Monday, November 30, 2015


Took Hannah to get her two year shots today. (Two months late. Oh well.)

I had the older three with me and had them sit against a wall while Hannah was getting her shots. Midway through, I looked over. Abigail had her hands over her eyes. Isaac had his face scrunched up. And Sidge. My sweet, sweet Sidge. He had HUGE crocodile tears rolling down his chubby cheeks. Oh what a sweet boy.

I explained to him that this is how I feel as a Mommy. I hate that my child is in pain but know that they must endure the pain for the greater good.

And I told them that's how God feels too. When we are crying, He is crying with us. But He can see the end of the story.

And it is good!

Stayed up way too late reading ... again

I know a book is good when I just don't want to go to sleep at night. I have four little kiddos and therefore sleep is a priority to me. But when I am reading and just don't want to stop ... I know I have a great book in my hands.

Another thing that always lets me know whether or not the book really worked for me is whether the characters stick with me. When I am done reading, am I still thinking about them -- their choices and plights and concerns.

Julie Lessman accomplished both of these things ... yet again. Man I love her books!

Here I am, the morning after staying up into the night reading, just continuing to think about these characters. I think that is the thing I love most about Julie Lessman. The way she paints the characters is incredibly brilliant. And the way she teachers you, so subtly, about the truth from God's word? Equally impressive.

I have raved about Julie Lessman's books on my Blog previously and this review will follow suit. The Isle of Hope lived up to everything I hoped another Lessman book would be. While I can't put it in front of the three series I read ("Daughters of Boston", "Winds of Change", and "Heart of San Francisco") it was definitely right up there. (It will take a lot to ever move in front of those series. They were SO good!)

A young couple torn apart by circumstances out of both of their control reunites. And while you do think you know, most of the time, how the book will end, Julie always manages to throw in a plot twist that you never saw coming that works in the story and is very believable. It actually makes me want to go back and reread the book and see if I can find the clues to that plot twists arrival!

Again ... if you haven't read a Lessman book ... it is time. And lucky for you, you can try her out for only 99 cents. Simply click here and take a stab at a 99 cent Kindle book: A Light in the Window -- the prequel to her "Daughters of Boston" series.

Also, I want to take a moment to add a bit of a P.S. to this post. I am always very cautious when recommending books that deal with infertility or adoption. Lessman does touch on these topics in many of her books. Isle of Hope has a very small subplot dealing with the topic of adoption. It is a very minor part of the story but enough that I want to make sure readers are forewarned.

I actually have been encouraged to do a post on the phrase "gave her up" after reading this in a few books recently. It's a phrase that I believe needs to be removed from the way we talk about adoption. I don't believe Isaac's birthmom "gave him up." I believe she "gave him a home". Anyways, this has very little to do with this review ... sorry for the sidetrack!

Back to the fact at hand ... Julie Lessman ... AWESOME!!!!! I have to check but am worried I have read everything of her's. Not sure how I will wait for something else.

P.S. Please let me know if you choose to read Julie's books! I'd love to hear how you like them.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fear and the Christian

While I was not overjoyed that the Sunday school teacher gave my daughter a kazoo to take HOME with her today, I was quite inspired by what Pastor Scott Wakefield of our new church said during his sermon this morning.

"Here's what we cannot forget as followers of Jesus: No matter how bad it gets, God is in charge of history and the superpowers of this world are not. God is sovereign and He is taking history somewhere. And living and acting from the assumption that the world has gone to hell in a handbasket can easily become for us this fear-driven way of thinking about the world that tempts us to disengage ... Fear and disengagement are not marks of a follower of Christ who is confident that God is sovereign. We cannot let fear take us out of meaningful engagement with the purpose and the mission that God has for us."

A great reminder during a time where all news has seemed bad. It's not time to give up! We know how the story ends!

Click here if you'd like to listen to the whole sermon!

Very blessed to have found this wonderful church and a pastor who truly tells us how it is! (Also very blessed by an awesome children's church that, yes, even gives the kids Kazoos!)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Review: Parable Treasury

I recently had the opportunity to review Parable Treasury from in exchange for my fair and honest review.

This was a Christian Book Award winner, and I therefore had high expectations. But in the end, I just didn't fall in love with this book.

