8 Little Arrows in my Quiver

Reflections and Ramblings of a Happily Harried Mom of Many

A Great Catholic Blog and Giveaway September 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — 8littlearrows @ 8:08 am

A Great Catholic Blog and Giveaway

I haven’t had much time to post lately, but this great giveaway gave me the excuse to get on here quick and share a new blog I started following recently. The Blog is called Blossoming Joy, and I find it to be very uplifting and inspiring in my walk as a Catholic woman, wife, mother, and homeschooler. She is doing a great giveaway right now of precious little Blessed Mother dolls, so check it out, and check out her blog while you are there. Just click on the link above.

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My Hubby on TV! May 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — 8littlearrows @ 12:27 pm

Check out my hubby on TV this week!  He’s on EWTN on “Women of Grace” with Johnette Benkovic, talking about Fatherhood.  You can catch it tomorrow and Friday at 11 am eastern on EWTN.  You may be able to watch the first three episodes from the women of grace website.  Sorry I didn’t get it on sooner, but better late than never!

http://shop.womenofgrace.com/product/1287/

If you click on “home” I think the programs are listed on that page.  I believe you can watch them live on the website if you don’t get EWTN.

 

A Great Giveaway! April 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — 8littlearrows @ 11:40 am

Just wanted to pass along this giveaway!  And check out the great blog attached to it!

http://www.amongstlovelythings.com/2012/04/style-sex-substance-giveaway.html?showComment=1334763333056#c2922945239759735093

 

God Will Make a Way March 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — 8littlearrows @ 9:16 pm

"God will make a way, where there seems to be no way"
Song lyrics by Don Moen

I woke up the other day thinking of this photo that my daughter and I took awhile ago while we were out walking.  And I couldn’t help but think that it so perfectly encapsulates the journey I’ve been on. The hard ground that seed fell on, a place seemingly impossible to grow in, and yet…

It’s been quite a year. A hard year.  A year of facing some of the darkness within that needed to be dealt with.  I’ve been struggling with some health issues the last few years, actually, which, have thrown a major monkey wrench into my typically stable, healthy existence.  I have always been a pretty healthy person who tended to avoid doctors and most medication.  So it was very difficult for me to admit that I really needed to see a doctor.  And then even harder to keep going back for more tests, and to more specialists, none of whom could tell me what was wrong with me.  In the last couple of years, I have really started to lose hope that I would ever get any real answers.

If only I had remembered that God was working, despite the darkness, that answers were coming even though I couldn’t see them. It’s been a long road, but a testament to His faithfulness, to the point where just typing these words is bringing me to tears again. It’s so easy to look back now and see how He was working – if only I could keep remembering that amidst the valleys! I share this story as my song of glory and thanksgiving to Him, and also as a witness to anyone who, like me, has a tough time remembering that God is always faithful, though at times, hidden.

When my youngest was a few months old, she had almost constant diaper rashes, which were finally diagnosed as yeast.  None of the medicine prescribed was working, and I honestly hated exposing her to it anyway.  I even tried using cloth diapers for a while, hoping the rashes would clear up.  When I realized that they weren’t helping, I switched back, and decided to try to recoup some of the money spent by reselling the diapers on Ebay.  In my listings, I mentioned the reason I was selling.  A prospective buyer, who didn’t even end up bidding on the diapers, messaged me and recommended that I check out her website, as she and her baby had experience with MRSA (a staph bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics).  We exchanged a couple of emails.  Turns out she was a new Christian, so I invited her to check out my blog as well.  It was right after Christmastime, and my blog at that time was full of all the sugary treats we had made for Christmas.  She very gently responded and said she “almost got a sugar high just reading about it all.”  This comment may not have affected anyone else, but as it turned out, it was just what I needed at the time.  You see, I was struggling greatly with an addictive eating disorder, which I had actually been battling for years, and couldn’t seem to get free of.  Her comment shook me.  I took a closer look at her website, and realized that my eating issues might very well be the root cause of, or at the very least, a major contributor to, my sweet baby girl’s yeast problem. What I didn’t connect, at the time, was that it was also contributing greatly to my own, seemingly unrelated health issues.

