Simple Immunity Boosting

We’ve just started a cold bug. I started to get that icky-sicky feeling about half way through the work day, and Josiah has definitely had the sniffles for the last few days. Obviously I’m no doctor, but I’m making an educated guess when I say it has a little (or a lottle) to do with my slacking off in the natural health department. The holidays, followed by moving, meant I dropped the ball on anything that wasn’t eating, sleeping, and going to work. Basically I made sure we didn’t die, but that was it.

There are a few things I’ve done that aided our family in being pretty stinking healthy this winter, up until now. Josiah had two viruses in December, but we know exactly where they came from…family, the people he was around A LOT. So although I wish I could have prevented those bugs, I count it a blessing that he’s been less sick this year (so far!) than in years past.

Here’s my list of super simple immunity boosters…

  1. Drink enough water
  2. Get enough sleep (seriously, 8 hours should be a minimum, folks!)
  3. Keep your sinuses moist (I know about 97% of you just cringed at the word moist). I went to a D.O. when I lived in Indianapolis, and he said keeping your sinuses from drying out is one of the most effective ways to ward off upper respiratory illnesses. I can totally attest to that! Try these ways:
    • Run a vaporizer or humidifier around that clock, or at least when you are sleeping. I’ve had the most success with the cheapy vaporizer I bought from CVS this year. It is working so much better than the fancy humidifier I bought for Josiah’s nursery. The vaporizer has a little pool for Vick’s vapor rub, but I just put essential oils in it!
    • Salt-water nasal spray daily. You can make it or buy a saline spray to pop in your purse/backpack for a few dollars. I’d suggest reading the ingredients and avoiding preservatives. Keep it natural!
    • Salt-water nasal rinse. Again, you can make this or buy it.
  4. Take vitamins and supplements. Yes, you should be able to get all the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet, but let’s face it…even our organic foods have lost potency, because our land has been stripped of it’s health by modern farming techniques (READ: God’s ways are ALWAYS better than man’s).
  5. Limit refined sugar intake. That stuff is terrible (I know – I have felt like crud since the move, because I’ve been eating so many quick, convenient foods! Ew!)
  6. Use essential oils. I know you’re sick of hearing this from all the oily Mommas on the interwebs, but they really do boost your system (and they smell gooooood!). I use the NOW brand, and I know all you fancy oil subscribers are tisk-tisking. We have a limited budget, and this is the best option I can provide my family in this season. Even the cheap oils are better than no oils. Our winter is proof. Don’t judge a sista’s oils, okay?!
  7. Live simply. A stressful life is a sick life. What can you cut out?
  8. Exercise. Get that blood pumping! This helps cut the stress! Exercise is a need, not a luxury. Do whatever you have to do to make it happen. I found some great beginner yoga videos online, and they have been a game changer. Yes, I’d love to have access to the incredible gym where I pumped iron (Ha!) in college, but that just isn’t my reality…and it’s not an excuse not to take care of my body.

Taking care of yourself can be very simple, but you can’t let it slide when life gets crazy. Take my word for it! <sniffle sniffle>

Things 2014 Taught Me

2014 was a year of learning. The best ones always are. Some of the lessons were new, and some were strong reminders. Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the things 2014 taught me…

  • I can survive winter without being completely bummed the whole time. Get out of the house and keep moving, even if it means wearing extra layers and braving time among sick people…it’s worth the risk.

  • Stress over illness can be more harmful than illness itself.

  • Communication is critically important in relationships, and that is not as simple as it sounds. Keep talking to each other, even when it hurts.

  • We can survive far more than we can imagine, but only when we rely on more than ourselves. My own strength, Dustin’s and my strength together, your strength, isn’t enough to brave the trials of this life. And that’s okay.

  • Humility goes a LONG way. It is one of the most important elements in a healthy relationship.

  • Marriage can survive a separation.

  • Not everyone is going to be happy when you succeed. Sometimes your success will hurt another person, because they don’t understand how you have what they don’t. Because of that, you might feel guilty about the happiness in your life.

  • You shouldn’t be ashamed at how far you’ve come or how much the LORD has given you. Walk in humility and gratitude, and recognize that not everyone is where you are in their journey.

  • You should give more grace than you think people deserve. That’s one way to be like Jesus.

  • Not everyone is in the same place in their spiritual walk, but that doesn’t mean they love Jesus any more or less. Everyone is learning.

  • Good girlfriends are precious gems.

