January 30, 2010

A Quick Devotional


An M. Div student at Southern Seminary sent out invitations to write a women's annual devotional. I accepted the invitation and was assigned October 29 to write about Psalm 119:113-120 in the Holman Christian Standard Version. The following is my submission. We were limited to 250 words total. I hope you enjoy. Please don't hesitate to tell me what you think.

Background passage: Psalm 119:113-120

Focal Verse: “I hate the double-minded but I love Your instruction” (Psalm 119:113).

At first glance it might be easy to consider that it may not even apply to us. Immediately we think the double minded are non-believers – worldly persons who use an inconsistent worldview in order to justify their actions when their own conscience bears witness against them just as Paul wrote in Romans chapter one.

But upon further meditation and in the context of the remainder of the passage we begin to understand that we ourselves are double-minded at times. What does it say in James? We should be “doers of the Word and not hearers only” and to ask from God without doubt lest we too become double-minded and unstable in our ways. How many times on a daily basis do we fail to act with faith and obedience and fall back into walking in our dead sin nature?

Here is the beauty of the perfect righteousness of Christ! In all His earthly life He never did anything apart from faith filled obedience and a single-minded determined holy will of God. And He has redeemed us from the power of sin!

Gracious Lord Jesus, forgive us for our pride and faithlessness. Cause us to remember that salvation is a gift of Your grace alone and to depend on Your grace to walk obediently in the pure narrow path of Your Word. Amen.

Meggan Anderson

MM Solo Performance in the Church Graduate


Thanks for letting me know about the formatting. I hope no one is left in the dark now. :-) Sorry about that.

January 28, 2010

An Update

Lily has become so much more vocal now than she's ever been! It's really exciting to see her open a book, flip the pages and pretend to read. Often she'll come up to one of us and start "talking". The past couple of days she has been walking primarily as she's learned to stand by lunging! Once she got her balance, she seems to prefer rising to stand in this way instead of the all fours to twos method. Lily has also been teething and there is a molar just about to pierce the surface maybe today or tomorrow!

Moriah is coming along with her toilet training. She still has accidents sometimes, but she is making really good progress. At first she was also being trained at night and during her naps to hold her bladder, but when Lily would wake her in the middle of the night (because of her teething) she would pee. Previously she could go all night and remain dry as long as Jeramy or I got to her first thing in the morning to sit on the potty. Once I got tired of washing her bed linens everyday, I decided to give her a diaper for naps and bedtime. I'll wait until she can understand more and doesn't have any more daytime accidents before moving on.

Moriah's homeschool is going well. She will sit and read books with Jeramy for an hour! Jeramy has started working with her on the days of the week, months of the year, Greek and Hebrew alphabets and simple addition. She loves to learn. The other day she and Jeramy were out raking leaves and drilling the Greek alphabet and every time they would finish, "Omega," she would say, "Do it again?" and they would do it again, like a hundred times. :-) She also has started teaching her sister things. All the time she says, "Yellow, Lily, Yellow." She can also say her name, "Mo Ri Yah." :-) And she sings all kinds of songs and even has some Scripture memorized.

Today I'm taking pictures and tomorrow I'll post them.

Since Moriah's tumble down the stairs, the same day Jeramy nailed plywood into the banister. Tuesday he made a super-duper safety gate with the latch on the inside so that only an adult-sized individual could reach over and open it up. It's all about 4 feet high. If anyone would like him to make another such gate for your home, only way more aesthetically pleasing according to your personal preferences, I'm sure he wouldn't mind the project. :-)

The results have come in from my nerve test and it is confirmed that I have moderate to severe carpal tunnel in my right hand. For which the DR only recommends surgery because the steroid injection didn't work before and I mentioned neuromuscular therapy and he had never heard of it (maybe in these cases). It is scheduled for Feb 26. It will take about 7 to 10 minutes for the surgery and I will be in a splint for two weeks, unable to use it. After that, I will be able to go back to my normal activities, pain permitting, for which I can take tylenol. I still plan on teaching music during my recovery since my playing is usually not required, but an enjoyable bonus. I can still have the surgery during pregnancy, just after the first trimester is over.

