Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm Better Than You (No, really, I'm SO not)

I have pretty strong opinions on many issues...and a lot of the positions that I take are not really mainstream.

I believe in natural birth and think the best place to be born, is probably home and with a midwife.

I chose a method called Attachment Parenting to raise my children -- family bed, child-led weaning, and I carried my infants around on my body in a sling, rather than using a stroller -- most of the time.

I also believe that raw milk and meat is better coming from grass-fed cows that get a lot of time out in the sunshine and fresh air. There is a significant difference in the nutrients of the products between grass-fed and grain fed cattle. Pasteurization destroys and alters nutrients, and changes the ratios so that the nutrients left may not be as useful to your body. And Vitamin A and D are replenished, but in forms your body can barely use, and are even suspected carcinogens. Not only that, when the fat is removed, these fat soluble vitamins are even less useful. You need fat to absorb vitamins. I could do a whole post on this.

Obviously, I feel strongly on these issues. I have done a LOT of research on these issues and have personal experience with them. As far as breastfeeding, I even underwent what amounts to two years of training to be a La Leche League Leader and certified lactation consultant. If I didn't feel strongly that "Breast is best" doesn't mean "its just a little bit better," I wouldn't have done that. I also wouldn't have nursed two children for a grand total of seven years combined.

Does this mean that I believe that you are inferior if you chose differently, if for some reason you couldn't, or if you didn't really think about the issues? No. Because in my life, it has taken me 40 years to get to this point, and I wasn't even there on some of the nutritional issues a year ago. And I know I'm not done yet.

Let me give you some examples:

Despite my birth beliefs, I have two children out of two who were born via c-section. The first because I didn't know any better, the 2nd, because after 32 hours of labor, they weren't going to let me go any farther. Things weren't happening according to their textbook at the hospital, where I could only deliver at, because there wasn't a midwife in L.A. at that point who could get a doctor to back her up if she did a home VBAC, despite the fact that the safety statistics are there.

Breastfeeding -- I didn't want to breastfeed. I only tried because I promised my husband I would give it six weeks, and he held me to that. And since my son was very allergic to cows milk and soy, it was a blessing that he did. But he was nipple-confused from the first time he received a bottle in the hospital, and it took almost 4 weeks to get him to nurse. I think the c-section made me determined. But he had four weeks on soy formula, throwing up all over the place and dealing with chronic constipation. The difference I saw in my son when he finally was a breastfed baby as opposed to a formula fed baby showed me that there really is a difference.

Nutrition -- we have eaten fast food at least three times this week, and despite my knowing that I was reacting poorly to wheat for years, I only managed to get off of it when it turned into full-blown celiac disease.

But that doesn't mean that I don't strongly believe that there is an ideal as to how something should be. And I know I generally don't reach it. I know most people don't. But that isn't going to stop me from posting articles or statements about what the ideal is. And I am not necessarily saying you should meet this ideal. I am putting information out there, in case you are interested in this topic, because I certainly am....and it is my blog (my facebook status, my mouth) :D

I get frustrated when people take it as "I didn't do this, so you are attacking me." No, generally the information that I put out there is citing something that is fact. If you didn't have a natural birth or breastfeed your child, I still know that you love your child, and if you missed out on those things (and I did) you still have MANY ways that you love your child. If you don't want to become a food hippie like me, I at least hope there is something you do that is good for yourself...that YOU are more interested in.

But in the end, through my research and experience, I believe strongly in these things. I wouldn't be sharing this information if I didn't believe strongly in these things. So my sharing them with you is not an attack, it is a gesture of love -- this matters to me. I hope it helps you. But it should be treated like any gift I would give you. If it doesn't help you, get rid of it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Socialization and Homeschooling

HT: The Elephant's Child, and of course, Indiana Jane herself.

One of the best statements I've seen on the "S" Word, by my friend Jane, and her kids are proof it works. I remembered it from a long time ago, but it deserves recirculation.

The Company You Keep

Is Facebook Down for You, Too?

Just wondering. All of a sudden everything disappeared a few minutes ago, and my cell phone is getting a couple of updates, but not a whole lot. When I try to go to my page....nothing.

I've spent the day kind of defending Facebook's right to make changes. I can't say that I LIKE the changes, especially once I realized that I was getting updates on Friends commenting on their Friends' comments. Who needs that?

