Sunday, June 30, 2019

Adventures in High Blood Sugar

Since my gestational diabetes diagnosis I check my blood sugars once or twice a month to make sure they are on track and that I am not developing type two diabetes. The last two months they have been high. My highest reading was 185 but I was consistently getting 165 and 155 two hours after meals. That number is supposed to be under 120. High blood sugars damage your organs and decrease your lifespan. I want to live as long a life as I can and I like my organs working at 100%, thank you. Having these high numbers has caused me a lot of stress in the last two weeks as well as panic and depression. I am working so hard and doing so much to help manage my autoimmune problems and adding one more like type two diabetes to the list felt like a weight I could not handle.

I have a very knowledgeable Type one diabetes friend and couch who helps people with diabetes and fitness in general, so I booked a 30 minute call with her. I knew I needed outside help. I was exercising 40 minutes a day minimum and eating under 150g carbs a day (half the recommend American limit) with plenty of organic veggies and fruits. This is what I had been doing since I quit keto when Becky was 8 months old--and it had been working for me just fine. Until now, that is.

Becky, 18m old
I went into the call feeling helpless and lost. I came out of the call with a plan! I decided to go down to 50-100g carbs a day, add some strength training to my workout (previously only yoga and walking) and make a food diary so I can see what foods are "problem foods" for me. I went sugar free (except fruit). I had been consuming some honey and some coconut sugars and I've now switched to stevia and monk fruit to sweeten things if I need it. It has been two weeks and my sugars have not been over 110 two hours after eating. I am thrilled!! I really don't want to eat keto again--I would miss foods that I love. On my modified low carb "diet" I can still eat potatoes and beans--two of my favorite foods!

I did find a lot of problem foods that I have cut out. Rice is one--it elevates my blood sugar like nothing else. So do all the gluten free flours like buckwheat and sorghum that I had been baking with. I have switched to just using almond flour and coconut flour with maybe a tablespoon or two of gluten free flours to make it taste more like the "real" thing.

In the last 10 years I have changed up my entire way of eating many times. I went vegan first, gluten free, dairy free, paleo, keto... every time I make a change it is so stressful for a week or two (or three!) while I figure it all out and see if it is right for me. My body is changing as I age and especially after pregnancy! I am glad that I have been able to make elimination diets work for my health and the health of my family. But boy, it is hard.

This August we start Reuben's low key preschool program and this will be another change for our family that will ripple through the next 18 years of his life! Keep me and mine in your prayers and thank you for reading!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

my life is scrubbing floors and I love it

If I could show you how my life has changed since having kids you'd be shocked. I went from being an entitled self-focused oblivious millennial to a hardworking mom of two. 

The first year after my son Reuben was born I fought this transition with everything in me. I had never learned discipline and hard work in my life before. I didn't know the satisfaction and joy that laboring for the Lord would bring to my heart. I wanted my old life back and naively thought that it would eventually return.

When it didn't I went through some dark times. Not only was I mourning my old life, but my body was changed. My relationship with my husband and even my sleep schedule was altered. Everything was different and it was a difficult year that I remember blogging through with tears and prayers and the wrong heart attitude. 

I think my transition would have been easier if I had the right heart attitude. Like I have now, where my eyes are on God and his plan and I realize that raising kids does take sacrifice. But that these sacrifices are made willingly by me because I want to honor God. Before I had kids I didn't really understand or live my life realizing that it belonged to God. I thought my life belonged to me. But having children was the catalyst to sparking total surrender to Christ in my heart. I'm not perfect, I still struggle, of course, but my attitude has made life much more bearable and brought so much joy to my heart.

Motherhood isn't glamorous. At least not the way "the world" and "Hollywood" paint beauty and fashion, or worth. It is also hard work. It takes effort and attention. It takes planning and love. And I think it also takes total surrender to Christ.  It takes sacrifice of my will and my desires to God as I serve my family. This doesn't make me special or anything--it is what God requires of everyone. It is just me doing my job. 

Anyway, I spend a lot of time scrubbing the floor. Sometimes negative thoughts swirl through my head with the suds. I'm meant for more than this. Why do my kids make so many messes that I have to clean up. My life has no meaning. All I do is cook and clean. There must be something more for me. 

But I have come to realize a lot of things about scrubbing the floor. And I have come to be thankful for this daily chore and even to love it. Now while I am scrubbing the floor I am showing my son and daughter how much I love them by caring for them. I am teaching them discipline, because they scrub floors too! Even my 16 month old daughter can help. I am worshiping God by caring for my home and serving my family.

I'm not above scrubbing floors. It's okay that life didn't turn out how I imagined it would. It's good that my livelihood isn't easy because it keeps me close to God and in surrender to him. I now try to have a favorable view of scrubbing floors and chores and child raising--because I don't want the seeds of bitterness and regret to fester in my heart and I don't want to raise my children with a mom who is always unhappy, stressed out, and pining for what she can't have. 

I have everything I need because I am a child of God. Even in the hard times. Specifically as a American! And even if I lost all my worldly possessions, I can't loose my faith and trust in God. He will care for me like the lilies of the fields in Luke. 

