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Friday, February 24, 2012

"I am the Bread of Life"

Lately I have been enjoying getting an "education" through the awesome online video classes provided by The Bread Beckers.  This company is amazing!  A good friend of mine first introduced me to them a little over a year ago, but I am just now getting better acquainted with just what a great resource they really are for the health-minded Christian.  I am thrilled with the wealth of knowledge they offer and wanted to take the time to share a great article written by Sue Becker, the mama of the family.  Women: get ready to be convicted.  We have a great calling for our families and a wonderful opportunity to respond with a resounding "Amen!"  I hope this article gets into your mind and makes you really think about your position in your family, your importance, and the high calling you have.  Feel free to share thoughts at the end of the article, and never hesitate to ask questions or seek counsel.  We are all here to help encourage each other in the Spirit!

Do Not Eat The Bread of Idleness

by Sue Becker, 1994
(An edited version of this article appeared in Above Rubies magazine #44)
 "Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain.  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is near at hand. "Joel 2:1
There is a health care crisis in this land.  Liberals and conservatives alike agree on this fact.  The cause of the crisis is quite another issue.  Some blame lawyers, while others blame doctors, insurance companies, medical suppliers or the government.  While all of these have certainly played their part, the truth of the matter is that we are to blame.  We are a sick and unhealthy people. God's word in Matthew 9:35-38 certainly describes the state of our country today.  We are sick, but as we turn to doctors and medicine, weight loss clinics and diets we are often left "bewildered - harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless - like sheep without a shepherd.(v36)  Our health does not depend on doctors and medicine but on how we live our lives.
The God who created our bodies also caused the earth to bring forth vegetation and gave to man "every plant yielding seed and every tree with seed in its fruit" to have for food. (Gen 1:29)  After the flood His provisions for man included "every moving thing that lives" as well as the green vegetables and plants. (Gen 9:3).  I trust God completely in His provisions to know what foods will best nourish our bodies.  Man, however, has altered His provisions first for the sake of convenience and now for greed.
Look for a moment at the example of the children of Israel in the wilderness.  With nothing to eat, God lovingly provided them with manna from heaven.  It was to be gathered daily.  Some tried to gather tomorrow's portion today so that they would not have to gather tomorrow.  God says six days shall you work and one day shall you rest and so on every day but the Sabbath, God caused the manna that was gathered early to get worms in it.  I'm sure if some enterprising Israelite could have discovered a way to keep the manna from spoiling, to allow it to be stored for several days, he would have had a very marketable product, especially to those who were simply too lazy or too busy doing other things to get their food every day.
This is exactly what we see if we look more closely at the foods offered in the grocery store and how they got there.  Jesus prayed, "Give us this day our daily bread."  God designed the wheat kernel, as well as other grains to perfectly store the nutrients within.  Once broken open, as in milling, the nutrients immediately begin to oxidize.  Within about 72 hours 90% of over 30 nutrients are virtually gone.
Prior to the 1900s most flour was milled locally and the bread baked at home. Since the flour could not be stored, only enough grain was ground fresh each day to meet the needs of the community.  This meant that just about every family was "gathering" their manna daily.  However, in the 1920s new technology allowed enterprising millers to separate the wheat components.  By removing the germ, germ oil, and the bran the remaining white flour could be stored indefinitely.  This began to eliminate the need for local milling and people began to relinquish their own responsibility of preparing their bread daily.
Lucrative markets were also found for the nutritious "by-products" of this new milling process.  The bran and wheat germ were sold as high protein food supplements for cattle.  Local mills soon went out of business as the large roller mills produced huge volumes of long lasting white flour.
This appeared to be a great advance in technology.  In just a short time, however, cases of beriberi and pellagra began to drastically increase.  Both of these diseases are the result of vitamin B deficiencies and health officials traced the problem to the new white flour.  The new milling process strips the B vitamins as well as about 24 other nutrients from the wheat kernels.
Health officials urged mills to return to producing whole wheat flour again but they did not want to lose their very profitable market of selling the germ and bran as cattle feed.  Instead, millers chose to "enrich" the white flour by replacing 4 vitamins for the 25-30 that are removed.  This solved the problem of beriberi and pellagra; however, we are now plagued with many diseases that are directly related to our consumption of white flour (appendicitis, diverticular disease, hiatal hernia, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and more!).
Our willingness to be free of the responsibility of preparing our bread daily has now put the control of what we feed our families into the hands of huge food companies with one goal in mind - MONEY.  As we shop for our food we get to choose from what someone with only profit in mind is offering.
What can we do now? "... Thus saith the Lord of host: Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but you do not have enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe yourselves, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the Lord of host: Consider your ways."  Haggai 1:5-7  We as women must consider our ways and turn our hearts back towards home.  We must be willing to reclaim the ground that we have relinquished to others.  There are actually many" holes in our bags" where we have lost control.  I wish to focus on one that I think is key.  I call it The Bread of Idleness.......
