Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Change: Embracing the Painful

I used to run with my Dad. We would run a few times a week, but the best part was taking place in some local 5k races together. Before Jack came along this was just a part of life. Soon Trevor joined in and caught the bug.

After Jack it took awhile to get up and running again, and losing the weight I gained after the pregnancy. Yes, that's how I roll.

But I lost a good amount and started running again. Then I was pregnant again! And then the miscarriage. I didn't run between that time and the time I got pregnant with the twins which was about 7 months. 

Then the twins, and again...the extra weight from that. I finally started slowing running again in the fall/winter of 2011 and ended up training and running our local Pear Blossom 10 mile run with a sweet God-send of a friend who ran much slower than she probably has ever done in her life. 

After that I was burnt the heck out. I just stopped. For several months. Then I picked it back up again and dealt on and off with some injuries and would stop and rest and then start up again.

I should note here that I don't necessarily like running, but I love running with my Dad and my friends and I love love love the way I feel after. 

Finally in September I went into the Doctor and he was confident I had a stress fracture of the tibia and I had to really rest. Two months later and I was ready to roll, but I decided to get some ink on my foot and couldn't wear shoes for 2 weeks. It needed touched up so again, another 2 weeks. 

Two nights before I was to start up running again with the Couch to 5k program a pop and a snap in my right ankle and I was down for the count. This was also the second day of fasting for me. 
I limped around until Monday when I looked down at my foot to see this

Left was Monday, Right was Tuesday

and I called the Doctor. 

I went in on Wednesday with it looking like this and he immediately referred me to a foot/ankle specialist at the Orthopedic Clinic, and I was told I would have to wait a month to get in.

I was so mad. So angry that right before I was to start running again and working on the physical part of my "change" this happened. 

My sweet friend whom I love spoke truth into me and I realized that God was seriously trying to get my attention. 

I knelt down on our sofa with the boys crawling all over me and asked Him what He wanted and that I didn't want to miss this opportunity to learn but I just felt so defeated. 

I have to be enough for you.

You have to be okay with never running again and never losing this weight from your babies.

You have to get rid of that distraction and just focus on Me. I need to be enough for you.

A gently smack upside the head and I knew. I just knew that He was getting rid of anything else that would distract me from Him and this battle with losing this weight and wanting to run and the discipline in that, it was definitely taking my focus off of Him.

I placed it first without even knowing it. 

The immediate release of the weight on my heart was gone as I promised to Him that He was enough no matter what and to use this time where I couldn't run or do workout videos or anything else and just rest in Him.

I ended up getting into the specialist Monday, which was about 2 weeks earlier than I should of. The guy is #1 in our valley and hard to see. He immediately did an X-Ray which shows what looks to be a chunk of bone floating around in my foot. He likened it to a pebble being tossed into a set of moving gears and what damage that does. This bone is most likely getting into my tendons and ligaments and that is what is causing the sporadic and extremely painful episodes  There could be more the X-Ray didn't show, so I will have an MRI next week.

If that's all it is, he can go in arthoscopically and remove it, and we are praying that is all it is and no other damage has been done. 

A special surprise, the doctor is a Christian leaving for Honduras on Sunday. I got to share with him about my upcoming trip to Haiti and give him my Trades of Hope card. He double booked me so that before I left for Haiti I could get the results and map out a plan.

See? He's still in it all and no matter what's okay. 

Learning to put the most important parts first, and trusting the change in my heart to do way more for me than the physical change could ever do.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Change: Embracing the Unexpected

When I picked "Change" for my word this year, I really had no idea what that would look like. I hoped it would include a shrinking of my pant size and a physical change, as well as continued internal change where my heart is concerned.

I couldn't have imagined the change that would take place in the first month of January  and if this month is evidence of the year to come then I best hang on to my hat.

We are two days away from finishing up 21 days of fasting using the Daniel Fast. I had never done anything like it, and while the first 5 days I was mean a little edgy and downright exhausted sleepy, after that I felt fantastic, increased energy and increased focus. 

If that had been a diet, I would have failed around day 7 when a major change hit us upside the head and my natural instinct would have been to dig into some ice cream. But since it wasn't a diet, I didn't cheat or fail by one morsel. 

