from hurting to healing

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After discovering that my husband has a severe gluten intolerance last year, we were forced to change the way we think about food.  In hindsight, this has turned out to be a blessing for us all.  For those unfamiliar with gluten, allow me to explain.  Per Wikipedia; Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue”) is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Gluten may also be found in some cosmetics, hair products, and other dermatological preparations.  No, I haven’t gone through and gotten rid of my make-up and beauty products yet.  I am certain that day is somewhere in my future.  Since I am giving you a little gluten 101 please allow me to give you a definition of Celiac Disease.  Per Wikipedia; Coeliac disease spelled celiac disease and often celiac sprue) is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy onward. Symptoms include chronic diarrhea, failure to thrive (in children), and fatigue, but these may be absent, and symptoms in other organ systems have been described. Now that we have covered the basics, let’s talk about how this has affected my family.  Along with severe migraines my husband experienced stomach cramps, stabbing stomach pains, bloat, diarrhea and constipation (I’m sure he loves that I just shared that with the world!), but hey I am trying to educate someone here.  It’s all for a good cause, right honey?  These pains were not constant but occurred almost every day and varied in their severity.  It was obvious to me that something he ate did not agree with him, but what was it?  We cooked a lot, ate out at restaurants a lot, he would bring something home after work, so I had no idea where to even start.  Once I read about gluten and was almost certain this was his issue, I began thinking of when he would complain of stomach pains and migraines.  I wanted to be sure I was on the right track.  While sitting there I began writing his meals and snacks on paper.  It began with the most current meal and moved backward spanning key times that his symptoms were really bad over the years.  My memory is terrible but some things are unforgettable.  His health has been one of those issues I have made certain to keep mental tabs on.  The previous night we had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.  Seems pretty basic but we were doing the “healthy” thing and eating whole wheat/whole grain pasta noodles.  He spent the evening on the bed in the fetal position with stomach pains and a terrible headache.  The day before we had eaten sandwiches for lunch and later that day he complained of the same issues.  I began doing this for each meal that I could think of.  The previous week we had ordered pizza and wings which turned out to be a really bad night for him!  There was a time when he had one or two Octoberfest beers and wow, I thought he was going to need to be hospitalized.  I knew that beer was made from wheat and barley so I looked up what was in Octoberfest that could have made him so sick and found that it contains five varieties of malted barley.  Wow!  Ok..this was really adding up.  Anytime he had a hamburger, pizza, doughnut, bread, pasta, or beer he would get sick.  Depending on the amount of gluten he consumed his reaction would vary.  Sometimes it would be a mild headache or mild stomach cramps, but other times he would be in bed for twenty-four hours not wanting to move or even talk to me.

In addition, I have discovered that I too was being negatively affected by gluten.  My diagnosis came later,  in the past couple months.  Carbohydrates have been a huge part of my diet as far back as I can remember.  In high school my dinner was often macaroni and cheese, a slice of wheat bread with peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies.  Good thing for me I learned how to cook!  I ate the typical college diet of burgers, pizza, pastas, bagels, and any delicious pastry I could get my hands on.  When I became a mother I knew to cut back on sugar and up the intake of fruits and veggies but the breads remained a staple.  It’s a whole grain and the food pyramid says we should eat it so it must be healthy right?

A couple of months ago I had a pretty stressful day and just did not get around to making dinner.  I called my husband at work and asked him to pick something up on his way home.  He stopped by Costco and picked up one of their pizzas (which is so incredibly delicious, but we are not going to talk about that because it would be going against anything I have written thus far).  He was sweet enough to bring me a grilled chicken salad.  Well he was unaware I had a salad for lunch and with the smell of that pizza the salad was just not looking near as good as that gooey cheesy slice of heaven!  Since he has gone gluten-free I have tried very hard to do it alongside him.  I was never as strict as him because I didn’t have to be, or so I thought…  I knew the minute I put that pizza in my mouth I was going to regret it. When you cut out breads and pastas to any degree you get used to feeling a lot less bloated and full after you eat.  I have discovered that if I substitute sandwich bread with a lettuce wrap I am rarely ever stuffed.  I am talking that “feel terrible” – “just blah”  –  “I need to take a nap” kind of stuffed.  You can use lettuce leaves as a substitute for a hamburger bun or even a tortilla or burrito.  My discovery over the next four days was gluten did not just affect the way my stomach felt but it affected my MOOD!

Now, obviously I am a girl and everyone knows that women are more moody and dramatic (in most areas except when it comes to being sick and men definitely take the cake on that one but we will talk about that later).  I spent the next four days in the most irritable mood you can think of.  If I did not know better I would have sworn I was pregnant (yeah, THAT kind of moody)!  One minute I was crying feeling sorry for myself and thinking what a terrible mother I was.  I got angry at myself and would obsess over whether or not I was reading enough to the kids. I would randomly think back and wonder did I sing them enough lullabies when they were babies….REALLY?  As each of these days progressed I found myself  furiously screaming at the kids for not combing their hair the right way or not knowing exactly what mommy was thinking at any given moment, because yes they should be able to read my mind!  I also placed several phone calls to my husband over the course of those four days crying and feeling sorry for myself that I was not a good wife.  I was very tired and had absolutely no motivation to really do much.  Yeah…didn’t I sound peachy- Wanna be best friends!?!  Finally, when I gathered myself and looked into the faces of my poor children who were staring back at me as if pineapples were growing out of my ears, it was obvious something was not right.  There was absolutely no reason for me to feel the way I did.  Everything was going well for us.  My marriage, the kids and homeschool were all going great.  Everyone is healthy and things were just good!  And then it hit me, perhaps those two gooey delicious tasty pieces of pizza were the culprit!  I had read many times about how gluten can affect your mood.  There are countless articles, testimonies, books, and websites about people going on and on about how irritable, tired, angry, sad, depressed, anxious, in a brain fog of sorts due to how gluten made them feel.  It was then,  that I knew I too was intolerant to this little nasty protein. Finally relief and an answer for my crazy mood swings.  Like many women I know, I just thought it was hormonal.  Well, since then I have not consumed gluten and boy what a difference!  I no longer need my natural anti-anxiety/stress supplements.  Well, maybe on occasion.  I do have four kids.  Some days it is a necessity!  My mood is MUCH more stable!  Yes, I am no longer so snappy all the time.  Now, before you raid the pantry and refrigerator thinking I have just given you the miracle cure for your crazy mommy moods and trash anything that even resembles bread allow me to say this.  I am human.  I am a mother to four young children that I homeschool which means they are home with me e…v…e…r…y…d…a…y. We do not live near family or have “the free” babysitter.  With that said – I still get stressed.  I still get angry and fly off the handle and later beg them to forgive me.  I still yell and lose my temper. However when one, or any of the four are being disobedient, I now feel more in control and more calm, focused, and alert.  I no longer feel the need to nap in the afternoon. I have a renewed energy of sorts… all by ridding gluten!

