Big Stuff is Happening

Oh my. This Fall has felt heavy with decisions to make and new ventures to plan. It has been busy, but busy is really not the right word to describe it all. It’s the meaning and weight behind it all that has made it feel all-encompassing. And, truly, it is only good and exciting stuff! No tragedy or trauma. And woven throughout it all, our daily lives have been quite sweet and almost…normal. Still, I had a hard time finding the energy to bring our stories to this space. I hope to regain momentum for this in the coming weeks, as our lives begin their drastic change. Documenting the change and sharing our experience with loved ones seems like it will be a comforting practice during this time. But, no more dancing around it all, here’s what’s been brewing…

  • I have been dedicating a good chunk of time to launching my business: Sweet Water Offering. I have been seeing many bodywork clients, as well as a few health coaching clients. I even taught a local class this Fall – a series on taking processed sugar out of your diet. It was a new challenge, but one I’ve found fun and invigorating. I’ve also been working on my website and strategizing for an online presence with my friend and business partner Katie Palmer. Here’s our site, if you haven’t seen it, yet: http://sweetwateroffering.com/.
  • We’ve been adjusting to TWO kids in school. They’ve both had a great year, but it’s been a new form of juggling for us to keep their school routines on track and organized and to make time for hearing about their experiences and helping them cope with new struggles (like organization at school and interpersonal situations). So far, I actually really enjoy having school-aged children, but it is a different experience than being a mom to littles. Also, Simeon has been adjusting to being an only child for 7 hours each day. He doesn’t like it very much. He likes having other kids around and usually goes in search of friends in out building!
  • Josh and I did a very intensive “anti-racism training” this Fall. It was a great experience that will surely effect our future approach to life and community. We were given a lot to think about and take to heart, as well as the opportunity to move forward in new ways.
  • Finally, most of our energy the Fall was directed toward our hopes of starting a new Christian community in Little Rock, Arkansas. We are covenant members of Reba Place here in Evanston, which means that we share our money and decision-making in common with our community. We committed to be here “until God calls us elsewhere,” with the understanding that we felt called to start a community someday. Well, “someday” is here! And, we have discerned a plan and received an unfathomable gift of support and sending in a unanimous vote from the 50 or so other covenant members. A large part of that discernment was deciding to buy a house in Little Rock that seems right for hospitality and is in the neighborhood we selected through prayer and conversation and meeting neighbors and walking around. Our community here is helping us to make this happen in a unique and creative way – just the sort of thing they are best at. And we are deeply grateful.
  • SO, recent weeks have been spent making an offer on a house, making plans for renovations, and setting up a transition plan for our family over the coming months. We plan to move at the end of January. There are a million other things I could say about the process and the unknowns and the hopes and the dreams and the people who are dreaming with us. But, this is enough for now.

Really, it all just feel so epic I have a hard time putting it into words: a new business doing things that I love, a chance to live near my family again for the first time since summer breaks in college, a location to call home, the promise of new community and new manifestation of God’s work in the world. The sadness and brokenness of the world swirls around us constantly, and I know it is bigger than I can fathom. Still, I feel a peace that we are walking on the path God has laid before us. And, in this moment, I feel excited about offering the simple gifts we have to others. Please pray for our family during this time. We know that excitement will give way to long days and lost routine and hard work and missing friends and wishing for familiar things. Recently, Jedidiah said that he wished he had more real adventure in his life. So, we’re all trying to look at this as a real adventure. Pray that we would be able to remember that perspective on the hard days.

 

And one more epic thing…I got my long hair cut off!Photo on 2014-10-16 at 07.59 #3

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Summer 2014 Catch Up – Part 10 of 10 HOORAY!!!!

Logo - Darker Gray

I have been marinating on the idea of starting a holistic health business for a few years now. I get excited about bringing together my life experience, training, interests, and skills to help people to find natural ways of healing. I’ve been busy working on blog posts, a website, additional training, and networking to get this this going. Midsummer, I received a loan from our community to proceed with these plans. Soon, I’ll have a lot more to share with you! If you’re interested in being one of the first people to hear all about it, you can register here to be notified when things are up and running:   (And, feel free to share with others who might be interested!)