Along with the fasting we are doing The Circle Maker's Draw the Circle 40 Day Prayer Challenge with a few other couples, and the fasting along with this specific prayer focus has been incredible. Our food fast is over, but we've chosen to fast from spending for the remaining 19 days like we did here. 

I love that the 40 days ends the day before I leave for Haiti aka in 17 days. Gulp. No, the trip doesn't make me nervous (well, maybe the flying part) but leaving my sweet men is going to hurt a bit. But that's what I signed up for. The uncomfortable life. The life that screams this is not about me, and so I embrace the uncertainty and trust in the One who has called us all to live like this. 

Most of you know my sweet man is the full time Worship Pastor at our church. Our church is just beginning a huge change that caught us all off guard and we are searching for a new Senior Pastor. This is a major and unexpected change. God knew all the while I picked that word and prayed it...that this was coming, only weeks into the year. He is faithful isn't He?

This means months of waiting and uncertainty and change and who knows what else. 

What I do know? I know that we've never had control over anything, and we're not about to try and orchestrate things now. I know that church does not belong to any man, but to God and is used for His purposes only. I know that even greater things are on the horizon for our family and I feel like my bags are packed (metaphorically speaking at this point Mom, and Grandma) and I'm just ready to go wherever and whenever He calls. It's quite exciting actually.

To know that you have no control over anything, and yet you trust in this God who has your best interests in mind. What freedom in that!

So bring on the change. Not all will be good. Not all will be without sorrow and pain, but I know the end of this story and that is what I cling to.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I'm over here today...

Welcome back our featured blogger of the week, Krystle of 3 Little Men and a Mommy! The last time we talked to Krystle it was May of 2011 and her little guys were just wee ones! Let’s catch up with Krystle and her 3 little men!
What has changed in your life since our last interview in 2011?
What hasn't ?! Our teeny men have grown into these running, climbing crazy toddlers who go constantly and are talking in full sentences and know their shapes!!! And my oldest is now 4 1/2 and in Preschool! Their personalities have developed so clearly and while it’s a whole new kind of exhausting, it’s much more fun these days!

Read more by clicking here!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Monthly One Word Link Up

Change. My word for the year.

How is that going? Well, we've changed our daily routine and are starting off most mornings earlier and in prayer together. While it's early and I am tired, the strength I get from that carries me long past a cup of coffee. 

Speaking of coffee. We are going without...and then some for a few weeks. It is a part of our "7" and also a kick off to this new year and the change we pray it brings. 

I miss my coffee and all the other things we aren't eating, but after 5 days I started feeling pretty awesome and while I look forward to having it's not so bad. 

I worked out 10 days in a row. I was set to finish the entire 30 Day Shred in 30 days until something popped in my ankle and now I am sidelined with what the doctor thinks is a tear.

Discouraged? Yes. Did I have a pity party? You bet I did. And then my friend walked me through it and gently reminded me that maybe He's trying to get my attention.

So focused on losing this weight, the thoughts consume me and while we've changed our daily routine, we've a focused prayer challenge and our diets have changed to focus on Him...I still held on to this. And I feel He's sort of said, let this go for now...focus on me. 

So instead of fighting every tough day, and discouraging moment I am working to see them as teaching moments and letting God mold and shape me in them. Months ago I would have fought and grumbled through it all while saying I was trusting and praying....but in reality I was still struggling for control of it. 

I don't want to waste these opportunities so I am letting him change me and my perspective.

So, my physical body isn't seeing the changes I anticipated 15 days into this month, but I know I am changing on the inside and that has to be enough for me.

I mean, did I ask Him to change me or not? Did I request Him to do whatever He would like, why yes I did....I have such freedom in that reality. Knowing that He has it under control and that my fretting will do nothing expect cause me to have to relearn this lesson again. Why fight it? 

15 days into this first month of 2013 and already we've seen some major hang on to my hat!

Linking up with sweet Melanie over here

Friday, January 11, 2013

When giving is the greatest blessing...

Dear Sister,

I'm standing here twirling the beads between my fingers, turning them around over and over without a thought, because I just fiddle with things while I'm waiting for the woman to ring up my groceries.

