second try

Friday, June 22, 2012

It's About Time!

My time tonight is short (I was ready for bed 2 hours ago!) so I am mostly posting in pictures. I intend to post on a regular basis by the end of the year as my youngest gets a bit older. I hope you enjoy, and maybe get inspired too!

Our first chicks hatched naturally. Three black and three brown.

My kind of fast food. 
You are looking a almost a month's worth of meals, most of which can go into the crock pot. Prep time was about one full morning plus a little extra here and there.

My freezer door is usually more filled with chicken broth, but this is it tonight. 
Applegate products are a treat we enjoy sometimes. Wild rice and garlic are leftovers from a meal this week. I made enough to serve again as sides with two different meals.

Fermented a batch of my favorite salsa for wild salmon- blueberry, pineapple and cilantro. So far two fish haters have eaten my salmon prepared this way and liked it.

My dancing, beautiful oldest is turning four in a few short days. Happy birthday sweetie!

We were happy with my recipe creation for braised short ribs. Recipe will follow!

She just started eating solids! My little baby is our earliest and most mature baby eater. She loves her cod liver oil, egg yolks and a little banana. And she cries if I don't feed her fast enough, just like I did. 

Our middle girl. This is what happened when mom and dad tried to have a ten minute conversation: 40 eggs got cracked. A huge bowl of eggs was the result with only three eggshells in it. Oh and about five eggs met the carpet. I am glad they are used to cracking eggs with me! Otherwise... it could have been full on disaster. I am now appreciating the old saying, "Don't keep all your eggs in one basket." Because, just maybe, your little darling will easily pull it out and go to work.

Once we got rid of some extra roosters our lovely hens started laying more eggs. Let there be peace in the hen house! My favorites are from copper marans who lay the darkest eggs. We had 12 hatched in an incubator and 10 were roosters. Go figure.

The fruit of a couple hours of labor: 1/2 gallon hot salsa, 1/2 gallon mild salsa, raw whey and cream cheese, blueberry pineapple salsa, sourdough starter, two jars of sour cream and one jar of mayonaise. This is all lacto-fermenting.

I have learned a lot about adoption through this momma. All the other hens laid their eggs and left but she stayed and kept them warm, made sure the humidity was right and turned them three times a day. And so they call her mama and they all love her and feel safe with her. A happy little family.  

I have started blending a yummy concoction that varies each day- a powerhouse of nutrition. Organic berries, bananas, organic chard, plain yogurt, raw honey, raw milk, acerola powder (natural vitamin c from cherries), butter oil, nutritional yeast and coconut oil. And whatever I feel like throwing in. Today I added apples and carrots. 

Fish is one of my favorite quick meals. A friend who owns some fishing boats in Canada gave us this salmon he caught- and even some white salmon too! This meal took 20 minutes tops.

With one little cluck from momma they knew what to do... search the ground for food.

Home made raw cream cheese.

Beautiful, I know... but these rooster feet make the best stock in the world. Thank you roosters for your gift of nutrition to our family! There are three birds in this huge stock pot.

Lemonade day. Our oldest made above minimum wage in one hour selling organic lavendar lemonade sweetened with white sugar and  organic lemonade sweetened with rapadura. Check out the piggy bank she used for her transactions! So cute. And she is really good at waving.

A little front yard color.

This was my first batch of ground organic corn meal. I love grinding my own flour! 
It's so easy with the right equipment.

Oh yes, children are a gift!

She makes me smile all the time. 

She was recently the birthday girl!

They love their glasses!

They've got some cutie girl style going on for their evening walk.

And this one couldn't last.

This is the first time our baby saw the snow, and the first time our second really got to play in it.

And so they had fun.

This is the renovated little home on a beautiful two acres we considered buying earlier this year.

This is the big home on a small lot that we almost bought last month. We backed out the day we were to sign our final papers and go about getting the key. We found some more issues and decided we were done. I am so happy we are still renting! And I have no desire to look again for some time, but I learned a lot in the whole process about buying a home for one, but also trusting God, recognizing the presence of peace and following God's voice one step at a time.

