Eating Healthy

Since discovering I had a gluten-intolerence, lactose-intolerance, and “leaky gut” issues I’ve eliminated a lot of foods from my diet. First let me explain what “leaky gut” is for those who don’t know.  When I first heard someone use the term leaky gut I thought she was crazy.  That term didn’t sound medically proper to me. Here’s a quote from an article called, “Leaky Gut Syndrome in plain English” on the scd lifestyle website. http://scdlifestyle.com/2010/03/the-scd-diet-and-leaky-gut-syndrome/

 “The term Leaky Gut Syndrome is used to describe the condition of “Hyperpermeable Intestines”.  A fancy medical term that means the intestinal lining has became more porous, with more holes developing that are larger in size and the screening out process is no longer functioning properly.  The fallout results in larger, undigested food molecules and other “bad stuff” (yeast, toxins, and all other forms of waste) that your body normally doesn’t allow through, to flow freely into your bloodstream.”

 This “bad stuff” made me feel tired, weak, and basically ill all over. Taking a close look at what I was eating was a huge key in helping me feel better.  I began to recognize the first symptoms of a leaky gut episode.  Then I was able to pinpoint it to a certain food.  So the elmination of foods began. 

 Of course discovering gluten-intolerence made gluten the first group to go. Then most foods made with corn.  Next, a breathe test from the doctors office revealed my lactose-intolerance.  Not long after that sugar (white sugar, not natural sugar such as fruit), along with anything high fructose or highly processed.  I’ve also never trusted soy.  I don’t know why, just something in me that said stay away from it.  Since then I found documents to back that up.  Here’s an article that talks more about that. http://dogtorj.com/what-is-food-intolerance/what-is-the-leaky-gut/    I used to eat scrambled eggs for breakfast but they started bothering me too, so out they went.

So now I’ve elminated a good portion of food out there.  So what do you eat?  I get that question a lot.  I found eating the basics of fruits, vegetables, and meat (“clean” beef and chicken) keep me feeling my best.  I stick with organic, no hormones or other icky stuff, as much as I can.  It seems so simple.  So practical.  Some people call this clean eating or a gamut of other names. 

I came to this diet by remembering that God made our bodies and knows how it functions best.  He is for life and health of His creation. He provided for all living things by giving the food they need in the area they live.  Look in nature at all God has provided for us.  Now, in a perfect world we could eat from the goodness he offers and do well.  However, most of us have done damage to our bodies from the different junk that’s in our food (things we may not know are in there) or willingly bad food choices or bad DNA.  Depending on what your health is like will depend on what foods in nature will be best for you.  Take a look the benefits different foods have and what your body needs and eat that.  There’s a lot of different diets out there but I believe if we would just educate ourselves on food and what it does, we can live healthier lives. 

I’m not saying diet is a cure all to all diseases.  I am saying diet has ALOT more to do with how we feel then we may think.  I’ve been amazed at some things I’ve been learning about food and our bodies.

~Did you know vegetable oil is made from soybean oil?  I didn’t until I looked at the bottle just the other day.  You can replace it with coconut oil or olive oil for a healthier option. 

~Did you know that over 95% of the bodies seratonin is found in the GI tract.  Diet then not only effects our overall physical health but also our emotions, memory and mental clarity.  (Quote taken from http://www.puristat.com/braingut/serotonin.aspx )

~Did you know that flaxseed works great for constipatiImageon?  Flaxseed  helps against inflammation in our bodies.  It can also help with cholesterol, heart disease and cancer to name a few.  Keifer is also great for constipation and it’s 99% lactose free.  I know constipation isn’t something people like to talk about but it happens and when it happens you can get pretty desperate to stop it. Flaxseed and keifer have been awesome for me in this area.  Also fruits and of couse a lot of water.  It sure beats reaching for the Miralax my doctors kept telling me to take.  Which, by the way, caused me to have more leaky gut episodes.  

~There’s a lot of talk out there about whole grain having great fiber.  Did you know that fruit has 2x the amount of fiber as grains and veggies have 8x more?  I really need to eat more veggies.  I have found myself craving fruit more instead of cookies since I’ve changed my eating habbits.  That’s a big deal for me.  I used to eat cookies like chips.  This tells me that your tastebuds will adapt to what you feed them just like they say they will.

