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Bierman Boot Camp

Michael has been asking over and over these past few months to “work out” over the summer. He said he wanted to eat healthier and build muscle. He is sixteen and skinny, just like his daddy was when he was his age. Michael has muscles, just not big ones. Noone in our family is on the tall side, so there is that, too. Steve told me that he used to work out and eat things to gain weight and get bigger to no avail and that Michael most likely will be the same. However, yesterday we all started on a little summer journey of getting healthier. Steve and I are both older and heavier than we used to be, so it will be good for us. Lauren is our resident bookworm/couch potato, so she could use some exercise, as well. She is home for the summer and none to pleased, but she is going along. As she says, she was “voluntold!” Michael and I are eating Paleo. Lauren already has a diet free of wheat, dairy, eggs, and nuts, so she is just continuing with that, although I would like for her to eat more fruits and vegetables and less sugar. Maybe we can get her to work on that.

I found a great little treasure at the bookstore that has made the food part of our journey quite simple. It is called Paleo In 28. The author explains the Paleo way of eating and has 4 weeks of meals with 5 ingredients or less recipes in her book. I’ve eaten this way before, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get back into the swing of things. It has been great having everything so conveniently planned out in a book, and so far the recipes we have tried are really tasty. Our first Paleo breakfast was a tropical green smoothie with spinach and some delicious organic frozen fruits. Now, Michael doesn’t like green smoothies and the one fruit he really doesn’t like are bananas, so I didn’t know if we would even get beyond breakfast, but he surprised me. He drank every bit of it and said it wasn’t too bad. Ha! Meal one down!

Before we made our smoothies, we went right outside and proceeded to do our first work out. All four of us participated. We went to the end of our cul de sac, started our timers and ran to the stop sign and back, did burpees, sit ups, and squats. We did two rounds. It wasn’t a lot, but it was a start. I don’t think Michael even broke a sweat, haha! The rest of us? Well, we did! I believe our son is stronger and in better shape than he thinks. We have decided to stretch every day and do a “work out” 3 days a week and see how that goes this summer. Our lunch was a cobb salad with a simple olive oil based lemon dressing. It was very filling. Our dinner was baked chicken tenders with spicy sweet potato fries. We snack on fresh fruit, and dried fruit and seeds. There are some delicious looking dessert recipes toward the back of the book that I am really looking forward to trying. Hopefully, by the end of the summer, Michael will have his bigger muscles, Lauren will be a little stronger, and Steve and I will be a little lighter. Between getting healthier, stronger, summer reading, learning to drive, and of course downtime of playing video games, and looking at all of the lightning bugs that fill our back yard on hot Alabama June nights, I think our summer is going to be super full and super fun!

Uncategorized

Little God Moments

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Do you ever have a moment where God shows up and speaks to you out of nowhere?  Especially when you aren’t really in that frame of mind?  I was in a “gotta get this done quick” frame of mind.  Honestly, I had a million other things on my mind at the time.  If I am not intentional with my thoughts, I lean toward worrying about everything and for some reason or other, my brain has a tendancy to try and solve the world’s problems around 3am.  Well, this particular time, it was early afternoon.

I was in the back yard trying to get the mowing done before a storm came through and as I pushed the mower up beside our landscaped wall, I saw a blade of grass poking through the middle of the wall.  We just recently had this flower bed wall built and filled with dirt,  it still looked all neat and clean so one long blade of grass peaking through stood out.    My thoughts came to an abrupt halt, and suddenly no more running thoughts filled my mind, but just the sound of the mower and outside noises, birds, other mowers in the distance, etc… Much quieter than the rambling thoughts in my head.  I looked at that rather long blade of grass poking through the middle of the wall and as quick as a wink, God revealed to  me how vigorously nature pursues the light.  Deep in the dark earth that blade of grass pushed through the dirt toward the warmth of the light.  It struck me how it didn’t even just keep pushing upward toward the top of the ground, but took a shortcut to the side to get to the sunlight.  Nature pursues God.  That is how it was created.  Psalm 96:11-12 says: Let the Heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.  Let the fields be jubiliant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forrest sing for joy.

