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Dear Widows, {Lois Ormsby}

Dear Widows,

You’ve been on my heart lately.  I guess with my dad’s recent death, I’ve thought about you more than ever before.  I’ve been thinking about how it is for my mom right now…and what so many of you might be feeling, too.

Years ago on your wedding day, you never thought about what you would do in life’s chapter of widowhood.  All you knew was that your husband’s life was now yours.  This many years later, you find yourself in a chapter of life that you never gave much thought to – I mean, who would really want to?

The pressure hit after your husband died – pressure you did not even anticipate.  “What are you going to do now?”  For some reason, everyone thinks it is their business to press you for the answer to this question mere days after your husband’s death.  While having a plan will be on your mind someday, it’s not on your mind today.  You might even think, “What is wrong with me?  I don’t seem to know what to do with myself like all the other widows do.”

I’ve noticed that not many people do this to widowers.  Now, bear with me…I don’t want any of us to be bitter.  But, after my dad died, it dawned on me that if the tables were turned, no one would have been asking him what he is going to do now — because his life’s plan would not have changed.  Men can keep right on going with their life (albeit missing the hugest part) and nobody questions them.  It is different for men because very rarely did they give up their own life to marry you.  But, for some reason, with ladies, the expectations are different.  Widows are immediately faced with the challenges of “what should I do?  How do I start over?  Who am I now that I’m not his wife?”

Maybe that is why God mentions widows so many times in His Word.  He has a special place in His heart for you…and by His example, I think we all should, too.  I hope that just reading this will encourage your heart today.  I hope it will remind you that someone does see you, someone does think about where you are in life, someone does care how you feel.  I don’t pretend to know what you’re going through or how you’re feeling…but I’ve been asking God to touch those places of your heart that perhaps only He sees.

Perhaps someone will read this that is not a widow.  I hope those of us who aren’t widows will remember those who are – that we will pray, and then that we will make the effort to be there for those ladies who feel so alone.

I am praying for you, widows everywhere!

With the love of Christ,

Lois Ormsby

“Pure religion and undefiled before God the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27

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Pork Masala Curry Recipe

 

Pork Masala Curry

An Indian pork curry dish, created by a native South Indian!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 lbs Pork meat We make it with some fat for the flavor. Don't buy too lean!
  • 4 Medium-Sized Onions
  • 1 1/2 inch piece of Fresh Ginger Root
  • 20 Medium Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Green Chili or Jalapeno Pepper
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick (3-4 inches long)
  • 10 Cloves
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or other red hot pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice or White Vinegar
  • To Taste Salt
  • 1 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil For roasting spices

Instructions

  • Cut pork into bite-sized pieces and set asid.
  • Chop onions, peel and grate ginger, mince or slice garlic, chop chili finely, and break cinnamon into several pieces. Add them to a skillet or wok with the tbsp of ghee or oil.
  • Add all of the spices to the skillet and roast on medium heat until the onions and garlic are tender. This allows the flavors to blend.
  • Combine the roasted mixture (or masala, as we say in India) with the pork and stir it over medium heat. Add enough water to cover the meat and bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer and add the vinegar or lemon juice. Continue to cook the meat (with a lid on) until it is tender and the curry sauce has thickened. Stir occasionally.
  • If you need to add more liquid as the meat cooks, add a little at a time. Adding too much water will make your sauce too thin.
  • When your meat is tender and your sauce has thickened, add the salt according to your liking. I recommend starting with a teaspoon.
  • Your pork curry is ready! Serve with rice for an authentic South Indian experience.

Notes

This recipe was created by our father, Harry Rasquinha.  He was known for his delicious and aromatic Indian cooking.  Friends and family requested his cooking wherever we went! 
If you don't prefer spicy food, cut out most of the green chili and red pepper powder.  However, this recipe (as is) is just right for people who appreciate a little spice.  It's not too pungent, but has just the right zing! 
Another option for reducing the spiciness is to use the same spice measurements with a larger amount of pork meat.
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When You Just Can’t {India Werner}

Dear Christian Friend, saved by the grace of God,

              When you just can’t, remember that God can.

