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The Holistic Mama Medicine Cabinet (Drug-FREE!)

I am a huge fan of being in charge of yourself and your family.  This calls for competency, education, community, and preparedness.  Spirituality, financial peace, home schooling, food procurement, hygiene, medical interventions, etc, are all parts of our lives where we have applied some form of self-sufficiency and freedom.

I recently reorganised my medicine cabinet as my ever-growing stockpile of homeopathic remedies demanded more space.  Like any modern mama, I scoured Pinterest for ideas on how to group things and how to make it pretty.  I was disappointed to find nothing!  Great pretty pictures on herbal cabinets, but nothing was there for the modern mama who utilizes a variety of modalities.

My family primarily utilizes homeopathy for just about all of our needs, but I’ve kept other modalities that were helpful in the past, as well as good diagnostic tools.  One thing we are completely void of in our home is drugs.  We simply don’t have them.  I am not willing to use them, so I’ve learned other ways – superior, gentle ways! – of treating and supporting my family.

I’ll tell you what I DID throw away: all the supplements!  Seriously.  I’ve spent thousands of dollars over the past six years with wonderful, fantastic naturopathic practitioners.  They all have their methods and use high quality supplements.  But I was never healed.  I always needed MORE supplements.  (Sounds familiar to some of you, doesn’t it!)  Finally, out of desperation, I found homeopathy for chronic issues.  And BAM, just like that, I am well on my way to cures for so many things.  And it’s cheap!  You can learn more about homeopathy on Joette Calabrese’s website – start with the free podcasts!
All that to say, you won’t see a ton of supplements in these pictures.

Let’s go through each picture and I’ll list out what I’ve got.

Cabinet Right
Clockwise from top left:
Earthing mat and some diy herbal salve kits
Air purifier (Fresh Air Box) and various diffusers  Air

Topical and Inhaling Herbs
Herbs1The inhaling herbs are Chinese herbs and the label is always in Vietnamese.  I have no idea what the herbs in it are, and I save the label so I can always go buy more.  They are amazing for boiling and then breathing in under a blanketed tent for as long as one can stand the sweat.  I swear it makes feverish respiratory illnesses disappear in ten minutes. I learned about these from my sweet mother-in-law.

The topical herbs I use to make skin salves.  I try to always have an infusion going.  The herbs pictured are plantain, comfrey, and calendula.  Not pictured in the back is activated charcoal (which we all know is used topically but also for food poisoning.)

 

Combo homeopathic remedies, Various liquid homeopathic remedies, and cell salts.
Homeopathy Combo

Individual homeopathic pellet remedies including a top 100 30c kit and a top 50 200c kit – some small tube remedies fit in my alphabetized trays.  The larger tubes are alphabetized in the larger containers.  I also have RFID/EMF blocking bags of various sizes for travel and empty glass vials for separating small quantities of remedies.
THESE are my most frequently grabbed medicines!Homeopathic Remedies

I also have this homepathic dog care poster to grab quickly (there wouldn’t be a difference for homeopathic care in people!):
Homeopathy Chart

Summer Grabs (Bug spray and sunblock)  Summer Grabs
OHM homeopathic sting relief and insect repellent
Mozi-Q (oral homeopathic bug repellent)
Homemade bug spray
Badger bug spray
Buzz  Away Extreme
Badger sunblock (we only utilize sunblock if at the beach for hours – otherwise, eat a lot of fat.  A sunburn signifies vitamin deficiency!)

Next up, I organized by function.

Cabinet Left

Across each row from top left:

Supplements
Supplements

SP Betafood (Powdered Beets) for gallbladder help (one of my kiddos seems to be sluggish with fats on occasion, and this stuff helps greatly!)
L-lysine for cold sores
Desiccated Liver for goodness
Pure Radiance C for times of illness (all food!)
Digestive Enzymes in the back mostly for visitors.  We would use nux vomica, pulsatilla, or lycopodium/arsenicum for tummy troubles.
Magnesium Malate – not sure why I kept this as mag phos 6x would be my go to for low magnesium, but I kept it.  Maybe for a sleepless night?  No, I’d use coffea crudea.  Mmm…
Natural Calm (magnesium citrate) – seemed like something I should keep, but honestly it’s a poor form of magnesium as it can’t penetrate cells.  It just cleans the bowels.  And if we have tummy troubles, homeopathy is for us.  Maybe I should  ditch this one, too.
Calcium Lactate is hiding back there for times of fever.
Turmeric supplements – ApexEnergetics TurmeroActive and Metagenics Inflavanoid Intensive Care – great for pain from inflammation
Maca – Not sure why I kept this one, but there it is.  Hormone help for mamas sometimes, though we know Sepia and Ignatia homeopathic remedies are superior.
Licorice – Digestive help if needed, but still, homeopathy would work better and cheaper.
Juice Plus front and center – we love Juice Plus because it’s gifted  to us each month and it’s a source of super nutrients in whole food form.

Supplies/Equipment
Equipment

Hopefully you can follow along in this picture – I’ll try to group them somehow.
Glucometer
Sling
Brace
Ace Wraps
Sterile Tongue Depressors
Rapid Strep Tests
Urine Analysis Strips
Nebulilzer
Neti Pot (Stainless Steel)
Otoscope
Rice Bag
Heating Pad
Hot Water or Ice Bottles
Blood Pressure Cuff
Ovulating Thermometer because it is consistently the most accurate (I HATE the scanning ones! I also have another thermometer I reserve for rectal readings) – I find I rarely take temperatures anymore, though
Eye Light
Breathing ball thingy from the hospital for post surgeries – no idea what it’s called but it really helps for after TAC placement and csections.
Various syringes and medicine droppers
Emesis bowl in case we need to travel with a puking kid (hasn’t happened yet)
I also have a stethoscope currently being used by two doctors to address stuffed animal illness.

Clearing Stuff
Clearing

Colloidal Silver (we haven’t used this at all since  I learned about terrain theory as opposed to germ theory!)
Colloidal Silver in a spray bottle
Colloidal Silver in a dropper bottle
Homeopathic Yeast infection suppositories (could just use oral homeopathy)
Grape Seed Extract (I used this once in a futile attempt to combat a yeasty diaper rash.  At the end of that 2 month battle, homeopathy cured it overnight.)
Bentonite Clay – good as a past for pesky bug bites (though we mostly just give a dose of Ledum) and an awesome facial mask and arm pit detox agent
Olive Leaf Extract (another natural antibiotic, but now never used)
LARGE grain Himalayan salt for ear help (not sure why it’s not in the ear container)
Sun Chlorella Tablets – great for clearing stuff out of the body (makes poop green!)

