Battling Through a Season of Loneliness

20
Feb
2017

Battling Through a Season of Loneliness in Motherhood

The past five months have been some of the toughest days of my life. It may surprise you, as it surprised me to admit it just a few weeks ago. However, it is the truth.

It is tricky enough that motherhood can be some of the loneliest years of our life. I know that and I can usually overcome those feelings of isolation and debilitating bitterness. But I feel guilt as well – because just six months ago we sold our home in Seattle, moved three hours west to a sweet and adorable town we’ve been dreaming of moving to, and here I find myself lonely?

I mean, how can that be? I am living the life I have been dreaming of!

But, even when we step out in faith and walk the path set before us, He never promises it will all be peaches and cream. And I have been a bit blindsided with the intense loneliness I’ve encountered.

I could go on with the reasons I feel lonely. They are all valid. I mean, it is how I feel and the circumstances are all true. Instead, I want to share with you how I’ve shifted my focus over the last few weeks to begin to see light at the end of my tunnel.

Break Free from Social Media

This is a tough one for me, since I run two businesses online and want to connect with my readers on Facebook – but the reality is, I need to take regular breaks.

For me, this season of isolation and loneliness intensifies when I am on Facebook viewing the highlight reels of everyone. I need to protect my heart and soul, which means not going to Facebook first thing each day or even several times a day.

Be Intentional

If you are like me and recently moved to a new community, which by the way is only 88 people big, you can’t wait for someone else to reach out to you. For months, that is what I did. Waited for someone to invite me to coffee or lunch. So in the past month, I’ve been intentional about making coffee dates and lunch dates with others and reaching out to them. Instead of fearing rejection I am stepping out with hope. This has been a game changer.

Worship

I have had sobbing sessions with God, weeping to praise music trying to re-focus and remember that I am not alone. He is with me EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s hard, really hard, but I believe that He will never leave nor forsake me. I have burned the daylights out of my Pandora stations alternating through worship music. This is my song for 2017 – You Have Called Me Higher by All Sons and Daughters. This year will be a great year and through greatness comes growth and character development, which I believe can be found during these lonely seasons.

Be Gentle with Yourself

This area is so hard for me, because I like to have the perception that I am capable of all things, all the time. But the reality is I need to rest and allow my soul to just be. If I am down, let the feelings surface instead of just covering them up. A nice hot bath can do wonders for me. A cup of tea or freshly brewed coffee enjoyed in silence is so soothing.

Find Fellowship

When we moved, we lost connection with our church family. If anyone has moved, you know what I am talking about. Our normal became very NOT normal. We’ve struggled with finding a new home church, but in the past three weeks we’ve been purposeful about connecting and putting a priority on finding a local church where we can connect, contribute, and find fellowship. This has been a big stride in pushing ahead through this intense season, and it won’t solve all the ups and downs, but there is nothing like being connected with other believers in doing good for God.

Using My Crazy Oils

Emotional support – essential oils are amazing for helping in this area. When you inhale an oil, it takes less than 22 seconds for it to reach the limbic system in the brain. (More amazing facts about essential oils here!) This area plays an essential role in the formation of new memories about past experiences. So when I inhale different oils and continually repeat it can help shift my mood, my focus, and my attitude. There are days my oils – like Joy, Harmony, Stress Away, Peace & Calming, Grounding, and Sacred Mountain – have been my life line to survival, along with some worship music! I can’t imagine my life without my toolbox of all natural plant based goodness for my body!

Even though I have been in this season of transition, I know we are truly blessed to live where we do. So many other good things are coming from our obedience. I love the slower pace and finding joy in things I otherwise would have missed, like the sunset. Here is one I viewed on Friday evening – pure amazement!

Beach Sunset

What has helped you through seasons of loneliness?

