Monday, October 12, 2015

Our family's journey with respiratory issues and natural healing

When our third child was born, she began having respiratory issues as an infant.  I can't really recall exactly how or when it started, but I realized soon on that it was serious.  She was suffering and it kept happening.  This was the first time in my life to experience asthma/reactive airway disease, first hand.  Growing up, no one in my family had respiratory issues. I only heard of about asthma from other kids who couldn't run too hard or fast because then they couldn't breathe well or that you should breathe into a paper bag if things got bad.  That's ALL I knew. From there, a healing journey began with 3 factors:

Nutrition and Supplementation

Realizing that as parents, we are our children's biggest advocates and being that I hadn't had much experience or knowledge about allergy and asthma issues, I began doing some heavy research.  

I have read a plethora of articles, books and posts and   was a huge eye opener regarding various triggers to allergy and asthma issues.  It discusses things such as casein (milk protein) and gluten, which can cause inflammation, a huge contributor to these types of issues.

We have made a lot of changes in the area of diet and nutritional supplements that have seemed to help reduce attacks/episodes.  We have added some important missing elements and started avoiding (or greatly reducing) trigger foods.  We have seen an amazing difference by doing this.  

Essential Oils

During my research journey on how to help my child, several people advised me about esessential oils and the effect they have had on their own child's respiratory issues/asthma.  Of course, I was desperate to help her and get her healthy. I would and did do anything to help her and prevent these attacks,  BUT, I really wanted to try a more natural approach to do that.  The idea of her being on several different medications, steroids and constant albuterol and the side effects of all of those bothered me. So, we tried the oils.

I can seriously say, there have been times that it was evident that an asthma attack was surely coming as she was lying down in bed at night - by just a cough or congestion.  I put a DoTerra respiratory blend  on her feet and chest and the night became quiet.  She rested without another cough.  I became a (oil) believer.  I heavily rely on these oils and use them in this diffuser, also.

This is definitely not the last post you will see from me about essential oils. 


(This an older pic and I hope and pray we don't have many more like these.)


So, I got fed up.  If you are a believer, a Christian, a prayer warrior.... you know what I'm talking about.  There is a spiritual battle everyday in our families, relationships, health and finances and so on.  It's a daily battle.  A friend of the family (thanks D.G.) let me know he was heartbroken from all the reports about our sweet baby being in distress or going to the E.R. and that he began fervently praying for her.  (Not to mention, so were her grandparents, family and friends.) 

Well... hello, I'm her mother and of course I was praying, too. But I was so exhausted and discourgaed and fearful, that I wasn't "really praying".  That changed! You may have seen the recent film, War Room?!  You know the scene where the wife/mom GOES OFF on the devil and "serves him an eviction notice" from their home and lives?!  Yeah, it was that kind of prayer.  I was so sick and tired of the stupid devil trying to steal our daughter's life.  Twice, I wasn't sure if she was going to make it through a horrible asthma attack and had to watch her be whisked away on a gurney to the E.R.  Thankfully, all turned out well and she even had a smile on her face once they got her taken care of....but I was NOT OK with that happening again.  

I can thankfully say that all of these changes have helped our little one become healthier and avoid so many issues and episodes.  Honestly though, since I 
"declared war" on her illness and became serious about praying for her... I can't remember the last attack she has had.  It's been months since I've heard a cough from her at night!!! Happy momma! Healthy daughter! Good God!!

I really, really hope these tips will help someone.  Whether it's a serious issue or an annoyance that inhibits you from fully living, there is hope!!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

When Life Comes Full Circle

(My first Spanish prayer with people in Mexico 21 years ago.) 

21 years ago I stepped off of an airplane onto Mexican soil. This moment forever changed my life in so many ways.  

I was just a teenager and had made the decision (with my parent's permission) to go on my first mission trip.  This experience changed so perspective, my worldview, my educational path, my plans my desires and my destiny.  

Fast forward, 21 years.  I'm a mother of four amazing girls and I get the absolutely crazy privilege of taking our oldest on such a trip. In just a few short days, we will be boarding an airplane and planting our feet on Peruvian soil.  It's amazing how time has passed and life has literally come full circle.  I remember that first trip like it was yesterday and now I am able to go and take my own daughter. 

