Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beautiful Clay

Isaiah 64:8
"But now, O LORD, thou art our father;
we are the clay, and thou our potter;
and we all are the work of thy hand."

These days, image is everything. Just take a trip to the mall. Turn on the TV. Glance at any magazine. Just look around for a moment and you will see that "image" has become somewhat of a priority in today's world.

Nobody knew that, years ago in my early teens, I was really struggling with my image. I wrestled on a daily basis with how I looked and, I am ashamed to say, that I was very unsatisfied with God's handiwork. I hated my thighs, I wanted a flat stomach, I wished my arms were smaller and my legs were more sleek. I would too often compare my body with those around me. I would see only my faults and then dwell on how unappealing and unattractive I was. Like so many girls and women, I believed the lie that my outward appearance determined my worth. Sadly, I know many of you girls reading this will understand and relate....and that breaks my heart.

I didn't know it at the time, but I was hurting myself. Looking back, I can see the damage I did to my mind. It played a major role in my attitudes. I would sometimes stay home from various activities for the sole reason of not wanting to be around "those skinny, perfect girls." What a battle it was!

But there was another battle going on inside me at the same time. Maybe it is going on in you as well. God was trying to get my attention. Oh, I tried to ignore His Spirit but, thankfully, He kept pursuing me. Finally His conviction became unbearable and I found myself turning to Him and His Word. As I flipped the pages of my Bible, I was bombarded by gentle reminders of how beautiful, special, and loved I was - and not just by my family or friends - but by God Himself! I realized that only God could fill my needs. I saw that no matter how thin or "model gorgeous" I could be, it would never be fulfilling because true fulfillment comes from only one place - Christ! The clincher was when I was reminded that my body is not my own. My body doesn't belong to me, it belongs to God! It is His temple, the dwelling place of Jesus...

1 Corinthians 6:20
"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

My transformation began when I believed and received God's Word. I began to reprogram my thinking. Being human and constantly pitched at by Satan, it is still a struggle sometimes, especially now that I am waddling around 9 months pregnant, but God continues to remind me of His truth. As I look back, I am so grateful for all that I have learned about my Creator and Savior.

Unfortunately today we, girls and women, are bombarded by images of those "perfect" girls. All the different diets and "fast weight loss" programs, all the make-up, hair supplies, injections, surgeries, and enhancers can make your head spin and your self confidence plummet. But I challenge you to refuse society and its attempt to make you self-absorbed, and concentrate on simply radiating Christ. I lost sight of the fact that God created me exactly how I am. He didn't just make me, He FORMED me. Like a potter takes clay and molds it into something amazing and beautiful - GOD took me in His hands and, day by day, is working to shape me into what He desires me to be. Psalm 139:13-16 says that He shaped me from the womb. He lovingly took me in His hands and molded me. He chose the right shade of blue to put in my eyes. He gave me my ears, my nose, MY mouth, my arms, legs, face.... and He said it was good. That's an amazing thought alone! For the Creator to take a piece of clay and view it at beautiful! What a God we serve...

As one who has "been there, done there," I want to encourage you all to not dwell on your outer beauty. Sure, take care of the body that was given to you by God, but do not make it a top priority to have perfect skin, a flat stomach, or silky hair. Do not compare yourself with Hollywood's "models" and celebrities. Do not fret or look up to God, disappointed with His work. Outer beauty WILL fade. What matters is the beauty of the heart and the beauty that showcases God's beautiful work inside a changed life.

1 Peter 3:3
"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

Genesis 2:7
"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

Proverbs 31:30
"Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised."

Deuteronomy 32:18
"Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Meanderings - 03/28/2011

Wow. How long has it been since I did a Monday Meandering?? Too long.

Bible Study... Proverbs 31

Memory Verse... Proverbs 31:18
"She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Pray for him
♥ Remember the amount of responsibility he has on him.
♥ Try to never criticize, only help
♥ Soak up the one-on-one time. Baby Nathan will be here SOON!

Train Them Up...
* Wash all his new clothes
* Practice breathing and relaxing

Personal Goals...
* Eat healthier this week than last week
* Excercise and walk around no matter how lazy I want to be
* Go to bed early (shouldn't be hard, hehe)
* Journal more this week

New Habit of the Month...
* Read Bible out loud every day

MUST Do...
* Mail out "Thank You" cards
* Doctor's appointment - Thursday
* Keep house clean
* Run a few errands for Grant

Zone...  the kitchen


M - Salmon salad
T - Camp food
W - Camp food
Th - Homemade pizza?
Su - TBD

* Feeling Nathan tumble around, even though it gets painful sometimes
* Helping out at Camp for a few days and seeing a sweet bunch of campers!
* Washing Nathan's new clothes and getting his room ready
* My last baby shower this Saturday!

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. My Jesus
2. A good night's sleep
3. Pink lemonade!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Doctrine or Opinion? Drinking.

* Drinking. Is it right? Is it wrong?

For years many of God's people have been forced to take a stand - in the church of all places - regarding whether it is a sin to drink alcohol of any kind. Next, the argument will shift to cursing and then sex moderation....but I'll save that for another post. I Corinthians 10:31 says, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." If you are honest with yourself, you know absolutely no glory can come to God through an alcoholic beverage. You may try to rationalize it, as so many have done in today's so-called Christian community, but the truth doesn't change just because some liberal thinks they've found a loophole.
First, Proverbs 23:31 says, "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red , when it giveth his colour in the cup , when it moveth itself aright."

So, to begin, God is telling us to refuse to look at wine when it is red, or "fermented." In other words: Liquor. Alcohol. He didn't say, "Drink not the wine when it red." He said, "LOOK NOT!" So, right off the bat, we automatically know the heart of God on the matter. Why, then, do many Christians find nothing wrong with alcohol of any kind?? My opinion? They don't want to give it up.
It amazes me that virtually every alcohol manufacturer shares the same beliefs of many of today's Christians. Alcohol manufacturers say: Drink responsibly! And, surprisingly, today's so-called Christians chant the same motto... Drink responsibly! Yeah, okay....
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
says, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
Jesus told us in Matthew 18:8-9 that it would be better for us to pluck out our eye or cut off our arm if it kept us from achieving eternal life. Why in the world would He, then, condone alcohol in anyone's life if it could ultimately lead him to eternal hell?? Simple. He wouldn't.
It would do us all well to search out the Scriptures when a question arises. For example, the word "wine." Sometimes it is a literal drink. Sometimes the Bible uses the word figuratively. In certain scriptures (i.e. Proverbs 20:1, Proverbs 23:30-31, Isaiah 5:22 to name a few) when it talks about "red wine" or "strong drink," it means fermented. In other words: Intoxication. Liquor. Alcohol.
Then in other passages, both in the OT and NT, wine means "squeezing" and "juicing." In other words: Juice!
Many use the argument, "Oh, Jesus drank wine when He changed water into wine." Yes He did. But what kind of wine do you think it was? Do you think a God who said in Habakkuk 2:15 "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink...." would then GIVE any type of alcoholic drink to others? No. Not a chance. The same God who said, "Don't look at the wine when it is red" is NOT going to turn around and say, "You can take a sip every now and then." God will NEVER contradict His own Word, nor make Himself to be a liar.
Proverbs 20:1
"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."


