Thursday, April 26, 2007

Taking a Break

I'm taking a one week internet sabbatical to spend time in the real world and get my home ready to minister to people around me. I know I just got back online, but I feel sort of like the chocolate addict who's forced to deny herself for awhile. When she gets chocolate again, she can't stop eating it (or is that just me?). I haven't been on excessively, but enough that I need to be off for awhile and get my priorities in order. I've posted two things that I had partly finished in draft with the intention of posting tomorrow. But I won't be online tomorrow. I'll be checking my email once a day, but other than that, nada. Sometimes you gotta go cold turkey, folks.

See you next week.

Babies Available to Adopt From Nepal

I received this email yesterday from my sister Leah, regarding the precious children in the pictures. These are just a few of the pictures she sent.

When Philip was in the hospital with pneumonia in December, we were blessed with a wonderful Christian doctor, Sheri Shrestha. Her husband, Prakash, also a doctor, is from Nepal. They work with his brother, who still lives in Nepal, to run a womens' shelter over there and are also working to find homes for abandoned Nepalese babies. Prakash called us this afternoon to let us know that there are several available right now. I am forwarding the pics that he sent...please send them to anyone you can think of who might be interested.

The requirements that I know of to adopt these babies are (1) you must have a completed home study, (2) both parents must be over 30 years old and (3) the parents must be married for at least five years. There may be others, these are just the ones that I know about.

If you'd like more information, you may email Leah at sleachfamily[at]yahoo[dot]com .

A Crabby Day

Last week we went to the salt marsh to go crabbing for the first time. But before we left town we bought some strawberries from a roadside stand, $10 a flat. The season is almost over.

Several people were already crabbing off the piers when we got there. I had a really great picture of the marsh itself, but it won't open correctly, so this will have to do.

We caught almost 60 crabs. It was so easy! Much more fun than fishing. Don't they have beautiful blue claws?

We brought them home and got the fixings together.

Then we boiled them. Yum!

Free Hugs

Sarah, who's not yet two, is my snuggliest child. She'd rather sit in my lap or give out hugs and kisses than anything. Last night at church she was hugging everybody. People she knows, people she doesn't know. She patted them politely on the leg to get their attention, then gave them a big hug. There was one poor guy she wouldn't leave alone. She hugged him over and over. I'd see that gleam in her eye as she spotted him across the room, and she'd be off to deliver another hug before I could stop her or catch her. He just patted her on the head and she would leave. Maybe he looked like he needed a hug. Finally we left the room just so she would quit hugging him.

That reminded me of the original Free Hugs campaign, which is actually pretty heartwarming. See the YouTube video here.

Babies and Heaven

Glad to see that our friend Dr. Collin is posting again! Collin and his wife Gina are dear to Billy and me for many reasons, not the least of which is that they introduced us to each other.

Just up: Collin posts a comforting piece on babies and heaven. Anyone who has lost a child in infancy or before birth will appreciate this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

So Proud of My Man

Billy had his exit interview yesterday for his Doctorate of Ministry. (That would be similar to defending one's dissertation for a PhD.) Just as I expected, he came through with flying colors. I'm so proud of him! He will graduate mid-May and then I'll be married to Dr. Billy. He took us along yesterday, and we hung out in the seminary bookstore and coffee shop while was in the interview. Afterward he took us out for some of the best seafood in the world. It was a great afternoon. I asked him for a list of ideas for graduation gifts...Now the hard part will be trying to surprise him! :)

New Old Home

Here's a picture of the 100 (or so) year old house we're renting. On one hand you can tell it's been somewhat neglected, especially on the outside; on the other, a good bit of care has been taken to maintain its structural integrity. Unfortunately some of the storm shutters don't work, and their permanently closed state take away from a lot of the house's curb appeal. But it still has so much potential. I would love to see someone buy it (it's not for sale) and restore it to its historical glory. It's such a wonderful old place.

I especially love the stained glass attic window. Isn't it pretty?

There is more stained glass inside the covered porch which I'll try to photograph soon. Hopefully pictures of the inside will be coming up before too long.

This house is next door. Unfortunately, it's too far gone to be saved. But doesn't it look like it was a grand old place at one time? *sigh* It makes me sad when such things are neglected to the point of no return.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hello Friends!

If y'all are new here--you know who you are--welcome! Leave me a comment!

(Image from Plan 59)

Breastfeeding Trends

At the rent house where we live, we get mail every day for different people who have lived here before. Apparently one of them worked in a medical field, because yesterday we received the state Morbidity Report. Sounds like fun reading, huh? It did have an interesting article on breastfeeding trends in our state. Unfortunately, since 1998 there has been no significant increase in breastfeeding here. I'm not so surprised; frankly, I've only known two other local breastfeeding moms in my 6 years of mothering.

The article states:

The Healthy People 2010 goals for breastfeeding in the early postpartum period are seventy-five percent and fifty percent at six months.

