Being a Better Homebody

In Chinese family, or at least a simple way of saying family for beginner learners, is 家人 (jiaren). As a new Chinese learner I loved learning this word because it’s a mix of the word home 家 and people 人. Later I was told Chinese doesn’t work this way and you can’t always separate the characters like this expecting a deeper meaning, but I still like the idea of your family being your home people.

I bring this up because I realized that I make this distinction between those in my home (or metaphorical home) and those outside of my home. Those outside of my home get the overly polite me who is trying to avoid confrontation, or who tries her best to have civilized polite debates.

Those in my home get the real me… and the real me can be pretty blunt and harsh.

C’s Bible study had us memorizing Proverbs 15:1, a gentle answer turns away wrath. I immediately started applying it in my head to debates on social media or when talking with customer service reps etc. It took a lot longer for me to realize it applies to my people at home too.

I have every excuse in the book for being unpleasant at home. I’m exhausted, I’m lonely, I just need a place where I can be myself etc, but really they are just excuses not to try and be better. Yes, family are the people you can be yourself around, but do you really want yourself to be a blunt, rude, downright harsh individual?

The Bible tells us, “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

Proverbs 16:24 NLT

Kind words are good for the soul! They don’t just turn away wrath, they are good for the body. We are told that as a new creation we should clothe ourselves in kindness:

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

Colossians 3:12

We are told to live a life that shows others what we believe:

“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NLT

I always thought about this is an outside of my home command, but all that changes with a kid. I now have someone in my home who I want to lead to Christ. Someone who is watching me all the time and who mimics my behaviors. Suddenly I’ve realized that I don’t want who I am to change around family in the sense that I feel I can set aside kindness. When I type kindness into the search engine of my Bible app I find that it’s often used to describe Jesus. Isn’t that who I’m supposed to try and imitate?

I’m teaching C that a gentle word turns away wrath. In order for him to really learn this I have to practice this at home as much as I try to practice it with strangers.

 

 

The Beauty of Aging

Do you love beautiful, old, abandoned buildings? I know I do. Elegant old architecture made almost more beautiful covered by overgrowth, a tree growing through the middle. There is a haunting beauty in crumbling places.

God has made everything beautiful for its own time.

My mom and I were talking recently about the art of aging gracefully. This seems to have gone completely out of style. Aging, that is. Everyone is so obsessed with youth it seems that aging, even if it’s graceful, has to be hidden at all costs.

The Bible says, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:31‬ ‭NLT‬‬

A crown of glory! Gray hair! There is an entire industry set up around hiding that crown of glory, among other signs of aging.

When Ecclesiastes says that God makes everything beautiful for its time, couldn’t that mean us too? Isn’t there a beauty in 40 that wasn’t there at 20? What about 60 or 70? There is a beauty to smile lines, evidence of a life of laughter and smiling. There is a beauty to hands that have worked so hard to care for a family, worked to support their loved ones. There is a beauty to that crown of gray hair gained by living a godly life. It’s not the same beauty that comes with youth, but that’s kind of the point isn’t it? That each year has its own beauty in and of itself.

God has hidden eternity in our hearts. We can watch our reflections change to see time passing, and maybe that desire to stay young is really that hidden knowledge that while the body ages it hides eternal souls inside. Maybe what you see doesn’t reflect how you feel, and that’s okay because if you believe the Bible then you know there is so much more to life than what we are living down here.

While the world rallies around youth, I think it’s important to remember that there is value, wisdom, and yes beauty, in age as well.

 

 

Where Have You Been?

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Some of you may have been wondering what happened to me for most of 2018. Well, for pretty much all of the year, starting somewhere in January, I’ve been pregnant. I’ve written about it once or twice and then disappeared from the face of the earth. I didn’t mean to, but life got busy, and really my workouts dwindled. When I say “dwindled” I mean almost completely stopped.  Well, once I hit the third trimester I mean totally and completely stopped. The third trimester is TOUGH!  All you mamas out there who have more than one child, I am amazed by you. Seriously!  I was not a happy pregnant lady. I felt downright sick my first trimester; I felt much better my second trimester, and then I felt just huge and uncomfortable my third.  That isn’t even taking into account labor. Anyone who goes through labor without an epidural is my hero, because I didn’t. After three hours of active labor I looked at the nurse, who had just told me I was only four centimeters, and said, “So… what are my pain management options?”

