The past month or so I have felt like anything BUT a great mama.  We have gone from our typical intense summer schedule right into a non-stop September filled with meetings, moving and random work trips.  Normally, I try to keep Elli's schedule fairly routine and balanced, but lately that just hasn't been much of a reality.

 I'd like to be one of those mamas that never EVER turns the TV on to occupy their toddler.  I'd like to be one of those mamas that doesn't offer a snack as a quick defense against whining.  I'd like to never raise my voice or get impatient when Elli has ignores me for the twentieth time.  I'd like to be Michele Duggar minus 17 kids or so.  I'd like to be like Babywisers with neat little schedules that include four different types of play time and learning.  I'd like to offer Tot School and other educational activities.  I'd like to do crafts and projects and all the other messy fun things Elli is finally old enough to do. 

There is this thing called REALITY, however, that just doesn't allow us much time for all of that right now (or ever).  Instead we fill our days with free play and sneak in book time between packing and appointments.  The most teaching I've done in the last 3 weeks is showing her how to use the dust mop out of desperation to keep her OUT of the pantry (which has been a GREAT source of entertainment).  The only pre-birth ideals I've really been able to hold onto in this transitional season are #1 sleeping routines and #2 super food.

So, this morning I shoved aside the mama guilt and we cuddled in bed watching an hour of cartoons.  I then whipped up a batch of super wholesome stick-to-your-ribs-full-of-good-stuff super porridge.  I was amazed at how just knowing I fed Elli really well made me feel like a good mom.  Today I'm going to hold on to that feeling for as long as I can and ignore the guilt.

Super Porridge
This is easy peasy and great for adults too.  There are hundreds of different variations (if you have little ones I encourage you to check the book out at the library), but I'll just give you today's recipe.

Place in a food processor 1/3c of each (this doesn't have to be exact at all):
Brown Rice (I did 2 portions of rice)
Pearl Barley
Process contents two or more minutes until a fine powder (if you'd like more texture don't process as long, but it will take longer to cook).  Store in airtight container in fridge and use as needed.  Cooking ratio 1/4c grains to 1 c water.

Boil 2 cups of water with a dash of salt.  Add 1/2c of processed mixture while whisking.  Reduce heat to simmer and cover.  Continue to simmer for 10 minutes (or until all grains are tender), whisking every few minutes to avoid sticking or lumps.  The consistency should be fairly thick similar to oatmeal or cream of wheat.

Eat as is or add in pureed or chopped fruit or veggies.  We had left over mashed yams from dinner so I put about a 1/4c of those into Elli's portion (vitamin A is vital as we approach sick season).  Store the remaining cereal in an airtight container and reheat in microwave as needed (add hot water if consistency is too thick).

Moving Confessions

This is what my living room looks like. (well, not *really* but I can't get my camera to cooperate with me today)  Yep, in all of it's moving splendor.  Have I mentioned to you how much I dislike moving?  I don't mind the unpacking part, it's like rediscovering all of the stuff you already had.  The packing, however, I could do without.  Where are a few good house boys movers when you need 'em?

I have worn a ponytail and glasses for two days in a row now.  That's code for I haven't showered would rather be in my pajamas drinking chai than wrestling flattened cardboard into cube shaped submission. 

My daughter doesn't necessarily need a nap right now, but I saw the hint of a yawn and took full advantage of the opportunity.  I'm pretty sure that means she'll wake up at 5am tomorrow.  That's okay, daddy can handle it 'cuz mommy is still in a coma at 5am.

I'm currently debating which list item to avoid first...laundry or clutter pick up.  I do not think I will ever learn to love either.

A giant caffeine and sugar riddled Dr. Pepper sounds delightful even though it's not yet 9am.  Too bad I've sworn off the hard stuff.  I'm forcing myself to sip on water.  I've heard good ol' H2O is supposed to curb cravings.  I've been trying that for about 3 years.  It's not working.  Maybe I'll sneak in a diet DP on my way home from unnecessary procrastination-driven shopping running errands.

Writing this post right now is the last thing I should be doing with my time.  Sigh...you should feel sorry for me.  I know I do. ;)


Soy...what should I do?

For nearly 6 weeks I've been working with Take Shape for Life and using Medifast products in an effort to lose weight.  I have needed to get quite a few pounds of for a long, long time and finally had enough.  I've tried over and over to control things on my own, but decided I needed a temporary plan that would allow me to not have to think about what I was going to eat all day.  TSFL/MF seemed to fit that package perfectly.  I have an aquaintance that has lost over 80lbs through this plan and that put me over decision's edge.

