Tag Archives: parenting

10 Years On – Remembering My Firstborn

10 years on - remembering my firstborn

It’s hard to believe that 10 years have just passed since our beloved son left us.

His pregnancy was difficult right from when I unexpectedly found out, through to when I lost him at 22 weeks. I was so sick that I lost tons of weight and at 12 weeks had to go to hospital from vomiting for days without holding anything down.

They decided to give me an ultrasound just to check how things were going, and after noticing something didn’t look quite right, I was referred to a specialist who gave me another ultrasound and with 2 other doctors, sat us down and gave us the grim news.

Our baby wasn’t going to live and I would probably miscarry very soon. They advised a termination, which we promptly declined. So they sent me home to wait for the inevitable.

Our lives went into a spin, and I can’t even begin to describe the range of emotions over the next 10 weeks before we lost our precious child. We still hoped for a miracle, and that was expressed to us over and over by many faith-filled friends. My stepfather was terminally ill, and the added stress on my mother and the rest of our family was hard to bear.

When no heartbeat was found at a regular check, my midwife sent us to the hospital for an ultrasound, which confirmed that our baby had died. The last movements I’d felt 2 days previous, that I’d smiled for joy over as they were so strong, and now that I’ve had subsequent pregnancies to compare to, were probably the moment in which he died.

The day I was induced and his birth that followed is still not yet something I can speak openly about. All I can tell you here is that it was utterly traumatic and heart-breaking. Our son, although 22 weeks, was developmentally behind in his gestational milestones so was more like a 16-17 week baby. I felt too overwhelmed to hold him, something I now regret, but his lifeless body just seemed too fragile and my heart couldn’t take the possibility of more trauma if something more would happen to his delicate body if I was to touch him.

After delivering our first child and spending some hours with him, we then had to leave the hospital with empty hands and hearts and prepare for a funeral. Those weeks and months that followed were raw and unbearable.

Gradually, life had to return to normal, a ‘new’ normal, and I had to allow my heart to trust God again. I’m grateful to those few who journeyed with us through that time.

There is hope in this story, and it doesn’t end with complete heartache and despair.

My Heavenly Father did walk closely with me through this time, despite my tendency to hold Him at a distance many times through it.

I discovered how unrelenting His love was towards me, regardless of how angry and raw I was towards Him.

I discovered that through such unbearable loss, I’m forever changed through this and can offer compassion and empathy to those that have suffered so much more than if I hadn’t had lost him.

I discovered that grief is not something that anyone can set the pace on for another person, and we should never attempt to shorten another person’s grief with our words.

I discovered a greater measure of grace was available to me, and that His loving hand will uphold me and comfort me, sometimes in ways I don’t necessarily expect.

I discovered He is incredibly patient, kind, loving, and tender towards me.

I discovered that sometimes there just aren’t answers for things we so desperately want to know. The ‘why’ question is rarely answered this side of eternity, but instead we can ask God to reveal more of who He is to us through our grief, our suffering, and also our joy and victories.

I discovered that the resolve in me to reach out to a needy world, desperate for love that actually looks like something, only grew and continues to.

I discovered a greater reality of this:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28

I have my heart in sync with these words, and trust that everything in my life will come together and be used by Him to further His kingdom on earth. I believe it, because it’s the plain and simple truth!

The life of my son was and is a treasured gift to our family, and one day I will know the purpose God had for the brief time we had him.  Until then, I am determined to faithfully live out the purpose He has for my own life, and grow in my capacity to love and trust my Father wholeheartedly.  He’s always good, He’s always faithful, and He has an undivided heart.

May you know His relentless pursuit of you today.

Victoria

Choosing to Stand Tall

Choosing to Stand Tall

It’s taken years to be truly on this path to freedom, but here I am in 2014 finally able to embrace who I am, and whose I am. And I don’t plan on retreating back to where I once was!

We have an unfortunate cultural trait in our country called ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’. It’s common enough for there to be a name to it. When a person stands taller from the crowd, they are pulled down or cut down with words so they no longer stand tall. It’s sometimes overt and sometimes more subtle, but the outcome is the same – to prevent another person from rising to all they could and should be, so that another feels better about themselves. It’s the opposite than what Heaven intends for our country, which a culture of true honour, comradeship and courage, and a People that will cheer on others in their chosen path.

