Wednesday, August 29, 2012


We've been a one car family since right before Tristan was born, so it's been two and a half years for me without a car. I know in some siuations that wouldn't be a big deal. In a city with public transportation or lots of things within walking distance? No big deal! In a family with a really flexible schedule and the ability to share a car- no big deal! But we live in the suburbs, and with Thad's work situation it's been almost impossible for us to share a car. Even before we planted the church, he was working as a youth pastor, with a second job on the side. He's gone A LOT, and needs the car constantly while he's gone, which means I can't just drop him off at work and then pick him up at the end of the day.

It's been a long 2.5 years, being stuck at home almost every day. But all that has changed- we have a second vehicle now!!! Some wonderful friends of ours got a new truck, and gave Thad their '88 Land Cruiser! It's an awesome old SUV, and is apparently pretty tough- the rumor is that the Land Cruiser was the first SUV to make it to the base camp of Mt. Kilamanjaro. Thad's pretty excited about that.

Isn't it cool looking?

It's pretty old school- manual locks, crank windows, etc.

And with this vehicle in our posession now, I get to drive our original Dodge Nitro! I finally have a car of my own!!! I am so incredibly excited about this! I can do whatever I want, whenever I want! I don't have to coordinate my grocery shopping day with Thad so that I can make sure I can use the car. I don't have to ask Thad to pick stuff up front the store when I forget something! I dont have to constantly turn down playdates because I'd have no way to get to them.

The biggest change has been in day to day life though. I knew it would make a huge difference for me to have a car, but I had no idea how huge. The simple ability to leave the house whenever I want has had such an effect on me! I'm feeling so much happier throughout the day. I'm actually getting more done around the house in less time. Amazing!

This second car also brings me one step closer to my dream of being a doula. I'm going to be able to study so much more now, because when I take the kids to the library, park, or jump house, they can actually play independently while I read or study! Most importantly, I'll now have a vehicle to drive to births!

I'm so excited. This has been a long time coming. I've finally got freedom!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Health Speed Bump!

It's been a long journey towards health for me, and it's not over yet. Over the past couple of weeks, I've realized that I've hit another speed bump in my journey, and this time I think I'm going to need to get some professional help.

I started out pretty darn sick two years ago, with some pretty scary digestive symptoms and some pretty scary psychological symptoms. Both of those saw drastic improvement with a gluten free diet and the addition of fish oil supplements. After a year gluten free, I was still much improved but nowhere near healthy. At the beginning of this year, I started the GAPS diet and saw even more improvement! I was so excited.

I've been on full GAPS for over 6 months now, and while I've seen some healing I'm nowhere near where I want to be. It seems like all the symptoms that were getting so much better when I first started GAPS are now getting worse again. Either the symptoms are getting worse, or they're still improved from where they were 9 months ago and it's hard for me to remember just how bad they were- I can't tell.

I'm still struggling with allergies. Not a huge deal, but really annoying. I'm tired all the time. I'm still getting diharreah, but only right before my period. Speaking of my period, most of my worst symptoms seem to be hormonal. Remember the really bad PMS I told you about a while back, and how it was improving? It seems to be getting worse again. I'm having serious anxiety and emotional issues for about a week every cycle. It's so frustrating, and so debilitating. I'm not depressed- I just feel like I am for a week every month. I basically have to stop listening to any messages I'm getting from my brain during that week, because they all turn super negative, and just switch on auto pilot. I feel like I'm missing a whole week of my life every month. Then after I finally come out of that fog, it normally takes me a couple of days to get my equilibrium back again. It's so, so frustrating, and honestly I'm just really tired of dealing with it! I want my life back!

Last month, I got some spotting mid-cycle. I know that's normal for some women, but it's definitely not normal for me. I've been having some nausea and dizziness off and on too. All red flags that are telling me I definitely need to get some outside help.

Red flags

After looking at all my symptoms, I'm guessing I'm dealing with hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, or both. I'm really not comfortable trying to mess with anything hormonal without professional help. I also want to get some levels checked and find out for sure what I'm really dealing with. I've been able to do a lot to improve my health on my own, but if I can find a professional who knows a lot more than I do and has the tools to help me get better, that would be amazing. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, but after feeling bad for so long even just the thought of feeling great sounds amazing. I get a week or two each month where I feel great- if I could feel like that all the time, I can't even imagine how awesome that would be!!!

Yes, there are things I haven't tried yet. I haven't done the GAPS intro. I'm not even sure if I should do the GAPS intro while I'm still nursing. I haven't cut out oxalates. I haven't cut my fruit back drastically. I haven't gotten Pickl-it's for fermenting in. Maybe some or all of those things could help me. But honestly, I just don't have enough energy left to try to figure it out on my own. On the bad weeks, it's all I can do just to make it through the day and attempt to interact normally with people. I don't have enough energy left to keep searching for answers on my own. My first priority now, health wise, is to find someone that can help me get healthy again.

In saying that, there's a part of me that's really nervous about looking for help. I need to find a doctor that can help me. I need to find a doctor that understands about the gut-brain connection and that understands natural healing methods. I'm convinced that my body can heal itself with the right tools and given the right opportunities. I need to find a doctor that will respect all the hard work I've done on my own, that will listen to my incredibly long story, and won't blow off my instincts about my own body. And I have no idea where to start looking for someone like that.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Glorious Body

Ecclesiastes 7:1
A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.


