“It is 3 A.M. and I am lonely!” This is what my 5 month old was saying in her head this morning. I slowly climbed out of bed to tend to her. Normally this would not be that big of a deal but I did not fall asleep until midnight. Not even 30 minutes later, my 3 year old is singing the same tune. Samantha comes climbing down the steps into the baby’s room. I attempt to plea with her to just go lay down in my bed while I get Briella back to sleep. Samantha is not having it. Samantha is standing with her hand out to me saying, “Mommy look at the sparkles.” The sparkles are the black dots you see because it so early. Then Samantha is jumping in the hallway. All I can do is laugh quietly to myself. After another 30 minutes, I attempt to get her in her bed. I slowly close the door and quietly come down the steps. Just as I am sitting in Briella’s room, Samantha comes back down the steps saying, “My stomach hurts.” A light bulb turns on in my tired head. She needs to use the bathroom. I give Samantha her sister’s pinky bear and I insist that she sleeps in my bed. I get the baby settled down and not 5 minutes later, the dog is barking to go out. His barking creates the baby to cry for me yet again. After about 15 minutes, I finally get her settled back in. By now, it is 5 A.M. and I cannot sleep. It was around 5:45 the last time I looked at the clock before I fell into a deep slumber. I hear my daughter’s alarm at 6:30. No way am I climbing out of bed yet. Eventually I drift back to sleep. At 6:50, I decide that ready or not I must start the day. I drag myself out of bed, get dressed, and help get the girls ready for school. It is going to be a long day today. Perhaps this afternoon I will take a nap when baby naps. However, I am determined to keep a smile on my face and get to Rite Aid to get some great deals to donate to our soon local women’s shelter.
In September 2010, I lost my dog, Chance who was only four at the time. Although doctor’s believed that he had suffered 2 strokes, we do not know if that is the reason he passed away. We were so traumatized by his death. I am still not 100% over his death. He knew me better than most people know me. There are times when I still find myself looking at the couch next to me for him. He would be right next to me and cuddle up cheering me up always. At the time, we were feeding Jake and him cheap dog food. I will not comment on what kind. After doing much research, I concluded that could have played a part in his death. Then it got me thinking about my food choices.
At this time, I was attending Glad Tidings Church and a couple from Hallelujah Acres was coming to talk about being Vegan following the Hallelujah Diet. They travel around presenting for 3 nights about Veganism and how it ties into religion. I was intrigued by this and wanted to attend. I convinced my Mom to come with me. For months prior, I had been contemplating becoming a vegetarian. I knew several vegetarian families in the area and two Vegan families.
Mom and I attended that event. Each night they had samples for people to try. In the audience were many people who shared stories how changing to a Vegan diet had helped cure their illnesses: diabetes, cancer – many kinds and stories, depression, migraines etc. I heard a lot of information that I had never heard before. The one thing that stuck with me was that our intestines are windy and twisted making it hard for meat to pass through. However in canines, their intestines are straighter making it easy for the meat to pass through/digest. Also, they stressed how in the beginning we were to name the animals and live peacefully with them eating plants in the garden.
The day after that 3 day event, I plunged into Vegan eating and did not look back. I quit meat and dairy cold turkey. I remember shopping at Giant and grabbing one of the employees for help with my shopping list. There were things on there that I had never heard of or cooked with. In the beginning I struggled some because I had not really learned all I needed to know. It might have been easier if I made a gradual change. It was learn as I go. My biggest mistake was being so passionate about Veganism and sharing too much information with others such as my husband, which turned him off. He was resistant about my new change and thought it was a phase. What he thought was a phase, has lasted 5 years (during which I had 2 pregnancies). A Vegan diet evolved into a Vegan lifestyle for me.
I became a Vegan for religious, health, and ethical reasons. In the beginning, God gave Adam and Eve the animals to name. They lived in harmony with them. Adam and Eve were given the garden plants to eat. This is what God intended for us. I believe in eating plant-based food. I believe that if I allow another animal to die so that I can eat, then I am sinning.
I believe eating plant-based for me is how I can be my healthiest self. Overall, I am healthier than when I ate the S.A.D. (standard American diet). My bloodwork and levels support this. There are many studies linking dairy and meat to various diseases. I hope that having eaten 5 years plant-based will help reverse any ill effects that 32 years of eating meat and dairy had on me.
