Wednesday, February 15, 2017

delight




  









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

DASH I










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!

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

home







Living room before
 Living room after!!












 (Kitchen Countertops in process)

We are getting more and more settled in our new home every day while the snow and ice still swirl and crackle outside.  We had a whirlwind of a week before painting and redoing countertops and then a day with many friends getting our stuff from the barn where it was stored the last few months. Then came a flurry of opening boxes and finding homes for long lost treasures - favorite books that were packed away, special decorations, furniture.  Next up is several months of reorganizing and figuring out where things actually work best.  It's amazing to move into a home with plenty of storage, having come from first a small house with few closets, then from 600 square foot studio-type home.  We are stunned regularly by the view all around of the Cascades and foothills.  The snow is deep and beautiful in our pasture and yard and now as I write more flakes are swirling down.  I tramp to the chicken coop with boiling teakettle and then tramp to the woodshed to bring in more wood, snow crunching under my winter boots and I wonder if spring will ever arrive.  I now long for the bright green of spring when it arrives and for the nourishment of the sunshine and Rosie looked at me today as we read Hi, Mister Robin! and said, "Mommy!  I'm tired of the snow too!"  Hard to believe, since we usually wait and wait and hope for a snowy winter.  But here we are wishing for the flowers to appear.

Jesse created new countertops for our kitchen and they are very pretty as you can (kind of) see from my pictures above.  Before they were a yellow formica that was probably from the 1970s, and he applied a concrete polymer, called Skimstone, over the top instead.  Less expensive and simpler than true concrete countertops but with a similar look and similar hardiness.  My one hope is that he will reseal them with a more effective product, since the Skimstone sealer allows coffee stains to seep through and remain no matter how I scrub.

We are so thankful to the Lord for His faithfulness to lead us through the entire process of selling our home and buying this one.  There are so many little details that I wouldn't have ever really hoped for that are already here - fruit trees, shade trees, lilacs, a big garden, chickens, raspberries, a gorgeous view, really lovely living space for having others over, extra bedrooms in case our family ever grows, closets and storage, a pasture and (ramshackle) barn, a workshop for Jesse, and other outbuildings... the list goes on and it surprises me a little every time I begin to recount the ways this house is what I hardly dared hope for at the beginning of the journey.  I am thankful.  I am thankful to be surrounded with the loveliness of His creation and eager to see how He uses this home and property to bless others - our children, our families, and others in our community.