As I wrote last week, I’m training for a 5K run, against myself. I have very little desire to enter a race with others, though I’ve talked about running in our local marathon. I joined a runners group on Google+ and there I found another runner’s blog post about creating an arm band from an old sock to hold his cell phone while he was running.
Through the winter and spring having a place to put my phone wasn’t an issue as I had to wear layers of clothing to maintain a level of comfort from the temperature. Now that warmer days are here I am down to a light long sleeved shirt most days, leaving no where to put my phone. I don’t want to run hanging on to it. The first morning that was warm enough for me to have this issue, I tossed around ideas like a fanny pack, my husband’s vest, an extra bra, tucking it into my pants. Now any of those may have worked, if you have an iPhone or some other smaller phone, but I carry a Galaxy Note, so I had to get creative.
I love my phone!
Using this other running blogger’s idea, I took a tank top that is a little snug on me. Without putting my arms through the straps where they would normally go, I put the whole shirt around my waist, over my other clothing. By wrapping the shirt around the phone I created a sleeve or pocket. This worked really well and the phone did not bounce or slide around at all. I use headphones to listen to pod-casts and directions for my workout, so I tucked that cord under my workout shirt’s strap so it would stay put out of the way.
spread the tank top out
fold the tank top over the phone
keep folding around the phone
There is quite a bit of bulk if I’m not careful with how I roll the shirt, but I think even in warmer weather, this will work for my purposes.
and there you go, headset cord tucked out of the way
Marrissa’s birth story is one I’ve never written before this year. She is turning eight years old today. I guess it’s time.
After Harvey’s birth and death, we were giving some advice to follow in the next year to two years: wait before having another baby, wait to make a major purchase, and wait to make a big move (as in location of our residence). We needed time to grieve they said. We didn’t disagree with them, but by mid-August we had leased a new truck, and I was pregnant again. We were nervously happy. And then by the end of the year (December) we moved our family from Alberta to Ontario to be closer to Jason’s family. We didn’t set out to do everything we were advised not do to, but it sure looked that way!
Almost as soon as arriving in Ontario we started our search for a midwife who would take us on after a neo-natal death. We really wanted to have another homebirth but there were so many factors to consider that we weren’t sure what the best course of action would be. The closest midwifery office to us was just about an hour away. That didn’t concern us too much, as our previous midwife had been closer to two hours away. We were living with Jason’s parents but were unsure how soon that would change or if our new home would be conducive to a homebirth. Once we settled in with this group of midwives some of the other things started to settle in too. We moved to a new home and were not comfortable giving birth there. Additionally, we took into account the feelings and concerns of family members and decided to have a midwifery attended hospital birth. There were a few other hoops we had to jump through to stay with the midwives and not be transferred to a doctor’s care, so we took care of those as necessary. One of these hoops was that I could not go post-term. As my time began to run out, we started talking about and trying ways to encourage labor to commence.
We decided to try the castor oil method. (You can Google it; there are lots of cautions against it, that I didn’t know about until after the fact. You’ll have to make your own decision in this regard.) I made a call to the midwives the night before we were going to drink the concoction (2 tbsp of oil and 2 tsp of baking soda in orange juice, with a big straw and GULP!!), so they would be on standby. One of the side effects of this method is that you get “the runs”. And “the runs” is what stimulates the uterus to start contracting and thereby starting labor. It only works if the Momma is “this close” to going into labor on her own. Let’s just say I didn’t sleep much that night. Our little house was two levels, split by a couple of stairs. Our bedroom was on the main level and you had to step down into the kitchen/dining room area and BACK up the two stairs into the bathroom. I considered camping out on the kitchen floor that night. I was up a million times and was thankful it was only a couple of stairs! But the concoction did the trick. Labor started in the morning and within a couple of hours we’d dropped the older girls off and were headed to the hospital to meet with the midwives.
