For my family, regrouping will encompass several areas: home organization, diet, home schooling, and outside activities. I have been tackling home organization for several months now and I am happy to report that things are significantly better! The move from 2700 square feet and 2 garages down to 1700 square feet has been interesting! If I were to count, I bet we have taken no less than 200 bags of stuff to donate. I know for a fact that we took 70-80 bags that first week in our new house and have continued steadily taking bags of things that no longer fit our lifestyle for the last 16 months. Other than one wall about 4 feet deep of storage stuff of my husband’s, we no longer have any clutter.
Diet. Hmmm. Diet. Frankly, I dread our upcoming changes in diet. Throughout the last 15 years, I have bounced back and forth between eating organic and eating conventional food. Since we moved to Floresville, it has been easy to put off addressing our diet. Now that I have had yet another baby that will be carrying on the family tradition of food allergies, I can no longer put off serious dietary changes. First up, through a saliva test, I confirmed that David and I both have candida (yeast) overgrowth. At about the same time as we did the saliva test at home, we learned that the polyp my husband had recently had removed was considered precancerous. Because both candida and cancer feed on sugar, we are going to have to temporarily cut sugars, both refined and naturally occurring, as part of our healthier diet. My beloved hot sweet tea in the mornings is now a thing of the past.
Second, after weeks of praying and asking the Lord to show me which “diet” my family should follow to begin healing from what is most likely a leaky gut, He showed me pretty clearly that we are to use the GAPS diet. I am starting to read Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD today. (GAPS is the commonly used acronym for the diet the book explains.) Fortunately, I have a friend with a family as large as mine ready to undertake this journey with me. This week I will officially cut all refined sugars for the second time. I was successful cutting refined sugars three weeks ago, then let myself drink a Coke and have backslid since. Tomorrow is Day 1, again (just gotta finish this Coke I’m drinking right now….)
I am in the middle of a fantastic book by Sally Clarkson right now: The Lifegiving Home. I haven’t always been a Sally Clarkson fan. Ten years ago, a group of ladies and I studied her book, The Mission of Motherhood. At the time, I found it to be too touchy feely and artsy. Now, with many more years of motherhood under my belt, I realize that I could have stood to be a lot more touchy feely myself. Alas, you live and learn. Thank goodness it’s okay that we are all just works in progress.
I bought Sally’s book, Own Your Life, to read after the birth of my last baby and fell in love with her sincere, honest, and gentle style of writing. Nursing my new baby became a time I looked forward to each day not just because it gave me time to snuggle my new little guy, but because I was excited to see what Sally had to say! I left that baby moon inspired and didn’t end up going through my usual bout with post partem depression! I am confident that this is because of the encouragement and direction Own Your Life offered!
The Lifegiving Home is a lovely book. To give you an idea of the topics Sally addresses, there are chapters titled “Creating a Framework for Home: Rhythms, Routines, and Rituals”, “A Culture of Love: Lifelong Relationships”, and “The Art of the Ordinary: Finding Beauty in Your Own Backyard”. This book isn’t just for moms, it’s for women all ages and stages. If you are in the season of redefining like I am, The Lifegiving Home is a must-have book!
Last, my family is addressing the relevancy of each of our extracurricular activities. Both of my teenagers are working hard doing odd jobs to help pay for their extra activities. The act of helping pay for their extra activities has matured them in ways that a parental lecture never could! (Not that I lecture…) We are certainly in a new season now that my oldest two children at home are now in their teen years. As is natural, some of the kids (and us!) have burned out on some of what they thought they would enjoy doing. I explained to them last night that although we need to follow through with all of their spring commitments, they need not continue on with certain activities that aren’t adding as much to life as we previously thought once this season is over.
I am happy to share that my family’s mission to serve others is going strong! This spring I have started a moms group at my church and am in the process of setting up a food co op (a group of people that gets together and buys food in bulk at wholesale prices, then splits it up). As a result of these two new service opportunities, I am going to need to gently drag my kicking and screaming self away from the homeschool group that I started in a neighboring town several years ago. I love my momma-friends there, but it is time for us to put down roots in our new community. Plus, the homeschool group is going strong and has great forward momentum.
I purposefully left out the most important aspect of regrouping: my relationship with my husband. Truthfully, I am just so ashamed to admit how far I had pulled away from him and put my marriage on the back burner. No matter how many babies you have, it’s always the same after birth: life-altering. Silas is a difficult baby. Fussy, doesn’t sleep well, at 7 months old he still nurses every 2 hours day and night, passed baby food right up and eats whatever I am eating (and doesn’t “let” me eat without him. I have to hide!), is way too mobile to take your eyes off of him for a moment (he is letting go of the furniture and standing), and his eczema and food allergies are a gift that, unfortunately, keeps on giving. He is up frequently at night because he is scratching his eczema in his sleep, and often wakes himself up. It is not uncommon to see dried blood on his sheet. My heart goes out to him. And me. David and I are finding our way through, as we always do. My heart goes out to all new parents out there. One thing I have learned after being here 9 times, there just isn’t a right way to navigate this season in life. You. just. get. through. it.
January has been a great month, full of wonderful, peaceful change. I’m looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us next.