Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Created to be His is moving!

For several weeks, I have been working hard on my book about purity. I have been going back through old journals and emails and putting my whole heart on paper. It is strange that in doing that, it led me to finally do what has been brewing under the surface of my blogging heart for a while.

Created to be His is a beautiful name but where I'm at in my life right now calls for more. And my "more" is the new name for the new blog - where JOY is. Satan is the destroyer of joy. He steals our reason to do as David did and sing songs of praise, even in the midst of emotional hurt or physical pain. If he cannot have our souls, then he will try to devour our happiness and push us lower and lower into a pitiful mess of gloom. But I say, as David did, restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation!

Looking around at what we have become, even in the Church, I am burdened for myself and my fellow sisters. We have lost our joy!

Single women have no joy in waiting on the Lord's timing for romance.

Married women have no joy in serving and loving their husbands.

Mothers have no joy in investing their lives in raising and discipling their children.

Homemakers have no joy in keeping their home and making it a sanctuary for their family.

Believe me, even in the middle of long days, exhausting nights, and seasons of waiting patiently impatiently for God to move, there is joy. Though I am struggling with you, because the Bible tells us so, I KNOW we have plenty of reasons to sing, dance, shout, and rejoice in who God created us to be. And I choose joy.

So join me over at where JOY is and walk with me as the Lord teaches me how to be full-to-the-brim of His joy and how to offer that joy to the lost world in need.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

When God Decides to Stretch You

photo credit

I have not posted in over a month. And there is a good reason for that. We have moved! That's right. And any of you that has ever moved before can attest to the exhaustion and overwhelming emotions that come with packing up a home and leaving. While in the process of packing and leaving, I have also had a great deal of time in the still hours of the night, while feeding my baby, to think and meditate on all the things God uses in life to strengthen our spiritual muscles. To be honest, I have been ashamed of myself at how quickly and easily out of shape my spiritual life can become.

The day we came home from the hospital, our newest little bundle of joy in our arms, an offer was made on our home.

The.day.we.came.home.

My husband and I have prayed about building a home for nearly two years. Our little mobile house had become home for us, but we both wanted a more secure place out in the country. We want our kids to live like we grew up - playing outside with the nearest blacktop a couple of miles away. After praying, we decided to put our little place up for sale. If it sold, we would begin building. If not, we would stay put until God moved us. Apparently, after having a "for sale" sign in our yard for over a year, the day had come.

I should have been thrilled when, after being home less than an hour, we learned our house had sold. Instead I felt a panic. God! I screamed in my head. We just got home! I'm exhausted. I have a new baby AND a toddler. And now I'm supposed to pack up and say goodbye to this cozy little place in a little over one month?!? I don't have it in me, Lord. It's not fair! Why?!?!


STRETCH.

We began looking at where we would stay while our house was being built. We wanted to save as much as possible but we also wanted to be in a place convenient for my husband's job, our Church, and to allow us time as a family. In an answer to prayer, we were invited to stay with my husband's family for the few months it would take to build our home.

STRETCH

Now I will say that I am immensely blessed to have wonderful in-laws who have taken me in as their own. They are such a blessing to me. But in my mind, though I was grateful, all I could think about was my home....my "space"....my routine....my privacy....my comfort.

(See a pattern?)

I knew it wouldn't be easy moving into someone else's home. It wasn't going to be a piece of cake in trying to settle myself and my kids in a spot that wasn't "ours." Nothing was going to be simple and comfortable. It was going to take adjusting. It was going to stretch me. No doubt, there would be days when my human nature was going to want to snap.

STRETCH

Have you had a season in your life where you were comfortable? You know what I mean. You and the Lord are walking along, enjoying the smell of the roses. No heavy rain, just sunshine. No fork in the road, just a straight path that goes neither uphill nor downhill.

It's good. It's easy. It's comfortable.

And sometimes, that is okay! Psalm 23 is an all-too-familiar passage that gives us a picture of comfort. Our Shepherd is leading us through green pastures and still waters. No rough waves to topple us or barren deserts to leave us dry. He is restoring and blessing. There are seasons when the Lord fills our cup with beauty, and moments where our hearts and our minds are at ease. But all too easily, Satan can steal those moments and make it all about our own comfort instead of basking in the sweetness of His presence. It becomes more about us and how much we want to stay walking pleasantly along our simple, easy path. God intends it for rejuvenation and intimacy. Satan uses it to breed selfishness. Then when the Lord leads us to an ascent that calls for muscle, stamina, and grit, we moan and complain and have a pity party.

