Announcing “Frankie”

24 Sep

our family

We are expecting! Again. It is exciting for us, even if you “knew this was coming” or are kind of over the every other year announcement. We’re having number 6. The Pastor, the kids, and I are all excited. (I think the kids are the most excited!) This birth brings with it some big changes. For one, we have to buy a new vehicle. Goodbye minivan, hello church bus.

After much deliberation and prayer, we have decided to go for our second home birth. Of course, the only “problem” with this plan is paying for it. With buying a new vehicle to fit cute little number six, we know our funds will be very limited. So, we’ve decided to go out on a limb, a leap of faith, and ask our family and friends to help us out with the birth costs. We have never done anything like this before. But it occurred to us that people don’t know what we need unless we tell them. And our great need for this pregnancy is money to fund the medical expenses.

http://www.gofundme.com/eywd4o – This is a link to a newly set up GoFundMe site for us. Since I am asking for your help, I’ll be glad to tell you how the $4,000 breaks down.

$2800 for prenatal care and delivery expenses to our home birth midwives.

$180 for an ultrasound and consult with a perinatologist who will provide back up care should I need to transfer into the hospital.

$750 for doula fees.

$120 for newborn exam and tests after the birth.

$150 for lab work throughout the pregnancy. (Likely, this won’t be enough to cover it all, but I wanted to make the number nice and even.)

So, if you are wanting to help us out, head on over to the GoFundMe site. Of course, we’ll take money sent directly to us, but I won’t be giving you my home address on the blog. We are really trusting that God will provide through His people. We’re stepping out on faith to see that happen. Follow along here and on the GoFundMe to see the progress. What we’re asking is nothing short of a miracle.

Apostle’s Creed

9 Jul

birds apostle's creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

(This is a fairly modern translation of the Apostle’s Creed.)

Three paragraphs. Christian belief at its core. If you’ve got negative opinions of the creed, let’s check those at the door and dive into this. Many people dislike creeds because they are mechanically parroted. But how amazing of a tool is it to teach your kids what we believe in a short, concise way that they can remember? Let the creed mean something to you. If you’re new to it, great! You’ll view it with fresh eyes. If you’ve had it memorized since you were four, amazing! You’ll find new life in teaching it to your children.

Take each phrase, step by step, and examine it, ponder it, really think about it.

Hand Embroidered

3 Jul

IMGP1276

I hand embroidered an adorable shirt for Topher’s first birthday party. Hand embroidery is so easy. Really. No rules and counting like cross-stitch. Just draw or copy a picture and embroider on top of it. Easy. I call it drawing with thread.

IMG_3008

I printed out a gnome from my Doodle Stitching Motif book. This was not a gnome party, so I had to transform him into a lumberjack. I rounded the hat, added legs, added a belt, added an arm with an axe. made the shirt plaid, and called him a lumberjack! Ta-da!

IMG_3009

I printed out the Impertinent Birch free pattern from Wild Olive. Isn’t it cute? I made the face match in style to my lumberjack.

I transferred both onto the shirt, embroidered, and had an adorable shirt for an adorable baby! ( I also used backing and hooped it, both are easy.)

IMG_3006

If you’ve considered taking up hand embroidery, do it! It is a cheap craft. It is appropriate for kids who are old enough to be trusted with pointy things. It is so much fun! You can draw anything you want and then embroider it! Fabulous! I really think hand embroidery should be way more popular than it is. Try it.

IMGP1350

Large Family FAQs

26 Jun

 

First, I don’t necessarily feel I have a large family. I don’t know when I will think that title fits, but it was bestowed upon me by the general public when we had three kids and now, at five, I still don’t feel it fits. Larger than average, I’ll admit, but not yet large. Maybe I will never feel like it fits.

IMGP0927

People ask us these questions. Sometimes, they are genuinely curious about what it is like to be inside one of *those* families. Sometimes, they are being butt heads. Sometimes, they just don’t know what to say and feel like they have to say something.

 

1. Are they all yours?

IMGP0276

Yes, they are. No one in their right mind would round up the neighborhood kids for a trip to Costco. Clearly, they all look similar enough that it is safe to assume they are, indeed, siblings. But yes, all ours.

 

2. Are you done?

Well, the baby won’t be moving out for at least 17 more years, so it is safe to say we’ll be in this parenting gig for at least that much longer. So, no, not done.

