Hello There...

Welcome to my blog. I'm a full-time mommy of a 4-year-old & a 0-year-old, part-time waitress and a rookie blogger. Living on a farm with my son, daughter and husband among dogs, chickens, ducks and other various wildlife keeps life interesting and anything but normal!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Moments for Teaching Grace

As I've said before, I'm not much a spiritual blogger - but sometimes, things during my day will leave me broken and overwhelmed and sometimes in the midst of the brokenness and sadness I am overcome with such a grace-filled attitude that I am certain  the only explanation is the Holy Spirit.

Today, I had one of those moments.

We were at Target, of course. Jack had already put in a full day at Bible camp and I needed to get caught up on all the things on my checklist for my big church event this weekend. We started at Starbucks (as we so-often do) and the chocolate milk and vanilla bean frappuccino bought me a few precious, non-drama-filled moments perusing the glorious aisles of Target.

I took my time and the kids were being [sort-of] good. Somewhere in the middle, Jack had asked for some neon colored pencils, fresh from the fully-stocked school supply aisle. I asked him if he'd be willing to pay me back for them (they were $2.99 for 8 measly pencils) and he agreed and made it clear that he really, really wanted these pencils. He'd been good and had listened so I said he could get them. We then hit the candy aisle to buy some prizes for the event and I let him pick out a bag of candy that he would be able to share with the Farmer's softball team later in the evening.

...and then it all went down hill from there...

I'm really not sure what happened, but it was like he hit a wall. When he's over tired he gets overly emotional, he shuts down and he gets angry and naughty. He began bossing his sister around, yelling at her to get back in the cart and when I kindly asked him to stop and reassured him that I would take care of corralling princess back into the cart, he didn't let up. I mean, it was weird. For those of you that know Jack, he has the kindest heart, the sweetest disposition and is rarely upset or angry. And it got to the point where I had had enough.

As we made our final walk down the main aisle to the check out, he broke the last straw. I asked him 3 separate times to not climb in and out of the cart because his dear sister insists on copying his every move and would end up hurting herself. He continued to ignore my requests and I calmly said - "that's it, they're going back - both of them" and I set the treat and the colored pencils back on a shelf and we walked away.

His heart shattered. I immediately saw the repentance and shame in his eyes. He knew he had hurt me by not listening. I know that sweet boy and he doesn't like to disappoint me. So I'm not sure what hurt him more, the fact that he had failed me, or the fact that he didn't get his treasures. He cried, but tried to fight back the tears. He didn't put up a fight or throw a tantrum, he just sat down and silently wept to himself because he knew he was wrong. He knew that losing the treats was his fault.

I explained on the rest of the walk to the register that when we disobey there are consequences and that he had disobeyed too many times today so he wasn't going to get his treats.

And then something inside me hit me like a Mack truck.

How many times have I failed my God? Countless.

And how many times has He remained faithful, generous and loving? Countless.

I don't deserve any of God's grace, but He gives it so willingly anyways. And that was on my heart in that moment. I felt like it was such a clear way to show how much we don't deserve God's love, yet it's always there.

I passed up the party bag aisle and sent Jack down to pick out 4 party bags for me that I needed for the prizes. As he obliged, I told him I forgot one thing and I'd be right back to pick him up in that aisle. I snuck back to the shelf I had discarded his treat and pencils on and hid them under the piles of picnic supplies in my cart. We picked Jack back up in the party aisle and headed to the checkout.

AND, as luck would have it, or as God so cleverly planned, Jack needed to go to the bathroom as we approached the lanes. So he went to use the men's room and I paid for his goodies and hid them in my purse.

After I was all checked out and loaded up with all my purchases, I waited for Jack outside the restrooms. He walked out, his head still hung in sadness. I knew, that he knew he was wrong. So I asked him why those things were taken away from him.

He said "because I didn't listen."

I reminded him, though, that there's good news.

"What good news?" he asked, grumpily.

