Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Tips for a Struggling Marriage

I am a part of an awesome group of ladies who are striving to be more godly wives, and I recently asked them to share tips/advice for a wife who was in a struggling marriage. There was so much wisdom in the responses, I wanted to share them here.

So maybe this is you. Maybe you are in a tough spot in your marriage. Or maybe you are going to share this with a friend to encourage her. Either way, let's just pretend we're all sitting around my living room drinking some coffee (or herbal tea) & go through some of this together. It's good stuff, and if you have anything you'd like to add, shoot me an email or comment and I'll get it added.

My response:
Prayer! Prayer changes things. Mostly, praying for someone else fervently changes YOUR heart towards them! It’s really hard to stay mad at someone when you are praying for them. Pray for the Lord to give you eyes and a heart that sees your spouse as Christ sees him!

Consider fasting. I love Jentezen Franklin’s book Fasting. It taught me allllll about it. 

Find a group of godly women (or even just one) who aren’t in your family that will speak truth to you, never speak negatively about your spouse, will encourage you to fight for your marriage, and will agree to stand with you in prayer...keeping your arms up for you when you feel weary.

Write down a list of the things you fell in love with about your spouse originally and maybe write them a note letting them know those things.

Focus on what you can control and ask the Lord to reveal any areas where you need to change. It is so exhausting and frustrating trying to change your spouse… Because we don’t have the ability to do that, and we cannot control their actions, attitudes, words, or reactions. Only our own. But the good news… We are only responsible for our own. That means when we stand before the Lord, we need to make sure that we have given everything to be as godly as possible in every area.

That is not always easy when there are hurts. This is such an important time to diligently seek the Lord and allow him to heal your heart, and help you continually choose forgiveness… Even if that’s multiple times a day. He can do that through you.

Try to out serve your spouse. You’re never more like Jesus than when you are serving. (This also means coming together sexually... which sometimes we don’t feel “in the mood” if our emotional needs are not met, but I have never once regretted doing it even if I didn’t necessarily “feel like it.”)

Look up scriptures that encourage us during this time… Read about godly women in the word like first Peter 3 (winning him without a word) Titus two, Proverbs 31… Memorize them if you can!

Be the most loving, joyful person you know! The Holy Spirit will strengthen you and embolden you to do that, if you allow him to be the one to meet your needs and don’t place that expectation on your husband. Remember, your husband is going to be the one standing before the Lord one day for how he treated you and how he lead your family spiritually. We should never nag them into loving us like Christ loved the church… But instead just focus on our own contribution to the marriage. Have your own personal relationship with Jesus that is so appealing, it causes your husband to want to see Jesus more.

Choose to love your spouse with the true biblical meaning of love, even if you were in a season of not necessarily liking them very much. There’s a really big difference between those two.



Never ever ever use the “d” word. Don’t give the enemy a footstool.

I am all about some good Christian counseling!

Don’t trust your feelings. They are not always true. Take every thought captive and measure everything against the word of God… Not worldly standards. Ask the Lord to reveal these things to you. James 1:5

This is a really important time to fill your mind with good stuff. Podcasts, books, the Bible… Things that are FOR your marriage! That point you back to the Gospel.

And most importantly, remember who the real enemy is. It is not your spouse. There’s a very real enemy on the prowl… Spiritual warfare Trying to destroy the family unit and your marriage because it is so precious to God. Remember that, put on your fighting gloves, and fight the enemy for your marriage. God is for you. He is your helper, and he is victorious!!! ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ


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Elizabeth said:
My greatest hurdle and yet one of the best pieces of wisdom I have been given (time and time again I receive it!), is to never let your feelings or how your spouse is treating you/handling a situation determine how you treat them or respond.

Sounds basic and easy, especially if you are a believer, right? Wrong. At least for me!

But I find when I love my spouse the way I am called to, to the best of my ability, the way I want to be loved, and NOT in response to whatever he is doing at the moment, my marriage is stronger and a greater delight. 


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Laura said:
Endurance and forbearance. Just as my own personal sanctification typically does not occur overnight, neither does my husband’s. I am called to walk alongside him as his helpmate and endure the years and our shortcomings together. Prayer is the game changer here and in most cases the Lord changes my attitude toward my husband long before He changes my husband’s actions.

Knowing each other’s love language. Effort does not always equal results, and I think this can be very true in our attempts to show each other love. We all operate best when our “love tanks” are full, and The Lord has designed us all uniquely to receive love in different ways. (Which btw, you’ll find it rare for a husband and wife to share the same top love language). This knowledge equips us to put forth INTENTIONAL effort to show them love in the way their heart and soul crave it most! Knowing how to pour into each other efficiently and effectively is so beneficial.