Last and most important to me is ethical reasons. I love animals. I am compassionate about animals. I am ashamed that I lived 32 years of my life being desensitized by the cruelties of the meat and dairy industry. I had not really tried to make the connection of how my meat had gotten onto my plate in the past. I do not like the lies that government, meat, and dairy industry, tell us and we are made to believe them. Lies seen on commercials and food pyramids taught to us as children. I have read many articles, and watched many documentaries about how these poor animals are treated. A dairy cow is basically raped (artificial insemination) to breed a calf so she will make milk for humans. A calf is ripped away from its Mom within hours of being birthed. The Momma cow is fed hormones and antibiotics standing on her feet for hours on concrete to produce an average 8 gallons per day of milk. These cows are intensely confined and spend most of their lives hooked up to a machine. After 5 years of being impregnated over and over, they are considered spent and undergo cruel slaughter for human consumption. When a Momma cow delivers a male cow, they are sent to become veal or sent to grow to 1,200 pounds to be slaughtered at the age of 6 months. Often these male cows undergo mutilation including dehorning, castration, and branding. Cows in a normal habitat can live to be 15+. Chickens, turkeys, pigs, lamb, fish, etc. do not have a happy life either.
Please know that if you choose to consume meat and dairy, I do not judge you. I will respect your choices as you should respect mine. I am friends with omnivores and vegetarians. Please understand that for me, it is difficult walking in the grocery store passed the meat/seafood department. Sometimes it is difficult for me to hear you talk about eating meat or cooking meat. I do not intend for my being a Vegan to make you uncomfortable. I try not to make others uncomfortable and am careful what subjects I discuss with who. I will continue to have the hope that others will lessen their meat and dairy consumption and save some animals and help our planet.
We must learn to experience the peace of God in the trials. The peace that God offers us is for living for His Kingdom. This is not always so simple and easy to do when faced with trials. There are so many situations/things people become anxious about: finding a new job, starting a new job, making enough money to support your family, meeting new people, being around crowds, health, future of your children, driving a car, sending your children to school, etc.
Is your anxiety lack of faith in God? Are you living for Christ’s Kingdom or yourself? These are important questions to consider when you are anxious about something.
At times, are eyes may not be looking up to the Lord. It is during this time, that I may become anxious. When I take a deep breadth or step back, I can remember that God has carried me through other trials. He wants me to fully lean in on Him. He will bring me through whatever I am anxious about. I must remember to pray thanking God for the concern and being there to get me through it to the other side. Sometimes this process takes longer than other times for me if I am being honest. It is not a normal response from me to automatically thank God for my trials and to lean on Him right away. As always, I am a work in progress.
Recently I went to another church to speak for a few minutes about MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). This was something that I felt The Holy Spirit had nudged me to do. I had contacted a few churches but this particular one was the only one that allowed me to come speak. I am sure I was at this particular church this particular Sunday for a reason. I do believe God is purposeful. I was extremely anxious about it. I was still not feeling 100% healthy at the time. My nerves got the best of me and I ended up in the bathroom several times. On my drive there, I began to pray to God saying I know you called me to do this. You will get me through this and it will be fine. Once I placed it in God’s hands, and believed he had this, then a peace came over me. When I went up to the podium, I spoke calmly and clearly. Several people commented on how well I spoke. It was not me, it was God because truth be told I really do not enjoy public speaking. When called to do it, I obey. Now next time I feel anxiety sneaking in about anything, I must recall this situation where God came through and I will not be anxious anymore.
It is refreshing to watch others enjoying my children. The power that little babies have over strangers is amazing. In the waiting room at my doctor’s office, an elderly man came in and gently touched Briella’s face. He had such a warm smile. It was such a pure moment with a stranger. At times I might be weirded out if a random stranger touched my baby. However, this act did not bother me plus he did not touch her hands. I dislike when others touch baby’s hands since she places them in her mouth constantly. In the waiting room at the pediatrician’s, a Mom of a little girl and toddler boy was talking away to Briella. Briella fully obliged her in a conversation. The woman was so thrilled when Briella gave her one of her biggest smiles. All the coos were entertaining. It was just so cute to watch. While waiting at Rite Aid for a prescription, Briella had the attention of an elderly couple. She brought such a smile to the woman.