I have been on the receiving end of this, and without doubt I’ve probably hurt others in this way. I can only repent for where I have partnered with this myself, and pray the Lord keeps me sensitive and humble from walking in it again!

What we want in the Body of Christ is for EVERY PERSON to walk in fullness, and in that way we are all better for it! We can honour the unique voice of one another, and enjoy and celebrate the brilliance that shines from each person.

My Journey in Becoming a ‘Tall Poppy’

For many years, and more so since becoming a mother, I’ve frequently been on the receiving end of jealousy, cutting down, and revilement, because others have desired what I have or have been jealous of what I am capable of. It has caused me to withdraw, be silenced, and isolate myself from others. Sometimes, it’s been shrouded in religious language, or a ‘minor’ reason given instead of the ‘main’ reason that hides what it really is. Other times the responsibility has been put back on me, as though the cause is me – I’m causing insecurities to rise up in others, or intimidating women because I am skilled and gifted in areas that others may not be. I’ve been pressured to hide my light, to be less of myself, to enhance my struggles and shortcomings so that others feel better about themselves.

But do you know that excluding others, cutting off or cutting down someone, or withdrawing your friendship or care of someone because you perceive them to as the source for your discomfort, is really unloving and based on a lie?  And at times, the victorious life they lead might actually be the result of years of perseverance, cost and sacrifice? Or perhaps an outpouring of favour of the Lord they have grown in, to be celebrated and cheered on?

Here’s a snapshot.

I love my husband and children. I very rarely need time away from them. I do need time by myself to re-energise at times, but it’s not because I’m fed up with them. It’s because I’m an introvert that likes to sit and read, listen and think. So I don’t crave the time out of the home without my family that others might. I also love spending time with other families, and I don’t crave women-only get togethers. Rejoice with me that I’m different and what a change the Lord has brought about in my heart – when I first got married I wasn’t sure I wanted children, as I was still hurting from my parents’ divorce. What a transformation God has done in my life!

I don’t believe my way of parenting is the best/only/right way. Truly. I have many convictions about things that are right for our own family, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s the best way for your family. Those decisions that we all have to make about raising children, eating, Church fellowship, homeschooling or public school – they are all things that we can only be responsible for ourselves and not for others! I freely and joyfully love to help others, hence this blog as one example. But if you decide a different way, then go for it and be the best you can! So celebrate with me the victories and the courage it has taken to go against the mainstream, as we have pursued the best plan for our family.

I (usually) have a well-ordered and clean home. My mother set a wonderful example for me. I also learned young how to do this, as from 11 I lived without my mother under the same roof. It became necessary if I wanted clean clothes! Celebrate with me God’s redemptive purpose that has come about, and that he has brought strength and excellence into my life as a homemaker. It’s come at great cost.

I love to be home with my children and am glad for the blessing to homeschool them. I’ve had hard days. Really hard days! But the vast majority of the time we enjoy ourselves and my children are thriving and doing well. But the cost of living off one income is I only get a haircut once a year, we wear our clothes out (except the kids who benefit from a very generous Nanna!), we don’t get out of town to see family often, and a thousand other things we can’t afford to do. Worth it? Yes yes yes! So tell me I’m doing a great job and encourage me. Don’t tear down homeschooling because it offends your worldview or theology, or gossip about me because you see imperfection or you feel inadequate yourself. Be the best ‘you’, and encourage me to do the same!

I love to create a warm and hospitable environment for people to come to. It’s true – before you arrive at my home, I will often whisk around and pick up things that you might trip on, check the toilet for any ‘surprises’ my children may have inadvertently left, and perhaps wipe down the dining room table where you may place your coffee cup on arrival. Enjoy the place I’ve created for you to enter into. Embrace the English cultural background I come from, where you can sit and be served rather than the more common way in our culture of being told to ‘help yourself’ or ‘make yourself at home’( which is fine too). This is how I do hospitality – be blessed by it!

I love to create nourishing meals for my family and am good at it. I had to learn young, and at 11 I was cooking roasts and making school lunches. God has used those difficult circumstances and turned them into something good, something helpful, a blessing to my family, and also to others that have been on the receiving end of my generosity. Please, rejoice with me at His goodness expressed in my life!

I’m frequenting on the receiving end of the Father’s generosity and our family find ourselves with abundant provision that is beyond logic. Rejoice with me in the goodness of God! It has sometimes come at the cost of many times of enduring faith and hope, tears and prayer, and we ourselves have been generous with all we have in our hands, at times with extraordinary sacrifice.