I'm so grateful to the family, friends and even strangers who have made this trip possible by generous donations. To my awesome husband who will be holding down the fort with our other girls while we are gone. 

We will be joining my parents who will be holding a community wide Gospel presentation in a local soccer stadium.  My daughter will get to experience the legacy of her grandparents as they are still able to walk out their destiny. She and I will also be hosting a children's conference, "Let Your Light Shine", where we will have so much fun with hundreds of Peruvian children through games and music.  We will bring to them a message of hope, love and encouragement. 

My prayer for our oldest daughter is that her already compassionate heart will return even more full of compassion for the people of this world.  That her eyes would be opened to the HUGEness of her God and the love that He has for people. That she would not look only through "American eyes", but realize there is a great big world out there.  I pray that she would realize, even at this young age, some of her gifts, talents and passions and how to pursue them.  

I know that with these prayers, I may face the day that my parents did so many years ago, and that she may come to me and say, "mom, it's time for me to go."  In case that happens, I need to prepare my heart now to be ready to trust my sweet girl to a big God that loves her and has big plans for her life. 

Here we go...

If you are interested in donating to this project, click here.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

7 Thoughts Moms Have Had About Fitness

1. "I wonder if my post-baby bladder will make it through any more jumping 
      jacks or burpees?!"

2.  "How can I incorporate my clingy children into my workout as exercise 

3. "Hmm, which sports bra will fit today. The pre-baby boobies one? The 
     pregnancy boobies one? The nursing boobies one? Or the post-nursing [what 
     in the world happened here] one?"

4. "Now to figure out how to get my other bicep as massive as the one I've 
      used to carry the infant carseat around for an entire year."

5. "I wonder how soon after I get back in shape that I will get pregant 

6. "Should I be doing keagels while doing these squats."

7. "If I can birth a human being from my body into this world, I can surely 
     finish this darn workout!" 

Happy workout, mommas!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

5 morning habits that make my day much smoother and more productive

I don't know about you, but I absolutely love reading about other people's routines, habits, goals, etc. Not only is it inspiring and motivating, but I guess I just feel like there is always something that can be tweaked or added or removed to help me be more productive, efficient or successful.  

One particular example of what I mean is when I had our fourth child in a 4.5 year span.  I felt a bit overwhelmed and I heard about a book called Large Family Logistics.  This book was geared towards helping large families manage their home. I was like "HELP"! "Teach me your ways"! ha ha  So, I bought the book and we implemented some of the ideas that have helped make managing all of these people and their stuff, more efficient. 

Although I realize my goals, values, dreams, and priorities may differ greatly from the next person, I feel we can all learn from each other in one way or another. 

I'm quite the dreamer and my bucket list, goals, dreams and to do list are pretty long, but wanted to share a few habits.  Also, since mornings are so important in how the rest of our day plays out, I wanted to share a few things that I do in the morning that always help the rest of my day go more smoothly and more productive. 

1. Refresh my soul

Whether it be reading my Bible, a devotional, listening to Daily Audio Bible or praying, when I start my day off connecting with my Creator, so many things happen.  My attitude gets an adjustment and I'm more ready to take on the demands of the day.  I'm reminded of my priorities, my purpose, my values and who I am.  I want more of Him and less of me.  The big picture of life comes into focus.  I find strength. I find joy, peace and hope that can weather any storm (because the storms will come)  My heart becomes full. 

2. Have a healthy breakfast 

I start every single day with a power packed vegan protein shake.  My shake is so filling, packed with vitamins, minerals and goodness, it helps me get off to a healthy and energetic start.  I add a lot of extras to my shake (coconut oil, spinach, chia seeds, almond milk and berries).  I love that my breakfast is pretty brainless since I make it every single morning. If you haven't tried starting you day off with a protein shake, give it a try!

