Daddy took the day off today and played with me.
Then it got too hot. So we went to the front porch where it’s shady and blew bubbles.
Daddy took the day off today and played with me.
Then it got too hot. So we went to the front porch where it’s shady and blew bubbles.
The thing about blogging is no matter how hard you try to keep it in its little electronic box, it gets to you. You start reading other blogs, learning other peoples’ stories, and before you know it, you’re invested. But the great thing about the internet is you can raise up an army to pray and spread those stories.
I’m asking you to pray for this family. Our hearts – Husband and I – are heavily burdened for this baby and his mama tonight. I cannot imagine what they are going through. I cannot even try, or it suffocates me.
Fair warning, this is difficult to read and see. Some of the pictures of little Tripp are what some would call graphic. But this is this baby boy’s life. And he’s fighting for it. But we cannot turn away, not when they need the body of Christ most.
I didn’t know what EB was until a few months ago when I started stumbling across blogs by parents of EB kids. And they don’t know me from Adam. But I have a soft spot in my heart for genetic diseases. I lost a cousin to one. So I cannot turn away, even if they don’t know who I am. And I’m asking you not to turn away. Please, please say a prayer for Courtney and Tripp.
For me, too, it has convicted me to never, ever take my son’s health for granted. We may have our frustrating moments and bad days, but then I look at him, and I think about these families, and I think “Thank you God for him” and my frustration eases.
So again, pray for them. Please. Before you do anything else, stop and pray for Courtney and precious Tripp.
On the 4th of July I received some very sad news.
Coach Richard Dispenza, possibly the most beloved faculty member of my high school of all time, had suddenly passed away.
Any words I could write would not encompass the man he was. He was the kind of person movies are made about. His one and only focus in life was helping people. I mean that wholeheartedly. I can only hope to be maybe half as selfless as he was. You could not encounter Coach D and come away unchanged. He had that effect.
I was in his Health class for one semester my sophomore year. My mom says that when she went in for parent/teacher conferences with him, he was the only teacher who said “Let me see her whole report card” and asked questions about how I was doing in my life, not just in his class. Coach D remembered me, too. He always said hi when we passed in the halls.
*Okay, my mom said I had to include this part of the story: My grade in Coach D’s class had gone down, and he said to my mom “It’s boys, isn’t it?” and my mom replied “No, boys don’t really notice her” (which was totally and absolutely true – I didn’t have a boyfriend until my senior year) and Coach slammed his hands down on the table, making everyone in the gym where conferences were set up jump, and exclaimed “Are they BLIND???”.
Well, Coach, there’s at least one guy in the world who isn’t blind. I think you’d like him, too. He treats me the way you always believed a lady should be treated.
My youngest brother ran into Coach D at the bank one day, years and years ago now. He introduced himself to Coach, and they talked for several minutes. Coach asked my brother about his schooling, his plans for the future, and at the end of the conversation pulled out his card and said “If you ever need anything, you call me, ya hear?”. Even though he’d never met my youngest brother before that day, Coach still offered everything he could. He had that much love in his heart for young people.
*Minor Correction: My baby brother e-mailed me and told me it was actually only a year-and-a-half ago that he had his encounter with Coach D. Which makes it even more amazing to me, because Coach remembered me and my older brother from our high school years.
I went up to my old high school today for his memorial service.
It was an appropriate venue, considering this is where his heart was. He cared so deeply about each and every student – it didn’t matter if you were an athlete, a student in his classroom, or just someone walking the halls. He loved you, he wanted the best for you, he wanted you to have a bright future.
And it showed in the way the students loved him back. More students than I could number counted him as a father figure. There were girls who discovered they were pregnant, and went and talked to Coach D before they told their own parents. This is how much he was trusted, how much he was loved.
This year’s football team acted as greeters and manned the guest book tables.
The high school gym was packed. There was a sea of people in front of me, and behind me. One of the speakers remarked “Coach D would have loved this…until he realized it was all for him.” Everyone laughed, because it was true. He never wanted praise for his actions. He was just the way he was. In his mind, he wasn’t doing anything unique or special. He was just being how he thought people should be.
There was music.
And then, more music afterward as the football players got everyone’s attention as they sang the school fight song in Coach D’s honor.
My heart breaks for these young men, for the rest of the football staff at my high school. But I know they will keep Coach D’s memory alive through honor and integrity and character. His voice will be in their ear all season, and I hope for the rest of their lives.