I asked him - what do we know is true when we mess up?

He knew the answer - but it took a little coaxing. "What is always true?"

"God and Jesus forgive us, all the time." He finally answered.

And I explained that since Jesus took the penalty for our sins, God could forgive us when we mess up. And since God always forgives, we need to always forgive each other. And I asked him "you know what that means?"

"You forgive me?" He said with tears in his eyes. And I nodded my head and hugged him.
He cried a very hard, sad cry with his arms wrapped tightly around me. It was a moment that I don't want to forget because I felt his repentance in his embrace and in his tears. He was truly sorry.

I continued, "God's forgiveness is a gift that we don't deserve." And I pulled the two little treats out from my bag and handed them to him. "Just like you don't really deserve these treats, neither do we deserve the grace that God gives through Jesus. But He loves us SO much that he sent Jesus in our place."

But now, we need to work on being better. We're never going to be perfect and there's no such thing as earning grace. Grace is FREE. It came at a cost - Jesus' life. The price has been paid. In full.

This might be really far fetched, but for a 6-year-old brain to try to comprehend God's never-failing, never-ending grace, I just thought I'd give it a try. I mean, really I still have a hard time wrapping my 29-year-old brain around God's love. Then I told Jack I loved him - and reminded him that the God of our Universe loves him even more than I ever could - how AWESOME is that?

On the way out to the car that we talked about how we need to work on obeying the first time and remember that since we were so wonderfully forgiven that we, too, should forgive. When someone hurts us or sins against us, we should not be mean or harsh, but show love and forgiveness.

I don't have all the answers. Some people might think I did the wrong thing by giving him the treats even though he disobeyed. But I feel like moments like this are so few and far between for me. And God spoke so clearly to my heart and so quickly (sometimes I feel like it happens after-the-fact and I think "gosh, that would have been a great way to teach him ____") that I would have regretted not acting on my instincts. I'm glad I did.

The colored pencils sit on the kitchen table awaiting a new day to be colored with. Jack decided to forgo the softball game and instead helped me with my work out. I worked out - he ate candy. I snuggled with him and talked about his day before bed and I continue to treasure every moment I have while he's this impressionable. I've read far too many blog posts lately about how kids with have their "lasts" or how fast they grow up. And the one line that rings in my mind just about every day...

"There will be a time when you put him down and don't pick him back up" 

Oh, my heart breaks to think of that day.

Tonight Jack prayed for all the people in the whole entire world to have good dreams and no nightmares. Tonight, I'm thankful for teachable moments and pray that I have more of them everyday.

God is good, all the time.

The Farmer's Wife

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Home Stretch and Lactation Cookies

Well everyone, Sunday marks day 22 of my "21 Days" which means I would have officially completed 21 days of clean eats and working out. I'm still down 5 lbs, my workouts have not gotten harder, but they've not gotten easier...so there's that. I need to push myself. I had a goal to lose another 7 lbs before the end, but I'm just not sure it's going to happen. As far as eating, I've been doing great staying on track. My biggest "fail" was today, I made quesadillas for dinner, I made mine in a corn tortilla and put minimal cheese on it, but when the Farmer left a piece of his *loaded with cheese and sour cream in a flour tortilla* version, I finished it because I didn't want it to go to waste - rather than make myself another in a corn tortilla. So for the sake of the budget I had to "take one for the team"....I guess. But, honestly, it could have been worse. I'm going to push hard to the end here and eat less starches - we had potatoes with dinner last night - and load up on salads and veggies.

T minus 3 days and counting. And really, I don't think much will change come day 22...in fact, I'd like to start over again on Monday. I have a church lunch meeting on Sunday (which worked out perfectly) and I'm ordering Jimmy Johns, so I'm probably going to indulge...and then jump right back in on Monday for another 21 days. And so on....