And here, in surrender to God, he has shown me the deep joys of motherhood and family service. My place does have meaning, a meaning that fame and fortune and klout could not touch a finger to. The glory and riches of God surpass all other glittering idols. 

So, sometimes my life is scrubbing floors but I love it. Sometimes I don't sleep but to God be the glory. If Corrie Ten Boom's sister Betsie can give thanks for fleas in the middle of concentration camp, I can give thanks for dirty diapers and whiny voices and wet kisses and the same book for the 10th time. I can give thanks for husbands who work late and little boys that don't want to go to bed and saying "please put your shoes on" for the 14th time. God sure has blessed me and I will give thanks, because we are never promised tomorrow. 

Luke 12:27-40 (ESV)

27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Living Like It Won't Last

A internet friend of mine was killed in a car crash. She left behind five children.

I've been grieving all day. If anyone deserved life it was her. I mean, she had it all. They had just started homesteading. She was homeschooling. She ran a crochet business. She was real and honest and devoted to God.

Molly Clee was full of life and it feels so unfair that she is gone.

All day I have been thinking. What am I doing? Why do I complain about anything? I am alive and here with my babies. Molly's babies will never see her again. Molly's husband will have to continue on without her.

This is devastating.

Today I held my babies. Today I decided to stop complaining and start thanking God for the things I do have. I am here, I have food and a roof over my head. My husband loves me and my kids are healthy and vibrant. God is so good! Life is short and I am never promised tomorrow.

If I ever die (I mean, I know I will) but when I do--know that I go willingly with acceptance to God and his plan for me. Tell my children and my husband that they were the light of my life and, besides worshiping my Creator--the very joy of my existence. May they remember me with a smile and not a tear and know that they will see me again.

Our earthly discomforts are temporary. Keep your eyes on heaven.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Face Scrubbies

I created a face scrubby pattern. Mostly out of need. Because I need to wash my face. Enjoy this free pattern!

Download the PDF on Ravelry here. View the video tutorial here!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

On Choosing Joy

I have experienced a lot of growth since having kids. Lately I have been learning about joy.

It's strange to realize I am my own worst enemy when it comes to contentment in my life, but it's true. I like to complain. And with two kids, a postpartum body, a mother who is sick and a husband who works late there is a lot I can complain about.

Until I quit. Complaining, that is.

Why? Because it was stealing my joy.

I realized somewhere between my last ranty Facebook post and angry text message that I actually choose to be unhappy.

I was floored. And also miffed at myself. How could I participate in this cycle for so long and not know it? But I was. I was choosing to be miserable!

I've never experienced true suffering (and I hope I never do). I have had three meals a day all my life and clothes and a roof over my head. I have my health and two amazing kids. I should be rejoicing daily not crabbing about my lack of sleep or free time!

When I have a hard day I make it harder by wallowing in my own pity.

Typing and publishing that sentence is refreshing milestone and an honest confession.

I have realized that trials in my life are one of two things:

  1. Things I cannot control
  2. Situations that I have only myself to blame for
What I can manage is my reaction. I can choose to complain to everyone and let whatever I am going through ruin my day, my kids day and my husband's day. Or, I can look for the blessings in my life and allow those small sparks of joy to point me to worship God in spite of my hardships. I can choose JOY.

I've been doing it all week and it's been amazing. It was hard to rewire my thinking at first. Habits, even bad ones (actually especially bad ones!!) are difficult to break. But so necessary! 

Here are some things I struggle with.

When my husband comes home late I used to be angry with him. It would ruin my night and sometimes the next day. Now I thank God I have a husband who loves and supports me. I count my blessings that we have a roof over our head and money in the bank and I try to do something nice for my husband to help him relax when he does get home instead of complaining about how rough my evening was because he was absent. It is rough that he works late. But I still need to take care of my kids and God is still good even in the hard times of parenting while my other half is programming. 

When my kids are whining and everyone is crying I don't complain on Facebook anymore about how done I am with being a mom and I don't give into fantasizing about escaping my life. I don't punish my kids for being kids. I stop and read a book with them and try to love the closeness of our family while I can. It is hard. It requires effort and discipline. But following through creates joy and brings positivity to the situation instead of despair. God is still good when my kids are melting down. I can lean on him and have his strength fill me through tantrums and whining. 

When I look in the mirror now and don't like what I see, I don't let it crush me. I don't spiral out of control with dieting. I don't begin creating rules around food. I don't let my negative feelings over my middle-aged postpartum body foster resentment against my children. And I no longer talk bad about myself. In my 20s, I craved attention from men and women in regards to what I wear and how I looked. I wanted to be told I was beautiful: and I only felt beautiful through the eyes of another. When I gaze in the mirror now I thank God for my strong legs that let me hold my babies. I thank God for my arms that prepare meals for my family, for my hips that birthed two and my saggy belly that stretched as my little ones grew. I see the beauty that God has given me because God made me. I hope I will be blessed with 80 years and wrinkled skin so I can see my grandchildren. Beauty is not how I look. Beauty is my name in the book of life and God's eyes on me. God is still good even if my body falls apart.

Every time I face trials or uncertainty I remind myself that God is still good. I don't question God's goodness or lack of control. I pray. I ask for help. And I try with all my might to lean and trust in him.

I'm still a work in progress but I am going to choose joy.