Monday, December 31, 2012

One last post!

In 2012, that is.  :)

It feels surreal that this is the last day of 2012.  It feels anti-climactic actually. The 2013 budget is ready to go  (minus any adjustments for the fiscal cliff... :P), Daniel didn't have to work today, we don't have any invites to any parties tonight, so it just feels like a normal night at home!

Friday, December 28, 2012

This holiday season has given me a new appreciation for the men and women whose spouses are serving tours overseas. My husband gets to come home every night, but it sure has felt like a long haul.  Daniel has had one day off over the last week and a half, and tomorrow is his last day of work before his two day weekend.  Next week they start inventory, so he'll probably be working long hours again.

And... next week I start teaching three new students!  *gulp*

I have one new student interview scheduled for the 1st, and two scheduled for the 2nd!  I'm excited.  Yesterday Daniel brought home the lesson books I'm hoping to use with two of my students, and I spent a bit of time playing through them, since I've never used them before.  Should be a good experience.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another strike against me?

I've blogged before about our experiences learning about the MTHFR defect, what it is, why it's important to know you have it, common symptoms of MTHFR deficiency and what you can do to help your body out if you do have it.

Since I wrote those posts, I've started following MTHFR Support on Facebook.  Last night they posted a link to an interesting study that showed a connection between MTHFR, preeclampsia, and another gene, called COMT.  Here's where the "another strike" comes in.  This summer, I found out that my aunt tested positive for two variations on the COMT gene.  We already suspect that I have at least one, if not two, MTHFR genes.  So... great.  I've already dealt with 4+ years of IF, I have hydrocephalus (a neural tube defect), Daniel has one MTHFR variation, and now I might have a raised chance of pre-e?  Oh goody.  :P

Adoption is looking better and better!  :D

(Side note: With only five days left in the year, we're getting closer to finding out my MTHFR status!  Only about a week to go until I can get tested!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Back to the Grind

My parents and my sister came for Christmas, but they left this morning, so it's back to the grind now. Daniel only had yesterday off, so he was back to work too.  I went to see the MTHFR family today, but they're not back to school yet, so they're still off their routine.

Tomorrow the books for my only male student should get in, so I may go pick those up and flip through them.  I also need to call my newest student and arrange a time for her interview and trial lesson.  I'm thinking I might plan that for Friday.  She's not in school right now either, but her mom seemed very excited for her to start lessons.  :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

I got the key!

Yesterday, the treasurer at the church next door called to get me to come meet his pastor.  Turns out that he had already made a decision to allow me to use their church to teach piano!  :)  So, he gave me a key, and now I can say that my piano studio has a home at Iglesia Bautista El Calvario.  And... the treasurer's 15 year old daughter wants to take lessons!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Another "Life in Little Hispaniola" Moment

I don't usually blog on Saturdays, but this was just so unexpected that I have to blog about it, and I didn't want to leave it until Monday when the whole thing will hopefully be settled.  :P

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm looking for a place with an acoustic piano that I could use one afternoon a week to teach piano.  There's a little Spanish church next door, so I contacted their local association office to see what the best way to get in touch with someone who speaks English would be.  They gave me the name and number of the church treasurer, who I called almost immediately.

I told him what I was looking for, and he sounded genuinely interested.  I wasn't really sure I would hear back from him though.  Today, my phone rang, and it was him, calling to see if I wanted to come over to the church and check out the piano!

So I did!

It's a Wurlitzer, pretty old, but all 88 keys and the damper pedal work.  It's definitely out of tune, but if I can get a few students, I think I might be able to offer to pitch in toward the cost of getting it tuned.

The church treasurer said he'd talk to the pastor tonight, and call me either tonight or tomorrow morning. If the pastor says it's okay, then I'll go over in the morning to meet him.

Here's the fun part... the treasurer's wife said they're having a potluck after church tomorrow and invited me to join them!  :)  Daniel might have to work tomorrow morning, and if he does... I think I just might go!  :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Welcome ICLW!

Hi!  I'm Stephanie, I'm 28, and I'm a scattered blogger.  We've been TTC for nearly four and a half years, with no success.  You can read more about our journey under my "TTC Timeline" at the top.

For now, I just mostly blog about day to day life and the things that are going on at our place.  Up until September, I was solely a (mostly) volunteer online community manager, but now I'm also a mother's helper, and a piano teacher.  In 2013, I've decided to get a little more serious about the piano teaching side of things, so I'm working on finding a place to hold lessons, because my keyboard is not adequate.

So... that's my last month or so in a nutshell.  :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Students!

I never would have expected I would say this... but I'm a piano teacher!  I've been teaching one student since the fall, but I have two more starting in January. I'm a little apprehensive about starting with new students, since I've had such a good experience with my first student. One of my new students has never taken lessons before, so that's familiar. The other new student took three years of lessons, ending about three years ago.  I'm planning to start them both off very basic, but I'm hoping I'll be able to push the older, more experienced student a little faster.  I think I will be able to.  He seems like a bright kid.

Another leap I took today was e-mailing our facilities manager at our (rather large) church to see if I might be able to utilize the acoustic piano at our church to teach lessons one afternoon a week.  I don't know when I'll hear back from her, since it's so close to Christmas.  If I don't hear from her pretty quick into the new year, I'll contact her again.  Being able to use that piano would enable me to expand my studio and take on new students.

I'm also hoping that if I can get enough students, that I might be able to afford to re-start lessons myself.  I haven't taken lessons since high school.  I think that if I want to be a really good teacher, I should be in lessons too, and constantly challenging myself.  (Plus... maybe if I can take lessons from one of the more advanced teachers in town, they'll be willing to refer their beginner inquiries to me, allowing them to focus on their advanced students, and helping me further develop my studio!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Delightful Dinner!

We had a lovely time last night with a family we hadn't seen in several years.  They made a great gluten-free, casein-free dinner, and then we all played bingo!  :)

Today I got off to a very slow start (I won't tell you how slow...) so now I have just a little bit of time to get the shopping list down and get it to Daniel so he can buy some food on his way home.  One meal that is DEFINITELY going on our menu is the one we served our company on Saturday evening.  It was a delicious microwave meatloaf that has turned out perfect all three times I have made it.  I think we're going to try doubling the sauce, browning the beef on the stove, and putting it over quinoa to make it stretch a bit further though, since we can't put beans in it (Daniel's allergies...).  Ohhhh... just thinking about it is making me hungry!  :P

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Follow-Up From Yesterday....

If you haven't read yesterday's post, you can do so here.

Yesterday afternoon we stopped at the hospital and picked up Daniel's medical records from his ER visit, and wouldn't you know it... but there was NO mention of an IV at all, even though they told the insurance company that there was.  There was one form dedicated to medications, complete with an IV section, and there was nothing written in that section at all.  We're hoping that means it will be easy to contest the charge.  We also decided not to do anything about it until we actually get the bill from the hospital, but we will be contesting that charge.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Some Surprises are Good, Some.... Are Not.

Last week was a week of surprises for us.

Surprise #1--Discovering another young couple from our church wanted to get together with us.  That's a good surprise.  I could use a few more of those.

Surprise #2--Discovering that the claims for Daniel's ER visit have been processed. The hospital charged WAY more than we were expecting (even after insurance).  Not really sure yet how we're going to pay for it, but trusting that God will provide.

Surprise #3--Our postal worker knocked on our door on Friday with a package for me, from SereneTeaz, in Wheaton, IL.  I visited their shop in August with friends, and went home with their Vanilla Chai.  Turns out, one of the friends who took me there in August sent me their Chai of the Tiger!  So blessed by her generosity.  :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friends, I think?