Chances are I have just described you or someone you know in some way.  If you suffer from migraines, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) / gastrointestinal issues, mood swings, joint pain (gluten is an inflammatory), fatigue, psoriasis, eczema, alopecia areata, hives, the list goes on and on you might want to think about what you are eating.  Have I made you think?

one wild night

So last night as I stood there extremely excited to be carrying on a conversation with some very well- known people, I felt as if someone was watching me.  You know that feeling when the hair on the back of your next stands up and a chill comes over your whole body?  Well that is what I was feeling.  Who is in this room watching ME?  I had been personally invited to a high-profile dinner to talk about my new blog.  Really!!?!!  Wow, I am beyond shocked.  Someone, whom I can’t mention yet, was shown my blog and was told they must read it.  They informed me once they were through laughing and excited to have read something so relatable that they knew I needed to share my blog with others.  Who would have thought little ol’ me would be rubbing shoulders with some of the most well-known names in the celebrity community?  I should have started writing years ago!

Once I finished my short but highly exciting conversation with one of my favorite singers of all time, I casually take a sip from my champagne glass then my eyes began to gaze around the room.  Who is watching me?  I see many groups of people talking.  Some of them I recognize as anyone would, but others I have no clue.  Everyone seems to be having a very enjoyable evening drinking, laughing, and stuffing their faces full of fabulous hors d’oeuvers.  I am sipping my champagne scanning the room and see no one watching me until….  Oh my gosh!  No freakin way!  Could he be?  Me?  No….  Well maybe?  I look up to see him smiling at me with that crooked  grin that I remember when I was on the dating scene and searching for Mr. Right.  The crooked grin is something a guy will flash to a girl when he likes what he sees but not sure if the feeling is reciprocated.  It’s a test run before the attempt will be made to speak with her so he doesn’t look like a fool for approaching her only to be rejected and suffer a bruised ego.  Our eyes locked and without hesitation I smile back.  It was an automatic response on my part and looking back something I had no control over.  His smile went from crooked to full grin extending from ear to ear.  Now what was I to do?  This is an awkward moment.  Did I just fall trap to his “I can have any girl in here ego” or was this going to go anywhere?

I casually turn and walk toward the bar to refill my champagne glass.  In the midst of that whole scenario I got so nervous I gulped down ¾ of a glass of Perrier-Jouet Rose’ in a matter of forty-five seconds.  Great!  Now I looked like a drunk in front of Mr. Hotness himself!  I am standing at the bar waiting on my second glass which I am sure will turn into a third due to my emotional state, when I hear an unfamiliar voice say, “hi, I see you are really enjoying that glass of champagne.”  I turn and just about lose all ability to speak.  I quickly gather myself and laugh it off in order to not look like a complete dork and say, “yes, I do enjoy a good glass of bubbly from time to time.”  Bubbly…really?  Is that my best line?  He is intrigued and takes a seat right next to me.  Now, my body is on fire and I feel like I could vomit.  This seriously can’t be happening.  His eyes are relaxed as is his whole body and he seems so at ease.  Total opposite of me!  I am trying my best to be as calm and cool as humanly possible.  He says, “Hi, my name is Jerry Butler.”  Allow me to break that down for you in a better known language.  Gerard Butler!GB  If you don’t know who that is then you should stop reading any further because you have been living under a rock for the past seven years and none of this will mean anything to you.  Furthermore, you don’t know me very well and my love for all movies with his gorgeous face (just seek out the movie 300 and he proudly graces the cover).  We spend the evening talking and laughing and hitting it off so smoothly that I forget his celebrity status.  The tables turn and I have taken the confident lead and he has been spun into my web.  Oh yeah, this girl still has game!

In order to wrap this up I leave you with this…  I am standing in a beautiful lake front cabin wondering what had just taken place.  I am smiling and feeling all warm and fuzzy.  He is smiling and totally into me and I now that this is a beautiful thing.  At that moment I look out a huge sliding glass door facing the lake to see a boat quickly approaching.  This boat was moving fast and headed in our direction.  I could only see one passenger on board but as it reached the shoreline I about lost my breath.  Exiting the boat was a very large man with one heck of a physique.  I knew immediately who this was.  You have got to be kidding me!  What in the world was going on here?  Really!?!  All for me?  He approaches the sliding glass door and lets himself in.  He too flashes that incredible smile at me and then takes one look at Jerry.  The two are just about to duke it out over me when I hear a baby.  A baby?  Where the heck is that coming from?  There is no baby in this house.  “Momma! Momma!  Daddy…bluh blah foo la la dah dee goo!”  Huh?  This baby really needs to shut up because this love triangle is getting awesome!  The man on the boat says, “Hi, I am Dewayne Johnson.”  Just in case you are still reading even though you were living under that rock, Dewayne Johnson is aka The Rock.  TROh yes, take a moment and allow that to sink in……  Go ahead, I understand….  The two men begin to argue about me and who I should be with and suddenly that baby voice appears again.  WHAT’S UP WITH THIS BABY!?!  Get this kid out of here!  I want to enjoy this moment and what is to come without hearing a kid!  The baby voice gets louder and then I hear a sneeze that sounds all too familiar.  My eyes open and then I am very quickly brought back to reality.  I see the top of my baby’s head in his crib carrying on a full conversation with himself and then proceed to look over at my husband and his crazy hair and him sneeze twice more.  Oh well, a girl can dream. ..  Haha…  Don’t get your feelings hurt honey.  You know I love you ;).  And that was how I spent my overnight hours!  Enjoying a glass of wine and reading celebrity gossip just before bed might have attributed to my colorful imagination, ya think?  Maybe, hopefully, the drama will continue tonight!  I hope I brought a little laughter to your day!

lovin the sunshine

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Spring is in the air and I could not be happier!  I love the smell of blooming flowers and fresh-cut grass.  Warm sunny days and fresh air blowing through my house just puts me in the best of moods.  Just the thought of planting fresh flowers and sprucing up my lawn makes Spring one of my favorite times of year.  Growing up my mom would always notice the yellow buttercups when they first bloomed and excitedly announce the coming of warmer weather!  There is just something about a new season that makes me want to clean and organize.  I do love my jeans and sweatshirt weather and the fact that I don’t sweat profusely does make winter time that much more appealing, but I will take flip-flops and sundresses any day!  I love seeing all the tank tops, shorts, sandals, and sunblock adorning the store racks and shelves.  Aisles of beach towels and sand buckets, water guns, and goggles make any trip to Target exciting!  All winter we are forced to somewhat hibernate indoors and eat lots of hot and heavy comfort foods.  Ok…maybe not forced to eat them but it makes for a good excuse ;)!  So by the time warm weather hits, this momma of four is ready to get outside!

