recreation mode

July 18, 2014

it seems that everywhere i turn – hanging out with friends, browsing social media – the focus is on summer plans.

“what are you doing this summer?”

it can be so easy to get caught up in comparing and i am having to be more focused and mindful than ever about not slipping in to the comparison funk. because here’s the thing: we are not in a season where taking big trips (or even small trips) is very feasible.

we are five years in to living in radical obedience: hubby and i both leaving our jobs (read: steady income) to embark on homeschooling and entrepreneurship. it has been the most intense, raw, difficult and rewarding time and we both know for certain we are walking the path GOD has set for us. there is deep down peace even as the tides of desperation and crisis have rolled over us more than a few times.

suffice to say, disposable income for recreation and fun hasn’t been in the budget for the most part. for sure, there have been pockets of time where we’ve indulged and honestly, if i look over even the course of the past week, i see (relative to the rest of the world) a TON of fun … just local, small-scale fun.

water parks, play dates with friends, local kid’s museums, time with family, dinner out with girlfriends, sleepovers, grabbing a meal out, an iced coffee (or 2!), library story times,crafts and learning time at home, walks and wagon rides … all this in the span of a week.

which is lovely and blessed and beautiful. 

but boy how easy it can be to fall in to the comparison trap!! two of my dearest girlfriends are flying to *hawaii* this weekend for a week and i am so SO happy for them! many friends are taking similarly awesome trips and many more are taking cool day trips: water slides, the beach, you name it.

i want to do those things. really bad. i am a road trip girl at heart; i love to travel, explore, see and taste all that’s around me. i love the mountains, the ocean, lakes.

and yet right now, RIGHT NOW … i am reminded:

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (i timothy 6:6). my deep desire is to faithfully move through this season, embracing ALL the beauty and blessings and not wasting a single second longing for someone else’s blessing.

this is a little pocket of happy. it’s hard to explain, really, how much this little place and it’s happy farmer nita bring a smile to my heart.

the barn door is closed here but the door on the right is the one that opens to her farm stand

the barn door is closed here but the door on the right is the one that opens to her farm stand

 

i can’t remember when i first stopped by but a few months ago, i saw her  “open” sign and stopped by to see a table of eggs by the dozen … $2.50/dozen! and the *best part*: the little cash box to leave money in. this honor system seriously is a relic of innocence and a touch of small town that makes me happy.

i’ve since become a regular egg-buyer, getting my weekly dozen every friday for $3. can’t beat the quality – pure bright orange yolks, large awesome eggs. and the part that i still blesses me? that time i stopped by last month when i didn’t have cash on me and she insisted i leave with a dozen eggs and just repay her the following week. does that even happen??!

in the past few weeks, her offerings have grown and so has my excitement! and here’s the thing: *every single time* i stop by, she blesses me with an abundance. more than i ever pay for. last week she said, ‘do you like green beans? i just picked so many and you have to take some home.’ and she sent me home with an overflowing bag of fresh green beans.

 

farm1

 

there really is very little sweeter to me than the goodness of REAL FOOD, grown and harvested with love, shared generously.

nita’s story is pretty awesome, too: a mid-life single lady sold her place in southern california and bought this historic farm … setting aside 3 years of mortgage payments so she could spend that time cultivating and growing her land. a dream, realized!

it’s been fun to spread the word and have friends and family stop by … last weekend, my mom and grandma visited her stand and mom shared the great conversation they had.

it’s lovely to live the thing i believe in: develop relationships with those that grow my food (since i can’t yet grow it myself); buy local – support local farmers; eat REAL food and see where it comes from! my kiddos love our stops to the “farm”! it is just around the corner from my house and driving by, seeing her “open” sign, peering in to see the table of fresh offerings … makes me happy every time.

