Monthly Archives: March 2011

Menu for the week

It has been an adventure grocery shopping. We eat alot of fresh vegetables and the prices have shot up!!! Our salads have been lettuce and tomatoes, which thankfully I was able to fine them for .99- $1.49  a lb. but still!!! Cucumbers are outrageous! I am really looking forward to the garden! I have alot of cabbage though and romaine! There are large signs in the grocery store talking about the high prices and a sign on the front of a Mexican restaurant  we visited, said that extra salsa would cost money!

Wednesday: Pasta with sauce and meat….I had salad, the boys did not!

Thursday: Orange chicken thighs (I am going to cook them in the crock-pot and then top it with a homemade orange sauce), rice, Asian salad

Friday: Cabbage rolls and mashed potatoes…..yes, we are trying to use up potatoes! Plus, we are studying Russia….

Saturday: Crockpot BBQ ribs, mashed potatoes, coleslaw

Sunday: BBQ meat with leftover potatoes, popcorn

Monday:  Garlic chicken pasta- without the spinach (I love the spinach, but did not get any this week) Salad

Tuesday: Salad with chicken on top,  Potato wedges, Peach crisp, Banana bread

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My day…..

So, my day was pretty busy! P. had testing today, so kept him busy.
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Picking him up from testing….
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Starting to mix up the Cinnabun clones….

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F. helping me load the dishwasher….
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Books going out the door on loan
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Rising dough….

PhotobucketCutting up apples for apple cake…I had some old soft apples that had to be used up.
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Ready for the oven
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Changing over the snow tires to summer tires
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Washing hands….
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There is a smile!
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Rolling out the cinnamon rolls!
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Rising for the oven
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All done!!
Ready for tea and relaxing!!!!! Well, maybe, I have to clean the office. It is really bad!

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Last nights dinner…..

I made mashed potatoes….from our large stock of potatoes in our “root cellar” of sorts. We got these for free in the fall and have kept them at a good temp. all year long! So counting milk and butter, those were under .50 for mashed potatoes.

Then I made chicken gravy……I used a jar of homemade chicken broth with chicken in it that my husband helped a friend butcher last summer. So, not counting electricity, plus a little cornstarch less than .10.

Green beans- homecanned from my garden last year…..1 jar fried in a little butter with seasonings….free, except for the oil and electricity!!!

Wonderful filling, homemade comfort food!!!  Less than $.60 for all of us with leftovers. That is good frugal food!!!

 

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Books I have enjoyed….

and think other people should read too! Some of these are light, some are heavy, most are religious, but they are books that have deeply touched me in my life for one reason or another.

What is on your list of books that you think should be read?

 

1. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

2. Safely Home by Randy Alcorn

3. If God is good…..by Randy Alcorn

4. Living on purpose by Tom and Christine Sine

5. Scared by Tom Davis (This one got 41 5 stars on Amazon, if that tells you anything. No bad reviews)

6. Priceless by Tom Davis

7. The Secret Holocaust diaries by Nonna Bannister

8. Things we couldn’t say by Diet Emans

9. The Hiding place by Corrie Ten Boom

10. Daughter of China by C. Flinchbaugh

11. When a man you love was abused by Cecil Murphey (If you know anyone you love that was abused, this book will open your eyes up….alot)

12. So long, Status Quo by Susy Flory

13. The Harvester by Gene Stratton Porter

14. Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton Porter

15. Laddie by Gene Stratton Porter

16. Of whom the World was not worthy by Marie Chapian

17. The Small Woman by Alan Burgess

18. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

19. The Robe by Lloyd Douglas

20. Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen

21. Dust and Ashes by Tricia Goyer

22. Jade by Sally Watson

23. Ben Hur by Lew Wallace

24. The Old fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

25. Vanya by Myrna Grant

 

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March is almost over?

