Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Yup, trials and tribulations!!!!  Things that we are all going to experience, know they are going to come along, and still get surprised and frustrated when they appear!!!  A right response would be to give thanks and to praise God because he does ALL things well and he is worthy to be praised no matter the situation.  However, over the past few weeks, even amongst all of our blessings, I have found the stress mounting and my patience to be short. 

You know, most of the things are little, small, teeny, insignificant things......and a couple of things are well, just a teeny, tiny bit bigger.  They have seemed to accumulate into a big pile of little things, turning into one big thing.  Then, I let it get out of control, get irritable with my family, and find myself on my knees praying, asking for forgiveness and asking Him to help me. 

It started with our tenants.  They have began to not pay us rent nor will they return any form of communication.  A little stressful.  Especially since that makes our finances uncertain.  Now, we are not going to renew their lease and have the new task of finding new renters, once we can get the current ones to vacant. 

I also have been looking for a PRN job (I DID GRADUATE WITH MY BACHELOR'S IN NURSING ON JULY 14TH!!!!), but have had almost no responses with a gazillion job applications floating around out there.  Does not help with the financial uncertainties!!!!

Last week I accidentally cracked my laptop screen. 

Last week also happened to be the week that Andrew, Ryan, and I would catch stomach viruses.  I am thankful that Hunter and Sean managed to stay well!!!!

This week brought a broken washing machine, which decided to break while washing a load of dirty cloth diapers (the water wouldn't drain either-yuck). 

So, this pile had become a mountain and I am fervently praying instead of giving thanks and praising and seeing that many other peoples problems are way bigger than mine.  Within a few hours, God gently reminds me how much he loves us and cares about us. 

I got a surprise ultrasound and was able to see our precious little blessing after a little scare of not finding a heartbeat.  A good reminder of the gratefulness I have that God has seen fit to gift us with a new baby for these last 11 weeks.  :) 

Then after my OB appointment, I picked up Ryan from his violin lesson and headed to Wal-Mart.  On our way out, lying right next to our car, was a pile of money!!!!  Almost $2 in pennies.  Ryan and I scooped them all up and put them in a bag.  But the best part about that was my conversation with my delightful 4-year-old.  He asked why God dropped pennies from Heaven just for him and how was he going to get some of them back up to Heaven to give back to God?  I explained that God loves him very much and that sometimes he likes to give us special things.  I also explained that we can give the money back to God by helping God's people.  Ryan decided he wanted to give some of the money to really sick kids at the children's hospital.  Can you say melt a mama's heart!!!?????  And if that wasn't enough, on the drive home, there was a little red toy truck on the side of the road that we stopped and picked up!!!  Talk about double blessings for Ryan.  He also said that God must have given him presents because he was so sick last week.  Awwwwww!!!!!  

And then there is the washer.  Sean was at the store, just a few moments away from purchasing a new one, when God gave him wisdom and advice from one of the employees on how to possibly fix it on his own.  One $45 lid switch and a little of Sean's elbow grease later and laundry in this household has resumed!!!!!  :) 

Whatever trials and tribulations we are facing, God is here for us and he loves us very much and he is waiting to bless us, if only we will trust in Him with all of our heart and lean not unto our own understanding (Pro 3:5).  In everything give thanks (I Thes 5:18). 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

11 Weeks

I was blessed to have a surprise ultrasound today....after a little bit of a scare and a lot of praying.  My OB initially said not to be alarmed if we couldn't find the heartbeat on the Doppler since I'm just 11 weeks along, but then when she couldn't find the heartbeat she did a lot of manipulating, which I will NOT get into.  Still unable to find the baby, she decided to get me into ultrasound.  Baby was just fine, with a heartbeat of 157 and jumping around like crazy!!!  Praise God!!!! We have our names picked too:  Hailey Elizabeth (for the fourth time lol) or Lucas John.  :) 

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Food Post

This past Saturday one of the girls from our church held a food class that we attended.  Let me first off say that I was skeptical about going because I felt like we eat healthy and that I am pretty knowledgeable about food.  I decided to go because I thought, well OK, maybe I can learn a thing or two.  Mainly, though, I went to support her.  Not that she needed our support, there were about 30 others there lol!  Me and Sean learned so much!  We learned how ignorant we are about what we put in our mouths and what we are feeding to our kids.  We have always made fun of organic and thought it to be a little too tree hugging-hippie for us, I hate to admit.  We should have never thought that way on something we knew nothing about.  I have also always felt that what we are given in America is safe and good for us for the most part.  We don't live in a 3rd world country or anything like that so I trusted our government I suppose.  However, I have been very much misguided. 

