Thursday, February 24, 2011

i'm learning...

i'm learning that it is not a good idea to blog when i am super tired, super overwhelmed, super sad, super angry, super irritable, super moody, super happy, super excited, etc...etc... it blurs my vision and makes me unpredictable. so, with that said...

isn't this picture of my ALMOST two year old baby darling!?!

happy weekending,


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone...

such a sweet weekend was just had.  the benefit of deep, mutual, real, community and friendship could never have a value placed on it. it is altogether surprising how relationships here on earth hold glimpses of eternal heaven. but it shouldn't be surprising, because if our God is anything; He is relational.  And He told us the two greatest commands were to love your God and love others. one is incomplete and empty without the other. it's NOT first figure out how to love God, then work on loving others, it's a simultaneous happening.

i pray that my children will understand and take hold of the beauty of friendships and community. i hope they understand and are alert of the destruction and danger of isolation. i hope they learn to love well and without reservation. i hope above ALL else their relationship with God, and their relationships with others trump any other "thing" that is pulling for their attention, time, or loyalty.

i pray this for them because again and again friendships, relationships, and community have been used in my life to reveal our great God in such a tangible way it startles me and takes breath away.

jeff and amy, thank you is hardly sufficient!

here is to more sunshine in all of our lives!
p.s. now we are gearing up for our road trip to SC to see the one and only Gundy family! It will just be another weekend full of "sunshine" for our souls!! ;)

some pics from the weekend.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

after these messages, we'll be...right. back.

ok, so in just a little over 24 hours one of my longest, closest, bestest friends, and her husband are coming to visit for the long weekend (once again thank you federal gov't for another day off!!) they are coming from seattle which is quite the haul. we are just jumping around with excitement and feather dusters in preparation of them coming :) amy and i met when we were 11. almost, 20 years ago!!! it wasn't til 7th grade that we really clicked, and then amy was on every page of life for me, from junior high to high school.. amy, then went to college, and after college married jeff. mark and i got married, then went to college :) and even though the last 10 years we have not been apart of each other's every days, we are still very much apart of each other's lives. our kids are almost the exact ages, and our third children are only weeks apart. when no one else understood my life... amy did. i can call amy any time i want to cry, to scream, or laugh.. amy is a very safe place for me to go. there is never judgment, but always truth spoken with grace and love. amy is one of the most passionate people i know, she does nothing 90%. she feels things very deeply and very strongly. i appreciate that SO much about her. and fortunately our husbands are eerily similar and they have developed  a sweet friendship outside of me and amy.

there is nothing like being able to be with someone where no part of your life needs to be introduced to them. amy knows where i have come from, WHO i have come from, who i have married, who i have birthed, and who i befriended along the way. that is such a sweet, sweet, gift!

rest assured, there are ALWAYS adventures when amy is around. rest assured, there is always TONS of laughter when amy is around.  rest assured i won't be blogging anytime while she is around :)

so after these messages, i'll be right back :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Taught Imogene Herdman Piano!

if the name imogene herdman is not familiar to you stop whatever you are doing, go to the local library, and check out the book, " The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson.  are you back yet? did you read yet?

ok, so quick synopses for those that can't read that fast. the book is about a family of six kids that are the town bullies. they are totally rotten and out of control. dad is in jail and mom works all the time to keep food on the table. the are sooo bad that even the town animals are scared of them. anyway, they take over the christmas pageant b/c they bully everybody into given up their pageant parts... imogene is the ring leader. she is the meanest and most hardened of the herdman children. anyway, it is a fabulous read... you won't regret it.

i was substitute teaching piano lessons last night and in through the door walked my imogene (imogene is not her real name) this young lady was so guarded, so aggressive, and so hardened that she could hardly stand to look me in the eye. i pride myself on being able to work well with children. i LOVE kids. i love building relationships with kids. i LOVE interacting with kids. so i started my well rehearsed cycle of questions to help myself and imogene get to know one another and settle in to a nice, calm, very lovely 60 minutes of learning about the beautiful instrument called the piano. (boy, was i wrong!)