IMGP0218

 

3. Are you going to have more?

See, I think this is what you meant in question 2. The honest truth is that we don’t know. Given my age and health, I’d say it is likely that we’ll have more, but who knows? We do not plan our family. Yep. You read that correctly. We see the eternal impact of whether or not another soul exists as being slightly above our pay grade. So, we leave that in much more competent hands, God’s. Feel free to ask him. “Dear Lord, will the Godbold family have more children?” Let me know what He says.

IMG_2956

 

4. Did you plan to have this many?

We do not plan our family. That is not to say each child is an “oops”. We don’t believe such things either. We are open to God’s blessings at any time and we fully participate in His creative work in our marriage.

IMGP1087

5. Yeah, but, did you want this many?

We accept what God gives us. Right now, that is five. And each of them is very much wanted and very much loved. Do you want God to bless you and work in your life? We see this as being part of that.

IMGP1146

6. Did you always see yourself having a large family?

When we were in pre-marital counseling, The Pastor said he wanted 2, a boy and a girl. I told him I wanted 10. I didn’t say that because I actually thought we’d end up with 10 kids, but because I am an anarchist at heart, so when the culture tells me 2, I feel the need to show them up. I didn’t really SEE myself with any kids, or even being married, though I was getting married. My mind just never works like that. I hope for the future, but never actually see it unfolding inside my brain until I am there. I’m weird like that. The Pastor said 2 because at the time, he bought that cultural lie that 2 kids was perfect. He should tell you about that inner change in him sometime over on his blog.

IMG_1063

7. Did you come from a large family?

No. The Pastor is an only son of an only son of an only son. He has one sister. I have two brothers.

ransom 3

8. Do you know what causes that?

Actually, we do. And I think if more people thought about the creative work of God in their marriage a little more, they’d be far less stressed out and likely have a few more kids, too. In marriage, we find that God creates new souls through love. How amazing is that? I feel very honored to be a part of something so eternally significant. We choose not to separate ourselves from the procreative nature of God in marriage. We leave ourselves open to allowing God to bless our union. (Please know that I am not saying the only purpose of sex is procreation.)

IMGP1104

9. Do you need a hobby?

I have plenty, thank you.

IMG_1065

10. Are you against birth control?

“Birth control” is such a broad term. Here is where I stand (and The Pastor has his own thoughts on this, his are more philosophical. Maybe he’ll share them with you sometime.). Hormonal birth control (pill, patch, ring, embedded in your IUD) kills women. Strokes, heart attacks, blood clots, murderous rage (kind of joking on that last one). It isn’t good for you. It isn’t worth the risk to me and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. You take it if you want, but seriously, read up and know the risks. It isn’t even all that effective for those risks. No thanks. So, what about copper IUDs? Nope. They kill babies. I believe life begins at conception, so clearly I would not choose an IUD. (And don’t be delusional about Mirena IUDs. They combine the bad of a regular IUD with hormonal birth control, so you’ve got double trouble going on there.) (And yes, I am aware not everyone is on board with the life beginning at conception thing, but we’re talking about me and my choices here.) What about condoms, spermacide, sponges, films, diaphrams, etc.? Sometimes we try to contol nature to such an extent that it begins to control us. But no, I am not using any of those or okay with using any of those personally. What about natural family planning? I would say this would be the best option across the board, and the one I would recommend to women who come to me asking my opinion on the subject. (Taking Charge of Your Fertility is an excellent book about NFP or FAM, whichever you happen to us. NFP= No intercourse on fertile days if you are avoiding pregnancy. FAM= using an alternative method like condoms or sponges or voodoo on your fertile days if you are avoiding pregnancy.) But for us, the conversation usually goes something like this:

“Do you want to avoid getting pregnant this month? My fertile days are coming up.”

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

“Well, I think it’d be nice to have more space between babies. But what if I miss my window? What if these are the last months of my fertility? What if we miss out on the kid that could possibly be this month? What if this kid is the next John Wesley? Or Mother Teresa? Or he is just a really awesome cook? What if we never have anymore and we never get to do another first birthday party or see a first smile or hear a first word? What if the baby days are behind us?!”

“Uh. So you want to try for another baby?”

“I never said that. Having a baby hurts. But what is some pain in relation to an eternal soul in existence? But we’d have to pay for another birth! And we’ll need a bigger car! And I’m pretty sure our baby swing has forever bitten the dust.”

“So…?”

“This is above my pay grade. Seriously. Let’s just forget this whole conversation ever happened.”

“Okay. Not trying. Not preventing. Sounds good to me.”

