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Hello, everyone!

I have some exciting news!  

My blogs, Natural and Free and Fibro, Fit and Fab!, are merging to become a NEW blog called Caring Foodie!  

I even have a dot com!  It redirects to a Blogspot address, but that may change one day in the future. :)  I will share the link when everything goes live.

Here's what will happen:
  1. All posts and pages from Natural and Free and Fibro, Fit and Fab!  will be moved to Caring Foodie.  I will make sure the posts (and possibly some pages) say "Originally featured on Natural and Free" or "Originally featured on Fibro, Fit and Fab!" so that you all know where all the "old" material ends and the "new" material begins.  All links on those posts/pages will be updated as needed, too.  So, rest assured, all content that was previously available will still be available on the new site.  The only way something will be "missing" is if a site I previously listed is no longer available.
      
  2. All posts (with the exception of this one) and pages on Natural and Free and Fibro, Fit and Fab! will be deleted.  I will add a redirect link to this post once the new site is up and running.  I hope to have that done by this weekend.  I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.  As I mentioned above, all the material previously available will still be available, just at the new site.
      
  3. Though I will still be checking email at naturalandfreeinfo (at) gmail (dot) com, I will have a new email address (this will be listed later when everything is live).  Comments will be disabled on Natural and Free and Fibro, Fit and Fab! once the new site goes live, too.
      
  4. Social media will all change to Caring Foodie.  I will list those links here when needed.  There will be redirects where needed if I have to make new accounts.  Anything else will just get a name change.
I am sorry for any inconvenience these changes will cause you, but I know the benefits will greatly outweigh the negatives!

There are other changes coming, too, but I will share those at a later time.

Have a great day!

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This is the fourth Recent Reflections post of 2018.  Recent Reflections goes live the third Friday or Saturday of each month.  Each Recent Reflections post covers something that I'm reflecting on.  If you'd like to share a post with a similar theme, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your post, and I'll hop on over and leave a comment (and maybe some other readers will, too).

This month, I will be reflecting on a lesson learned from our never-ending winter.


This is a picture of our front yard on Monday, April 2nd, 2018.


We'd had a beautiful day and were able to clean up the rest of the brush from our tree removal and get started on our sidewalk removal, and we began to make tentative plans to start on some much needed house maintenance (namely beginning to scrape the wood siding down so we can paint it).


This is a picture of our yard on Wednesday, April 4, 2018.


As you can see, we got a bit of snow...Over 9 inches.


This threw our talks of house maintenance out the window.  The snow started to melt in a few days, and by Friday, April 13, 2018, our yard looked like this:


We thought again about maintenance plans....

Until Saturday, April 14th, 2018, when we woke up to this:


This time we'd gotten over a foot of snow and ice pellets.


(My husband is pointing to where the ruler is buried in the snow/ice pellets, FYI.)

On Monday, April 16, 2017, our yard looked like this:


I tried to measure the snow/ice pellets with a tape measure, but it wouldn't go through the snow/ice.  I did measure inside a footprint, and along a walk edge, and it was over 13 inches, and the end of the measuring tape wasn't even down to the ground, so it is safe to say we got quite a lot!  According to the news, we'd gotten 14 inches by the 14th, and we'd gotten a bit since then, so I think between a foot and a half  to 2 feet is probably pretty close to right.

Anyway, it is quite depressing to see over a foot of snow where you'd seen the beginnings of green grass just the day before.  It overwhelms the heart, and it makes you want to yell, "Ok, Winter!  You had your turn!  It's Spring's time to shine!"  Through this hard time, though, God has taught me something that I thought worthy of sharing with you.  It's about change.

(Note: I'm not talking about change in regards to convictions or morality (i.e. things that you should not change or compromise on), but in regards to life-changing events that can't be helped or things that are new or different.)

We don't like change.  We fight against it.  We struggle with the idea of "different".  We get comfortable and content, and we hate when things start to evolve into a thing we don't recognize.  We struggle to hold on to the past, and we do our dead-level best to keep things the same.  But when we do this, we are like this never-ending winter.