The pictures were fun enough and the stories sweet enough, but in general, most of the stories felt a little corny and not something that my kids would want to repeatedly read. It was nice to read once, but as much as I read to my kids, I really want books in our library that I want to repeatedly read.

A decent read and not something I have anything negative to say about. Just not something I or my kids loved.

Review: The Beginner's Bible: A Christmas Celebration Sticker & Activity Book

So excited to get an opportunity to review another one of these fun sticker/activity books.

I recently received my free copy of The Beginner's Bible: A Christmas Celebration Sticker & Activity Book from Booksneeze (in exchange for my honest and fair review.)

This sticker and activity book for Christmas features the classic art from The Beginner's Bible and is here just in time to celebrate our Lord and Savior's birth in Bethlehem.

The Christmas story comes to life through age-appropriate puzzles, activity pages, and stickers in this friendly and fun book.

My 4 and 6 & 7 year old boys are all fans of these books, and I therefore recommend them for the 3-8 age group. My 2 year old is definitely too young to participate.

This sixteen page workbook is priced at just over $3 making it an inexpensive and fantastic inclusion in your child's Easter basket. I strongly recommend it as we celebrate a Christian holiday that I want to try and keep that way in my house!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday Funnies

Hannah and her big cousin Nate at Thanksgiving. JB's brother and his family drove over from Middle TN to spend the holiday with us. So blessed JB had the day off of work! Praying you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Abigail asked for lotion on her hands before bed. "Okay, but I'm going to need to pick my nose. How do I do that with lotion on my hands?"


Sidge: "Well my name is Sidge aka Elijah."
Me: "Where did you learn what aka means?"
Sidge: "In a book I believe."

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Hannah gets dressed

Seriously, this kid is amazing at getting dressed. Never puts on things backwards and can even get things "right side on."


 But the truth? Here she is just a few moments after finishing filming this video:

Sleep Q&A

I receive many emails a month from individuals facing severe sleep battles with their young children. I wanted to try to compile some of the Q&A questions so that people could read what has worked for others. This is a work in progress as I have many old correspondence to go through to create the Q&A.

You can click here to read my SLEEP BIBLE. As I explain in this post, JB and I have found a system that has worked wonderfully with our four children. Boys and girls -- adopted and biological -- breast and bottle-fed -- we have had all of our children sleeping through the night by about 3 months old. And when I tell people that, they want to know what we did.

Being as my husband is a doctor, I feel pretty confident sharing this system. JB has used it with MANY an exhausted mother with great results. He will tell you that every single woman who has followed his advice has had tremendous sleep success with their little one. I have also walked alongside dozens of women as they implement this system and get some much needed sleep.

However, I want to say again that I do not believe this is the ONLY way to do things. If you have a system that works for you, I truly do not believe that there is a right or wrong way. There is only what is working for your family. The women I am talking to are exhausted and their lack of sleep is impacting their ability to do motherhood well. For those mothers, I offer relief.

Many people who are against CIO (cry it out) will tell you that they think a baby's cries must be responded to. I disagree. If this were the case, then the Lord wouldn't give people twins or triplets. I had babies under nine months apart. It would be IMPOSSIBLE to respond to their cries all the time because there were two of them.

That being said, this post is not about debating what sleep method is best. I do not put down another method. If it is working for you -- then keep doing it!

My friend Michelle, who is an ER doctor, did not use this system. She was up with her babies many times during the night through their second year. And she said it best when she said, "I know I could change it and have better sleep. But I don't want to."

And that is fine!

But for those people who want to sleep through the night sooner rather than later, I offer a system that will work! Please read my Sleep Bible link above and then take a look at some of the Q&A I offer below:


Hey Wendi...sleep guru! I could use some help!
Our baby is 4.5 months old, 2 adjusted. From 3 months till last week, he has slept 10-12 hours a day and has taken really good naps, with about 45-60 minutes of wake time between naps. Well, last week, we got 4 month vaccines. That first night, he was up several times, like every 2-3 hours. I thought it was soreness from the shots or whatnot. And the next day...crap naps! I mean really crappy! Like anywhere from 20-45 minutes. We put him down drowsy, no sleep aids, he puts himself to sleep and then BAM! wakes up shortly thereafter. If I put him in the swing, he will continue his nap for about 2 hours. However, I don't want to do this! I don't want to have to resort to swinging or babywearing for naps. I kind of feel like that would be setting myself up for failure later on.
Anyway, we do eat/play/sleep routine and always have. I let him fuss for a bit...maybe 10 minutes or so (2.5 months developmentally seems early to CIO?) before going to get him. Is this just a normal regression? What can I do to help him sleep better overall, naps and nightly?
Thanks in advance!