“Good. Planning is too stressful.”

imogene 1 magic

 

11. Are you Catholic? Mormon?

I find it slightly sad that we assume only those two religious groups might have a larger than average family. We are Evangelical Christians, Protestants, Methodists, Free Church Wesleyans, Wesley Armenians, Holiness People. I know many of my Protestant brothers and sisters do not like to think about the ethical or moral implications of birth control. I know many of them don’t l ike to think, period. (A jab, I know. I’m sorry. Not sorry enough to delete it because I do think you need to think more about what you do and what that says about your faith and your Lord.) We believe children are a blessing. (And we really believe that, we don’t just say it.) We choose to remain open to God and allow Him to bless us as often and much as He so chooses. Not sure why you think you have to be Catholic or Mormon to have that kind of faith.

raj must

12. Are you trying to be like the Duggars?

No. I’m also not trying to be like my neighbor, my friend, or some random actress I’ve never met. I’m sure I’d get along fine with the Duggars, but every family that is larger than average is not trying to emulate a TV show family. Every blended family is not trying to be The Brady Bunch. Every stay at home mom is not trying to be on Desperate Housewives. Every mom of multiples isn’t trying to be John & Kate Plus 8. Just because some portions of our lives are similar, does not mean we want to BE them. I haven’t watched enough 19 Kids and Counting or even read Michelle Duggar’s book to even know how much of our beliefs are in line. Good for them, though, being willing to accept the blessings of God despite the critical and hateful toward families culture we live in.

emery 4 magic

13. How many do you want to have?

Again, not a planner. I’m not trying to achieve some perfect collection of little people who look slightly like me but more like The Pastor. I’m not aiming for a baseball team or a football team or any other kind of sport’s team (though a family folk band would be pretty awesome, gotta admit). We will have however many children God gives us. That might just be 5, and I am cool with that. We’ll talk in 20 years when my childbearing days are behind me and we’ll see how many we ended up with. (I should also note, our openness is not limited to biological children. We would happily take in foster or adoptive children if the Lord laid that on our hearts.)

I’m going to get even more personal here for a minute and share with you our story. We tried for 2 years before having our first child. After a year, we began the whole slew of fertility testing. In the end, the doctor we were seeing told us we needed to decide how far we were going to take this medically because the next step was IVF. We prayed. We had prayed and cried out to God for 2 years to give us just A child. All numbers were forgotten and we would have felt blessed to just be given one. We decided not to go the IVF route. We absolutely felt that for us it had become an issue of who we would put faith in, God or man. (I am not saying this becomes the case for everyone and know some very faithful couples who have conceived their precious children through IVF. But for us, it became an issue of faith and we knew it.) We decided to trust God. We decided we were done with trying. We began looking toward adoption, thinking maybe a closed womb was a sign that God had a different path in store for us. Boy did he! In July 2005, I quit seeing my fertility doctor. I quit taking my fertility meds. And we up and moved to Mississippi for The Pastor to go to seminary, since clearly we had some time before becoming a family with children. In August, I got pregnant. No drugs. No doctors. No “trying” really. (Some of you understand the land of OPKs, pregnancy tests multiple times a day, and obsessing over every twinge and half symptom.) Once our beautiful baby girl was born, how could we then say, “Thanks God for this blessing. We’re so glad we trusted you. Now we’re done with that because we don’t trust you to give us a reasonable number of children in the timing we deem reasonable.” We couldn’t. We left it in His hands. And 15 months later, He blessed us again. And 22 months later, again. And 23 months later, again. And 24 months later, again. He gave us the child we so desperately longed for and then multiplied it by 5! From infertile to 5 children, why would I take back over when He is clearly doing a much better job than I was? And how could I say, “Thanks for all you’ve given me, but enough. I’ll take it from here.”?

Imogene 8

14. How do you feed them all?

With food. *chuckle* We go to multiple stores. We take advantage of Costco a good bit. Amazing deals to be had at Costco. We also take monthly trips to Trader Joe’s. I wish they’d build one closer because they are amazing! We used to make weekly trips to Trader Joe’s, but it got to be a little much for us. I also shop at Kroger and Whole Foods. Whole Foods has an amazing bulk section. Dried beans of all varieties, rice of all kinds, spices at unbelievable prices! You’d be amazed. Once upon a time, I coupon shopped, but I find it more expensive than just making most things from scratch and using Costco. Convenience foods are mostly out. A single box of PopTarts is one breakfast here. A box of Little Debbies is one snack. Making your own is healthier anyway. Plus, have you ever tried to flip through coupons with 5 kids in a grocery store? Here are a few recipes and cookbooks to check out. You can also follow me on Pinterest for more recipe ideas. I usually double recipes, though sometimes a single recipe will make enough for all 7 of us. (Since 5 of them are children, after all.)