  • Life is best lived when you choose to be grateful for the unexpected. And there will always be unexpected things. Don’t hold too tightly to your own plans, because God’s plans are always better.

  • You cannot just show up and expect everything to fall into place. You have to work hard and then work harder. Life will not hand you success.

  • Two tall adults and one little boy can live a very joyful life in a 500-600 square foot second floor apartment…even if those two adults hit their heads on the surprisingly low ceilings and door frames.

  • You don’t need nearly as much as you think you do.

  • Going to school gets harder with age and more responsibility, but you appreciate it more.

  • There is a much greater sense of accomplishment when you pay for things with cash, especially if that means waiting a long time to get them.

  • Sometimes dreams coming true looks a lot more like hard work, sweat, and tears. Also, you rarely feel the way you expect to when things happen, for the good or the bad, but it’s so much better to take chances than to sit back and always wonder what could have been.

  • You don’t have to be a slave to debt. Whether you are just starting out or starting over, you can have freedom. Again, that means working hard and sacrificing.

  • Judging between right and wrong is far different from being judgmental. The first seeks to be right in the eyes of a Holy God. The latter places oneself in the throne of God, and pride certainly leads to a fall. And oh, how far I’ve fallen.

  • Potty-training is rough.

  • Your children will become just like you. Be someone you’d want them to become.

  • If you have a will as strong as an ox, you’d better gear up to raise a strong-willed child. No joke.

  • I married an incredibly patient and loving man.

  • Time alone is good for personal reflection and growth, but should not be a constant in your life.

  • If you seek opportunities, you will find them, especially opportunities to serve others. There is need all around you.

  • Cliches exist for a reason. It really is more blessed to give than to receive.

  • You can allow people to make you feel bad for just about anything, but don’t. Once upon a time, I let someone make me feel like less of a mother because I only have one child instead of many. How silly.

  • You can be miserable doing something you love, and you can be happy doing something you don’t. A lot depends on your attitude and the people around you.

  • Painting murals makes me very happy.

  • You cannot do everything, so ask the LORD to guide you in how you spend your time. And on that note, you can’t go wrong spending time with Him.

  • Prayer is the most powerful tool a person can use. Miracles happen when you hand control over to the LORD. He can heal hearts and repair relationships. He can and will do far more than you could ever ask or imagine.

  • I firmly believe the entire Bible, but sometimes God uses life to highlight verses in our hearts. If I could use a verse to describe this year, I think Ephesians 3:14-21 would be fitting…

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Go on and Stare at a Wall

It can’t be a coincidence that today my good friend, Danielle, over at Monday Morning Mom, posted that she was planning to pare down her Facebook friends’ list and spend less time online. She and I are “kindred spirits” (Anne of Green Gables, anyone?). We’re definitely on the same page on this one. Earlier today, I was also thinking that limiting screen time altogether might be just what the doctor ordered.

Being introverted and spending the majority of my time around people is just plain exhausting. After working from 8 to 5 on weekdays, I fill my evenings with quality time with Dustin and Josiah. Although my family time is what I work and live for, it also takes energy. In the evenings, and at sporadic times throughout the day, I have been finding myself online more and more. Whether it’s reading the latest news, scanning social media, or streaming some sort of mindless video, this so called “alone time” is filled with thoughts from SO MANY other people.

Sometimes I just need to sit and stare at a wall.

Wall

I need to listen to what my spirit is asking me, and that is for some down time; some peace and quiet that doesn’t add anymore ideas, nor take anymore energy from my brain. I need time to process and re-energize, but when I settle for screen time, I’m adding a whole other element of mental chaos.

Even if you aren’t introverted like Danielle and me, there is still a need to catch your breath mentally. And that means you need to stop running, at least for a little bit…So go on and stare at a wall.

#30Before30 Strikes Again!

This morning I got to mark off another box on my #30Before30 list!

#14 WE PAID OFF A CREDIT CARD! WOOHOO!

Paid

One of our biggest goals is to become debt free, so that we can have freedom to follow wherever God decides to lead us without financial burdens weighing us down. That being said, we haven’t had a lot of success in this department in the past, because…well frankly, it all comes down to discipline and sacrifice. We are striving to better steward the money God gives us. It is all His, and we want to use it for His glory!

When I opened my list to mark off #14, I got to mark off another box that I accomplished earlier this month. Two in one month! Living it up!

#15 Take Josiah horseback riding!