"She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27
Upon first reading the verse I almost laughed.  Who could be idle with children, home-schooling, laundry, a husband and a home business?  The list could go on and I can honestly say I don't think there is ever an idle moment in our house - or is there?  A further study of this verse was truly enlightening and opened my heart to some new truths.
The words "looketh well" come from a Hebrew word meaning "to lean forward", "to peer into the distance" or "to observe, to wait".  "Ways" means "a walk, or a step" and "household" means "family" with its roots coming from a word meaning "to build".  "To build" called to mind a familiar verse from Proverbs.  "Every wise woman buildeth her house but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands."  Proverbs 14:1
This wise woman that builds her house does so by looking ahead to see what lasting effect today's activities may have on her future and the future of her family.  She ponders each step she must take in her walk with the Lord and in serving her family.  As she peers into the distance she is considering the future and outcome of her children.  She trains them accordingly.  She does not worry about tomorrow but certainly plans her steps as she observes and waits on the Lord's direction.
Considering the foolish woman of Proverbs 14 caused me to wonder what makes one foolish.  I know that God's word says that it is bound in the heart of a child.  Considering the behavior of my own children shed great light on the answer to this question.  Basically children's one desire is for the "pleasure of the moment".
All their decisions, actions or reactions, and thoughts are based on obtaining this "pleasure".  They can not really think about "tomorrow" or future consequences.  They want what they want and they want it now!
The foolish woman, for the pleasure of the moment, is tearing down her house with her own hands.  The wise woman of Proverbs 31 does not eat the bread of idleness but this foolish woman consumes it.  The word "idle" means to "lean idle, having no value, use, or significance".  The root of the word "idle" means "to burn or shine" either in the sense of "only apparent" or "burned out".   "Bread" is "food, especially grain for making it".  Another word for idleness is indolence.  Indolence means "disliking or avoiding work".
We can not afford to be indolent any longer.  We must carefully consider the activities in our lives.  Are they pleasures of the moment that can masquerade as any worthwhile cause?  We must honestly ask ourselves do we merely have the "appearance" of being very busy.  Are we "burned out" because much of what we do (or don't do) is for the pleasure of the moment (either mine or someone else's) and has no real value or significance?  Can we look at our day's accomplishments and say as God did "It is good"?  Are we tempted to work on the seventh day because we are not satisfied with our weeks' work?
Can we see that women have relinquished much of the homeward responsibilities and that the milling of grains and baking of bread was left to others because it freed them (and men) up to do other things.  These "other things", unfortunately have taken us more and more out of the home.  The food products in the stores are there because America wants fast and easy.  "We just don't have time to cook anymore."
I am here to tell you, however, that the food we eat is the "bread" of our own idleness.  For the pleasures of the moment we now have sickness in our land in giant proportions.  God has not sent these judgments on us, rather we have brought them on ourselves by altering His provisions designed to perfectly nourish our bodies.  Many of the foods we now eat for convenience are literally making us sick because they are devoid of the fiber and the nutrients that are essential to our health.  Yet, vital life-giving whole foods are available.
With the purchase of a grain mill and the baking of our own bread we began to discover many of these whole foods and their benefits.  We began to see many positive results - constipation relieved, warts disappeared and a considerable decrease in our cravings for sweets.  This led to our virtually eliminating white sugar from our home.  The use of our grain mill opened the door to unlimited possibilities.  It brought joy and creativity back to food preparation.  Now after 5 years we have seen tremendous health improvements.  We have not been to the doctor for an illness nor have any of us had to take antibiotics in more than 3 1/2 years.  With 7 children (ages 16 yrs -2 month), this is a blessing and testimony of God's perfect provision.  God has the answer to the health care crisis!
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (John 6:35)  As Jesus is the very beginning and source of our spiritual life, we believe that bread -real bread - should be the foundation of sustaining our physical lives.
"Give us this day our daily bread" - If God is willing to provide, are you willing to "gather and prepare"?
For information on ordering  a complete 90 min. audio of this message, click here.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this article should be construed as medical advice.  Consult you health care provider for your individual nutritional and medical needs.  The opinions are strictly those of the author and are not necessarily those of any professional group or other individual.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Babies CAN talk!

When I was a new mommy with Lilyanna, I remember watching an episode of Oprah (a show I do not watch any more, but once upon a time loved) where a guest speaker was on who wrote a book on the language of babies.  I thought it was an interesting idea and the premise of the speaker and her book was neat, but was it factually based?  I had no idea.  The woman who wrote the book (a title I cannot remember for the life of me, but probably something like Baby Whisperer or The Secret Language of Babies) has an audio-graphic memory, which means that she remembers and recalls just about everything that she hears with great ease.  She had her first baby and over the course of her time with her baby she recognized that she was "saying" the same "words" throughout the day and there was a pattern to the "words."  She realized that these repeated "words" were actually telling her the need of the baby and if she responded to these words, her baby was happy.