You probably won’t catch me posting photos on Facebook of my messy lounge, my baking fails, or any other imperfectness – not because I don’t have those days like every other mother, but because I choose to celebrate the victories and strive for the excellence that I know is in me.

I’m not perfect. I fail daily. There is grace daily. I’m utterly dependent on Him.

I am a beautiful, gifted, beloved child of the Father. I love who He’s created me to be, and love my life, and I love growing in who I am in greater measure. Rejoice with me that God has taken brokenness and grief and turned it to wholeness and joy. He’s brought beauty from the ashes. I will no longer hide my light!

And He can do the very same thing with you.

“The church is God’s body, where every member is welcomed, accepted, loved and valued as a contribution. There is room for us to live in Christ while we are learning to be Christlike. This means we make space for the ugly and the beautiful in all of us to grow and change.” From MANIFESTING YOUR SPIRIT (Graham Cooke)

Tall poppy Monet

Introducing Solids to Your Baby

Introducing solids to your baby v2 small

I’ve sure come a long way on introducing solids since I began this parenting gig almost 10 years ago.  By the time my third child came around to this stage, the processed crackers and store-bought biscuits were history, and instead I was making homemade blends of vegetables cooked in stock and taking a careful, considered approach to how and when foods were introduced.

So here are some things I’d like to pass on that I hope will help you as you put together your plan.

Why Organic?

The most important thing for our family is that we choose only organic foods for these reasons:

  • More nutrition
  • No harmful chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other toxic residues.
  • Free from additives and GE-free

If buying organic food is a stretch for feeding your whole family, consider buying organic food just for your baby, as the quantities are small enough that you shouldn’t notice much of a change to your overall grocery bill.  It’s just worth the investment to give your baby a head start to optimum health.

When to Introduce Foods

I introduce single foods and watch for any reaction over a few days before introducing the next one.  I also prefer to cook vegetables in homemade broths/stocks.

Here’s the basic plan I’ve followed, give or take a few compromises here or there.

4m + (minimal solids; ie. 1-2t per day)

  • Egg yolk
  • Mashed banana
  • Avocado

6-8m (single foods to start with, then gradually introduce blends, as well as meat and oil)

  • Cooked vegetables: sweet potato, carrots, parsnip, beetroot
  • Raw pureed fruits: pear, banana, avocado, apple
  • Cooked fruits: apple, dried apricots, peach, plum
  • Meat: Cooked and pureed lamb, beef, chicken
  • Broths: added to meat and vegetable blends
  • Oils: coconut and olive oil

9-12m

  • Homemade casserole/stew
  • Vegetable soups
  • Cooked vegetables: broccoli, peas
  • Dried fruits (small amounts): dates, raisins (soaked and blended in with other fruit)
  • Cooked berries (if tolerated)
  • Slowly introduce tastes such as ginger, garlic, onion, spices
  • A little of the juice from homemade fermented vegetables mixed with food

We introduced certain types of dairy slowly about this stage, such as kefir and yoghurt and a little butter, as our baby appeared intolerant to dairy from when he was a few weeks old (eg. nappy rash, green poop, unsettled when lying flat, reaction would occur about 4 hours after I’d eaten any).  We did a little cheese with him about 11 months.  We don’t do store-bought skim versions of any dairy with all our children.

Avoid until after 12m and then introduce slowly and one at a time:

  • White potatoes
  • Leafy greens
  • All grains and legumes (babies do not have enough digestive enzymes to handle them)
  • Citrus fruit and tomatoes
  • Nuts
  • Honey
  • Egg whites
  • Raw berries (pectin can upset tummies)

More Information

Bear in mind, this is all just a guide based on what’s worked for us.  You might have a different set of needs to consider for your little one.

Once you have your plan, print it off and keep on the fridge or somewhere handy to refer to easily.

All the best to you as you help give your baby a great start in life!

Victoria

Comforting A Friend Through Miscarriage

Comforting a Friend Through Miscarriage

This one is a subject close to my heart, having walked this journey twice before, and some of you will have too.  My best friend and her husband recently lost their little one, and it has freshened up those emotions again that never really go away completely.  As I’ve seen her courageously walk through this, my heart has ached for her grief, yet also rejoiced in the life that she carried for a short but significant time.  You are eternally changed!