8 Tips for Organizing and Managing Your Family

13
Feb
2017

8 Tips for Organizing and Managing Your Family

I’ve been doing this “mom” gig now for almost 25 years, so I feel that I have gained some “secrets” to keeping my home organized and running smoothly. I realize many of us didn’t learn these things at home. Homemaking and motherhood are not “classes taught in school”. But they are learned in the home. Many of us didn’t observe, or didn’t have role models that provided a great learning environment.

I know I receive many emails from moms asking for ways to simply their days and get more organized. This post is for you! Basic steps that can have HUGE pay-off!

#1: Have ONE Family Calendar

This transformed our lives, especially with having older kids who do not live at home. I use an electronic calendar so it’s synced from anywhere. We use i-Cal now, but we have used Cozi in the past, as well as paper. It doesn’t matter which you choose, but picking one and stinking with it for all appointments and activities is key. If you choose paper, like the one Master Family Calendar that you print from the Supplemental Pack, make sure you post it so everyone can see it!

#2: Quick Pick Up

Before going to bed, be sure the kitchen is clean! This one task is really helpful for ending your day well and setting the scene for morning. It’s refreshing to wake up in a clean kitchen – especially when grabbing my coffee!

#3: Have a Housekeeping System

I have this one down now! After years of experimenting, I need to have big tasks broken down into smaller ones. I don’t have one specific day a week to clean, so I created the Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner. It breaks down tasks for cleaning every room in your house and a few other areas too. This system has kept my sanity!

#4: Delegate

I have shared this secret for years – but even I don’t use it as often as I should. Kids are amazing with tasks like emptying the silverware from the dishwasher, folding towels, taking garbage out, and wiping down remote controls and light switches. It helps them develop life skills and also helps us get a bit more done!

#5: Establish Routines

This simple step will be so life changing for everyone in your home. Have a simple morning routine, afternoon routine and bedtime routine. I use to think routines were boring, but NOPE! They provide freedom and especially help children feel comfortable because they learn to know what to expect. Can you imagine not having to repeat directions about what to do after school each day?  

#6: Meal Plan 

Life is good when I know what is for dinner. I have been using Pinterest as a help. I love my Family Favorites Board and plan meals out for two weeks. I also use eMeals and have saved many recipes and meal plans from my seven years of using this fabulous service. If you’ve never tried it, you can grab a 14-day trial for FREE!

#7: Don’t Overbook

This is an epidemic in my opinion. Our current society spends more time away from home than at home. It’s very easy to sign up for activity after activity and commit yourself to helping others or volunteering for different events, but you are truly running everyone ragged. Overbooking can create stress for you and your family and it will play out in anxiety, troublesome behavior, and illness.

#8: Find “Just for Mom” Time

This is non-negotiable. Yes, I am serious. I do believe every mom needs some down time – with no one else. Find what nourishes you. For me it is a once a month massage, getting up before my family and enjoying my coffee and quiet time, getting a nice walk at sunset, and meeting a friend for lunch. No one will make it happen for you – you need to schedule it in yourself!

7 Reasons to Read to Your Child

6
Feb
2017

7 Reasons to Read to Your Child

We all know that learning to read is important, but as parents what we do to facilitate this milestone in our home is extremely important. For those that homeschool, you already have the great joy of educating your children on your terms. But for those who school outside the home, it can seem daunting to know what to focus on at home. Helping to encourage your child to read is at the top of my list! Reading to your child has many benefits, one of which is simply having time to snuggle together.

#1: Reading Is Important

When you read to your child, he/she will learn that reading is important to you. Therefore, reading will become important to him/her.

#2: Listening Is Powerful

The more your child hears sounds, the better he/she will process these sounds into words. When a child is preschool/kindergarten age, the listening word starts to become the written word. Reading will foster your child’s ability to listen and pay attention. With all the problems we here about concerning attention spans, this is a great way to avoid that.

#3: Effective Calming

Reading has a calming effect on a restless or fussy baby. Words spoken out loud give a calming effect – even for you as you read. Who doesn’t want an easy way to calm a fussy baby?