I thought about how we as humans are given free will.  We were created to pursue God, but he gives us the choice.  It seems to be that we must test the limits to see how close we can get to the darkness, but still turn around and see God.  Like a toddler that is reaching for something they know they shouldn’t touch, we stretch out our hand toward our desired sin.  Our default is to pursue something, but He leaves it up to us what that something is.  I believe that satan uses many things to pull us away from pursuing the light: busyness and distraction are two.  We have become so busy with everything.  Work, school, sports, church activities and the like, keep us busy.  These aren’t bad things.  They are just things, lots and lots of things inundating our time.  There is no down time, no dead space.  Then, add in distraction from technology, complex relationships, our schedules, health concerns.  Our focus can quickly shift from God to the worries of the day, everything on our schedule, our problems.   Of course we are here and living life, so attention is needed on all the things.  However, it is when God becomes an afterthought, our last resort, that we no longer remember why we are here – to worship God, to seek Him in all things.

  • The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10
  • Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
  • And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

There are so many verses that speak of God’s promises.  I am thankful for the reminder that I can pursue the Lord in all things and that He is with me. I don’t need to worry endlessly or try to handle everything myself.  Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7  A little unexpected God moment in the middle of my day that helped me be intentional with my thoughts and refocus on Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20  How cool is that?  He’s got All The Things.

Uncategorized

Lauren’s German Potato Salad

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German potato salad – wheat, dairy, egg, nut free

 

Right after Steve and I met, Union Pacific moved his parent’s to Nebraska for a few years. Steve’s mom gave me a cookbook from their Lutheran church.  Being from Mississippi, I grew up with traditional southern potato salad.  You know – russet potatoes, hard boiled eggs, sweet pickles, and Blue Plate mayonnaise, of course.  Add just a drop of mustard for a little kick.  Well, I have yet to figure out a way to make that for Lauren without eggs or mayonnaise, so I looked up several different German potato salad recipes in this book as well as others.  Most of the recipes are vinegar based, which I knew would be easier to make allergy friendly.  Some of them use butter, some green onions.  After a little trial and error, I came up with this one and it has become a family favorite and kept a bit of our German heritage alive, as well.  This is one of Lauren’s favorites!  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

4-5 medium russet potatoes cubed                              1 tsp salt

4 slices crispy bacon (nitrate free)                               1/4 tsp celery salt

1 cup chopped onion                                                       dash of pepper

2 tbsp sugar                                                                      1/2 cup water

1 tbsp gluten-free flour                                                  1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

 

 

Instructions:

Fry bacon until crispy.  Place fried bacon on a plate to drain.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of the drippings in the pan.  Saute’ onion in reserved bacon drippings until tender.  Add sugar, flour, salt, celery salt, and pepper.  Stir until smooth.  Then, stir in water and vinegar and heat until bubbly.  Boil potatoes in a pot for 4 to 5 minutes.  Don’t over cook.  Drain and gently incorporate into the onion mixture.  Crumble bacon on top and serve warm.

 

 

 

special needs

I See You

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While contemplating what to write about this Mother’s Day,  I have been thinking about all of the moms that I know that have special needs children and I want you to know that I see you.  Really see you.

I see you – dressed casually with a ball cap on and a weary smile on your face as you walk up to the group of parents bringing their children to another youth function.  You make kind small talk and give a hug to another mom that  needs it.  No one knows that you have had a hand full of hours of sleep over the last 4 days because your child’s health has been on a roller coaster.  You get her stabilized but then continue to lay awake worrying about when she is older and how you may not be near her when she needs help and how it is all going to look.  You’re the mom who always has a protein bar and a juice box in her purse, a thoughtful expression, and kind word for others even though, right now, you could really use a nap!

