Walking Through Grief and Healing with a Loved One

8
Nov
2018

grief

Hello Sweet Friends…. I am just now coming up for some air.  Our family has been venturing down a road that has been emotional, exhausting and heartbreaking.

Two weeks ago, on October  24th, 2018, my 19 year old nephew, Nicholas Schumacher lost his battle with Neuroblastoma cancer.  He fought a 17+ month battle.  We fervently prayed he would be healed, but God had other plans.

The weeks leading up to his death, I was privileged to spend more time with Nick than I had in any other time in his life. I still saw the smile, his personality and his determined spirit coming through.

Gifts

He was the person who lit up the room as soon as he walked in with his infectious smile.

He had more JOY to spread during his short life than most do in 70 years.

He was incredibly talented in film making, even at only 19.

His Make A Wish trip involved a movie filming and meeting Tom Hanks.  It’s was a powerful trip and an awesome video was created to celebrate.

The pain of real, heart wrenching grief has not touched me since I lost my mother just a little over 12 years ago.  Grief will stick to your bones and bring you to your knees in the most dynamic way.  Even 12 years later, there will be certain memories that will open the flood gates of tears.

It’s good to remember, it’s even better to allow the tears to fall.

During this past month, I’ve grasped some concepts and ideas on how to walk alongside someone who has experienced  loss.  My brother and his family are doing just that, right now.  My heart breaks for them as they grieve the loss of a child, and I want to be a help during this time in ways that allow them space to walk the long road. Here are some of the things I have sent be helpful.

Just Be There

I had the privilege to be present when my nephew took his last breath and it was just an honor.  I found the most joy and feeling of peace just being there in the moments with both my brother and my sister-in-law.  Now, it’s the after…. the days that pass where they need someone to be present.  To not forget what they are walking through…. so even thought I am not physically there in their home with them, I will text with a message asking, ” how they are doing today” or just to let them know I am praying for them.

Listen

In the days after Nick’s death I was just present.  I asked questions, but often conversation just started, tears would start and I would just listen and allow space.  I know many feel like they do not know what to say when someone has just lost a loved one…. and that is the beauty, you really do not have anything to say, except I am sorry.  Just stop and be willing to listen.  We try to cover that awkward space with endless words that can often make things feel worse.  A hug can do so much.  Silence also produces healing.

Offer to Give Specific Help

Many times we want to help others, and we tend to ask, “What can I do?”  If you are in a the midst of grief, your mind and body is under a lot of stress and emotions and you are lucky to remember how to brush your teeth and drive your car.  When you ask a person grieving what they need help with, they will often be blank.  They are not sure.  So instead of asking an open ended question like that, offer a specific way to help.  Cleaning house, going grocery shopping, taking over errands, folding laundry, mowing their yard or just being available at their house to take deliveries is so much better.

Meals

Food….. this is important.  The last thing one wants to think about is fixing a meal, let alone trying to eat. So a real practical task you can offer is bringing a meal.  You can do this individually, or you can set up an option and coordinate it so many friends and family can contribute and make things very easy.  One site I am familiar with and used was Meal Train.  I set up a calendar of dinner delivery for two weeks, every other evening.  After that, I set up meals for every four days, to allow my sister in law a chance to get things back to normal in the kitchen, but also allowing friends to help.  Meal Train also allows for you to link up gift cards and offer a cash donation, which is great for those who do not live nearby.  I will say, the donate funds option was a bit pricey on fees, so in the future I will set up a pay-pal option for friends to donate through.

Grief is a tough season, no question about it.  However, these tips will help you walk alongside someone and be a true blessing during the process.

 

Simple DIY Summer Perfume Recipes

18
May
2018

DIY Summer Perfum Recipes
Did you know perfume can be detrimental to your health?

The term “fragrance” on labels can be a combination of over 300 harmful chemicals that the company doesn’t have to disclose. This is often why people get headaches when they smell synthetic perfume.  I ditched my perfume years ago for safe, all-natural essential oil perfume that I know will only benefit my body and not harm it.

It is better to play it safe and create your own perfume with natural and effective essential oils that you KNOW are safe.   Not only are these perfumes safe, but their aroma therapy can take you from feeling down and out to happy and confident in a matter of seconds.