I don’t remember a lot from that day but I do remember a few things. Marrissa’s labor was the first time I tried to labor in water. I was not completely impressed. I felt out of control in the water so I switched to a shower. I’m not one to get snippy when in labour, but I recall snapping at Jason for rubbing my arm or something like that. I made it very clear that I would tell him when he could touch me again. I remember the room was large and comfortable for my birthing team as well as for me. One thing I loved about this hospital birth was the amazing bed that moved to whatever position I wanted and the incredible birthing bar.
Marrissa was born after about 8 hours of labor, at about 2 in the afternoon. The sac of water didn’t break on its own; she was born in the cull. The tale is that the infant born in the cull is lucky or blessed. I know we felt blessed and relieved to have our baby safely in our arms.
Marrissa’s birth was my second hospital birth. The decision to birth in hospital was one that I had a hand in deciding. I labored at home as long as possible and there was a plan in place. Her pregnancy was probably the most researched and controlled birth for me. I could no longer just trust those around me to do what was best. I needed to be more in control; I needed to know what was happening to me, and to my baby on every level. I learned to trust my body during Marrissa’s pregnancy and birth.
Marrissa’s early months were a blur. I honestly remember very little of her first year. I remember when my parents came and stayed with us for a week or so and some mental snapshots of that time together. I remember trips to the home farm, but many of my memories have been triggered only by photos. I know that my failure to remember is a coping mechanism caused not only by my previous delivery but by the situation and relationships surrounding me. I want in an unstable situation but it wasn’t a little rocky and out of my element. Things start getting a bit more clear just before her first birthday a couple of months after we returned to Alberta.
So there you have Marrissa’s birth story. And now I know why my midwife recommends this ‘job’ be done within 48 hours of the birth. Eight years later…. that isa lot too late.
PS The picture included is Miss Marrissa after receiving her award for bravery from the Fire Chief in October 2012. You can read the story here and here.
Really, just own it? He wasn’t asking for an apology. He wasn’t asking for an explanation. All he wanted was for me to own what I’d said, own what I’d done.
And when I did, the fight was diffused.
Sometimes that’s all it takes to stop an argument cold. ”I did it!” ”It was me.” We are attempting to teach this to our children. A few months ago, our “mantra” was “fair isn’t everyone getting the same thing…” and now we seem to be fighting against “the blame game”. Jason and I worked together to come up with the wording for this poster that I have posted in strategic places in the house.
In April, I started a training program called “Beginner to 5K” using an app called RunKeeper. I have no intentions of running an organized race this year. (I have considered it in the past and am again considering it in the future.) I am running for my own enjoyment and to compete against my own best times. My purpose for running (to be honest, at this point it’s barely more than a jog) is to help shed some pounds, exercise my large dog and to just create some regular outside activity in my life.
In high school I enjoyed running outdoors. I remember purposely waking an hour earlier than necessary before school so I had time to walk and shower before breakfast. Once I graduated and went to college I got out of the habit. And then I got married and pregnant. Since then I’ve been more often pregnant and nursing than not. Now, 8 babies later, I have a house full of little ones, a few extra pounds and a desire to run again.
It’s the perfect timing for me to run. My oldest two are old enough to watch the littler ones while I’m away for an hour which has solved my biggest reason / excuse. My other major excuse is the weather. And Jason solved that one for me this winter when, after our fire, he purchased some amazing insulated coveralls for me. I love them! Now that it’s spring I won’t need them for a couple of months but with that solved so easily, I think I can overcome rain and clouds. But the wind…. that’s another story. I hate the wind! I can handle getting wet; my feet would end up soaking up to the knees after some of my spring runs. I can beat the cold, but the wind drives me batty! I don’t know how to solve that one…. maybe run in a bubble.
Running is not a daily habit for me yet, but I am about every other day. Sometimes I walk, and walk slow, but the main point is that I am out and I am moving. I am moving forward toward a better body, a better mental state and a better example for my children. No longer can they say, “All you do is play on your computer!” In fact, we’ve started making trips to the river again too. Two summers ago we went there weekly, with a new friend, who has since returned to the United States. I didn’t have the energy to go far last summer, being big and pregnant with Axle, but when Kristyn asked me to take them I almost said no but I couldn’t find a reason not to go. (I almost used the wind excuse, but I fought it!) And you know what, I KNOW I’m stronger. I carried Axle on my back for over an hour the first time we went to the river and when we got back I wasn’t totally exhausted! I still had energy to carry out the rest of the day’s activities.
