Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Women Living Well Book Review!

   I follow Courtney Josephs blog Women Living Well fairly regularly for awhile now. I read one of her blog posts that seemed to go "viral" in the Christian mom facebook realm. Then another and...When I first started to look at her stuff I watched her Rachel Ray segment in the side bar.                                  
I then went on to watch her Videos- see here. Honestly, my first thoughts were, too perfect, she hasn't learned the value of real yet when she talks about marriage and parenting,she was too happy. I was sorely WRONG. The Joy Courtney shows comes from her love of God and through that is where her happy serving of her family comes from! I watched some of her Good Morning Girls videos and was curious as to how she was always so bubbly and excited about things I was so tired of (serving your children,husband, and trying to juggle keeping the house clean, exercising,nursing and waking with baby etc). I have been so very blessed to have found her and you know you found a great person to glean wisdom from when they are one of the few blogs you keep going back to read and waiting for a new post. She is just a born encourager! So naturally when she was looking for bloggers to be part of the launch team for her book, I signed up assuming I would not be chosen and I was*happy dance!* So i got a free pdf version to read and review here.

Women Living Well: Finding your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids, and Your Home- fabulous book! It is not so much another "how to" book, more of a refocus type. I loved reading it as a mom because it was easily broken up in sections that were quick enough to read in one nursing or rocking session;-). I truly really fully enjoyed this book and HIGHLY recommend it!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes as she talks about Your walk with God,Your Marriage,Your Parenting,Your Homemaking and Media:

" Do you want to be a better wife? Study your Bible. Do you want to be a better mother? Study your Bible. Do you want to be a better homemaker? Study your Bible.”

 “Why is it noble to help men in the workplace, help orphans, help widows, help your pastor, help the neighbors, or help your parents, but degrading to help your husband?”

 “Ask yourself, ‘If the pastor of my church put up on a large screen all the comments, status updates, and pictures I’ve posted for the entire congregation to see…is there anything that would embarrass me?”
 “Yelling at the bud won’t make it bloom.”

 "Take hope in this: it was flawed mamas who raised the greatest world changers. Abraham Lincoln reportedly said, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my mother.” The Statue of Liberty was modeled after the sculptor’s mother. Hundreds of people each day go and visit Lady Liberty and look up at the sculptor’s greatest influencer: his mom! Do Super Bowl football players look into the camera and say, “Hi, Dad!”? No! They say, “Hi, Mom!” We know of many famous women who have accomplished much in this world. Their names are in lights, but think of the many unnamed women who rocked the cradle of great men and women who changed the world. They will forever be unnamed, but their influence is forever with us.Dear mamas, do not lose heart. Do not grow weary of doing good (Gal. 6:9). We are raising the next generation, and we can’t do it alone. We need to daily be on our knees in prayer, not just for our husband and children, but for ourselves! Walk with the King!"

 "As I looked at my little guy, I saw a mirror. So many of my son’s flaws were my own flaws. It was painful. I would tell him to be patient with his sister while I was impatient with him. I would tell him to use self-control while steam was pouring out my own ears when he got into trouble. But each year as he grew older, I noticed that I also had grown one year older. As he matured, I matured. It was during the preschool years that I realized together we were growing in our walk with the Lord and becoming more like Christ as God revealed our flaws through the flow of family life. "

So, what makes Courtney's book so much different than all the other christian "self help" books. Courtney is very clear that there is no cookie cutter answer and that our foundations should all be the same Biblical principles but how they are applied in our different marriages and homes may look differently depending on the people who are in them. For example some things are disrespectful to all men,whereas each husband has his specific things that he may say are disrespectful and those get to be defined by him,not you or anyone else. 

Another thing I loved that she talked about was school choices. Normally when I think about Deuteronomy 6:7 which says "You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up." I think of homeschooling, for our family that is the way I see I can BEST accomplish diligently teaching my children. My husband and I agree on it and although my kids can " drive me bonkers" I LIKE being home with them, I want them in my care, I enjoy teaching them things and for now as long as we feel lead that is what we are going to be doing. However Courtney actually has some very encouraging words on the schooling. She herself home schools but she speaks about her parents and how they diligently taught her and that they worked their best to protect her and her siblings and put their foot down when necessary with friends and just really had some good things to say about school choices. She is not judgmental, she is not rigid or legalistic.  Here is a quote" I faced spiritual warfare in school, and my parents joined me in the battle. When we moved from our old house years ago I stumbled across this note from fifth grade that my mom had written to my teacher..." It goes on to talk about a film that was PG rated and how her mother did not want her to watch it, that the note made her squirm and she did sit in the hallway but that her parents made that decision for her when she was too young to stand for herself/needed help.

