Thursday, January 27, 2011

Here It Is!

Wow, I received so many responses and comments about the anxiety entry, that I had to share the link featuring Pastor Erwin Lutzer's sermon on Living With Anxiety. Click on the link and then scroll down the page to find the sermons. There are 2 of them and they are about 20 minutes each. Great stuff!

Here's the link:

I pray it will bless you!



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lifestyle Changes

The entry-before-the-last-entry made mention of lifestyle changes that I've found helpful during our roller coaster ride of transitions. Didn't want to leave you all hanging!

My "normal" night consisted of waking with the racing heart, as I wrote about in that entry. During one of my waking sessions, my radio was still playing on sleep mode. At 11:30, my Moody radio channel featured Pastor Erwin Lutzer (Moody Church) talking about anxiety (I love Erwin Lutzer!!!) As Pastor Lutzer spoke, my ears (and spirit) perked up at what he had to say.

He described how anxiety can really be a tool of the enemy of God. How it destroys people both physically and mentally. Pastor Lutzer further discussed about his counseling of those experiencing debilitating anxiety.

This counseling involved identifying the areas both physically and mentally that were the root of anxiety. Obviously, one can make changes in those regards, but then what he said next made a light bulb go on for me.

He told this individual that when the anxiety would strike, this person should speak out against it and it's author (Satan). Just as Jesus spoke out against Satan tempting Him in the desert (He used Scripture), should one go about resisting the enemies attempt to defeat us with anxiety. So, I began to speak out.

I immediately felt peace inside, though my heart was still racing. Yet something different happened, I fell right back to sleep and slept the rest of the night. This was a huge breakthrough for me! Huge! After a few months of this, I am sleeping much better, though still waking with the racing heart. It is much better, and I go back to sleep immediately. (fyi, I have learned that waking with a racing heart indicates an adrenal issue involving adrenaline).

That's one of my lifestyle changes..more later!



Thursday, January 13, 2011

Homemade GREEK Yogurt...AT LAST!

So, many of you are familiar with the homemade yogurt thing, and some of you are reading this and thinking "WHU? You can actually make yogurt at home?" Well, yes, my friend, you can, and it's very cheap.

The biggest challenge for me all of these years, when it comes to making yogurt, is the thickness. If you don't culture it long enough, it can be too thin, and if the incubation period is too long, the yogurt can become very tart. And then to add insult to injury, I discover this Greek, thick, delectable, yogurt in the store dairy section.

I immediately think "Humph. They must use some sort of pectin or starch to to thicken this stuff." My Sherlock Holmes self turns to the package nutritional and ingredient info. in order to catch these Greek yogurt makers in the act.

I read cursorily through the ingredients and see no thickeners. None. Nada. No how. This persuades me to look off in the distance with a furrowed brow and wonder how the heck they do it. How does one make such thick, wonderful ambrosia without adding additional thickening measures?

Rest would not find me until this great mystery was solved. (obsessive compulsive).

My computer must have the answer. As Google appears, my fingers move fast and type the words "thick" "Greek" "yogurt" "homemade" "recipe." Alas, the answer appears! Simply strain your yogurt to achieve the Greekness! BWAAAHHAAAAA, off to my mad scientist lab to try it out.

Many of you have made the yogurt recipe posted here at the blog, but you may want to try "this recipe using powdered milk (which I prefer now). It is very economical.

Also, some of you may want to try using the crock pot to make yogurt, which I like to do as well.
After incubating your yogurt, you must now strain it to achieve the Greekness. I use a large strainer, lined with coffee filters. It helps to dampen the filters first and then stick them in the strainer.

Now, put your strainer over a large pan or bowl in order to catch the whey (which can be used to make cultured veggies...very healthy and easy..more on those later).

Spoon or dump yogurt into strainer. Drape a muslin cloth or dish towel over the top and the let sit all night either in the fridge or on the counter. I let it sit on the kitchen counter.

You will wake up with excitement, knowing you have Greek yogurt sitting in your kitchen, just waiting for you to dive in to it.

Actually, you may find that the strained yogurt is too thick. This is what happened to moi. I had to stir some of the whey back into the yogurt to make it more yogurty.

Now add fruit, vanilla, and some sweetener (if you wish) and ENJOY!



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why They Are In School

I want to change the look of the blog, but it occurred to me that I should inform ya'll about our big changes this year.

Numero uno change, was the fact that we decided to put 4 of our children in the local Catholic schools (no, we are not Catholic). This came as a big surprise to some, especially that fact that we chose the Catholic schools.

The past 5 years have been filled with personal health challenges. All these years of being superwoman, and suddenly my body said "no more!" It was necessary for me to whittle away at the daily doings in our home, in order to maintain the must-do's, and focus on getting our days under control.

Homeschooling began to be more of a chore for me everyday, rather than a joy. It could be my age, I'm not sure, but it seemed that something clicked inside, and I decided that it was time to pass the education torch on to the school. Our kids have done well in school (some have had to work a bit harder than others), and have become more self-motivated. This has been a good change for us.

Another change, is the fact that my husband began new employment. We are happy with the job, with the exception of the long travel time necessary. It is our hope that this temporary inconvenience will remain just that: "temporary." I miss our morning coffee time, which we had to give up so my husband can be on the road early. Dislike!

Speaking of "on the road", our twins are now licensed drivers! I seriously don't know how I survived without an extra chauffeur in the house. Now we have 2 new ones! What a blessing it is to have their help. They willingly pay us almost $50 a month each to help with insurance and gas costs. Thank God they have great jobs.

Now we are all reeling from these changes, which can have a big impact on a large family. They have not come without certain difficulty, but God has been faithful to get us through, day-by-day.

I found myself becoming so stressed both from these transitions as well as lack of sleep (toddler who has a crazy schedule is learning how to have healthy sleep habits again). My nights would go like this: go to bed, have trouble sleeping, wake up with racing heart... night after night. Not fun.

A visit to the doctor revealed a healthy heart, but a stressed-out momma. "I am not superwoman" could likely have been the diagnosis. This meant a lot of soul-searching and prayer...

I'd like to share some of my lifestyle changes in the next entry..