Thursday, May 19, 2016

Stress ~ A Silent Killer

Eating healthy is only part of the solution to good health. There are other key factors beyond the physical body that need to be addressed. I have learned things I wish I would have known sooner, but in hindsight I can clearly see that life is a continuous journey of learning and all we can do is keep moving forward and doing our best to make progress. No matter what we are battling at this very moment, we have the choice to focus on the struggle before us or to look beyond and see the hope and the light that will surely come if we are patient. Relate the problem that you are dealing with to a terrible storm on the sea and a ship is trying to get back to land, but nothing can be seen ahead. Complete fear could strike with the enormous waves tossing the boat to and fro and heavy rains crashing down upon it. Such fright could make a person lose their course and their journey could end in tragedy. But another who is in the same position, could hold on to hope, they could have faith that somewhere in the distance a glimpse of light will be seen and safety will come. Determination and positivity will drive that person to safety no matter how rocky the journey is. It is our thoughts, our mind that is so powerful. But the more I think about it, it is the Spirit within us that is so powerful and it is this that carries us through and makes us stronger... if we allow it to.

When I was so sick, a doctor pointed out stress management to me, but didn't give any advice on dealing with it which was more frustrating. Now I know, in order to have health, you need to have a sound mind. My life dramatically changed once my thoughts moved to focus on positivity. When I was able to forgive people for the hurtful things they said/did to me I became freer. I found that the negativity I was holding onto was hurting myself more than anyone else. Now, when I look at a battle I am facing I dig into God's Word and read to see what answers He reveals to me. I have found I receive even more answers by simply talking and asking God for guidance directly, through prayer. ("Pray without ceasing." 1Thessalonians 5:17) The stress has lifted off of me. It took awhile for me to realize the stress was one of the main factors of my sickness! I was dwelling on the negative around me which caused me to respond negatively, which caused stress to compile... not the way to healing. It makes me think of the Bible verse where Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." So the more I thought negatively, the more I responded negatively which was actually a sin... and was a big reason why I needed God, to see and walk in His ways. This was and has been the way to healing for me, and it is the way to victory in whatever battle we find ourselves facing. We don't need to focus on the actual struggle in itself but look to the One who will give us victory to overcome. If we are alive we have hope and we are able to hold onto our faith and know that good will come.

God is our loving Father. He wants the best for us. He knows we will face trials, no matter where our faith is at. The thing is the stress, the struggles we face, are an opportunity to put our faith into action. It gives us time to draw nearer to God and to rely on Him to show us through our difficulty. If we didn't face hard times, I believe most of us would never turn completely to Him. I know this is true for me. I had to hit rock bottom physically and emotionally before I grabbed onto Him. It took getting to such a low point for my attention to be put on Him. Now I pray my focus will not change!

Dr. Charles Stanley is an amazing Christian speaker. I could listen to him for hours on YouTube. He has preached about God's Stress Remover and there being only one solution. Stress will continue to tear you down. Whether the conflict or distress is coming from family, friends, money problems, job, environmental factors it has the potential to eat away at you, slowly killing you. Stanley says many doctors are quick to give out prescription drugs, but the one real solution that works is a relationship with God, and I couldn't agree more! Stanley goes on to share that there is only one thing God created that He can have a personal relationship with and that is you and me. We are very special to Him and He wants to reveal His love for us. His desire is a relationship with us. This is where solitude comes in. We have to make time to be alone with God, to talk to Him. We can share what is on our thoughts, although He knows, He knows our desires, He knows everything about us. But we can definitely ask if He can help work out certain situations. We can praise Him for all the gifts He has given us. Once we start thinking of all the things we are blessed with it's kind of hard to even think of wanting more! At least that is where I find myself. The biggest thing about time alone with God is asking Him for guidance, direction in every area of our life. I think our journey would be a lot less complicated if we listened better to Him and allowed Him to be our guide. I know I wouldn't have messed so many things up in the past if God would have been my priority from the beginning and I would have listened! Live and learn...
Stanley pointed out that time with God isn't just reading the Bible. I think it's great to read and learn about Him and past events. The Word is full of inspiration and hope for situations we face today, but a personal relationship is needed. God is waiting and listening to hear from you. It is amazing when He answers! He is definitely worth your undivided attention! Something else that was good in Stanley's talk was that he gave 11 benefits of solitude with God... these were a few of the points that stood out to me:
1. Makes busy days much more fruitful.
2. God repairs the damage when we give Him time. We become free. He refuels us.
3. He equips us to face the tough days with confidence.
4. When we are searching for an answer, God will give us a crystal clear answer when we are listening!
5. Protects our health. He is our real physician, everyone else is practicing! (So true!)

