Monthly Archives: February 2009

When we pray, God works

I must admit:  For most of my Christian life, I have struggled with the idea of prayer.  “Why should the God of the universe listen to me?” I wonder.  Instead of being upset at my lack of faith, God has simply shown Himself faithful to respond to my prayer, showing me that, no matter why or how, He does listen to me.

This morning, as I was picking out fresh clothes for Fiala to wear, I thought, “She’s growing out of these 3-6 month clothes I got off of Freecycle.  ~sigh~ I think all of Audrey’s 6-9 month stuff is winter.*  I’ll have to check later today… Oh, God, I thank you for always providing for us, and I trust you to do so in the future.  Please provide for Fiala.”  That was it;  I breathed about two sentences of prayer.

So.  (You can probably guess what’s coming.)  I was sitting on the couch, reading Window on the World to Grant and Wesley;  we were learning about the Uzbeks.  I love WotW.  I so love learning about the culture of different people groups and countries which were previously unfamiliar to me.  I strongly believe that God created each unique culture for His purpose, and that each adds to the wealth of strengths and resources of all His creation.  The tagline on the front of the book reads:  “When we pray, God works.”  As simple as that:  when we pray, God works.  We learn about the country or ethnic group of the day, the kids and I then thank God for what He’s done in the country, and ask for His help for their needs, each in turn, thanking and praying based upon what we’ve read, according to what’s struck us.  I always wonder what the effect of our little prayers might be, far across the globe.  Dear Wesley always prays for peace in a country, that there would be no wars.

As we were reading, a phone call came in.  I don’t usually pick up the phone when we’re doing school;  the fewer distractions the better.  But, the answering machine was turned up quite loudly, and I could hear a young mom from my church as she left a message, “Hi, Karen, this is Nicole.  I was just wondering what size Fiala is wearing right now.  I’m sorting through Riley’s clothes and want to give some to Martin at kinship tonight to bring home for you…”

I picked up.

I was flooded with a whole gamut of emotion and thoughts.

First, of course, was that God is so amazing.  He answered my prayer in just a matter of hours.  Even if it turns out that NO clothes are Fiala’s size, I’m just appreciative of God encouraging me by saying, “Yes, I heard you.  Yes, I will provide.”

More than that, though… It’s the truly glorious Body of Christ, the entirety of the community of believers, that makes me shake my head in amazement.

I still remember the first time Nicole and her husband Jonathan came to our church.  I overheard her give an assessment to someone, afterwards.  It was something like, “Well, I think I like this place OK.  I’m not so sure about… though.”

I found myself thinking, cynically, “They won’t be around for long.  Our church isn’t for everyone.  If she’s going to be so unhappy with it, maybe she should just move along.”

Two years later, she and her husband are on our church’s leadership team, making a huge contribution to the ministry of our church.

Also, she’s young and hip.  She’s prettier and more stylish than me, by far.  At 35, when my new clothes purchases are few and far between, and my hair is greying, and I’m not as trim as I used to be, I can easily feel an inferiority complex around those younger and cuter than me.

But, two years later, and I’m about to be a recipient of her great taste in clothes — her daughter is two years old, and dresses better than I do.  😀  And, now, Fiala’s going to inherit some of that cuteness.

God is good.  He’s patient with me.  In the way He works, He gently proves me wrong — to both my humility and delight — again and again.


*Here in Phoenix, it’s already warming up.  The past few days have been in the low 80s.  So, even though it’s Februrary, I would need the next round of clothes to be appropriate for spring/summer.