I see you – It’s field trip time and you are enduring the eye rolls and sneers of other parents as the teacher explains at the details meeting that they can bring any snack they want to eat on the bus, except for one with peanuts in it.  You leave one more meeting wondering if one of those parents will decide that this is the time they will assert their God-given right to send peanuts for their child’s snack because it’s their favorite.  Little do they know that your child is anaphylactic to 3 other foods, but you know you can’t and wouldn’t expect an entire class of kids to accommodate to that extent.  You just pray A LOT and have taught your daughter to be keenly aware of her surroundings at ALL times and to use the stew out of baby wipes on seats and after she touches almost everything.  Her life literally depends on it, but you know you can’t keep her in a bubble.  Those parents  weren’t with you when your daughter ate a spoonful of cereal that was cross-contaminated with peanuts and she started to go into anaphylactic shock.  They didn’t see her eyes glaze over.  They didn’t see her stop responding to you.  They weren’t with you the first time you had to administer her epi-pen, antihistamine, and call 911 and pray that the reaction got stopped in time.  They weren’t with you when you sat beside her at the hospital for hours praying that the numbers would go up and that the IV medicines the doctors used would work.  The relief you felt as you were finally able to take her home was temporary, as each day you cannot let your guard down as you prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner, make an allergen free snack and try to make it  comparable to the other kid’s food at a birthday party, youth function, etc…  If you let your guard down that is when a mistake happens.  You’re the mom that has allergen free communion wafers in her freezer for special Sundays and a look of compassion, instead of intolerance when others are in need of grace from a group you are a part of, because you have been there…you are there.

I see you – It’s a new day, but it looks like every day.  You’ve overslept because you are so very tired and you forgot to wash his favorite bowl that he eats his cereal in.  The same way, at the same spot, every morning.  What’s the big deal.  Well, now he is in the middle of a major melt down.  There could be something else wrong too that you just haven’t figured out, but your brain is too foggy to figure it out at the moment because you were up with him most of the night, as he just could not sleep. He rarely gets more than 4 hours a night.  While other 16 year olds are driving to school and talking about picking up their tux for prom, your 16-year-old struggles to function with the slightest deviation in their routine.  He spends hours rocking back and forth, hitting himself in the head, and biting his hand to the point that it is raw and he is now on antibiotics for an infection that you know will also affect his gut that you have been working on relentlessly to try and heal.  Anything to help him any way you can.  You have done all of this research on your own, reading books from the library, reading articles by doctors, asking in online groups of other special needs moms what works for them.  You are just trying to help him get relief from some of the anguish he is in every single day.

I see you – Sitting in yet another IEP meeting, being promised that everything is taken care of and all is in place.  You are kind, soft-spoken, and pleasant, as always.  You leave your frustration at home.  You respond with understanding that it is baseball season and  that the teacher is a coach.  The teacher is a new mom and nursing.  The teacher thought your child seemed good and didn’t need any help, and didn’t see the need to follow-up with you to see if this really is the case.   I also see you, because you are so understanding, sitting up with your child every single night at the table doing homework for hours because assignments haven’t been reduced, as promised,  and your child will work himself into oblivion to get it all done.  I see you wondering when someone, anyone, will be understanding of his needs, when someone will recognize how hard he works all. of. the. time.  You are the mom that the school knows when you walk through the door, or when they see your name on yet another email, not because you are demanding, not because you want to be a bother, not because you won’t let your child learn responsibility, but because sensory processing disorder and autism are real things and your child needs help and you are his advocate.  So you continue to advocate, because you are a good mom.

I see you – standing and clapping, as tears stream down your face, watching your son bow during curtain call at the school musical.  The people around you don’t know how hard you worked to get him to talk when he still didn’t speak at the age of 3, let alone sing.  They don’t know how far he has come, how hard you have worked to get him there.  You are the mom that has worked tirelessly to rid his body of toxins and fill it back up with vitamins, minerals, and supplements, to learn how to cook foods that don’t tax his system, so he can focus and function inside and outside of the classroom.  You are the mom that is constantly researching all. of. the. things. to help your child be all that he can be.

