Monday, October 31, 2011

Starting GAPS Intro Today

Well, I've been 'planning toward this' for 3 1/2 years now.  I am finally going to do the intro of GAPS myself. I am hoping/planning on my family joining me in January.  But I decided I have the most serious digestive issues and will take the longest to get through the stages, so I hope to start it today, and work my way slowly through them until I am able to properly digest and eliminate my food.

I realize it is going to be super hard to eat only soups when I am preparing regular, yummy, nourishing food for my family.  I think that will be the hardest part for me.  I expect to stay on the early stages for a bit longer then most.  I really expect (but then, who knows) to be onto intro with the family within a few weeks.  But I know I'll take longer to heal.

One thing that I love, is that last year at this time, I was so much less healthy. My bones were so weak, I had chronic fatigue still.  Was detoxing all the time.  I had leg cramps and headaches often.  I was really irritable-all the time.  Now, a year later, I am doing so much better in all of those areas.  I can see how much I have healed in the last year.  But....  I have not pooped regular, on my own, since this time last year.  I've had to use enemas regularly.  Sometimes I'll go some, but never all.

And it was a problem I had had all my life. But last summer I started going regular and it felt so good! And then I stopped.  I spent a weekend eating processed foods and came back 'stuck'.

So I find it ironic that I have obviously NOT digested my food properly for a year, but yet have still healed.  And I have no doubt that it is because of my daily consumption of bone broth, good saturated fats, raw egg yolks, kefir, yogurt, vast quantities of celtic sea salt, swedish bitters and fermented cod liver oil.

Good foods can't heal you if you can't digest them. But all of the above foods need little or no digestion to be assimilated.  I am so thankful I pushed those foods this past year, in spite of my chronic constipation!

But... now I'm ready to 'go on my own'.  And I really think the GAPS is the way to do that.  I am going to start with garlicky broth and kraut juice for a day, and then add in kefir sour cream the next day, and raw egg yolks the next.  And I hope to stay there until I am going on my own regularly and easily.  I am going to use this chart as a way to see how well I am digesting my food.  And as I add foods back in, I will watch my elimination closely to see if I am digesting it.

I hope to add in my swedish bitters and fermented cod liver oil after the yolks. And then after that, add a meat or veggies, well cooked, each day, and see what it does to me. 

I'll post on here as I see changes.  Hopefully good, and hopefully quickly. ;)

Friday, October 28, 2011

We're Back

The kids and I just got back from spending 3 weeks with my family in Iowa.  It was amazing weather and relaxing and fun times.

While we did miss daddy like crazy, we all found it really hard to leave family and friends.  Esp knowing it could be a couple of years before we see them again.  The last time we were there was 2 1/2 years ago.  So one never knows.

While NJ certainly has it's good points, I prefer Iowa for this present stage of life.  I believe kids need dirt and nature and free spaces and time to become who they need to be.  It's the foundation for their health, academic understanding (esp science) and theology.  It's easier to see God's amazingness in his creation then in his human creatures sometimes.  :)

But... there is no doubt in my mind that God has us here for the moment, and therefore, it's where I want to be.

It took me a day to acclimate to being back, but that is better then last time.  I think it took me a good month.  So a day is making serious progress.  I really was very refreshed while there.  I just found it hard to leave such comfort, knowing my life here in NJ isn't as 'comfortable' in many areas.

We also did great on our semi-GAPS diet.  I was worried that being away from my kitchen would wreak havoc on our food.  But it didn't.  I had 1 1/2 suitcases full of food stuffs, no joke. So that helped. Plus my sister had a bunch of things for us, like coconut oil and Dr. Bronner's and nice knives (my parents have horrible knives!  And when you use a lot of fresh veggies, that is not acceptable).  So that really helped.  I made kombucha while I was there, and we had kefir with raw egg yolks every day.  We had soup for breakfast every day like we do here.  Our meats were not grass fed, but we had great eggs and organic, raw milk.  My cousin and I kicked the trip off with a sauerkraut making session, which lasted the whole trip.  So we really didn't lack in too much.

Oh, I even brought our fermented cod liver oil and bitters!  The kids were a bit bummed.  :)  Hee hee.

I desperately missed my Vita-Mix while there, and was so happy to come back to it's loud motor.  It's good to know when you spend so much on a piece of equipment that it wasn't a waste.  

So, it's back to reality.  I'm looking forward to starting up school on Monday.  And I'm also hoping/planning on starting GAPS for myself.  I'll try and update on here how that goes.  I hope to start the whole family in January, but I've realized that I have the most messed up digestion, so I hope to get a head start so we can all stay together in January.

