Friday, April 29, 2011

Repost: A Great Royal Wedding to Come

picture from International Business Times
I couldn't have said it better myself....this is a beautiful post, please go read it!
A Great Royal Wedding to Come

As followers of Christ, we are royalty.  1 Peter 2:9-10 says that those who are followers of Christ are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession. We are sons and daughters of THE KING; therefore, we are princes and princesses. We are royalty.

This morning the bishop of London said that every wedding is a royal wedding because we are all subjects of the King of creation.

I loved watching the wedding this morning (I recorded it so I could fast forward through hours of meaningless commentary), but I am more looking forward to my great royal wedding to come. My wedding where Jesus is the Bridegroom and I receive my eternal home in heaven. This is the wedding I look forward to!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Royal Wedding

I might not be a princess or a queen, but I sure did marry a Prince Charming. Here is my "royal wedding" in pictures. 

Before the Wedding:

 Walking down the aisle:

Worship service: 
Rachelle read How Great Thou Art
I walked in to How Great Thou Art
Rachel read Colossians 1 about the supremacy of Christ
These lovely ladies sang In Christ Alone

 Ben's dad reads Ephesians 5
Nick gives us our charge from Genesis 1 and Ephesians 5

 Brad reads Romans 3
Jamus preaches on Salvation through Christ alone
Worship with Kelly and Rachelle to There is a Fountain, and I Stand Amazed
Exchanging of the rings, and wedding vows

 We take communion as a couple
Then light the unity candle and pray as Annie and Kelly sing The Church by Derek Webb

 We are pronounced Man and Wife, you may kiss the bride!!! Woohoo!

 The new Mr. and Mrs. Bondurant

 The wedding party

 The license: it's official!

 Ben learned to waltz for our first dance to When I Said I do by Clint Black

 Cutting the cake!

 The cake

 Dancing! This is rare that Ben dances!

 Throwing the bouquet


 Honeymoon to Pagosa Springs, CO

I am so blessed to be married to my Prince Charming for almost 3 years! August 23rd will be 3 years! 

Wisdom from a Veteran Mom of 4 (Babywise Series)

If you are just now joining us for the Why I'm Not Babywise Series, Welcome! Please take some time to read the previous posts, especially my Intro/Disclaimer so you can read the rest of the posts in context. I am seeking to be very sensitive to my readers who may implement Babywise. I pray we can all show one another grace as we seek to parent all of our babies in the way God leads us. I invite considerate comments, whether you agree or disagree.
Here is a lovely comment from my cousin posted on one of my Babywise series blogs. So much wisdom to be gleaned from this woman!

"Oh, Chalise, it's so much fun reading about your experiences and ideas with how you parent Brooklyn. She's one lucky baby.

I read Babywise when my second was an infant and was very attracted to the peaceful, rested, happy infants he described. I tried some of his ideas with my son but found that just stopping middle of the night nursing AFTER he went a full night on his own without doing so was sufficient to produce a good sleeper. My subsequent children proved that this technique doesn't necessarily work.

Personally, I agree with a lot of what you've pointed out. The whole "you'll have a perfect child if you follow my method" message is a huge turn-off. However, I can't say that I'm a big fan of Dr. Sears either. In general, I don't much like parenting books. My best teachers have been my four children. I find that as time goes on and I gain more experience parenting philosophies become increasingly less important.

The basic family pattern we seem to be doing is: "observe, reflect, consult, act." I find more and more that parenting labels get in the way of focusing on the real needs of our children and our family because they make me less adaptable. Whenever I start trying to do it "right" I'm almost sure to completely miss the mark and most definitely be doing it "wrong."

I think what's helped me the most in my attempt to continue learning how to better parent the four miraculous beings God has chosen to entrust to my care has been:
1) Being as diligent as possible in my daily devotions
2) Practicing lots of patience
3) Learning humility- the more I learn the less I know. My kids are really, really good at reminding me of this one.

The other aspect you address of Babywise that I'd like to discuss a bit is the concept that putting children first is negative. The book makes it sound like there's some kind of a competition between your marriage and your children and that you'll all be better off if you put the adults first. Now, I get that parents can become so wrapped up in their children that their relationship suffers (there's times when one of the adjustments we need to make is more couple time for sure.) However, I also think that it's rather tragic how our society separates communities into "kid-worlds" and "adult-worlds." It seems like we constantly have to choose between living our "own" lives and caring for our children.

