Sunday, February 25, 2007

Life Losers

"If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life." -Luke 9:23-24

Demanding things never works. Even "demanding respect"...it just doesn't work. You have to earn it...then it will just come naturally for people to respect you. Even demanding things of my own children...yes, they must obey, but if there is no real relationship there, even if they obey, it's not willingly or with a soft heart. We want them to obey because they love us. Therefore, they are learning the whole "if you love Me, you will obey my commands" thing.

A friend of mine and I were talking a while back. She travels with her husband full time. She works with people non-stop and she was talking about how she used to be firm with people and "demand her rights." She's learned through the years though...it works so much better to be nice...out of the ordinary nice...supernatural nice (that is possible with supernatural God working through you). She said the more difficult they are, the nicer she gets. "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger." -Proverbs 15:1.

I started learning this lesson when I married Joel. I was always of the "have it your way" Burger King mentality. You know, the customer is always right. I was firm and bold and determined. I would fight to the end. Mind you, these are all good qualities when used in the right way. But, when Luke 9 isn't heeded, bad things are sure to come. Thankfully Joel was patient with me, prayed for me, loved me. He always had a gentle answer, and God's Word is true...it always turned away wrath. He didn't fight with me. With disagreements, I had only ever known anger and fighting...if a resolution wasn't reached, silent treatment and pouting (even though, of course it was never called that) would soon follow, possibly even for days. That was just the norm. It didn't work that way with Joel. I began to learn his way. I'm still growing in that. Man, it's so much more peaceful that way.

We need to give up...give up our rights, give up our control, give up our offendable spirits (my uncle recently prayed that we would not be offendable...I've adopted that prayer). Stop clinging to your rights people. Enough is enough. "There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death." -Proverbs 14:12 Man, we need to know God's Word, His laws, His principles, His character (so that we can model it)..KNOW the Word. We don't want to be on the path that seems right. We want to be on the path that is right. If we stay on the path that just seems right, death will surely come. I've seen death (in many ways) come to someone I know...they are clinging to their rights and are losing out bigtime. Sadly, they aren't the only one affected.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

There's Just Nothing Like Running

Man, nothing works you out like a good run. It has been SO VERY NICE here this week...highs of 70s and 80s (LOVING this weather). So, I've been taking full advantage of the combination of weather and the fact that Joel was off work (we're in Louisiana...it's Mardi Gras time and most universities were out). I'm up to 2 miles again and it is feeling great.

When I'm not able to run, I've been doing my Turbo Jam and that's been great too. I truly despise just walking though, even when I have company and have a scenic route. Walking is great for just hanging out and having some outside time. But, as far as your only exercise of the day...yeah, not for me. It bores me to the core. Sadly, that is what most experts recommend...and they almost all say that running is bad for you. I agree that it can be bad for you as far as your joints and all (I know I might regret running later in life), but man is it a good workout. :)

Update on my diastasis...the separation in my belly. Right after I typed out that blog about it, I checked it again...hadn't checked it in a while. It had actually gotten better, in my opinion due to the fact that I'd been doing standing ab exercises alot...almost daily. Instead of 3-4 finger widths, it was about 2...and it's still the same. I also got an exercise video off amazon.com that specifically works muscles that will hopefully fix the problem. It's called "Healing Exercises for Diastasis Recti." We'll see how it works.

Another update: As of this morning, I'm now down 12 pounds. Yay! Only 18 more. :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A 2 Year Old Girl

Well, I only went about a month without a 2 year old. Miss Hadley Cloteal Ebersole...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!

Yes, Hadley is 2 today! So fun. She is a crazy little girl...so much fun with her hats, her sunglasses, her strut, and her tiny but spirited little self. I'm not sure just how tall she is, but she weighed a couple of days ago and has gained a couple of pounds...she's now up to 25.5 pounds...she's a little thing, but has a big personality.

We had a birthday party for her on Sunday. She loves hats, so everyone was instructed to wear a fun hat. She also got a few hats as presents. It was a great time. She really enjoyed herself. Here are some pictures from the day.



































Thursday, February 15, 2007

Coolest House Ever














This is the house I want. When we were in Brazil in August, this house was up for grabs in just the exact perfect location. It's right between the Asas de Socorro headquarters and the airport. It's also on the street where mostly Asas people live, so it would be really fun...handy to live there. Besides all of that great stuff, I just LOVE the house itself...LOVE IT.

So, when we left Brazil we talked to the owner of the house, a former Asas de Socorro guy himself. We could've paid to have him hold the house for us, but we had no idea when we would be coming. So, the house is now occupied. Word is that the occupants are just temporarily there as they are supposedly building a house of their own. But, how long are they there? Will the house be up for grabs again soon? We just don't know.