Isaiah 5:22
"Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink."
Alcohol is a mind-altering drug. For the wise Christian, drinking alcohol is not even an option. Alcohol (and yes, that includes wine) does damage to our bodies. The first effect of alcohol on the brain is to dull the mind. It basically handicaps the brain and rids it of its capacity for self-criticism and the sense of caution. Actions follow the impulses, which is dangerous. Reaction time become slower; coordination is disturbed; drowsiness follows. Alcohol also has negative affects on your esophagus, stomach, intestines, bloodstream, pancreas, liver, heart, bladder, and kidneys. We should remember that, as Christians, our bodies are not ours, but the LORDs' and we should use our bodies for HIS service, for HIS glory, and be sober in all matters under heaven.....

I Corinthians 6:19-20
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

I Corinthians 3:16-17
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

Innumerable Christians claim their "Christian Liberty" when it comes to social drinking. In order to do that, they must turn their backs on Scripture. They say, "I'm no longer under the law, but under grace!" Let's not forget what Paul said about that...

Romans 6:15
"What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid."

Romans 6:2
"God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"

Using our "Christian Liberty" to down a glass of wine, beer, vodka or a martini is NOT the kind of liberty we have as the "separate" people of God. Those who claim "grace" to deliberately go against Scripture are those who only want to live as they please; instead of how God Almighty commands us to live. When we deem alcohol as our "right" we only end up hurting ourselves and, more heartbreaking, others as well. As one bold man once said, "'Sipping Saints' have given multitudes of people an excuse to drink." Let me take it one step further. Parents, you must remember that whatever you do in moderation your child will likely do in excess.
In closing, I have to say that it's a shame (but not surprising) that the Christians have to be convinced in this day and age that consuming alcohol is a sin. But as the world gets a better grip on the church, look for other sins to be labeled as mere stumbling blocks...meaning: it's not wrong unless you or someone else thinks it is.

Proverbs 23:29-33
"Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Doctrine or Opinion? Your Thoughts...

It is really disheartening when people of God refuse doctrine and embrace opinion instead.

We read scriptures in the Bible where God speaks to His people saying, "Thou shalt not" and His people, instead of obeying, decide to go ahead and follow their own heart and do whatever they please. (Jeremiah 6:16 - "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.")

One thing that is becoming rampant amongst the Christians of today is the refusal of true doctorine and the wholehearted acceptance of personal beliefs. Instead of dilligently searching the Scriptures and taking the Bible as a whole, many pick key verses to base their doctrine around. That should not be so.

The list below are issues that have come up within the last few weeks and it has burdened my heart to see the people of God - the chosen, set-apart, sanctified people - lax and lenient with these basic subjects in Scripture. Making excuses to blanket sin, and making excuses to lower the high expectations of a Holy God, far too many excuse themselves from "this or that" and refuse to take a literal God as...well....literal.

So the below list are issues that have caused debate. Before I give MY take on each one, I'd like some feedback on YOUR take. And please, do not base it around opinion. We, as God's people, should be after doctrine. His doctrine. So use verses and passages straight from the Word of God to prove your point.

Drinking. Is it right? Is it wrong?

Living with someone before marriage. Is it right? Is it wrong?

Divorce. Is it right? Is it wrong?

Divorce and remarriage. Is it right? Is it wrong?

Listening to ungodly music. Is it right? Is it wrong?

Watching or reading unholy things. Is it right? Is it wrong?


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nature's Pharmacy

Carrots- A sliced carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye. Science shows that carrots greatly enhance blood flow, thus aiding functions of the eyes.

Tomatoes - A tomato has four chambers and most of them are red. The heart has four chambers and is red. Research has shown that tomatoes are rich in lycopin, which can be considered pure heart and blood food.

Grapes - Grapes hang in cluster and has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research shows grapes are also a great heart and blood vitalizing food.

Walnuts - A walnut looks like a little brain. Up close, you can identify all the parts of the brain as well as the wrinkles and folds. We now know walnuts help develop more than 3 dozen neuro-transmitters for brain function.

Kidney Beans – Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function. Take a close look and you will see that they do look like a human kidney.

Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb - All of these items look like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium (not to be confused with table salt). If you don’t have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Avocadoes, Eggplant and Pears - These foods target the health and function of the uterus and cervix of the female. These foods also are shaped and look like these organs. Scientific research has shown that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it can balance hormones, help shed unwanted birth weight, and help prevent cervical cancers. Also of interest---it takes exactly 9 months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit!

Figs - Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs are noted to aid in male fertility.

Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes look like a human pancreas and actually help balance the glycemic index of diabetes.

Olives - Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries.

Oranges, Grapefruits, and other Citrus fruits - These fruits resemble mammary glands of the female and actually assist in their health.

Onions & Garlic – Onions look like the body’s cells. Research shows onions clear waste materials from all the body cells. Garlic also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Power: Maeyken Wens

I have many heroes who inspire me and encourage me in my walk with Christ. Some heroes, I know personally such as my grandfather, my parents, my husband, and various evangelist, preachers and speakers of the gospel. Then there are heroes in Christian history that I have never met such as John, Paul, James, Andrew, Mary of Bethany, Esther, Amy Carmichael, Sarah Edwards, Evelyn Brand and the Wurmbrands. But near the top of my ever-growing list of heroes is this woman - Maeyken Wens.

It seems like every day, I am increasingly disturbed by the infatuation with pop culture and how so many Christian girls idolize celebrities and the "stars" of this world. What we, young women of this generation, need is a shot of serious, radiant transformation. We need to get our eyes off of Hollywood’s would-be representations of womanhood and cast them upon the Godly beauties all over the world who change lives, inspire souls, and who make an eternal difference. People such as my heroes listed above go before us, preparing the way and giving us an example of Christianity that is so much more than the "feel good" messages we have today in Churches and Christian bookstores. They look back at you and I, bidding us to join them, and exchange our life for the life of Christ. We have the power within us, given to us by God Himself, to shake off the shackles of defeat and embrace His divine and exciting gift of real, bona fide living!

