Friday, April 24, 2009

Stuff floating around in my head

Even though I haven't posted in awhile, my mind has been full of all types of information overload. Forgive me while I feel the need to unload it! Most of these thoughts surround pregnancy/birth, so feel free to skip this if you're not interested.

Bradley Method classes: Before I was pregnant, or even seriously considering trying to get pregnant, I heard much ado about the Bradley Method of childbirthing. At the risk of sounding crazy or just plain ridiculous, it advocates natural birthing without the use of medications. Why have I chosen this route? Much of my birthing philosophy changed after watching The Business of Being Born, a documentary detailing the U.S. maternal healthcare system as well as homebirths and midwifery. For the first time, I truly saw the difference between respecting birth as a natural event versus an emergent disease. Thus began my exploration into birth physiology and the ways that women can work with their bodies (which God designed to do this) and not against them. And yes, I do realize that there is always the possibility of a necessary medical intervention, however I do believe most could have been avoided in the first place.

Anyways, my husband and I have been attending the classes so far and have enjoyed the camaraderie and information shared along the way. It helps knowing that there are like-minded couples who have also chosen this unusual route. I must take the time to say that God has truly blessed us in unexpected ways with this class. When I called the instructor to get information, we found out it was taught on the only available weeknight in our schedule, and that we would be saving over $230 because a local hospital was subsidizing the cost. Praise the Lord! I love how God is involved with even the tiniest details in our lives; not just the crises!

Labor Scriptures: This week as I have been mentally preparing for the upcoming labor in a few months, I thought, "I need to have some Scripture around for that." So using BibleGateway, I looked up several encouraging verses. While the context of these verses does not revolve around labor specifically, I think they are powerful enough to go beyond that and give me strength nonetheless. A few I've jotted down on 3"x5" note cards:

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

"I focus on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race..." Philippians 3:13-14

"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me." Psalm 23:4

Pregnancy Exercises: Based on our Bradley Method workbook as well as other books I'm reading, I have been instructed to work on pelvic rocking, squatting, kegels, tailor sitting ("Indian style"), and relaxation techniques. I have come to really appreciate these, since I've been sleeping much better and I am being proactive for the birth. It's giving me some much needed confidence in the process.

Red Raspberry Leaf tea: It is a well-known and commonly used herbal tea that promotes uterine tone, relaxation, and healing. Consequently, it is purported that labors can be easier or faster. I just bought some yesterday but have yet to try it. The brand I ended up purchasing was Traditional Medicinals Organic Pregnancy Tea. Read more about the benefits of Red Raspberry Leaf tea here, here, and here.

Sitting Long & Reading Much: Taking a much needed cue from my blog's blinkie, I am in the process of reading The Birth Book by Dr. William Sears and Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson. The first is much like a Birth 101 class that covers all the different options and choices surrounding birth, as well as comprehensive chapters on Relaxation, Exercises, and Birth Stories. I am loving and devouring it! I highly recommend this book.

The second book, Bringing Up Boys is just that. Dr. Dobson aims to show that yes, boys and girls are not only anatomically different, but also psychologically. Can you believe that people would argue otherwise?? (In fact, they do!) After being only a few chapters into this book, I had to put it down for a few days because frankly it was just depressing. Not in the sense that "Oh great, I'm about to have a boy!" But rather, "There is so much at stake!" To clarify, Dr. Dobson spends a great deal of time giving statistics on crime, divorce, education, etc. showing that men are the majority affected. Hence, a lot is at stake with culture wars revolving around manhood. This read is fueling my love of sociology :)

So, any experience with any of these things? Birthing classes? Labor aids? Exercises? Herbal helps? Good books?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Pics

23 weeks along...

As my friend Amanda rightly pointed out, Cubbie won't be the baby much longer!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

White as Snow

There was a point in my life, several years ago, when I gave up practically everything simply to feel like someone. It is a road that many women have traveled on, seeking fulfillment but ending up scarred. No one ever told me the road would end that way. At least, never did I listen and heed their warnings.

I grew up "churched" and knew basic truths and teachings about God and Jesus. I sang solos of praise and worship songs. Went to youth group faithfully. Somewhere in the midst of being somewhat surrounded by Christianity, it was not until late high school that I finally and personally encountered Christ. I can't remember if it was a single conversation that led to my conversion, but rather the Holy Spirit lifting the gauze from my eyes that had prevented me from connecting truths to personal reality.

By the time that my conversion happened, I was already in a pit of sexual sin. It's difficult for me to type that, since I know that personal friends and family of mine may just now be discovering that. That's okay, because it's not really my story that I'm wanting to tell, but God's, and how His grace is more than enough to cover our sin. He is not ashamed of me, because now I am clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Several years ago, my former self could have never believed that statement to be true. I was riddled with guilt and shame, feeling as if I had been branded with my own scarlet letter. Part of that guilt was warranted, but then well-meaning Christians can sometimes heap unnecessary pain on top of that.

I attended a youth conference once where one of the assemblies was on sexual sin. A skit played out with a girl using an apple as a symbol of one's purity. Everyone thought it was so shiny, so red, so enticing, and so the girl eventually gave her apple away to a young man. After eating part of it, he handed it back to her, chewed on and partially consumed. She kept the apple and would meet other young men, and they too, would take some bites. More and more the apple became discolored over time until only the core was left. Later, people were disgusted when she offered her apple. The message, pure and simple was this: "Who wants that? After it's been chewed up and used?"

