The Best Yes in This Season

Yes, a blog is supposed to be updated regularly, and this one is decidedly not.  That being the case, I am certain very few will ever read this post.  However, I am confident God will ensure that it will find the one, even if it is only one, that it is meant to find.

I am hurriedly typing as I know I must shower and get my posse of three dressed and out the door in an hour and a half.  They also have to be fed.  Those crazy kids think I have to feed them everyday.  Imagine! 

Here is the thing.  I am reading"The Best Yes" by Lysa Terkeurst. ( Sort of, when I get up in time and the kiddos don't realize I am up before them.)  It is a great book.  It has sent me soul searching.  I feel like I don't do enough, you know?  I don't do enough ministry or volunteer work, or anything else other than my little life ( that I do love by the way.)  Then I took the time assessment offered on the book's website here.  In the book she mentions we all have 168 hours in a week and we get to control what we do with them.  I mean, of course you must sleep and feed your family, and you house should not be a total disaster.  You will likely take your children to activities and such, but if you want to do that thing that God wove deeply into your DNA, write a book, teach a class, take a class, start a business, etc., you have to take what precious time is left and make it happen.

I used the assessment.  I use approximately 169 hours per week.  Huh.  No wonder some things are not getting done.  They are disappearing into that not existent hour!  I re-evaluated.  I prayed.  I tried to figure out what could be cut so I could do my "soul thing" as she calls it in the book.  You know what.  I see that I truly already am.  A big chunk of my time, most of it other than sleeping, goes to homeschooling our kids and doing Cystic Fibrosis treatments.  Our family chose homeschool to help our son who seemed to have gotten a little behind because we moved a lot, and now he thrives in it.  We homeschool our daughter with Cystic Fibrosis for many reasons, but one of the benefits is being more in control of the germs she comes in contact with. ( Of course we know the only control we have over ANY of it is given to us by God, and He is ultimately in control.)  We also have a baby that has the disease and requires treatments that take a good deal of time as well.  While our older daughter doesn't require my full attention during treatments anymore, neither does she like to do them alone, so I try to be with her as much as possible.

My schedule is ALREADY taken up by my "soul thing."  I may need to adjust my sleep a little, lol... by an hour a week I guess... but I love what I do with our kids and I think this is the season we are in right now.  This is not a season for me to regularly keep up with a ministry blog, or volunteer, or anything else other than care for the family, including an ah-mazing husband, that God has given me.

I am not saying this is what YOU should do.  Where your kids are schooled totally depends on what is right for YOUR family.  This is not an article about homeschool or the woes of having special needs children.  THIS is an article about the seasons of life.  I just want whoever is reading this, if you are feeling discouraged about what you are NOT doing, to remember that we have seasons in our life and we can only do what we are meant to do in those time.  They change.  Just honestly evaluate and if you are doing what you should be doing for now, what God has for you to do NOW, give yourself a break on the rest.  The time will come.  The season will change, and you will likely miss it when it does.

Oh and get the book.  It is really good.






4 Products I Have Replaced with Coconut Oil and More


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So I posted here about what kind of coconut oil I use.  That post was a direct result of being asked the question several times, which was a result of me talking about how awesome it is, a LOT.  That being said, this blog is meant to be a ministry.  I do not intend to make it one big advertisement.  I DO love to tell people when I find great products, especially when I think they make us better wives and mothers by helping us stay healthy, making our families healthier, or saving us money. 

That is why I love coconut oil so much.  In the past 5 years, with the addition of 2 children with a chronic illness (learn more about that here, herehere, and here), I have learned to listen to God more closely when it comes to our lifestyles and our health.  I truly believe He gives us all we need.  I believe that there are often remedies in nature that can help us even better than man made remedies.  I also know that He made doctors and allows them the knowledge to do what they do, so I do not discredit them nor do I try to heal all illness with natural medicine.  I just have grown to be more open to trying certain things, and I will blog about that often.

For now however, I want to let you in on some ways I use coconut oil personally and KNOW that it works.  I do not know anything about some of the many claims about illnesses it can cure, and I know nothing works for everyone all of the time, but I DO know that it works for these things for me. 

4 Products I Have Replaced With Coconut Oil


·         Shaving Cream- Seriously, and I have not noticed a negative effect on my razors.

·         Facial Wash- Apply, leave a few minutes (while you brush your teeth or if in the shower while you wash your hair or shave), then wipe clean with a warm, wet wash cloth.

·         Moisturizer- I use it all over my body.  It is awesome, and yes, I do use it on my face after I wash with it.  I have oily skin but this stuff is so light I still need a thin layer after rinsing it off, and it soaks in very quickly…just trust me and don’t knock it till you try it.  This past week I have even been using a drop of lavender and a drop of frankincense essential oil to it and the results have been amazing.  I will post more about how our family uses essential oils later.