Where did it go? If I was not so energy less….I could post pictures to show you where!!! Life has been one thing after another, mostly short trips I have been taking!
We went to a nearby city to spend two days trying on wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses, it was fun…staying in hotel with my mom and sisters,,,and nieces and one small nephew….
The next week, I went to a midwifery conference for a day….and then the following week, went to another nearby town for three days/Spring Vacation trip with the boys and my siblings/Mom!
I got to hit some used bookstores, thrift stores, library….and we had fun, but I cannot seem to get my energy back up! I think I may need a new pillow. I am not sure. I did find a copy of The Old Fashioned Girl by L.M.A. which I have been looking for awhile! I was thrilled!
My two small nieces were in the hospital as well last week, giving me night fears….and school testing is next week for my oldest son….and I think it is harder on me than him.
Anyhow, in a nutshell….that is what I have been up to!

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86400 Making Every Second Count by Lavaille Lavette

My Review: 86,400….that is how many seconds are in the day. How can we make every one of those count in our busy lives? This book deals with challenging us to looking and evaluating our lives, to make each second of the day count!

I have been reading many challenging books like this and finding that I am evaluating my time more when I read these types of books! -Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

86400: Making Every Second of Every Day Count

FaithWords (March 25, 2011)

***Special thanks to Sarah Reck, Web Publicist, Hachette Book Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Lavaille Lavette has worked as a schoolteacher, school district administrator, speechwriter, marketing executive, columnist and Co- Host on Radio One’s Christian Radio Station, 92.1 FM. From 2001-2005, she served as special advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education, Dr. Rod Page.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Have you ever gotten to the point in your life where one day is like all the rest? Where the individuality, excitement and purpose of every moment is drained of its promising complexion? Through work, school, family and routine, people strive more and more to “get by” rather than “get going.” But God didn’t intend for it to be like this. Every precious second in a day, all 86,400 of them, is a gift from Him to us. Our lives, that we whittle away with routine and complacency, are meant for so much more.

86,400 is the instigator for a renewed life of intention and relevance-ultimately making the most out of every single day. By showcasing how she and Christians who carry either celebrity or inspirational significance manage their daily gift, Lavaille effectively teaches readers how they can fulfill God’s intended purpose.

Product Details:

List Price: $21.99
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (March 25, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446571474
ISBN-13: 978-0446571470

Press the Browse Button to View the Chapter:

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Menu for the week

Wednesday: Popcorn and pancakes…..We just got home and I am so tired!!

Thursday: Pizza, potstickers, and Asian green salad

Friday: Taco twice baked potatoes

Saturday: Baked chicken legs, Potato casserole, salad

Sunday: :Leftovers, cookies, popcorn

Monday: Mashed potatoes with chicken gravy, green beans

Tuesday: BBQ Chicken salad with cilantro dressingCinnabon Clones

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Our Lives….our witness

Today I was pondering how our lives speak for us and feeling like quite a miserable failure lately of letting my life speak for my relationship with God. I am not sure what more I should be trying to do, but boy, do I ever know what I should not be doing!!!!

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16, KJV.

What happens if our works are not good? Then not only do they not glorify our Father in heaven, they blaspheme our Father in heaven. That is pretty awful!

I am wondering when we do our daily lives, how we can live our lives to let our light shine? What if someone cheats us?

“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.” Matthew 5:39, 40, KJV.

But how does this look now? Does this mean we need to let people walk all over us and not do anything when someone does something to us? I don’t think it means that, while I am a non-violent person in beliefs and convictions, I do not thinks this means not reacting to evil. Jesus spoke very harshly and reacted with anger to other “religious people”

“And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;” Mark 11:15, KJV.

But, this is not what I am talking about….right now, I am talking about how we live in our daily lives. We are all good at standing up for ourselves. But are we good at letting our lives witness? What about the cashier that was grouchy to us at the check stand? Did we smile at her anyhow?

What about the irritating sales person that keeps calling at dinner time? Were you rude to him? Or did you show  him kindness?

Think of all the people you meet everyday and what things you could do if you purposely set out to try to bless each and everyone of them, even when they were not kind or even cheated you.

I read a book today about living life on purpose, instead of rushing through it. It was called Living on Purpose by Tom and Christine Sine. In this book it talked about how if you set a life goal for our life, instead of hurrying so fast we never take the time to purpose what we want to do, or just end up doing what life hands us, what good can we do?

I want to take it to a more basic level. I want to change my life and be more of a witness in my life instead of  drifting along and reacting as things come along.

