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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

12 Things I Learned in July

I began writing a list of things I learned last month to link up with the lovely Mrs. Emily Freeman over at Chatting at the Sky.  I continued my list this month and I am so glad I did! I am also linking up with a new neat place I found called Women Living Well Wednesdays and sharing our favorite blog posts for the month.

1. I can't figure out how to use this hot curling wand thing with no clip but a little tiny half-glove that only covers 2 fingers and my thumb from the 300 degree barrel (why not be a whole glove and protect all of my fingers?). I guess you really do get what you pay for.  Do any of you use these things and understand them?
photo credit
I probably should have read the reviews first.  So I've resorted to going back to old fashioned hot rollers like my mom used to.
I realize this would be more effective if I had a picture of my hair down post-rollers, however, I usually put my hair up in the rollers while we are getting ready to go somewhere and I'm trying to pack the diaper bag, feed and dress 2 babies, remember to put my own clothes on, etc. So, I take the curlers out while we are in the car, on our way to the destination.  This results in me being the crazy lady shaking her hair upside down in the parking lot spraying hair spray willy-nilly and using the car windows as a mirror, then throwing the hairspray back in the car, grabbing a baby and walking in. I just can't follow that up by going to the public bathroom and doing self-takes, sorry.  I'll try to take it down at home sometime soon and grab a pic for ya!

2.  I learned that although I ADORE linking up with (Five Minute Friday is the and I've participated twice now: here and here) and reading other Christian mommy blogs, (hello - waaaaay better than paying for magazines full of negative body images, unrealistic expectations, and false advertising!) and learning about what they're learning from the Bible and life, and doing with their kids, (my newest favorites are The Happy Home FairyLovely Little WhimsyThe Whole StoryMesses and Moments, and Lisa-Jo Baker), reading what they learn from God and the Bible does not and cannot replace my quiet time. Their stories (though helpful, inspiring, and encouraging) do not take the place of what I need to be reading and learning from God and His Word.  It's easy to get caught up in thinking "But I'm reading a ton of scripture and what these other Christian ladies are saying about it."  However, I realized quickly that God has something new for ME every day and it is my responsibility to seek out from His Word before I catch up on blogs I follow.  I struggled with this because my personal Bible study usually consists of choosing a passage and then focusing on reading it in 3-4 different translations and systematically going through the words (sometimes looking up multiple definitions).  I was using Bible Gateway online for this, but often got distracted from my Bible time by looking on the list of blogs I follow.  So, when I saw this cool 4- version Parallel Bible, I ordered it PRONTO and have been absolutely loving my Bible reading time since it got here a few weeks ago!  It's so nice to have a Bible be a book with actual pages to turn again, but still have the ability to see my 4 favorite versions right next to each other. Now, I read and learn from these other sweet mommies online AFTER I read God's word for myself!

3. I am re-learning that the second trimester really is the best one.  I finally feel so much better! More pregnancy updates to come soon! Tomorrow is officially 16 weeks! Eeeek yay!

4. Coconut Oil is ammmmmazing for treating my toddler's eczema! The doctors had told us to lather him up with baby oil while damp from the bath, then use Aquaphor ointment twice daily.  Even after doing this for several months, his little legs felt like an alligator and had patches of pale, scaly, dry skin all. the. time.  So I decided to seek out a natural remedy, and Lo and Behold, Coconut Oil did the trick in ONE night!  I was so thankful and impressed. His skin was softer and smoother than I think I have ever seen it (or since he was breastfeeding at least - this began once he started solids/formula).  This reinforces my desire to seek natural remedies for everything instead of relying on the fake chemicals in multiple products.  I do have to use the coconut oil every single night, and some mornings, too. If I don't want to run back to the bathroom to get it, then I do still use the Aquaphor (I hate to waste things we paid money for already). This was the Coconut Oil I got at Earth Fare in Huntsville the last time we went (see picture), but since it works so well I'll probably just buy a large size from Costco.
photo credit
5.  Sometimes, when I seek out what God is wanting to teach me through His word, it may come as a rather unexpected shock to the system.  For example, when we were getting very frustrated with our job and knowing we were close to quitting, and we just kind of mentally quit and physically went through the motions, and stayed very emotionally detached from the kids.  God had me feeling restless all day looking through my Bible and just not getting that "wow" moment, and He used our pastor to bring me to this scripture one Wednesday night (that I never would have read on my own because I just don't generally feel called to read the book of Revelation):
Revelation 3:1b-3 -
“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
This is about the church at Sardis, and our pastor has been teaching about these churches mentioned in Revelation. His message was on the viewpoint of us as a church, but as I sat there and listened and reread the words, I knew God was speaking to us as House Parents. We fake it sometimes.  I know the church isn't four walls - the church is the body of Christ - We Are the Church, so this message is for every Christian, wherever you find yourself faking it, just going through the motions.  People think we're some great, perfect couple down here being sweet and fun and patient with the kids all the time (the reputation of being alive).  However, we're frustrated, exhausted from having NO time off in several months, we don't feel close to the kids, we often lose our patience and say things like, "What the heck are you doing?!" and we even avoid them around the house some days, and occasionally don't say anything to them at all other than general announcements "Here's Lunch." (but we are dead).
          I pondered the next few verses for days.
     "Wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die" - I believe this is the good things we were/are doing with the kids (going places, initiating conversation, renting/watching movies with them)  God saying - "Keep doing the things you know are working, even if you are tired, even if you don't want to.  Do the things they need, not because they deserve it, but because I have asked you to, because I have told you that loving them is a reflection of understanding my love for you."  Then the next part of the verse, "for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God" - I fully felt God saying, "You are not DONE until you leave this place.  Don't mentally check out.  Don't become a 17 year old high-school kid with senior-itis.  I have not found your work complete until the day you move everything out of this house."
    So we trudge on, fighting our impatient, selfish flesh, struggling to finish well with people who don't make it easy at. all. We leave August 20th.  Please continue to pray for these kids as we all make this transition.