And most recently, I had a friend challenge me to speak to my husband as if he is already 100% everything I hope and desire for him to be. I struggle with a critical tongue so it’s HARD, but showing him this level of respect has caused him to “rise to the occasion” more times than not in areas that I hadn’t expected.


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Julie said:
I suggest praying that you and your spouse will be like-minded and in agreement. For those not yet married, start praying for this now. It’s made for a peaceful marriage.

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Chandra said:
1 Corinthians 16:14. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2-3: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the b
ond of peace."

Two of my favorite verses. A great deal of wisdom here. I have had to learn over the years to really give my own character flaws and the flaws of my spouse, ( what I perceive as flaws ๐Ÿ˜‰) to the Lord in prayers. I can be a nitpicker and fuss at my husband about things or I can choose to focus on all the amazing reasons I love him. We really do have a choice on how we handle events in our marriage.
One thing I love to do is pray over my marriage. I pray gratitude and safety , love and peace over him and our marriage. I can get very specific in my prayers. And if I’m irritated or mad with him, I always feel better and centered after prayers. I can approach the situation with fresh eyes and God in my words and actions.
And the D word never comes out of my lips. I treat my marriage as a sacred covenant to God, not a modern transaction that can be easily thrown away.
I’ve been married twice, first husband passed away, second marriage incredibly strong. Marriage is a gift from God I never want to think of nonchalantly.

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Ashley said:
I think a struggling marriage is much like someone who’s heart hasn’t been yet shown Jesus. A partner may not recognize their sin or behavior, but when it is revealed to them real change can happen. My marriage struggled for years, constant misunderstanding and unlove, but once my husband recognized that he was unconsciously treating me like the enemy his whole demeanor changed. His revelation caused me to search myself more (instead of looking at his shortcomings), and see what I could do to improve my attitude and heart towards him. It has been a beautiful picture of redemption that a year ago I would not have thought possible.
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Emily said:
Danielle Butler your post for being a Godly Wife changed.my.life. Can you maybe link that - I know you’ve shared it before. I printed it out and find very valuable marriage advice in it! ๐Ÿ’—

Here is the link to it: Godly Wife (And thank you, Emily! So glad that allowed our paths to cross many years ago!)
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April said:
Grace. Generally speaking the man you married doesn't wakeup with the intent to cause your heart pain. That typically is not his end goal (I'm not speaking to domestic abuse situations here...I'm aware that is a whole other topic and issue). Just like we don't wake up with intent to hurt our husbands. God is key, but open communication is also top priority. Don't just offer corrective critical feedback and then walk away, you also have to receive it.
And then more grace, upon grace upon grace.


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London said:
Advice I was given right before I got married, don’t assume you know your husbands mind. We as women have the ability to create scenarios and ideas our spouses have and they’re probably wrong. For example, “I know what you really mean when you say that!”

Grace upon grace upon grace.


Love God more than you hate/ are angry at your spouse.


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Emily said:
This may or may not help someone and Danielle Butler you may be able to tie scripture to it ....

But years ago we won a trip to orange beach and went to a marriage devotion lead by Jonathan and Danielle. We walked in blind, new to a relationship with 
god but curious. That hour, completely changed our marriage.

This is probably not exactly what what said but what I got ....
Women need conversation. Men need sex.
Both speak different languages and god made us differently. Neither is right. Just different.

Since then I have made a serious effort in the bedroom. When he is not getting the bedroom attention he wants, it’s usually because he is not meeting my emotions needs. Once I communicate that, we meet back in the middle to met each other’s needs.

Sex is not everything in a marriage but it is a huge part to a healthy relationship.

Not sure if this was WAY off the path but wanted to share


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Mandi said:
Pray over him. Lay hands on him while he sleeps. Pray over him as you fold his clothes. Pray for yourself, that the Lord will change you and your responses.
Respect him. Only say things to and about him that build him up. You can confide in someone yo
u trust (an older mentor type) if you are struggling with something he does, but do not use his shortcomings as a punchline or a gripe session with girlfriends. Also, you chose him... what you say to and about him says volumes about you. You want to speak life to him. The world tears him down enough.
Tell him the things you admire about him. Write it in a note. Text him something sweet (or sexy).
Look for ways he serves you and thank him. Then, look for ways you can serve him. I mean.... an errand so he doesn't have to, fixing the coffeepot for the next day, buy his favorite treat and tuck some into his lunchbox... there are countless possibilities.
Read God's Word daily. Scour it for YOUR job as a wife. You cannot control him and his reactions, but you can control yours. Use the Bible as your handbook for your life because that is what it is.


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Caroline said:
1 Peter 4:8
Romans 5:8
This is from a marriage sermon by Paul Washer and they aren’t exact quote so sorry about that but it’s the same idea he was conveying.