The belief of most Christians today will never change the world. The mindset that is so prevalent in the Churches today is powerless and mediocre. While pagan nations all over the world think nothing of flying into buildings, or strapping bombs to their chest - all in the name of their god - the "victorious Christians" who serve the only true God have been reduced to a compromised and cowardly people who are lifeless in their belief and powerless in their living. While the ungodly and the wicked die for a statue or animal or human being, we, as Christians, can’t even live for a God who has always been and always will be. Something has to change. It is time to go back to our roots; to a Christian life built upon the blood and sacrifice of those who diligently and passionately followed Christ Jesus. The Gospel, the glory of the saving Redeemer, is far from dull and bland, and the merciful grace and the unconditional, massive love of our sinless Savior deserves more than a mere two hours a week. Love so rich and unworthily poured out upon us demands our every waking moment. Women (and men!) all over the world and throughout the ages understood this, and they gladly offered up their every word, every thought, every deed, and every dream to the One who gives life, forgiveness, and a future more breathtaking than anything we could imagine. By surrendering ourselves to Him, He furnishes our inward souls with His power and love. The first step is yielding to Him everything we are and everything we have. He cannot use those who are unwilling to let Him have control.

Though very many women in Christian history experienced horrible pain and suffering, they reacted in Christ-like love, praying for those who used them and abused them. They were so full of the power of God, that they thought nothing of torment and shame. For what is life? Is it not simply an opportunity to reflect the power and presence of God? God is searching the world over to find the few who are willing to make such a choice. In every generation, there are a selected few who stand up and declare to the listening ears and watching eyes of the world that, The Lord is God and He deserves my all!

So let me introduce you to one my biggest heroes of the Christian faith, Maeyken Wens....

Maeyken Wens was a young woman who lived in the city of Antwerp in Belgium. She was the wife of a minister and mother of two sons. Known for her faithfulness and devout commitment to the Lord, she was loved by all and considered a God-fearing and pious woman of God. On a spring day in April, in 1573, Maeyken was taken and confined in the severest prison in the city. While in prison, she was pressed and demanded to apostatize her faith. She refused.

She wrote many letters in the following months.

In a letter to her husband, Mattheus, she wrote: We ought to thank the Lord in adversity as well as in that which is agreeable to the flesh; for if the Lord takes all from us, He takes from us no more than what He has lent us, for it belongs to us no longer….Oh that I could always thank the Lord as well when the flesh suffers adversity, as when it prospers - then we can thank the Lord indeedTruly the Lord has said, "He that does not forsake everything is not worthy of me;" for the Lord well knew that it would come hard to the flesh. Oh, how easy it is to be a Christian, so long as the flesh is not put to the trial, or nothing has to be relinquished; then it is an easy thing to be a Christian.

Through months of severe torture, she continued to remain steadfast and unmovable. Her faith did not falter throughout physical torments, and no matter how many tried to persuade her to renounce the name of Christ, she would not be swayed. After six months, her sentence finally came: She was to be burned at the stake in the public square of the prison. The execution was to be carried out within twenty-four hours.

Though trembling in the flesh, Maeyken was fearless in spirit. That night, she wrote a final farewell. To faithful friend and fellow Christian, she wrote: ...I have been sentenced; nevertheless I was so full of joy, that I should not be able to express it with the mouth, the Lord be forever praised for the great grace He has shown me, who has feared so much. Oh, what a strong God we have, compared with what we see the wicked have. Oh, let us have good courage....

To her eldest son, Adriaen, she wrote: Oh, regard not the great multitude, or the ancient custom, but look at the little flock, which is persecuted for the word of the Lord.…My dear son, be not afraid of this suffering; it is nothing compared to that which shall endure forever. The Lord takes away all fear…

The following morning, she was brought out for her execution. To prevent her from testifying to the crowd or singing songs of praise, which was (and still is!) common among martyrs of the faith, her tongue was fastened to her palate with an iron screw. While the witnesses gathered, she was placed at the stake and then burned to ashes. Her son, Adriaen, was among the onlookers. However, he lost consciousness and remained on the ground until the execution had been carried out. When he awoke, he went to the place where his mother had been burnt and dug into the ashes until he found the screw which had held fastened his mother’s tongue shut. He kept it in remembrance of her.
It goes without saying that women like Maeyken Wens had tapped into a supernatural, unexplained power that transformed their very existence and shook the watching world. While we boast of our faithful attendance at Church, they risk everything simply by believing. While we shy away from persecution, they welcome it as a privilege. While we think of every plea bargain and loophole to prevent any discomfort, they stand firm upon the Word of God that says “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12)

Maeyken Wens was a true heroine and valiant servant of Jesus Christ. While most people would have tried every excuse to avoid such a horrific death, Maeyken did not flinch at the verdict. Though many would have begged for mercy, she did not. There are many of us who look upon such courage and fearlessness with skepticism and disbelief. How could one endure such unbelievable pain and yet consider it their greatest honor? How can they willingly welcome a horrific death with open arms and count it all joy? How can one walk boldly into agonizing torture and not faint? How can one praise the name of Jesus while their bodies are being slain and their voice never falter? The mystery of such peace and bravery stems only from one place: in the shadow of the cross. Maeyken, and thousands of others who have suffered for Christ, found strength, hope, and triumph in the intimate splendor of Christ. It was not found in and of themselves. They had no power to withstand, no victory to obtain, and no beauty to display on their own. But because of Christ, they had all that and more! He equipped them with a spiritual stamina, a timeless grace, and an eternal legacy....and He can - and will - do the very same for me and for you IF we yield to Him day by day.

2 Timothy 1:7
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

Psalm 68:35
"O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God."

Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan

I haven't blogged any recipes lately and last night I actually cooked a real meal! SO, I decided to post the main course here. Enjoy!

Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
dry bread crumbs (I sprinkled garlic salt and itallian seasoning over the crumbs)
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 eggs, slightly beaten
1 jar of Ragu Old World pasta sauce
(I use Ragu for my chicken and Cream of Chicken for Grant)


1. Preheat oven to 400*

2. Dip chicken in eggs, then bread crumbs. Arrange chicken in glass dish. Bake for 20 minutes.

3. Pour Ragu sauce over chicken, then top with cheese. Bake 10 minutes more or until no longer pink.

Serve over your pasta of choice

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Baby Boy Belly Bump

Go ahead and say that title real fast a few times. Have a little laugh on this early Friday evening!

