What I Learned This Week

Well, it’s been quite the week. My mom always says she knows how well I’m doing by how often I post on my blog. I haven’t had much to say….

During my week and a half of silence, I have learned the following:

Mastitis is terrible.

All those women who say mastitis is the worst thing ever are not exaggerating.

I am the heart of my home.

Even though this sounds cheesy, my counselor is right when she tells me to take care of myself because I am the heart of my home and my family needs me to hold things together. If I spend the week in bed, everyone goes a little crazy. Including the house. My word. The fruit flies are living their last day today.

My family is so awesome.

Ben has worked so hard this week, juggling work, parenting, housework, and taking care of me. He’s the best. And the girls have been a huge help with Everett. They’ve all worked so hard, but it becomes pretty obvious how this team needs all the players functioning.

Essential oils have my heart.

People talk about them all the time because they are really that awesome. Oils got rid of pain within minutes. What in the world. I love them.

Raw garlic can apparently kill almost any infection.

You just have to eat enough of it. A head of garlic a day, people

Keep trying until you find something that works.

After hours of researching, I came across some information saying that ultrasound therapy and acupuncture are really effective for treating mastitis. I’ve seen an acupuncture doctor a number of times over the years, and it turns out that my physiotherapy clinic does theĀ  ultrasound therapy, but I had never heard these things worked for treating mastitis, but they did! You never know what can help, so it’s been a week of experimentation….

My doctor is great.

He is so good about telling me how far I can go with the natural stuff, and when it’s just time to get the antibiotics. We filled the prescription, just in case, but at this point, I seem to pulling through okay without it. We have prayed like crazy, and I’ve tried every single home remedy I could find online. I was pretty desperate. Three rounds of antibiotics are what messed up my body really bad about seven years ago, and I’m still having to be really careful about throwing off my digestive system like that, so I was anxious to find a different way of dealing with infection.

My life is fantastic.

When I have to miss out and stay in bed for days on end, it makes me incredibly anxious to get back to normal living. I have never been so eager to do the laundry or clean up my kitchen. Oh, please let me back at it!!

EverettWhat have you learned in the last week?


A Week in the Life: Wednesday Photos

And now the rest of us are sick.

I wasn’t sick enough to lie around all day, doing nothing. Just sick enough to feel really grouchy.

Apparently Kaylia takes after me. She was a total grump when she woke up this morning.

Fortunately, Anika was able to cheer her up a bit.

And then they were ready for breakfast.

And I was ready for my smoothie.

I had to go without one the day before, which made this one even more enjoyable.

After that, things were slightly less enjoyable.

It was one of “those days” – the kind where nothing goes right, my sick grumpiness is making me rather unpleasant, I fold half a basket of laundry only to realize it was still dirty, and start thinking it might have been better to spend the day in bed.

But there were some good parts scattered throughout the day. I’m glad my camera forced me to see them!

Things like morning sunshine while doing school work.

And my new Norwex mop.

More laundry conquered.

More muffins baked. (For Anika’s Christmas program practice.)

And a delicious yam for lunch.

In the afternoon, I delivered Anika and our five dozen muffins to church, and then came home to cook my spaghetti sauce…

…and read stories to Kaylia.

When Ben and Anika got home, we ate supper, cleaned up, got the girls in the tub, and into bed.

And then I was ready to go to bed myself. Fortunately, Anika recovered very quickly from her little bout with the flu, so Ben and I are anticipating an equally fast recovery.

Notice how most of my pictures are from earlier in the day? I guess as things deteriorated, I picked up my camera less and less…

Here’s hoping Thursday is a healthy, photogenic kind of day!

I Love My Esophagus

So I learned something new last week. I learned that it is possible to bruise your esophagus. And that it actually hurts about 50 times more than you might expect. And that it takes a significant amount of time to heal.

Two weeks ago, I swallowed my usual amount of morning vitamins and stuff, but I was in a rush, and didn’t drink enough water afterward. I ran out the door for the morning, forgetting to take a water bottle with me, and by lunch, I knew that something was not right. I felt like I had swallowed a brick, and it had gotten stuck about halfway down.