The organization where Coach D has worked with at-risk young adults for the past 5 years has now named their highest staff award after him – the Coach D Selflessness Award. He received that same award (under a different title) just days before he passed away. Though he did not go to the banquet, his boss said. Coach D never wanted a big deal made out of himself.
Afterward, I slipped through the crowd over to the tables where they had laid out some of Coach D’s memorabilia from his decades of coaching and teaching.
I sought out the group of things from his years at my school. We went to the state football championship my senior year, you know.
But Coach D wasn’t on staff. The summer between my junior and senior year, someone from his past, a kid he had loved, took advantage of what a big heart Coach D had. And long story short, Coach D had to lose his job.
But y’know what?
My graduating class still voted him our favorite teacher. He would have been our graduation speaker, too. Instead he had to sit in the audience, up in a balcony where he wouldn’t draw any attention because that’s just who he was. But we all knew he was there. Many of us craned our necks as we sat down after marching in to “Pomp and Circumstance” to spot where he was sitting.
He’ll always be there. In our hearts, on our minds, his voice echoing through our memories. His legacy will live forever through the way he inspired everyone to do their best, and the way he inspires us to serve others with our whole hearts.
We love you Coach D. You will be forever missed.
“Remember, you know who loves you.” – Coach D
My son is 19 months old. And not walking yet.
Most people don’t know how much I struggle with that. I can put on a smiling face and say “Oh, the pediatrician isn’t concerned yet, I’m sure he’ll start walking very soon, everything just has to be his idea!”
But the truth is, inside, I’m shrinking in shame and embarrassment.
Not for my baby. He’s not aware anything is amiss. He’s perfectly happy and wonderful and getting into everything just as well on all fours as he would on two legs.
But it’s hard for me to be around other kids his age – or younger – who are walking, and he’s still crawling. And he’s physically bigger than most of those other kids (Husband is 6’7”, I’m 5’10”, all our kids are going to be massive). I feel like there’s something wrong with me, like maybe I’m not doing enough or I did something wrong. I feel inadequate as a mother. I feel like I’ve failed my baby.
And the whole world can tell me it’s not my fault and everything will be okay and he’ll walk one day soon, and I appreciate it, but I’ll still feel that way.
Ever since he started crawling it’s been “He’ll be walking so soon! It won’t be long now! He’ll be walking by such-and-such date!”
Such-and-such date comes and goes. No walking. So we fixate on another date. A holiday, an anniversary, someone’s birthday. Those come and go. No walking. It crushes me a little more each time one of those dates pass.
Church nursery has gotten especially difficult for me. There isn’t a category he fits into any more. I hate the idea of putting him in a room with all kids who are walking – I want him to be motivated, yes, but I also want him to have someone on his level to play with. That’s how my Mommy heart feels. But he’s getting older, and he has to move up in the church nursery ranks. Which means all the kids in his class are walking. And it doesn’t seem to be motivating him very much.
He’s perfectly healthy otherwise. And believe me, I don’t take that for granted. But moms, don’t our hearts break over anything having to do with our kids? We want the best for our kids and our hearts break when we feel like that’s not happening. It’s part of being a mom. Period.
I don’t have a list of “Things to Say/Not Say to a Mom of a Late Walker”. I know this is just a chapter, that it will pass, that he will walk someday, and that I love him so much it hurts.
I just wanted to say all of the above to blog-land. That’s all.
I’m going to venture into dangerous territory here.
I’m going to do some straight talkin’ about caffeine.
I’m not a nutritionist…yet. But good nutrition has completely changed my life over the past year. For the better. For the way better. I’m healthier, I’m thinner, I have better looking skin, I have more energy.
And I consume very little caffeine.
How, you ask, is it humanly possible that I have more energy when consuming less caffeine?
I broke the cycle.
Caffeine is addictive. Bottom line. You can try to tell me it’s not, but I’ve seen otherwise. I once knew a girl who consumed two or three pots of coffee per day. She went on a fast – nothing but water or juice – for five days. And what happened was scary. She spent most of those five days curled up in bed, shaking, sweating, shivering, suffering from a skull-splitting headache. When she did get up, she could barely walk. She probably should have been under the supervision of a medical professional. Now tell me caffeine isn’t an addictive substance.