Free Floating Stuff:
Quick Grabs

Hydrogen Peroxide for cleaning ears
Magnetic Pellets for accupressure
Black Drawing Salve for embedded stuffs like splinters (no tweezer digging over here!)
Beautiful Herbal Healing Balm from herbs and essential oils
Calendula Herbal Salve

Respiratory
Respiratory

Hyland’s Tiny Cold Tablets
Oscillicoccinum/Cold Calm
Hyland’s Cough Syrup
Kids Relief Cough Syrup
Clear EPS 7630 Cough Syrup
Hyland’s Hayfever tablets
Kids Allergy Relief (Texas Trees)
Hyland’s Complete  Allergy Relief
D-Hist Jr.
Old Indian Wild Cherry Bark Syrup
Briar Rose
Dr. King’s Flu Relief
Dr. King’s Lung & Bronchial Relief
Dr. King’s Cough Relief
Saline Drops

Almost all of the above are homeopathic combo remedies.  Respiratory stuff is really hard for me to nail with a single homeopathic remedy, so I like having the various combo remedies on hand.

Somewhere I still have some nasal aspirators, too.  They didn’t make it in the picture.  And,  I know, you like the Nose Frieda.  I’m the only one who doesn’t.  I like the blue bulbs.

Dermatology/Muscles
Dermatology, Muscle

Heat Wraps
Methol/Camphor Rubs
Arnica, Arnica, Arnica, Arnica Gels (sale!)
Hives tablets (hubby would look in this container for them, so here they are)
Homeopathic Skin Healing Cream
Homeopathic Skin Growth Gel
Calendula, calendula, and more calendula ointment (the replacement for neosporin!)
Calendula tincture
Mixture of 1:1 bentonite clay and arrowroot powder – nice barrier protection for rashy bums (as opposed to corn starch)
The same herbal skin healing balm and calendula salve pictured above
Not pictured: I also have a topical homeopathic combo remedy for fungus, but I’ve found that nailing the oral homeopathic remedy is pretty easy, too.

Ear, Teeth, Throat, Eye
Ear, Teeth, Throat, Eye

L-Lysine chapstick (a hubby mispurchase instead of l-lysine tablets)
Chamomillia (combo Boiron remedy for teething)
Hyland’s Teething Tablets
Throat Coat Tea
Mediherb Herbal Throat Spray
Slippery Elm Lozenges
Roxalia (homeopathic throat remedy)
Various Homeopathic Earache drops/tablets
Garlic mullein oil
Homeopathic stye drops
Muslin bag with the large grain Himalayan salt – heat it up, add lavender eo drops, hold to ear.  It sucks out the pain!  Reheat as needed.

Pain and Digestion
Pain, Digestion

Homeopathic combo remedy for morning sickness (Tobaccum 200 works great instead!)
Homeopathic Hemorrhoid relief
Homeopathic Menstrual cramp relief
Herbal After Pain relief (cramp bark)
Calmplex2000 (homeopathic calming agent)
Calme Forte (homeopathic sleep agent)
Rescue Remedy
Ginger Candies
Homeopathic motion sickness relief
Homeopathic jet lag relief
D-Mannose (This ought to be in cleansing/clearing, but for some reason I always think  of it in digestion, so it stays there)

Essential Oils
Essential Oils

The sideways box houses supplies: labels, empty bottles, etc
I organize them by alphabet, but also by frequent usage
A lot of them are one brand, but I don’t care about brand.  I care that the oils are organic and wild-crafted.  We rarely – well, never – use essential oils for illness.  We use them for diffusing scent and adding fragrance to homemade products.
I also have this proper dilution chart on the inside of my cabinet:
Oils Dilution Chart

Next in the cabinet, you see the cold and heat tools, thermometers, nitrile gloves, and bandages.  Ah, there’s  the nasal aspirators!

Bandages

Not pictured in this small space of my laundry room:
Fish oil (it’s in the fridge) – used in the winter and in pregnancy
Fat, Fat, more Fat: Every natural mama knows  the importance of this nutrient powerhouse.  Ours are in the kitchen, but often are used on the skin as a salve.
All around good nutrition!
Lots of nutrient dense herbs and salts are kept in my kitchen where I make our own greens mix for daily smoothies:
Herbs2

Oh, I also don’t have probiotics.  I feel they are too manipulative.  Instead, eat fermented foods.  Drink fermented drinks.  Get the real stuff.

You see that I own lots of homeopathic combo remedies.  I purchased all of those before I learned about individual remedies.  I would not need them now (except the respiratory ones).  I really encourage all you mamas to learn homeopathy!

Some essential reading (I’m keeping this short!)

How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor
Beyond Flat Earth Medicine
Joette Calabrese (listen to her free podcasts, too!)
Dr. Palevsky
Dissolving Illusions

This post is not meant to educate you on how to use all the above medicines.  But I hope it inspires you to learn and grow and know that it IS possible to be self-sufficient and live drug-free!

We are not Captain Fantastic yet, but maybe one day…

The Well-Organized Life

Katie Pantry3

I really love organizing.  And The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo really was life changing for me.  I read and applied it almost two years ago and haven’t looked back!

So last week when my sister-in-law flung open her pantry bemoaning the cramped appearance, I knew just what to do!

Here is my pantry a few months ago:  Katie Pantry1

We had a blast pulling out everything, working some kon-mari magic, and reorganizing.  Mostly, we got to speak about our mothers and what they taught us.  That was the best.

I may not be in your pantry, but you can make it beautiful and well-working, too!  Whether your pantry is a closet in your kitchen or your blessed with an entire room, these ideas can get you started!
Organize your food by type.  I feel this is incredibly important so that my children get an innate sense of understanding how to cook.  Take the freedom to keep some foods in other areas as well.  Instead of my pantry, all my fats are in a cabinet next to my stove and small containers of spices are also by my food prep area.