I just looked at our calendar for December, and it's actually filling up!  Tomorrow we've having dinner with another young couple from church.  We're hosting them here, since we figured that might be easier on everyone as far as food allergies go.  I'm hoping it goes well.  It would be nice to have more friends who are married with no kids, and who are our age!

Then next week we're getting together with a family we met back in 2010.  We actually haven't seen them since then, so it should be fun to get together with them again.  Later in the week, we've been invited to a Christmas party at another young couple's house.  Then just a few days after that, my parents and my sister are coming for Christmas!  :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jury Duty!

We've been married five years.  In those five years, Daniel has never been summoned for jury duty.  However, I have now been summoned twice.  I must not look too threatening, because the first time I was summoned, I actually did get to serve.  It was an interesting experience, and I'm actually looking forward to having the opportunity to do it again.  Who knows if I'll get picked again though.  I guess we'll see in January!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just about forgot to post today!

I just about forgot to post today.  Life has been... interesting, the last 24 hours or so.  We're planning an almost-impromptu dinner with another couple we've met... twice.  They're coming on Saturday night for dinner.  Monday we're meeting with a potential website client.  Somewhere in there we have to go by the hospital and visit with the billing department about a mistake on the claim they sent to our insurance company for Daniel's ER visit in July.

And in the midst of all that, Mama "T" is sick, so I won't be going over there tomorrow.  That's probably okay though, since I started a new supplement, and I'm detoxing pretty hard.  :P

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I think I just did the most baking I've done in a LOOOOONG time.  Daniel's brother wanted some gluten-free, casein-free baking, and I had time, so I offered to do it!  :)  I made pumpkin/applesauce/raisin/Craisin/chocolate chip bread and muffins, and BOY are they good!  I'll make too batches for us tomorrow.  Yum!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Back to the Dentist!

Daniel went to the dentist today for the second half of his cleaning.  They gave him a different anesthetic this time, called mepivacaine, and it worked MUCH better than the septocaine.  It's been a little less than two hours since his appointment, and he's almost completely thawed out.  That's much better than the seven hours it took after the septocaine!  :)  So, it looks like he'll be using mepivacaine from now on.

Friday, December 7, 2012

An Earth Balance Rebuttal

I came across this article a few minutes ago when a friend posted it on Facebook.  I read it, and I take issue with many of her points.

I'm sorry, but it ticks me off that she mentions Earth Balance at the beginning of the article, but yet, none of the claims that she makes about the ingredients of Smart Balance are true of Earth Balance.

I'm holding our container of soy-free Earth Balance right now.  Right on the top it says "Soy Free".  On the side, it says "No Soy, Expeller-Pressed Oil, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free, Non-GMO".  So, right there, I can point out that by including Earth Balance at the beginning of her diatribe, she is incorrect in her assertion that the canola is genetically modified, because at least in soy-free Earth Balance, it isn't.

I can't speak to her assertion that the olive oil in Smart Balance isn't EVOO, but at least in the original Earth Balance, it is.  I'm not sure about our Soy-free Earth Balance though.  The "natural flavor" in soy-free Earth  Balance is plant derived from corn, contains no MSG, no alcohol, and no gluten.  There is no mention of "artificial flavors" on the Earth Balance tub.

Soy-free Earth Balance does not contain soy lecithin. It contains sunflower lecithin, which I've already established is non-GMO, unlike her claims about soy lecithin.

Soy-free Earth Balance does not contain Vitamin A palmitate, Vitamin D2, or Beta carotene color.  It DOES contain naturally extracted annatto for color.

Soy-free Earth Balance also does not contain Potassium sorbate or Calcium disodium EDTA.

Furthermore, the author of the above linked article goes on to assert that "Butter is Always Best", which in our case, isn't true either!  My husband is allergic to casein, which is the protein in dairy products, including butter. If he eats butter, it will erase all the progress we have made with his healing over the last few months since going gluten & casein free.

I'm sure someone will love to point out that we could settle for ghee... but that isn't really an option either, since it's nearly impossible to get all the casein out of homeamde ghee.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I was struck a few days ago in my Bible reading by these verses from 1 John 5: 13-15

13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.

First question I had for myself was,"What kind of prayer pleases God?".  And then,"Do my prayers line up with the type of prayer that would please God?"  and then... "If not, why not?" followed by "What would it take to change my prayers to ones that would please God?"

So often, I'm guilty of praying something like: "Dear Jesus, please take this pain away. Amen." But what of that prayer pleases God?  I don't see any trust in that prayer. I don't see any glorification OF God in that prayer. I mean... obviously if taking my pain away would glorify God the most, I'm sure He would do that... but so far He hasn't seen that taking away my pain would glorify Him more than allowing me to continue in pain would. I believe that praying that God would be glorified in this situation IS a prayer that would please Him, and I'm inclined to pray in that way, rather than "give me this, give me that, take away this", etc.  So, we'll see.  Whatever happens, I just want need God to do a major work in my heart.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I love my husband!

Just wanted to give my husband a big shout out today.  :)  He's been so good to me, and he loves me so much!  I'm very happy to have him in my life.  Looking forward to him coming home tonight, and being able to spend some time together.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Truthful Tuesday

Remember all the grand plans I had yesterday?  Well... the only thing on that list that ACTUALLY got done was the grocery list and the grocery shop.  I didn't write any cards and Daniel's meeting got cancelled.  Whoops!

But there you have it.  The truth about my Monday.  :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Morning Musings...

It's Monday morning.  That means it's a new week, a fresh slate.  And I messed up on my best-laid plans already.  :(  But... that's okay.  Because God forgives, and He knows my heart.

Today is going to be a busy day.  Daniel has a business meeting at a ranch on the other side of town this afternoon, and I'm tagging along for appearances.  After that, we'll go grocery shopping.  It's going to be a major shop this week because we pretty little in our cupboards and fridge right now.  :P  But of course... before we can do that, I have to write the grocery list.

Oh... and we're big on combining trips, so I have about 12 thank you cards, and 25+ Christmas cards to write before we leave.  Gotta run!  :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Faithful Friday

Just wanted to share a verse from my Bible reading this afternoon:

I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not forgotten your commands. Psalm 119:176

It's never too late to go running back to the Lord!  :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Photo Card

Family Snowfall Holiday
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another "Life in Little Hispaniola" Moment

Every year or two, inspectors come through to check the safety of our building. Yesterday was the day they came through.  Daniel and I spent Monday tidying the apartment in preparation for our visitors, and I threw dinner in the crock pot in the morning. The inspections really aren't that stressful for the residents because they're mostly just looking for safety compliance measures. Last time they checked for smoke detectors and things like that. I know our landlord will be installing carbon monoxide detectors in December.

The inspection went well. It was actually the same inspector as last time. Apparently she was trying to pick an apartment at random, because she made some joke about,"So much for picking a random apartment" when she recognized me from last time.  :)

Have you ever lived in an apartment where they conducted yearly inspections?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So, What Do You Eat Anyway? (Part 2 of 3)

Last week I told you a little bit about why we've gone gluten, casein, soy, and corn free, and explained what we eat for breakfast.  Some of you may now be wondering,"If they eat oatmeal or pumpkin bread for breakfast, what do they eat for lunch?".

The simple answer:


Daniel usually takes leftovers from last night's dinner for lunch the next day.  Two days a week, I'm not home for lunch, and the other three days I am home by myself, I either don't eat lunch because I ate brunch instead, or I eat a more typical breakfast for lunch. Usually I'll fry up a couple eggs, and cook some turkey bacon in the microwave and add a piece of fruit on the side.  If we have lots of leftovers, I might eat those too.

