Saturday, February 21, 2009

Challenge: Accepted

So... April G. posted a challenge on her blog for those who were willing to do it. You are to list the things that you love/like.
The rules:
1. Don't list the obvious: church, salvation, family, etc.
2. No particular order. No limit to number.
3. Don't list thinking of other's reactions. Be honest.

Things that give me great joy and/or LOVE:

1. Blackberry season, and all the pies that I make: I love blackberry pie.
2. A quiet evening in my tub with a hot cup of tea, cold ice water, and a good book.
3. Being cuddled up on the couch, with a fire roaring and snuggled up with Phillip.
4. Seeing our bank account plump with bills already paid. (Okay - so more like a fantasy than reality)
5. Realizing that I am on the verge of leading someone to Christ: both terrifies and excites me to the core.
6. Fresh sheets that are cool to my skin.
7. The smell of lavender.
8. Friends, with a game being played and hot cup of coffee in hand.
9. Laughing until I cry.
10. Seeing Phillip at the arrival gate.
11. The beach: pushing my feet into the sand and smelling that wonderful sea air. MMMMMM. My favorite place to be. I can just feel my worries and cares falling off my shoulders.
12. Beautifully edited images of my family.
13. Freshly vacuumed carpet.
14. Seeing Phillip stand behind the pulpit. Knowing that he speaks with passion and getting ready to experience that.
15. My children, sleeping, playing, laughing.
16. A prenatal visit with only 3lbs. gained.
17. The smell of salmon baking in the oven.
18. Weight loss after pregnancy.
19. Soft kisses from Phillip.
20. Cooking with good friends in my kitchen.
21. A breve from a coffee shop.
22. When I can sense Phillip and I working well as a team.
23. Sugar free chocolate dessert from Olive Garden.
24. When someone scratches my scalp.
25. All my laundry being folded and put away.
26. Christmas and all the anticipation it brings. LOVE IT ALL!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Life ... More Abundant

I just wanted to reflect over a thought that my husband illuminated during a message he preached on Sunday. This message truly touched my heart. While it was passionately preached, it wasn't just the message in of itself that spoke to me, but the work with which has been wrought in our family working up to the message. Our family has had the opportunity to reflect on life... our life, and how truly sweet our Lord has been to us. While Phillip may travel much, Christ has allowed both him and I to truly see how trusting in Him (Christ) has blessed us in such simple yet profound ways. We realize more now than ever, that our life is not just a life "gotten through" but a life that is ABUNDANT! This is what scripture promises to the Christian. That a believer might not just muddle through living by the seat of your pants, hoping to just get through this situation or that, but that we can fully have peace, experience blessing, and a sense of hope. Not happiness - something deeper, truer. An overwhelming PEACE, JOY, and experience of BLESSINGS. Among some other things during the message, Phillip touched on relationships and how we perceive them to be - how are we expressing to those around us this life of abundance? Mmmm . . . not to over simplify, but allow me to say - my God is good.
Phillip's message spoke to my heart and illuminated the workings with which Christ had already been orchestrating. All around us is a world of chaos and unsurety, yet I rest safely within God's will and care, experiencing peace and joy while smiling at the beautiful blessings in my life. As we stand true to Christ's calling for us as believers - He provides for us a life that overflows with abundancy. Simple things that once reflected upon, bring true joy. The giggles of my children, a home with which to raise them in, a sweet note from my husband, etc. I hope you can reflect on the joys within your life and be able to stand firmly in Christ's promises as well. In so doing, realizing all the while that it isn't what the world offers but what Christ has already provided that allows for a full and abundant life.

A Pregnancy Milestone...