God is good.  Always.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Coconut Oil as KY

I listed a bunch of reasons why I like coconut oil here.  One I forgot to mention is to replace KY Jelly.  We keep a small container of it in my nightstand.  Enough said.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Dumbest Generation, by Mark Bauerlein

I heard about The Dumbest Generation, by Mark Bauerlein, from Thomas Jefferson Education.  It was highly recommended and I was excited to read it.  After I had finished, I felt a bit battered.  Not the reaction I was expecting.  I guess I tend towards book that make me 'feel' good about myself.  This one, not so much.  Geesh!

Well, it made me feel good about the path I am on in regards to educating myself and my children.  But it also made me feel REALLY stupid.  Which, to be fair, I am on the ignorant side.  His subtitle is: 'How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future-Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30'.  Well, I'm 33, but I definitely should not be trusted!  Although I did not grow up in a techy world like he discusses.  The end results are the same.  *sighs* 

His overall point is that technology is not all it's cracked up to be.  And that we need to rethink some of our techie-ed.  The computer CAN be a great tool for learning, but few students actually use it as such.  Instead, it's caused them to be 'wired' and need to have constant change and stimulation.  And also, to consider their peers preferences over and above that of tradional thinkers and history in general.  In a word, or 2, they are the 'Dumbest Generation' and that needs to change.

He starts out by explaining how people under the age of 30 have a serious knowledge deficit. I'm not under 30, but I definitely could not answer many of the questions he considered common knowledge. And I fully agree.  We have come to think that we are a 'people unto ourselves' and that 'history won't repeat itself', which is absurd and pompous of us of course.  Thomas Jefferson Education talks about that very thing.  And it gives a great way to fill in that deficit in ourselves and our children.  As does classical education.  Any education based on reading classic works and studying history and THINKING, are great ways of filling in that serious deficit in people.  And that is important if America is to remain free and great. 

He spends 3 chapters on explaining who these 'techies' are and why they became this way.  How our turning from education based on classics, to education based on cultural relevancy and ease and technology, has turned out a number of generations that are seriously lacking in common sense, and are tuned, instead, to pressure from their own peers.  He even spends a chapter talking about how the leaders gave up their authority in the kids' lives instead of insisting on them growing up and getting a real education.  This started happening in the 1960s, along with flower power and 'freedom'. 

The final chapter is a somewhat depressing polemic about how this deficit has and will affect America.  Depressing.  I've known this for awhile now, so I shouldn't have found it depressing.  I truly do believe I am helping to educate my children in just the way that America needs, to remain strong and free.  And to glorify God, and understand history so it doesn't have to repeat itself. 

He ends with this: 'Adults everywhere need to align against youth ignorance and apathy, and not fear the 'old fogy' tag and recoil from the smirks of the young.  The moral poles need to reverse, with the young no longer setting the pace for right conduct and cool thinking.  Let's tell the truth.  the Dumbest Generation will cease being dumb only when it regards adolescence as an inferior realm of petty striving and adulthood as a realm of civic, historical, and cultural awareness that puts them in touch with the perennial ideas and struggles.  The youth of America occupy a point in history like every other generation did and will, and their time will end.  But the effects of their habits will outlast them, and if things do not change they will be remembered as the fortunate ones who were unworthy of the privileges they inherited.  They may even be recalled as the generation that lost that great American heritage, forever.' 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Deal with the Little Things-Marriage

Drew was speaking with a man from church.  He had just performed the marragie for his son's 2nd wife.  His words of wisdom:

"If I could give young married couples one piece of advice it would be: Deal with the little stuff.  Because they eventually become big stuff, and are so much more difficult to deal with."

I thought that was excellent advice!  Molehills become mountains, and often without us even realizing it.

Drew and I, after 10 years of marriage, are finally starting to realize the truth of that, and learning to deal with our 'little things' before they get out of hand. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

How Much Money is a Mom Worth?

I've seen these lists floating around the internet for years.  It's fun to read them. 

The MOM Song, by Go Fish is a great song about just that.  How much work a mom does, but yet never gets 'paid' for it. 

I thought it would be fun to list the jobs I do myself, and how much I would have to pay (annually) if I were to pay for each one 'full-time'.  I may 'overshoot' a bit..... But I'm allowed, I'm the mom. ;)

1.  Teacher-$40,000
2.  Doctor-$100,000 (we could include the price of medicine and healthcare in that one, it's a bit high)
3.  Nanny/babysitter $30,000
4. Chauffeur-$20,000
5.  Cook $30,000 (it does, after all, include finding food sources, preparing and cleaning up afterwards)
6.  Shopper $1000 (I have no idea what this would include, but it implies my thrift store shopping is not for naught)
7.  Entertainer $5,000 (activities, movies, etc.)
8.  Maid (cleaning the house, although my kids are starting to really help out with that, maybe I should pay them...)
9.  Launderer $1000

That is as far as my creativity carried me. 