To listen to the entire talk on God's Stress Remover, click HERE
Make time for God, stay positive & be blessed!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Infertility ~ Finding Peace in Mother's Day

I hope all you mamas had a wonderful Mother's Day this past Sunday. It was a beautiful day! In this post I will be opening up my heart once again, in hopes to encourage and uplift someone else who is struggling. Please understand I am not always happy with my previous choices but I have learned from them, and for that gained knowledge I am thankful, thankful for the entire journey. Being completely open and honest, for the past 5 years Mother's Day has been rather painful. Although I was blessed with one beautiful daughter, I was greatly struggling with secondary infertility and this day put more of a focus on what I considered to be a great weakness. I am sure many other ladies who are struggling with infertility or secondary infertility can relate. For some reason, many of us women are pretty good at picking out our own flaws. Sadly, sometimes we dwell on them. For me, for so long I dwelled on my infertility issues. I tried so hard to make things happen in my own power. My heart hurt so much because I felt I couldn't give my husband more children. My daughter was in tears on several occasions because she didn't have a sibling. I was filled with guilt. I wanted better for my family. I tried to take control of my life to make things happen in MY timing. Oh my goodness, how much I have learned since the beginning of my secondary infertility journey. For one, I am NOT in control and never will be. God is all powerful. What He wants to be will be. His will is above all. Second, I have made many mistakes in life. Some impacted my health greatly. Looking back I can see how the Lord was nudging me to change my diet to eat healthier food but instead I put my trust in doctors and chose medical intervention because they promised I should get pregnant soon after. You see, whatever I thought would give me another child I did even if it didn't feel quite right. Big mistake. God is the giver of such a miracle. He is the Creator of all. My focus was and is supposed to be on Him above all else. But I made having another child my idol. It is what I thought about all the time. I didn't realize it at the time, but the stress of it was eating away at me. I was getting sicker and sicker, and I believe my negative thoughts were the source. The third thing I have come to learn is God is all knowing. He knows what is best for us. He knows what our future holds. He wants us to be ready, but to be ready we have to learn certain things. He has unique challenges for each of us and we have the choice to allow Him to guide us through or to try our own way to overcome. Through personal experience I know quite well now that my own efforts get me no where or do me more harm. God is a good God, He is our Father who wants the best for us. I believe He truly wants all of His children to succeed in life. He puts desires in us to go after and I don't believe He wants us to give up on them. He wants us to overcome so we can bless others from what we have learned. The thing is, we have to realize we need Him to get through the many challenges we face. God desires a relationship with us first and foremost. If we don't face a challenge, we wouldn't see the need to ask God for help. Why would we need to rely on Him if everything always went our way? I admit, my relationship with God has taken a good amount of time to grow. But now I am so excited to spend time with Him on a daily basis, to just chat and see what He wants me to know and do. The things He has shown me is incredible and it shows me how thankful I can be in this great struggle of infertility. He has shown me not to give up hope, but instead to be patient and find joy in what surrounds me at this very moment. God showed me that from the very beginning Satan wanted to be in control; he wanted all the power and to have things his way. Satan didn't want to have God guide him and he sure didn't want to love him. (Selfish Satan!) Well God didn't want to MAKE him love Him. God doesn't want to make anyone love Him, He wants us to choose Him. God made everything good and perfect at the beginning, but from the beginning man was also given a very important choice to make. We could choose God's way or follow Satan's way which is full of self-seeking desires, stress, disaster, torment... The more I grow in faith the more I realize how great of a sinner I am and really what do I deserve? I deserve nothing. What have I done that is so great? What do I know that puts me above someone else, even God? When I changed my focus from not being able to have more children and put my focus on God and learning His ways, things have greatly changed. I have so much more joy. I have peace and hope. This past Mother's Day I felt more blessed than ever. I have an amazing husband who loves me. I have a cozy home that we worked hard on to make our own. We have good, nutritious food to eat; we have a comfy bed to sleep on at night. There is so much beauty right out our windows. Trees are filled with gorgeous blooms. Birds are singing in the trees. The grass is lush and green. Food is growing in the garden... all these things were given by God for us to enjoy! A gift from Him. I am thankful. Because what have I given Him in return? For so long I hadn't even given Him my love! Something that seems so simple, but can be rather hard to share... love. Jesus came to earth to do His Father's will. What did He do? He showed pure, unselfish love to everyone He came across and then He payed the ultimate price for us so we can be forgiven of our many sins. Wow! And all God wants in return is a relationship with us, one where we turn to Him to seek His advice before all else in every circumstance we face.
You can't give a young child a knife even if they beg to have one, right? We all know that would be irresponsible and could be very harmful. But after they grow and learn how to use one carefully then they are able to use one right? We know that the time will come when it will be safe for them to use. Well, God knows things about our future that we do not. We have lessons to learn before our time comes, maybe the time to get the desire of our heart. But to get to the point of whatever it is we are hoping for, we need to learn what God wants us to and He wants us to be joyful during the learning stage. If a child is constantly whining and complaining, the adult is a lot less likely to give them what they want right? What is different between God our Father and His children, you and me? I believe He wants us to look around and take notice of the many gifts He has already given us.
God has shown me through the infertility journey to not give up hoping for more children, His Word (in the Bible) clarifies it for me. Instead of trying to do everything I can in "my own power" to get pregnant, He wants me to seek Him and allow Him to teach me His valuable lessons so I will be ready for what He has in store for me. His Word says He wants to give us more than we can even imagine! That makes me excited because God stands by His word, unlike Satan. God wants us to be fruitful and to multiply. God loves children. He loves you and me. I am choosing God's way...