Weekend notes — baby, books, jeans, Crockpotting, worship and more

Sweet siblings

Sweet siblings

  • Fiala turned four months old yesterday.  Time flies.  She is the sweetest child imaginable.  Some may remember that, while pregnant, I prayed for her character and personality, that she would be amiable, and she is.  Anyone who holds her is just flooded with peace.  She’s cuddly and precious, and I just couldn’t order up a more… satisfying baby.  Hope that doesn’t sound weird.  All of my children are profoundly valuable to me, and each baby I have, I think I enjoy more than the last, as I relax into the familiarity of raising a wee one.  But, I am absolutely loving being the mother of Miss Fiala Gabrielle.  … Last week, she discovered her hands.  Usually, she’s had her last meal around 8:00 and is in bed when everyone else is, but a couple of days ago, I gave her a rare late-night feeding.  She finished, and I was about to put her back in bed, when, as I leaned over her, she reached up and rested her tiny, chubby hand on my cheek, gripping me with her huge, round, still-blue eyes.  I was immobilized.  No way I was going to get up and plunk her back into her cradle.  🙂  We stayed on the couch, just loving on each other, for a good 30 minutes… precious one-on-one time.
  • I was so proud of myself to get four errands done in 2 hours on Saturday.  Maybe this doesn’t mean much to anyone else, but it was monumental to me.  We live 20 minutes from anyplace, so that made it an even greater achievement.  I got a pair of jeans from Old Navy, picked up two books from Borders, got about 15 household items from Target, and filled up my gas tank.  Woo hoo!  All of this was, of course, done unaccompanied.  If I’d had all five kids with me, the time involved would have doubled, at least.  Plus, I’ve discovered that I just can’t try on clothes with all the kids; we all lose patience with the process and with each other long before shopping is done.
  • Speaking of jeans, I got a pair on clearance, and paid $19.45, with tax, for them.  I was happy.  However, since we had only $20-and-change left in the budget for the month for clothes, I had to completely ignore everything else on the clearance racks.  I think I’ll fill out the online survey which will net me a 10% off code, then go back in March and see if I can’t fill out the kids’ wardrobes on the mega-cheap.  At a glance, I was able to see that there are LOTS of clothes for $1.97, $2.97…  Cool.
  • I started the book — finally — that my friend Kathy chose for our next book club meeting.  Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.  I had heard a bit about the book, previous to reading it, but didn’t know much about it.  Now that I’m reading it, I find myself thinking, “What if I had forever missed out on this story??”  It’s that good.  So far, anyways, 87 pages into it.  Is there a word for that?  That feeling of regret one feels for your hypothetical self, if you hadn’t experienced what you are now enjoying.  Hm.  Anyone?
  • In our efforts to save money, we have dramatically cut down on the number of times we eat out.  We used to go to a restaurant after church on Sunday, oh, three times a month.  We decided to cut that down to twice per month, but have actually been able to drop our patronage of Ajo Al’s to one time per month or so.  It really is a stretch for me — energy- and time-wise — to both prepare a meal and get myself and five kids ready to get to church by 8:15 or 9:00 (depending on my responsibilities for that morning).  But, with the help my new 5.5 quart Crockpot, I’ve been able to.  What I have been doing is preparing everything on Saturday night, putting the crockery in the fridge, then just plopping it in the cooker on Sunday before we leave.  Yesterday was a red pasta sauce with meat… semi-homemade, with Ragù, canned diced tomato, LOTS of slivered shallots, fennel and mixed Italian herbs.  Plus ground beef.  All I had to do when I got home was boil up some Chinese rice “stick” noodles, the gluten-free version of vermicelli.  The only bummer about not eating out, is that we order enough to have both lunch, and leftovers for dinner every Sunday.  So, every Sunday we eat out, that takes care of two meals.  Somehow, eating leftovers of the same day’s homemade lunch doesn’t seem quite as appealing to anyone, myself included.
  • Lincoln Log chaos in the family room

    Lincoln Log chaos in the family room

    The boys have been playing Lincoln Logs nearly non-stop since yesterday afternoon.  We had some already that see near-daily use.  But, a good homeschooling friend of ours gave us some of a wealth of Lincoln Logs given to her by a neighbor.  What she gave to us nearly tripled our supply.  Thanks, Allison!

