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




Thursday, December 19, 2019

Last Day to Save $200 on Berkey Water Filter

When I'm helping people clean up there home and lifestyle, the very first investment I encourage them to make is CLEANING UP the water! This is one of the very FIRST things I did for our family and is also what I would recommend to others. We all know drinking lots of water is crucial for optimal health, but it really needs to be clean water. Municipal water has so many things in it you do NOT want to be consuming- from heavy metals, to fluoride, to birth control, Benadryl, & even Prozac. (Yep, most pharmaceuticals people are consuming and peeing out/ flushing are coming back into our water supply & even soil.) We have a whole house water filtration system (which for me is 100% worth the investment considering I soak/rinse my produce, wash dishes, bathe my kids, etc. in the water, but it's also a few thousand dollars) so a Berkey is an extremely AFFORDABLE option for drinking water. We've had ours for over 5 years and absolutely love it! It's one of the BEST & you can really taste the difference, and right now they are having the biggest sale that I've ever seen. There is a $200 savings plus tons of extras on the Royal Berkey (which I recommend for families so you don't have to constantly refill it) & over $180 on travel Berkey system. **The holiday sale ends tonight. I personally think this would make an excellent Christmas gift for the whole fam!

Your water really, really MATTERS, especially when trying to conceive!! It is critical to stay well hydrated, but unfortunately if you’re not consuming clean water, it can be doing almost as much harm as it is good. There is a local town where the fish are not even reproducing at the same rate because of all of the birth control in the water supply. If it’s affecting fish at that level, what do you think it’s doing to us?

Check this out:
Tap Water Toxicity

**This also means being cautious with bottled water. I only choose this option when there is nothing else available, but typically I bring our own water from home with us everywhere we go. Looking into adding a travel Berkey, especially since they have a $180 savings right now!! 

If you DO have to buy a bottle, I prefer Fiji or San Pellegrino.
Bottled Water Risks

To see the holiday special, enter your email here & it will take you to the deals! (Ends tonight at midnight.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Grace.

I think we’ve all finally come to the conclusion & realization that you can’t compare your real life with anyone else’s social media life, right? I mean, we can keep talking about it because I know we sometimes need the reminder to stay in own own lane, but I think we’ve brought enough attention to the “highlight reel” that it’s pretty much understood now. So this isn’t a post about the comparison trap.
It’s about grace.
Jonathan & I have had some tough life stuff happen.
Jon’s very best friend was killed in a car accident right before our wedding. My big brother passed away unexpectedly just a few years later. The next year we lost Jon’s mom, 2 weeks before I was due with our second son. Three unexpected calls you never want to get. Three people we fully expected to be here today.
Then it was a close family member getting a cancer diagnosis. And this time last year I had a miscarriage. In May, we lost a six figure income when our business restructured, right before we were about to have our 4th baby.
It’s life. Life is hard sometimes, isn’t it? Unpredictable.
But we are seriously SO.VERY.BLESSED. The blessings we’ve experienced over that same span of time are too numerous to count. So we choose to focus on that, even in the hard.
And ya know what I’ve learned? ALL of my friends & family...the people I know best and am closest to...they could all rattle off their “lists” too. They all have their hard stuff they’ve dealt with. They may or may not put it out there, but they’re having to navigate losses, struggles, and trials in the midst of their beautiful lives. And my guess is you have too.
So I understand now, even more as I’ve grown older, that we just really need to just give everyone a lot more GRACE. Because everyone you meet is probably carrying around some heavy stuff, just like you are and just like I am. And chances are, even if they are open & transparent about it, & even if everything looks beautiful & happy in all their posts (because there probably really is a lot of beautiful & happy too, even in the hard), we still have no idea their whole story.
So can we just be happy for people when they’re experiencing victories? Cheer them on? And pray for them when they need prayers & are hurting? And not place expectations on others? And be quicker to forgive & assume the best in someone’s intentions? Goodness, our world could sure use a lot more of that!! Less worrying about things we can’t control, and way more intentionally choosing grace. Staying in our own lane, but with a whole lot more thinking about others and a whole lot less thinking about ourselves.
GRACE.
And just in case you’re reading this and don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, do you know who was/is my rock during all of that? My husband is beyond incredible, smart, talented, & hard working, but it wasn’t him. My children bring me so much joy & are my world, but it wasn’t them. My parents and family are so helpful & generous, but it wasn’t them. My friends are some of the best & so encouraging and supportive, but it wasn’t them either. That’s too much weight to put on any person, or even your village. But it’s never too much for God.
“On Christ the solid ROCK I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” 
He knows. He cares. He’ll never leave you nor forsake you. He’ll give you a peace that passes all understanding. He’s a good, good Father. And I’m so grateful for his good GRACE.
Let’s pass that same grace on to others today...

Monday, December 9, 2019

Emmie Kate's Newborn Photos

We took our sweet girl's newborn photos when she was 10 days old.

Brittany always does such a great job with the babies...she has a gift! We call her the baby whisperer, and I love that she has been able to capture all of our sweet Butler babies!

It is a LOT of work & feels stressful trying to get everyone ready, but it's always SO worth it and I always cherish these photos. I didn't have time to get the boys anything to wear since two of them just had major growth spurts, so I just let them wear their big bro shirts.

The newborn shoots usually take a few hours because you have to nurse the baby, etc. to get them to sleep. Jonathan was ready to go after about an hour & a half, so I didn't get quite as many of just EK as I wanted (since we did all the family pics first), but the ones we did get were so precious!

So thankful for these sweet babies!

 

 





 

 

 















Thank you, Lord, for this sweet girl!!

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And here is her birth announcement...