....or maybe that's just me.

Since moving in with my in-laws, I have been reminded of the wonderful grace of God. It seems as though I have been learning lessons on His grace for months now. The transition for me and my children has been unbelievably easy and peaceful and I have been reminded of my shortcomings once again. I was afraid, but why fear when I am ever accompanied by His presence? I was comfortable, but why sink into the muck of ease when there is an opportunity to grow and see the strength of God at work? 

Though my flesh prefers the comfortable path, may my spirit ever live to be stretched (and stretched often!) to remind me of the bigger picture; of the higher purpose; and that in being stretched, I can see the power of Jesus in my life.

Psalm 23:6
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life..."

Friday, March 22, 2013

Are You Tired, Mom?

I am writing this post as a sleep deprived mother.

I have a toddler that wants my attention and a newborn that demands my attention. I have a husband who deserves my attention and a home that, um, needs my attention as of late. I have numerous projects and ministry endeavors on the table too.

I'm exhausted.

photo credit
In the last five weeks, I have experienced the usual - feedings every two hours (or less!), an endless array of diapers, baby baths, infant spit up, and crying. A lot of crying. Sometimes more like wailing.

Long days and short nights.

Oh, I'm tired....Any of you mothers relate? :)

Every season in life brings its own bundle of lessons. This season I am learning a big one:  Joy

I am tired. Really tired. But I want to display joy. That's not easy when sometimes often I just want to have a big meltdown and run away. When my 23 month old throws a tantrum - again - I don't want to snap and lose my head. When I hear the unmistakable noise of a newborn waking when I'm almost asleep, I do not want to get angry. When my husband comes home after a hard day, I don't want to be impatient or selfish. I want to be joyful; gentle; thankful.

I can't do it alone. That much is for certain. But I CAN do it with the help of Christ

Psalms 28:7 says, "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."

I have grown to love that verse over the last few weeks.

In the midnight hours where my body is screaming for rest, I can take comfort that the Lord is my resting place. In the moments when all I want is a peaceful, quiet hour, I can be thankful that I have little ones to disrupt the silence. I can rejoice that although life is sometimes crazy and hard, it is a wonderful gift from God.

His Word says I can do all things through His strength. He says that His grace and His strength in made perfect in my weakness. That's a beautiful promise! In feeding, nurturing, training, and loving my kids, His power is mine if I claim it. In loving, serving, and helping my husband, His abilities are mine if I allow Him to work through me. In caring for and managing my home, His joy is offered to me.

That's a good Word, isn't it?

Am I tired? Oh yes. But I cannot find a better reason to be tired, can you?


Friday, March 8, 2013

Increasing Your Milk Supply

photo credit
A few days ago I mentioned in a post that I could not nurse my first child like I wanted to. So, this time around I made it a point to do all I could to be able to nurse my baby girl. With my first, I assumed I would be able to nurse easily but I learned quick that it is a learned process. It's not an effortless art to everyone. So this time, I set my mind to it, I prayed, and then I turned to the God-given foods and herbs within arm's reach to help me out.

There are lots of things people say to do. For example:

  • Nurse often. In the first few weeks especially, your baby will need to suck often. As hard as it is on your body (and your sanity!), you need to let them nurse as much as they want. Why? The more your little one nurses, the more milk you will produce. From one who is less than four weeks in, I will tell you that the days are long and the nights are hard. Sometimes you may feel like all you do is feed your baby, but it will pass. ---and I say this to encourage myself too.
       
  • Eat and eat healthy. Breastfeeding moms need an extra 500 calories on top of the 1800-2000 calories they operate on a day. It's been said that if your body is making milk, it is the equivalent of running a marathon! So...we need sustenance. If you're hungry, EAT. And though you can indulge in a milkshake and Dove chocolate, it's important to eat as healthy as possible. Whatever you eat, baby eats.
       
  • Pump. Invest in a good pump. Preferably a double electric pump. If you pump after your baby nurses, it will send messages telling your body to produce more. Plus, as you make more milk, you will be able to store it which will allow others to feed your baby and give you a break. Double win. :)
       
If you're like me when I had my first, those three things may not be enough. So here are a few more ways to boost your milk supply.
  • Mother's Milk Tea by Traditional Medicinals is something I purchased right before my baby girl was born. It is a sweet and spicy, slightly bitter-tasting tea that is full of herbs like fennel and coriander.  Personally, I'm not fond of the taste and so I add honey and lemon to it. But it's worth it and it may be tasty to you.
      
