Little One Revealed

8 Feb

It’s so hard to believe that I’ve reached the halfway mark in my pregnancy.  We are so grateful for the incredible 20 week doctor’s check-up that I had.  It’s completely AMAZING to see the life that God is knitting together.  Hearing a strong heartbeat through the ultrasound waves causes my own heart to BE STILL AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD.

RADfeb2013

Isn’t she lovely

Isn’t she wonderful

Isn’t she precious

We have been heaven blessed
I can’t believe what God has done
Through us He’s given life to one
But isn’t she lovely made from love*

Yes, in case you didn’t catch that– WE’RE HAVING A GIRL!  Our hearts are overjoyed and just when we didn’t think we could get more excited about this child, it is an incredible blessing to let our hearts dream and wonder about this sweet baby girl.  She’s already stolen our hearts and made her Dad’s heart melt.

We have had her name picked out for quite some time.  She will be named after both of our mothers– Reefie Ann Denton, and she will be called Reefie Ann.  And she’s already living up the her initials– RAD!

reefieannNAME

*Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder

Little One & Memories With A Recipe

11 Jan

One day it will be your sweet cry

And then the sound of your laughter,

One day it will be your voice speak, 

But today it’s your beautiful heartbeat.

~the most beautiful sound to me~

Today I went for my four month check-up! Yes, it is so hard for David and I to believe that it has been already been 16 weeks since we have been given this miracle.  We are so grateful that we were able to hear our Little One’s heartbeat, so strong and so clear!  For this we give thanks to our Lord.

I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten over the big hump of the early pregnancy nausea and fatigue.  It feels so good to have some of my energy back and it especially feels good to be able to grocery shop and cook again!  I know David is glad about that too!  I’m definitely experiencing issues with food, both aversions and cravings.  One craving I had was for a soup my grandmother, Noni Red, use to make and that I loved when I was younger.  I had not eaten this soup in years–it was time to change that!  I made my grocery list, headed to the store and could barely get home quick enough to start simmering it on the stove.  The smell brought me right back to her house, it was a sweet memory.  It was so good and it’s healthy so I wanted to share the recipe.  I hope some of you will try it and I hope you enjoy it!

Noni Red’s Italian Garbanzo Bean Soup

Noni Red always called them Garbanzo beans, but many people know them as chickpeas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bag of Garbanzo beans- soaked overnight, drained & well rinsed
  • 2 large cans of diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 2 small cans of tomato sauce, no salt added
  • 1 large container of chicken stock, no salt added
  • 1 med-large onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • rosemary
  • parsley
  • cayenne pepper
  1. In a large pot sauté the onions, garlic and celery in the olive oil over med-high heat.
  2. Add the chicken stock and garbanzo beans, use enough stock to cover the beans.
  3. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.
  4. Turn up the heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to all to simmer.
  5. After about 45 minutes of simmering I then add all my seasonings:  salt, pepper, bay leaves, rosemary, parsley and a dash or two of cayenne pepper for a little kick.  I can’t give you measurements of seasonings, I just go by looks and taste!
  6. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until the garbanzo beans are tender and all the seasons have gotten all happy together.

Then serve yourself up a bowl, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top and have some good tough, chewy bread on the side– that’s how Noni Red always served it and she knew how to treat food right.

P1060710

This recipe is so easy.  It’s so filling.  It’s so healthy. So, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be making it some time soon! 

Note:  I always buy “no salt added” canned goods when I use them for recipes.  This allows me to control the salt and sodium content of my meals.  It’s crazy stupid how much sodium is packed in those little 14 ounce cans.  I’ve realized how much better my recipes have tasted since I’ve started doing this.  Try it!