Speaking of pregnancy, all is well, as much as I can tell between visits. The baby will see the OB on Feb 10. I keep trying to keep my weight at bay until the first trimester is over and so far I'm juggling between the +1-2 lb. mark. So, I'm pleased. Fatigue and nausea are an everyday occurrence and fruit is the main craving. If I give the girls milk before their afternoon nap, they (and I) can sleep 4 hours blissfully!

Happy Thursday to you.


January 26, 2010

Just Briefly About Obamacare

Although I might not be as up to speed and informed as others of you who keep well in touch with the news media, there is one insight I would like to add that has probably already been said.

Today while I was waiting in the GA Department of Driver Services for a simple address change to my Driver's License, it struck me: Obamacare will be just like a trip to the DDS, only worse.

Upon entering the building and seeing the Information/Check-in Kiosk, my eyes proceeded to look to the right where a long line (about 20 people) had already formed. After waiting in the first long line, filing out a very easy and short form, I received a number and was told to wait.

For two hours I waited until my alpha-numeric number was called. I gazed out among the hundred or more people waiting for them to be called. All the people were agitated, frustrated, hungry, annoyed, angry, etc. Complaining to themselves, they grumbled loudly.

Obamacare will be just like this, but worse. We will be waiting two hours or more to be seen by some average or below average medical professional who won't care that much about our personal health circumstance. Not only that, but the cost of such sub-standard care will be through the roof. People will pay a ton of money for terrible healthcare.

The medical professionals won't put that much effort forth (unless their accountable to a Higher Authority) because they will get paid the same as other professionals who are lazy and average. It's like public school teachers: they all get paid the same, why try harder and do better?

I'm very thankful for the recent events in Massachusetts and that most Americans in and out of Congress are opposed to the Obamacare for various reasons, whatever those may be.

Ohh, and let me just state the obvious: I am a black woman and I'm NOT a democrat!


Studio News: Licensed & Official

As of today, January 26th, 2010, The Anderson Music Studio is an officially licensed business recognized by the State of Georgia. As required, said business license will be visible for public view during any musical instruction in my home.

One stipulation as part of the Studio license is that group instruction will not occur in my home. As a result of this, group instruction (multiple students simultaneously) will occur off-site. There have not yet been any inquiries into a group of individuals receiving such instruction and each request will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

At the end of every calendar year, each lesson payor will receive a detailed invoice they may use for tax/education purposes.

The Studio also has a new email account:
andersonmusicstudio@ymail.com


January 24, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience


I'm thankful for
221. Fruit flavored protein bars
222. Confidence kept between sisters in Christ
223. Prayers offered up from the same
224. The ability to exercise
225. Regular musical exercise
226. The freedom to be "unemployed"
227. The hope for the end of nausea
228. The great reward, Lord willing, of a successful pregnancy :-)
229. That pregnancy won't last forever
230. The law of the Lord restores my soul. Ps 19:7
231. The indwelling Holy Spirit of Truth who causes me to remember God's Word.
232. God's grace to overcome strong temptation
233. Any night I can go to bed early.
234. Any morning or afternoon I can sleep extra.
235. No matter how my circumstances and emotions/hormones change, Christ is still the same.

What are you thankful for today?



January 23, 2010

Wonderfully Made

He created man in His own image,
In the image of God He created him;
Male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:27

You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
Psalm 139:13-16

This week I read a great chapter in Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood that described a biological basis for gender-specific behavior. This chapter by Gregg Johnson did an excellent job of using Scripture as the basis for our understanding of biology as he looked at the differences between the sexes. It is because original scientists assumed the authority, sufficiency and reliability of the Scripture that we can extrapolate the hard science studies: physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, geology, etc. We are created male and female: equal but different for a purpose.

Some great highlights from this chapter essay:
Boys and men have a 6% to 10% higher basal metabolic rate than girls and women.

During metabolism, girls convert more energy into stored fat, while boys convert more energy into muscle and expendable circulating reserves.

Males, on the average, have denser, stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments which allow for heavier work and at age 18 will have 50% more muscle mass (mostly in the upper body) than females.

Males have more sweat glands, larger windpipes and bronchi (in the lungs) and 30% more lung capacity than females.