All that to say, I really did nothing fitness-wise for most of the year aside from eating healthy for my baby. Oh, and here is how adorable my little rainbow baby is!

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Now it’s 2019!  A brand new year, and no more excuses for not working out!  Well, one giant excuse, but I want to be a good example for him.

I was think about how amazing this new year really is for me.  As I’ve mentioned before, back in 2017 I had a miscarriage right around Thanksgiving.  It was a loss I felt very deeply, and it overshadowed my Christmas and New Years.  This Christmas and New Years was the exact opposite.  Here, instead of mourning a loss I was celebrating firsts.  Little man’s first Christmas and first New Years.  2019 is going to be a year of firsts.  The first time he crawls, his first word, his first attempt at solid food, it will be firsts for everything both for him AND for me as a new mama.  I’m extremely excited about my year of firsts!  I’m excited to get back to some old habits as well, including exercising and cooking.

Little man is almost three months old, which means I’ve taken nearly three months to heal up. I have to get back to some basics. I need to rebuild my core and my pelvic floor.  I need to build my stamina back up and get back into cardio.  I KNOW my arms are shot and I’m back to square one when it comes to doing pull-ups.  This year I want to focus on getting back to where I was when I got pregnant. I had just completed two rounds of P90X3 and was feeling fit and strong.  I know I’ll have to work around my tiny tyrant’s schedule, but I’m hoping to start out being a good example for him and that means exercising!

What does that mean for this blog?

Look forward to all sorts of lifestyle updates!  From workouts to skin care to life with an infant!  I plan on using this as a place to talk about my experiences, share some funny stories along with struggles and adventures.  Someone on here asked me what my blog was about. Well, it’s about my journey I suppose. It was mostly supposed to be about my fitness journey, but now with a brand new baby that fitness journey will also involve the new mom journey and anything else that comes to mind.  I’ll gladly still share recipes, and I’m sure Namon can be talked into Cooking with Namon videos.  I will also be trying my hand at some cooking.  This is a lifestyle blog, I suppose.  At least, it’s a blog about MY lifestyle and life for me has been pretty awesome so far.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and I’m wishing YOU all the best in your 2019 adventures! Can’t wait to see what’s in store this year!

A Rainbow Baby

Do you know what they call a pregnancy that happens shortly after a miscarriage?  They call that a rainbow baby.  It’s like the rainbow after the storm, the storm (the tears).  I am uncertain if you have to wait until the baby is born for that title or not, but I stumbled across this term recently because, after my last post about my miscarriage, I learned a couple months after that I was pregnant again.

I’m now into my second trimester, about four months along, and within the “safe zone” of talking about everything.

Getting pregnant after a miscarriage feels a lot more complicated.

The first time you get pregnant you are elated.  You want to share the news with the world instantly.  We even sent photos of that little pink stick and its “Yes” with the family.  This time around, there was a lot of trepidation.  A miscarriage is a loss, plain and simple, and along with that loss comes a lot of disappointment and grief, no matter when it happens.  I saw the pink “yes” this time and my first thought, as much as I hated it, was, “Don’t get your hopes up.”

That first trimester was a rollercoaster of emotions for me. Of course I was still excited, but I was also extremely scared that it would result in more disappointment and pain and I just wasn’t willing to let myself hope. We told only our parents, and mostly because I was going to be visiting mine and denying my usual glass of wine so I figured they’d guess right away anyway.  We honestly weren’t going to tell anyone else until the second trimester, but some friends came to visit and figured it out.

They were wonderful because they told me that, while they understand not wanting to have to tell EVERYONE about a miscarriage, they really care about us and they want to be there for us.  They both felt that any good friend would want to know right away so they can rejoice with you, and so they can mourn with you if anything should happen.  They said I should never have to go through all that alone. Nearly had me crying into my Sunday brunch, but I’m very glad they did.

Now I’m in the second trimester and while I certainly let out a huge sigh of relief, not even realizing I had been holding my breathe (metaphorically) for 13 weeks, I also realized that my trepidation won’t go away completely.