I’ve also learned how to adapt most of my old recipes to be healthier. Except for Mexican food.  I really miss mexican food.  Does anyone know how I can replace flour tortillas and not use something made with corn?  I miss chicken quesadillas, burritos and soft shell tacos.  I also used to make a great chicken fettucine alfredo but it has a lot of dairy in it.  Does anyone know of a version with less lactose?  I think the whipping cream would not go well with me.  

One last point that really helped me is taking probiotics every day.  My GI Dr. highly recommends Align probiotics but they have milk in it so it may bother some people with lactose-intolerence depending on how sensitive your body is.  I use Culturelle probiotics.  There probiotics for children too.  I give them to my girls and it seems to help.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m not a medical professional but I’m hoping that some of the things I’ve been through can help someone else out there live healthier and feel better.

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Open Door

I was at a luncheon at church with my husband and kids.  We were in a large room divided by a partitioned wall.  After the kids were done eating they were able to go to the other side of the wall and to play.  We were sitting right next to the playroom.  My three year old daughter stopped playing to get a drink.  She started to go back to the playroom but the door was shut.  The door had a funny looking flat door knob on it.  My daughter stopped and looked at the door, then put her hands on her hips as she studied the door in frustration.  My husband and I had watched the wheels turning in her head.  We chuckled as she put her hands on her hips.  Her daddy stood up and opened the door for her. 

It made me think how many of us come to a closed door in our lives.  We stand there and study the door trying to figure out how to open it. We can come up with so many possible solutions on our own but that still might not be the way to open the door.  We may even put our hands on our hips in frustration or get angry but the one thing we ought to do is look to our daddy to open the door for us.  Isa 41 13Our heavenly Father is the only one who really knows if that’s a door we should walk through or not.  We certainly want His blessing and direction before we go anywhere. Even if it’s a door you were already went through.  Sometimes God closes doors for us for awhile and then reopens them.  It all needs to be on His timing.  Don’t be in such a hurry in life that you forget to ask your daddy to open the door.             

ONE thing

My brother asked me if I could ask God for ONE thing and know that He would give it to me, what would I ask for?  I asked my friends on facebook what they would say.  There was some pretty good responses, like wanting to be a child God is proud of.  I definitely want to hear well done good and faithful servant at the end of my life.  I also really liked the mother who would ask for safety, health and happiness for her child.  One of my favorite was boldness to tell others about Christ.  Amen to that my dear friend. 

As far as my answer, I had to think about it awhile.  I know it would have to be something great.  After thinking I answered him back.  I would ask to love like God does in thought, word, and deed.  The bible says we are to walk in love.  Without love we are nothing.  There are many spiritual gifts that are wonderful but someday they will pass away. Besides, if I have all spiritual gifts but do not love I am nothing and I gain nothing.  (I Cor. 13)

But if I love like our Lord in thought, word and deed, I would see people through the eyes of love.  Be motivated by love and act without fear because perfect love drives out fear.  (I John 4:18)  I would know when to act and when to be still.   I would be slow to anger and abounding in love, just like my Lord.  (Exodus 34:6)  A lot of the fleshly thoughts I have in my head would stop as my heart would be consumed by perfect love. 

Perfect love.  We have such few examples of that in the world.  Even the examples we have don’t come close to the love God has.  Perfect love is not weak or wimpy.  It’s actually impressively triumphant, bold, courageous and righteous.  It may have looked like Jesus was weak as He stood there having accusations thrown at him hours before His crucifixion, but He was in control the whole time.  His motivation was His love for us.  There is nothing selfish about perfect love. My desire is that we all can understand how deep Gods love for us is and let his love consume us.  I believe it would  change us.

As for my fb friends, I’m praying God does give you what you asked for.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.  I John 3:1a     

how wide how deep

My Health Journey

Some of my friends and family know my health journey but for those who don’t I thought I’d write up a summary of what I’ve been through.  My hope is to help someone else who may be having the same issues I’ve gone through.  I have no medical training, so by no means am I giving professional medical advice.  I’m just sharing some life experiences.

My health journey started in November of 2011 when I started losing weight.  I was pretty excited because after the birth of my fourth child I was having a hard time losing the pregnancy weight.  It was taking a toll on my self esteem.  Finally my pants were fitting better.  I was so happy, but the weight just kept coming off.  Not in huge amounts.  Only about two pounds per month but after a year of this my mom and some women from church were concerned.  At first I just blew them off and thought, “Who doesn’t want to be losing weight.”  I didn’t know weight loss could be a sign of a medical problem. 