Before I started it I had a lot of misgivings.  My most prominent concern was the fact the MF products are primarily powdered meals.  Everything from shakes, to soup, to scrambled eggs...it all starts out in powdered form aka NOT anywhere near the whole organic foods I've come to believe should be the only thing we should consume.  My second concern was the amount of soy contained in the products.  Soy is not fertility's friend (remember it took us 8 years to have Elliana).  I've known that for years.  Extra weight, however, isn't doing my fertility any favors either.

6 weeks into the program I am very pleased with the results.  I've lost nearly 20lbs and for the most part have felt really good.  I still have a long journey ahead, but getting back to a healthy weight actually seems attainable for the first time in years.  This all added up to me pushing my concerns about fake food and "the evils of soy" as far back in my brain as possible...until I read this article.

Now everything I fear has been conjured back up.  What if I'm causing more damage to my hormone function?  How is all of this soy isolate affecting my thyroid?  How permanent are the affects of soy?  What's more damaging, 80lbs of extra weight or 6 months of a heavily soy based diet?  Is there a way I can get the same results on my own with an all natural diet? Would I be able to have that much self control? 

My heart is a bit heavy.  I want to be free of all of this weight that I put on due to hormone imbalance and heartbreak.  I also want to get my body in the best condition possible to have another baby.  I want to do both without hindering either pursuit.

God made our bodies with intricate wisdom.  He created food to perfectly fuel us and balance us.  He designed us to be productive and reproductive.  I'm praying that He will show me what to do.  I need clear practical answers.


Utter Panic

 Holy Smokes.  We move in less than 26 days!  The reality of moving and running my crazy life at the same time has hit me like a Mack truck this morning.  I can feel the muscles on my shoulders scrunching into coiled stones as we speak.  AHHHHH!

Well, at least I have all of cyberspace to vent to.

Now off to seek healing from perfectionist paralysis so that I can actually get something accomplished today.  Prayers, people, I need prayers!


Pastor Wives need friends too

As a pastor's wife it is hard to find true kindred spirits.  It's different for us than it is for others.  Our schedules are weird.   Nine to five is not in our vocabulary.  Vulnerability always partners with risk.  Leadership is rarely something you can put to rest while chatting over coffee.  Finding friends who "get it" and you feel safe with is rare.  Today, as I listened to the Just One conference from Leading and Loving It, I was reminded how important it is to find these kinds of friends. 
While I have some amazing close friends, none are in ministry.  My heart began to ache a little as I both listened to Lisa Young speak of friendship and breathed prayers for a deeper connection with someone.  I need a friend(s) who gets it, who feels the same vulnerabilities and passions.  So, I pray.  This time with intention.  Lord, provide for me.  Provide for others I know. 

If you're in ministry and are feeling the squeeze of isolation, PRAY!  If you have a female ministry leader in your life, PRAY that she will have replenishing relationships.  God created us for relationship.  He hears and will answer.


Chalk one up for the "Little House"

It's funny how one little blog idea can snowball into a creativity whirlwind.  Earlier this evening while scrubbing the kitchen counter I began to think about my new kitchen-to-be.  Any major renovations are likely to be fairly far down the road, but there is no way I can leave it entirely alone until then.  It's tiny, it's a bit dark, and it has floral laminate...enough said. 

A little later in the evening I dug into by google reader, drinking in ideas and enjoying the fact that I have a whole slew of creative journeys ahead of me when we move.  This post caught my eye.  The Nester (LOVE her!) mentions chalkboard vinyl.  Now, I realize chalkboard is all the rage right now for DIYers, but I had no idea this vinyl medium existed!  It's like chalkboard heaven without any form of commitment!  How great is that?

Immediately my mind started spinning with ways I could use this stuff and of course I headed straight to google to find how I could get my hands on this sticky wonder.  I found some here for what seems to be a reasonable price AND the vinyl is reusable/repositionable.  YAY!  I also like their calendar idea...A LOT.

So, one thing led to another and I began to think about that tiny mid-century kitchen again. Right now I like the idea of adding simple trim to the plain front cabinets, painting them white, doing insets of chalkboard vinyl and perhaps "labeling" the doors with a chalker (rather than random scribbles or lists).

The fact that I wouldn't have to commit with chalkboard paint makes it even more appealing. Hmmm...we shall see.

In the meantime, check out these other cute uses for chalkboard vinyl...