Bean by Bean.

Pioneer Woman Frito Chili Pie.

Pioneer Woman Cajun Chicken Pasta.

cookies2

 

15. How do you afford them all?

There is this crazy belief in our culture than children are ridiculously expensive. But really, they aren’t. Other than his birth, the baby hasn’t cost me anything. I breastfeed, which is free. I use cloth diapers, which I hand down from kid to kid. (I pay roughly $300 for diapers every 3-4 kids.) Sure, my grocery bill is higher, but it is still well within the reasonable realm. So, we may have to be vegetarians 2-3 nights a week. It is better for our health anyway. Really, I sometimes wonder how people without 5 kids can justify certain purchases. $200 on a car seat isn’t so bad when it goes through 3 kids. $100 on a 16” bike, then $100 on an 18” bike, then $100 on a 20” bike- not so reasonable with one kid. When you know 5 will go through them, not so bad. No, our children will never have huge trust funds and a free ride to college (on us, at least), new cars when they turn 16, or 5 gaming systems. But they exist. And they are loved. And that is enough, I think.

oblins3

16. Where do they all sleep?

People think we must live in some mansion. We don’t. We have plenty of room in our 4 bedroom (3, actually. A basement room 2 floor from a bathroom hardly counts, folks.) 2.5 bathroom rental house is plenty big enough for us. We have the master bedroom where The Pastor, the baby, and I sleep. We have a crib in there, but honestly, he never sleeps in it. Imo has her own bedroom, being the only girl, but Ransom usually sleeps in her room because the boys bother him. (They talk while they go to sleep and they get up 2 hours before Ransom likes to get up.) And then we have the boy’s bedroom, where we have two twin beds and a toddler bed (because I did not plan ahead). Eventually we’ll put two sets of bunks in there, but right now, we’d prefer them to be closer to the ground. Closet space is really what you should be asking about! That is what large families have so little of. Finding places to sleep is easy. Bunks, trundles, triple bunks, day beds- you have plenty of options. Closets are where we are lacking. Of course, you know how kids are- you put them to bed in their bed and they end up on one blanket on the floor, sleeping under the bed, in a siblings bed, or in my floor. I think they’d be happier if I just lined some mattresses up along the floor for one giant kid bed.

IMG_3135

 

17. What kind of car do you drive?

This is why I think we’re not a large family yet. We still fit into a mini-van. MINI! That should say something. A large family cannot fit into a MINI van. We have a Dodge Caravan- I think it is Grand. The Pastor went and got it from a used car lot with zero input from me days before the third was born. (Likely because I had a massive freak out, crying that the baby had no where to sit to come home from the hospital, since we had a 4 passenger Honda Element at the time.) I have 2 booster seats and a Sunshine Kids (now Diono) Radian on the back row and a Sunshine Kids (now Diono) Radian and a Combi Coccoro in the middle Captain’s Chairs.

IMGP0295

The trick to maxing out a minvan is in narrow seats (Combi Coccoro, Diono Radian, Evenflo Amp, Britax Parkway) and seat belt extenders. (We bought ours from the company More of Me to Love.) Seat belt extenders make buckling the booster seats in possible. Is this ideal? No. But it works and is reasonable safe. If you want to comment and tell me how I shouldn’t be using these, feel free to donate $30,000 and we’ll happily accept and purchase a larger vehicle. For now, this works well for us. Now, should God bless us with a sixth, we’ll have to be van shopping.

I do have a few complaints for car companies. First, why do you put carpet in a minivan? You know we’ll be tossing goldfish crackers, french fries, and chocolate milk back there. You know crayons will drop between the seats, suckers will fall from tiny hands, and dirt will be caked onto cleats. Why torture us with the carpet? Check out the Honda Element’s flooring. That is what minivans should have! (2) Why only 3 LATCHES and why the ridiculous one in the back BETWEEN two seats? How hard is it to just put a LATCH on each actual seat? Why the strange between two seat LATCH? Torture. Again. Think things through guys! Hire a mom to help you plan these things out.