              It is true that we are sanctified people who still sin and mess up…yet I sometimes wonder…

              How often do we draw attention to our flaws rather than glorify the God Who can use us beyond our human capacity?

              Why is it trendy to be a “hot mess”? 

              Why is it cool to brag about how we don’t have it together?

              Do we as Christians focus so hard on “being real”, that we forsake our call to holiness?

              Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am all about the funny memes that highlight our “fails”!  Trust me, I laugh at them all the time and send them to my sisters on Pinterest.  Talking about our weaknesses is healthy to an extent, because it allows us to relate as human beings.  It causes us to admit that we aren’t perfect and never will be.  The danger is when we become too comfortable and cease to learn from our mistakes.

              Life is hard!  It will never be easy!  However, I strongly believe that God allows hardships in our lives to strengthen and mature us.  Ultimately, He is glorified when we rely on Him and stand firm at the end of the day, recognizing that His grace is enough.

              The attitude of “I just can’t” (we’ve all said it!), undermines what the Spirit can do in a life surrendered to Christ.  One of the most famous verses in the Bible is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Do we believe it?

              It’s good for us to admit that we have flaws as we commit them to the Lord and beg for strength to overcome.

              It’s okay to be a “hot mess” occasionally, because we’re all human.  It’s “okay to not be okay”, but it ought not be a way of life, no matter how “not okay” our situation is.

              It’s okay to not have it all together every single day, but we should never stop trying to live an orderly life.  We need to represent Christ well if He is truly our Reason for living!

              It is vital to “be real” because Christianity does not make us perfect.  However, our reality as children of God is a daily practice of dying to self and being Christ-like.

              When you just can’t, remember that God can.  He can pick up the shattered pieces of your life and carry you through the impossible.  He can give you unspeakable joy that will take the world by surprise. 

              “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

              “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice….Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6, 7

             

             

             

             

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The Best Chocolate Cake {India Werner}

              When birthdays roll around at our house, I get a lot of requests for chocolate cake.  And when I’m in doubt, I usually just make chocolate cake.  Not everyone likes chocolate, but most people do!  Chocolate cake is usually a safe choice. 

              Chocolate cake is easy, especially when you use the most obvious recipe – the one on the back of your Hershey’s cocoa container!  Every time I make this recipe, people tell me how good it is and ask what recipe I used.  It’s simple enough.  The only thing I change is the vegetable oil.  I use butter instead because that’s just me.  I’m a butter-lover and a vegetable oil-hater.  True story.

Indian Hershey’s Recipe

              Anyways, the Hershey’s recipe has never failed me, and I’ve made it as both a layer cake and sheet cake.  The funniest thing, though…the Indian Hershey’s container also has a chocolate cake recipe, but it differs from the American container.  I have made both and they turn out beautifully either way.  I personally prefer the Indian recipe because it is simpler, and even eggless for anyone who may have an allergy.  I have added a picture of my Hershey’s container here for anyone interested in the recipe.  For the American Hershey’s recipe, follow this link: https://www.hersheys.com/content/kitchens/en_us/recipes/hersheys-perfectly-chocolate-chocolate-cake.html

              When I am making chocolate cake for people following a keto diet, THM lifestyle, or some such sugar-free way of eating, I make this recipe: https://chrissybenoitinlove.com/index.php/2016/05/26/one-bowl-chocolate-fudge-cake-thm-s/

It is simply divine with this chocolate peanut butter cup frosting: https://chrissybenoitinlove.com/index.php/2016/05/26/peanut-butter-cup-frosting/

              I honestly enjoy the healthy chocolate cake more than the sugary kind.  It’s great as a dessert or for breakfast.  Seriously!  I just have to hide from my kids when I eat it.

              Baking and cooking for my family are some of my favorite things to do.  It has been fun to figure out what we like and don’t like, which recipes to keep and which to scrap, etc.  I love meal planning and having go-to recipes like these chocolate cakes are so helpful! 

