Friday, January 30, 2009

Pack It Up!

We are headed out for a few hours today including lunchtime, so it's time to pack it up!

We're too frugal to buy fast food or go to a restaurant (that's probably the main reason) and of course, it's much healthier to skip the drive thru. So whenever I know the kids and I will be out over lunch, we brown bag it.

So what's in that typical lunch bag?

          1. Turkey sandwiches

          2. Apple slices

          3. Strawberry fruit bar

          4. Bag of popcorn

          5. String cheese

          6. Water (not boxed juice)

          I know, it's not too exotic or exciting, but it's healthier than eating out and since I have the food with me, I don't have to have any "my children are so hungry they are about to explode" episodes when I'm out! And you're not gaining weight in the process since here you are trying the lose that baby weight in the first place.

          Popping microwave popcorn is the best because that's a treat for my kids. We can split the bag between the 3 of us, plus popcorn isn't very caloric and is a pretty good snack item. Oh yes, and it's cheap!

          So next time you're out during lunchtime, take a few minutes and pack it up!

          What are some of your favorite lunch time items to pack? Help us get out of our ruts and suggest some more easy take-and-go items!

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          Wednesday, January 28, 2009

          Enjoying their games

          Our children are small for a very short time.  Do you ever find yourself dismissing them because you have things you need to get done?  Just today my daughter asked me to play with her Littlest Pet Shops.  I am not good at playing make believe with dogs, cats, and ferrets but I did it anyway.  How often does my daughter ask me to play these days?  Now that I have a ten-year-old child I'm clinging to her childhood games.  I'm trying to enjoy (not endure) some activities that she likes.  I want to spend time with her.  I want her to feel valued and loved.  The teen years are coming fast and I want us to have a solid relationship before those stormy years appear.  

          My six-year-old and three-year-old enjoy completely different games.  One is into playing with Star Wars characters and playing Candyland.  The other is into shooting basketball and racing cars.  I find myself wanting to play these things just so I can be a part of their fun.  I don't want to be the mom who only talks to my kids about chores and discipline.  I want them to have wonderful childhood memories of a mom who put down the dirty dishes and played with them. When they move out of our house, I will have all the time in the world to do the dishes.  And I'll cry my eyes out.

          Enjoy your children.  Spend time with them.  Your to-do list can most likely wait.  

          Proverbs 31:28
          Her children arise and call her blessed...

          I want that to happen in my life!  I want my kids to call me blessed.  I'm still waiting for that day but if it ever happens, it will be a grand day!  I want God to be pleased with my parenting.  Spending time with them, enjoying the time He's given me with them is a gift I can give my children.  It's one big way I can add value to their precious lives. 

          Be lifted!

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          Friday, January 23, 2009

          Slow Down!

          I was rattling off a list and my husband said, "You are talking so fast!"

          Can you relate? I had to laugh and ask him, "I am?"

          Sometimes, I just need to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n.

          -Slow down and enjoy emailing a friend.

          -Slow down and read a chapter of the Bible without hurrying.

          -Slow down at the dinner table (this is great for losing weight too. Eat slower. You'll enjoy the tastes of the food without mindlessly stuffing yourself)

          -Slow down when driving (yup, I got a ticket and am headed to traffic school next month!)

          Savoring life probably doesn't look like someone running around from one thing to the next. Now I'm not advocating sitting around, moving slowly like a slug on a log. No mom could excel in this way! I'm talking about leaving some margins in your day to sit and listen to your kids, stretch for one minute if you're tired, pray without rushing, etc.
          You might be moving at mach speed on the outside doing laundry and starting dinner but internally, you're at peace. You're not flustered or rushing.

          What's a way you could slow down today? Is this doable as a mom?

