Author Archives: Windy Looney

Trusting God More Than My Midwife

I am now 32 weeks pregnant with our first son.  He is such a cutie too!!  I know this because I got an unexpected peek at his adorable face.  I was just going in to have a recording made of his heartbeat, but as an added bonus I was given an awesome 3d sonogram of his face.  Truly amazing!  My daughters, who were with me at the time, were as delighted as I was squealing, “He’s sooo CUTE!”

So, now it’s countdown time until we meet this little chub-a-lub of a miracle from God.  Eight more weeks of my stomach growing even bigger (which is hard to imagine at this point)!  Eight more weeks of using the excuse, “I’m pregnant and don’t feel like it.” :)  Eight more weeks of feeling those incredible flutters, kicks, wiggles, jabs, and hickups from a little person moving inside my body.  Eight more weeks of drinking coffee with a guilty conscience because I know my midwife doesn’t approve.  And, that’s not all she disapproves of!

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I love my midwife…I really do.  Even though she makes me turn in a food log to her every visit and tells me all the things I shouldn’t be eating and drinking- I still love her unconditionally.  Boy, she sure knows how to lay on the guilt too!  Who knew that carrots and snow peas were not a good choice of veggies (too much sugar, she said).  Why is juice bad for me?  Again, too much sugar, she said.  Why can’t I have Special K cereal for breakfast?  It’s my favorite cereal.  Oh right… too many carbs, not enough protein.  What’s wrong with my ham and cheese sandwich for lunch?  Full of nitrates if you didn’t get the meat cut from the deli, she said!

I think my best approach to the mandatory food log I give her every month has been to have a sense of humor.  When she questioned why I was still drinking coffee every morning, my response to her was, “Have you tried my husband’s cinnamon latte???  Why would I give that up?”  I love to make her laugh when she reviews my log.  One particular food log was full of humor and she enjoyed reading it so much that she kept it in my file.  I had written entries like, “Breakfast:  homemade bread and homemade raspberry jam from the Mennonite bakery in Westcliffe, CO… now don’t tell me I can’t have that!”  And, from another day’s entry, “Went to Olive Garden for lunch: you don’t want to know what I had.”

In all fairness, her intentions are good for me.  I know this.  she just wants a healthy me, a healthy baby, and a healthy delivery.  So, thank you Lord that my midwife wants the best for me.  Thank you that she holds me accountable for what I eat and drink during my pregnancy, even though she drives me crazy with her do’s and don’ts.

Ultimately though, the health of this baby is in God’s hands.  I have been trusting Him throughout this pregnancy, from the moment of preconception when I heard Him speak to me, “NEW LIFE.” and “YOU’RE KEEPING HIM FROM COMING,”  as I made the choice to stop my birth control.  I believe this baby boy has a special purpose and will be a blessing to everyone he meets.  I am trusting God for health in my body, as well as this baby’s, and I believe He will orchestrate a healthy delivery for me.  There are of course battles I fight in my mind that are brought on by strong hormones.  Overwhelming feelings of doubt, worry, frustration, fatigue, guilt, confusion, to name a few!  That’s why it is of the upmost importance to combat those feelings with God’s Word.  There are so many powerful verses in the Bible that talk about trusting God and being strong and courageous.  Here are 5 verses I have chosen to fill my spirit with:

  • Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  • Isaiah 40:31 – but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.
  • Romans 15:13- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.
  • Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

There are many voices we hear during pregnancy.  Advice coming from lots of well meaning people such as family, friends, midwives, doctors, and even strangers!  But the most important voice we need to listen to is from the Holy Spirit.  Keep your trust in Him.  He is faithful. His love never ends, and His mercies are new every morning!

“You’re not as fun as my friend’s mom.”