Women have a thicker layer of subcutaneous fat that acts as insulation and energy reserve. (And we wonder why we have those fat dimples on our thighs?!) And can withstand the cold better and have better energy supply for extraordinary endurance as a result. (So, fat is good - but not too much.)

Men have larger hearts, 10% higher red blood cell counts, higher hemoglobin, higher oxygen-carrying capacity, more vitamin K, and platelets. Their rapid clotting and higher metabolism leads to more rapid healing of wounds and bruises. They also have fewer sensory nerve endings in the skin and higher peripheral pain tolerance.

Women have more stored and circulating white blood cells, more granulocytes and lymphocytes for fighting infection. We produce more antibodies faster and have a more rapid and effective response to infectious invaders. Always a plus. :-)

Males have larger teeth, more salivary glands, and more active gastric glands of the stomach and are more susceptible to ulcers. Their metabolic machinery converts more food to circulating energy and building blocks and less to fat. Circulating blood sugar, cholesterol and amino acids are higher and assimilate food faster. This is great until the body building and high activity years are over and it causes plaque build-up and they become at higher risk for heart attacks, strokes, hypertension, headaches, ringing ears and dizziness.

Women have more trouble eating enough to maintain vitamin and amino acid requirements without putting on fat as well. :-( There is a strong correlation between body fat and fertility.

There are differences present at birth also. Baby girls fix their focus on faces, respond earlier to smells and sounds, voices and touch and vocalize more than boys. They learn to talk sooner and tend to draw people objects. Baby boys orient more to objects, lights, and toys, mobiles and ticking clocks and they learn to draw 3-D images faster. Baby boys more often have hemispheric asymmetry with a smaller left hemisphere in the brain (which continues through adulthood) while girls have a more equal symmetry and have a larger corpus callosum (the part that joins the two brain hemispheres together and helps them to communicate) is larger (that continues through adulthood also).

Because of these brain differences, women will tend to have an easier time multi-tasking and recovering after strokes, although men can learn and re-learn it just as well. It will come more naturally to women whose brains communicate more efficiently across the corpus callosum. It is also because of this connection of the callosum that women assimilate, differentiate and understand multiple inputs of information simultaneously. This is how a woman knows that two different people are speaking at once, the milk in the microwave is finished, the baby is more distressed than normal, the laundry is just starting the spin cycle and the answering machine has a new message - and even more than this also. This ability is what has come to be called, "Women's Intuition" most likely.


These were the parts I considered most helpful.
Read the full essay here. (Click on view chapter (PDF)).
Read the book for free online.


January 19, 2010

Presenting . . .



Baby number three, who I have most affectionately called,
"Our little bean." :-D
When the opportunity comes, we anticipate finding out the gender of our adorable little baby.
During the ultrasound I could clearly see the heart beating, even at 9 weeks.
How can anyone say that this tiny little person with a heart just like ours is not endowed with humanity and the right to live as God has granted it?!


Satisfaction for a Dissatisfied Heart

It struck me today as I was able to remain in 'bed' through the late morning hours, meeting no immediate needs: it is so easy to make idols out of what is experienced through our senses.

This is evidenced by the fact that often my heart is met with frustration, discontentment, bitterness and the like, none of which are any form of spiritual worship for a Holy God. Really, most people just want things to go their way: smooth commute to work, no unusual demands from the boss man, satisfying lunch, smooth commute home to a prepared meal and happy family with plenty of time to relax and go to bed at leisure.

Well, it might be different for me: uninterrupted night of sleep whereby I can get up at 5 or 5:30 a.m., have some quiet, private time in the Word, have an excellent workout, and shower all before the girls wake up. Then Moriah must not have any accidents, no whining, no hitting, pushing or begging, eating all her food and Lily must likewise be obedient and not poo in her diaper. All the dishes must be kept up with little to no mess on the floor, no pressing laundry or errands, no nausea . . . and this list could go on and on. I'm sure everyone's list of a perfect day would be as unique as the person and their specific role.

And if just one of these things is out of whack, there goes the whole day. All of us walk on pins and needles because things are not right. . . . There always seem to be dirty dishes collecting in the sink, dirty laundry that must be washed ASAP, grocery runs or other errands, whining, complaining, poo in the diapers, accidents on the floor, interrupted nights of sleep, another morning unable to get out of bed to workout or read, another strong urge to vomit, etc.