  • Produce – I also freeze as much as I can for convenience.  Instead of a rotting bag of lemons, I always juice and freeze cubes of lemons and limes for the freezer.  I also freeze large muffin tins full of orange juice.  These are convenient for cooking and keep fruit from rotting without use.  You can also freeze juice for your kids and give them juice cubes in water instead of the other way around!  Less bulk to store!  (Be sure to check on proper storage methods for your foods.  For example, don’t store onions and potatoes together and make sure foods that need it have proper circulation!)
  • Herbs/Spices together in families (I am not using nutmeg and oregano in the same dish, so they would not go together).
  • Fats – ALL your pantry fats! (If you use butter frequently enough, put it in the pantry with your other fats, too! Otherwise, fridge.)
  • Flavorings – for us this means all our vinegars and coconut aminos.
  • Sweeteners (honey, maple syrup,  molasses, sugars)
  • Salts (I have many salts, so they have their own area next to my herbs/spices)
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Flours of all kinds
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • Specialty Items (for me, this means specialty baking like food coloring.  For my sil, it means specialty Asian ingredients)
  • Snacks (I keep my dehydrated fruits in here, too)
  • Beverages (We just have teas and coffee)
  • Canned goods (divide by type: canned meats, tomatoes, coconut milk, etc.)
  • Food storage items (ziplocs, wax paper, etc.) – this could go with your non disposable food storage items elsewhere in your kitchen, too. That’s probably smarter.  But if it is in your pantry, then make a spot for it.

Eliminate extra foods and only make them as you need them.  Some examples:

  • Baking powder? Make it with 2:1 ratio of cream of tartar to baking soda.
  • Brown sugar? 1 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon molasses
  • Hot chocolate mix? Cacao powder, sugar, butter
  • Jello? Bovine gelatin and freeze dried fruit and fruit juice (frozen of course!)
  • Powdered sugar? Maple sugar and tapioca starch
  • Etc – look at the things you don’t use often and google your heart out seeing how to make “x” at home. I suggest verifying with several sources before trying.

Organize foods via frequency even when already grouped by type. Put frequently used items in the front and seldom used items in the back. For me, that means within my fats section, coconut oil goes in the front and red palm oil in the back.

Consider ditching original packaging. I empty all my flours into ziplocs and write the type on the outside.  Same for my nuts.  Same for my herbs/spices.  Snacks are pretty much the only items that stay in original packaging because we just go through them too frequently to bother.
If the original packaging is flapping open back and forth, it’s not pretty – put it in a ziploc!  If you keep original packaging, when you rip it open, do it in a pretty way.  Think about the cardboard container of ziplocs – you punch the perforated piece and leave it hanging on, don’t ya?  Rip that sucker all the way off!  See how clean it looks now!

Eliminate words. I got this from Mari Kondo, and, man, she nailed it.  We can’t help but read words, and being compelled to read “tomato sauce” and “CHEETOS!” is not relaxing.  All my labeled items are turned to the least verbal part of the container.  This is another reason I advocate ditching original packaging.  I know Pinterest wants you to label your baskets, but, really, it’s your house – do you need that on everything?  Unless you have quadruplets with helpers in your kitchen daily, I’d say forego the brain burden.

Uniform containers can’t be beat.  I have all my herbs and spices in mason jars; they’re gorgeous.  Use your canisters throughout your whole kitchen instead of saluting you from the counter top.  Maybe a sugar in one canister with the sweeteners, another canister with the grains for rice, and another one holds cashews.  Don’t limit yourself to kitchen containers either.  Lots of options out there!

Baskets.  Baskets.  Baskets.  I like to store my food groups in baskets – yes even if I have a canister or jar of something.  It’s a container within a container.  I know.  But really it’s so pretty.  They don’t need to be matching – but coordinate them.  Home Goods, Tuesday Morning, and Container Store and World Market Clearance  are my favorite basket places.  At last count, I had 98 baskets throughout my small 1200 sq. ft.home.  Since having Montessori children, I’m  sure that amount has almost doubled.  I really love baskets.  Don’t overlook the idea of drawers either – sometimes some foods just don’t package or store well, but concealing them in a set of drawers keeps the pretty going!

Consider a beverage station either in your pantry or elsewhere. For my sister, we put the coffee in the pantry (in a basket) and placed the grinder, French press, and cold press next to it.  At my house, we have my husband’s coffee right next to the French press and our electric hot water kettle and water dispenser.  My teas and strainers are there, too.  (We also store our tea cups and coffee mugs and lidded water bottles here.)

If you have small appliances in your pantry, put them together but leave enough space they don’t seem jumbled. Also try to hide the cords.  Look on the bottom of your appliances – many of them have cord housing.  Remove the cord from your Instant Pot and put it inside the pot!  If you have seldom used appliances in original packaging, consider throwing that out or turn it so the words are limited.

Make it pretty. When I was growing up, everywhere in my house, my mom made functional beautiful.  I distinctly remember opening the linen closet daily and being greeting by the sweet ceramic bunny holding an offering of qtips.  In the kitchen, we opened the cabinet to find dried german status hanging.  Little doo dads go a long way – even if it’s just your just married salt and pepper shakers or a beautifully embroidered towel peeking out under a basket.

Linda Pantry4

 

When you’re done, turn on a soft to see what you’ve done and think of your mama.  I know that’s what my sister -in-law did with her new pantry.

Linda Pantry1

PS – for the love of all things holy, THROW AWAY THE PLASTIC BAGS.  I promise you do NOT need 473 target bags stuffed into your pantry!  If you must keep some – and my sister’s Vietnamese heritage requires it – keep it in the single digits.  At first, I told her she could keep 15, but then I counted them out, so I just gave her 9.  Figure out a way to make it pretty, too.  Because stuffed inside another Target back isn’t it!
(If you feel you need more plastic bags, then store them for their function.  If you use them as trash bags, put them by your other trash bags in the utility room.)
Linda Bags

 

Real Life Decisions with the Bible

Original post here: http://namandkatie.blogspot.com/2011/01/choosing-ivf-christians-experience.html along with other posts about our sons.

Can we really use the Bible to make real life 21st century decisions?  God’s instructions and care for His people are just as wise now as they were thousands of years ago.

This is from several years ago – years before Nam and I had any children Heavenside or here.  I still get chills remembering God’s embrace as I did this study.  I fall in love with Him again as I read the very real application of God’s word into our lives.

And I hope this helps direct somebody else to God’s word for wisdom on any path he needs.