I sit here and contemplate the choices I have made in my life for my own children and pray that they are the right ones. I want to spend more time instead of criticizing what I think others should or shouldn’t do, be there to be the shoulder  to cry on or yell at.

I think we need to all sit and consider what the man at the post office thinks of us. Does he think “What a nice lady!” after he waits on you…or “Oh, my goodness, what a grumpy person!” I am not even talking about in Christianity, but I think it should permeate all areas of your life. There is no reason to devolve simply because we deserve it, someone treated us badly. You have no idea how bad it can screw up someone’s life because of it!!!

“It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” Luke 17:2, KJV.

 

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The Mountains Bow down by Sibella Giorello

My Review:
When Raleigh boards a cruise for relaxing, she gets more than she bargained for. Traveling with a mentally ill mother and her odd friend is just the beginning of her issues. A murder or suicide occurs on board and she has to get to the bottom of it. Her mother suffers from a breakdown and Raleigh faces the facts about her mother as well as dealing with her mom laming her for things.
Danger and intrigue fill this book along with a the very, very small hint of romance, but just a hint. I don’t think there is a kiss or anything the whole book!
I really enjoyed this book, in spite of not having time to sit down and read it in one setting! Sibella is a talented author who wove the mystery along with the issues that you would have with family issues. I loved how she wove the issues with mental health into the story. Not many authors are brave enough to touch on the issue!
I am already looking forward to the next book……-Martha

About Sibella: Sibella Giorello grew up in Alaska and majored in geology at Mount Holyoke College. After riding a motorcycle across the country, she worked as a features writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. She now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons. Find out more about Sibella and her other books at her website. http://www.sibellagiorello.com

About The Mountains Bow Down: Everything’s going to work out. Time away always makes things better . . ..

That’s what FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon believes as she boards a cruise to Alaska. A land of mountains and gems and minerals, The Last Frontier is a dream destination for this forensic geologist who’s hoping to leave behind a hectic work schedule and an engagement drained of romance.

But when a passenger goes missing and winds up dead, Raleigh’s vacation suddenly gets lost at sea. The ship’s security chief tries to rule the death a suicide, but Raleigh’s forensics background points to a much darker conclusion: Somewhere onboard, a ruthless murderer walks free.

Engulfed by one of her toughest cases yet, Raleigh requests assistance from the FBI and receives her nemesis-perpetual ladies man Special Agent Jack Stephanson. As the cruise ship sails through the Inside Passage, Raleigh has five days to solve a high-profile murder, provide consultation for a movie filming onboard, and figure out her increasingly complicated feelings for Jack-who might not be such a jerk after all.

And that’s only her work life. Family offers even more challenges. Joined on the cruise by her mother and aunt, Raleigh watches helplessly as disturbing rifts splinter her family.

Like the scenery that surrounds the cruise ship, Raleigh discovers a situation so steep and so complex that even the mountains might bow down.

Link to buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/Mountains-Down-Raleigh-Harmon-Novel/dp/1595545352/ref=sprightly-20

BIG NEWS: Sibella would love for you to share this great deal on your blog!

Start the series fresh with this great deal! Pick up a copy of Book 1 for your Kindle or Nook for only $2.99! The Stones Roll Away is the critically acclaimed award winner that kicked off the Raleigh Harmon series. http://www.amazon.com/Stones-Raleigh-Harmon-Novel-ebook/dp/B004QGYURS/ref=sprightly-20
Giorellos Cruise Giveaway

Contest Post:

Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Mountains Bow Down with a blog tour, a Cruise prize pack worth over $500 and a Facebook Party! Don’t miss a minute of the fun.

One Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • A $500 gift certificate toward the cruise of their choice from Vacations To Go.
  • The entire set of the Raleigh Harmon series.

To enter click one of the icons below. Then tell your friends. And enter soon – the giveaway ends on 4/1! The winner will be announced at Sibella’s Raleigh Harmon Book Club Party on FB April 5th, 2011! Don’t miss the fun – prizes, books and gab!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

About the Facebook Party: Join Sibella and fans of the Raleigh Harmon series on April 5th at 5:00 pm PST (6 MST, 7 CST & 8 EST) for a Facebook Book Club Party. Sibella will be giving away some fun prizes, testing your trivia skills and hosting a book chat about the Raleigh Harmon books. Have questions you’d like to chat about – leave them on the Event page.