 

Chewy Chunky Granola

5 Jan

nola2Homemade Chewy Chunky Granola

I’ve been obsessed with this granola that I buy from Whole Foods market– it’s so chewy and chunky and full of flavor.  I decided to take a look at the ingredients label and realized it was very straight forward.  Then I searched the internet to find recipes for chewy granola that included similar ingredients so I could get my measurements right.  After a little playing around I got what I was looking for.  I made around 10 batches of this a few weeks ago and packaged it up to pass out for a Christmas treat.  In the process I made a couple of batches for our house.  I’ve been surprised with how well it has kept fresh sealed up in an airtight container.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 cups oats
  • 2 cups slivered almonds
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 flaxseed
  • dash of salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 TBSP canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of salt

What To Do:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line a large baking pan with parchment paper
  • Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • Combine wet ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly heated and begins foaming.  Keep on heat for 15-20 seconds after foaming starts
  • Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and stir until well combined
  • Pour granola onto baking sheet and press to about 1/2 inch thick
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown
  • Must cool completely before breaking it up into chunks
  • Store in an airtight container

 

granola

 

 

A Promise Fulfilled

14 Dec

My last two posts have dealt greatly with my addiction to food and my battle with infertility and Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.  I need to finish my story, but in case you are new here you may want to read these two blog posts first:  Slave To Food and Eat To Live.

 

This summer as I started having freedom from my addiction to food and began getting healthier for the first time ever I had a real true sense of HOPE and PEACE that one day God would give me a child.  Through His word God gave me a promise that He would act on my behalf as long as I would continue to WAIT and TRUST in Him alone.

“For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear,

Nor has the eye seen a God besides You,

Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.”  Isaiah 64:4

God is true to His word.  His promises never fail.  He has fulfilled His promise to me.

Baby June 2013

I am three months pregnant with a healthy baby! 

 

We are completely overjoyed and forever grateful to the Lord for this work that He has done.  I want to share this news through my blog because there are so many women out there just like me with PCOS and they are in the middle of the battle.  There is hope.  I want to share my story and I pray that God will use it to help others.  So, if you are reading this and you are one of those people, I am more than happy to talk with you.  I know your pain.  I know the battle.  But I also know there is HOPE!  Feel free to contact me at JILLCEDENTON@gmail.com

Eat To Live– It’s Just What I Needed

4 Nov

In case you missed my previous post about my struggle with food, you may want to read this little story first.   Part 1:: A Slave To Food– A Journey To Freedom

So, now that I got all that really hard stuff out, I can now begin to share with you how, in practical ways, God gave me the direction and understanding that I needed to put me on the path to healthy living.

As I received freedom from my food issues I begin praying for God to help me know what to do next.  I immediately started becoming aware of when I was tempted to eat– most of the times it did not come from hunger, but something else.  Next I started becoming aware of what I ate– most of the time it was something that common sense told me wasn’t very healthy.  So I started making some changes: 1) I worked on eating only when I was really hungry and 2) I tried to make good choices of food.

I mentioned in my previous post that this all started to occur during the summertime.  It was June.  And it was hot.  One day I was heading to the pool and normally I’m joined my sister and her kids, and my sister-in-law and her kids.  But on this day, for reasons I can’t remember, they were not going to be there.  So I decided I would take a book with me to read as I chilled poolside.  I stood in front of my bookshelves looking for a book that I felt in the mood to read.  There was one book that stood out– Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman.

This was no coincidence.  This was answer to my prayer.  I was given this book, ummmmm, probably at least three years ago.  I had read the first couple of pages of the introduction and then nicely shoved it back on the bookshelf.  Ha ha!  But now, here I was ready to read it.  In fact that day at the pool, I couldn’t read it fast enough!

As I read, I found myself blown away by effects that food has on the body, both the negative effects and the positive effects.  I became aware of how ignorant I was about food, health and nutrition.  It was so clear to me that afternoon that this book was part two of the formula for my road to recovery.  (Part one being the spiritual condition I previously wrote about.)

That day I only read the first two chapters of Eat to Live, but in those first two chapters I got my direction loud and clear.  Chapter one is titled “Digging Our Graves with Forks and Knives:  The Effects of the American Diet, Part 1”.  And chapter two follows with “Overfed, Yet Malnourished:  The Effects of the American Diet, Part 2”.  EYE OPENING!  People, read this book.  It’s not just for overweight people.  There are many light weight unhealthy people walking around.

“The main principle of this book is that for both optimal health and weight loss, you must consume a diet with a high nutrient-per-calorie ratio.”