A few days later, I was still in crazy amounts of pain, and it seemed to be getting worse. I couldn’t eat anything because it hurt too much to swallow. So we drove in to the city to see a doctor, which is when I found out about bruised esophaguses, which my spell checker is telling me is not a word, but I don’t know what the plural of esophagus would be – esophagi? Yep, that one passes the spell checker! I just learned another new thing…

Anyway, the remedy is to eat soup for a few weeks until it heals. Well, soup, and anything soft and blended. Baby food, basically.

For a week, I used the food processor, and blended everything. And part of me got really sick of eating that way. Part of me craved texture. I wanted to bite my teeth into something so badly. I never knew that really mattered! But it does.

It felt like mush would never end. But just like that, one day the pain was gone. And I’ve eaten crispy, crunchy lettuce every day since! And corn chips! Oh, bliss. My teeth are so happy to have a job again!

Through all of this, I have learned something else. (I kind of knew it, but I was reminded of it all last week…) Psalm 139 tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Fearfully and wonderfully. Those words have been stuck in my head.

You know how when everyone’s had colds for a month, or you get the fluĀ  – when you just had it last month – or whatever. When sickness seems to abound. That makes me feel really frustrated. A bruised esophagus makes me really frustrated. I get annoyed and discouraged because I just want to be well! I want my family to be healthy. And I get tempted to complain, and wonder when we’ll all be healthy again.

Being sick is miserable. And yet those words are stuck in my head – fearfully and wonderfully made. The Bible also says that our bodies are not our own. And I realize that I need to change the way I think about things, because here’s what I know to be true:

  • I didn’t know esophagi could get bruised, but it did, and then it healed in a wonderful way.
  • There are lots of other things that I do not understand about my body, and yet it continues to function, even as I take it for granted, and live my life.
  • Sickness is a part of this life that we are living right now.
  • God knows my body, knows my frustration, and desires a cheerful heart and joyful attitude anyway, even when I’m sick and tempted to be miserable.

And I’m thinking that being thankful for my fearful, wonderful body, and the fact that it heals itself, would be a much more positive thing to think about than how frustrated I am because one of us is sick again. Guess what? One of us will also get healthy, again.

Really. How many times do people say, “Our family has gotten sick so many times this winter!?” But our family has gotten healthy again, so many times this winter.

Maybe that sounds silly. All I know is that words can make a huge difference. Complaining about being sick would give me something to complain about for the rest of my life.

But I want to rather think about this fearful, wonderful body, healing itself and fighting off sickness, and doing it’s job, until the day comes when it’s not meant to do it anymore.

And you know that saying, “There’s no great loss without some small gain“? Well, my blended menu forced me to discover a number of very delicious recipes that we will now continue to enjoy as a family, with our healthy esophagi!

So in honor of healthy esophagi, here is my new favorite soup:

It’s called Roasted Garlic Apple Butternut Squash Soup, and it’s my new obsession. Seriously the best soup I’ve ever had. You can find the recipe here. (We thought it would be even tastier with cauliflower and broccoli in it, so I cooked some separately, and added them after blending the soup.)

So there you have it. My thoughts on health and our fearful, wonderful bodies. Hope you’re enjoying yours!


Our family has been sick with the flu for the last couple of days. Since we were all sick right before Christmas, and since it is never fun to experience vomit at any point in life, I’ve been tempted to have a bad attitude. But I got a little reminder today…

I was lying on the couch, trying not to move or do anything that would aggravate my extremely sensitive stomach, and the girls were sitting beside me, watching a Curious George video. (Yay, saved by George again!)

I wasn’t really paying attention to the video at all, but suddenly I heard one of the characters say, “Be very careful – time is a precious thing.”

And I lay there thinking about that for awhile. Time is a very precious thing – that’s why I don’t want to waste it lying around with the flu.

But that thought kind of jumbled into remembering a conversation that I had with Anika a few days ago. I don’t remember what brought it on, but I was explaining that verse in Philippians to her about “being content in every situation.” And she said to me, “Why haven’t you learned how to do that, Mommy?”

Umm…all right, shall we start with the flu? Because if I’m only content during the easy parts of my life, I will waste a lot of precious time. More of my life would be spent in enjoyment if I could somehow learn to be content in ALL circumstances. And I could be a better example for my kids.