For us, that doesn't seem to work. Our family lives life together and while that has it's challenges I'm happier than I've ever been. Sure, our lives primarily revolve around their needs, but you know, this is our only chance to be parents and develop a close relationship with our children. Are we spoiling them? Maybe. Are we too strict? Maybe. But whatever it is, the relationship we're developing as a family is very REAL and I don't think anyone could wrap it into a "how-to" textbook."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rerun: What kind of mother am I? The gospel and attachment parenting

What do I want to define me as a mother and a parent? I talk a lot about Attachment Parenting, and although that is the parenting style I fall most in line with, it is more important that I am a biblical parent and a gospel-centered parent. I can be as attached as possible with my children, but if I do not give them the gospel I have failed as a mother.

More than anything, I want my children to see and hear the gospel from me. I want them to hear me tell them and others the gospel, and I want them to see me live it out. I want them to know that Jesus loves me, that I love Jesus, and that Jesus loves them. I want their lives to be transformed by the gospel at a young age, and for them to live out a gospel-centered, Christ-centered life. If I breastfeed for five years, co-sleep for ten, baby wear 12 hours a day, and never let my baby cry, yet neglect the gospel I have failed. I love the tool of attachment parenting style, but it cannot change my child from the inside out. I do believe that an attached style is beneficial for the overall well-being and emotional development of my child, but the gospel is still the most important thing I can give my children.

I want my parenting to be based on principles from the bible, and I want my parenting to model the kind of parent God is to me. I want my parenting to model the character and servanthood of Christ.

Although you will not find a certain "parenting style" in the bible, as I thought about how we were parenting our baby girl as a newborn, I felt it modeled how God parents us when we are new Christians. God is a tender, gentle God that wants his newly adopted children to sense a secure attachment to Him as Father. When a new Christian cries out because they are hungry for more manna, more Word, He is going to meet that need. Whoever is discipling this new believer should do the same. The spiritual parent of this new believer would never say, "I'm sorry. It is not time for you to read more of the Bible or for me to teach the Bible to you again. You can only read it every four hours. And if you wake up in the middle of the night, don't pray because God only listens and responds during the day." How absurd would this be? We know that God lovingly responds to our cries day and night. He never turns a deaf ear and allows us to cry it out. We may cry, but we never cry alone. And God would never make us go without His word, the bread of life. If we want this bread every hour He will meet that need. I also thought a lot about the passage in Isaiah about God carrying us close to His heart. As a parent that had to babywear to keep my baby content, I couldn't help but think of how God carries us close to His heart when we are upset.

No, you won't find a verse in the bible that tells you that you should or shouldn't let your newborn cry it out, but you will find plenty of verses about God answering us when we cry out to Him day OR NIGHT. You won't find verses that say you should or should not rock your newborn to sleep or wear your baby in a carrier, but you will find a lot of verses about God comforting us and passages like the one in Isaiah about carrying us.

As the mother of a fussy newborn baby that utilized attachment parenting tools, I was exhausted most days. I went on many walks as I wore my baby and I spent a lot of time thinking about the way we were doing things and praying about them as I walked along. Over and over again, I kept being reminded of the kind of parent God is to me. He is a God that meets my needs and answers me when I cry out to Him. I felt convinced that this was how I should parent my baby.

Many may argue that an attached style is not biblical and that it spoils a baby and feeds their sin nature. I disagree, but I will share more on that when I do a series on "My Breakup with Babywise." I am convinced that a newborn's cries are a reflex to communicate needs. I am convinced that a newborn's needs and wants are the same thing and that they are crying to communicate and not manipulate. Although my baby cried A LOT I never felt manipulated in those newborn months. I felt that based on the whole counsel of Scripture an attached style of parenting was a biblical style and that it modeled the character of God to my little one. Many that I love and respect disagree, but this is what the Lord led me to for our family.

Still, more than an attached parenting style or any other parenting style, what my child needs most is the gospel. She needs Jesus. I feel practicing a more attached style models this to her, but more than anything I hope I model Jesus to her, and I pray she sees the gospel in my parenting.

So, as I start a series on Attachment Parenting (Why I'm Not Babywise Series), please know that I believe the gospel is much more important and crucial for my child. I belief AP is VERY beneficial, but that the gospel is CRUCIAL. The gospel is the ONE THING I must not neglect as a parent.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Follow Me on Facebook

Memphis Misfit Mama Facebook Page

I gave up facebook for Lent but am now back! I have started a separate page on facebook for my blog and all my natural living/parenting/gardening/breastfeeding posts! So connect with me on facebook and also let me know what you'd like to read about on my blog for future posts! Thanks!

Rerun: Why Memphis Misfit Mama?

According to the World English Dictionary a misfit can be defined as "a person not suited in behavior or attitude to a particular social environment" and "something that does not fit or fits badly". 

Well, I often feel like a misfit in this world, especially as a mom. I just don't fit in anywhere, or at least that is how I feel.

In the world of Christian moms I just don't fit the norm. I ascribe to a different parenting philosophy and style that most Christian moms, especially in the South.