Great question. I conferred with my doctor husband and here is what we think ... Most likely he did have a hard time after shots and as a result he got you to wait on him during the time (which you have to do when they are sick.) I I often find that after a sickness I have to restart sleep training.

So now you have a baby who is thinking that he needs mom for comfort instead of sleep for comfort. So now you have to decide. It is my and hubby's opinion that he is not too young to sleep train.
If you really don't want to then you can just wait a bit and institute it in a few months but most likely the sleep issues will continue until then.
Personally I would go ahead and work to CIO (cry it out) with him now. Let me know if you'd like further direction with how to do that successfully!

But our diagnosis is sickness induced sleep regression!
To summarize, I would first start with nighttime. For now, if he's napping in his swing, I'd let him do that and just work on the nighttime. When we use CIO, we give them up to 1 hour but usually 45 minutes of crying. At that point, we'd go in, feed, change, and start the process over again always making sure to put baby down awake.
It is my opinion that if you implement this, within 1 week he'll be back to sleeping through the night. THEN you can work on naps.
What you are trying to teach him is that SLEEP brings comfort -- not Mom. Which he got confused when he got sick. (Travel can do the same thing!)
Because I know you'll celebrate with me here-he slept 12 HOURS last night! He whimpered a little after 10 hours and fell asleep after about 3 minutes... The 2 nights previous...not so much!

When sleep training, should I swaddle?
Oh yes! We are huge fans of the swaddle and really think it helps in the sleep training process.  

Hi Wendi, I got your contact from a friend. She told me you have very good tips regarding sleep training. I'm starting to sleep training my twins, who are almost 5 mo old and have never slept through the night. My daughter is a better sleeper and takes the paci and can find her thumb, she usually wakes up at 1-2am to eat and 5-6 am to eat. My son is the troublesome one, he wakes up very frequently, sometimes every 1-2 hrs and can't put himself back to sleep even though I've let him CIO for up to 2 hrs before. They have no trouble going down at bedtime, it's the frequent waking that my son has trouble with. He can't seem to put himself back to sleep after waking up. Bedtime is at 730-8pm. They are breastfed with final feeding being bottle. Naps are ok usually. 3naps 1-2 hrs each. I give them white noise when sleeping and they transitioned out of swaddle into the Merlin magic suit. T
I try my best to put them down awake at bedtime, sometimes they need a few pats before going down but usually they are pretty good. I'm just confused when my son wakes up in a few hrs why it's much harder to self soothe 😕 after the 2 hr CIO session. I picked him up and rocked for a few minutes, then he was calm and would go to sleep. Well, until an hr or so later to wake up again. My daughter, if she wakes up, I usually can just put the paci in her mouth and she's fine. I really try not to feed sooner than 4 hrs for the first session of sleep.


Hi new friend! What adorable little babies!!!