Link to the Blog Tour

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The Christian Mama’s guide to having a baby by Erin MacPherson

My Review:
Do you ever read pregnancy books and wish that they were more down to earth or on your level? When I picked up this book, I found myself laughing through it. This is not a medical birth book, but more a guide from people who have been there…..there is sections for your husband, by the husbands as well as covering all sorts of other topics.
I loved the fact that she covered midwives and birth centers along with hospitals and gave you several different options for birth. I was vaguely disappointed she did not mention anything about doulas…I know the education is lacking on doulas and would love to see more pregnancy books talking about them.
Over all, this book was a fun, happy way of looking at pregnancy and the discomforts of it. In it’s fun happy way of writing, it has a down to earth feeling though as well. It is not terribly deep, but it is one I highly recommend for a pregnant mom to read and enjoy. You will find yourself as I did, curled up and giggling through it. -Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Christian Mama’s Guide to Having a Baby

GuidepostsBooks (March 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Sharon Farnell, Publicity Manager, Planned Television Arts for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Erin MacPherson lives with her husband and their two adorable children in Austin, Texas. She was an editor and staff writer for the Nickelodean ParentsConnect website for years, where she spent hours each week researching pregnancy, talking to obstetricians and midwives, and giving out tips and advice to new and pregnant mamas.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Filled with helpful tips, amusing anecdotes, and encouraging advice, here’s one mama’s take on everything pregnancy — from stretch marks to weight gain to figuring out how to rely on our creator through all of the uncertainty and joy of the next nine months. Pregnant women may discover that while they are thrilled about the baby, pregnancy can be another thing entirely. Instead of glowing they’re glistening. There’s morning sickness. And suddenly a favorite pair of jeans no longer fits. Erin MacPherson has created a comprehensive guide that’s packed with information that every newly pregnant mama needs including exercising while pregnant, a detailed guide to each trimester (including sleep, doctor check-ups, pregnancy sex), what to buy and not buy for your baby, how to use your Bible as your pregnancy resource, and how to use this time of waiting to really draw closer to God through prayer. Filled with helpful tips (how do you quell that not-just-in-the-morning sickness?), humorous accounts (doesn’t everyone crave peanut-butter-and-olive sandwiches?), and supportive spiritual advice (what does a godly pregnancy attitude actually look like anyway?). The Christian Mama’s Guide to Having a Baby has the advice a mama-to-be wants to hear. Erin MacPherson assures, ‘at the end of nine months, you really will be glowing.’

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: GuidepostsBooks (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0824948580
ISBN-13: 978-0824948580

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Introduction

You’re Havin’ a Baby!

The fact that you’re reading this probably means you’re pregnant. Yep. YOU are pregnant. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? If you thought your graduation day or your last birthday or even your wedding day was exciting and exhilarating and amazing, just wait until you hold your little bundle in your arms for the first time. The feeling is breathtaking. I get misty-eyed just thinking about it. That said, you have eight months (give or take) to wait before that misty-eyed moment so don’t start packing your hospital bag yet.

I’ve always wondered how God created the heavens and the earth in seven short days and yet it takes nine long months to create a baby. Nine months. Seems like an eternity, doesn’t it? I remember getting so irritated when people told me that my pregnancies would pass in the twinkle of an eye. They swore that I’d be holding my baby before I knew it. That’s kind of hard to believe when you’re carrying around twenty (er, thirty) extra pounds and gagging every time you catch a whiff of someone else’s dinner.

But, really, your pregnancy will be over before you know it. In the meantime, you’re probably going to need some girlfriend-to-girlfriend advice to get you from point A—the miserable, exhausted, growing-by-the-minute, gagging, vomiting and sweating point that you’re most likely at right now, to point B—the glowing, ecstatic, sleep-deprived-but-you-don’t-care-at-all point that you’ll be in less than forty weeks. And that’s why I wrote this book.

