September 29, 2013

Sanctifying Sunday- God's Poor

Matt is taking over for another Sanctifying Sunday. I was completely distracted by one squirmy Hopie girl and one talking Gracie girl, so my reading of his words helped me to get a better grasp on today's Mass readings. I hope it does the same for you!

Yesterday, as I was driving our little crew to a party for Br. Joachim, I was thinking of today's Gospel. It was a party celebrating his return from Nicaragua and 10 years of religious life. It reminded me of many things, but most importantly the abundance that exists here in the U.S.A. The night before Br. Joachim told me that the average daily wage is $4 US dollars in Nicaragua!  

We pulled off the interstate and at the end of the exit was a man holding a sign written: "HARD TIMES need HELP." I didn't have any money on me, but I thought I would at least make eye contact and shoot a smile. I wasn't uncomfortable in the least, but let's just say he wasn't interested in eye contact and smiles. So, we proceeded on our way with Grace serenading us with twinkle twinkle little star from the back seat. 
I will warn you that the readings for the Mass (Amos 6: 1-4) today should have had you shifting in your seat. Simply put, the words from the Holy Scriptures are great action words calling us to fight for our faith.  

This is what I conjure up in my head as I listen to the words of Amos:
  •       WOE to you that lie down on beds of ivory (in my case it's a Tempur-Pedic).
  •       WOE to those that eat to excess (I just ordered Domino's low-cal Gfree pizza). 
  •       WOE to those who drink wine from bowls (we have Reidel glasses made of crystal).
  •       WOE to those who use the best anointing oils (we use DoTerra essential-oils). 
  •       WOE to you for being materially blessed!
It's ever so interesting that the material blessings (like my beloved body molding, top of the line mattress) can lead to complacency, then to lack of faith, and ultimately to self reliance. All of a sudden all that "stuff" that we thought was from God is now from us and we've confused the order of things.
Complacency is in direct competition for our faith. St. Paul (1 Timothy 6: 11-16) exhorts us to pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. These are all other orientated words not selfish words resting on the laurels of complacency.

Ok, now stay with me...

Then our Gospel for today is the parable told by Jesus about poor, hungry Lazarus who would gladly have eaten scraps fallen from the table of the opulent rich man. The vivid imagery is so thought provoking that Jesus drives this one home by telling us that dogs even licked Lazarus' sores. Lazarus was clothed in sores that were licked by dogs and the rich man who was dressed in fine purple linens was stuffing his face.

Sometimes I just want to say: "Jesus, I got it." Disgusting. The rich guy probably had to walk over/past Lazarus several times a day.  I wonder if he was uncomfortable stepping over him? The story goes that the rich man dies and Lazarus dies. Both succumbing to sister death. The rich man is buried, not an insignificant fact, because nothing is mentioned about Lazarus' funeral. Another significant point is that the rich man lacks a name and Lazarus has one, which shows that the poor are important to God. 

The story in Luke continues to jab at our chests for after the rich man dies he is so thirsty that he even requests if Lazarus with his fingers, most likely having dirt covered sores on them, could just dip them in some water so he could get some relief. When he is denied this, he then requests that someone go and tell his brothers of the impending doom. But, he's denied again.
A picture of our 4 little people to keep you with me. 
So what is all this telling us?

God has a sympathetic heart for the poor. He cares for the poor and he cares about how we treat the poor.  It's not the lack of material possessions that is endearing to God. But that the poor CAN posses spiritual riches possibly easier than that the materially rich without all the "stuff" in the way. The poor don't have the illusion of self sufficiency. Nor do they presume that they can save themselves. Finally, the poor can more easily recognize the need for a Savior. Finally, Finally, (as a disclaimer) God doesn't mention Lazarus' lack of illusion, or disorientated sense of self, or a need for a savior. God just tells us that the poor are really important to him.

Paradoxically, often Jesus tells parables that start in the material world and move to the spiritual world. Likewise, parables often seem to be stating a lot about humanity, but in the end tell even more about the nature and essence of God.  

To me this parable actually seems to be more about God than it is about us. It challenges us to reconsider and rethink the poor in our lives and how we treat the guy at the end of the interstate exit. It's serious and addressed rather poignantly in Matthew 25: "What ever you did for the least of my people you did to me."

It's as if God is revealing to us the true gift of faith and the duty it brings to love and care for the poor. This gift of faith has to be something competed for, worked for, and not something that we can become complacent in our chase loungers or Tempur-Pedic beds.
I love being challenged to go deeper (well, most of the time), to squirm in the pew and think: "Oh boy, this God loves me. REALLY loves me. And wants me to hear this message loud and clear and to LOVE HIS POOR."