But here are some ways that we I do save money.  A penny saved is a penny earned.

1. $40 a month saved by hanging my clothes to dry rather than using a dryer
2. $20,000 annually by using food as our healer rather then modern medicine (including health insurance, deducatables for visits and medicine, surgery, time lost to healing, etc.). 
3. Unspecified for chiropractic care.  I clean on weekends and get free adjustments for myself and my family.  Best use of time ever!!!!!!
4.  $400 a month by using our old, beat up car rather then buying a new one. 
5.  $500 for 'curriculum'. Instead, we mostly use books I find at the thrift store for super cheap.  Granted, I won't 'skimp' on this.  I prefer what we find as opposed to some thought out curriculum.  But if I find something I feel the kids will benefit greatly by, I'll pay as much as necessary for it.  Thankfully, it's seldom necessary.
6. $1000 annual for clothes.  We get mostly hand-me-downs, and thrift store finds.  But I think we dress quite cutely and comfortably. 
7.  $2000 This is a random guesstimate, for making almost everything from scratch.  But, truthfully, I do not skimp on food quality (other then non-organic produce).  I just prefer to make it all myself.  We eat mostly GAPS foods.  Lots of good meats, fats and broth, and we fill in with veggies and we dessert on fruits.  We hardly ever eat out, which gets really expensive over time also. 
8. $1000 annually on gas and wear and tear on car.  By not going all over tarnation and planning trips wisely, and by driving a small car that is insanely good on gas.
9. $2000 annually by sending food to work with Drew rather then him buying it in the city.  

I think that is enough to be considered a part-time job. :)  

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Language of God, by Francis S. Collins

I'd been meaning to read this book since last summer when I was on a Creation kick.  But the kick ended before I got to the book.  A friend recently asked me to read it and give my opinion (what was he thinking?!?), as we had another scientist from Creation Research Institute at our church who he disagreed with. 

Francis Collins is obviously a genius.  He became the head of the Human Genome Project and carried it through amazingly well.

He was raised very similar to how I want to raise my own children, which gives me great hope. :)  ''like my older brothers, I was home-schooled by my mother, a remarkably talented teacher.  Those early years conferred on me the priceless gift of the joy of learning.  While my mother had no organized class schedule or lesson plans, she was incredibly perceptive in identifying topics that would intrigue a young mind, pursuing them with great intensity to a natural stopping point, and then switching to something new and equally exciting.  Learning was never something you did because you had to, it was something you did because you loved it.'

He is a Christian, and the point of his book was to convince people that you can be a Bible-believing Christian, and still believe in evolution/big bang theory.  Which he obviously does.

It was good to see his point of view and I'm glad I read it.  But, I do ultimately disagree with him.  But I also have to believe that he is a Christian who God is using in the scientific world.  So more power to him!

One thing that bothered me was that he repeated, throughout the book, that 'science proves evolution', but I disagree. The evidence CAN be used to prove the hypothesis of evolution, or it can prove, intelligently, creation as well. But he does not acknowledge that at all. And his entire thesis is based on that fact-that science ONLY proves evolution/big bang/BioEthics. Here are some quotes from the book:

P. 45-'Science reveals evolution'

p. 105 'Evolution, as a mechanism, can be and must be true.'

p.127 'similar DNA sequence in various organisms provide powerful support Darwin's theory of evolution'

p. 133 'truly it can be said that not only biology but medicine would be impossible to understand w/out the theory of evolution.... The study of genomes leads inexorably to the conclusion that we humans share a common ancestor with other living things. '

p. 136 'Unless one is willing to take the position that God has place these decapitates AREs in these precise positions to confuse and mislead us, the conclusion of a common ancestor for humans and mice is virtually inescapable. This kind of recent genome data thus presents an overwhelming challenge to those who hold to the idea that all species were created ex nihilo'. But it doesn't. There are theories about those very things that fit right into creation also.

p. 173 'In general, those who hold these views are sincere, well-meaning, God-fearing people, driven by deep concerns that naturalism is threatening to drive God out of human experience . But the claims of YEC simply cannot be accommodated by tinkering around the edges of scientific knowledge' The YEC scientists are every bit as scientific as himself. It's conjecture and opinion on his part.

p. 177 'YEC (young earth creationists) has reached a point of intellectual bankruptcy, both in its science and in its theology'.

p. 178 'To adhere to the faith of their childhood, they are required to reject a broad and rigorous body of scientific data, effectively committing intellectual suicide. Presented with no other alternative than Creationism, is it any wonder that many of these young people turn away from faith, concluding that they simply cannot believe in a God who would ask them to reject what science has so compellingly taught us about the natural world?'