I remember during my first pregnancy, the first thing I did after peeing on a stick was head to the bookstore to find a book that would keep me informed about what to expect (nausea, bloating and night waking) and what not to expect (a glorious time where I could eat unlimited amounts of ice cream while my husband massaged my feet). Not surprisingly, there were oodles of choices; there were pregnancy guides for new moms-to-be, old moms-to-be, young moms-to-be, and tall moms-to-be. There were pregnancy guides for dads-to-be and grandparents-to-be and second-cousins-to-be. But there was nothing for Christian moms-to-be. So, I did what any somewhat sane mother-of-two would do. I wrote my own Christian pregnancy guide.

The good news is that I’m not going to bore you with medical jargon. It’s not that I don’t like medical jargon (when I was pregnant, I loved reading books that told me all about the medical feats that my body was performing while growing a baby), but simply that I’m not a doctor. In fact, I don’t have any medical training at all (unless you count the fact that I took—and passed—health education in high school). So, if you’re looking for medical rhetoric and big-word-laden advice for a magical medical breakthrough that will quell your ever-present nausea and keep your weight gain to a minimum, this probably isn’t the place.

But, while my medical expertise stops at “take some Tylenol and go lie down,” I do have some pregnancy expertise. I’ve been pregnant twice. My sisters have all been pregnant. My friends have all been pregnant. Heck, a few months ago, my dog got pregnant. I’ve been surrounded by pregnancy nonstop for the past six years, and as I dealt with morning sickness and weight gain and decorating a nursery, I gleaned some pregnancy knowledge.

I also had horrible pregnancies. I know. I shouldn’t be saying that to new moms-to-be, but for the sake of honesty, I’m going to throw it out there. I went through the ringer during my first pregnancy and swore up and down that I would never, ever survive and that if by some miracle I did survive I would never, ever, ever get pregnant again. Well, I survived. I fell in love with my baby and promptly got pregnant again. And you know what? I survived the second awful pregnancy too. And, if we’re being honest, I’d take another pregnancy (or two)), God willing. In an instant.

You probably don’t want to hear this right now, but it is worth it. Every time you gag. Every time you throw up into your mouth. Every pound you gain. Every sleepless night. All of it. It’s worth it. Just wait. I promise that nine months from now, you’re going to be e-mailing me and telling me I was right.

I won’t say I told you so.

Chapter 1

Getting Into the Pregnancy Groove

Being Pregnant and Loving It

You figured out how to actually get pregnant (go you!), now you have to figure out how to be pregnant. And contrary to popular belief, being pregnant isn’t as simple as remembering to take your prenatal vitamins, which is a feat unto itself. Pregnancy is exhausting, exciting, exhilarating and stressful all at once, which means that you’re going to be exhausted, excited, exhilarated and stressed for the next few months. Not an easy thing to be—especially when you’re gaining weight at a rate of three pounds per week.

I hate to even say this to a pregnant woman, but the next few months might not be the best months of your life. (Sorry!) I think my biggest misconception about pregnancy was that I expected it to be easy. I thought I’d be bubbling with baby-growing joy for the entire nine months. Maybe that’s true for some people, but it wasn’t the case for me. Pregnancy was hard. And stressful. And super-annoying at times. And I wrestled with emotions that I’m embarrassed to even admit. (But we’ll get to that later.)

Interestingly, while I was trying to get a handle on the stress and emotions of pregnancy, I felt an overwhelming urge to draw closer to God. There’s something about impending motherhood that makes a girl really reflect on who she is and who she wants to be. I knew that my future children needed a godly mother, and I knew that I fell (far) short of the mark. This caused me to spend a lot of time reflecting on the characteristics of godly mothers and how I could become one.

As Christian women, we have to live up to a pretty high standard. The legendary Proverbs 31 woman is gracious and kind and long-suffering and probably never snapped at her husband for leaving dirty clothes on the floor. I’m not even close. I find myself living in a daily battle to live up to God’s standard for my life. I wake up praying that I’ll live with patience and integrity throughout the day…and find myself losing my cool before breakfast.