We had a victory the other night here in the Loboda household. Isaiah, my oldest son, wanted to say the grace before dinner. Now, every time I've said grace for 15+ years I pray for the poor before I eat. Isaiah's prayer, though slightly revamped from my own, asked God to bless our food and to bless all of those that had no food this night to eat- AMEN. Tears welled up in my eyes. It can be easy to not be thankful, to be selfish, to be complacent, to take our faith and the poor for granted. I'm proud of Isaiah and I know that childlike prayer falls on the ears of God like a lead balloon. 

Our Zah catching a fish.

Tonight before I sit on my lush couch watching my $1,000 flat screen TV, I plan to pray for the poor and to ask God to help me to recognize them more in my day to day life. 
Peace, Matt

September 26, 2013

5-12 Month Old Musts

Our sweet Hopie girl is almost a year.
As I type that sentence my brain is echoing: Say what? what? what?

Cra-Z that she was only this big 11 months ago and now she is wobbling her way to her first steps.

I know that I am always saying this, but I still just can't get enough of her.
Her smell, her smile, her laughs, her squeeks. She has been nothing but a delight. So blessed am I to be her mother.

It probably comes as no surprise with all the goo goo-ing and gah gah-ing that I do over Hope that I absolutely la la love the baby stage. Yes, it is sOoO exhausting and the postpartum hormones can be a rollercoaster to nowhere, but all of that H-E double hockey sticks fades away to a peaceful brook with wild flowers blooming near by when I am holding, nursing, or staring at my babe.

As we all know though that with multiple kids the holding and rocking sometimes has to be put on hold when life and demands from needy toddlers and emotional 5 and 7 year olds take over. 

So, when other duties call and my baby must be pacified with something other than my arms or my breast, here are some of my 5-12 months baby musts.


1. ~Ergo and sling~

If you have read any of my other posts, you know that I am an avid baby wearer and the Ergo and my sling are my go to's this time around. I don't leave home without them, even still when Hope is 11 months and almost walking.
The sling just makes it so much easier to hold Hopie girl on my hip, making her feel half her weight and it gives her a comfy place to rest her little rear.

2. ~Teething Toys~

On baby #4 I finally bought a Sofie, what some call the ultimate teething toy. Hope does like it, but was it worth the $20? I dunno.

Hope did really like these teething rings from Eco baby, so I would definitely say they are worth the buy.

But, ultimately Hope just loves sucking on her sisters tooth brush to soothe her aching gums. Go figure.

3. ~Exersaucer~
I must say that I LOVE this big contraption. Though, just as I was about to put Hope's pudgy legs into its seat, a friend told me that the exersaucer was really not that good for babies and their developing hips. I was completely thrown off my rocker by this, because I couldn't imagine doing with out this mega toy/cage. So I immediately stormed my way to my chiropractor to inquire further. I was able to breath a sigh of relief when he said it was fine as long as I just kept my babe in it for 15 minutes at a time. 15 minutes, no problem. I can change the world in 15 minutes sans baby in my arms. Seriously, 15 minutes equals taking a shower, making dinner, and cleaning the entire house (if I am running while cleaning).  Or it just equals me sitting on the couch eating chocolate chips straight from the bag staring into space and not having to worry about Hope putting a hidden lego in her mouth, still changing the world at least my world.

4. ~Walker~
I bought a walker from the consignment store and it served as new view for Hope when she was tired of the exersauser. She liked it and from time to time would scoot about in it. It also served as a super fun climbing toy, probably not the safest but fun none the less. 

As you can see, none of these items are earth shattering, so please let me know what Hope is missing out on!! 

September 24, 2013

A Rainy Day

Well, I have a million and one things to get done today. 
Boring things, like setting up doctor appointments, calling our insurance company, and taking our vacuum in to get serviced. But, its raining and I just want to sit and nurse my babe and watch Grace twirl her way to changing outfits every 10 minutes. 

It seems that no pediatrician will take my kids in our new city, because the youngest 2 aren't vaccinated. Uggh! And to "catch them up" so that they could enter their holy doors with knobs full of germs, the girls would have to get like 6 shots in one setting for 2 months straight. 
What to do, what to do? I'll probably just procrastinate and rely on Matt to figure it out (just kidding, babe, kinda :)
Happy Tuesday, friends. Or is it Wednesday? No, definitely still Tuesday :).   