  • As I posted the other day, Lactation cookies are a delicious way to boost your milk supply. Courtesy of Pinterest, and tasty as all get out, these cookies are AH-MAZE-ING.
      
  • If you read my post on pregnancy supplements, you will remember my singing the praises of Red Raspberry Leaves. Along with providing relief for women who have painful or heavy periods, and strengthening the uterus and prepping the body for childbirth, Red Raspberry Leaves also aid in milk supply.
         
  • Fenugreek capsules is something I tried after my first was born but I think I was too far gone by that time and I gave up. This time, I began taking Fenugreek immediately after my baby girl was born and slowly increased the dosage. Many women claim to see a significant increase in their milk production in the first 24-72 hours!
There is much more you can look into and try. Oatmeal, Blessed Thistle, Alfalfa, papaya, Flax, water, spinach, carrots, Hummus, apricots - there are lots of foods and herbal supplements available that will help us, lactating mothers, produce more! Happy lactating! :)


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Postpartum Belly Wrapping

Have you heard of postpartum belly wrapping?? When my oldest was around five months old, I learned about belly binding and was surprised to learn about its history. It's fairly uncommon here in America but the benefits are wonderful! The concept behind belly wrapping is to support the muscles and the skin of a woman's midsection after delivery. If you are a mommy, you know all too well how loose everything is after giving birth. Your body has undergone a massive ordeal and, in the six weeks after delivery, your organs are slowly working to get back into place. And, of course, you have extra skin on your tummy from stretching to accommodate your little darling. Some well-meaning women may tell you that your belly (and body!) will be ruined after having a child. That's not a happy thought...  and thankfully it doesn't have to be true.

Here is a little history:

"For centuries, Japanese mothers have used their “Sarashi” to speed up weight loss and toning of the abdominal muscles and skin after childbirth, while Hispanic mommies believe their “faja” helps bring all the muscles used in the birthing process back together again. No matter what she calls it, women in Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Latin America, Mexico, Spain, England, and the Philippines have benefited from using an abdominal compression wrap after childbirth."

In cultures like those mentioned above, it is actually considered cruel NOT to bind your belly. After reading about the ancient art of belly binding, I decided I would give it a try this time around. To be honest, I am very skeptical of things like this but I've been pleasantly surprised.

After tons of research and reading lots of reviews, I decided to try the 9" Three Panel-Elastic Abdominal Binder & Waist Trimmer. It can be overwhelming when you see the many styles and prices out there, but be encouraged that you CAN find a good wrap at a decent price! Some are very expensive! Like I said, I'm skeptical of things like this and I didn't want to spend a lot of money only to be disappointed, so I chose an inexpensive wrap that had good reviews and hoped for the best. May I just say that if the Lord gives us more children, I will ALWAYS wrap my belly after delivery!! I have loved it.

So what are the benefits of belly wrapping?

  • It helps restore organs and muscles to their original positions.
  • It reduces the appearance of the belly quicker.
  • It lessons the likelihood of postpartum depression.
  • It helps stabilize a woman's mood.
  • It eases the transition of becoming un-pregnant.
  • It supports post-birth digestion.
  • It offers gentle support of the back and stomach.

Sounds great, doesn't it?

36 hours postpartum without the wrap

36 hours postpartum with the wrap

With my first, I dropped 20 lbs within the first month, but the last 15 lbs I could.not.lose. This time, at two weeks postpartum, I am five pounds away from my pre-second-pregnancy weight! --I still have a few more to get back to my pre-FIRST-pregnancy weight. I contribute the weight loss this time to 1) breastfeeding and 2) wrapping my tummy. The wrap has given my back and my abdomen a lot of support and has made me feel extremely less "loose!" In fact, though I still have some flabby skin, my tummy is a lot firmer this time around. I put the wrap on for the first time 36 hours after giving birth. Some say to keep it on 24/7 with the exception of bathing. I, however, do not wear it all day, every day. And I do not sleep in it. It is comfortable, though sometimes it rides up and I have to readjust. So I give myself a break in the evenings. But I have been so very pleased with my purchase.

If you have never tried it, I highly recommend it!

2 weeks postpartum (with the wrap)



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lactation Cookies


Pinterest deserves my profound gratitude. I discovered this wonderful recipe a few months before baby girl made her appearance and I made the decision immediately that I would try them out.