Many have asked. We have raised about 44% of what we will need monthly and about 30% of what we need to get down there and set up house. We have started looking at plane tickets and thinking about housing while there. This might be selfish, but I really would LOVE to live here. :) I'm sure you understand. It is a great house. Pray. We've contacted the owner, but haven't heard back from him yet with answers to our questions. Obviously, I don't want to be in this house if God doesn't want us there. But, if He does, then I sure do want to pray it into existence. :) Because...I WANT THIS HOUSE!! :)

Either way, you get a good feel of a Brazilian house. And lest you think we will be "living it up," this is just a normal house...every house in Brazil has tile and marble countertops. It's common there. They think we are rich when they see pictures of our carpet. :) Isn't that funny?

O.K., more pictures...


The patio/porch and front door. Man, I love this house...everything about it. The red door and window trimming, the pale yellow paint inside, the huge porch with, of course, the hammock hooks built in.



The kitchen. Through that brown door there to the right of the picture is the laundry room with a sink.









The kids'/guest bathroom.
















Hallway from kitchen to bedrooms/bathrooms.















Master bedroom. I love Latin American houses...they are always so open and breezy.















The master bathroom. There are 4 bedrooms total and another room that was used as a study but could be a 5th bedroom. Also, the 2 bathrooms, a laundry room, kitchen, and living room. The outside has a nice size front yard, a side yard where you hang laundry (dryers aren't common), another side yard with a nice little garden area and a storage shed, and another little yard/walkway at the back of the house.







This is the street it's on. Our nextdoor neighbors on 2 sides (the other side is vacant) are Asas people too...one couple is American (would be a big help for me in the first few months for sure). That's Joel walking along and the roof of the house on the left. All houses in Brazil have a wall/gate like that.

Isn't it cool? We'll see what God has in store.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Teach Us To Die

The other day, Grady was going around the house singing "Lord, teach us to die." Now, I thought that was what he was saying, but wasn't sure, so I asked him, "Grady, 'Lord, teach us to pray?'" His memory verse at church the night before had been something to that effect. He said, "No, 'Lord, teach us to die.'" Grasping at other possibilities, I said, "Grady, 'Lord, teach us to shine?'" He said, "No, 'Lord, teach us to die.'" He seemed to wonder why I kept questioning his song.

It was very interesting. It's a little strange at first to hear your 3-yr. old singing such a morbid thing. But, on the other hand, God quickly allowed me to see how very profound it was. Isn't that what we should be learning every day? It seems to me that selfishness is the root of most problems and bad situations...money problems, broken relationships, separation/divorce, etc. If we could just get that one little lesson down that Grady was singing about, what a better life we could be living!

I think sometimes God might whisper in their little ears some of the most profound things of all knowing that they will, in childlike faith, just repeat what they hear...and knowing that their parents are listening.

God, help us to die to our flesh, to our selfish desires today. Help us to remember the words of Grady's song forever.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

My Big Fat Body

Just thought I'd give you all an update on the past 9 days. We started our fast 9 days ago, as I posted. One of the things the fast was/is supposed to do involves the physical...our health. Well, can I just say...IT IS GOING GREAT! It really is. We are fasting meats and sweets (when I say meat I am talking about beef, poultry, fish). I haven't even been tempted...I really haven't. I mean if the thought of a Milky Way pops into my mind, I just don't entertain the thought...otherwise I would be tempted and really want a Milky Way (FYI: in the last 3 months or so, really had a craving for Milky Ways...not sure why...hadn't wanted a Milky Way in years before that, but I would totally satisfy my craving every time...by going to the store and getting a Milky Way of course).

Update on my body (the one that I still don't recognize when I look in the mirror...crazy how when I think about myself, I still picture the body that came along with the 25-yr. old, pre-kids me). Like I said, started eating healthy again 9 days ago. Well, as of this morning I was down 7 1/2 pounds and had lost about an inch off my waist. Not too bad.