·         Baby Lotion- I have a 9 month old in addition to my two older children (5 and 9) and she is the first I have done this with.  Instead of commercial baby lotion, I rub her down with coconut oil, and at night I often add a drop of lavender to help her relax and sleep.

Other Ways I Use Coconut Oil


·         Cooking- It is great for frying eggs and sautéing.  I have not tried baking with it but I hear it is good for that also, and I would believe it.

·         Eating- If you have a good quality oil like the one I posted about here, it really tastes great.  It is sort of toasty and sweet, but very subtle.  I mostly love to put it in my coffee (be prepared for greasy lips), but I have spread it on toast and it was yummy.

·         Oil pulling- So weird I know, but swishing it around in your mouth for 20 minutes really does whiten your teeth.  I cannot attest to all of the claims of what oil pulling can do for you, but I know dental professionals agree it can be good for dental health, and I really and truly feel more energetic on days that I do it.  It is just finding the time to go 20 minutes without talking that is hard for me! 

I do not claim or even know if I believe it can cure all of the things it says it can.  There is really no way for me or most regular people to test many of those claims.  I have personally seen it works great in the ways that I use it, and I know it increases my energy when I add it to my coffee.  I know this because I often only get one cup of coffee these days and it is okay!  They say this is the medium chain fatty acids at work.  I also know my skin is healthier and better than it ever was with expensive skin products, it tastes good, and my teeth are whiter when I use it for oil pulling.  So, there you go.  Give it a try.  No harm no foul right?

If you use coconut oil, how do you use it?  If you don’t, are you planning to give it a try?  What are you going to try first?













To Answer a Question: Coconut Oil

This is just going to be a quick post about a topic I get asked about a LOT!  I get this question several times a week usually, so I thought this might help.  The question?  "What coconut oil do you use?"  Well, here it is.  I use this! 



Click that pic and you will go straight to Amazon and you can order it from there.  You may find it other places also.  Just for disclosure, this IS my Amazon associate link so I do get a few cents if you happen to buy it after you click here...but I could get that with any brand I send you to.  This is the one I use and I LOVE it!  It is the best value for the price in my opinion and I use a LOT! 

Why do I use this one?  It is unrefined...to the point that I sometimes even find little bits of shell left in it.  What does that mean?  It means a LOT of stuff, but the most important in my opinion is that it has the best smell and taste out there.  There are other unrefined brands that are probably great too, but the question is what do I use...so here it is! 

Feel free to ask questions, and I will post more later about HOW I use it.





Why Would Anyone Want to Hear from Me?


Why would anyone want to hear from me?  That is what I kept asking myself years ago when God put the desire for this blog in my heart.  If you know me at all you know I am very, very shy and I hate to talk (If you believe that you really don't know me at all.)  Those of you that DO know me personally are picking yourself off the floor and wiping tears of laughter from your eyes.  I talk.  I talk a lot.  So much so in fact that it almost lost me a second date with my husband, and my foot has bad to be dislodged from my throat way too many times.  I had no problems wanting to write about all kinds of things, but I did have problems believing anyone would want to hear what I had to say badly enough to actually read it.

 

I discussed this with God, and here was His answer.

 

God: Use my words, not yours.  This isn't going to be about you.  It is going to be about me.

Me: Okay, I can work on that, but how do I get people to read it.

God:  You don't.  I will.  It may not seem like it, and you may not ever know it.  You write what I tell you, and I will make certain that the words get to where they need to go.

Me: Okay, but what makes me anyone that anyone would even consider listening to.  I mean, I get it, you are God and you can make miracles, but can you help me out here, just a little?

God: What have I done in your life?

Me: Amazing things!

God: Tell them that.  Show them.  I have put you in many vastly different seasons in a short amount of time so you could share what I have done for my glory.  Do it. Share your weakness and my strength.

Me:  Okay then.

 

I then began to think.  I can relate to so much.  I have been a working wife that worked crazy hours. I have been a mom working crazy hours. I have been a mom working outside of the home while taking care of a preschooler and a chronically ill baby. I have been a mom that received the news that her baby had a chronic illness. I have been the mom that had to move and find new childcare and a new job. I have been the mom that sent her first to school. I have been the mom that found out another baby had a chronic illness. I have been the mom that works from home. I have been the mom that works from home and tries to figure out how to take care of two chronically ill children and not ignore the other one. I have been the mom that homeschools. I have been the mom that works from home and homeschools.

 

I have been the wife that deals with financial success and the wife that wonders how we are going to pay the bills.  I have been the wife that wondered why her husband ever loved her and the wife that knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt that her husband and marriage are nothing short of a miraculous gift from an amazing God.  I have been the wife that wondered, at the same time, how I could live with this man one more day. 