You arleady know ultimately our conclusion from this study, prayer, and wise counsel was that God is the absolute sole creator of life through any means He wants.  Period.  There is no life without Him. And we felt confident pursuing IVF/ICSI to His glory however it would turn out.  Here was our study:

Choosing IVF – A Christian’s Experience

Praying about IVF

I know that God has promised us a child.  I feel completely convicted about this over and over and have for months.  However, I am unsure about how to proceed with this promise.  The doctors have told us that we have a very minimal chance (but still a chance!) of conceiving naturally.  They recommend IVF/ICSI.  Aside from the ethical dilemmas that I know can be navigated through, I have concerns about whether utilizing technology to create life – where there would be none without – is appropriate for us.

My main issue stems from the story of Sarai and Abram.  God promises Abram early on and repeatedly that he will have many descendents.  Always, this covenant is made with Abram, not with Abram AND Sarai.  Finally, Sarai gives over her maiden to Abram to impregnate so that Abram can build a family through Hagar.  And, he does.  Ishmael is conceived.  However, this was man fulfilling God’s promise, not God fulfilling God’s promise…which He does later.  God does eventually address Sarai when he tells Abram that He will bless her with a son so that she will be the mother of nations.  The news is repeated about Sarah conceiving (not the covenant with Abram) again by the three heavenly messengers.  Sarah does, in fact, conceive and bear Isaac.

I am praying about this, but I want to know further what God’s Word says on the matter of infertility.  So, some questions I am going to ask:

  1. In each situation of infertility, were children desired and why?
  2. In each situation of infertility, what circumstances brought about the infertility?
  3. How was the person’s relationship with God?
  4. What was the state of the relationship in which the infertility occurred?
  5. How did God Himself address the infertility?
  6. Did any circumstances change before fertility?
  7. Did the infertile person/couple change before fertility?
  8. Why did God give the blessing of a child?
  9. How is each instance similar to us?
  10. How is each instance different than us?

Before I explore these questions, I am going to list out some parameters that I believe God to set for us:

  • God uses varying methods of creation (word, Adam’s side, sex, immaculate conception)
  • God tells us to procreate (Gen 9:1, 9:7),
  • Sex is the method of procreation for people during Biblical times,
  • God created husbands and wives with the intent of sex between the two of them only (Gen 2:24-25),
  • Therefore, procreation ought to only occur within the boundaries of marriage.
  • God intends every single creation
  1. Gen 1     God speaks matter into existence.
  2. Gen 2     God breathing life into the dirt when he creates humanity
  3. Gen 29   The LORD opens Leah’s womb b/c she was hated
  4. Gen 30   God opens Rachel’s womb
  5. I Sam 1  The LORD opens Hannah’s womb
  6. Psalm 139            God knit David together in his mother’s womb
  7. Rom 4    God “gives life to the dead then calls into being that which does not exist” – Paul is thinking explicitly about the elderly Abraham and Sarah having a baby and becoming the father of many nations.

Ultimately, I need to know if utilizing a means other than sex for procreation within the confines of marriage is okay.  Is pursuing IVF us fulfilling God’s promise ourselves rather than waiting on God to fulfill His promise?

Infertility in Fertile Pages

Abram and Sarai
1.      Were children desired and why? Yes, God promised Abram descendents
2.      What circumstances brought about the infertility? Sarai was barren, then she was old
3.      How was the person’s relationship with God? They were obedient, righteous, and faithful (except for running ahead  – resulting in Ishmael)
4.      What was the state of the male/female relationship? Married, good relationship
5.      How did God Himself address the infertility? Continued to promise that Abram would have descendents;

Eventually said that Sarah would have a son

6.      Did any circumstances change before fertility? God told more of the covenant to Abraham – changed his name and had him and all become circumcised as a sign of the covenant
7.      Did the infertile person/couple change before fertility? Showed faith and obedience by becoming circumcised

Sarah laughed at the promise and lied about laughing (out of fear)

8.      Did the infertile person/couple change after fertility? Abraham kept covenant & circumcised Isaac

Sarah rejoiced and shared God’s goodness with others

9.      Why did God give the blessing of a child? To fulfill His promise

To have a chosen people

10.   How is this similar to us? Feel like God has promised us a child

We are confident that God will fulfill His promise

We have a strong marriage

Is IVF the same as Hagar?

11.   How is this different than us? I’m not barren or old

There IS a chance of conception naturally

God did not speak verbally to us

12.   And, so?  What can I take from this for us? God makes His promises clear

God fulfills His promises despite our wavering belief

We are to continue being faithful and obedient

Isaac and Rebekah
1.      Were children desired and why? Yes
2.      What circumstances brought about the infertility? Rebekah was barren
3.      How was the person’s relationship with God? Excellent
4.      What was the state of the male/female relationship? Excellent – Isaac was praying on behalf of Rebekah
5.      How did God Himself address the infertility? He answered His prayer
6.      Did any circumstances change before fertility? No
7.      Did the infertile person/couple change before fertility? No
8.      Did the infertile person/couple change after fertility? Rebekah went to the Lord with her questions

She loved one child more

9.      Why did God give the blessing of a child? Because Isaac asked
10.   How is this similar to us? Desire a child

Good marriage

We approach God with our questions

11.   How is this different than us? Praying for spouses’ fertility specifically
12.   And, so?  What can I take from this for us? Pray specifically for Nam’s fertility
Jacob and Leah
1.      Were children desired and why? Yes
2.      What circumstances brought about the infertility? Leah’s womb closed
3.      How was the person’s relationship with God? He opened Leah’s womb, but closed Rachel’s
4.      What was the state of the male/female relationship? Started out of a trick

No love

Duty/obligation

Eventually one of honor?

