Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mood Boosting Green Smoothie

After my downer of a last post, I thought I'd share my favorite smoothie recipe that's sure to boost your mood.

1/2 cup green tea
(I steep several cups at a time and keep it in the refrigerator)
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt or Kefir
handful of kale and spinach
1 cube of beet juice
(poured a bottle into an ice cube tray and froze...benefits here)
1/2 cup frozen organic berries
(make sure blueberries is in the mix)
1 Tbsp flax seed
(bought a bag of whole seed, blended in coffee grinder and keep in freezer)
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Don't be deceived.  This has all healthy ingredients, but it still has calories. Yes, healthy calories, but you still need to be careful how you use green smoothies.  It's wise to think of smoothies more as a meal replacement than a snack or part of a meal.  I usually have smoothies around lunch, when I'm busy getting little ones lunch and then will have a light snack mid-afternoon.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Hubs got medically ready to deploy this week.  Although it's still months away, I found myself dwelling on the thought of him being gone.  It would come up in little things...we were talking about planting flowers and vegetables, when I realized he wouldn't be here to see the fruit of our labor...Bubby was washing his bicycle as Hubs washed his car, when I realized he wouldn't be here to see him ride that bike without training wheels...Princess P asked if we could go fishing this summer, when I realized it would be me helping her put a wiggly worm on a hook.

This is the part no one tells you about.  No one talks about how horrid the months leading up to deployment is.  There's anticipation of sleepless nights and anxiousness about trials you'll have to endure alone.  There's tension and stress and it just plain stinks.

Yesterday, on my run, I tried to just pray for Hubs and the unique ministry opportunities he would have while he's gone.  I tried my hardest to pray for him specifically, that he wouldn't get cabin fever or sea sick and that he would meet wonderful friends.  I was praising the Lord that he wouldn't miss any major holidays (besides the 4th of July, but we never do anything spectacular) when it hit me: he'll miss Charlie's birthday.  Just typing that brings tears to my eyes.

Have you ever cried while running?  It's happened to me twice and it's not pretty.  This particular morning, I was thankful that it was dark and no one could see my face.  Memories of Charlie's birth hit me hard and I quickly realized that I'm not over it; perhaps I haven't let myself think about it enough to process and heal.  The hard truth is, it might be a scar that I always carry.

I once met a chaplain's wife, who has endured 3 deployments in 3 years and moved across the country and had a baby in that time.  I was asking her advice on how to prepare for deployments and she just kept saying over and over, "God will be your strength.  Everything will be great."  I fully know and believe and trust that, but I really wanted her to say, "This is hard.  There will be days of tears and times of fear and I'll be praying with you."

"When life gives you lemons, make some lemonade"...right?  WRONG.  There will always be a lemon in your life.  Sometimes God blesses us with lemonade, but sometimes there are just plain lemons.  It seems unfair, I know.  But He's using them for His glory.  He uses those lemons to make us more like him and to draw us closer to him.  I got the sweet lemonade of Charlie out of a horrid pregnancy and delivery and by God's grace and mercy, we were healthy and all together at the end of it. 

The next six months may taste sour, but I'm praying that the lemonade at the end will be sweet.  I'm not going to sugar coat the lemons of our life to make it sound like everything is peachy.  I'll be real and tell you it's hard to prepare for separation and then be apart for months on end.  God will be our strength, but in that I recognize my weakness and my need for Him.

Monday, March 16, 2015

I survived

Thank you, rain; you saved my tushy.

Saturday morning, God sent rain and instead of a long run, Hubs and I lifted weights.  Thus, I lived to eat lots of apple pie and vanilla bean ice cream.


I feel like celebrating birthdays as an adult with children is hard.  Princess P totally spilled the beans on Hubs present and then wanted to talk about her birthday this summer the entire day.  To top it off, I spent the afternoon with her at a friends birthday party.  Okay, we made that conscious choice to sacrifice time so she could go ice skating for the first time, but I think it was a little more than a sacrifice of time.  
15 kids (most had never been on ice before) + 1 adult (oh yea, that would be me!) = big time sacrifice.
I came home wondering, "Where have all the parents gone?"...hope you are singing a song in your head right now too.

I want to lie right now and tell you that I came home and slaved away at dinner for Hubs.  But I have to be honest and say that he cooked his own birthday dinner.  Even more honest; he loves it.  He's an awesome cook and loves being in the kitchen.  Praise Jesus!  I roasted the veggies, if that counts for anything.  On the menu:  flank steak, braised white beans, roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli and rolls.