          "So he who waits on his master will be honored." Prov. 27:18

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          Wednesday, January 21, 2009

          Prayers of babes

          My three-year-old is into praying.  He is grateful to God for things I don't think of.  My ten-year-old tends to get irritated when the little one prays too long.  She can have the attitude that God doesn't care about "goofy" things like toys and other things a little boy might pray about.  I am a firm believer that God is grinning when my little guy prays.  Nothing is too long or tedious for God...not when it comes to gratitude!  Here's an example of what I'm describing:

          "Thank you God for my bed.  Thank you God for my Star Wars plate.  Thank you for sister, for brother, for Mom, and Dad.  Thank you for Grandma Mary.  Thank you for Grandpa Ike.  Thank you for the grandma that gives us cookies.  Thank you for my Star Wars book.  Thank you for Lego Batman.  Thank you for our new characters on Lego Batman.  Thank you for fruit snacks.  Thank you for my pillow.  Thank you for our basketballs.  Bless our bodies.  Amen."

          This is fairly typical these days.  Some days are funnier some days are more serious.  Most prayers are actually longer.  Recently he added a new one:

          "Thank you God for God.  And thank you for the other God.  I can't think of his name, but the other God..."

          I had to prompt him but he was talking about JESUS!  How sweet!  How often do we thank God for himself?  How often do we distinguish between Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit when we are saying thanks?  I don't typically thank God for these things.  I am learning to thank God for everything, fruit snacks included!  And my ten-year-old is learning that God is pleased when we say "thank you."  It's not just about saying the prayers, it's about our grateful hearts and attitudes.  

          I encourage you to write down the prayers that come out the mouths of your babes.  Years from now you can be blessed all over again.

          Be lifted!

          Matthew 19:14

          Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

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          Friday, January 16, 2009

          Subtract Sugar, Add Veggies

          This past Sunday at church, our Sunday school class did a table topic. We were all asked, "What's one thing you'd like to add in your life in 2009 and what's one thing you'd like to subtract?"

          My husband's answer works well for all of us moms. He said, "It's very simple. I want to subtract sugar and add vegetables." Actually he made a joke and flipped it around at first. The dream diet would be to add more sugar and subtract vegetables but that diet doesn't exist!

          He's noticed that when he eats sugar, he loves it for the moment, but then his mood tanks. Have you been there?

          So my sweet husband has resolved to be healthier in 2009. And I have to be honest. I'm glad he's made the resolution to skip sugar for a few weeks because it's helping me reign in my desire for chocolate! He's fasting from treats like cookies, desserts, ice cream, etc but he'll still have some syrup with his pancakes, jam on his bread, etc. So you don't have to be completely radical, but just by saying no to desserts, you can eliminate a lot of junk food from your diet.

          Do you need to subtract some sugar and add some veggies into your life? I've been serving my kids more veggies in the New Year (more = 3 bits of broccoli so know we're taking baby steps) and I'm thrilled to report they are doing it! The rule is if they don't eat the few bites of vegetables, they won't get more of whatever they do like in the meal (usually bread or pasta).

          Subtract sugar, add veggies!

          "The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish." Prov 10:3

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          Tuesday, January 13, 2009

          Turn on the Lights

          I ran across a video yesterday that my friend Tara had posted. Wade Bowen wrote this song after his  wife struggled with postpartum depression.  He performed this song at a Postpartum Support International event in November.  

          (I can't figure out how to just paste it here!!  It's Wade Bowen, Turn on the Lights in case this address doesn't work quite right...sorry I'm a computer idiot.)

          If you are struggling with postpartum depression now or have in the past you will relate well to this.  Even if you struggle with regular clinical depression not related to giving birth you will understand these sentiments.  When we are in the middle of the darkness and fog of depression it is excruciating to ask for help.  If you are hurting there are so many safe places to ask for help, to share your hurts.  If it's not your spouse maybe it's your mom.  Perhaps it's a girlfriend or a neighbor or a doctor or a pastor.  It doesn't matter who you reach out to, please just do it.  You can e-mail me any time!  I would love it if you would call me, too.  But most of all, MOST OF ALL, reach out to your Healer.  God is always with you.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  Even darkness is light to him.  He loves you and wants you to be well and whole so you can enjoy your baby and every moment of motherhood.  