 

I have been the woman that lived an entire 18 years in one small town and spent the next 16 moving to 7 different towns.  I have been the woman that had a corporate career making great money and the woman wishing she could just stay home and raise babies and not have to have this job anymore.  I have been the woman with tons of friends and the woman who had start all over in a new town making friends.  I have been the woman active in Church and the woman seeking a new Church home. 

 

There are billions of women in this world more qualified to talk about anything and everything more than me, but I am not the one from whom these words come.  I am making it my goal and I promise to do my best to only write as God leads, and I trust He will do with it what He intends.  My only intentions are to use this platform to tell what He has done in my life and bring glory to God through it.  You can join, you cannot, you can believe I can't relate to you because my life is so different, and that may be, but it may not have always been. 

 

Either way, I know He will get the words where they need to go, and if nothing else, He has already changed me through it. To that I say, keep it coming Lord.









Breaking the Rules and What's to Come

I am breaking a multitude of "rules" with this post.  I am not planning it.  There is no outline, and I am not even typing it in word first and then copying it over.  I am sure I will regret it later.  Not only that, I have a long list of "paying" writing assignments, but I am choosing to write this first.  Why?  I don't know.  I think I just feel this is a ministry that the Lord really wants me to work on in this season.  I am going to try my best to work on making certain this blog is updated at least 2 times per week, starting here and now.

What do I want to do with it.  Well, I want to use it as I have always intended to do.  I want this to be a place of encouragement and practical help in living like the Proverbs 31 Woman.  It is what I have always endeavored to do.  I have prayed since I was very young to be a Godly wife and mother.  I am hoping that by being honest about my failures I will let other women know they are not alone.  Not every mom reads to each of their children individually every day though most of them I would say probably want to.  Not every mom always has all of the laundry folded and put away.  Not everyone mom gets a full hot meal on the table 3 times per day.  Not every mom even gets a shower everyday.  Not every mom has it ALL together.  In fact, I think if we are all honest we will see that NO mom has it all together.  However, with God's help we can strive to do better, glorify Him in it all, and help each other.

I want to share goals, successes, failures, tips that have worked in different seasons of our lives, and I want to hear from you!  I want to know what you want to hear, what has helped you, what you struggle with, and I want us all to share in this ministry of helping each other together. Are you with me?





Let Me Be Clear…. This Was Obedience



This is a post I wrote while I pregnant and then didn't publish.  It wasn't the right time I guess?  Now, as we are nearing the end the the second week of waiting for Ainsley's CF test results, I remembered it and felt led to post it. 

Let me clear...this was obedience.

Not an accident… our newest addition that is.  I refer to her as our "bonus baby."  We had made it so very clear that we did not plan to have more children that many may have taken this the wrong way.   She, however, was no accident.  I don't mean in the way that God doesn't have accidents.  Of course he doesn't.  What I mean is, we stopped preventing pregnancy, deliberately.  This is going to bring harsh judgment on us by some, as the main reason we stated for not having more children, many times over, was the fact that we have a 25% chance of a having a child with Cystic Fibrosis.  Our daughter has it, our son does not.  There are all the common reasons for not wanting this… all of them which I am sure you can imagine on your own without my listing them.



So what changed?  Frankly, God changed our hearts.  I don't know why.  Who ever KNOWS "why" with God?  It happened slowly within both of us.  I always wanted more children, but Aaron never did.  Then, when we got our daughter's diagnosis, I made my peace and was perfectly content with two children.  After a while, I even decided I was HAPPY with two children.  They are healthy (Ashton is doing VERY well) and happy, and I love them, and who wants to change diapers again anyway?  I was enjoying having my body back and having a little more sleep at night too.  It was nice to leave the house without a billion things and to have kids that could basically dress themselves. 



About two years after Ashton was born, Aaron said if it wasn't for the CF he would want another.  That was a shock.  He always only wanted two.  I think that was the start.  His heart was changing, though we didn't realize it at the time.  As my babies got bigger, I missed having babies.  We both gazed at new babies in Church and didn't really feel we were ready to stop having babies ourselves.  During these years, I had intentions of having a permanent birth control procedure done, but multiple moves and finances caused it not work out for some reason or another.  Finally, it was do or die time.  I was going to make an appointment to take care of things for good.



But I heard a whisper.  I know God's voice.  I have heard it many times before, most notably here, if you haven't read that yet.  The question was "Why?"  The only thing I could come up with was CF.  Then the idea came to me of one day Ashton asking why we didn't have more kids.  I could say lots of things, but what if she heard the truth?  What would that do to her?  Regardless of what was said, she would hear that we didn't want another like her.  That, my friends, was not okay with me. 