“Marriage is not 50/50. We are called to give 100% even if the other person is giving 0. “ That’s where Romans 5:8 comes into play. While we were YET sinners, Christ died for us. He didn’t wait for us to get our act together to show the ultimate act of love.
The point of marriage is to sanctify us into the image of Christ and to put the Gospel on display to the world, not just our own happiness. I know that in my heart, but it still sucks when you’re in the midst of the struggle. We struggled for a long time and it hurt even though I knew I was doing the right thing sticking it out. So I found a lot of comfort in psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”


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Tiffany said:
One thing that has been so powerful for me is to ALWAYS ASSUME GOOD INTENTIONS! He is not out to cause you pain or upset you (in most situations) so when we assume his intentions are always good, it keeps our hearts in the right place. Prayer is the number one game changer in any situation. Pray specifically for him and parts of your relationship you hope to be better. Pray that you can see him the way God does and always give grace. Stop and pray at times when you feel like nagging or saying anything that isn’t going to build him up. At times when he has wronged you in some way, PRAY, rather than fighting. It will soften his heart and mean so much more when he realizes you offered grace instead of calling him out on his wrong behavior.
Men NEED sex. You are the only one who can fulfill his need for intimacy. Think of it as an honor to be able to give him what he needs most.
I’m certainly praying for all of our marriages ❤️

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Hope you found that as encouraging, challenging, and beneficial as I did! Praying the Lord BLESSES your marriage!

7 Simple S's of Immune Health (& 7 Bonus S's)

One of the BEST things you can do for your families health is to focus on what you CAN control. Here are some super SIMPLE, practical immune boosting tips that will serve you and your family well. (And the teacher in me stuck with the "S" theme so they'd be easy to remember!!

1. SUNSHINE! ☀️ good ole fashioned vitamin D! Vitamin D is POWERFUL for the immune system. I have read that kids should be outside for at least 4 hours of the day. (Here's a great CLEAN & non-toxic sunscreen option- they have both lotion stick too.) 


2. SLEEP! ๐Ÿ˜ด SlSleep is so crucial for immune health + mood + weight management. Many times overeating, sugar cravings, anxiety, & irritability are signs from our body we aren't getting quality sleep and they are manifesting in other symptoms. If you're having a difficult time with sleep right now, these sleep strips are non-habit forming and have INCREDIBLE ingredients that support the body & brain.

3. SKIP the SUGAR. Sugar has been proven to significantly weaken the immune system. Too much sugar at one time prevents the immune system's ability to function optimally. If you can't fully eliminate it, at least LIMIT it. (If you're struggling with cravings/boredom/emotional eating, this & this may help.) ๐Ÿšซ 

4. STRESS LESS. Feels tough in the current climate, but do what you gotta do to de-stress. Being in a constant state of stress weakens the immune system. Take some time for prayer, worship, deep breathing, exercise, connecting with friends, yoga, detox baths...whatever will help! (This is a great product that may help with that. I LOVE this company and everything we have tried has worked SO well. It's what we are currently using to stock many aspects of our "natural medicine cabinet.")


5. STOCK up on veggies. Fruits, quality meats, nuts + seeds, good fats...all important right now but definitely go heavy on a plant-based lifestyle for the phytonutrients + antioxidants. We are using lots of garlic, herbs, herbal teas, etc. right now in addition to increasing our veggie consumption (through smoothies, soups, adding to eggs, offering salads at dinner even if they don't want it that night, offering a wide variety of veggies each night, lots of raw veggies with dip & roasted veggies, etc.)๐Ÿฅฌ๐Ÿฅฆ๐Ÿฅ‘๐Ÿฅ•๐Ÿง…๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ…๐Ÿฅ’๐Ÿ‹


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6. SUPPORT your gut. Avoid processed foods. Take a quality probiotic. Add fermented foods, collagen, & bone broth into your diet.
- gut support packs
digestive enzymes
gut shield
gluten guard


7. SUPPLEMENT! You can support your body in most of these areas with quality supplements. It will never be a replacement, but can definitely help provide additional support your body may need. Right now I am especially loving the immune packs with high quality C, D3, antioxidant and immunity blends that cover so many of the biggies I LOVE seeing! 

**What's in them?
1. Vitamin C
2. Vitamin D3
3. Antioxidant Plus/Immune Support:
Zinc
Co-Enzyme Q10,
Quercetin
Broccoli
Andrographis
Alpha Lipoic Acid,
Green Tea Extract
N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine,
Tumeric Extract (95% Curcuminoids)
Vitamin A
Through April 12, they are buy one/get one free (to use yourself or to give away) & I have a coupon if you want to save an additional 10%.
 BOGO on Immune Packs 
BOGO ๐Ÿ’ŠImage may contain: text

**Bonus #1: SWEAT! Moderate exercise boosts immune system & mental health. Sweat detoxifies as well, and can we just give a shout out to ENDORPHINS, the real MVP!