In the world of attachment parenting moms and natural parenting moms, I just don't fit the norm. I am very conservative in most of my views and I follow Jesus, which is different than most other AP moms.

In the world of Southerners, I just don't fit the norm. I am very proud to NOT be Southern and I love my Midwestern roots. I have not mastered the art of entertaining and I don't love smocking, which is very popular among my Southern friends.

In the world of Midwesterners, I just don't fit the norm. Although I am proud to be from the Midwest I have now lived in the South for 10 years and am much more "southern" than most Midwesterners.

And most of all, I just don't fit in because this is not my home. Heaven is my home and I am odd and weird to most people.

So you see, I am definitely a misfit mama, and I reside in Memphis, so I present myself to you as...

Memphis Misfit Mama

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Good Friday Indeed

This week I have been reading through the different accounts in the gospels of the triumphal entry through the resurrection and I am so humbled and amazed by the love of God and the sacrifice of Christ.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Thank you for good Friday, thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for me to absorb the wrath of God so I didn’t have to. You took my punishment so I could go free. You became sin for me so I could have your righteousness. What an amazing gift of love!

In Christ Alone video

There is a Fountain video

It's Friday, but Sunday's coming

Thank you Jesus that because of your blood I can be cleansed and have all my guilty stains washed away!!! Thank you Jesus!

Have a blessed holiday weekend. See you after Easter. I pray you enjoy worshipping our Risen Lord! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Favorite Memphis Restaurants

1.Central BBQ: the best bbq nachos you will ever have! Amazing sandwiches too! Prefer their midtown location, unless I need to watch a game, then Summer all the way!

2.Huey's: Amazing burgers! I mean, delicious! Great turkey burgers too. Lots of other yummy sandwiches too, and they have fried pickles! Prefer their East Memphis location.

3.Memphis Pizza Cafe: I love their bbq chicken pizza, and also really good calzones! And surprisingly enough, their salads are really delicious too! I prefer their midtown location.

4.Gus's World Famous Friend Chicken: I prefer their downtown location, but they are about to open one in East Memphis. I love their spicy friend chicken! Enough said.

5.Corky's BBQ: if you want a sit down atmosphere this is the place to go. I love their BBQ sandwiches and pecan pie! Great ribs too if that is your thing.

6.Muddy's Bake Shop: The most scrumptious cupcakes you will ever have the pleasure of eating! Really yummy cakes, cookies, etc...and also vegan options that are surprisingly delicious!

7.The Cheesecake Corner: okay, I don't even like cheesecake and I love theirs! They even have this layered brownie cheesecake dessert that is to die for!

8.YoLo Frozen Yogurt: one of those pick your yogurt and pick your topping places. Super yummy.

9.Trolley Stop Market: really yummy restaurant with art and crafty gifts from locals on display to buy, as well as local food to buy. Most ALL of their ingredients are bought locally and super fresh. Their beef is grass fed and delicious. They sell fresh unpasteurized milk too. Yum!

10.Old Venice Pizza Co.: They have really good, unique pizzas, but so much more too. They have lots of yummy italian entrees and some really good salmon.

11.Ciao Bella Memphis: A little pricey but aren't all Italian restaurants. I much prefer this to Olive Garden. AND....this is where hubby and I ate the night he proposed!

12.Celtic Crossing: Irish Pub and I am 1/16 Irish. Really good fish and chips.

13.Soul Fish Cafe: really good fish, amazing veggies!

14.Brother Juniper's: really good omelets and other breakfast items. A little pricey but much better than Denny's or Ihop.

15.Arcade Restaurant: one of the oldest restaurants in Memphis, and a lot of movie scenes have been shot here. Really good breakfast and home cooking!

16.Otherlands Coffee Bar: soon to have the best coffee in Memphis as soon as they start carrying J Brooks Coffee. Really great atmosphere and free WiFi. Also live bands on the weekends.

17. Gibson's Donuts: the best donuts ever! And after 11pm you can get 6 for a dollar.

All of these restaurants are local to Memphis or the region. There are so many delicious local restaurants here that there is really no need to eat at chains. Support local!

What are your favorite restaurants in Memphis?

Why I'm Not Babywise...I'm "that mom" in Chapter One, except I'm Not, PART TWO

If you are just now joining us for the Why I'm Not Babywise Series, Welcome! Please take some time to read the previous posts, especially my Intro/Disclaimer so you can read the rest of the posts in context. I am seeking to be very sensitive to my readers who may implement Babywise. I pray we can all show one another grace as we seek to parent all of our babies in the way God leads us. I invite considerate comments, whether you agree or disagree. 

To read Part One,  click here
Achieving a Balance

There is some good advice in this section, although I am sure Ezzo and I would disagree on the practical application of it.

1." Life doesn't stop once you have a baby."

