be their new home in the attic, just in case I do need them again some day.

Yes, I could've given myself a "keeping it real" gold star sticker by taking before and after pictures, but alas, I failed to do so.  And, I really don't know if I'm brave enough for that yet!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fellow Motherhood Blog Guest Post

This is my 50th published post, and it's in the form of an interview.  You can find it at Motherhood Your Way.  Head over there and see if you learn anything about me you didn't already know!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sewing Moments

The last time I used a sewing machine, it wasn't pretty.  It was almost six years ago.  I was putting together a quilt top and bottom with the batting in between.  When I finished, I had the awfullest crooked line!  I proceeded to hand quilt the top.  The first square was beautiful, the second was okay, and the third was terrible.  I folded it up, put it in a box, moved it twice from apartment to house to another house, but it hasn't seen the light of day since I finished that third block.  Maybe one day...

I do desire to master the art of sewing one day.  I'm certain I can do it because when I was in sixth grade, I made an apron that still does a good job of keeping messes off of my clothes when I cook. 

Today's Wednesday's Woman is Mrs. Teresa.  She is our volunteer church secretary who does a better job than most paid staff secretaries.  We love her at our house!  Mrs. Teresa is currently teaching the art of crocheting to some of the younger ladies in our church through a new sewing circle they've created.  She is teaching the younger generation of women a domestic skill, having fellowship with them, and even reaching out to women who aren't members of our church through the time she spends with them in sewing circle.  I am so thankful we have Mrs. Teresa to serve as a role model to younger women.  She loves her husband and is a great helper to him.  She gave up her career to be home with her children, and the sacrifices she and her husband have made for her to be home has freed them both for ministry.  I am so thankful to have this example before me.  She is a great Titus 2 Woman!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Symbol of Her Faith

For my family, the summer of 2011 will always be known as the summer our oldest daughter grew up.  It started with her asking to get her ears pierced.  I was six when I got my ears pierced, so I had no problem with it, but she had to ask Daddy for his approval.  He said first that he would think about it.  A few days later, she came up to him very sweetly and told him how brave she would be, and Daddy agreed, but no firm date was set.

The most important decision our daughter made this summer was to follow Jesus as her Savior.  She very clearly admitted that she was a sinner, but that she knew Jesus had died to forgive her of her sin, and she wanted to commit her life to him for always.  Two weeks later, she was baptized.

The next week, we had the perfect opportunity for her to get her ears pierced, and we seized it.  She did great!  Without the least bit hesitation, she sat on the chair and let the woman at Claire's punch the holes.  My daughter's little face was victorious when she got her first glimpse of herself!

Fast forward six weeks.  The studs could be removed for the first time.  I had declared that only 14K gold earrings would need to be in my daughter's ears for a long while to prevent infection.  They're much more expensive than costume jewelry but worth it in the long run for young ears.  My aunt (who had spoiled me rotten as a child and now does so with my children) was down for a visit, and she wanted to buy the first new earrings.  Off the entire family headed to the mall.  As we looked at the case of children's jewelry (in Zales, I might add, they were super helpful), my daughter was convinced she wanted cross earrings.  "Are you sure?" I asked several times, thinking she might regret not getting the cute dragonflies, ladybugs, hearts, or butterflies.  Time and again, she told all of the adults huddled around her that she did indeed want the crosses. 

I'll tell you something that might surprise a lot of fellow Christians.  I've never much been a fan of crosses used in jewelry.  The cross wasn't beautiful.  My Savior died on that terrible instrument of torture.  But in that moment in the jewelry store, my daughter wanted more than any other cute little pair of earrings something that would show her faith.  So we went with the cross earrings, and they were on sale, so my aunt surprised her with a pair of dragonflies too.

My aunt put the dragonflies in my daughter's ears the first time we changed the studs out because she was going to be wearing a dress the next day that they would match, but the next night, we changed them out to the crosses at my daughter's request so that she could wear them to school. She wore them happily all week, and then, on Thursday, something sad happened.  After getting a bath and changing into her pajamas, one of the crosses fell out of her ear.  At first she didn't realize it because she was wrestling in the floor with her Daddy, sisters, and brother.  I was gone to a ladies' meeting at church.  Everyone searched all over the living room without me, but couldn't find the earring.

When I came home, I was so heartbroken for my little girl.  Daddy had put the studs back in ears for her.  I was so impressed!  He had assured her that if the earring wasn't found, we would get her a new pair, knowing how important the pair had been to her.  We were all too willing to do this, but we prayed that God would let us find the original symbol of our daughter's new faith.  

The next morning, after my daughter had gone to school, I was working in my girls' room.  Lo and behold, I saw a little shimmer of gold on the floor!  It was the earring back!  I praised God and continued to pray that He would open my eyes throughout the day so that I could find the earring.  