So I started editing what would be in my feed, person by person as they popped up. Then all it would say is (for instance) "Indiana Jane shared a link" That's even WORSE.

Many people commented on how Facebook is a free service. That's not exactly true (and I'd just got done saying this when it shut maybe I'm just paranoid). Facebook isn't free. It makes a HUGE amount of money. And the product that they offer is US. They sell the information we give them, our links to our friends, our regional connections, and yes, now even the data off our cell phones. And they also advertise TO us (unless you have Adblock, which I love). We are their commodity, and they need to keep us happy in order to keep us on Facebook and not somewhere else, like, say our personal blogs.

The image that comes to mind, and maybe its fairly apt, is the human farms in Matrix. Remember when the evil cyber-agent dude said when they made it too perfect, people couldn't handle it and died? Maybe they do like to shake it up because in the end, we do need change and trouble every once in a while. And believe me, Facebook knows that with each change, people get upset for a few days and adjust. If they don't change every once in a while, something else will come along and steal us away, or we'll grow bored. If they do change a bit, they'll get some complaints, but we will settle down. But if it is too much -- then it will stay upsetting to people, and they'll go over to Google Plus, spend more time on Twitter, blog, or actually go hang out with their family, which is what I am going to do now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Dinner last night was brought to you by our garden! Woohoo. Well, some of it.

Until the garden has finished up, I am not resigning myself to giving up nightshades yet. I planted a whole bunch of heirloom tomatoes and they are just too FUN to ignore.

Serrano and jalapeno peppers, along with some of the tomatoes went into a really kickin' salsa. The peppers were picked a while ago so were partially dried, which means spicy. I love my salsa to bite back, but it took way fewer peppers to make that happen this time.

The salsa was there to provide ornament to -- Paleo Pork Tacos.

I took some of the pork that I had cooked and froze, and cooked it back up with onions, garlic, and apple cider vinegar. Then instead of taco shells, we used romaine lettuce leaves as taco shells...just put the toppings of tomatoes, raw cheddar, and salsa on the spine and folded it length-wise. It was more popular, even among the Paleo-resistant, than the organic corn taco shells.

Oh, and we finally harvested a watermelon. It was amazing.

I only wish the avocados were ripe.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pumpkiny Goodness

I was greatly afraid that powdery mildew and squash bugs were going to get my pumpkins before they got ripe. Fortunately, I chose a type of sugar pumpkin this year that ripened a lot earlier than previous types. The plants are withered and dead, but the pumpkins just made it.

The pumpkin harvest is here, and they look beautiful. I have started processing them two by two. I learned a valuable tip last year in processing pumpkins -- well, two really. First of all, its a lot easier to wait until AFTER they are roasted to get out all the stringy stuff and the seeds (unless you are purposely wanting to roast those separately). This year hasn't been as much of an issue, because the sugar pumpkins this year actually are REALLY easy to seed. Secondly, the crock pot is a magnificent way to roast pumpkins. I just break them up into quarters and put two of them in my six quart crock pot and set it for twelve hours. When its done, I can pull them out, let them cool a little bit, take off the stringy layer with a swipe of my spoon, and then measure out the remaining pulp into 1 cup increments, baggie by baggie.

Voila...then they are ready to be pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, and maybe even some pumpkin juice, Harry Potter style :D

Just a Thought on Men and Women

For my class assignment, one of the discussion questions was related to the difference in pay that men and women still receive for doing the same job. I can't remember exactly how it was phrased.

When I am out in the workplace, I am generally in fields that there really aren't many men. My work is generally either in field interviewing, which requires me to go to people's houses and administer the questionaires for social science research; or in social work. My most recent position was as a QMRP (Qualified Mental Retardation Professional) and co-manager of a group home for the developmentally disabled. Out of 30 of us in group home management, there were 4 guys. These guys manage the homes with the most challenging clients.

Both fields that I spend my time in have repercussions for men. They can be accused of things. They often are not wanted. In field interviewing, many people will let a woman into their home who would be very hesitant to let in a man. In group homes, many guardians express discomfort with men caring for the personal needs of female clients. Many men don't want to be put in that position because they don't want to get accused of something, either.

When I look at the way I parent my kids as opposed to the way my husband does, I am WITH my kids, whereas my husband DOES things with them, far more often. He's the one that takes them hiking, plays video games with them, teaches them physical skills, coaches their teams...I'm not saying that women can't do things like that, but this dynamic is more common. It's also not true that my husband can't nurture my kids or just be with them, but I fill that role more readily.