  • Church starts at 10:00 with worship.  These days, that typically lasts 45 minutes.  The days on which I lead worship in SuperChurch (our kids aged 6-12), we start worship at 11:00.  So, those Sundays are chock-full of worship, which is often JUST what I need.  I so love to worship.  I spent the second half of yesterday’s “big church” worship on my knees, not even singing, most of it in tears.  What I really wanted to do was lay prostrate, which is semi-regular worship behavior in our church… but I struggled with feeling like I would be a mini-spectacle, there with my big rear end for everyone to see… which is bunk because most people wouldn’t even be able to see me.  I just should have done it.  God still met with me in worship, though.  And, then I went over to lead 90 kids with streaking makeup, blazing red eyes, and a drippy nose from my tears.  Lately, we’ve been doing all upbeat worship in SuperChurch, so it was like a … sacrifice of praise, purposefully praising God for His goodness and power, even though I still felt like melting.
  • My hubby and I had a near-date night on Friday, only our second since Fiala was born (!).  Ideally, date nights are just him ‘n’ me, staring into each other’s eyes.  This one, though, we had Fiala with us, and shared our evening with about 40 other people, all celebrating our friend Lockley’s 40th birthday.  We went to an Italian restaurant.  Usually, Italian restaurants are the bane of celiacs (Lockley has celiac disease, too!), but this one, I discovered, will substitute spaghetti squash for regular noodles, making nearly every pasta dish gluten-free!!  It makes for an expensive plate of almost-all veggies, but it was still very tasty!  I had their Rustic Roma sauce with smoked mozzarella and hot Italian sausage.  Yum!  Part of the reason we’ve had such infrequent date nights is the lingering thought that we don’t have enough money for one.  Costs add up quickly when babysitting is $10-12/hr.  But, we put the expense into the budget, and already had the money set aside.  Yay, budget!
  • Other than a few lingering coughs and an overabundance of mucous, we’re all recovered from the bout of RSV that made everything grind to a near-halt for nearly three weeks.  Bless God!!  We did decide to put Wesley on Singulair for the rest of the cold months, meaning that by April or so, we’ll take him off, since he has virtually no symptoms in the summer.  It’s not a steroid, and it has no build-up effect.  It works by inhibiting leukotrienes, which contribute to the cascading inflammation effect that leads to an asthma attack.  I’m ALWAYS hesitant to stick medicine in my own and my kids’ bodies, but I must say that Singulair has been very effective.  This past week, the only day that he’s had asthma symptoms was yesterday;  I realized that I had forgotten to give him the medicine in the morning.
  • Plus, our weekend held the big boys’ scrimmage baseball game, and I did housework… never enough housework, of course.  I still have four or five loads of laundry to do.  I usually do 3-4 loads during the week, but I like to get ALL of the laundry down to ZERO on Saturday, which is usually an additional 8-10 loads.  Too much laundry compared with the number of hours in the day…
  • Busy, but happy weekend.  I’m glad that it’s over, though.  Mondays are relatively slow — back to the normalcy of homeschooling, and my parents coming over for dinner.  My mom is cooking tonight!  She’s bringing split pea soup with ham and salad, and I’m making gluten-free cornbread to go with it.  Yum!


EDITED FOR THE THIRD TIME to add… I was thinking about this post, and was going to come back and edit it yet again, rewording it extensively, because I think I sound snooty.  I told myself, “You were tired when you wrote it.  That’s not what you really think.”  But, it is.  I’m truly, typically biased against songs that have lyrics full of clichés.  The song I’m mostly talking about here — By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North — has a mix of both striking lyrics and words that have been said many, many times before in pretty much the exact same way.  But, it’s still a fabulous song….  Hope that makes sense.

Here’s what I mean.  Fabulous, descriptive lyric:

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life

Not-so-original lyric from the same song:

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I’ll never let you go

But… you know… we need to hear that God loves us and won’t let us go, and we need to hear that a billion times.  I do, anyways.

Anyways.  Back to the original post:

I write songs.  I’m not mega-prolific, like my husband, but I do write ’em occasionally.  It affects how I hear others’ songs.  One of the goals both Martin and I have is to say something new, something that hasn’t been said before.  But, if we have a good song kernel, and it doesn’t cover any new territory, the goal is to at least say it in a way that it hasn’t been said before.

But, sometimes, there are good songs that break those rules…  Doesn’t say anything novel nor is it tricky/inventive, but it’s still really good.

There’s been a song in that vein, running through my head for weeks.  I hear it on the radio occasionally… enough to make me familiar with it, but not enough to know the words by heart or anything, just enough to stick in my head like, “Mmmhmm hmm whenever you hm hm la la la dah dah dah dah dah… please don’t fight these hands that are holding you.”  Tonight, after the song has been playing tantalizingly/frustratingly incomplete through my brain, I thought, “I’ll bet it’s on YouTube.”  And, voila!  It is.

It’s called By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “By Your Side – Tenth Avenue North“, posted with vodpod

That’s not an official video, obviously.  If they had one, I’d post it.

This one is, though, for a different song of theirs, Love is Here:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Tenth Avenue North – Love Is Here“, posted with vodpod


Ooh, and look!  They’re coming to Phoenix on March 27th.

