Monthly Archives: May 2012

Waste Not, Want Not

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I have recently been convicted about how much waste (trash) our family produces. We have a pretty small trashcan in our kitchen and it is always overflowing. I keep finding myself thinking, “I wish we had a bigger trashcan,” when really, a better solution is to simply not produce as much trash. We don’t use very many paper products, but lately I have been trying to cut back even more. I LOVE cloth diapering (that’ll be a whole ‘nother post!), so we don’t produce waste there, either. The majority of our trash comes from unwanted, unsolicted newpapers and junk mail. So, I have been brainstorming ways to either reduce or repurpose our trash. All suggestions are welcome! Here are some of the ideas I have come up with so far:

1. use only cloth towels and napkins (no paper)

2. use cloth sanitary napkins

3. use cloth wipes instead of toilet paper (I do this for Micah, why not for us too?)

4. shred newspapers, junk mail…any paper, really. Use to make homemade paper or add to compost pile

5. use my own bags when shopping

What are some ways that your family uses to reduce waste?

“Put good in, get good out.”

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“Put good in, get good out.” I just read this on the back of a package of Minute Maid fruit juice. At first it struck me as being very ironic, since the juice is “peach flavored” and only contains about 10% fruit juice, and that juice isn’t from peaches. I bought it, so I much not think it is too terrible, but it is not what I would put into the “good for you” category. However, the phrase then reminded me of the verse in James (which I didn’t stop to look up) which says, “from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Put good in, get good out.

Two months and counting…

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Micah was two months old yesterday. He is so big now, it is hard to believe that he ever fit inside me. I know everyone says “they grow up too fast” or “my, how the time flies,” but it really seems like a lot more than two months has passed since he was born, not because the days drag by, but because it seems like he has always been a part of our family. Christian and I were talking about this the other day. He said that he feels like the family dynamic didn’t really change that much, though of course it has, but he fit so seamlessly into our lives it is hard to point to a single moment when things really changed.

I am completely healed from the C-section and have recently started exercising again on a regular basis. I am starting slow and aiming for at least 30 mins of cardio every other day, in the form of running or riding my bike. On the other days I do yoga, go for a walk and/or do strength exercises like crunches, push-ups, etc. I am curently about 12lbs heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight and 20-25lbs heavier than my “ideal” weight. Having never been overweight before, I feel surprisingly energetic and spry. I guess I just assumed that if I was 20 lbs overweight I would feel really yucky, but I have always had a pretty healthy self-image and I still feel good about myself. So, I’m not stressing over trying to lose weight, I just want to be healthy.

As for Micah, he is doing great. At his last Dr. appointment, he weighed 10lbs even and was 23 inches long. That puts him in the 35th percentile for height and the 20th for weight. I find that rather amusing since Christian was in the 90th percentile for height and the 75th for weight. But both my dad and my father-in-law are a little shorter than average, so perhaps Micah will take after his grandfathers instead of his father. I don’t care either way as long as he is healthy, which he is. 🙂

The night before last (Tuesday night) Micah slept from 10pm-4:30am, the longest he has slept at one stretch. He is a good sleeper (at night anyways) and normally goes to bed somewhere between 9 and 10. He wakes up to eat every 3 or 4 hrs but always goes right back to sleep, so it really isn’t bad and I get plenty of rest since I have the luxery of sleeping in with him until 8 or 9 most mornings. But, when he slept 6 hours straight I got all excited thinking that maybe he was going to start weaning himself off of some of his nighttime feedings. I was quickly disabused of this notion last night when he woke up at 1:30am, 3am, 4:30, 6 and 7. Clearly, he doesn’t really NEED to eat that often but I nursed him each time because I knew that he would go right back to sleep if I did. However, I can see this leading to some bad habits developing if he wakes up to nurse for comfort and not because he is hungry. I am going to wait until he is three months old, and if he hasn’t begun to wean himself from his nighttime feedings, I probably will make some effort to do so. At least to space them out more. If he can sleep from 10-4 one night, there is no reason he can’t do it every night.