It's Official . . . I am SEVEN months along in my pregnancy!
I don't know why, but this has always been such a milestone in my mind with regards to my pregnancies. Mother's Day is my due date. That seems like just a hop, skip and a jump away. I feel good, the stricter diet is helping. Justus is quite active, and everyone else is in good health. I appreciate the many people of whom pray for my family and I.
I am so thankful to my Lord for a healthy pregnancy thus far.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Yummy Treat from the Newcombs

A little while ago the Newcombs brought over a hot cocoa sampler box with chocolate covered peppermint sticks. Yummm.... They must know that candy canes and hot cocoa are special treats in the Browning home.
Anyhow, we thank you Newcombs! The kids enjoyed the hot cocoa and peppermint sticks. Now I know why my kids love you guys so much!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Many Faces of Ellie

Well, here she is - smudge on her face, hair a rat's nest, and still . . . looking cute as ever. This is my dear sweet Ellie being a goofball. I was trying to play with my camera in the light of that morning and asked her to hold still. This is what I got. She is a hoot. I love how she just gets so much joy out of making others laugh. She literally will giggle at just about anything. She truly has a spirit of joyfulness.
I have been reading a book on photography (thank you Kelly) that is about exposure. I love it. However one thing I don't understand is when it says to adjust exp. until your display shows a correct one. What? I don't know what that means. Does that mean that my exp. meter would be in the middle rather than way up high or down low? That's the only thing I can think of. Otherwise, how would I know what the numbers would render other than the light/dark display? Hmmmm.... Anyhow, that is what I am currently working on. Trying to achieve good creative exposure in the manual mode. It has been fun. Thanks Kelly for your patience in answering any questions.
Enjoy the many faces of Ellie. She did.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Quiet Evening Home

Here was a quiet evening at our home just recently. I made a fire (one of those duraflame logs) and we read books and enjoyed the warmth. I love evenings like these. It always helps me have a restful night's sleep.

Disclaimer: I know these images are blurry, and ill gotten. Hey, I am still learning. Sometimes it isn't the clarity of the image - but the memory it evokes, no matter how horrible the photographer... ;-)

Just had to throw that in there...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Affects of Sugar

While it is impossible to cut sugar out of my diet completely, I have been able to really become more strict as to how much goes into my body. As you might recall from an earlier post, my doctor suggested that I go on a diet eliminating sugars as much as possible while reducing carbs and increasing proteins and veggies. I have only done this once in the past as a two week diet to kick start my metabolism to burn faster as I was trying to lose a certain amount of weight. Never have I counted calories or have been faced with the physical affects of sugar. . . until now. After only a few days of being very strict with sugar intake, I can say that I have noticed a difference in how I feel. I have heard others say the same, but never really believed them. Lisa read that prior post and left a comment on how I should look into the affects of sugar. I did, and was astounded. I thought I might include them for you. I hope it is helpful. It was for me.

Here is a list of ways sugar can affect your health:
Sugar can suppress the immune system.
Sugar can upset the body's mineral balance.
Sugar can contribute to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties, and crankiness in children.
Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children.
Sugar can reduce helpful high density cholesterol (HDLs).
Sugar can promote an elevation of harmful cholesterol (LDLs).
Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.
Sugar contributes to a weakened defense against bacterial infection.
Sugar can cause kidney damage.
Sugar can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
Sugar may lead to chromium deficiency.
Sugar can cause copper deficiency.
Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
Sugar can increase fasting levels of blood glucose.
Sugar can promote tooth decay.
Sugar can produce an acidic stomach.
Sugar can raise adrenaline levels in children.
Sugar can lead to periodontal disease.
Sugar can speed the aging process, causing wrinkles and grey hair.
Sugar can increase total cholesterol.
Sugar can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Sugar can contribute to diabetes.
Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.
Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity.
Sugar leads to decreased glucose tolerance.
Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.
Sugar can increase systolic blood pressure.
Sugar causes food allergies.
Sugar can cause free radical formation in the bloodstream.
Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.
Sugar can overstress the pancreas, causing damage.
Sugar can cause atherosclerosis.
Sugar can compromise the lining of the capillaries.
Sugar can cause liver cells to divide, increasing the size of the liver.
Sugar can increase the amount of fat in the liver.
Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney.
Sugar can cause depression.
Sugar can increase the body's fluid retention.
Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance.
Sugar can cause hypertension.
Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines.
Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind's ability to think clearly.
Sugar can increase blood platelet adhesiveness which increases risk of blood clots and strokes.
Sugar can increase insulin responses in those consuming high-sugar diets compared to low sugar diets.
Sugar increases bacterial fermentation in the colon.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sweet Friendships: Sweet Saviour