But things are like that everyday.

And everyday I fight for joy and contentment, for satisfaction and the knowledge that my efforts to raise up a godly legacy are not in vain. Sometimes it can appear that way. It is especially discouraging when I see that my girls have picked up certain ungodly traits when I strongly desire them to grow up and be godly young women, ready for their created purpose and to be satisfied in it. Sometimes it's really discouraging because we can examine ourselves, as Scripture says, and wonder why we don't exhibit more of the fruits of the Spirit. "I've been a believer for this long - why aren't I more loving, patient, kind, gentle, and exhibit more self-control?!" And doubt may begin to cloud our minds.

But then we realize the same thing Peter did, "Where shall we go? You are the One with the Words of Life."

How can we break out of placing all our satisfaction on physical things? How can we realize more fully all of those unseen things in which we should find all our satisfaction and joy?

I'm still learning this. It's easy to forget that everything physical was created by the unseen spiritual realm. There was a point in time where God, who is spiritual, took on a physical form and we were able to behold His glory. There is also a time in heaven for His children to behold His face clearly. But we're removed by time from seeing the Lord in bodily form for a while (unless He comes right now).

I suppose we just use the physical things to remind us of those spiritual unseen things and remember that everything physical is temporal, but everything that is not physical remains forever. The breath in my lungs is a physical evidence of God's sustaining power, love, mercy and grace upon me. The warm house and food in the pantry is another evidence of God's provision and expression of blessing. Not to mention all of the unseen spiritual blessings, God's foreordained knowledge of choosing a people by grace alone who would, as a result, come to faith in Christ Jesus and become His children.

Be satisfied in the unseen. Be a steward of the physical. Be content in the unmoving, unchanging Christ. And take joy in your role as helpmeet. I'm preaching to the choir.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Ps 16:11

As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness;
I will be satisfied with Your likeness with I awake.
Ps 17:15


January 18, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

There is a lot to be thankful for. Whenever the temptation comes to be discontent, dissatisfied or bitter, finding things to be thankful for is a great way of escape.

I'm thankful
196. Moriah is with us another day.
197. Moriah didn't sustain any severe injuries from her fall when so many others aren't so fortunate.
198. Moriah's sweet, excited smile.
199. Moriah's smiley greeting whenever Jeramy, Grandparents or I enter.
200. I've not changed Moriah's poo diapers in a week.
201. Watching Moriah spontaneously hug Lily.
202. Watch Moriah generously give something to Lily.
203. Watch Moriah comfort Lily by rubbing her back gently.
204. Watch Moriah run around crazy.
205. Any time Moriah eats her full meal.
206. Any day I don't vomit.
207. Any night of uninterrupted sleep.
208. Any time I can go for a run.
209. Physical reminders of unseen grace, mercy & love, like the breath in my lungs.
210. Encouragement and conviction from God's Word.
211. The ability to pray directly to God through our One Mediator Jesus Christ.
212. Whole Fruit Mango Sorbet on sale BOGO at Publix through Wednesday.
213. Anytime Moriah wakes and I don't have to wash her bed linens.
214. Having the privilege of meeting a sweet and gracious 98 year old saint.
215. Warm blankets.
216. Sun shining, 60 degree, days in January.
217. The occasional back or neck rub from my honey.
218. Watching Lily take off walking.
219. A new piano student.
220. Any food that settles nausea.

What are you thankful for today?

Click on the picture link above to see how many others in the Gratitude Community over at Holy Experience are counting their blessings, one by one. The goal is to reach one thousand things we're thankful for.

January 17, 2010

Lily Walking

She has seriously taken off with her walking!
I'm so excited and she is too. :-)


video

January 16, 2010

Saturday Scare

Today Moriah fell down the stairs. She managed to wiggle her way through the wooden railing where the stairs meet the main landing and tumbled all the way down to the basement floor some 12 steps below. We praise God that she didn't get through in any other spot, otherwise she would have had a significant fall before tumbling down the remainder of the stairs.

She cried for a long time when she reached the bottom and Jeramy did his best to keep her immobilized while I called 911. The ambulance came and took her to the local hospital and they thoroughly checked her there. I was very surprised at how calm Jeramy remained during this ordeal - his time as a police dispatch has appeared to rub off on his nerves.