This winter, I think I may experiment more with gluten-free, homemade soups, with a side of potato bread on the side. Oh? I haven't told you about potato bread yet?  Well, that's another recipe from the MTHFR family.  It's pretty simple, it's really just rice flour and potato flour mixed together with some water, and then rolled out and cut into circles.  Because it doesn't have any yeast in it, it doesn't rise. It's pretty much a flat bread, but it's oh so yummy with olive oil and spices on it!

Come back next week to find out what we eat for dinner!  If you eat gluten and casein-free, please leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite, inexpensive, GFCF meal is!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Managing God's Money--Car Maintenance (Part 3)

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, you can find them here and here.

This seems to be the overarching theme of our lives right now, but guess what we're going to attempt to do today?  Yep, that's right... we're hoping to get our alignment and new tires!  :)  Daniel has the day off work, so in a few minutes we'll call the tire store and make sure they have our tires, and if they do, we'll call the mechanic and let them know we're on our way for an alignment and oil change!

How God provided the money for this is pretty spectacular. Last week, we received a newsletter from our mechanic which included a $15 off coupon for an alignment.  Daniel did some website jobs and Wordpress training earlier in the fall, and we received the checks for those just before Thanksgiving. They were just enough, after tithing, to cover our new tires, with about $5 to spare.  Then, I posted on Facebook about the good news, and mentioned we still needed some money for our alignment, and the next thing I know, one of my friends Paypal'd just enough money to cover our alignment.  We also received a small check from the hospital since our insurance made a mistake that resulted in us overpaying for an appointment. That should cover half of our oil change.  We're just in AWE of the way God has provided for this.

We ARE still praying though, because I've heard that some vehicles need an extra part added to them in order to be able to have the correct alignment. We don't know yet if our car needs that extra piece.  If it does, we won't be able to get our alignment today, and we'll need to save some more moola. But, we know that God knows, and He will take care of His car, on His timeline.

Have you seen God provide for your needs in any extraordinary ways recently?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Welcome ICLW readers!

I know I'm two days late with this, and I should have posted this on Wednesday.  You'll just have to bear with me though!

Anyway, welcome to all my new readers arriving here from ICLW! I'm happy you stopped by!  Do take a minute to read my About Me page, explore our TTC journey, and see why we went gluten-free.  And please take a minute to introduce yourself in the comments!  I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

2012 has not been a fun year for us, but I'm choosing to be thankful anyway.  Some of the things I'm thankful for this year are:

1) God
2) My husband
3) My parents
4) My in-laws
5) Our siblings
6) Our nieces and nephews
7) Financial provision--As of last night... we have enough to pay for our new tires!
8) Our vehicle
9) Friends
10) Our church family
11) Food
12) Freedom

What are some things that you are thankful for?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Whew... What a Week!

We've had quite the week around here.  Things have been all mixed up this week.  Daniel works Tuesday-Saturday this week, but on Monday, his brother and sister-in-law took us shopping for some new clothes.  I'm super excited that we're going to get some nice pictures of us. We've never had professional pictures taken of us, and although the lady who will be taking our pictures next weekend isn't exactly a professional photographer, she's very talented, and she knows what she's doing.  :)

After our big shopping adventure on Monday, Tuesday continued the fun.  The MTHFR family is playing host to their grandparents this week, so I ran over there on the bus to teach R her piano lesson, and then Daniel's SIL picked me up and we hung out for most of the day, including a new haircut and style for me!  :) SIL's hairdresser will do my hair again Sunday morning before church so I'll be all ready for pictures after church!

Then, last night we went to a holiday open house, wearing our new dress clothes! We had lots of fun hanging out with our friends, as usual!  :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

So, What Do You Eat, Anyway? (Part 1 of 3)

If you haven't already done so, I would encourage you to read my MTHFR posts, as well as my account of Daniel's health issues back in July. This post will make more sense after you read those.

Since Daniel's allergies came to light, we had to switch up what we're eating. We're now pretty much a gluten-free, casein-free household. We also try to avoid corn and soy. That makes things pretty interesting!

I know many people are going gluten-free these days, but so many of the gluten-free products are cost-prohibitive, we've had to get a little inventive with what we choose to eat.  Here's a little snapshot of what we eat:

Breakfasts: Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) we cheat on this, and we eat oatmeal for breakfast. Oats ARE technically gluten-free, but usually the more common brands have been cross-contaminated with gluten during processing. I'm hoping to switch us over to certified gluten-free oats soon. I'm still looking for someone local who is willing to split a 25-lb bag of certified gluten free oats with us though, since we don't have room to store that much right now.

If we're not eating oatmeal, we're probably eating pumpkin bread, which the MTHFR family is teaching me to make!  Some of the ingredients include: Gluten-Free Pantry Scone and Muffin mix, coconut oil, quinoa flakes, banana, pumpkin, and raisins.  The coconut oil is really good for you, and the quinoa provides some protein.  This bread is great if you pop it in the microwave for about 25 seconds before you eat it. I'll ask "T" (of the MTHFR family) if I can share the recipe with y'all soon.  I'm sure we'll be making it the first week in December.

Come back next Tuesday to find out what we eat for lunch!  :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

MTHFR Monday Round-Up!

Over the past several weeks I have blogged on Mondays about something I have been learning a lot about over the last year or so.  MTHFR will continue to be a big part of what I write about here as we continue to learn about it, how it affects our bodies, and what it means for us as we relate to each other.

Here is a summary of all the posts I wrote on MTHFR over the last several weeks:

What IS MTHFR anyway?

Why Should I Get Tested?

What are Some Symptoms of MTHFR Deficiency?

What Can Be Done?

If you have any questions about MTHFR, please ask!  I'd be happy to help you find the answers!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Faithful Friday

Fridays are a day we can look back and see what God has done in our lives over the previous week.

The verse (or chapter) that meant the most to me this week was Hebrews 11, the "faith chapter". How much more difficult were the trials they faced, than the little trivial things I have faced in my life! If they had such great faith, why can't I trust that God will do what He says He will do in my life?

I think it's because North American Christianity is pretty cushy compared to the situation that those mentioned in Hebrews 11 faced. Now, most of us draw a regular paycheck, we have a roof over our heads and food to eat. Then, they didn't have the assurance of getting paid on a regular schedule, their houses didn't protect them from the elements like ours do, and they didn't have modern conveniences to help keep food longer than a day or so! And those are all material things. What about trusting that God will work in hearts, or that He knows what's best for us? I think North American Christians tend to take for granted the blessings that God has given us, and continue on down the path to worry, stress, and doubt. We just can't see that even though we're the ones spending the money from our paychecks, God is the one who provides those paycheck. What would happen to the average North American Christian if they went into work today and discovered they had been let go from their job?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Day Full of MTHFR

My schedule changed again this week, so today I'm going to work with the MTHFR family, and then attend a presentation about MTHFR tonight! :D Should be a good day, but I didn't sleep so well last night, and "R" had dance yesterday (cue exposure to perfumes and other icky things), so it could be an interesting day. Prayers would be appreciated.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More Good Things!

1) Remember the awesome tire deal? I thought we'd lost it after our car broke down, so I called on Saturday and talked to the guy at the shop, and he said no, we could just come in whenever we're ready and get the better tires at a cheaper price.

2) I sold another blanket on consignment in October!

3) The yarn I use is on sale at Michael's this week, so I think I'm going to head over there today and stock up!

4) Someone ordered two blankets from me!

5) Daniel has been doing some reading toward his CompTia A+ certification, and he has the opportunity to do some job shadowing on his day off. We weren't sure it was actually going to happen, but he heard this morning that the option is still on the table.