Incidentally, that girl drank way less coffee after that experience!
I know most of you probably don’t drink that much caffeine in a day. But are you still trapped in a cycle? You know the one – you drink a huge cup of coffee in the morning to wake up, but a couple of hours later you’re crashing and dragging. So you drink more caffeine, whether it be more coffee or a soda (Diet Coke addicts, I’m talking to you). But then, by dinnertime or shortly thereafter, you’re dragging again. And every time you’ve tried to stop, exhaustion or the dreaded “caffeine headache” take over. And so you cave, and back into the cycle you go.
Girls, we don’t have to live this way!!! We have the power to break the cycle! Our bodies are magnificently engineered pieces of craftsmanship. God designed them with a system to keep us healthy and energized that does not need to depend on caffeine. We can still have some caffeine, but we do not need to be slaves to the cycle of addiction.
I’m not proposing you drop all caffeine at once. Heck, even I would have gotten a migraine from that! You can bring yourself out of the cycle gently. Your entire body will thank you. The following is what helped me get out of the caffeine cycle.
First: Start cutting back on caffeinated beverages. Only drink one small cup of coffee in the morning. Or make it half-caf. Or switch to green tea. I actually don’t drink real coffee at all any more – just tea and “herbal coffee”, which has no actual coffee in it. If you don’t like the taste of plain green tea, there are several flavored varieties. I also like black tea with milk some days. Bring down the level of caffeine you drink gradually, so you’re not shocking your body. It’s much easier to manage that way.
Stay hydrated. Your body needs hydration to stay energized, and caffeinated beverages are actually dehydrating. Get a convenient water bottle and carry it around with you. If you absolutely must have your Diet Coke during the day, keep it to one. And drink it with your lunch, not later in the afternoon. I am not a fan of regular consumption of diet sodas (or soda in general), but that’s another post. I won’t get on that soapbox today.
While we’re on the topic, watch the sugar in your drinks too. I switched to Stevia, a natural sweetener, to cut back on my sugar consumption, because I like my drinks sweet. If you purchase a bottled beverage, check the sugar content. A teaspoon of sugar is about 4 grams. Do the math. You’ll probably be grossed out. I sure was.
Second: Consider the way you eat. One of the ways nutrition has changed my life is that I’ve learned how to keep my blood sugar stabilized through the food I eat. When your blood sugar stays stable, you stay energized. When your blood sugar spikes too quickly, it also drops too quickly, and that’s when you get a crash. Or your body doesn’t have the right things to burn for energy, and your blood sugar gets too low. And that’s when a lot of people typically reach for the caffeine.
The following is a sample of the way I eat on a typical day:
Breakfast: 1 cup (cooked) of steel-cut oatmeal with ground flaxseed, blueberries or strawberries, and almond milk. One mug of green or black tea. This is also when I take my vitamins.
Morning snack (if needed): A poached egg on toast (I use spelt bread, you can use a half-slice of whole grain – excellent workout recovery snack!), or yogurt with fruit (watch the sugar content of pre-packaged varieties), or veggies and hummus.
Lunch: Usually a big salad with some kind of protein – hard-boiled eggs, salmon, chicken…whatever I have, but rarely cheese and I try to keep my dressings non-fattening. Or I have leftovers from dinner the night before. For bread-eaters, try a sandwich on whole grain bread (real whole grain now, not the white bread masquerading as whole grain!) made with lean meat and lots of veggies.
Afternoon snack: Veggies and hummus or an apple and peanut butter.
Dinner: This meal always includes lean protein and veggies, and often grains like quinoa or barley. Dinner is most often the meal we go vegetarian on, actually. But it has to be balanced. One thing I realized when I began eating the way I do is that the American diet is way too grain-based. Our portions are way out of proportion. So make your grains whole grains, and make them just one component of your dinner. More veggies, fewer grains.
By eating combinations of protein and complex carbs throughout the day, your blood sugar remains stabilized and your body has good food to burn for energy. This was also how I kept nausea at bay during pregnancy. A nurse taught it to me. Saved my bacon.
Third: Take care of yourself. Try to get enough sleep. Get some form of exercise a few times per week. I know it’s hard for a lot of us to get enough sleep, but we really gotta try, girls. How are we going to pour into our families and loved ones when we ourselves are running on empty? This goes for every area of life – spiritual and physical.