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Everyday Glimpses: Missions Month {Lois Ormsby}

This year my pastor did something new for our church: we had an entire month of Missions Emphasis! September had 5 Sundays and 4 Wednesdays, and he utilized every church service to emphasize the great need for reaching souls for Christ. In every way it encouraged my heart and exhorted my walk with Christ – may I ever be mindful of eternity!

One way that I celebrated Missions Month was by wearing Indian clothes every Sunday! This was fun since India is such a dear part of my heart. I enjoy all the colors and styles Indian fashion has to offer, too.

Sunday #1

The first Sunday I wore a skirt that was actually purchased in America, but from an Indian store! This skirt was made from two sarees, a saree being the go-to traditional dress of Indian women. As you can see my little boys joined me in wearing Indian garb for this Sunday! Their shirts are called kurtas.

The second Sunday I wore a churidar that my sister and mom picked out for me several years ago. Purple is my favorite color, and I absolutely love the contrast of the two main colors of this outfit! Indian ladies’ wear is known for stark contrasts of bright colors.

Sunday #3 was extra special because we had an International Banquet at church – and, yes, I made Indian food 🙂 I made pork curry and also made some British food, Shepherd’s Pie! I chose this week to wear a saree. A funny side note: we have three ladies of Indian descent in our church. I told them all that I was wearing a saree and that they should all wear sarees with me – not one of them did! 😀

For the fourth Sunday I wore another skirt that was purchased in America but was made in India. The skirt’s design is very much like that of a ghagra choli, an outfit that consists of a top, skirt, and shawl. I forewent a shawl for this but completed the outfit with Indian jewelry.

Sunday #2

 

 

Sunday #3
Sunday #4
Sunday #5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final Sunday I wore another churidar, the hem of which is called “fishtail” style in India. My sister and I purchased identical churidars once and this is mine! The green reminds me so much of life in India…there is never a dull moment over there!

Even though I do not live in India anymore, I’m glad that I kept so many of my Indian outfits! They are perfect for special occasions or themed events like Missions Month. Usually I dress in American clothes…but I’m always ready to theme my outfits accordingly when I can!

Pork curry!
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Make a Joyful Noise {Lois Ormsby}

The American holiday season sometimes feels like it zooms right by us, and before we know it we are caught up in whatever it is that we get caught up in. In studying Psalm 100, the LORD gave me this thought-provoking question: “What kind of noise is your life making?”

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.” Psalm 100:1
We so often relate noise to audible things…but today, I’d like us to ponder the inaudible. So much of who God designed us to be as women is actually about the inaudible…the things we do that no one “hears” unless we do it wrong or, worse, neglect it completely. If I learned anything last year, it would be this: that my role as a woman is so much about what people don’t “hear” — that only my Creator “hears” — and that I am to be completely ok with that.

If there is a joyful noise indicated, that begs to say there is also the opposite possible… like clamorous in Proverbs 9:13. The dictionary defines it as “marked by confused din our outcry; noisily insistent”. I did NOT say glamorous, haha, although, isn’t it interesting that those two words rhyme! Today’s woman seems determined to be anything but meek and quiet – yet, God says that this is the kind of noise He is looking for.
We’re making too much of the wrong kind of noise! Why do we skip our devotions on the very days we need them most? On Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or any other event this time of year that we are hosting…we find ourselves willing to neglect our time with God, but not our makeup or hair routine. How sad.

How is the music of your spirit doing? Reading on in Psalm 100, we note that it says “enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise…”. Does your presence bring a spirit of praise or a spirit of “stay away from me”? I think sometimes with commands like these, we shrug them off and don’t take them seriously. How is the spirit of your home doing? We don’t sing enough in today’s homes. Is the only singing you do when you’re jamming out to your favorite movie theme songs? Pastor Art Kohl taught me years ago that singing is a sign of spirituality. If you’re not willing to sing, that’s a huge sign of your inward condition! Do you sing?

How is the music of your influence sounding? Are you a classy Christian or a complaining Christian? A gracious woman retaineth honor…are you retaining the honor God bestowed within you? The little eyes watching us know how we feel about our Christian life. Even if we never voice it, they “hear” the noise of our life on a daily basis…and it is affecting them.