This is a verse that I wished I had focused more on years ago. I am choosing to focus on this verse now. I want to ingrain it into my heart. There are times when I need to get a hold of my emotions, and bite my tongue. I need to pray before opening my mouth.
Did you know that the tongue is one of the strongest muscles in the body compared to its size? It can be used to hurt others or to build others up. I want to choose to build others up. I need to T.H.I.N.K. (Is what I am saying or about to say: True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, & Kind). If I am to be more like Jesus, then I need to guard my tongue. Jesus would build others up and not tear them down. If I am feeling agitated or aggravated by someone/something, I must choose to walk away holding my hand over my mouth. There are times when I failed and I had said mean, hurtful things to others. Unfortunately once unkind words leave our mouth they are gone floating in the Universe causing hurt and removing joy. We can never catch those words or take them back. Sometimes they may come back to haunt you again and again. I am striving to not be this person anymore. I will choose love over and over.
An unknown poet wrote (ibid., #6380, p. 1421): (A great resource for a deeper explanation of this verse can be found here: https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-35-transformed-talk-ephesians-429 )
A careless word may kindle strife.
A cruel word may wreck a life.
A bitter word may hate instill;
A brutal word may smite and kill.
A gracious word may smooth the way;
A joyous word may light the day.
A timely word may lessen stress;
A loving word may heal and bless.
What would the world be like if we all chose to use wholesome talk?
Moms have to wear many hats throughout the day. Moms are the alarm clock, accountant, bath giver, beautician, bedtime enforcer, butler, butt wiper, carrier, chauffeur, cheerleader, chef, clothes changer, comedian, comforter, dancer, diaper changer, dishwasher, doctor, friend, garbage & recycling can emptier, historian (making scrapbooks, filling in baby books), homework helper, hostess, housekeeper, judge, librarian, life coach, maid, milk maker, multitasker, nighttime nightmare calmer, nurse, nutritionist, organizer (time & stuff), personal shopper, photographer, planner, prayer warrior, protector, receptionist, rocker, searcher of lost items, secretary, secret keeper, story teller, teacher, therapist, toy fixer, tutor, vacation planner and packer, and waiter. I am sure there are some hats I am missing. Being a Mom you are always on call morning, noon, and night. We get paid in smiles, kisses, and hugs. Sometimes I do better with certain hats. This week my housekeeper hat has not been worn much. Many of us are feeling under the weather so I have been wearing my doctor, nurse, comforter hats a lot of the day. Although I get weary sometimes, I would not trade my job for anything. I love being a Mom to my four awesome girls! I am so very grateful to God and my husband for allowing me to stay at home to raise our children. What hats have you worn today as a Mom?
Currently in our women’s bible study we have started reading Lysa TerKeurst’s What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. I am truly enjoying the book. Lysa shares how God nudged her to give away her treasured Bible to a complete stranger she met on a plane. This was after she had an engaging conversation with the man about Jesus Christ. Her story made me reflect when was a time that I said yes to God?
About a little over a year ago, I had my third child who was 2 years old in her car seat. I needed gas and headed to the local Sunoco. I am just finishing up pumping my gas as two rows over I notice a couple in a truck. I am attempting to mind my own business. However, it is obvious they are arguing. The windows are up in the truck but I hear f bombs flying. Instantly my stomach is in knots. I hear God saying you are to help this woman. You are to offer her a ride. I find myself saying, “Are you sure God I have my two year old with me? I an not sure my husband would approve.” I finish pumping my gas and get in my van. I look over and the male driver is inside the store. I push my window down and signal over to the women inside the truck. I ask, ” Are you okay? Do you need help? Can I offer you a ride?” She replies yes but “do not make a big deal about it.” She gathers her things. As the man gets in the truck she gets out and slowly walks over to my van. By this time my heart is racing. I keep saying “God you told me to offer to help. Please keep us safe.” The guy yells over to me, “Thank you.” I wave and wait until he pulls out.