The Rock And Worship Road Show w/ MercyMe, Jeremy Camp, Hawk Nelson, Addison Road / $10 at door / 7:30PM

I’m probably one of the few that looks at that list of musicians, and says, “Oh, cool!  Hawk Nelson!  Ugh.  Jeremy Camp.”  I’m not a huge Jeremy Camp fan.  Nor MercyMe.  But, I do like Hawk Nelson, and, obviously, Tenth Avenue North.  I like the girl’s voice from Addison Road.  My son Ethan REALLY likes Hawk Nelson.  Hm.

When blogging doesn’t work. And, kinship worship.

A while back, a fellow blogger wrote that she could, basically, be a lot more honest, funny, sarcastic, and deep if no one she actually knew read her blog.  Lately, I’ve been feeling similarly.  Certainly, one’s relationships should take precedence over one’s blog.  One doesn’t post in anonymity.  That’s why I still journal some, and would be journaling more, if only my day had an extra hour or two that everyone else’s didn’t.

I’ve thought about it a lot, and really, blogs are primarily limited to one’s own experiences and thoughts, and mostly when those experiences and thoughts don’t disclose the private hearts of friends and family.

In essence, if I value relationship (and I do), my world about which I can blog is really limited, since so much of my own life is entwined with others’.


But, my heart is heavy.  About something I’m not at liberty to blog about.

I’m going to kinship tonight, which is good.  It’s so good to learn, worship, hear from God and just hang out with other believers.

Actually, in a topic only tangentially related, I have found out this week that I am going to start leading worship in a kinship.  I’m very excited about that.

It all started last week.  I normally go to kinship on Tuesdays.  But, last Tuesday, I wasn’t able to go.  On Thursday, Martin said to me, “Why don’t you go to Doug’s kinship tonight?”  I responded, “Fantastic idea.  I am so there.”  I went, and later that night, when I was asking Doug if his kinship was typically busting at the seams, as it was that night with 24 people, he said that yes, it was, and the kinship would be multiplying soon, within a couple of weeks.  I figured who the new leader would be.  I asked him who was going to host it.  He didn’t know.  I asked who the worship leader was going to be.  He said, “At this point, we’re just going to sing to CDs.  I don’t have anyone!”  I offered, “At this point, I’m only making it to kinship every other week or so, so I don’t know if I’m the most reliable resource.  But, if Martin is willing to work with me to make it happen, I could lead.”  Doug really liked that idea.

That night, I asked Martin, and he said — I think this is a quote — “Don’t even go there.”  So, I didn’t.  I have learned that my husband’s first response to a challenging question is typically, “No.”  But, once he stews on it, he frequently changes his mind.

I didn’t bring it up again until Doug called me on Monday, saying, “Well, Martin approached me yesterday about you leading kinship worship…” to which my jaw dropped.  I thought maybe Doug was mistaken, but he wasn’t.  I guess it’s that Martin weighed his responsibilities as the worship leader — and, really, wanting to see people have the opportunity to truly worship, and worshiping as a group to CDs isn’t really effective — and as a husband who would miss his wife for certain one night every week, with the added time-consumer of baseball upon us, and having a nursing baby, and everything else.

Anyways… Doug’s normal worship leader, Mike, is unavailable the next two weeks and Martin was going to sub for him (in addition to the Wednesday nights he leads in another kinship).  But, we all decided yesterday that it would be a good intro if I led tonight, instead.  So, I  am.  I might lead in the same kinship next week.  Then, the following week, as the plan goes, the new kinship will start up.

Cheese! (Energy, energy! Go go go go go go go!)

My kids cannot get enough of this video.  There are a number of things you might notice when viewing it:

  • Audrey, of course.  She’s trying to say, “Cheese!” for the camera, not knowing that I had it on video mode.
  • She’s wearing one of Wesley’s undershirts, because her throat and chest had Mentholatum on them.  That’s why I put her in pigtails, too, to keep her hair out of the mess.  She looks really cute.  (Not that I’m biased.)
  • My husband keeps messing with her, completely unrepentant.  🙂
  • The background noise.  The, “Energy, energy! Go go go go go go go!” part is my eleven year old.  He can’t believe it’s him.  It is.  I keep telling him that he can be incredibly annoying…  I now have proof.  ETA:  Wait.  After the umpteenth-billion viewing, maybe it’s Grant, my 9yo.  What’s funny is that when I was recording this, I didn’t even notice the background noise.  I automatically tune out the chaos.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Illness, part 2

I know I’m not the world’s most natural/homeopathic/herbal person out there, but I try.  That said, even though I am doctor and medicine avoidant, both for myself and for my kids, I’m really glad for them when they’re necessary.