Click Here to Sign Up!

Meaningful Work

TBWhands

Over the past few years, I’ve been learning to do Thai Bodywork. I attended classes, completed many practice hours, and performed several final massages on instructors, until I was approved to practice. In September, I received my official certification!

I’ve been starting off a little slow on the business side, but now I’m feeling geared up to give this aspect of my life more time and space. I wanted to wait until our baby boy was a year old, and here we are! So, Josh helped me to take some photos and put together a website: http://namwaanthaibodywork.com/. He also helped me to put together a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NamwaanThaiBodywork.

Thai bodywork is a unique art – there is pressure and motion and stretching and active participation. I love doing this kind of work. I like the puzzle of hearing people’s pain issues and then finding ways to help relieve the pain and tension in their bodies. I love that I get to work face to face and one on one with people in a way that connects the physical, spiritual, and emotional. I feel rejuvenated after each session, not drained or bored. I’m so thankful that I get to do this amazing work as a job!

Over the past few years, my interest in natural health and healing has grown and grown. The pursuit of the bodywork training has been part of that journey. I have also become particularly interested in the area of food as medicine. I am insatiable for learning as much as I can about food, systems in the body, and chronic illness. I am already working on a plan to expand my natural health business to include health coaching and perhaps functional diagnostic nutrition, a field in functional medicine. I am praying and reading and hoping with everything in my being that God will bring things together and open up this path for me.

I have also enjoyed attending a few births. I have another coming up in February. But, as I have examined the possibility of being a doula or midwife, I have not felt a further leading in that direction. I rejoice to accompany friends during the births of their children, but I have reservations about making this my work during this tender phase of parenting young children. Birth work is unpredictable, and steals me away for long periods of time. Josh and I are open to more of this when our children are older. Some say midwives in the past were often grandmothers, as that stage gave them more freedom to be gone for long hours and the wisdom to assist younger women after having gone through the childbearing experiences themselves.

Meaningful work is hard to come by. And, I realize not everyone gets the privilege of finding it. I am daring to dream a bit here. It is not what I would have expected to do with m life at 18 or even 25, but this path feels congruent with the person God made me to be and with how I see the world as a follower of Jesus. I hope to be able to use the skills I learn to gift the downtrodden and lonely and heavy burdened, as well.

Will you pray with me as I take these first steps down a new road?

Welcome to Fall in Evanston!

A picnic at our favorite park…

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P1000501 Apple picking…

P1000515 P1000521 P1000523 P1000527(Some one brought a pet parrot to the apple orchard!)

And, “Bike the Ridge” – Evanston blocks off one of the major thoroughfares so everyone can ride bikes…

P1000541 P1000536 P1000540Lilia learned how to ride a pedal bike (no training wheels) just a month or so ago. She was thrilled to get to ride on Ridge with all the big kids and grown-ups. The weather has been perfect the last few weeks. We are enjoying as much outdoor time as possible, because winter will be here before we know it…

 

 

 

Grain-Free Peanut Butter Waffles

These are high protein, grain free, dairy free, and kid-friendly! We made them this morning, and I’m declaring it my new favorite waffle recipe. Enjoy!

  • 1 banana (mashed)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • butter/oil for greasing the waffle iron

Use a hand-held or stand mixer to beat the peanut butter until a little fluffy. Then, add each ingredient in order, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go. Heat your waffle iron, then brush it with melted butter, and make waffles according to the directions on your waffle iron.

They freeze well – then, just reheat in the toaster or toaster oven!

Troubleshooting Colic

screaming-baby

I have never understood colic. Honestly, I’m not quite sure I believed that it was a real thing. The definition is so obscure…

Colic: a condition of a healthy baby in which it shows periods of intense, unexplained fussing/crying lasting more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks.

