Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Spring in my Step

In my neck of the woods today we are experiencing a perfectly lovely day. There is a nice slow thaw with no breeze to speak of, and mostly sunnyish skies. And I was forced to get outside today with my daughter to help her deliver flyers. I'm not going to lie: I felt like helping with the flyers about as much as I wanted to mark my children's math books (oh ya. I had to do that too.)

Anyhow, out we went, and I was prepared not to grumble because I told a friend of mine to ask me later if I grumbled (hurray for accountability). But before I even had a chance to convince myself not to grumble, I caught up with the mail man.

We have a nice mail man. He is always smiling and always has his music turned WAY up and sometimes he sings along. He teases my kids about skipping school on a sunny afternoon. He walks with purpose, but in a sauntering kind of way. He looks like he enjoys his route and isn't in a rush to finish it. I should find out his name and give him a Christmas Card next year.

But, as usual, I digress.

So I catch up with him at a house where I have flyers to put in the mail box and he has, well, mail. He asks me, "Is that your daughter pulling the wagon over there?"

I answer in the affirmative.

He says, "You know what? You have the nicest kids. They are always so polite and friendly and respectful. Your daughter was just saying hi to me. I have 3 kids of my own and so I always notice other people's kids, especially when they are nice."


And so, I remember that the point of my life is not my own agenda, (which, by the way, has nothing to do with much other than drinking tea and reading books today) but raising these beautiful children in such a way as to touch someone else's life and give them a glimpse of joy.

And for some reason, all of this -- the lovely weather, the lovely conversation, the lovely realization, the lovely children -- made me think of this song.

Maybe this is the 80's musical spin on "Bloom where you are planted."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wow-ful Women Wednesday

Okay. Really? All these people? On one stage? Together? At the same time? Singing? Worshipping? At the same time? Seriously.

My kids are saying that I shouldn't really post this video on Wow-ful Women Wednesday because there is only one woman. And really it isn't about that for me anyway today. This video is being used by the Lord to teach me a lesson today. There has been a very specific theme in what I'm hearing and reading and discussing these days, and this video represents a whole lot of what I need to learn.

Thanks to my friend, Wendy, for posting this video this week. I certainly wouldn't have found it otherwise.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Heard at My House--The Violent Vegetable Edition

Setting: Eating supper with the family. Menu? Chicken, Toasted Quinoa Pilaf, and steamed Brocolli.

4 year old daughter: If I shoved this brocolli in my eye would I die?

Daddy: Um. No.

Daughter: What would happen to me?

Daddy: You'd probably say "ouch" and take it out of your eye.

Daughter: And then would I have to go to the Doctor?

Daddy: Not likely.

Mommy: How far in are we talking about shoving it?

Daughter: But I wouldn't die?

Daddy: No.

Daughter: Okay.

(Mental note: See? Veggies are good for you.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Foodie Fridays- Iron Man Edition

Over the years I have been proven to not be an Iron Man. I don't mean those athletes of superhuman strength and endurance that can swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and then still run a full 26.2 miles marathon in less than the maximum allowed 17 hours. No, no. Clearly, I am not one of those.

I simply mean that over the years, my blood has spoken against me and stated my weakness that I am low in iron. It isn't a big deal. It is not "an issue". It has not been the thing that has prohibited my being a high performance anything. No. I just go through phases when I am a little more fatigued than normal, and a little more lightheaded than normal. That's all.

So what's a girl to do? Well one easy thing is to take a good iron supplement. For quick results, I've always liked Floradix or Floravital. Tastes good: works quickly. But for a more long-lasting, store-building-up kind of supplement, I go for the little green pills: Ferrous Gluconate. But don't listen to me about these thigs. Go talk to you doctor.

What I can tell you that I do as a general rule of thumb is to up the iron content in my menu. I know, I know, the richest dietary source of iron is Beef Liver. This will not be a post on how to cook Beef Liver. Just sayin'.

But here is the deal: While meat is clearly an excellent source of Iron (the Heme kind), don't forget to count the high iron foods in the vegetable world (the Non-Heme kind). For ideal absorption of the irons (Heme and Non-Heme) you should eat them together. So don't think you are getting the best iron by eating a steak if you aren't eating some leafy green vegetables with it. And don't think that only eating kidney beans is best. Throw some ground beef into your chili for maximum benefit.