me: hey, imogene, i'm sara i am here substitute teaching tonight. is that going to be ok?
Imogene: whatever.
me: ok, swell. tell me what grade you are in imogene.
Imo: 3rd, ugh.
me: cool. what's your favorite thing about school.
imo: nothing, i hate everything about it. i hate math, i hate science, i hate spelling, i hate english, i hate history...
me: really? everything? even recess and lunch?
imo: yep, everything.
me: ok, since you don't like school, what do you like to do when you aren't at school. (i am looking for common ground here, something she and i can talk more about.)
imo: i sit on my butt and watch tv all the day long. *long pause* and then she glances at the piano and says,    "and for some reason i am beginning to like this thing."
me: (thinking: awe, we DO have something in common!)
me: (thinking: oh wow! this is going to be a bit harder then i anticipated!) ok, what's your favorite show to watch.
imo: sponge bob.
me: (thinking: whew! i was afraid she was going to say MTV or HBO.)
me: ok, well... let's see how we do on the piano tonight.
imo: ugh, fine.

throughout the lesson imogene "knew everything". every new concept i tried to introduce she already "knew that." not really but she did a pretty decent job of trying to convince me.
we got to a part in the music where she was learning forte which means loud, and piano which means soft.

me: ok, imogene, when we talk about something being forte i want you to think about playing something that is being said very loudly... like "go team", "hurray!", "great job!" etc..etc.. can you think of something that you would loudly say?
imogene: "SHUT UP!"
me: oh, wow.. so, let's think of something else.
imogene: i can't think of something else...
me: ok, moving on.

imogene actually did a great job playing her assigned pieces. i believe in the power of affirmation. so, i complimented her A LOT. at one point she stopped in the middle of a song dropped her hands to her lap and said, "why do you keep telling me good job!?"
me: well, i think you are playing really well and i want you to know it.
imo: but why?
me: because i want to encourage you.
imo: what does that mean?
me: it means i want you to feel good about your playing b/c it sounds good.
imo: why would you do that?
me: let's just keep playing.. and just know i think you are doing a good job.
imo: could you please stop saying that?
me: ok, i will.

in the span of 60 short minutes imogene told endless lies, interrupted more times then one can count, felt like she needed to bully me a little, and was endlessly trying to prove something to me. i kept working with her. not even for one split second letting on to the fact i was losing my cool... i kept thinking, "what would zach do, what would zach do?" i used my calm, gentle voice. i was stern but never mean.. i looked her in the eyes and used her name over and over again to personalize the words coming out of my mouth. by the end of the painful 60 minutes i was able to get her to look me in the eyes, i managed to make her laugh, AND she actually listened to me.. however brief it was. she left with a smile on her face.. and a quick, "thank you!"

i spent the rest of the night thinking about her. one might think that i was frustrated, maybe even exasperated by imogene. one might think, "what a rotten little girl!" one might think, "kick her out of class and get a new student!" some of those thoughts went through my head.. but i am no fool. i know all too well that hurt people, hurt people. this girl little is guarding herself so tightly, bullying so aggressively, because she doesn't want to let anyone get near enough to her, in fear that they might get a glimpse of the deep, dark, painful secrets she is carrying around. she is hurting so badly on so many levels that she could not even receive a genuine compliment without disgust.

i began to cry thinking, "what if my katie was in the same class room as imogene? how would katie respond? would my katie love her? would my katie be bullied and broken by her?" tears, tears, tears.. then i began to think, "what is this little girl living through everyday? what battles are her little heart and little body up against?" it broke me into a million pieces on the inside.

after a good cry i decided to do the only thing that i could do, i prayed for little imogene. for her heart, her her home, for her brain, for her fingers that glided against the ivory and ebony keys, and i prayed, and prayed, and prayed.

would you join me today and say a simple pray for imogene? i know that she desperately needs it! i will be so grateful if you do!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day Bombed!

valentine's day was awful, just plain awful! well, ok, so only parts of it were awful. mainly the part that involved interacting with my husband (minor problem).... ok, so remember how i was going to try and ooze more love and chocolate? i only partly succeeded. i was able to ooze lots of my love onto my four little wee valentines.. but miserably failed at actually showing my real valentine that i loved him. instead, i was ugly towards him and gave him the silent treatment. you ask, "you've been married how long, sara?" i drop my head,  "almost ten years."

oh, yes folks... the littlejohns fight. the littlejohns argue. the littlejohns even fight and argue on valentine's day. who does that? well, after starting this post i found one of my bestest friend's post here and just died in laughter. just go and read it and then you'll see.

so anyway, in the middle of valentine's day hub-bub, pink cards, singing cards, family calling and handing out hugs and kisses over the phone, precious moments card, red cards, chocolate desserts, and a special dinner; mark and i weren't speaking. mark and i are not screamers. that doesn't mean we are any better then the people that do scream, we both just shut down and retreat to our boxing corners. silence.  hours of silence.