So, my attempt for today, to enjoy precious time, to be content in all situations….Here are the things I was thankful for:

1) The most amazing husband ever. He wasn’t feeling great, either, but he did so much for me and the girls. As I was listening to him helping Anika during one of her bouts of throwing up, I thought again about how he is so calm and amazing at handling any situation. He’s such a great dad, even when puke is involved.

2) Extra snuggle times and feeling extra amounts of love for my poor sick girls.

3) A very pretty view out of our windows for me to enjoy while I’m lying on the couch.

4) Plain popcorn being bland enough to go down great after a day of not eating, and a good movie.

There we go, and it wasn’t even so hard to think of things to be thankful for!


We owe everything this week to Curious George. He is the reason that we were able to survive.

When colds, coughs, sore throats, pinkeye, whining and crying run rampant, there is always George.

I know that children under the age of two are not really supposed to watch TV.

This week, I didn’t care. This week, survival was more important than optimal brain development.

And how miraculous is it that both a seven-year-old and a one-year-old can get equally excited about the same DVD?

We thank you, George. And we love you.


Still sick. Kind of a miserable day around here yesterday, and it looks like today will be more of the same.

The best moment, other than bedtime, was seeing the girls forget about their misery long enough to play together very sweetly.

Pictures of Our Weekend

Our weekend has been filled with much activity and then much sickness.

Fortunately, all the activity came first, and the sickness hit yesterday.

We went to a Red Rock Christmas Banquet on Friday, which was great. It was one of those nights when you laugh until your stomach hurts. I left feeling like lots of tension from my week had been laughed away, thanks to the great people at our table, and also to Kim’s story about his gingerbread family’s missing appendages.

Amazingly enough, our Chaotic Family Night Gingerbread House Assembling actually inspired Ben in his preparation for planning an activity for the board and staff Christmas party. He announced the day after that fiasco that he wanted to buy enough gingerbread houses for everyone to get into small groups and decorate a house together.

I thought he was crazy.

But he was very excited about his idea, so we popped into Superstore on our way to the banquet to pick up the house kits. But then. Then he saw gingerbread cookie families. And his whole idea changed. Instead of house decorating, he had everyone decorate their families, and then “introduce” their families to everyone else, telling stories about each ginger family.

And it was really fun. Ben gets these ideas that I’m extremely leery about, and then he always pulls it off, so I don’t know why I still doubt him. Next time I won’t.

But seriously – making a bunch of adults decorate cookies together at a Christmas party? Do I not have reason for doubting??

Here’s a picture of my favorite moment:

On Saturday, we had a family gathering in Rosenort, which was very nice, but I took no pictures.

We got back home late Saturday night, got our girlies to bed, and enjoyed a marvelously cheesy episode of Heartland before heading off to bed ourselves.

On Sunday, we went to Sunday School in Rennie, and after that, things started to deteriorate very quickly, health-wise. Kaylia is by far the sickest, wondering if it’s pink eye, but all the rest of us are not feeling too hot, either.

However, I did manage to bake a ridiculous amount of Christmas cookies, not necessarily because I felt like it, but more because I’m running out of time before Christmas.

Anika helped out for a bit, which was fun. It gave us a chance to put our matching aprons to use.

Kaylia was kind of miserable, but she did manage to enjoy some light reading in her highchair.

Picture From Our Weekend

So I don’t have all kinds of interesting pictures from our weekend, because our weekend pretty much looked the same the whole time – we sat around feeling sick.

We all had colds except for Anika (but she says her nose is starting to feel stuffed), so Saturday was spent trying to get the motivation to be somewhat productive. Ben did homework, and I did some housework and wiped Kaylia’s nose. Sometimes I think it would be interesting to count how many times I wipe her nose in a day. And sometimes I don’t think I could count that high. I am not a very big fan of snotty-nosed kids, so she gets her nose wiped extremely regularly. Fortunately for me, she’s good with it. When she sees the Kleenx, she leans her head towards me and gets into the ideal nose-wiping position.

Anika played outside for a long time in the afternoon, and I guess Kaylia was feeling kind of bored and wanting some attention, because she got up onto the couch with Ben, climbed onto his lap and got all settled.

