Wednesday, February 22, 2017

yarn along

I am still knitting away on my Buds and Bumbles shawl.  This picture was taken late at night and doesn't at all do the colors justice - the photo is too warm and the colors are not nearly all so yellow.  I have the pattern memorized now which has made it way way easier and I'm not losing my place and making mistakes anymore.  

I am reading a lot of different books as you can see.  We have had a lot of success with the DASH diet plan the past couple weeks which you can read about here.  I'm reading through the second phase when you add back in whole grains and fruits to see how things will change once we get there in a few days.  

I just picked up The Heavenly Man which is a book about the persecuted church in China.  Jesse read it last year and really recommended it but I never started it until this week.  It's very good, challenging and encouraging and convicting all at the same time.  I am reading the Brennan Manning book for a ladies prayer and discussion time we will be having soon. In the Woods is a slow start but I am really intrigued by the storyline and interested in where this mystery will go.

I'm joining up with the Yarn Along linkup hosted every Wednesday by Ginny.  What are you working on?  Have you read anything really fantastic lately?  Leave a link so I can be sure not to miss your post!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017



We had a busy weekend with lots of family visitors coming and going.  My mother-in-law helped me paint our guest room that rosy brown where Rosie is sleeping and I love it.  I wasn't sure in advance whether it would make the room too dark with the dark flooring and the pine paneling on one wall, but it's really just cozy and soft looking.  

We are trying to get into a new normal groove for school and I think we are catching up to where I hoped to be by now in spite of all the moving.  Schedules and plans are always being modified until I find something that works for this season of our family life but the elements have stayed about the same all year.  Today we did  morning time right after breakfast and then went outside together so that Lyddie could gather twigs from our "new" trees.  I am planning to have her begin a collection of twigs and draw and identify them.  In the process we found several owl pellets in our little stand of evergreen trees.  I haven't had time to dissect them with her but I hope we can do that later this week.  

I pulled back this week on what I was having Millie do along with Lyddie because I realized her participation in school activities had inched upward over the time we were living in the little temporary house with nothing else to really do.  Now the weather is starting to warm up so I can make sure she is really spending the hours outdoors again that I have wanted for her in this last year before starting first grade.  We are reading A.A. Milne poetry this term, and we all love it.  They all wanted to memorize, "Puppy and I," and it is sweet to hear all three of them excitedly reciting it every day over our morning tea time. 

There has been amazing growth in spelling for both Lyddie and Millie with the use of Spell to Write and Read this year.  I am confident at using it now and will hopefully have only a few preparations to do for it for the next several years since it will be the same curriculum over again and reaching farther and farther each year.  If you are willing to put in some study before the beginning of the year and a little study each week the first year you use it, I can highly recommend this curriculum.  I think my girls are beginning to have a really excellent foundation for spelling and grammar because of it.  They were both reading with great skill before this year so I don't know if there has been impact on their reading, but if they hadn't, I feel confident that there would be improvements there too.  

All in all, we are getting pretty settled in to our home and it feels nice to clear out one of the leftover boxes every day if I can.  We have been diligently continuing with the DASH diet changes and Jesse and I have both lost several pounds over the past 10 days.  I lost seven pounds as of this morning!  We will soon add back in some whole grains and fruits in limited quantities and I am looking forward to that since I have missed fruit!  Overall the changes have not been as hard as I feared they would be, especially after the first few days of sugar withdrawal passed.  I don't know if this will make sense to every person, but I feel a sense of freedom from food.  Because I am strictly following a plan I have made for the moment, I don't wander into the kitchen wondering if there's anything I can/should munch, no trying to resist temptation because it's just not on my radar.  I am not always thinking and trying to figure out what the next meal or snack will be because it's already done for me and posted on the fridge.  The most planning I have to do is pulling out meat to thaw or putting together a lunch.  Having the choices removed really helped kick start my attitude and ability to change.  No decision fatigue, no panicked moments of trying to figure out what breakfast is going to be again today.  Not to mention not feeling like I have to track everything as I go because it's already laid out specifically for me.  Tracking is tedious and I have always had a hard time being consistent because I get busy.  I'm really thankful for this journey the past week and a half and I am excited for the first time in a long time about the real possibility of being a healthy weight and having healthy habits and being a healthy model for my children.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017



A special breakfast of heart shaped banana slices and egg-in-the-hole for the girls (and scrambled eggs and Canadian bacon for me) for this Valentine's Day was a sweet way to start the day together. I loved watching Millie help Jesse stack wood this week; she had such a happy time outside chattering and listening to his stories and feeling so proud of her hard work.  