 i can't stay mad at anybody for long periods of time.  especially my husband. when things with mark are on shaky grounds i might as well stop doing whatever i am doing.. b/c nothing else matters.

remember when i wrote that post about saying "I love you, please forgive me" here.. well, i definitely had to take a piece of my own advice. so after the chocolate melted and the flowers died (not really, i just added that for a dramatic effect!)  our night ended with, "i am so sorry for the horrible things i said, would you please forgive me?" we always make our kids vocalize the offense, then ask for forgiveness... not just a quick, " i am sorry!" this way the offense is stated.. because sometimes we apologize and it's not even the source of the conflict for the other person involved. for instance mark can come home from work late and say, " i am so sorry that i am late", which gives me the opportunity to say, "it's not that you are late, you didn't even acknowledge my presence when you walked in the door..." see how vocalizing the offense helps? and then ask for forgiveness. not just i am sorry... but will you FORGIVE me? which requires a response from the other person involved. saying i'm sorry does not require action from the other person.. but a question draws that person into the solution... will you forgive me?

so yeah, not a valentine's for the scrapbooks... but not a wasted valentine's day either. real life even happens on days where you are suppose to be celebrating world-wide-love! :) next year i will try to ooze more love on my actually valentine... i make no promises though. ;)!!

very relieved to have yesterday behind us.
very relieved for the precious gift of forgiveness.
very relieved for restoration in relationships.

happy NON-valentine's day!

God be Merciful To Me: (Psalm 51)

God, be merciful to me,
On Thy grace I rest my plea;
Plenteous in compassion Thou,
Blot out my transgressions now;
Wash me, make me pure within,
Cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin.

My transgressions I confess,
Grief and guilt my soul oppress;
I have sinned against Thy grace
And provoked Thee to Thy face;
I confess Thy judgment just,
Speechless, I Thy mercy trust.

I am evil, born in sin;
Thou desirest truth within.
Thou alone my Savior art,
Teach Thy wisdom to my heart;
Make me pure, Thy grace bestow,
Wash me whiter than the snow.

Broken, humbled to the dust
By Thy wrath and judgment just,
Let my contrite heart rejoice
And in gladness hear Thy voice;
From my sins O hide Thy face,
Blot them out in boundless grace.

Gracious God, my heart renew,
Make my spirit right and true;
Cast me not away from Thee,
Let Thy Spirit dwell in me;
Thy salvation’s joy impart,
Steadfast make my willing heart.

Sinners then shall learn from me
And return, O God, to Thee;
Savior, all my guilt remove,
And my tongue shall sing Thy love;
Touch my silent lips, O Lord,
And my mouth shall praise accord.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Lovin'

pink is not my favorite color. i am not a fan of anything with a  heart on it. i don't really LOVE chocolate. and stuffed animals don't really make me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. i was recounting all of my " valentine's dislikes" to mark the other night (while we were on our valentine's date...ironic!!) as we passed the hallmark window display full of all of my "dislikes!" mark, oh so gently said, "but if a husband is really loving his wife by getting her those things, and a wife really feels loved when her husband gets her those things, what's the big deal? why are you so bent out of shape about it?" OUCH! he is so right. who died and made me the greek goddess of love? :) i can not see the hearts of those around me. i can not stamp their acts of love as disingenuous simply b/c it involves colors and foods i pass on. and so what if they happen to show that love on february, 14th? if i am commanded to be anything, it's to be love. how is it helpful to be cranky on the day that the world has chosen to celebrate love? if anything, i should be the biggest, pinkest, heart-like-creature, oozing chocolate and love on that day. i should be shouting from the roof tops and pointing others to the richest source of true love... My Jesus. My Valentine.

so watch out february, 14th, i might look a little different this year :)


Friday, February 11, 2011

the way i see it i am 3/4 done with being a parent.....

i know, i know the peanut gallery of older, wiser, parents are full belly laughing at my title. but don't judge my conclusion yet.