September 20, 2013

7 Quick Healthy Snacks and Mayonaise on Toast

I have no clue if this post will turn out super lame, so bear with me or do a quick scan to see if it's worth your read (don't worry, I will never know if your quick scan ended in a hurried close of the browser page).

It seems like FO-EVER that my mind has been wanting to blog about some of our healthy snacks that we eat on a daily basis. But and I mean a BIG BUT, I keep waiting until I come up with something really great and original that will just blow your minds. However, my blow-your-mind healthy ideas really haven't made their face if they do, I pee-romise to keep you posted.

In the mean time... onto some simple (and kinda boring), healthy snacks and how we do them.

1. POWER Veggies ~ We preface everything with POWER here at Team Boda. Why? Well, simply because the boys think it's really cool and by default the word makes food taste so much better. Almost every dia before dinner I cut up whatever veggies that we have in the fridge (usually cucumbers, carrots, and peppers) and we all snack on POWER Veggies to curb our appetite until din din is ready. To mix it up (ha!) I will sometimes throw some ranch or hummus in a bowl for dippin' power.

Ever since the boys were little, Power veggies have been a daily part of their lives. Consequently, they think it is completely normal to eat an entire red pepper in one sitting. I can only pray that I am not subjecting them to lots of ridicule from friends as they get older! I can see it now: "Stay clear, here come those pepper loving, snap pea eating boys!"
I had some really killer pictures of our pre dinner veggies, but they are lost somewhere in the sphere of my phone, so this winner will have to do. Isaiah is about to chomp down on celery and almond butter, which also shows it's face at times with the other Powers. 

This pic is proof that I can be fun and creative, as I am letting Grace and the boys eat their Power veggies in their closet before dinner. 

2. Da Avocado ~ On a daily basis we also eat avocados, which just happens to be my personal fav power food. I shared a little bit about that here explaining how I make da bomb guacamole (believe me I don't brag about my cooking ever!, except when it comes to my guac). Isaac and Grace eat the avocado straight from the rind like this and if I am in an extra good mood I will mash it up with a little salt and let them dip in some corn chips.
Love this little power eater!

Avocado is one of the first foods that I start my babes with and I don't move onto another until they really like it, thus I kinda trick them into loving it before they can even think otherwise. I am just nice like that.

3. POWER Smoothie ~ Everyone now a days has a go to smoothie that they prefer and this is mine:
*Frozen Bananas
*1 or 2 spoonfuls of almond butter
*2 scoops of chocolate protein powder
*Cup or 2 of almond milk
*What every frozen fruit I have in the fridge.
*Handful of Kale or spinach
*Scoop of probiotics.
*Water if needed

The kids and I can down this smoothie in minutes and it is SO good and healthy for you. Often times I make this when the kids get home from school or even for breakfast, which is always a hit.
Grace going to town on a breakfast smoothie. 

4. Fruit ~ The bottom drawer in our fridge is always full of fresh fruit- apples, pears, oranges, plums, grapes, etc and the kids know that they can take something from this drawer at any time during the day. My kids love having this freedom of being able to grab an apple or orange whenever they want and I love how if they tell me that they are hungry, I tell them right back to go help themselves to whatever is in the drawer. I also keep some sort of fruit on the counter waiting to become ripe like cantalope (I like my cantelope really realllly ripe) or pears, so the kids are waiting in anticipation for it. Oh the anticipation!
The boys making their own fruit salad. 

5. Protein bars ~ I am always on the hunt for a good power bar. The kids pretty much have free reign over protein bars as well, meaning they can dig in whenever hungry. For the past 6 months I have been hooked on Kind Bars, but I think we are kinda kinded out. And the 6 months prior to the kind bar, I was obsessed with thinkThin Bars.
Tonight I just bought these LaraBars to try and I am hoping they will be a major success story in our house, because Cosco sells them in bulk!

6. Nuts ~ I love nuts, but my kids not so much. One nut that they all like though is pistachios. They all just love to sit around and crack those suckers open. So, I have been carrying around in my diaper bag a mix of dried cranberries and pre- shucked pistachios for emergency hunger situations for the kids and myself. I feel like a genius, because it is such a nice compact healthy snack that can't spoil and can stay in my diaper bag at all times.

7. Finally, after all of the oh-so-original ideas that I just gave you if all else fails to satisfy, the kids just want some good ol' fashion gfree toast with Mayo. What? Your kid doesn't like toast and mayo! Actually, I don't either and I am not exactly sure how my kids obsession for this concoction came to be. I can only chalk it up to that I do LOVE me some mayo on my sandwiches, always have, and somehow my kids now treat the fatty spread as if it is strawberry jelly. On the regular they ask me: "Hey mom, can we please have some toast and mayonnaise. " And every time they ask, I still think to myself: "This is really weird."