The other part I really enjoyed was how she talked about her parents in regards to media and other "strict" rules and something I found which explains why there was probably no rebellion in the house is that her parents followed the same rules for themselves as they gave to them in regards to media. Here is a exert of their movie standards:

1. If an unmarried couple came into your home, would you allow them to make love on your couch? Certainly not!....
2. If you were taking Jesus in the flesh with you to the theater, would you take Him to see this movie? Or would you be embarrassed about the sin displayed, for which Hew as beaten and then nailed on a cross?
3. Your eyes take in images that your mind cannot erase....(Philippians 4:8 "Whatever is true,whatever is honorable,whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is any worthy of praise,think on these things." 

Courtney talks about the Media revolution and its affects our parenting, she talks about changing the atmosphere of your home, she talks about submission in marriage, just so much that is beneficial. I love that  in each section she has a little list of overview points, I am tempted to print them all out and put them around my house;-). Really though, this book has been so helpful to me and I highly recommend it. You know how we talk about women being empowered with the women's movement, birth control, womens rights of all sorts and that type of thing? Courtney's book is true empowering a little more counter cultural-frankly its more CHRIST cultural-finding empowerment through what Christ intended for us as women. If we want something to empower us and make us feel great about our roles, maybe we should stop looking elsewhere for our fulfillment and start looking at Christ and what HE values. He values us having a relationship with him, and serving.

  And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Affects of Hyperemesis Gravidarum Interview Series (Part 1)

This series includes questions asked to 26 women mostly across the U.S., the answers chosen were based on the most variety of answers provided.

Diagnosing Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Before you got pregnant, did you have any complications, what did your life look like? (were you able to do things normally and healthy)

Before HG, I wasn't in perfect health - I've had fibromyalgia since high school and migraines for as long as I can remember. I also had a bad bout with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) about five years ago that had me vomiting three to four times every day (if I only knew then what I know now - that would be a good day for me this pregnancy!) I could function normally most days, and before I got pregnant I was feeling better than I had in years.~Alicia

Before I was pregnant I was an aspiring CNA. I was able to take care of four patients with special needs (which was a very hard job physically and mentally). I walked a lot and did 4 mile trails. Everything was easier because I had my health.-Jessie

My husband and I had decided a year, prior to trying to get pregnant, that we should be as healthy as possible. We spent 2012 getting in the best shape of our lives exercising daily both cardio and strength training, eating incredible healthy, doctors appointments, vitamins, and tests tests and more tests. Before getting pregnant not only were we healthier than ever but also sure to have no medical deficiencies. -katelyn

Before I fell pregnant I was a normal healthy girl, trips to the beach and the movies and just everyday activities were done with ease. - Tahlea

 Were you planning/excited to be a mom before finding out?

Yes, my husband and I planned our daughter and were shocked and excited since it only took us one month to conceive and I always wanted kids.- Mary

My pregnancy was a wish come true, 1st time trying after my wedding day & I was blessed to be carrying. - Kelly

My husband and I were married in August. We weren't totally ready for a baby, but decided to go off birth control because my doctor told me I would most likely have difficulty getting pregnant, and we would have to be trying for two years before insurance would pay for any fertility treatments. So we decided to try for the two years, then discuss whether we wanted to pursue fertility treatments, adoption or just not be parents.- Alicia

I was very excited to become a mom, due to our circumstances we actually waited a year longer than we wanted so it was long overdue -katelyn

How long did it take to diagnose that you had Hg and how did you feel about it?

I knew something was seriously wrong because I couldn't intake anything at all and was affecting my ability to do everyday task such as just brush my teeth. I called my ob and the nurse and they just said it's just your first trimester it will end soon, that happened all SIX TIMES! I finally went to the ER where I was diagnosed with Hg at about 9 or 10 weeks after my 2nd trip. I felt a relief like ok I'm glad there is a name to this and that someone actually is taking this serious and not stamping it as just "morning sickness". -Eva

4 weeks to be diagnosed with all 4 HG pregnancies, survived 4, mixed emotions as if weather I can do it or not, terminated 2 cause of HG. - Brandy