So at 5 months old, babies are totally capable of going a complete 10-12 hours without needing a feed.
When I re-read your story, I find that both of your children are actually doing the same thing. Your daughter, however, is content with just a pacifier to return to sleep. Your son is not.
It is very normal for a baby to wake up between 60-120 minutes. That is a normal "sleep cycle" that we all have. We all have a period in our sleep that we are sleeping lighter and more prone to waking up. So what is happening is that he is waking up at that time and used to mom helping him go back to sleep with comfort (feed, pats, etc.) Your daughter is doing the same thing but she gets the paci and goes back to sleep which doesn't work for him.
What he needs is actually NOT food. What he THINKS he needs is mom's comfort, which you are providing.
If I am being completely honest with you, your daughter does not need that 1am feed. They are both capable of going all night. (At least until the 5am feed.) It isn't about food. It's about the comfort. You are putting the paci in her mouth which means she is really doing the same thing he is -- she is requiring something from you.
My suggestion would be to start letting them both CIO. This would include not having to put the paci in your daughter's mouth. (Although you may want to do this just because it isn't much work and not worth fighting her on at least for right now.)
I would give them a solid hour to cry in the middle of the night. If, at that point, they are still crying, then I'd get them up, feed them, and then put them down awake. I, personally, would let the CIO go as long as 2 hours but that feels like too much for many people I talk to .
Your son is crying until you come in. When you rock him to sleep, he thinks he needs mom to fall asleep instead of being able to fall asleep himself. That's why I suggest the "feed and put down awake" system. You are making SURE they aren't hungry but not putting them to sleep FOR them.
Here is what this would look like for me.
  • Give BIG feed to baby boy
  • Put him to bed AWAKE
  • When he wakes, crying, let him CIO. (At LEAST 1 hour but 2 would be FINE).
  • If at that mark, he is still crying, go in, feed, and put down awake again.
  • Then repeat this cycle.
Eventually, the feed "needs" should eliminate themselves.
With baby girl, I would stop the pacifier putting in but you could keep doing that if you wanted.
But I would start eliminating the 1am feed with CIO the same way as above.
I was just going to msg you. Thanks for following up I took your advice, The first two nights, they both cried for about an hr around 2am ish and I didn't comfort nor feed til 5am both nights. My son found his thumb finally! So last night, he slept from 8pm to 5:20 am with no crying! Just few seconds of talking here and there then back to sleep. My daughter however got sick last night and had a fever so did not sleep well at all Thankfully, she's much better this evening after a long afternoon nap. Now both asleep with no crying so far.

I wanted to ask, how much are they supposes to nap at this age? So far, I have been putting them down as much as possible. Usually they'll nap one hr at a time, occasionally longer. I try to feed after wake up instead of before nap. Thanks so much for your advice!!
If you visit my link you will see the recommended sleep for babies of varying ages. Truly, my husband believes the vast majority of children are under-slept, and I agree!


What do you do when baby is sick? Do you keep sleep training? 
It can be really tough when they are sick. Often it happens like you just described .... they start sleeping badly (just like we do.) There really isn't a perfect strategy. What I try to do is do enough for them to be with them but also not to have them forget they know how to fall asleep on their own. Know that post-sick, you'll have to do a bit of re-training. But the longer they are trained for, the easier the re-training is. With my kids now, they can go right back to normal after an illness runs its course. But early on, it may take a few days of crying ... Often, when they are sick, I don't let them cry very long. I will usually try to feed and comfort but still put down awake!

John & Becky visit the farm

I really love this picture of Becky and I (below):

Honestly, every time Becky comes to visit, I am reminded of how fast life can change and what you think will be a forever season in your life will pass and things will change and you won't be sad forever.

Becky and I met at Eglin. Our husbands worked together, but we found ourselves truly becoming friend because of the mutual childlessness we were both experiencing. Our journeys were both different but both long and gut-wrenching. 

And then we blinked and ... there were SIX children between us. I love this picture (below). We had left Hannah home with Grama and gone out to lunch at a beautiful spot about 30 minutes from our home. Look at all these faces!

From left: Isaac (7), Jonah (4), Joshua (5), Sidge (6), and Abigail (4)

John x 2 holding their boys: Jonah and Joshua

Sidge loves when friends come to visit, and he is already asking when these two guys are coming back! But if you ever wonder if a picture tells the whole story ...

.... a reminder that you never know what is truly happening unless you see it in person.

So sweet.

Joshua and Sidge. These two had a blast at the farm. They both have the spirit! They loved going and just sitting with the animals and taking care of them and played together so much.

Ahhhh, my Hannah. Why yes it is 40 degrees outside, and she has stripped down to a tank-top. This little chick-a-dee is such a PIECE OF WORK!

The coolest thing that happened during their weekend visit was that BOTH of their boys learned how to ride their bikes!

Okay so they had to learn on a purple and pink bike. But trust me -- these boys are going to be getting some cool bikes for Christmas. I guarantee it! It was so neat to be present for these awesome moments in the lives of this family. Because the boys were adopted from South Korea, they didn't come home until well into toddlerhood which means that many big moments are missed. This is a moment that we will all remember for a very long time and such a huge part of childhood!

Such a sweet picture of Jonah.

I am so excited that for at least the next two years, John and Becky are only a few hours away in North Carolina, and we will hopefully get to see them a lot. John is still in the military so no idea where life will take them after that. But hopefully somewhere east coast!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Confession: I am a compulsive eater!