I remember some of those things that were said to us that were so affirming and encouraging, and some of the others that, although well intended, just deepened the pain.

The estimate on how often a miscarriage takes place is usually either one in every four, or one in every five pregnancies.  Despite how common a miscarriage may appear, it can be a life-altering experience, and the loss bears its affects both physically and emotionally.

Let’s call it what it is: a miscarriage is the death of a child.  It is not merely a failed pregnancy, or nature simply taking its course.  Whether you’re 4 weeks along or much further, the loss is no less significant.  As with any loss, grief is something that is personal and different for each person.  You’ve also lost the hopes and dreams that you have carried for your child, regardless of the length of your pregnancy.

If you have other children, you may find that holding them helps to find a resting place for your love and longing, but they don’t replace the child you’ve lost.

A decade has passed from my first loss (of two), and yet still it has a deep and immovable effect on my heart.  I’m forever changed.

I look back on those experiences, and I’m grateful for the love and support we were given by those around us.  Not everyone knew how to help us or what to say.  For those that lose earlier on in their pregnancy, speaking about their loss carries some risk as not everyone will respond with a level of compassion or understanding.

Can I offer some suggestions as to how you can help comfort a friend through their loss?

What To Say

  • “I’m so sorry for your loss”.
  • “I’m praying for you”.
  • “I’m here for you”.
  • “How are you feeling today?”
  • “What do you need from me?”
  • “It’s OK to feel the way you do”.

What To Do

  • Be available to listen
  • Be patient with where your friend is at, and how long it may take to walk through their loss
  • Send cards, flowers, and words of acknowledgement for your friend’s loss
  • Drop off a meal and/or some groceries
  • Offer to help with housework or children
  • Send a text saying your thinking of them, but don’t expect a reply back.
  • Remember the first anniversary

What NOT To Say

  • “You’ll have other pregnancies”.
  • “When will you try again?”
  • “Try not to think about it”.
  • “At least you weren’t too far along”.
  • “You have your other children that you can focus your attention on instead”.

The thing that touched me more than anything, was when people used my babies names, and acknowledged them as precious and valued lives.

I also found the the simplest words, kindest gesture, and the ongoing words of love as time went on, were the most significant and helpful as I journeyed through our loss.  Sometimes people got philosophical, or tried to say too much, and it often made the pain worse.  If you don’t know what to say, simply say “I’m so sorry for your loss”.  If you don’t know how to help, just ask.  Be prepared if your friend doesn’t want to talk about it, or perhaps doesn’t want to hear about what is happening in your life just at that moment.

Just love them, listen to them, and offer yourself to be and do whatever they need.  Pray for the Father surround them with His presence, and be His hands and feet in their life.

Even if you don’t understand or can’t identify with your friends journey, you can still lovingly help them as they walk out their loss and grief in the days and weeks ahead.

Be blessed,

Victoria

Psalm 139 hwh

 

Reasons for Christian Families to Homeschool

Reasons for Christian families to homeschool

This month’s post for Lindsey at ‘Roadto31’ is on some reasons why Christian families may chose to homeschool.

“The longer my husband and I journey as parents, the more we see just how important it is to hold securely to the incredible responsibility of raising and educating our children. 

 

We believe it to be our sole responsibility and not that of the State, or extended family and relatives, or Sunday School teachers and pastors, or Hollywood, or anyone else.  There are certainly times we invite others into carrying this out with us, whether it be intentionally or unknowingly, but we alone have sole stewardship of our children’s upbringing.

 

We have found that homeschooling provides the best opportunity to educate your child according to Christian values and emphasis, and to do so in an environment that is loving, supportive, nurturing and Godly.”…

READ MORE

Whether you’re considering this, or have been homeschooling for a while, I hope it encourages you.

Have a great week.

Victoria

Tips, Treats, Topics and Treasures (March 2014)

Tips, Treats etc, monthly round up March 2014 We are currently enjoying the cool of autumn’s arrival, after a long, beautiful hot summer. March is my favourite month of the year.  Last weekend’s berry picking left us with just a small bag of berries, as the last of the summer berries have finished.  Soon will be root vegetables and casseroles coming out of the kitchen.

On that note, here are a couple of recipes that I’ll be trying soon.

In the Kitchen

I really like the sound of these sweet and sour meatballs from the talented Danielle Walker (Against All Grain).  

And same website for these gorgeous 7 layer bars .  Don’t be scared off by the many layers – most have just a couple of ingredients each.  Yum!