So, my point to all of this is: just start. Do something. Pick something and try. If you HATE it, pick something else! But don’t default to doing nothing. You’ll feel better for it!
PS. Since the original writing of this post, I have hurt my hip. I go walking about once a week right now and that is forced. I’m slowly starting to feel better and have to be careful that I don’t push myself too far. I want to be healed before I go back at it.
Today I want to tell you about a free service / tool that has helped us to give our children an allowance. The topic of allowances is discussed often in homes, churches, online and off; pretty much anywhere you find parents you’ll find a discussion on the topic of allowances. We haven’t had the cash flow or the organization to hand or children cash, so for a long time our kids didn’t get anything. That all changed when I found ThreeJars.com.
At ThreeJars.com, each child is set up with an account; each account has three jars (imagine that) -SPEND, SAVE, SHARE. Each week a set amount is entered into each virtual jar. We give each child have their age in dollars per week as an allowance. Fifty percent of that is saved for bigger purchases. Forty percent is for the children to spend on more day to day things – treats at the store, small purchases, etc. – and the final ten percent is shared with a church, a missionary, or an individual in need. Being virtual, these jars are just holding tanks.
If the child wants to purchase an item or requests cash, they can send a message to me through their account or ask me directly. If the child wants to give to a specific organization, we deduct that amount from the jar and write the cheque, as our budget allows.
The kids love seeing the SAVE jar numbers grow. Wyatt almost has enough for an iPod but now he’s reconsidering because he saw a Lego Ninjago Fire Temple or something that he might want instead. The older four kids support two preschool children in Rwanda, where my parents are living. The ‘money’ in their SHARE jars goes toward that gift. With this gift the African preschoolers are able to attend school and purchase their uniforms. (You can read about and see some great photos of my parents’ adventures at my mom’s blog – Grandma Johnny is in Rwanda.). Kristyn is my spender; her SPEND jar is always empty. Cora on the other hand rarely touches the money in any of her jars; she has to really want something before she’ll spend what’s there. For Cora, it’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
I love this tool and can see us using it for a long time. Axle still has a number of years in our home and a lot to learn about money. I love how this tool works with the principles Dave Ramsey teaches. Dave teaches that kids need to learn how to work. ThreeJars.com allows me to link the daily chores my kids do to their weekly allowance. Dave teaches three principles of money – SAVE for the future, GIVE to others and SPEND wisely.
Rayna’s Three Jars Dashboard
I encourage you to check out Three Jars.com. I don’t get anything for sharing this resource with you, except the privilege of making your life a little easier too. Set up is easy. Kids have their own log in information, a page to make their own; it’s fun for the whole family, if you find money and computer stuff fun.
I’m an all-or-nothing type of person. I have to fight against myself to take baby steps When it comes to running, I don’t want to train; I just want to run the full 5 K all at once, the first time out. (I didn’t; I’m training, be it ever so slowly.) With homeschooling, I want all subjects started at once. With the housework, I want the whole house to be clean and stay clean all at once. (It’s just not feasible, at least not for more than a minute or two, especially with all the mud we’ve had in the yard this spring.) And with Dave Ramsey’s baby steps for financial planning and freedom, I want to do all the uncompleted steps all at once.
Due to events beyond our control and decisions we made after the fact (our house fire) we were able to complete baby steps 1, 2, and 6 (mini emergency fund, pay off all debt, including the house). ACK! It threw me (the rule-following, nerd) into a tizzy! What to do?!?! What to do?!?!? Well, we need to do steps 3, 4 and 5 (full emergency fund, 15% of income into retirement savings and save for college*) RIGHT NOW! Starting with the next pay cheque!