I had only lost 26lbs but I wasn’t very overweight to begin with.  Just some left over pregnancy weight that by this time I had lost and was getting smaller then before I was pregnant.  In the matter of just a few days I heard three people say I’ve lost a lot of weight with a concerned look on their face.  Finally I got online and looked up weight loss.   Then I realized this was probably more then just shedding baby weight.  I had no health insurance but my husband and I agreed I needed to see a Dr. 

Besides the weight loss I would get a horrible pain on my left side as well as other digestion issues (bloating, constipation, constant hurting intestines, tender tummy…etc.) that I have lived with for years.  I started with my general Dr.   He ran several tests that cleared me of anemia, thyroid problems, lung cancer, colon cancer, (cancer is in my family) crohn’s disease, diverticulitis and kidney problems.  I also visited my OBGYN who said it wasn’t ovarian or uterine cancer.  I was very happy to hear it wasn’t any of these terrible diseases. 

At the same time I was getting very frustrated with not knowing.  Several months had gone by and I still didn’t know what was going on.  My clothes were starting to fall off  and we had no money to buy more clothes.  I was scared and wanted answers.  I thought it would be easier then this.  All of this brought me closer to the Lord.  I didn’t know the answers but I knew He did.  His Word gave me strength and I had many people praying for me.  Still I would get scared.  I would look in the mirror and wonder what was going on.  The bones in face were becoming more visible…my cheekbones and temples.  You could see every bump in my spine and feel the ribs in my back.  I would cry and I felt so unattractive.  My husband has been so awesome during all of this.  He would encourage me to continue searching for an answer when I just wanted to give up.  He talked to medical personnel when I got frustrated and talked to all the billing people for me.  He never complained about the money, he just wanted to see me get better. 

In January 2013 I had a colonoscopy that said everything looked good in my lower intestines.  Within a few days after that I heard a couple people mention Celiac disease.  I had never heard of it before.  My mom was one of them and she told me about gluten and the gluten-free diet.  I looked up gluten-free on the internet and decided to give it a try.  It helped and I was amazed that I wasn’t hurting every moment.  However, it didn’t take care of everything. 

In March 2013 my Dr. referred me to a Gastroenterologist.  They did an upper GI endoscopy on me and discovered my intestines were inflamed but didn’t know why.  They took a biopsy to test for celiac disease but I didn’t realize going gluten-free first can mess up that test.  So we still don’t know if I’m celiac or not.  Then they did a breath test on me that showed I’m lactose intolerant and I had small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO).  That diagnosis made a huge difference. 

SIBO is when you have to much bacteria growing in your small intestine.  It feeds on carbohydrates. The bacteria takes food from you and produces more bacteria.  I did some of my own research on SIBO.  It is believed to be one of the main underlying causes for IBS.  To get rid of it you can either take a specific antibiotic that’s pricy (between $1000-$2000) or you can starve the bacteria by not eating what it feeds on.  It could take about 2yrs to starve it. Since I didn’t have money for the medicine I planned on trying to starve it.  The doctors office put me on a list for free samples.  I wasn’t expecting to get free samples but a couple weeks later the nurse called me and said they had samples for me.  Praise God!!!  I really felt like the Lord helped me out on this one.  All along this path I have seen God’s hand move me in certain directions at just the right time.  I would hear the right song at the right time to encourage me, hear information right when I needed it.  God would send prayers, people and verses my way.  I have felt Him near me through all of this.  I’m skipping a lot of that info right now for time sake but hope to write more on it another time.  So I took the antibiotics and it really helped.  The gurgling and rumbles in my digestive track went away.  So thankful to have that taken care of.

I was realizing what was going on with me is like a big puzzle that’s been building since I was a kid with tummy aches.  I just had to find the pieces.  I found most of them but still had a few more to find.  It was around this time (summer 2013) that I stopped losing weight.   I had lost 42lbs in about 18months but praise the Lord I finally stopped losing.

               Hilary

Just one more issue I still needed to put to rest.  Occasionally I would get really weak and tired.  It took so much energy for me to use my muscles. Just walking or talking took so much strength.  It felt like there was something toxic going through my blood and I could tell you where on my body it was at the moment.  I was nauseous and just felt icky all over.  On those days I would put videos in for my kids and let the school aged kiddos play educational games on the computer.  It didn’t happen a lot but when it did it knocked the soup out of me. Thankfully, the sick feeling only lasted 2 to 6 hours.   It started happening more mid to late summer.  I’d try to push through but often would end up crying because I was so tired of feeling sick and tired. I know God can heal me and believe He will.  I just didn’t know why it hadn’t happened yet. 