“Mama, it seems like my friend’s mom is more fun than you,” my daughter openly announced to me a few years ago.  I don’t even remember my response to her, but I know I was defensive about it whatever the words were.  It was a defining moment for me in my journey of motherhood.  One that made me stop and ask myself, “Am I not a fun mom?  Do I not laugh enough with my daughters?”  I was afraid of the answers to those questions!  After taking a good look back at my attitude during the days preceding my daughter’s comment, I realized something about myself.  I had been so caught up in my daily tasks… homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, grocery shopping, bookkeeping, disciplining children, teaching music lessons, and on and on…. that I had forgotten to have fun!

not-fun-mom

Discouraged and faced with something new to worry about, I confided in my husband, telling him that our daughter felt like her mom wasn’t any fun.  (Well, that’s not exactly what she said, but it felt like it!)  So, being the “fixer” that he is, he asked me, “What do you do that’s fun for you?”  Ummmm…. you mean besides sleeping or does that count?  So, I had to think a minute.  Surely there was something I did for fun.

Then I thought of all the cool things I USED to do like playing my flute, scrapbooking, jewelry making.  Those hobbies certainly brought me joy when my girls were little but the busier of a mom I became, it just felt like more effort to take time for those things.  At the end of a full day of homeschooling and working for my husband’s business, the most fun thing I could think of was collapsing on the couch and watching a movie or sleeping, (or sleeping during a movie!).

Proverbs 15:13 says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”  I don’t know about you but I want my children to see my cheerful face, and I’m not just talking about putting on a fake smile.  I want my face to shine with a genuine smile that represents my truly happy heart.  If we want to display a happy heart to our children, we definitely need to make room for FUN in our busy lives.  What do I do that’s fun for me?  I’m still trying to answer that question.  I think it’s in the little things right now.  Waking up to a creamy cinnamon latte made by my husband – That’s fun.  Listening to  Louis Armstrong on my record player while I fold laundry – That’s fun (well maybe not the laundry part!).  Laughing at my husband’s jokes when nobody else does – That’s fun.  Watching my girls grow and develop into such beautiful beings who love the Lord- that definitely makes my heart happy! :)

Pay attention to those little blessings in your life.  Ask God to make you more aware of whatever it is that gives you a happy heart.  If you find yourself bored with your routine or stressed that you can’t get it all done, take a mommy break…even a 5 minute one where you sit and have a cup of tea or coffee and read a book/magazine.  Go outside and listen to the birds.  They always have something to sing about.  Listen to your favorite music while you’re doing a mundane task- it will make it way more enjoyable.  Whatever you do, just don’t forget to have FUN!!

What do you do that you find fun? We can all probably use your ideas!

How to Shape Music Desires While Kids Are Young

How to shape music desires while kids are young.

“I’ll be the angel by your side, I will get you through the night.  I’ll be the strength you can’t provide on your own.  ‘Cause when you’re down and out of time, and you think you’ve lost the fight, let me be the angel.  The angel by your side.”  These are the sweet lyrics that I heard my little angel, Anelysse, singing as she was listening to Francesca Battistelli.  Each time I hear one of my three daughters singing lyrics to their favorite songs, I find such joy in knowing that the words they are communicating are good and honorable to God.

About 4 years ago when my girls were 9, 6, and 5, my oldest daughter was developing her love for music.  She was just beginning to show interest in the popular music her friends were listening to.  I figured that if she was going to be learning secular songs and singing them word for word, I better approve the content!  So, I looked up lyrics to some of the songs.  (I won’t give you names of songs or artists because I don’t want this to be a condemnation of secular music.)  Well, let’s just say that some of the words were not ones I would like my daughters repeating over and over again.  We live in a world where our daughters seem to be growing up way too fast, and I feel that the messages within certain secular songs (not all) definitely contribute to that.

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Realizing that my daughter needed a substitute for the music she was desiring to listen to, I began my search for popular Christian artists that would appeal to her.  It wasn’t long before I discovered some fabulous songs that I just knew my girls would LOVE!  Thrilled with my results, I immediately ordered CDs by:  Britt Nicole, Dara Maclean, Moriah Peters, Jamie Grace, and Francesca Batistelli.  I gave each of my daughters the CDs for Christmas and just as I hoped, they instantly fell in love with the music!!  Lauren Dagle is another favorite.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

I really take this scripture to heart and desire it not only for my own life, but for my precious daughters’ lives as well.  That’s why my quest for honorable music was so important.  I knew that if they had a love for music like their parents do, it needed to have a message that focused their thoughts on something true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, excellent, and WORTHY OF PRAISE!