What I’m Reading and Watching

Have a watch of this music video where the singer is photo-shopped in real time.  You’ll never look at magazine images the same again!

I’ve been wanting to read this book the moment I read the Amazon preview.  The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization by christian philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi.

And this one: Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most by Brooke McGlothin.  Read the Amazon preview on this one too!

An article on ADHD that you’ll find interesting.  I’ve been reading this for years, and read a particularly great book by Phillip Day that said similar things.  

New Discoveries and Great Ideas

Food Matters TV is here!  Head over to their site and watch over 300 health and wellness videos on demand.  

How to Remineralise Your Teeth Naturally (an article at Wellness Mama):    And if this interests you, purchase Ramiel Nagel’s book ‘Cure Tooth Decay’ for extensive guidance on healing your teeth naturally.

On the Homeschool Front

We’re enjoying Supercharged Science at the moment, and I’ll be posting a review next week.  This week has been about minerals and genetics.  We love our Apologia Science. But I’ve found Supercharged Science has given us a fresh boost of inspiration and new knowledge and perspective that has breathed life into our homeschool.  Perhaps we’ll keep doing both for a while!

I found this a really great read from All About Spelling (the spelling curriculum we use) on Why Copywork Doesn’t Always Work’.    They also have this free ‘Phonogram Sound App’ for all 72 sounds taught in their spelling and reading programs.

Hidden Treasures (great reads in the blogosphere)

I love what Heather has written about learning the Word with her children, and also putting their efforts towards bible translation work: End Bible Poverty

A great read on what really matters: When You Can’t Give Your Kids Disneyland 

A few of my favourite things

I enjoyed this really neat music video of a couple’s bump to baby progress.  It had over a million views in 2 days.

This month I’ve been enjoying worship from the fantastic Josh and Amberley Klinkenburg, and All Sons and Daughters.  Josh and Ambs have released an EP called ‘Our Love’, which you can pick up on i-tunes.   And All Sons and Daughters have released a live album available on their site.

Have a listen – you’ll be blessed.

Quote of the Month

And finally, some brilliance from Bill Johnson of Bethel Redding:

“When our passion for God fails to find its expression in joy, it will often find expression in legalism.” Bill Johnson 

I hope you find some great things to read, watch and eat on this post.

Have a great week friends!

Victoria

PS. Due to when the Review Crew due dates fall, you’ll be getting 3 days of nature study posts from me between 7th and 9th, then a science review on the 10th.  But then your inbox will have a 6 day break until the 16th.  I hope you don’t feel swamped!

This post contains affiliate links.

Simple Steps Towards Natural Living

Simple steps towards natural living

I’ve written for Lindsey again this month, this time on Simple Steps Towards Natural Living.  I hope you’ll have a read – let me know what you think!

I hope you’ve managed to listen in to the first day of Nourished Living Summit this week – so much great info for free!

Have a great week,

Victoria

Nourished Living Summit – FREE Online Conference

I’d love to share a great opportunity this week for you to tune in for free and listen in to some of the best experts in the area around in the area of natural health.

The Nourished Living Summit brings together 69 natural health, wellness, and parenting professionals who are dedicated to helping parents care for their family naturally.

Nourished Living SummitThe Nourished Living Summit is a FREE online event and launches 24 March 2014.

The Nourished Living Summit is showcasing 62 presentations divided into 8 thematic tracks including:

  • Pre-Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth
  • Breastfeeding
  • Health and Development for Children Ages 0-18
  • Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family
  • Care and Nurturing For Mothers
  • Education for Natural Minded Parents

Beginning 24 March, you will have 48 hours to listen to 3-5 presentations. Each track is divided over the course of two 48 hour periods. Presentations will stream live Monday-Saturday with Sundays off. The Summit ends on 29 April.

IMPORTANT: You need to be registered in order to listen to the presentations. You can register on the home page of the official Nourished Living Summit website.