What about the noise of the influence you are allowing to affect you – are you aware of it? We need to cut out the noise in our own lives that is influencing us in a wrong way. The phone is a big one…there’s no arguing that it easily consumes our days. Things
on our calendar is another. How crammed a day can get…and how normal this has become! Along the same line is the noise of that feeling of obligation. This season is huge for that – cook this, bake those cookies, buy these people presents, attend this family gathering, get a family photo with these people, and on and on it goes. Somehow, American culture has convinced us that we have to keep up with the noise. Especially this time of year…how noisy does your life feel?

Choose to be different! The noise of our society causes us to cave: we must do this, post pictures or it didn’t happen!, must coordinate outfits on holidays, etc…yet, we still choose to cave. No one makes us do those things – we choose to. God says in 1 Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” Are you choosing that which is expedient towards edifying? Choose God’s way! Living out God’s Word (“make a joyful noise”) is validating! Yet – why do we seek to validate our lives otherwise?

These things we need to work on – most of them are things people won’t “hear”. They won’t “hear” us taking time to better our cooking skills so our family has regular meals; getting up 20 minutes earlier to talk to Jesus; cleaning the bathroom so it can be dirtied again; crying tears to the Holy Spirit over a troublesome burden; exercising meekness when someone crosses us; accepting and integrating the help of those around us. Whatever your joyful noise is that you need to work on – remember that God “hears” it…and that is really the only One Who matters. The middle verse of our passage is perhaps the clincher of why we choose the wrong noise – we forget Whose we are: “… we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” The last verse reminds us why we are His! “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

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Flying with Little People – Part 3 {India Werner}

              Here is a more organized list of things that I bring along when we fly.  This doesn’t include my personal belongings but focuses more on what helps me with the kids.  If anyone is interested in what I put in my own carryon, leave me a comment and I’ll think about a blog series on traveling as an adult! 😊

1) Snacks

              A lot of snacks.  Snacks that may be somewhat of a treat.  Snacks that have some sort of protein content.  A good assortment of snacks.  We don’t skimp on snacks.

              We always pack as many snacks as we can because our kids love snacks.  I think most kids do.  Having something to munch on is a good way to pass the time and keep kids happy.  It’s pretty simple.

              Packing tip for snacks:  Many airports now require you to take all of your snacks out of your bags for security.  This past trip I put all of the snacks into gallon-sized Ziploc bags, then I put all of the Ziploc bags into my “personal item”, which is the purse or laptop case that you’re allowed to carry in addition to a carry-on.  This way I knew where all the snacks were and it saved a lot of time that we used to spend digging out granola bars and whatnot.  Just grab the Ziploc bags out, put them in a tray, and you’re done! 

2) Child Headphones

              We bought our kids their own headphones a couple of years ago.  The ones they give you on the airplane don’t fit the kids’ heads very well (honestly they don’t fit my head either 😛 ), and they don’t have super great sound quality.  Most international flights have free movies available onboard and the kids have enjoyed watching them much more since we got them their own headsets.

3) A Few New Things

              I always try to have a few new small toys or a new book/coloring book for the kids to play with along the way.  My mom often buys them things like this before we fly and that has been a blessing!  You know your kids’ personalities and you might be able to choose something special and unique to them that they could enjoy throughout the trip. 

4) A Jacket

              I bring a jacket along for my kids because you never know when you’ll be somewhere that the A/C is cranked down to ridiculous temperatures.  On one trip recently I decided not to pack jackets and see what happened.  Let’s just say I regretted it.

5) Their Favorite ________.

              I left a blank up there because some kids are attached to something.  For a while my kids were obsessed with having a blankie, so we traveled with it.  My son has a bear that he really likes right now so we stuff it in his backpack.  If there is something that can bring comfort when they are tired and out of it, by all means, BRING IT.

6) Extra Set of Clothes

              For the toddlers/kids, I bring two extra pairs of underwear and a full extra outfit.  If they are not completely potty-trained, I bring a couple extra pull-ups.  You never know when you might have a spill or even an unexpected overnight layover. 

              For babies, I bring around five extra outfits.  It’s always better to have plenty of clothes when you have a baby in diapers.  You never know when you’ll have a mess on your hands.