I’m not saying that they are never allowed to listen to secular music.  They occasionally hear my husband’s favorite classic rock tunes or my old Louis Armstrong records that I like to listen to, and my youngest daughter has discovered that she likes ELVIS!  But when my girls are rocking out to their favorite music and singing the songs over and over again, my desire is for the words coming out of their mouths to be pleasing to the Lord.  Psalm 19:14 says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”    There’s power in our words, even in the songs we choose to sing.  Let our words be LOVELY and of GOOD REPUTE.  HONORABLE to GOD!!

So, I encourage you, mamas.  Take time to learn some of the lyrics to the music your kids are listening to.  If you don’t approve, have a conversation with them about music and the power of words. When you hear songs that aren’t honoring to God, take the opportunity to talk about them and the worldview they communicate and whether that measures up to Biblical truth.  The younger your kids are, the better.  Turn them on to honorable music during their elementary years so that when they are teens, they choose music that is pleasing to God!

East Texas Zesty Garlic Guacamole

I remember when I was growing up, my dad used to come home from work and pull out an avocado and chips for an evening snack before dinner.  I would watch him from a distance as he sliced into the avocado and began to mash it up in his bowl, making guacamole.  I thought it was Soooo Gross!!!  Why would he want to eat that slimy green stuff?  I mean, come on Daddy, how weird can you be?  30 years later, it’s one of my favorite appetizers!  I guess Daddy knew what a good thing was back then.

guacamole-recipe

Here in East Texas you’ll find guacamole on the menu of almost any restaurant you go to.  We have an overabundance of Mexican food restaurants in Huntsville…  so many that we sometimes roll our eyes when we learn someone else has opened up yet another Mexican food place.  But, none of these restaurants have our favorite guacamole.

The best guacamole was discovered during our annual Christmas party at our house.  Our best friends showed up with their homemade guacamole that had a noticeable ingredient in it that was new to us… Garlic.  Ever since then, I’ve always put garlic in my guacamole.  I have modified it a bit by adding ranch dressing.  Here is my guacamole recipe that is sure to be a hit at any party!

East Texas Zesty Garlic Guacamole

East Texas Zesty Garlic Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 3 large avocados
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tsp. Ranch dressing
  • 1 tsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Dice your tomato and garlic cloves and set aside.
  2. Peel and pit your avocados. Then, place avocados into a medium sized bowl and dice them, gently mashing with a fork.
  3. Add juice of a lime, Ranch dressing, mayonnaise, garlic, salt, and pepper. Continue to mash and stir until desired consistency.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and serve with your favorite tortilla chips!
http://heidistjohn.com/recipes/east-texas-zesty-garlic-guacamole

Easy Bible Journaling Ideas

Perhaps you’ve caught on to the whole Bible Journaling Craze.  If you Google it or go on Pinterest you see beautifully illustrated Bibles EVERYWHERE!  Some are pretty spectacular and obviously created by talented artists. You’ll also find words of encouragement for Bible Journaling “Beginners” and lots of templates/coloring pages you can use if you don’t consider yourself an artist.

bible-journaling

I have been Bible journaling for 7 months now and I absolutely LOVE it.  From the time I was little, I have always had a passion for art.  Coloring was my favorite pastime and so I entered a lot of coloring contests as a kid (and won some).  There were also art classes I took in high-school that taught me things like how to blend and layer with colored pencils.  Although I found much pleasure with art, I never pursued it as a career, because I felt like my true gifting was with music, playing my flute.  Now that I’m a busy mom I hardly have time to play my flute, let alone sit down to draw a picture… UNTIL, I discovered Bible Journaling!!

Bible journaling is something that gives more meaning to taking time out of a busy day to create art.  Finding a scripture that resonates with me and then copying it with creative lettering, adding colorful illustrations in the margins of my Bible make God’s words even more beautiful than they already are.  The Bible verses leap off the page and come to life for me!  But, this post is not about what I can do in my Bible.  This is about what YOU can do in YOUR Bible.  So, if you’ve thought at all about starting to Bible journal but wondered how to start, here are a few simple and easy journaling ideas for you…

USE A PENCIL:  I don’t know about you, but I was a little hesitant to start drawing in my Bible.  What if I didn’t like the outcome?  It’s not like you can just throw the page away and start over!  That’s why I always use a pencil before outlining in pen or coloring with colored pencils.  It definitely helps with planning a good layout for your page.