There was no follow-up message of grace or of Christ's forgiveness to cover that. There I sat, crying, wanting desperately to feel Christ's love, but now feeling that I was unable to be loved by Him because of my horrible mistakes. Like I had ruined my one and only chance of purity, and I was cheap goods. No one would want me now...

The reason I wrote this post was because I watched this video earlier today that recalls an account eerily similar to the apple skit that has haunted me. After watching this video, I began crying, remembering the shame I felt hearing a similar grace-less message. Only then, how I wished I could have heard that "JESUS WANTS THE ROSE!"

So as one sister to another, can I just take the time and remind you that Jesus wants you, even if you are broken, bruised, ugly, and dirty. He came for you. Remember this truth: “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

Post conversion, I wish I could say that I was able to turn my life a full 180 degrees lickety-split, but old habits die hard along with old friendships tied to this world. I was now battling against knowing the truth and still sinning anyway. God didn't let go of me even though I struggled for years; He instead placed people and events along my path to draw me to Him. Granted, His discipline lovingly wounded me, yet I am incredibly grateful for it. Without that, I just as well could still be plodding along a broken road.

And now my heart sings, "Grace, grace, God's grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within; grace, grace, God's grace, grace that is greater than all our sin!"

And what about those old, fearful questions of "Who will want me now?" The answer is not only Christ, but also a godly man He brought into my life that cares more for me than of my past: my husband. God can redeem anyone regardless of the circumstances.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another cake creation

I believe it was over a year ago when my mom and I decided to take a Wilton's cake decorating class through Michael's. We took Course 1, the introduction to all things cake decorating. Classes were once a week for a month, lasting about 3 hours per class. I highly recommend it, especially because you can learn a lot even if you've never filled a decorating bag in your life. I hadn't practiced or made a cake really until "The Big Reveal" a couple of weeks ago. Go figure the following week I volunteered to make my mom's birthday cake. Here's what I created! Looks very Mary Englebreit-ish, I think :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Two of my Faves

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My first bloggy award :)

My beautiful cousin Tiffany over at Reagan Marie gifted me with a "Kreativ Blogger" award!

I will accept and display this bloggy award with pride :) Here are the rules once you have received the award:

1. Post the award on your blog, and link to the person who gave you the award.

2. List seven things you love.

3. List seven blogs you love.

4. E-mail or comment on those blogs to let the people know you've given them the award.

Seven things I love:

~ hearing the ocean waves lap and roar while digging my toes in the sand ~ having all the windows open on a breezy, mild day ~ listening to children laugh and recite Scripture ~ being the wife of a wonderful, loving man ~ sitting in a rocking chair while windchimes play ~ food; specifically anything made of chocolate, bread, and cheese :) ~ learning and accomplishing something new

Seven blogs I love:

~ Clothesline Alley - Amy shares a wealth of information on various topics related to natural living, being an Army wife, and loving her sweet daughter.

~Making Home - Jess's blog is much like an encylopedia. It is random, thought provoking, and has a dose of fresh perspective thrown into the mix. Her "Show and Tell" feature is one you won't want to miss.

~Passionate Homemaking - Lindsay covers natural living topics as well, especially posts on 'soaking' your grains and healthful nutrition. Nuggets of Biblical living are strewn throughout, along with book recommendations.

~Money Saving Mom - Just one of Crystal's blogs that aims to share CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, and other stores' deals to help lower your cost. Articles on frugal living are regular as well, along with giveaways, which I've actually won! I recommend putting this one on your feed list (if you don't have one) since there could be up to 12 quick posts a day with deals.

~The Story of Us - Deanna shares her journey with homeschooling, her love for all things Ukraine, and interesting ponderings.

~Walk Slowly, Live Wildly - Sara chronicles a simple life having now settled down in Bozeman, Montana after a stint of living in an RV traveling the U.S. Funky, crafty, alternative's a mixed bag, and I like it that way!

~Amy's Humble Musings - Amy always includes very informative links to DIY projects, economic and political articles, and everything including the kitchen sink. Since moving to a farm, she shares the highs and lows of living with stubborn cows, all things chicken, and having Amish neighbors nearby. She's a mom of six and posts candid photos of their homespun life.

I would add that all of these ladies love Jesus and I am constantly challenged by their thoughts and ways of living. I love blogland since it has opened up a whole new world of knowledge from ladies who are really living it. Case in point, I don't think I'd ever even think of using cloth diapers if it hadn't been for several of my favorite bloggers. Believe it or not, there are people that live very differently than you do (sometimes contrary to your ways), and they are thriving. The list could go on with what I've discovered with the help of some very cool ladies.

Monday, April 6, 2009

DIY: Cloth Wipes

In a previous post on cloth diapers, I mentioned that I was going to try my hand at making cloth wipes. I did it! And I have the photos to prove it. :)

I decided to make 8"x 8"two-ply wipes, one side flannel, the other side waffle/thermal knit. I spent about $16 on fabric from JoAnn's, and ended up being able to produce 37 wipes. So each wipe cost roughly 43 cents; not too shabby of an investment.

Improvising a sewing nook in the future nursery

Starting with the two pieces of fabric

ZigZagging away...

Prior to trimming the border

Finished sample of "Saturday Mornings"

Finished sample of "Goin' Bananas"

The final stash...37 wipes in total..whew!

Would I make them again? Yes. It does take time, especially cutting out the individual squares of fabric, but it could've been a lot easier if I had a rotary cutter to use. I have pre-washed the fabric, but have yet to see how these babies hold up through washer and dryer cycles. Only time will tell :)