The beautiful apples I hand picked from the nice display of choices. 
The bigger thing of spinach, because I have a choice and we are eating a lot of spinach these days.
The box of goldfish because my kids like it after naps and those overpriced individual packets of applesauce that don't require a spoon.

I drive it all home in my dependable car that carries the best of car seats x 3 and pull into my garage where I store the food that nourishes my family for a week and I plop down on the floor to snuggle the boys whom get me all the time because I can be at home, while their Daddy works all week to provide.

And all at once I'm overwhelmed and my heart aches and I feel a bit breathless.

This bracelet you've made that circles my wrist is not just an accessory that matched my shoes for the day. It's your life.

I imagine you cutting, and wrapping and glazing each one. Checking to make sure it's done right and well. Stringing them on and packaging them up, all the while you are trusting and hoping and praying I buy one. That someone buys them. So you can keep your children. So you can eat something. 
So you can live.

Thinking of it brings me to my knees and I begin to lather my boys with hugs and kisses against all protest, and I won't stop.

And I ask Him- why Lord? Why have you blessed me so? Why do I get to drive to the store and spend more than she makes in a month, to feed my family and then put them to bed at night in a house with a lock and heat that we turn on like it comes without cost? Then He speaks,

So you can bless her. 

So that you, with what I have given you, can bless those without.

Do you think I blessed you so that you could just sit tight and cozy and store up your money in banks and properties and ride safely through life? 

And I get a lump in my throat and the tears form.....

 Most thank me and then carry on, so grateful they are blessed, but yet haven't received the biggest blessing they could ever get.


Giving isn't a blessing it is THE blessing.

He has given to me so that I can give to others, and isn't that what love is? My sweet sister, toiling away at your trade working long hours and falling to sleep at night exhausted and grateful all at once.  Isn't that what our whole life should look like? All poured out, and overflowing. Used up and spent. That is how we truly feel alive.

I put my bracelet away at night, on my shelf and I take hold of the journal from India another made and I sniff it. I breathe it in and pray for her, the one whose have been given life because of it and I glance at the earrings from Peru and I smile remembering how many times someone has commented on them and then I get her share your story too. My scarf from Nepal? It's an eye catcher, and when I describe what these women  do to make it, people can help but be moved.  And I feel connected to you and to them, chosen to do this task. To shout it out, to share your stories, to lift some of your burden and I am humbled and honored.

As I tuck my wee ones in bed tonight, ever grateful for the warmth their blankets provide, I vow to not just be thankful, but to live out my gratitude by speaking for you and our other sisters like you.

You can shop Trades of Hope and change a life by clicking this link

To learn more about this amazing missional business
email me at krystle(dot)bowen(at)gmail(dot)com

Thursday, January 10, 2013

23 Months *Monthly Update*

23 months. Next month I stop saying months and I say TWO.

They will be TWO next month, and  I swear I just had them and I swear we just celebrated birthday number ONE.


This kid is smart. He can do puzzles by himself after being shown only once, he does the shape-sorter by himself like nobody's business, and the even cooler part is that he names most of the shapes as he puts them in "circle" "diamond" etc. And we didn't "sit down and work on it" we just play and do things together and they are little sponges at this age.
He puts many words together, and communicates extremely well.
"More please" "Mommy's shoes" "Stinky diaper" etc etc.

He loves to copy people, but he's the instigator when it comes to mischief which is so funny to me, since he is such a copycat in everything else.
He will pull out the drawer for them to climb on the stove, he will push the chair over to the TV to climb up.

He loves to read books and label everything he sees, his vocabulary is just huge. He is still pretty shy around most people, but when he's comfortable he's a goofball. He loves to run and has recently learned to jump off both feet at the same time!

He loves to snuggle, almost always wakes up happy and loves his sleep. He is pretty stubborn and doesn't seem to care if he gets in trouble (hold me now)

Camden recently got attached to his blanket, bear and doggy he's had with him since birth. I love it because his "lovie" and bear are what my Mom made him, and his doggy aka "fuff fuff" is what Jack brought him when they were born.

He is a pretty good eater, but he throws food still. This is a major area of frustration for us as we try to figure out how to handle it. He's still hungry, and he will eat a bite and then throw five. Jack never did this, and Christian only does it if he sees Camden but not as often.

