Archive for May, 2008

The Voice of Truth

“Don’t worry. Be happy.” For some, that phrase is easier said then done. All of us worry at times, but sometimes the “worries” can get the best of us. Who will my child have as his/her teacher next year? What am I going to wear to a big event that makes me look good? Will I get a raise at my job? Some “worries” are even greater. What will I do if I don’t have enough money to pay my mortgage? What will happen to me and my kids if my spouse becomes sick? What if my child has is hurt somehow?

I have to tell you that my biggest worry or fear is flying. Yes, I have flown before ( 2 times to be exact since 2001), but something about it creates great anxiety for me. I worry about the plane being in good working order. I worry that there will be turbulence. I worry that something awful will happen while we are in the air. I could go on and on. I have such a fear of it, that I believe I have panic attacks. Now flying isn’t a worry or fear that I had to confront everyday. So, it was easy to let if go. I didn’t have to think about it because when was I ever going to need to fly. For some reason my need to confront this fear/worry kept coming up in my mind. I know that fear comes from Satan, so one day I decided to act on that little voice urging me to face my fear/worry. I decided to seek the counsel of a Christian aunt who has dealt with fear. She sent me a list of Bible verses to combat my fear. The Bible says that Jesus used God’s word to combat Satan and we should do the same. I carried this list around with me. I memorized the verses and hid them in my heart. All the while thinking ” When was I going to need to use these verses?” I think God was helping to prepare me for my test. Last July, my grandfather passed away suddenly. I was 7 months pregnant and had a 2 year old. There was no way I was going to travel by car to Nashville, Tennessee — a 12 hour drive from where I live. I had one choice — fly. The funeral was scheduled in a matter of days and we had to go. My list traveled with me on the plane. As we boarded the plane, I had my list in hand. I sat in my seat and read that list over and over again. I held onto that list the entire plane ride. Let me just tell you, I had no anxiety on that plane. Praise the Lord! I had such a peace about it all as we were flying. I know that God gave me that peace. Those Bible verses combated Satan and the Lord was victorious! In few weeks, I will be flying to Tennessee for a family wedding. I have been reading my list and already the “peace that passes all understanding” has enveloped me.

Here is my list of verses. I use these verses for the “big worries” and the “little worries.”

Joshua1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

Romands 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height not depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you

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Novel Review: The Other Mother

A Novel

Title: The Other Mother

Author: Gwendolen Cross

Summary (from Publishers Weekly):
Gross’s third novel (following Getting Out) documents the front lines of the Mommy Wars, but its real strength lies in exposing the complex inner battlefields motherhood can open up. Eight months pregnant Amanda, a successful children’s book editor and dedicated New Yorker, picks up with her lawyer husband and moves to suburban Teaneck, N.J. Her new neighbor, Thea Caldwell, is a full-time mother of three who still lives in her childhood home and who arrives bearing brownies. When the newcomers take extended shelter in the Caldwells’ basement following a damaging storm and, later, when Amanda hires Thea as her newborn’s nanny, the growing intimacy between the two breeds resentment, bitterness and misunderstandings. The series of external crises designed to create tension and suspense are, in the end, less compelling than the women’s own inner demons, revealed through alternating, and overlapping, first-person narration. Jersey resident Gross shows the strife between SAHMs (Stay at Home Moms) and WOTHs (moms who Work Outside the Home) to be a lot more nuanced than it’s often portrayed. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Positive Elements: The author takes the reader into the well defined lives of a stay-at-home mom and a work-outside-the-home mom. Many books on the subject tend to favor one position over the other. This story presents both sides of the story with a compassion and understanding. Each mom faces complex and challenging situations unique to her chosen walk of life. However, the author also links together the common bonds all moms have regardless of work and home status — the love of our children. This book is an easy read and a good story. The chapters are told from the point of view of the main characters alternately. This enables the readers to understand the opposing viewpoints of both moms, while never really favoring one over the other.

Sexual Content: None

Violent Content: None

Profanity: There were a few instances of strong language. Unfortunately, it wasn’t essential to the story of the book.

