Tag Archives: life

The Freeman Family in the Month of November

2 Dec

The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest. – William Blake

Above is the Freeman family in the month of November! I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. Or what really went on this month. I seriously just asked Jonathan the help me with this post, and he was like, “What happened this month? I don’t remember.” Yeah. Me too. Well. That’s… interesting. It’s been a whirlwind!

Let’s see now, every day Tessa grows more and more expressive. She giggles over silly things, like us making pigeon cooing noises at her, or having her diaper changed, or being dipped into the bathtub. Suddenly we have a BABY. How?!?!??!?!?! Time is moving too quickly! Pretty soon there will be “Tessa is crawling” then “Tessa is walking” then “Tessa is getting married” posts. Oh God. Time. Moving too quickly. *hyperventilates*

This month, the theme was “thankfulness” – for obvious reasons, what with Turkey Day and all. Ever since I became a mother, I’ve noticed that my focus has shifted from tangible, materialistic aspects of God working in my life and has focused on the hidden things that really matter. It’s as if scales have fallen from my eyes, and allowed me to see a world of mercies that I never fathomed before.

I see the world in a whole new way. It’s amazing and joyful and I feel like clicking my heels and singing “I Love the Whole World” with each new task and chore and adventure.

Jonathan is starting his final leg of A School, which is the beginning of the end of our time here in Pensacola. We still don’t know where or when we’ll be stationed outside of Pensacola, but it’s inching ever closer. We’re still taking things a day at a time and it’s surprisingly a lot less stress inducing than I thought it would be. It’s actually rather fun!

We’re putting it all in God’s hands, and we’re wholeheartedly saying, “Your will be done”. I can’t wait to see how life unfolds for us. It’s going to be an adventure, that’s for sure! I’m so excited for Tessa’s first Christmas and I’m eager to greet the New Year. Happy December everyone!^_^

Thanksgiving 2013 – Counting My Blessings

28 Nov

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I’m going to take an opposite approach to Thanksgiving this year. Instead of focusing on what I DO HAVE I’m going to focus on what I DON’T HAVE.

Calm down. I’m not talking about in a materialistic way.

To properly approach Thanksgiving Day, I think we need to always keep in mind what the actual living conditions of the Pilgrims were. They had landed in the middle of a New England winter in a strange new land, intent on serving the One True God. For their faith and their freedom they faced harsh circumstances in an epic way. We don’t need to describe in gory detail the privation they endured because the statistics tell it all:

By the time spring came, only 47 of the original 102 colonists were alive. And of those alive, only seven were strong enough to function and had to take care of the rest.

With these heartbreaking, intense hardships, they still chose to praise God for his provision and were truly thankful that they had harvested enough food so that they would not become extinct in their second winter in the New World. They were thankful simply to eat and be able to live in a world with nothing but cold, work, and nights without light. In the words of Edward Winslow, one of the survivors who wrote an account of their experience the first year,

“And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

In light of those circumstances, they still looked to their Creator and said, “Thank you, God. You are good.” Looking at the God-centered gratitude offered up by these brave souls, I feel humbled and blessed. Beyond blessed. Jeez, I don’t even know if there’s a word to describe blessed beyond blessed. Uber blessed?

So, that said, I am focusing on what I DON’T have this Thanksgiving.

I don’t have want in my life.

I don’t have hunger.

I don’t have sickness.

I don’t have death or loss.

I don’t have fear.

But when I do, (not if, but when) the ultimate blessing comes in know that it won’t change a thing. GOD IS STILL SOVEREIGN. God is still good. Whatever my lot, it is well with my soul. And that’s where the true “thanks giving” comes in. It reminds me of the quote I posted above:

Some people are so poor, all they have is money.

I am rich and I am blessed and it has nothing to do with my car, or my home, or my cosplays, or my book collection, or the plants on my patio (though those ARE things to gives thanks for). When I think of my many blessings, I think of my handsome husband – my hearts brother, my best friend, my hunka hunka lovin’ man. I think of my precious baby girl – my baby world, my little koala cuddles, my pretty princess. MY FAMILY. Dear God, how did I ever get to be so blessed?! It boggles my brain. But with all these blessings, what is even more amazing?

The realization that the heart of my happiness is the intangible blessings that come from knowing and loving the Creator of every good thing.

I may have more next year. I may have less. But through it all, I know God is good. And that is more than enough for me. Happy Thanksgiving everyone,  and God Bless!