I emailed this woman and asked her lots of questions.  She recommended, since I was exclusively nursing, that I eliminate all sugar, wheat, gluten, shellfish, nuts, soy, beef products (including dairy products), and corn.  I was desperate at that point to help my daughter, and fortunately, that was  enough to give me the willpower to actually try it (that, and the grace of God, of course!).  My daughter’s yeast issues, while not completely cleared up, were definitely much improved. I dropped 20 pounds in just a few weeks, and most of my health issues pretty much disappeared. I was astounded.  All this because some stranger, on Ebay of all places, had the courage to make that comment.  It was clear to me that God had orchestrated this.

Then one of my sisters recommended the website www.wellnessmama.com, started by a nutritionist (Catholic, too!), who had developed tons and tons of gluten- and grain-free recipes. I learned from Katie’s site that my food addiction issues were not simply due to a lack of willpower on my part, but were actually just as real of an addiction as one to alcohol or drugs.  This made me feel so much better, because I had been beating myself up for it for years, not realizing that even when I was eating “health” food, the type of food I was eating made it more difficult for me to break the cycle.  I knew almost nothing about the chemical processes involved in our bodies’ responses to what we eat.  For me, eating sugar and grains, especially those with gluten, was keeping me addicted.  Considering the response my body had just experienced with my stricter diet, I was seeing the truth of it. And I thanked God for the ways He was leading and directing me through so many amazing people.

I “fell off the wagon” a bit after Easter last year, but hopped back on pretty quickly.  And here’s where things started going downhill again, and where I “forgot” all the ways God had been working.  Even when I was back onto the healthier diet, I began to put the weight back on, and the symptoms I had that had virtually disappeared began to reappear.  “Wellness mama” had said that if that happened, there was an underlying issue that needed to be dealt with. But I had no idea where to start.  For a long time, I let that feeling of overwhelm paralyze me.  I stayed on the diet because I was convinced that it was better for all of us, but I think there was a part of me that kind of figured that I was just going to have to live with whatever was going on.  I had once again lost hope of figuring it out.

But then one day I was searching for a gluten-free, honey-sweetened chocolate cake recipe for my son’s birthday.  I ended up on the “Stop the Thyroid Madness” website (www.stopthethyroidmadness.com). The woman who had posted the recipe was hypothyroid and was on a very similar diet to the one I was on.    I looked at her “before” picture (before her diagnosis and treatment), and it looked like I felt.  Her “after” picture looked the way I felt after first starting the limited diet.  I looked around the site further, and happened upon a list of symptoms for hypothyroidism. What I saw gave me hope like nothing else.  For years I had been experiencing a large number of these symptoms, but had never thought to connect them to each other.  But the thing that floored me was when I saw on the list the very symptom that had originally taken me to the doctor. When I saw that one, it made me take the rest of the list seriously.  You see, I had never been able to describe my symptom satisfactorily to any of the doctors.  The closest I could come was “shortness of breath,” but that wasn’t really it.  Then, suddenly, looking at this list, I saw it — “air hunger.”  And immediately, I knew I had hit on it. That is the perfect way to describe it. It’s the feeling that you can’t take a deep enough breath, even though you are actually getting enough oxygen.  Over the last two years, I have been to my primary doctor, the pulmonologist (repeatedly), the cardiologist, and the allergist (who was convinced it was all allergy-related), and none of them could explain why a seemingly healthy person would be experiencing this. And now, by “God-incidence” I had stumbled on an answer, not only to this symptom, but to all the others that I hadn’t even known were related.

However, despite the new hope this discovery offered, I was still overwhelmed.  There was so much information on the site that I just didn’t know where to start.  And the thought of having to try to explain it all to my doctor, since thyroid issues are so often undiagnosed (I actually was tested twice for thyroid issues), or misdiagnosed, was enough to make me just cry.  It definitely didn’t help that some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are inability to focus, and depression.  Add life with teenagers, tweens, gradeschoolers, and toddlers, homeschooling, sports, scouts, housework, a diet that usually requires me to cook three times a day, and a healthy dose of PMS, and you have my last week in a nutshell!  My poor husband, I think, was probably relieved to be going out of town this past weekend!

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. Because God wasn’t done yet.  I was chatting with my sister about it, and she mentioned that my aunt was going through some very similar health issues and had found a doctor who knew all about the protocol for testing and treating thyroid issues.  I called my aunt, and found out that not only had she been experiencing loads of similar symptoms and struggles, but that she had had great success so far with treatment.  I was still so emotional at that point that I spent half the conversation in tears, completely in awe that God had led me to the point where there was real hope for not only answers, but relief.