**Bonus #2: SMILE & sing! Laughter & music are truly the best medicine! Watch a funny movie or turn on your fave jams. ๐ŸŽถ


**Bonus #3: SHOES= OFF! Don’t wear shoes in the grass (go barefoot, it’s called grounding) or inside the house (transmits SO much bacteria). Great time to implement a drop the shoes at the door policy.๐Ÿ‘ž


**Bonus #4: SCRUB those hands, yo! (We hag our hand sanitizer HERE without all the endocrine disruptors if you need something for on the go.) ๐Ÿงผ


**Bonus #5: STAY connected & stay positive. Your thoughts & your mind is powerful. Be careful what you feed it. I would recommend turning the news off. Consider a social media fast if it's more of a negative place than positive place for you now. Community is also important. Stay connected by calling friends, doing Zooms, whatever. Memorize Scripture and take time to worship. Write out a list of things each day you're grateful for & continue to focus on that.


**Bonus #6: SIP, sip, sip, STAY well hydrated! So important for optimal health. We also love Hydrate and drink it every day, but I'd definitely recommend drinking lots of filtered water too! ๐Ÿ’ฆ


**Bonus #7:SEEK the Lord. He has it all anyway. If you have never called on him as your SAVIOR, the Bible says TODAY is the day of SALVATION! ✝️

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Tips from a Christian Holistic Mama During Coronavirus Pandemic

Heyy heyyy my sweet friends!
Image may contain: Danielle Butler, smiling, closeup
Been a little while, but I feel like everything currently going on in the world warrants a blog post.

My prayer is to be a voice of encouragement, hope, reason, and light in this crazy time.

There have been SO many thoughts swirling through my head. I typed out most of this once already & it got deleted. I was so annoyed it took me a few days to get over it and start re-typing it. Then it sat half done on my computer for several days because my thoughts have changed as this has changed. which is why this has taken so long to get out. (So thank you for being patient to those of you who have asked for it.)

I am going to share some of my thoughts, some things we are doing (lots are free & simple!) to boost our family's immune system, some supplements we are taking, what I've stocked up on, and the Scripture I am praying specifically over my family and our home right now.

First of all I want you to know this...
Although this is uncharted territory, there is NO ROOM for fear at the Father's table.

If you are a child of God, please know that your Bible says perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). God loves us- me, you, your loved ones, everyone you will ever encounter- with a perfect love. And if you know the Lord as your Savior, that means that same spirit also lives inside of you. That is so comforting to me.

If you don't know the Lord in a personal way, or maybe you believe in God but can't remember a specific time you confessed before him and called on the name of the Lord to be saved, I would love for you to e-mail me @ rainey.danielle@yahoo.com & we can talk through it.

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When this all began originally in China, I was praying fervently for Wuhan because one of the sweet members of my BSF small group has family there and was telling us how bad it was. We were also praying about having to delay Jase's mission trip (him and Jon were supposed to go to Cambodia in April) since he is asthmatic and it didn't seem wise to send him to SE Asia where a respiratory illness was rampant. (Obviously as this progressed the decision to postpone/not go was made for us & I was thankful for that clarity.)

If I can be totally honest, even when this made its way to America, I initially felt like people were overreacting. I have since listened to many of the experts I personally feel relay truthful, valid, research based information. I have read studies, stats, and research. I don't tap into the media and am really cautious about the sources where we get our information. (If you're still watching the news at all, TURN IT OFF, my friend. I've been saying that for years! We haven't had cable in over 6 years and haven't missed it at all.) Our thoughts our powerful. What we allow in our heads, hearts, and minds is powerful because every cell in our body is eavesdropping on our thoughts, whether we are operating in the conscious or subconscious.

Like you, I have watched as this has grown. I have watched as people I know and love are growing more anxious and scared by the day. I have also watched as some people are choosing to be completely careless & irresponsible. (Times like this reveal a lot about a person's true character, by the way, so quietly pay attention.)

Anyway, here's where I am in my thinking. Yes, I have beliefs about how this began and what is really going on, but the reality is that doesn't matter so much right now. As a wife, mom, and follower of Christ, it is my job to focus on what I can control and give my best efforts to taking the best possible care of my family, trusting everything else is in the Lord's hands.

As a citizen of the United States, I also believe we should submit to our governing authorities' requests to stay home and self quarantine. I've caught myself feeling disappointed in Bible-believing Christians who are blatantly disregarding that because they can or they want to or believe this is over the top. In the Word, we are called to submit to authority. (Romans 13:1 & Romans 13:5) That means whether we like it or agree with it or not, we should strive to be social distancing as much as possible.