I wanted to share what happened the other day. It was Monday and with it brought a feeling of sadness. The kids and I had just promptly dropped Phillip off at the airport at approx. 6am. I drove back tired, struggling to keep the tears back with an overwhelming sense of loneliness. My kids were nestled in their carseats/seatbelts and gently sleeping while I wrestled with allowing Christ to be my Comforter or being saddened by another time away from my husband. We arrived home safely - I got the children back into bed and then tried to get a wink of sleep, unsuccessfully. The rest of the day went on as normal: piano practices, school, housework, baby needing something, etc. Yet, within, I was still grieving the thought of a lonely evening. Then I received something so kind and sweet.
Amanda H. - an old friend, had conspired with April N. - a new friend and had arranged for her to come and make me one of her special dishes: meatballs and sauce. You see, I had mentioned to Amanda that I had been craving her dish and you know what she did??? She arranged and paid for April to come and make it for me.
I have a dear friend who put aside her own desire to spend time and closeness with me and put my wants ahead of hers by arranging for April to spend that time with me while providing a craving. Women do not typically take kindly to other women invading upon their friendships. However, Amanda's sweet spirit was in tune with the Holy Spirit. She was willing to make a sacrifice that was selfless. This sacrifice impacted me and I will never forget it.
I also have another friend who put aside her time with her husband and child to come and follow someone else's recipe and fulfill my desire to have something as insignificant as a "craving." She expressed a true desire to be a servant, even at a time of "want" and not particular "need".
Maybe it's just me . . . but I certainly am thankful that Christ provided this "comfort" on such a difficult day. I am thankful for those who are willing to sacrifice and put aside selfish desires to serve and minister. I am thankful for my Saviour who provides a sweetness in friendships.
Thank you . . . Amanda H. and April N.
I praise you Lord for your knowing my heart and providing encouragement at just the right time. I am so undeserving . . .

Monday, February 2, 2009

Does She Know . . . What She Gave Me???

I feel like this is what little Chloe is thinking as she is enjoying her very first popsicle. I had given her a fruit flavored popsicle and let her go at it. As she tentatively put it in her mouth - her eyes just got HUGE! I don't think I could have pried that popsicle out of her hand if I wanted to. She was serious about that thing. I just love these pics of her because it shows just how big her blue eyes are. She is a joy and this moment was so much fun.
On another note: I mentioned in an earlier post about having an upcoming doctor appt. Well, I asked her many questions and we went over my history of prior pregnancies, prior baby's birth weights, the fact that the 10+ pounders had low blood sugar at birth, and some other things. She thinks that I am what is called sub-clinical diabetic. Which means that I am only presenting diabetic in certain cases, ie: pregnancy. I had my suspicions, even during prior pregnancies but because my results from the glucose test always came back negative - didn't give much more thought to them. However, she said that it could be possible that the test isn't picking up on it because it may be developing closer to my due dates or just not registering.
So now I am adhering to a caloric diet as well as watching my sugar/carb. intake and increasing protein. Which is great - I am thankful for someone being bold enough to delve into my history etc. It has been a few days since that appt. and I am starting to notice a difference in how I am feeling. Let me tell ya - I had NEVER watched my calories on sugar/carbs. before and now that I am I am amazed at just HOW MUCH sugar is in things. Crazy. I am thankful and excited at the prospect of having the tools to help this and subsequent pregnancies be more healthy. It makes me even more motivated for post - partum healthiness.