I’m much more excited now, don’t get me wrong.  Once we got into the second trimester I was much more willing to talk baby names, and think about baby supplies (not purchase but think about), all the things I started to do way too early last time.  There is still just a small part of me that anxiously waits for the next appointment so I can hear that the heartbeat is still there and still going strong.  I’m not sure if that will go away.

The ultrasound lady (I should know her name but I don’t) told me that those fears don’t go away, even after the baby is born. You just have a whole new set of worries.

Becoming a parent, even while the baby is still incubating, is a pretty scary business. I’m very thankful for all of the love and support we have through friends and family.  I don’t know how I’d get through any of this without them.  I really hope that anyone who stumbles across my blog learns that it is okay to share both the joy of pregnancy, and the pain of miscarriage.  There is an old proverb I once read on a Good Earth tea bag, because lots of my wisdom comes from random places.  It says, “Shared joy is double joy, and shared sorrow half sorrow.”  Maybe I shared this when I wrote about my miscarriage last November.  I honestly don’t remember. However, I can certainly say that when I shared my sorrow my friends and family shared it with me and that definitely helped to cut that grief in half.  I am also very thankful to be able to share my joy, and to see that joy double even through all my fears because it is shared by those I care about.

Thank you everyone, for helping me to allow myself to hope and to double my joy about this new baby. There’s been a lot of tears, but this time it is all happy tears I promise.

Grief, Miscarriage, and Doctors

I’ve been rather MIA lately. That’s because I found out I was pregnant, and I was so excited I was afraid I would spill the beans before the second trimester.

There is a reason women wait until the second trimester. I now know why.

Blighted Ovum, it’s called. It’s a rather fancy name for a miscarriage. It actually makes up about 50% of miscarriages.  My doctor explained it as, there is no embryo.  She said there was never any baby. There was a pregnancy, everything else was there, but the baby was missing.

The thing is, after much research, that isn’t quite the case.

There was something, at first.

There was a sperm, and there was an egg, and they did join and create a yolk sack and symptoms and everything. It’s not that there wasn’t a baby, it’s just that the chromosomes didn’t work out, and what resulted couldn’t be carried to term.

This was when I realized that, next time (and trust me, there will be a next time), next time I want a pro-life doctor.

It’s not that I feel everyone needs a pro-life doctor.

It’s just that, I’m pro-life, and I need someone who shares my views.  If you are pro-choice, then you need a pro-choice doctor.  This is because when the worst happens.  When you are told that you are at the beginning stages of a miscarriage, you need someone who can comfort you.

My doctor tried.

She really did!

I know that, for her, saying it was never a baby was comforting. For her, for someone who is pro-choice, this concept is incredibly comforting.  I can see that, even in my grief.

However, that isn’t my belief system.

For me what was comforting was reading an article about blighted ovum.  The author said, “This is a loss.  You should allow yourself to grieve.”

For me this was comforting. Because for me, this was a loss.  This was devastating.  We were SO excited.  We even moved the house around, to  make room for the baby.  For me, I do need to grieve.  This wasn’t all fake. This wasn’t in my head.  My body went through real changes.  For eight weeks, I was pregnant.  Now, I’m not.  Even though I didn’t need it, I needed permission to grieve.

This is why, next time, I need to find a doctor who shares my views.  It’s not that my current doctor didn’t try.  It’s not that she is a bad person. She comforted me as best she could. She tried to make it easier.  However, when you don’t share the same views… you just don’t know what kind of comfort that person needed.

I needed to hear that I lost a baby. A real baby. I needed to hear that it is okay to feel sad.  I needed to hear that it is okay to be very upset, because I am. I am very, very upset.

My husband and I will try again.

The doctor was very encouraging. She said everything was healthy.  From my reading I have learned that this usually happens only once.  That I have NO reason not to believe that we can have a successful pregnancy.  I am hopeful.  I really am. Even while I’m in the middle of a terrible tragedy.

I’m just a little wiser now.  I really know now why people don’t tell until the second trimester. I’ve known loss… just not like this.

It won’t keep me down forever though.  I promise. I just really need my time to grieve.

Chicken Curry, tonight on Cooking with Namon

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I LOVE curry!  I love all things spicy really. This was an amazing chicken curry, all done at home and all done by Namon. 😉  Now, I claim this was not an easy meal, but Namon swears it is.