I paid attention to what I was eating and began to cross food off my list to eat.  Finally I decided to just eat the basic foods God created for us in the first place.  More vegetables and fruits and some meat too.  I threw out high fructose and highly processed foods along with gluten and dairy (of course).  I’ve been feeling so much better lately.  I’m very strict with myself on what I eat.  Anytime I think about wanting something I shouldn’t have I just remember how horrible it feels to be sick.  Totally NOT worth being sick. 

Also through this process I discovered three of my four children have problems with gluten as well.  It’s been a learning curve for me but I’m enjoying the results of pain free tummies.  I keep praying that the Lord will show me how to take care of my body and my family’s. He’s been so faithful to do just that.  I hope you’ll enjoy learning along with me.  Maybe we can learn a few tips from each other as we all go through our journeys.

Dragonfly

Last summer after my husband and I got home from bible study my husband noticed something between the windshield and the console of our car.  It was a dragonfly that got stuck.  He was already dead, possibly from the 106 temps we had. He took the dragonfly out, amazingly in one piece, and brought it in the house.  He thought the kids would like to see it.  My oldest daughter loves animals and science so she was all over this.  She looked at it under a magnifying glass and we listed on the board what she observed.  I was observing she was doing some school and didn’t know it because she was having so much fun. LOL  The last thing she mentioned was that the dragonfly no longer had any color because it was dead and dragonflies lose their color when they die.  I’ve never heard that before.  I asked my daughter, “Is that true?” She said, “I think so.  Just like flowers lose their color when they die.”  So we dug in and did research on dragonflies to see if it was true.  They are an amazing creation.  Each time I research things like this with my daughter I get so amazed at how God made every little thing in nature.  Nature can be beautiful, powerful, captivating, marvelous, mysterious, …  I marvel at the works of His hands. 

ImageCome to find out it is true.  Just like flowers, dragonflies lose their color when they die and rather quickly too.  I immediately saw a correlation between this and our walk with the Lord Jesus.  When we are living our lives for Him we shine with His beauty.  People marvel at the beauty of Christ in us.  As soon as we walk in death or sin, because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), then we lose that beautiful color and turn ashy and black.  No longer attracting others as the Son reflects off us. Just like the flowers that are radiant in color and fragrance.  As soon as death comes the flowers crumble and blow away with the wind.

In this dark and hurting world people are longing for natural beauty that comes only from a life of someone faithfully walking with the Lord.  As we live a life of love we will be sweet smelling to the Lord (Ephesians 5:2) and reflect the mercy and grace Christ gave us at the cross. 

Oh that we would marvel at the awesomeness of God’s creation.  With that in mind remember that you are more important to God then any of His other creations.  You are the crown of all He made.  If this depresses you take heart.  God holds many beautiful colors for you to shine with for Him as you walk closer to Him.  He so desires to clothe you with colors that are far more marvelous than any flower or dragonfly. 

In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:16 

Temptation

      No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.       First Corinthians 10:13

Temptation, what a scary word.  As a Christian I know that temptation that is given into produces sins.  Some with more serious consequences then others but make no mistake, sin is sin.  The same blood of Jesus Christ was shed for both the serious sins and the “little ones”. (In the spectrum of things, no sin is little.  Take a look at it from heaven’s view and you’ll see that’s true.) 

In this journey I take in my walk with Christ I see the Lord healing me of hurts, lighting my path and ultimately setting me apart for His purposes.  In this process of being set apart sometimes I see how far I’ve come and think I’m strong. I’m doing well.  That can be a dangerous way of thinking. Yes, I have come a long way but only by clinging to the Lord for strength and direction.  Without Him I’m nothing.  King David, a man after God’s heart, fell into sin with Bathsheba.  This is a good reminder that God’s people can fall.  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.              I Corinthians 10:12

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 

I’ve been down a series of humbling circumstances where the Lord has shone His light in my heart and revealed a couple of very ugly spots.  Dark spots.  I didn’t even realize these things were there to this degree. It’s like picking an apple and seeing a soft spot but when you cut it open you find the apple is rotten.  Thankfully God can make us whole again. 