I’ve tried many diets and health fads in the past only to find them short lived.  Dr. Fuhrman addresses this issue in the introduction and I love his way of encouraging his readers to STICK WITH IT!  He writes, “…accept no excuse to fall off the wagon…do not say you will give it a try.  Do not try; instead, made a commitment to do it right.”  Then he compares it to marriage.  “When you get married, does the religious figure or justice of the peace ask, “Do you swear to give this person a try?”  “When people tell me they will give it a try, I say don’t bother, you have already decided to fail.  It takes more than a try to quit addictions; it takes commitment.  A commitment is a promise that you stick with, not matter what.  Without commitment, you are doomed to fail.”  This stuck in my head so much especially the first six weeks and helped me push through when times were tough.

The more I read the book my focus adjusted.  At the beginning my main aim was to loose weight, but as I continued to read my aim became more about HEALTH and not IMAGE.  Dr. Fuhrman talks a lot about reversing diseases and preventing diseases.  For eight years now I have lived with PCOS and been dependent on several medications to make certain things in my body to function “properly”.  I felt bad often.  I felt bad if I did not take medication and then I felt worse from the side effects of the medication.  I was SO READY for a change.  And through Eat To Live, I found my road map to change.

Within the first six weeks I had lost over 30 pounds and there were drastic changes in the way I felt.  I quickly became free from all medications!  And as extreme and crazy as it sounds I felt like a NEW PERSON!  The best thing is I wasn’t doing some crazy fad diet that had me eating in a way that was unreasonable to live off of.  Instead I was eating whole, natural foods rich in nutrients.  I was no longer addicted to caffeine, sugar, fats, salt and processed foods.  Here are some of the basic guidelines I strictly followed the first two months:

1.  Make a salad the main dish for lunch and dinner.

2.  Eat at least four fresh fruits daily.

3.  Eliminate animal and dairy products.  (I did eat a very small amount of fish during this time, but it was only on a couple occasions)

4.  Eliminate all processed foods and refined sugars.

5.  Eat a lot of beans!

I still follow these guidelines for the most part.  Although I’m not as strict to make sure I eat 2 large salads daily and I eat a very limited amount of animal products; an egg every now and then, a little bit of fish or chicken here and there.  The main thing I do now is I’m careful to not develop any bad habits and I still stay away from the processed foods, refined sugars and high fat low nutrient foods.  Here’s the food pyramid that I base my eating off of:

So I’ve been living this lifestyle for about five months and I’m now down 76 pounds, completely free from all medications and feeling better than I have ever felt before in my life.  I have more energy, I sleep better, I don’t suffer from indigestion or heartburn anymore.  My immune system is stronger, my seasonal allergies have lessened tremendously and I have a pep in my step!  Every day I’m getting healthier.

I don’t write these things to lift myself up.  I know that the only reason this change has taken place in me is because God has given me His strength to walk this path.  If you look back on the last eight years of my life you can clearly see where I got on my own strength– no where, just wallowing in a pit of destruction.  I give all thanks and glory and praise to God for making me new.  He did not give up on me.  He heard my cry and answered me according to His lovingkindness.

So, part of why I am sharing this with the world is because I urge you to educate yourself on food and the effects it has on your body.  The saying really is true, YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.  For several years I lived thinking “well this is just how it has to be for me” regarding my weight, feeling bad and being dependent on medications.  For many that is not true!  Get educated!  Here are some helpful resources:

READ:

WATCH:

I hope this inspires you to embark on a healthier lifestyle.  And because I know people some times need a visual to back up someone’s words here are two snapshots taken from my Instagram account.  : )  Happy day to you and happy eating!

BEFORE:  Taken May 2012

After:  Taken October 2012

Sources:  Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book, Eat To Live and website, Dr. Fuhrman.com

Slave To Food– A Journey To Freedom

11 Oct

Ok, readers, bear with me here.  I am about to spend the next several minutes sharing about a part of my life that very few have seen.  I’m going to do some peeling back of the layers of the last 8 years, and for me, it ain’t gonna be easy!  However, this is part of my story and I know that part of the reason it has been given to me is to re-tell it to others.  So, here I go!