Our friend who held the class basically had the same views as us until her dad got extremely sick and doctors could not figure out what was wrong with him.  Kim started to do a lot of research and found out a lot about the food that we eat.  Long story short, they radically changed his diet and he is doing great now.  Kim also changed her diet and her family's diet.  She has been amazed at the improvements. I talked with another family from our church who also started this new way of living and has been amazed at the differences, as well.  Illnesses for them are few and far between and when someone does get sick, it is not for very long at all.  Also, they all say they just feel better in general energy wise.  I certainly could use some more energy!  And our family has suffered for almost a year with sicknesses.  :( 

Now, this was a one day, 8 hour class taught by someone who is so knowledgeable about it all so I am not even going to try to explain everything.  I have a lot more research to do on my own and plan to check out some books from the library to learn more.  However, I will briefly mention a few things. 

We learned about factory farming and genetically modified organisms (GMOs)......things I had never even really heard of.  We also learned how to read labels better and some  of the things to definitely avoid like high fructose corn syrup and soy.  Kim talked about homogenized dairy and pasteurization.  She also talked about vaccines, herbs, and supplements.  The vaccination issue is something that Sean and I have prayed about in the past, but have never felt God leading us in the direction of NOT vaccinating our children.  I have decided to read more on the subject, but as of now that is something that we still choose to do. 

She also prepared a lot of food for us to sample and everything was so delicious.  It just felt better to eat! 

Sean and I  are now taking our family on a new journey after we prayed about it and felt God telling us to make some changes from the things that we learned from this class.  Unfortunately, our kitchen is FULL of things that I thought were pretty good for us, but are completely not.  However, we cannot afford to throw everything away nor would we waste like that.  So, we have decided to replace the bad with good after things run out.  It will take a while, but we are anticipating great results.  We have also decided to start shopping at a co-op in Knoxville called 3 Rivers Market ( weekly instead of our Wal-Mart Supercenter.  They are 100% organic and free of GMOs.  Their produce is fresh, organic, and local.  Their meat and poultry is pastured and free range and humane.  All of the animals are raised on 100% vegetarian diets and are not given antibiotics or hormones nor are they cloned.  Hens are raised cage free and are pasture fed.  This is just to name a few things that this store offers that regular supermarkets rarely have (they have things that contain the opposite, which is quite scary).  Look up pictures of factory raised animals.  It is so gross!!! 

We are still going to go to Sam's for toilet paper and paper towels and things of that nature because I don't think we need those in organic lol. 

Also, we have decided to try raw milk, which we will be getting straight from a farm (  We will have to pick it up weekly.  I have never tried raw milk before so this is going to be brand new for our family.  In order to get 3 gallons a week, there is a one time fee of $135, which includes our own share in a cow lol and then it is $75 a month, which is basically what we pay for milk any way.  The only difference is picking up the milk is not as convenient as going to our Wal-Mart right up the road. 

We are researching herbs and supplements and will probably be posting more about that later.  However, Mr. Ryan was throwing up over the weekend and Kim gave us some silver hydrosaul that we have been giving to Ryan and Hunter to boost their immune system.  We did read up on it first before giving them any. 

Our biggest prayer on our new journey is that God gives us direction and that he also gives us the ability to afford it because obviously it is going to be much more expensive. 

I will try to update on our progress and what we learn along the way!  We are excited to see where God is going to take us with this! 

Oh and P.S. - two things that Wal-Mart does carry that are pretty OK for snack foods are Annie's crackers (my MIL likes these!) and Chip Ins, which are quite tasty I think.  :)