 

those bunches of beets - $1.75/bunch and i've loved them! the greens are so great. there's the little cash box in the front :)

those bunches of beets – $1.75/bunch and i’ve loved them! the greens are so great. there’s the little cash box in the front :)

today’s 5k

July 4, 2014

this morning, i ran in our little town’s local 4th of july 5k run. the feeling of deep gratification at completing the race is really indescribable.

flash back a few months ago … i was still deep in excuse-making about how i really just can’t exercise regularly. and truly, i had a ton of good reasons. the reality is that i had/have zero time that is not accounted for or attached to a little person (day & night); i am not a mama who takes a lot of “me” time and if i connect with friends, it usually involves the kids with us; i am using tons of energy as it is chasing these boys (!) so having “extra” energy to go and exercise seemed … distasteful.

for over a year, i knew a couple of my dearest girlfriends were in a sort of text accountability support group – texting daily updates on what workout they did, eating choices, etc. they’d mentioned it to me and always opened the door. yeah, right!

so a few months ago, i got the local parks and rec magazine and flipping through the pages, i came to the little ad about the 4th of july race. 5k. and something in me leapt with excitement. i tabbed the page and thought … i could do this. maybe i should do this!?

in 2007, i determined to run another local 5k and diligently worked through the couch-to-5k training program. to this day, i remember the incredible feeling of crossing that finish line. of being a non-runner, and DOING it!

i wanted to do it again.

and so i started: saturday, may 10. not sure i told anyone those first couple weeks – held my little secret plan close to my heart, wanting to see myself really stick with this before sharing my intention.

this training program is so incredible and truly designed for the non-runner, on the couch! the first few weeks are mostly walking; small bursts of jogging (like 30 sec) added to a few minutes of walking … repeat. gradually, the jogging distances lengthen. and it becomes manageable. a few times i would look ahead to the next week’s training and think – no way will i be able to run 8, or 10 minutes straight! after all, when i started, i couldn’t jog to the corner.

creating time to workout never magically became easy. every time, it took planning, and most often it resulted from my amazing daughter willingly watching her brothers. a few times, i would hear them screaming in protest after i had snuck out the door but i didn’t turn back. they survived. and i got my workout done.

and the coolest part: i began to feel completely awesome after my runs! endorphins? satisfaction? feeling my body getting stronger, more capable? all of it, perhaps. it felt and it feels good.

{we are so blessed, those of us with the capacity to really use our bodies! i would often be running, thinking of those who are wheelchair-bound, who would give anything to *get* to train for a 5k.}

oh, and another awesome unfolding … a few weeks in to this training program, one of my dear friends who is in that little accountability encouragement group, inadvertently sent a daily workout update text to me. and finally, the time was right. yes! i would love to join these awesome mama’s. and it has been the biggest blessing. i’ve started doing my running 3 days a week and at least 2 other days i do some kind of high intensity interval work. it’s been *good*.

ah, so today!!!! the race started at 7:30am. i picked up my race packet yesterday and freaked out! surreal. i was restless and nervous last night – butterflies – and of course because real life keeps on, i was up a few times during the night with my boys. no rest for this mama! finally at 5:30am i decided to get up … ate a little and got myself and the crew ready and out the door. we arrived to the start line by 7am and had 30 minutes to kill! ah. i was just jittery. heart pounding. anxious. ready to start and finish.

 

giving my dumpling caleb a kiss as i got ready to run

giving my dumpling caleb a kiss as i got ready to run

 

finally it was time to line up …i joined the mass and stood near the back. the gun sounded and we were off. and the truth is, most of the run was hard. i never felt that “flow” that i’ve experienced on some recent runs. it was effortful, and yet my number one goal was to NOT WALK. no matter what. and i didn’t! a few times i had to slow down and that was fine.

the run was a quick jaunt through downtown (all 10 blocks, lol) then up a long stretch of highway. that part was the roughest; there was a turnaround and for a time, i couldn’t even see the turnaround point … it was totally a mental game at that point. and then of course there were the young bucks, the high school track kids who did the turnaround and were already heading back to the finish line as i was still far from turning! ahh.  but finally, i got to the turnaround and got a quick drink of water. the way back was much more tolerable; i could see the large grange building slowly approaching and finally, saw the turn back on to pine street (the main street through downtown). i turned and had just 3 blocks to go … home stretch!

it felt great finishing; great seeing my family and honestly just being DONE. doing it.  YES!!

 

YES!!

YES!!