TRY DIFFERENT FONTS:  I like to use a combination of different fonts when I copy a scripture.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  Try writing a few words all in UPPERCASE letters (especially words that are important to you like GOD, JESUS, HOLY SPIRIT).  By using all caps it really makes those words stand out on the page.  Then, try writing in all lowercase letters, or making your letters tall and skinny.  Remember in high-school when we wrote in block or bubble letters?  That’s fun to do in your Bible too!  And, of course we all have different styles of handwriting.  Don’t be afraid of yours.  USE IT!!  It’s who you are.

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FLOWERS:  You don’t have to be an artist to draw flowers.  If you can draw a circle, you can draw a flower!  Even the simplest of flowers can be beautiful in the margins of your Bible.  For the more intricate flowers, try pinning some photos on Pinterest to refer to for inspiration.

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LEAVES:  I can never draw enough leaves in my Bible :)  They can be a simple border around your words or they can get wild and crazy like a vine that grows every which way!  All you have to do is draw a few long squiggly lines with little oval shapes attached to the lines in random places, and voila… LEAVES!

COLOR, COLOR, COLOR:  For me, colored pencils are the perfect tool that make your art come to life in your Bible.  I started with an inexpensive set of Crayola colored pencils.  But, then I treated myself to a set of Prismacolors that were on sale and that is what I use all the time now.  They are definitely worth the price!

PIGMA MICRON PENS:  They are awesome!   Amazon usually has these pens on sale.  They come in different tip sizes and colors. They even have brush pens, which are lots of fun to use.  The pens are good quality and won’t bleed through the pages of a durable journaling bible.

I hope this gives you a little motivation to give Bible Journaling a try.  If you’ve already been journaling, what are some of your ideas?

So You’re Thinking of Having Another Baby?

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I have three amazing daughters, ages 12, 9, and 7.  The oldest is very creative, independent and a good leader.  When she was born, she immediately had a curious look in her eyes.  Everyone commented on how alert she was even at one day old.  I remember holding her in my arms at the hospital as she quietly took in the world around her with those thoughtful, pensive eyes.  She is still that way today; always thinking deeply and longing for friends to connect with on the same level.

When my middle daughter was born, she let out a cry that was so heartbreaking and pitiful sounding!  It was like a high pitched moan that went up and down and up and down, kind of like a siren.  A cry that I would hear many, many times over the years!  She is my sensitive daughter.  So, tears are naturally part of having that sensitive spirit.  But, with that sensitivity also comes an abundance of LOVE.  She is like a wellspring with unconditional love bubbling out of her every day.

My third daughter was a surprise pregnancy.  I think I may have cried when I found out I was pregnant!  Let me tell you… having an infant, a 17 month old and 5 year old daughter is tough work!  And this baby was unlike either of my other two girls.  When she was born, she let out a ROAR that was quite aggressive.  I called her my “baby dinosaur” because of what her cry sounded like. It’s interesting because just like my middle daughter’s pitiful cry as a baby represents her sensitive spirit, my youngest’s roar represents her aggressive personality.  Not only is she aggressive, she is also very dramatic about EVERYTHING.  When she is physically hurt from falling down or stubbing her toe, everyone within a mile radius hears about it from her shrill crying that lasts FOREVER.  When she is mad, you better get out of the way and give her some space to cool down, or before you know it you find yourself yelling even louder than her.  (Sorry, Lord!)  When she is happy, she can practically squeeze the breath out of you as she embraces you in a hug that lasts FOREVER!!  She is my passionate child and I love her to pieces.  But, oh, what a journey we have been on together.

Since my third daughter was such a challenge, I spent most of those first  few years feeling anxious and overwhelmed. In fact, I tried to convince myself that I was done having kids.  About six months ago a member of our church that my husband pastors shared a dream he had about us.  He said that in the dream, Chip and I were moving into a big nice house.  Our oldest daughter was grown and moved away and our other girls were in their late teens…. and we had 3 BOYS!  YIKES!!!  Well, that planted a little seed in my head about possibly having another baby (NOT that I want triplets).