We got to accomplish this one while we were on vacation in Tennessee with the Dummel Family. We stayed in a gorgeous cabin in the mountains, and one day we made our way to Deer Farm Riding Stables in Pigeon Forge. We road a horse called “Squirrel” who was very well trained and calm. The tour guide was amazing with kids, despite being quite young. I was very impressed, and although Josiah was scared at first, he kept saying, “This is fun, Mommy!” I loved every minute of it.

Josiah and Momma Riding Galahad

Not to be all sappy, but this was so meaningful for me.

One of the biggest elements of my story is overcoming fear.

When I was 12, I road a horse that scared the living day lights out of me. It probably wasn’t that traumatizing in real life, but I was a scared kid, and for years I refused to even go near a horse. When I decided it was time to face my many fears in this life, I knew I had to take Josiah horseback riding someday. I hope this experience showed him that it’s okay to take risks, because you give God more opportunities to bless you. And what a blessing it was! Thank You, Jesus!

July

July is upon us, and so far, it is wonderful!

Goals…

1. More Bible reading and prayer – Jesus, fill me up!

2. Initiative – I want to live a life of great intention. It’s the best life. After years of reaction, I want to be PROactive!

3. Finish strong – So far, I have learned more in this Payroll Accounting class at Ivy Tech than I ever did at the university I was attending. Less cost does NOT mean less learning. I love Ivy Tech so far. No fluff. Just learning and moving toward my future in Accounting. I want to finish this class strong. If all goes as planned, I can take two more classes in the fall to prepare for taking the bookkeeping certification exam. It’s not major in the world of accounting, but after years of grappling at straws over where my career should head, meeting this mile marker is huge for me.

4. Yoga, yoga, yoga – I’m going to try to get Josiah involved. Even ten simple poses is enough to put some pep in my step. Plus, I want exercise and self-care to be a regular part of his life. I want it to be natural for him to maintain good health…and peace!

5. Time in Nature – We are soaking up the sun, and with the limited months of good weather in Indiana, I want to make the most of every moment.

20140705-095118-35478024.jpg
(These two cousins…They melt my heart into a puddle. Despite living hours away from each other, they have such a deep bond and love for one another. Thank You, Jesus!)

June was CRAZAY! At the risk of sounding like an old-timer…I cannot believe how fast time is moving. Life is so short.

I haven’t posted in a few weeks, but I did do a little bit of writing amidst the accounting homework. My dear friend, Danielle, asked my to write a guest post for her blog. What an honor.

“Why do we mothers and creative types fear failure? I’m convinced it’s the enemy’s favorite of our characteristics. He doesn’t even have to work for it. Don’t give him the pleasure, Momma! What I want to share today is that we don’t have to be perfect, we just have to trust that we know our babies and respect the unique personalities that God created in them.” Continue reading HERE!

I didn’t completely fail at my goals for June, but if I were grading myself, I’d go with a C+. Here’s a recap:

More…

1. More Bible reading and prayer. 
This was going pretty well at the beginning of the month, but I started slacking when I started class. I can really tell that it has affected my attitude. Just like when you go without an important nutrient…I’m feeling spiritually malnourished.

2. More yoga.
Blah-be-de-blah. 2 times. That’s how much yoga I did. I loved those two times, and I wish I could say those weren’t my only sessions.

3. More sunshine.
We ROCKED this goal. So much time outside. We got in on a family pool pass, and it has already paid for itself. Not to mention nature walks and cook-outs. I will gladly sacrifice other pursuits to spend time in nature with my sweet family. So…June for the win!

Less…

1. Less jealously.
Okay, so I can definitely say that I spent less time focusing on other people’s successes, etc. That is great…but I spent a lot of time feeling jealous of my future self (is that even possible?!). We have a lot of goals for the future, and I was having a hard time accepting that the future has to stay, well, in the future. I really do think I’m over that bump in the road, but the things I was longing for are still there. A house, a yard, a dog, more time with Josiah everyday, maybe more babies. Like I said, it has to stay in the future (unless God says otherwise). Those are beautiful goals to work toward. I just need to be thankful and content with the struggle to get there.

2. Less processed foods/refined sugars/gluten.
This one has been going okay. It helps when you have a partner in crime who also happens to be a handsome chef 🙂

3. Less television.
I watched some television, but it didn’t interfere with living life. I’ll take it.

Overall, June was a great month. It appears that July will continue the winning streak 🙂

I’m reading Payroll Accouting. It’s a textbook. You’d think that means boring, but y’all, I have rediscovered my love for numbers. I am so deeply happy to finally know where I belong in the work world. What a relief to stop searching!

