Dec 112015
 

Yeah my mom has some flaws, but you know what, as her child I see right through them all or maybe it is because the good outweighs those negative little things. She is beautiful and takes great care of herself, she cares for me and my children and even took my kids and raised them as her own when I found myself a teen mom leaving an abusive relationship. Now we all live together as a family of five and it definitely has it’s challenges like that one bathroom thing we have going on!

Yet every night she puts dinner on the table and every day she gets up and puts the kids on the bus for school. She takes care of my daughter’s dog who is hooked to her when my daughter goes to school, she spends money on clothing and school supplies and a billion things more and she doesn’t have to do any of that but because she is a mom she embraces it all and raises little stink.

She is an awesome wife to my dad and they have a stay at home date night each weekend and always have which is so sweet. They poor a glass of wine and watch TV together and chat and don’t let anyone else come in and interrupt them, it clearly keeps the relationship alive.

We grocery shop together each week and have that girl time hanging out and chatting about life. She has been an inspiration to me and is so precious to me. I see so many ladies online who are my age or so and their parents are struggling with health and even passing and I feel so blessed to have parents who are relatively young in comparison. Both being in their 50’s gives them the energy to keep up and to keep them relatable.

This whole entire family journey has been insane but my mom has been my rock through it all, even when I was covered in darkness to the point I couldn’t see God she would remind me why I needed to live and who I needed to live for.

Maybe she will read this, maybe she won’t but I thought it was worth writing about the beautiful woman sitting across from me right now, as she cuddles the Buddy-dog!

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A lawyer with a well-stamped passport and a passion for human rights, Lisa-Jo Baker never wanted to be a mom. And then she had kids. Having lost her own mother to cancer as a teenager, Lisa-Jo felt lost on her journey to womanhood and wholly unprepared to raise children.

Surprised by Motherhood is Lisa-Jo’s story of becoming and being a mom, and in the process, discovering that all the “what to expect” and “how to” books in the world can never truly prepare you for the sheer exhilaration, joy, and terrifying love that accompanies motherhood.

Set partly in South Africa and partly in the US (with a slight detour to Ukraine along the way), Surprised by Motherhood is a poignant memoir of one woman’s dawning realization that being a mom isn’t about being perfect―it’s about being present.


Dec 102015
 

They say to pause and reflect and at this time of year that can certainly be a lot more difficult. With shopping and kids and accidents and trying to find time to eat and write and all of that normally fun stuff.

As some of you may know, Ann Voskamp’s book literally changed my life. I mean literally. I was often suicidal and felt like I had no direction and that God had no direction for me. Then I started counting those gifts and what a world of a difference!! Looking for the gifts is easy for a day or so but after that it becomes a little bit more than difficult. Yet I still count on.

I have reached over a thousand gifts again this year and right now I take time to pause and reflect each night as I get snuggled into bed and write out the gifts from the day in my journal. It is so fun to see those gifts adding up. So amazing to know that even when I am physically assaulted by pain that God is blessing me with so much!

This has also shown me that it is NOT God who assails me, but Satan. God only wants good for me. While we all face trials He encourages growth. So instead of moping around because I am in pain it is a lot easier to look up to God and sing a worship song (off key) or simply ask Him “what would You like me to learn from this Father?”

His answer normally is empathy. Learn empathy.

Not that I am someone who is cruel or whatever, its actually quite the opposite, however I used to feel sympathy and sympathy really doesn’t help encourage anyone. But empathy does. I can relate to the girl who was beaten or raped and I can relate to the pain patient, the struggle with finding good doctors and proper medications and I can relate to dealing with a disease that won’t be going away. This gives me perspective and when I get the chance to hear a friend complain or feel useless my empathy can kick in, I can reflect on my own experience and do my best to encourage her from my own experience and my own prayer.

We are all different. Yet God is ALWAYS the same!

Dec 072015
 

Yeah, it’s already week two on the countdown to Jesus, God with skin on. We lit the Peace candle and the light grows strong and excitement and joy over what comes next grows.

Mary heavily pregnant with the messiah inside, kicking her ribs and tickling her sides. Following her husband dutifully to Bethlehem.

I wonder what she was thinking and how she felt. Knowing that she was carrying the Son of Man.

Was she scared every time she didn’t feel the baby move, did her ankles swell and ache? Was she excited to get the pregnancy over or did she want to keep Him safe inside forever.

As mama’s we deal with so much through a pregnancy from wondering what our baby will wear and how we will afford diapers to fears of miscarriage, stillborn, a disability, SIDS. We worry. We wonder if we will find out the sex and if we should tell if we do. Yet beautiful, young Mary knew!

She knew before the first flutter kicks that she was carrying a child. She knew it was a boy! She knew what His name would be. She knew that the world would forever be changed but surely had no idea to what degree. She expected to have a healthy baby because He was the Son of God. All of the things we consider while pregnant she knew and so did Joseph. And they didn’t need an ultrasound or some sort of techie gear to reassure her that everything was going just right.