Around the same time as the dream was shared with us, my girls and I joined a homeschool co-op.  Soon, I found myself surrounded by little red headed boys (I have red hair and was hopeful for a red headed baby but have never had one).  Little by little, I started having more thoughts of having a baby.  I thought I was crazy at first and that the thoughts would pass.  Well, they didn’t :)  In my spirit I kept hearing the words, “LIFE… NEW LIFE.”  I would go to take my birth control, put it down, walk away, come back, put it down.  I heard the words, “You are keeping him from coming.”  Then, I found out that my middle daughter had been praying for a few months that she would have a baby brother!

I am now 9 weeks pregnant with our 4th child.  I spent the last 8 years convincing my husband we were done having kids, only to find out that my husband knew I would eventually change my mind.  I was actually growing comfortable with how independent my girls have become.  So, knowing I am about to enter the baby season all over again, makes me a little nervous.  But, I know this baby is going to be a huge blessing to everyone around him/her.  I am excited to meet who God is developing inside of me!!  And, I am looking forward to savoring every moment with this new little one, and this time mothering with a peaceful spirit instead of an anxious and overwhelmed one.

Do you have a story like mine? Or are you still wrestling with being done, yet not really done? I don’t think I’m alone.

Creamy Potato Soup

Being a full-time, working, homeschooling mom to three daughters means that some days it’s just way easier to grab lunch at a fast food restaurant. Yes, there are those lovely days that I come home and make sandwiches, pack them for my family, then return gracefully to the music store just in time for lunch.  But, then there are the busy days when I ignore my mommy guilt and just drive through for the box of nuggets!

Sometimes my girls do not agree on the chosen lunch options on these fast food days. Out of the three girls, you can almost be guaranteed that one will have an objection about the restaurant I am grabbing lunch from. However, there is one place I can count on to please everyone at lunch time. Schlotzsky’s. My middle daughter is particularly fond of their potato soup. It’s not surprising, really, since she’s our “carbs girl.” If I’d let her, that girl would live off of French bread, mac & cheese, Ramen noodles, and mashed potatoes!

creamy-potato-soup copy

Knowing how much she loves Schlotzsky’s potato soup, I decided I would try my best to replicate it. Of course she was thrilled when she learned that potato soup was what I would be making for dinner! When I was just about finished cooking the soup, I let her have a taste to see if it was good. She very carefully took a sip so as not to burn her mouth. Then, she hesitated and sweetly said, “Hmmm… it doesn’t taste quite the same as Schlotzsky’s.” :( So I replied, “Oh. Okay, well, what do you think it needs?” (I later realized this was a good mom choice on my part, because it gave my daughter ownership to the soup.) So, she suggested more salt and a little cream. And, I think it did improve the taste. Yay!! The best part of the story though, is that my daughter was happy and thought it tasted like her favorite soup in the world!  Just to let you know though, this is NOT a copycat recipe.  It doesn’t taste exactly like Schlotzsky’s soup.  But, it’s close enough for a nine year old girl :)

Here is the recipe for my potato soup that made my little girl so happy.

Creamy Potato Soup

Creamy Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 10 red potatoes
  • 4 gloves garlic
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 TB. sour cream
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground rosemary
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 1/2 tsp. onion salt or powder

Instructions

  1. Chop potatoes and mince garlic.
  2. Heat butter and garlic on high heat for 2 minutes in a medium size stew pot.
  3. Add potatoes and 8 cups of water, boil uncovered for 20 minutes on high heat.
  4. While potatoes are boiling, cook 4 strips of bacon in a skillet.
  5. When potatoes are tender, mash them to desired consistency. (don't drain water)
  6. Reduce to medium low heat and add cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, onion salt, rosemary, cream and milk.
  7. Simmer for 5 minutes on low heat until soup thickens.
  8. Serve with shredded cheese and bacon crumbles.
http://heidistjohn.com/recipes/creamy-potato-soup