Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Part of being a kid...

One of my boys just passed gas loudly and I instructed him to say, "Pardon me."

Instead, he said "It's just part of me."

(You might have to say the italicized part aloud to really understand what I think is so funny.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

The best policies start at home

Parke Wilde at US Food Policy posed the question, "Should the government sharply regulate marketing to children? Or should parents fend for themselves as they seek to transmit their values to their kids?"

My answer is a minimal governmental intervention and a lot more parental intervention.

For any policy to be effective, I believe it really comes down to the individual (in this case, the parent) being the main enforcer. And parents should be the main advocates for their children. Sure, there are laws against trafficking illicit drugs, yet you always hear public service announcements telling parents to talk to their kids about drugs. The laws and enforcement aren't enough to keep drugs away from your kids. It seems pretty clear to me that the best policies start at home.

For example, if adverstising has little influence, then why is so much money put into it? I would think by now that if it wasn't effective, the money would have gone elsewhere. As I commented on Parke's blog, "Doing without is an important value I want to transmit to our kids, and to live out as a parent. What's the point in limiting advertising to kids if their parents are always going out and getting the newest, cutting-edge stuff without restraint?" (Well, my punctuation was not so correct in the comment, so I fixed it here.)

Sure, not everything is foolproof. And by no means parents are to pretend they are perfect. There are times children don't "turn out" the way their parents hoped they would, no matter how involved they were. Then there are kids who "turned out ok" with no involvement from their parents. That's reality. But that doesn't mean parents shouldn't do anything neither should they expect someone else to do most of the work. Many lives have been enriched because the best policies were learned -- at home.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy to be alive in Christ

There is an older italian immigrant who works at our local grocery store and when we ask him how he is doing, he always answers: "I'm happy to be alive in Christ!"

His response encourages me, a follower of Christ, to remember that my joy is not grounded in my circumstances, but in the life Christ has given me, through His death and ressurection. I am not always happy, you know I'm not perfect, and I don't always like what life throws my way. But when I remember who Christ is and what He has done, I can be glad I am going through all of it with Him.

So, as tomorrow my family and I will be celebrating Easter, I am reminded that this is the most important day of all to me. It is at the center of all I am and do. And because Jesus is Alive, I too can be alive in Him.

One of my favorite songs is called "In Christ Alone" by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty. If you want to hear it, it's on YouTube. I would have posted it here, but I had trouble setting up my blog. So I just leave you the lyrics:

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease;
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save;
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

Wishing you a Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Define healthy food

OK, it's time to hear from you. Everyone has their own idea of what healthy is. So, how would you define healthy food? What comes to mind when the topic of healthy food is brought up? How do you determine something is healthy or not?

I'm all ears...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The unlikely bribe and the bad carrot...

Here are some funny things that happened this past week that I thought I'd share with you:

We finally were able to build a snowman last week. Although we have had plenty of snow, it wasn't the sticky kind to make snowmen from. I initially was using frozen veggies to make the face and my hungry kids started asking for some frozen veggies (a tip I got from The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers). I told them I'd give them some once we got inside. Well, my tired and hungry 3-year-old was protesting taking a picture with the snowman, and I told him that if he didn't pose for the picture, I wouldn't give him any lima beans when we came back in. He took the picture. Fancy that, frozen lima beans can be a bribe? Who would have thunk?

Also last week, I made Orange Flavored Chicken for dinner. It is my favorite chinese take-out and I finally found a recipe for it on Cooks Illustrated's website. Well, the dish has strips of orange peel in it, mainly for decoration (although I was eating them as I had some sinus congestion). When I asked my 5-year-old if he liked the chicken he answered, "Yes, but the carrot tastes bad." Poor child. He was eating an orange peel.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

When your neighbor just happens to be next door...

A few days ago, I posted a quote from my friend Alan about loving my neighbor. It was brought to my attention that we don't need to know our neighbor in order to love them (referring to the parable of the Good Samaritan, where Jesus answers the question, "Who is my neighbor?"). I understand that. First, I would like to emphasize that the loving act that the Samaritan made was due to him taking interest in a stranger in need. Sure, he probably didn't even get to know the man's name, but the point is that he saw a need and met it.