This is his first point and it is entirely true. Of course life continues, but life as you know it will never be the same. Instead of just thinking about what you want to do or about what is best for you and your husband you now have to consider this precious new baby and what is best for him. He says that life may slow down for a few weeks but it doesn't stop entirely. I would add that depending on your healing, how much help you receive, the temperament of your baby, your own personality, and how many other children you have, that life may slow down for much longer than a few weeks. Family members and friends should understand this and be supportive and offer their help.

2. "Date your spouse."

I completely agree with this statement; however Ezzo states that you should get back into a weekly date night as soon as possible. I assume that by "as soon as possible" he means within the first month. My husband and I were fortunate enough to have lots of help from grandparents that were very sensitive and loving in how they cared for our baby girl. In the height of her colicky days we NEEDED an hour away. Most of the time we tried to leave when we knew she would be sleeping for a good length of time. But to be quite honest, I didn't want to leave her and neither did my husband. We liked having her with us and missed her when we were apart from her. Most of the time we could go on dates while one of us wore her and by doing so we satisfied our need for some fun time together, and also our desire to have our baby with us. During her early months we went on nightly walks while one of us wore her, and we enjoyed great conversation as we walked along. Don't rush into a weekly date night until you are ready. My husband and I are able to spend a lot of time together at home after our baby goes to bed, and occasionally we may go out with friends and have a grandparent watch the baby.  Certainly, a weekly date nights is a great thing if you can find a babysitter you are comfortable with, but only when you are ready.  

3. "Continue the loving gestures you enjoyed before the baby came along." 
I agree with this, but I also think that adults need to realize that things may be a little different for awhile and as adults we just need to deal with it and be understanding of one another. Of course, I am not a hopeless romantic like a lot of women, so maybe I am not the best one to speak to this. 

4. "Invite some friends over for food and fellowship."

Under this point Ezzo states
"Times of hospitality force you to plan your child's day around serving others as you work together to prepare your home for guests." 
I must ask, what about serving the child? He has yet to talk about serving the baby and making sacrifices for the baby. Of course, it is a good thing to have people over when you feel up to it. For us, that has just been in the past few months. She is finally to the point where bed time is pretty easy and we can plan pretty well around her schedule to have people over in the evenings. Hopefully all of my friends know that I love them, but that my baby comes first. There were times when I had a playdate planned but my baby slept a little later than I thought she would so I would have to reschedule our playdate with friends. My friends were always very understanding, and this only happened occasionally. I never felt inconvenienced putting my baby's needs before mine, and I still found ways to continue to see family and friends. 

5. "At the end of each day, spend fifteen minutes sitting with your spouse discussing the day's events."

Yea right!  If you have a colicky or even a normally fussy newborn this can not happen, especially in the evening. Ezzo must have been blessed with VERY easy newborns, or else he just ignored their crying.  We did discuss the day's events, but it was usually as we were going on walks together while one of us wore the baby. Even now, as she is well past her colicky phase, we don't have this "couch time". When he comes home we all sit together on the floor and spend time as a family. My husband and I will talk about our days as our baby girl entertains herself right next to us. We also do show one another a healthy amount of physical affection in front of her, but we do not have "couch time" in front of her. I think she will be just fine and she will know that her daddy and I love each other and love her from other actions that she observes. When she goes to bed at night we have plenty of couch time and all other sorts of time too. 

In summary, Ezzo wants you to think that if you implement Babywise it will help you to have a thriving marriage, and if you don't it will harm your marriage. Throughout the rest of the book he compares Chelsea and Marisa's families to draw this faulty conclusion. From experience I can tell you that it is possible to have a thriving marriage and to practice a more attached style of parenting as well. They are not mutually exclusive. My husband and I found great joy in meeting the needs of our newborn and responding to her cries. We supported one another and looked to one another for strength. It actually brought us closer to one another and closer to the Lord because we knew we could not do it alone. 

(I know I spent a lot of time on Chapter One, but I am personally offended by Ezzo's belief and teaching that an attachment parenting family is going to produce a bratty baby and a failing marriage. )

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

NEW Disciplemaking Resource

I have been waiting and waiting for this amazing man of God to get a website. Now he has. Herb Hodges, the author of Tally Ho the Fox and the inspiration behind DownLine Ministries, now has this amazing website. It is full of resources on disciple-making and on Christian living and bible study. Please take some time to check it out. And by the way, I highly recommend reading this book, it will change your life! 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Why I'm Not Babywise...I'm "that mom" in Chapter One...except I'm not, PART ONE

If you are just now joining us for the Why I'm Not Babywise Series, Welcome! Please take some time to read the previous posts, especially my Intro/Disclaimer so you can read the rest of the posts in context. I am seeking to be very sensitive to my readers who may implement Babywise. I pray we can all show one another grace as we seek to parent all of our babies in the way God leads us. I invite considerate comments, whether you agree or disagree. 