Up until this realization, she had not really paid attention to the sounds other babies made, but after this revelation in her own family, she began to hear other babies making the same "words".  This was even true when she traveled abroad for a business trip and heard the same words there too!  Now, she knew she was onto something.  Well, I decided that I would absolutely put her theories to the test with my daughter too.  And, I came to hear the exact same words come out of my newborn baby's mouth, as well as every other baby that we have had since.  The blessing that this knowledge has been for our family is significant.  I am thankful that I am able to respond to my babies and have a good idea what it is that they need when they fuss.

The "words" that the babies say are five-fold.  In no particular order, the first is "neh", which means hungry, or want to suck.  The second is "eh", which means "I need to burp" or upper digestive discomfort.  The third is "heh", which means pain or discomfort (I have heard this clearly when I accidentally scratch the baby with my nail when giving a diaper change, and one time when I accidentally clipped Lily's leg with the car seat buckle...ouch).  The fourth is "ooahh" (looks like an O in the mouth and sounds kind of wahh-ish), which means tired.  And, last but not least, the fifth is "arghh" (sounds like a deeper grunting noise), which means "I need to poop" or lower digestive "movement."  I regularly hear all of these sounds, which is so neat every time.

The thing I find fascinating about all of this is the adaptability of babies.  If a baby's word cues are heard and responded to in the initial weeks and months following birth, they will continue to make these sounds well throughout the first year, until another method of communication is provided (hand gestures, sign language, words, etc).  But, if a parent does not respond to these cues and the baby must cry in order to receive a response, they will simply stop "saying" the "words" around the two month mark and go straight into the method of communication that gets their needed response (i.e. they will simply cry more and get there more quickly if that is what they need to do for their parent to respond).  I find this so interesting.

I was able to capture a quick video of Taliya telling me she was hungry, so enjoy and tell me what you hear when you listen to your baby, or any baby, "talking".  =0)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Welcome to the world Taliya!

Just this over a week ago Saturday (January 28, 2012), we welcomed our fifth child into the family: Taliya Ruth.  This little angel is so precious.  We are just eating her up.

Just to recap some historical information with our family, we have decided that home is the best place for us to be for birth unless a medical reason arises, so I have had all but one of my babies at home.  Our first birth was in the hospital and it was less than satisfying (to put it gently) and after doing a lot of research and reading many books and medical studies, we found that home birth with certified midwives is an excellent alternative to the hospital birth experience (for more information on this topic, please check out the resource list for recommended sources).  In addition, all of my children have been "overdue", or past the date of "estimatation" (EDD).  This has ranged from 7-16 days, prior to this 5th birth.  Thankfully, the recurrent nature of post-term babies for me has allowed me to get my mind in gear to expect the babies to come later rather than early.  This has really helped with the end of pregnancy mind games that happen when mommy is just sick of being pregnant and wants to hold final hold the baby at the end of the race.  It is always helpful to focus on the fact that the EDD is just an estimation, not a prediction.

We have been so excited in anticipation for the birth of Taliya.  A funny side story is that, as previously mentioned, I always expect my babies to go "overdue", so in the beginning of this pregnancy, when I initially found out I was pregnant, I decided to "tell people" my due date was a week later than it actually was.  This was to deter the regular "when is the baby coming" questions at the end, which can be very trying when you are "overdue".  Well, in the midst of adding this week for others, I got lost in the dates and confused myself into thinking the actual due date was the "false one".  I did not realize this mistake until my 38 week appointment with my midwives.  She said, "You are officially 38 weeks pregnant!" to which I replied, "I thought I was 37 weeks pregnant...".  She flips open her chart and said, "No, you're due X date and are 38 weeks today.". The only problem with this "new" information was that my husband had scheduled work tests the entire week before my false due date, which meant he now had things scheduled the entire week after I would hit 40 weeks!  I just decided that I would have to wait until at least after Friday to have the baby so he could get his work done.

Of course, on my "due date" a lot of sudden pre-labor/Braxton Hicks started.  They were intense and came a lot throughout the day, but ultimately did not go anywhere, so I just basically ignored them.  This continued on throughout the week, sometimes getting so uncomfortable that I would have to breathe through them.  I was woken up during the middle of the night with them.  Things were happening, but they did not go any farther, so I just ignored them.  We got through the week while Mark finished up his work tasks and the weekend began.