In my opinion, he is making wide claims that simply aren't true. You don't have to reject what science says to still believe in the Bible/creation.

p. 183 He talked about the Intelligent design movement. I LOVED Philip Johnsons books and Michael Behe's Darwin's Black Box. AWESOME books!

p. 190 'Admittedly, we cannot precisely outline the order of the steps that ultimately led to the human clotting cascade . We may never be able to do so, because the host organisms of many predecessor cascades are lost to history. Yes Darwinism predicts that plausible intermediate steps must have existed, and some have indeed already been found.' But ID/Creation addresses those issues just as well, if not better, then evolution.

p. 198 'Truth is truth. Truth cannot disprove truth.' Agreed!

p. 206 'Very well, so the 6 days of creation can be harmonized with what science tells us about the natural world...' Huh?

p. 207 'as noted previously, studies of human variation, together with the fossil record, all point to an origin of modern humans approximately a hundred thousand years ago, most likely in East Africa'.

p. 209 He doesn't believe the stories of Job and Jonah are literal stories. Jesus refers to creation/noah and I believe Job and Jonah as well, although I'm not positive about that.

p. 210 'Will we turn our backs on science because it is perceived as a threat to God, abandoning all of the promise of advancing our understanding of nature and applying that to the alleviation of suffering and the betterment of humankind? Alternatively, will we turn our backs on faith, concluding that science has rendered the spiritual life no longer necessary, and that traditional religious symbols can now be replaced by engravings of the double helix on our altars?'

p. 230 'Science can be a form of worship. Indeed, believers should seek to be in the forefront among those chasing after new knowledge. Believers have led science at many times in the past.' Creationist definitely agree with this. Their studies are a form of worship of their amazing God.

p. 238 The universal presence of mutations in DNA, the price we pay for evolution, means that no one can claim bodily perfection any more than spiritual perfection.' Creation's explanation of entropy/sin and adaption explain this far better in my opinion.
He also makes it sound as though no professional scientist in any branch actually believes creation. Which isn't true.

p.65-'Physicists are in agreement that the universe began as...'
p. 68- 'Scientists believe our own sun did not form in the early days of the universe'
p. 99- 'No serious biologists today doubt the theory of evolution to explain the marvelous complexity and diversity of life'
p. 141 'The examples reported here from the study of genomes, plus others that could fill hundreds of books of this length, provide the kind of molecular support for the theory of evolution that has convinced virtually all working biologists that Darwin's framework of variation and natural selection is unquestionably correct.'
p. 146 'From a biologist perspective, the evidence in favor of evolution is utterly compelling'

But there are physicists, scientists and biologist that do not believe in evolution, and intelligent ones who have combed through all the facts and come to a different conclusion. It's ok to believe it, but don't make it sound that all intelligent, thinking professional people in the field of science believe what you believe. They don't, and some of them have written intelligent books to refute evolution. Although to be fair, creationist approach the subject with just as much assurance and enthusiasm

But, my biggest argument with the book is that the Bible is the FINAL authority on life.  And rather then trying to fit the Bible into science, we need to fit science into the Bible.  If we try and keep the Bible 'relevant' to science today, we are on shaky ground.  Science is constantly changing, and a religion based on it is very shaky indeed.

Science really is fascinating!  I look forward to delving more deeply into it and learning more of God's amazing world! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Creativity in Homemaking

I've given a lot of thought lately, to why I have suddenly taken to 'homemaking'.  I literally find myself worshiping while cooking and doing the dishes.  And even vacuuming on my hands and knees with our mini shop vac (only way to go by the way).

I've spoken to so many women who find it drudgery.  I was reading this blog post by a woman who loves the Lord with all her heart and believes her job is to be a wife and mom, but she admits, she doesn't like it.  That seems to be the norm in the church today.   I used to seethe when doing the dishes.  I used to feel so sorry for myself when cooking the 6th meal that week for the family.  I used to get so mad at Drew for sitting around while I worked like a slave.  I used to think my life was so boring and inane.  I wasn't doing anything interesting or fulfilling.  And it was miserable.