 

 

race3

 

 

my girl had brought money with her to buy me flowers during my run. made me cry.

my girl had brought money with her to buy me flowers during my run. made me cry.

 

i am not sure what is next. certainly a part of me is excited by the challenge of future races; of getting faster, of the running becoming more comfortable and of just being more well-trained. during today’s run i kept thinking, never again! this is the worst! lol. but perhaps running a race is a bit like childbirth – we forget how horrible and are left only with the sweetness of the outcome. we shall see.

scavenger hunt :)

June 7, 2014

yesterday we “hosted” a scavenger hunt for Madison’s CC class. it was a BLAST! this is something she has been wanting to do with her CC friends for months … and a couple months ago we put June 6 on the calendar and suddenly the day arrived. :) we created a list of one hundred items the teams had to find in the mall. we ended up with 9 kids so i divided in to two teams; they had to stick together, everyone on the team had to see the item, and the first time to return with the list complete won!

i was so thankful that a dear girlfriend offered to watch josiah as i am not sure how i could have managed overseeing activities with both boys at the mall. would not happen! josiah had a *blast at lori’s (yeah!) and caleb was a chill dumpling on my lap, allowing me to visit (say what?! actually conversate with the mama’s?! LOL). we had a sweet time visiting, caleb was mostly entertained playing with my phone, a snack, a toy and some kind mama’s who talked to him (but he never left mama’s lap).

i expected the kids would take about an hour but it was nearly *two hours before the winning team returned! they were happy, full of funny stories of various hard-to-find items (a mall employee named sara topped the list :) ).

a great, frugal and fun summer activity for sure!

 

such a darling group!!

such a darling group!!

 

 

i took a pic of the completed list, front and back, as it will surely get lost and so it will be here should we want to reference it, or if anyone wants to use it for their scavenger hunt!

i took a pic of the completed list, front and back, as it will surely get lost and so it will be here should we want to reference it, or if anyone wants to use it for their scavenger hunt!

 

SCAV list

a little hello

May 31, 2014

it’s been so long. life has been intense these days – a word i keep coming back to, and fitting. self-employment, long long work hours for hubby, unstable income, parenting challenges, 2 small and nonstop boys, josiah’s consuming skin issues and subsequent sleeplessness. three years of fatigue and sleeplessness *does begin to impact one’s sanity, i’ve concluded. it’s pretty real.

that said, it’s also a time of fullness – and growth. a precious dear friend said this to me last week: this is one of the most difficult but also one of the most valuable times of my life (her words were more eloquent). indeed. for starters, we are completely dependent on GOD’s provision and have experienced it and HIM in ways that we *never* would have, were we still ensconced in the system of jobs and steady paychecks.

hard and good.

and i am being stretched way beyond my capacity and skills as a parent, particularly with my precious teenage daughter. my instincts are just not there – or really, my instincts lean way too far toward the comfort and happiness of my child. i *know* what i want as far as character training and i *know* the deep lessons and discipling that i am called to do and yet i fall so short. i am so thankful for a partner with  great wisdom, strong instincts and who is the leader GOD has given our family. and most of all, i am seeing that perhaps in this area of struggle and lack, GOD is really calling me to HIM: to His strength that He promises for me, His wisdom that he generously supplies. oh, that i would move quickly out of discouragement (self-focus, really) and look UP.

and now, for a few pictures? many of these are repeats from instagram ( oh, i love that social media outlet that allows sharing of lives through pictures!) …

this is happening right now: my beloved, taking the boys on an adventure, sporting the dora backpack filled with snacks and drinks :))

this is happening right now: my beloved, taking the boys on an adventure, sporting the dora backpack filled with snacks and drinks :))

 

 

yesterday, when he figured out he could spray me! cracking up!

yesterday, when he figured out he could spray me! cracking up!

 

and another, because Oh.My.Word.

and another, because Oh.My.Word.

 

 

a little painting time with my boys which they love - for about 15 minutes. a ton of mess and effort but worth it  :)

a little painting time with my boys which they love – for about 15 minutes. a ton of mess and effort but worth it :)

 

 

this boy is serious and unwavering in his love for balls. all balls. last week, it was the basketball at the park - watched these folks mesmerized by the ball for several minutes.

this boy is serious and unwavering in his love for balls. all balls. last week, it was the basketball at the park – watched these folks mesmerized by the ball for several minutes.