Here is what I'm doing in my diet (diet as in way I like to eat, not as in "I'm going on a diet"):
1. avoiding anything with high fructose corn syrup...have just learned how to really read labels over the years
2. avoiding anything with hydrogenated oils
3. obviously I'm not having any sweets, but that includes basically eating nothing that has sugar period...not added sugar or simple sugars listed in the ingredients; now, for example, there is a Kashi cereal that I will eat occasionally that is "lightly sweetened," but it's with evaporated cane juice...I stay away from the highly processed, refined white table sugar
4. avoiding all bad carbs.; good carbs., like brown rice, whole grain bread (without high fructose corn syrup or refined flour of any kind), high-fiber cereal, etc....we eat those of course; it isn't tempting to me to overeat the good carbs. because frankly they don't taste as good as the bad ones in my opinion; you know, like that soft, white Wonder bread...the kind that is highly processed and refined...yeah, that tastes better to me...too bad it's toxic
5. drinking at least 64 oz. of water a day; lots of times I will end up drinking about 96, but at least 64
6. avoiding dairy; I've done this before and really liked the way I felt on no dairy...I replace milk with soymilk, although I don't really drink milk of any kind...it's just to use in my oatmeal, smoothies, etc.; I figure if I'm being bad enough to eat the chocolate cake or brownies (the only time I drink milk), I can go ahead and go all the way and drink cow's milk :)

So, what are we eating? Anything healthy that we want. :) I tried to do the Weight Watchers thing again, which worked so wonderfully for me to lose the weight after I had Hadley. But, for some reason, this time I just wasn't feeling it. I was not excited about counting points and measuring and stuff.

A sample day is something like this:
Breakfast - Oatmeal w/ Raisins or a 2-egg omelette with green bell peppers, onions, and tomato
Lunch/Supper - any combo of beans/peas and grains so that we make a complete protein...I've
found some great recipes online and borrowed some from friends...of course it also helps
that Joel's favorite food basically is Brazilian rice and beans :)
Snack - a handful of Pecans (from Granny's back yard) or maybe a smoothie (bananas, frozen
strawberries, soymilk, vanilla protein powder)

I like the idea of a vegetarian/vegan diet and am really pretty much doing a vegan diet now (except for my omelettes), but don't think it's realistic for me long-term...not 100% anyhow. I think it might be do-able to do that at home, but as far as traveling, family/church functions, eating out, etc....just not realistic to be able to avoid things like dairy and meat products. I tell you what though...man is it SO MUCH CHEAPER to not buy and cook meat.

I've also been exercising almost every day. It's too cold to go outside and run, and I wouldn't really get the chance to do that these days anyhow, so have just been doing videos. I highly recommend the Turbo Jam exercise videos...you may have seen them in an infomercial (that's where I saw them first). They are really good and really fun. I despise cheesy exercise videos.

And, usually it helps me to get on track if I can read a new book about health/fitness to really get informed and get motivated. I got the Natural Cures one, but it was honestly a little too "conspiracy theory" for me. I mean, good information and I don't necessarily refute the claims he makes...I just didn't like his presentation. So, I got the book by Dr. Oz (from the Oprah show)...You On a Diet. It is really very good. I've read about a b-jillion books on health/fitness (and pregnancy/childbirth and child-raising...). That being the case, Joel asked me if I was learning anything new from this book. I am. More than any of the other books I've read, it goes into great explanations about what food does to your body, good and bad. It just informs you about your body processes as related to food I guess. And it's very well written...not so in-depth that it's boring. I really like it.

Anyhow, like I said...just an update and a little detail about what I'm doing. More to come.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Diastasis

I have had a "condition" since pregnant with Grady called diastasis. I hate it. This is what happens...

Some women, while they are pregnant, develop this. The muscles in your belly that come together in the middle form basically what's kind of like a zipper. I mean, they aren't really attached, but they are just right together. Well, while pregnant, the muscles come apart. For some women, this doesn't happen. Unfortunately, for me, it did.

I think that for some, after pregnancy, they go back together. For me, not so. I'm sure that having 3 babies in such a short amount of time and the fact that they were all pretty big babies didn't help much. But, I am hoping that they go back together. Otherwise, even when I do lose the weight, I will still have a pooch...that's the way it was after I lost all the weight after having Hadley...still a pooch. One friend of mine even had to have surgery to repair hers...I really hope my muscles find themselves back to each other on their own.

So, question for all of you out there in cyberland...any suggestions? Are there any exercises or anything that I can do to promote this repair? Any of you have any experience with diastasis? Are there things that I can do to exacerbate it? I certainly don't want to make it worse. Right now, my muscles are a good 3-4 fingerwidths apart...so sad. Help me out here.

But, let me show you why it's all worth it...































Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Happy Birthday, Babe!!













I'm not sure why I absolutely love this picture so much. I think it's just so Joel though...laughing, joyful, sweet...all of the best adjectives there are in the world. I am still in awe that God hand-picked this amazing man, the most incredible man who ever lived besides Jesus, just for me. But, man am I ever so grateful that He did.

Joel, we love you so much! Hope you have the best birthday ever for your 30th.