No wonder I woke up thinking of that little flower photo.  That was me!  My journey to grow isn’t over yet, but the picture is the perfect reminder for me when I am weak in my ability to trust. After looking at the photo again, it was only a small leap for my taxed brain to then remember Don Moen’s old worship song. For truly:

God will make a way, where there seems to be no way.

  He works in ways we cannot see.

He will make a way for me.

He will be my guide,

hold me closely to His side,

with love and strength for each new day.

He will make a way.  He will make a way.

By a roadway in the wilderness He’ll lead me,

and rivers in the desert I will see.

 Heaven and earth will fade,

but His Word will still remain.

He will do something new today.  (Don Moen)

Just in case you’re wondering, there are karaoke versions of several worship songs on You tube.  What fun!  It pays to have teenagers! Click the link and worship with me?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOJcpuSfzfE

 

The Way God Loves February 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — 8littlearrows @ 11:56 am

If you’d like a beautiful picture of the way God loves you, please check this out.  I know I’ve recommended Ann Voskamp’s blog over and over, but I just can’t help myself.  Every time I read it, I am moved.  Every time I read it, I experience God reaching out and touching my heart, and for me, that’s saying a lot.  I have lots of head knowledge about God, but often have trouble really feeling His presence, really experiencing His love.  Ann has an amazing ability to not only do this, but to communicate it to others.  If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor this Lent and subscribe to her blog for a regular dose of inspiration.

http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/02/a-man-a-dog-how-to-form-up-a-life/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HolyExperience+%28Holy+Experience%29

Please, if you’re moved, pass on the grace! Have a beautiful day, my friends.

 

Crown of Thorns and some Lenten Links February 24, 2012

Filed under: Lent Traditions,Traditions for Lent and Easter,Uncategorized — 8littlearrows @ 10:39 pm

Our "Crown of Thorns" ready for the oven

We made our crown of thorns today.  This is a Lenten tradition we’ve been doing for years. It’s been a great way to teach the kids the concept that our actions now, good or bad, affected Christ then.  We make a braided wreath out of salt dough and stick lots of toothpicks in, and then bake it.  Then each day of Lent, whenever a child does any type of penance/sacrifice/good deed, they get to remove a “thorn.” In this way, they’ve just lessened the agony of Jesus, and offered Him consolation instead. The goal is to remove all the thorns by Easter, having gotten in the habit of behaving in a way that honors God, and shows His love to others. The crown of thorns becomes the centerpiece on our dinner table.

In the past, I made the wreath out of bread dough, which is nice because it rises and gets bigger, thus having room for more toothpicks for our large family.  It is also easier to get the toothpicks out. However, by the end of 40 days, it tended to get moldy and dry, and even crack in half.  So this year, I found this recipe for one made from salt dough: http://www.cuf.org/familyresources/saltdoughrecipe.asp

ready to "roll"

making "snakes"

Braiding

Putting the "thorns" in while explaining that each one is one of our sins

All my helpers

I love that my son is using a toothpick for a sword, while his sister is intently putting them into the crown. That says it all!

I also have a couple more links to share with you.  I received a little postcard in the mail last week advertising “Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure,” a FREE resource with Lenten activities for kids.  You just go to the website, plug in your email, and then you’ll receive emails three times a week.  There are audio and video presentations, coloring pages and puzzles to print, and fun Lenten traditions.  I’ve been doing it with my kids these last three days and they have all seemed to enjoy it.  Even my “big kids” have been getting into the coloring.  Here’s the website.  Check it out: http://www.holyheroes.com/

And finally, we will be doing Ann Voskamp’s “Trail to the Tree,” which is similar to the Jesse Tree, but focuses on the life of Jesus, with beautiful artwork to meditate on.  Ann is offering this beautiful booklet, complete with ornaments, for FREE download.  I have been so blessed by Ann’s words — on her blog, in her Jesse Tree book, and in her best-selling “One Thousand Gifts.”  I am so grateful to her.  Please check out the richness at http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/02/what-lent-really-means-free-easter-devotional-book-to-make-a-jesus-easter-tree/

Stay tuned for more traditions as we get closer to Easter, like our “Lamb of God” pinata.

 

From My Family to Yours December 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — 8littlearrows @ 11:39 pm

MERRY CHRISTMAS, FRIENDS!  MAY GOD BLESS YOU!

All ready for Chistmas Eve Mass