Monday, August 27, 2012

Women of Faith Conference

This past weekend I had the chance to volunteer at the Women of Faith conference in Indianapolis with World Vision.  This conference came at a very needed time in my life.  Life over the past 4-6 months (even past 11 months) has really just been in the "survival" mode.  Nate's been working lots of extra hours trying to meet deadlines, we are at the end of a busy summer, and I am so ready for life to become grounded and more structured again.  I also am looking forward to jumping back into routine structured bible study with my new BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) group.

The WOF (Women of Faith) conference helped me to actually take 1 1/2 days to focus on me (for once), and gave me a chance to quietly listen to what God wanted to tell me!  You other mamas can totally relate when I say, "quietly," RIGHT?   I really enjoyed all of the WOF team, but appreciated 2 of the speakers the most!   My favorite was Kelly Minter.  She is new to the WOF team and is an incredible asset!  She spoke with such humility, realness, and honesty.  I felt I had known her for years and she was telling me some of her hardest struggles!  Her vunerability with the audience allowed me (and many others) to really relate to what she was saying.  She has a new bible study book out on Nehemiah and I can't wait to pick it up.  She talked about the fact God is a God of second chances and He is in the business of rebuilding us as a Christian people.  We as women need God's healing hand to "rebuild the broken places of our lives and we can only do that through the power and presence of God."  She talked about the rubble at the bottom that causes so much hangup in our lives.  We MUST deal with the rubble before we can rebuild our "walls."

I was also deeply touched by Brenda Warner 's testimony on Saturday.  She shared about the undesired "calls" she has received throughout her life, but how God's faithfulness continued to bring her through.  I seriously cried during her whole 30 min presentation.  I didn't have enough Kleenex's to keep my eyes dry!  I really want to get her book, One Call Away, to learn about God's faithfulness in the midst of much PAIN!  She was an incredible speaker and very vulnerable with the audience.  I really appreciate that about a speaker!

Mark Lowry, singer/songwriter of "Mary Did You Know?," also provided much needed laughter on Friday night!  I laughed so hard through his whole act.  He is a very talented man with an incredible heart for the Lord.  I would love to see him again!!!

Finally, my last FAVORITE part of the WOF conference was watching Mandisa perform!  Wow, that girl has got some major CHOPS!  This was one of the best Christian concerts I have ever been to!  She rocked the house and actually had FUN singing and performing!  You could tell she believed every word she was singing and found JOY in her music.  I can't WAIT to get her CD!!   She did an awesome job telling about each song and how it "came to be."  I really appreciate when artists tell you the history of the song because I feel it is more relational and meaningful!  If you are looking for something for your Christmas Wish List, her CD needs to be one of your items!!  Check out this live video of her singing Good Morning!   She is going to be on GMA this morning with Toby Mac singing this song in 45 minutes!!

While I was working at WOF, I had the chance to help World Vision get more child sponsorship's.  It was a great experience!  For $35 a month, you can support a child in almost any country in the world.  The best part about World Vision is 86% of the $35 monthly sponsorship goes DIRECTLY to that child!  We were told it is the most of any child sponsorship program!  The other 14% is for admin, stuff like the WOF conference etc.  Isn't that awesome???  Please pray and ask God if you should pursue sponsoring a child?  I have sponsored one since 2003 and LOVE receiving letters from her and would love to meet her someday!

All in all the WOF was a great experience, however, I wished that each of the main speakers sessions would have been as "deep" as Kelly Minters.  She taught from Scripture and intertwined her personal testimony throughout it.  I know the other women that spoke have TONS of wisdom and knowledge, as they are poured over God's word for many years.  I just wished they would have shared more in depth stuff with us!

Did you attend WOF?  If so, what were your thoughts?


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First Day of Preschool

I am not sure who was more excited about preschool starting .... Sophia or her mama!!  Ha!  I imagine many of you have been there ... felt that way ...

She had an awesome first day back in Preschool!  She going two days this year = more time with Jackson and the incredible opportunity to tackle BSF (Bible Study Fellowship)!  I am really looking forward to digging into the Word with awesome women of all ages!  In the midst of having little ones at home, it can be SO draining physically and emotionally.  I am blessed with the opportunity to recharge myself one day a week at BSF!  


Big girl -- 2012 school year
Wow, what a difference a year can make huh?  (2011 school year)

What a sweet picture!!

She immediately ran in and gave Miss Pam a hug!

Waving bye-bye after hanging up her name tag on the apple tree!

Nate and I were talking that this time next year Jackson will be able to go 1 day per week in the barely 2's class which would mean I would have 4 hours EVERY week to myself!  Ohhhhhh ..... Ahhhh ... SIGN ME UP!!  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The many faces of Jackson at 11 months and my rants about govt inefficiency!

Last Wednesday I turned 11 months old!  Yay, such a big boy!!  Always willing to smile at the camera for me ... his sister, well, not so much!!

Chillin' with mommy!

How about a side-view mom?  

"I just can't take all the paparazzi flashes!"

How big is Jackson, "So BIG" -- this is his response

Yeah, not sure what he is doing but cute, isn't? 

Well, the countdown is on to his big 1st birthday ... 25 days!!  I can't believe how quickly time has FLOWN by this year!  I know a lot of it has to do with the fact I also have a preschooler around the house too!  Never a dull moment around here!

The other countdown is to Jackson deciding he is ready to crawl ... too bad I can't put a number of "DAYS" to that!  From conception (or even before conception), we as moms worry about our children!  It seems like each stage in life brings a new worry and stress!  A friend shared with me today that God is not up there clinching his fists and wondering what is going to happen next with our problems!  Thankfully He is an all-knowing and sovereign Lord who knows the future and how all of our problems are going to turn out!  Although, while going through these trials, it is always hard to remember this truth!  

