Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Healthy Living/Healthy Eating - Part 2 // Nourishing our Bodies

Here is part 2 of the video series! (You can watch Part 1 here: Healthy Living/Healthy Eating - Part 1 // Nourishing our Spiritual Lives)

This covers more the foundational aspects of why we are to care well for our physical bodies and ways of doing so. It is by no means comprehensive . . . I could talk for a long time on this subject and the many facets of it!

Please pardon some repetitiveness . . . I need some practice with doing videos like this. :) (And I forgot to mention grains when listing off foods for a balanced diet. Those are kind of important!)

If you all have any thoughts or questions, I would love to hear them!

(On a somewhat related note: I had my Youtube channel public so you all could easily find all my videos there, but after getting many quite inappropriate comments on the Part 1 video of this series, I switched my channel back to unlisted. So if you would ever like to see all the videos, simply click the word 'videos' in the list of topics on the right sidebar of my blog [or at the bottom of a post with a video], and it will bring up all the posts that include videos.)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Work Days and Wedding Planning

Work days at Ivan's (and eventually Leah's!) house have resulted in getting a lot accomplished! One day all of us went, another day just Dad did, and another Mom and Leah. On the day I was up there, I took some photos to give a glimpse into some of our work there . . .

Bringing the kitchen cabinets from the living room up to the newly painted upstairs while the kitchen is being rebuilt.

 Me removing all the old lathe from the exposed living room walls - quite a dusty job hence the dust mask and safety glasses

Mom and Abel having fun together while thoroughly wiping down all of the cabinets inside and out (eventually, Leah will be refinishing the cabinets.)

On my way back downstairs after going to see what Mom and Abel were doing
(Photo courtesy of the large mirror on the wall :)

Dad installing all the lights in the kitchen - he's such a good electrician!

Ivan and Leah doing some work down in the basement

The very happy couple :)

 All three of them while working to level part of the floor in the kitchen

Abel taking a break to watch birds with his new binoculars. He really liked them and had a lot of fun using them!

Dad helping Abel take the screws out of a piece on the door jam so the trim could be removed

My little big helper :) 
After getting all of the exposed lathe off the living room walls, I worked on removing trim pieces and wallboard in the entryway. They were nailed on quite well so it took a fair bit of work on some of them to get them off, and Abel had a blast helping me remove them! 

So there you have a glimpse into one of the work days up there!

Wedding planning has been happening, too, and the date is officially set and one big step is finalized . . . finding and booking a venue! Ivan knew of a lovely country place, and this week, we all went to see it. They (and the rest of us) loved it! It is beautiful inside and out and is in such a nice setting way out in the country.

We took a lot of photos there, and here are just a few . . .

Ivan, Mom and Dad planning

 Mom, Leah and Dad . . . fun times planning and talking about the upcoming wedding!

The soon-to-be little family 

~ The bride-to-be and groom-to-be ~

So happy and in love!

Leah and I . . . so thankful for my dear sister! Sometimes it's still hard to believe that she is really getting married! :)

Abel and I - it's going to be so special having him as a nephew!

Abel and I running one of many races . . . we had so much fun together!
(Unbeknownst to us, Ivan took this video during one them :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Call to Discipleship

Yesterday on facebook the below excerpt was shared by The Berean Call, and it was so good I wanted to share it here as well. (It is from one of my favorite books which I would highly recommend!)

One of God's masterpieces - photos taken one recent Sunday evening on our way to church.

"Nuggets from “An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith” by Dave Hunt – Daily Death and Resurrection - 
At the heart of Christ’s call to discipleship is the daily application of His cross in the believer’s life. Yet one seldom hears in evangelical circles Christ’s definitive declaration: “And whosever doth not bear his cross, and come after me…[and] forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27-33). The call to discipleship must be honestly faced. Through the cross we die to self and begin to live to our Lord in resurrection power (Galatians 2:20). Indeed, Christ’s death on the cross would have been a hollow act if it did not bring forth new life, for now and for eternity.
Resurrection life reckons the old life dead and makes no provision for the flesh (Romans 6:4, 11; 13:14). Instead of the popular self-esteem, God calls us to deny self, to love truth and hate folly, to please God instead of others or ourselves – no matter what the cost in this life. Never mind social pressures from what others think, say, or do. We must be fully persuaded that what God thinks and what He will say when we appear before Him one day is all that matters.
As Jim Elliot, one of the five martyrs killed in Ecuador in 1956, said when as a young man he chose the mission field over more popular careers, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” That choice is only logical if one believes that time is short and eternity is endless. Such commitment brings heavenly joy, peace, and a fulfillment that nothing earth offers can rival."

What a powerful reminder this is of what the life of a follower of Christ should be!

Friday, January 13, 2017

2017 Goals

With the whirlwind of December and the start of the New Year, I hadn't given a great deal of thought about practical plans/goals for 2017 (though had given much thought regarding my spiritual life and heart desire for this new year, hence the post on the 31st.)