What good things has God been doing in your life lately?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dental work

Last night I learned another lesson in trusting God. Yesterday Daniel went to a new dentist. Daniel's family has a genetic variation which makes it difficult to process anesthetics. That makes visiting the dentist, after six years of not going, very interesting. They wanted to numb him, and seemed to know about the variation, and what to use instead, even going so far as to grab their local anesthetic go-to book, and show Daniel the list of safe drugs that they use.

They ended up giving him Septocaine, which is on the list of safe drugs. However, when we got home, after spending the afternoon at the in-law's house, because Daniel was too numb to drive home, I googled Septocaine (brand name) and articaine (drug name) and discovered that articaine actually has an additional ester group added to it, and it's the esters that Daniel can't process!

The dentist did tell the first hygienist to make a note in his chart to only give him half the dose of Septocaine, but the hygienist who actually did his cleaning was a different one, and Daniel isn't sure if she gave him half a dose, or the whole dose. We'll definitely need to check on that before his next appointment in December.

Do you like going to the dentist?

Monday, November 12, 2012

MTHFR Monday--What can be done?

We were out all day today, and I forgot to write today's blog post ahead of time, so here is just a quick list of all the supplements and vitamins Daniel takes on a daily basis. :) Of course, if you have, or think you have an MTHFR defect, please work with your physician to figure out what protocol works best for you.

Twin Lab Allergy Multi (2 a day)

Kirkman Labs CoQ10 (2 a day)

Metagenics Folapro (2 a day)

Kirkman Labs Biofilm Defense (still working this schedule out)

Kirkman Labs Grapefruit Seed Extract (taken 30 minutes after the Biofilm Defense)

Kirkman Labs Pro-Bio Gold (1 a day)

The things we still need to add in are:
- Methyl-B12--This is a sublingual liquid.
- Minerals--Because he's been unable to absorb nutrients for so long, he's probably lacking a lot of minerals like zinc, magnesium, selenium, etc.
- An oil to go along with the CoQ10

Friday, November 9, 2012

Faithful Friday

Fridays are a day we can look back and see what God has done in our lives over the previous week.

The verse that came to mind this week was Matthew 10:29,"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care". If God cares so much for the little sparrows that He notices when they fall to the ground, how much more does He care for humans, who are created in His image!

I feel like I've been on a journey this week. As you probably read, if you keep up with my blog, our car died on Monday. Repairs were done on Tuesday, but to an extent that we can't afford new tires or an alignment yet. On Wednesday I discovered that there was a 30% chance of snow in the forecast for this weekend. I woke up this morning and checked... and there's no sign of snow in our forecast now. Praise God. We know He cares about our safety on the road, and He'll notice if we get into an accident, but for now, I'm choosing to claim the promise from Matthew 10:29 that He sees each sparrow that falls, and that He knows exactly what we're going through each day.

What has God taught you this week? If you've written a blog post about it, please link up below. If you'd just like to comment with what God has been teaching you, you can do that too!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Working with the MTHFR Family--Going it alone...

Yesterday was the first day I had all three kids by myself at all ever. It was only for about 10 minutes... but they were the busiest 10 minutes I've ever had! H kept himself entertained pretty well, but F and R require a little more supervision. T had a meeting at F's school, so she had to leave before her mom arrived to take R to dance. H had hockey practice in the evening, so he had to get ready for that, F had to have sweet potato french fries, and could NOT take a bath, and R needed to get ready for dance, and have something to eat and take her evening vitamins.  H and R pretty much took care of themselves, but F and I had a bit of a confrontation when he decided he wanted to take a bath.

Just at that point, Grandma rang the doorbell, but H was outside, and R is too short to unlock the deadbolt, so I had to leave F in the bathroom, run to the front door, let Grandma in, and very quickly get up the stairs back to F. Thankfully, F was dressed again by the time I got back upstairs.  So... crisis averted.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What a Crazy Day!

Yesterday was nuts. Between all the stress about the car in the morning, and all the election insanity in the evening.... I'm struggling.

I just keep reminding myself that God is still in control of both situations, and Matthew 10:29 and 2 Chronicles 7:14 are still true. God still loves me, and He still cares about what I'm going through.

I see a lot of people talking about praying for the president, and they're right. He needs our prayers now more than ever.  So... pray I will.

Will you join me in praying for our leaders?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

*UPDATED* 11/6/12 Managing God's Money--Car Maintenance, Take 2!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about looking for new tires.  Well, yesterday morning... our car died.

Daniel left for work but came back almost immediately, reporting that the car wouldn't start. He was positive he didn't leave the lights on, and all our neighbors were already gone to work. He had about two minutes to get back out the door and catch the bus.

We think it may be the battery (hoping!), so we're just going to move the new tires and alignment up to today, and get everything done all in one shot. But, here's where things get really fun.

Once I realized the car would need to go to the mechanic before we could get the new tires put on, I realized that the Discount Tire in Pasco (our original plan) was now further away from the car's location than the Discount Tire in Richland. So, I called the Discount Tire in Richland, to find out if they had the tires we want in stock. The man who answered the phone turned out to be the husband of a friend of mine from church. When I explained the situation, and which tires we want, he said he didn't have them in stock, but he could give us better tires for the same price.  So, instead of 40,000 mile tires for $430, we're getting 65,000 mile tires for $422.04.  Did you catch that?  That's 25,000 more miles, for $8.00 less than what we'd expected to pay.

And shortly after I got all that arranged, a lady who just moved to town from Arizona called to see if Daniel could design her a website. I'm not sure how that's all going to pan out, but I'm choosing to take great solace in the fact that God had that lady call on the very day our car died.  :)

*UPDATE* 11/6/12

We got the car towed to the shop this morning, where we found out it was indeed the battery, and the starter.  $700 later, our emergency fund is empty, and we had just enough miscellaneous cash to cover the rest.  So... no new tires or alignment for us today.  I'll call Discount Tire tomorrow (the guy I talked to wasn't going to be in today) and let them know it may be awhile before we can come in for tires.

We're just amazed that we were able to pay for today's repairs without having to go on a payment plan. We'll just keep being faithful and frugal, and trust that God will provide the funds for the tires and alignment when He decides it's time to do them!

Monday, November 5, 2012

MTHFR Monday--What are some symptoms of MTHFR deficiency?

*UPDATE 1/15/13* If you've found my blog via Google, WELCOME! Thanks for stopping by. If you have more questions about MTHFR after reading this post, and the two linked below, please read this post and leave me a comment there, letting me know what else you'd like to know about MTHFR!

Welcome to another MTHFR Monday!

So far, we've talked about what MTHFR is and why you might want to know if you have it. Today, we're going to discuss some symptoms of MTHFR deficiency.

First, it's important to recognize that not everyone will have the same symptoms. Even people within the same family may exhibit different symptoms. That being said... here's some information about common symptoms of MTHFR deficiency.

Symptoms of MTHFR deficiency can be seen in two body systems, and exposed by one external influence, but they're all caused by a systemic issue. High homocystine levels are often a sign of MTHFR deficiency, and this is due to a lack of methylfolate, which changes homocystine into Methionine, SAMe and Glutathione.

Methionine, SAMe, and Glutathione are needed by two body systems: the central nervous system, and the cardiovascular system. 

When methionine, SAMe, and glutathione are in short supply, the effects on the central nervous system include low levels of Serotonin, Dopamine, and Norepinephrine, which can result in depression, fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, migraines, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and memory loss with Alzheimer's and dementia

Effects on the cardiovascular system include: Heart attack, Stroke, Blood clotsPeripheral neuropathy, Anemia even Miscarriages and Congenital birth defects.  