 First pregnancy: undiagnosed, 2nd pregnancy: about 3 months despite me losing 40lbs in 3 months, and being hospitalized due to dehydration, malnutrition, etc. I eventually lost that baby not long after being diagnosed. With my daughter we knew going in and started IV 's and medication immediately. I felt challenged with DD but I was determined to battle it out and win. After losing our last pregnancy after our daughter, I feel slightly helpless but still determined. I almost just quit and went with adoption but my husband is supportive through it all and I couldn't do it again without him. I'm also very glad there's protocol's in place to get me through the next one if my resolve can withstand the difficulties.- Mary

Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Love for "Accidental Parenting"

 I love me some parenting books, seriously, I crave learning when it comes to this parenting thing. Well, I did when I had a difficult baby and I needed sleep. Iv read a lot of books, I have a lot more I'd like to read. Something I noticed though, I would not pick up a new baby sleep book anymore, I just wouldn't right now. Iv read all the different methods, things either hit me good or hit me real bad. When they hit me real bad, I feel depressed, and like a failure. Sometimes it's WORSE if it is a christian author. I feel I NEED to do it their way, because- psh obviously, they are a christian and know better than I do (because I fall to the lie that EVERYONE knows more than I and somehow I am less than- A lie that is easy to fall into as a parent). I know I am not the only one. Iv heard it several times from several new parents,particularly ones who have babies that DO NOT SLEEP.( I just told a story to someone today about how I walked around outside trying to collect myself to deal with my screaming 10 month old firstborn).

"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations."
Jeremiah 1:5
 One particular book, I liked the method and routine of teaching a baby to sleep, I used the advice, she was in favor of gently teaching, but the words used were condescending to me . The words" accidental parenting" were used to describe parents who choose to rock their babies to sleep, cuddle them, co sleep etc. It fell under the idea that if you do any of these things your making a mistake.I still used some of her methods, and routines and such, my baby didn't sleep too bad, but you know what-I craved him sometimes. I wanted him in my arms. This book would have told me that I was doing what was in HIS best interest, that's what parents do,whats best for their child. Here's where we need some true deciphering. Here is where we should look deep and pray when it comes to the very little things in parenting. What someone else thinks is right for all babies, is not always what is right for YOUR baby. They are speaking as a expert on the subject but they have NEVER had your child in their bellies, they have most likely never prayed for your baby. They were not entrusted with him/her. Your baby is unique, God made him or her unique. Here is the second part, your baby was given by God to You- because YOU are who is right for this child,personality and all. I might think differently right now with my 2 yr old sometimes, but for some reason God choose ME to be his mom, whether that is for my benefit to learn or his *grin*

So before you go and follow a formula for your baby (or toddler or teenager etc). Remember, Formulas are generalizations, not christian law. These books have some truth and their formulas may help but they are not set in stone-God did not sign off on them.

God MADE us to crave our babies in our arms I feel, there is a reason they are formed in the bodies of mothers and not fathers, God MADE us women to nurture. (This does not mean fathers never nurture, it also doesn't mean you always have to pick your baby up, but there is freedom in Biblical parenting).

For me personally I have learned, I don't need a spa day, I don't need a vacation from my children(not that I feel this way every day!). However,right now I am happy with a dark room, air conditioner, ocean white noise, glider and a sleeping baby, tonight was totally worth " accidental parenting", I am making great mommy memories :-).

  "As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; And you will be comforted in Jerusalem." 
                               Isaiah 66:13

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hyperemesis Awareness Day 2013! Plus Video

Today is the 2nd Annual Hyperemesis Awareness Day!! This is one of my absolute favorite" holidays", because each one is going to bring us closer to the world knowing hyperemesis and working harder for treatment/cure. I put together a video of my most recent journey,there is more to hg than even what I put in the video but for timing purposes I put the basics of what we went through. If you are looking to use flyers or brochures, My sister- in- law and I made them last year, they can be found on last years HG post HERE along with awareness pictures you can post on facebook or pinterest:-D

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pregnant? You Need the Real Options.

Today I want to share one of my favorite Christian ministries/charities. I have a few favorites,in different categories. In regards to Women and children, Save the Storks is one I am passionate about. Save the Storks is a non profit newer pro-life organization who work to provide Women with REAL CHOICES. You can't make a good choice without knowing/seeing all the information- and they do that! They are working to put buses outside of abortion clinics. Women are offered,salvation through Christ, a ultrasound, and the truth about abortion procedures, they are told they have real choices and there are crisis pregnancy centers willing to help them. The way the organization works is that when you give money to them, your not just supporting their bus, and equipment, you are supporting women's choices to care for their babies-whether through adoption or parenting. Money given goes to the pregnancy centers so that they can handle providing resources such as diapers, clothing, classes, formula, and in some cases helping women find jobs and a safe place to stay if needed. 