 

 

my big boy, at the same park last week.he is fearless with slides!

my big boy, at the same park last week.he is fearless with slides!

 

 

*such a fun time at sweet zeke's 4th bday party last week. love those bigboys

*such a fun time at sweet zeke’s 4th bday party last week. love those bigboys

 

 

speaking of big boys (lol), where did my baby go?!

speaking of big boys (lol), where did my baby go?!

 

 

loving our time with dear friends and their littles - the boys love their friends, i love my mama friends, and love the sweet learning (sharing, playing together, etc). good stuff. especially with friends who show abundant grace, don't sweat the small stuff like messes and funky kid's behavior, etc.

loving our time with dear friends and their littles – the boys love their friends, i love my mama friends, and love the sweet learning (sharing, playing together, etc). good stuff. especially with friends who show abundant grace, don’t sweat the small stuff like messes and funky kid’s behavior, etc.

 

 

friends! super fun play time with winter last week :)

friends! super fun play time with winter last week :)

 

 

this day? they were driving me bonkers!! grabbing each other, hollering out for me to stop running, walk a certain direction, pick up their dropped toy etc etc etc. oh boy.

this day? they were driving me bonkers!! grabbing each other, hollering out for me to stop running, walk a certain direction, pick up their dropped toy etc etc etc. oh boy.

 

 

this picture is *huge. had to capture it to show hubby, who wasn't at the appt. josiah is complying with the nurse - typically he *flips out. so thankful this day that he was obedient and delightful. (and this was a visit back to see the derm to get back on the high powered ointments to stop a *MAJOR* un-liveable flare for him. hate it. )

this picture is *huge. had to capture it to show hubby, who wasn’t at the appt. josiah is complying with the nurse – typically he *flips out. so thankful this day that he was obedient and delightful. (and this was a visit back to see the derm to get back on the high powered ointments to stop a *MAJOR* un-liveable flare for him. hate it. )

 

 

perhaps my FAVORITE PICTURE EVER!! taken at the jville park a couple weeks ago. LOVE them.

perhaps my FAVORITE PICTURE EVER!! taken at the jville park a couple weeks ago. LOVE them.

 

 

an indescribably sweet night out with a lifelong friend.

an indescribably sweet night out with a lifelong friend.

 

 

had to capture his growing hair :) it's actually much shorter and less curly than josiah's was at this age.

had to capture his growing hair :) it’s actually much shorter and less curly than josiah’s was at this age.

 

 

 

 

 

healing path

April 5, 2014

our sweet little guy turned 3 this week. the aching love i feel for him is hard to put in words – he is *that* special. in so many ways, older than his three years … astute, hilarious, energetic, tender.

and his struggle with eczema has never been worse.

there is a black cloud of sorts – the only way i can really describe it – that hangs over me, over us … as his body is gripped with unyielding discomfort, consuming itching. i am SO DESPERATE for his healing.

things have shifted in to high gear the past couple months: i have done more research, more trying of new products, more dietary adjustments … and the end result: his skin is worsening.

last fall, we got him in to see a local allergy, asthma and dermatology MD and his recommendation was a long-term (no end in sight and certainly no “cure”) plan including the regular use of steroid creams. his opinion was that diet was negligible; he offered some great insight about immune system action and the way his body was manifesting a reaction to something – but no clear understanding of causes or cures. just symptom management. and because we were – again – desperate, we implemented his recommendations. josiah’s skin did improve but i also began seeing this intensity in his behavior (steroids?!) and he became *severely* constipated. direct causal relationship from the ointments? impossible to prove but after a few weeks, we tapered off.

another serendipitous happening this fall was my husband’s conversation with a local pharmacist. my hubby was at a local chain store, trying to decide which anti-itch ointment to try this time and decided to approach the pharmacist. they ended up having an amazing conversation that was followed by an email exchange in which the pharmacist (a fit, 30-something handsome guy) recommended a number of things that we are familiar with and in fact recommended a specific book that i had *just come across in my research the previous week and had ordered (“the eczema cure”).  a lot of confirmation about the path that we are on and validation that the path is not an easy one, for sure.

