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Saturday, 14 January 2017

One Step at a Time






2017 is here! (It's been here for a few days, I know, but promptness has never been my strong suit.)

It's time for resolutions, new habits, brushing the dust off my sneakers, and cleaning out the house and fridge.

Sam and I have been thinking through our lives and really praying about how we can make some positive changes for our family and our home. We wanted to emphasize a healthy balance in all areas of our lives, not just physically. We want to model for Hudson that being healthy is so much more than being 'fit', whatever that might mean. We want our home to be a safe place for Hudson to crawl, walk, learn, grow, and eat. We want our spiritual conditions to be mature, growing, and ready for a little one to observe. We desire to be physically healthy, not for just a season, but for our lifetime. We want to have a healthy marriage that honors Christ and proclaims the Gospel through its' message.

I want to see change and often don't want to put in the time and energy to see it through to get results. I am a product of the immediate-satisfaction generation. I see these big changes and lifestyles I desire for our little family, but I know that we can't afford to simply trash everything overnight and start with brand new things or gadgets to help us. So, we are taking little steps. We evaluated different areas that we could start small, and work our way towards where we want to ultimately be. Here is a (hopefully) brief list of what we are doing to start:

1) Limited Cell Phone Time
When was the last time you checked Facebook? How long were you on there? Was someone in the room with you when you did? We found ourselves to be checking social media, playing games, and/or reading articles way too often on our phones, when we could have been spending time with each other. We would put Hudson own to sleep, and then BAM. Our minds turned off. I was too tired to engage in conversation. I wanted to relax, do nothing... so I would scroll. For way too long. Sam and I decided that for the month of January, at least, we would set our phones in another room starting at 5 p.m. This was our family time. Dinner is uninterrupted. Play time is not being captured through a lens. Conversation would be face-to-face and not through direct messages. We want to cherish our time as a family and protect the hours we have without wasting it on our phone. Sam and I have noticed this week we have talked for HOURS at night and feel like this is already positively impacting our marriage.


The starter kit with Young Living is SO GOOD!

2) Essential Oils
"Oh, great. Another oily lady post." I used to think that using essential oils were crazy. That it was made-up and a short-lived fad. That was, until Hudson had a sinus infection and could-not-breathe-at-night-for-weeks. (This momma was at her wits end.) We traveled to Georgia to visit family for Christmas when my sweet mother-in-law offered to share her oils for Hudson's breathing. We had tried everything else and I was desperate for relief for my baby. 15 minutes of diffusing later, my child was sound asleep and slept through the night. That night, I swore I would spend my life savings on oils if it would really help him. I read up on the benefits of using them and researched the pros and cons. (I never found any true cons...) I contacted a friend who sells Young Living essential oils and we have been using them this new year. They are, in a nutshell, wonderful. All three of us are sleeping better, my coughing and various illnesses are improving without cold/flu/stomach/cough/you-name-it medicine. I have gone from the biggest cynic to the biggest believer. Let's get coffee and talk about them because, HELLO, they are wonderful and I want you to love them as much as we do. Like I said before, we could not afford to spend a ton of money, and we didn't. They are affordable and are already saving me money I would have spent on medicine. Plus, they smell and taste better than cough syrup.

3) Reducing Chemicals
This one goes hand in hand with the oils. When I was pregnant, I began to really pay attention to what I was using to clean my house (whenever I had enough breath in my squished-up lungs to do so). I was extremely aware of the chemicals I was breathing in and began to ask Sam to clean with harsh chemicals so I wouldn't expose Hudson to them, even in the womb. Now that he is mobile, cleaning has taken on a whole new meaning. I felt like I couldn't spray my cleaners around him without worrying if he was breathing it in. I would close off rooms, wash my hands, and not let him touch anything after cleaning. My friend, Maggie, then invited me to a Norwex party. Here is yet another thing I was unsure about. I saw some videos on how they work, and we took a small step by ordering one item to start with. I love using the product so far because I can clean while Hudson crawls all around me and even grabs the cloth. It sets my mind at ease and though our house is not yet entirely chemical-free, we are closer. We have also ordered some Young Living cleaner to use to further eliminate chemicals and use ingredients that are safe for my little guy to breathe in.





4) Clean Eating

This is such a trendy word and I am not sure anyone truly knows what it entails. Here is what we've experienced. A few months ago, we decided to try the Paleo diet. To put it simply, you cut out grains, dairy, nuts, legumes, and sugar. It is high in protein, fruits, veggies, and better fats. When we did this, we felt SO GOOD. More energy, better sleep, less stomach issues, weight loss... just to name a few perks. We stopped doing Paleo and within a few days, I began to feel terrible. And I continued to feel sick for months. I did have one legitimate infection during that time, but the rest of my symptoms have continued long after the infection passed. So, we are going to eat clean. Eat more protein and less grains and dairy. This is a process and one that will take a while to get down, but I want to make it a lifestyle, not a quick fix diet that helps me shed some baby weight. I am easing back into that way of eating, and will likely keep eating healthy dairy in small amounts. I know this 'diet' isn't for everyone, but I have seen firsthand how much this helped me, inside and out.



So, there you have it. These are our small steps to being a healthier family and providing a healthier home for our son. These steps are not for everyone, I know. But we all need to start somewhere and make little changes to improve our overall health. I am dedicated to being healthier in whatever way I can be, because life is so much more than just me now.
What changes are you making for a healthier home?

Want some resources on what I mentioned? Check out the sites below for further reading:

Phone-
http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/a-social-media-heart-check

Essential Oils-
http://seedtoseal.com/
Young Living Oils

Clean Eating-
http://whole30.com/
http://paleoleap.com/paleo-101/ 

Norwex-
https://maggiesandusky.norwex.biz/

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

A Picture's Worth

Well, I certainly haven't posted in a while. BUT! It's for good reason!