On Saturday morning, at 2:30 am, I was awoken by contractions again.  This time, though, they were not going away.  I just kind of labored at the foot of the bed, debating on if I should lay back down and sleep (since I had just gotten into bed at midnight) or if I needed to get up.  A few minutes later a sudden burst of nausea hit me, so I ran to the bathroom and the lovely side of birth began =0).  My body emptied out all the food things we had taken in over the next couple of hours, which of course was time that also included many contractions in between bathroom runs and sleeping on the couch for a few minutes here and there.  It was pretty.  Thankfully, though, once my stomach was emptied, the nausea went away for the rest of labor.

Around 4:30 am, I was thinking about whether or not I needed to wake up Mark.  I knew he was tired and I didn't know how long we would have for the labor, but I was expecting our normal 11-14 hours.  But, then I remembered that we needed to fill the birth tub with water and I didn't know how long that would take, so I decided it would be best to wake him up just to be safe.  I went into the bedroom, tapped his foot a few times and said, "Babe, I'm in labor...".  He responded with "Great"!  He then proceeded to text the midwife that I was in labor and throwing up and she immediately called him back and said they were on their way.  Little did I know that she was actually concerned about not making it in time because she lives 45 minutes away.  Thankfully she had been awake when Mark texted her so she was ready to move right away (P.S. it is not recommended to text the midwife in situations like this, lol, but had she not called Mark back right away I was going to have him call).  He immediately got to work filling the tub and I got back into my position on the couch, sitting and laboring in a cross-legged position.

Man, it felt intense!  But, because I am accustomed to long labors, I just kept thinking that I was still early in my progress.  The first midwife (assistant) arrived around 4:50 am and she just quietly sat in the room with me and observed my labor.  I would simply go limp in my upper torso when the contractions would hit, I would lower my head and slowly sway back and forth in my upper body while making low/deep moaning noises.  This was my main labor position, lol.

Soon after, the other student midwife and the main midwife arrived and the tub was filled.  I later learned some back story to the tub situation.  It had been filled with very hot water, since my husband was anticipating a long labor.  The midwife informed him that they needed to add some cold water to cool the water down, which they proceeded to do quickly.  Of course, I did not know any of this was going on in the room next to me.  I was just focused on my laboring, which was getting more and more difficult to manage.  "Dear God, tell me that I am not 2-3 cm, because I do not know how I am going to get through 8 more hours of this" was what was going through my mind.  My hips were killing me.  My back was hurting.  I stood up and was leaning over the couch to try to get some relief and one of the midwives helped offer some counter pressure on my hips, which really helped to alleviate some of the intensity.  This was all happening around 6:50 am.

The kids were downstairs putting together some "crafts" to welcome Taliya into the family. 

At 7am, I was told I could get into the water, which I was hesitant to do because I knew I was making nice progress and I didn't want the water to halt any progress, even though I love the relief the water offers.  But, I got into the water eagerly anyway.  It felt so great!  Even when the next contraction came it felt less intense and more peaceful, which was a welcome relief!  Water rocks!  A minute or so later the midwife said, "Whenever you begin to feel pressure in your rear, just let me know".  It was a humorous statement to me because I had been feeling some pressure already, but I "knew" it was not yet the baby because in my head I was "only 3-4" or so I kept telling myself.  They asked me to move to another side of the tub so that they could see better, which I knew meant they thought I would be pushing soon, but I didn't really want to believe her because if she was wrong I didn't want to have my hopes up, even though this was countering what I knew was going on in my body...this was my battle of experience, lol.  Past experiences were clouding my better judgment and thinking processes.

First contractions in the water...less intense than before but still intense!

Right after the midwives had me switch to the other side of the pool so they could get a better view, pushing began!

Head's out and I turned over (upon instinct)

Baby's out, but still in the water (cord was loosely around her foot) 

Right into mommy's arms...just how I like it =0) 

And, Mommy's face of disbelief...my exact words were, "SHUT UP!"

Anyway, about a minute later, I felt the beginning of pushing, which was met without any objections so I just went with it.  About a minute after that she was crowning and 30 seconds later she was in my arms.  The entire birth was seamless, smoothe, and totally caught my husband and me by surprise with how quickly it went!  My 5 day "overdue" baby was covered in vernix (a sign of being a younger baby) and was beautiful.  When we eventually weighed her she was 7 lbs 2 oz and 20 1/4 inches long.  She nursed fine (although we had a little latch issue for a bit, but eventually worked through it) and slept wonderfully.  She has been such an amazing blessing.  Taliya, "dew of Heaven", Ruth, "companion and friend", has become the newest little love addiction for the Filter household, and she is definitely abundantly blessed by the many hands that hold and love her! =0)

First picture with all 5 children!  Welcome to the family, Taliya!  We love you!

(I finally was able to put together the video of the event.  We love to video tape the births of the kids, because the girls especially have really enjoyed seeing their own birth.  We are asked regularly if they can watch them.  =0)  I hope it blesses, encourages, and awes you as much as it does me.)