So imagine the shock, the momentary fear, when her water broke and contractions came hard and she had nowhere to rest, nowhere to lay her child’s head. Imagine wondering if you could properly parent Jesus?!

The world contracted too while she struggled to catch her breath. The stars aligned to announce the coming of the King. The angels came and began to sing. The nations heard of this boy-child who would be king and began to slaughter every little boy forcing them to run and protect the only true innocent One.

There is a reason that we look to Mother Mary and strive to protect, defend, and be grace-filled as we chug along praying for the best.

And prophesy of old was fulfilled because out of the stump of Jesse grew a shoot and that shoot did in fact bear fruit –Jesus!

Nov 262015
 

Today in the USA people from corner to corner sat around table’s big and small enjoying family and friends and good eats. Up here in Canada we did this in October which is equally as fun, though I will say the emphasis seems to be a lot more on family and friends than on the sales the day after. I mean, I get wanting to save money but there is more to this day than the sale on Friday.

They say that Thanksgiving was started with Pilgrims and Indians and all of that Jazz but really, from my perspective as a Christian, I see Thanksgiving beginning at that famous table that da Vinci painted of the last supper. Where Jesus and friends are passing bread and sharing wine. Where the Bible tells us about the upcoming crucifixion and the prophesies that will be fulfilled.

Jesus gave thanks. He sat or stood or did whatever Jesus did and He gave thanks to God the Father, teaching us to give thanks in all things, in all ways, always.

I would love to see more Jesus around the table and less shopping. And any shopping to be done with Jesus in mind. How about supporting Compassion, World Vision, Gospel for Asia, shopping fair trade and supporting the stay at home mama’s who are working from home with their home businesses. Like myself, Plexus is an awesome product that has given people health back, then we have the wonderful Mama’s (and wives) who are selling Avon, Scentsy and so many other amazing and GREAT products that support the seller instead of the billionaire chain store.

Did you know that for 30 dollars you can give medication to 10 children who are at risk of dying from preventable diseases? Did you know that for a couple hundred dollars you could buy livestock for a family so they can not only eat but make money? Did you know that while we sip on coffee and eggnog and all sorts of beverages there are millions of people who are dying, literally -for a single sip of something safe?

So let’s take our Thanks and GIVE because we need to be giving in order to truly receive the bounty of the Holy Spirit. All because Jesus mindfully spoke words of thanks around that table all those years ago!

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Nov 242015
 

I never expected to be writing about self-confidence, but you know what? I feel confident in myself. That says a lot coming from where I have and the only things that have really changed in my life are my faith, and the added blessing of Plexus products. You see, a little over a year ago I didn’t expect to even survive to see the New Year. I was sick all of the time and sleeping close 20+ hours a day and always felt exhausted.

I was broken down physically from infections and kidney stones, UTI’s, pneumonia that just kept coming and of course my PTSD.

Flashback to when I was 17. I was a new mom and met a lovely and loving Mennonite family. They were always gracious and so sweet and I really enjoyed getting to know them and getting to know God as seen through their eyes. I was in an extremely abusive relationship which you can read about in some of my other posts and most of that abuse was justified through biblical teachings. So, this family was in a lot of ways, a ray of hope. I had no clue what purpose they would serve in my life but I knew it was going to be awesome.

Then at 19 I had my son and one of their daughters was training to be a midwife and I was having a homebirth so we asked her if she would like to join in. I thought maybe that was what this friendship was leading to, helping her get her education so she could follow what God had placed on her heart and help mama’s.

Then, last year when I was 29, a full ten years after I had really had more than much Facebook interaction with these old friends (and of course the grocery store!) and I was feeling really sick the oldest daughter, Shelly, began to post about her own health and the struggles she had been having. She was quickly becoming the granola mom who was coming up with insane sounding recipes with two hundred steps and I wondered how she was doing it all with 3 littles and one on the way. I didn’t know she wasn’t feeling well most days either. I didn’t know that she was doing all of this “crazy” cooking in an effort to feel better and the research she was doing was for her own health.

Then, she started to post about Plexus products which she had begun to take while pregnant. She was talking about less pain, good sleep, her worst pregnancy quickly becoming her BEST pregnancy and so much other good stuff. I wanted to order but figured there was really no hope for my health. She couldn’t have felt as bad as I did, no one could.

Then, I saw her mom post that she had started using the products and I knew that these were male led households based on the Biblical teachings and I watched and kept reading testimonies of more and more family members starting to use and LOVE Plexus. I realized that they wouldn’t be buying products that their hubby’s didn’t think had an impact on their health. So, I finally placed and order and gave it a try.