Cooking has been a lot of fun! Trying new recipes and cooking with healthier fats, staying away from refined sugar, grains and starches and being completely gluten free (minus the 1/4 of a flour tortilla tonight) for the past 18 days has been wonderful. I haven't felt this good in quite sometime - hence not really wanting to stop! I've also been able to prepare some good, healthy meals for my incredible brother-in-law and his wife who just had triplets.


As in: THREE babies. At. One. Time.

They are rock stars. These three, healthy, beautiful babes are just so beyond loved and their mom and dad are just rocking out at being new parents. I went to drop off dinner last night....I kid you not, the house was in order, the dog greeted me silently at the door and you could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet. Marlie, Dylan and Dax slept peacefully, nestled comfortably in their own sleep-baby-gadget. I got to hold and snuggle sweet Dylan for a bit and I just couldn't get her precious face out of my brain for the rest of the night. I mean, seriously. I love those kiddos more than words.

Oh, and my sister-in-law, who also happens to be my hero, is breastfeeding all the babies. Like, exclusively. I mean, c'mon! So when she texted me and asked if I could look into some lactation cookie recipes for her - I was like HECK YEA, MOM!

Since I sucked at nursing my own babies, I find pure joy in helping this mom (and dear sister of mine) totally succeed at nursing not one, not two, but all three of her precious miracles. And I got to do more research on healthy foods, grain free baking and experiment with new recipes - duh! Win-win. These cookies smell so good! And you don't have to be a nursing mom to get health benefits from them. Flax seed, brewers yeast, fenugreek and oatmeal have tons of nutrients that keep all humans healthy - but the specific combination of those ingredients also happens to have a direct effect on milk supply for nursing moms.

I followed this recipe from Mother Nature Network to a T. The good news is I have lots of the fenugreek, flax meal and brewers yeast left over so I'll be figuring out other ways to incorporate these ingredients into treats for her! Not to mention, this recipe yielded 3 dozen cookies - which is more than usual for grain-free recipes. They tend to be on the smaller side, but this was like making a normal batch of chocolate chip cookies. My next endeavor is something cleverly coined "Booby Bites" - that's on my agenda for tomorrow!

So that's it. If you are a nursing mom and want to increase your milk supply - just head over to Pinterest! There are tons of recipes and ideas for using these ingredients (Flax, Fenugreek & Brewer's Yeast) and they're relatively easy to find (I bought all of them at Woodman's pretty inexpensively). Wish I would have had Pinterest when I was a new mom. Or when I got married...ugh, Pinterest wedding boards make me queasy. Oh the things I could have done!

Oh well, happiness cannot be pinned on a board.

Alright, here's to tomorrow going well - I'm excited to try some of the *official* Shakeology protein shakes - my cousin kindly sent me some samples. And I may sneak one of the lactation cookies ;)

Good night!
-The Farmer's Wife

Thursday, July 9, 2015

21 Days

11/21: Half way there!

I have been doing a "21 Day Fix" of sorts. I kind of modified it to work for me. And by modified it, I basically mean that I didn't purchase a program and I'm not doing the certified beach-body-shakology-21-day-fix-program. I have been doing a lot of reading about the program and studied meal plans, figured out my target caloric intake, found a few good work outs that  I've been doing (about 4x a week - I'm still working on getting that up to at least 6) and I'm doing the "21 Day Fix" by myself.

Just to set the record straight, its not because I have anything against the program, obviously I think it's worth while if I'm willing to go to all this trouble to mimic it.

BUT. I have a hard time spending money and staying consistent. The farmer can vouch for how many failed gym memberships I have bought and he paid for. I went a couple times and then quit. I didn't want to set myself up for that type of failure again. You'd think when you invest money that would be the best type of motivation - so you at the very least get your "money's worth". But, nope. Not me. I rarely do things that make practical sense. Hence my homegrown version.

If I do a good job and get results (which I already have!) I am going to consider trying the actual thing. I have lots of friends and family that have done it and so I have endless resources. One of my cousins, Katie, has started her health and wellness overhaul and her results are nothing short of an inspiration! I follow her progress on Facebook and knowing that someone with the same genes as I can look so incredible and make such a transformation is so encouraging! So, shout out to Katie- you've been a great encouragement in helping me stay on track - thanks and keep up the good work!