3 of my 4 children are potty trained.
3 of my 4 children sleep in big kid beds.
3 of my 4 children can collect snacks from the cabinets and pour themselves juice.
3 of my 4 children know their alphabet and can count to 20.
3 of my 4 children can enter and exit their car restraints without any assistance from me.
3 of my 4 children can communicate their thoughts, feelings, and needs. (sometimes, even without whining or crying being involved!)
3 of my 4 children know what state we live in, and the full names of their family members.
3 of my 4 children can order for themselves at any said restaurant.
3 of my 4 children don't have to have a sippy cup.
3 of my 4 children can bathe and dress themselves without any assistance.
3 of my 4 children can sit through a church service with only minor shushing,and threatening, and few bathroom breaks.
3 of my 4 children do not cry when a babysitter comes, (and as of last night no one cried when we left!)
3 of my 4 children understand the dangers of heights and water.
3 of my 4 children can carry on phone conversations with long distance family and friends. (AJ is getting closer).
3 of my 4 children know their colors.
3 of my 4 children understand and recognize that God made them for VERY SPECIAL PURPOSES!

see i am 3/4 done :)

while most of these are tongue and check, i really feel like SO many of these formidable concepts have been mastered by 3 of my 4 children. and while i know that i have just begun, i feel like i have conquered SO MUCH. people always say the first 5 years are physically exhausting and the remaining years are emotionally exhausting. can i get an amen? of course, i know that i have only just begun. but just recently i hit the one year mark from weaning anderson. up until february 2010, i had been pregnant or breastfeeding for 7 1/2 years straight with only ONE months break. for 7 1/2 years somebody was literally relying on me for their very life. no wonder i was so incredibly exhausted. this last year i have been reintroducing myself to myself. my energy is soaring high, my mental clarity is peaking, my emotions are stabilizing, and i remember just how much fun i am! :)

while my body will never look or feel the way it did before dec 7th 2002, i honestly could not be more comfortable in my skin. i now bare the beautiful markings of motherhood. everyday i have these small and large reminders, that for such a small period of time someones life depended on ME! the sleepless nights that  never ended, the diaper changing, the burp clothe finding, the car seat holding, the soothing baby trick finding, etc..etc they were such a honor. what a blessing to be a mom four times over! what a blessing that my skin stretched and my body ached for them.

mamas just entering this infant stage of life, ENJOY IT! step back and let the awe and wonder set in. it will be gone in the blink of an eye.

i feel like we are entering a new and WONDERFUL phase. post-infant, post-baby, post-toddlerhood. i will always think of my baby years as sweet and irreplaceable.. but i am THRILLED at what lies ahead!!

here is to what remains,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Living in the Storm: Healing Words!

about a month ago i was having one of those really sad days. hard days. crawl back in bed and find a happy place, days. why me, kind of days. why my mom, kind of days. why this disease, kind of days. i was in bed crying myself to sleep. mark was still up and came in to see if there was anything he could do. he also said i should get up and come read this really encouraging message that just came in. i begrudgingly went.. then i just sat and the computer and read and reread the words of this message:

The main reason I am sending you this note is because I am the store manager of a kids store at Oak Park Mall. Most mornings I get to work btwn 8am and 830am. I always stop at Panera to grab a bagel and a drink and many mornings I see your parents and their small group! :) For such a long time it was just part of my normal routine and seeing them was very familiar. Then you posted a blog awhile back about your mothers illness and from then on my mornings have been forever changed! I have never spoken to your parents; I am not sure they would recognize me. But each morning that I see them sitting there or even walking into the mall together I am completely humbled by your fathers unwavering love and devotion to your mother and their faithfulness to their small group. I say a quick prayer for them each time I see them. For I know that the God we serve is a sovereign God and although the losses in our lives are hard to bear they are His will. I lost my father to a long battle with cancer 3 years ago and I miss him so much sometimes I can't breathe, but God had a plan for his life. He was such an amazing testimony to others by the way he lived his life and the choices he made. I wanted you to know that your parents have been such a great testimony to me and also to the other people who see them regularly at Panera. Their actions, however, small have made waves of impact on those around them!
I hope that you are doing well, and I  wanted you to know that you and your family are in my prayers every week!

dear friend, thank you for allowing the Spirit to lead you to write this letter. your words brought such healing to my soul on that very sad day!

while i read this letter, my sweet, Jesus, whispered in my ear over and over again, "i am bigger then this. i am bigger then your pain. i am bigger then the grief. i came so that you, sara suzanne hall littlejohn, could have LIFE.... real life. and right now this storm is a part of what I am doing! be still. come to Me when you are weary, and I will give you rest! I am in this storm. I am intimately aware of it. I am here. I can not leave you to yourself, my character will not allow it."