She made out okay. After such a scary trip down she came out with a bump on the head and a busted lip. We praise God that her injuries were not any worse. Needless to say that there is plywood covering the railing now and no one will be able to squeeze through. Jeramy has a high priority to build a tall gate, similar to a regular door in place of the baby gate we installed months ago.

We love our little Moriah! And we're so thankful that she can spend a little more time with us. Tonight she didn't seem to be in too much pain - although she is enjoying the popsicles and extra attention. :-)





Saturday Strings

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Joshua Bell

performing Movement 1
from the Bruch Violin Concerto





Please pardon the ever so slight delay in picture.
This was the first Romantic period concerto I learned. A long time ago I was able to meet him briefly. I was struck by him in that he seemed genuine and humble.

January 15, 2010

Funny Friday: Toilet Training

Hey, toilet training isn't hard. The toilet is just another convenient place to go.

The hard part is training them not to go everywhere else.

January 14, 2010

Lots of News

Toilet Training: Day 2
Moriah slept well only wearing the underwear and no other protection. She held her bladder all night long without any accidents! Jeramy reported to me that she did have an accident later in the morning after her bath. Sometime after or during her nap she peed in the bed. Then she went the rest of the day without any major problems. Yay!

Toilet Training: Day 3 in progress
This morning Jeramy got up early to take Moriah to the potty, about 6:45 a.m. and she successfully made it through the night without an accident! So far no accidents yet. We've been taking her about every hour or less to the potty.

Slowly But Surely
Lily is gradually walking. She tends to get more courageous with trying on her own once she has some guided practice. She might be fully walking by the time she turns 13 months. We'll see.

Jeramy has been battling a migraine the past couple of days and he would really appreciate your prayers for relief and grace.

Carpal Tunnel Confirmed
Tuesday afternoon I had an appointment with a Neurologist who shocked me quite a bit, some was not painful, some was a little less than tolerable and others were unbearable. As she was conducting the test, she confirmed that I do have carpal tunnel in my right hand. The positive news is that there is nothing wrong with my left hand and the CTS in my right has not yet affected my muscles. I'll have a follow-up appointment with the hand surgeon on Tuesday for his recommendations for treatment. Hopefully it won't be surgery.

First OB Check
Yesterday the new baby had his or her first check up. So far everything looks great. The ultrasound looked great and I could easily see the heart beating! I'll post more on this visit later with pictures. :-)

New Gym Membership
As a cheaper alternative to purchasing a treadmill that would need regular maintenance, Jeramy and I decided that I could join a gym! At Just Fitness 4U we paid $99 for Enrollment and just $10 a month! I joined yesterday and ran early this morning at 6 a.m. I'm so excited! Lord wiling I'll be able to remain disciplined and keep my pregnancy goals a reality.



January 12, 2010

Toilet Training: Day 1

Well, today went a lot better than I thought it would. I'm so grateful! Thank you to those of you who prayed and thought about us.

When Moriah woke up, she was wearing a pull-up from the night before and it was wet. I put her on the potty first thing, but she didn't go. I took the pull-up off and put on the real, big-girl panties. I sang a song, danced a dance, clapped my hands and did this most of the day. She remained dry until her bath when she peed in the toilet just before the bath.

During the bath, she requested to sit on the potty and she did indeed pee then too. :-) Clean panties were reapplied and then when play time started, she had her first accident on the wood floor. (Praise God it was on the wood floor!!) Jeramy cleaned it up and I took her to the potty, cleaned her up and we ran back and forth from the accident spot to the potty about 6 times in a row.

She did well the remainder of the morning and even through her 2 hour afternoon nap she didn't have any accidents. Jeramy reports that when she awoke from her nap, she came out, searched for Jeramy, appeared confused and then had her second accident on the carpet, then looked really embarrassed. (Praise God it wasn't on the furniture or in the bed!! I was out at a doctor's appointment at this time.) She remained dry the rest of the evening and was rewarded with stickers every time she used the potty. She loves the stickers and wears them on her shirt. :-)

Jeramy and I communicated clearly today and without a hitch. We worked as a team and avoided any conflict. I'm so thankful that today went so well. Praise God! We do it again tomorrow. No more diapers for Moriah.




