Monday, August 25, 2014

Things I recommend in Tyler

We left Tyler about 6 weeks ago, and while we love our new city, there are definitely things we miss! These are things I recommend to others living or moving there:

  • Brookshire's Park & Wildlife Museum. We spent lots of time here. The playgrounds (yes plural) are amazing, and my kids loved the animals as well! Best of all, it's free! Another great one is the Whitehouse Park- tons of shade & fenced in!
  • Caldwell Zoo. This place is amazing. We got a membership and went alll the time! We miss not having a zoo so close!
  • Colonial Hills Baptist Church Mother's Day Out. We loved this place mostly because of the teachers and the focus on Christ. The other things we liked were the price (one of the cheapest in town) and how laid back they are with certain things- potty training, pacis, peanuts, among others. :) They just were not freaked out about little things, which I appreciated. 
  • The worship leader at Grace Community Church. We loved other things about this church, of course, but because of John's schedule, we weren't able to be too involved. I just wanted to mention him, because he is so genuine and is one of the rare people with music AND teaching talent. (Usually it's one or the other, and I'm always thinking, "juuust play the music," when worship leaders start talking a lot; but not with him. He's great!)
  • Trimble Farms. This is where I got our raw milk, among other things. They have ground beef (grass fed), steaks, sausage, whole organic chicken, raw local honey, free range eggs, goat soap, homemade jelly & salsa. Bobby Trimble is a really nice Christian guy, and I miss their milk SO much! :( 
  • Drug Emporium & The Granary. If you are like me and are frustrated with the lack of healthy foods at decent prices in Tyler, check these stores out.
  • Dr Marc Langas. I didn't find out about him until a few months before we left, or I would have gone to him myself, but we did send our 2 YO there when he was having tummy issues and trouble sleeping. He's a chiropractor who also does nutrition counseling and muscle testing. Christian, super nice, super down to earth!
  • Restaurants: Stanley's (best BBQ), Wok Box (best Chinese, although nowhere near authentic!), Villa Montez, Lago del Pino, and pretty much any Mexican food!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Discretionary Giving

I just wanted to share something that has been such a blessing to our family. While setting up our giving budget, we chose 3 organizations we felt led to give to continuously, one of those being our local church. And then we set aside one quarter of our giving budget for "discretionary giving." You've heard of discretionary spending, which means a section of your budget that's free to be spent on whatever you like. Well that's what we did with giving. It's so much fun! Each month, we have a set amount that we can give to whatever cause or need comes up. November is usually spent on Operation Christmas Child and December on adopting a needy family for Christmas. We can sponsor a child for camp during the summer or give to victims of natural disasters as they happen. Some more ideas and things we have done:
  • Given to a needy woman and her kids in the parking lot, wanting to buy dinner for them.
  • Given to a friend who was a contractor and had his trailer with all his tools stolen, along with his livelihood.
  • Given to adoption funds.
  • Made blessing bags to hand out to homeless people.
  • Did couponing to donate the items to a food bank.
  • Given to various other charities, including human trafficking prevention and pregnancy centers.
  • Given to family members' and friends' mission trips.
  • Called the electric company to pay one family's bill that was about to be shut off. (my dad gave me this idea, but we still have not done it!)
Some of you may be saying, "Well, I do this anyway. I don't need to set it aside in my budget, I just give as I see need." That's great. Maybe our personalities are just different. I purpose to set this money aside for God and to help others, and then I don't have to wonder if I'm giving too much or too little. We can increase the amount as our income increases.It gives me freedom, because it's organized, purposed, planned. :) (see my personality?) I just wanted to share in case it helped someone.

Kindergarten Plans!
click on picture

Friday, May 2, 2014

Open Letter to Doctors

(Disclaimer: My husband is a WONDERFUL doctor, and none of this would ever apply to him, of course. :)  )

Dear Doctor, 

I am paying YOU. While it may seem like the insurance company or the government is actually paying you, you wouldn't have any of that money if it weren't for ME. You work for ME.

You don't know everything; no one does. The sooner you're able to admit that, the better. The best docs I've ever been to are the ones who would look at research I brought in, who would do further research if needed if they didn't have answers on my condition, and who would give me studies to look at on specific topics. Don't treat your patients like idiots. Yes, many of them are idiots, but just because you disagree does not necessarily make the patient an idiot. The human body is so complicated, no person could ever hope to know everything about it. Furthermore, the studies coming out in medicine are so numerous, you would never have time to read them all.

It's MY body, not yours. I trust your advice, education, and experience for the most part, or I wouldn't be coming to you. But because you don't know everything (see above), don't discount my ideas or desires just because they are foreign to you. I know many docs may feel responsible for poor choices their patients make, but you're not. Advise and let your patients make the decision for themselves. Your job is not to force certain actions on the public but to give your expert advice when we ask. Along those same lines, I am responsible to raise up my children the way I think best, not you. Parent your own children. If there's no abuse involved, mind your own business.

Don't feel so threatened. Many doctors are threatened by questions, threatened by different views, threatened by natural doctors or natural methods, threatened by me asking for an additional test. I don't get this. How does it harm you? It's time for natural docs and mainstream docs to start working TOGETHER. This warfare does nothing but turn patients loyal toward one and antagonistic toward the other, which can only be a detriment to all involved (and the antagonism exists on BOTH sides). We, as patients, need both, and we need you to start being open-minded and working together.

If you can't find a reason or diagnosis for my complaint, explain that. Send me to a specialist or just admit you don't know or can't help. DON'T make me feel crazy, say it's all in my head, or suggest anti-depressants (unless there is a clear need, like, hmmm, admitted depression?) Be humble enough to admit that nobody knows everything. Admit that, and either research it more or move on. Don't be disrespectful.