On Sunday, Ben and Anika spent the day in Rennie, because there was a work day at the community centre, and I stayed home with Kaylia and wiped her nose. And watched home videos on the computer. This is her new thing. Whenever one of us sits down at the computer, she gets all excited and says, “Wee-o! Wee-o!” (Which is her way of saying “video”.) If we show her one, she says “Den!” (again) and “Moe!” (more) over and over and over and over…. And if we say video is all done, she gets quite upset.

So in honor of Kaylia’s new obsession, it is my goal to learn how to put videos onto my blog. Then you can watch all of her favorites, too.


Today is a lazy, snowy day that makes me glad to be inside. We have a sick little girl, and a not-so-little girl who appears to still be healthy, but we’ll see how long that lasts…

Kaylia is quite miserable, but there are a few things making her somewhat happy – Anika’s new birthday toys, her blanky, and sneaking into Anika’s room. I suddenly heard one of Anika’s cds start to play, and then I knew exactly where Kaylia was!

Hopefully her mood/health improves soon so that I have a happy, healthy girl back, and so that I have time to post “Anika’s Favorite Things Right Now” in honor of her birthday!

Been Thinking About…

Ben has challenged/inspired/encouraged me to try writing one serious post a week. Don’t know if I can, but I’d really like to. He says I could be kind of like Jon Acuff, who has “Serious Wednesday” on his blog “Stuff Christians Like“. And… that’s the only way that I could be like Jon Acuff! Anyway. Here’s something different than parenting and homeschooling and housework that I’ve been thinking about lately:

I’ve been thinking about prayer.

I’ve realized that sometimes, I only pray safe prayers, because I’m not brave enough to pray for miracles.

Sometimes I’ve only asked God for things that I was pretty sure He would give me. That way, I wouldn’t have to be disappointed by Him saying “no”.

I got to a point in my life where I tried to “filter” all of my prayers. I tried to figure out for myself what God’s will was in my life so that when I prayed and asked God for stuff, I was just asking for the things that He was planning on giving me anyway, and I was more likely to get a “yes”.

As I write this, it sounds really dumb, but in all honesty, it’s what I was trying to do, without ever realizing it.

I did it because I was so scared of what would happen to my faith if nothing happened when I prayed.

It happened because I got pretty sick about 11 years ago, and I prayed hard for healing. Many other people prayed for healing for me. I was anointed with oil and all that kind of stuff. And nothing happened.

There was no dramatic healing.

I learned to live with it, and over time, things got better, but it is something that I deal with to this day.

And I didn’t know how to work through that. I prayed with faith. I begged and pleaded with God.

And there was no miracle.

I didn’t want to be ticked off with Him, or lose faith in the power of prayer. So I just stopped asking for things.

But then this last winter, I read something that is changing my life. I read that we should never allow the times God says “no” to keep us from asking Him for miracles in the future.

Our faith in God should not be dependent on how many miracles we receive.

I believe in God. I believe He loves me, and cares for me, and hears me every single time I pray, whether I get everything I ask for or not.

My faith in Him will not change with getting a yes or a no from Him when I pray.

So I’m learning to just ask away! To ask for big things – HUGE things, because sometimes He really wants to give me miracles.

And when He does say “no”, I’m learning not to whine or pout, but to trust Him, move on, and try again next time.

There’s this amazing story about David’s prayers in the Bible. Everyone knows the story about David and Bathsheba, but there’s a part of their story that isn’t talked about so much.

It’s the part where God tells David that although he is forgiven for his sin, he will still have to suffer the consequences. David and Bathsheba’s baby will die.

David begs and pleads with God to spare his child. For days, he doesn’t eat or do anything, other than to beg God to change His mind.

But the baby dies anyway. And the servants are scared to tell David that his child is dead. They say to each other, “If this is how he’s been acting while the child was still alive, what is he going to do when he finds out that the baby is dead?”

They’re expecting a pretty emotional, overwhelming response, and they’re not sure they want to be around for it.

But someone has to tell him, and when David hears the news, he shocks them all.

His response is to get up, bathe, dress, and …go to the house of the Lord to worship. And then he eats a good meal.

And the servants are confused. They don’t understand why he’s doing this.

But David says, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.'” (2 Samuel 12: 22-23)

He gets a “no”. His child dies. He accepts it. And he worships God.

I want to be like that. To pray with great spirit, to lay myself bare and vulnerable before God, to ask for anything…and to worship Him even when He says “no”.