January 11, 2010

Toilet Training in Full Force

Please pray for us, Jeramy, Moriah and me. This is the first time I've ever encountered this and I definitely covet some wisdom and patience. With new milestones always come new temptations: please pray for open and clear communication between Jeramy and myself and we wouldn't make it any more difficult than it might be. He will tend to be more patient than I would, I suppose, but I'm sure Satan will look for the opportunity to create a discord between us.

Tomorrow Moriah will be wearing real underwear with the opportunity to get messy. I pray that once she has her first accident she will really see how unpleasant it is to be dirty. She's been wearing pull-ups for the past several days (having shown many signs of readiness), but tomorrow is the big day! My main goals are to keep her off of the furniture and keep her drinking all day.

Any encouragement, advice, story experiences are welcome! I've gotten some experience training from wonderful friends, but there's always room for more. Thanks. It might be silly to pray for such a thing, but I'm already anxious about it so, I take it to the Lord in prayer.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7


Multitude Monday

holy experience

I am thankful for
186. Saltine crackers
187. Bacon
188. The absence of chocolate cravings
189. Sunday afternoon naps
190. Sharing a nap with my babies
191. The fearful, wonder-filled joy of watching children climb trees
192. Gathering with the church for worship
193. Excited indiscriminate babble from Lily
194. Snuggling with my Honey in a warm bed in the morning hours
195. "I lus you, Mommy," Moriah says to me with a smile.

No matter what adversity is going wrong in our circumstances, we can always be thankful for something. What are you thankful for today?



January 10, 2010

Studio News

In the interest of self-protection, a Studio Disclaimer has been added to the Handbook.

January 9, 2010

Saturday Strings

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Mr. Yo-Yo Ma

performing
J. S. Bach's Cello Suite No. 1, Prelude in G



Please note that it is not common or recommended to play outside when there is snow on the ground!

I love the cello. Don't tell my violin. :-)

January 8, 2010

An Unexpected Compliment

Today I made chili. It's appropriate - Chili on a chilly day. :-) Jeramy took some to work and when he called me on his break he told me that it was better than his chili . . . which is his Mom's recipe!

Wow.

I never thought I would have heard that one. :-) "Your cooking is okay but not like Mother makes . . . " (Tim Hawkins) I knew this and I'm not offended by it like some women might be. I learned the majority of my cooking skills from my Mother-in-Law directly from her or secondarily through my husband who was taught by her. Besides that I grew up in suburban Northern VA and she is a country Southern GA cook. That doesn't mean the NoVa has inferior food (hey-MD crab cakes aren't too far away!), not at all, it's just a different style.

But this compliment was so memorable, I had to share it. Thanks, Honey.

This recipe for chili I got from my Mom, although I alter it a tad, it still has her marks all over it. I take a big can of diced tomatoes from Sam's Club and make a big pot. Browning 2 lbs. of 90/10 ground beef with diced onion, green pepper, celery, salt, black pepper, just a touch of Italian seasonings, and lots of cumin and chili powder (although I cut out the onion due to my 1st Tri-nausea). I can't tell you how much seasonings I used, I just throw them in there and taste as it's simmering. The kidney beans I bought dry and used the quick soak method the night before, then had them simmer/cooking while the meat was browning. After the meat browned, I added the big can of diced tomatoes and more chili powder, cumin, salt & pepper seasonings, brought it up to med-high temp then added the drained beans to continue cook/simmer for a total of 2 hours for the beans. The longer it simmers, the better the flavor. It's done when the beans and celery are tender. Sometimes I add ground red pepper if I'm in the mood for spicy chili. I always serve it with cornbread muffins, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. I like this chili a lot because it's a complete healthy and hearty meal - meat, vegetables, and dairy - and a big pot is not expensive to make, about $5, the dairy will cost more.

If you try it, I hope you'll like it.


January 6, 2010

Just Say, "No!"

Today Jeramy and I watched the movie/documentary "Supersize Me". I know that we're behind on the times, but oh, my goodness! This man, Morgan, was a totally healthy man when he started out and after 30 days of nothing but Mickey D's, he almost killed his liver and put himself at serious risk for emergency treatments. He gained about 25 pounds, 12 of which was pure fat and ate about 30 pounds of sugar!!!!! Anyway, you'll have to check out the movie for yourself.