I head in the opposite direction. I tried to convince her to come with me to drop off items at the local food bank that my Pastor friend runs. Let us call her Ann. Ann was not having it. She insisted that I drive her to her boyfriend’s Mom’s house. The man in the truck was her boyfriend. I am driving as slow as I can to give her boyfriend time to decompress so they do not end in another fight or worse.
During that slow drive to the next town over, Ann tells me how she used to date her boyfriend’s friend. When Ann realizes that I have Samantha with me she had tears in her eyes. She could not believe I offered to help her with Samantha in the car. I explain that I know someone that was in a relationship similar to hers and that perhaps others should have stepped in when they witnessed things like that happening. I still could not believe I did it either, get involved. I knew to trust God but I did not share that with Ann. Ann talked a lot and I just listened. She explained that she had met a friendly Buddhist earlier in the day that had given her green tomatoes. She said a few things she shared about Buddha. Ann told me she has twin girls but she does not see them because she lost custody of them. Ann divulged that she has some mental issues and takes medication. She explained that she always ends up with jerks.
Once I pulled up on the street where she wanted to be dropped off, I hugged Ann. I told her she deserved better, she was special, and God loved her. She said that she hoped she had not offended me about the Buddha talk. I told her I was not offended. I do not believe in Buddha. Rather I believe in one true righteous God. She closed the door and I pulled off rather quickly. I prayed for Ann on my way home, on my ride home I did shake and had a good cry. I thanked God for letting everything be okay. I prayed that God would keep Ann safe and that I would not read about her in the newspaper the next day. I never knew what became of Ann, if any seeds were planted that day, if her boyfriend changed because of the experience etc. Sometimes God calls us to do things and we do not know the outcome and that is okay. Who is ready to say yes to God?
1 cup Frozen organic vegetables (per quesadilla)
2 burrito sized tortilla wraps
1.) Spray your pan with cooking spray
2.) Place 1 cup frozen organic vegetables in the pan and cook through.
3.) Spread hummus on one side of 1 tortilla wrap.
4.) Transfer cooked vegetables onto tortilla with the hummus on it.
5.) Place tortilla half with hummus and vegetables onto the quesadilla maker.
6.) Place tortilla wrap on top.
7.) Close quesadilla maker and cook.
8.) Slice up the quesadilla along the lines.
9.) Pour salsa on top or place salsa in a bowl to dip in.
All week, I have battling a cold. When you are not feeling 100% and it is a rainy day, who wants to spend lots of time cooking? Not me! I decided to throw a spaghetti squash into my Instant Pot. It came out a little underdone but that is okay. I cut the spaghetti squash in half, dug out the seeds, then placed the 2 halves right side up into the instant pot. I added 1/2 cup water and hit the steam button. I let it cook for 7 minutes but should have probably left it in for the full 10 minutes. It was a lesson learned.
I cannot say enough about my Instant Pot. I love the ease of it. It makes perfect rice, amazing potatoes, and mixed vegetables. I have yet to mess with the timer yet. On cold days, I long for mashed potatoes so I made sure I made them tonight. The rest was whatever veggies I had in the freezer. Yes I am eating from a child plate because I like my food separated.
In response to the two shootings yesterday (Oregon Community College & Harrisburg High School), and what has been happening to Syrians, there is no better time than now to pray and pray hard. Pray for those suffering from mental issues. Pray for those who hate anyone for any reason. Pray for those who hate Christians. Pray for those involved in the shootings. Pray for those that were on the campuses and at the high school. Pray for countries to help those displaced. Pray for those that are displaced. Pray for our military stationed all over the globe. Pray for our nation as a whole. Pray for safety of all the children and educators around the globe. Pray for safety of everyone.
This world is becoming a scarier place each and every day. There are more shootings, more sex trafficking, more homelessness, more hate, more torture, more abuse including people and animals etc. It is difficult to turn a blind eye. Yet it all can be so overwhelming. Sometimes I feel guilty for bringing 4 girls into this Earthly world. I just need to take a step back and realize that there will be peace, love, and tranquility in Heaven – God’s kingdom. Holding to this truth is what helps me get through these terrible times. Also, I choose to look for the helpers. Always look for the helpers which exist in the bad situations.
I encourage you all to join me in prayer today. God hears our prayers!