IMGP0288

 

IMGP0506

18. Do you just love kids?

I think all children are a blessing from the Lord, but I am not, at all, a “kid person”. I like MY kids. Liking my own children is much different than saying I like ALL children. All children are a blessing and I do my very best to treat them like the little people made in God’s image that they are. I’m actually pretty good with kids. But I am not a kid person. (And I have met a great many “kid people” who are not parents.) You don’t have to have the gifts and disposition of a preschool teacher to be a mom to many. You just have to treat them as people, love them, and be yourself with them. I am a mother. I am not a collector of children. I do not long to be a preschool teacher or babysit the neighborhood.

ransom 7 magic

19. Do you have a TV?

Yes. Not a very large one. And no cable, but we have Netflix, Amazon, and some Roku channels. I’m not sure what TV has to do with the number of children we have. Do you regularly substitute TV for intimacy with your spouse? How is your relationship?

Ransom 3 Fade

20. How do you do it?

I usually want to tell you about the birds and the bees when you ask this, but I know that is not what you’re getting at. I did not wake up one morning with 5 kids waiting to be fed in my kitchen. They came to me one at a time with time to adjust and prepare and learn as I go along. I have not always been a patient person, having five children will teach you something about patience. I have not always know how to let go of small things that don’t matter, having five children will teach you about letting go of the small stuff. I am not super humanly organized, though I am more organized with five than I was with one or two. One by one, these kids are teaching me to be a better person. I am grateful for that. Parenting is a 24 hours a day gig- be it one kid or 10. Yes, we learn better how to fill and balance those 24 hours as we go along, but we are all putting in our all 24 hours a day. (Even when we are sleeping! My brain sorts some burdens out for me while I sleep quite often, so I consider that productive time. Plus, I’m on call.)

IMGP0978

21. Don’t you need to rest between babies?

I’m never sure how to take this. But to answer you, these are my childbearing years. All the years of my life will not be like this. I maintain my health, and I accept and embrace my role during this phase of my life. These are my years to bear children. One day, these years will be passed, and my body will rest- well, not really, it’ll simply move to the next phase. But bearing all these children is actually medically beneficial to me! What?! Having 5 has lowered my risks of ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding 5 has lowered my risks of breast cancer. This is what I was made to do. To quote Ina May Gaskin, my body is not a lemon. My Creator is not some careless mechanic. When my body is ready to bear another child, it lets me know. I ecologically breastfeed- meaning I feed my baby around the clock and bed share with him. When he stops eating so much at night, it send my body a message that he no longer needs me so much, and we are ready to carry another. It is amazing how God created us. While my little one needs me, I don’t cycle. They naturally space themselves.

IMG_2891

 

 

22. Were they all born naturally?

I understand the curiosity people experience when wondering if moms of many have these super easy pop ‘em out kind of deliveries, but this question still always confuses me. I never know if you’re asking if they were born vaginally or if they were born without intervention or if they were born without pain medication or if they picked their own birthday. So, the confusion on my face with this one is usually because I don’t know how to answer. All their births were different, and what I chose for the first two may not be what I chose for the next two. Their just different. And one person’s version of “natural” isn’t another’s. So, here is the birth scoop on my five.

Baby 1: I was told childbirth was going to really hurt. And that I could not prepare for it. And that while natural sounds best, most people just can’t do it, so have a back up plan. I was seeing a hospital based OB group. I didn’t consider a birth with anyone other than an OB in a setting anywhere other than the hospital. I was going to “try” naturally but get an epidural if I just couldn’t do it. At 35 weeks, my water broke on its own, an hour later contractions started, an hour later I was in the hospital checking in where they told me I would need to request my epidural in advance since no anesthesia was on duty, an hour later I requested the epidural after I was told 5 times I needed to ask BEFORE it started hurting “too bad”, 45 minutes later the anesthesiologist arrived to place my epidural, 15 minutes later the baby was born. The epidural was placed but not even test dosed. It was removed immediately after she was born. She was held in the nursery for 5 hours due to her size (5lbs2oz) and gestation. We stayed in the hospital for 4 days.

imogene

 

Baby 2: At 35 weeks, they found the baby to be breech (butt first). I wanted to try a vaginal breech birth, but the OB practice I was with did not do them nor did anyone in the area. At 36 weeks, an ECV (external cephalic version- they try to flip the baby from the outside) was attempted in the hospital. It did not work. At 37 weeks, my OB checked me and I was 4 cm dilated, so they sent me up for a c-section. I did have pain medication. (You’d be shocked at the number of people who ask if I had pain medication for my c-section.) I had a spinal and some IV pain medication. It is major abdominal surgery. Medication isn’t an option- you have to have it. He spent 10 days in the NICU with fluid in his lungs as a result of the c-section and not being squeezed in labor. (Labor is beneficial! Who would have thought? Those contractions are prepping the baby for life on the outside.)