Another common symptom area is in the realm of environmental toxins.  When not enough homocysteine gets converted into glutathione, a person will have difficulty detoxing from exposure to heavy metals in our environment. Some symptoms of heavy metal toxicity include nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, liver and kidney disfunction, rashes, hair loss, circulatory issues, and respiratory issues.

Information borrowed heavily from

Friday, November 2, 2012

Faithful Friday

Fridays are a day we can look back on the previous week and reflect on the things that God has been teaching us this week.

This week has been a bit of a rough one for me. Monday I didn't feel well, Tuesday I worked with the MTHFR family, and discovered I did the wrong week of homework for my weekly Bible Study, Wednesday got off to a rough start when we forgot what day Daniel's dentist appointment was scheduled for, Thursday I worked all day, and today is Friday, the end of a long week.

In the midst of it all, I clearly could see God wanting me to understand that He wants me to find total satisfaction in Him. It's easy to look at circumstances and say,"Oh, if only this was different", or "If only I had that item we really want". But... that's not being satisfied at all. True satisfaction with ourselves, with our lives, and with each other, can only come from looking at our circumstances as God sees them, and trusting that He will provide just what we need, right when we need it.

No, I'm not discounting the difficulties our country (our world?) is facing right now, but if those of us who live in Western cultures took a good, hard look at our lives, would we REALLY be able to say that we would be satisfied with nothing but Christ?  And are those difficulties we're facing really that difficult, or are we just having difficulty with them because we're trying to take care of them on our own strength and not allowing God to be enough for us?

What has God taught you this week? If you've written a blog post about it, please link up below. If you'd just like to comment with what God has been teaching you, you can do that too!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Anti-To Do List

On Tuesday, I wrote about trying to establish a new routine.  One of the comments I got asked if I had ever heard of the "Anti To-Do List".

I think this sounds like a great idea. No one likes to be bossed around, though having a to-do list, and getting to cross things off that list can be pretty motivating. What if we flipped that philosophy on it's head though, and started writing down the useful things that we actually get done?

Today my day would look something like this:

-  write Thursday's blog post
-  do some online housekeeping for the CFPN

What does your Anti To-Do List look like today?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I know the point of Wordless Wednesday is to use no words, and just post a single picture, but... there are simply no words to describe the horrors faced by Cambodians every day. So... to them, I dedicate my first Wordless Wednesday post.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trying to Establish a New Routine

As I've previously mentioned, I'm working two days a week outside our home now. This has required me to think about how I would like to establish new routines for the days I am home.  A few weeks ago, I had a lovely, productive day, but ever since, I've been fighting to get back to that.

Here are some things I would like to incorporate into my daily routine on the days I am home:

1)  Bible Reading--This needs to be incorporated into every day, but I'll have more time for it on the days that I am home. Our church always reads through the One Year Bible, and my sister got me one for my birthday this year, so I do try to read it regularly, though I have not cemented it into my routine as much as I should.

2)  Women's Bible Study lesson--I have Bible study every Tuesday night during the school year, and I need to get better about doing my lesson throughout the week, rather than leaving it until the day before.

3)  Daily Housework--Ideally, I would like to do one load of laundry as needed, and keep up with the dishes.  Both of these are an "as needed" type of chore, but the dishes need to be done every day, and the laundry needs to be done every three days at minimum.

4)  Weekly Housework--Since it's still just the two of us around here, most of the housework really doesn't need to be done THAT often. In fact, I think a few things might even be able to be done every two weeks. I'm trying to decide whether I want to do everything one week, and then nothing the next week, or do the kitchen & living room one week, and the bathroom the next week?

5)  Piano practice--We have a keyboard now, so it would probably be a good idea to practice! (I want to anyway!)  I'd like to put in 30 minutes a day. Music really speaks to my soul and I feel so much better after I take some time to play.

6)  Stephanie's Crocheted Creations--I really haven't done much crocheting this fall, and I should probably get back at it so I can list more things on Etsy and/or Facebook, or take more items to the consignment store.

7)  Prep for the days I'm NOT home--Since I'm gone two days a week, I need to take some time on the days I AM home to prepare for being gone, whether that's by preparing Tuesday's dinner on Monday, or doing an extra load of laundry.

The Ultimate Goal: Avoid "Can't Have Anyone Over" Syndrome and be able to invite people over for Sunday lunch or dinner without having to schedule it six weeks in advance. Living 20 minutes from church means that we're kinda far away from everyone else, and it can be difficult or time consuming to get together with people during the week. Some of my favorite memories growing up were when we'd have people over for lunch on Sundays after church, and I'd love to be able to continue that tradition.

I'd also like to avoid having to do housework on Saturdays when Daniel is home so that we can do the things we want to do on the weekends, rather than hang out at home catching up on housework.

How do you structure your day? Do you schedule your whole day, or only schedule half to allow for interruptions?

Monday, October 29, 2012

MTHFR Monday--Why should I get tested?

Last week I blogged a little bit about what MTHFR is.  This week, we're going to talk about why you may want to consider getting tested.

As I mentioned last week, MTHFR is a genetic variation. It is not a sex-linked defect, so that means that we do get one copy of the MTHFR gene from either parent.  If a blood relative in your family tree has the defect, it's possible that you have it too, depending on how it got passed down.

Many people don't realize how common the MTHFR variation is. It has been said that up to 70% of the population has at least one copy of the variation.  That's about 220,267,985 Americans.

Check out this list of medical conditions that the MTHFR variation can cause.  Pretty eye-opening! If you can identify even a few conditions on that list in your family tree, it may not be a bad idea to get tested for the MTHFR variation.

You still may be wondering why you would want to get tested for the MTHFR variation. In my opinion, it's important to get tested if you think it's a possibility, so that you can tell your kids, or your other family members about it, and so that you can start taking positive steps to counteract the negative effects of the variation. In Daniel's case, we know he has the variation that is known to cause heart issues, so we've started him on supplements to protect his circulatory system, and we've eliminated things from his diet that his body can't handle. Hopefully by taking positive steps forward early, we'll be able to hold off negative health issues further down the road.

Any questions about MTHFR so far?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Faithful Fridays

Welcome to my first ever Faithful Friday!

Fridays are a good day to look back and reflect on the week, and what God has been doing in our lives recently. 

One verse that has been popping up for me recently has been Ephesians 3:20.  I've seen it on friends' craft projects, in my Bible reading, and even in my weekly Bible study.  In the NIV, it reads,"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,". I have to say though, that this is one verse I think I understand better in the KJV, which uses the phrase "exceeding abundantly above".

To me, that sounds like Paul is saying for us to take what we think we should ask, or can imagine God doing, and just know that He can do things that are WAY beyond that.  And that's what I feel like He has been doing lately. He has taken care of us in ways we never would have imagined over the last few months. Finances have been a big part of that of course, but even things beyond that, like blessing me with the ability to get a keyboard. I haven't had daily access to a piano in five years, so having even a 61-key keyboard now is amazing.

After Daniel's health issues in July, God opened doors for me to work with the MTHFR family two days a week, providing us with a way to get supplements and knowledge that we wouldn't have gotten on our own, as well as providing some socialization for me, and a chance to use my teaching skills, as well as develop some knowledge of child development and parenting strategies.

He's blessed Daniel and I with a growing, changing, amazing relationship as we work through Love & Respect (affiliate link). We're getting to be quite a team now!  :)

I'm eager to see where God will take me as I continue to learn what it means that He can do exceedingly abundantly above all I can ask or think.  

