Friday, May 31, 2013

7 {Super} Quick Takes Friday - Memorial Day Weekend

Ahhh, Friday.  Do you know how much I love you??

Since I don't have any earth-shattering news to report about the week, I thought I would just share the highlight, which was definitely our super-fun family slip-n-slide/BBQ party over Memorial weekend! 
- 1. -
 All for one, and one for all!  Lily white chests and hard earned farmer tans rule.
- 2. -
A dishsoapy chest is the key to a successful slide.
- 3. -
Let's show these boys how it's done, honey!
- 4. -
"Surfing" on the snow sled is the next level of crazy.  The parents passed on that one.
- 5. -

In the individual "who can go the furthest" contest, me lover made it all the way to the grass and I was a big fat loser (I blame friction.  A naked chest is an obvious advantage.)  But, I did get a healthy dose of water in the eyes and up the nose thanks to my son, Henry, "washing" the soap off of my face.
- 6. -
 Sweet Charlie, in his little happy place.
- 7. -
The Warriors.
Have a Wonderful Weekend, Friends!!

Thank you, Jen, for hosting!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Secret to Not Peeing My Pants & Other Gems at This Week's Five Favorites

Hello Friends!! This post is comin' at ya a little late in the day since I've been shuttling kids to golf practice and chiropractic appointments all morning.  By now you know what Wednesday is.....yep, I'm linkin' up with the lovely Hallie at Moxie Wife for this week's Five Favorites.  Drum roll, please!....
1.  Coconut Oil
If it weren't for my venture into the Whole30 detox, I would never have given this gift from nature a fair shake. I love it for baking, roasting veggies, and searing shrimp or salmon in my cast iron skillet.  It has many interesting health benefits which you can read about here.  I love that I can always score a great deal on it at
2.  The Intouchables
I watched The Intouchables over spring break with a good family friend who came out to visit us on the farm, and we both gave it 2 thumbs up.  Is it just me, or is Hollywood a little bit handicapped in the originality department right now??  Most of the movies coming out of that sphere these days are poo.  But, not this one. It's an inspiring portrait of humanity, friendship, honesty, courage and joy. Seen it?? Let me know what you think!
3. Mother-to-Mother Series hosted by Cynthia at Finding Great Joy.  
Do you know this amazing lady?? If you don't, really you should!  She writes a very thoughtful and honest blog on everything from motherhood to cooking to the spiritual life.  One of her specialties is the Mother-to-Mother guest post series, where she invites other bloggers to contribute on certain topics such as discipline, organization and marriage.  Grab a cup of tea, park in on the couch and read - it's packed full of great ideas and wonderful insights!!
4. Dad's Inversion Table(So I don't pee my pants.)  
About 6 months ago, I started having some low back discomfort, which is beginning to heal but causes some numbness in my legs and also a very annoying feeling that I have to pee 24/7. It's kind of difficult to cook dinner or listen to someone else talk when your bladder is screaming at your brain, "Go pee, Missy!!" and your bladder contains about a teaspoon of you know what.  So, between chiropractic visits, low back yoga video sessions (snore) and my dad's inversion table I'm on the mend.  I can't believe how awesome this thing is! Be prepared for you kids to ask you to read to them or play games (check out the Monopoly set up) while you "hang out."  Smarty pants.....they know you're not goin' anywhere!!
I'm reading this amazing book aloud to the boys right now, and we all love it.  If you have any interest in American history, I highly recommend it.  Also, a great Father's Day gift!!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Whole30: I'm Not Gonna Sugar Coat it...But I'd Like to.

There are three kinds of people in this world who decide that doing a dietary detox is a good idea:
1.  Crazy People.
2.  People who listen to their mothers.
3.  People who feel like crap and can't stand going to the doctor.

Lucky for me, I'm all three.  So, what's a detox you say?? Well, person #1 would call it dietary hell, #2 would say it's a process of ripping yourself away from beer and cupcakes in hopes that it might actually turn your mother-daughter chats into pleasantries instead of whiny-ass rants, and #3 would say it's cleansing your body of all the deliciously satisfying crap you have consumed over the years and losing your craving/desire for those foods in the process.

Sounds fun, doesn't it??