This year I have high hopes to really get out there and plant a big garden.  A garden filled with tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, onions, fresh herbs, and whatever else I can find and feel the need to plant.  I would also like to can whatever comes out of my garden.  As a kid I remember always having a huge garden.  It was so fun picking all those fresh vegetables.  Until you have picked fruits or vegetables from a garden or have bought them from a farmer you do not realize how different they look from their store-bought counterparts.  An apple picked fresh from a tree is void of that shiny toxic wax that someone puts on them to look better at the supermarket.  A cucumber pulled straight off the vine feels prickly and too is void of that greasy waxy film.  If I were to get the chance to plant a peach or apple tree you can bet I will do that too!  Since starting this new journey to better health for my family food has taken on a whole new meaning.  We frequent our local farmers market in the warmer weather.  I also make the effort to buy from a local farmer who brings his fruits, veggies, and eggs into town and sets up shop in a local church parking lot.  As much as my taste buds love processed food the rest of my body does not.  So the thought of growing my own food and saving the extra money on the organic price tag, is important to me.  Not to mention the life lessons my children will learn about growing something from the ground up.  That in itself is enough to inspire me to get out there and dig up a bunch of dirt!

As far as my wardrobe goes, I am already planning my Spring looks consisting of tank tops, shorts, long flowy sundresses, and new sunglasses.  It seems that every year there is a new fashion trend and it is in every store ad and on every commercial.  There is hardly ever a time that I jump on the fashion band wagon and sport their hideous looks.  Last year I noticed and have noticed this year as well all the clothes hanging on hundreds of hangers very brightly colored screaming 1986!  Really?  In my opinion the only good thing that came out of the 80’s was the music.  I could listen to Duran Duran, U2, Tears for Fears, Stevie Nicks (yes I realize that she came out long before that but I remember her from my youth), Journey, and most of the good hair bands any day!  BUT ask me to sport those wild punk rock clothes with neon colors and big hair, NO WAY!  I will stick to my khaki shorts and tank tops.  It took me several years just to wear capri pants because I was so self-conscious of my small ankles.  Do you really think I am going to wear something that looks like my six-year-old threw together?  I think not.  I am confident another fashion trend will be filling the pages of the store ads this season and I won’t be jumping off the couch to go and make a purchase.

Last week I cashed in a little me time and treated myself to an afternoon at the salon for a little hair touch up.  Each and every time I get my hair done I come home and my husband tells me it looks the same.  I am sure I am not the only wife who experiences this.  But, put me in a room with another female and we will talk about my hair for ten minutes and all that I had done.  I guess it’s just the difference between the male and female brain, Mars versus Venus (another really good book).  When the seasons change I feel my hair should also.  With warmer weather comes a few more highlights and a few more layers to lighten the weight of my hair.  When cooler weather hits I am inspired to add more low lights and a heavier cut.  Girls will plan this out along with the timing of a pedicure to compliment a new outfit they bought whereas a guy will wear the same clothes Spring, Summer, and Fall and clip his toenails once a month whether he needs to or not 😉 .  (In this post you are getting a small glimpse of the “true girly girl” side of me!  I just can’t help it.  I have been this way my whole life.  I love all things girly!)

What things do you look forward to when the days are a little warmer?  Do you start planning a fresh new look, or maybe a family vacation?  Does your menu at home change?  Does anyone have a garden or is that on the wish list for this year too?  I hope you and your family can get outside, soak up the natural vitamin D and enjoy God’s beautiful Earth!    Have fun in the sunshine!

the quiet

IMG_6302I have come to the conclusion that I am the quietest person in my house including the dog (well at least in the morning).  From the time my eyes open in the early morning I wonder how I am going to make it downstairs without waking a single person.  When it comes to the first part of my day I prefer to enjoy it alone or with just my husband.  I have learned that my day runs much smoother when I can wake up on my own, drink my coffee without interruption, and have a little me time before my day gets started.  In that time I like to either read my Bible or devotional (or both if time allows) with no distractions around me.  It is my time with the Lord to just have a one on one conversation with Him.  When I lay it all out there and give Him my worries, anxieties, fears, blessings, and things I am most grateful for I seem to have a much better day.

I lay there for a minute or so just listening.  Is anyone awake or making any movement?  Can I escape the warm comfort of my bed without my knees, hips, and ankles popping so the baby does not hear me leave the room (for now he is in our room in his own crib)?  Once I have achieved the first goal of my morning of keeping little poopy pants comfortably asleep, my next challenge lies before me.  Oh goodness, the dreaded creaking hallway floor.  Now, you would think that after years of navigating the hallway and knowing exactly where to step so I don’t sound the “creaking and popping floor alarm telling the entire family mommy is awake,” this would not present a problem.  BUT, without fail a new board in the flooring decides to wake up from time to time and let its’ noises be heard.  As I begin the eleven step tango down the hallway I am praying that I don’t step on the BIG ONE.  I would swear that my neighbors can hear that one, it is so loud.  Here I go.  Step, step, step, leap, step, step, leap, leap, and tip toe quietly, finally made it to the stairs.  Now, I have to step in just the right place on my bottom two stairs that also like to pop and creek in order to let my kids know MOMMY IS AWAKE!!!  Whew…made it.  I stagger into the kitchen and smell the coffee which is calling my name.  As I have gotten older I have learned an appreciation for the early morning hours that I once hated in my youth.  They are quiet, still, and peaceful.  My house is so busy and loud most of the day that when there is silence as peaceful as in the morning it just makes me smile.

Once downstairs, my dog sees me and she immediately feels the need to remind me that she is here.  She sneezes so loud about three times, has the loudest yawn on any dog I have ever heard, and begins to scratch her nails on the hardwood floor in excitement to see me.  Yes, this is sweet and I love that she gets excited to see me but at 6:25 in the morning I am trying my darndest not to wake my kids.  SHHHHHHHHH!!!!  I tell her.  I reach into the cabinet grab my coffee and CLANG!  I have hit the coffee cups together!  UGH!  I just made it through the most difficult task of not making a peep and I have to bang the coffee cups together.  I am immediately aggravated.  I stop and listen.  Do I hear any little feet hitting the floor…..no, good.   I grab my coffee and warm blanket and sit on my couch.  YES!  I made it -Ahhhhhhh….one of the sweet spots of my day,  my alone time with Jesus.  There is just something so comforting knowing that He is always there to listen and really cares about the littlest details of my life.