This is why I want to become a nutritionist – because good nutrition changed my life. No longer being dependent on caffeine is just one of the many positive effects good nutrition has had on me. As I said before, our bodies are incredibly well-engineered creations. When we understand and respect the well-honed machines our bodies are, I believe we can live better.
I am first, though, a wife and mom who wanted to be the best she could be, and who wanted to do the same for her family. Now, I want to do it for other women, my fellow wives and moms who want to make changes to their lifestyle but aren’t sure how to start or what to do. I hope this post I’ve just written inspires someone out there make the changes you might have been wanting to make. Whoever you are, I believe in you. You can do it!
I’m so excited to start work on my degree, so I can go into the world and help people in the capacity of being a nutritionist who speaks the language of wives and moms. It’ll be a bit of a long road, but it’ll be worth it. I’m sure of it.
We, along with my in-laws, decided the 4th of July needs cookies. Because Martha Stewart told us so.
So today, we went to their house and made cookies.
Check out the focus.
Focus deserves a reward, of course.
Coloring icing is fun! Look at the swirls…look deeeeep into the swirls…
Or look at my cute in-laws decorating cookies instead.
You can sort of see what we’re doing to the cookies in this picture. I’ll get a picture of them in their fully done, plated glory tomorrow.
Now I’m going to go make a cake. Because tomorrow is not only the 4th of July, it is my adorable chubby-cheeked nephew’s first birthday. And he must have cake. Because I said so.
But not before I tell you a story!!!
We went to my in-laws’ house straight from church. We arrived there before they did. We let ourselves in, had a snack, and tried to get the baby to go down for a nap. He refused. He cried and snuggled into my arms. Then he started coughing.
Then he barfed all over my cute outfit.
So when my mother-in-law got home from church she found me in her bathrobe.
And she knew immediately what had happened.
And she lent me clothes.
For which I am grateful.
I’ve been intending to do this post for, like, ages now. But I’m a slacker. The moment I get myself a cold drink and lay down under the ceiling fan, I’m a goner. I’m not productive.
I wanted stew for dinner one warm evening. But we didn’t have any beef. And beef stew sounded too heavy for this warm weather anyway. So what’s a girl to do?
Experiment on my family, of course. Not that they mind!
Here’s what I used:
2 large chicken breasts
Salt & pepper
Seasoning (I’ll show you what I used in a sec)
3 stalks celery
Some kind of flour
4 cups chicken broth
Here’s what I did:
Cut up a couple of chicken breasts into cubes.
Heat some olive oil in a heavy pot over medium, and then add the chicken.
Season with salt and pepper, and I also use this stuff:
I’m not 100 percent sure what’s in it. But it’s delicious. It’s also remarkable on roasted potatoes. And I use it in my chicken shepherd’s pie. But that’s another post.
Oh, where was I? That’s right. Salt and pepper, and some kind of herb-alicious seasoning.
Get thee a medium-to-large onion, two carrots, and three stalks of celery (and some of the celery leaves, if you have a leafy bunch).
Cut everything into a large dice.
When the chicken is done, remove it to a plate (or whatever), add a little more oil to the pot if you need to, and dump in the veggies.
Cook the veggies until they start to soften. Then, scoot them over to the side, add a bit more oil…
…and sprinkle in about two tablespoons of flour. I use oat flour for mine, which requires more. But if you’re not like me and you eat regular flour, two tablespoons should be all you need.
Mix the flour and oil together and let it cook for about a minute. Mix it together with the veggies, and then add 4 cups of chicken broth.
Like my lame attempt at an action shot? I’m not that coordinated. But I tried.
Scrape the bottom of the pot really well as you stir everything together, and then add the chicken back into the pot.
Let it come to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or so.
*I almost always have to add more oat flour during the stage, just sprinkling it in until I get the desired broth consistency.
Serve with sandwiches or salads for dinner.
This soup was a BIG hit with both Husband and Baby! The broth had that thickened consistency like a canned chicken soup, but it tasted much better. And there were no slimy noodles. I don’t like slimy noodles in my chicken soup.
Wait, I don’t eat noodles. Scratch that.
I’m thinking this winter, I’ll make mass quantities of this stuff. Whole chickens, homemade broth, the works. And then freeze it for quick dinners on snowy evenings.
But it’s nice in the summertime, too. Because sometimes you just gotta have a bowl of soup.