 

This was another New York Times recipes.  Check out New York Times Cooking! They have some amazing recipes!

You will need:

Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 cinnamon sticks

2 large onions diced

1 two inch chunk ginger peeled and finely diced

6 cloves garlic peeled and crushed

2 chili peppers seeded, halved, and cut into half moons

salt

3/4 cup pureed tomatos

2 tbsp tomato paste

1.5 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground tumeric

3 tbsp plain yogurt

1 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch chunks

1 tsp garam masala

cayenne pepper to taste

Step 1: melt butter in dutch oven on medium heat, add 1 tsp cumin and cinnamon sticks.  Cook until fragrant.  Add onions and cook until brown.

Step 2: Brown chicken

Step 3:Ttake ginger, garlic, and chili peppers, and mush them all together in a mortar, or dice very fine.  Add to onions. After those become fragrant, add tomato puree, tomato paste, ground cumin, ground tumeric, and some salt.  stir to combine.

Step 4: add yogurt.  Add chicken.  put heat to low, cover, and simmer for ~15 minutes.  Add garam masala and cayanne, cover and cook another 5 minutes.

Serve on rice or noodles, and with a side of yogurt.

Here, you can watch the video and see how it all goes:

Thanks for watching! Let us know if you try it! How did it go? How would you change it?

10 Minute Steak Tacos

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This is a meal that ANYONE can make!  It takes less than 10 minutes (the video is longer due to the intro) and it is delicious!

This is a really easy steak taco, and it is wonderful if you’ve had a late night, you want to eat healthy and not succumb to the siren call of fast food.  Namon was running late tonight, so he decided to borrow of the concepts of Jamie Oliver (check out his cookbooks and youtube videos, he is awesome!!!) and make a quick, and delicious dinner.

You will need:

Steak – we had two little sirloins

Wraps – ours were gluten free tortillas

Tomatoes – one, we used two but that was too much

Chilli pepper – JUST one, unless you like the burn (we like the burn)

Red Onion – Half… I would have used less… I hate fresh onion

Green onion, 1-2 depending

Olive Oil

Juice of one lemon

Cilantro

More olive oil

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika

Sour cream

Hummus (optional –  we had some cilantro flavored hummus and it was delish)

Instructions:

Season the steak with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika

Sear on medium high heat with some oil for 3 minutes each side

Chop up your tomato, chili, red onion, green onion, and cilantro.  Place in bowl, season with salt and pepper, add olive oil and juice from lemon.  Mix.

If you want, you can heat your tortillas (grill them, microwave them, depending)

Slice steak

Build your taco with the tortilla, sour cream, hummus, steak, and salsa mix.  Add more paprika, salt, and pepper, to taste.  Eat.

Then spend another ten minutes cleaning everything up (20 if you cook like Namon – still faster than going out to eat or ordering in).

Here is the video so you can see, in real time, how Namon prepared everything.

Guys, this was delicious!  I, personally, could have had less fresh onion, but that is personal preference. 😉

I hope you try this!!! It really was as easy as it looked! If you make changes let us know, we are always looking to improve upon recipes and are open to suggestions!

 

Chicken with Green Olives and Seasoned Rice

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This dish was very flavorful!  It has some wonderful flavors and while the cooking was easy the seasonings make it very impressive.

Namon found the recipe through New York Times Cooking, which can be found here: New York Times Cooking

He majorly modified the recipe, so here is a screenshot of the recipe with all of his notes:

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And of course you can watch our Sunday (I know it’s Monday, but we filmed it last night) episode of Cooking with Namon to hear all of his tips.

As always, let us know what you think and if you tried it and what changes you would make to improve the recipe!

Thanks for watching, everyone!

Mjulnir, this is a mewmew!

Meet Mjulnir, or as I call him, Master Mew! He is the newest addition to our little family.

We wanted to get a dog, but we are still in an apartment and Namon didn’t want to get a dog without having our own yard. Meanwhile, Yuki was very lonely.

Namon’s mom has a farm, and she always has kittens. In fact that is where Yuki came from! Well she showed us a photo and offered Yuki a friend and we took her up on it.

Yuki is not pleased! 

We are hoping this changes!