6. Kevin James, actor on the old TV series "King of Queens", the movie "Paul Blart Mall Cop," and more recently I liked him in "Here Comes the Boom," is the younger brother of Gary Valentine, who played his cousin on the King of Queens.  I knew they were brothers, so that's not new, but what I didn't know was their real original last name: Knipfing.  German heritage, not a great US screen name. Funny stuff! I also did not know he had a B.E.A.utiful wife!  We saw "Grown Ups" part 1 and it was OK.  We saw "Grown Ups" part 2 this month, and it was really not worth the money.  It had a lot of bathroom humor and had more outrageous, somewhat inappropriate Adam Sandler type of comedy than your average Kevin James mild family-friendly comedy.
Kevin James aka Kevin Knipfing
Gary Valentine aka Gary Knipfing

with his wifey
7. When I feel completely overwhelmed, discouraged, frustrated, and like a total failure, God still encourages me to find joy.  He gives me new hope when I feel like I don't deserve it because I think I'm doing such a bad job.  He led me to Psalm 42 in my new Bible, so I read it in all 4 translations (NKJV, ESV, NLT, and the Message) and felt the last verse the most meaningful to me personally in each one:
Verse 11 NLT: Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!It was like God saying - "Why are you so frustrated? You have so much to be happy about! Your little family is blessed and growing.  You are almost done with this stage of your life in Wabo.  Keep your hope in me.  Focus on praising me and I'll get you through these last few months. Smile, my child!" The next day, Psalm 43 was Even Better! :) I began playing more music again, and that has helped my attitude to be a little better.  Music also helps the babies chill out sometimes.  Then this cool post and Mother Teresa quote helped me to see that I am not the only one struggling to maintain joy.
From Carina Lee at Lovely Little Whimsy

How cute!? photo credit
8.  I would like to have a baby girl. Jonah is wild, rambunctious, loud, messy, and highly independent.  I'm not saying a girl wouldn't be all of those things, but I'd just like to find out (and shop for cute pink clothes like tutus, and big flower headbands, of course). However, far more than I care if baby #2 is a girl or boy, I am praying he/she is healthy.  I stumbled across this inspiring and humorous blog of a mom of a child about Jonah's age with spina bifida, and I cried read through several of her wonderful, funny, meaningful posts about having a child with a disability.  I have to truthfully say, I went to college and majored in Education with a minor in Collaborative (the politically correct way of saying Special Ed nowadays), however, as much as I loved working with those kids, I know it would be so much harder to be a parent to one of those special kids. So, I continue to pray for a healthy child, but pray God's will above all else, knowing I could endure it, but I just don't want to (I know that sounds mean, but honestly, no one wants that).  I thank Him that Jonah has had such a healthy start to life so that at least I have a frame of reference for "normal" if the next one isn't.