When I say that I'm "that mom" in Chapter One, except I'm not...what I mean is that Gary Ezzo sets up two hypothetical scenarios in chapter one. In one scenario we are introduced to baby Chelsea and her parents. They have decided to implement Babywise and because of that they have a happy thriving marriage and a practically perfect, content, happy, sleep-through-the-night-at-eight-weeks baby. In the other scenario we are introduced to Marisa and her parents, who have not implemented Babywise, but have instead adopted Gary Ezzo's skewed version of "attachment parenting". Marisa is fussy, unhappy, high-maintenance, and the list goes on, and her parents' marriage is falling apart. Throughout the book Gary Ezzo portrays attachment parenting as brainless, lacking common sense, almost animalistic, and extremely child-centered. Through his examples of Chelsea and Marisa he leads readers to believe that they can create by their efforts a "good baby" or a "bad baby". He makes it look like there are only two parenting philosophies: Babywise, and his extremely exaggerated and skewed version of "attachment parenting", when in reality most parents adopt a style somewhere in between Babywise and AP that works for them and their family.

So Gary Ezzo would want you to believe that since I consider myself more AP than anything else, that I am "that mom" in Chapter One and Marisa is my baby. Except I am not that mom in chapter one and Marisa is not my baby. In fact, I have yet to come across an attachment parenting family that looks anything like the family he describes in chapter one. Unfortunately many people that have no previous knowledge of attachment parenting will probably believe Gary Ezzo's version and assume that anyone that considers themselves an attachment parent or a non-Babywise parent looks exactly like his exaggerated and skewed fictional AP family. Let me just tell you, this is false! Get to know an AP mom and you will see that she is far from Marisa's mom. You will probably have more in common than you would even think.

(To read more about what attachment parenting actually is check out this website by Dr.Sears. He is the pediatrician that coined the phrase "attachment parenting" although parents have been practicing this style of parenting for hundreds of years. Also check out some common myths about what attachment parenting IS NOT. It is obvious Gary Ezzo does not have his facts straight when it comes to attachment parenting.) 

Now on to Chapter One "Your Baby Needs a Family. " There is A LOT in this chapter I agree with. I come from a broken family (although I do not doubt my mother and father love me immensely) and I do know there is a lot of anxiety that a child feels when a marriage is not strong. I believe the Bible teaches, and even non-Bible believers understand, that a healthy marriage is vital to the health of the entire family.   In the Bible, we are shown a beautiful picture of marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33, where the husband is told to seek to love the wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. This is a sacrificial agape love that is beautiful and uplifting to the wife. In response to this love, a woman is told to submit to and respect her husband as the Church submits to Christ. (there is also an element of mutual submission but I won't get into picking apart this passage) I love the wisdom of the bible because psychologists secular and Christian agree that a woman's biggest need is love and a man's biggest need is respect. Okay, so back to my original point. I agree that a healthy and Christ-centered marriage is of first importance.

On page 22 Ezzo states:
 "Of all Chelsea's [the Babywise baby] emotional needs, her most basic is knowing mom and dad love each other. Every day, Chelsea observes her mom and dad relating to one another...To Chelsea, their commitment to one another is clear. It is not unanswered in her tiny heart." 
Now let us remember this is a book about newborns and infants. A newborn can barely see eight inches away, so I am not sure how they are going to observe much of anything. Although as a baby gets much older they will definitely be able to observe their parents marriage and it will definitely affect their sense of emotional security, I don't think a newborn is going to be doing much of this so-called "observing". A newborns most basic emotional needs are security and trust, knowing that her needs are going to be met.

Child-Centered Parenting

He then goes on to explain child-centered parenting, which he believes is what attachment parenting is. First of all, let us remember that newborn babies are helpless and have intense needs. When considering if one would like to have a baby, I hope every mother and father goes into it knowing that parenting is hard work and takes huge amounts of sacrifice and selflessness, especially in the first few months. It is a major adjustment and life does change. Life will never be the same, no matter how "good" your baby is. Meeting your newborn baby's needs is not the same as centering the universe around them. There is no difference between wants and needs in the life of a newborn and they have no way to understand, in this stage of their development, "delayed gratification" and putting others first. You cannot spoil a baby by meeting their needs for food, love, and affection. For a time, baby does come first, at least in practicality. This does not mean that mom and dad neglect the other's needs or the needs of the other children, but for a short while in the early months a baby's needs are the priority. Mom and dad can understand that this is just for a short time and can seek to grow in patience and in having a servant's heart. Older children can also seek to learn these very important godly attributes as they help tend to the needs of the baby.  There will be give and take amongst all family members as they seek to best take care of this needy and precious little newborn.  Remember, this is only a very short stage in the life of a child. Meeting their needs in a loving way will not create a spoiled and demanding child, but rather a secure and well adjusted one.