Let's just say that it's nowhere near that. However, the article pointed out that if we don't increase our breastfeeding rate, we could see increased healthcare costs because of the greater number of infant infections, lower infant IQ, increased risk of breast, uterine, and endometrial cancers in women who don't breastfeed, increased risk of osteoperosis for mothers, and greater risk of obesity for babies and moms. WOW! That is pretty straightforward. I've been personally convinced of the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby, but I had no idea that the government and medical communities were taking it so seriously. That's encouraging.

By the way, the image above is the new international breastfeeding symbol. Mothering Magazine (who hosted the contest for its design) says:

The purpose of an international symbol for breastfeeding is to increase public awareness of breastfeeding, to provide an alternative to the use of a baby bottle image to designate baby friendly areas in public, and to mark breastfeeding friendly facilities.

Of course, breastfeeding does not require a special place and is appropriate—as the Canadian government's slogan says—"anytime, anywhere." The purpose of the symbol is not to segregate breastfeeding, but to help integrate it into society by better accommodating it in public.

Read the full article here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Boys to Men

Update: Spunky adds well-reasoned and compassionate thoughts to the conversation.

I haven't linked much to Barbara Curtis lately; actually I haven't read her as much because she's been posting a lot of political stuff, which I don't really read. I also wasn't going to breathe a word about Virginia Tech, because I do like to stay positive here--even though my blog has just a few loyal readers, I want this to be a peaceful refuge, not a place to read about the latest grisly current events or political diatribes. There's plenty of that available in other places.


Barbara wrote an excellent piece today (yesterday?), in light of the VT shooting, called Building Future Heroes. Regardless of whether or not you fully agree with what she says (as pointed out in the comments, there were undoubtedly some student heroes whose stories have gone unreported), it provides some great food for thought She also linked to her article Are Our Sons Ready to Roll? And she re-ran her post about Boy Scouts, which I found very inspiring both times around.

On that note, I'm ecstatic to note that The Dangerous Book for Boys is now available from Amazon, and here's the YouTube trailer, which I loved.

Sewing is Fun

I had a different post in mind (with a couple pics of our new house for those of you who have been waiting), but that didn't work out, so instead I'm passing on a bit of useful info for us seamstresses. Primrose Design tells us to Get Thee to Hancock Fabrics, because a lot of them are going out of business and obviously have amazing sales. I'll be checking my local Hancocks this morning to see if it's one of the unlucky stores. Since it's becoming so difficult to find reasonable, modest, but cute summer clothes for my tall girl, I'm sure I'll be sewing her some simple skirts once I unpack my sewing machine. So if I can find some pretty cottons on sale, all the better.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Be a Yes Mom

I've "known" Katie online for several years. Known of her is more like it. We don't actually have contact. She's always been an inspiration because of her joyful spirit and great attitude. I've especially seen this since one of her little ones has been battling cancer. I don't usually talk about things like this on my blog, but her sweet Jillian's story is amazing. (Katie and Jeff have 11 children, 4 bio, 7 adopted...Say a prayer for Jillian, will you?). ANYWAY...I read this the other day on her blog, and I couldn't help but share it. I want to be more of a yes mom, instead of a not-now-I-have-so-much-to-do mom.

Now generally I am a yes mom anyway. I LIKE to tell my kids yes. But recently I have especially become a yes mom. I go out of my way to be a yes mom. If something looks even remotely fun we go for it. What if we don’t get to try that thing tomorrow? The simple pleasures.

Little Joe

Silas, who turns 4 this week, has no brothers (yet), so he’s created an imaginary friend. After watching an episode of Bonanza, wherein he admired Little Joe’s fighting prowess, he told me about his new friend, Little Joe. Little Joe lives next to the ice cream shop near our house. He goes to Silas’s Sunday school class, but “He’s a big boy. He’s in fifth grade. He likes me.” Little Joe has three big sisters and three big brothers, and a baby sister named ZoĆ«. (Her last name is Joey.) Lately he’s been putting out deer traps to trap deer and elk. I think Little Joe is actually Silas’s alter ego. Such a funny little boy. He makes me laugh.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


A move is a good time to turn over a new leaf, so this morning I committed to ride my stationary bike for 5 minutes. Yes, just 5 minutes. A start. It was pitiful. Apparently I'm in the worst shape of my life. The constant puttering I do does not an marathon runner (or biker) make. So I guess there will be many more bike rides in my future if I want to live a long and healthy life! Time to get busy!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Out and About

It's been a pleasure to catch up on all my blog reading that I missed while without internet access. I could live without the internet, but I don't really want to. Here are a few cool things I've run across lately.

I love the Adventure Bag that Soulemama made for her 4-year-old birthday boy. It's so cool I'm thinking of attempting something similar for my own boy who turns 4 this week.