But, when our little Simeon remained a fussy babe week after week, people started throwing out the term. It’s a good thing he’s our third baby, though, because I hadn’t really felt very worried or even frustrated. Despite daily crying spells and trouble burping after eating, I was still enjoying every moment of his cute, chubby, baby self. And, when he did settle down, he was such a cuddly little fellow that I couldn’t help but be in love with him.

At my 6 week post-partum visit (which was really 8 weeks after Simeon was born), my midwife and her assistant both expressed a little concern about this prolonged fussiness and gassiness. They helped me to work on his latch some, after noticing that he was getting a little air while nursing. They also highly recommended a chiropractor in the area.

At that point, I decided to focus a little more on helping our sweet babe to feel better. I had been doing infant massage with him daily since he was born. So, I started a regular routine of massaging him in the evenings and then giving him a calming bath. I also made a point to work on his latch more directly. The massages and baths helped some, but the the latch was still not improving.

So, we went to the chiropractor. I have to admit that I was skeptical, and, even now, the whole thing seems a bit mysterious.

BUT, it worked.

The chiropractor said that Simeon was especially tight on one side of his body (this could have been the result of something in utero or part of the birth experience – it’s hard to know). With a few gentle touch adjustments with breaks between them, the chiropractor made a world of difference. Simeon went to see her 4 or 5 times in all, and now he doesn’t need to go back.

And, it’s like we have a different baby! I mean, he is still super sweet and cuddly…but now he is also happy and smiley and rarely fussy. And, because he has no trouble burping, he goes right back to sleep after eating….which MEANS that we’re getting a whole lot more sleep around here!

Just yesterday, I said to Josh, “Remember when we thought Simeon was our fussy baby?” And he, like me, had already kinda forgotten about how hard it was there for a few weeks.

What a blessing to see such a change so quickly. Oh, and the adjustments have even improved Simeon’s latch a great deal. I have to say, this chiropractor really won me over.

 

 

It’s Flu Season! My Formula for Warding Off Illness…

Over the last few years, we have started being diligent in taking vitamins and giving our children vitamins and food supplements regularly. Josh and I both believe that it’s made a real difference. I was especially intense in my methods in the final weeks of pregnancy and in the first weeks of little Simeon’s life. Praise God, all our efforts seem to be paying off at this point. Though sickness feels as though it’s swirling around us, as neighbors report colds and stomach bugs and the dreaded flu, we have (so far) avoided most of it.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share the list of things that our family does to prevent illness and to fight off a cold at it’s beginning. I’d love to hear what you do, too!

  • Vitamin C. My mom started this habit for me years ago. When there was any hint of illness going around or in our house, my mom made sure we were taking our vitamin C. If we actually  came down with something, she’d have us take it every hour! Josh and I take a capsule (1000 mg) and the kids take a chewable (500 mg). We often use Emergen-C, too. 
  • Probiotics. Capsules for Josh and I and chewables for the kids…during pregnancy I took a much stronger version. I also drink Bragg’s apple cider vinegar mixed with water for the additional probiotic value. And, we try to include probiotic foods in our diet regularly.
  • Fish Oil. The kids take a liquid with a little orange essence. They actually love it and never complain about it. I take a fermented cod liver oil that actually isn’t so bad.
  • Whole Food Supplement. We have taken various brands over the years. This year we’ve been trying Juice Plus. Josh and I have been taking the adult version, and the kids have been taking the chewables.
  • Homemade Chicken Stock. I believe in this old remedy. We make our own stock regularly. You can learn more about that here: Nourished Kitchen.
  • Massage. It’s kinda quirky, but I have seen a big difference from massaging the sub-occipital muscles and the anterior neck muscles (especially the sternocleidomastoid and the scalenes). I really have no theory to back this up; I just think it helps!

These are the main things that we do. Of course, we also have favorite teas and herbal supplements for specific issues, and we try to limit the spread of germs from person to person and stay hydrated. And, we often take vitamin D if we think we are getting sick. But, honestly, I think that these six that I listed might just make most of the difference. Here’s hoping for more health in 2013!