In the same way, men in direct care are an asset because they are usually itching to get out and do things with the clients. When we have a house full of female staff, they focus on "I have to get the food made, the meds done, chores done, the showers done, and get everyone ready for bed." Come to think of it, that's pretty much how I think of my days at home with my kids, too - its often a list of one thing after another. The guys...they speed through those things, because they want to go out and DO something with the clients, and that is an incredible asset that is being missed out on because there are fewer guys in this field, and while most would consider it sexist -- I can completely understand paying them more in order to keep them on staff. Same with the men who are field interviewing because they can take the few men who don't feel comfortable being asked personal questions by women, and they have to put up with a lot of refusals.

But also, these careers used to be male-dominated. You almost never heard of women taking care of the mentally disabled. Door to door anything used to be entirely male. Now, take a look at the numbers of women getting college educations as opposed to men. In another fifteen years, the issue of pay equality will be a non-issue because there are going to be so few male professionals at all.

I had a pastor tell me one time that the reason why he had male acolytes and male ushers is because it the females started doing it, it would be all females doing it, because the guys wouldn't do it anymore. I do see that in many places in the church. Male Sunday School teachers are few and far between anymore, male school teachers are more rare as well. There are fewer male elders serving where female elders are allowed to serve, where women are allowed to be readers, etc. (and there are theological problems with women filling these roles as well). Once you have a church where men do not have specified place, you often have a female dominated church in almost all areas of service.

I have no clue where I am going with this...its just a few thoughts that I've been entertaining, so do with them what you will.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sharing an Insight into Pastors

I thought this was a very good insight into caring for pastors. I know many (most?) pastors very well who have no clue what their congregations think of them. While they may still serve according to their conscience and with all their heart, it doesn't make it easy.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


I just realized that when I changed my wallpaper, it left some of my posts unreadable. I will try to correct that next week, especially the ones in the sidebar.

Pastoral Care

A very good article by Pastor Torkelson at Prairie Pastor.

I think I'll be reading more of him.Link

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Eighth Commandment and Theological Discussion

In my 19 years since I returned to Lutheranism, and this time to Confessional Lutheranism, I have pretty much been constantly surrounded by pastors, theology students, and other very devoted laymen. I've been in live discussion groups (as in, actually WITH real people), on email lists, in the blogosphere, and on Facebook. And one question has plagued me the whole dang time:

How come the Eighth Commandment doesn't apply to theological discussion?

I'll break this down into other questions to clarify --

Why is it okay to basically assume that a person is not "solid" until they have proven otherwise?

Since when is it considered perfectly acceptable by some to openly mock someone, just because we don't agree with their doctrine or practice?

Who actually believes that someone will be open to change in their doctrine or practice when they are being ridiculed for what they are doing now? Why should they take guidance from you when you are treating with disdain something that matters very much to them (right nor not)?

If someone shares a quote or an idea over lunch or by email because they think it is interesting or sweet, is it good manners to pick apart the phrasing to show how theologically inadequate the statement is? In the end, even without the best confessionally-correct choice of words, you probably knew what was intended, and so does everyone else; so why cause frustration?

When did orthodoxy stop becoming a journey that we sinners are all traveling toward? When did it become a competition?

When you point out your brother-in-Christ's flaws, Are you really trying to correct him out of love for him? Is it his well-being that you are seeking, or are you seeking to make a good theological point? Are you really the best person to address the issue, or do you think there is a better way to bring about repentance and reform? Are you willing to respectfully walk him through the issue that has drawn your attention, or do you just want to point out the fault and move on?

Don't get me wrong, I know there are certain issues that should be corrected, but there are plenty of statements made by your average Joe that can go either way; and while they may not be phrased quite right, they still don't do any harm. In these situations, it is just more civil to assume that it is meant in the best possible way. After all, most of us don't expect to face the Spanish Inquisition over an "interesting" link on Facebook (NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition).

We also need to be careful because in these discussions, we might completely miss what our brother is saying when our own "issues" get triggered. Sometimes the person is just sharing their love for Jesus and actually didn't intend to bring up the issue of sovereignty or Arminianism at all (as examples).