In my line of thinking, if we have no debt, there’s no reason why we can’t fill up our emergency fund (3-6 months of expenses in savings), put money into retirement and save for the future education of our children all at the same time. After all, we have no debt, so this shouldn’t be an issue for us even though we are putting food on the table (for 9), paying the bills and starting a couple of small businesses, while making an income that hovers around the poverty line for our area and family size (based on 2004 information).
Thanks some gentle reminders from my husband (“Baby steps, dear, baby steps.”) and my friend, Reagan (kindly telling me I was obsessing), I came to realize that what I was trying to do just was not possible and so I quit fretting, for the time being. The next morning, while listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast during my run, I heard him tell a caller to start the next step – fill the 3-6 month emergency fund AND THEN start to save for retirement.
**FOUR WALLS FIRST**
**ONE BABY STEP AT A TIME**
So it doesn’t matter that in our case, step 6 was completed before step 3. What’s done is done! And, thanks to God, it’s DONE! (Not having a mortgage is incredible, by the way.) Now we go back to step 3 and pile money away for emergencies. And emergency funds aren’t for overspending, and not for renovations.
I think I got this. Do you? Following the baby steps will get you there FASTER than trying to do it (whatever it is) all at once. Sometimes special circumstances (like a house fire, or an inheritance) can mess up and muddle up the order; just jump back to the first uncompleted step and keep pluggin’ away. Lastly, emergencies pop up; If we need to use our emergency fund (when we have one, again), we need to hop back a step or two and re-complete step 3. Top that fund back up to the 6 months of expenses and then back at the rest of it. That’s just the way it works, life throws us hiccups every once in a while.
Hey God, I’ve got some guy named Jonah in my stomach and I think I’m gonna throw up by Troy Schmidt is a humorous telling of the story of “Jonah and the whale” from the Bible. My kids snagged the book before I even got a chance to read it for this review. The cover illustration is eye catching and fun with many bright colors. The kids love it.
My readers have read Hey God, I’ve got… to my non-readers a couple of times or more and everyone likes it. Every time I’d ask for the book back to review it, they’d say something like, “that book is awesome” as they handed it to me.
The theme or lesson of obedience comes through the whale’s version of this story just as it is evident in the book of Jonah. I like that the lesson of the Jonah is maintained. At the end is a ”Parent Connection” feature that will help moms and dads take the story further with scripture references and tips on how to talk with their children about what really happened.
About the Author: Troy Schmidt has writing and video production credits ranging from assignments with Disney (The Mickey Mouse Club) and Nickelodeon to Max Lucado’s Hermie franchise. He is currently the lead writer for The American Bible Challenge hosted by Jeff Foxworthy on the Game Show Network. Troy and his wife have three sons.
This is just the first in a series!
Other books available include: Hey God, Can You Stop the Rain so I Can Get off Noah’s Smelly Ark? and Hey God, I’m Having an Awful Vacation in Egypt Thanks to Moses!
We become slaves of righteousness when we are wholeheartedly obedient to God’s laws – all of the things taught in God’s Word.
“What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” Romans 6:15-23, ESV.
I choose to read the following verses pretty plainly and take them for what they say. The Law is not abolished. Jesus came to show use how to live the Law correctly, in its completeness – He came to show us the fullness of the Law. Heaven and earth are still here, as far as I know. I mean, I live on earth, right? So what does that say to me?
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20, ESV.
I need to obey the Law, as best as I can, keeping in mind the love that Christ brought to the world. Y’know, it kinda goes a long with the WWJD campaign that was popular a while ago, but I’m not sure that people really understand Jesus and who He is and what He would do. (But that’s a post of another day.) I know that I don’t fully understand what my relationship with him needs to look like; I’m learning. The more I dig and the more I remove the evangelical glasses I was raised with and the more I question, the more I find my relationship strengthened, not only with God but with the people around me as well. It’s an amazing thing. The more obedient I am – the more I am a slave to righteousness – the more important people become to me and my family and we are able to show them the love of God.