And so, this is my life so far in 2012. I'm blessed.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Wise Rebuke of James

I was reading James yesterday and was struck by this:

James 5:1-6 5 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. [a] 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

What a great place we can be in now, each of us who has learned/is learning/now chooses to learn how to give now will continue to give during hard times. The way we choose to love each other will bring many into relationship with Christ. The way we serve our communities and depend on God in the days ahead will bring glory to His name and bring restoration to many people in many different ways. Redemption comes out of a gift. We can give it away by modeling another pursuit than worship of the American dream.

We have been in the last days since Christ walked the earth. It is still true that if someone comes to us in need and we have with us what they need, we give it then. We don't ask them to return another day. Scripture makes this clear. Hoarding and selfishness will not preserve us in this nation. The economy is failing, businesses are closing and some communities are greatly faltering. The answer is not in politics; it is in Christ Jesus, and he says GIVE. We can only give away that which we posses. If we need more of anything,  we need only to ask Christ. Where we lack, He can give to us and then we can give it away. Hoarding reaches only ourselves, but Christ asks us to reach out.

As I passed a street with my grandfather's name on it today, I pondered the legacy he left. He was a successful business man and wise in his dealings. He loaned probably more often than anyone knows, and never with interest. He gave in secret so many times. Every now and then I hear stories, whispers that speak of a lifestyle of giving. When he suddenly passed away, in the midst of tears I associated these scriptures with his life:

Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than fine perfume, 

    and the day of death better than the day of birth. 

Ezekiel 18:7-8 
He does not oppress anyone,
    but returns what he took in pledge for a loan.
He does not commit robbery 
    but gives his food to the hungry 
    and provides clothing for the naked. 
He does not lend to them at interest
    or take a profit from them. 
He withholds his hand from doing wrong
    and judges fairly between two parties.

By many people's standards, my grandfather might have lived the American dream, yet by his lifestyle of giving- and in secret- it's clear he was not a slave to it because he didn't hoard and he wasn't selfish. He gave it away, so many times. In exchange for potatoes he was educated as a boy and went on to be successful, established and respected in his family and community. He was full of laughter, and full of gifts. He was a generous man, and example in my life, even from a distance.

My thoughts today are many, but what I am taking away is that I want God to bless me even more so that I can bless others even more- financially, practically, spiritually, with knowledge and learning and friendship. Yet whatever I have or don't have, or you have or don't have, we can all give today what we possess right now. It might be only a smile or a prayer, a hug or a sandwich or a tankful of gas. And any one of those things can change a life and bring someone into the love and embrace of God.

Being enslaved by the American dream is in conflict with sacrificing for others in a time of devastation and calamity. The American dream fails if our material wealth vanishes in a day. The American dream is a joke if we feast in the midst of a famine. But I know one thing that never fails, and that is LOVE. Love will always prefer another and care for others. Love feeds the hungry, love turns orphans into family and feeds the materially rich but spiritually destitute the Bread of Life. It's the only investment we can make that is 100% guaranteed to pay off. Being wealthy is great, and what amazing acts of mercy one can do with funds! But remember the widow with the little penny (mite). We can still give the most even when we "have" the least. It's all about the posture of our hearts. Wealth is not the enemy. Love of money is the root of all evil, not possessing money. Yet whatever we have, the key is to give all of ourselves away to God and to those in need around us.

I am heeding Jame's words of warning. Am I not even more so in the last days than when he wrote them? My prayer is that we would weep when others do, rejoice when they rejoice and give where there is need, all for the glory of God. May His name be glorified by how we live our daily lives. It will shape how we deal with adversity and prepare us to be people who bring honor to His name in any situation. The American dream can live or die, but those free from it's shackles can live in constant love in in times of plenty and in times of upheaval. Love works in any economy. Invest in it. Remember James, and grow rich in love.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mommyhood and My Journey Into Nourishing Food: Part 1

My mind is thinking about God, babies, birth, fertility and food. Having just had a new baby 8 weeks ago, I guess that could be called normal. I pray and eat to grow babies and then I birth them. Then I get hungry when I breastfeed and I think about food- again. For some time I have wanted to share my journey into eating real food and becoming a mostly traditional eater. For me, it is all wrapped up in this thing called becoming a mom. It was my gateway to learning about how food affects our bodies and our babies. This journey has been a huge part in my answer to prayer for our family.