A few minutes pass and I hear the heavy footsteps of my husband.  Now, I know it is him because without fail when he is walking down our hallway he seems to hit each and every one of those loud and creaky boards in the floor that I carefully avoided moments earlier.  Really!?!  I have made every effort to be as quiet as possible and he walks downstairs like he is being chased by a pack of wolves.  He gets to the kitchen and bangs about five coffee cups together until he has picked his favorite one and then proceeds to slam it on the counter.  He pours his coffee and sits next to me.  He then proceeds to sneeze five times that has the octave of a ninety year old man with hearing problems.  What the heck!!?!!  What is with all this sneezing and noise making?  To this day he does not understand my need to be so quiet in the morning.  I have explained to him my desperate need for a few moments of quiet before the kids wake up.  Truthfully, he too thinks he is so quiet, the morning ninja per say.  I remind him that ninjas do not sneeze and know the floor board pattern in the hallway, he is no ninja!

In a house with little ones the laughter and pitter-patter of little feet is a sound that I make every effort to embed in my brain space.  One day those little footsteps won’t be there and it will just be my husband and I.  Oh how this makes me sad.  Whenever I am bothered by the yelling, fighting, high-pitched squeals, banging, clanging, or total destruction of our home from these little guys I am quickly reminded that it is all too fleeting.  I look at my oldest and simply can not believe that she will be eight in a few months!  Where has the time gone?  My babies are growing up.  I hold my youngest a little tighter and a little longer every day knowing that he won’t be this small for much longer.  Now, I am a big ball of snot and will conclude my thoughts for the day.  Just remember (and I am reminding myself as I type this) we must savor every moment of every day whether it be loud, interrupted, silly, chaotic, or peaceful and still.  It is but a moment…

slather it on

lotion ingred

Have you ever tried making your own lotion, facial moisturizer, chap stick, shampoo (didn’t go so well), laundry soap, all purpose household cleaner, butter, chicken broth, or Kombucha?  Well I have.  I have made and continue to make most of the items listed but in order to spare you the insane details of each product and how I make them we are going to focus on lotion and facial moisturizer.  It takes me about fifteen minutes to make both lotions.  I love to watch someones face change when I tell them I make all these crazy things.  It makes me laugh.  But, without fail no matter how weird they think I might be, they are almost always intrigued!  I have gotten several requests to post how to make my lotions.  I figured it would be a great thing to talk about  since it is so easy and most everyone uses it!  Oh goodness, my journey of making lots of different everyday household and personal items has been nothing short of exciting for me!  I love saving money and love caring for my family even more!  After learning of my husband’s intolerance to gluten the door swung wide open for me to explore other avenues of my family’s health.  I did not really have a particular order of ailments that I was going to tackle so I started with the ones that bothered me the most.  Two of my four children suffer from mild eczema.  It has bothered me since I first noticed it several years ago.  It has never seemed to bother them but all I wanted to do was fix it!  I know from our experience that eliminating gluten from their diet definitely helps!  But, they do eat a little gluten here and there.  So, it does not ever seem to truly go away.  I have vowed that this is our year to get really strict with the kids and their diet.  Notice I said this is the “year.”  Baby steps…  That is what we have to do on our journey to better health.  Sometimes all the options and solutions can be so exhausting that one can feel completely overwhelmed.  Well, hopefully I can help in some way if you too are looking for a few changes.

Since the skin is the largest organ of the human body why not treat it with extreme care?  I mean our family tries to eat right for our internal parts and overall health, why not treat our skin the same?  If you wouldn’t drink a toxin such as Windex or bleach, then why would I put something toxic on my skin?  If I understand correctly my skin “drinks” whatever I put on it right?  So….it drinks my lotion?  Well, let’s take a look at what is in my old store bought lotion.  Hmmmm…this should be interesting…..(to name a few) Petrolatum, Glycol Stearate, Sodium Acrylate/Acryloyidimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Dimethicone, Urea (really!!! I don’t even want to know what that is!!), Butylcarbamate, and the list goes on.    Well doesn’t that sound delicious?  Just serve me up some Urea with a side of Titanium Dioxide and call it a day.  This particular lotion is a very popular store brand lotion that is compared to Vaseline Aloe Fresh.  As a health conscious momma I was not willing to stand for this.  I wanted something better for my babies.  Why not make my own lotion?  It can’t be that hard, right?  I began to research making lotions at home.  My goodness the options are endless!  Once I found what I felt like was a good basic option I did a little tweaking of my own to the recipe .

So here is my recipe:  This recipe makes both a body lotion and a facial moisturizer.  I just pour the body lotion in a pint size mason jar and the facial moisturizer in a much smaller glass jar.  The only difference in the two is the facial moisturizer has essential oils and the body lotion does not.

¼ Cup of Coconut Oil (if your skin is dry you can use Olive oil instead, if it is combination you can use half olive oil and half coconut oil) – Coconut is very light and not oily once absorbed.  Keep in mind if you use olive oil your lotion will have a yellow/green tint to it.

¼ Cup + 1 Tbsp. of Emulsifying wax (NOT beeswax for this recipe) – the Emulsifying Wax Pastilles work best

1 ¼ cup of HOT water

1 tsp. Avocado oil

1 tsp. Calendula oil (or you can just use 2 tsp. of Avocado oil as it is very good for you skin.  Calendula is a good oil for sensitive skin and used a lot in baby lotions)

10-25 drops of essential oil of choice (I don’t use any essential oils for my body lotion but I do use Frankincense and Myrrh for my facial moisturizer) – Frankincense is a natural anti-wrinkle!!!  Optional.