Dishcloths coming off my needles to replenish my supply, and my Buds and Bumbles has grown by about an inch this week which doesn't sound like much but it's pretty good progress for me!

At night before sleeping, Hannah Coulter delights me. I love Wendell Berry.

Joining in with Yarn Along today!

Monday, February 13, 2017


I rarely talk about my weight with anyone, especially on this blog or other social media.  It is intensely personal to me and my self-worth is (unfortunately) really wrapped up in how I look and feel and my health and my self-control. I don't do a lot of "negative self-talk" in other areas of my life but when it comes to weight and food and my appearance related to those, I have a constant voice berating me in my own mind and have for several years. After much thought (and avoidance), I've come to realize this is specifically an obedience issue in my relationship with the Lord; if I'm turning consistently to food for comfort, entertainment, satiation, then I am looking in the wrong places for fulfillment.  I've known this for quite a long time but haven't been able to let it go, haven't found the tools that will enable me to be steady in changing my habits and my heart.  I've been praying about this long term diet change for a long time, asking for His help to figure out what to do, and as soon as my doctor brought up the DASH diet, there was a still small voice whispering that I knew what I had to do. 

 My blood pressure has been a continual source of anxiety, too much anxiety to make sense, for the past four years in spite of being well controlled with medication.  There has been a lingering worry in my mind that the medication will stop being effective or that I'll gain weight and I'll have to increase or change meds.  I feel I'm too young to be dealing with high blood pressure and the host of possible health complications that can come with that but I have at times just felt resigned to my genetic fate while also feeling like change would be too good to be true.  But when my doctor recommended looking at the DASH diet eating plan (Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension), I decided it was time.  There are a few different versions of DASH, one directed mainly at hypertension and one geared toward weight loss.  The latter includes basically a two week sugar/carb detox to help your body reset in terms of triglycerides, cholesterol, insulin, etc.  I've been pretty convinced over the past year or two that I'm dealing with a sugar/carb addiction and have been too chicken to try to let go of that, so Jesse and I decided to jump in with both feet, eliminating carbs pretty completely as we follow the strict menu plans for the next two weeks that are included in the book. I typically roll my eyes inwardly at the trend of detox, but I really see the value in just cutting out sugars to start a little more fresh when I begin the official DASH plan. This will hopefully be really empowering so that when I begin to add fruit and dairy and grains back in I'll be able to have more self-control and still avoid refined sugar more.  I bought a book for each of the plans above, so after these first two weeks I will use the system in the hypertension book (which is probably pretty much the same as the weight loss book).

Although I'm just going into our third day of the diet changes, I've been really proud of myself. I've stayed completely on plan, which means protein and veggies almost exclusively - two food groups I'm not naturally very fond of.  Answered prayers have held me up and even as I write this and think about His faithfulness to help me resist temptation, I'm encouraged toward tomorrow and each step of the day.  My other plan is to use God's Word to help me.  When making dinner I put on a CD of Scripture set to music; when eating a meal I wasn't very excited about, I pulled out my Bible and worked on catching up on my Bible reading plan.  And it sort of surprised me that it has helped; the Spirit has helped remind me that being as healthy as possible is a good design for me, that having a healthy view of food and my body and myself is a good thing and worth fighting for.  And that my children are watching and learning about nutrition and food choices and body image.  I'm not eliminating any food groups for them of course, but we are eating a lot healthier as a family because what Momma does, everyone does, and I can see they are proud of me as they are trying to understand what and why I'm changing for myself.  I want them to be healthy, to understand that food is a good gift but it is only a gift - not the Source of joy or comfort or peace.  My daughters are lovely and stunning and beautiful and precious and it pains me to think of them growing up with patterns to lead toward obesity and wrestling with their weight the way I have for so long; it pains me because I know how they would feel about themselves if they follow my example to this point.  It's not too late for things to change and I'm so excited and hopeful that I will be a healthier momma, and that I won't feel shame and sadness over my own example in their lives.  I am worth it.  They are worth it.  