5.      How did God Himself address the infertility? n/a
6.      Did any circumstances change before fertility? Jacob’s love for Rachel was more
7.      Did the infertile person/couple change before fertility? No
8.      Did the infertile person/couple change after fertility? Hoped that Jacob would love her more and more

Praised the Lord

Competed with sister in jealous affection over husband

9.      Why did God give the blessing of a child? Because God saw Leah’s misery

Intended Joseph for future use

10.   How is this similar to us? Desire children

God sees our misery and desire

11.   How is this different than us? Based on love and choice, not a trick

No competing wives

Intention with child is not for spousal love

12.   And, so?  What can I take from this for us? God sees our misery and desire
Jacob and Rachel
1.      Were children desired and why? Yes

Innate

To compete with sister

2.      What circumstances brought about the infertility? God closed her womb because she had the love of Jacob and Leah didn’t (opened Leah’s womb)
3.      How was the person’s relationship with God? ?
4.      What was the state of the male/female relationship? Love

Turbulent

5.      How did God Himself address the infertility? He listened to her and opened her womb
6.      Did any circumstances change before fertility? ?
7.      Did the infertile person/couple change before fertility? ?
8.      Did the infertile person/couple change after fertility? Thankful to God

Asked Him for another son

Had another son

Died due to childbirth

9.      Why did God give the blessing of a child? He remembered her
10.   How is this similar to us? Relationship of love
11.   How is this different than us? No competing spouse

Not a turbulent relationship

God remembers us

God listens to us

12.   And, so?  What can I take from this for us? God remembers us

God listens to us

Manoah and Wife
1.      Were children desired and why? ?
2.      What circumstances brought about the infertility? Wife was barren
3.      How was the person’s relationship with God? ?
4.      What was the state of the male/female relationship? ?
5.      How did God Himself address the infertility? Angel of the Lord appeared to wife

Told her she would birth a son

Gave her specific instructions to avoid wine, strong drink, and any unclean food

Also gave instruction to not cut boys’ hair

Told the boy would begin to lead the Israelites out of the Philistines’ rule

Answered Manoah’s prayer and reappeared and repeated His instructions

Accepted offerings from Manoah and wife

Ascended into Heaven before Manoah and wife

6.      Did any circumstances change before fertility? no
7.      Did the infertile person/couple change before fertility? Fell on their faces towards God
8.      Did the infertile person/couple change after fertility? ?
9.      Why did God give the blessing of a child? Intended the child for future use
10.   How is this similar to us? Not
11.   How is this different than us? Wife is barren

God appeared to couple

God gave specific instructions for wife and son

God ascended to Heaven before couple

12.   And, so?  What can I take from this for us? Pray for God’s specific instruction

Pray that God will use our child very specifically

Hannah and Elkanah
1.      Were children desired and why? Yes

Innate desire

Ridiculed

2.      What circumstances brought about the infertility? Hannah was barren
3.      How was the person’s relationship with God? Faithful
4.      What was the state of the male/female relationship? Very loving

Husband cared deeply and provided for her

5.      How did God Himself address the infertility? He remembered her and she conceived a son
6.      Did any circumstances change before fertility? No
7.      Did the infertile person/couple change before fertility? Hannah poured out her heart to the Lord

Shared her anguish with priest

She promised her son over to His service (only keeping him a few years and then giving him over to the priesthood)

8.      Did the infertile person/couple change after fertility? No, husband continued his support
9.      Why did God give the blessing of a child? Had the specific intention for Samuel
10.   How is this similar to us? Pour our hearts out to the Lord

Loving, providing marriage

Shared our desire to raise our child for the Lord

11.   How is this different than us? No ridicule

No specific promise to hand child over somewhere

12.   And, so?  What can I take from this for us? Promise to the Lord to raise our child for His purpose

Continue to pour out our heart

Share our prayer with others

Michal and David
1.      Were children desired and why? ?
2.      What circumstances brought about the infertility? She despised seeing her husband give his all to the Lord
3.      How was the person’s relationship with God? I guess not great if she despised somebody worshipping Him
4.      What was the state of the male/female relationship? She spoke to David crossly
5.      How did God Himself address the infertility? She never had children
6.      Did any circumstances change before fertility? n/a
7.      Did the infertile person/couple change before fertility? n/a
8.      Did the infertile person/couple change after fertility? n/a
9.      Why did God give the blessing of a child? He didn’t because her heart was hardened
10.   How is this similar to us? It’s not!
11.   How is this different than us? We relish seeing one another worship the Lord

Our hearts are softened to Him

12.   And, so?  What can I take from this for us? Praise God for the other’s worship and obedience

Plead with Him to help keep our hearts soft

Shunnamite woman
1.      Were children desired and why? ?
2.      What circumstances brought about the infertility? ?
3.      How was the person’s relationship with God? Good (she recognized a man of God and cared for him)
4.      What was the state of the male/female relationship? Good (he honored her request to build an upper room)
5.      How did God Himself address the infertility? Spoke through the prophet and said that she would have a son
6.      Did any circumstances change before fertility? She was always hospitable to the prophet Elisha

She went out of her way to make him comfortable

7.      Did the infertile person/couple change before fertility? No
8.      Did the infertile person/couple change after fertility? Kept her steadfast faith so that her son was even raised from the dead!
9.      Why did God give the blessing of a child? Because of her care for Him and Elisha
10.   How is this similar to us? Good relationship with God
11.   How is this different than us? We should care more for His people

No prophets to care for

12.   And, so?  What can I take from this for us? We should care more for His people
Zacharias and Elisabeth
1.      Were children desired and why? Yes
2.      What circumstances brought about the infertility? ?

They were old

3.      How was the person’s relationship with God? Excellent
4.      What was the state of the male/female relationship? Excellent
5.      How did God Himself address the infertility? Sent Gabriel to tell Zacharias that he would have a son and the son would prepare the way for the Lord
6.      Did any circumstances change before fertility? No
7.      Did the infertile person/couple change before fertility? Zacharias was made mute because he did not initially believe Gabriel
8.      Did the infertile person/couple change after fertility? Elisabeth rejoiced and shared with neighbors her joy

Zacharias was made unmute and praised the Lord proclaiming what his son was to do

9.      Why did God give the blessing of a child? To prepare the way of the Lord
10.   How is this similar to us? Strong relationship with God

Strong marriage

11.   How is this different than us? Gabriel not spoken to us; not old
12.   And, so?  What can I take from this for us? Believe the Lord

What about Breakfast?

You see it on all the Facebook groups.  “Help, I’m eating x style now and what do I eat for breakfast???”
We really are programmed to think some foods are only good for the morning time.  That’s not true.