Speaker Line-up

Pregnancy

Infertility and Preconception Health
Donielle Baker
Natural Fertility and Wellness

Natural Family Planning and Ecological Breastfeeding
John and Sheila Kippley
Natural Family Planning

Birth Choices
Nicole Deggins, CNM, MSN, MPH
Sista Midwife Productions

Carrying and Parenting Multiples
Trisha Gilkerson
Breastfeeding Place

Preventing Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies Before Conception
Jill Baumann, BS, NC
Guided Path To Health

Herbs and Oils for Pregnancy and Birth
Jessica Aveni
Natural Health and Prevention

Eating For Two
Courtney Hillis
THRIVE: Natural Family Living

Family Oriented Bonding
Guggie Daly
The Guggie Daly

Breastfeeding

Supporting and Boosting Milk Supply Naturally
Diana West, BA, IBCLC
Low Milk Supply and Mahala Lactation and Perinatal Services, LLC

Building Blocks To A Healthy Breastfeeding Relationship
Dionna Ford
Code Name Mama

Back to Work Breastfeeding
Renee Beebe, M.Ed., IBCLC
The Second Nine Months

Breastfeeding As A Source of Joy
Christine Poirier-Brotchie
Momzelle Nursing Wear

Donor Milk
Emma Kwasnica
Human Milk 4 Human Babies

Nutrition and Breastfeeding
Becky Webb, NTP, CD (DONA)
Rooted Blessings

Inducing Lactation – One Mother’s Story
Millie Copper
Real Food For Less Money

Tongue Tie
Jennifer Tow, B.F.A., IBCLC
Intuitive Parenting Network

0-3

The Vaccine Decision – What Parents Need To Know
Jessika Bailey
Natural Mother Magazine

Gentle Sleep Solutions
Elizabeth Pantley
The No-Cry Solutions

Baby Led Weaning and Starting Solids
Kate Tieje
Modern Alternative Mama

Co-Sleeping
Laura Schuerwegen
Authentic Parenting

Newborn Decisions/Newborn Care
Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D
Author of The Business of Baby

Proper Care of Your Intact Son
Jennifer Andersen
Our Muddy Boots
and
Larissa Black
The WHOLE Network

Cloth Diapering
Miriam J. Katz
Author of The Other Baby Book and Intuitive Life Coach
and
Megan McGrory Massaro
Author of The Other Baby Book

Elimination Communication
Marija Mikolajczak
EC Wear

Babywearing
Jennifer Wenzel
True Confessions of a Real Mommy
and
Julie Mangan
A Little Bit of All of It
and
Shannon Riley
The Artful Mama

3-6

Autism
Dr. Jay Gordon, MD FAAP
Dr. Jay Gordon

Childhood Development Disorders
Dr. Jamie Oskin, N.D.
Arizona Natural Health Center

Chiropractic For Children and In Pregnancy
Dr. Staci Borkhuis, D.C.
Cornerstone Chiropractic

Children’s Dental Health
Will and Susan Revak
OraWellness

Extended Breastfeeding and Tandem Nursing
Lauren Wayne
Hobo Mama

Potty Training/Learning
Robert Edwards
Squatty Potty
and
Moorea Malatt
Savvy Parenting Support

Fostering Healthy Independence
Ariadne Brill
Positive Parenting Connection

Children and Reading
Elaine Krishnan
Usborne Books and More 
and
Jana Kemp
Jana M. Kemp

6-18

Puberty
Dr. Sherrill Sellman, N.D
What Women Must Know with Dr. Sellmen

Adrenal Health For Children
Michael Smith, N.D. BHSC
Planet Naturopath

Teen Health
Lydia Shatney
Divine Health From The Inside Out

Posture Makes Perfect: The Benefits of a Physically Balanced Life
Elizabeth Eckert
Word Cures

Parenting Without Stereotypes
Paige Lucas-Stannard
Parenting Gently

Raising Your Children To Know Where Their Food Comes From
Abbie Walston
Farmer’s Daughter

whole Family

Common Childhood Illnesses
Dr. Mary Bove, ND
Brattleboro Naturopathic Clinic

Skincare for Families
Jennifer Saleem
Hybrid Rasta Mama

Food Allergies
KerryAnn Foster
Intentionally Domestic

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
Joy Moeller, BS, RDH
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist

What Every Parent Needs To Know About Gluten
Joe Rigola
Wellness Punks

How Candida and Parasites May Be Harming Your Children’s Health
Amy Love, NTP, CGP, CILC
Real Food Whole Health

Environmental Toxins
Andrea Fabry
moms AWARE

Kombucha for Families
Hannah Crum
Kombucha Kamp

mama care

Preventing Postpartum Depression
Amanda Rose
Rebuild From Depression

Herbal Support for New and Overwhelmed Mothers
Carol Little
Studio Botanica

Self Care For Moms
Lauren Luquin
Spiral Elixir

Healing from Trauma and the Benefits of Placenta Encapsulation
Stephanie Brandt Cornais
Mama and Baby Love