I took Wesley and Fiala to the doctor this morning.  I’m taking Audrey later this afternoon.

The good news is that Fiala, who has RSV, is recovering nicely.  The ear infection that the doc said she had on Tuesday has cleared up beautifully on its own, no antibiotics needed.  She is still needing pulmicort and albuterol through an SVN machine twice a day, but at least she’s not in the hospital.  They took her pulse-ox, and it was at 96%.  That’s good, for a 3 month old baby with RSV.

Wesley, on the other hand… not so good.  He has had a “bad cold,” which is surely also RSV, for the past week, but only ran a low-grade temp, and only needing albuterol breathing treatments about once a day.  But… on Wednesday, his ear began to hurt.  My husband and I have been putting colloidal silver drops in his ears since Wednesday, and for us, that usually does the trick.  Not this time.  He was crying in pain this morning… and continued doing so all morning.  He has two badly infected ears.  I filled the antibiotic prescription.  The good news is that, according to Walgreen’s, he hasn’t been on antibiotics since 10/07, so I guess that’s pretty good.  More bad news, though, is that Wesley’s pulse-ox was at 93%.  Not good.  They gave him a breathing treatment there.  Though we have an SVN machine here at home, the doc said, “If his pulse-ox is below 95%, I want to do a treatment here, then we’ll test him again to see how well he’s responding to the treatments.”  That was reasonable.  It shot up to 98%.  Great.  But… they want him on pulmicort, too (which is an inhaled steroid).  The doctor also wants him on Singulair just until the cold months are over and Wesley’s winter bouts with asthma subside, to be started AFTER his 10-14 bout of Pulmicort.


Pulmicort is a steroid, but since it’s inhaled, it doesn’t go (as) systemic as pills.  Singulair is not a steroid, either.  I’m not a fan of medication at all, but at least the doctor listened to our insistence that Wes not be on a long-term, systemic steroid prescription.  It’ll be for a couple months, tops.  The pharmacist (who was fantastic, and talked to me for a good 20 minutes, never making me feel like I was taking up too much of his time) said that about 5% of kids have abnormal emotional outburst responses to Singulair.  Also, have you seen the commercials that have a disclaimer about Singulair increasing asthma-related deaths?  That’s because people administer Singulair when an asthma attack starts, which is incorrect use.  It’s to be taken once a day, and doesn’t force open airways like albuterol.

NOW… I have to run and get things ready to take Audrey to the doc.  She started running a high fever again.  She’s been on-and-off sick since Saturday.  😦  She’ll improve, and I’ll think, “She doesn’t need the doctor.”  Then, she crashes again.  After a week, my husband decided that enough was enough, and we need to take her.

This has been the worst two weeks for illness for my kids in at least the last two years.

PLUS, tonight is the first practice for the two big boys.  (Martin is coming home early so he can take them while I take the girls with me to the doctor’s.)  Lost in the shuffle of sick kids, etc., is the fact that Grant made it onto the Minor leagues with Ethan, so they’re both on the same baseball team.  Fantastic.  Baseball is one of those things I sort-of dread, because it consumes SO MUCH time.  But, it’s good for the boys, and they love it, and it creates good memories.  It just wears me out.

The new pic in the header, school stuff, etc.