Jeramy and I both used to be overweight. In high school Jeramy lost about 25 pounds or so of fat with smart eating and exercise before entering the USAF Academy. Before entering high school, I lost about 16 pounds which I regained plus some before entering college. After meeting Jeramy, before our wedding, I lost about 34 pounds with true disciplined diet and exercise. Jeramy's motivation was entrance into the Academy, as an unbeliever. Mine was the glory of God and obedience to the Word, after coming to Christ.

In the movie there was one man interviewed who talked about how it is easier for people to confront smokers about the dangers and irresponsibility of smoking than to confront obese people (of which there are now soo many) about the hazards of their lifestyles. It is such a sensitive subject to talk to people about their not-so-healthy eating and exercise habits. It's almost as sensitive an issue as a couple's fertility. Why is this so?

Some say that obesity is not only a physical issue but a psychological and genetic one. My Dad tended toward a more heavy set figure. Does that play a part in my experience with childhood obesity? Yes. But I'll argue from personal experience and observation that it's not a genetic predisposition. A lot of fat parents have fat kids. Kids sit with their parents at the dinner, lunch and breakfast table (and every snack in between) and learn the same eating habits as their parents. They learn to make the same choices their parents make. I give my babies part of what I myself eat. I can't count how many times my Dad took me to 7-Eleven for a Slurpee, loaded with sugar, or fed me bacon or fried chicken or took me to Wendy's, etc. People learn to make bad choices because it's what their accustomed to - their appetite has been tailored to crave those things.

As far as psychologically and mentally, food brings comfort. When you're teased for whatever reason (including our obesity), that bag of Dorito's won't mention your shortcomings and it continues the whole terrible cycle. When you've suffered unnecessary hardship, nothing is going right in your day, you know that that bowl of ice cream is reliable and won't let you down. You can trust in the sweetness, saltiness, savory goodness of food and it's so easily accessible. People rejoice over food when things go right - they use food to celebrate (hence birthday parties, retirement parties, etc.). Sometimes, I suppose, people just don't have the right information to make smart choices.

I consider that at the moment, there is no rectification for this situation. How can we confront the people we love (with pure motives) about their harmful eating habits and lack of regular adequate exercise (30 min/day minimum)? I have no clue. I suppose as a believer talking to another believer, it is just as any other sin. You must have an established relationship with mutual love and trust, and for an issue this sensitive a deep level of confidence in the strength of the relationship. We could always take them to the Scripture and show them what God says about gluttony and laziness. And remind them that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.

Most people will admit that they should seldom, if ever, eat fast food. But why do we consume so much of it anyway? We continue to make bad choices. Instead of preparing fast, good food to go, like a box of raisins or cereal bars or even a sandwich, we stop at BK or Chic-Fil-A (I love CFA) because we didn't come prepared or we see the signs and get a cravin' for a crunchin' munchin'.

Tim Hawkins did this bit (which I couldn't find on YouTube) about it: You're out and you're hungry. You didn't come prepared and you decide to go to a fast food joint. But you're psyching yourself out for ordering something healthy and you chant it to yourself, "A grilled chicken salad, yogurt and water . . . a grilled chicken salad, yogurt and water . . . " But when you get up to the window, it gets thrown out the window, "Yeah, I'll take a double quarter pounder with a slice of fat with a supersized heart attack and a jumbo caffeinated type 2 diabetes on the side."

Let us confront the people we love with this overweight/obesity issue. (Hey, confront me too people! During this pregnancy, my goal is not to gain weight during my first trimester and keep it around 15-20 lbs total. I have some residual from my previous two babies and a little holiday weight. You can keep me accountable.) Let's not make it such a sensitive subject anymore. Our weight is just as much public knowledge as our skin color, clothing styles or the model cars we drive. Let's speak out. Obesity has become America's number 1 (or 2) preventable death-inducing condition.

January 5, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Lily!

Baking Secrets

If you're making a box cake mix (Duncan Hines, Moist Deluxe, Betty Crocker, etc.) the directions say that you only need to add oil, water and eggs. As I was watching my Mother-in-Law prepare cupcakes for Lily's Birthday Lunch tomorrow, she gave me this tip:

Instead of water, add milk (with fat, 2% or whole).
Mmm, creamy.