A sweet friend lovingly reminded me to "mind my own business" (which again, the Bible instructs us to do) and pray that people's hearts will not be rebellious or fearful. (1 Thess 4:11-12) So I have stopped worrying about people who are not "following directions" right now. But an I just say, people who are deliberately choosing not to social distance right now during the one time we are being asked one simple thing...to STAY HOME...Well, it sort of reminds me of a little ole tree and piece of fruit in the Garden....and we all know how that turned out. (Genesis 2)

So much uncertainty going on right now...but it's encouraging to remember this is not going to last forever, and none of this has come to us without first having sifted through the Father's hands anyway.

My goal is to be a light in a dark time. As Christians, I believe this is all of our time to SHINE & point people to Jesus.

- I know many friends are homeschooling their children right now for the first time and feeling completely exhausted, defeated, and overwhelmed. This is pretty spot on. (And I also loved this blog post.)
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- I know my friends in the healthcare world (and I have a lot) are scared, and we absolutely owe it to them to help #flattenthecurve and give them a fighting chance.
(**Side note: Our company is offering a FREE VIP membership for all essential workers right now...& also a buy one- get/give one FREE for our immune booster vitamin packs. If you order two, you automatically get 4! They are a one month supply & incredible components & quality.)

- I have loved ones in the at-risk population who are terrified of what could come for them. (Really important time to focus on immune boosting efforts, which I will share below.)

- I have friends who run businesses that are fretting over how they are going to keep their doors open. Friends who have already lost their jobs and are wondering how they are going to pay their bills.

It's a lot. I know.

And that's exactly why I wanted to remind you who is on the throne and who is truly the King of Kings. (Take a few minutes to listen to this song when you finish reading this.)

We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. (cliche, but true.) And THAT is what gives me peace even during this chaos.

I do believe there is some good coming out of this & in my house, we are doing our best to focus on that.

Lots of families are getting some much needed time to slow down, to rest, to spend quality time together making memories and eating around their kitchen table. Churches are collectively rising up and praying/serving together. Hopefully people are beginning to pay attention to their health and how to strengthen their immune system by adopting some healthier habits that will continue beyond this pandemic.

As a family, we are praying, taking the Lord's Supper, going to be fasting, and teaching our kids to pray Scripture. My favorite to pray right now, morning and night of our home and family and friends and church family, is Psalm 91.
Here are some things we are doing that are FREE & SIMPLE to keep our family healthy. Things we do most of the time anyway, but are being more diligent about right now.

SIMPLE, FREE, PRACTICAL TIPS: 

  1. Get outside if possible. Fresh air will definitely do you good, both physically and mentally. I recommend trying to spend some time outside every day if possible. If it's warm where you live, spend some time barefoot in the grass/sand/dirt. (Sounds weird but there are proven benefits to this- it's actually called "grounding.")
  2. Open windows. Indoor air is actually more toxic than outdoor air. People were found to have stronger immune systems in countries where people leave doors and windows open more often.
  3. Limit/eliminate sugar. Yes, I know this is hard. (It is for me, anyway. I eat SUPER clean, but sugar is my struggle. And the struggle is REAL.) But it is SO, So important. Your blood can show concrete evidence of a lowered immune system within 30 minutes of eating glucose, fructose, and refined sugar. That causes a 50% reduction in the ability for white blood cells to kill germs. Removing sugar from our diet has been shown to improve immune system activity immediately. I've also read too much sugar consumption at one time can basically shut down the immune system for 5-6 hours. That's scary considering the average American consumes a half pound of sugar per day- which is 130 lbs per year!!! 
  4. Drink tons of FILTERED water. (NOT tap water!) This is an important time to look into a Berkey. (They have been selling out with all of this...so I would consider acting fast. That link shows you different options/sizes/prices.)
  5. No wearing shoes in the house. Period. I never want to nag my family, but I am laying down the hammer on this one right now. This virus specifically has been shown to survive on the bottom of shoes for up to 5 days.
  6. Wash your hands often and correctly. I will be the first to admit that although I am pretty hard core about hand washing after the bathroom and before eating (when eating out), we haven't been doing it for 20-30 seconds. Definitely stepping our game up!
  7. Don't touch your face. This is going to take some intentionally thinking about it. The average person touched their face 23 times/hour and doesn't even know they are doing it. I've been mindful of this and it is a really tough ha
  8. Eat clean!You can buy several organic items much cheaper on Thrive Market - (this link will save you 25% off your first order) & at Aldi. I have been posting lots of dinner, breakfast, and snack ideas in my Healthy Mama/Healthy Kiddos Hacks group on FB.  This is one of the most important ones in my opinion. I love the Wahl's protocol infographic.
  9. Get plenty of rest. It's not a time to let your kids stay up super late. Make them take a rest each day. Let them sleep in a little.
  10. Get some moderate exercise. Keeping the kids moving & exercising especially will help them be more tired at bedtime and sleep better. Plus, moderate exercise strengthens the immune system. There are tons of free fitness things online right now! 
  11. Lymphatic massage. Can also do dry brushing/rebounding. You want to keep the lymph moving!
  12. Don't stress. I know this comes easier for some of us than others. I think one thing that has helped me is not watching the news. The times I have caught myself starting to feel anxious, I have made it a point to stop and breathe deeply and take my thoughts captive. May be a good time to turn on some uplifting music you love or read some Scripture- Phil 4:8, Jer 29:11, Rom 8:28, Phil 4:6-7, Prov 3:5-6. No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and you are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus!
  13. Fast & pray. I believe fasting is the key and prayer is the door. You can fast and pray as a family.
  14. Worship. The story of Paul and Silas from Acts comes to mind. They were publicly beaten, flogged, stripped naked, accused and imprisoned, yet they  praying and singing hymns. They were worshiping their way through a trial and it led to their miracle. The Lord sent an earthquake that broke their chains and set them free. Maybe we just need to put God back on the throne where he belongs! (I read this earlier today and thought it was so true...
  15. Continue to support small businesses where we can while still being mindful of unnecessary spending.
  16. Avoid processed foods. (They spike inflammation.)
  17. Avoid Tylenol, as it depletes gultathione. (I linked to what we would use instead below.)
  18. Drink lots of warm liquids. Teas, broth, etc. This is my favorite tea right now. I also shared about an incredible tea you can make at home - my friend Katie (a nutritional therapist) taught me about - that is SO incredibly powerful & nutritious! I would buy both in bulk : stinging nettles and red raspberry leaf- fill these tea bags- and use local honey to sweeten it when you're ready to drink. I order bone broth off of Thrive Market if I don't make my own. Bone broth is SO healing! I cook with it often.
  19. Choose gratitude. This may all feel like an inconvenience, or you may feel anxious and overwhelmed.  I know there are some people who are missing out on some really big life moments and many others experiencing really difficult loss during this time. I have found the easiest way for me to choose joy is by operating out of a GRATEFUL spirit. That may take some being intentional, but I know if we just look around, we will see SO MUCH for which to be grateful!
I would pick as many of those as you can start implementing and work on doing more and more. Not just right now, but as a lifestyle. I truly believe this will improve your family's quality of life!!