Why am I doing this detox thing?? Well, the thing is called the Whole30.  And, I'm doing it (Day 16, baby!!) because my mama thinks that I should.  Actually, that's only partially true.  Here's the whole truth:
Around Christmas, my mom asked me if I had ever heard of the Whole30 and then proceeded to tell me about a friend of hers who was cured of her chronic migraines after doing the detox.  "Awesome!" I said to myself while cracking open another beer and scanning the pantry for something salty.  Ever since I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at the age of 19, I've been on a mission to stay as far away from prescriptifying doctors as possible, which has meant committing to a lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise.  But, I'm no dietary saint.  Beer, chips and chocolate are a necessary evil 'round here.

Okay, so the next time I saw my mom....AND the next 17 times we talked on the phone she asked me if I had read about the Whole30.  Sometimes, I just want to rant about how sucky it is that my adrenals, hormones and thyroid are on strike, they refuse to work, and because of that I'm doggy dog-tired, foggy brained, over-sensitive, achy all over and, well, we'll leave the symptom list at that.  But, no, my mom isn't just gonna let me rant, she is going to smack me with this Whole30 crap until I wake up and smell the suggestion.

Grrrrr.  With this nagging idea in the back of my mind, I grab a beer and park it with the laptop on the couch and Google "Whole30."  Long story short, I'm on day 16 and, dare I say, I'm starting to feel better?? Better as in more energetic, more reasonable, more cheerful, less bloated, less achy, well rested.....that's probably enough for now, I don't want to jinx it or anything.
If you want to, you can read all about the Whole30 here, but if you come away from their website thinking you might want to jump in on all this craziness, I recommend going all out and buying their book , It Starts With Food.  For me, this was really important because I needed to know exactly  WHY I was going to spend 30 days eliminating so many of the foods I enjoy from my diet.  That's right, try to wrap your sweet little head around:
NO Grains (N.O.N.E. none. Buh-bye wheat, rice, corn, and every crazy gluten-free grain too.)
NO Dairy (Not really a biggie for me, but wine and cheese night with the hub is not going to happen without cheese.  Or, wine. BumERRRRR!!!)
NO Alcohol (Please, a moment of silence.)
NO Sugar and NO Sugar Substitutes (Those healthy honey cookies and muffins?? OUT! Please pass the tissues.)
NO Legumes (Okay, no beans big deal right??  BUT did you forget about peanut butter - hello the mother of all snack-a-liciousness?? Major whammy.  Major.)
If you are clawing something right now just thinking about letting go of any or all of these foods, I feel your pain! But, it also may be an indicator that this detox may be good for you.  Eliminating the foods on their list from your diet (they believe) cleanses not only the body but also the mind from our psychological attachment to those foods.  I'll admit, I snickered a bit at that idea, because for years I've been trying to eat clean, and watch the amount of sugar that I consume.


Without going into too much depressing detail, I will say that detaching myself from even my pseudo-healthy diet hasn't been a cake-walk.  I thought going gluten free (which has, by the way, significantly improved my health) was a challenge, but the Whole30 makes that seem like a chocolate butter cream frosting cake walk.

What the heck is the point of this post??

Well, I was supposed to tell you why I'm doing the Whole30.  Did I cover that??
But, now, I think I'm gonna be my mama for a moment and say this to you:
I believe that the what we put into our bodies either nourishes it or hurts it.  Much of the food we eat today is not at the standard for nourishment that it should be, and much of the food that we LIKE to eat is more toxic (processed and chocked full of preservatives) that nutritious.  Soap-boxy, I know, but stay with me.  That being said...

If you are tired every day all the time, achy, moody, struggling to concentrate, battling high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, or any other health issues that keep you from living a full life, and you HATE going to the doctor and PAYING for drugs please consider the Whole30.  Go to the "Testimonials" and read, read, read about real people who have experienced the healing that can come from nourishing the body well.
This detox is requires commitment and focus and is not for those who like to have others tie their shoes for them.  Just a fair warning.  I've got 14 days to go, then I promise a full and thorough report of my own 30 days, just in case you need more convincing, encouragement or entertainment.

Whole30.  Read about it here.  If you cannot resist giving this thing a try, don't blame me, blame my mama.  She started this whole thing.

Love, Peace and Detox.

P.S. Please forgive the potty-talk.  I'm detoxing. It's a side effect.  Pray for me.