  • A couple of you have asked about the pic in the header.  Yes, it is of my hubby Martin and me.  It was taken in November of ’06 at the La Posada in Winslow, AZ, on our 12th anniversary celebration.  Notice the baby seat/carrier in the LH background?  That was Audrey.  With this new layout, I tried about six or seven different pics, and none of them would take!  I had the exact number of pixels called for, didn’t work.  I tried them bigger, I tried them smaller, I tried a direct upload to WordPress, I tried uploading them to Photobucket…  None of them worked.  Then, I tried this pic, and inexplicably, it worked, and at that point, I was thinking, “Whatever.  It worked.”  So…  I’m glad y’all like it!
  • I had a doc appointment this morning, for myself, which meant — yet again — not much school got done.  This whole week has been shot, with me primarily taking care of sickly small children.  But, today, I came home and had Ethan do a chapter in Story of the USA, which happened to be on the Alamo.  One of the assignments was to create a skit/play about the events.  Both the other boys are familiar with the story, so they participated as well.  Nerf dart guns in hand, they were done planning in about 2 minutes.  Unimpressed, I told them, “You can’t just shoot each other and then have whoever is playing Santa Ana say ‘I win.'”  Three boys’ shoulders slumped.  I had read their minds.  Hahaha!  So, they planned it out a little better, taking 20 minutes to decide on their stage set-up, plot outline, choose characters and dialogue.  Even 2yo Audrey got in on it;  her line was, “Oh, no!  The Mexicans are attacking!” which sounded like, “Oooooooohhhh!  The Mexcicoooooo ummm  ummm ATTACKING!!!!”  It was cute.  I should have taken pictures.  It really did seem like one of those ‘homeschool moments.’  Then, after lunch, everyone did double-lessons in math, and we called it a day.
  • Speaking of school, Ethan has about one week of material left in Core 3.  We’ve been working on it for…. umm… two years.  It actually took us about 18 months to get through the first 17 weeks of material, and about five months — which includes my three week ‘maternity leave’ with Fiala AND an additional two weeks we took off around Christmas — to do the final 19 weeks.  Why the big speed-up this year?  We dropped Latin.  It was time-consuming.  It was beneficial, and I wish we could continue, but it was TOO time-consuming.  So.   Anyways.  We plan on using the $$ from our tax refund to get Core 4, but that’s another 3-4 weeks away, so I’m planning on crafting him a special-interest unit study.  We got a catalogue in the mail, which is primarily (it appears) for adult continuing-education-type courses.  I had Ethan go through it — not because I intend to order something from the catalogue, but to find out what he’d like to learn.  I thought he might surprise me, and, whaddya know?  I’m flabberghasted in his choice.  He chose a course called Lost Christianities:  Christian Scriptures and the Battles Over Authentication.  Basically, it’s about the canonization of Scripture.  He’s eleven years old.  He’s seriously interested in this.  I’m elated.  I’m still uncertain where I’ll get my source materials;  we still haven’t been back to the library after my $100+ fine, and our own city’s new branch library’s opening has been pushed back, once again, to March 7.  We’ll probably just go back to the “old” library.  I look forward to finding some resources next week.  It’ll be a fun study.  (His second choice?  The American Civil War.  I told him, “Um, that’s in Core 4, so we’ll be studying that in a couple of months anyways.”  His third choice was Understanding the Brain.)
  • Fiala is still very sick.  Everyone else is recovering/dramatically improving, bless God.  But, it pains me to see her ill.  Plus, it’s looking like our Friday night Valentine’s date night is in jeapordy.  😦

We have a winner!

The Mom & Baby giveaway with pHisoderm and Lansinoh products is officially over.  Becky (comment #11) is the lucky winner!  Becky, I’ll be e-mailing you for your address…

Everyone else, don’t lose heart!  I will have another giveaway very, very soon.  🙂

Special thanks to my son, Ethan, who pulled Becky’s number out of a brown paper bag (that was my high-tech selection process).

Duh. (Or, YAY! Herbs!!)

The other day, I stood on tippy toe, to pull down a box razor blades (to remove fuzz from a sweater), and down tumbled a small ziploc with two hunks of raw beeswax in it.  I was more than a little surprised;  I thought I’d used up all my beeswax in the various home remedies/salves I’ve made over the years.

Well, in a comment on my last post, Daja suggested trying herbal remedies.  I’d already been giving the kids colloidal silver (both in their drinks and as drops in ears), and doubling up on vitamins, but hadn’t thought of herbs.

I believe that many herbal remedies are as good or better than standard medicine here in the U.S., but I am by no means an expert, and am really still such a newbie at any kind of homeopathic medicine that it just isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.  So, thank God for Daja, whose comment made me think, “Hm.  I wonder what else is up there with that beeswax?”

So, I drug over a stool and climbed up to investigate.  Lo and behold, I had a gallon ziploc, half-full with some New Mama’s Tea I had made for myself when I was nearly due with Audrey, which was nearly three years ago.  Now, I had made it as a bath tea — to put in cotton “tea” bags that hold roughly 1/2 cup of herbs.  That, and to put in a sitz bottle.  In other words, I hadn’t crafted it to drink.  So, I wasn’t sure if it would be safe or helpful for drinking.

Fortunately, I knew I had made a document that listed what all I put in there, so I pulled it up, and researched in both a book I have, and online, to see if I could possibly make a decoction to give to my family.