THINGS I'M BUYING or HAVE BOUGHT:
(Note: Please do not think you have to spend your savings buying ALL of these to keep your family healthy. I shared LOTS of free tips above! Pray about and decide what is most important for your family & start there when it comes to these things. We have built to having all of these things over time...not all at once.)

-Berkey! This is a GREAT time to clean up your water, and if I could recommend starting anywhere, it would be here. You can click on the picture and it will take you to some different options & some savings.




POOFY Organics products we are especially loving right now: 
-Takedown spray - clinically proven to kill viruses. Perfect for surface areas that are touched often in your home.

-hand sanitizer- It IS possible to use some that has the 60% alcohol and still isn't an encodrine disrupter. I like Poofy Organics hand sanitizer.

-Non-toxic soap- (Spoiler alert...Mrs. Meyers isn't non-toxic!) Definitely time to ditch the B&BW and switch to something like Poofy or Dr Bronners.

-Mushrooms- they are POWERFUL for your immune system. This is an incredible tincture.

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Paleo Valley Products we are loving:
Beef sticks - fermented to support gut health

Whole foods vitamin C - you do NOT want to take anything synthetic. (Most of what you are going to find in stores/online is...so this is one of the few foods based/quality ones I like. Plus, I like/trust the owners of this company. Same company I get the beef sticks from. The code BUTLER10 will save you 10% too.)

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Earthley is an INCREDIBLE company! They have SO many products I love. Cough be gone, Respiratory support bundle, Feel Better Fast (what I would personally use in place of Tylenol), Sinus Saver, Pain Potion, Master Tonic, just to name a few.
-Germ Destroyer- this is what I'm diffusing since I have littles. The kid safe line is okay for them.

Juice Plus chews. Been using them for YEARS for all my kiddos. I like that it bridges the gap & gets some things in their body they wouldn't ordinarily get in their diet. Plus, they are like a treat. Jon & I actually take the red & green ones too because they're yummy.

- Vitamin D- Jonathan and I get our vit D and D3 in our customized nutrition packs, but if you're looking for one to buy on its own, this is the one I recommend. (Could possibly find cheaper through a practioner.) For right now this is fine, especially considering most Americans are defiecient in vitamin D. But if you choose to continue I would get vitamin D and vitamin D STORES tested. (Even better would be REAL SUNSHINE! If you're working from home, try working or doing school with your kids outdoors. At least spend an hour or so each day outside. And whatever you do, do NOT take synthetic crap vitamin D.

Cod Liver Oil - SO beneficial! My older two take it from a little medicine dispenser, and I put it in Hydrate for my youngest to mask the taste. It does NOT take good, but it's so beneficial it's worth it. I give my oldest a little Dixie cup of organic tart cherry juice (also high in antioxidants and the ONLY juice I would consider) to chase it with.