thank you, mark adam, for walking through this grief with me. for not giving up on me when the sadness penetrates our days together. thank you for simply doing what it is you have been called to do; love me.

loving a grieving spouse can be one of the most helpless feelings in the world. trust me, the first 18 months of our marriage was bombarded with grief. (click here for that story) grief can shake a marriage to it's core, leaving spouses feeling lonely and totally out of touch with their closest companion. grief also has the ability to deepen ties in a marriage, and enforce the the relationship like no other event.

grief touches every one's life at some point. my mom always says, "you are either getting ready to go into a storm, are in a the middle of a storm, or coming out of a storm."

i hope that today you are preparing yourself for the storms of life!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's All Connected. Part 3

one of my favorite passages in scripture is the story of elijah in 1 kings 19. elijah has just defeated the priests of baal. one of the most spectacular displays of God's power. then elijah receives a message from jezebel that she is coming after him. elijah, seemingly forgetting what God just did for him, he runs. he runs until he can not run any longer. he finds himself sitting under a juniper tree, suicidal. he is pleading for the Lord to take him on to glory. my favorite is God's gracious response to elijah.. He sends an angel to elijah while he is sleeping, and the angel offers him bread and water. then elijah sleeps some more and the angel returns with more food and water. God didn't tell elijah to fight his spiritual, emotional, and physical depression with more prayer... more bible reading....more good deeds (although those things aren't bad). He offers elijah food, water, and rest. AWE!!! i love it. there are countless accounts of people gathering for meals in scripture. Jesus refers to the great feast over and over again. Jesus very purposely chose to turn water into wine as His first miracle.. Jesus loves good food, good wine, and a good party. Jesus loves a good feast. Tim Keller, says, "A feast is a place where our appetites and our senses of sight, smell, sound and taste are filled up." God knew food was an important part of our spiritual, emotional, and physical, well being.

have you ever put diesel into a gasoline engine or vice versa? it makes a huge difference doesn't it? a car that receives the wrong fuel does not, can not function and run the way it was meant to. our bodies are the same. our bodies do not, can not function properly if we are filling up on the wrong fuel. we are what we eat :)

for me the last five years have been about balance. do we eat taco bell? why yes, we did last night. will i eat WHATEVER you put in front of me when i come to your house for dinner? why yes, i will. will i enjoy it? yes, i will!! do i freak out if my child has a cupcake while they are at a sleep over with the gparents? NO WAY! do i let my children eat whatever they want? NO. do i try and modify our weekly menu to include more real things and less fake things? absolutely!... am i trying to educate my kids so they can correlate the way they feel based on what they just put in their body? yes. do i hope to be even healthier and more educated five years from now? yep. but in the meantime, i am going to enjoy good food, good wine, good partying, and great feasting!

cheers, to the balanced health and wellness journey!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Need A New Profession?.... Ask Dr. Katie

katie has rest hour everyday. b/c we home school, rest hour is the only hour during the day (besides night time) that i have alone time. hence, the reason she is 7 and STILL has quiet time. last week during rest time she wrote a list of future careers for herself and her siblings. i was laughing so hard i hurt her feelings b/c she thought i was laughing at her work....

take a peek

katie's future jobs:
cow girl, baker, police officer, gardener, sports coach, waitress, plane pilot, basketball player, veterinarian, acrobatist, ice cream vendor (my personal favorite), artist, ballerina, writer

julia's future jobs: police officer, zookeeper (my personal favorite) cashier, architect, school teacher, chef, bus driver, soccer player, dentist, juggler, gas station attendant, judge, singer

lucy's future jobs:
paramedic, farmer, store clerk, librarian, house keeper, boat pilot, hockey player (my personal favorite) clown, and actress

anderson's future jobs: army officer, forest ranger, butcher (my personal favorite) forklift operator, cross walk guard, janitor, train conductor, baseball player, scientist, lion tamer, truck driver, assistant, actor, writer, artist..

i am excited about what the future holds for my ice cream vendor, my zookeeper, my hockey player and my butcher :) what a life!!