Let’s just make this as easy as possible (detailed pictures of each step are below).  Place a small pot on the stove with approximately 2-3 inches of water in it.  Turn the burner on medium heat.  Place Coconut oil/Olive oil and emulsifying was in a Pyrex jar and place the Pyrex jar in the pot with water (this is called a double boiler).  Stir frequently until the wax and oil have liquefied.  Remove the Pyrex jar from the pot and turn the burner off.  At this point add your Avocado oil and Calendula oil in your Pyrex jar of wax and oil.  Stir all the oils and wax mixture for thirty seconds or so.  Next, add the hot water and stir until mixed well.  When you add the water your mixture will immediately turn white (unless you use olive oil) and look like whole milk.  When I make lotion I make both lotion and facial moisturizer at the same time.  So, I have my pint size mason jar and my smaller glass jar (for my moisturizer) in front of me.  Fill your smaller glass jar almost full then pour the rest into the pint size jar.  At this point I leave the pint size jar (my body lotion) alone but add a few essential oils to my smaller glass jar (face moisturizer).  I like Frankincense for its’ anti-wrinkle properties and Myrrh since it is good for the skin.  I use around five drops of Myrrh and seven or eight of the Frankincense oil.  Now, for those of you who have gotten quite used to your store-bought lotions don’t expect them to smell the same!  The store lotions have a lot of toxic chemicals and perfumes in them to make them more appealing to your sense of smell whereas your homemade product does not, at least in this case with the oils I choose.  The Myrrh is a more clean smell whereas the Frankincense is a more medicinal/musty smell.  The smell only lasts for a few minutes on my face and then is quickly absorbed into my skin.  I have made sure of this by asking my husband to smell my face and neck!  Hey, I love natural stuff but I don’t want to smell like a hippie!  Once you have poured your liquid lotions in their glass jars set them on top of the microwave, on the counter, or somewhere to cool down and become creamy like lotion.  I like to leave the lids off during this process otherwise if you put the lids on while the lotion mixture is still warm/hot steam forms inside the jar and on the lid dripping back into your lotion and you don’t want that.  Over the course of the next several hours while the lotion is thickening be sure and stir your lotions thoroughly two or three times.  Sometimes the oils like to separate from the wax in spots and by stirring them during the thickening process you eliminate this problem.

Now, since water has been added to this recipe and no preservatives  have , this lotion will not last as long as store-bought lotion.  This has never been a problem for us as we use it daily.  Mine lasts about six weeks for both the lotion and moisturizer.  I did have one moisturizer that I made that had too much Frankincense in it and I quit using it because the smell was so strong.  I left it in my bathroom closet for maybe a couple of months and when I found it and opened it up it had a different almost spoiled type smell to it.  So just be aware of this.  It should be ok for six weeks or so.  I hope you have enjoyed learning a little about making homemade lotion.  It really is fun for me and I love saving the extra money for all these specialty lotions for dry or sensitive skin.  I haven’t purchased lotions for our family including my facial moisturizer (which I use twice a day everyday) for over eighteen months.  Now, coming from me a former Clinique, Olay, Neutrogena, Biore, and Aveeno user that is a big deal!  Anytime I can make something out of things from my kitchen for everyday products, I am all for that!  Let me know what you think.  I would love to hear if you try it!  If you have any questions I would love to answer them!  Have fun!

On a side note, I get my oils and waxes from here.

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i love you more

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In honor of Valentine’s Day I thought I would write about two of my favorites, love and marriage.  Now, once the tune from Married With Children is out of your head, let’s focus on this post 😉  You know you were singing the tune!  Anyway, if you have been reading my blog at all you know that I have been married for ten years.  It’s hard to believe it has been a decade (using the word decade sounds like a really long time to me)!  A good “long time” of course.

IMG_6214I remember the very day I first laid eyes on him as if it were yesterday.  He was walking in the mall on the opposite side of me with two of his friends. He was wearing jeans, a blue and white letterman jacket with baseball, football, and hockey on the back, and a blue Yankees hat worn low right above his eyes.  I was in looooooove the minute I spotted him!  For the sake of that comment you must keep in mind that I was two months shy of my fourteenth birthday.  When you are a teenage girl and the opposite sex even looks your way and smiles you start writing your name with his last name on paper the minute you are in the privacy of your bedroom.  Oh you remember, don’t act like you never did that!  Back to the story…  I thought he was HOT!  I mean Super-Hot!!  Whoa…who was this guy and where did he go to school?  I must find out!  Well, anyone who knows me knows I am not shy about going after something I want.  So, what did little Miss Priss (that would be me) do?  I followed him around that mall for a good twenty minutes watching him and taking mental notes of his behavior.  I mean I had to make sure he wasn’t a weirdo!  I needed to make sure his actions aligned with his looks.  Of course I could never ever let him know what I was doing.  I had to remain incognito.  Well I did just that and was pleasantly surprised.  He was cool.  No dorky dance moves or obnoxious flirting with girls.  I liked him.  Well like a lioness about to attack her prey when opportunity struck for me to talk to him, I did.  The rest is history…

There were three things my mom always told me when I was seeking a potential lifelong mate.  She would remind me when I began talking about a guy in a somewhat serious realm, “Now honey, just remember, every date is a possible mate.”  She also advised me to find someone who could make me laugh.  “Laughter is like medicine honey, it is good for the soul,” she would say.  Also, she encouraged me to marry a MAN in every sense of the word, not an immature lazy boy who did not understand life and responsibility.  Last, but certainly not least she stressed (and I mean stressed) the importance of marrying a man who loved and honored the Lord.  When you are fifteen or eighteen years old you don’t realize the importance in that last statement until years later (more often than not).  At that age you seem to focus on the wrong things.

Over the years we have built an amazing and loving friendship which is the foundation of who we really are.  He is my very best friend and my biggest cheerleader.  When I am in one of my moods, no one is better at pulling me out of that mood than him.  He knows me better than anyone else.  I love to be with him no matter what we do.  I truly appreciate his hard work and dedication to our family.  Never once have we wavered in our love for each other.  Divorce has never been an option and has never needed to be.  We have always gotten along very well.  Yes, we do have our disagreements like every other couple in the world but we are well-balanced in most areas.  If you have ever read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman then you know the awesomeness of his book!  If you haven’t then I give you my personal recommendation to read it, as it will help you understand your spouse (and even children) better.  I read that book years ago and so many lightbulbs came on for me that I felt somewhat dumb for not already knowing those things about my husband.

One of the secrets to our amazing marriage is my husbands willingness to love me more.  Everything he does he does with me and our family in mind.  Every decision he makes he thinks of us first.  You ask, well what about your willingness to love him more?  Your previous statement sounds a little one-sided?  Well, this has been a work in progress for me.  I can admit that he has done a better job of thinking of us first than I have of him.  I have learned, and continue to do so, about how to love him well.  I have always loved him with every ounce of my being but I haven’t been the best at showing it in his love language (again, read the book!!).  I think he would agree that I am much better today than when we were first married.  On the other hand, he has always been very good at loving me in my love language.  It seemed to come natural to him.  Now, for the sake of keeping it real…  Yes, we argue!  He is Italian and I am a hormonal woman (we could really just stop there and everyone would understand but for the sake of this story I will go into  a little more detail)!  Our arguments can get pretty heated and he has slept on the couch a night or two.  Hey, I’m not giving up the bed. I gave birth to four children and breastfed for thirty-six months.  Need I say more?  He gets on my nerves so bad sometimes I want to slap him into Tuesday.  I drive him nuts daily with my never-ending line of questions about everything!  I’m a girl it comes with the territory.  I need details!!  I’m selfish and I like my time alone, this hurts his feelings.  When he just wants to sit and deflate from his day that is when I will decide it is the perfect time to bring up a subject that definitely should wait until later.  Sometimes I just want a good fight.  Not always, but occasionally.  Hehehe…  So, see we are like everyone else.  We are human.  But we are two humans that have been privileged to spend our lives together.  God knew what He was doing that day when that young man decided to venture out to the mall.  I was not there by accident.  It was all in His plan.  A plan that is still being carried out today.  This morning when we were talking about Valentine’s Day, we decided I should write something about marriage.  He suggested that he write from the husband’s point of view.  I thought it was a great idea.  So hear you go.  Allow me to introduce you to my husband.