Motherwear's breastfeeding blog discusses extended breastfeeding (past 1 year), which is on the rise. At the encouragement of a dear friend and experienced mom of 8, I've attempted to breastfeed my little ones till at least 2, which incidentally coincides with the World Health Organization's recommendation. Silas self-weaned at 21 months, but the girls have gone the distance. (At least I assume Sarah will; she'll be 2 in a few weeks.) The post aptly points out that there's societal pressure to keep quiet about it, which is quite silly considering it's so healthy for baby, whose greatest brain growth happens during the first two years of life. When my oldest two weaned, they were immediately sick more often. I'll be weaning Sarah soon--she only nurses at naptime and bedtime, as it is--but I'm so grateful for how it's helped her through our recent transition and how she's sailed through viruses that took most other people out for a good while. I'm not into breastfeeding forever, but nursing till age 2 has been very helpful to us.

Cherry Menlove
had the treat of interviewing Susan Branch on her blog. Or rather, she allowed her readers to interview Susan. As a longtime Susan fan, this was so much fun. And she promises her own blog coming soon!!! I especially loved this question and answer:

My question for you is ... "Did you enjoy being in a big family [Susan is the oldest of 8] or was it rather hard since there are so many personalities involved?"

I looove being from a big family too --- there is just such a bond. And my parents made it important to be one of “The Stewarts,” (my maiden name) -- all for one and one for all. We were so proud to be so many, taking up a whole pew in church. When someone asked, how many bothers and sisters do you have, we were so proud to give our answer, even though we had absolutely nothing to do with it.

How cool. I'm from a large-ish family (5 kids), and I loved it too. I love hearing about other people who loved growing up with lots of brothers and sisters. (BTW, the fonts and colors are totally not cooperating on that quote, don't know what's up with that.)

Retro Food
linked to Jack and Friends, and oh my, I am drooling over all the vintage goodness. I could break the bank there.

Finally, Josh Harris points to this interesting Washington Post story, Pearls Before Breakfast. He summarizes:

The Washington Post pulled off a very intriguing feat. They asked one of the world's greatest violinists to play one of the world's finest violins in the middle of rush hour at a downtown Metro station. It was an experiment of sorts. They wanted to see how many people would take note of the incredible music being played and stop to listen. Outside of the context of a concert hall, and with world-renown musician Joshua Bell disguised in a baseball cap would people realize what their ears were being treated to?

Encourage a Stressed-Out Mama

My sweet sister and her husband, parents of 2, have opened their home to 2 foster children. She could use a word of encouragement and advice, at her request. Stop by and leave her a note!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Quick Family Update

We moved almost 3 weeks ago and we’re still settling in and unpacking. The kids have handled the move pretty well overall, though it’s been hard on Elizabeth. We finally heard her singing after church last Sunday. Our little songbird had been very quiet, so it was good to hear her happy voice again. Silas has transitioned very easily. He says God brought us here, “Because it’s such a beautiful place!” Of course he is especially delighted to be in the land of swamps, bayous, and ocean—in short, great fishing country. Sarah moved to her big girl bed and it wasn’t traumatic, though I expected it to be. She likes being able to get out of bed herself. We hear her little footsteps running down the hall in the middle of the night. Then she stands by my bed until I pick her up. Hmmmm…! She had a few little angry moments, which I know were caused by confusion and stress, but she is back to her happy little self now. She even stayed cheerful through a bout of stomach virus.

Billy is settling into his new job. It’s a big transition from senior pastor at a medium-sized church (200 or so in attendance) to staff member at a larger one (over 1,000), but he is gradually finding his place and we are excited about what the future holds for him. The other staff members have been so wonderful and welcoming, and have really made us feel as though they are delighted that we’ve joined them. This is a wonderful church, one we’re so glad to be a part of.

As for me, I have moments of homesickness for my sweet old house, dear friends and family, and all that’s familiar, but I think my adjustment has been the easiest. We have quickly settled into a routine, which I am loving, loving, loving. I can’t put into words how I adore predictable days, and how efficient and productive I feel with some rhythm to my week. Besides having a great house, that has definitely made the transition easy for me. I am really trying to stay focused on getting our home organized (something I never quite achieved before), and I’m looking forward to decorating and making this home a cozy refuge for as long as we rent here.

That said, it’s time I fed the children and got busy this morning. There’s still so much to do. It’s a warm, rainy day, so we’ll be inside unpacking. I’m so glad to be back to my blog! More thoughts forthcoming…

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Finally Back!

Well, I finally have internet at the new house. More coming up soon. Yippee!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Still Here

We arrived at our new home Monday, and we've been trying to get settled and come up for air this week. I haven't posted because my internet connection has been so sporadic, but as soon as I have access I'll be back to blogging.

Today was our first Sunday at our new church and Billy officially starts his new position tomorrow. It's a huge change, but we are very excited. I adore my new house, even though it's just a rental. I can't wait to post pictures. Having such a lovely home to move into took the sting out of leaving the wonderful house we lived in before. The kids are naturally a bit stressed and confused, but they are adjusting well overall. They are quickly making some sweet friends their age which helps a lot.

We've already been to supper at the homes of three other hospitable staff members who have made us feel so welcome. We're grateful.

More later!