Getting Centered
Amy Phoenix
Presence Parenting

Mommy Tummy and Diastasis Recti
Bethany Learn
Fit2Be Studio

The Babywearing Workout
Kelly Stewart
The Babywearing Workout

Parent Empowerment

Managing Anger and Overwhelm as a Parent
Dr. Laura Markham
Aha Parenting

Attachment Parenting: Creating a Foundation for Healthy Child Development
Kelly Bartlett
Author of Encouraging Words for Kids

Becoming Aware of Possible Toxins Around your Children; Choosing Safe Products for Your Children
Dawn Lorenz
Raising Natural Kids

Holistic Fathers – Engaging and Including Dad
Billy Bradley
Holistic Dad

Creating a Natural Medicine Cabinet
Rosalee de la Foret
Herbal Remedies Advice

Sneaky Nutrition
Lisa Herndon
Lisa’s Counter Culture

Real Food For Families
Kimi Harris
The Nourishing Gourmet

Finding Community
Chara Shopp
Stitching Hearts Together
and
Judy Tyler
Living Healthy ‘n’ Happy

REGISTER HERE

I am all for getting equipped to live a life that co-operates with how we were created.  There’s a number of these that I’m going to listen in to myself.

I hope to see some of you there!

Victoria

{Shared at Teaching What is Good}

What is Natural Living? – A Faith-Based Perspective

What is Natural Living

Anyone else out there feel like the realm of natural health is a vast sea of information, sometimes conflicting research, seemingly ever-changing facts, and everyone from the expert to the blogger has an opinion on what way is best?

I’ve meandered all over the place on this journey, having tried a mostly raw diet, nourishing traditions diet, various gluten and/or dairy-free combinations, and experimented with different wonder-foods and new discoveries in health.  And still, I come back to the same place each time.  It is much simpler than what many have let this become.

I believe a natural living is simply co-operating with God’s design for you.  ‘Natural’ speaks of ease, of rest, of wellness, of wholeness, of belonging, and of a rhythm that is intentional yet without toil.  The bible speaks of stewardship, generosity and community, and for us, those are important aspects of how our family desires to live out Heaven’s purpose for our lives on earth.

What do I mean by ‘Natural Living’?

With the above in mind, here are my thoughts on what natural living means to me.  The core value that my husband and I have on this is, to live responsibly in a way that stewards our bodies well and that co-operates with God’s design for our lives – as much as we currently can with other limitations and circumstances outside our control.  The rest that we can’t do, for numerous reasons, we just have to trust in Him to take care of.

Here’s how we try and live out this idea of natural living:

  • Parenting from a natural, responsive paradigm where children are valued, included, cherished, prioritised, and raised in a loving and affirming environment.  Healthy attachment and relational connection are paramount.  This may look different from family to family.
  • Eating healthy, whole, and usually organic food in its most unadulterated state – that includes being GE-free, fair-trade, and free from harmful chemicals (ie. pesticides, herbicides, fungicides etc);
  • Seeking nature’s remedies and methods for common ailments, and preventing and curing illness with nature’s best;
  • Using sustainable practices, such as recycling, seed raising, and composting, and minimising our waste;
  • Using household and personal care products that are free from harmful chemicals;
  • Switching to products made from nature, such as glass, wood, and natural fibres (eg. cotton and wool), over those made from polyester, plastic and the like.

If you’re participating in a modern world, the complete removal of everything man-made that is potentially toxic is near impossible.  Most of us use phones and computers, electricity and some degree of harmful chemicals.  I think we can only move in the direction of more natural living and find some balance in our transition to a way of living that is more in line with how God would have us steward ourselves and our world.

For us, living naturally also means living in loving connection to our Heavenly Father, just as he created us to, and living this out purposefully in the world.  It means living and serving within community and reaching out to a lost and needy world.

Diet and Nutrition

On this aspect, I don’t believe in a one-size fits all diet or approach – our occupations vary, our climates impact our diet and health, our individual health needs are different, our local food availability varies, and so forth.   The world we live in is constantly changing also.  Sometimes it might even mean what worked last year could need to be adjusted this year.

For some of us, changing our lifestyle may be a complete undoing of the only way we have ever known, as well as it being the opposite of the way that mainstream culture flows.  Simple steps can help to keep it things sustainable and stress-free.