IMGP0501

Baby 3: My original OB did not do VBACs and became insistent on tying my tubes during my repeat c-section. I asked for the opinion of my perinatologist and he did not think tying my tubes was necessary. (I have a uterine anomaly. It isn’t very common or studied. So, my OB at the time thought I should not take the risk of the unknown and should end my childbearing. After all, who wants more than 3 kids?) I lost my trust as the OB continued to push for tying my tubes and I was not comfortable letting her cut me open, not knowing if she’d even listen to me saying no. So, I found another doctor who did VBACs. He was not scared of my uterine anomaly or of VBAC. And I had a successful VBAC with him. (Link to birth story.) I had AROM (artificial rupture of membranes- the use a sharp crochet hook looking thing to break you water in hopes that the extra pressure of baby on cervix without a cushion will speed up labor. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It has its risks that you should definitely look into before agreeing to it.), membrane stripping (where they sweep their finger around the inside of your cervix in early labor, or sometimes before, in hopes to get labor going better), and a heplock. No pain meds. But the interventions were hardly natural. But the baby did come out vaginally. Put that in whatever column you think it belongs. We stayed in the hospital 5 days, thanks to an over zealous NICU.

emery plays

Baby 4: Same OB in a hospital. Second VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Same interventions. Membrane stripping, AROM, and helplock. No pain meds. Hired a doula this time- made a huge difference in the experience. Stayed in the hospital 10 days because of a NICU with a god- complex.

Ransom

 

Baby 5: Homebirth. It just made sense. No NICU to deal with. No where to go in labor. I had skilled midwives (one CPM, one CNM) come to me. No interventions for the actual birth. My placenta had to be manually removed, and I did have meds for the bleeding after, since the placenta got stuck. I took some Ibuprofen after he was born.

topher 1 vivid

 

 

23. Are any of them twins? Triplets?

I hate disappointing people and telling them they are really just meeting 5 siblings, no multiples. People get so excited about multiples. But no, no multiples. They are 15, 22, 23, and 24 months apart in age. That does give me Irish twins, but not actual carried-at-the-same-time multiples. ` Sorry to disappoint.

 

IMGP0883Questions I did not cover? Leave them in the comments! Questions you get asked? Leave them in the comments or over on the Facebook page!

 

 

Hands Free Mama: A Book Review

19 May

 

 