Food.  Everybody eats food.  Food is every where.  We have to eat food.

Food is a spiritual matter.  If it were not so, the Bible would not have so much to say about it.  So here’s my story of how food and my spiritual life are intertwined and how food became bondage in my life.  I’m here to tell you how it got started, the 8 year struggle I endured, and how I received freedom from bondage.

HOW IT GOT STARTED:

Eight years ago, soon after I got married I experienced an agonizing miscarriage that knocked me off my feet.  It’s still the lowest low I have ever experienced in my life.  Physically it was horrendous.  Emotionally I was broken.  And spiritually I was in despair.  I quickly became depressed.  At the time I was so unaware of what was really going on.  I put on my smile and my “I’m ok” front and sluggishly pushed through life.  All the while I felt so empty and at times the pain felt unbearable.  I slowly started literally feeding my loneliness and pain with food.  When faced with trials and difficult times we as humans will in return turn to something– either God to help us face the reality or something else to make us avoid the reality.  For me it was food.  Food became my drug and I was addicted.

THE 8 YEAR STRUGGLE:

I soon found myself not only carrying the burden of the miscarriage, but now I also carried a weight of guilt.  I continued to wallow in my despair and self-control was no where to be found.

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.  Proverbs 25:28

I was like a city broken into and left without walls.  The enemy took camp in my soul and I had no defense.

These 8 years looked like a graph of wavy lines with highs and lows.  I would reach a point of feeling tired of being defeated so I would turn and run to God and ask for help.  I always just wanted a good, quick fix– some rest for my soul.  I had my mountain top moments when I felt like I was on top of the world and that I would never eat one extra bite of food again for the rest of my life.  There were many days when the desire for victory was about my image.  I wanted to look a certain way and be well thought of by others.  This all stemmed from vanity and had nothing to do with me wanting to bring glory to God.

I cannot begin to tell you the toll that this sin had on my life.  It affected everything.  EVERYTHING.  How I felt.  My marriage.  My friendships.  My personality.  At this point I am not going to get into all the details of those things, but I will say that I felt terrible physically– little did I know what was actually going on inside my body.  It was complete haywire!

At this point it was somewhere around a year after I had the miscarriage.  David, my husband, and I still desperately wanted to have children.  But it’s hard to conceive a child when you feel so terrible and your body isn’t functioning properly.  After some time I finally had to make myself go see a doctor.  Mainly because David was telling me to.  I dreaded facing the doctor.  I knew in my head that my problem wasn’t something that a doctor could fix.  It was at this point that I was diagnosed with PCOS and started taking medications to regulate my hormones.  I felt a little hopeful that we would get pregnant and that it would cure a lot of my problems.  After a couple years of doing that and still having zero success with pregnancy I gave up for a while.  I stopped taking my medicines and once again I wallowed in despair.

I spent the next couple of years doing all that I could to avoid the conversation with David about pregnancy and going to the doctor.  Surely you can get the picture of how miserable this was without me having to go into the details.  IT. WAS. AWFUL.
I continued life with a tight grasp on food–  Still using it  to comfort me, avoid loneliness and bring me a short-lived euphoric moment.  Self-control was still far from me, so destruction was constantly upon my heart.

I finally reached some sort of a breaking point and went and saw another doctor and from there was sent to a specialist.  It was at this appointment I was given a detailed explanation of PCOS and the effects it has on my body and becoming pregnant.  I was put on several medications and educated about how weight loss would help this illness tremendously.  We left that appointment feeling so hopeful and on top of the world.  I had the “I can do this” attitude.  Key word to failure being “I”.

It was a vicious cycle that started at this point.  Because I had been told that weight loss would help and because I failed at weight loss I would eat more.  Failure. Defeat. Eat. Repeat.

This cycle lasted years.  I lost count somewhere along the way.   But it brings me up to more current times.  This past year.

God in His unfailing goodness to me put me in certain situations.  He didn’t leave me in my pit of despair.  About a year ago I started a Bible study and I happened to read a book that had a chapter on self-control.  There was a lot of stirring going on in this heart.