Rudolph, You Just Lost Your Job

i know i have not completed part 3 of our health and wellness journey. i will... eventually.

but today feast your eyes on all 23 lbs of this fuzzy, big boy, rudolph :)

here he is pretending to be shy!
all smiles

fake cheese! 
happy monday!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I Know You Are Dying To Know About..... Part 2

2. you don't need obama care... you need YOU care! (this has nothing to do with politics i swear!)

i like sports analogy. maybe b/c tomorrow is the super bowl, maybe b/c i played sports, or maybe b/c it's a totally over done analogy that everybody seems to understand a little bit. regardless, when i think about my health care i envision a team. not a man in a white coat with a stethoscope around his neck :)

 i see lots of people working together for one purpose and one goal: health and wellness!

introducing the defense, the opposing team: sickness, disease, body aches, migraines, fertility complications, lethargic, cancer, depression, moodiness, MS, alzheimer's,  flu, cold, neurological disorders, ADD, ADHD, allergies, infection, etc..etc..
the defense is stacked with heavy hitters. they do not discriminate against the opponent. they play dirty and they are ruthless. they do everything to keep the offense from a health and wellness touchdown.

the coach: me, ME, ME!! (more about this later!)

introducing the offensive line: diet and exercise. they are our first defense.. when illness comes rushing towards me, what i have put in my body, and how i have taken care of my body is extremely important in holding the defense in their place. diet and exercise's job is to hold the line and not let them penetrate to get to the quarterback. (sometimes the defense gets through to the quarterback. we live in a fallen world. illness will be a part of our lives until He comes!) the line simply responds and reacts to the play the coach calls. diet and exercise are solely determined but what the coach determines. when our bodies are full of things that do not give us fuel to fight, we are weak and susceptible. dr blaylock, persuasively argues that if our bodies are alkalined, and rid of toxins, it it MUCH more difficult for disease and sickness to penetrate the line. what a HUGE challenge.

introducing the quarterback:  how you feel. your daily health status and pulse.  the quarterback and the coach are in constant communication.

QB wakes up with a head ache, the coach tells diet to increase water and tells exercise to stretch and breathe more.
QB is noticeably more emotional. coach increases sleep, tells exercise to be more consistent, and carefully monitors diet.
QB notices that the defense is spreading sickness.. the coach tells diet to increase vitamins, tells exercise to not over do it, and tells the quarterback to stay alert with other team processes so we know when and if the defense penetrates the line.
QB is lethargic: Coach tells diet to increase fruits and veggies, eliminate breads and sugars, and we double down on exercise.

if the coach in unaware of his quarterback and his line.. then there are going to multiple episodes of unwanted sacks, fumbles, and turnovers. there is going to be constant health and wellness frustration and not many wins for the home team.

introducing the strength coach: doctors. we believe that doctors are simply another person on our health and wellness team. they are someone on the sidelines, jumping up and down and cheering us on. offering advice when we need it or ask for it. ultimately, helping us get better at the game. i think the role of the head coach is handing to doctors WAY TOO often. strength coaches do not have the privilege of calling plays on the field. they just ensure that the players are educated about ways to get stronger and stay healthier. being the coach of our own team means lots and lots of work. you don't get to be the head coach without studying film, studying the team, studying the opponent, studying solutions to team problems, etc..etc.. when a team is surrounded by a supportive secondary coaching team.. it's unstoppable.

practical application: we rarely see the doctor. now, 2010 mark and i saw more doctors and were in more emergency rooms than EVER in our whole lives. and in emergencies, i want a DOCTOR. a real DOCTOR. :) with that said, the kids have not been to the doctor in a year. yes, we have been sick. we have had some colds, and a bad two weeks with the stomach flu. but b/c we are the coach of our own team, and for a time being we are our kid's coaches... we just laid low. used the education and instincts God gave us, and let our bodies heal themselves. we take our kids to the doctor if there is an emergency, if they are lethargic for long periods of time, if they are having trouble breathing, if they are dehydrated, or we as their parent feel like something is going on that we are puzzled by, or we just sense the need.

this also means that we interview our doctors, and have the right at any time to fire them from our team if we feel like they are doing an inadequate job and don't have our teams best interest at heart. we really feel like we all have to be on the same page, otherwise it's not a healthy relationship for either party. practical application: we do not immunize our children according to the standards set by the APA. we disagree with the amount and the frequency at which they are given during the first two years of life. we believe that the schedule is more harmful then helpful for our family. with that said, we had to find a doctor that was going to agree with us and support our decision. NOT AN EASY task btw. :) but when we found him, such a sweet relationship was built on trust and respect. our doctor makes us want to be healthier, not more dependent on him for medicine.. but less dependent on medicine with his insight, care, and advise spoken into our lives. we have fired many doctors over the last five years.(SUPER EMPOWERING!) we have also encountered some of the BEST doctors that have given us the tools to become better coaches. what a gift!!

overall, you are ultimately responsible for YOU. you have the power to give your body what it wants and needs, and feel amazing, strong, healthy, and young.. or you can neglect your body, constantly defer to medicines and doctors, and feel crappy, weak, continually sick, and old. you are the coach. the final score is up to you.

what team are you going to play on?