Though when things settled more back into 'normalcy' (intermixed with wedding planning with Leah :), then inspiration came! And a new 'vision planner' has helped with that. Leah found one for herself, and I loved it so much, I got one, too, though in a different color. (One disclaimer: most of the quotes and some of the intro parts are self-focused/self-helpish which we don't appreciate. The rest of the planner is amazing, though!)

At the beginning of the planner, there is a page for planning the year with these sections:

  • 5 goals for this year
  • Things to look forward to this year
  • New things I would like to try
  • Books I would like to read
  • Places to visit this year
  • Things to improve upon this year
  • Things to be grateful for this year

Leah and I spent a fair bit of time talking about these and planning together before we filled in each of the sections. Just looking at this page is inspiring! And helpful in keeping focus.

One section that was fun to fill out was "places to visit this year." Leah and I are planning a trip to go visit two of our dearest friends in Kentucky soon (they work at the Creation Museum) and then we also have one more big special sister trip planned . . . our last one before Leah is married!

Anyway :), back to the planner . . . each month is then laid out like this:

We both love the "This Month's Vision" section!

The calendar . . . notice the 'challenge' in the top right? Each month has one (though some aren't that great), and I particularly liked this one

Daily plans for each week plus a weekly focus. In order to cultivate more of a heart of gratitude and thankfulness, I decided to use the gray boxes on the bottom to list things I am grateful for for that particular day. Already I love doing this! The little glasses on the bottom are for tracking how many glasses of water one drinks each day which is helpful, too.

Leah and I have really enjoyed planning out this next year together, setting goals, talking about how we want to grow in the next twelve months, and more. It has been special and fun to do together!

So . . . some of my goals for 2017 are:

- 1. Memorize a verse or passage of Scripture a week . . . this week it was Hebrews 12:1-3 which is a passage that I always find so encouraging and convicting. Using the Scripture Typer app makes memorization much easier for me to do!

- 2. Get back into going to bed earlier, getting up earlier, and into my regular morning routine again. With all the late nights in December, my schedule shifted quite a bit! While evenings and late nights can often still be profitable and beneficial for me (plus fun :), work wise, it is a lot easier for me to get up earlier and get product made in the morning before lunch, plus I always have and still do love those early mornings (it's just the initial going to bed early and getting up that can be the hard part!)

- 3. Exercise - I met my 2016 goal! This was to be able to run a 5k (3 miles), and I surpassed that with reaching 3.5 miles. This year I want to continue increasing the distance and increasing the speed as well. I am planning to do one long run (3.5+ miles) and one to two shorter runs (1 to 2 miles) a week. I'd like to add in an indoor exercise routine as well for some of the days I'm not running.

After a run on an unusually warm day this week (nearly 70 degrees!)
(Photo by Leah)

- 4. Healthy eating - these are basically continuing what I have already been either working on or already doing:
  • Continue to reduce/limit sugar/evaporated cane juice intake
  • For if/when a sweetener is needed in a recipe, try using our raw honey instead (and there will be a bit of a learning curve with that as I learn how to alter recipes better.)
  • Continue to reduce processed foods
  • Consistently drink 7 glasses of water a day (for my weight and exercise levels that would be the amount I need.) 
  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Have snacks be fruit, vegetables/salad, yogurt with berries/sunflower seeds/etc., nuts, or things along those lines
  • Try some more new fruits and vegetables - or learn to like ones I don't especially care for. :) A few months ago I determined to like a fruit that I had disliked since a child: bananas. They are really good for you and rich in potassium, so I started eating them again and am actually learning to like them!

- 5. Learn how to make my own lotion and dry shampoo (which I am hoping to use alternately with the organic shampoo I started using recently), and take more steps to using more natural personal care items.

- 6. Deepen relationships with residents at the nursing home and begin going back to the rooms more to meet people who do not come out into the main area. I also would like to spend more time talking one on one with residents. This is more challenging than it sounds as when I am there, there are many who want to talk and spend time with me so it can be difficult to not make someone feel left out!

- 7. Complete all of my in-progress projects as well as a few others (not sure if that will happen with all the wedding planning and preparation and helping with the house renovation, but we shall see!)
  • Finish restoring a couple of quilts
  • Put the cane seats in the dining room chairs I have (yes, this is still not done!)
  • Figure out how to re-do the outside of my trunk and then restore it
  • Learn how to chalk paint and paint my dresser
  • And possibly refinish a few pieces of furniture

There are many other more personal and significant goals that I have as well in the areas of cultivating relationships with my family and friends, my character/spiritual life, ministry, and evangelism, and it will be exciting to see how much progress is made in all of these by the close of this year!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Warm Days = Outdoor Work

This winter, our weather has been interesting to say the least! It might be only in the teens one day with lows below zero and then a few days later, it is in the 40's, and sometimes the 50's and 60's! We're enjoying another warm spell now before another ice storm hits this weekend.

