What is it about this time of year that causes us to look over the past 12 months and seriously ponder those things in our lives that need changing? Maybe it's tradition or maybe it's some sort of cyclical emotional response that we just fall into after the highs and lows of so many back to back celebrations, but whatever it is I guess if it causes us to look for ways to improve who and what we are then it's a good thing and maybe we should evaluate things like that more often than once a year. I usually tend to start looking over things toward the end of October and gradually try to figure out what the things in my life are that I am the least able to allow myself to continue doing or not doing that I ought to be and then try to come up with a reasonable solution. This year that list is a lot longer than I want to admit.
I have to say that me and my little family really have come such a long way in such a short period of time that a little part of me almost wants to just excuse all of those glaring shortcomings and go on about my life as is without guilt. Then the (somewhat) sensible side of me that knows that I have to set a better example for my kids every day says "shape up sister! let's get to work"..... so here I have been, perched not so contentedly on the corner of 'Falling short' and 'Walking upward'.... again.
I'm not kidding about coming along way in a short time. 3 years ago we were living in a shack that was literally falling down around us, eating nearly all junk food, telling time by what was on the tv, and for all intents and purposes slowly killing ourselves with the lazy laid back lifestyle that we thought at the time was "fun". We had no spiritual life to speak of other than the occasional memory of attending the sweet little country church a couple of years before that.... and it showed. Now we live in a comfortable home that meets our needs well, and we live here knowing that for now this is where the Lord wants us to be. We eat healthy (for the most part) meals and little junk food. Our tv is rarely even on and certainly not on the trash that used to be so welcomed in our home. We are outside everyday working and learning in fresh air, and our bodies are so much healthier now than what they have been in this decade!
As far as our spiritual lives.... well the difference is night and day. We love the Lord and every day make sure that we spend time with HIM, our church is pretty much our home away from home and we have no intention of making any kind of changes that are outside of what the Lord has for us in His plan.... but even with all of that being said, we could stand to be closer to Him and we could stand to spend more time with Him. So the first thing I plan to improve is how I approach my day to day walk with the Lord. We very faithfully have devotions and prayer time but I think where we really lack is that quiet alone time with the Lord to just have a private study or time to pray privately and I am determined to set that time aside no matter what else has to be pushed back or changed to get it. There are some other things in that vein that will be changing but I won't go any further into it here.
I'm also feeling really burdened about our physical health. I've talked about my health before but sometimes I just have to say it again... I deal with a chronic health disorder. It affects my heart and the way it functions and sometimes I faint, sometimes I feel so tired and grouchy that it's hard to care about anything. Sometimes it feels like my chest is about to cave in and that I may be taking my last breath at that particular moment in time. I get terrible headaches that cause me to be sick and unable to do anything but throw up for days at at a time.A lot of the time I feel like I am looking and hearing through a very long dark tube while being spun around by my feet and it makes me mad sometimes to be so helpless to change any of that. BUT----3 years ago I was fainting up to 6 times PER DAY! But now I faint maybe 3 times in 6 months.... if that much, and the rest of those symptoms are so much less now than before that for sometimes 2 week stretches of time I can convince myself that I'm perfectly normal....almost.
I said all of that to say this.... I intend to do everything I can to help continue to improve my health and my family's health. I am 100% convinced that our diet is a key to having a healthier life. Not just our food but the things that go in and out of our homes are keys too. (I have noticed that since we stopped using so many of those horrible toxic chemicals to "clean" our house we haven't been catching so many colds and such.) I know that even more changes are needed in our diets, and in our habits around our home to improve our health. I've been reading more and more about food lately and it's just scary what kind of "food" we are eating. The fastest, smartest thing you can do to improve your family's health through your diet start reading about MSG and aspartame. I double dare you........ just google it, type in' MSG + obesity ' or ' MSG addiction' and settle down for some interesting reading that should change the way you look at food forever. Here's one link on the truth about MSG to get you started.
My family's health is literally in my hands. I am the person who is responsible for choosing their food, preparing their food, and serving their food. In the last 2 years our diet is what has made the most dramatic change, and it's what changed most dramatically before things went downhill for us in the first place. We went from drinking fresh, whole milk straight from the farm and eating farm fresh produce and meat, doing all of our baking from scratch and using whole natural fats and being in top notch health all the time to almost the total opposite in the first few months of 2001. By the 3rd quarter of 2003 I had required a hysterectomy, Troy had required gallbladder surgery, all of us were catching frequent colds and viruses, I was fainting constantly and on nearly a dozen daily medications, the kids weren't sleeping well, we were all feeling exhausted all the time, and our overall health was definitely on the downward trend.
Now, I can't say that our diet is the sole cause of all the health problems we've had but I can say that when we were eating fresh whole foods and none of this processed stuff with a yard long list of chemicalized and processed to death compounds in the ingredient list we were extremely healthy, and I can say that now that we are working toward weeding out the processed junk again we are improving our health dramatically. High fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, and msg are all things that are slowly killing us and they are present in almost everything you buy at the grocery store or restaurant. It amazes me that people won't pay the price or take the time to prepare healthy foods for their families but they will gladly shell out hundreds of dollars (or more) each month for health care and dental bills and medications and time lost from work and spend so much time scheduling those appointments and going to them.
And that's all I have to say about that.... for now. I can tell you that there are changes on the way folks.... big ones and little ones but all have been soaked in prayer and I know that they are necessary. All that talk about food has made me hungry now, and my family is patiently waiting for me so I had better stop blogging for now.