That scripture sums up a big question I've had for some time now- you know the kind- a big inconsistency that just knaws at your soul until you figure it out. Something that just doesn't make sense. I finally got an answer, and it's been totally transformative for me.

Okay, so in church I've been taught a number of things about the "flesh". That it's bad. Flesh is bad, spirit is good. Feed your spirit and starve your flesh so that you can grow closer to God. Then there's the famous: "You are a spirit, you have a soul, you live in a body"- as if the body was no more important than a set of clothes or a car to drive in.

Those things all make sense on some level. Of course our sin nature is not something good or something to indulge. But the more experiences I've had in life, the less I've resonated with the above statements, and I couldn't figure out why.

If the body is something bad, or at least inconsequential, then why is my own experience telling me that physical things are extremely important? I look back on Tristan's birth as one of the single most empowering, life altering experiences of my life. But why? Why is something as inherently physical as birth so transformative? I'm not the only one that's had that kind of experience. I haven't written about this yet, but the experience of breastfeeding Tristan, especially as he's gotten older, has caused me to do some deep introspection and has altered the way that I experience relationships as a whole. Why would something as physical as breastfeeding affect my soul so deeply and teach me so much about myself? Why is there something magical about the touch of human skin on human skin? On the flip side of the coin- why can physical violations be so soul shattering? Why can an assault against the physical body be so emotionally, mentally, and psychologically damaging?

These were questions that were haunting me- and yet they were so deep within my soul that I hadn't even given voice to them. And you know how the Lord has that wonderful way of answering before we even ask for something? Out of the blue one Sunday, during the sermon at church, my eyes were opened and I saw clearly the answer to these nagging inconsistencies.

The message was titled, "Heaven: A Land That You Know." It began with a C.S. Lewis quote:

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

Then Thad talked about some of the common misconceptions of what heaven might be like. One common one has been that we'd be floating around on a cloud playing a harp all day long. That doesn't sound like fun to me. Cloud floating is not an innate desire that we all have- but if heaven is real then shouldn't we find within ourselves a God given desire for it? Other people have said that we'll just be worshiping 24/7, like a perpetual church service. Church is often amazing, but that's honestly not something anyone wants to do forever and ever. Some people speculate that we'll all just be spirits floating around up there.

And that's when it really started to get real. He went on to explain that heaven will be a physical place, referencing the scriptures about the New Jerusalem. Then he talked about the 7 dwelling places of God over time:

1. Garden of Eden
2. The Tabernacle
3. The Temple
4. Jesus
5. The church (as in His spirit dwelling in us)
6. The re-built temple(future)
7. Eternity/A return to the Garden of Eden

The point was that each of those have been a physical dwelling place, and that heaven will be an actual physical place. We'll have physical bodies there. We'll know each other and have relationships with other people- but in such a deep way that we can't even imagine it now.

Then he went to the scripture I quoted at the very beginning of this post- it says that the day of one's death is greater than the day of birth. Gosh, that threw me. As someone who knows firsthand just how glorious birth can be- and then to say that death is even greater? How can that be???

Then it hit me. God is physical. God created it that way. Not just as a default for the time we're on earth. We're physical beings just as much as we're spiritual beings. Yes, God is a spirit, but He's Father, Son and Holy Ghost- and Jesus is a physical body!!! When He created Adam and Eve, and put them in the only perfect place this world has seen, he put them in a garden! It doesn't get much more tangible than that. A garden- what greater place could there be to see growth and life and birth??? And get this- they were naked. And they weren't ashamed. There was nothing shameful about their bodies- it was just them, who they were. It wasn't until after the fall that the body started to be covered up.

So that's what I'm figuring out- that our bodies are not something inherently bad. Yes, we all have a sin nature, but that's only because of the fall. Our bodies were initially created to be something glorious. And when we get to heaven, our bodies aren't done away with. We don't become purely spiritual beings. When we get to heaven, we trade our fallen bodies for a glorified body- a perfect body not under the curse of sin!!!

That's how the day of death can be greater than the day of birth- because we'll finally be complete. Not because we leave behind our physical body, but because it's glorified. We'll finally be in the perfect place, with perfect physical bodies. We'll have a pure spirit, soul, and body for the first time ever, and we'll be able exist fully, completely for the first time.

This is why our physical experiences here on earth can be so incredibly life changing! It's not a weird thing that happens even though our bodies are "sinful"- it's exactly how God created it to be! God made us to experience things physically. It's His plan. And I believe that when we follow the design of how He created our bodies to work as closely as we can, we see more of Him. The closer we can follow the design that he created, and respect the way that our bodies were intended to be used, the greater potential for a positive, spiritual, transformative experience. I know for me personally, my home birth was the closest thing to a supernatural experience I've ever had. That's not an anomaly- it's exactly how He designed it.

He designed us to have physical experiences. He intended for the soft touch of skin on skin to be comforting. He intended for perfect musical harmonies to be able to touch our soul and remind us of Him. He intended for a beautiful sunset to inspire us. He intended for a husband and a wife to know each other in a deep, intimate, physical way- and for that to be simultaneously physical and spiritual. He intended for not just babies, but mothers to be born through the act of childbirth. He intended for the inherently physical, tangible act of breastfeeding to affect both our bodies and our souls. And He intends for us to live with him in eternity- in a glorified, perfect, physical state!

Sunrise of river