What has God been teaching you lately? Leave me a comment and let me know, or write your own blog post on it, and link up below!  :)

I don't know how to design those cool logo things like other bloggers have for their series, so you'll just have to bear with me without one. Sorry!  (If someone wants to design one for me for free, I wouldn't turn down the offer!)

get the InLinkz code

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Managing God's Money--Grocery Shopping

Previously I've talked about the importance of getting out of debt, and making wise, educated consumer decisions. Both could be (and probably should be) considered important line items in a budget.

Another important item in a budget is groceries. Everyone has to eat something! Grocery shopping is something that I've struggled with for awhile. In my opinion, it's a necessary evil. We have to eat, so we have to shop. But, if I develop a plan before we go to the store, it generally goes a lot better, and we stick to our budget.

When I was in college, I lived off-campus for two years, so that was when I figured out how much it cost to feed one person for a month. I found that it's about $100/month to feed one person, so when Daniel and I got married, I just multiplied that by two. We've always tried to spend about $200/month on groceries, which for us includes all our paper products, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. Generally, we've been able to stick fairly close to this amount, unless we had to stock up on a bunch of staples all at the same time.

When we were first married, we generally shopped at WinCo, which is one of the cheapest grocery stores in town. WinCo doesn't offer store coupons, but I found the prices to be reasonable, and we were pretty much always able to stick to our budget when we shopped there. Two years into our marriage, we moved across the river, and our shopping pattern had to change. We tried shopping at Wal-mart for awhile, but it was pretty expensive, so we worked out a way to get back to shopping at WinCo.

Then, this summer, we found out about all of Daniel's food allergies, so our plan had to change a little bit. Now, we can still get most of our shopping done at WinCo, but we also pick up a few things (like gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free cheese; egg-less mayo; and bulk quinoa) at Yoke's, which is much more expensive than either WinCo or Walmart. I was worried that this would increase our budget significantly, but to my surprise, it hasn't!  In fact, we're pretty much done our shopping for the next two weeks, and we still have some money left over for more produce.

Trying to maintain a "normal" diet while going GFCF is very expensive. By choosing to eat naturally GFCF foods, we cut down our budget. A good example is GF pasta. Daniel and I can both eat rice, so at first, we had been buying the specialty labelled GF pasta. But, then I was over at the MTHFR family's house, and discovered that they eat rice pasta. We were in WinCo a few days later, so I decided to check the Asian food section, and sure enough, I found white rice pasta in the Asian food section for much cheaper than the labelled GF noodles!

I know most of my readers probably don't have to worry about eating GFCF, so, in conclusion, I would just encourage you to think about what you're eating, what you should be eating, make a meal plan, and stick to it. I think you'll find that it makes a big difference in how much you're spending on groceries!

How do you manage your grocery spending?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Doing Laundry in Little Hispaniola

No, it's honestly not as "ghetto" as the title makes it sound. I don't have to wash our laundry by hand, and I don't have to lug it a mile to the closest running water.

But... interesting things still happen in Little Hispaniola.

Yesterday morning I went down to start a load of laundry, and discovered that one of the washing machines wasn't working. It took my quarters, but wouldn't start!  I came back to our apartment, and called our landlord right away, and he came over and took a look at it. Turns out, somehow, the machine had come unplugged. I'm not going to say it was intentionally unplugged, but it was sure strange!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I miss Canadian Politics

I'm having a hard time this election.  I don't really want to vote in a certain way just to keep another candidate out, but unfortunately, that seems to be the way it works in the States. I miss Canadian politics, where you have more than two viable candidates, and you stand a better chance of being able to vote for a candidate that shares your values. Sure, I'll readily acknowledge that it doesn't always work out, and you won't always find a candidate that perfectly matches your values, but with more people to pick from, the chances are better.

So, yep, I miss Canadian politics.

Monday, October 22, 2012

MTHFR Monday--What IS it, anyway?

Welcome to the first weekly MTHFR Monday!  :)  On Mondays in the coming weeks, I'm going to explain a little bit about what MTHFR is, how you can find out if you have the defect, why you would want to know if you have the defect, and what can be done about it if you do have it.  I'll also explain how Daniel and I are working through the dynamics of things in our own family.

Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, or MTHFR for short, is an enzyme that is encoded by the MTHFR gene. Yeah, it's confusing. Why the scientists decided to name the enzyme and the gene with the same name is beyond me. The enzyme is the catalyst for the conversion of 5,10-Methylenethetrahydrofolate into 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, which is also known as levomefolic acid. This is the active form of folic acid, which is used at the cellular level for such things as DNA reproduction, amino acid cycles, and amino acid levels. Having a genetic variation on the MTHFR gene causes the enzyme produced to be not-quite-right.

Genetic variations in the MTHFR gene can lead to vascular disease, neural tube defects, and some types of cancers.

The MTHFR gene is located on Chromosome 1, which means everyone gets one MTHFR gene from each parent. So, everyone has TWO MTHFR genes that could potentially have a genetic variation. They are located in different places, so they have different names. One is the 677 gene, and one is the 1298 gene.  A "normal" 677 gene would be C677C, having two Cytosines. The variation on this gene is to have a Thymine, producing C677T, or T677T. The 1298 gene is normally A1298A. The variation would replace an Alanine with a Cytosine, ending up in A1298C, or C1298C. 

In Daniel's case, he only has the C677T variation, which means he has a fairly mild "case" of MTHFR deficiency. This means that his 1298 gene is fine, and only one half of his 677 gene has been affected.

Friday, October 19, 2012


It's finally Friday.  This week felt absolutely crazy long, but very fast at the same time.  :)

Daniel has been crazy busy at work all week.  He's on track for four hours of overtime already this week. He very rarely gets that much overtime, even in a two-week period.  I'm sure he'll be resting lots this weekend.

My week got a little messed up and next week looks to be about the same. Please keep M, T, and F in your prayers as they go to Seattle next week for some medical appointments, for safety traveling over the Pass, and for the doctors to have wisdom to know what's going on in F's body.

Tonight I'm supposed to go to a ladies' event at church. I was planning to go with Daniel's sister-in-law, but I just found out HER sister is in the hospital getting gall bladder surgery today, so she's babysitting her sister's kids.  I'm not sure if she'll actually be free to go tonight or not. I'll call her a little later and find out.

How was your week? Any exciting weekend plans?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Managing God's Money--Car Maintenance

On Tuesday, I blogged about managing God's money and getting out of debt. Another facet of managing God's money comes in taking care of the material things He has blessed us with. One material thing that is causing us to stop and think right now is our car. We've known for a few months that we need to buy new tires and get an alignment before it starts to snow.  I've heard that we're supposed to have a particularly bad winter this year, so as the daily high drops, my anxiety about bad tires goes up.

We think we may be nearing a place where we'll be able to buy new tires and an alignment for our car soon, so I thought yesterday, a surprise day off from work, would be a great opportunity to do some research about where we should get our tires and alignment done.

Our car is a 2002 Ford Taurus LS sedan. The tires we need are P215/16R60. Our budget is roughly $500, including the cost of the alignment.

I called eight different businesses yesterday afternoon, looking for the best deal. As you would expect, the cost per mile went DOWN as the number of miles the tire is good for went UP.  In other words, 100,000 mile tires are cheaper per mile than 40,000 mile tires, even though the 40,000 mile tires' price is lower.

I won't bore you with ALL the numbers.  Here are the tires we can actually entertain the idea of buying.  These aren't necessarily the best deals I came across, just the ones in our price range.

The cheapest option in our price range is 50,000 mile tires from USA Brake and Auto Repair for $487.15, including a free alignment for being first time customers.  However, my friend Heidi responded to my Facebook comment about that, and said that they were not impressed with the tires they got there a few years ago, so I'm not sure we're going to go that route after all.  I wasn't overly impressed with their customer service anyway.