I will start by going backwards. In our first almost two years of marriage we had only one pregnancy, a year into it. Since then I have come to learn that it shouldn't have been that hard. A woman in optimum health should really have little trouble conceiving, unless of course there is some kind of physical issue or other medical reason. I have now read about tribes of people who knew that something was really wrong if a couple got married and didn't become pregnant in the first month or two. Well honestly, I probably don't know anyone who eats the way they did! And I also did not know that women could get pregnant that easily and quickly in an entire people group, although I had heard the term fertile Myrtle. Knowing people who were trying to get pregnant for lengthy periods, including years, was familiar to me. And I thought that Myrtle person was just a random, exceptionally fertile lady for no particular reason. At any rate, I have since learned to see things a little differently. At the time, however, I didn't see our first year as unusual. I had prayed intently for God to give us children since shortly after our wedding, as scripture tells us it is God who opens and closes the womb. In having children Christ is my constant. I always go to Him for them, because I trust He wants to show himself faithful. And so, about a year after our wedding, we had a positive test when we were out of town, in Redding, CA. Thus began a love that will never die in my heart.

Fast forward to a couple weeks later and I was in tears as my body was passing our sweet baby. We only had her (just felt she was a girl) about two months we were told. I was in denial until we were in the ER, because of heavy bleeding and cramping, and both an exterior ultrasound and a vaginal ultrasound found an empty uterus. Then I grieved because I knew it was final. I had to say goodbye. And so I did. I could have gotten mad at God but I consciously chose to worship Him for being faithful. I chose to trust that He doesn't steal from me. I chose to rejoice because it was the first time in my life I had the opportunity to offer God praise when it cost me everything. I had worshiped Christ in painful times before but nothing compared to the pain of saying an earthly goodbye to a child I will never hold in this realm. As I lay on that table in the ER, after getting mad at the doctor who said basically it was no big deal as I should be able to get pregnant again (as if I would ever have another opportunity to carry that one child!), I lifted my arms and sang to Jesus. I told Him how worthy He was. Peace like I can not explain wrapped His arms around me and put my heart into ecstasy over the love and tenderness I felt tangibly. Then we went home and cried... and peace remained though the healing process.

It has been years now and my heart is healed but sometimes I still cry. I am fine with that. I will always have a baby girl in heaven and I will always wish she was here with us, sitting next to our other daughters. We had named her as we said goodbye and I wonder what it would have been like to have her growing up next to the rest of us. I tell her that I love her from time to time, and ask Jesus to please tell her that I have not forgotten her for I never will. Yet in the midst of the grieving I really prayed all the more fervently for another child. A child that would be whole and full term, born lively and healthy. I believe it is God who gives every gift of a child, and I always run to Him for them. 

Almost a year later, we still had an empty womb. A dear friend coming to visit asked if she could share some things with us about nutrition and fertility as we had been discussing nutrition in a limited fashion over phone calls. Of course I said yes. I have a lot of respect for this friend and her advice I highly value. Her visit was incredibly enjoyable, but the nutrition conversation we had with her proved to be not only life-changing, but God's sweet answer to me in my regular prayer for children.

She said that nutrition was such a vast topic that she didn't know where to start, but that the Holy Spirit had lead her to talk to us mainly about fats and oils. And so began an initially overwhelming adventure of learning what I had never even heard before. My husband and I took notes, literally. It was so much to take in, and I think we only talked for about an hour! She recommended I read a book which I will recommend: Nina Planck's, Real Food: What To Eat and Why. It took me about a year to get around to reading it and it was an amazing, engaging and easy read. I think this book could have made learning about eating traditionally go a lot faster for me had I read it at first, as it is simple enough for anyone to get a grasp on food and what it does for us. But as it was, I learned slowly. 