3. Put on my "power suit" 

No, you're eyes are not fooling you.  I'm talking about workout clothes and shoes. This is my power suit.  Being a homeschooling mom/stay at home mom, comfort is priority. Although I admit, I've spent my fair share of time in pajamas, I've opted not to make that a habit for my sake and the sake of others.  But, I LOVE fitness wear.  It's comfortable, so fun and it's a great reminder to get my workout in sometime during the day! I'm not a morning workout girl.  I never really have been except for a short period in my life where I had to be and that was very stretching and good for a while.  I know a lot of people do work out in the morning and there are many benefits to it, but to each his own and my workouts thrive so much better when I'm awake and fully looking forward to it.  Just a little tip: fitness wear can be crazy expensive, but Marshalls and TJ Maxx have great choices for a fraction of the cost.  This particular shirt was a JCPenny deal for $5 and my shoes were a Mother's Day gift from my honey! 

4. Clean the kitchen

As most of us know, there is never a lack of chores to be done around the home [insert huge sigh].  This is my nemesis.  Yes, I love my family and love serving them and living in a clean and organized home (what is that?!?), but I can't help but feel instantly defeated as soon as my feet hit the floor in the morning.  One thing that helps me with this is to start in the kitchen.  I cannot function when the kitchen is a wreck. For me, it's like the epicenter of home life.  If the kitchen is dirty and there are crumbs everywhere, I can't focus on moving on to other areas.  I enjoy taking my time making breakfast for our family and getting the kitchen cleaned up while I listen to my Daily Audio Bible.   I'm not sure how I would function as a public school mom because I love slow mornings in the kitchen. 

5. Read with my girls

Before we jump into our schoolwork for the day, I really really enjoy gathering the girls for reading time in the morning. I described what that looks like in a previous post, but I wanted to add that to my 5 morning habits.  Doing this makes me feel like we start the day off more connected and more calm and it has helped develop a love for reading in them.  They know what's up when I call them to the couch and I love that. 

Do you have a morning routine?  It may look completely different from mine and that's what's are you and I am me. 
Enjoy your mornings!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Boxing, Life Funks and Jesus

 photo b25071bb-7f22-437d-9de7-3b01590471c4.jpg

A friend of mine rejoined a UFC gym that I had been wanting to try for a while.  So, she invited me to join her at a class.  

It just so happened that the week she invited me to go was probably one of the hardest weeks of my life.  You know, one of those times where life gives a sucker punch. The kind that takes your breath away....but you know that there are others around you who need you, so you put on your "oxygen mask" and keep moving. 

Anyway, because of the type of week it was and the deep funk I was in, I didn't get much sleep or work out or eat well at all.

Despite my tired, sleep deprived and nutrition deprived state, I decided to show up that Saturday morning.  I told her I was glad she was a paramedic because it was the worst possible time I could do something like this. To which she replied, "it's the best time you could do this."  Oookkkay!!!  She's my challenging and encouraging friend.  Not afraid to push me to be better.

Although it was a challenging class and I was very focused on finishing strong, I had some major revelations during that 60 minutes while punching a bag.

We've all been through some kind of funk, whether it be physical, spiritual, financial, relational or emotional. Unfortunately, they are a part of life.  

Here are a few things that went through my mind during that sweaty hour:

Who's in your corner?  
Every fighter has someone in their corner.  Sometimes, it's people that you wouldn't expect as well as the ones you expect. Friends and family, we can all let each other down.  We're human.  During the funks in my life, I've been so blessed to have so much love and support.  I felt like my corner was full.  I also know ONE who has always been and always will be in my corner because He promises to never leave or forsake me. (Deut. 31:6)  He promises the same for you.

Who are you really fighting against?
Have you ever seen someone focus on a target and work a little harder because they picture someones face on that target?  I'm sure none of us are guilty of that?! [insert sarcastic laugh] Although that's somewhat of a good motivator or technique, we must ask ourselves, "who's really the opponent?" So often, we blame shift or blame ourselves.  Many times, it's neither.  It's true that relationships (marriages, friendships, family) can be challenging, but so often, we really are not fighting who we think we are. It's deeper. (Ephesians 6:12)

Training before the fight
When it comes to any sport, it's not just how you perform, but what you do before you even show up that matters.  This is also true when we face the challenges of life; and there WILL be challenges.  How well we manage in the challenging time depends so much on how we've prepared our hearts before it hit.  It's easy to be happy, positive, optimistic and strong when life is smooth.  True colors our real character, however, always presents itself during the hard times. (Matthew 7:16)  Do we have what it takes to get through?!