Drug Content: None

Conclusion: This is not just another book about the so-called mommy wars. I enjoyed this book in part because it explores the issues we moms face on a daily basis ( guilt, vulnerablity, time for ourselves, parenting mistakes, family choices). Women are always comparing ourselves to each other. We do it with husbands, houses, dinners, etc.. It gets worse when we have children. Amanda and Thea both take on judgemental attitudes to each other and in turn take moments to question their own respective positions as as working mom and a stay at home mom. One particular moment in the book turned me off. During an emotional and heated moment between the two women, they kiss. Its hard to determine the author’s intent with that scene. It is not described as coming from anything sexual but more from need of being comforted. It was a strange scene and should have been left out. This book would be very good for dicsussion in a book club.

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Soft Soled Baby Shoes

According to the Robeez site, “The human foot is one of the most complicated parts of the body. At birth, feet contain only 22 partially formed bones. Over time those bones will grow and harden. In the first year, your child’s feet will reach almost half their adult size. By the age of 18, their feet will have 26 bones, 19 muscles, over 100 ligaments, and thousands of nerve endings. That’s a lot of change for something so tiny and precious. And that’s why it’s so important to select shoes that support healthy development.” Medical experts recommend a soft, flexible-soled shoe for infants and children to support healthy development. Here are three soft soled brands that we own…

Rileyroos
Rileyroos have leather uppers that are incredibly stylish and soles with rubber pads that provide support for walking development. I adore these shoes for their style and durability. The rubber padded soles make these shoes last longer than Robeez and they are actually feasible to wear in the rain and snow. Several retailers carry these shoes and I’ve found them on-line for half price. Just google “Rileyroos” with the name of the style you want and see who has the best price. My only complaint is that they stopped making these at the 24 month size.
Sizes: 6-12, 12-18, 18-24
My summer favorite
: Chessie in chocolate $28
My winter favorite: Sportie in butterscotch $28

Robeez

Robeez are the most well known soft soled shoe. They are made with an elasticized ankle that are made of natural, breathable leather. They are a cinch to get on and off. I do not like how I can’t put them on my son in bad weather, though. The soles end up soaked in rain and snow. The soles also scuff up easily on the sidewalk.
Sizes: 0-6, 6-12, 12-18, 18-24, 2-3 years, 3-4 years
My rear round favorite: Robeez trainer Royal $27.95

Jack and Lily
Specially designed to encourage a baby’s development, Jack and Lily state that their “beautifully appointed, soft-soled shoes invite babies to discover, touch and smile.” These shoes are a lot like Robeez. Actually, I’m not really sure of their differences, having owned both. Just like Robeez, rhese shoes cannot be worn out in the rain or snow without getting wet on the soles.
Sizes: 0-6, 6-12, 12-18, 18-24, 2-3 years, 3-4 years
Winter favorite: Cream/brown trainer $26
Summer favorite: chocolate sandal $30

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Walking the Walk – Living out a Christian Life for Your Children

After singing one of her favorite songs, my five year old with her ever expanding mind asked me, “If God is so big, why can’t I see Him?” Another day after mulling over a large map of the United States, that same daughter asked me, “Mommy where is heaven on this map? I can’t find it.” I was caught off guard for a few seconds following those questions; then I thanked God for those teachable moments. We had a great discussion about the greatness and vastness of our Lord and His kingdom in heaven. I know some of the concepts were a little hard for her to understand, but to know her mind is already searching and knowing warms my spirit.

We are called to evangelize our faith. Who better to start with than our own children. It occurred to me not long ago to really take a close look at how I was modeling and living the Christian walk for my children. While some things were looking good, I admit there were some areas in which I was lacking. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 states, “These commandments I give to you today are to upon your hearts,impress them on your children. Talk about it when you sit, at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you get up.” We have made some changes in our daily schedule that allow us time to focus on Christ. Here are some practical things we do in our home to make Christ the focus of our lives.

Prayer. In the morning before we leave the house we kneel in front of the door and hold hands. We pray for protection over each member of our family as they enter the world. Then we pray for whatever event or activity we will be participating in that day. On days I forget, my girls are quick to remind me in the car but you can’t hold hands in the car. We also pray regularly at our meals. We have started to remember praying when we eat out as well. Lastly, we always close our day with prayer. At that time we thank God for the blessings of the day and say a special prayer for any family and friends that may be sick or struggling.