Please let me know some of your healthy favorite go to's!! Obviously, the kids would be forever grateful for some sparkles in this area!

Ps. If you follow me through my grams, you have seen the below pictures. 

But just in case you didn't see them, I have to balance out the above 7 healthy quick takes, by admitting that we also on occasion hit up Wendy's for burgers without buns. Not one of our healthiest moments, but the kids love it.
It felt so wrong to be feeding Hope organic baby food in a not.even.close organic Wendy's. But this mom does what she has to do *wink*. 

September 15, 2013

Back on the Wagon

Man oh man, has it been hard to find a sliver of time in my days full of kiddos and stuff to put my simulating thoughts (ha!) down on dis here blog. But here I am, because well I just can't quit this... I like it too much (smiley face insert).
My Matt has been slacking on his Sanctifying Sunday editions too, but he just made me the above Gfree pizza, so forgiveness is all his. 
Speaking of my man, it is always the best thang ever when Matt and I are able to take a night out by ourselves. I mean seriously is there anything better than being able to sit, eat, and talk without being interrupted every.single .5 seconds. (We did have Hope with us, but besides the new squawking sound she has recently been gracing us with, she is easy peasy.) 
Our much needed date night was made possible, because my brother Nate watched our hoodlums plus his two for a sleep over movie night. Heck ya for them and hell ya for us! 

To start our night out Matt says: "Hey, take a picture of me sporting the pink diaper bag and then you can blog for 'What I Wore Sunday'." He did look pretty cute, so of course I snapped the moment. 

Livin' on our new Island we are bound and determine to discover every cool spot that there is, which honestly could take a lifetime. Last night we found this mural outside our favorite Island Sushi spot. So per usual we made our mark with a photo (or 20!). 
I have just recently discovered Instagram (yes, I am a little slow in the uptaking) and I have become a tiny bit obsessed. Instagram just makes everything look SO amazing! So purdy please let me know if you have an account, because I want to follow you!

And because it is still Sunday (11:09pm to be exact), Happy Sunday y'all! I can't say I heard too much of the Gospel today at Mass due to a nursing babe and 3 other kiddos trying to touch or hold onto some part of me. But I can say that in the midst of being used as my 3 year olds kleenex day in and day out, I love being God's child and I am so thankful for the gift of life and love! 

September 3, 2013

Our little puppy... and moving on

Do you ever have one of those days where all you want to do is floss your teeth but you can never quite get to it.... No? Well, humor me because that was totally me today. Our Hopie girl who is teething (when are babies not teething??) puts every.single.particle big or small in her mouth and it literally scares me to death. She is like this little puppy dog, nose and mouth to the ground, finding all that she shouldn't or that I swore I swept up an hour earlier and putting it as fast as you can say: "Really Miley bird!"in her little pie hole. My brother, Father Zyg, was in town this last week and I had him pray over her for sheer protection from small objects that some how (even with my needle eye going through ever-y-thing time and time again) find there way onto our floors and into Hope's mouth. Asking for your prayers too. Thanks a million, I owe you big time! 
Don't let her sweet innocent face fool you.
On an entirely different note, life is settling in for us Boda clan here on Davis Island. I think I am finally waking up from my dream of this being a really, really nice vacation to -- this is actually our home and where we live. A friend asked me the other night if I mind having no friends, you know since I am new to the area and have yet to totally spread my wings and fly. (Granted my friend asking is one of my best friends and lives 15 minutes away, but I knew what she meant, haha!) The question brought a lot to the surface because I do miss all of my beautiful friends that I was/am so, SO close to who live in Naples. And I know that yes we will remain friends, but the daily life we had together will never be the same. When I let myself really go there to "it never being the same" I get super teary eyed and have to pull myself up from dwelling on what I am missing to instead what I have been given here Tampa. But darn, it can be hard to let go... let go of play dates at the park and beach, countless dinners out and in our home, parties with multiple families that had kids all around the same ages as ours and where we could just kick back and let loose, our church, my women's prayer group and girls nights out, etc, etc. But, at the same time, I trust in God and know that He has me and our family exactly where He wants us and where we need to be. 
So to my Naples peeps, know that you are never far from my heart and I can't wait to visit your paradise and land where there are no mesquitoes super soon. And please come visit us!! Just bring lots of mesquito repelent, because these little bastards up here are out for blood and I am mean every drop they can get.  
Davis Island living.