I see you – scrolling on social media, a pit in your stomach as you read the angry rant of a “friend” that doesn’t know that it is you they are posting that snarky meme about.  You are that mom that has the audacity to question medical procedures.  You are that mom that shouldn’t be allowed to take your child to the doctor for a broken arm, if you don’t just blindly trust and willing obey whatever you are told to do to your child in any other area.  I see you hold your tongue, exhibit mass amounts of self-control and not defend yourself and genuinely hug that same person the next time you see them, recognizing that they don’t know the struggle.  They don’t understand.  They are not in the same situation and although it hurts when they attack, you love them anyway.

I see you and know that you wouldn’t do a thing differently.  You just want to be the very best mother you can possibly be to your child.  At the end of the day, you want them to know that you did everything you could to show them that you love them with every fiber of your being and that you are there for them, would go to the ends of the earth for them, just like any other mother who loves their child.

I just want you to know that I see you – the mother of a special needs child.  I see the hours that you put in, day after day.  The sleepless nights.  The concern for their future.   I see that you are tired and sometimes you feel discouraged because sometimes the day just feels like Mount Everest!  Know that you are seen, you are loved, and you are a good mom.

Happy Mother’s Day

health and wellness, Uncategorized

Elderberry Syrup

 

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I had a make and take at the house a few weeks ago.  We had so much fun catching up with each other and talking health and wellness.  We made elderberry syrup.  I had been to a friend’s house last year and watched her make some.  That is when I started taking a teaspoon every day.  Elderberries are rich in minerals and vitamins. They are also a great source of dietary fiber.

What are some reasons to take elderberry syrup?

  • to keep your immune system strong
  • for improved bowel function
  • to build your immune system back up after an illness
  • to help shorten the duration of an illness

According to medicalnewstoday.com, a cup of elderberries contains the following vitamins and minerals: 870 milligrams of vitamin A, 406 milligrams of potassium, 52.2 milligrams of vitamin C, 9 milligrams of folate, 55 milligrams of calcium, and 2.32 milligrams of iron.

I purchased a 1 pound bag of freeze-dried elderberries and some raw honey.  I also set out several Young Living vitality oils to add in for extra support.  It is really easy.  I loosely followed a recipe from thedroppery.com. I will post what I did below and also the link to the recipe I followed.

Here is what I used:

1 cup of elderberries

4 cups of purified water (I have a Berkey)

2 tsp raw honey or maple syrup (add more or less to taste)

Young Living vitality oils  (orange, lemon, thieves, clove, ginger, cinnamon, etc…)

Why put Young Living vitality essential oils in?

Well for one, flavor.  If you want a kick, you could put in cinnamon, clove, or thieves.  If you would like for it to have a citrus flavor, orange or lemon would be good.  Another reason to add vitality essential oils is for the added health benefit.  Clove, for instance, is a super strong antioxidant, so it is a great immune system support.  Cinnamon is high in trans-cinnamaldehyde.  Research it.  Good stuff.  Lemon is a great source of vitamin C and D-limonene.  Orange is another immune system boosting oil.

 

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Instructions:

  1. Add 1 cup of elderberries to 4 cups of boiling water.
  2. Simmer on stove for 45 minutes until the liquid has been reduced by half.
  3. Remove from the stove and allow to cool until just warm enough for the honey to melt.  This will preserve the properties of the honey and essential oils.
  4. Strain berries through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Pour into glass containers. (We used 8 ounce mason jars)
  6. Add in honey (or maple syrup, if using) and vitality essential oils
  7. Enjoy!

Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh. Adults take 1 tsp a day, children 1/2 tsp a day.

 

 

Here is the link to the recipe that was used at the first elderberry making class I went to.

https://www.thedroppery.com/blog/essential-elderberry-syrup?rq=elderberry%20syrup