And P.S.S. here are a few things I wrote down that may help you and your family:
1.  Avoid nitrates and nitrites. HOT DOGS!
2.  Soy is not a health food.
3.  Don't use soy sauce; use tamari instead. 
4.  Don't eat vegetable or cottonseed oil. Coconut oil is very good!
6.  Eat proteins, fats, and carbs together. 
7.  Saturated fats are good! 
8.  Almond butter is a good spread to use. 
9.  Hydrogenated fats should be at the top of the list of foods to take out of your diet. 
10.  Jason's Deli and Chipotle have become more conscious of the things I talked about above and are good places to eat out. 
11.  Avoid white bread, rice, crackers, baked goods, and sugars.  :(
12.  Don't eat gala apples (my favorite).  They have absolutely no nutritional value to them!  Eat Red Delicious and Golden Delicious instead. 
13.  Do frozen veggies over canned, but fresh is best of course. 
14.  Cherry tomatoes (another fave for me and Ryan) have the least nutrition of all the tomatoes. 
15.  White potatoes = bad.  Purple, red, and Yukon Gold = good!  :)
16.  Pineapple helps with digestion.
17.  Steaming veggies is the best cooking option and retains the most amount of nutrients. 
18.  Arrowroot powder is a better substitute for cornstarch or white flour. 
19.  Avoid pasteurized milk, cream, and milk products (do raw instead). I will let ya know how that goes!  :)
20.  Table salt is not good.  Instead, use Celtic sea salt or pink salts liberally (Himalayan or Hawaiian). 
21.  Consider iodine supplements. Need to research this. 
22.  Artificial sweeteners are bad (aspartame) - Diet soda.  Consider using Stevia, succinate, cane juice, molasses, honey, or maple syrup instead. 
23.  Minimize fruit juice. Good drinks include spring water, well water that has been tested, filtered water, teas. 
24.  Get plenty of sunshine!  :)
25.  Eat oatmeal instead of cereal.
26.  Good supplements for kids are cod liver oil and butter oil.  We still have to research this!
27.  Kim also said her whole family takes kelp and probiotics.  She bought a capsule machine and makes them herself to save money.  These are also things Sean and I will have to look into first. 
Well, that was way more than a few tips!!!!!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Ryan has been talking about camping for a long time so Sean decided to take him yesterday......all the way to our back yard!  We ate hotdogs on a stick and roasted marshmallows for S'mores.  Then, it turned night and me and the youngest two headed back inside for baths, tick removal, Bible time, and bed time.  In the A/C.  In comfy beds.  Ryan and Sean slept outside in a tent.  In the heat.  And in the rain.  And they LOVED it.  They played Go Fish and Dominos and Angry Birds.  When I last peeked out after midnight, I could still see the light glowing from their flashlights inside the tent.  I missed my hubby, sleeping all by myself, but I am so glad they had that father-son time.   
Breaking the rules....a no-no....feeding my 10-month-old hotdogs.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Anderson County Fair

We went to the Anderson County Fair, rode some rides, and watched a demolition derby.  I think ALL of Anderson and Knox County was at the derby!!!! We were so surprised to see Hunter get on a pony and the car ride.  He, before yesterday, would not get on anything that moved, shook, or turned.  He sure doesn't look happy in these pictures, but he really was having a good time.  Ryan, on the other hand, almost always has a grin! :)  It was very hot and that meant with all those people it was a little stinky, but it was fun, besides all the modesty issues.  Like FL, the hotter it is, the less and less people wear. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Senor Sleepy!!!!!

Napping in the jumperoo :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Yesterday was my birthday and I felt very blessed to have such a special day with my family.  I am also thankful for all the phone calls, texts, and birthday cards from friends and family.  Thank you for thinking of me and for helping to make my day extra lovely!!!!!  Here's some snapshots of what we did!!!!  :)
First I got to open cards and I especially loved this one.  Ryan, all by himself without any help, wrote 'hug" on my card!!!!  Then, I went and got a mani pedi :)

lol - first time seeing a sign like this!!  After my manicure and pedicure we went to McCloud Mountain for lunch. 

View from our table

This one, too.

Another silly sign!

Trying to take a picture of ourselves by ourselves.

And then someone came along and offered to help.

Wild blueberries on McCloud Mountain

And wild blackberries, too.



And finally cupcakes after lunch at Scrumps, which the owners were also finalists on Cupcake Wars on Food Network.  The cupcakes were fabulous!
And here's a few random camera phone freebies from the day before.  :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

We went to the BIG city!

On Saturday, we headed into downtown Knoxville to go to the Mast General Store, which is a really neat store in a building from the late 1800s.  They have everything from kitchen stuff to hiking gear, to toys and games, candy, clothing, shoes, and anything else you can think of.  They are not cheap, but it was fun to look around.  The boys especially enjoyed riding the freight elevator.  :) After that, we ate our picnic lunch in Market Square, looked around at the farmer's market in Market Square, and let the boys play in the fountains!  :) 

Monday, July 8, 2013

New Baby Blessing!!!!!

Due February 17, 2014!!!!
8 weeks along today! 
Psalm 127:3-5Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.