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Wordless Wednesday – November 27, 2013

27 Nov

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Why You Need a Water Filter (And What Kind I Think You Should Get)

26 Nov

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I don’t like water. Never have. It’s bland and it’s flavorless. Its biggest crime is that it doesn’t taste like coffee.

I have lived in a state of extreme dehydration for years now. But recently, I’ve been on a mission to remedy that. The ultimate reason I’ve been reforming my wicked waterless ways is because of my daughter. I want to be healthier for her, so as she grows up I can offer her the best in word, example and deed. I can’t exactly push her water intake as a child while never taking a sip myself, can I? (I mean, I guess I can, but I’d prefer to avoid the douche-bag do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do parenting style.)

The second reason I’m pushing my water intake is because of my struggle with extremely dry skin and cracked heels. That is such a huge topic all on its own that I plan to follow up this blog post with more info on that particular issue later.

So moving on to my quest for more water! In looking up how best to hydrate myself, I stumbled upon this lovely little tidbit of information:

Pensacola has the absolute worst drinking water in the entire United States of America.

In a nationwide study of the safety of tap water in major cities, the Pensacola water supply was found to have 21 chemicals that exceeded health guidelines, including radium, lead, bezene and carbon tetrachloride.

After learning this information, I spent the rest of the week researching water filtration options and ordering the best water filter method for my home. I was in such a hurry to get my water filters, I even signed up for Amazon Prime for the two day shipping. Think I’m overreacting? (Probably.) But check out the full list of contaminants found in Pensacola’s water supply:

Barium (total), Chromium (total), Cyanide, Mercury (total inorganic), Nitrate, Nitrite, Selenium (total), Trichlorofluoromethane, 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene, cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene, 2,2-Dichloropropane, Monochloroacetic acid, Dibromoacetic acid, Chloroform, Xylenes (total), p-Dichlorobenzene, 1,1-Dichloroethylene, 1,1-Dichloroethane, 1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane, Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene), Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Alpha particle activity (incl. radon & uranium), Combined Uranium (pCi/L), Cadmium (total), Lead (total), Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Heptachlor epoxide, MTBE, Total haloacetic acids (HAAs), 1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP), Bromoform, Bromodichloromethane, Dibromochloromethane, Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), 1,2-Dichloroethane, Carbon tetrachloride, 1,2-Dichloropropane, Trichloroethylene, 1,1,2-Trichloroethane, Tetrachloroethylene, Benzene, Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium), Radium-226, Radium-228.

OMGWTF?!?!??!?! I can’t even pronounce half the crap on that list, and I stopped Google searching what each one was and why drinking it is bad half way through the list because I was getting all twitchy. And this isn’t even the worst of it.

Most people don’t realize that federal law does not require tap water to be safe for long-term consumption. Only 91 contaminants are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, yet more than 60,000 harmful chemicals are found in drinking water in the United States.

Why is this allowed? Because the long-term risks of cancer and other health threats are balanced against the cost and feasibility of purification by each city. The current mindset is that the contaminants are fully disclosed to the public, therefore if you care about your long term health, you will take steps to filter your water to your liking. Your water does not have to be healthy. And in Pensacola’s case, it is decidedly not so. You can check out your local drinking water quality by visiting the EPA website here. 

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So! Are you convinced you need a water filter? Since I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit researching the different options when it comes to water filters, let me share my findings with you. Here’s a simple guide to the most popular methods of water filtration and why I think all but one method sucks:

Distilled Water

How It Works – This process passes water over a heated coil‚ causing the water to vaporize and become gaseous. The steam then rises and transfers to a cooling chamber‚ where it condenses back into a liquid. This process separates water from inorganic compounds like lead‚ calcium‚ magnesium‚ etc. and destroys bacteria.

Why I Think It Sucks – This process does not remove most organic chemicals, since they typically vaporize at a lower temperature than water and are transferred over with the steam. FAIL.

Reverse Osmosis

How It Works – This is a process that exposes water under pressure‚ to a semi-permeable membrane with a very fine pore structure. Because most inorganic contaminants are of a larger molecular size than water‚ the membrane rejects certain contaminants‚ minerals and a large part of the water.

Why I Think It Sucks – Because many synthetic chemicals like herbicides and pesticides are smaller molecularly than water, they slip through. FAIL.

Granular Carbon Filters

This is the most popular home filtration method. (It’s what is used in Brita filters.) Granular carbon filters remove contaminants by adsorption‚ which is the chemical or physical bond of a contaminant to the surface of the filter. Activated carbon bonds to thousands of chemicals, in fact it bonds to almost all known chemicals! Water runs around the carbon granules, and the bad joo joo in the water sticks to the surface of the granules.