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. I Cor. 10:13 In this last struggle this verse kept going through my mind and became a comfort to me.  For some reason I thought to be tempted was wrong but that’s not true because Jesus was tempted and He lead a sinless life. 

Next I’m comforted to know that my temptation is common.  I’m not the only person on the planet feeling the way I do.  Funny how we often think we are alone but it’s rarely true.  There are about as many temptations as there are people.  The temptation of food, vanity, gossiping, sexual immorality, drugs, coveting and being envious of what others have and do, greed, stealing, cheating, lying.  

Last thing I noticed about this verse is the word seized.  Webster’s dictionary defines seize as to affect suddenly; overwhelm.  Oh boy, isn’t that the truth!  This particular temptation I’ve struggled with often comes out of the blue.  Wham!!!  Things start running through my head … Where did that come from? 

Now I’ve done bible studies on watching what you think and watching what you say.  I try to keep a good filter on both my mind and my mouth but this one thing…has been a thorn in my side.  So I  dove in and started studying about temptation.  The bible actually has quiet a bit to say about it and it’s not all doom and despair.  Actually because of Jesus we have victory.  That doesn’t mean the path is easy.  You must fight the good fight but that’s one thing Paul refers to in sharing in Christ’s sufferings.  This week I’ve certainly learned the lesson that, when someone so in love with Jesus comes across temptation, AGAIN- for the 42nd time (or something like that) a fierce battle is fought in your mind and it truly is suffering.  I would’ve thought this statement was weird if I hadn’t experienced it for myself.  I get so tired of fighting that I just want to get rid of the part of the part of my brain that thinks these things.  I now understand when Jesus said, “If your hand causes you to sin cut it off.  It is better to enter life maimed then with two hands to go into hell.”  Mark 9:43

Here’s the good news.  In Romans 6,7, and 8 the bible tells us that we are free from sin if we have the Spirit of God living in us.  It describes that battle in a person between the flesh and living according to the spirit and ends by reassuring us that we are more then conquerors in Christ Jesus.  We don’t have to let temptation and the fear of sin rule over us. If you’re like me your sitting there saying that’s great to know but it doesn’t help me right now as I’m struggling with temptation.  How do I  defeat it?  Good question.  I promise you I’m getting to that. (That’s actually the point of me writing this) 

God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.  I Corinthians 10:13b

God has certainly been faithful in leading me through this.  Make no mistake about it, God IS NOT the one who tempts. (James 1:13)  Temptations come from fleshly desires within us and from Satan.  However, God is rooting for us to get thru our temptations and trials sinlessly.   As I said God has been faithful in leading me through the particular temptation that keeps coming against me.  It doesn’t effect me all the time.  I can go months without it bothering me but I’ve noticed even during those times the Lord gives me verses or someone brings up the topic in a talk or sermon or on the radio.  It’s like God is giving me tips on how to get through this.  Providing me with more weapons to fight my battles.  Here’s some of the things I found out.

~Guard your heart.  I mentioned it earlier but it’s worth mentioning it again.  The things that come in through your ears, eyes and emotions are going to effect your heart.  What is in your heart effects how you live, think, and act.  You should know yourself well enough to know what areas you are weaker in.  Be sure to keep your highest guards on those areas. 

~Put on the full armor of God.  I’ve mentioned this one in another of my posts but I’m telling you it’s not called the armor of God for nothing.  We are in a battle.  Aren’t you glad it’s called the armor of God.  Not the armor of Hilary or the armor of George or Sam but the armor of GOD.  There’s no better armor then that!!!  So put it on.  Continuously.  Day after day.

~Stand firm!  Keep standing for what is right.

~Prayer and worship.  Those are big ones.  Pray for protection on your mind, on your family, on the area that’s under fire.  Don’t forget to praise Him.  Praise Him just because…He’s awesome.  Sing joyfully, with songs of thanksgiving.  Prayer and worship help keep the right perspective on things.

~Submit yourself to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  James 4:7  If youre thinking you should go one way and you know it’s not God’s voice because it’s not what God would want for you and it doesn’t line up with Scripture, turn around and run the other way.  Straight into God’s will. 

~The last tip is confession.  Talk to a friend, someone you trust and let them know of your struggle.  Someone you know will love you but can tell you what you need to hear and ask you the questions you need to think of.  I call that slapping you upside the head if you need it.  Someone you can have accountability with and who’ll encourage you to go the right way.  Pray about who this person should be.  God’s answer may not be the one you would pick but trust Him. 