In his words…

Ball and Chain, old hag, old lady, the boss, control freak, the nagging one – these are all names I have heard others call their wife – and to this day I just do not get it.  I believe that when you say “I do”, you say “I do”, to be, well “the one”.  Yes, the one – and that is “the one” that loves, cherishes, is happy for, understands, is patient with (most of the time), longs for, and competes with –  that is what I want to hit on today – the love competition.

We have a saying, “I love you more than you love me,” and in most cases people would assume we are being fake.  Reality is, we are not.  See, we truly believe that our relationship was established by God and for His will.  We know that He offers some pretty amazing benefits if you include Him in your marriage – I will hit on that in a moment.  In saying that, it really does start with you.  You are the one that makes the decision to honor what has been granted to you.  Why would you not cherish that with all your heart? I know some do a great job at this, but truthfully some really don’t.  Now do not get me wrong, there are plenty of times that we look at each other and wonder what has happened to the other person we married, but ultimately we know that we were made to be compatible and together .

To those benefits I mentioned a minute ago – I look at her every day (even when I am mad) and think I cannot believe that she is my wife.  In my eyes, she is the most beautiful, smart, sexy, honorable, honest, funny, sexy, witty, interesting, sexy, and very sexy woman on the planet.  Also, I was blessed by the Almighty to take care of her and make her feel important.  I always wonder when I see a struggling, or untrustworthy marriage on how it got there, or what efforts did that couple make to maintain that longing for one another that they felt from the moment they laid eyes on each other.  I also know that it does not start in just one day, be it loving or hating it takes an effort to do both.  So, again, why chose to hate when loving is so much better.  In saying that I do also believe it is harder to love than hate.  Think of it this way, and I test this all the time.  But ask someone how they are doing, the usual response is, “Fine – well Johnny is sick and Deloris has an ulcer blah blah blah” – negative, and not “fine”. It is human nature to focus on flaws, what one is not doing, or does not have.  Not to mention how much the media, internet, society etc. play into this notion.  People always need more, and everything needs an antagonist, but truth is – it is all bologna – a lie.  Try this, when someone asks how you are, respond with, “Great – I am grateful for this day, for my family, for my job that provides me money for food!”  The person (guaranteed) will look at you like – ok nut job.  Because – They are NOT used to a positive response.

I believe this concept applies to your marriage.  My wife always tells me I need a hobby because I am always in need of her.  But the truth is I do not need her, I want her and she is a hobby for me of sorts. Her stories and interests (I am writing in HER BLOG aren’t I) are mine as well.  We have FOUR kids, hobby enough for me.  I love what we have and what she offers – these are the benefits that I am talking about (yes I know there are more, but not for this blog).  My job is to ensure she knows that I love her more than she loves me and most of all know that our love grows stronger every day.  C’mon, I want to be able to look at her when she is 91 and think…..MAN she is one hot momma!  So my advice – for what it is worth, practice what you want and desire, stay clear from the “Ball and Chain, old hag, old lady, the boss, control freak, the nagging one” name calling to her or with friends.  Go and tell your wife how she makes you feel, how good she looks.  Recollect your wedding with her, relive the “favorite” moment you had with her.  Tell her about how excited you were to share this with her – give her a hug and do not LET go, take a deep breath and smell her hair, look her in the eyes and tell her she is singly the greatest thing that has ever happened to you (perhaps the other benefit may occur thereafter)…remember God has a plan, and we all have a shelf life – love like today is the last day and again love her more than she loves you.   Happy Valentine’s day – I love you honey.

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the prize jar

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Keeping things running (somewhat) smoothly on a daily basis in our house requires a plan.  When little ones are involved in anything we do, we have found that specific instructions are needed.  About a year ago I found myself in a very frustrated spot with housework and homeschool along with all the other daily and weekly demands of my big family.  I thought I would share with you a few things we as a family do in hopes that  it could benefit yours.

By nature I am not a very structured and organized person.  My brain gets a little crazy and smoke comes out of my ears with my brain on overdrive.  This has gotten particularly worse since having children.  It’s one thing to tackle an organizational project by yourself when you can think clearly and with no interruptions, but when little ones are in the midst of that project chaos takes on a whole new meaning.  My husband is far better at making a to-do list and executing that list in order and on time.  Now, granted while he is completing his to do list I am occupying the kids.  Seeing my frustration and sensing my feelings of helplessness he sat me down and suggested a few things for me to do with the kids.  At first, I immediately somewhat blocked what he was saying from entering my brain space and took the attitude of “He just doesn’t understand, things flow differently on a daily basis at home than at the office.”  Which is true, although I began seeing the potential benefit of what he was saying as I hesitantly listened.  😉  One of the most genius and obvious ideas he laid before me was to make a list for each child to do and complete each day.  We have a laminator so he suggested I laminate the list and give them a dry erase marker and clipboard to walk around with as they executed each chore.  Hmmmmmm….  My creative side kicked in and I began to envision what this cute little “chore chart” could look like.  I sat down and began to think of what I wanted them to do each day.

Prize Jar Chart to do listI wanted this list (Click here for To Do List) to be more than chore oriented.  My goal was to ultimately teach them discipline and responsibility.  The thoughts began to flow.  I began thinking, age appropriate of course.  First was for them to get themselves dressed and ready for the day.  Now, this seems like a no-brainer but I am thinking in terms of them doing it everyday without me having to remind them to do so.  Next, would be making their bed and picking up their bedroom.  I immediately was taken back to my childhood and visioned my room.  It was always messy and my bed was never made.  To this day my bed is only made when I change the sheets.  I know, you think why would you have your children do something that you yourself don’t do on a daily basis?  Children emulate their parents.  It wasn’t so much that I really cared if their beds were made or not, it was the responsibility of taking care of what they own I wanted them to grasp.  Once they were dressed for the day and their room was picked up and bed made I wanted them to learn the concept of helping the family as a whole.

