Healthy living for the Christian

Many times in the church, people like myself who adhere to natural living, herbal medicine and so on, get wrongly accused of being “new-age” and written off as a “health nut”.  Some may go so far as saying that the state of our physical body here on earth is of absolutely no concern, and all that matters is our eternal life.

However, I believe that investing in your physical health is an integral part of the Christian life. Why?

I believe that firstly, God wants us to take care of our physical bodies because our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. (God lives IN US!)

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

My physical body belongs to the Lord – it is His temple, and so I should treat it with much respect.

This is the proper notion of a temple – a place where God dwells, and sacred to his use, by his own claim, and his creature’s surrender. -Matthew Henry, commentary on 1 Corinthians

The last line in 1 Corinthians 6:20 says to glorify God in our body. How do we glorify God in our body? I think that we must acknowledge that it belongs to Him, and should be used and employed for Him – it must be kept as a vessel fitted for our Master’s use.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Our modern age of science and nutrition can easily educate anyone on the best ways to take care of our bodies. At other times in history perhaps, the average person did not have access to nutritional education and wellness methods, but we definitely do not have this excuse now. All of the health and wellness literature says that we promote good health in our bodies by eating healthy nourishing foods, maintaining optimal vitamin levels, drinking water, getting adequate rest and exercising. There may be some disagreement on what exactly are healthy foods, or what exercise is best. But all agree that these are the 5 keys to good health. We as Christians should be implementing all 5 of these keys into our everyday lives.

The second reason I believe we should work towards good health is because it not only benefits our personal physical body, but we will also be so much more effective in our service for Him. It’s hard to be working for the Lord when our bodies are tired and sluggish. It’s hard to serve the Lord if you can’t get out of bed. It’s hard to serve the Lord if you’re sick all the time. Exercising and healthy diet will keep our bodies healthy, ready to get out there and serve. Getting adequate sleep will give us energy and clear, sharp minds ready to defend the Gospel.

A side note here, but one that is very important to address- Obviously our bodies are ultimately in hands of our Creator, and for some people,  no matter how many health promoting things they do, will still suffer with poor health or debilitating diseases. There is not always a direct correlation between healthy living and excellent health. However, we can rest in knowing that IF we have done our part in working to be healthy, and yet the Lord has still not given us good health, then He has purposes in mind that we may not be able to understand this side of Heaven. On the other hand, if we don’t take care of our bodies, and then suffer bad health, we cannot sit idly by and say it must just be the Lord’s will for us to be sick. We have a responsibility to do our part, and then we trust the results to the Lord. 

So, I hope I’ve communicated that our goal in healthy living shouldn’t merely be to “get healthy”, but it is to more effectively serve the Lord and to glorify Him in our nutrition and lifestyle choices. This way of living is not just a new-age, get-fit fad.

It’s a way to bring glory to God and to be more effective in our service to Him.

Long time

Its been a long time since I wrote. Life has just been so busy. We added a new baby to the family in June 2016. That pregnancy was rough; The hardest I’ve had so far. I was so exhausted much of the time, and hip pain nearly every night. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older? But the good news is that the baby is our easiest one yet – so happy and content!

Homeschooling has really ramped up over the past 2 years too – I now have a 5th grader, 3rd grader, 1st grader, and Kindergarten student. This is vastly different from a 3rd grader and 1st grader only, as it was last time I was updating the blog.

I do hope to get back to writing regularly. It helps to organize my thoughts, and also serves as a neat journal of sorts of what its like raising a big family!

I’m doing a fun project tonight with my girls so maybe I’ll write a post on it tomorrow!

 

Birthday ramblings

We celebrated my birthday last weekend. It was so fun seeing what the children chose for me from the Dollar tree (for those who may possibly not know what the dollar tree is, it is the BEST place to take children shopping – every single thing there is $1). From the children, I received a travel coffee mug so I can drink my mocha in the car (actually it’s mostly just a hot chocolate but it sounds much more adult like to say mocha). I got a pack of new socks because my dear Aubrey had noticed that all of mine have holes  need replaced. A pizza cutter, calculator, and vegetable peeler rounded out the gifts. My dear hubby got me a long awaited Kindle Fire, obviously not from the Dollar Tree. He said he was tired of seeing me read websites, news, books etc on my tiny screened phone.