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." ~1Thessalonians 4:1

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hair Care Simplified

My hair at the end of the day. Nothing fancy, a bit windblown, but soft all thanks to two simple ingredients!
 When I was really struggling with my health, my doctor said I needed to stay away from gluten due to Celiac and I had to be aware of all ingredients in food as well as other products I used like cosmetics, toothpaste, haircare... Before I heard the words Celiac Disease, I had already been simplifying products and foods as much as I could. I was on a quest to get the most organic shampoo and conditioner I could find, but no matter what I tried I was having issues with buildup and a greasy feeling in the section behind my ears. Nothing I was trying was giving me the soft hair I was hoping for, until...

I got rid of all commercial hair care products and simply used baking soda (plus water) for my shampoo and plain white vinegar for my conditioner! At the time my husband could not stand the smell of vinegar so every so often I would go back to trying a purchased so called organic shampoo and conditioner, but after the first use, my hair felt greasy all over. I learned my lesson, these two simple ingredients are what works best for me (and my daughter). And my husband has gotten used to the smell. :)
How we wash our hair: [It is sometimes easier to have brushed hair before washing.] First I put about a tablespoon of baking soda in a small glass container. (I use an old glass vitamin bottle.) I have a separate glass container filled with vinegar. (I use a cleaned out glass ghee container.) Wet hair/scalp thoroughly. Then put some water in with the baking soda, guessing about 3T, I don't measure, you don't need to be precise, then with the cover on the bottle I give a few shakes and then pour it all over my scalp and massage it in. Wait a minute or two and then rinse it out. At this point you may feel the squeaky clean feeling, but if not don't worry; I feel it on my hair but not on my daughters when I wash hers, but in the end they both turn out soft and clean. After hair is well rinsed, tilt head back and slowly pour about 1/4 cup vinegar all over hair and scalp, all the way to the ends. Be careful not to get in eyes! And warning, it will be cold! Pull fingers through hair. Let sit for a few minutes. There will be no suds during any of this (that usually comes from harmful fillers). When the vinegar is on the hair, it will not feel smooth and silky. After waiting for a bit, rinse hair well. Dry and style as usual. Hair should be soft and clean! No more buildup and no toxic ingredients used! This does work on colored hair too. I just wouldn't do it immediately after dyeing hair, but definitely the day or two after.

When washing kids hair... I don't recommend using vinegar on real small children just because it is a cold liquid when it comes out and if it gets in the eyes it really burns. We put a big thick washcloth on K's back before pouring it on. Kaelyn does not like the cold factor but she has seen how soft it makes her hair and she likes that. I also believe vinegar is a good way to prevent lice! So far she hasn't picked up any nasty bugs and they were around in her classroom on more than one occasion. She is definitely more than happy to use it during those times! Her hair has to be brushed well before washing and at night we always braid so it makes for an easier morning and no crazy knots.

Have a wonderful weekend! Weather has been gorgeous here so I will be off working more on my garden. :)