I began my essential oil journey because I was looking for oils to help support my emotional well being – little did I know how much I would learn in the process about the toxic chemicals I had been exposing my body to.  I am so grateful for the knowledge to do better and also to smell amazing with all-natural, plant-based fragrance on my skin.

Check out these BEAUTIFUL bottles provided by Silver Orange Boutique on Etsy. You can order these beautiful bottles through her shop, fill them with your favorite essential oils combo, and gift this perfume to anyone whose day you want to turn around.  I love surprising friends with sweet little gifts!

I have all types of bottles on hand to quickly whip up my DIY perfume blend.  I grabbed these simple bottles on amazon, they are colorful and so adorable, as well as these rose colored bottles.  They are perfect for blending and gifting.

Here are some of my favorite recipes.

Fill with alcohol when using a spray bottle. Fill with V6 carrier oil if using a roll-on bottle. Adjust amount of individual oils based on preferred scent.

DIY essential oil perfume blends

❤ Bon Vivant – “Somebody who loves life.”

In a 10 ml bottle – 5 drops Joy, 5 Geranium, 10 Tangerine
In a 10 ml bottle – 5 drops Joy, 15 drops Lemon
In a 10 ml bottle – 5 Northern Lights Black Spruce, 5 Orange, 2 Rose
In a 10 ml bottle – 10 drops Oola Fun, 10 drops White Angelica

🌺 Rilassante – “Relaxing”

In a 10 ml bottle – 10 drops Stress Away, 10 drops Orange
In a 10 ml bottle – 10 Drops Lavender, 5 drops Frankincense, 5 drops Orange
In a 10 ml bottle – 5 drops Lavender, 5 drops Stress Away, 10 drops Valor

DIY Perfumes with Essential Oils

❤ Amor – “Love”

In a 10 ml bottle – 12 drops Ylang Ylang & 8 drops Orange.
In a 10 ml bottle – 6 drops Grapefruit, 6 drops Sandalwood, 6 drops Jasmine
In a 10 ml bottle – 10 drops Ylang ylang, 10 drops Idaho Blue Spruce.

What is your favorite scent? Floral? Citrus? Spicy?  If you have not tried Ylang Ylang – just do it.  Such an amazing flower that is grown on the Young Living farm in Ecuador. I had the privilege of hadn’t picking flower buds a few years ago.  The field smelled amazing!

Who is next on your list to brighten their day?  Maybe it’s you!!

Please tell me you already have essential oils!!!

If not, please give yourself a gift and make today the day you start.  NOW is a great time to get a starter set of essential oils and a diffuser for 50% off! I’ll also gift you $20 cash back and a goodie bag full of resources worth $25! You’ll also get access to my members-only online community to learn how to use your oils and get lots of education and support.

Hope for a Weary Mom: 6 Tips to Overcome

27
Feb
2017

Hope for a Weary Mom: 6 Tips to Overcome

Exhausted, overwhelmed, and numb. Any of those feelings hit close to home?

Last week I shared with you all about my season of loneliness (a topic we never want to discuss or admit). But I am here to see. I am surviving and pulling up my bootstraps and pushing into a new season of expectation.  

Yes, I’m expecting amazing things!

So, what do you do in the meantime during that transition of feeling worn out and weary? Whether it’s a season of loneliness, toddlers running you ragged, or a season of health challenges, maybe you can implement a few tips I am currently using to give myself grace.

Batch Cook

Oh my word. This is a life saver for me right now. To be honest, there are days I don’t want to cook and am worn out physically and emotionally. So I am thankful that when I make a batch of soup or a casserole, I have been doubling my recipe and making sure I have ingredients on hand and freezing a batch. I can grab something in the freezer and dinner is taken care of.  

Rest

This is a hard one for me, and I rarely ever just relax. But times are changing and my body needs time to recharge. Our emotional health is important and will impact our physical health. Finding time to sit, listen to music, and nap. Yes, I said NAP! Snuggling up with a warm blanket and a book is nourishment for your soul.

Let the Guilt Go

I have let my house get a bit chaotic for my own liking the past few months. One reason is I know we are moving, but the second reason was because I was exhausted. I have done the minimum and, you know what, we all survived! I have changed my perspective and chosen to use that time to relax instead of get all upset because I should have ran the vacuum. Find a balance that fits your season for right now.