Why I Think It Sucks – This type of filter does NOTHING for straining out bacteria. They are worthless in terms of virus and protozoa, which aren’t adsorbed by the granules and just continue on their merry way through the filter and straight into your mouth. Yum yum! Plus, many chemicals that WOULD be adsorbed by the granules can make their way through the filter without being adsopbed if not exposed long enough. DOUBLE FAIL.

Carbon Block Filters (What I Recommend You Use)

How It Works – A carbon block filter is made of the exact same stuff a granular carbon filter is made up of… only it’s in solid block form.

Why I Think It Rocks – It works with the same method of chemical bonding through adsorption, but it has the added element of mechanical straining.

When water is pushed through the solid carbon block, it is FORCED to slow down and increase the contact time with the carbon, allowing the carbon bonding to take place to remove the chemical pollutants like toxins, pesticides, trihalomethanes, chlorine, bad tastes, odors, etc.

And whatever is missed by adsorption – like bacteria and protozoa and heavy metals like lead – are then strained out by the pore size of the block. Basically, it’s like trying to put a basketball through a hole the size of a ping pong ball. The pores in the block of carbon can filter particles down to sub-micron size. That filters dirt, sediment, rust, algae, bacteria, microscopic worms, cryptosporidium and asbestos. And because of the density of the solid carbon block, there is no room for bacteria to grow so this type of filter does not become an incubator for them.

This type of filter is so hardcore, they’re known as survivalist filters. They are what wilderness backpackers use to purify bacteria infested waters on trails. For added safety, you can put a couple drops of chlorine or bleach in your water to kill off bacteria gathered in a stream, and then it run it through the filter. The filter then removes the chlorine and bleach and dead bacteria and your bacteria infested spring water is now safer and tastier than your Pensacola tap water. Uhhh, WIN.

Best part is? They are super affordable! Since Jonathan and I are going to be moving around quite a bit in the future, we can’t really invest in a whole home filtration system. So instead, we’ve purchased a pitcher style carbon block filter (made with BPA free plastic!) for less than $25 and a sports water bottle carbon block filter for less than $20. So far, we are extremely happy with our purchases and will be using our bottles on upcoming camping and hiking excursions!

Do you use a water filtration system? If so, what kind do you use and why? Talk me people, my blog is so much more fun when the empty void I send this drivel into talks back. 😉

Emerald Coast Coalition for Life Fundraiser

5 Nov

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This past weekend Jonathan and I attended a fundraising event for the Emerald Coast Coalition for Life. This group is a non-profit organization that is highly active in the pro-life community here in Pensacola, Florida – organizing outreach events, educating the public on abortion and offering abortion alternatives.

The theme for the fundraiser was a starfish, inspired by Loren Eisley’s “Starfish Story”:

One day a young man was walking along the beach, when he noticed a boy hurriedly picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean.

Approaching the boy he asked, “Young man, what are you doing?”

The boy replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

The man laughed and said, “Don’t you realize, there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make any difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the surf. Then, smiling at the man he said, “I made a difference to that one.”

And the Emerald Coast Coalition for Life (ECCL) is making a difference… one life at a time.

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After Dr. Ernie Cyr, the Executive Director for ECCL (and a spitting image of Greg Gutfeld from Fox News), gave the ministry update and offered the pledge challenge, we all had the privilege of listening to the touching story of the nights keynote speaker, Mr. Chad Judice.

And by touching story, I mean a frikkin’ TEAR JERKER. A “I-can’t-see-to-take-pictures-because-my-lens-is-somehow-all-blurry” story. Chad Judice is the author of Waiting For Eli: A Father’s Journey from Fear to Faith and Eli’s Reach. Both books outline the story of his son Eli, born with spina bifida, a condition that moves over 80% of mothers to abort their babies that suffer from it. Choosing to ignore the advice and the social pressure of a world without morals urging them to kill their baby, they walked in faith and prayerfully welcomed their son into this world, where he is a source of joy and inspiration to many.

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It never ceases to amaze me that we live in a world that supports, protects and draws hope from children with special needs – cheering for the Special Olympics, recoiling in horror at those who would pick on or harm a kid with special needs – yet if those same children were to be brutally dismembered in the womb, many would see it as a “responsible” or “acceptable” thing to do. The same child that brings joy and hope to the world, would be left floating in a bloody abortionists bowl if many pro-choicers had their way.