Also, a trick with any iron intake is to make sure there is Vitamin C to go along with it to help your body absorb it. And also, to make sure there isn't a lot of caffeine to go along with it, because that will hinder the absorbtion. So if you drink a coffee with your Beef Liver, the iron ain't gonna help you as much as you hope.

So say you are wanting to eat less meat, but are worried about iron. Let's look at a completely "Non-Heme" iron day and see if we can get enough iron. Well, here might be a typical day's worth of food in my house and the approximate iron counts. "They" say that as a primarily vegetarian woman in my 30's I should be getting 33mg of iron a day. Let's see if we get there.

Let's say for breakfast I have a bowl (1 cup) of oatmeal (10 mg) with a banana cut up on it (.31mg) and a cup of blueberries thrown in (.41mg). I drink a little OJ with it for the vitamin C.

For lunch I have one of my favourite soups. In my bowl there is a cup of lentils (6.6mg) and 1/2 cup spinach (3.2mg) and a whole lot of tomatoes (at least .33mg) but they are there more for the vitamin C then the iron. I will probably have 2 slices of whole wheat bread as well (1.8mg)

Then for supper, I might have a vegetable stir-fry. 1 cup of Brown rice (1.0mg) 1 cup broccoli (1.2mg), 1 cup of bok choy (1.77 mg), a handful of snowpeas (2.46mg) and 1/2 cup tofu (3.4mg) with a handful of sliced almonds on top for crunch (1.05mg)

Grand total? 33.53mg. We did it! We met the vegetarian's daily recommended amount. If you are a woman who does eat meat frequently you only need 18mg of iron a day. Not too shabby.

Plus, think about all the other fabulous benefits to those foods! Low fat, high fibre, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals...and DELICIOUS!!!

Now don't get me wrong. I would not turn away a piece of grilled chicken from my stirfry or a meat ball from my soup, but if you are looking to eat less meat more often but worry about the nutritional consequences, worry no more. I won't even bother to calculate out how much protein this day had. Or how few calories :-)

So enjoy your Beef Liver. I'll have an extra serving of Vegetarian Chili. (and then I'll have roast beef tomorrow just because it tastes good!) ;-)

(Awkward Disclaimer: Of course, just like I am not a doctor, I am also not a nutritionist. So if you are unduly fatigued or lightheaded or anemic, please go see your doctor. I can give you recipes for yummy, iron rich food: that's all!) :-)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Heard At My House

Setting: Mommy in bed 'sleeping in' until 7:00am (ahem). The bedroom door creeps open as her 7 year old and 2 year old sons peek to see if the clock says 7:00 yet (indicating 'get out of bed' time.)

2 year old son: "Mommy is still in there. Shhhhhh."

7 year old son: (after climbing back into bed, begins to sing) "Ding dong the Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The wicked Witch. Ding Dong the wicked Witch is dead."

Boy, I sure hope for his sake that that song choice was just a really, really unfortunately timed earworm.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wow-ful Women Wednesdays

Battling Depression Part Two

As time went by, and the darkness didn’t lift, I found myself in a place of desperation. My husband, shortly after the birth of our fourth daughter and approximately 9 months into my depression said to me, “Will I always have a wife who is depressed?” He said it not in an accusing way, nor in a frustrated way: he seemed to be simply trying to prepare himself for what the rest of our lives (and therefore, his responsibilities) might look like. And in that moment I knew something needed to change. I didn’t know what, and I didn’t know how, but I knew, with newly found resolve, that I could not carry on like this for the sake of my husband and children. My husband was (and still is) a very hands-on dad, but he did have a full time job and it was unreasonable for me to expect him to pick up all my pieces too. But where to start? I continued going through the motions of parenting and daily life, and I continued willing myself to get better. I’m sure you can imagine the level of success that brought.

The turning point for me was in June of 2002. During the quiet prayer time at our church’s ladies’ retreat, I read a verse that I am sure I had never noticed in my bible before that day.

Please read Part Two of my Heart of the Matter series here.