Friendship and Conformity

Before I begin, let me remind you that Gary Ezzo is estranged from his adult daughters and unfortunately does not have a friendship with them. He promises in this book and his others that if you follow his methods that your relationship will blossom into a beautiful friendship by the time your children are teenagers. He tells you to observe the "end results". It is sad that his end results have not proven his proposed method.

I recently read a very fair and balanced critique of Childwise, and apparently he deals more with the role of friendship and authority in that book. Let us remember Babywise is about parenting babies, who cannot even talk yet. Ezzo tells us on page 25:
"Back at Marisa's home, her mom and dad continue to strive for buddy status. They yearn for friendship, elevating Marisa to the level of peer."
I hope as my baby girl gets older than we can have a healthy relationship where she respects my authority but also feels comfortable sharing her heart with me.  However, at this point in her development I probably wouldn't consider her a "friend" as Ezzo describes it, because we aren't even able to have conversations yet. Oh yes, we are buddies and she would probably consider me her favorite playmate, but I am unsure why Ezzo addresses friendship in a book about parenting a baby and infant.  He says on page 26 about Chelsea and her parents:
"By the end of Chelsea's teen years, a beautiful friendship with her parents will begin to blossom. Indeed, this should be every parent's goal."
My oh my! I sure do hope that my friendship with my children will blossom before they are teens. If it doesn't even begin to blossom until the time they are teens then we will have major problems. Instead of coming to my husband and I for advice about friends, dating, and peer pressure they will run to their friends. (I think Tripp does a great job of laying out a healthy balance of authority and loving communication, as well as practical applications, in his book Shepherding a Child's heart,  and you can read my review of it here.)  I believe it possible to be respected as a godly authority by your children, and at the same time have a healthy and thriving friendship with them. I have seen many healthy examples of this among mothers of teens and older children, so I know it is possible.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this post in a few days.

Gardening Picture Journal 4.09.2011


Seedlings waiting their turn

Squash and green beans

Green beans


This past weekend (16-17) hubby planted our beneficial bug flower seeds, as well as some of the sweet potatoes. 

Happy Gardening!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Natural Parenting Blog Party April 15th-30th

I joined up with a Natural Parenting blog party at The Peaceful Housewife and I am looking forward to getting to know more bloggers in the world of natural parenting. Here are some get to know you questions:

1. How many children do you have and how old are they?
I have one daughter who will be one on May 14th...tear, sniffle

2. Do you have a partner or are you single?
I have an amazing husband, Ben, of almost 3 years.

3. What are your "hot button" parenting issues?
I am really passionate about breastfeeding and get really frustrated when women don't even want to try to breastfeed. I want to grab their babies and nurse them myself. :) I also get really frustrated with "professionals" that do not support breastfeeding, i.e. Pediatricians and OB/GYNs. Another issue for me is Babywise or other baby training programs. I prefer to be led by the Spirit, thank you very much. ;) Check out my Why I'm Not Babywise Series for more on this. 

4. Have you made any parenting choices that you didn’t think you would make before you were a parent, i.e. cloth diapering a child when you had previously thought it was disgusting?
I didn't think I would be as "natural" as I am. I didn't think I would care so much about my baby only eating healthy organic food (mainly dirty dozen), and I had no idea I would become a lactivist. 

5. Is there a book or person in particular that has heavily influenced your parenting choices?
My mom. She was AP before she even knew what AP was. Also, Dr. Sears. So thankful I came across this book: The Complete Book of Christian Parenting and Child Care: A Medical and Moral Guide to Raising Happy Healthy Children

6. If you had to describe each of your children using only one word, what word would you use?
Baby girl #1-- Joyful

7.Is there one parenting decision that you regret more than others and wish you could change?
I can't think of anything right now. She is only 11 months, but I do wish I had worn her more from the very beginning. I didn't get my Moby until she was 8 weeks old. 

8. Is there an area of your parenting you wish you were better at?
I don't feel like I stimulate her intellectually enough, and I wish I were more creative in thinking of things to do together. 

9. is there one particular food or type of food that you could eat every day?
Chocolate, and I think i do eat it almost every day

10. Vanilla ice cream or chocolate?
Umm, moose tracks! Does that count?

11. What's your guilty pleasure?
No matter how organic I want to be, I can't seem to give up Chick-Fil-A and some other amazing local restaurants here in Memphis. 

12. If you could be part of any television show, which show would it be?
American Idol. I would be a judge. Hands down this is my choice. I am kinda obsessed with AI.  And if they won't let me on my second choice would be The Office. My husband and I have our own Jim and Pam story that I will get around to blogging about one day soon. 