This is why groups like ECCL are so vital to the health of our community. When the pro-death crowd is pushing for the relentless slaughter of babies – healthy or handicapped – those children in danger of “choice” need an advocate. Whether that means standing outside of an abortion mill to counsel confused young women, or lending financial support to those who have the time to reach out. While there will always be people in this world that seek to harm children, if you can say, “I made a difference to that one”, you have truly left this world different than when you came in. What higher calling?

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30 Skills I Would Like To Teach My Daughter

3 Nov

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I plan on homeschooling my baby girl, and part of that, of course, includes teaching her the basic ABC’s and 123’s. But it also goes waaaaay beyond book learning. Homeschooling will also be a home ministry – leading our baby girl to Jesus and equipping her to lead a Godly life. I want her to grow up learning to serve in her community and be a positive difference in this world. I want to do my part to shape her into the woman that she was created to be.

I know she is but a wee thing now, but before we know it it’s going to be time to outline daily curriculum, think about homeschool goals and mission statements, put together lesson plans and so on and so forth. Before I have to get super serious about the Freeman Family Homeschool’s day to day syllabus, I’ve compiled a list of unconventional  old fashioned “finishing school” type skills and talents that I’d like my baby girl to learn as part of her home education.

Some are things she will learn over the course of her upbringing. Some are common sense and almost don’t bear listing. And still some are obscure things that I’d like to make room for and include in her school curriculum at some point in her life. All are things that I think will positively impact her life, and help to make her a well-rounded, graceful, cultured, creative little creature.

Without further ado, here is my list of things I would like to teach my daughter, in no particular order:

1. How to play at least one musical instrument and read music.

2. How to work fluently in at least one art medium (photography, sketching, painting, pottery, whatever.)

3. To keep a regular journal and record her thoughts, dreams, imaginings and favorite quotes.

4. Learn the language of flowers and colors.

5. How to properly set formal dinner table.

6. To memorize Scriptures, poems, and inspirational quotes.

7. How to cook and bake basic meals and the science behind ingredient mixtures and flavor interplay.

8. How to do laundry and clean the house – from fixing carpet stains to cleaning bathtub rings.

9. To regularly moisturize and take care of her body, inside and out.

10. To always give back to the community by always being involved in volunteer work.

11. How to use a sewing machine and how to sew by hand.

12. To wash her hands often and practice good hygiene.

13. How to write a thank you note.

14. How to style her hair and how to use / apply make-up.

15. How to camp and backpack, start a campfire, along with other basic wilderness survival skills.

16. How to grow and tend a garden.

17. Phone etiquette and basic conversational skills.

18. How to read a map.

19. Learn the properties of basic essential oils.

20. How to handle, shoot and clean a gun.

21. Have an elementary knowledge of at least one classic dance form.

22. How to use basic first aid, CPR and tend wounds.

23. How to speak another language.

24. How to break down the etymology of a word.

25. How to change the oil, spark plugs, and basic automotive upkeep skills.

26. How to navigate the Dewy Decimal System.

27. How to identify birds by its features and calls.

28. How to identify plants in nature.

29. How to play chess and utilize basic strategies and defenses in a game.

30. How to identify constellations in the night sky.

What skills would YOU like to impart to your children as part of a homeschool curriculum? ^_^

The Freeman Family in the Month of October

1 Nov

“Miracles do not, in fact, break the laws of nature.” – C. S. Lewis

Above is our month in Instagram! Life sure has gotten fun – and much more photogenic! – with baby girl around! And we’re really in for it now, since she’s started her first social smiles and hiccupping baby giggles…

There was so much to celebrate this month! First, it’s fall. MY FAVORITEST SEASON EVAR! I greeted the month with pumpkin pie spice scented candles and “limited edition” autumn themed Fabreeze, like I always do. And I made the delicious discovery that when I sit cuddled up in a warm sweater with a chai tea latte and a good book, it’s much more pleasant with a baby by my side!

Overall, it has been a very good month. My dad got to visit and meet his first grandbaby at the beginning of the month, my husband was able to start his first leg of A School in the Navy, we were able to get back into cosplay again, and my dear friend Shauna was able to fly out for a short visit!

October also marked our one year wedding anniversary. We were able to visit New Orleans and walk past the spots we stood in our wedding tux and gown, and sit in spots we stood for wedding photos, this time with our precious daughter in our arms. What a difference a year makes. I would not trade a single day that brought us to where we are now.

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I am filled with nothing but joy and anticipation for the coming months. While we still don’t know where we’re going to be stationed come spring, I am truly content with wherever the Lord takes us. I am blessed wherever I am. For the first time, in a long time, I am truly stress free.

Happy Fall Season, everybody!