So, as the title says, HERE is my baby boy belly bump for week 36!

So that is about 5 1/2 pounds of adorable boy cuteness and......20 pounds grapes, chicken, grapefruit, pinto beans, ice cream, water.....and who knows what else.

36 weeks. Whew! One more week and baby Lee will no longer be considered premature if he decides to come early. So, how am I feeling? TIRED. I still have bouts of crazy energy where I do tons of stuff and clean EVERYTHING, but then....I crash. According to the fantastic pregnancy book: What To Expect When You're Expecting, here are some common "symptoms" of month 9 (which is 36-40 weeks):

* Changes in baby's activity (more squirming and less kicking) - Check. I'm feeling TONS of movement but no "pounding" like I did a month or two ago.

* Heartburn - Heartburn is at a minimum which, I personally attribute to drinking lots of ionized water and not eating late at night.

* Occasional headaches, faintness, dizziness - Yup. Headaches? Eh....that has been the thorn in my side for the past week but, thankfully, I have upped on more sunshine, less reading, and plenty of rest. So it's better. Faintness and dizziness is occasional. Usually when I get up quick or early in the morning or late at night when I get out of bed.

* Sensitive gums - Mmm...a little.

* Leg cramps - Wooo....there for a month or so, I was having them often. Thanks to some awesome exercise stretches that I do constantly, I am not having leg cramps anymore. Yay!

* Increased backache and heaviness - Youuuuu betcha. I have always had bad posture when I sit, so I've been trying to keep my back straight ALL the time instead of just when I'm standing or walking. It's helped and my back doesn't hurt quite so often. However, with the baby boy growing and pushing me forward, it does get difficult...and heaviness? Um, yeah. lol

* Increased swelling of ankles and feet - I have noticed that I swell only when I'm on my feet a lot. If I take breaks, it's better. If I'm on my feet for an insane amount of time, get ready...

* Itchy abdomen - Goodness, yes! And like I blogged in a recent post, it's mainly when I'm outside of the house in...front...of...people. Weird.

* Easier breathing after the baby drops - Not....*takes a breath*....not quite yet.

So....there's an update. In other news, I finally finished washing all the baby's stuff that I have so far. All the blankets, sheets, clothes, socks, cloth diapers, burp name it! The crib is made and ready and so is the little cradle in our bedroom. Want a sneak peak? Look below!

The crib in the nursery:

The cradle in our bedroom:

Sooooo cute! Whew! 36 weeks down and.....maybe 4 more to go?

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Day of Nesting

You know those days when you wake up and instantly want to go back to sleep? I have been having a lot of those lately. I suppose it's only normal. I mean, I have 20+ pounds on me that I have acquired over the last 8 months. That can make you drag a bit. I have a 5 pound boy in my womb...and that's bound to suck some energy out of your daily life. hehehe.

But today, WOW!! It was not one of those days. Maybe it was just a "nesting" urge....maybe it was the fact that I slept like a baby from 9:45 last night to 7 a.m. this morning. Who knows?! Regardless, today I have accomplished quite a lot.

* Bedroom cleaned. Check.

* Medicine cabinet rearranged and moved (Grant's been after me to do this for weeks). Check.

* Baby bath stuff in the previous medicine cabinet. Check.

* Laundry from last Friday to yesterday done. Check.

* An army of ants destroyed (took me forever, but I concocted a killer-paste that got 'er done!). Check.

* My dresser cleaned out and organized. Check.

I also started washing the baby's clothes and blankets, so that's a good step in the right direction. I am super proud of myself.....although I have a feeling that tomorrow I will be taking it easy and relaxing. But, hey, when you're in the mood and have the energy, especially if you're pregnant, I say, "take FULL advantage of it!" Right, ladies?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Blood of Jesus

Picture in your mind as they whipped and scourged Jesus Christ....

"Blood was splattered on the floor. That blood that you walk on when you go in EZmart and buy your alcohol. That blood that you trod on and roll around in when you're out sleeping around on your wife or your husband. That blood that you trod on when you're on your little computer looking up that dirty stuff. That blood that you trod on when you lead a lost family member or loved one or friend away from Jesus because of your lifestyle. Blood was everywhere. The blood that saved me would have been splattered on the wall. It would have been everywhere. That life-saving, life-giving blood. GOD'S BLOOD!"  -  Grant (my husband)

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon this I see:
nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my cleansing this my plea:
nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Nothing can for sin atone:
nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Naught of good that I have done:
nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my hope and peace:
nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my righteousness:
nothing but the blood of Jesus. 
O precious is the flow
that makes me white as snow;

no other fount I know;
nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Fairest of Them All

"Find a woman who cares about nothing but loving, serving, honoring, and glorifying Jesus Christ, and you will truly see who is the 'fairest of them all.'"    -   Leslie Ludy

Monday, March 7, 2011

Natural Remedies || pt 2

Cuts, Bumps, Burns and Stings

* Sunburn: Very gently cleanse a sunburn with antibacterial soap to prevent getting an infection in the damaged, vulnerable area.

* Black Eye: Reduce the swelling and appearance of an ugly black eye by eating papaya and pineapple.

* Minor burns: Use whole milk on a minor burn, as the milk "soothes burns and promotes healing."

* Apply apple cider vinegar to bites: Reduce itching by applying a dab of apple cider vinegar to bug bites.

* Preparation H your burns: Preparation H helps minor burns heal more quickly. Use the treatment daily when you switch bandages.

* Aloe Vera helps razor burn: Rub aloe vera on the irritated area to relieve the effects of razor burn.

* Eat yogurt to help cold sores: Get rid of your cold sores faster by eating yogurt.

Tummy Aches

* Eat ginger: Ginger cookies and ginger tea helps calm upset tummies.

* Eat peppermint: Peppermint also has a soothing effect that helps stomach aches.

* Drink lemon tea and honey: This mixture can keep a tummy ache at bay.

* Drink ginger ale: Some people drink Sprite to calm their upset stomachs, but ginger ale is the best soda to use. The bubbles relieve gas and pressure, and the ginger has a natural soothing effect too.

* Close your eyes: If you're feeling dizzy, take a time out to shut your eyes for a few moments and regain your equilibrium.

* Make sage tea: Calm a nervous tummy and reduce stress by drinking sage tea.