Church. We strive to make church attendance an integral part of our lives. My girls know that Sunday is church day. Its is as normal for us as getting up to go to work any other day of the week. On Sundays when we can’t make it for some various reason, my girls are always disappointed. My 5 year old asked me the other day why her aunt didn’t go to church. She thinks everybody does! Our church has Wednesday night activities for the whole family. This past year Halloween fell on a Wednesday, I wanted my children to know that church will always take precedence over anything else. We were able to go trick or treating for a short time and make it to church on time. However if I thought it would interfere with church we would have not done it.

Daily Living. Throughout the day I am trying to be more conscious to live out my daily Christian walk. I wake up at 6 a.m. to have my quiet time with the Lord. On several occasions my 3 year old will be up with me. I let her lay quietly on the couch with a book. Usually she just sits there and stares at me. She know that mommy is meeting with the Lord and needs her quiet time. When we are in the car we are only listening to Christian music. I love our local Christian radio station (although with the girls in the car its usually Veggie Tales). It is neat for me to see my girls learn and sing the same songs I sang as a child.

There are many more ways that we parents can better incorprate Christ in our lives. These are just a few practical suggestions for living out your faith for your children.

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Novel Review: The Secret Between Us

Title: The Secret Between Us

Author: Barbara Delinsky

Summary: (from Publishers Weekly) Relationships are brought to the limit in Delinsky’s splendid latest exploration of family dynamics. On a rainy night, Deborah Monroe and her teenage daughter, Grace, are driving home when their car hits a man. The victim, who turns out to be Grace’s history teacher, is unconscious but alive. Although Grace was driving, Deborah sends her home and takes responsibility for the accident when the cops show up. Deborah is juggling a lot: as a family doctor, she is in private practice with her über-demanding widower father, who is trying to hide a drinking problem; her son, Dylan, is vision impaired; her mother’s death continues to affect the family; Deborah is still dealing with her ex-husband’s new, separate life; and her unmarried sister, Jill, has just announced she’s pregnant. Grace’s guilt about not taking responsibility for the accident makes her withdraw from friends and family, and the accident victim turns out to have a more complex private life than anyone imagined. The author seamlessly resolves relationship issues without sentiment, throws in a promising romance for Deborah and offers a redemptive scene between Grace and her grandfather. Delinsky combines her understanding of human nature with absorbing, unpredictable storytelling—a winning combination.

Positive Elements: This book does a great job of highlighting the love a parent has for a child. How far are any of us willing to go to protect the ones we love? Both minor children in the book are especially mature and insightful for their ages (10 and 14). Grief, unresolved anger and lonliness are issues explored throughout the book. Instead of being a depressing read, the author uses those issues to develop the characters and provide us a compassionate look in the complex relationships that exist within a family. This book is an easy read. There are no long descriptive narratives. The writing style is similar to that of Jodi Piccoult.
Sexual Content: None
Violent Content: None
Profanity: None
Drug Use: Some discussion and reference to teenage drinking. The topic is addressed in a positive manner.
Conclusion: I really liked this book. It was an easy read and a great story. The major characters are likable and the story keeps you engrossed for a long time. However, be prepared to face some tough questions about family roles and relationships. This book would great for a book club discussion. The book examines the complexity of family dynamics. How much of your parents’ parenting style to you adhere to? How dissimilar or similar are we to our parents? Are we bad parents if we let our children fall or does falling help them to grow? I highly recommend this book.

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Breastfeeding in the Bible

As a breastfeeding mother, I struggled deeply through many challenges. I found wonderful encouragement and perseverance through the counsel of friends but I will admit that I missed looking to an essential place to fill my soul in those difficult days. Now, I completely understand that most mothers caring for children during biblical times didn’t have a feeding decision to make and I don’t use these verses as an argument in favor of a breastfeeding decision today, but the correlations between a mother feeding at the breast and the nourishing spirit of God can not be denied. I have since found great encouragement in the essential role of breastfeeding, not only in regards to my relationship with my children, but also in my relationship with Christ.

Psalm 8:2 (The Message)

Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;

toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk, and silence atheist babble.

Psalm 22:9-10 (NIV)

Yet you brought me out of the womb;

you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast

Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

1 Peter 2:1 (The Message)

So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.