          Psalm 139:11-12

          If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

          Be lifted!

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          Friday, January 9, 2009

          Keep Moving!

          This week, I took my 2 and 4 year old for their routine yearly doctors examination. Even though we had watched the Berenstein Bears go to the doctor, my kids still didn't like getting their shots - and that's definitely an understatement!

          One thing my doctor reminded me of was the importance of daily hard exercise - she suggested one hour per day.

          So right after the appointment, we headed for the playground and ran around together too. Phew, I felt better for doing what the doctor ordered and realized I need to take my kids out more!

          I noticed one family whose children were riding bikes but they were sitting in the minivan. What a shame I thought! They could have been exercising right along side of their kids and making a better memory together.

          I know many moms stress out about fitting exercise into their schedule. How about making exercise a habit for you and your growing kids? When they run, you run too! You'll stay healthier as you keep moving with your energetic kids!
          "Out of the mouth of babes and infants You have ordained strength." Psalm 8:2
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          Wednesday, January 7, 2009

          Life is Fragile

          My heart is heavy today as I write.  I sent a Christmas card to an old friend and received a letter back from her husband a few days ago.  He wrote to tell me that my friend  died from cancer on December 15.  The Christmas letter I sent to encourage her?  Well she got it nine days too late.  I can't imagine how many times her dear husband had to open a card addressed to them or to her.  Ugh!  Anyway, the finality of her life on earth was so weird.  She has been sick for about five years so she's been ready for this.  It still came as a total shock to me.  I ache for her husband and two children.  Their daughter and my daughter went to preschool together; I have such fond memories of those simple, playful days.  She fought accepting Christ until the very end.  One of my dear friends says that she did accept Christ and was even baptized!  I don't know all the details of that situation but I pray she's in heaven, resting in Him.

          All this makes me think, why wait?  Why wait to start living life to the fullest?  Life is fragile.  Our time here is short.  Our time with our children is short.  Look at your baby.  I doubt he/ she is much of a baby any more.  I can barely remember my kids as babies and it wasn't that long ago!  My middle child loved to rock.  I would just stare at him for hours while he napped, clinging to that time.  Now it's over and he's at school all day!  Our time here on earth is so short, so precious.  It will end and it will happen quicker than we can imagine.  

          Maybe you need to pray about accepting Christ's gift.  Maybe you need to pray with your kids about them accepting Christ's gift.  Eternal life is coming one way or another.  It almost tortures me thinking about how much time we DON'T have here; why wait?  Why postpone making the most important decision of our lives?  Why postpone fully living for Him?  Why postpone teaching our kids the truth about God and His word?  

          Today I challenge you to stop postponing.  Wherever you are in your walk with Him, wherever you are in training yourself  and your children...I challenge you to take it to the next level in 2009.  Life is fragile.  This may very well be your last year.  What will you choose to do with it?

          Be challenged!
          Be lifted!

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          John 10:10
          I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

          Friday, January 2, 2009

          Reflections at New Years

          Happy New Year moms! It's the beginning of a new year, fresh with hope and anticipation. I was listening to one of my favorite radio programs this week, Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. He encouraged us to list 10 significant things God had done in 2008. To keep that list handy, to use it to remember God's goodness. I think this is a great habit.

          I love talking with my husband about our highlights of 2008. A vacation with my parents and the kids in Maui. Releasing my audio course, Losing Weight After Baby: 31 Days to a New You. Watching our kids grow in God's grace (ages 4 and 2). Traveling to Yosemite National Park with my husband's parents. Speaking to MOPS groups.

          The highlights involve low-lights too. A miscarriage in the fall. Marriage trouble for friends. But in those challenges, God's power to save is magnified.

          Have you made a list of highlights for 2008? Take a few minutes to do so and you'll be armed with a spirit of thanksgiving and praise in the New Year!
          "You have dealt well with Your servant, O Lord, according to Your word." Psalm 119:65

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