A Picture of Love

I’ve been diving into learning about love.  It is a characteristic that I should have pouring out of me as a follower of Christ.  It is of great importance that we are living a life of love.  Love is huge to God, God IS love.  So I’m diving into this and I’m reading I John because he talks about it alot.  One of my big questions is what does love look like?  Perfect love, divine love what does it look like in every day life?  I have my ideas but I want God’s picture on the matter. 

 

The other day I was feeling crabby and I was desperately needing some time away from the kids for awhile.  Sometimes moms just get to that point but at this particular moment I couldn’t get away so I tried to work with it.  I told my 3 and 5 year old they needed to go play in the girl’s room and leave me alone for awhile.  My 3yr old got the message and started to go to her room.  My 5yr old started to pout and didn’t want to leave.  I said son you need to leave me alone for awhile.  I was crabby and a bit short with him but he slowly left.  I continued my filing and as I walked through the schoolroom I could hear my son say to his sister, “Shhh, I’m making a surprise for mom.” My heart started to soften.  A few minutes later my son said, “Mom, do you want to find a surprise I made for you.  I hide it in the school room, …in the crayons…”  He led me to the crayons and opened the container.  “See, I buried them under the crayons.” He took out a folded piece of paper which had another folded piece of paper in it.  Then he showed me the picture he made for me and started to tell me about it.  “Do you want me to read it to you?”  “Sure” I said.  “It says I love you.  Do you like it?”  How wonderful for this little boy to make me a picture.  That was his response to me after I was short with him.  He quickly forgave my shortcomings and showed me love, which softened and touched my heart.  Now that was a picture of love.

 

I want to be more like this child and forgive so quickly followed by showing my love to the one who needs it, the one who may have hurt me.  Often we hurt and are short with each other because we are hurt or stressed or dealing with something ourselves.  What we need is to be reminded of how much we are loved.    

Surprise lesson for mom

My son and daughter were having a hard time getting along.  There are times they play together great.  Like thery’re the best of friends.  Most moments though, my boys play together and my daughter, who is in between the boys in age, feels left out.  My husband and I found out my oldest son says his little sister is to loud and that’s why he doesn’t like to play with her.  We could certainly understand that. She is loud.  So we just let it go.  That was a mistake. 

During the next few days my son would tell his sister, “I don’t want to play with you.  Your to loud!  Leave me alone.”  I could see this was not going well.  I didn’t want my daughter to have this label of being “loud” branded on her.  As I thought about it and watched her the next few days I could see she isn’t trying to be “loud”. She’s a very expressive person.  She really gets into her stories and comments.  You have no doubt how she feels because she shows it in her voice and body language.  It’s actually one of the things I like about her.  She’s good at conveying her thoughts and feelings.  I believe she’ll learn how to handle things with more tact as she gets older.  (She’s only in kindergarten.)  In the meantime I want my son to learn to love her and be kind to her.  I prayed that the Lord would show me how to turn this into a good character building lesson for all of them. 

On Monday we all gathered at the table after breakfast to start our homeschooling day with a devotional as we do most school mornings. (On Mondays I always read the Spelling story for devotions.  The curriculum I use has a story at the beginning of the week that teach them biblical character along with the spelling words.)  The story that morning was perfect.  The kids in the story had to write something they liked about everyone in their classroom.  Then everyone got a piece of paper with all the qualities their classmates like about them.  I’ve done this project when I was a teenager and it had quite an impact on me.  It was the perfect solution.  I had my children say two things they liked about everyone in the family. This caused my son to think of the things he liked about his sister. It also showed my daughter that there are so many great things about her.  This solved both my problems at the same time.  It also had a surprising lesson in it for me.  Since most of my children are to young to spell and write well, I took them in a room seperately and wrote down for them what they liked about everyone.  Through this I learned what is important to each of my children.  What makes them tick and speaks love to them.  Bottom line was, playing with them and spending time together is what speaks love to them most.  I thought to myself how many times my children come to me and want me to play with them and most of the time I can’t because I’m cooking or housecleaning or trying to do something else.  I really need to try to say yes to playing with them more often.  I know there are times I truly can’t but I was better at saying yes to them a few months ago. I just need to be intentional about it again. 

You should be like one big happy family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.”  I Peter 3:8