i want to share a portion of one of his emails as it is pretty incredible – heartening, honestly, to hear the words of someone deeply embedded within our medical industry: ” I am one of the few in my line of work who believes we are providing the farthest thing from healthcare to our population as a whole.  We have a system designed to keep people dependent and sick, and at no point
along the way do we seek to make them healthy or show them how to be healthy. And frankly, most people aren’t intersted.  They are far too ingrained in the system that feeds them a diet the makes them sick, then more sick, and a healthcare system that maintains their existence so they will forever be dependent, but never healthy.”

to say that his words resonate to my core – and my hubby’s – would be a deep understatement.

so fast forward to january,and our family does another Whole30. as always, i am hoping the changes in our diet lead to healing for our boy. i eliminated even more suspected triggers: tomatoes, coconut. still, no improvement.

i took josiah to see a local naturopath in january, and she was a  lovely woman. she was conscientious and covered a lot of ground, giving recommendations that included some topical ideas, a homeopathic, some vitamins and supplements.

nothing helped.

last month, deep in the throes of research, i sent an email to a local listserv and received over 50 heartfelt, insightful responses. so many ideas, healing suggestions, things that have worked for someone else’s eczema.

there is JUST SO MUCH. SO many ideas. so much information. and i have honestly tried so many things. in the past month we have easily spent $50 on the very best creams, each one feeling ok but none making a change. we are back to using some of the high intensity ointments because we are desperate for him to have relief.

what this looks like for our family in real time is that most every night, for several hours (typically 1-5am) he is awake and *miserable, consumed with itching. hubby and i take turns soothing, rubbing, trying the latest topical option, and have found our best tool is distraction. so he often will be curled on the couch, laying on a soft cool cotton sheet, with his beloved blanket and paci, and “ice pack” (plastic bag filled with crushed ice) and watching an episode of “Dora”. this seems the only thing to take his mind away from his skin and allow him to settle.

clearly, this is an untenable way to live. we are miserable and mostly just so SO desperate for our boy to be well.

we have a couple of next steps: i’ve had phone consults with two other local providers (a chiropractor/naturopath that has experience with eczema and begins with a round of thorough diagnostic blood work; and an accupuncturist that also performs NAET – google it!). we have an appointment with one of them this week.

as i’ve held josiah this week, praying over him, crying out for healing, i have been reminded of the meaning of his name:

GOD HEALS.

i am claiming that healing for our boy and am believing for complete restoration of his body to strong health. i pray that our journey becomes something that allows us to share and encourage others on their healing path.

 

after dinner last night, hubby told me it was the best food he’d eaten in a long time. (crazy, considering he just returned from texas and amazing food galore!). i want to capture what i made so i can make it again ;-) it was pretty  yummy.

chicken enchilada bake

1 cooked boneless chicken breast (i sauteed a couple breasts in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt, then chopped in small pieces and set some aside for the kiddos to eat separately)

2 brown rice tortillas, cut in fourths

1/2 green bell pepper

handful spinach

1 can cannellini white beans

cooked rice

feta cheese

grated pepper jack cheese

dash cayenne pepper

1 small can green enchilada sauce

:: pour enough enchilada sauce to cover bottom of baking dish. place layer of tortillas in dish, then cover with cooked rice, chopped chicken and beans.

:: in saute pan, cook bell pepper in olive oil and season with real salt & garlic. when softened, add handful of spinach and cook a few minutes.

:: place pepper and spinach in a layer in baking dish. pour generous amounts of feta and grated pepper jack over the layer in dish. shake a generous amount of cayenne pepper over the top.

:: place another layer of tortillas, and whatever else (ie more beans, some rice, etc). cover with more cheese. there is really no way to mess this up – layers and lots of cheese = delish.

:: pour remaining enchilada sauce over layers in the dish. cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375* for 30 minutes.

 

terrible pic but it's all i've got!

terrible pic but it’s all i’ve got!

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