And instead of 1/2 cup of oil, add 1/2 cup of butter.
Mmm, smooth and buttery.


January 4, 2010

Multitude Monday



holy experience

Today I'm thankful for
171. Another day without unwanted regurgitation.
172. A husband who is willing to get up at 2:30 a.m., sleep on the couch and not complain.
173. The Word of God in English.
174. Sweet and Sour Chicken
175. Egg Drop Soup with fried wonton strips.
176. Friends
177. The help of my Mother-in-Law, who never complains.
178. The willingness of my Mother-in-Law, even with poo poo cloth diapers.
179. A 90-minute late afternoon nap.
180. One whole year with my baby Lily.


181. The joy of watching Grandparents enjoy my babies.


182. Watching Daddy-daughter hugs.
183. Being able to speak of my daughters good accomplishments to others.
184. That Moriah can use a spoon with little mess.
185. Significantly less time spent on the phone with my Health Insurance company.

January 3, 2010

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch . . .

Lily's birthday is tomorrow! She will be one year old! I can't believe it. She brings many smiles while she hops up and down, arms flailing, getting all the way across the floor! She's an excellent eater, better than Moriah. She falls asleep fairly easy and doesn't wake easily either. She loves her sister and gets into everything she does. Wherever Moriah goes and whatever she does, Lily goes and does. Her smile brightens the room and she also contorts her face to make the most pathetic, helpless cry too. She has definitely enjoyed being the baby - at least for now. :-)

She's not walking yet, or really talking either. She says "Ma ma" only when she's in distress. :-) She's got eight teeth right in the front and she's currently teething now for one of her back molars. Sometimes I get a little concerned because Moriah was so far ahead of Lily at this point - walking, really talking, all four molars, self-spoon feeding - but Lily is not close to that at all. I'm currently teaching her more how to use the spoon, but she'd rather play. :-) I know that's normal. :-D I suppose everyone goes at their own pace.

Tuesday we will have a small get together to celebrate her birthday, just parents and grandparents for lunch, cake, ice cream and a few presents. It should be lots of fun. I'll post pictures later.

Pregnancy is progressing. Currently baby 3 and I have hit the tired/scavenger stage: sleep is coveted and searching for what I can eat that will resolve nausea while evading garlic and onions. :-) Dry toast with butter is working for now. Chocolate is not high on the list of wants at the moment (it doesn't even pick up on the radar). Fruit and Sweet & Sour Chicken or Pork seems to be the latest craving. Bacon, Cream of Wheat and bacon-wrapped Filet Mignons fresh off the grill help control nausea. I am thankful that I have not yet vomited today. Tonight might be a different story. :-)

January 1, 2010

The Witness of Biblical Manhood & Womanhood

For one year we lived in Norcross, in a triplex of townhouses, where ours was in the middle. When we first moved in we met our immediate neighbors. To our right another inter-ethnic couple in their 40s, both divorced without children. They have been living together for some time and were talking about (and recently did) get married. To our left was a much more mature widow who regularly attended a Presbyterian church.

When we first arrived the man next door and Jeramy were able to become acquainted very rapidly, then when political views came to the surface (this man being a black Democrat didn't understand why he, married to a black woman, didn't favor Obama) then the new relationship was instantly strained. It remained this way for the remainder of our duration there.

However, as the time drew closer and closer for us to leave Norcross, discussion was reopened. This man, Jim, admired our choice of lifestyle -Jeramy working and myself staying home with the babies - and commended us for it. Well, this opened a wide window for a gospel conversation, which ended with prayer! How awesome is that! When we first moved to Norcross, Jim was very opposed to spiritual things and through our regular daily living, even without much conversation, it was very obvious that God had been working in His heart. John 6:44

Praise God!

Sometimes we think that if we're not talking directly with people and always mentioning Christ and the Gospel that somehow we're not doing our Christian duty of missions and evangelism. We can see here that such is not the case. Yes, we always have our speech seasoned with salt and we're always looking for the Spirit's activity, but let us not forget that living the Gospel can speak volumes above our words, especially when there is no opportunity for words.

Live out Loud. :-)