How I Got Healthier — Steps to Live Your Best

2
Jan
2019

How I Got Healthier

Just over seven years ago, I really didn’t think much about the food I ate, what I drank, or even what I applied to my body. I really didn’t have much interest in “living healthier,” but I was hit with a sucker punch that changed my mind.

Just over seven years ago I was diagnosed with Cutaneous Lupus, as well as Systemic Lupus. My life felt like I was on a downward spiral.

As I journeyed through this diagnosis, I slowly became empowered. I began to learn that ALL THE THINGS we put IN and ON our body matter. It accumulates and it piles up.

I get questions all the time about how I have managed to put my Lupus into remission, and it’s time to share the steps I took—real, practical steps—to see if they may help you. But first, let me say, these changes won’t just help you if you have Lupus; they will help you prevent disease, care for your body like the temple it is, and be the best mom you can be for your family. You deserve to feel amazing. You deserve to care for yourself in ways that will allow your body to function at its optimal level.

When we poison our body with bad choices, those choices add up. Do not be a victim. Fight for your health, the health of your kids; it is important.

This will be part ONE of a TWO-part series on this topic. There is a lot to share.

Ditched Creamer

I love coffee…truly love coffee! In fact, I have a favorite French press, grinder, and brand of coffee. However, one of the things I loved about my coffee was the artificial vanilla-flavored coffee creamer I added to it. I was truly addicted. But, once I began truly looking at the ingredients on the package, I became quite aware it had to go. I switched to grass-fed raw milk to add to my coffee with some vanilla stevia drops, and eventually I switched to nondairy. I now use a coconut and almond milk creamer and it does the trick…all by itself. My taste buds are not craving the sugary taste first thing in the morning, and my body does so much better without the artificial ingredients. And eliminating dairy is another great step on my health journey.

I encourage you…if you say “there’s no way I can give up my creamer,” I hear you. That was me. But here’s the deal…start making small changes; pick one thing to change and then slowly add that in, like using RAW cream and REAL sugar. Then switch to the next step. It all helps.

Ditched Gluten

Shortly after I was diagnosed with Lupus, a friend with Lupus shared that she found incredible relief by eliminating gluten. I had no idea what gluten even was! I told her I could never not have French fries; she sweetly laughed at me and assured me I could always eat fries.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat that causes inflammation and distress to the intestinal tract. Most people find that it doesn’t bother them to the extent of others, but for me, it’s bad news. The wheat we eat today, here in the U.S., has been modified over the years, making it troublesome for many. So I chose to remove any wheat from my diet. Did it help? Yes, it did! And, honestly, I didn’t replace a bunch of items with gluten-free versions. I rarely eat sandwiches now, but instead wrap with lettuce or make a salad. I occasionally will indulge in gluten-free cookies or a cupcake, but really have decided that those should be occasional treats anyhow.

I’ve also been using Einkorn products, which I have found to be a good fit for me. You can read more about Einkorn and if it might be good for you here. If you have joint pain, feel bloated often, or have digestive trouble, I encourage you to eliminate gluten and see how you feel.

Went Chemical Free

Seven years ago I began to look at products I was using on my skin as well as in my home, like cleaning products and personal care items. It was eye-opening. Something that happens when we apply synthetic, laboratory-made products to our skin is bioaccumulation. Bioaccumulation is real; it’s the accumulation of toxins in our bodies, where we absorb more toxins than our body can effectively eliminate, which  leaves our poor bodies struggling to function the way they were created to. The body is overloaded and we begin to suffer from other symptoms, like skin rashes, brain fog, sleeplessness, agitation, mood issues, and more.

I began using ALL-NATURAL cleaners—my favorite being Thieves Household Cleaner. It’s so safe, I can feel great about anyone using it. I love that even at my son’s school they use this cleaner so that all the kids can safely clean and wipe down tables and bathroom sinks. There are even more products in the line, including toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, laundry detergent, and more—all natural and plant based. You can check this out for more info on the entire Thieves product line.

Make Small Changes

I encourage you to begin replacing items in your home with all-natural products. A lot of these synthetic ingredients made in laboratories are endocrine disruptors. They are chemicals that can interfere with endocrine (or hormone) systems at certain doses. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects and other developmental disorders, and more. Why take that risk when you have a better option?

If you are looking for help with healthy meal planning, this is a must have resource!  Be sure to check it out and give your mama brain a break – you can thank me later!

Healthy Meal Planning Bundle 2019

I will cover more on my steps; the next post will be other diet changes, lifestyle changes, and more. You can find it here. 

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!