He fits pretty perfectly in size 24 month clothes, with the pants just being a tad long. Still in size 3 diapers. He's gone potty twice in the toilet, but I have no intentions of actually "potty training" them for at least several more months. When they are ready, they are ready and none of us need stress in our lives and at this point it would be just because I'm done with diapers and not because they are really ready to do it.
He is so good at this look. 

I know, it's blurry but it totally captures his mischievous grin


This kid is smart. He's always jabbered this crazy way, but now full sentences are coming out.
"I went stinky" "I just went potty" "I need to wear shoes" "Hello, are you there?" "Where's Jack?"
It's really so awesome and hilarious because it just comes out!
He can also count to 11 which we didn't teach him "on purpose" we just count as we go, and Jack is always counting, so it was so awesome to hear him bust it out one day. Jack counted and knew his shapes and colors extremely early as well, so they are just taking after big brother!

He's been jumping off two feet for months now, I think his smallness helps :0)

He is very social. Will go up to anyone and say hi, wants to be around people, usually isn't uncomfortable without Mommy or Daddy around and takes to new situations really well. He will let anyone pick him up and loves to be a part of anything. I was like this when I was little :)

He loves to dance, sing and make music. Trevor said he has it, he has rhythm and will be musical in some sense naturally. He is still super skinny. We are trying to add in good fats where we can, coconut oil mixed in with things, butter and whole milk. He would eat fruits and veggies all day long and he moves a million miles a minute so I think he just has a super fast metabolism and he's just slender. We'll see what pediatrician says next month, but she's never been concerned because he's healthy and growing on his own curve :)

He doesn't like to be in trouble, loves to give kisses and say sorry.

The kid can throw a ball like nobody's business. Like, he has an arm. I think he's gonna be athletic and musical like least I've helped out in the athletic department as we all know I can't carry a tune.

They are playing together a lot more, which is just awesome to see. I think it's so neat that twins have this built in buddy, they've had to learn to share from the beginning and because of always having someone around they move from parallel play to actually playing with one another much sooner than a singleton.

We weaned them from their pacifiers cold turkey for naps, and they really did good. We tried for night time, but it was rough so we are taking a break and will try again soon. We'd love to be "paci free" by 2.

They have still been going to bed around 7pm up at 7am, with a nap from 12-2ish. Christian has been waking much earlier lately for some reason, but since they are still in cribs...we just leave them in there until 7:00. They talk to each other and jump in bed and are goofy. I plan on keeping them in their cribs until they are 15. Just joking, not really.

I am so ready for them to outgrow this crazy stage of scale everything and get into everything. I was encouraged by Shelly who reminded me when her twins started easing up in that area and I know it's coming soon....
He's always telling a story

They are seriously funny, and gorgeous and they adore Jack. They would follow him anywhere which delights and scares me all at the same time.

Happy 23 months boys! You delight me every day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Birthday Love

We were just beginning our friendship....the first of many birthdays we would share together. 
And many many more to come. 

Happy Birthday Hot Stuff. 
You still make me swoon.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Meal Planning and Saving Money- eMeals

I am really awful about meal planning. 

We've always been go with the flow about our meals, and my husband is
1) easy to please
2) likes simple things and doesn't get bored of anything (yes these are also awesome things)
4) has a somewhat different schedule
5) and we have a super small budget.

 All of those things combined with my lack of scheduling usually mean, we eat a lot of the same things and  I just buy the same stuff.

It's been fine and all, but when I do meal plan, the savings is noted immediately (even more so than the usual) and I am wanting to boys to try lots of different things and get out of our standard rut.

A few things that make this tricky
1) I don't eat meat. Not for any religious or political reason, I just don't like it. Haven't since I was little, it's totally a texture thing- but my boys all eat meat. That means I have to be creative and usually I leave the meat out and add it in later to their dishes, or sometimes make two of the same thing, one without meat.
2) My easy to please husband doesn't like most of the vegetables I like (onions and peppers) which happen to accompany the many vegetarian dishes.

I've borrowed recipe books, scoured online and looked at a few different plans. Nothing really stuck or stood out. Some things required a ton of work, or a lot of money. Then, along comes eMeals aka one of the coolest things ever created.