You may have some certain health needs that will require a temporary and specific diet for a period of time, before you can return to a way of living that is more long-term.

Finding a Path Forward

It’s my hope that you don’t feel like it’s all too hard but that you can see some steps you can take that will set your family on a course that will affect your health for years to come.

Our family is not perfect, and like many others, we’re trying to live as naturally as possible with many constraints and various pressure from different places.  But we’re better than we were a year ago. And much better than we were 2 years, 5 years, 10 years ago.  We’re on a journey, and like any journey, there are times when we stop and assess where we’re at, and make changes to the direction we’re on as the Lord reveals more of the map to us.

Can I encourage you today to simply sit in the presence with your heavenly Father, and listen to what He wants to say to you?  I’m confident that He wants to show us all how to live closely to Him, and find a path to health and prosperity that will bring life to us and those around us.

For further information and links, please see Natural Living Guide, Simple Steps Towards Natural Living, and Natural Health and Healing.

{Shared at Babies and Beyond, Graced Simplicity, Growing Home, Teaching What is Good, Time Warp Wife, and Raising the Barrs}

Changing the Pace – taking steps to live a more simple life

Changing the Pace

There’s a flood of e-books, articles and information online these days, giving us insight into how to balance every aspect of our lives, particularly for us mothers that are at home and sometimes also homeschooling our children.  Although there are varying voices on the subject, the loudest one appears to be that we woman can have it all, make a few compromises and take some short-cuts, but still manage to juggle all these balls that are thrown our way.

I’ve felt caught up into the frenzy myself at times, with a mix of worthy goals and some less worthy – to nurture my marriage, successfully raise and teach my children, be actively involved in the lives of others, have some sort of public face so I don’t fade into obscurity, manage a home well, give out of what the Lord has placed in my hands, have Mum time with others outside my home, meetings and functions, write in this space here while ticking all the necessary boxes that I knew nothing about 12 months ago (eg. SEO keywords, pinnable images, and social media promotion)… and so forth.

And then there’s the deepest desire within me to connect more closely with my Creator, the source of all things good in my life.  He has so much he wants to share with me, and yet my own fears of perhaps falling off someone’s radar or not feeling fully satisfied with how things are arranged in my life, has frequently kept me from being still and moving out of the fast pace of modern life to hear His voice.

I love the picture that we have been given in creation, of bees, birds and insects, living out their purpose, but not in a hurry.  There’s a natural rhythm to things, cycles and seasons that continue without toil.  Fruit comes forth from a healthy tree of its own accord, and doesn’t strain or labour to appear.  Aren’t we, those created in the image of God, so much more capable of finding this sort of purpose and peace in our own lives?  To align ourselves with a rhythm and purpose that has peace, sustained rest, and fullness of life?

So I’m at the point now of saying yes more to the things that matter, which inevitably means saying no to other things at times.

  • Yes to more time with Jesus, so no to things that use my time unwisely or that can simply wait.
  • Yes to more time just enjoying the sun with my children, feet in the grass, and breathing fresh air, so no to always managing our day according to the clock.
  • Yes to making our home as our ‘centre’, so no to lots of activity through the week outside the home.
  • Yes to the natural rhythm and pace that my family is best wired to, so no to hurrying my children up all the time.
  • Yes to the ‘hidden’ things that take place out of sight from others: enjoying my children, loving my husband, and cultivating a healthy environment in my home.  So no to excessive social media time, ‘me’ time with friends, blogging things, or putting aside the ministry in my home to do ministry in other places.  [Of course I still want to spend time with my friends and serve the Lord in other places besides my home, but those things need to find their place in this season of my life where my home is where my heart is].

I’m anticipating that in deciding to focus primarily on these hidden years with my children, I might fall off the social scene somewhat, not always make it to events and functions, and perhaps even become forgotten by some if I lose my visibility in their lives.  But I’m choosing to focus on what God is giving me, not what I am losing. I’m going after what He is giving me instead!

I’m finding I’m looking forward to waking up each day, having the kids jump into my lap, homeschooling them (even though daily there are still challenges to overcome), and the end of the day I can’t wait to spend time with Jesus.

I’m off the treadmill and have my feet on the ground.   I’m planning to enjoy my years with my children.  I don’t want a single regret from this point forward.

Will you join me?

Victoria