#4: An Easy Routine

Reading is a wonderful before bed routine. Studies have shown that a child will thrive in an atmosphere in which routines are present. So either before or after pajamas, spend some time reading a book. We’ve recently started The Magic Treehouse books and we read a few chapters each night.

#5: Expand Their Imagination

Reading will help to develop your child’s imagination. Have you ever gotten lost in a good book? Your child can do the same while you are reading to him/her. We have recently been learning about sharks, dinosaurs, and Ancient Egypt – all from the comfort of our home!

#6: Build Communication Skills

When you spend time reading to toddlers, they’ll be much more likely to express themselves and relate to others in a healthy way. By witnessing the interactions between the characters in the books you read, as well as the contact with you during story time, your child is gaining valuable communication skills.

#7: Life-Long Reader

Reading to your child will develop in him/her the desire to become a reader.

We recently discovered a fun way to expand our reading library all on my iPad. Now that we’ve moved, we are 30 minutes from a library, so not super convenient for random trips to the library to get books. A friend shared Epic! Unlimited Books for Kids, which offers unlimited access to over 20,000 high-quality children’s books, including thousands of read-to-me, audio books, and educational videos. It does cost $4.99 a month, so for a few months we are trying it out to see how we enjoy the convenience. I really like that there are options for reading levels, having the book read to my child, or having him read. He uses his Blue Light Glasses too, which helps me feel good with him using screen devices, especially in the evening. We have thoroughly enjoying expanding our imagination with books!

Isn’t it exciting to think that you can have such an effect on your child’s ability to read just by reading to him/her? You have the power to develop a life long joy of reading and learning in your child. WOW! Just read.

8 Healthy and Quick Weeknight Dinners

30
Jan
2017

8 Healthy and Quick Weeknight Dinners

Quick, homemade healthy meals and weeknight dinners – we all are looking for the secret, right? Seems like during the week I often struggle with keeping dinner fresh and tasty. We easily fall into a rut with our favorites, so it is time to shift things a bit.

Here are a collection of simple recipes to liven up your dinner hour and help you keep your sanity. I love using my Instant Pot – cooking up whole organic chickens that I find on markdown at my grocery store truly makes my heart SING! I am kind of funny that way, but saving money on our grocery budget and getting healthy real food that nourishes my family really makes me happy!

Needs some dinner inspiration? Put one or two of these on your menu for this week!

#1: Fall-Off-The-Bone Pressure Cooker Chicken (in 30 Minutes!)

Fall-Off-The-Bone Pressure Cooker Chicken (in 30 Minutes!)

#2: Texas Beef Chili (Slow Cooker & Instant Pot)

Texas Beef Chili (Slow Cooker & Instant Pot)

#3: Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps

Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps

#4: One Pan Blackened Cod, Sweet Potatoes, and Zucchini

One Pan Blackened Cod, Sweet Potatoes, and Zucchini

#5: Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

#6: Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies

Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies

#7: One Pan Ranch Pork Chops with Crispy Potatoes

One Pan Ranch Pork Chops with Crispy Potatoes

#8: 4-Ingredient Salmon Patties

4-Ingredient Salmon Patties

Which one caught your eye or made your tummy grumble?

8 Amazing Facts About Essential Oils

23
Jan
2017

8 Amazing Facts About Essential Oils

The other day I celebrated a FOUR year anniversary – not a wedding or engagement anniversary, but the anniversary date of purchasing my Premium Starter Kit with Young Living.  

At that time I was looking for natural ways to support my emotions and was desperate to get a routine in place so I could be the best mom, wife, and friend I could be. I had already tried oils I purchased from Amazon and was so disappointed. I was not seeing the results others were sharing. So after doing more research I soon realized that Young Living was my next and last step.

Within three months I had a plan that supported my desired lifestyle and I began sharing right here on my blog. There were other moms who needed to hear what I shared. They wanted hope too.

