Sunday, November 30, 2008

I awoke this morning to find...

So I thought this was worthy of a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs, baked cinnamon apples and cinnamon rolls. My husband went outside to shovel, and when I went out to tell him breakfast was ready, I found this...

And this

I love the first snow of the year! After church I'm making some snow angels and a snowman to end all snowmen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Books in the Mail!

Today was a really good mail day...I received " Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler, MPH and " Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed To Put Women and Children First" by Marsden Wagner, M.D., M.S.

Both of these books have been recommended to me and I can't wait to dive in! Thanks to Netflix and their free movies online, I was also able to see ' The Business of Being Born'- which was quite the eye opener.

I wish I could say I was confident in the maternity system here in my area, but since working at the hospital..I cant say so. We have the highest C-Section rate in downstate Illinois- over 30%. We induce most people, also. The funny thing is, a few years ago, I wouldn't have given any of this a second thought. The turning point was when my SIL had our niece. She was induced and knew virtually nothing about anything they were doing to her- she just trusted the doctor. That concerned me a bit, because I'm nosey and want to know everything that's going on.

Little did I know that starting to read about what DOES go on ..would lead me to question so much.

Out of curiosity...what are your opinions of the maternity system in the USA? Doctor care, quality of care, time spent with patient during delivery, etc. Would you ever use a midwife, or a certified Nurse-Midwife? I'm not pregnant, but I want to be informed if/when we have children.

Frugal Diet Soup

I realize it's a bad time of year to go on a diet, with all of the holiday parties and food coming up, but what the heck. In an attempt to be more healthy overall, I'm overhauling the foods we eat around here. It's a challenge to do this on a budget, but I'm really interested in making some lifestyle changes.

I'm finding that replacing a meal a day with this soup has really helped me cut back on calories without feeling too deprived. Plus it's nice with the cold weather- I'm always in a soup mood.

Here's what I use:

3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
Sea Salt
1 can chicken broth
2 cans diced stewed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 can green beans
1 can corn
1 small can mushrooms
1/4 head of cabbage
1 tbsp olive oil

I saute the carrots ,onion and celery in olive oil, with some sea salt and pepper. When they're tender, I add the chicken broth and other ingredients ( including the juice in the canned ingredients) On low heat, I let it all simmer until bubbling.

The nice thing with this recipe is pretty much any vegetable can be substituted- depending on whatever I have on hand. I make a huge batch and keep it in the fridge, and just re-heat for a quick meal. The calories are very low and paired with a few crackers and a tall glass of ice water,I find it to be quite satisfying. My husband isn't too much of a fan, since there isn't any meat- but I'm toying with a recipe that includes chicken.

I call it 'frugal soup' because the ingredients are inexpensive and most are in my cabinets on any given day. Plus its a good way to use up produce that otherwise might be forgotten in the depths of the fridge and go to waste.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Some Election Day Fun

I’m so tired of these mortal men
with their hands on their wallets and their hearts full of sin
scared of their enemies, scared of their friends
and always running for re-election
so come to DC if it be thy will
because we’ve never had a savior on Capitol Hill

You can always trust the devil or a politician
to be the devil or a politician
but beyond that friends you’d best beware
‘cause at the Pentagon bar they’re an inseparable pair
and as long as the lobbyists are paying their bills
we’ll never have a savior on Capitol Hill

All of our problems gonna disappear
when we can whisper right in that President’s ear
he could walk right across the reflection pool
in his combat boots and ten thousand dollar suit

You can render unto Caesar everything that’s his
you can trust in his power to come to your defense
it’s the way of the world, the way of the gun
it’s the trading of an evil for a lesser one
so don’t hold your breath or your vote until
you think you’ve finally found a savior up on Capitol Hill

-Derek Webb, A Savior On Capitol Hill

Election Eve

Here it is, Monday night. Tomorrow the polls will be filled with eager Americans, casting their vote for whichever candidate they feel will do the best in steering this country for the next four years. Heated debates have taken place over things such has healthcare, the economy, and hot-button issues such as abortion. Rallies have been held, millions of dollars donated, family and friends either drawing together or becoming enemies. And in the end, after the polls will go on.

I could be more dramatic;I could proclaim that the entire future of America rests on who will be our next president. But the thing is, I dont believe it does.

I could get into my disdain for a two party system and the problems it perpetuates; how it polarizes the population while not allowing for any tangible change- but I won't. Because in the end, politicians will be politicians. Government will be what it is- a body of imperfect, corruptible and falliable humans.

2 Chronicles 7:14
'if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land'

What if we didn't depend on a political party or governing body to do our work for us? What if we, as Christians, stepped up to the plate?

'Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.' James 1:27

Matthew 5:38-42
'You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Matthew 19:21-25
'Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you?To do justice, love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Jesus is the hope of all nations. We, as those who follow the man who went about doing good- are called to likewise. A faith reduced to slogans, bumper stickers and political action committees is futile. Worse, it contains no power. The world knows and loves the old way. Jesus came to show a new way. A life of grace and mercy, of peace and turning the other cheek.

So, tomorrow I'll vote because I do appreciate having the freedom to cast a ballot. But my hope lies elsewhere.

who's your brother, who's your sister
you just walked passed him,i think you missed her
as we're all migrating to the place where our father lives
'cause we married in to a family of immigrants

my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it's to a king & a kingdom

there are two great lies that i’ve heard:
“the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him

my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood it's to a king & a kingdom

but nothing unifies like a common enemy
and we’ve got one, sure as hell
but he may be living in your house
he may be raising up your kids
he may be sleeping with your wife
oh no, he may not look like you think

- derek webb, a king and a kingdom

Let us us eat, breathe and sleep this new way, that it might spread....that our families, our communities and ultimately the entire world might be healed.

Info Requested- Natural Products

I grew up never giving a hoot about natural vs. processed, organic vs. pesticides. But as I've gotten older and have done more research, I've wanted to attempt to go more ' natural' in the things we eat and use. Luckily my hubby is right on board, at least in the theory. Both of us are rather clueless as to where to start. After reading so many wonderful blogs and seeing how other families are making the transition, I'd like to ask for a little advice.

What is something I should start with? I've debated over cleaning products, but the stores around here do not really carry natural products. Well, maybe a tiny section of very expensive items, none of which I'm familiar with.

What 'natural' personal care items do y'all recommend? Anything from deodorant, to feminine products, etc. My main worry is with toothpaste and shampoo. I've got really thick wavy hair and I love my commercial shampoos and deep conditioners...even if the ingredient label gives me the heebie jeebies. Also, I've heard negatives here and there about fluoride, but I worry that if I use a toothpaste without, we'll get cavities more easily.

So, what works for you? Also, what things DIDN'T work?