This is a guest post by a friend of mine. Please know that I am ALWAYS interested in letting my voice be a Blog for YOUR voice. If you have something you want to share, please reach out to me at:!

I am a friend of Wendi’s.  Some of you know me, but due to the nature of this topic and the content shared, I am writing anonymously today.  It is my prayer that someone out there (even just one!) will be helped by me sharing my story.

Have you ever anticipated the holidays because of all the amazing food they involve, but at the same time dreaded the weight you knew you would gain, or the number of times you would feel too full and gross from over indulging in the feasting?

I have.  In fact, just last Christmas, I gained 5 pounds in 10 days while visiting my family for the holiday.

Many of you will not be able to relate to this.  Some of you will.  A few of you feel full and gross as you’re reading this.

With Thanksgiving just a heartbeat away, I wanted to share my story in hopes of reaching someone out there who can relate to what you read here.

At least since my teens, I have struggled with my weight.  My weight was constantly fluctuating and I could gain or lose 10 to 15 pounds pretty rapidly.

Having said that, I have tried dieting on and off and have never had any long lasting results. I have been able to maintain a fairly healthy body weight (though still heavier than I should have been) over the last few years, as I have been much more active. However, I've heard it said (and I believe it to be true) that being healthy is 80% what you eat and only 20% exercise. You can't out exercise what you're putting in your mouth. After a half marathon in the spring of 2013, I quit running and working out all together, until about early September.  

At the end of October, I realized that I weighed within seven pounds of my heaviest (non-pregnant) weight ever! I started working out at the gym like a crazy person. I would either swim, run, do weights, or cycle at least five times a week, or I would feel like a failure. At that rate, I was seeing some results, but was getting (mentally and physically) exhausted. That's a tough pace to keep up and be a very good wife, mom, and friend at the same time.    

It felt good to go home for Christmas and have people notice that I'd lost weight, etc... but it was CHRISTMAS, and I ended up gaining about five pounds in the ten days we were gone. I sort of lost my steam as the new year rolled in.

I have a good friend who had mentioned OA (Overeater's Anonymous) to me briefly in the past  and that she had started going to meetings. I thought about it on and off over the months and in January, asked her a little more about it. As she told me what it was, and her experience with it, I became acutely aware that I Am a compulsive eater. 

If I have pop (especially coke or vanilla coke) in my house, I will drink at least 2, and sometimes as many as 4 cans a day! If I have a bag of chocolate (anything), I will eat it in one or two days. If there is pizza, brownies and pop available at breakfast time, I will eat that instead of a healthy meal. If one of my kids wakes up in the night and needs to be settled, I will eat a handful of chocolate chips on the way to (and from) their room at 3 am! If there are brownies, fresh cookies, fresh bread, biscuits, donuts, etc in my house, I will not be able to just eat one. In hindsight, I realized that I had gotten to the place where feeling overfull, bloated, or just gross was happening multiple times a week and I thought it was normal.

I was also clearly using food as an emotional crutch. If I'd had an especially tough day with the kids, then nap time was time for me to "take the edge off" (often with a pop) and something sweet. Or if I got to buy groceries alone, I would get myself a drink and a sweet to celebrate, or if my husband was working late, I'd put the kids to bed, and then treat myself to some sort of snack while I enjoyed a movie or whatever alone. These treats also applied to feeling angry, sad, lonely or bored.  

There would also be times where I would crave something salty, then need something sweet to go with it, then need something crunchy, or creamy, or savory… and before I knew it, I had traveled through the fridge and panty and had eaten some of a dozen different things and felt completely overstuffed. The craving and the desire to continue enjoying the taste sensation would overwhelm any logic or sane thinking and I would be caught in a trap of binging, even when I felt physically gross and didn’t want to continue eating.

Over the last six months I have greatly benefitted from the program of Overeaters Anonymous.   You can visit their website here www.oa.orgIt's not a "Christian" program, but in a lot of ways, it is the message of "salvation" when it comes to compulsive eating.   They have 12 steps which are as follows. We:
  1. Admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Admitted having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps; we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Like I said, it's not a Christian program, but As a Christian, I have found that my belief in the One Higher Power, the Lord Jesus Christ, has made it very easy to see the truth in these steps and how He is the only one able to make any change in me.

These questions are a great way to see where you’re at with food.