We tell ourselves that we like the way things are currently.  We love the beauty of what is just like we like the beautiful white snow, the snuggle times with loved ones in the warm indoors, the building of snowmen, the snowball fights, the hot cocoa, the winter fun...and we forget that beauty can also come from change.  We forget that a spring is coming with all its new life, beautiful scents, cleansing rains, gorgeous flowers, and warm sunny days.  All we can think about is that we have to let go of the beauty we know for the unknown that is to come.

When we struggle to hold on, we're just like this stubborn winter.  We don't realize that we're hurting those we love, we're causing chaos, and we are just downright miserable and making other miserable, too.  If we'd just let go - if we'd just relax into the change that God has allowed to come into our lives - we would find that there is something beautiful waiting to take the place of what will be lost.

Oh, change is never easy.  It can be messy and hard, just like spring is messy with it's mud and rain.  But, oh, what loveliness is on the other side of that mess!  Without the thawing of the cold, hard ground that brings the mud there'd be no new grass or flowers.  Without the rain, new life would not grow.  Without the warmth, we'd never see all the beauty that awaits.  Change isn't easy, but it's worth it.

I don't know what you may be facing in your life, but there is probably a change going on somewhere for you.  Don't fight it like this never-ending winter.  Let God use it to show you a new beauty, a new beginning, and a new hope.  Trust Him with the details, and do your best to enjoy the ride.  It may be hard at times, but it will be worth it in the end.  I promise.


"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the Master calls a butterfly." - Richard Bach


I truly hope this post has been a blessing to your heart!  What has God done in your life lately to bless you?  What are you reflecting on?

Have a wonderful weekend!

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This is the third Recent Reflections post of 2018.  Recent Reflections goes live the third Friday or Saturday of each month.  Each Recent Reflections post covers something that I'm reflecting on.  If you'd like to share a post with a similar theme, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your post, and I'll hop on over and leave a comment (and maybe some other readers will, too).

This month, I will be reflecting on heritage.


My favorite back-to-school picture for this year of my kiddos.
Our children have inherited a lot of things from us.  The boys are both growing very tall, which is a trait they get from both sides of the family.  My oldest is built more like me and some of my cousins, my middle kid is built like my brother and his dad and his dad's dad, and my youngest seems to be built like my husband's grandma (his mom's side) for now.  If you look at them at different angles or at different times, you see both sides of the family pretty equally.  It's amazing how many people tell me they look like me, and then how many other people tell me they look like their dad.  I like to think they have the best of both of us.  They definitely all have my husband and my sense of humor as evidenced by the picture above. :)

Beyond the obvious, their is also the lesser known things they have inherited.  All of the kids are named after people important to us, and people who we believe they can look up to in some way.  We tell them often why they have the names they have, and that it is important for them to have "good names" (reputations).  Proverbs 22:1 (KJV) says, " A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold."  We always remind them that they will be remembered by the lives they lived, and we want them to be remembered as honorable, God-fearing, God-loving people who did what was right!  We'd much rather they have "good names" than riches any day!

Just like our children inherit the bad with the good (i.e. my oldest has my Hashimoto's and my other two are heterozygous for Factor V Leiden like me), they can also learn bad habits vs. good habits from us.  We parents pass down all of our traits - which, along with things like thoughtfulness, selflessness and being a great hostess, can include things like bad tempers, laziness and gossiping - if we aren't careful.  It is so important that we remember that there are always little eyes and ears watching and listening, and that our children will do what we do before they will do what we say.

What type of legacy are you leaving for your children?  What type am I leaving?  When your family and friends think of you, do they say your name in a good light or bad?

I want Proverbs 31:28 (KJV) to be true of me: "Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."  That is the legacy and heritage I want to leave behind - a Godly mother whose life is worth of praise and emulation. 

I truly hope this post has been a blessing to your heart!  What has God done in your life lately to bless you?  What are you reflecting on?

Have a wonderful weekend!

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