Monday, July 30, 2007

Rachel comes to visit, Part I

Rachel decided at the last minute to make a trip up here with her two little ones, Julia and Jackson. We were so elated to say the least. Here are a few pics of day one. We will post more later.
ps and yes, those are Star Wars characters Brian and Jackson are playing the Jedi!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Go vegetarian to save money (article)

By Scott McCredie

What visitor to Whole Foods (aka "Whole Paycheck") hasn't stared in slack-jawed wonder at bluefoot mushrooms imported from Europe ($39.99 per pound), off-season organic grapefruit from Texas ($2.49 per softball-size fruit), organic almond butter ($14.99 a pound) or pine nuts ($13.99 a pound)?

In a world of $1 double cheeseburgers, it's no wonder that many people suspect that a vegetarian diet is more expensive than one that includes meat.

But that's generally not true. And though it's difficult to tally the savings of illnesses or diseases avoided with a plant-based diet, the financial worth of good health is unquestionable.

Vegetarianism could extend your life by several years, as well as lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and dementia. It's better for the planet, reducing water usage and global-warming gases. And it certainly improves the health of the cow or pig you would have devoured.

The cost depends largely on what course of vegetarianism you choose to follow:

* Many people keep a diet that's known as mostly vegetarian -- a typical American diet minus the red meat. Vegetarians drop poultry and seafood.
* A lacto-vegetarian eats dairy products.
* An ovo-vegetarian eats eggs.
* A pescetarian eats fish.
* A vegan eats no animal products at all.
* A fruitarian eats only fruit.

Basics are easy on the wallet
Most of the staples of a vegetarian diet are cheap. In fact, most of the world's people eat a mostly vegetarian diet made up of inexpensive commodities such as beans, rice and corn.

If you drop red meat, poultry and fish from your diet, you'll find plant proteins cheaper than the equivalent amount of animal protein. The cheapest cuts of beef, such as ground round, average $3 per pound in U.S. cities (lean and extra lean); boneless chicken breasts cost $3.40 a pound; and canned tuna is about $2 per pound.

* Talk back: Are your grocery costs climbing?

Contrast that with dried beans and lentils at less than $1 a pound and rice well below $1 per pound. (Although Whole Foods offers expensive wild rice at $6.99 a pound, it also has basic brown rice for 69 cents per pound. And though pine nuts are exorbitant, you can get sunflower seeds, with nearly the same amount of protein, at a fraction of the price.)

Even tofu, the chicken of the vegetarian world, is usually well under $2 a pound.

But when you try to dress up plants as meat, costs skyrocket. Soy hot dogs, for example, cost $5 a pound; turkey hot dogs are less than half that.
More from MSN
Cheap dining © Corbis

* MSN Health & Fitness: Are vegetarians healthier?
* MSN City Guides: Own a piece of a local farm
* MSN Lifestyles: Recipes for vegetarian meals
* Take the brown-bag challenge
* MSN Real Estate: Start your first vegetable garden

Fresh, canned, frozen or organic
Produce is little trickier to compare, largely because vegetarians consume a much greater volume. (Most Americans now eat only three servings a day, on average, compared with the seven to nine servings recommended for optimum health.)

The prices of fruits and vegetables vary widely with the season and source. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are sometimes cheaper than those imported from far away and can be much cheaper in summer when there's an abundance. Of course, canned and frozen varieties are available year-round.

* Video: Nutrition tips for vegetarians

If you take the plunge into organics, the price may double or triple compared with nonorganic produce. Why does organic produce cost so much more? The answer is that organic fruits and veggies are usually not grown on an industrial scale, so efficiencies aren't as great. There are also significant costs involved in switching farmland from nonorganic to organic status. And there's a lot more manual labor involved, such as weeding by hand.
A payoff in better health
In the long run, no matter how much you spend on a vegetarian or semivegetarian diet, you'll likely see a payoff in better health, lower risk of chronic disease and reduced health-care costs compared with someone who eats a typical American diet.

"Years of poor nutrition habits can lead to chronic disease," said Ryan Andrews, a dietitian and exercise physiologist with the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore. "These chronic diseases can have tremendous costs leading into old age. A bypass surgery or angioplasty procedure can cost nearly $60,000."

Health insurance carriers have begun urging lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of chronic disease -- and, not incidentally, soaring health-care costs. Those are estimated to be climbing 6% a year, an "unsustainable level," said Scott Forslund, the communications director for Premera Blue Cross, which serves Washington state and Alaska.