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Plastics & BPA

Plastic polycarbonate bottles such as Nalgene bottles are still popular as drinking water bottles. I should know. I just bought 3 more – one of which is a pretty cool sippy bottle for my son. (Note: now Nalgene is phasing out those bottles & replacing them.) I recently learned that polycarbonates in those and other bottles release a chemical known as bisphenol A (BPA). Then, I learned that 90% of all baby bottles are polycarbonates, which includes the brand we own — Avent. So, what’s the big deal? They’re still selling them, so they can’t be that bad, right? Not exactly…

Even though the plastic industry safety studies find no significant health effects from typical daily doses of BPA, 90% of government studies found harmful health effects to children and expecting moms as well as male sexuality and reproduction, according to Dr. Colleen Huber. She goes on to state that BPA acts as a “xenoestrogen,” which mimics the female hormone estrogen with the exception of the following: 1) it’s foreign to the body (which is what “xeno” means) and 2) it is much more harmful than our natural estrogen for both males and females. Breast cancers are much more of a risk in women who carry a high amount of xenoestrogens and both sexes are subject to a huge range of other harmful health effects. The most far-reaching effects are birth defects and miscarriages. Another effect is a disruption of beta cell function in the pancreas, which creates a pre-diabetes type condition of high blood insulin and insulin resistance. So it seems that none of us are safe from the affects of BPA.

A recent Canadian news source had the following to say:

“Bisphenol A manufacturers have said the trace amount leaching into food and beverages isn’t dangerous to people because it’s quickly metabolized into a form that loses its ability to act like a female sex hormone.
While the authors of the new assessment agreed that people break down some of the bisphenol A they absorb, they said since so many plastics and other products containing it are in use that “virtually everybody” in developed countries has chronic, low-level exposure to the chemical and measurable amounts of its biologically active version.
Typical readings are about two parts per billion in blood. Although this is an extremely small amount, hormones are active at this level, and at even lower concentrations.
Based on the amounts being found in people and what is known about the metabolism of bisphenol A from animal experiments, it also appears that human exposures are above the current U.S. safety limit, according to the assessment.

Now I should note that not all plastics contain BPA. We should mainly be concerned with plastics that come in contact with our food and water. You can learn more about plastics by reviewing the Smart Plastics Guide and matching the triangled number to what you currently own or are considering purchasing.

Here are a few items to consider for your baby. Oh, and be sure to read the San Francisco Chronicle’s article on the comeback of glass baby bottles.

1. Glass bottles. Evenflo makes them in two sizes — 4oz and 8oz. Siliskin is another brand that is totally hip. They come in 4 and 8 oz sizes as well and they have a silicone sheath that helps to prevent the bottle from breaking. WeeGo glass bottles are nice too. I believe they only come in 9oz sizes, but they are covered with a modern sleeve that will help protect the bottle from breaking.
2. Bio-plastic bottles. Born Free makes them in two sizes — 5oz and 9oz. Whole Foods and Amazon carry them as well as the company itself. Amazon even has their gift set with bottles and a sippy cup. Another option is the Green to Grow brand, which has a 5oz bottle and they’re so cute.
3. Snappies – Polypropylene breast milk storage bottles that enables moms to collect, store and feed from the same convenient container.
4. Medela breast pump storage containers and baby bottles are all made of Polypropylene, which is free of BPA.
5. Adiri Natural Nurser is made from 100% polycarbonate-free and bisphenol-a free materials that is warm to a child’s cheek, like a breast, when filled with warm milk. The nipple design helps alleviate nipple confusion for breastfeeding babies. Shaped like a breast, they encourage the same type of open-mouthed latching that is required for breastfeeding, making bottle feeding and breastfeeding more easily interchangeable. They come in three stages for three different flow rates. Each stage holds 8 oz. of fluid and is dishwasher safe.

Here are a few brands to consider for sippy cups:

1. Avent Naturally sippy cup (We currently use these and are happy with them)
2. Born Free sippy cup
3. Klean Kanteen water bottle with sippy adapter & spout
4. SIGG baby water bottles

If anyone has a suggestion on any of the above mentioned brands or any other brands not mentioned that you love, please leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!

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