Weekend Links 4.16.11

On Labels and Limits: Why I no longer call myself an "attachment parent"  @The Happiest Mom
Identifying and Avoiding Toxins in Beauty and Personal Care Items @Simple Organic
If I have a friend with whom to share life, I will hold fast to my ideals @ I Take Joy
Just a little thought @I Take Joy
Once Saved, Always Saved? @Grace to You
Burning the Qur'an and Crucifying Christ @Desiring God
Babywise Review @Fountain of Love
Babywise Controversy, Babywise almost dropped @Christianity Today

I know this is a lot of links but I really enjoyed reading all of these blog posts and articles this week so thought I would pass all of them along. Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why Wean? Nursing Past One

As my baby girl approaches her first birthday (she's 11 months old today) many people may assume that I plan on weaning her, or maybe people have figured out by now that I do things a little differently and won't be surprised that I am not going to wean her. 

First, some background:
My mom nursed all of us (myself and 2 brothers) for around 2.5years each. She didn't have anyone telling her to do this, she just did because it felt natural to her to practice extended breastfeeding.  As I grew up and became an adult I thought this was "weird",  although I probably didn't think it was weird until I found out that most people weren't breastfed this long. Also, two of my aunts also breastfed their toddlers, as well as my cousin. My cousin just weaned her 2.5 year old twins. Now, that is awesome! When I got pregnant I planned on nursing, but "not as long as my mom" I would tell people. Well, now that has all changed. I hope to nurse each baby at least as long as my mom nursed us. Here are some things I learned that changed my mind:

1. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for 6 months, then for at least a year or as long as mutually desirable by mother and baby. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least 2 years, as does UNICEF.
2. Breast doesn't stop being best at 1 year. Human milk is still best for a growing toddler. Cow milk was meant for cows, and human milk is meant for humans.  (but yes, I do drink cow's milk) Breastfeeding has nutritional benefits past one year of age, such as 75% of vitamin A requirements, 94% of B12, 60% of vitamin C, and more
3. Breastfed children are sick less often.


  • Antibodies are abundant in human milk throughout lactation" (Nutrition During Lactation 1991; p. 134). In fact, some of the immune factors in breastmilk increase in concentration during the second year and also during the weaning process. (Goldman 1983, Goldman & Goldblum 1983, Institute of Medicine 1991).
  • Per the World Health Organization"a modest increase in breastfeeding rates could prevent up to 10% of all deaths of children under five: Breastfeeding plays an essential and sometimes underestimated role in the treatment and prevention of childhood illness." [emphasis added
4. Breastfed children have fewer allergies. 

5. Extended breastfeeding can help with behavior issues in a toddler because of the bond that breastfeeding provides
6. It does not psychologically harm the child:
        via kelly mom

  •         The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that "Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child... Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother... There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer." (AAP 2005)
  • The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that breastfeeding continue throughout the first year of life and that "As recommended by the WHO, breastfeeding should ideally continue beyond infancy, but this is not the cultural norm in the United States and requires ongoing support and encouragement. It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years. Family physicians should be knowledgeable regarding the ongoing benefits to the child of extended breastfeeding, including continued immune protection, better social adjustment, and having a sustainable food source in times of emergency. The longer women breastfeed, the greater the decrease in their risk of breast cancer." They also note that "If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned." (AAFP 2008)
7. Mothers benefit greatly from extended nursing by significantly reducing the risk of many types of cancers as well as osteoporosis 

If you and your almost 1 year old are still enjoying the breastfeeding relationship, why wean? If you want to continue nursing your toddler there is plenty of research to prove the benefits of it. For some reason it has become the cultural norm to wean at one even if it is not what the mother and child want to do. If people are pressuring you to wean your one year old just show them the research and then do what feels right to you. Don't worry about what your family or friends may say or think, just do what you feel and believe is best for you and your child. In biblical times children were breastfed much longer than today, and there is proof of that in the bible (Hannah and Samuel is one example). The Creator God is the one who designed the amazing properties of breastmilk, and those amazing properties are still there after your baby's one year birthday. If you decide to wean your child at any time make sure it is because that is what  you feel is best, not because someone is pressuring you or that you feel pressured by society in general. Extended breastfeeding will only become more "normal" and accepted as more mothers and babies continue their breastfeeding relationship past one year. 

I love the breastfeeding relationship I have with my baby girl and I am very thankful for a supportive husband. We look forward to continuing our breastfeeding until she decides she is through. And who knows, maybe I will get the privilege of tandem nursing too! I love nursing my baby girl. Our breastfeeding relationship has already changed so much from the time she was a newborn. Now she squirms all over and plays with my face while nursing and practices her nursing acrobatics. She also takes breaks to look up at me and "talk" to me. And nothing can beat that milky grin! 