The very first week I was no longer sleeping all day every day. I wasn’t exhausted. My pain levels were lower. My anxiety better. My IBS (which I didn’t even really know could be helped) was GONE and in general I was feeling great. I didn’t believe that the products were working though. I figured it had to be some sort of mental fluke of mind over matter.

A year later though I have lost over 30lbs, I am still feeling well, my IBS is still controlled. I haven’t had any chest/lung infections, I haven’t had any UTI’s or kidney stones. My hair and nails are growing super –fast and my skin feels and looks better than it ever has. No more tangles because there isn’t any more breakage, at least not like there used to be!

As a result my confidence has boosted. I feel healthy and I know that my health is why God placed these lovely people into my life over a decade ago. I wouldn’t have ever tried Plexus products had I heard it from someone else, but their faith gave me hope and it just felt right.

Being so much healthier means I am not feeling like I need to change. I am glad to go out without makeup. I wear my hair in a ponytail. I no longer feel like I have to dye it. I can eat whatever I want without it making me sick. I can drive my kids to Youth group and to school trips and take care of 2 dogs, my aquarium and my bird.

My back is sore. I have degenerative disc disease. When I wake up in the morning I am normally very stiff and sore. Pain often wakes me up in the morning. Yet I faithfully get up and drink my pink drink and within about 20 minutes my pain levels and stiffness are gone for a large portion of the day. Meaning, I don’t have to put so much poison into my body to keep the pain from disc disease and arthritis away. A pink drink called Plexus Slim has given me my life back –literally and I am completely amazed by how God orchestrated it ALL!

I am confident that I will stay healthy and continue to see results. I am confident in being me. I am confident that God had a plan, and continues to have a plan for me every single day.

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Nov 182015
 

The wind violent and wicked outside the windows with a smack of an extension cord bashing against the wall like its eating its way into the house and out of the fight. The sound itself is cold the rain pouring down thick and supposed to turn to snow. Puddles no longer puddles since they cross the drive from marsh to marsh, a skating rink waiting for the temperature to drop below freezing.

The sun hasn’t been seen for days. Not sure when it will appear again. The weather forecast doesn’t look promising and the scent of cinnamon roll candles permeating the air is already beginning to grow old among a winter that hasn’t yet begun. The flames steadfast and strong, no flickering tonight as the wax is growing low, you would never know there was a wind by looking at those beautiful fiery flames.

Regardless of the relentless banging everyone is in bed. The hockey game turned off, the alarms not set because there is no work tomorrow and likely no school. I watch the fish tank opposite my own bed, the albino fish munching down on algae so small I can’t even see it. I am reminded of God’s power and how He always provides. Always and for all of his creatures, like this microscopic algae that clearly tastes great to the fish choosing to munch on it instead of the fish food, and the thousands of snail babies that hatched the other day because of the vast food supply in the planted tank.

As the wind slows and is nearly forgotten before whipping back up the Gospels speak to me and I am reminded of Jesus asleep on the boat during a treacherous storm while everyone was panicking. He controlled the weather and told it to stop and it obeyed.

27 But the men marvelled, saying, what manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
~ Matthew 8:27~

And because of that, I will sleep well tonight, because God has this. He is providing for the fish in the tank, the grass that is growing strong and green and I have no doubts that He will provide for and shelter me and no storm will be one too big for Him!

So in a time where the world is full of gun fire, bomb fire and fires held in the hands of those holding vigils we have to remember that the Lord our God has this, He has us and He has the world in the palm of His hands.

24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?
~ Luke 12:24~

“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”
~Ephesians 6:19~


Nov 152015
 

It’s been another pain-full week with only one day where I didn’t have any pain until closer to bedtime. I am definitely grateful for the day that I was almost pain free and it did in fact make the gratitude list.

I have been writing a LOT in my gratitude journal the past few days. I wrote a few hundred things in the last three days which is awesome! I switched it out of my planner and into my journal so I would have room for it all and room to plan… God is good!

It is so easy to become weary when the sky is in a perpetual state of grey. I am actually waiting for the snow. Yep you hear me, WAITING FOR THE SNOW. I need it to snow because once we have a nice layer over everything even a grey sky reflects light off of the snow and the weary dreary goes away and energy returns and life begins to feel normal again.

The sun was actually out this morning when I woke up and put the dogs out. I stood there reveling in it’s yellow warmth and soaked in ten or so minutes of vitamin D and it felt lovely. Unfortunately, it clouded over quickly afterwards and the chill in the air returned. Oh but that sun was beautiful and warm! And now the candles are lit and they remind me that the light of God is always there, even when the clouds are trying to stop me from seeing the light.

I would love to hear how you fight the blues during the fall and what makes you feel weary!? I think for me that the time change really doesn’t help with the grey days. Can you be jet lagged from daylight savings? Oy!

Remember to pray for Paris and the rest of the world right now. God always prevails but asking for Him to intercede can never hurt!

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