Friday, February 4, 2011

I Know You Are Dying To Know About......

my thoughts on food, health, and wellness! you were? you were super curious? oh, i am so glad that i can help satisfy your curiosity. if you have no desire to know my opinions, my thoughts, or experiences... exit now and i'll never know :)

about 5 years ago my whole relationship with food changed. we were having some really serious health issues and began to research like mad dogs. we devoured every book, article, and opinion from those we trusted and respected. it was like a health revival in the littlejohn house. the book that effected us the most was called, "health and nutrition secrets that will save your life," by dr. russell blaylock. our health and wellness journey did not happen over night. and it will not be over until we are in our grave. but the last five years we have made some bite size, and important changes for better living. i could literally write for WEEKS about the information we have learned. but i won't. i'll neatly organize our experience in three categories and tackle one a day for the next 3ish days.

1. more of the real, less of the fake.
2. you don't need obama care, you need YOU care
3. it's ALL connected

1. more of the real, less of the fake.

i love food. i love GOOD food. i love BAD foods. i love food when i am happy, and unfortunately, i love food when i am sad. so A LOT of our learning has been about food. the balance. the importance. and the hazards.

this first step, i think is the most important and most basic, and this is where we have made the most strides in our journey. basically, we try to consume the majority of all of our food in it's most natural state. if there is more then 3 or 4 things under the ingredient list we keep on moving. when we grocery shop, the majority of what we buy is on the outer edge of the store. we spend very little time in the aisles. lots and lots of fresh fruit and veggies. how do you get small children to eat fresh fruits and veggies??... well, there are only a million books and websites that can teach you how. one of our favorites is "super baby foods," by ruth yaron (warning, she is a bit extreme for me, so i pick what i like and leave the rest!). our other favorite method is the one bite rule. katie learned the rule at 9 months, julia learned the rule at 18 months, lucy learned the rule at 12 months, and anderson learned the rule last week (ok, ok, so i was totally a sucker with him!).. i don't like making food a battle. i don't want my kids to grow up and have a bad and emotional relationship with food. but the one bite rule is an expectation not a choice. it's not, "eat everything on your plate!" it's" try one of everything.. today might be the day your taste buds like it." the kids LOVE that. so it's like an experiment every night at the dinner table,

"julia, did your taste buds like salad tonight?"
"no mama, they didn't!"
"ok, well,we will try again the next time!"

"lucy, i see you have not tried your sweet potatoes yet. i think your taste buds are awfully curious to see if tonight is the night they'll love them!"

it's not about the message and the expectation, as much as it is about HOW you deliver the message and the expectation. oh, we have had some "sit ins" until the one bite was had, but it wasn't a yelling, threatening environment.. it was a clear request that needed to be heeded like any other request we make of our children. you would be shocked at the amount of taste bud turn arounds we have had at our house b/c of the one bite rule!

you don't have to start with organic this and organic that. start with a simple apple over apple sauce with high fructose sugar added. start with a real chicken over canned chicken. grab corn chips instead of potato chips. grab 100% juice instead of juices mixed with over things. grab fresh or frozen over canned. little steps that really do make a huge difference :)

see it wasn't so bad was it?

here is a list of books that i highly recommend:
Little Sugar Addicts By Kathleen DesMaisons
Food and Love by Dr. Gary Smalley
Health and Nutrition Secrets that Will Save Your Life by Dr. Russell Blaylock
The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert Sears
Blood Types, Body Types, and You by Joseph Christiano
Super Baby Foods by Ruth Yaron
Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: by Dr. Kenneth Bock

ok, ok, i am off to eat some chocolate cheesecake, ahem, i mean an apple....
here is to health and wellness!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Problem With Phonics!

Julia was having fun spelling all of our names on the Magna Doodle as we spent an hour driving all over King George, running errands.... I just died laughing when she showed me AJ's name.  Then she died laughing when I told her the correct pronunciation of his name. She kept over emphasizing the short "o" in son. We had a great time.

Two random comments that pertain to this post. 
1. Magna Doodles are AMAZING. Katie and Julia have both learned their letters and numbers via the doodle. If you have to drive 30 miles to the nearest Wal-Mart then car time is the perfect place to review letters and numbers.