What about you? How long did you nurse your child(ren)? How long do you plan to nurse? Do you plan on letting them wean themselves or when do you plan to wean them? And why? 

Some links for your researching pleasure:

Here is a video about extended breastfeeding discussed on The Doctors

A video about myths and facts about breastfeeding. You will see breasts and a few profanities. 

Some great books about breastfeeding:


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Misfit Dad babywearing Misfit Baby

My babywearing baby daddy

Here's my AP Father of a husband. You can read more about attachment fathering here

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why I'm Not Babywise...My Prayer as a New Parent

If you are just now joining us for the Why I'm Not Babywise Series, Welcome!  Please take the time to read the rest of the posts in the series and feel free to leave comments or send me an email. 

My baby girl was a very fussy baby (acid reflux, food sensitivities, etc.) and we spent a lot of time walking outside with her in the Ergo to keep her calm. I would spend a lot of time praying as I walked along. There were many days when I was just so exhausted and doubting if we were doing things the right way, especially as I heard about "easier" babies that were already sleeping through the night. Of course, I wanted her to sleep through the night so I could sleep through the night, but I wanted to really think through what methods I would use to make this happen. I really wanted to pray through all of our parenting decisions. 

 I am not saying that just because the Lord led us to make certain decisions for our baby, that He will lead you to make the same decisions for your baby. However, I do ask you to consider this alternative way of thinking presented in this series, especially if have read and are implementing Babywise. I am not saying you are wrong and I am right and the Lord revealed something to me and not to you, I am simply asking you to hear me out. At the end of the day, we may still have to agree to disagree and seek to show one another love and grace. 

My dialogue with the Lord would often go something like this: "Lord, I don't know what to do. There are so many different opinions out there.  I know that you want me to respond sensitively to the needs of my baby. I know you respond sensitively to me. When I look in your word and study about what kind of Father you are to me I see compassion and response and sensitivity.You respond to my cries day and night. I know that my baby is not trying to manipulate me. Lord, I know you created babies to communicate their needs by crying and that she is not crying to manipulate me. I know that. But it is so hard. Please help me to continue to die to myself and serve her. Please help me to be the kind of parent to her that you are to me. Lord, your word tells us that you will never leave us or forsake us. The Psalms say over and over how you respond to the cries of your children day and night. Lord, even if you don't change the circumstance that is causing me discomfort I know you are holding me as I "cry" and work through it. Lord, I know you are more than just a God of love. You are a just God, a fair God, a holy God, a perfect God, and a wrathful God. But towards your children more than anything you show us love and grace. You sent Christ to be the picture of love and grace. He showed us how to be servants and to sacrifice for others. Your word says to consider the needs of others more important than ourselves. Lord, I had no idea you would give me a baby with acid reflux and other conditions that would cause her to be so fussy, but I thank you for creating her exactly as she is. You are teaching me so much about patience, grace, servanthood, and love. It is hard Lord, but I just have to depend on your grace that much more. Lord, sometimes I am tempted just to put her through boot-camp and train her because that is what the "books" say and that is what many of my friends say, but each time I consider that I feel a check in my Spirit and I feel you leading me in a different direction. I feel you leading me to respond sensitively and to comfort her. I feel you telling me to parent her the way you parent me. Lord, I know as she gets bigger there will be times when she must cry because I am not giving her something that she wants but doesn't need. But Lord, I know you have created babies with wants that are the same as needs. Her needs need to be met the same way you meet my needs. I think back to when I was a new believer and how vulnerable I was and how needy I was. I needed constant reminders of your love and I needed constant encouragement from those that had led me to you. If my "newborn Christian needs" had been ignored by you or by others I don't know where I would be now.  I would have not had the faith in you or the trust in you that I needed to continue to grow in my relationship with you Lord.   Lord, please continue to lead me by your Spirit and guide me every moment of every hour. Please help me to be sensitive to your Spirit and to parent my baby according to the principles of your Word. Please help me to continue to lovingly respond to her even when I don't feel like it. Lord, help me to show her your character and the character of your Son through the way I parent her."

This was my prayer day after day through the newborn months and still today as well. I hope it can encourage you as you pray through how to parent a newborn and an infant, and really any age child. We need to be led by the Spirit and not the "doctrine of men" as we parent our children in each stage of life. God is the only expert on each baby. Gary Ezzo is not the expert on every single baby. God is the ONLY expert on each baby, and He will lead each of us if we take the time to listen and clear out all the other voices that tell us they know how to raise kids God's way. God is the only expert on raising kids His way. Listen to Him and let Him lead you. It might take more faith and more prayer and more time than reading the methods of men in many of the popular baby books, but it will help you to be more sensitive to the Lord and more sensitive to your baby, and that is always a good thing. :)