The only rules I think we need for eating are:

  1.  Eat Real Food (follow previously given parameters if needed)
  2. Chew completely (liquify your food!)
  3. Eat protein every two hours if you have blood sugar issues

So, what about breakfast?  Here’s what I’m telling my friend who is a busy homeschooling mama:

  1.  Leftovers
  2. Meat Patties/Bacon/Pulled Rotisserie Chicken
  3. Eggs (preferably yolks only)
  4. Green Smoothie

 

VOMS and Gutter Foods

As previously explained, I’m severely limiting choice in recipes in order to help grow my friend’s abilities and confidence in the kitchen as she transitions from hurting to healing foods.

This is the personalized list of recipes I’m having her choose from.  She to make something from each category (two vegetables) each week, adjusting quantities for her family.  I’ve suggested writing them on index cards and just randomly grabbing so she doesn’t get bogged down in even these limited choices.

VOMS Chart

HWKIP = He Won’t Know It’s Paleo          WM = The Wellness Mama Cookbook

THK = The Healing Kitchen       APC = Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook

(Undesignated recipe sources are ones I share my personal cooking method with my friend)

 

VOMS Chart

I also want to give a reasonable list of Gutter Foods (keeps her at least inside the parameters laid out!) so that if overwhelming craving or family emergency comes up, leaving the new way of eating doesn’t have to happen:

Sweets

Coconut Milk Ice Cream (play with flavor – I prefer vanilla)

Hot “Chocolate”

Pumpkin Pudding

Carob Brownies, HWKIP

Dutch Apple Pie, HWKIP

Blackberry Cobbler, HWKIP

Costco Organic Fruit Pops (for kiddos)

 

Drinks

Kombucha

Kevita

Homemade ACV Water

Homemade Lemonade

 

Always On Hand (to stay in your lane!)

Protein: Rotisserie Chicken – pulled

Cooked Bacon

Meat Patties

Berries, Grapes, Apples, Clementines

Boulder Coconut Oil or Avocado Oil Chips

Jackson’s Sweet Potato Chips

Plantain Chips

Seed Butter (Costco has Nutzzo Seed Butter)

Costco Cocoa Krisp (for kiddos)

Lara Bars, fruit (for kiddos)

Honey

Maple Syrup

Coconut Milk

Pureed Pumpkin (canned)

 

Transition Parameters – Hurting to Healing Foods

Following last week’s blog post about helping my friend shift her paradigm, I’m sharing the parameters I have for her food consumption.

ULTIMATELY, my friend will land at AIP or Whole 30 or whatever personalized diet is best for her body.

This is designed to get her off a diet of hurting foods to healing foods.  Some specific tweaks that will need to happen over time include greater variety, less substitute type foods, eliminating nightshades, seeds, eggs, etc.  Ideally, keeping food preparation simple by just flavoring and cooking a real food is best.  But that is probably not going to be helpful for somebody accustomed to pizza and cheeseburgers  and tator tot casserole.

My goal for my friend is to stay in her food lane with specific parameters.  And just like a bowling lane, various spots on the lane lead to better results.  And there are gutters.  While I don’t want my friend to visit the gutters, at least I can offer some gutter foods that will keep her in the lane instead of jumping into somebody else’s lane or leaving the bowling alley altogether!  Over time, her planning and preparation skills will grow AND her body will heal enough that she will move past spending time in the gutter.  Plus, budgetary constraints mean that making specific sweets or always buying the acceptable potato chips will just not happen long-term.

Another very important point for my friend specifically is that she’s a mom with teenagers and elementary children.  They have well-formed habits and palates.  I want to be incredibly sensitive to how difficult it is to change not only her own lifestyle, but also the lifestyle of her children and husband.

Parameters

No Grains: rice and oats for kids

No Dairy

No Legumes (peanuts, green beans, peas, etc)

No Nuts

No Soy

All Meats

All Fish

All Vegetables except cooking white/red potatoes (sweet potatoes are good); I allow Boulder coconut oil or avocado oil potato chips as a gutter food

All Fruit except bananas, pineapple, mango

All mushrooms

All Herbs

All Spices

Seeds

Eggs: Pasture raised and gmo and abx free, prefer consuming yolks only

Sweeteners: Only maple syrup and honey (Commercial kombucha and kevita okay)

Over time, we will re-evaluate these food parameters and modify based on symptoms, abilities, and budget.  We may be able to become more lax in some areas or we may need to restrict further.

Sick

My friend is sick, her kids are sick.  They are always sick.  And she is sick of it.
We were able to have a sweet conversation about paradigm shifts concerning health and wellness.  And now I get to help her with that shift.  But, oh where to start?

I’ve been on my own journey of healing for ten years and more focused for the last five.  I’ve seen dramatic results and changes and the wisdom of my Great Gram isn’t dying out but being passed on to my own daughters!  Many of you who know me personally have watched this transformation up close and personal!

This is an abbreviated approach on purpose: my goal is to start with food.  And I’m not getting into specifics like organics and non-gmo and coconut oil extraction methods, etc, because that is not a good beginning place.  That’s later.  Right now, I want to move my friend into the realm of understanding food only hurts or heals and how a homeschooling wife and mama can have victory!  And it can be delicious!

squash

I’ll be hitting these areas with her as well as sending her daily articles (educational and testimonial) to read:

  1. Knowledge
    1. How the gut works and what is leaky gut?
    2. What things impact the gut?
      1. Foods (dividing into inflammatory or healing)
      2. Toxins (staying brief!)
      3. Medications (staying brief)
    3. How to heal the gut?
      1. Foods
      2. Supplements (staying brief!)
      3. Detoxification (staying brief!)
      4. Protection (staying brief!)
  2.  Parameters
    1. Rules
    2. Contraction/Release
    3. The ALWAYS boundaries
    4. Gutter cheats while still in your lane – survival and danger
  3. Application
    1. Meal Planning (for real!)
    2. Limit recipe selections (lots of good recipes out there, but too many choices! Get one great cookbook and stick with it!)
    3. VOMS method (my own creation!) – eat a buffet all week!
      1. Veggie dishes (at least two!)
      2. One pot meal
      3. Meat (just one!)
      4. Soup
    4. Foods to always have on hand
      1. Smoothie ingredients
      2. Pulled rotisserie chicken
      3. Plantain chips (let’s be real!)
      4. Kombucha, Kevita, or lemons
    5. Grocery List
      1. Write down all things from recipes
      2. Shop at your house first and cross off the list
      3. Reorganize your grocery list into sections at the grocery store (meats, produce, pantry)
        1. Try to buy all pantry online to be cheaper and to avoid danger zones at the store
        2. Be strategic and visualize walking through the grocery. AVOID the bakery area!  AVOID danger aisles!
        3. Get the small shopping cart.
    6. Execution
      1. Day One: Planning and Shopping
      2. Day Two: Prepping and cook One Pot meal
      3. Day Three/Remainder of Week: Cook other meals
        1. Initially, it helped me to do all my cooking on one day.
    7. Stretching/Exploring
      1. When/how to go outside your cookbook (NOT NOW!)
  4.  Basics
    1. Kitchen Tools
      1. Knife, Blender, Strainer, Reamer, microplaner – everything else is a luxury
    2. Pantry Items
      1. Fats – start with fats ALWAYS (coconut oil, evoo, avocado oil, lard, tallow, duck fat, controversial palm oil, sesame seed oil)
      2. Saucy liquidy stuff (ACV, Coconut Aminos, Coconut Milk)
      3. Herbs/Spices
      4. Snacks (this is a gutter and can be dangerous!)
    3. Make-food-taste-good basics:
      1. Marinade meats (it’s all in the brine!)
      2. Root Veggie basics (fat and salt)
      3. Leafy Green cooking (fat, salt, garlic)
      4. Stir Fry (fat, coconut aminos, lemon juice, water)