Awhile back on one warmer day (which turned colder as it progressed), we all seemed to be bit early by the 'spring cleaning/work bug'!

Leah put up fence to give the goats a large, fresh area to browse, Mom opened up the windows and painted our living room, Dad worked on construction projects and beekeeping tasks, and I cleaned up outdoors, cleared out some areas that had gotten overgown, etc.

All the furniture in the center of the room, covered with plastic

Mom painting . . . it looks so nice and fresh now! 

Leah working on the fence while our curious wether looks on (this was after the temperature began dropping hence, the coat she is wearing.)

Lots of browse for them to enjoy!  

A little video Leah took with her phone of them having fun :) And this was after they had calmed down a bit! (And the goat you hear 'bellow' in the distance is our buck Rimrock who wasn't very happy he was left out.)

A line of Apple trees 

One of the things I did . . . haul all the unused fencing panels here and stack them (Dad helped me with several that were the very heavy ones which was nice!)

It felt so good to get so much accomplished! All the while enjoying simply beautiful weather. It makes the really cold days seem not so bad when they are interspersed with a taste of 'spring.'

Friday, January 6, 2017

Great Things He Hath Done

I am sure you all would like to hear a few more details, like how Ivan and Leah met. :)

Back in the spring of 2015, Ivan (who lives about an hour away from us) was looking for a house church to be a part of, and in a roundabout way, found out about our family and our house church. He began coming then and was a definite blessing to the group with his deep love for the Lord and His Word and for the wisdom and insights he would share. My Dad and he quickly developed a friendship (which has grown quite deep now), and my Dad became like a mentor to him. They met for coffee regularly spending hours studying Scripture together and talking about just about everything.

After time had passed, Ivan began spending more time with our family, and yes, an interest in Leah was developing, as it was her for him. In April of 2016, he and Leah began courting with the intent to discover if marriage was what God would desire for them. At this time, we knew him quite well, had seen his strong heart for God and for others, had seen him growing in the Lord, had been greatly blessed by his love and care for all of us (he was such a help to me when I went through what I did last spring!), and much more.

There were many days spent with him (and his son Abel) joining our family either doing house construction projects at our place or helping him with his; taking outings together; or things like that - and of course, lots of time for Ivan and Leah to talk and spend time together. :) With Ivan's work schedule, we sometimes watched Abel for him, too.

(The below photos are from our Thanksgiving day . . . he and Abel were our company!)

Walking back after Abel had stepped into the muddy water (hence, no shoes!) 

Dad saw this cave up in the rock, and teased Ivan about climbing up there . . . Ivan took him up on it and did! 

Let's hope there aren't any snakes in there! :) 

Remember the photo of Abel and I from the Thanksgiving post? This is more of the story :) . . . Ivan, Abel and I had fun climbing up here! (And Leah would have, too, but she had boots on that wouldn't work for climbing.)

Throwing rocks in the river

Love Ivan's and Leah's happy faces here! 

It wasn't very far into their courtship that Ivan and Abel were both beginning to feel like 'family', and as the weeks and months passed, Leah and Ivan (and the rest of us) began to see that God was indeed leading their paths together. Not only were their beliefs and values so similar, their personalities and life vision complement each other so well. And you all know the rest of the story. :) But you haven't seen the pictures! Here is a glimpse . . . .

Ivan had such a sweet proposal (which I won't go into detail on here :) and completely surprised Leah. He had brought gifts with names in a hat to draw out of. She didn't realize that every name was hers! In this photo, Abel is reading the name on the slip of paper he drew out . . . surprise, surprise, it was Leah! The second gift she opened led into his beautiful proposal asking her to be his wife. 

Putting the ring on her finger 

With their matching mugs which were one of the later gifts (Abel wasn't quite ready for this photo!)

Helping unwrap the last gift . . . a porch swing for their future home

So happy!!!

Getting ready to facetime his family and share the news

So exciting to tell the news to his family! (though they were expecting it :)

Playing UNO together (and after the engagement)

The next morning, Dad set up the spotting scope for Abel to watch the birds at our feeder. Abel loved it! He spent so long watching them, learning how to find the birds and focus on them, and then learning to identify them as well. At one point a bird he hadn't seen before came up, and he exclaimed: "A new species!"

There you have a glimpse into our special and memorable New Years! And now Ivan and Leah are in the very special season of growing closer to one another and planning for their lives together.

The wedding date is tentatively set for sometime in September. Ivan is in the process of completely gutting and rebuilding the house they will live in, and it will likely take until late summer to finish that big project. Needless to say, helping with that will be a big part of our 2017!

Abel liked watching the birds so much that Dad got him a surprise . . . this is part 1 (part 2 isn't here yet) 

 Two bird books! (Don't tell, but part 2 is his very own pair of binoculars!)

We had so much fun looking through the books together! He's going to turn into quite the birdwatcher I think. :)

There are many times in life when one can look back and clearly see God's hand working . . . this is one of those. As the old hymn says: "To God be the glory, great things He hath done!"