A few days later I sent a text to my husband in jest.  It was something to the effect of "Can't we just see what happens?"  I got a totally unexpected response.  Instead of the "NO!"  I expected, I got a "we'll see."   We started praying, separately, that night and a few days later discussed it some more.   We searched and searched for a reason that we agreed upon other than the chance for Cystic Fibrosis. There wasn't one.  We both felt God nudging us to get out of the way and let Him work.  Not that we could ever really do anything to stop Him, but we felt He was looking for obedience.  We did not know if that obedience would result in another child, and we had no promise of a child with or without CF.  We only heard "obey and watch Me work."  So, we obeyed.



We knew the risks from the start.  We know them now as I feel my almost 20 week daughter wiggling in my belly.  I know what I may face as a mother, what she may face as her life, and what our family may face together.  I also know God had a plan for this child at this time, He intended for us to be her family, and he formed her…. CF genes or not….in His secret place with a specific plan for her in mind.  He knew her name when He was on the cross, even though I don't know it yet myself. 




We won't know for sure until she is born and tested if she has Cystic Fibrosis like her big sister.  The 25% chance is big, and it seems even bigger when you hear the number of families with multiple CF children.  I just felt the need to set the record straight.  She is the result of an act of obedience.  She is not an accident.  We went in with eyes wide open, and we are prepared to take care of the child He has blessed us with no matter what.   It is scary and somewhat overwhelming to think of what could be, don’t get me wrong.  There are no promises in the Bible for an easy life however, and I only pray we can, as a family, use WHATEVER comes in our lives and the lives of our children to bring glory and honor to God. 












Just Where Is "Afar?"


"She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar."


I have addressed this topic on here before, but it is a season of my life where it bears revisiting. I thought it would be fun to revisit it togetherJ  The Proverbs 31 Woman brought her food from afar.  I really am not sure what that means in the context of the time in which she lived.  I know that putting food on the table was hard work.  It meant growing it yourself or walking to the market and spending money, as wisely as possible, to provide nourishing meals for the family.  What does that look like today?

Pretty much the same I suppose.  We drive to the market rather than walk, and we have many more options than she had.  I am pretty sure we have many more unhealthy options mostly.  I could write a whole post about how you should coupon, grow your own food, and make everything from scratch.  However, I know for a FACT that is not always possible.  Some of you work outside of the home full-time, which I did for over 10 years.  Some of you, like me, still work a job at home other than your regular home keeping and mothering duties.  I was thinking it would be more helpful to list some ideas, and you choose which ones work best for you and your family during the season you are in right now.  Remember, the idea is to provide the most nourishing meals possible for the least amount of money possible.  Ready?  Try some of these on for size.

·         Have a stockpile of fast, not too bad for you meals that you can turn to on nights when cooking is just not in the cards.  This could be for nights when practices, ball games, or working late just do not allow for a full meal.  Pinterest is a great resource for these.  One of our favorites is grilled sandwiches with fruit or a salad.

·         Utilize the crockpot.  Again, there are tons of resources available, but Pinterest really is great for this too.

·         If you need to pick something up, try the deli at the supermarket.  It is cheaper than a sit down restaurant and much better for you than fast food.   You can buy an entrée and sides al carte, or sometimes the meat and three type deals are enough for more than one person to eat from.

·         Do consider gardening if you can find the time.  The Bundle of the Week this week is all about how to do this frugally, in little space, and efficiently. (I don't do this, but it has always been on my bucket list and I am excited to read this bundle!)

·         Consider a CSA.  Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is something my husband and I are considering giving a try.  The only thing holding me back is that I am unsure exactly how well it will fit in our budget.  My biggest eater, my son, is a struggle when it comes to veggies anyway, and I don't want to have so much we can't finish.  Look around for local ones and see if any would be a good fit for your family. If you can't garden, this is a great alternative, and we are leaning heavily towards giving it a try at least once. 

·         Cut back on the amount junk food you keep at home.  If it isn't there they will not eat it.  You will save money and they will be forced to eat what is there ( hopefully healthier alternatives) or go hungry.  I have done this, and do not get me wrong.  There is plenty of unpleasantness that goes with it at first.  This is especially true of the first time the 8 year old does not have a selection of potato chips to choose from for an afterschool snack.  (Yes, I am that mom.  No, I never said I was perfect, lol. )

·       Coupon and look at sales if you have time.  If you do not have time, don't sweat it or feel guilty.  Do the best you can.  Pay attention when you shop so you recognize a good price with you see it, and make an effort to spend the least amount possible on the best quality food possible.  .

Do you guys have more tips for us?  Let us know more about your "afar" in the comments or drop us a line on Facebook.  Also, if you do utilize Pinterest, I would love to have you join me here.   One last thing, the Bundle of the Week link above is my affiliate link.  It costs you nothing extra, and if you do purchase a bundle I get a small cut. If you are not comfortable with that just go to bundleoftheweek.com and check it out.  They have a new bundle each week, so be sure to sign up for emails.

Now, go find your "afar."