So for the last four years I have sprinkled in my journey incorporating essential oils in our home, using them for so many different things, as well as ditching the chemicals we had in cleaners by using plant-based alternatives. I can’t imagine my life and what it could be today if I had not taken this step. I want to share a few facts with you about essential oils and Young Living.

#1: Essential Oils Are NOT New

Some of the oldest cultures on earth used essential oils. The Egyptians used essential oils for beauty and embalming and they were used in communal bath houses in Pakistan and Rome. There are 188 references to the use of essential oils in the Bible. Today, essential oils are considered by many to be the leading edge of natural products. Old things do come back in style!

#2: Essential Oils Are POWERFUL!

Essential oils are the most powerful part of the plant. They are distilled from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, fruit, rinds, resins, and herbs. Oils consist of over 100 different natural, organic compounds.

#3: Essential Oils Support Every System in the Body

In humans, essential oils provide support for every system in the body – from the endocrine system, to the circulatory system, to the muscular system. They support brain health, a healthy weight, are wonderful for supporting your emotional health, and are even great for sprucing up your libido! The uses are endless.

#4: Essential Oils Can Be Used in Different Methods

Oils can be applied to skin (topically), diffused in the air (aromatically), added to your bath, and Young Living’s Vitality line can be added to food and drink. I love some Lemon Vitality oil in my water bottle. It helps me get more water in during the day!

#5: They Are Absorbed Easily by Skin

When they are applied to skin, they are absorbed easily and carried by the bloodstream to every cell in the body within minutes. They can increase oxygen uptake, enhance absorption of nutrients, enhance longevity, and help our bodies detoxify. By simply inhaling therapeutic grade oils, we can uplift our mood and increase our feeling of peacefulness and well-being.

Tests have shown that essential oils reach the heart, liver, and thyroid in three seconds when inhaled. They were also found in the bloodstream in 26 seconds when applied topically. A normal and healthy body metabolizes essential oils in about 3-5 hours.

#6: Essential Oils Are Very Concentrated 

60,000 rose blossoms provide only 1 ounce of rose oil, making it one of the most precious and expensive oils on the market. However, Lavender is abundant – 220 pounds will provide 7 pounds of oil. The amount of plant material required for distilling explains why some oils are more expensive than others. And yet, since we only use a small amount of essential oils at a time, even oils that are expensive are often considered to be very economical.

#7: Purity Is Important

In the United States, there is no rating system for essential oils. The closest we get is an FDA requirement that in order to label a bottle of essential oils “pure” or “therapeutic grade,” the contents of that bottle must contain at least 5% of essential oils. When using essential oils as a natural alternative to support health and wellness, purity is absolutely critical. 95% of the world’s essential oils were created for industrial use. Many of the oils found on the market, even in health food stores, are of low quality. You will want to know the source of your oils.

Young Living offers a Seed to Seal Guarantee – and this spoke volumes to me. Young Living grows their own plants, owns their own fields, works closely with partner farms who abide by the same policies, and controls the entire process from planting all the way through until bottling. If I am going to go the extra step of using essential oils in my home, I want the best. The Seed to Seal Promise means each plant is hand-weeded, there are no pesticides used, no chemicals, and no weed killers. The plants are harvested at their peak and vigorously tested. They go directly from the farm to my home! You can read more on Seed to Seal here.

#8: Essential Oils Offer Incredible Health Support

Using therapeutic grade essential oils and oil-enhanced products every day can help us lead happier and healthier lives. My life is proof. I have been using Young Living oils for four years, and over that time have learned a lot about my body and what it truly needs to run most effectively. God did not create us to “just get by” – He created us to live FULL lives. My life is dramatically different today than it was four years ago and I can say this about my husband and my seven year old too.

How have you incorporated essential oils into your life? If you haven’t yet, perhaps you are intrigued? If you are interested, you can watch a previously recorded Facebook class HERE.

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