Sunday, October 13, 2013

When you realize you can no longer be silent...

Pregnant with my fifth child, I have immensely enjoyed perusing the internet and finding pictures of unborn children at various stages...I even bring them up on our big screen TV to show the kids what their baby sister is looking like right now. It makes for some fun family time viewing :)

BTW, here are a couple neat ones that YOUR whole family may enjoy:

However, as I've walked the journey of this pregnancy it's brought back a few memories from past ones. Some of the memories were wonderful (like recalling the ultrasound pictures I saw of each one of my precious children), and yet others were immensely painful (recollecting the disheartening pressure to abort my first child; the rejection I experienced by some as a young, single mother). Pregnancy & its soup of hormones can lead us on an emotional journey notwithstanding bad memories from the past. Although, many women do find that pregnancy is a time of personal reflecting in some manner or another...

One issue I've had to face during this pregnancy is realizing how our past experiences really can influence our present perspective. Although this can be negative at times (AND should be overcome to move forward), many times it can also be a catalyst for positive change in our personal lives.

For example: looking back in the past at my two 'unwanted' pregnancies has forced me to examine the way some of my single mother friends may feel. Even more so, the harsh pressure I felt from the university to abort my firstborn helps me to emphasize with those who are pregnant...alone...and feeling that they can NOT do this on their own. So they may give in & have an abortion....

I've met some of these young ladies. Without judgment we talk about their stories. We share hearts & my goal is to listen. As I've heard some of them speak...sometimes there is weeping...sometimes just a disengagement from their pasts....other times some of them still experience a deep remorse on 'anniversary' dates & sharing how old their children would be if they were alive right now....

 For those who say the baby is just simply a 'fetus' I have to respectfully disagree. The bible actually says that each one of us is fully human before anyone else gets the privilege of getting to meet us face to face.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
~Psalm 139: 13-16

 Healing & forgiveness is available to those who have made the mistake of killing their unborn baby. There is much help out there if you seek for it; and it is possible to experience a deep renewal of hope for your future. Personally I've also heard from woman who have done just that, and even gone to have healthy subsequent pregnancies, all while letting go of their pasts.

If you follow my blog, you may have noticed that I added a new sidebar section: "Pregnant and Alone?". My desire is that it would bring hope to those who are online & looking for some answers. I have added just a few links that I feel will be beneficial to those who are pregnant and facing difficult circumstances.

***If you yourself are pregnant & alone...or facing undue hardship (of WHATEVER sort it may be) PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP! There is help to be found. Search out a local pregnancy crisis center. Look online. Reach out to friends who you know will stand with you. Don't give up until you find some that will! I felt so alone when I was 19 & pregnant...but help eventually came.

***If you are a blogger, I'd challenge you to prayerfully consider looking for a way to bring light to this issue on your blog. Consider: blogging about life in the womb, sharing a website on your side bar, an article you feel fully expresses your love & hope for the unborn...we can't do it all, but we can all do something!

***For everyone else: consider checking out my side bar & watching the movie "180". It an incredible & challenging movie to watch. A worthwhile investment of just over a half hour. I'd encourage you to take the time watch it, & then share it with someone else.

***NOTE: If YOU know of any other helpful resources please feel free to share with me in the comments below. I will look at them & prayerfully consider adding any others that I feel led to share.

Thanks for visiting & hearing my heart today,

Rachael J DeBruin

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

~What are we feeding the children? Aiming for Balance~

"Not just food and nourishment...but how are we feeding them soul, mind & body?"

In our busy, high-pressured world as parents it is SO super easy to overlook the overall lifestyle we are 'feeding' our children!

Today, I want to briefly focus on ten areas that I think all of us should periodically assess. You may have some of your own categories or suggestions. Please feel free to comment below with any of your thoughts :)

1) Feed them a nutrient dense diet that is chock full of vitamins & minerals!
I do believe it IS important to watch what our children eat! No so easy to do in our pre-packaged food world, but nonetheless good nutrition will give your children ample nutrients to feed their growing bodies & minds. As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist I have some thoughts about it: loads of veggies, some fruit, ample lean protein & even some healthy fats in there to boot. Note: always talk to your Doctor or Health Practitioner if you're unsure about making dramatic changes.

2) Feed them a schedule that allows ample time for rest!
What are we feeding them in the area of sleep? I read an article today that discussed how deprived teens in particular are these days in regards to sleep. Going to bed too late, electronics in the eve, distracted by entertainment, and overall wasting time can be contributors to not enough sleep. Not every child will have the same needs, but all children will need adequate & consistent sleep times. Ensure your children have a sleeping area that is: cozy, safe, free of entertainment distractions, and allow time for your child to wind down a bit before actually hitting the hay (i.e. story time & bath times for the little ones; reading time for the older ones before lights out)

3) Feed them a diet of heading outdoors!
Heard of 'nature deficit disorder"? It is a phrase I've heard a number of times from 'experts' that say our children are spending WAY too much time indoors...I happen to agree. Whatever your thoughts on how far we've gone as a society in this area, it is wise to allow our children a set time allotment EVERYDAY to get outdoors for some fresh air, & the change of scenery alone! If weather doesn't cooperate then simply try to get out the next day. Make time for: hikes, parks, running around in open fields, backyard playtime...these are all good uses of our children's time. 