Yet, at one of the most stressful, emotional and trying times of my life (my first pregnancy), God drew me closer to Him. I actually felt His presence as I spent time praying and reflecting on my baby and my future as a mother. It’s comforting to hear His voice in a time of need and feel His presence when you’re feeling your worst. And, hearing God’s voice (and knowing he’s there) is great motivation to have a godly attitude throughout pregnancy.

Of course, I was still the same old girl who couldn’t seem to make it to breakfast without losing patience about something. (Have I mentioned the dirty laundry that is always left on the bathroom floor?) Still, God did show me that purposefully choosing to have a godly attitude resulted in me feeling closer to Him. That, in turn, allowed me to have a more gracious attitude about my pregnancies.

Sounds a bit trite, doesn’t it? I mean, if it was all about choosing to smile through any situation then every day would be gumdrops and preggo-pops, right? Not exactly. But God does call us to be content in any circumstance (even morning sickness!), which means choosing to focus on the reasons we have to be grateful, even when it’s tempting to be grumpy.

And trust me, when I was pregnant, I had lots of reasons to be grumpy. But, I did strive to have an attitude of gratitude about my pregnancy. Here’s how I did (and didn’t) do it:

How to Get into the Pregnancy Groove

1. Get Yourself Pumped Up:

When I first got pregnant, I was giddy with excitement. And who wouldn’t be? I was going to have a baby. I couldn’t stop thinking (or talking) about it. But then I got tired. And sick. And bloated. And suddenly I wasn’t so giddy anymore. In fact, once those pregnancy symptoms kicked in, I turned into a whiney, moaning, self-pitying mess. I resented my baby for making me feel so bad and resented everyone else because they didn’t feel as bad as I did. I resented my job because I had to go to it. I resented my husband because he could sleep and I couldn’t. I even resented my dog because she could spend the entire day basking in the sunshine while I had to actually get up and function.

So, how exactly do you start thinking about rainbows and baby booties when you’ve spent weeks hugging the toilet bowl? One thing I did was immerse myself in babyland. I bought books about pregnancies and babies. I hung out with friends who had babies. I ogled over baby gear on the Internet and rented funny movies about babies and watched them over and over. The only thing I didn’t do was volunteer to babysit because that would’ve taken way more energy than I had at that point. But if you’re feeling up to dirty diapers and peekaboo, go for it.

The point is, the more time you spend around babies (and other mothers), the more excited you will be about your own baby. And believe me, the only thing in the world that is worth nine months of pregnancy is a baby. And you’re getting one. So hop on board the baby train (I don’t have to tell you twice, do I?) and start living baby.

2. Turn that Mommy Guilt into Glee (Or at Least Contentment):

That resentment that I felt because I was sick, tired and fat quickly turned to guilt. I felt guilty for resenting my baby who was supposed to be my pride and joy. I felt guilty for resenting my husband who was honestly trying to help me as much as he could. Mostly, I felt guilty that I wasn’t thrilled to be pregnant.

I started to wonder if God didn’t approve of my pregnancy and my baby. Crazy talk, right? I know that now, but at the time, I felt so awful and so confused that I started to doubt God’s providence. Of course, once I realized—duh!—that God blessed me with the pregnancy, I wanted to be grateful to Him regardless of how I was feeling. God wants us to be content in our pregnancies, even when we’re not feeling good. Tough job, huh?

It was a long, uphill battle for me. And I had to constantly remind myself of God’s grace and mercy. But in the midst of the battle, God taught me many lessons that I wouldn’t have otherwise learned: how to depend on others, how to trust and what it means to truly depend on God for strength

3. Pray for Your Baby

Another way to get into the pregnancy groove is to start praying for your baby in-utero. Sounds obvious, right? Well, it wasn’t for me. (I was tired and sick, okay?) It took me several weeks of pregnancy to start praying for my son. I was so stunned and overwhelmed by the idea of being pregnant that the idea of praying for my baby didn’t cross my mind. One day, one of the girls in my small-group Bible study mentioned that she had prayed for her baby throughout her pregnancy, and suddenly the light went on. I wanted to pray for my unborn child, too!