* Move away from the computer: Sometimes too much eye strain can make you feel nauseous. Take a break from the computer to walk around and get some fresh air.

Clearing up Skin Problems

* Poison Ivy
: Try rubbing wet table salt onto the rash to calm itching and stop the poison ivy oil from spreading.

* Acne: Vitamins like zinc, niacin and Vitamin A are helpful in treating acne, so increase your daily intake of all three. Another simple remedy is to apply either lemon juice or toothpaste to blemishes overnight.

* Eczema: For temporary relief, take an oatmeal bath or use lotion that contains oatmeal. Another way to temporarily stop itching is to rub ice over the area that is irritated.

* Chickenpox: Take a vinegar bath to ease itching and prevent yourself from scratching too much, which creates scars. Oatmeal baths also help.

* Make your own face mask: To moisturize an extra dry face, make a face mask made of 2-5 tablespoons of raw peanuts mixed with milk. Let he paste dry on your face before rinsing it off with cold water.

* Use lavender oil on a skin abrasion: Just a few drops will heal the abrasion.

* Eat blackberries and cherries to reduce the appearance of varicose veins: These fruits can clear up many symptoms of varicose veins.

Mental Health and Psychology

* Exercise: Doctors and experts have long heralded the natural benefits of exercise against depression.

* Amend your diet: Add energy boosting foods like almonds and orange juice into your diet to beat depression.

Embarrassing Symptoms

* Constipation: Eat plums, dates and apples to cure constipation.

* Body odor: Mix baking soda and lemon juice and then apply the mixture under your arms to reduce body odor.

* Use lime juice for dandruff problems: Rinse your hair with one teaspoon of lime juice to reduce stickiness and help prevent dandruff.

* Drink sage tea to get rid of bad breath: This remedy takes advantage of the presence of thujone in sage.

* Mint helps diarrhea: Mix mint juice with lime juice and honey to ward off diarrhea.

* Calm flatulence with ginger: Mixing ginger powder into a drink or chewing on fresh ginger slices can help calm flatulence.

* Carrot soup for diarrhea: Eating carrot soup also helps the body get rid of diarrhea, as it is rich in calcium, magnesium, sulphur and potassium.

* Use tea tree oil to fix toenail fungus: Read here to find out about the ways tea tree oil helps toenail fungus.

Eyes and Ears

* Earache: Drop garlic juice into your ear if you're trying to relieve the pain from an ear infection.

* Clean out earwax: Drop peroxide or rubbing alcohol into your ear to clean out earwax.

* Get rid of dark circles with a cold compress: Use a cold compress over eyes to banish dark circles. The moist, cold washcloth helps constrict blood vessels and makes them less visible.

* Use a warm compress to moisturize eyes: Put a warm compress over your eyes to alleviate dryness.

Miscellaneous Ailments

* Prevent blisters with Vaseline: Rub Vaseline on your toes and heels to prevent blisters when you break in new shoes.

* Dry skin: Give hands and feet an intense moisturizing treatment by slathering lotion on the dry areas and then wearing mittens or heavy duty socks overnight to lock in moisture.

* Lemon juice drops help a bloody nose: Try dropping lemon juice into your nostrils to stop a bloody nose. Pinching your fingers across the bridge of your nose also proves to be effective.

* Eat cauliflower to strengthen nails: Cauliflower is rich in biotin, which helps strengthen brittle nails.

* Use aloe vera on chapped lips: Aloe vera helps chapped lips the same way it helps a sunburn.

Monday Meanderings - 03/07/2011

I missed last week. *sigh* SO, here is this week's meandering.

Bible Study... Proverbs 31

Memory Verse... Proverb 31:17
"She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Be a better helper
♥ Remember the amount of responsibility he has on him.
♥ Try to never criticize
♥ Respect him more joyfully today than yesterday.
♥ Read our Bible and pray together more this week than last week.

Train Them Up...
* Read and talk to him more
* Continue reading/studying pregnancy and delivery books.
* Practice breathing
* Quit freaking out when I have a BH contraction

Personal Goals...
* Eat healthier this week than last week
* Excersise more this week (yeah....I hope that works)
* R.E.S.T.
* Take a 30 minute walk and a nap every day

New Habit of the Month...
* Read Bible out loud every day

MUST Do...
* Mail out the last of the "Thank You" cards
* Doctor's appointment - Thursday
* Clean out my dresser
* Begin washing baby's things

Zone...  the master bathroom


M - Church food
T - Church food
W - Church food
Th - Hamburgers, cajun fries
Su - Probably sandwhiches

* Feeling Nathan tumble around, even though it gets painful sometimes
* Singing this week in revival
* Relaxing this weekend

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. My Bible
2. The fact that God answers prayer
3. Life

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Passion: Blandina

The women of old, and countless others all over the world, are true examples of God-designed womanhood and femininity. They are women who give themselves, just as Christ gave Himself for us. They are women who walk confidently and gracefully and captivate the watching world with their genuine love and contagious zeal and passion for Jesus Christ. Though they are surrounded by the same mendacious voices that we are bombarded by every day, only One Voice is heard and that is the voice of Christ alone.
The greats in the past passionately followed our God, pursuing HIM, and they had Him as the cornerstone of their existence, which very often cost them everything they owned and, in the end, their very lives as well. They suffered their share of pain. They were ignored, hurt, abused, misjudged, and misrepresented. They were beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and slain, yet they clung to the Lord Jesus. They possessed nothing out of the ordinary. They were common placed, not so very different from you or I. It was nothing more than their lifestyle that was so dramatically different from those around them. They were ordinary young women, yet their lives were consumed with an extraordinary God.

A spiritual revolution is what we need in this world that continually attempts to pass down a weak, human-scripted version of the Christian life. There is no victory. There is no courage. There is no wonder. There is no passion. It’s understandable that many shake their heads and walk away laughing at such a frail Gospel we assure others we have. They look upon us, who dare to call ourselves Christians, and never see a passion for our Savior or a burden for lost souls. They see a congregation of people whose faith has no life. They examine our actions and see nothing remarkable or desirable. They hear our thunderous claims of victory and fulfillment, but see only defeated and unsatisfied people trying to convince others, as well as themselves, that life couldn’t be better. They are hungering after something real, something that possesses a power and a reason for living. There is a Christianity that actually works but it cannot be found anywhere other than in passionately following and serving Christ Jesus. Over time, something happened to what was once fervent and beloved. While there was once men and women who loudly turned the world upside down, now there are only a chosen few scattered all over the world who continue to exemplify Christianity as it was made to be. While we sit in our Church pews, shadowed by stained glass windows and high steeples, they work in underground Churches and house meetings. While we sing choruses we pay no attention to, they sing praises of worship and adoration. We reveal a motionless Christian life that never reaches out and never makes an eternal difference while they pour out their lives in service and total abandon. They are filled with a passion for Christ so deep that it magnifies the very definition of passion. And we are sorely lacking. We lack the spiritual zeal and unwavering devotion that the great heroes and heroines possessed. We lack the heart of Jesus and the sacrificial love of God.