After school, I asked my daughter where she'd gotten dressed, and I then proceeded to crawl on my hands and knees from that corner of her bedroom to the den where the wrestling had taken place, thinking it might have taken time for the earring to work it's way out of her ear from the place the back fell off.  Lo and behold again!  In the little crevice of the stair down into the den, I found the cross!  Glory to God!  He's so good to us even in the little, mundane things!  I can't tell you how happy this Mama was to put those little crosses back in my little girl's ear, screwing the back on tighter this time, and to see her wear them happily all this week!

I'm linking this story up at:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Not Just Roomies

One of the things that amazes me the most when I hear about folks I knew in high school or college is how many are now divorced.  I'm only thirty.  I know I feel as if I've lived through some pretty deep trials, but have we really had enough time to meet future spouses, marry them, possibly have children, and then go through something as emotionally and spiritually damaging as divorce?

I don't know the reasons for the divorces in each of the situations that come to mind, but I do know what scripture has to say about the topic.  In Matthew 19, the Pharisees questioned Jesus about the topic of divorce.  He responded in verses 4-6:
"'Haven't you read,' He replied, 'that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female,' and He also said: 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.'"
When the Pharisees ask why Moses commanded divorce, Jesus responds in verses 9-10:
"He told them, 'Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts.  But it was not like that from the beginning.  And I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.'"
Earlier in Matthew 5:32b, Jesus had added more by saying, "And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

If we become one flesh when we marry, we can't become just roommates, an excuse given often these days for divorce.  We cannot be slaves to our feelings, as if not feeling in love is grounds for divorce.  Feelings ebb and flow, but commitments remain.  There are some steps we can take to keep from becoming just roommates with our husbands.

1)  Make sex a priority.  Set a goal to have sex more days or nights than not.  God created sex to aid in that one flesh relationship.  Goodbye, headaches!  A wife should be available to her husband at all times.  We can help our husbands resist the temptation to have affairs if we never turn them down.  Put your children to bed early enough (and in their own bedrooms) so that you can spend time together before the two of you are so exhausted you go to sleep before you've had the opportunity for intimacy. 

2)  Be visually appealing.  Along those same lines, men are visually stimulated.  We need to look our best as much as possible.  I'm a stay-at-home mom, so I'm right there with many others.  I know that it's hard to look our best when we truly do need to wear clothes appropriate for dealing with spit up and Clorox cleaners.  We can brush our hair and look reasonably neat at home.  When we go out in public, we can bear in mind that we are representing our husband by stepping it up a bit more in our appearance.  And at night, we can pull out the slinky silky stuff. 

3)  Go to bed at the same time.  Most any woman I've talked to with marital problems has had a different bedtime than their husband.  Work requirements (night shift work, for example) can interfere and make this especially difficult.  You can pray for God to change those situations, but until then, do all you can with steps one and two.  In my marriage, this has meant that I simply go to bed at an earlier hour than I was accustomed to before I was married.  I have adjusted and find it harder to stay up later now.  When my husband and I were newlyweds, he worked second shift and I was student teaching.  I had to go to bed before he got home because I had to get up much earlier in the morning than he, but most Thursday nights, and every Friday night, I would stay up until he got home.  You do what you can.

4)  Be recreational companions.  Date as often as you can.  It's great if you can go out weekly, but if small children make it difficult, put them to bed early, like I mentioned earlier, and go out at least monthly for a "real" date.  So many women spend more time out with their mamas, sisters, or friends than they spend quality time with their husbands.  Seek to show preference to your husband when he's not at work.  Even limit your housework, if need be, on his days off.  Men connect through activity, so do the activities with him that he finds fun.  I've talked about it before here, but it's worth saying again, that I believe couples should take trips alone together at least once a year.

5)  Don't be a nag.  It's not your job to be your husband's mom.  He's already got one of those.  Nagging will only push your husband apart from you emotionally.  Pray him through anything you see in his life that he needs to change.

Now go love on your man!  Or if he's not home, go brush your hair and prepare for his arrival home!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


"Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall."
-Proverbs 16:18

I must've had too much pride in my clothesline use yesterday when I wrote that post because I didn't take my clothes off the line before heading to my oldest daughter's orientation at school.   Normally, I take the clothes off by 5:00 and have them folded before bed.  Some days, I even get a load off by lunch and hang more up in the afternoon.  Yesterday was incredibly busy and I forgot about them when I began dinner earlier than normal.  Of course, we had a major downpour in that one little hour I was away from home.  Praise God for the much needed rain, and today, I am embracing my discipline and being humbled.  I took the towels and sheets off the line last night to (gasp!) dry in the dryer, but I left the clothes on the line to dry today, and it will take all day because they were fully drenched.  Oh, well...