You have more strength than you think. 
I kept thinking that particular week was one of the worst weeks I could have done this (i.e not eating well or building endurance).  During the class, however, the coach kept yelling, "Come on! You guys can do anything for 30 seconds."  Although I wanted to sucker punch him [ha ha], it's true.  It felt like I was dying at times throughout the workout, but if I just focused on the next few seconds at a time, it wasn't as overwhelming. I got through. I know where the true source of my strength is. (Phil. 4:13)

At the end of my class, I had throbbing scuffed knuckles, my heart was pounding out of my chest, I was a sweaty mess and sapped of energy.  But you know what... I made it through the class. I had the victory, to which I almost raised my glove in the air like the real UFC matches, but I thought the dramatic effect of that might not go over too well. I was doing it INSIDE though.  I made it through!!!!  

I hope this inspires someone.  For some, it may inspire deep thinking about how you "fight".  Others, you may just want to go workout?! Both are great ideas!!!

P.S. I'm a regular at this gym now and am loving every minute of it.  It's a super challenging workout, yet fun and therapeutic all at the same time. You should try it!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

2 Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Salad

There is nothing worse than wilted or sopping wet lettuce in your salad.  OK, so there are a lot of things worse than that, but who likes to eat salad that way?!

Since revamping our eating habits in recent years, one simple change we made is to add at least one big salad per day to our diet.  This was one simple yet very healthy suggestion made by one of my favorite doctors, Dr. Joel Furhman, in one his books. (Check out his books Eat to Live and Super Immunity.)

Our family truly loves salads, and like most people, we like them fresh and crunchy.  I've found two ways that have made that possible every time.

1. Use a Salad Spinner.  

Using a salad spinner has made it SO much easier to dry the lettuce (romaine and/or kale) after washing. It's much better that using a whole bunch of paper towels.  The girls think this is pretty cool, too. They take turns spinning and spinning. 

2. Store salad in Mason Jars.

I have found that storing the lettuce in glass jars after drying makes it last so much longer. I'm amazed that a week later, the lettuce is just as fresh as when I put it in. 

We also like to add a gazillion things to them for additional nutrients such as: white beans for protein, olives, avocados, hearts of palm and all kinds of veggies.  You can even add these toppings to the jars, as well, to take on the go or have for a healthy lunch away from home. 

Happy Salad Prepping!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

On the slower days

When it comes to homeschooling, there are many days that we hit the ground running and I feel a bit like a drill sergeant keeping the girls on task with their assignments and chores, etc, all while attempting to keep a house in order and keep people alive, happy and healthy.  There are definitely those days, however, that are much slower paced and natural and we go with the flow of the opportunities around us.  

This week, we had at least one of those days and it was so great.  

One particular day, we started our day as usual with some morning time together doing our devotions.  365 Very Veggie Devos for Girls is one of our favorites.  It's easy for all of their ages to grasp. 

We then took a trip to the library and stocked up.  Everyone dove into some new books.  This always keeps them entertained for a while. 

I loved The Very Lonely Firefly and wanted to read it aloud to the girls.  For whatever reason, it felt like I was narrating something when I was reading, so.....

... we decided to give it a shot and do a short narrative play.  We gathered props and cast characters and presented it for daddy when he came home.  It was so much fun!!! Check out the "fireflies" below.  Our first of many small performances, I'm sure. 

We then moved into the kitchen and our oldest put her culinary skills to work and whipped up some guacamole for us. 

As you can see it didn't last long with this group. 

I had lentil soup planned for dinner, so I let my oldest get some recipe reading experience.  It's perfect because she has been working on measurements and fractions this year.  This girl has skills! 

I hope you enjoy the recipe and will take the opportunity to slow down to cook, play and learn together!  I think it takes more discipline for many of us to do that than it does to keep going full speed?!  Agree?