I have mixed feelings about hitting publish because, as I said, it's so personal in my heart, but I like to journal here things that are significant to my life that I want to remember.  This is one of those things.  I hope to look back on this week in a year and be amazed at all the changes the Lord has brought about in my health.  I always hope that maybe someone else will feel excited or challenged or hopeful by reading my quiet musings as well.  Happy Valentine's Day, my friends.  I hope it is warm and joyful and that you are able to make someone you love feel that warmth with you.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

a sea of ice-gilded snow


We woke to a sea of ice-gilded snow and watched as the warm air began to thaw the crust of ice in the trees which then clattered to the ground with the sound of many marbles being thrown suddenly across a wooden floor.

The tender patience of two big sisters was displayed while they tried to teach their littlest sister how to write words and letters with her own "copywork" to match their own.  Later, we all spread out at the table for our beginning drawing lessons, and I got to see incredible skill of observation and imitation in all three.

A traipse around the yard revealed areas of snow at least two feet deep, sinking in to above my knees as I looked at our new trees and tried to decipher what they all are.  It seems like we might have a big maple tree, which I would love (but the jury is still out), along with our sycamores, pines and firs, birches, ash...  I am in love with the fact that we have trees!

The television stays off all day in our house unless we are specifically watching something, usually in the evening or late afternoon if at all.  Today we were all feeling so housebound, so after I sent everyone outside to crunch around in the ice and snow, I called them in for a special tv lunch, which just meant we all brought our lunches into the living room and watched an episode of Curious George while we ate!  It did the trick and the grumpies seemed to fade away.

After cleaning carpets for a couple hours, I stole away to the porch alone before making dinner to listen to the symphony of birds in the trees and felt life seeping back into my heart again.  I am practicing identifying bird calls, but so far today only recognized a raven and a red-winged blackbird amidst the cacophony.  A little personal goal for me because I always have several of those...

Tonight the wind roars around the house, our first real wind since moving here.  The gusts thunder through the trees and blow the remaining few cardboard boxes around the porch.  In our other house we hardly heard the wind in the living area, only in the bedrooms, so it is new to me to hear it all evening.  It's quite a beautiful and powerful noise and I am hoping it brings a bit of spring with it.  Time alone will tell.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

happily {yarn along}

I can tell life is settling back into a routine again because I've had the ability to do more than collapse on the couch at the end of each day.  I very ,very rarely sit down at the end of the evening without picking up some handiwork but the past few weeks I sank into the couch every evening and stared slackjawed at the TV screen until bedtime.  I did try to cross-stitch now and then but mostly I tuned out after a full day of hauling boxes around the house and figuring out where everything needed to go. 

But now I've picked up my knitting again regularly.  The Buds and Bumbles shawl is a simple four-row repeat that I have mostly memorized but still sometimes need to check in with the pattern.  It's enjoyable to see what colors are coming up next with the Zauberball yarn I am using for it.  I've also been working on my Love and Joy sampler a lot; I love stitching Alicia Paulson's patterns because they are so sweet and full of delicate little details.  If you don't read her blog, you should peek over at all the crafting and pictures and loveliness there.  Her home is an inspiration to me.  

Speaking of homes, The Life-Giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson is an encouraging book for me right now about forming beautiful rhythms and atmosphere within a home, and I've been reading In the Woods by Tana French when I am up for a thriller.  On top of that, I'm listening to The Count of Monte Cristo on the CraftLit podcast, usually just about 10 minutes a day, so I'm pretty far behind real-time, but slowly but surely I am making headway in that big book!

Today I am happily joining in with the Yarn Along fun after far too long away!  You can see a few pictures of our new house and happenings lately here!