I’m listening to Nature Tribe. I bought an album on iTunes for all the yoga I was going to do. Ha! Either way, the music is very calming. With all the nature sounds and native flutes, Dustin says it sounds like I want to be a samurai. He’s not wrong 🙂

I’m in food love with frozen berries, still. Why did it take me 28 years to discover this love?!

What are you into these days? Have you accomplished your June goals, or are you carrying them over into July like I am?

June

June 2014 is here. We are living in the future. I mean, weren’t we supposed to be driving flying cars by now? Seriously, the passage of time astounds me.

The weather is beautiful, and we are looking forward to a good month. This month we will celebrate with the Dummel family, as the oldest of the grandchildren is now 21 years old. I remember the first time I met Blake. He was barely in middle school. He was such a sweet kid, and he has grown into a man of character, not to mention his incredible skills in the world of automotives. We have so enjoyed watching him grow up and find his calling. Happy Birthday, Blake!

In June, I want more…

1. More Bible reading and prayer.
One of my #30Before30 goals is to read through the entire Bible with great intention. I want to pay greater attention to the details, as I learn more about God and what He wants for His kingdom. Right now I’m in Luke, as I read through the Gospels in reverse order. I’m amazed all over again at the man that Jesus was, and the LORD that He is.
My prayer life is weak. It almost always has been, I’m sad to admit. As I’ve struggled with communication in all of my relationships, I don’t talk to God enough.

2. More yoga.
I really love yoga, though you wouldn’t know it by how little I’ve done it. I need to strengthen my back and my core, as I have been having a lot more pain this year…not to mention the pudgy midsection I earned through stress eating this year. Oy vey!

3. More sunshine.
Josiah and I love to be in nature, and I want to share as much time outdoors together as possible.

In June, I want less…

1. Less jealously.
That one is hard to admit, but I really have to fight that sin. Although I am so thankful for my life and where God has brought us, sometimes I lose sight of what He’s doing in MY life, and begin to envy what He’s doing in someone elses. There are a lot of people out there who are living adventures with the LORD that I desire…maybe if I take my eyes off of them, I will be able to seek my Father more fervently, as He leads me along in His kingdom work. Father, forgive me.

2. Less processed foods/refined sugars/gluten.
This one is way harder for me than it should be. I KNOW that man made foods make me look and feel terrible, but I continue to partake. I want to live a better, fuller life, and that means kicking chemical laden, man-altered foods to the gutter where they belong.

3. Less television.
We haven’t had cable for a long time, but there are still shows available to watch online. I probably watch less television than the average American, but that comparison does not satisfy! I want to spend my time doing things I care about, and television tends to grab my attention away from the activities that I truly want to pursue.

In June…

I’m reading Love & Respect, written by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. There are a LOT of books out there on marriage, and I avoided this one for the longest time. I have a aversion to things that get popular…but this one is highly regarded for a reason. If you haven’t read it, you should. No joke.

I’m listening to all sorts of Christian music. I’ll admit, I don’t always listen to Christian tunes (GASP!), but right now, I can’t get enough. So much positivity. So much grace. Like a breath of fresh air after the long winter.

I’m in food love with frozen berries with plain greek yogurt, as well as greek style hummus and fresh veggies. So simple, but so yummy!

What do you want more or less of in June? What is the food love of your month? Let’s make it a good month!

Minimalism Game Day 2

October 2

1. Broken travel coffee mug
2. Frustrating and broken reusable straw cup

broken-mug

Reflections…

I should never be allowed to complain about money. Seriously, the amount of stuff I have is astounding, even if it is below average for an American. I need to stop buying junk.

In April, I separated from my husband and moved. My goal of minimizing came to a halt and I reversed gears. I started buying more stuff. Now I feel frustrated by my lack of that money (not a large sum, but still) and by the necessity to manage more stuff…stuff does not equal safety or security, but sometimes I still use material possessions to make me feel better about my life. It’s a lie.

This morning I was praying about my desire for a devoted partner. The devotional I read immediately after (in a randomly chosen devotional for this exact day, October 2nd) was about how God is always, ALWAYS with me. No lover, no matter how intimate, could be with me always or know me completely. Touché, God. Touché.

I’m going to get through this separation, no matter what the outcome. God will be by my side and be my constant companion.