7) Disposal Bags for Diapers

8) Baby Carrier

                 I highly recommend babywearing.  The three carriers that I like the best and still use are the Baby K’tan, Lillebaby, and Tula.  Babywearing has been such a huge help, especially while traveling with multiple kids!

              Picture this: Kid on the front, backpack on the back, one hand pulling a rolling-carryon, and the other hand is free for…coffee.  Talk about winning!

The Tula: This was a gift from a friend and it wears so comfortably on front and back. These come in various styles and patterns – so convenient and fun!
The Baby K’tan: I love this for infancy through the first year. It wears like a wrap without all the fuss and hassle of wrapping! The one pictured here is their active edition.
The Lillebaby: I was blessed to find this at a thrift store for just a couple dollars! It was comfortable to wear Thaddeus while I was past six months pregnant. You can also wear this on the front – when you’re not pregnant. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9) Double Stroller

              If you have more than one kid, it is nice to have a double stroller.  My husband has a backpack that converts to a rolling carryon, but he usually just keeps it on his back so that his hands are free to push the stroller.  Our stroller has a space under the seats that we can put two of the kids’ backpacks into, which is nice for when they are tired of carrying them.

We have had to walk a couple miles to get to another gate.  It’s unreasonable to expect a jetlagged toddler to walk that far, and it is even worse to try to carry them that far (unless you are wearing them).  On our last layover in Frankfurt, I am not sure if we would have made our next flight without the stroller!

 If you have multiple stops, be sure you tell the airline at check-in that you will want to have your stroller at each stop along the way.  This way your stroller will not be checked to your final destination.  If you get off the plane and your stroller is not sitting right outside the door of the aircraft, ask airport personnel where you should pick your stroller up from.

              The double stroller we have is a Joovy.  We have had it for almost five years, but I have included a link to the one that seems to be the same as what we have (apart from the color): https://www.amazon.com/Caboose-Graphite-Stand-Tandem-Stroller/dp/B01N4S1U2I/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=joovy+double+stroller&qid=1566463824&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFIRkI3QlpSQzJPMzcmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA3OTc5OTVQVTdDQVBFM0FBQ0gmZW5jcnlwdGVkQWRJZD1BMDMwNzc0NTNSRkkwSElQRU1BVTkmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl

This stroller was gifted to us and it has been a well-used blessing!  It folds up easily and isn’t a hassle when we have to collapse it right before boarding a flight.

10)  Cleaning Wipes

              I try to travel with some sort of sanitizing wipes for cleaning surfaces along the way.  Anyone who has flown knows how disgusting the bathrooms can be on planes and in airports.  It is nice to have something on hand to wipe off a gross toilet seat before your child uses it.

              These are ten things that I consider to be necessities.  There are other obvious things that you would also pack if you have a baby, but I wanted to emphasize the things above in order to explain how they have helped us.  If you have any specific questions, I am always willing to chat some more!  I am also reminded that as the years go by, the kids will be able to do more for themselves as we travel.  This is simply a stage of life that will be over all too soon. 

              Let me just conclude this blog series by saying how grateful I am to the Lord for guiding our travels.  I don’t know if I will ever love the long flights, but I know that they have been bearable and smooth by God’s grace alone!  He always gives you the strength to do His will.  – India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Flying with Little People – Part Two {India Werner}

              The phrase “less is more” might be overused, but it is really applicable in regard to travel!  I used to be the mom who packed every possible baby/kid item in my carry-ons.  I wanted to be prepared for anything.  While my forethought may have been commendable, it left me with a lot of useless baggage, no pun intended!  I would get to my destination and pull out a lot of items while thinking, “Well, I never used this, but at least I had it just in case!”  After a while I realized that I was pulling out the same items every time.  I was using up precious space and carrying bigger bags than necessary. 