Omegavail - Omegas are so helpful in fighting off inflammation and keeping the immune system strong. Most kids aren't consuming enough in their diet, and this actually tastes great! I also love Nordic Naturals chews fir my kids. Jon and I get omegas in our IDLife customized vitamin packs. I also try to make fish from a quality source (nothing farm raised) at least once a week or so.

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Here are the ID Life products we are especially loving & sharing right now because they would be super beneficial:
**For $19/95/year, you can become a VIP customer with IDLife to save 15% on any of the IDLife supplements. If you pick any single product to put on the subscribe & save option, you'll get to enjoy 20%! There is free shipping on all orders over $100. Everything is non-GMO, soy free, gluten free, & no artificial sweeteners/colors. TONS of fun additional perks for our VIP team.

Immune Booster Vitamin Pack (Buy one/Get One Free to give away or keep for your family) - What's in them?
1. Vitamin C
2. Vitamin D3
3. Antioxidant Plus/Immune Support:
Zinc
Co-Enzyme Q10,
Quercetin
Broccoli
Andrographis
Alpha Lipoic Acid,
Green Tea Extract
N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine,
Tumeric Extract (95% Curcuminoids)
Vitamin A
and more... (I only put things here that you might recognize - and the source and amount are all listed in the details.)

Hydrate . This is our family's hydration drink of choice. You ideally want to get at least half of everyone's body weight in ounces of purified, filtered water each day. If an adult is consuming caffeine, they will need to automatically deduct that in # of ounces off the top of what they're consuming. If you're breastfeeding, be sure to account for what is lost through nursing as well. They  have diff flavors and both stick packs and canister available. We LOVE the fruit punch, and I love that it has NO sugar or artificial sweeteners/colors. Plus, it contains electrolytes, coconut water, and other important minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

Shakes - These are super high quality, no junk or fillers, non GMO, soy free. They have a Vegan option and even the whey is 99.9% lactose free. Filling, an incredible base for smoothies/protein balls, and a great option to satisfy the sweet tooth. Our boys love all 3 flavors and I've been adding a scoop to the chia pudding I've been eating for breakfast. (I really need plenty of protein while nursing.) I love letting the boys help! This was our #smoothiewar

Sleep strips  Helpful for shutting off the brain and getting quality sleep, but also non habit forming and doesn't leave you groggy. Getting quality sleep is SO, SO important. This has the perfect amount of everything in my opinion. (You have to be careful with melatonin, for example, because taking too much can eventually build a tolerance, requiring more, and signaling to your brain to stop making it.)

Kids Probiotics- 70% of the immune system is housed in the gut. This is an incredible probiotic (that they all LOVE) because it has the 3 strands I'm specifically looking for in a probiotic. (Again, our probiotics come in our customized nutrition packs.)

Kids Multivitamin - fills in nutritional gaps, no junk or fillers, and includes really important minerals and co-factors needed for absorption. I'm super impressed with how affordable it is considering the quality (they use the highest quality forms of everything for maximum absorption & bioavailability. So you'll see folate, NOT folic acid, for exampke. SO huge!)

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I've prayed Numbers 6:24-26 over every family who reads this post. Check out this song...



Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and I am not offering any medical advice/prescribing anything here. I am simply sharing what we choose to do for our boys to boost their immune systems. I do believe parents are the best advocates for their own children’s health, and I highly encourage parents to do their own research/consult with a doctor on each of these supplements to make the best possible decisions for their babies. Also, some of these are affiliate links. I only associate with companies whose products we personally use (like as in, if you came into my home and looked around, THIS is what you would find us using) and whose values align with ours. 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Tips from a Sleepwise Consultant


You guys! 

I am SO pumped to share this with you all! 

This is my sweet friend Marissa Gianakas. 
We have known each other for many years and I adore her, her precious family, and our friendship. She is super sharp and has such a passion for babies, littles, and helping mamas thrive. Not only is she a certified pediatric nurse practitioner, but she is also a certified sleep consultant. Hello...jackpot! I've had so many friends ask questions needing help with getting their littles to sleep well in my Healthy Mamas/Healthy Kiddos page, that I "convinced" (okay, begged, but she was very willing!) to do a 1 hour live video in the group for all of us for FREE! She's giving away her expertise because she truly cares. (And trust me, I've seen her client testimonials...she is the best and worth every penny.) Sleep is such a pillar of wellness and in helping children thrive. For me personally, I notice a huge difference in my attitude, patience, and even sugar cravings when I don't get enough sleep...so I know what a gift a well-rested kiddo and mama can be. If you have any questions, you can join the group & add your question on the thread by 5 pm on 1/5. She's going live Sunday night (1/5) at 8 CST/9 EST in the Healthy Mamas/Healthy Kiddos FB group.