So back to the point about the Law not being abolished… what is the purpose of the Law? In Romans 3 we read this: Now all this that the Law says is said, as we know, for the benefit of those who are subject to the Law, but it is meant to silence everyone and to lay the whole world open to God’s judgement and this is because no one can be justified in the sight of God by keeping the Law: all that law does is to tell us what is sinful. (vs 19-20, The Jerusalem Bible, Reader’s Edition) Did you see that? Let me say it again: ALL that the Law does is to TELL us WHAT is SINFUL!
If the Law is telling me what is sinful and I’m NOT OBEYING the Law, then how is that being obedient to righteousness!?!?! How am I in a loving relationship with God if I am not obeying the law? I would say that I’m not because without obedience to the Law, I am living in sin. The purpose of the Law is to show me my sin. The purpose of the Law is to bring me to an understanding of my sin, my need for faith, and the Law brings me to freedom in God. We are truly free as slaves of righteousness.
Unpleasant tasks always take me a little to find the motivation to complete them. Cleaning up the yard was no exception, and ended up being a bit of an adventure. All sorts of things were hiding in the long, dead grass left over from last summer. (We weren’t very good at trimming the edges around the fence last year; I guess I need to get someone on that unpleasant task this summer.) Most of what I found in the grass was disgusting, rotting (does poop rot?) dog poop that had collected in the winter’s snow accumulation. This was not a pleasant job in the least! By the time I was done, the air around me was starting to take on the odor of composting dog feces.
Sometimes when doing unpleasant tasks such as this yard clean up, I need a greater purpose and a higher reason to complete even portion of the job.
“Now my kids and dog have a clean area in which to play.”
“Now the new spring grasses can poke through easier;
I’m one step closer to seeing green out my window!”
“The view out my desk-side window is not quite so disgusting.”
Yes, my reasons are somewhat selfish.
And then I started to talk myself out of finishing ALL of the front yard.
“That’s good enough. I’ll just finish under the swings; that’s a great place to stop.
Besides, I need to ask the children to pick up the toys and bicycles so I can finish properly.”
“I’m tired and hot. I already got my exercise for the day taking the dog for a walk earlier.
And I know there are things I should be doing inside.”
“I wonder if the baby needs me yet. He was kinda fussy when I left.
He’s probably ready for a nurse and a nap. Was that him I just heard?”
And so I didn’t completely finish the whole area. I did the end nearest the swing set. I raked all the refuse into a large pile, put the rake away and went indoors, to snuggle my sweet baby, and admire my accomplishment from the office chair. Later, I watched as my boys played on and around the swings without having to step on dog poo.
As I spent Friday in a day of preparation for the Sabbath this week, I felt a sense of urgency; I desired so intensely to have the house ready for a day of rest and study. I have so many special things that signal the impending celebration. And, for me, the Sabbath is a celebration. I celebrate the week gone by and look forward to the week ahead. I marvel at what God is doing in our lives as a family unit and in the greater community. I spend time reflecting on His words and what God is teaching me.
And so my day of preparation looks like this:
The main floor (and, ideally the basement as well) receives a quick, but thorough going over – tidy up, put away, vacuum – everything-in-its-place type of clean. The pile of unfolded laundry, from the week’s washing and drying gets folded and deposited into dresser drawers. Our massive desk gets cleared, organized and wiped down. In the kitchen and dining room floors are mopped, counters are scrubbed and dishes get washed. A special meal is planned and prepared. Someone washes the table very well and lays out the white tablecloth. A dessert can usually be found releasing a yummy aroma from the direction of the oven. In the bedrooms the children are encouraged to change their bed sheets, tidy there floors and return items to their proper locations.
Friday is not a school day here, but rather a day of preparation and anticipation of the Sabbath. At this point in their lives, my children mostly see the day as one free of major chores, a day for being outside, being with friends, or simply hanging out at home with a movie or reading a book. My children are sometimes not fond of Friday being a day of preparation, because we do a lot of work to get the house and yard cleaned up. I simply remind them, “tomorrow, we rest” and we move on with our tidying and straightening.
I look forward to Fridays each week, not because it’s the end of the week, and certainly not because I get to clean house (I don’t like housecleaning…), but I look forward to Fridays because it means the Sabbath is coming!