I ended the day feeling like I should have done more.  I suppose that's the trap of every holiday; the fear of not meeting expectations.  I'm making a mental note to do something awesome for Father's day and say no to any birthday parties on that day.

On a survival note, I've been back to my early mornings this past week.  I'm so thankful for a neighborhood to run in, but am already getting tired of the same route  There's one house that always smells like clean laundry and I always wonder why in the world anyone is doing laundry at 6 am!  Then again, they're probably looking out their window wondering why in the world someone is running in the dark.  There's also a house that always has a van running in the driveway.  I think it's weird when people run their cars for an extended period of time when there's no frost in sight...but people do it a lot in this neighborhood.  Maybe someday I'll understand, but for now, I'll just try not to think about all the gas money they could be saving.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What if...

I laid in the middle of our hallway, in between the doorways of my boys' rooms.  I had made a bed out of our extra couch cushions and I was oh so thankful I kept those annoying suckers we thought were useless.  I was going on 3 nights of no sleep and had lost count of how many puke episodes I had cleaned.  With each little noise I heard, I jumped and ran.  Not just rolled over and listened; no, big jumps with sprints.  It was like high intensity interval training for 3 days.  I was exhausted and weary.    I felt like I was laying at the bottom of an empty barrel and asked God to fill it up with His strength. There's a funny thing about being in emptiness; there's a mourning that you there, yet a beauty in the simplicity.  In that moment, I was utterly dependent on God to fill my barrel, but was able to hear Him clearer than ever (after 3 colicky babies, I've learned that I always hear God the clearest in those wee hours of the night).

Oddly enough, I found myself praying for the mommas of kids with cancer.  I can't imagine that burden, but it made me wonder if perhaps I don't even know what true tiredness is.  I bet they would do anything to be in my shoes; to be caring for a bug that will pass within a couple of days and can be cured with chicken noodle soup and crackers.  My heart ached for those mommas.

I laid there thinking over the last few months in our home; of the things that have stressed me out and consumed me.  I heard the Lord ask me, "What if?"

What if it wasn't a big deal that the kids are sick?
   So they literally just puked all over you?  Breath through your mouth, smile and care for them.
What if it didn't matter what mood the kids were in or how much they learned in a week or if they ate the dinner I put in front of them?
What if all of my attention was not consumed with being mom?

I heard him say "Your priorities are off Jen.  Be my child first, a wife second and a mother third."

What if I was a wife before being a mom?

Honestly, I don't even know what that looks like.  I'm pretty sure since the day Princess P was born, I've let her take priority.  Kids try to demand it and it's easy to let their cries and screams and requests consume you.

I told Hubs the next day about my revelation and he kinda chuckled at me, simply because it came at such ironic timing.  In that moment, our kids truly needed to be a priority.  It's kind of hard to ignore lots of stinky vomit.  And even as we were talking, we were interrupted by all 3 kids.  I can't tell you how many times during those sick days I heard, "Momma!  I NEED you!".

Celebrating everyone healthy again!

It was still freeing.  I felt so much peace...and some regret for how things have been.  No wonder everything has seemed like such a huge deal.  It's all I've been looking at!  I've been looking down at my kids, like under a microscope, so all the little things seem like huge things.  When I looked up at God and looked at my Hubs in front of my, the little things were put in perspective.  They were simply that, little.  Yes, they need to be cared for and loved on, but not put on a pedestal.  I could see how a simple heart change could change so much more in our family.  Perhaps it will mean that I will be less stressed about stupid stuff.  Perhaps it will mean the kids feel more loved and accepted.  Perhaps, they will see how to love a spouse and an example of marriage that they want to follow.

The bug is gone, PRAISE THE LORD, and it's left me wondering:

What if I put in a fraction of my energy into my marriage, as I do in being a mom?

What if I watched a show with Hubs after the kids were in bed, even if I hated the show and just wanted to go to bed?

What if I budgeted for a regular babysitter and planned dates?

Step 1= running together on Hubs birthday.  His last long run before his half marathon...really wanted to just volunteer a foot rub. 

What if I die on this long run and this whole revelation goes to waste?  Someone please remind my Hubs of how many miles I'd run before this long run (i.e. a grand total of 10 in the last month) and to always remember my sacrifice.