2 out of 5 Stars

hands free

I wanted to like this book, really, I did. It came so highly recommended, I thought it’d be life changing since so many other moms were saying it changed their lives. It was not life changing. In fact, I found the entire book useless and obnoxious.
So, hey, you decide you want to live “hands free” and put down your phone and computer and really be present. So, what is the first thing you do? Start a blog? Start a Facebook group? Write a book? No? Oh, well, I wouldn’t either, but this author did just that. Took a personal conviction and made it into a movement. Still not sure how that freed up her time. I guess she just felt less guilty about writing a book about limiting her commitments than she felt about the previous commitments. Baffling to me, really.
A lot of this stuff just didn’t apply to me. Not that I have it all going on, we just don’t all struggle in the same ways. I’m a homeschool, stay-at-home-mom. Clearly her drive to school issues will never be my issues. Clearly her “spending time with the kids” issues won’t be my issues. So some of her advice would just be bad advice to someone not in her predicament 100%. Example: She scolds herself/you (hard to tell with this one) about turning on music in the car and wanting to not talk to the kids in the car. She decides to be the “fun mom” and make every drive an opportunity to exert herself in entertaining and engaging her kids. Whatever, it works for her. It would not work for me. #1- I’m not a fan of distracting myself while driving around a full van of kids. #2- I don’t feel the need to entertain my kids in the car. #3- I spend plenty of time connecting with my kids, since mine are with me and not at school the majority of the day. #4- There is zero guilt in turning on some relaxing music and letting the littles just nap in the car.
She used the phrase “If there is anything I have learned…” a million times. Well, it was short of a million, but enough that it started driving me crazy every single time I read it.
Several of her good points were not original. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter were better than anything else on the pages. And much of the decent, worthwhile advice, I am certain I have heard in other places.
This book moves so slowly. For someone short on time, she really does use an awful lot of unnecessary words. She waxes on and on about the same dumb point endlessly. Honestly, the whole book could have been broken down into maybe a couple lengthy blog posts. She spends an awful lot of time just talking about nothing at all, it seemed.
She places significant pressure on moms to make everything for their kid magical. Life just isn’t like this. Sometimes chores and just chores and there is no bubbly musical montage moment in there. A lot of Mommy guilt could be heaped upon my head for having a less than Disney Magical Moment multiple times a day with my kids. In fact, most of this book is a giant Mommy Guilt bomb.
I tried to keep in mind where she is in life. She’s a mom of 2 out of the home schooled kids. That isn’t my life. She isn’t juggling the needs of 5 kids. She isn’t juggling a toddler or baby right now at all. Her perspective was simply a lot less helpful for me than I anticipated.
She is super sappy. Ridiculously so. Many, many pages of stories that are just dripping in saccharine sweet nonsense. She also seems to live her life in a very terrified place. “My kids may never walk back in…” “I may never get the chance to hug them again…” Is this some kind of new Mommy YOLO that I’ve not been privileged to encounter?
She kept saying, “The truth hurts but the truth heals.” However, she wasn’t offering much truth. In her over sentimentality, she lost almost everything she was trying to say. Most of the book was just fluffy vagueness.
“Is there anything that can’t wait until Monday on your schedule?” Well, actually, yes. That is why we have a schedule. Ballet only happens on Tuesday. The kid’s birthday only comes one day a year. Church happens to never fall on a Monday.
I understand that we need to live for today. Much more eloquent people than I (and Mrs. Stafford) have said that better. But there is a major fault in only living for today. In always living thinking you’re going to loose everything at any moment. You can grasp the thing so hard you crush it. Mrs. Stafford, I think, was heading in the right direction in her thinking, but came to all the wrong conclusions and sticking points. We need priorities. We need to live intentionally. Mrs. Stafford is all hung up in the nit-picky little details of it all and is still stuck in the web not seeing the big picture. Rachel Stafford needed to be present in her life, but she also needs direction. You can be busy without ever really doing anything.
You don’t get bonus points for doing what is needed when your kids are sick, hands-free or not. We all have to stay up all night with a sick kid sometimes. That is no indication of being on the “correct” path or journey.
I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone. I would hardly call the author an expert on what she’s written. She wrote a book based on her popular blog and stuck and cute Pinterest worthy cover on it and now you buy it and she gets money. That is about all there is to this story. The book makes several contradictory points, mostly because, I assume, Mrs. Stafford’s head is full of these same contradictions. This is a book of someone who has been through this trial of being overly distracted. This is a book about someone who is still sorting this out, and missing much in the process.

Why I Chose Young Living Oils For My Family

19 May

diffuser

I have used essential oils for several years, but the ones I purchased at the health stores just never did quite what they promised. Eucalyptus to open sinuses required me to liberally pour 20 or more drops of the stuff out to get any therapeutic use. So, I started looking into oils a little more and realized the quality of the oils I was using was really low. They were basically perfume grade. So, I started looking for better oils.

Being initially turned off by Young Living’s dated marketing, I turned to DoTerra. I bought their Family Physician Kit for $150 which included 11 oils. These oils were significantly better than the previous health store oils I had been purchasing. But I still was not feeling that the oils were the best. I thought they were good, a huge leap better than the perfume grade, but I still didn’t feel that I could really count on them fully when it came to therapeutic results.

A friend invited me to an oil class she was hosting, which I found out would be Young Living. I thought I would check them out, and if nothing else, buy a bottle of Orange Oil to support my friend. I was so surprised by the quality of Young Living oils. I was also intrigued by the way the oils were presented vs. the way they were presented by the DoTerra rep. (And this isn’t a company standard or anything, just a rep vs. rep which says very little about the company.) But the Young Living oils were presented in a Christ centered way. The oils were made from plants, given by God for our healing. Applying the oil with prayer was something that hadn’t even crossed my mind until the Young Living rep suggested it. (At that point, I had not tried the oils, so I was simply determined to use their advice with my DoTerra oils.) After smelling the Young Living oils, I decided to buy their Premium Starter Kit. For the same $150, I got 11 oils, plus a diffuser, plus samples, plus a roller bottle top. I decided to do a side by side comparison since I’d have both oils. My initial plan was to buy the oils from the cheaper of the two companies.

dt vs yl kit

(Pricing for both companies is very similar. I really don’t understand either side trying to make the case for cheaper oils. Some are cheaper here. Others are cheaper there. It really does even out in the end. Although, the Young Living Kit is clearly the much better value.)