Well, it turns out that not only are all the ingredients safe, but it appears that many of them are particularly helpful!  The only thing that’s sort of neutral is the myrrh resin in it;  it doesn’t seem like it would be specific to our needs.  But, that’s OK.  A couple of the items have minor warnings;  the St. John’s Wort causes dermatitis in some people, and the yarrow flower should be used in moderation.  And several of these ingredients should not be used when one is pregnant.

I am cautiously optimistic that the batch I have, which is currently boiling on the stove, is going to be of great help.  I’m going to give it to Fiala in concentrated drops, and to everyone else, as a tea.

I’ll let y’all know how it works out, because EVERYONE is still sick here, except for Grant, who just has an occasional lingering cough.

Here’s what’s in it.  (If anyone reading has some knowledge of herbs, I’d be happy to know your thoughts.)  My original recipe was one ounce of everything, and two ounces of comfrey leaf.


We live a healthy lifestyle.  We really do.  We eat fresh, healthy, virtually nothing from boxes, nor mixes, nor ready-made, nor frozen (except veggies and tater tots).  We eat organic when we can, and when we can’t, then it’s at least all-natural.  I make sure the kids get plenty of outside play, and play in general.  Our exposure to the outside world is limited to about 3x/week.  We all take vitamins and other supplements.

Still.  We seem to catch everything that comes down the pike.

Almost, anyways.

Except for Grant, who hadn’t — until last week — been sick in over two years.  Everyone else, though, seems to get a serious cold, fever, the throw-ups, intestinal distress, etc., a good 2-3x/year, maybe even more.  Multiply that by six (i.e., everyone except for Grant), and that makes a lot of illness.

Most of it is not so serious that it needs a doctor.  That happens about once a year, per kid.

Still, it’s baffling, frustrating, heartbreaking, all in one.

The frustrating part from, “WHY do my kids get sick so often??” and the heartbreaking part from just seeing them ill.  The baffling part comes from the fact that, since Grant virtually never gets ill, does that mean that, in general, we ARE a healthy family, but that everyone just has weak constitutions?  Or, does that mean that I’m missing something somewhere, leading to everyone’s frequent illness, except for Grant because he has an abnormally iron-like constitution?  I don’t know.

We just got back from urgent care with Fiala.  Three months old, with RSV and an ear infection.  Her pulse-ox was at 88%.  They gave her a breathing treatment, and rx for Pulmicort and albuterol, to be used in the SVN machine that we already own because of Wesley’s asthma (which, as you may recall, since we took dairy out of his diet two years ago, has dwindled down to virtually nothing during the warmish-to-hot nine months of the year, and which we use about 3x/week during Phoenix’s few cold months).  They also wrote an rx for antibiotics for Fiala’s ear infection, but as her temp is actually almost normal (as it has been, the entire length of her illness, which started on Saturday), I think her own immune system is handling that quite well, and I think I’ll let it run its course.  I told the doc I’d hang on to the rx, and fill it if her fever dramatically escalated, or if it otherwise appeared that her ear is not healing.

Actually, I think the “bad cold” that everyone has had around here for the last week+ has been RSV, but it’s particularly dangerous for babies, who have smaller lung capacity, and less musculature to cough out lung gunk.

And, I was up at 3:00 a.m. with Audrey, and had her — very unwillingly — in a cool bathtub full of water, with a 103.6°F temp.  After I’d dosed her with Tylenol, which didn’t seem to work after giving it a good 45 minutes, I gave her Advil, too.  The meds plus the bath got her fever back down to 101.6°F.  Even up to 11:00 this morning, her fever was in the 100-point-something degree range, which was great, because that was without additional meds…

I had Audrey at urgent care with me (along with Grant;  Ethan & Wes, I left at home), and debated, “Do I pay the $25 copay for them to check Audrey out, too, and have them tell me, ‘It’s a virus;  we can’t do anything’?  Or, maybe her fever is from an ear infection??  Well, her temp is good now…  she’s not coughing… I think we can ride it out.”  The, we get home at 12:30, and her temp is back up to 103.5°.  😦

Gave her some Advil, popped her in bed.  Prayed.  😦  I probably should have put her in the tub, but my smallest children, I always internally debate, “Do I wrestle them into the tub and deal with them wailing, especially when I know she’s dog-tired?  Or, will rest be the cure she needs?”  It was lunch time for everyone, so I just put her in bed.


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