In the meantime, I also asked her if she'd be willing to write a blog post with some tips for readers who may not have a Facebook account. Plus, helllo new baby! I want all the tips because I legit feel like I forget everything after each kiddo. (Anyone else? I have to re-read all the books every time and I'm like, wait, what did I do with my others? This is my 4th...shouldn't I be a pro by now? Ha!)

Okay, here ya go....enjoy!




Here are 6 tips for helping your baby get better sleep with Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant Marissa Gianakas!



BABY SLEEP TIP #1: AWAKE Times Matter
Did you know that being tired is one of the biggest enemies of sleep? When little ones become overtired, it makes it harder to fall asleep and stay in a deep sleep- and it happens more quickly than you might realize!
Here are some general guidelines for the amount of awake time your little one should have between sleep times:
·         Newborn (birth to 10 weeks): 45 minutes-1 hour of awake time
·         11 weeks-3.5 months: 1.5 hours of awake time
·         3.5-5 months: 2 hours of awake time
·         5-7 months: 2.5-3 hours of awake time
·         8-13 months: 3-4 hours of awake time
·         14 months to 2.5/3 years: 5-6 hours of awake time

BABY SLEEP TIP #2: ELIMINATE THE FEEDING-SLEEPING ASSOCIATION

The feed-sleep association is pretty common amongst babies. Many are used to being nursed or bottle fed to sleep. If your baby is under 6 months old, it’s likely that they need a feed when her or she wakes in the night (although I see 12 week olds sleep 12 hours all the time!). The problem is when a baby only knows how to sleep by being nursed to sleep. So when he or she wakes up in the night and are not hungry, the baby will still call out to feed because he or she feels tired and does not know how to fall back to sleep without nursing. Feeding and sleeping can become inseparable partners in the little one’s mind – which can lead to exhausting nights for both mom and baby! For naps- try feeding your child right after nap time. That will help break that connection in his or her mind, while allowing the little one to fall back to sleep without intervention overnight when waking between sleep cycles. At bedtime you definitely want to offer a feed as part of the bedtime routine, but work on keeping your little one nice and awake for the duration of the feed!

BABY SLEEP TIP #3: BE PREDICTABLE & BORING
You've probably noticed that your little one loves a routine. Routines provide a reliable rhythm to the day, which is comforting. Doing the same things in the same order provides security for children!
By creating a predictable rhythm for your baby in the 20-30 minutes before every bedtime, you are letting your little one know that sleep time is coming. Thus helping him or her prepare for great sleep. A simple routine could include bath time, get into jammies, read a book, have a bottle or nurse, and goodnight kisses.

BABY SLEEP TIP #4: KEEP IT DARK
Our bodies know that we sleep when it's dark because that's the natural order of things. So whether it's nap time or bedtime, keep your baby's room as dark as possible. Consider blackout curtains or window coverings, but also be aware that nightlights and clocks that glow can disrupt sleep. Teaching your baby from the get-go that the dark is a great place to rest will help him or her keep this habit as they get older. The truth is that little ones who nap in a dark room will nap better and longer.

BABY SLEEP TIP #5: CONSISTENT TIME & PLACE
Just like your child does best with a predictable routine, your baby will sleep through the night more predictably if he or she is sleeping in the same place at the same time, too. Your child should be able to know "sleep happens here" regardless of nap time or bedtime. Try to avoid sleeping in strollers, car seats, or your arms, if you want them to sleep longer and better. Ideally a baby should fall asleep where he or she will stay asleep. That will alleviate any shock from falling asleep in mama's arms and waking up in a different place.

BABY SLEEP TIP #6: Encourage independent sleep
A sleep cycle lasts approximately 45 minutes, and it's normal to wake up at the end of each one. For adults, that awake moment is so slight we won't even remember it in the morning, or maybe we just roll over and look at the clock. But for a baby? Well, it can be hard to fall back to sleep if they are dependent on an external source to fall asleep and stay asleep (feeding, rocking, bouncing, etc). If your little one is not familiar with self-soothing in any way and instead relies on you to rock or feed to sleep, he or she will likely cry for you at those times when ideally the little one could go right back to sleep. In order to get them sleeping longer chunks during the night, you want to put him or her down in bed relaxed but awake after the calming bedtime routine. Next, create a very clear plan on how you will respond to him or her if they have trouble falling asleep. Consistency here is crucial!

If you start applying these six simple steps today, your baby can start sleeping better tonight! Still stuck? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me for a free 15 minute call. Every family deserves rest!

You can contact Marissa at:
mgianakas@sleepwiseconsulting.com or set up your free call here: https://sleepwiseconsulting.as.me/?calendarID=3149066

Instagram: sleepwise_marissa