              Having maxed out carry-ons can be such a drag while trekking through the airports with kids.  It is frustrating when you’re in line at security and everything is spilling out every direction as you attempt to take out your electronics and whatever else they want you to take out on that particular day.  When you have little kids, it is even more stressful to go through security because you must do everything for them.  And you may or may not have a three-year-old who is terrified of security and never wants to give his backpack up to the x-ray machine. 😛

              These days I ask myself, “Am I really going to use this?  Do my kids really need this many toys to occupy themselves?  Will we actually go through thirty diapers and two full packages of wipes in the next forty hours?”

   

At the airport a few weeks ago!

          I recommend going through all your carry-on items and making some tough choices.  Decide what you can live without during your trip.  Do you need your journal, a novel, crossword puzzle book, AND your Kindle/tablet?  Does your toddler need to have a rolling carry-on on top of a backpack and their teddy bear?

              This year I started packing a lot lighter in the carry-on department and it was the best decision I could have made while traveling with four kids for the first time.  You might be thinking, “That works for you, but we had to put extra stuff in our carry-ons because it didn’t fit in our checked bags.”  Been there, done that.  I’ve finally come to the conclusion that there is always something I can leave behind, and I usually don’t miss it that much when I get to wherever I’m going.

              My kids are still little (six and under) and for now I am a mean mom when it comes to packing carry-ons.  I collect their backpacks the day before we fly and pack them myself, then keep them in an inaccessible location until shortly before we leave for the airport.  That way they cannot stuff randomness into them when I’m not looking. 

              In my mind, less is more when flying with kids.  When you have less stuff, you are more relaxed.  You don’t have to worry about leaving as many things on the plane because you know exactly what was in your kids’ carry-ons to begin with. 

              If you are wondering what I DO pack in our carry-ons, be on the lookout for my next post about the necessities.  Now that we’ve flown internationally with babies, toddlers, and kids every year for the past six years (sometimes more than once in a year), I am pretty set on what I need and what I don’t. 

As I said in my post yesterday, there are no absolutes and what works for me might not work for you!  However, I will conclude with the fact that I haven’t always been a minimalist in air travel.  The Lord is continually reminding me that “stuff” is not all that important.  Having the latest travel gadgets won’t make us or the kids any happier.  I still get stressed about flying, but God’s grace is there every step of the way and that is something to be thankful for.

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Flying with Little People, Part One {India Werner}

Tired kids during a layover in Dubai

              This past year I have had many people ask me what air travel is like with our kids.  Some people give me the look that says “you’re crazy” while telling me how brave I am.  Truth be known, I feel more on the crazy side than brave most of the time!  However, the questions I’ve been asked have inspired me to write a few blog posts on this topic.  Here are my first thoughts:

Don’t Overthink It!

              With or without kids, people often complicate air travel more than necessary.  I have been flying internationally every year since I was two years old and I feel strongly about the following: Yes, there may be “life hacks” that seasoned travelers can share, but ultimately, flying is about getting from one place to the next.  I have learned that you can be as prepared as humanly possible and things you never expect might still go wrong.  There are no absolutes with air travel these days, it seems.  What works for one traveler might not pan out the same way for another. 

              We have found that prayer is the best way to prepare for our flights.  We pray and ask others to pray long before we fly.  The Lord has answered these prayers time and time again by allowing our children to behave and cooperate amazingly well considering the very long flights we take them on! 

The first time we flew with Sakshi, she was only five months old.  We flew from Florida to India, which takes anywhere between 24 and 48 hours depending on the route.  Sakshi was a very fussy baby and I was extremely nervous beforehand.  However, she was the perfect baby during each flight and layover!  We attributed this solely to prayer.  My husband has always said since then, “If God can close the mouths of lions, He can also close the mouth of a baby!”  Now that we have four children, ages six and under, flying has been no different in the area of answered prayers. 

Yes, we have had a few rough moments.  I will not try to say that every flight has been perfect.  Once Thaddeus screamed for most of a flight from Abu Dhabi to Frankfurt.  It was so bad that as we were heading to the baggage claim, people were pointing at us and saying, “That’s the kid!”  The Lord undoubtedly allows some of this to keep us humble. 😛  

There have also been rude passengers who didn’t want to sit by someone with kids.  On the flip side, I have typically found flight attendants to be kind and accommodating when you are traveling with kids.  Beyond that, having kids means you get to be at the front of the lines for security, customs, and boarding 90% of the time (okay, I guesstimated that percentage based on our experiences 😉).