DT vs. YL prices

As far as marketing, DoTerra wins that hands down. Their look is better. Although, since DoTerra is essentially an off shoot, and they’ll not like that I called them that, but whatever, of Young Living, the colors, catalogues, and reference books are ridiculously similar. The bottles are clearly different, but the rest of it looks like an updated Young Living. It is even comical how closely the wording in the reference books were. (And both companies have reference books specific to their products that never mention the company’s name and try to look third party which is annoying.) The DoTerra website is prettier and easier to use.

Young Living Customer Service has proven to be far more helpful than DoTerra’s customer service. Young Living goes above and beyond to make things right. DoTerra is efficient and gets the problem handled, but has never seemed to try to exceed my expectations.

The oils themselves- on my personal smell and usage comparison, Young Living is far better than DoTerra. This is purely anecdotal and not scientific at all. But when I put a Young Living oil on, I know I am going to get the desired effect. Not so for DoTerra. The DoTerra peppermint oil smells like candy canes. Young Living peppermint oil is strong, knock-your-socks-off peppermint. The DoTerra lemon oil smells like lemon drop candy. Young Living lemon oil smells like concentrated lemon peel. For DoTerra, 3-4 drops of peppermint in your water made it refreshing. Young Living, seriously only try a single drop! I found I could use less Young Living oil for better results. A smell test at my house with my friends, and most said of the oils that were different, they preferred Young Living. They agreed the Young Living smell, feel, and act stronger, or more concentrated.

DoTerra does not offer nearly as many oils as Young Living. The blends are so similar is is comical and makes you understand the lawsuit between the two companies. (Breathe and Breathe Again. DiGize and DigestZen. Thieves and OnGuard. Deep Blue and PanAway. All so similar.)

So, when it was all boiled down, did I want flash or a consistently great product. I chose to take the lame labels, quirky website, greater variety, and greater quality offered by Young Living and fully switch. (Which you’ll recall was not my initial plan or my second plan.) I now buy only Young Living oils and recommend them highly to my friends. My friends that are happy with DoTerra, I think that is great. If you find yourself in need of one of the many oils DoTerra doesn’t offer, I’m here. If you’re using health food store oil, you’ll be amazed by either company. I just personally chose Young Living for my family. I can trust the oil to do what I need it to do.

Shameless plug: If you don’t have a Young Living rep, consider using my link  and my number is 1650325 and supporting my family. If you have a Young Living or DoTerra rep, go buy from them.   (Please know that I have the ability to sell DoTerra, as well, I simply choose to buy and sell Young Living based on my personal use and interaction with each company.) If you have any questions about my experience with either company, feel free to ask.

Interrupted By God

6 May

bonhoeffer interrupted

I am so ridiculously over scheduled. I know it could be so much worse. I actively try to keep my commitments to a minimum. So, I know it could be so much worse. But I find myself with no time. Ever. No time to really stop and think about those around me. No time to really even see the person in front of me. It is popular to blame technology, but that really isn’t it at all. I’m just self absorbed. Period. Blame the phone. Blame Facebook. I can’t see those around me because of me. I’m over schedule because of me. The handwriting all over the calendar is mine. The schedule that keeps me from that theoretical ideal was created by me. I think it’d be easy to blame our technology centric culture or blame other parents who “make me feel” some certain way. But blaming everything but my own bent heart will get me nowhere. It won’t take the ink off the calendar. It won’t open my eyes to the struggles of those around me. It won’t free me for the work of God.

I’m trying to get free. Not free from Facebook, my smart phone, or any of the other bogey men we like to blame. I’m trying to really be free. Praying God will remove my blinders, turn my heart outward, and realign my priorities. I can waste my days focused on me- my schedule, my kids, my life. Or I can open myself up to being interrupted by God. Open myself up to being led instead of trying to blaze a new path each new day. “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis.

How about you? Want to actually leave the blame behind and allow yourself to be interrupted by God? Friend, I have no idea what that will look like. I make no promises or assumptions about a life where I am not the center. I just know it won’t look like this- with my calendar inked with all the “have to’s” that have no eternal significance. I just know my focus has to change. I need to stop thinking about being a better mom and focus on my children. I need to stop thinking about being a better wife and focus on my husband. I need to stop looking for what to DO for God and just seek His face. There is a lot of doing in the Kingdom, but His face is first. I’m going for it. I’m going to be ready for God to interrupt my life.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 575 other followers