When I read Alan's post, what I understood was that so many times we are wanting to meet the needs of those far from us (or our own), that we don't stop to realize that the people in our own neighborhoods need to be loved. And because most of them aren't lying in the streets wounded, we need to get to know them. As I look back, I think of the places I lived where I didn't know my neighbors. Now that I am more than 10 years removed from those times, I wish I had befriended the pregnant asian-immigrant who often spent time at the steps with her toddler. I'm sure I at least smiled at her and may have said hello, but I went right into my apartment. This was during a time that I had time on my hands and felt so insignificant because I was not working (my immigration employment authorization had not come through yet), and I didn't have kids to stay home to. Now I can think of many ways I could have befriended that woman, and provided support to her when she had to call the police on her husband when he was drunk and abusive. Too bad I was so busy trying to figure out what I should be doing with my life that I couldn't see as far as next door. Too bad that hindsight is 20/20. That's why Alan's statement spoke to me the way it did.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Snowed in :-)

Frosty met his fate, getting stuck in over 17 inches of snow.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Well, maybe this wouldn't be a good idea after all...

I got all excited when I read Parke Wilde's maple sugaring account, because we have three maple trees. I love maple syrup, and to realize I could get some from my front and back yard was a nice revelation.

Well, after looking at some instructions from OSU Extension, I realized the tree in the back yard would be too small for that. The two in the front are much bigger and would be quite suitable. But then the thought came to me: WWNT (what would the neighbors think)?

OK, we've only been here a few months and haven't gotten to know our neighbors yet. It's almost impossible to get to know anyone here in the winter, but one introduced himself to my husband today while he was shoveling snow. And he offered to loan us his tools if we needed them. That would be cool, since we would have to drill a hole in the tree. But I don't think this neighbor had this in mind when he was talking to my husband:
Anyway, after further reading about the maple sugaring process, this does not seem like it is one that can be done on a whim. Hopefully, we'll make it to the free demonstration at the metroparks next weekend.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Who are the people in your neighborhood?

This is a profound statement made by my friend Alan:

"In order to love my neighbor, I must know my neighbor."

How well do you know your neighbor?

Exciting update from my past post...

In my last post, I shared a renewed passion for promoting wellness for people on a limited income. My mind was racing last night as all the thoughts and ideas I have been mulling over for over 10 years were resurfacing. Well, here's the interesting thing...

This was the end of my post:

"This has reminded me how much I really want to move away from just thinking and start working this out with real people (i.e. my community)."

Well, I don't know what to make of all of this yet, but in casual conversation with a fellow storytimer at the library today, let's just stay that desire has just taken one baby step closer to reality. And I wasn't even trying to make this happen, neither did I bring this subject up.

I don't know how fast things could develop, I think it is still a long time coming, but as I am comfortable in sharing details, I will definitely blog about it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A renewed passion...

Nutrition and health is part of my life. I'm not saying I eat really well all the time, (I probably don't eat as well as you may think), but many things I think and (try to) do are influenced by my beliefs about nutrition and health. I believe wellness is a lifestyle, not a diet or a number on a scale. I believe in the benefit of a child learning healthy habits early in life. I believe in breastfeeding. Maternal and child nutrition is really a specific area of interest in me, but there is another part of that interest that has been renewed as of late, and it is probably one that I am most passionate about: Living well on a limited income, and I'm not just talking about frugality here.

It's late and I really should be asleep, so if you'd like to have a glimpse of what's been dominating my thoughts in the past week and possibly learn more about me (and the primary reason I pursued a Master in Public Health degree), then read the post and discussion on What to Eat Blog.

This has reminded me how much I really want to move away from just thinking and start working this out with real people (i.e. my community).

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Setting an example

What would it be like if your family purged all highly processed foods and started eating fresh and minimally processed foods for 30 days?

Well, I just found out about a blog of a family of 5 doing exactly that. As they approached the half way mark, Eileen reflected on the following:

"Despite cries against green vegetables or dense, oat pancakes or the issue of my own seriously chapped dish-pan hands (remedied by new gloves), I feel like I'm doing the best I can for the kids and fulfilling a maternal promise. There's no judgment in doing this. I certainly didn't love the kids less when I served them Nutrigrain bars for breakfast and McNuggets for lunch. But food is about the present and the future. It's a gift of the moment, of nutrition and pleasure. And it's a foundation for their futures in health and habits. It's why moms are such a potent, tangible mix of meals and memory."

So if you would like a break from the food police and see a great example of how a real family can take charge of their health, with realistic and non-threatening expectations, then I highly encourage you to read Fresh Mouth.