The next option is to get 40,000 mile tires from Discount Tire (Pasco), and an alignment from Custom Alignment (Kennewick). This should run about $491.00. I was pretty impressed with the customer service from both Discount Tire (Pasco) and Custom Alignment. A friend's husband works at Discount Tire in Richland, so of course, she gave Discount Tire a glowing review.

The third option is to get 40,000 mile tires and an alignment from Big O Tires in Kennewick for $529.93. I wasn't extremely impressed with their customer service, but their price is pretty competitive, which is a good thing for us right now. However, I think they were the only ones who quoted me the alignment price including tax.

The fourth option is 50,000 mile tires from Discount Tire (Pasco) and an alignment from Custom Alignment (Kennewick). This should cost about $531.00.  So, about $2.00 more for 10,000 more miles than we could get at Big O.

All that being said... I think what we're going to do is get the 40,000 mile tires from Discount Tire, and then get an alignment done by our regular mechanic, Meyer's Auto Tech. This will run a little more expensive than getting an alignment from Custom Alignment, but Meyer's Auto Tech knows our car, and we trust them not to take us for more than what the work is worth.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Working with the MTHFR Family--Flexibility is Key!

Well, it looks like there's been a change of plans for today!  :)  One of the MTHFR kiddos was up LATE last night (okay, early this morning! [flexibility point #1]) and T didn't get much sleep at all. So, she canceled an appointment for this morning (flexibility point #2), and e-mailed me to let me know. But, her e-mail didn't come through (flexibility point #3), so I waited for awhile, and then decided to call T. That's when I found out about the missing e-mail (I just got it now), and the new plan. They're just resting today, and so we're going to shoot for tomorrow.  :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Managing God's Money--Getting out of debt

On Sunday, our pastor talked about how everything we have belongs to the Lord, and so we need to be good stewards of our money, our time, etc.

While I do struggle to be a good steward of the time that God has given me, I think it can be even more difficult to remember that the money we have is God's. Not just a little bit, but all the money we have.  I believe that God's desire is for us to not be in debt to anyone. I'm not really sure how having a mortgage fits into that, because we haven't gotten to that step yet, but we do have a small car loan.

As a one-income family which strives to live very simply, it can be challenging to see how we can pay off our car loan faster. So, this week I've been trying to focus more on the fact that the money we do have is a gift from the Lord, and it's our job to be wise stewards of it, and use it in ways that honor Him. While I still do think that buying our car was a good decision at the time, I do believe that it is our responsibility to pay off the car as quickly as we can, so we can free up that money to do more (like sponsor 3 more World Vision children) or support more missionaries, or save for a missions trip of our own.

Because I've shifted my focus off of "Oh dear, we have this bill and that bill coming due, and how are we going to pay for them", and on to "We want to be able to do more to honor God with the money He has given us", I believe He is blessing that.  It's been eight months since we've put any extra on the car loan, and I was able to move a small amount over there yesterday.  (Yay for less interest in the long run!)

Have you seen God bless you for being obedient to Him?  Please leave me a comment and share your story!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Working with the MTHFR Family

My sister asked about my job, and how I like it, so here's the answer to her question.  If you have a question for me, please leave me a comment! I'll write a blog post and answer your question!

Note: Names have been changed to protect the innocent.  :)  Their last name is not actually MTHFR, but there's five of them, and five letters, so hey, it works, right?

It all started one day when I was hanging out with Mom MTHFR, who we'll call "T", about the time we found out about Daniel's MTHFR defect. She mentioned something about "R", her youngest, wanting to learn how to crochet, and how to play piano, recorder, and flute.  Funny. I crochet, and I play piano, recorder and flute, and we were also in need of some supplements for Daniel. So, an idea was hatched.

"T" ran our idea past her husband, "M", who thought it sounded fine, and Daniel was in agreement, too, so it was decided that I would spend two days a week helping the MTHFR family out with various household tasks, as well as teaching "R" some crochet and piano.

I've been going over there for about a month now, and it seems to be working out really well.  On an average day, I get there about 9:30am, and most of the time "R" and "H" are still working on school work. So I help a little bit with that, and then do some piano with "R". Right now we're working through Faber's Piano Adventures Primer Level, and "R" is doing great! I think she enjoys playing piano, and she's pretty good! We're also working on independent practice skills so that she can practice without supervision. We did attempt a few crochet lessons, but it was difficult for student as well as teacher, so her parents and I decided to put that aside. In the mean time, "H" has taken a liking to crochet though, so I've given him two lessons!

Somewhere around noon we usually break for lunch. By this time, "H" is usually all done his school work, "R" might have a little bit to finish after school, and "F" is home from special ed. After lunch, we work on finishing up school work. Depending on what day it is, the kids are typically free to play on their own in the afternoon while "T" and I talk and take care of household things (wiping down bins, doing dishes, making sweet potato french fries, or various other tasks), or we get ready to head out the door for "R"'s dance class. Tuesdays work out that I leave straight from their house to Bible Study, and on Wednesdays, they drop me off at home after taking "R" to dance.

I'm enjoying working with this family, and I'm learning a LOT about working with kids with special needs, as well as ways to work with the MTHFR issue in our own family. I'm always amazed when "R", who is 7, spouts off some random fact about a particular supplement or food that I didn't know!

So, that's my job, and what I do! What does a typical day at work (including HOME, for my SAHW/M readers) look like for you?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Not so sure where to take my blog...

It's October.  It's been over two months since I've blogged.  In some ways, it's nice to be back, but in others... I just don't know. But I'll come back to that.

First, a quick recap. The CFPN Reunion was fantastic. The travel was smooth, the facility was perfect, the speaker was amazing, and the fellowship was oh-so-sweet.  No one wants to wait until 2017 for the next one, so we're eyeing 2015.

Ten days after getting home from Milwaukee, I went to BC to visit my family. I had a great week of boating, geocaching, exploring, playing with the niece and nephews, and just generally having a good time.

To be honest, I don't really remember much of September, except one thing... I started a part-time job helping a good friend with her three kids. One is autistic, and the other two are on the "spectrum" as well.  In addition to helping around the house, I'm teaching crochet, and piano. It surprised me, but I'm enjoying teaching piano a lot more than I thought I would.

Second, a confession.  I don't really know what I'm doing with this whole bloggy thing. I mean... I'm not funny like Marla, I'm not candid like Sheila, I'm not good with words like Monica, and I don't think my story is interesting, like Kristina's. I'm just... me. I know lots of stuff, and I have things I'm passionate about, and I'd love to write about them, but I'm not sure if anyone is interested in reading my thoughts, or if I'd just end up talking to myself all the time.

I'm really not sure what I want to write about. Do I write about our hopes and dreams for the future? Do I write solely about our journey with MTHFR? Do I write about social justice issues that are becoming near and dear to my heart? Should I blog about the books I'm reading? All of the above? None of the above? Something else entirely? How open should I be with my own thoughts and feelings? Other bloggers seem to lay it all out there, and not worry about what other people think. But... my family reads my blog.  Do I really want to lay it all out there for them to read? Why is it easier to lay it all out there for perfect strangers to read, but for some reason, when it comes to people who love and care for me, I suddenly want to hide all my thoughts and not blog at all?

So... I'd love some feedback from my readers. What do YOU want me to blog about? Leave me a question in the comments, and I'll answer it in a blog post some time soon.  :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Life Happens Sometimes

Whoa. Sorry I haven't written here for awhile. Sometimes life just gets away from you, doesn't it? It did to me! Let's see if I can catch you up.

July 28th was our 5th anniversary, and we were able to get away overnight! Yay! That was fun, and we both had a good time leaving our computers at home.  :)

After we got home, we both came down sick for a few days. We're both doing much better now.