I think the majority of my recent anxiety is due to the fact that when I recognize a problem and know the steps to take it, I like to jump on it.  I want to work to solve my problem ... the waiting is SO hard for me!!  Also, when the dr tells you month after month well-child check ... "Your son is just perfect ... he is right on track" then you are slapped in the face with the fact that something could be wrong .. milestones are being hit .. that is a lot to stomach as a parent.  (Disclaimer ... I know there could be WAY worse things and I am VERY THANKFUL for the blessing of 2 healthy children!)   When I put him on all 4's and he just screams his bloody head off ... you begin to wonder ... what else might be going on?  

Sophia was a late crawler (she crawled at 10 months and 3 weeks -- see, when you wait that long, you remember the EXACT day and week -- Nov 21st!).  Once Jackson's 10 month and 3 week birthday came and went ... I thought, anytime this week he will start crawling.  Well, that didn't happen and we made it to 11 months.  I called the pediatrician and asked her if we should wait till his 1 year apt to start therapy or if we should start the process.  She advised I contact 1st Steps and start the process to get physical therapy.  When I called 1st Steps, I had no IDEA how LONG of a process and INEFFICIENT process that it would be!   Don't even get me started on government process'!  Ughhhhhhhhh!

Would you like the timeline? 

Monday August 6th - Put in a call to 1st Steps, was told someone would call me in 2 days!

Tuesday August 7th 4pm - Received a call from my "intake coordinator" and we scheduled to meet Friday August 10th to start paperwork.

Friday August 10th - Met the intake coordinator (Super sweet!) and spent 30 min doing paperwork and she called someone and scheduled Jackson's PT/OT eval for the first available ... WAIT ... in 2 weeks.  

Friday August 24th - Supposed to be his PT/OT eval 

Wed August 29th - Supposed to have a mtg with the Service Coordinator (yes a 3rd person in the process) to write our plan.

READY FOR THE NEXT STEP?  Wait for it .... count the days ... 14!

Wed September 12th - The first possible/allowed date for PT.  This isn't even a guarantee if the PT doesn't have openings!  There is a FANTASTIC state law that mandates a 14 day waiting period b/w the plan written and the 1st mtg with the therapist!  And this makes sense b/c WHY???????  Oh yeah, it doesn't!!

(If anyone can fill me in on the reason behind this lovely 14 day waiting period, I would LOVE to know!)

All of these days would be further apart if I wasn't johnny-on-the-spot and being super eager and FLEXIBLE with scheduling and timing!!  

Isn't that UNBELIEVABLE???  It will take me (BEST CASE SCENARIO) 38 days to get a physical therapist IN MY HOUSE to even begin therapy????  My blood is just boiling typing this all out and seeing how INEFFICIENT this process is .... all I want my kid to do is crawl before his 1st birthday ... is that too much to ask???   It probably isn't going to happen, so I am not getting my hopes up!  At least you don't have to crawl to eat your first birthday cupcake!! Right?

Many have told me that maybe he will just walk and not crawl at all ... I know many kids have done that and turned out fine ... but I want him to crawl ... to meet each milestone ... according to many wise-medically trained experts ... crawling is a more important milestone compared to walking!  

I would be willing to pay more money to get this process to move faster .... nevertheless, glad I started it when I did!  Hindsight looking back, I should have started it at 10months!!  Mental note ... for the next baby ... oh wait ... no more babies for this mama!!

I am so thankful to have a SWEET SWEET friend that is going through a lot of the same stuff with her son!  She has been such a blessing to me and such an encouragement!!  JB thanks so much!!  She has shown me many exercises to start doing with Jackson before I can get some professional help!! 

Anyone have any good PT exercises to work with him?  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes

I love trying out new gluten-free recipes!  It's always fun combining different flours to create a masterpiece full of nutrients and of taste!!  I also love trying out new recipes to use up the 10 lbs of Michigan blueberries we purchased at the farmer's market on the way home from MI!

I found THIS recipe over at one of my favorite gluten-free blogs, The Gluten-Free Goddess!  Of all the recipes I have made, she has YET to disappoint!  Her GF pancake recipe was no different.  Karina has perfected GF cooking and baking!!

I did however make a few substitutions to further increase the nutritional value! (Shocker huh?)

Love me some Michigan blueberries, Butler Bulldogs, and  REAL maple syrup!
Here is the recipe that I used:

1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup millet (ground into powder)
1/4 cup buckwheat (ground into powder)
1/4 cup almond flour/meal
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 heaping tbsp brewer's/nutritional yeast (ground into fine powder)

1 1/4 cup dairy-free milk (I used coconut milk)
1 cup water
2 eggs
4 tsp coconut oil (LOVE THIS STUFF!)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pure almond extract

I stirred in blueberries and of course topped them off with a few Trader Joes dark chocolate chips!

For the directions for preparation, click HERE

The recipe made about 14-15 pancakes!!

What do you think, gonna give it a try??

Other highlights from this weekend ... Jackson's very WEIRD and uncomfortable napping position!  I had to snap a picture! :)

How does he do this??

Sophia also decided she liked to eat her mac and cheese leftovers and turkey meat with chopsticks!  She was inspired by last night's dinner at Noodles and Company!  For a almost 4-year old American, she did really well with chopsticks!  She told me she wants to start using them for EVERY meal!  Ha!

Have a great start to the week .... 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Back-to-school BOGO

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Famous Footwear for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


My kids are still so young, but ohhhhhh … I LOVE getting the Back-to-school ads in the mail.  How giddy can a person get over school supplies?  I wish Sophia had a “school supply list” for preschool because THIS MAMA would have a blast shopping for it!!  
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