Heart disease is the major target of this effort, so Premera is starting a program to educate the people it insures about the importance of controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and blood sugar. Research shows that a more plant-based diet improves all of these key health indicators.

"The connection between a vegetarian diet and reducing the costs of these high-impact health conditions is clear as a bell," Forslund said.

But there are no discounts for practicing vegetarianism under the current system.

* Talk back: Are your grocery costs climbing?

If your healthful habits prevent a chronic disease, your insurance company or employer saves money. What about you? Well, savings may come your way in the form of pocketing the co-insurance fees you would have paid for doctor visits or medication. If you have a health savings account or individual catastrophic plan, you'll definitely save by staying healthier.
More from MSN
Cheap dining © Corbis

* MSN Health & Fitness: Are vegetarians healthier?
* MSN City Guides: Own a piece of a local farm
* MSN Lifestyles: Recipes for vegetarian meals
* Take the brown-bag challenge
* MSN Real Estate: Start your first vegetable garden

Better quality of life
Dollars and cents aside, how much is it worth to live without heart disease, cancer or diabetes for the last decades of your life? How much is it worth to lower your risk of dying?

Life insurance companies actually put a figure on it. Most companies require a fairly extensive physical exam before issuing a private policy. Although they don't ask about diet, they look at cholesterol, blood sugar, body mass index, blood pressure, family history and tobacco use. People they consider the healthiest -- those at the least risk of dying -- will be charged roughly half the annual premium of someone on the other end of the scale. For a 54-year-old man with a $1 million policy over 20 years, that would amount to $2,500 a year versus $5,000.

With this kind of savings, you could afford to buy a few ounces of bluefoot mushrooms -- or an occasional organic, grass-fed, beef tenderloin at $26.99 a pound.

* Video: Nutrition tips for vegetarians

Here are a few practical tips on how to save money with a vegetarian or mostly vegetarian diet:

* If you include an occasional piece of flesh (of whatever kind) in your diet, try to limit yourself to four or five ounces, which is about the size of a deck of cards.
* If you want to buy private life insurance, wait until you've been on a vegetarian diet long enough to improve your key health indicators (body mass index, cholesterol, etc.). It could save you thousands of dollars when an insurer reviews the results of your physical.
* Buy vegetable protein in bulk. Dried beans, rice, oatmeal and other similar commodities last a long time if properly stored, and they are far cheaper in larger quantities.
* If you get discouraged by the blandness of a vegetarian diet, buy cookbooks that explore Indian, Malaysian, Chinese or South American cuisines. Mixing novel spices and ingredients may perk up your taste buds and make the transition easier.
* If you can't afford or prefer not to buy organic produce, remember that most experts think the nutritional benefits of eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables outweigh the possible negative effects of pesticide residues.

Published July 24, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Restoration Church Update

We will be meeting at the Lizton Lion's Club on Sunday, August 19th at 6 p.m. We were hoping to meet at the school but our request was never mentioned at the last school board meeting. So, we went to our back-up plan and it actually seems to fit better. We want to have a casual atmosphere and meeting on Sunday nights can provide that more naturally than a Sunday morning service.

This worship gathering will give people an idea of who we are and how we envision Restoration Church. The theme for the gathering is "Is there more to Life?" So, come join us if you can, help us spread the word and pray for God to be glorified and people to be ministered to.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter: Midnight Madness

Well if you have young children or even if you follow the internet/news, it shouldn't be too hard to guess the meaning behind the title of this post. Last night was the midnight book release of the final Harry Potter book. (All the buzz is who dies in this book.) Brian, Tayler, Jake, and myself went to Barnes and Noble for the release. They had a cool setting inside with stations for kids to play games, face painting, magic shows, etc. A lot of people dressed up. It was quite a sight. (The party was from 7:00 until 12:00, so I had a lot of Starbucks and lots of time reading magazines I so can not afford right now!) We had already ordered the book and it should be here today in the mail. However, Tayler still wanted to go and be part of the excitement. He had a blast!
All of the staff were dressed up as characters and the kids were given a map with directions to attend each station thus getting a sticker for completion. This is great for boys-conquer! They also took free pics of the kids and put them in a frame that said, Harry Potter Book release with the souvenior(and it was free, you can pay up to $20 for souveniors like this!) Everyone who participated in the evening got those "cool" white Harry Potter glasses that Tayler is sporting. Tayler's face painting is of a phoenix and he had another tattoo on his arm of Voldemort's symbol. There are a few pics below...
Side note: Jake isn't in any b/c he doesn't like having his picture taken. But, if you follow the blog, he is Tayler's best friend and has made appearances here (they were baptized together)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm a Cautious Inventor

I (Brian) took this personality test and it was pretty accurate personality DNA It's always fun to see if these tests affirm what you believe true about yourself.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest! if you must; but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow;
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit;
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.