Friday, May 24, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday - Contemplation

Nothing puts the breaks on life faster (for me) than a feverish baby who's only comfort is resting in my arms. On Monday morning, after he snarfed down a plate of pancakes, I watched my littlest one's boundless energy diminish steadily until he wanted nothing more than for me to hold him close.  As his fever has waxed and waned over the past couple of days, getting to the laundry, dishes and needs of the others has become virtually impossible.  Realizing that I just had to let it all go, to just be present, quiet, and still with my poor baby has given me windows of peaceful time during the day to contemplate life.  While I would never want any of my children to be sick, the time I've had to think and to pray really has been a gift.....despite the epic amounts of domestic chores I will have to overcome once Charlie is better.
 Slow dancing to Alison Krauss is medicine for the body and the soul.
Here are my 7 Quick Takes for the week: 
7 points of contemplation from days and nights of baby rocking:
1.  Our family has been praying for all those affected by the tornado that swept through Oklahoma, and our hearts ache deeply for the children who were taken by the storm.  I cannot help but think of the pain of those families as I hold my own children tightly and go through the days living the ordinary gifts of life - waking up in our own home, laughing together, sitting down for supper together - simple gifts that we so easily take for granted.

2.  One of my good friends had a baby this week, which tends to intensify my already deep desire for another baby 10-fold.  I can't help but wonder what plans God has for our really would be a joy to hear another set of feet pitter-patter around here.  And, although our house is small, there's always room for more! Which leads me to #3....
3.  We never thought we'd be in our trailer house more than a year or two, but moving into the third year, I think we've finally hit the wall (literally). Lord, Jesus I know you can hear these walls shake. Mama needs a basement. Pronto. Amen.  Our dream would be to refurbish an old farmhouse, but since our options are non-existent out here, and because we want to be on the farm, building is our best option.  It's time to pull the trigger and make those daydreams a reality!
4.  I'm on day 12 of the Whole30,  (you can read more about it here) which is basically a way of type of detox that has the potential to heal the body of any number of ailments and/or discomforts.  I had intended to write a post this week about it and why I am doing it, but since blogging has been sidelined by fever, that post will be tabled to next week.  The good news is, I'm starting to see some changes and I'm feeling (pretty) great! Translation: Given the fact that I've gone 12 days without beer, wine, chocolate or chips, the fact that no one has been harmed in this process is a miracle!!!

5.  All of the boys, except for Charlie, are playing baseball this summer. Every evening they wolf down their supper and fidget impatiently in their seats just waiting for Steve to tell them they can clean off the table and then go outside to practice.  As I stand at the kitchen sink watching them out the window, I can't help but delight in the sounds of Ben's pitches smacking Andrew's mitt, coaching conversations between brothers, and their excitement when one of them gets a big hit.  All of it brings back so many memories of my own childhood.
6.  A week without running only makes me want to run more. I miss it.  It's time for another race, maybe not a marathon, but at least a 1/2.

7.  Quote of the week (during a very intense Nerf gun war):  George, wailing in pain screams, "Ben, you idiot, you just shot me in the mouth!"  Ben, running to the victim, replies indignantly, "Oh, my gosh, George, did you swallow my bullets??"  Suddenly, everyone paused and then busted out in belly laughs.  (Apparently Steve and I are a raging success when it comes to teaching charity and creative language. No??!!)


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Practical & Spiritual Motivators For Life-Long Fitness

Today's post is a "re-run" of a post I wrote several months back, but one that has been circulating on Pinterest quite a bit, so I thought I would bring it back just for today!  
*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *      *
Let us run with perserverance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Ever since I really started running regularly in college, I have loved the biblical references to athletics and their parallels to the spiritual life...

 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it! ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  ~ Romans 5:3

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:13-15

As a mother, these verses still give me so much encouragement!  Running has evolved from a means to be able to eat more pizza (in college) into a habit essential for maintaining perspective, inner peace, and mental and physical strength for facing the challenges of motherhood and life in general.
That includes stepping up to a sporting clays challenge!...
My dad was the first person who, through his example, inspired me to exercise. He has dedicated himself to a life-long habit of fitness.  I have memories of him coming into the kitchen early in the morning after a good workout with a sweaty brow and ruddy cheeks greeting me cheerfully as I nibbled on my bowl of Cheerios.  He told me as I grew older that exercise for him was essential for managing stress, and approaching the work day with renewed vigor and confidence.