I started to utilize these steps around the middle of February. My heart (that I didn't know was closed) really started to open at this time. OA does not tell you what to eat, but lets each person decide for themselves what their trigger foods are (foods that they are unable to eat in moderation) and what and how much they should be eating. They do suggest a 3-0-1 plan of eating. This means 3 meals a day, no snacks in between, 1 day at a time. I have found that I personally do better if I just don't eat anything between meals because once I start eating, my body thinks "well, now it's time to eat!" and I have a hard time reigning it in.

As I look back, I realize I was not at all aware of how much food I was eating. I was definitely a "grazer" between meals, and would sample lots of stuff while I was cooking or making the kids food. I would almost always have dessert, and I usually had some type of snack in the evening before bed.

March came. I was having success with the food plan and trying to cut out some things like pop, chocolate, and generally cut back on junk food as I followed my 3 meals a day. I was losing weight and seeing good results. But I was still emotionally tied to the food and would still slip and eat compulsively and struggle and question what I was doing wrong.  

On March 27th, after losing yet another battle against my sugar addiction, I had a revelation from the Lord:

(I was floored with how clear He made this to me!) 

Either I was going to continue to struggle and fail against my addiction, at the cost of true closeness with Him, OR I was going to give it (sugar) up completely to have the relationship I want with Him.   

It was a crossroads.

I could only go one way.   

I chose Him.

Just the fact that I was able to make that choice (even in my head, before it would play out in my physical body), is proof that this is from Him. I was both terrified and excited!

I did not give up sugar to lose weight, or for the health benefits. Neither of those were good enough reasons.  


I honestly would rather "risk" my health (until something came up) and enjoy sweets, than give them up. I would rather be a little chubby and be able to enjoy sweets, rather than give them up. BUT, when I was shown that I would be choosing them over HIM - that was reason enough!  The only way my weak, human self could fathom not having sugar ever again ... was because of the trade off.

As I thought about it, it was so simple. When presented with those two choices, there was only one option I wanted! By this time, I knew I had become comfortable, complacent and pretty stagnant spiritually, but the yearning to be closer to Him had grown sooooo strong! His offer of new found communion with Him, along with a Bible full of promises about His faithfulness was irresistible!

In the days immediately following this revelation, I would be overcome with moments of panic, with thoughts of "What!?  I'm Never eating sugar again???" (By this point in my life, sugar and desserts were part of my personality, what people knew and expected from me!)  But He is good. It totally felt right, even in the fear. I knew He would give me strength. "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free."  John 8:32

I started with a total ban on chocolate, cake, cookies, pastries, donuts, ice cream, candy, honey and syrup. (I included honey and syrup, because I had found that even if I was using them on super healthy foods, I was obsessing about them and not using them in moderation). Sweet things had to go.  I slowly started weeding out foods that sugar was "sneaky" about hiding in.

This decision was immediately confirmed over and over in my heart and mind as He brought verses to me.  I was so thankful. Ephesians 2:1-10 especially spoke to me in those early days.

Those first days were hard. I'll be honest. When I was around sugary things, I would have an extremely strong, physical reaction to them. My mouth would water (and almost ache) because I wanted it so badly. God proved Himself so faithful though, even when I was not. Around the beginning of May, I could definitely tell that the obsession had lifted and I felt much more free from the pull of these foods!

I have definitely had times of failure and feeling vulnerable, or where I question this decision. Am I really this bad off?  Do I really need to be this strict and give it all up? Maybe I'm overreacting. I've lost a lot of weight, and I feel great. Maybe I could handle just a little. I started wanting to rationalize. Time and (painful) time again, it has been confirmed that I am and always will be a compulsive eater if I let myself go, and I need to live in a new way if I am to have freedom, I can't mess around with the food.

Some time in April, I had decided to give up flour for a few months as a trial thing. I suspected that I also wasn't able to handle "floury" foods (since even healthy pancakes, biscuits, muffins etc would leave me obsessing about them before the meal came when I got to eat them, and I wasn't eating them in moderation).  When I was visiting a friend, I cheated and asked if she would make her skillet homemade biscuits for one of our meals. I seriously thought about them for the 24 hours previous, almost lost my mind while they were baking... and then proceeded to eat until they were gone at dinner. I not only felt super gross and full, but, (because I had been eating essentially no flour for the three weeks previous and then totally binged on it), my gut was torn up and within an hour it had gone straight through me. This made things crystal clear for me about flour.   