Other exciting things happening in our lives: we sold Christian’s car two weeks ago with the intention of purchasing something bigger, automatic, with decent gas mileage. He had a 2003 Ford Focus ZX3 (2 door, hatchback) which was manual. I am capable of driving a manual if I have to, but I don’t have much experience or confidence and would rather not if I can avoid it. My car is old and very beat up (not my fault!), though reliable so we wanted something a little newer that is big enough for a car sear or two that I can drive and Christian can drive my poor old car to work. We sold his car within 12 hrs of posting it on Craigslist, but two weeks later we have yet to purchase anything else. Which means that either a) Christian rides his bike to work so that I can use the car or b) Christian drives to work and I am stuck at the house all day. This really hasn’t been too bad because Christian can ride his bike, but if he closes, then he doesn’t get home until 9 or later and I don’t want him driving up and down Capitol on his bike in the dark. So, he takes the car on days when he has to close and I stay at home with Micah, but this means that I can’t go look at any othe cars, which is the main reason we haven’t purchased anything. So, to summarize: we need to buy a car so that I have something to drive while Christian is at work, but I can’t go buy a car becuase I don’t have anything to drive while Christian is at work. 🙂

On Monday we had a Five Generation photo shoot, below are some of the pictures from that, courtesy of Bekah Morton.

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The quest for modesty…a journey of the heart

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Modesty means a lot of different things to different people. Most people think of clothing when we talk about modesty and the culture in which you were raised will have a great influence on your definition of “modest clothing.”  For example, a friend of mine was raised in Argentina. The cultural standard of modesty is MUCH different than even the mainstream US culture so her definition of “modest” was a lot different than mine. But, when I talk about modesty, I’m not talking about clothes, at least not just clothes. The Biblical standard for modesty starts with the heart.

“For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God….Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. “

1 Peter 2:15-16, 3:1-4

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in viewof God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Romans 12:1-2

“Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way…Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.”

Romans 14:13 &19

These are just a few of the scripture passages which have influenced me in my commitment to purity and modesty. As a follower of Jesus Christ, someone who professes to have experienced a life changing salvation, I desire to follow God’s will in any and every way possible. As an imperfect human, I often fail in this endevor.  However, one of the ways in which I try to live a life set apart for God is by closing guarding my body. I believe that my body is not my own, but a gift from God which I should use to bring him praise in whatever way possible. The Bible tells me my body is a temple to God. It also admonishes me to avoid putting a stumbling block in front of a brother (or sister). So, for me, modesty is all about why I do something and not so much what I do.

For example, when I am getting dressed and am tempted to where make up or jewelry, I stop and ask myself, why do I want to do this? Is it because I am self-conscious or embarrassed by the way I look? Or is it in an effort to impress someone? Or is it to honor God? If I am tempted to wear makeup to cover acne, that is vainity and basically I am saying that I don’t like the way God made my body, which is to imply that He somehow made a mistake (impossible!). If I am dressing to impress anyone other than my husband, I am motivated by pride and selfishness, both of which are sins. If I am dressing to impress my husband, great, but I do not feel that I am honoring God or my husband if I come before him dressed and painted to resemble someone or something that I am not. The intimacy shared by husband and wife is a wonderful thing; I should have no qualms about appearing before my husband in my natural and yes, naked, state. A husband and wife who love God first and then each other, who have a Biblical view of marriage and their spouse, will be affirming and uplifting, not degrading or hurtful. And so both partners should be comfortable revealing their naked bodies, without plucking, painting or primping.

So, when I am getting dressed, I try to always ask myself, “Does this honor God?” or “Will this be a tempation to someone?”  In truth, these are the same questions that we should ask ourselves before every action or choice.

When it comes to dress, I don’t have any hard and fast rules that I follow, because that is to be legalistic. It is not about the rules, but where my heart is. I desire to honor God, and my husband and to avoid serving as a temptation to my brothers. God made me a woman and I believe that men and women should have distinctive clothing, as is indicated in the Old Testament, but I don’t think that it is necessarily wrong for women to wear pants, however, I choose to wear long, loose skirts almost exclusively as they are much less revealing than pants and instantly mark me as a woman. This is not true of tight or short skirts, so the issue is not pants vs skirts, but again, a matter of the heart and me desiring to dress in a way that announces to the world I am a woman without showing off the curves of my body.

My favorite tops have elbow length sleeves and a high, scoop-neck. As I am currently nursing, my solution to modest nursing on a budget is to wear a long cami with a built-in shelf bra under a regular shirt. I can then simply pull up my shirt and pull down the top of the cami to nurse without exposing my belly. When at home or just around family, I normally don’t bother with a nursing cover because my shirt can easily be pulled down to cover the tops of my breasts and the baby’s head hides everything else. I do use a nursing cover or a receiving blanket when in public, especially when getting the baby latched on as this is when I am most exposed.