For Wednesday's Woman today, I would like to feature my friend Amanda.  She wrote a guest post a few weeks ago about her grandmother, but Amanda is a Titus 2 woman as well.  Amanda and her husband, Ben, work with our youth at church.  On Sundays and Wednesdays and through many youth activities, Amanda is able to teach younger women.  I'd like to focus on some simple time she gave to the girls this summer in hopes that it may encourage other women to do the same.

Every Thursday this summer, the girls met at Amanda's home for Thirsty Thursdays.  Amanda had the girls help prepare a lunch together and clean up afterwards.  I could've used some of that so there would've been more variety in my first year of marriage.  My poor husband had so much chili beans, spaghetti, and grilled chicken salad that he's still sick of those meals years later even though I've added to my repertoire quite a bit.  If I'd only had a young woman like Amanda teach me some more meals, I would've been better equipped!

Thirsty Thursdays also facilitated more women to be Titus 2 women.  Amanda had a guest speaker each week to share with the teenage girls about various topics.  Last Wednesday, I got a sweet thank you note from the girls with a bag of hard candies in appreciation for the week I spoke.  I think that I am like many other women in that I am all too willing to share from my life experiences but don't always see windows of opportunity to do so.  Amanda provided that opportunity.

I hope that by sharing about Amanda, you might see how simple it can be to be a Titus 2 woman.  This is a concept that could work not only in the summer, but also through the school year by doing a lunch one Saturday a month.  Look and see when you can train the next generation of godly women!

*If you'd like to share about a Titus 2 Woman in your life by writing a Wednesday's Woman guest post, please contact me here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Little Crunchy

So we got back from our trip just to have family visit for a few days.  It was great to see my mom, dad, and aunt and let them love on the grandchildren.  That said, I am breathing a little sigh of relief to be back in our regular groove, doing life the normal way, including how housework is done. 

I just finished hanging two loads of clothes on my "solar clothes dryer".  I love that term, stolen from The Morris Tribe.  While being green is a relatively newly popular idea, no longer just for hippies, it isn't new to me.  My mom hung clothes on a line outside when I was a little girl.  I'm not certain that I used my first clothesline at our first home when I was a newlywed, but after a year in seminary housing, I was happy to have one at our off-campus apartment in Louisville.  In an effort to save every penny I could in order to be home with our first born, I hung clothes outside 3/4 of the year.  In the winter, it was just too frigid for me to stand.  We put one up everywhere we've lived since. 

Some people believe the money savings aren't worth it.  I disagree.  According to my most recent magazine from my electric co-op, dryer use accounts for about five percent of our power bills.  I'm glad I can nip that bit in the bud and save my husband's hard earned money for other things. 

There are other benefits to me as well:
  • I have guaranteed time outside every sunny day, so I get plenty of vitamin-D and plenty of good feelings associated with time outdoors.
  • I get a little more exercise without trying too hard.  As much as I love modern conveniences, we are not as toned as women of the past who had to churn their own butter and scrub their clothes by hand.  Every little bit of manual labor helps keep us healthy.
  • Our clothes smell nice and fresh.  Sometimes, it's hard to get that manly smell out of my husband's undershirts with washing alone, but the sunshine seems to clear it right up.
  • Our clothes look nice and fresh.  There've been many set-in stains I couldn't remove until the clothes hung on the line and the sun naturally removed them.
I encourage younger women to get a little crunchy and use a clothesline.  Your pocketbook, waistline, and noses may thank you!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I am back from my anniversary trip with my husand, and we had a great time!  We decided to go to Charleston this year.  We've only been there together for one weekend for a wedding a couple of years ago, and despite the heat, it's a beautifully, romantic place to visit.  This Carolina Native Girl enjoyed seeing some historic sites and just going downtown to shop and eat, holding hands with my husband.  What's a vacation without getting "knee deep in the water somewhere"? - so we went to Folly Beach one day.  Also, having being a Baptist my whole life, I really wanted to see First Baptist of Charleston, the first Baptist church of the South, not that I got to see much of it.  I climbed as much as I could, with a boost from my husband, to peek inside the windows, and we walked through the graveyard, reading the tombstones of the Furman family.  

All of the fun we had wouldn't have been possible without the best babysitter ever, my awesome mother-in-law, Jennie, or as my kids and nieces call her, Granna.  In the midst of all that she has going on with her job, her church, and her elderly parents, she was willing to take a day off and care for our four children by herself while Papa was at work during two of the days my husband and I were in Charleston.  She showed my oldest daughter how to do some sewing, something which makes Granna a rock star!  

In the past, Granna has taught me about flower gardening.  I needed her help the first few times I put pots together, and from there, I couldn't get enough.  I can ask her expertise about baby care concerns because not only did Granna raise my husband and his sister, but she also was a foster mother for several years. 

I am so thankful for Jennie and how she is a Titus 2 Woman to me and to my girls.  She is a worthy Wednesday's Woman!

*I'd love to post more pics of Jennie and of First Baptist, but Blogger's not cooperating.  Maybe another time!