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My past few birthdays have really made me understand some of the Scriptures better about being a vapor (James 4:14), a fading flower (job 14:2), a declining shadow and withering grass (psalm 102:11, psalm 144:4 ) etc. Time is flying by and I feel like before I know it, this life on earth is going to be over. And that makes my contemplative heart feel melancholy sometimes, even though I know heaven will be infinitely better than this place.

I suppose I can look forward to gray hair – Proverbs 16:31 says it is a crown of glory! And I do look forward to growing old with Wade – to sit on the rocking chairs and watch the grandchildren play (and at the rate we’re going we’re going to have a LOT of grandchildren). I pray the Lord will give us that privilege. Wade will be such a sweet old man, and such a fun grandpa. I can picture him now with his gray hair and wrinkles. He will be a cute old man.

Well anyway, enough sentiment. Wade and Aubrey also made me some grain free brownies for my birthday celebration and they were delicious. They make brownies for me every year, but until this year it has always been the usual wheat-based variety. I’ve come to realize over the past year though that wheat always gives me pimples (I’m way too old to still get pimples, right!?), and it also makes my tummy hurt for a while after eating it. So, I still occasionally eat fresh homemade bread, because it is oh so good, but stay away from wheat for the most part. Enough about me. Here’s the recipe in case anyone is interested. It’s definitely going in our family cookbook!

 

Grain-Free Double Chocolate Brownies

2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup raw honey

2 large eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

optional:  ¼ cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350º F and lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8″x8″ square baking pan with coconut oil.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, add all of the wet ingredients (including peanut butter if you are using). Mix well with a hand mixer or a whisk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix very well with a hand mixer. Then fold in the chocolate chips  with a spatula.

Pour all of the batter into the greased pan and spread evenly with a spatula or your hands, gently press in. I like to save some of the chocolate chips and sprinkle them across the top just before baking.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the center is no longer super soft and doughy. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before cutting into bars or they could fall apart.

Why the Hiatus?

I’ve been missing for months! Why?

Well, a couple reasons. For one, I started thinking, why in the world would anyone care to read what I write? Why in the world would anyone care about my blog? And two, because life had become so overwhelmingly busy, it really started feeling like I couldn’t even get a minute to sit and process my thoughts before whisking off to my next task. So I stopped writing for a while.

We’ve intentionally been trying to downsize our commitments (is that a proper use of the word downsize? I don’t know.).  We even sold our chickens for a season because even just the added time of feeding, caring for and gathering the eggs was adding to our too-full to-do list. It was all of maybe 5 minutes a day, but it was just too much. I’m serious folks, we have been overextended. “Burning our candle at both ends” as Wade’s grandma says.

And as for writing, well, I’ve just been itching to do it again. And I have come to realize that it is okay if no one reads it. It’s okay if no one cares what I have to say. Its more about the fact that I feel a need to write and to say something. If no one reads it, that’s okay. At least I got it out there and off my chest.

Maybe it’s because I’m alone all the time. Well not really alone – there are always 6 children with me. 24/7. So I doubt you could classify me as being “alone”. But I don’t get to talk and socialize much. Well, except for the members of my household. But you know what I mean. I don’t have coworkers to chat with or playdates or neighbors to visit wit etc. So sometimes I feel like I’m just bursting with words.

Sidenote: I remember reading that women say on average 20,000 words per day and men only 7,000. I believe it. It’s definitely true between Wade and I.

So, I think I’m back. And I’ll be sharing whatever it is that is just bursting out of me. Whether I think anyone cares to read it or not!

Homemade Ketchup (grain free!)

A few weeks ago I wrote about why we’re grain free – if you missed it you can check it out here.

Since we’re grain free, that means that even many condiments are out – ketchup typically has corn syrup in it, which we can’t have. And the brands at the grocery with sugar instead of corn syrup have SO MUCH sugar that we really don’t want to give it to our children.

So, I searched and searched for homemade ketchup recipes. I tried several, and eventually came up with my own blend.

Although I’ve never worked the numbers for this recipe, I would imagine that it much cheaper than buying ketchup, so we get some cost savings in addition to eating healthier!