Now granted, there are many situations in life that make it all harder.  I spoke with one mom whose youngest is allergic to everything and even touching the wrong thing can make the child anaphylactic.  So spending hours in the kitchen, on things that may or not kill your child doesn't make for conducive worshiping times.  And working full time and 'fitting in' time in the kitchen also saps the 'fun' out of it.  As does having too little money to even be able to afford the cheapest 'healing' foods out there.  Unfortunately, junk food is often cheaper.  And there are many other situations which make this harder.

Thankfully, those are not the situation for me.  Every morsel of food I bring into and prepare in my house, I know will glorify God by helping myself, my husband and children to heal and be healthy.  Time to prepare food is scheduled comfortably into my day.  It's downright fun to cook that way!  My kids seldom complain anymore.  Most of my food actually, finally, tastes good nowadays.  I know we will sit down as a family for lunch and have uplifting conversations with the whole family.

Radical Homemakers pointed out an obvious, but often missed, point.  God intended the role of a wife and mom (Proverbs 31 Woman) to use one's creativity and skills (Ok, she didn't mention God or Proverbs).  It used to be that the mom was the family doctor, the nutritionist, the teacher, saver of resources, scheduler, trainer, producer of most things used by the family.  It was a lot of work and stress, but it was also very fulfilling.  No one else could do her job.  She was needed!  But over time, esp after WW II, that changed.  Doctors came onto the scene.  And the role of doctor was relegated to the professionals.  The public schools, meant for the poor, became the norm and moms lost the role of teacher and trainer.  In both cases, she became the 'scheduler' to get them to the doctor and schools on-time.  Not a lot of pride or creativity in that!  Enriched factory foods were advertised by the tv and the doctor, as being the best way to care for your family.  So rather then coming up with beautiful, nutrient-dense, healing, whole foods for meals, the mom went to the grocery store, picked out the 'best' of the processed foods, and came home and heated them up and served them.  No real thought, no need for thinking or creativity.  Clothes were bought instead of made in the home.  Creativity and thinking and knowledge have become less a necessity for the modern mom.  And I think, in the process, the joy of the job has been stripped away.  It has become menial and slave-like.  Just doing what the latest fad says to do.  Buy the most enriched bread for the lunches.  Play the right music, enroll the kids in the best combination of extra-curricular activities.  But  none of them need her, other then money and chauffeuring.  And who wants to be provide money and car service?  How demeaning!

It's no wonder intelligent, educated women don't want to take on the roll of homemaker!  What a waste of perfectly good resources.  One is better off teaching large groups of people, or in an orphanage in Africa, or even in corporate America, where you can be a witness to others who don't know Christ. 

But.... God, no doubt, created the role of wife and mother, and expects wives and mothers to fulfill them. And, to do them with an attitude that is pleasing to Him.  So the problem can't be in the role.  And with so many people struggling with their attitude, there must be something deeper that is wrong. 

This, in no way, is meant as a denouncement on those who don't enjoy the task.  I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I could  not have gotten to the point I am, without the Holy Spirit's directing.  I did not do it on my own, but rather it was done for me.  Frankly, it was forced on me and I fought it for awhile.  But now, of course, I'm so thankful!  It gives me a whole new outlook on life, and it's so much more fun to find joy in the house work I need to do anyway. 

Imagine if YOU, as wife and mom, were solely responsible for your husband and children's well-being.  Imagine if they would only learn if YOU taught them.  Imagine if there were no doctors and you had to keep them healthy yourself.  Imagine if who they became as adults, was fully dependent on you.  That is a LOT of responsibility.  That is scary.  And, I believe it is the truth.  God holds the parents responsible for their children.  And wives for their role as helpmeet to their husbands.  They must be intentional in who they delegate the role of teacher and nutritionist for their children and husband.  Because when you stand before God, 'but....' won't cut it.

Maybe if we were able to figure out how to use our God-given talents, skills, passions and creativity to INTENTIONALLY care for our family, we'll find joy again, in our God-given responsibilities.

Last night at church, God ever so graciously reminded me, yet again, of how important my role is to his plan for this world.  We had this amazing former terrorist speaker at church last night.  And he gave some pretty depressing statistics about how in 50 years, the world will be predominantly muslim-controlled.  But his answer was to not feel fear, but to KNOW that our God is in control.  And he stressed multiple times that we esp need to get our children prepared for this.  To train them to know and love God with all of their heart, so they can 'love their muslim neighbors' to Christ. Wow!  

Maybe not also.   Life is never easy.  Simple, yes, easy, no.