With my first child, I couldn't nurse like I wanted to. So I gave up and we went to formula. This time around, I resolved to do everything I could think of to prepare for breastfeeding and to boost my supply. And out of all the things I have done, this is my favorite! ---though that's probably because I am a sucker for a chocolate chip cookie! So for all of you mommies-of-babies out there, here is a delicious recipe for some mouth-watering lactation goodness! Oh and if you are not pregnant, don't worry, this won't make you produce milk. My husband eats them too! ;)


Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 3/4 c. rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 c. peanut butter (organic peanut butter is best)
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. ground flax seed
3 T brewer’s yeast (can be found online or at your local healthfood store)
1/3 c. water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 c. chocolate chips (organic chips are recommended but I didn't have any on hand)
1 c. chopped nuts of your choice (I left mine out)

Directions:
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. In a large bowl, beat almond butter, butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, brewer’s yeast, flax and water until creamy. Mix in eggs. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Mix in nuts and chocolate chips. Slowly mix in oats. Place Tbsp.-sized balls of dough onto greased cookie sheets. Press down each ball lightly with a fork. Bake 12 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool. Enjoy!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Labor and Delivery Playlist

Music is my language. While preparing for my labor and delivery, I decided to compile a list of songs into a playlist to help me 1) relax, 2) stay focused on Jesus, and 3) calm my fears. I listened to these songs for several weeks leading up to my labor and was encouraged every time I opened my heart to the lyrics. I definitely recommend having songs on hand during the birthing process. Though I only labored for a little over two hours at home before rushing to the hospital (read the crazy story here!), I was able to listen to a few of these songs on my playlist before we left. When a contraction hit and my response was to tense up and fear the pain, these songs helped keep me calm and steady. Hearing truths in the lyrics of these songs (i.e. be still and know that He is God....faithful God, every need You've met....my Father comforts me....He walks with me where angels fear to tread...) brought comfort to me and reminded my heart that I am His child and I am in His hands.

Below is my playlist. It's a combination of fast and slow songs. Some instrumentals. Most all of these can be found on iTunes.

  • Amazing Grace (instrumental) - Josh Wilson 
  • Be Still and Know - Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Beautiful Baby: Pachelbel's Cannon w/piano and strings - Music for Labor and Delivery
  • Beulah Land - my grandfather (www.lisembys.com)
  • Bless Us and Keep Us - John Waller
  • Blessed Assurance - Eden Symphony Orchestra
  • The Blood of Jesus (live) - the Collingsworth family
  • Bring the Rain - Mercy Me
  • Dreams - Eric and Leslie Ludy
  • Edelweiss - Sound of Music soundtrack
  • Faithful God - Laura Story
  • Fear Not Tomorrow - the Collingsworth family
  • Fearfully and Wonderfully Made - Matt Redman
  • Find You on My Knees - Kari Jobe
  • God Walks the Dark Hills - Vestal Goodman
  • Grip of Grace - the Perrys
  • He's Always Been Faithful - Sara Groves
  • Here - Kari Jobe
  • His Burden's Light - Austin's Bridge
  • His Grace is Sufficient - Mike Bowling Group
  • Hurt and the Healer - Mercy Me
  • Hundred More Years - Francesca Battistelli
  • I Can Trust Jesus - the Collingsworth family
  • I Look to You - Selah
  • I Need You More Today - Jeff & Sheri Easter
  • I Place My Trust in Him - Reggie Lisemby (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/he-guards-my-way-audio/id446655886?i=95189020&mt=2)
  • In the Calm - Jennifer Deibler
  • The Lord is My Shepherd - Keith Green
  • Nearer My God to Thee - (www.lisembys.com)
  • O Lord, Our Strength and Confidence - Ingrid DuMosch
  • One Desire - Kari Jobe
  • Only Trust Him - Eden Symphony Orchestra
  • Perfect Peace - Laura Story
  • The Potter Knows the Clay - the Perrys
  • Rise - Kari Jobe
  • Steady My Heart - Kari Jobe
  • Sweet Hour of Prayer - Anne Walsh
  • Take My Life - Kari Jobe
  • Tell the Mountain - the Collingsworth family
  • Thou Oh Lord (Psalm 3)
  • The Well - Casting Crowns
  • Where Angels Fear to Tread - the Worship Crew
  • Where Joy and Sorrow Meet - Avalon
  • While I'm Waiting - John Waller
  • Yearn - Shane & Shane
  • Your Grace Still Amazes Me - Phillips, Craig, & Dean

Do you have songs that still your heart and calm your fears? Feel free to share!

Total Pageviews

 
Template: Blog Designs by Sheila | Bible Image: Creation Swap | Coffee Image: Pixmac