We are called by Christ to love each other. Jesus bore with a whole lot from His disciples, and only corrected things that were terribly crucial. Really, He ignored a lot of the nonsense, and when He did find need to correct, He generally did so with gentleness. The "Get Behind Me Satan" response is not appropriate just because someone shares an inspirational quote that gets in your craw. Jesus reserved this treatment for Peter's denying the need for the cross.

This is not talking about true theological error. However, before we open our mouths, we should ask ourselves whether or not we are truly being loving, especially in a public forum. We should ask ourselves if this is worth hurting someone's feelings or causing a lot of exasperation. Important theological issues are definitely worth it, because the person's well-being is at stake. But again, it might be better to address the topic privately or even go to the person's pastor for assistance if it is really concerning. If you find yourself getting actual pleasure from it, you probably should walk away, hang up the phone, or turn off your computer.

In the end, when we are discussing the very topic that is most dear to our humanity -- our relationship with our Creator (through Christ), it is important to remember that Christ died for the person that we are arguing with, and it is a pretty safe assumption that in our quest for theological purity, our Lord doesn't want us to forget that.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Bulk Cooking

Every once in a while, I come across programs for bulk cooking -- buying a month's worth of food, and cooking it all in one day and freezing it. Often, this is so much work that the recommendation is to do it with someone else, get the kids out of the house, kick the husband to the curb, and make sure to take that double dose of Zoloft or Tequila (not both, no matter how tempting it might be), and don't forget to hire a maid to handle the aftermath.

I've never really given these programs much more than a passing glance. Often the recipes are full of more processed foods than I am comfortable with, especially with my dietary restrictions. Not to mention, I don't really want to cook with someone else. I'm pretty elitist when I cook -- and also kind of grumpy. And for some reason, I just don't get around to eating dishes that I've cooked and frozen. And affording a months worth of food.....

Monday, I surprised my hubby by bringing into the house an "Every Day with Rachael Ray" magazine. He knows Rachael Ray hasn't been one of my favorite chefs for a long time (just think she's over-marketed, and her dishes on her t.v. show are never enough for a family of four, especially when one of those family members is a teenage boy). I don't mock her or least not like I do the skinny Italian chef (How can I believe her food is good when she clearly doesn't eat it?), or like the plastic Sandra HER I mock with her kitchen decorations that change EVERY episode.

But I digress.

The reason why I brought the magazine home is because it had a different take than I've seen on making meals for a month. Rather than making many different entrees, instead, it calls for preparing the ingredients -- Five different base ingredients that can be combined to make twenty different dishes. In the article, the building blocks were :

  • Pulled Pork -- 2 shoulder roasts that are seasoned, roasted, shredded, and frozen in 1 cup portions
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Roasted Veggies -- yep, roast Bell Peppers, onions, squash, garlic, etc. and then put in freezer bags to add to recipes later.
  • Pulled Chicken -- same idea as the Pulled Pork.
  • Rice Pilaf -- a large recipe of rice that also gets frozen and added to other recipes.
While I looked at a lot of the recipes offered (and the fact that I'm SUPPOSED to avoid tomatoes, peppers, and rice -- at least I'm working on that), most of them wouldn't fit my lifestyle, but I then looked at a lot of the recipes that I do make on a regular basis, and realized that I could really do something similar.

Roasting all of this stuff is not a bad way to go, because most of it can be cooked in the same oven, so actually, it saves some energy, too. I so love roasted vegetables, too!

These are my categories:

  • 4 Pulled Chickens -- because I use chicken in a LOT of soups and stews, not to mention it would be nice to have it around for salads and such , too. Once the bones are cleaned of meat, they'll be thrown into a stock pot to make chicken stock .
  • 1 Boston Butt Roast -- Not sure how much I'll need of this.
  • Roast Vegetables -- onions, garlic, beets, and squash. Oh, and cauliflower. LOTS of cauliflower (we use a lot, and Meijer has a good sale going on)
  • Hamburger mix for meatloaf and meatballs.
My pumpkins are ripe in my garden, I'll be doing a lot of roasting the meat of those and putting them in 1 cup freezer bag portions, too.

I'm embarking on this today, but not whole hog, so to speak. Probably enough to get me through a week and a half to two weeks, I hope.

I still have a week of work left, so I hope this helps (and I will probably divide it up into two evenings because of this, too). I want to ease into it , because if this IS a good idea, I don't want to kill myself over it so I don't do it at all.