Now, laundry in our house is just crazy.  I’m sure you can relate.  As much as I loathe laundry, I quickly remind myself that without all that laundry I would not have my precious family.  With that thought I am ok with all the smelly socks and food stained shirts.  I needed help with the daily chore of washing, folding, and putting away clothes and towels for six people.  So laundry was added to their list.  My requirement is they must fold and put away one basket of laundry per day (for the older two, who are six and seven).  My three-year old does a small pile of dish rags and hand towels just to get the concept.  My oldest can sort them into whites, darks, towels, etc. which is a big help too but not required.  On the rare occasion that she asks to sort them, by all means I let her.  Next are the dishes.  Oh my…the kitchen can quickly look like something in a nightmare if I don’t stay on top of it.  So, I decided to have them help in this area as well.  They must load or unload the dishwasher (I go through first and take out the knives and dangerous pieces before they get to that chore, but I explained to my older two not to touch those items) each day.  Last, were the bathrooms.  Now, my first thought was aimed at my son.  Anyone with boys knows exactly what I am talking about before I even bring it up.  No matter how hard I have tried to explain, there is just something innate with boys when it comes to marking their territory.  Every bathroom in my house smells of urine each and every day no matter how many times I clean it!  Every single time I attempt to use the bathroom I must first wipe off the seat (yes, I have explained to my son to wipe up after himself) before I sit down.  I have learned to never sit on a toilet seat in the dark!  To a boy the back of the toilet lid and seat are like an imaginary bullseye that he aims for each time he uses the restroom.  I have walked in on this aiming game and see its results each time I clean.  Ugh!  It is so gross!  So, with all that said the bathroom needed to become something they helped maintain.  My hope was that by having them clean up their (his) messes it would cause him to think twice before marking the lid, seat, and tank.  Well, lets just say it is a work in progress.  Now, as much as all that seems, allow me to break it down in real-time.

Each day my older two have to complete five things on their list, period.  Those things are: 1. Get dressed and brush teeth 2. Make bed 3. Clean bedroom 4. Homeschool 5. Fold and put away laundry.  Now to sweeten the pot I added something a little extra at the bottom of their list for motivational purposes.  They must complete one of two tasks (their choice) in order to pick a “prize” out of the Prize Jar.  I’ll explain the prize jar in a moment.  Those tasks are: 1. Load or unload the dishwasher 2. Clean bathroom (bathroom of their choice).  If they complete the first five things on their list AND complete one “extra” task they can select a prize from our very popular prize jar.  The prize jar is the sole reason my children are motivated to complete their daily chores.  The prize jar is a big clear plastic container that once held bite sized pretzels from Costco.  I ripped off the label and designed a cuter and brighter label with glitter and stickers that screams “hey, cool stuff inside!”

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The contents of the jar include dollar store items such as pencils, tattoos, stickers, water guns, cute erasers, but most importantly, envelopes.  Envelopes?  What is so special about an envelope you say?  Well, allow me to explain.  Inside the prize jar among the pencils and tattoos there are about ten white envelopes each with a single question mark on the front.  Inside the envelope is a small sheet of paper with a “prize” written on it.  Some of the prizes include; $5 to spend at the dollar store or Target, breakfast with dad at Waffle House (yes, despite my efforts for healthy eating my kids looooove Waffle House), jet bath (we have a tub with jacuzzi jets that my kids love to play in which makes lots of  bubbles), stay up for thirty extra minutes at bedtime, no chores for one day, help dad with a project (this was aimed at my son who loves to help dad fix stuff around the house or tinker with the family van), pick the movie for family movie night, sleep in the tent (this is where we build a tent made of sheets in their bedroom and they all sleep together), paint fingernails with mom, play dress up with mom, an afternoon with the family at the park, etc.  You get the idea.  My ultimate goal is for my children to learn that with hard work comes great reward.  I try not to “over reward” them at times because I also want them to understand that sometimes in life you help out and contribute just because you should.  I tell my kids all the time that our family is too big for anyone to be lazy.

So our day starts off with breakfast obviously, then about an hour or so of cartoons and playtime then I am ready to roll!.  The t.v. is shut off and I say “ok lets get started on our prize jar charts!”  I first called it the “chore chart” but I was afraid that sounded like drudgery and I wanted it to have a positive connotation.  So I changed the “chore chart” to “prize jar chart.”  As much as I would love to tell you that they immediately hop to it and knock it all out in an hour, (the cleaning part not the homeschool part) I can’t.  Yes, I have to remind them to stay on task and check on them every so often to make sure they are progressing.  My oldest is really good at knocking it out but my son gets reeeeeally distracted!  The cleaning and laundry chores are to be done before lunch and then we homeschool while the two younger ones are napping.  Once they have completed their entire prize jar chart they can select a prize, usually the envelope, and then proceed to play for the remainder of the day.  Our typical day usually ends around 5pm which is when I start dinner.  Like any other family we have great days with minimal fighting and my kids are awesome at executing their charts and mommy is very happy!  Other days it is all I can do to get them to brush their teeth.  It is a work in progress, but I see improvements more often than not.  What does your day look like?  I always love hearing other suggestions!

a little funky

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No, I am not schizophrenic, manic (well maybe a little today), or mentally unstable (well..), I am in a funk!  I don’t know if it is the weather or what, but my mood needs to go somewhere else!  I’m sure my family would say the same.  Most days I greet my morning coffee with a head of atrocious hair and a greasy face but with a determination to get a thousand things done that day.  Lately, that drive is nowhere to be found.  Where did it go?  This week I have been just blah.  My facial expressions have been almost zombie like and my desire to even take a shower has taken a backseat.  The kitchen sink has other life forms growing in it as do all my toilets.   What has happened to me?  Every little thing is driving me crazy!  The kids have no other choice than to sit back and watch mommy go in circles.  I have sat down to type something for my new blog and absolutely nothing is flowing in my crazy brain.  As I sit here typing this, my youngest is in the high chair enjoying a full-blown conversation with himself (guess my kids really do pay attention to mommy).  My two oldest are busy being babysat by the Wii and I am perfectly ok with that for today.  Sometimes you just have to let go and ignore all your daily rules just to keep the sanity.