In Orlando, about to enter the security line for Sakshi’s first flight. Yes, I know we look like BABIES 😛

All in all, when I say not to overthink air travel with kids, I mean to put your mind at ease.  Your experience will be unique to you and your kids.  Never feel like you must “have it all together”, because there is no set way to do that!  I can – as can many others – simply share what I have learned and perhaps you can glean something from it.  My next post will be about how less is more.  I will share more of the specifics of how we travel with the kiddos.

Until then – India

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To the Mom Struggling with Chronic Illness {India Werner}

To the mom struggling with chronic illness:

              You wake up every day hoping it is a good day.  You see the tasks to be done and your inward and mental energy soars with ambition.  Sometimes you breeze through your to-do list and end the day with sweet satisfaction.  The list is checked off and you can rest knowing that you did your best for your kids that day.

              Then there are the not-so-great days.  You have plans laid out.  You have every intention of getting right to them, but your body just won’t cooperate.  Before you know it, you’re spiraling down the familiar pit.  Your high expectations for fulfilling your role as a mom have faded.  You accept the reality that today will be one of those dysfunctional, unproductive, sort of depressing days.

              Guilt hits you as other people take care of your kids and responsibilities.  I should be taking care of themI don’t want people to think I’m just being lazy or faking it.  I’m inconveniencing everyone’s lives.

              Questions haunt you.  Why would God give me these children when I can’t even care for them sufficiently?  What if my life is like this forever? 

              I know what your mind does to you because my mind does it, too.  There are few things worse than lying in a hospital bed or on any bed of illness, even at home, when you have small children who need you.  You have way too much time to think and that is not usually a good thing.

              If you are reading this and relating to what I say, please stay with me.  I wish I had a fix-all for these struggles, but I do not.  Rather, I can tell you what I do on the hard days.

              I speak truth to myself.  I believe that the Bible is true, and I am blessed to have a relationship with my Maker.  He has provided so much goodness for us in His Word!  Search the Scriptures.  Earnestly seek comfort in the Bible.  God will give you what you need for each moment.  We may feel that God is silent because we don’t have all the answers.  Perhaps God isn’t giving you a clear answer yet, but He WILL give you peace and grace when you need it.  My God is not silent when my Bible is open.

              I say “NO” to self-pity.  It is easy to drown ourselves in negativity.  Don’t let it happen to you!  You won’t be a nice person to be around.  Trust me.

              I focus on God’s plan for today.  What I mean by that is: take life one day at a time.  He made you to be you for a reason!  He made you to be the mother of those children for His plan and purpose.  At this present time, you might be sick, but how can you be a blessing to your kids despite that? 

Use the down time wisely.  Pray for your children’s physical, emotional, and spiritual protection.  Pray for their future spouses.  Read your Bible and books that will enrich you spiritually or increase your Biblical knowledge.  Compile recipes and meal plans on Pinterest that you can make for your family when you are better.  Write emails to friends who you haven’t corresponded with in a while.

Watching an occasional movie or reading a fun novel here and there during my illness is great, but my personal limit is small.  Despite what we think, binge-watching seasons of shows in order to take our mind off our present situation isn’t the most helpful thing.  Those are hours of your life that you will never have back.  Consider that maybe God gave you some quiet time to become the mom He wants you to be.

Okay, at the same time, I have to say that sometimes I get carried away and waste time when I’m sick.  You really must be intentional to do valuable things when you’re in the hospital or whatever your situation is.  I am trying.  When the puking has stopped and the pain is manageable, I try to pick my Bible up.  You know what?  The harder I try to be intentional with my time, the more I sense that I have fulfilled God’s plan for me for that day.

Scripture to read: Psalm 77, Philippians 4:8

              There might be more from me on this subject as my journey continues and as God reveals new truths to me.  As time allows, I would even like to share my entire health story because I’ve had many people ask for this.  Right now I am not sure if this should be in blog form or book form, though.  What do you think?  Your feedback is always appreciated.  Until next time, have a blessed day!

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