I still remember the day that I was praying and begging God for a child and in His still small voice I heard Him say, “repent”.  It became so clear to me in that moment– how could I be asking God to bless me with a child while I am wrapped up in bondage to food and I haven’t repented.

FREEDOM FROM BONDAGE:

God’s timing was so perfect.  I found myself in a Bible study that had me in the Scriptures and had me facing my sin front and center.  I had just read a book that I mentioned earlier that had a chapter on self-control.  And it was summertime and I had an easy going schedule that allowed me so much time to be still.

By God’s grace, I realized that I had moments of emotional cries to God and desires to change, but I didn’t not repent.  As He revealed this to me I just cried out to Him to help me to repent.  I don’t even remember the words I said, but God knew my heart and He was all in the middle of this working.  I can’t really say that this was a one time prayer.  It was more like a week of praying and groaning.  It was painful and beautiful all at the same time.  I found that as I confessed, I found compassion from Him.

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.  Proverbs 28:13

God gently showed me that my addiction to food was because I was NOT SATISFIED IN HIM.

I cannot create self-control in me.  I cannot create victory in me.  But I can run to God and fling myself down before Him, confess my sin and MOMENT BY MOMENT rely on Him to give me everything I need for life and godliness.

Even as I sit here and write this I am overwhelmed by His goodness to me.  That God did not leave me in that pit of despair, but rescued me.  I don’t question why I had to stay there so long, I rest in His sovereignty.

So now, here I am on this side of this journey.  I don’t want to paint this false picture that with God all your hard times just melt away and life is a bed of roses.  I have to DAILY, MOMENT BY MOMENT seek God’s strength to continue to walk in victory.  Have I failed?  Yes, I am human.   The difference now is by His grace I go to Him, confess my sin and meditate on Scripture instead of pushing my conviction aside and wallow in self.

I want to share with you some of the Bible verses that spoke so clearly to me during this struggle of habitual sin:

  • A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.  Proverbs 25:28
  • He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.  Proverbs 28:13
  • Romans chapter 6
  • Galatians chapter 5

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord. 

Psalm 40: 1-4

So there, in a nutshell, you have my story about my struggle with food and how God gave me freedom from it.  There is more to this story about my life now.  I am going to be writing another post soon to talk some of the practical truths about food, health and PCOS.  Part 2 has been written– Read it here:  Eat To Live– Just What I Needed

Fun Stuff

30 Sep

I am currently working on a lengthy post to share in the next couple of weeks.  It’s going to be a lot of words and no pictures.  So, in the meantime I thought I would share with you some fun stuff– pictures from the past couple of weeks in my life.  These are all taken from my Instagram account, so again, I apologize if you have already seen these.

 

 

I woke up on my birthday and found these beautiful yellow balloons on my front porch.  My friend rocks!  Turning thirty-two felt so good.  I’m healthier than I’ve ever been and I feel years younger.

I love buying the $4 bouquet of flowers from my local grocery store, Kroger.  I put them in little happy vases and old glass bottles around my house.  They last a long time and make me happy!

Noel got a much needed haircut.  All her spots show up now!

We have welcomed fall with arms wide open around here.  Good bye summertime I’ll look forward to seeing you next year.  The day I took this picture it was crisp, cool and all-together incredible outside.

And just in time for that beautiful fall weather, my bike got repaired!  Woots!  I’ve been riding all around my neighborhood.  p.s.  I ride a boy’s bike.  It use to be my dad’s.  Oh well, it’s super comfy and smooth riding.

Look at this pretty, colorful salad!  It’s yumminess matched it’s beauty!

David bought me the bestest, prettiest mums in town.

Us from our wedding day.  Eight years ago.   I’m happier and love him more now than that day and you know, I just didn’t think it could get better than it was then, but it SO has!  Thanks be to God and His goodness and grace to us.

I got this awesomeness at a thrift store for $20!  I was flipping out when I saw it.  My heart literally started racing.  It’s an original piece of art and IT IS HUGE.  It now hangs on the wall in back of our sofa.  I’m sure glad someone decided to donate ‘this ‘ol thing’ to Goodwill.

H A P P Y     W E E K     T O     Y O U !

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