I know this is just an outline, but I hope this gives you an idea of how to pursue taking charge of your health!

Peace, Love, Jesus!

PS – Because I know my friend intimately, I’ve made her a selection of VOMS recipes to choose each week.  I selected from my own favorite cookbooks including:

The Healing Kitchen

Autoimmune Paleo

He Won’t Know It’s Paleo

The Wellness Mama Cookbook

UltraMetabolism Cookbook (only two recipes and I’ve modified both for her already – otherwise, this isn’t a particularly excellent cookbook.  But it’s near to my heart because it’s the first cookbook I ever bought after my typical amount of million hours of research and it started my understanding of the body and how delicious real foods could be.)

PPS – I am also offering AIP deserts initially because cutting that out altogether would be way too drastic of a shift for her family.  As you know AIP sweets tend to be costly, and I think that will be its own deterrent.  But I need to give her inside-the-parameters options so she doesn’t abandon eating well!  I’ll admit that my own wellness continued the first couple of months propelled only by another pan of carob brownies and coconut milk ice cream.  Ha!

PPPS – The picture above is baked kabocha squash: sliced, oiled, salted, and a little real cinnamon. Delicious!

Easy Peasy Grocery Shopping

YES, a new blog post!  I am copying this off my Facebook page at 11pm while my three year olds sit on the floor playing Call the Midwife delivering each other’s babies.  Yes, 11pm.  So, of course, it’s the perfect time to think about my blog!

Four to Adore recently shared some great grocery money saving tips.  I loved their list and thought I’d piggyback with our own practices:

1. All pantry items get ordered from co-ops or websites. This means grocery trips only have to be the perimeter of the grocery store (or just the fresh food section)

2. I keep all like items together. Not doing this meant I ended up with 8 jars of mustard. One would be open in the fridge, id run out, purchase more at the store along with an extra just in case. But then one would go in the pantry and one in the fridge. I ended up with a lot of mustard in the pantry! So now if it ultimately needs refrigeration, it goes there immediately.

3. Similar to above for household goods including large quantities: I keep them within visual access. Previously I’d buy a bulk quantity of ziploc bags at Costco. I’d keep one in the house and the rest in the garage. But they’d inevitably get jumbled and hidden, so I’d think I was out and buy more. Now they’re inside in a cabinet (all of them!) and I can be confident knowing I’m seeing everything.

4. I made a list of the most frequently purchased produce and hit up all the grocery stores around to find those prices. I had to do this a number of times because stores change prices frequently. But it gave me a feel for choosing where to usually go for produce. I thought Aldi would have been cheapest, but for us it was more costly than Sprouts! I thought Tom Thumb would be cheaper than Whole Foods, but for organic stuff, they are almost double the price! That was a project worth my time and probably had the most impact on our budget.

5. If I need a “specialty” or seasonal only produce, I call the stores and ask for produce and I ask if it’s in stock in the quality I want and how much it is. So I keep those phone numbers in my phone.

6. In particular on quality and specific brands of some products – a lot of times those are items other like-minded people purchase, too. So, we can participate in bulk buys or co-op purchases. Facebook and your chiropractor’s office would be great resources for that.

7. Meal planning for us only includes two or three meals. We have enough regular product and meats and eggs on hand that we can just assemble whatever we want for breakfast and lunch and snacks. So I’m only meal planning larger supper meals. Then we eat off those two or three meals the whole week. And we may eat it for breakfast, lunch, or supper. We don’t have a traditional American type of eating where particular foods/meals are only for particular meals. We may have fish and avocado for breakfast and eggs and bacon for supper. Lots of leftovers here. That’s what we eat.

8. Our grocery list is usually small enough that I can text it to hubby and he can pick it up on his way home. Then, the girls and I are only going to Costco for things we normally get there (a few produce and household items). Or, I run to the grocery after kiddos have gone to bed. Sometimes, we all go during the day because I want them to practice, but going alone allows for quick in/out and that always means savings.

9. Prep produce right away. If I cut it up and have it ready to cook, then I have to use it. Otherwise, sometimes I allow it to just sit and I stretch our other food and don’t make that planned meal and the produce goes bad. Waste of money.

10. Take cash money to the grocery. No debit cards. Having a monthly amount in an envelope I can see dwindling makes me much more thoughtful about what I’m purchasing.

Other things that I don’t do but would save money:
1. Participate in a local produce group – CSA
2. Grow your own. We will be growing tomatoes, peppers, and herbs soon because those are the more expensive things we purchase.

Happy Grocerying!

Nine Reasons I Regret Staying Home: Reshaped

blueberriesWhile I am currently still a working mama, my schedule affords months on end of being at home with my children. My very diverse friends in a Facebook group are discussing this post, and I wanted to chime in with some hope and a rosy (and sometimes bloody!) picture of motherhood.

For years, I lived inside infertility. My heart yearned and ached for a child without ever knowing precisely what motherhood was like from the inside. But, oh that ache was spot on. And whether a mama is able to stay home with her little ones or is a part from them through the day, shaping children is an art full of beauty and satisfaction like nothing else.