I could go into the mushy details about how my husband and I lay in bed and put our hands on my slightly protruding tummy and prayed for our son, but I’m sure you get it. In fact, you’ve probably been praying for your baby since the moment you found out you were pregnant. But just in case there’s another woman out there like me who didn’t think of it, I thought I’d mention it.

4. Think About the Pros of Pregnancy

There are some (okay, lots of) wonderful things about pregnancy. What other time in your life do you have free license to eat extra calories, sleep late and buy baby clothes without reservation?

Plus, when you’re pregnant, everyone (and I mean everyone) gushes over you. I remember walking into church just as I was starting to show. Two of the guys in our Sunday school class ran to grab me a chair. My husband got me water and my girlfriend brought me muffins from the class next door. They had blueberry crumble! Everyone oohed and aahed. Part of me hated all of the fuss—uh, who am I kidding? I loved the attention! Who wouldn’t?

But aside from the minor benefits, when you’re pregnant it’s easy to dwell on all of the things you’re missing out on. You can’t eat sushi. You can’t wear your favorite pencil skirt. Your bras are all too small. And you’re too tired to stay up late watching chick flicks with your hubby (as if that happened before). I remember bursting into tears in the middle of our church group’s Christmas party because the eggnog was made from raw eggs, and I was a little uneasy about exposing my unborn child to salmonella. I actually sobbed. Totally irrational, I know—especially considering the fact that there were a million other drink options at the party—but I felt so deprived.

The thing is that pregnancy isn’t about deprivation. Sure, there are things you shouldn’t and can’t do, but there is also one huge thing that you can do: Nurture your own child inside of you. What an incredible privilege. I’m sure some of our husbands are secretly envious of us that we get to do it and they don’t! How else can we account for their sympathy weight gain?

The best way to get out of a pregnancy funk is to think about the reason for the pregnancy. I know that sounds obvious, but focus on your baby. Focus on the privilege. It’ll help you to forget the pain. And if that doesn’t work, think of all of the things that you can get away with during this brief period of your life.

Things You Can Do While Pregnant (That You Would Never Get Away With Otherwise)

1. Wear flip-flops or clogs every day. Even to church.
2. Leave the toilet unscrubbed for the nine entire months (might as well make it an even ten).
3. Order dessert (and eat it all by yourself).
4. Wear sweats to the grocery store, to work and to dinner at your mother-in-law’s.
5. Skip your morning shower. Three days in a row.
6. Add half and half to your decaf (or half-caf).
7. Send your hubby to Sonic for a foot-long hot dog at eleven o’clock at night.
8. Eat a foot-long hot dog at eleven and wash it down with Chunky Monkey.
9. Go to bed at seven on a Friday night.
10. Spend your entire Saturday camped out on the couch watching A Baby Story.
11. Borrow your husband’s T-shirts.
12. Chat about baby names on a baby names message board.
13. Go to BabiesRUs and camp out in one of their rockers for an entire afternoon. (You probably need to test it out, so go ahead and take a nap if you’d like.)

Pregnancy Rocks (Even Though it Sometimes Stinks)

The fact is, in spite of all of the nausea, bloating and constant peeing, there’s also an ecstatic, blissful, giddy joy that comes from the fact that you have a baby growing inside of you. It’s amazing. And no matter how bad you feel, you can still cling to that. I remember being hunched over the toilet puking up my guts and thinking to myself how amazing it was that there was a tiny life growing inside of me.

The truth is, it’s okay to be a little ambivalent, depressed, scared, worried, nervous, angry, irritated or annoyed by your pregnancy. Feeling that way is natural. And feeling that way about your pregnancy has nothing to do with how you’re feeling about your baby. Of course you love your baby. But you don’t have to love pregnancy to love your baby! Just because you’re thrilled to be pregnant, you don’t have to ignore all the aches and pains and annoyances.

So, enough pep talking… you’re ready, right? Time to get down to the nitty gritty. What are the next nine months really going to be like? What can you do to combat morning sickness? And bloating? And the rest of those icky pregnancy symptoms? And, perhaps most importantly, how much longer (in minutes) are you going to be able to fit into your favorite prepregnancy jeans? Let’s talk first trimesters.

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