But the bigger news is that we had Daniel's naturopath appointment on Monday where we got the results of his BIG allergy test.  We learned a lot about allergies and allergy tests at that appointment. One thing to note is that many doctors just test for IgE reactions, which are immediate anaphylatic reactions. Our naturopath tested Daniel for IgG reactions, which occur hours or even days after the offending food has been ingested.

The five big things Daniel had IgG reactions to are: gluten, casein, eggs, garlic and beef. We were surprised to see that he did NOT react to poultry or citrus, which he thought he was allergic to. We're also suspicious of his reaction to beef, and are wondering if somehow the lab that tested it, used grain-fed beef, and Daniel reacted to the tertiary exposure to grain and not actually the beef.

So, at the very least, we'll be going gluten and casein free from here on out. I'm suspecting we'll also be dropping soy and corn as well.

That's probably a good thing, since Daniel also tested positive for the MTHFR defect C677T on one gene. I don't really have a simple way to describe that, so I'll just point you to where you will find lots of information on the defect. Since MTHFR defects can cause neural tube defects, including hydrocephalus, we're planning on eventually getting me tested as well. But alas... we've used up our lab benefits for the year, so that will have to wait until at least January.

In other news.... I'm leaving in two hours for Milwaukee, for the CFPN's 5th Anniversary celebration!  I'm very excited that God has allowed me to interact with such a great group of people for the last five years, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next five!  :D

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When the Doctor Says "You'll Never Be a Mom"--My Response

I stumbled upon this post today, and seeing as how it's been two years since my polycystic ovarian syndrome diagnosis, and four years since we began our TTC journey, I thought I'd take today to respond to that post.  While I haven't specifically been told,"You'll never be a mom", with the factors we're aware of, it's going to be more difficult than the "norm" for us to get to that point.

The points in bold are from the original post, but my thoughts follow them.

1. Let yourself grieve. More than once.

I totally agree with this. Ask any woman on the CFPN who has taken more than a few months to conceive, and they'll tell you what I've told them. The trying to conceive journey is much like the grieving process. I've been through the whole cycle more than once, and I think it's safe to say that I tend to waffle between anger, and acceptance a lot.  You might say I'm in a bargaining phase, with all the dietary changes we've been making ("They say women with PCOS shouldn't eat gluten or soy, so if I drop those... maybe I'll get pregnant, right?").  But, I'm also dealing with some anger.  Two weeks from today, I'm leaving for the CFPN's 5th Anniversary reunion, and I'm the only one going (out of 12 women) who isn't either currently pregnant, or already a parent. Ouch. Even one of my IF besties is going to be there with her seven and a half month old.  Actually... come to think of it... no... on second thought, I don't want to do that math.

All that to say, yep, definitely have done the grieving thing more than once. It's hard.

2. Tell friends that you’re battling infertility.

I think I've got this one covered.  Both sides of our family know, and I've posted a few infertility-related things here and there on Facebook, but we've still gotten some insensitive comments or questions about "When?". We usually try to figure out how to tell people about our struggles, and for the most part, the comments and questions have stopped.

I definitely agree that having the support of family and friends, once you work up the courage to tell them, is invaluable. I know it must be hard to be in their shoes though. I'm sure I've had friends and family ask themselves,"How do I tell Stephanie & Daniel that..." (insert pregnancy announcement, gender announcement, etc), and that does pain me a little bit.  Maybe some day I'll write a blog entry about the best way to announce that sort of thing to us.

3. Don’t avoid babies.

I'm not sure I agree with this one to be honest. I know many women LOVE the infant stage, but I'm not really a big fan of newborns. They seem so fragile, they cry, and they poop.  :P  But... they also represent a huge void in our lives, and that's hard for me to deal with. It's also hard to see the joy that they bring their parents, because we long for that, but have yet to feel it.

In the blog post that inspired this post, Natasha says that it's okay to cry over newborns, but I just don't see the wisdom in doing that. I don't understand, and I don't see the point in heaping MORE pain on myself.

I think this post could also be expanded to include children. Daniel and I are in our late 20's now, and while there's still plenty of people who are single in their late 20's, there's also many that have children. But... we can't relate to them. Get two moms together, and what will they talk about? Nine times out of ten, they talk about their children. So, I end up sitting there like a bump on a log, with nothing of value to contribute to the conversation.

So... I tend to avoid most babies and children in group settings. With family, and close friends, I'm mostly okay now.  But I purposefully go to the evening Women's Bible Study because they don't offer childcare, and we don't volunteer in the nursery.

4. Repent.

Natasha explains:
I guarantee that if you’re struggling with infertility there will be a day when you see a mom that isn’t fit to be one and you will think, “God! Why does THAT girl get a baby and not me? I would be a better mom than THAT.”
Ummm... yep, definitely been there, done that. Volunteering at our local crisis pregnancy center the first year we were trying to conceive was HARD. I ended up quitting after only a year and a half because it was so difficult for me.

Something that has helped me NOT have these thoughts is to remember that their kids aren't MY kids given to her. God saw fit to give those kids to her, but that doesn't mean that there's less chances for us to have a child now.

5. Remember: every person carries pain.

I think this is probably the one that women who deal with IF tend to forget the most. Because IF and pregnancy loss are taboo topics, often we have no way of knowing the journey other women have taken to get the one, two, or ten kids they have now. Maybe that mom of three had multiple miscarriages, or maybe that mom with the cute little baby isn't actually genetically related to her child.

We don't know other people's hidden pain, and just like we want them to be sensitive to us, we need to be sensitive to them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What is our Society Coming To? (Part 2 of 2 so far)

Image source
I've been amazed, confounded, and a little nervous about the steep downhill descent our society seems have been on for the last few years, and especially the last few months.  Two and a half weeks ago, I wrote about a book and a movie that have sucked in many American women, and the affect that they could have on our culture, and how Christians can respond.  Thank you to those of you who commented on that entry!

Today I'd like to talk about another part of our society that isn't helping us.  Debt. It's no secret that our country is in over its head in debt.  Here's some facts for you.

Dave Ramsey compares the national budget crisis to a family budget:
If their household income was $55,000 per year, they’d actually be spending $96,500—$41,500 more than they made! That means they’re spending 175% of their annual income! So, in 2011 they’d add $41,500 of debt to their current credit card debt of $366,000!  source
That's a lot of money that our country doesn't have! But... it's not the national budget and debt load that I'm concerned about. Consumer debt is pretty common too. Ramsey is also famous for saying,"Don't keep up with the Joneses! They're broke!". We need to stop trying to out spend each other, and instead, challenge each other to live within our means, so that we can pay off our debts faster.

DH and I have been married for almost five years. When we got married, we had nearly $20,000 in student loans. At the beginning of our marriage, we were both working minimum wage jobs, and doing our best to make ends meet. I was laid off in 2008, and promptly got involved in full-time, online, ministry. So, now we're living on one income. Thanks to some raises, and a six-month stint with a different company, we've been able to live on just DH's income, while still making payments on the student loans. Last summer, we thought our car was on its last legs, so we took out a loan, and purchased a newer (used) car.  The car purchase set us back about two and a half years, in total debt load, but through diligent money management, we've been able to stay at a place where we should still be able to pay off both loans by their end dates!

My challenge to the American population would be to stop using your credit cards (cancel them, and cut them up!), and get out of debt ASAP!  Stop overspending your budget! Sure, this might actually hurt the economy a bit, when people stop buying the latest and greatest toys (Seriously, no one NEEDS a 42 inch TV bought on credit. :P), but in the long run, you will be able to pay cash for those fun purchases, and inject money back into the economy!