 

Below are the reasons Lisa Hefferman cited for regretting staying at home with her children. I’ve offered my own thoughts about each one.

 

  1. I let down those who went before me

No, Mama! The feminist movement was about choice; they are glad you had choice. If you let down specific people like your mother or grandmother telling you to not stay home, well, it’s sad that they did not pass on a heritage of cultivating families and shaping children. It’s sad that your relationship with them isn’t such that they’re proud of you for being a person of strong fiber, that they love you just because you are. That should be enough. And that reflects them, not you. Besides, the past is done. The future is what you are home for!

  1. I used my driver’s license far more than my degrees

Life is not static. We grow, change, move. Education ought to shape our thinking and, perhaps, offer job opportunities. But mostly, it serves a minimal function in the scheme of all life. Your degree gave you a particular context that no doubt shaped you, and for that you can be grateful. But when that part of life ends (whether for a season or for good), you are not without benefit from the experiences and paradigms education gave.

  1. My kids think I did nothing

If you want your children to know what you are doing, then tell them. As you rebuke them, encourage them, redirect them, instruct them, listen to them, deny them, allow them, love them – tell them what you are doing. Tell them why. Tell them how. Tell them everything. As you live your life, live it openly. Share your victories, your failures, your hope, your fears, your prayers, your joy, your sorrows, your heart. Tell them what you want them to know.

Yes, you are cooking, cleaning, wiping noses, coordinating appointments, fetching dry cleaning, and choosing the best toilet paper. But, hopefully, you are seeking to shepherd your children in all of it! Hopefully, you are training them every minute to be obedient, submissive, gentle, kind, compassionate, faithful, joyful, serving, wise, insightful, repentant, grateful, hard working, humble, passionate, peaceful, patient, loyal, and loving.

My best friend has four children and said some days she just wants to tell people her job is clearing counters. Her husband entreated her to not diminish her work. He emphasized that she is shaping the next generation. And of course she is! While her children may not realize it now (though I know them and suspect they do), she is molding them into who they will be and one day, they will realize that parents influence children. Every expectation of answering, “Yes, Mommy,” every rehearsal of how to wash hands, brush teeth, clear the table, change the trash, fold the wash, every request to share or try that again, every instruction to ask sister for forgiveness, every card colored for a sick friend, every fort built out of old towels, every hug, every prayer, every Bible study, every apology, every tear, every redo – they are all wetting the clay, smoothing the edges, and bringing out something beautiful.

  1. My world narrowed

I can see this – depending on the location and the technology available and just the time, yes, a mom’s world can be narrowed from what it was. But, it is also widened to so much more! Our children’s eyes are a window to a world we have forgotten – to a world where even the most unlovely creature is valuable. Our children show what we most need to work on and expand. Yes, our social interactions and the diversity we previously enjoyed may grow slim, but a depth beyond is suddenly plentiful.

And, if that’s not enough (and sometimes on a Thursday at 2pm, it’s not!), with some effort, we can find diversity in other places – even if it’s just Facebook. Though that may lead into needing to learn limits, too…Hence:

  1. I got sucked into a mountain of volunteer work

To be honest, I have no idea how a mom could have time for volunteer work. But this may just be one of my own limitations as a mom of twin toddlers. Our serving is currently limited finger painting cards for the post and helping the elderly unload their Costco baskets. Looking to my friends of older children, I see that the answer is twofold. First, saying no is a powerful lesson all women should learn. When I first started my career, I realized quickly that when I shared why I was declining something, people were eager to “help” make a way for me to be able to help them. So, my response became, “No, but thank you for asking.” This was pretty freeing. The other part of the solution is to make sure the whole family is serving – use it as an enriching time of sharing the joy of serving with your children. Say no to coordinating vendors for the junior league fundraiser, but say yes to sorting donations at the local mission. Say no to creating a database, but yes to making cookies and cards and visiting the local nursing home. Yes, it requires some finesse to say no and energy to go outside the home. But the reward of teaching our children to serve joyfully will last generations.

  1. I worried more

I’m sorry. This is probably a challenge for all mamas – working or not. I don’t know how to address this without the Lord because I don’t know another trustworthy person who will not fail us. But even mamas who love the Lord find this creeping up. I think the answer lies in going to the throne and constantly giving up our worries and our children to the One who can change and allow and disallow and protect.

As for microfocusing on our children – that’s another challenge. We need to tend to and shape our children but not in a way that loses site of our life’s work. I’m guessing this is probably more of an ebb and flow process than a checklist. So far, it’s been my husband who has calibrated this for me.

  1. With my husband I slipped into a more traditional marriage

Marriages should grow since life has different seasons. I’m not sure how satisfying an unconventional marriage can truly be (or I guess what somebody might mean by “nontraditional”), but a traditional marriage offers great joy. Having defined roles and expectations is always a part of a successful marriage. Choose your mate well. Pray for maturing and unity in the marriage. Strive to put your husband above your children. Instead of worrying about the aging of a young marriage, find simple ways to respect and enjoy your husband every day.

  1. I became outdated

Oh well. Technology is a means to an end and there is always another way to the end. (Besides, you have that degree showing you are capable of learning, so you can always learn new technologies later.) As for snide, eye-rolling youngsters, well, shame on them for having a deficient character. Perhaps a gentle word from you, wise mama, could offer a chance for them to grow.

  1. I lowered my sights and lost confidence

Oh, Mama! I feel the older women in your life failed you to not share the high calling of building the future. Yes, choosing to stay home does usually mean releasing career ambitions – but it should be replaced with eternal ambitions! Will confidence falter? ABSOLUTELY! You wrangled the shark floor of Wall Street and now a tantruming two year old is about to do you in. But, back to basics. What’s the overriding goal of being home? What’s your source for strength? What’s your strength for confidence? Having children will expose the false sources and point you to truth if you will let them.

 

Seeing this blogger’s recent post makes me sad that she has regrets because it means she missed it. Her husband missed it. Her kids missed it. Probably her grandchildren will miss it. It’s not that staying home is where the value lies, but this mama sadly doesn’t see that the depth of joy being at home offers is so much greater than the regrets she lists.

Image

God’s Miracles

God's Miracles

These girls shine Christ’s light: His love, His hope, His redemption, His healing.
All good things come from Heaven above, and All things are possible with Christ Jesus our Lord.
Praise Him from whom ALL blessings flow.