I enjoy reading stories of great men and women who have tapped into a power far greater than what we naturally possess. Hollywood gossip and news about the latest break-up or drug rehab is foolish and a waste of time, unless you spend a moment in prayer for those in California and New York. Their stories, if anything, should motivate us to have more passion to see the lost come to know Christ. They definitely should not fan a flame of obsession with Hollywood's latest buzz. Stories of utter devotion to Christ captivate me and inspire me. Stories of those who suffered and died horrible, horrendous deaths rouse and stir me and make me examine the conviction of my faith. These men and women gave their lives for the testimony of the Gospel of Christ, and it wasn’t for their glory, but for the Lord’s. They were selfless. They had servant’s hearts and their desire was to serve their King as long as breath was in their body. By making such a choice, it often meant losing their homes, their businesses, their families, their freedom, and ultimately their life. Most of them were not simply killed, but tortured and then slaughtered.

Very often, we tend to think suffering for Christ means ignoring a hateful comment or turning down a sinful offer. Many of us view torture and death as a thing of the past; persecution being a thing from long ago. We view the term “martyr” as something from the 13th century, but never see the gruesome reality of martyrdom today. The truth is, religious persecution and slaying began long ago, but it still goes on today all over the world.

By and large, most of us believe we could handle ourselves and confess the name of Christ if a gun were to our heads. In that, death is swift and painless. But could we bear the kind of unspeakable and horrific pain that so many all over the world have endured? Could we remain steadfast and unmovable through physical agony and shame or would we beg and plead for our lives? Could we embrace the honor of a martyrs death with joy? I often wonder if my faith is great enough, if my love is strong enough, or my witness and boldness fervent enough.

Looking back through history, we can see how many remarkable men and women of the faith faced the villain who attempted to steal glory from God Almighty. Hundreds upon thousands perished during terrible religious persecution. Some were placed in stocks; others were placed in a hot-iron seat where their flesh was burned. Some died in the arena as hungry lions tore at their flesh; others were covered with pitch and were set on fire as human torches to light the streets of Rome.

In the vast expanse of this earth, lived out by thousands of people around the world, there are a few such women who have found an existence that is more rewarding and fulfilling than any glamorous Hollywood celebrity life. They have found freedom. They have found truth. They have found a God worth living for and worth dying for. Through misery and physical anguish they had complete trust in a living, breathing, most holy God; not a religion or a state of mind, but a transcendent reality that gave them strength, boldness, beauty, and joy in the face of poverty and persecution.

Let's talk about Blandina....

In A.D. 177 terrible religious persecution came to Lyons, France. Under the emperor, Marcus Aurelius, the Christians there endured all kinds of shame and torture. They were forced out of their homes and businesses, underwent personal injuries, stonings, and beatings and finally imprisonment. Among the many was a slave girl named Blandina. She was arrested and put in a dark, cramped, jail cell along with other Christians who had pledged their allegiance to Jesus Christ. She was scourged and placed in a roasting seat, burning her flesh. After enduring torture and inhumane brutality, she was brought out with forty-seven other prisoners to the amphitheater to “entertain” the crowd. She was suspended on a stake to taunt the wild beasts. It was meant to terrorize her fellow Christians, looking on, and strike fear into their hearts, enough that they would reject their God. They were pressed to deny their faith and swear by idols. But instead, her torture stirred them and inspired them. As they gazed at Blandina suspended on a stake, it reminded them of Christ suspended on the cross, crucified for their sins, suffering for their shame. It reminded them of the sacrifice of Jesus and the great love He has for all of mankind.

Amazingly, none of the wild beasts attacked Blandina that day, so she was taken down and thrown into prison again. Days later, she was brought out, once more, to the amphitheater. They enclosed her in a net and threw her before a bull. After being tossed about by the animal, she was sacrificed. Her body, along with the bodies of her fellow Christians, were exposed for six days, then were burned into ashes and thrown into the Rhone river. The bodies of those who had suffocated and died in the prison cells were thrown to dogs and were guarded to prevent the remaining Christians from burying them.

Blandina courageously confessed her commitment to Jesus Christ and refused to accept the comfort of life over rejecting her precious Savior. In the face of danger and ultimately death, she honored God by her courage and her faithfulness. It was said of her, Blandina was filled with such power, that her ingenious tormentors, who relieved and succeeded each other from morning till night, confessed that they were overcome and had nothing more that they could inflict upon her. They were amazed that she continued to breathe after her whole body was pierced and torn asunder. In the midst of her sufferings, as she for a moment revived, she repeatedly exclaimed, ‘I am a Christian; no wickedness is carried on by us!’

When I first read the story of Blandina, I was blown away by her courage and steadfast character. She was so young, and yet filled with an incredible force of faith and passion. Jesus meant more to her than her life. Many of us often say similar things. We declare that Jesus is our all and we proclaim that He is everything to us, and yet we are nowhere close to possessing the passion of those such as Blandina. Though those words are only spoken by the devout and the pious, they are also spoken by those who literally give no thought to their own life. They are crucified with Christ and they understand the real, and somewhat terrifying, meaning of “dying to self.”

These days, we think more of exposing our dirty laundry than actually washing it and being rid of the stains of sin altogether. While the call is to die to the world and to our own flesh, we look for a way to bend the rules and ease such a high expectation. While the mission is to forsake all earthly enticements and all that extracts the truth from the Gospel, we slack on the job and cower down into a pitiful mess of a Christian. In our typical suburbia Church of the 21st century, “dying to self” has been replaced with the “just be real” mentality that splatters muck and mire on the beautiful and glorious image of a Christ-built existence. Instead of bravely hungering after the ancient pathway marked with God’s fingerprints, we retreat with little or no concern.