As for hair, I Corinthians chapter 11 addresses this but there has been a lot of debate concerning the correct interpretation. Again, I try not to get caught up on rules and simply try to have a heart devoted to God, and dress in such a way as to reflect my inner committment. I do like to cover my hair, when I have long hair, as I feel this does set me apart from the general population and people will frequently ask me why I dress the way I do, which then give me an opportunity to “give the reason for the hope that I have” (1 Peter 3:15). I prefer long hair on women because I feel it is more feminine. However, I currently have very short hair because I cut all of mine off as a donation for Pantene Beautiful Lengths. I am growing it back out because that is what I like, not because I think women “should” have long hair. I do think that if you are prone to vainity and spending hours in front of the mirror, then perhaps you should not have long hair so as to avoid that temptation.

I do wear some jewelry on special occassions, and pretty much all that wear I received as a gift from my husband, so I know it pleases him to see me wear it. I do not wear makeup because I can’t get past the feeling that it is an act of hubris to assume that  I know better than God what I should look like. I love my “lotions and potions” (as my mother says) and I try to take good care of my skin but I do not in any way alter my appearance with make up or hair-dye.

I hope that my thoughts on this topic will jump-start your own thought process and encourage you to examine why you do what you do. Respectful comments, either agreeing or disagreeing, are welcome.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

1 Cor. 6:19-20

New Location

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This is my first post at the new WordPress location. So far I like it a lot better than blogger. Because I have a free account, I don’t get to customize the colors and things as much as I would like, but the option to have categories and tags, etc. is nice. I have copied all of the posts from the blogger location so that they won’t be lost with the move. They are found under the Blogger Post Archives category. I hope the new layout and tools available to me through WordPress will help me improve the overall quality of the blog. I think I am also going to move Quilt Like Crazy’s blog to WordPress and try to do more with it as well.

Check back often, or better yet, subscribe and receive email updates!

The best of intentions

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 From May 6, 2012:

Micah, in his swing, six weeks old.

Micah is now seven weeks old. I told myself that I was going to blog more regularly to help keep our extended family updated on our daily happenings, but you know how that goes. He is a great sleeper (normally). My biggest challenge right now is getting him to nap in his crib. He loves his swing, but I don’t want him to be in the habit of sleeping in it (too late!). Everytime I put him in it, he falls asleep so yesterday I didn’t use it…and he didn’t nap. 😦 From 12:30pm to 12am he only slept about an hour total. Needless to say we were both very tired and running short on patience. Once he finally went to bed for the night, he was fine. I half anticipated him sleeping for a longer than ususual length of time before waking to eat, but no. He is going through his week six growth spurt (not nearly as dramatic as the week two growth spurt) and so he woke up more than usual last night to eat…but he always goes right back to sleep, so no harm done. We got up at 8am and he has yet to really nap today, again, maybe an hour total all day. Eventually he will get so tired that he will have to sleep, swing or no swing, but I don’t feel like I have really accomplished much around the house yesterday or today because I count on his naps for me to have the time for things like hanging out laundry and showering, etc. A lot of other things I can do with him in the Moby, but again, I don’t want him to get used to sleeping with me holding him and he normally falls asleep in the Moby, so I have been avoiding that also. Things like washing dishes is always dificult in the Moby, mainly because I am so short that he ends up bumping against the edge of the counter which is uncomfortable for him. My arms are also short enough that it can be dificult for me to reach the faucet when I have to account for the extra space he creates between me and the sink ( I also had this problem while pregnant with him, go figure.).

So, as I said, yesterday was fairly unproductive. I did wash and hang out a load of diapers (non-negotiable, the diapers MUST be washed!). Instead, while listening to him fuss for three hours straight (no exageration), I discovered some great blogs and spent way more time than I should have reading post after post. Here are a couple of my favorites:

www.raisingarrow.net

www.inashoe.com  this is my personal favorite, because she adds a lot of humor to her writing

www.raisingolives.com

All of these are written by Christian ladies who are wives and moms who homeschool. They have lots of great tips on large family living, homeschooling, cooking, organizing, parenting, etc. I would love for my blog to be half as cool as any one of these! I have found a lot of great motivational and encouraging info. KimC, mother of 10 and author of In a Shoe, has some great posts about procrastination that I really liked. I find it encouraging to know that a mom of such a large family struggles with some of the same things that I do and still makes it work…maybe there is hope for me yet! 🙂