It does not help that the noises coming from my dog while she bathes herself are seriously putting me over the edge!  It feels as if the walls of this house are closing in on me and I just want to get away.  I did find it in me to take a shower and spruce myself up for a double date last night with the hubs and some great friends.  We definitely needed that!  While getting ready for our date I tried to find that awesome hair style on Pinterest which I had saved to one of my boards and try it out on myself, but when I put forth the effort I ended up looking more like Dolly Parton on the movie 9 to 5.  Not exactly the look I was going for but I was ready to get out and enjoy some adult conversation and my bouffant hairstyle was just going to have to do.  Since leaving the workforce and staying home I feel so out of touch with fashion.  Ten years ago when I would hit the mall for a fun day of shopping I had a plan and knew exactly the look I was going for.  I would come home and lay all my clothes on my bed and could not wait to wear them all the following week.  Today I open my drawer and as long as it has been washed despite having holes, I am good, though I will put forth the effort for a date night with my hot husband!

It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day shuffle of being a stay at home mom.  Most days the monotony is comforting to me.  I like structure and knowing what each part of my day will entail.  Lately it has just seemed boring.  I am thinking that I am just burnt out and need to stop for a little while.  I need a little time at the spa with a new haircut and some root touch up!  A pedicure would be nice and a trip to Ulta and Charming Charlie would be a bonus!  Hint..hint.. honey;)  Between all the daily tasks of taking care of four little ones and homeschool, my craziness has just caught up with me.  The other night I sent a text message to my husband to say that I would not be cooking dinner.  Poor guy works hard all day and I can’t even manage to drag myself off the couch to make him a hot meal after a long day at work.  All I wanted to do was sit and do nothing.  Apparently he felt bad for me and my fragile mental state so he offered to bring dinner home.  When he asked what I wanted, my exact response was wine, bananas foster (a fabulous dessert that in my opinion everyone must try), and sleep.  For me, those three things can work wonders!  I am sure tomorrow I will wake up with that atrocious hair and greasy face with my usual determination and pick up the slack from this past week, but for this moment I am still just blah and decided to write about it.  I think it’s safe to say that anyone with little ones has felt this at one time or another.  Probably more often than we like to admit.  I can admit to this.  The sometimes overwhelming task of their every demand and need can take a toll on you if you are not careful enough to take time for yourself.  My husband is very good about giving me my away time if he sees I need it, but too often I pass on the idea and say I’m fine.  Maybe I should make it a point to get away more often just for the sake of my whole family!  As the saying goes, “if momma ain’t happy, nobody is happy”!  It is times like this that awesome girlfriends can do wonders for a tired momma.  My girlfriends know and understand me and they too can relate.  You know who you are and be prepared for a call this week to hang out for coffee!  Anyone else experiencing this at the moment?  Thanks for letting me lay it out there…

the to do list

to do list

Ahhhhhh…that is me breathing a very deep sigh that my day has finally calmed down.  Yep you guessed it, my kids are finally in bed.  Today and the past week or so have been so up and down for me.  I wake up each morning hoping that today will be different from the previous day and then I hear someone whining and then a scream.  UGH!  Not again today!!!  Maybe it has been a full moon for oh 10 days…yes it’s a stretch but hey it’s how my brain works.  Something has got to give.  It seems that there is always one child giving me a tough time in some area and just when we come off that hurdle another one starts in somewhere else.   Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to sound like everyday is just awful, but lately it has definitely been more difficult.  I do recognize that the problem mostly lies within me.  I set myself up for failure too many days with too much on my plate.  Somehow I think I can accomplish thirty-seven things on my to do list, with one child pretending he is a UFC fighter in the living room with his little brother, another begging for a snack just thirty minutes after having finished our last meal, all the while a three-year old drawing a family portrait on the wall in her room next to the light switch.  I turn around after quickly throwing the laundry in to find the dog completely covered in mud with no less than sixty-two muddy paw prints on my wood floor.  As I leave my laundry room and walk toward the kitchen, breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner dishes are staring at me waiting to be cleaned.  I don’t get it, I snap my fingers but the cleaning fairy never comes.  What’s up with that?!?  I have also tried wiggling my nose like Bewitched but that didn’t work either.  Television lied to me as a child.  It set me up for failure.  No seriously, there is that dreaded word out there called “supermom” and I personally know the pressure of that small word with the incredible stress  it entails.  There are so many decisions we as mothers face today that our mothers didn’t face.  Yes, some things will always stand the test of time, but times change and so do circumstances in some ways.  I read a book once that talked about the many “windows” that women have open in their minds.  I’m sure you have seen at some point the picture of the light switch being an example of a man’s thinking process and then the computer hard drive relating to the brain of a woman.  Well I have found that to be true.  My husband can make a grocery list in thirty seconds, drive to the store, shop, and be home twenty-five minutes later.  If that were me, oh good grief, I would sit down and calculate each meal, all the necessary staples, scan a few grocery ads to quickly check if there were any to die for deals, on my way to the grocery I will make a pit stop at Starbuck’s, jet into T.J. Maxx quickly to see if those shoes I saw last time were still there and hopefully on sale (nope not only are they not on sale but they don’t even carry them anymore), finally get to Target and then I am like a deer in the headlights…I stop… and… stare.  Yes, I realize that last sentence is a total run-on sentence but I wanted you to really get my point.  If I am grocery shopping alone, I may not come home for three hours.  I linger.  Up and down each and every aisle.  L…i….n….g….e…rrrrrrrrr.  I love it!  The bright lights, colorful packaging, make-up and hair products, home decor, and my favorite…watching someone else’s child throwing a huge temper tantrum right in front of me and I get to walk away!  That’s terrible because honestly I feel bad for that poor mother because I know she probably wants to crawl into a hole and just and hide from the world.  But back to the “windows.”  At any moment of the day my brain looks something like this; Did I change his diaper yet?  The waffles are burning in the toaster oven!  I have to let the dog in from outside she is probably freezing. Oh no I forgot to call so and so back yesterday. Why are my children being so quiet?  Where are they?  Umm, why is the door locked, this can’t be good!  Did I pair the socks yesterday because we have to go out today and everyone needs socks.  Is the garage door shut?  What day is it?  Is tonight gymnastics?  No it’s baseball.  What do I want to cook for dinner?  Whew.  Looking at that just makes me tired.  Is anyone else like that or is it just me?  Tonight just after putting the kids to bed while throwing on my final load of laundry for the day I felt the Lord tell me to stop.  Just stop.  I heard this same thing in church just a few weeks ago.  Why exactly am I hurrying and for what?  Why do I stress myself out to get everything all done in one day?  It’s not like it is going anywhere.  I want to leave you with something.  Someone broke it down for me like this.   I have never forgotten this and it reminds me to slow down and just enjoy the day or even life.  I will never get this day back and one day I will miss these loud and crazy days.  I know this.  When I think about that I cry like a little girl.  Well here it is.  B.U.S.Y = Being Under Satan’s Yoke.  Pretty powerful huh?  Think about it.