I cannot count the many numerous people I have watched slide down the slope of compromise and spiritual denial. God’s intention and destiny for us is a far cry from the lackadaisical lifestyle so prevalent in our culture today. He calls us all to discard this cursed earth with all its sinful lusts and choose to make a radical turn back to the Gospel and to the heavenly vision of our God. Blandina did not resist that call. She possessed the kind of faith that astounded the watching world. With a light in her eyes and a smile on her face, she embraced torture and death with open arms. It was a small offering when considering the debt Jesus Himself paid on her behalf. That kind of passionate love is what we have lost in our reckless attempt to live the Christian life under our own terms. True living is found nowhere other than in the passion of following and serving our Savior with complete and total abandon.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Pathway to Radiant Womanhood: Rahab

I have been doing a lot of research on womanhood and lady-likeness - what it is now, in the 21st century, and what it used to be years ago. I have been studying the lives of our culture's "examples" of womanhood and I have been studying the lives of women who showcased REAL, radical womanhood in God's book.

The result? Well, so far, I have been overwhelmingly heartbroken.

We have been brought up in a culture that elevates the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Paris Hilton. We live in a day where Hollywood starlets are our mentors. The glamorous females that grace the covers of Seventeen, Elle, and Cosmopolitan magazines are the women we look up to as the ideal, the ones who set the pattern for who we are and who we’re supposed to be. Ironically, the standard and example for womanhood is set by women who have a history of multiple marriages, depression, drug and alcohol addictions, eating disorders, and suicidal attempts. And we look up to these women who say they have it all, yet who are searching….just like we are. We look to the pop idols and icons of Hollywood who live in discontentment, and we never take a second glance at the timeless beauty of the women throughout the ages whose legacy contains more than a pretty face or an entertaining song or movie.

All throughout history, beginning with Biblical times, there has been a remnant of young women who have found more, who have caught sight of the vision God has for them and who would not settle for anything less. I would like to begin discussing some of them.

Let's start with Rahab...
(read Joshua 2 and Joshua 6)

All throughout her life, Rahab lived a life of idolatry and sinful shame. She was a prostitute in a city called Jericho and offered herself to one man after another. Such was her job. But like millions around the world today, she was searching.

Giving herself to one sexual partner after the next had long since scarred her heart and her body. She felt cheap and unimportant. She tried to detach herself from her emotions and become immune to the pain of being used and left alone after her work was done but, deep down, she was hurting and lost in a world that demanded from her all that was precious, delicate, and sacred. Years of paganism had taken their toll and she could no longer find any comfort or peace in the gods of her people. Nothing was real and she wondered if there was such a thing as truth. She remembered, from her childhood, her dreams of getting married and having children. She remembered the simplicity of her world back then. What had happened to bring her to this? How did she get here? Rahab was not born a prostitute. As a little girl, she never would have imagined her life could become this empty. But yet, there she was full of memories of laughter, innocence, and excitement, but surrounded by the reality of tears, shame, and anguish.

It was then that she remembered something. For weeks, she had heard talk and whisperings amongst the people of the city. The Israelites worshipped a God that, rumor had it, opened up the waters of the Red Sea. He had plagued the Egyptians with frogs, lice, boils, darkness, and all manner of terrors and pestilence. Their God, this Jehovah, had led His people out of captivity and had given them freedom from their oppressors.

She wanted that kind of God for her own.

It was at that moment that she encountered the one true God; the transformer of lives. She recalled the vision of greatness and fulfillment from her childhood and slowly began to believe that she could reach it, take hold of it, and have it as her very own. She realized that this Jehovah the Israelites worshipped had to be real, for the people were experiencing mighty victory. She, too, wanted victory. She wanted meaning and a reason to live that called for more than what was demanded of her each and every day. She longed for something greater than the emptiness of her profession. The God of all revealed Himself to Rahab and she believed, by faith, that He was who He said He was. She yielded her life - her very existence - to His ownership and became a woman of faith and redemption. She exhibited faith by the choices she made. She forsook her pagan belief, she left her sexual sin, and she placed her life into the hands of Jehovah God and said, The Lord God, He is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath.

We are very similar to Rahab. Maybe we have not been unfaithful to our spouse, but we are all guilty of being unfaithful to our Heavenly Bridegroom. Rahab was like many of us who search for love in all the wrong places. She was like us who accept the culture around us and give in to the belief that sex is up for grabs, and has no emotional, physical, or spiritual consequences. She was like us who try to forget fairytales and “happily ever afters.” She was like us who follow other gods and never bow and surrender to the only true God.

Yet Rahab found the answer to the age-old question, Can there be more to life than this? As she found the answer in the God of the Israelites, she relinquished her rights, her future, her comfort, and her very life and cried for more of His divine love and grace. Biblical history does not say if she fed the hungry, gave to the poor, or tended to the sick. It does not say if she traveled all over the world telling people about what had happened to her, but the Bible does say that she was a woman of faith, handpicked by God with a royal purpose in mind. She became one of the few women mentioned in the famous “Hall of Faith” found in Hebrews 11 and was even chosen and placed in the ancestry of Jesus Christ Himself.

The well-known performance Britney Spears presented at the 2001 American Music Awards is a very good picture of what most Christians do spiritually. It was said to be one of her greatest performances. She was dressed to maximum seductiveness as she sang, danced, and swayed to the music. As the crowd sat in awe of her performance, she picked up a large boa constrictor snake and with slow, sensual steps, she walked around the stage with the snake around her shoulders. Using this act was not simply to entertain and thrill millions with the excitement of danger, it was also to demonstrate to her growing fans that she was no longer a child, but a woman; a powerful, confident, sexual goddess with no need for anything. She had bought into the lie and believed the message Satan seeks to feed to all women which is the mentality of seductiveness, rebellion and self-display.

Rahab had once become wrapped up in the very same lie. Many Christians do the very same thing in their own individual ways. We listen to the whispers of the evil villain and believe our beauty, achievement, and power comes from ourselves and our feminine charms. We believe that to be successful, we have to take it for ourselves. We believe to be beautiful, we have to wear less. We believe to be a true woman, we must toy with minds and play with fire. And so we pick up a snake and prance around our stage proclaiming we have arrived as women, unaware of the full extent of the danger and our spiritual immaturity. In doing such, we fall farther and farther away from the truth.

Typically, the culture in which we live shines a blinding light down a highway of pleasure and gratification, yet that path we are directed in ultimately gets us nowhere. Plenty of “detour” signs and “short cuts to success” are promised, but whatever happiness we attain from those roads are temporary and unfulfilling. In return, we are mystified and left searching for the right pathway. Like Rahab, some women turn down the road of sexual sin because they desire physical pleasure. Some want to simply fit in and please others. Some are merely manipulated, and many a just want distraction. We often have a difficult time training our minds to look beyond what we see. The Lord always has the bigger picture in view. Rahab could not see the fulfilling wonder that God had in store for her in the future. All she could see was the emptiness of her life and the many mistakes of her past at that one moment. Let’s view our lives through Heaven’s eyes, shall we?