Don't let other docs bully you, and DON'T gang up with other docs to bully your patients about a certain issue (pediatricians, anyone??) That's not your job. Have the self confidence to be yourself and act on your own convictions. 

-Your Patients

Thursday, May 1, 2014

PreK Wrap-up
Click the above pic.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

30 Days of Chilling Out

We've all seen the articles that litter Facebook and Pinterest, 30 days to a better this, 30 days to lower that. Sometimes we need to take a step back and rest! Rest is talked about (I don't know the #, but a lot!) of times in the Bible. It is even linked to our very salvation (see Hebrews 4, Proverbs 10:22, & Romans 4:5).

I have struggled with adrenal fatigue since high school and have come a long way in learning how to treat it, but it has hit again recently, probably just from raising 2 toddler boys. The biggest symptom for me lately is over-reacting to stress. Things that most people can take in stride just really put me over the top as far as stress goes. That rational part of my brain (which, thank God, still works) is saying, "Really? That is going to bother you right now?" but whatever other part of my brain that has spawned just takes over. This is a big clue that adrenals are an issue. It seems that it would be the opposite, and that your body would just be too tired to care about anything, but I have not the time or energy to give a scientific explanation for it right now, OK? :) 

So when I discovered this guy and his method of re-booting metabolism (and all hormones along with it), I decided to give it a try. Each of us has different stressors that set us off, so I evaluated what mine were and made some "rules" for myself, although they don't really seem like rules.

  • Eat a big breakfast very soon after getting up- this starts the metabolism and turns off your stress hormones that carry you through the night.
  • Eat whenever I'm hungry. (I had actually stopped getting normal hunger cues and would go straight to low blood sugar symptoms right out of nowhere, so I had to start planning my meals ahead of time so I'd be ready before the crash (the crash stresses the adrenals!)
  • ...without worrying too much about WHAT I'm eating. Eat what I want. (This was interesting, because when I pay attention to what I really want, I realize a lot of it is healthy. I don't feel deprived, because I can have the frozen pizza if I really want it, but do I? Or do I want a big chicken salad with veggies, nuts, cheese, and avocado? When you don't feel deprived, you're free to make better choices.)
    (for more on what to eat, see the link above)
  • Wean off of coffee. (OK, I take that back! This one DID seem like a rule, a very difficult one! I only have one cup a day, but it makes me feel bad. I get shaky and jittery and just feel ug. I was still chasing that high I used to get from it when I was more healthy. That reaction is another sign of adrenal fatigue, by the way.)
  •  When my 2 YO is whining (big stressor for me!), STOP what I'm doing and listen and play with him or do whatever he needs. 
  • No internet after dinner. (I need this time to wind down, and the internet winds me UP.)
  • No debating. (only for 30 days, not forever, bwahahaha!)
  • No talk radio. (Again, a personal stressor for me. For people who don't ever listen to it, I would SUGGEST it, ;) )
  •  Nothing suspenseful on TV.
  • Take some time each day to meditate and kind of turn my mind off, maybe a power-nap.
  • Rest one day per week. (Turns out, the best day for me right now is Sunday, duh! :) But I usually rest a little on Sat, and little on Sun, and a little the day the boys go to their church program. My goal is to work harder on Saturdays so I can have one day to chill!)
  • Get lots of sleep at night. 
I'm doing this for the month of April.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Christians, Stop Deominzing Nuetral Words, Pt 1- Psychology

I've noticed a trend among church-goers. We seem to misunderstand or forget the original meanings of words when liberals or secularists hijack them and change the meaning.

Psychology is one of those. I cringe when I hear people say, "I don't believe in psychology. I believe in turning to God." Really? You don't believe in: 


noun \-jē\
: the science or study of the mind and behavior
: the way a person or group thinks

? God created psychology. Just like everything in life, it's His; it doesn't belong to anyone who may have hijacked that term. God created our minds and sets up the various things that may influence our behavior. Furthermore, I believe He wants us to study these things and figure out why they work the way they do. If by saying that, you mean you don't agree with modern pop psychology that wants to blame the past (the mother, haha) for everything and treat everything with behavior modification and/or drugs, then I would have to agree with you, but let's use the right terminology. 

This doesn't mean that everything written in a modern psychology textbook is wrong or that seeing a psychologist is never going to be helpful, even if they use some modern techniques. The human brain and behavior are SO complex. I'm a firm believer that our physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual lives are interlinked. 

I, for example, struggle with anxiety. My father and his mother both had it, so perhaps it's inherited. Then again, it got worse after 2 different traumatic accidents I had in which I was injured, so maybe it's caused by circumstances in life. It got WAY worse on occasions when I was pregnant or post-partum, so then maybe it's just all hormones & body chemistry? Prayer, worship, and staying close to Christ helps to calm me down, and I firmly believe demonic attack is associated with many mental disorders, so that's something to think about as well. The lie is that every mental disorder or symptom is caused by only ONE of these things. The truth is that each is very multi-faceted. 

There is a popular Christian counseling method called "Biblical Counseling." I was coached on this method by a friend who is trained in it, and I think it's a great tool. The basic premise is that we sin, and in our guilt we run from God instead of turning TO him for forgiveness. This unresolved guilt causes a range of psychological symptoms. The idea is that when we return to fellowship with God through confession, our issues will be resolved. I like its simplicity, and think it gives some great tools. But what they are studying and treating is psychology. The weakness would be if the counselor ignores the health, circumstantial, and even demonic contributions to the symptoms.

If you think you're dealing with demonic attack, this is a great resource.
If you're interested in learning more about conflict, why it happens, and how to handle it, this is an excellent book.
Here is another great one on communication styles and why we misunderstand each other. 
These are both well worth the read.
Don't be afraid to study psychology; just be careful your source follows God's ideas for us, not just man's.