In a nut shell, I've eaten totally clean for the last 11 days with no cheats and no failures. I've prepped most of my meals and if I find myself in a bind and need to eat on the go - which has only happened once -  I grab a salad with NO dressing (lemon wedges and sea salt, does the trick every time!) I usually have a protein shake or two during the day to help supplement my meals. My snacks are usually fruit or veggies or nuts/seeds. Breakfast is usually a protein shake + banana or some of the Paleo Pecan bars I made the other day. I usually still have my coffee - either black or with a splash of almond milk and I drink water. All. Day. Long. 

It is an incredible feeling to have been successful this far. I did have 3 fries from the kids McDonald's bag yesterday. And in 11 days that was it. And I weigh 5 lbs less thanks to my dedication. I can start to see my arms looking more toned and my belly is flatter - now just to get it a little leaner. And I feel great! Back in December I bought a pair of pants in a size 10 - which fit but were tight. Now those pants practically fall off of me! And today I just purchased a size 6 jeans!! So from a 12 to a 6 in 7 months is pretty exciting for me! 

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that I think I may be completely transformed. Because since December 15 I've had "practice" in eating clean. I certainly had my bad days in there, but as a whole I've eaten much healthier than any other time in my life. I no longer crave the same foods I once craved and french fries remain my one and only weakness. And honestly there's not too much wrong with french fries in and of themselves, but they are fried and salty and they taste even better drenched in ranch...so there's that. But being down 3 full sizes and feeling amazing is totally worth it! And after this first round of "21 Days" I will have a few fries. But then I'm going to start again.

There's something about 21 days that just doesn't sound super intimidating. It's completely attainable. I just keep the end goal in mind and it's not a big deal to skip treats and junk food. Not to mention I hate how I feel after I eat that stuff! I started on June 29th and I made it through July 4th fireworks and a couple cook outs and parties with friends and wasn't even tempted to cheat and have a treat or two. It's been liberating.

I just want to end with a challenge. People - if I can do this, ANYONE can do it. But YOU have to do it. There's no magic pill or secret diet. Seriously though, it's really not hard, it just requires 100% dedication. Eat healthy and exercise. I'm still working on the exercise part - but I do work out at least 4x per week which for me is a huge increase! I'm working on getting that up to 6x.

I do have one little tip - but it's really not a secret. Anyone who eats healthy and lives a clean lifestyle will tell you this. FOOD PREP IS KEY! If you want to eat well and not be tempted with treats and junk, then you NEED to prepare your food. It's the only way to be 100% in control of what you're putting into your body. I use one day a week to prepare at least one type of protein (enough for 4-5 meals) so that if I find myself pressed for time I can at least count on something quick. Other days when I have the time, I just cook all my meals when I eat them. I also bake/prepare snacks and quick eats to have for breakfast and snacks throughout the day. My shaker bottle has a compartment for an extra serving of protein powder so I make sure to take that with me along with a big bottle of water so in the very least I can have a protein shake if I am feeling hungry and don't have anything.

I'm so happy I decided to take control of my eating habits. Obviously, for some of us it's a bigger deal than others. If you're like the farmer, you can eat anything and everything and just burn it all away doing your everyday activities. Others of us, though, need to be intentional and dedicated and put much thought into what we do and don't eat and how we burn off the unneeded calories. It sucks to have to think about it, but it's totally worth it.

So there's my challenge - take control of your health! If it's not about losing weight then let it be about being healthy. Whether you gain weight or not when you eat junk food it's still not good for you. Our bodies were not designed to process all those chemicals and additives. Do your body a favor and clean up your diet, you'll be so thankful you did!

-The Farmer's Wife
(someday hoping to sign this the Farmer's "Fit" Wife, almost there, but not quite!)