Let us get our focus off of physical indulgences and instant gratification and gaze upon the road less traveled, with its eternal joy and adventure.

Psalm 16:11
"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Natural Remedies || pt 1

So, as I said in a recent post, I am slowly starting to go more natural every year. Slowly but surely. In a previous post, I blogged about natural cleaning ingredients to use. This time? Remedies! Because, honestly, we all get sick sometimes. So, instead of calling the doc, explaining your symptoms, and coming home with a handful of pills, I say - go natural. It's healthier for us, that's for sure. So, enjoy part 1.

Colds and Allergies

Congestion: Red pepper, jalapenos and hot salsa will temporarily open up your nasal passages and break up congestion.

Bronchitis: For mild bronchitis symptoms, use a vaporizer or take a steamy shower to ease your discomfort and open up your chest.

Make your own nose drops: Make your own nose drops out of saltwater to break up congestion and help you breathe.

Gargle salt water: To help a sore throat, gargle salt water several times daily. WebMD recommends using an astringent gargle made of tea with tannin to help an itchy "tickle" throat.

Put a dab of Vick's on your nose: Just a dab of Vick's Vapor Rub or another menthol salve can break up congestion and help you breathe more easily.

* Take lots of Vitamin C: Taking Vitamin C even when you do get sick can prevent the cold from going full cycle.

* Take Vitamin C to prevent allergies: Taking Vitamin C also helps allergies, especially symptoms from hay fever and asthma, because of "its ability to counteract the inflammation responses that are part of such conditions."

* Drink green tea: Green tea is a natural antihistamine, which helps both allergies and colds.

* Eat or drink thyme: Make a tea with thyme or add a little to your recipes when you cook to break up congestion and relieve stuffy noses.

Fever and the Flu

* Take a bath: Take a bath in lukewarm water to bring down escalating body temperatures.

* Eat artichokes: Try eating artichokes to reduce fever.

* Drink lots of water: Drinking water is a good habit to have anyway, but it's especially crucial when you have a fever. You'll need to stay hydrated and bring your overall body temperature down.

* Make a ginger steam: Create your own steam room by turning on the hot water in the sink and adding a couple of teaspoons of ginger. Get up close to the mixture and breathe in the steam for relief.

* Sleep: You probably won't feel like doing much else anyway.

* Drink liquids instead of eating solid foods: An old tradition recommends drinking liquids and refraining from eating solid foods until you're over a fever.

Aches and Pains

* Headache: If you've got a bad headache try applying ice to your head.
* Backache: Before you reach for painkillers, check out your posture. If you're constantly humped over the keyboard or hunching your shoulders forward, you could be sabotaging yourself. Sit up straight and push your shoulders back.

* Toothache: Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with water and then swishing it around in your mouth to create a soothing mouthwash.

* Headache: Turn out the lights if you're at home or have your own office. Reducing the amount of light helps ease eye strain and can calm your throbbing head.

* Arthritis: Soak a teaspoon of black sesame seeds in a quart of water and let it sit overnight. In the morning, eat the seeds and drink the water that's left.

* Eat bananas: Instantly up your potassium levels by eating a banana. This helps everything from growing pains to charlie horses.

* Toothache: Another quick fix for a painful toothache is to chew oregano leaves.

* Arthritis: Staying warm helps ease the pain of arthritis. Loosely wrap yourself up in a blanket or adjust the thermostat to create the optimum environment.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Pregnancy Files

So this morning, my husband's alarm goes off and we plunge into our morning-at-home routine:

He presses snooze. I drift back to sleep. Alarm goes off again and he presses snooze. Again, I happily snuggle with my pillow. Minutes later, the most "absolutely annoying alarm ever" goes off again and he gets up. I stay in bed and enjoy the fact that I don't have to worry about the stupid alarm anymore. He comes back in the bedroom. I wake up. We chat as he gets ready for work. He kisses me goodbye. I yawn and stretch, then decide to get up since I'm awake anyway.

That has become our routine and today was no different....except for the WHAM! moment I had as we chatted. I suddenly sat up in bed and said, "Grant.....I just realized I'm having this baby next month!" -- Cue "extremely-excited-yet-overwhelmingly-shocked feeling."

Next month. Finally. After 8 months of pregnancy, I am almost there.

A few people have asked me how pregnancy is going, how I'm feeling, what I'm experiencing, and the like, so here are a few info-facts on how things are going as of late:

* I have moments when I can literally clean everything and move stuff and work from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. easily. THEN there are those days, which are becoming more and more frequent, when a single trip from one room to the other makes me want to lie down.

* My skin itches. Of course, it never itches when I'm at home or really up to nothing important. No. My skin decides to drive me crazy with an inch when I'm in public or when I am alllllllmost to dreamland. I have come to the conclusion that my skin hates people and sleep. :p

* I cannot bend over. Period. I have to bend my legs sideways and ease down into a squat. Not lady-like AT ALL.

* My belly

* I have recently been forced to say "Hello" to swelling. Oh joy.... To combat this, I have been trying to drown myself in water since, oddly enough, the more water you drink, the less you swell. Go figure.

* Headaches. Enough said.

* My appetite has shrunk. This makes Kristen very happy. It feels good to eat a meal and not be hungry again an hour later. I am beginning to have to remind myself to grab an apple or nibble on something every couple of hours because I could easily go all day on just one meal. So since I don't want to starve the 4 1/2 pound bundle inside me, I eat.

* Sleeping through the night, with no wake-up calls, hasn't happened in....five months?....six months? I can't remember.

* I am already completely in love with my baby boy.....but there are moments when the little squirt wiggles his way into my rib cage like he's playing hide-and-seek (though he has NO ONE to play that game with in my womb). Funny? Oh very. Comfortable? Not one bit.

* Nathan has finally reached the appropriate weight and length to make my tummy roll. I can't decide if this is more funny than gross.....or more gross than funny.

* As each day goes by and I get closer and closer to my due date, I become more and more aware of the great responsibility and honor that God has given me. Am I nervous? Y.E.S.  Do I get scared? Sometimes. Am I excited, anxious, and ready to hold this baby and teach him about his Creator? YOU BETCHA!

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