2. Also, I try avoiding lined paper until at least the first grade. I like giving the kids the opportunity to free style their letters until their motor skills have completely developed. Sometimes I think the lines are nothing but frustrating. If they kind of learn the general strokes, and get the letters to look like the letters, then we can manage with the lines when we get there. They feel such a HUGE accomplishment when the letters actually look like the letters.  That's just me. Lots of people disagree with me. But that's nothing new. Personally, I think hand writing is just one of those filler subjects. A disturbing hangover from the 19th century. Don't hear what I am not saying, I think my children's handwriting should be readable. I think they should be able to write and write well.. But I REFUSE to spend endless hours correcting O's and K's with a red pen on lined paper. GAG-OH-LISH-OUS! I remember crying all the way through first grade b/c my handwriting assignments would come back with red all over the page, and the kids with beautiful handwriting had their work hung up for parent-teacher conferences. I was humiliated and totally overwhelmed. So, I just gave up all together. Obviously, I have some emotional issues with handwriting. I probably should see a therapist about it. Until then, the success of a Littlejohn child will not be measured by their handwriting skills :) Ah, I feel better.

Here is to a chicken scratch kind of day!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sixty, Sunny, and Satisfied!

more than half of the U.S. is digging out from a blizzard. last night i was whining b/c i wanted a blizzard. a real good, dig yourself out for months blizzard! today, my fickle ways have betrayed me, and i am thrilled that it is sixty and sunny and i am NOT in a blizzard. but i am thoroughly enjoying all the pictures and updates from those that are experiencing blizzard of oz.

when the weather is warm like this it makes me confident that i am going to survive old man winter. despite my best efforts to hibernate like the bears, i really do enjoy solidarity.

the windows are open. katie is working on a creative writing assignment. three kids are sleeping b/c we have a groundhog party to attend, and i am satisfied with my day of no snow :)

here are some wonderful quotes i have come across lately in my mad reading addiction.

 "This life, therefore is not righteousness but growth in righteousness,
not health but healing,
not being but becoming,
not rest but exercise.
..We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it.
THe process is not yet finished, but it is going on.
This is not the end but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified." John Calvin

"Strongholds are like concrete fortresses we've constructed around our lives block by block, ordinarily over the course of years.  We created them ,whether or not we were aware, for protection and comfort.  Inevitably, however, these fortresses become prisons.  At some point we realize we no longer control them. They control us."  Beth Moore, Breaking Free

"There is a difference between believing that God is holy and gracious, and having a new sense on the heart of the loveliness and beauty of that holiness and grace. The difference between believing that God is gracious and tasting that God is gracious is as different as having a rational belief that honey is sweet and having the actual sense of its sweetness." Jonathan Edwards A Divine and Supernatural Light

stay warm, or cool. depending on where you are :) ~s

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I would be a failure IF!!

i would be a failure if you my faithful readers walked away from my blog and/or emails and felt like i was not authentic or honest with you about ALL the areas of my life. that's the thing about blogging, i can pick and choose all the words,  phrases, and pictures that i put on my blog. i can create this allusion that "everything is fine!" in the littlejohn house. but if you have known me for any period of time, i do not, cannot function like that. it's my strength as well as my weakness; i wear my heart on my sleeve. please do not become cynical towards me with the false assumption that i don't have struggles, that my children aren't rotten to the core, that i don't raise my voice and lose my temper, that i don't serve mac-n-cheese more times then i would like to admit, that i dishonor my husband more times then a wife should, that i have selfish desires that consume my mind, and by-golley i have a disgusting kitchen and piles of unfolded laundry :) :)  sometimes i walk away from people's blog thinking, "well crap, my life sucks and i better DO better next time!" i hope and pray that you don't walk away feeling like that. and if you have, i am so very sorry.

the beauty of this life is that all the things that corrupt our hearts, and all the things that purify our hearts are intertwined in the residence of our hearts. i could blog just as much about the corrupt... but often i just want to talk about the things that ignite joy. i want to write stories about my amazingly sweet children, because that's what i WANT to remember. i want to record memories for them, and for our family and friends that are far away, so that while they can not hold their grand babies, their nieces/nephews, they can KNOW them through my words and through my pictures.  that is why you read a lot of the happy in the littlejohn house :)

so here is to my dirty kitchen, my piles of unfolded laundry, and being authentic!