We recently did a little traveling, and we are now over jet-lag. My baby is napping, and I have bathrooms to clean, so here are some pictures to do the updating for me!

We ate some incredible food. I may have teared up a few times to taste some of my old favorites. I have no shame that I get noticeably emotional over food. 

Hudson did SO well traveling. I could learn a thing or two from his flexibility.
My little guy relaxing.
Did I mention yet that Hudson learned to crawl while overseas? No biggie.


I got all fancy for a high tea for Hudson's 6 month birthday!
Now that we are back, we are sitting big in shopping carts. This has changed my life for the better and I bought so many things at the store- because I could simply fit them in the cart.

 Also, Happy Fall Y'all! I promise a real post here soon. Off to clean! And study! And fold clothes! And maybe sneak in a cup of tea while the weather is lovely.


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Motherhood Isn't For Me


My son is almost five months old now. And if there is one thing I have learned in the last 5 months, it is this:

Motherhood is not for me.

Now, before you go off thinking that I don't love being a mom, here is what I mean:

Motherhood is not about me. It is not for my personal gain.

I had a conversation with my own mom a few weeks ago about something incredibly hard simple, sleep training. Hudson was ready for some self-soothing and learning to sleep without mommy right next to him. I knew it was time for this, but I found myself telling my mother that I didn't want to do it. I would miss my snuggles with him. I wasn't ready for him to be so independent. I wanted him to need me in that weird way.

And my wise momma just simply said, "Motherhood isn't for you. You do what is best for him."

And that word has been stuck with me since.

Being a mom is HARD, y'all. It is physically, emotionally, spiritually, daily, hourly....draining. I am 'on call' 24/7. A lot of my days are spent doing laundry, changing diapers, and sweeping floors. And sometimes this doesn't feel like 'enough' in my life. Because of that, a lot of sin and pride has been brought to light. There was a lot more of me that needed to die than I ever thought. I am constantly amazed at how often I think of myself.

It is a daily lesson that I am learning--being a mom is not about me. It is about Hudson. It's about falling on my knees every morning (sometimes at 3 a.m.) to ask the Lord for strength, patience, wisdom, and love.

This whole motherhood gig? It's about bringing glory and honor to a God who has asked me to be a mommy and wife. Is it glamorous? Take a look at my spit-up stained shirt and you'll know that it's not. But is it worth it? Yes. Because Jesus is worth it.

He is worth it in the slums. He is worth it in a third-grade classroom. And He is worth it in a nursery at 3 a.m.


"For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

P.S. Hudson is sleeping through the night now. Hallelujah. And thank you, mom. You are still, somehow, always right.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Here I Raise My Ebenezer

Ebenezer. What a strange word.

Growing up in church, I always giggled at this word, because it conjured up images of Scrooge and ghosts of Christmas past. It was not until recently that I understood the deeper (and truer) meaning of this word.

I make no claims to be a Hebrew scholar (though I am married to a linguist), but here is my feeble attempt at explaining the word. Ebenezer stems from a Hebrew word meaning "Stone of Help." This literal stone was used often in Biblical times by the Israelites as a visual reminder of what the Lord had done in their life. It was a marker of sorts, to show just how much God had been moving and working. In 1 Samuel, after winning some major military battles, Samuel erects an Ebenezer saying,
"Thus far has the Lord helped us." (1 Samuel 7:12)

So, it is here I begin. This is a new season of life in many ways, and I want to start off this blog with a look backwards and remember that, "Up until this moment, the Lord has helped me."


-I look back at my time overseas and recognize major moments when the Lord intervened and quite possibly saved my life .(I'm looking at you, Dengue Fever.. and monsoon floods in the village...) There are other moments from my time abroad where I see a situation where if the Lord had not been ever-present, my life would look drastically different in some sad ways. This took intense dream-breaking and heartache, but He saved me from some terrible situations. I see an Ebenezer in India.

-I look at my time teaching and living alone in Tulsa when I got home from India. What an incredible, refining experience. God brought me incredible friends and also did a great work in my heart to remove seeds of bitterness, anger, and complacency. He also placed 24 beautiful little souls into my daily life, and I so miss being their 'Miss Lewis.’ I see an Ebenezer in Oklahoma.

-I look at how God brought me to Texas. I was ready to leave before I even unpacked my bags in my little campus house. I had my eyes set on India—I had to get back there. I would let nothing and no one get in my way. Then I started hearing whispers of a guy I needed to meet. Well, meet we did, and two years later we are married with a baby. I see an Ebenezer in Texas.

-I look now at the sweet baby sleeping in my arms. We wanted kids, sure. We had even planned on when we would try. Two weeks into marriage and two pink lines on a stick later, Hudson was in our lives. This totally shocked me and sent me into some times of loneliness, struggle and doubt. Was I ready to be a mom? Was our marriage going to be OK? Y'all, by the grace of God alone our marriage is stronger and deeper than I think it would have been had we been Hudson-less. I see an Ebenezer in my son.


I read Psalm 124:1-8, and I can boldly agree with the Psalmist.

"If the Lord had not been for us...
we would have been swallowed. Engulfed. Swept over. Ripped apart.
Our help is in the name of the Lord."

I begin this blog by raising an Ebenezer. A marker to say that if it hadn't been for the Lord, I would not have made it. Physically, spiritually, mentally, as a wife, student, mom, daughter.. you name it.

As I journey along, I hope to look back at this Ebenezer and remember that not once has the Lord forsaken or forgotten me. Not once have His promises been empty. He has been, currently is being and will forever be faithful.

So, dear friends. I invite you to journey with me, keeping in mind this Ebenezer.