I have come to discover a deep sense of truth in his wisdom. The benefits for most of us, rest heavily in the mental and emotional clarity we gain from working out.  It's much greater than the physical benefits.
Several readers have requested that I write about how to get motivated and stay motivated to exercise.  This topic will probably be answered over the course of several posts, but I'll begin with this:

FIRST - you have to have to do something you enjoy.  Running, walking, biking, hiking, yoga, weightlifting - whatever it is, you have to enjoy it.  Although exercise isn't always fun, the fruits of it will be what keep you coming back.  Exercise isn't always fun, but the feeling that you have after you exercise is great, and is usually what makes it easier to choose to workout again the next day.  You can thank endorphins for that!

SECOND - you must remove from your mind the falsehood that exercise is selfish.  It's quite the opposite, actually.  The fit person is stronger
For the Lord 
She is able to fulfill His calling and purpose for her life with strength and energy.
For her Family 
 She works hard and plays hard with joy and efficiency!
For her Community 
She has the will and dedication to serve not only her family but others as well.

Notice I said the FIT person, not the SKINNY person.  Fitness comes in all shapes and sizes.  Don't believe me?  Just go stand alongside a course at any road race.  You will see all kinds of folks taking on the miles!  I ran 5 miles of my first half-marathon with a group of grandpas who were clipping right along and having a ball!

There are so many excuses out there for not doing it.  You just have to find your reason FOR doing it, and stick to it!  You'll be surprised at how your family and friends will come alongside of you to help you meet your goals.
The human body is an amazing machine, and when it becomes stronger, so too does the intellect (sharper focus), the will (choosing a virtuous path) and the proper order of our emotions (ladies, we need this!).

I hope that this gives you some encouragement to get out there and find a pathway of fitness you enjoy.  If you're already there, keep going!

Fabulous photos from Runner Girl ~ Discovered on Pinterest (of course!)

Friday, May 17, 2013

On the Farm Friday - 7 Quick Takes

Happy Friday, Everyone!! I hope you had a splendid week, and if not, may your weekend be a happy remedy!  Each year at the close of the school year, we celebrate our educational victories with a HA-UGE "graduation" breakfast.  The boys will be up soon, so I'd better find my apron - but before I head out to milk the cow (ha!) I wanted to squeeze in a very quick highlight from this past week!
/ 1 /
Even though life on the farm will be incredibly busy and require intensive energy and labor from now until October, once in a while there are little moments where we all get to throw off our hustle hats, hop in the pick up and head out into the softer side of the farm...
/ 2 /
A close up of an alfalfa plant before it blooms.
Last week Steve and I took the boys out to check a few of our alfalfa circles.  As you know the spring weather has been a bit looptie-loo, which has brought on a few challenges with getting the first round of alfalfa up and growing strong and healthy.  For any of ya'll who might not know, alfalfa is a legume and it produces 4-5 harvests each year from late spring to early fall.  It is swathed, given time to cure in the sun and eventually bailed or stacked and hauled to dairies, ranches or feed yards across the U.S.A. for cattle and horse consumption.
/ 3 /
When we pulled up to each circle, Steve and the boys bailed out of the pick-up, and, running in different directions, hovered over the crop, checking for weevils.  (Please note: my husband is standing over my shoulder right now reminding me to always choose the lesser of two "weevils." Now, he is laughing. Extremely loud. And, I haven't had coffee yet.)  
/ 4 /
Weevils are a tiny green larvae that eventually morph into a pupa and emerge as a small brown beetle.  Because weevils are so destructive, they have to be caught early and treated with a pesticide.
/ 5 /
Weevils aren't the only things we found out in the fields!! The boys also spotted snake holes, gopher tunnels, and my creative George marked this coyote track just for me, so that I wouldn't miss it!
/ 6 /
Charlie loved racing up and down the tire tracks, kicking up dirt and traipsing through the knee high foliage determined to keep up with his brothers! Only his shoes, which were a wee bit big, slowed him down.
/ 7 /
 Watching the pattern of tracks made by curious feet wondering off into the sleepy sunset on a cool, quiet evening, God's grandeur all around, and not a worry nor a fence to hold the little boy back is the sweetness of life.  
Aren't these the best of times??