And it’s easy to make – you just throw everything together in a bowl and whisk until well blended. It will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks – I always put a date on the top of the jar so I know when I made it. I’d say 4 weeks would be a safe expiration date. You can easily double or triple if you need to as well.

Here’s the ingredients:

  • 6 oz. tomato paste (this is the really small can at the grocery)
  • 4 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/8 t. allspice
  • 1/8 t. pepper
  • 1 T. onion powder
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • ½ t. paprika
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 T. maple syrup

 

Just mix it all together and it’s done!

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Why a vacation with 6 small children is not actually a vacation

 

So, the definition of a vacation is a “period of time that a person spends away from home for the purpose of relaxation”. This does look relaxing doesn’t it….

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We just got back today from a 3 night vacation at the Carolina coast. And um….it definitely was not relaxing. Why? Because we have 6 small children.

 

So here’s the top 5 reasons why a vacation with small children is anything but a vacation:

 

  1. Packing for 6 children is a nightmare. Practically a logistical impossibility. Clothes, pajamas, toothbrushes, swim suits, shoes, diapers, pull ups, baby monitor, swaddle blanket, baby swing and on and on…. And not only did I have to pack clothes and shoes, but also all the food we would need for 3 meals a day plus snacks. We have allergy issues in our family, so dining out is not much of an option. Our van was loaded down with food – I don’t think I realized we ate quite that much until I saw it boxed up and then all of it eaten in 3 days.
  2. Babies do not sleep well in new places. At least mine never do. I was up…. Wait for it….. 8 TIMES one night with the 3 month old. 8 times in about 8 hours. And on that note, toddlers don’t sleep well in new places either. The little flower fell out of her bed once in the middle of her nap, she woke up in the middle of the night scared and screaming one night, and she took FOREVER to calm down and go to sleep each night.
  3. 6 children + ocean = drowning risk = stressed parents. I felt like a hawk trying to keep my eyes on them. And since one of them is a little baby, there were times that I had to go back in the house with the baby and my dear husband had to watch the remaining 5 himself. Stressful! And 2 days before we left, I had read about a friend of a friend whose 3 year old daughter had just drowned. So we were doubly cautious on this trip.
  4. Sand is the reason I would never want to live at the beach. There was sand encrusted on their scalps, sand up their noses, sand in every nook and cranny. Baths were time intensive searches for remaining sand particles.
  5. Car ride. With little ones. Little ones who cry. When one would finally give up and go to sleep, another started it up and woke everyone up. We’ve considered taking earplugs from now on. Not to mention that potty breaks are all too common. We’re not amateurs though – we carry the little green potty in the van at all times for quick pit stops.So why do we do it? Because although it is SO  much work for us as the parents, seeing the joy on their faces and knowing we’re building memories that last a lifetime makes it all worth it.IMG_2198 

    All in all, we had a great time. And we will look forward to doing it again next year.

    But now I need a vacation. A relaxing vacation.

Do you have kids or do you have children?

Do you know what kids are? They are baby goats. Here are some characteristics of goats. They are mischievous, prancing around, not a care in the world beyond fulfilling their own desires. They react spontaneously with no thought to the future. They live outside, eating anything they find and climbing on anything above ground level. And have you ever smelled a kid? Yuck.

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What are children? They are a blessing. Psalm 127:3-5 –

Lo, Children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

I don’t think anyone would call “kids” a blessing – especially if they live in your house. Maybe this is why so many couples, even Christians, are severely limiting their family size – they are afraid that they may give birth to a kid. Although they are cute, they are destructive, full of potential to ruin everything! A nuisance, a hassle. I certainly don’t want any kids living in my home. Livestock belongs outside in the pasture.

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But children? Now children have the potential to exhibit some of the characteristics of God – they can grow in patience, goodness, love, joy, peace and so on. They can become orderly, and kind, developing their self-control. They can bring joy to your life and to all those they encounter. They have the potential to spread the gospel and minister to the hurting on this earth.

To take this a step further? Look at Matthew 25:

31-33: When the Son of man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit up on the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.

41-43: Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was a hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

So if you want your children to act like goats and grow up to be goats, then go ahead and call them “kids”.

But I personally have no kids. I have 6 children who live in our home, and they bring us joy everyday.

So, I’ll ask again, do you have kids or do you have children?