Play with Kinetic Sand

Yes, this one is a bit odd, but putting aside our “normal” means doing some things NOT normal! For me, it was sitting down and doing Kinetic Sand (one of my son’s favorite activities). I am so not about the play, but when you are needing to change things up a bit, drawing, coloring, or using your hands in mundane activities can be really good! We have had quite the collection of sand, toys, and imaginary play.

Get Outside

I have said this one before (many times), but I know it can be work in the middle of winter. Whether you deal with snow, freezing temperatures, or lots of rain like I do, it is not always easy to just get yourself outside. But do it anyway. Especially when it’s not easy. I can often make excuses to stay indoors for days on end and it will feed my exhaustion and overwhelm. Seeing the inside four walls of my home day after day will exhaust my spirit. Getting outside I am reminded of God’s goodness and His caring for what is around me. I love the fresh air and my body needs the activity for sure.

Get Yourself Some Flowers

Yes, get yourself some fresh flowers to brighten your space. My favorite flowers are tulips and they can bring a smile to my face in an instant. You don’t have to spend a lot, but grab yourself a bunch of daisies, tulips, or maybe a potted primrose and brighten your space up!

What is your tip for seasons of weary motherhood?

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!

A Joyful Start to Your Morning

8
Dec
2016

A Joyful Start to Your Morning

Now that winter is upon us, it certainly takes a bit more energy and coaxing to get out of a nice, cozy warm bed and begin our day. What helps you get your morning mood going in a positive direction? I have several must have’s for my mornings. I’ve shared my morning devotional time reading and about having a morning routine, but I have not really shared with you my secret – really yummy coffee!

Coffee.

I am quite the coffee snob for sure. You can ask any of my family members – they will tell you! I am picky about my coffee.  

There are a few things in life that matter a lot to me, and coffee is one of those things I put in my top ten. I love good, strong, dark coffee – with a little raw milk and ground cinnamon on top. It is perfection. Just for good measure, a few of the other things that matter to me in life are Jesus, my family and friends, my husband, the beach, my essential oils and supplements, worship music, and a nice glass of wine!

I love coffee so much that I am (almost) embarrassed to admit that in our house we have five coffee brewing devices. Um. Yes, we do. We are prepared for large crowds, fast brewing, and those with particular coffee desires – I mean, I can relate!

Morning Coffee

My favorite way to start my day right now is with a strong cup of espresso with some warm raw milk and a dash of ground cinnamon. Since giving up sugar in my coffee, I have been so intrigued with really tasting the marvelous flavors of different beans and the results when they are roasted.   

I had the pleasure to collaborate with Gourmesso and have been experimenting with some new coffee blends and let me say – I am in heaven! Gourmesso has convenient Nespresso compatible pods that come in 25 different varieties and they are mostly Fair Trade certified. There are many that fit my realm of strong, dark roasts, but I found two that were particularly fabulous.

Since I really enjoy a rich, deep roast, the House Blend Lungo is my go-to coffee first thing in the morning. It has a slightly nutty flavor and is full-bodied, incredibly rich and perfect with a velvety crema. It’s delightful!  

My other go-to is the Honduras Pura Forte. It consists of different roasts of 100% arabica beans. The beans are grown and harvested according to purely ecological guidelines. I love when a company really takes an interest in using sustainable farming practices that benefit the environment.

There is a benefit of enjoying the simple things in life. For me, coffee is a simple pleasure. It creates good memories, can reunite friends, creates warmth in a home, and facilitates good conversation. Finding a simple pleasure to begin your day and bring joy in the morning is very calming to your soul. These are the things that matter.

Since our move in September, I have taken inventory of what really matters and how I can find joy in the small things.  

Beach Walk in Seabrook

A walk on the beach out on a crisp cool morning is finished nicely when I return home to brew a cup of rich coffee. I love brewing coffee at home and having it taste better than what I can buy when I am out at a local coffee shop.  

Do you have a ritual or part of your morning routine that helps get your day started off in a joyful way? I’d love to hear about it.

I received complimentary coffee pods in exchange for my review and article. All opinions are my own and unbiased.