Children—a gift

Standing in line at Home Depot last week, I heard something that caught my attention.

There was a group in front of me with two moms and a couple of kids. One of the moms was handing the clerk paint, wood, and tools for some project. The other mom was managing the chaos that comes with precious littles. They were doing a fine job. Especially considering there was at least one baby and a 2-year-old in the group!

As they finished up and headed out the door, the clerk, who was probably also in his 30’s, turned to me and said with disgust, “THAT is exactly why I don’t have kids.” He motioned to the families as they walked out the door and continued to talk about his dislike for children as he rang up my items. (I happened to not have my children with me, so I can only assume he thought I would sympathize with him.)

I was so taken back by the words that poured out of his mouth (especially as I glanced down and noticed he was wearing a wedding band) and his disdainful attitude towards children, I didn’t know what to say. I just kind of stared confused and dumbly at him.

I left the store feeling sorry for this guy. He didn’t have a clue about what he was missing!

Although parenting requires sacrifice and hard work at times (ok, a lot of the time), the blessings you gain in return are innumerable . Being mom to my two precious daughters is one of the most amazing privileges I have experienced in this life. With it comes an abundance of love and joy and just plain fun that I would have missed out on otherwise.

Sure, without kids, perhaps I would have more vacation photo albums and stamps in my passport. Brance and I would likely have gotten more sleep and our house would have stayed cleaner and our laundry baskets less full. But none of that holds a drop in the bucket to what we have gained as parents. For the overwhelming love and gratitude we feel for these two little souls we’ve been blessed to raise.

After Homeschool today, for some reason the girls and I started looking through family pictures and videos from when they were smaller. Tears sprang to my eyes as I watched them totting, and dancing, and talking to their mama behind the camera. Oh man. THIS is important—these years with my children—THIS is what beautiful memories are made of. Not the nice restaurants or new clothes. Not trips or new vehicles, or even a clean house and peace and quiet.

Seeing those pictures and videos reminded me that when I think back to all the meaningful things I have experienced in this life, the things that fill my heart to overflowing, my children (and people I love) are what come to mind.

Regardless of what others or culture may tell us, children truly are a gift from God.

P.S. As I wrote this, my heart went out to those who for whatever reason have not been able to have children despite their desire. Please don’t feel I am saying here that you can’t have a meaningful life. I also believe there are ways for you to still experience the gift of children—whether it’s nieces and nephews or at church etc.

Cure Ulcerative Colitis

Cure Ulcerative Colitis
While technically you can not Cure Ulcerative Colitis, it IS possible to experience remission and to live symptom-free with little to no medication—for many of us. (When I say cure, this is what I am referring to! We’ll call it cure with a little “c”.)

I can say how wonderful it feels to no longer struggle with UC!  Getting here has been a big, big blessing for me and my little family of four.

I know what it is like to be in the bathroom over a dozen times a day, completely embarrassed to leave home. I know what it is like to suffer from autoimmune related fevers and aches and swelling and joint pain. AND I know what it is like to feel like my normal, healthy self again NOT constantly having to scope out the nearest bathroom. Oh man, there is nothing like it!

For me, it had everything to do with food, despite my gastroenterologist’s claim at diagnosis to the contrary. Thankfully I was skeptical and began experimenting with my diet almost immediately. What did I have to lose?

Desperate to feel better, I have tried all kinds of diets from gluten- free to paleo to the specific carbohydrate diet, with varying results. But NONE of them has worked nearly as well as what I have settled on. Which is SO simple by comparison and super effective. My doctor is very pleased at how well I am doing (I am currently on little medication and in remission to boot!).

Not only did those other diets NOT stop all of my symptoms, they made me feel all kinds of awful in the process… low blood sugar, exhausted, foggy-headed and dizzy, etc. Plus I am thankful to have discovered something that works and allows me to live a relatively normal life. Some of the diets I tried were so extreme I had to carry my food with me everywhere in a cooler—I could never eat out or pick up something quickly at the store or even have dinner at a friend’s house. It was very complicated and NO fun!