4) Feed them a lifestyle of active living!
Exercise!!! Our children's daily 'diets' need a steady form of active movements each & everyday. It can help support healthy cardiovascular systems, lungs and a strong body. It is not always easy in our busy paced lifestyles to stay active on a daily basis...but we simply need to look for easy opportunities to do so. Park away from places you're frequenting, run around outside for a bit before leaving the house (i.e. tell Johnny to get outside to run his sillies out before you go to your appointments), choose extracurriculars that involve some form of physical activity (where possible) and look for times to simply get out & walk as a family :)

5) Feed them a healthy entertainment 'diet'! 
From TV, to the internet, to handheld really is so sad that we as a society have lost reliance on our face-to-face relationships & seemed to have replaced them with computer devices. This is a generalization of course, but we all know how much our children would play with these gadgets all day if we allowed them to!!! In our home (and this could be adapted to work in yours) video games and extra TV shows are for weekends only, and special occasions as deemed appropriate by Mom or Dad. TV viewings are strictly moderated to be shows that are: uplifting, non-sexual, non-violent (unless it relates to the benefit of the plot; say like a super hero show) and no filthy language. I will usually check out any potential movies or media watchings on Plugged In Online if I'm unsure. We also ask family's that we trust for shows that they enjoy watching as a family. We have made the drastic decision (more to save money than anything!) to not have cable in the home. We use videos and YouTube instead.

*My hubby & I were both TV/movie-aholics growing up & both of us struggled with various issues related to this. So I realize we may be a bit more sensitive on this issue. However, whatever criteria YOUR family comes up with, remember that what we put into our hearts will effect our thoughts & attitudes (especially when repeated over time). 

6) Feed them a steady influence of positive role models!
This one can be tricky. I admit it still is tricky for my family at times. But my goal is always keeping an eye out for positive role models that each one of my children can spend time with in various settings.
Too many times children are bombarded by negative influences everyday (through media, school, friends, etc. etc.) and it can be hard to counteract that, even if we are trying to be diligent as parents. 
Let me give you a couple practical examples from our home--> Our second oldest son loves to work & earn money. He just has this innate drive to work & work hard! There is a farmer at our church (a small men's group leader, a friend of my husband's) who hired him to work at the farm for a few days over the summer. We felt this was a positive experience even more so than the opportunity to make money because of the great influence he has been on our son. Another example: our eldest son has an amazing talent at playing drums. We searched & searched for a drum instructor, but could never find one with the same convictions or that we felt comfortable using for one-on-one lessons. Finally we found a young man at our church who has exceptional character, and already plays music in our youth band. So our son has already began the lessons  & without doubt it has been a positive experience for him. It is again, a win-win situation.
***Look for those opportunities to spend time with families you admire, serving with organizations you find noble, and encouraging positive peer relationships, as much as you can :)

7) Feed them a steady diet of wholesome, classic books!
I so appreciate our local libraries and frequent them almost every week. However, many of the classics have been removed (not all, but so many goodies are out of print!) that I have begun to make my own library at home. 
I look for good classic books (with great moral lessons, no language and some that are just plain fun) at used book sales, online and generally wherever I can find them. My favs will prob differ from yours, but in general some of the books that have been in print for hundreds of years (and have been modified to be in readable English of course!) have much more substance then some of the new ones that have come to line our shelves. Again, every family will differ in their convictions, but I feel the more classics we can expose our children to...the better :)

8) Feed them a 'diet' of fun, family time!
Do you have a regular family day scheduled in? Do you make the time for fun in your family's bustling itinerary? Some of our closest family friends have modeled this for us with great success in their families. It can be as easy as simply choosing a regular day set out for nothing but time with immediate family (maybe throw some close family friends in there and/or church). It allows the children to have something weekly to look forward to. With busier schedules, it may be more prudent to pick an evening or two. For those with spouses away from the home, it may even be wiser still to have a few nights of  stay-cation time slots together when he/she returns. However, no matter what will work for YOUR family, keep in mind that your children will probably think more highly of these times then you can even imagine!

9) Feed them a lifetime of making memories together!
Often the best memories in life cannot be pre-planned, but with some careful thought & preparation, AWESOME family traditions can definitely be made. For some of us this could involve: every year at Christmas we go cut down a fresh tree followed by fresh hot chocolate; every Thanksgiving we go to our favourite fall fair; every Family Day (for us Canadians!) we go out for dinner at our favourite restaurant; every Sunday we have Daddy's special breakfast....the possibilities are endless! And they don't have to cost anything either. We know families that are on a very strict budget that find great traditions to embark on (regular places to visit, walk to, or activities to even do in the home). So use your imagination; talk to your spouse and/or children & get planning :)

10) Last, but not least, we feed them a healthy dose of 'living on purpose'!
Spiritually is a part of who we are as humans, and yet with our busy lifestyles, it can sadly be one of the first things to go. Visiting a healthy, thriving church is a great way to start. Finding ways to give back to the community is another way to model to your children that life is 'not always about them'. Serving others; loving others; receiving love from our Loving Creator & giving it back to others. 
I experienced this on a large scale when I made Jesus Christ my Lord & Saviour as a young adult. It became the absolute BEST decision I've ever made with my life!!! I can see how that one decision has positively affected our children, and changed the way I think about raising them. It has affected my marriage, and my relationships with others.
Wherever you are in your journey, begin to look around you for positive role models that are already living on purpose; there are sure to be others who are farther along in their journeys & who would be willing to share how they've made it this far :)

*for more info on exploring Jesus check out this page--> The Purpose Driven Life

***Please take the time to share your thoughts on how YOUR family lives on purpose in any of the above mentioned areas (feel free to comment below).


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