My friend had given me a great starting point. I learned that our two years of regularly consuming soy products was not only harming my fertility and health but my husband's as well. We never bought tofu or soy milk again, though I do keep a traditionally fermented Soy Sauce on hand that I buy from Trader Joe's. I learned that good fats and oils, the real ones that people have been eating for thousands of years before all of these new weird ones were pushed into the food supply, actually aid fertility and help sustain a pregnancy once begun, in addition to providing much needed nutrients to the growing baby. And finding out that people's heads are supposed to be round? (In my mind's eye I am envisioning young models round faces drinking their Coca Colas when it was a new product...) Well, that was a new one on me... I thought it was just genetic. And this was before I knew the word epigenetics, but that is another topic. During this discussion I got up and trashed my huge jar of Crisco that I had always used for baking (should not be used for human consumption!), threw out my white rice, white sugar and white flour. In all these years I have only bought white sugar for making kombucha, and white flour for something I needed to make for others last year.

This is only part of my journey, but suffice it to say that after ridding my kitchen of those harmful "foods", I added into our diets the good fats and oils my friend said were great for us. I put tons of butter on my bread, freely ate cream with strawberries, etc., and began taking cod liver oil daily. Oh, and all that stuff I threw out? I simply purchased brown rice, whole wheat flour (now I grind my own) and rapadura, raw honey, stevia (husband hates that one!) or real maple syrup for sweeteners. Virgin, cold pressed coconut oil slowly joined our pantry as a regular staple. That damaging soy milk? It was in with the whole milk again, yum! And presently, since I am about real food, it has become raw whole milk for us. The result of our early changes? Within just one month we were pregnant! Thank you Jesus as He answered my prayers! Real food the way He made it was healing us. It was a missing link that has now helped to give us three beautiful girls.

There is so much more I could say as that doesn't scratch the surface of my journey. The biggest reason I want to share my journey is because I want to encourage other women who have had miscarriages, infertility, etc. that perhaps eating real food traditionally prepared may help. I am thinking particularly of Christian women, because usually we are already praying and that is the most important step. However, even in my prayers, God sent an answer in the form of my friend's wisdom. I have not stopped learning, reading, researching and reading other people's research. I recognized my friend's visit as God answering my cries to Him to be a mother with a child to hold and raise.

Before, when I was single, I had faith for people to conceive when I prayed for them. I love seeing God move and give people children! Oh, He is so good. Now, I feel like I am armed with the spiritual and the practical. There is so much I do not know, but one thing I know, is that I keep seeing people I know get pregnant with a few minor changes such as I made. And I keep reading the same type of testimonies from women all over the world who went back to the roots of eating and preparing food and found their way out of infertility, complications, etc. For those that choose to pick as time when they start trying to get pregnant, I think it can be good to spend some time building up their body with whole, traditional foods for a period of months before trying to conceive. However, for those like me who are always trying, I think it is just important to be very committed to a whole foods based, fat rich diet. Click here to see an excellent pregnancy diet that has worked for many people, even those with polysystic ovary syndrom , fertility issues, history of miscarriage, etc. It might not solve everything, but for many people, it has changed everything. God used it to change us from a couple into a family. My prayer is that someone reading this would start on a journey that gives them the children they desire. I went first to God and remained there, and eating this way, in the steps of so many for so many thousands of years, is where He lead me. And I am grateful!

I will post more later about this journey of mine into real food and kids in my arms... but for now, that's it. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oh Baby!

So... I have not had time to write a thing for many reasons, one of them being that I needed to get ready to have a baby, we had the holiday season, we got sick, got well and we had our beautiful girl. Now that she is 7 weeks I am getting into a new routine rather wonderfully. I can't wait to be writing the many things I am thinking about all the time! I never got to my list I wanted to finish before the end of the year and the list has kept right on growing into 2012. At any rate, I will be back to writing sooner or later, for those who are wondering. I do love and miss writing!