A good word for all today who face the challenges of this life...and if you aren't being challenged, THEN WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Battle is the Lord's! (much needed encouragement from a friend)

When troubles threaten to overwhelm you, you may feel as though you don’t have the strength to withstand them. I know what that feels like, and the Bible tells us that King Jehoshaphat also knew that feeling. In II Chronicles 20, he was faced with three different armies that were coming to destroy his kingdom. Hopelessly outnumbered, it looked as though there was no chance of survival.

So what did he do? The Bible says, Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord (v. 3).

Sometimes in overwhelming situations when I don’t know what to do, I have to ask, Have I set myself to seek the Lord? When I "set myself," that means I quit running around, I stand still, and I look to God. I can’t stand still when I’m in fear-I can stand still only when I’m in faith.

Notice what the prophet said to Jehoshaphat after he and the people sought God: "Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.... You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord" (vv. 15,17 nkjv).

The battle you’re going through isn’t your battle-it’s the Lord’s! He said He would fight for you! Your part is to seek Him and position yourself by standing on His Word in faith. Then He can work a miracle for you!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Veggie Lovers unite!

I am in major need of cheap, easy recipes to accomodate my vegetarian lifestyle. I have not been true to that label- vegetarian - as I have not been eating many veggies lately. I am feeling pretty crappy b/c I haven't been eating healthy or drinking enough water, or exercising for that matter!! I need quick and easy b/c I work and am only home four hours before it is time for bed again, so simple is a blessing!So, if you have cheap, easy recipes and have a love for veggies, please leave a comment below. I will try to get out of my laziness to make it and even take a picture for you to see it!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A healthy Portion for the Day!

Psalm 111 "Praise the Lord. I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly. Great are the works of the Lord, they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are His deeds, and His righteousness endures forever. He has CAUSED HIS WONDERS TO BE REMEMBERED; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. He provides food for those who fear him; He remembers His covenant forever. He has shown His people the power of His works, giving them the lands of other nations. The WORKS OF HIS HANDS ARE FAITHFUL AND JUST; all His precepts are trustworthy. They are steadfast for ever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness. He PROVIDED REDEMPTION for His people; He ordained His covenant forever-HOLY AND AWESOME IS HIS NAME. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise."

This is such a good scripture. If you take the time to read it a few times over, it begins to really sink in. Meditate on this today if you can.

Lord God, we ask that you cause your wonders to be remembered. We thank you that all of your work is faithful and just. We thank you that you provide redemption for your people and ask that you do that for the people in our area that are crying out to you...and those who aren't but need to. We thank you Father that Holy and Awesome is your name. Make yourself Holy and Awesome in this land. Thank you God that if we follow your precepts, your word says we will have "good understanding" Help us to understand and to walk in your ways. Remove the scales from our eyes and help us to see your plans for your people...your plan to restore your people, to show yourself in power, and to offer forgiveness that is so undeserved. Thank you God for who you are! We do indeed praise your name, for ever and ever. We love you Lord!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Our journey to children!

Well, those of you who know us, know that we have always wanted a large family. When we got married, we said we wanted biological, foster, and adopted we would support all these children we didn't know:) Anyway, over a year ago, we started looking at adoption (domestic and international) At the time, China had a good program so we investigated that. Unfortunately, however, things changed in January and China put many new restrictions along with increasing the wait times. This was an obvious closed door. So, in February, we decided to pursue having a biological child. We have been in this process since.

However, that door has also closed. This has brought us back to our "first love" of fostering. We are now, (5 years to the month of first beginning classes) going to attend training in early August. This is scary but also exciting (like a lot of things in our life right now:) But, we are only committing to attending the classes at this point. It has been wonderful working in the area of Therapeutic Foster Care at Bethany over the last year and we have learned so much in the last five years. We have such a heart to help hurting kids, so this is a natural fit for us. Over the next few months, we will be training and getting all of the necessary paperwork together. Please pray for us and for the children God will be bringing into our lives very soon.

Stay along for the journey! It is an interesting one for sure!:)