So, Why are they great? Save the storks focuses on the MOTHERS. It is there for the mothers, and by saving the mothers from desperation and helplessness, you save the child.Another great thing about this organization- It is started with mostly young adults who have a passion for ministry.

Often times a woman makes the choice of abortion mostly out of fear, and helplessness, you don't go for a abortion because you feel empowered- that is what planned parenthood wants you to believe, its your choice- feel empowered, don't let anyone tell you what to do with YOUR body. I rarely hear someone speaking out on how glad they are that they were empowered to go through with abortion, planned parenthood is not offering you abortion recovery counseling when your left to pick up the pieces of your broken heart. It is not that the pro life people don't care about women, its because we DO. We know a life is a life, no matter how that life comes to be. It doesn't matter if my baby is a newborn or 30 years old- a life is a life,so it does not matter if my child is a newborn or 12 weeks in my body. A life is a Life, no exceptions, its not that we don't care if you were raped, its not that we don't have compassion, its that we do. We have compassion for what this means for your life, and the death it means for your child. We know that that child is a human being, loved in immeasurable ways by God.Your child's life has a purpose and so does yours. We want you to know that, when you devalue the life of your child-you are devaluing your own life, your helping create a culture where life is cheap and murder is ok. Your saying- I can't do this, God can't fix this, I need find a way to make this go away. What if you could survive this,take a step back from thoughts of what it would do to your own life , what if life would be far beyond what you ever imagined for yourself in a great way- God can and He does do that. I will give thanks to you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Psalm139:14a

 I have never experienced getting pregnant in high school, I have never experienced being left by a boyfriend upon becoming pregnant, I have never experienced the extreme physical,mental and emotional pain of rape and the impact it has on your life. Still, a life is a life. Children are hard, they do cost money, they cost time, they cost energy,they cost letting go of selfish desires, however, I have experienced motherhood. I can tell you- it's worth the sacrifice of what you, yourself had planned for your life. When you start seeing your life as God sees it, you will start seeing your child's life as He sees it, and things might just start to look a little bit different. There is also a amazing option of open adoption, you could still see your child and get pictures of your child,but you will not have to raise him/her and they will be in the type of environment you would wish for them. Thousands of people are hoping and praying for a baby, you could give the greatest gift any one person could give to another human being- the gift of motherhood and fatherhood. That is something a person will always feel they cannot repay you for-because giving life, is the best gift you can give someone.

And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

While I didn't intend on this post going towards the mothers, I planned on it going towards the Christians  to encourage them to support this ministry, I did pray about this post- I feel this is where God lead it, and I will not mess with His message.

Save the stork website
save the stork store-help by purchasing items
Adoption choices
   If you would like to talk to me in a private email for encouragement, options,what being a Christian is all about, or any other concerns you can contact me at

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Is Coming!

 The foundation of Christianity, knowing that the world was created by God, it was perfect, Adam and Eve disobeyed, sin entered the world and we are in need of a savior. We celebrate christmas because Christ came in the form of a baby to be our savior, on good friday he died for our sin, and three days later he rose. Because of what we celebrate today- that is the core of our Christian faith. That is why we have freedom in Christ and we have the perfect gift of spending eternity in Heaven.So it is very important to us as a family that our children understand this, and don't get to trampled by bunnies:-). There was some debating that went on between Aaron (husband) and I when we had our first( it was friendly communication;-)..i think) on whether or not we wanted to do Easter baskets. Here is how I decided to do the Easter basket thing this year.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

For This Child I Prayed

Natalie Joy was born two weeks ago a few days before her due date, weighing a healthy 7 lbs 9oz, 20 1/2 inches long. We are both doing very well and I am so relieved and blessed to be a 3 time survivor of hyperemesis gravidarum and the complications that came with it. Words cannot express how happy we are to have her in our lives, she's so precious and a fairly easy newborn. Thank you to all who have prayed daily for Natalie and me, as well as for my husband and children who sacrificed time away from me/had to complete my tasks on top of their own. Thank you to those who visited me in the hospital various times, drove me home from the hospital, picked up my medicine and coke, and those who were sympathetic to and cared for my boys. It's been a very long journey but I am so happy to be on the other side. I know God has great things planned for Natalie and I can't wait to watch them unfold.

 Photo credit:

"For this child I prayed and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him."
1 Samuel 1:27