How It Works

How Icon 1

Pick Your Plan

To start getting eMeals, just choose a meal plan
based on your eating style (from gluten free, to paleo to organic to clean and beyond!) your family size and even your favorite grocery store.
How Icon 2

Get Great Recipes

Every week, your meal plan arrives in your inbox —
complete with seven simple, creative, family–friendly
dinner recipes. Each includes an entrée and side dishes.
How Icon 3

Shop and Save

Along with the meal plan, you'll receive a detailed
grocery list organized by section and coordinated
with the weekly sales at selected stores.
How Icon 4

Relax and Enjoy

We take care of the meal planning, the grocery list and
the budgeting — while you take credit for making healthy,
home–cooked meals
 that your whole family will love.

So, basically they do all the work for you. How do you like them apples?

Being a vegetarian in a family that eats meat, we've chosen to do the Classic Meals plan, and I make my substitutions/alterations as needed.

And if that's not enough awesomeness for you check out this graphic below  and Use this simple budget form to get the process started

You can preview the different meal plans on their website, pick which one is right for you, and then sign up! This year they have also added some breakfast and lunch menus if you'd like to sign up to get those as well! 
Depending on which plan you sign up for (options are 3, 6 and 12 months worth of menus!!) it only costs between $5-7! That's nothing for the time and money you save letting emeals be your brain!
And guess what? Because I love you, and you love me...if you use the discount code newyear, you can save 15% off your eMeals subscription!!  If you do sign up, be sure to let them know you heard about eMeals from me by putting my name in the “How did you hear about us” section on the contact form.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Missing something...

My blog header is gone. I need a new one. I like to switch my blog look a lot, sort of like changing around furniture without the smashed toes.

Until I figure out what I'm doing, or find someone to make me will be plain and boring.

On the other hand, these kids are cute.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

One Word-2013

My one word for 2012 was JOY.

I sought to see joy in the everyday things, and to be joy. A challenge to myself to recognize that being joyful is a choice and that my choice affects others.

I truly feel that I was able to do this far better this past year. I counted things to be joyful about, I had a banner in my house that said "eucharisteo" life-filling gratitude – the practice of which is exercised in recording blessings, one by one. and I even got a sign from my friend Keri that says JOY to put up in our house.

But the heart...that's where it really matters. We can spray our "word" all over and talk about it all we want, but unless we allow it to sink in and be a part of us, it doesn't matter.

I will continue to count my blessings and allow JOY to be a part of who I am everyday.

For 2013 I have chosen the word CHANGE.

That word scares a lot of people, most people aren't comfortable with change and I am usually one of them. I'm learning that change is good and change is necessary.

I want to embrace change, to be ready for change and to cause some change.

Physically, spiritually, mentally, tangibly....change. I want to change the way I feel about myself, and I want to change my physical appearance  losing weight and getting fit. I want to change how I view my days, my challenges my life. I want to change how I react and respond to people, and I want to be in continual change when it comes to my relationship with Christ, never wanting to grow stagnant thinking "I've learned all I can".

I want to press others to change, to break out of comfort zones and to stir the pot.

To make sure I hold myself accountable, each month I will be linking up with the fabulous Melanie over at Only a Breath (she's also the one who designed my awesome One Word button!) on the 15th. I will update how my "one word" challenge is going, either something we've done or a heart change, physical or otherwise....little or big, it's going to be blogged. The 15th of every month.

What about you? Did you pick a word for 2013?

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7 Update- Fasting from Stress we didn't do very well with this one. I was excited about from stress!!!

You would think it would be easy, oh just pause 7 times a day to pray and make sure you take a day of rest.

Well, we had a hard time in the month of November with this, so we bumped it to December.

For me, I really didn't do good at all. I think the fact that it wasn't something tangible is why I struggled. The idea is perfect, execution not so much.

I think it's pretty telling of our lives if this is the hardest one, and it's something we all need to look at.

I am going to continue to work on this one and keep reading this book and try and just incorporate it in my daily life.

What's next?

Jen only ate 7 different foods for a month. They only ate 7 food items, crazy right? Well, instead of doing that we are doing something a little different that I will share with you at the end of the month. I'm excited about it since we're starting the year off this way and it falls just before my trip to Haiti.

After that is just one more month...clothes. I am glad that we've stuck with it although each month it's been harder and harder to just complete.