Again, there was some serious pain at the thought of no more bread, rolls, croissants, pancakes, biscuits, etc, but I've found that even the smallest thing (one breaded chicken nugget) will leave me wanting more and obsessing about it.  As weird as it is, I do know myself and that I can't have flour/baked stuff of any kind. I need to continue to rest in His leading and not worry about what others will think.

These are small sacrifices in the big picture, but they are sacrifices.  I have come to see that the more I am sacrificing, the more I need Him. That is where I need to be. I need to "feel" the sacrifice. If I could somehow happily eat some sort of bread or pancakes, I would be content (and in a scary place because I would lose my dependence on Him). That tiny sense of loss keeps me close to Him.   I now see it as a gift I've been given! People who can eat sweets or baked goods without a thought, don't have the opportunity like I have to be reminded so often how much I need Him and how great He is! =)

In June, I (nervously) went to my first OA meeting. It felt like home. Nowhere have I felt such love and acceptance and encouragement. I think it operates the way the Church should. I now attend a meeting every week.

Fast forward to now:  I have been BLOWN AWAY by God's goodness and faithfulness and how He has worked in so many areas of my life simultaneously.  I blunder along, but continue to reach for His hand and follow this new path and He just dumps on the blessings. About six months ago, I started waking up before anyone else, at 5:30 or 6:00 to sit in a comfy chair in the living room and greet the new day and spend quiet, alone time with the Lord before the day got started. How awesome that time has been.

The real message here is that it’s not about the food; God just chose to use that avenue in my life as a way to help me reach a place of surrender. I can clearly see that my journey with food addiction and finding victory over that has just opened up the doors to my life, to shed the light on other areas where I desperately need either deliverance, strength, or just a nudge to step out in faith and let myself be used in new ways.

In large and small ways He has enabled me to connect with so many people in the last couple months on a deeper level through my experiences with His grace and power. I find myself more easily “going deep” in conversations a lot faster than I ever would have before. Transparency resonates with people!

I have lost 30 pounds and I probably eat half as much food as I used to, BUT I only eat foods that I LOVE and enjoy every bite of it so much more than I ever have before!  

There is no “once and for all cure”.  I only find recovery as I take it one day at a time and follow His leading and use the 12 steps. In my own strength I CANNOT avoid eating sugar or flour for the rest of my life… I am not strong enough. He is strong and it is in His strength that I can take the steps each day to help me recover and live like I’ve never lived before.

This is not a “How To/A Diet/A Manual/A Do This, Don’t Do That”, it’s simply my story of how God has proved Himself so faithful to me in 2015.

* If you related to anything I said, please check out OA’s website and see how you can find support and recovery in your area.  If you would like contact me, you can contact Wendi and she can put you in touch with me.  I would love to encourage you in any way I can!  There IS hope!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

24 Hours in Hannah Attire

Folks, I canNOT make this stuff up. 

Yesterday I decided that I would try to take pictures for 24 hours of everything Hannah wore. I didNOT get a picture of all outfits. Sometimes the change occurred too quickly for me to get a picture, or I was tied up. In addition, my friend Becky who was in town visiting informed me that Hannah had a series of changes that she did not take pictures of while I was doing some work outside with the animals.

I should also tell you that Hannah does all this changing HERSELF. She can get things facing the right direction and even switch around stuff that is inside out. (My older three cannot even do this.) She never puts shoes on the wrong feet, and these are all changes she does completely by herself.

Oh, and did I tell you she changed her own diaper two days ago? We have slip on diapers, and she came downstairs in a new one because she said she was "too wet."

She was not in the mood to have her picture taken this time.

That's a marker cap perched behind her ear.

She was in time-out for an hour after changing into this dress. She would not join us for dinner without crying so she had to sit in time-out until she was done crying. (She never did eat dinner.)

Did I mention it was 24 degrees out yesterday?

There's a purse in this look!

She and I did a run to Knoxville, and I asked Daddy to get her ready. This is what she picked out. (We stopped at four stores, and she took off her shoes and socks before each stop.)

This hat cracks me up. If the light hits it right, it does a disco ball in our house!

Mad at Abigail for wanting the shoes Hannah is wearing -- which BELONG to Abigail.

Eating Mango in sister's pajamas.