9. The more I pray for others, the less I focus on my own struggles.
Photo credit
 The more I identify with my friends' prayer-requests and focus on seeking God on their behalf and listening to Him for how I may be able to help, my troubles seem like less.  This came one day as I realized I had committed to pray for a few friends, but had not done it in several days, and stopped to pray for all of them. The family struggling financially when their small business isn't doing well, the husband and wife contemplating divorce, the sick old people at church to whom I wrote a few postcards to say "We're praying for you," the distant family member I don't even know who just had a stroke, the handful of other pregnant friends I have, our sweet couple friends who just adopted twins and are still adjusting to life with two babies, the daughter of one of my coworkers who was on a train wreck in Thailand, my non-Christian friends facing struggles without Christ, the kids in our care, all need prayers.  The more I stop to pray for them, the less I focus on me.  The more I pray for them, the more I am praying in general.  Praying for others is definitely a huge answer to solving the problem of self-pity and discouragement, and looking to Jesus instead.  Between focusing on Praising God and Praying to Him - I have been feeling a lot better about everything!

10. I learned that when you google image search something and decide to use a random picture, the politically correct thing to do is provide a "Photo credit" link back to that page.  Oops on the last year of blogging! So I have begun to do that with the pictures in this post that I have added since learning this piece of blogger-etiquette.

11.  I saw a friend on fb post this great link about social media etiquette for moms, and I found it very true and inspiring. I already followed most of these rules, but it was good to find them in one nice, succinct place and recommit myself to being positive.

12.  Although it sounds great to do this early potty training thing, it's harder to put it into practice once you decide to go beyond just saying "Poo poo" when you see your baby grunting.  It's much more difficult if your child finds the potty fascinating and just wants to sit in for 3.526 seconds and then take it apart all day, and will NOT sit on it when he actually starts huffing and turning red in the face and is obviously pooping. Here's the only time I could catch Jonah sitting on it:

*If you liked this, here's what I learned in June. :)


  1. Thanks for sharing! There were so many comments I thought of as reading...and now don't remember. :( This not remembering is happening a lot more-is this what some people call pregnant brain?

    Thank you for being open on your blog-you know it is something I have struggled with. I am open in person, yet on the blog I hesitate partly because of my IT husbands caution but part my fear? I guess I also think some of the things we've gone through are things to wait to share at a later time.

    You are about two weeks ahead of me-are you going to find out if you're having a boy or girl? We can't wait to find out! Praying for you guys as you make this next transition in life.

    1. That is definitely pregnant brain. I had a hard time with that more last time I was pregnant. I think teaching made me stretch my brain more, and so I had several moments a day where I felt confused! In the last trimester I also began having weird speech difficulties, like just saying words strangely. I remember trying to order at Lenny's and saying, "I know this isn't right, but I need chilly pheassteak."

      Your blog is about you, so feel free to share as much or little as you feel comfortable with.

      We are certainly going to find out the gender! I much prefer being able to say he/she rather than it or just baby. I also loved choosing the name and having some cute clothes! Thank you for praying for us! You are one my pregnant friends I am praying for too!

  2. Loved your list -- it was chatty and fun! :)
    The Happy Home Fairy is one of my favorite blogs -- she ROCKS!
    Congratulations on the baby on the way.
    I am stopping by from Emily's tonight.

    1. Thanks! I have been really enjoying some Happy Buddy/Happy Baby stories!

  3. Kevin James' name and brother fact...has blown my mind! Ha! So random!

    1. I know right! We were watching a really old episode of "King of Queens" one night, and I was just in a mood to do some googling. :)

  4. Enjoyed your list - especially 7. He is our hope.

  5. Returning the visit. Pleased to make your acquaintance. 1) Weird. Wet 2 Wave = disappointing, also. Just fyi. 2) Fabulous on the parallel Bible. I use Bible Gateway to do this and clicked over to view the book right away. Not the translations I use: boo. They should allow a mama to pick her four translations. Now THAT would be awesome! :) Also, yes, on the going back to the source. I overdose on the church of the blogosphere all the time. 3) Congratulations on your pregnancy! 4) Can't wait to share w/ my BFF. 5) Totally curious about your job, now. 7) I'm of the opinion that everyone has a personal Psalm. Mine is 40. I pray it for myself. Also, my brother's is 91. I pray it for him.

    1. That would be SO cool if they let you pick your favorite 4 translations to put in the parallel Bible! "Church of the blogosphere" = PERFECT wording! We are "House Parents" there are 2 links in the "About" tab that kind of explain. However, we are supposed to work 10 days on/5 days off, and we've been on for over 80 days straight now, so it gets more difficult without breaks. I love the idea of having a personal Psalm! Thanks for visiting!