In case these may help you too, here are the 5 simple things that I have done with my diet that have helped me cure Ulcetative Colitis (with a little “c”)…

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Sweet Marriage

I’m a total romantic but it is my husband who loves poetry.

It was one of the things I was surprised to learn after we married. There are so many things you discover about the other person in marriage and not all of them pleasant (well, at least where I am concerned). But this was one of those sweet little surprises.

Right now Brance is combing through a used bookstore with the girls while I wait in the glorious outdoors. I never last as long as he does in a bookstore. He’s certain to have found his way to the poetry section by now. After browsing for an old copy of Pilgrim’s Progress first, of course.

For me, this is one of the beautiful things about marriage, about growing old together—learning all the facets of another human being. Discovering that your martial arts and Star Wars watching fellow finds joy in crafty meter and beautiful rhyme and soaring language.

Don’t get me wrong. Marriage is work. It’s flat out hard sometimes. But most everything good in this life involves work or sacrifice of some sort. And being on this journey together and growing together through the shared experiences of marriage—for years—well, there really is nothing like it.

Yeah, so I just wanted to say that marriage is a sweet, sweet gift full of surprises. That’s it, you guys. Have a wonderful weekend!

You before me

I called my mom, a little over a month after Haddie was born.

In a sleep-deprived and perhaps tearfully hormonal voice, I told her how thankful I was for ALL that she had done for me. For all the beautiful sacrifices she had made over the years, that frankly, I had no clue about before becoming a mom myself. And for all the ones that I had yet to experience.

She laughed humbly and graciously accepted my gratitude. I have a wonderful mom!

Ah… the life of a mom. Words can not fully describe how it changes a woman and brings to light both the oh-so-wonderful and the not-so-good bound up in one person. There really is nothing like it.

And in my humble opinion, few connections in this life have the capacity to display love better than that of mother to child. The real kind of nitty-gritty LOVE that puts another person first– the “you before me” kind that seems so rare these days.

It’s a love that sacrifices on a daily basis. That sets aside its own desires to read another book aloud or change a dirty bed or clean up a spill. Love that even delays its own needs for another– I am talking showers, and meals, and sleep (for years folks!) and so much more. That willingly takes on every hurt and sadness and joy and success of the child.

It reminds me of the biblical love Christians are told to have for one another in 1 Corinthians 13. One that is patient and kind and self-controlled. One that is never rude or irritable or resentful. It’s a “you before me” kind of love.

In other scriptures we are told love shows concern and care for even one’s enemies! And of course Christ was the greatest example of this when he laid down his very LIFE—for those of us like me who counted Him as their enemy.

What an honor that as a mother we get to reflect this beautiful, sacrificial kind of love. Love that looks to the needs of others before ourself. And leads us to teach our children to do the same and hopefully make a difference in this world.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there, both physical and spiritual! Your job is SO very important.

With love for you all,

Lauren

P.S. You may be interested in this post on love. Or this Mother’s Day post.

8 important nutrients for fighting depression

Did you know that there is a BIG connection between mental health and nutrition? That nutrients and depression are often intertwined?

And that if you are someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, there is a good chance that your symptoms would improve if you addressed nutritional deficiencies. Maybe even drastically so as it has for me!!

The crazy thing is that you may feel like you are eating well. Really well. Or maybe you’re not. Either way, it’s easy to accidentally miss a piece or more of the nutritional puzzle and suffer when it comes to your mental and emotional well-being.

I used to constantly struggle with depression, anxiety, brain fog, exhaustion etc. It was miserable. One of the reasons I started this little blog was to share the amazing transformation I have experienced as I have made changes to my diet and lifestyle. I feel soooo much better, I just had to sing it from the “blogosphere” in case it could help another soul.

Here is a list of 8 important nutrients that research has shown can affect the mental health of those deficient.

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