Sunday, August 19, 2018

FAVOR in Obedience

The more obedient I am to what God has called me to, the happier I am.

Is it always comfortable? Is it always what I “want” to do? Does it mean life is perfect & without trials? NO.

But I firmly believe personal “happiness” is tied strongly to obedience.

For the record, I believe God is more concerned with our holiness & shaping us to be more like him than he is our “happiness.” I also believe we can have JOY that comes from the Lord even when our circumstances aren’t necessarily “happy." But I do believe God wants us to live an abundant life (John 10:10) that far exceeds all we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

We see over and over in the Bible how God rewards those who are obedient. He is faithful, and He blesses those who are faithful in return with His favor. There are countless Biblical examples. Abraham, Noah, Moses, Job, David, Daniel, Sarah, Hannah…the list goes on. If you want a modern day example, take a look at Chik-Fil-A. The restaurant, which closes on Sundays so employees can go to church and spend time with family, generates more revenue than all other fast food restaurants (including McDonald’s) that are open 7 days a week. There are all kinds of speculations about WHY this is, but want to know the real answer? FAVOR.


Favor from the Lord. I’m sure most “business experts” think that’s crazy and advised against it. But Truett Cathy’s decision to stand firm & follow the Lord, even if it wasn’t popular, led to massive success. Because God honors obedience.

We don’t like to talk about it, but there are consequences for sin and disobedience, which usually come in the form of circumstances that make us “feel unhappy.” Many times we blame God or question if he’s really there, when in fact we should really be looking in the mirror for who is responsible. A wise Sunday School teacher once taught us that “disobedience hurts.” Ever seen a mom tell her kiddo to stop doing something, the kid not listen, and end up getting hurt? Picture it. A little boy running around the swimming pool. Mom: “Stop running. You’re going to get hurt!” Kid: continues running. Slips, falls, busts his head. DISOBEDIENCE hurts.

Now think about that in life circumstances. Know someone who married someone God did not intend for them to marry? Everyone in their life warned them against it, but he/she was soooo “in love” they did it anyway? There is a big chance all those red flags continued to unfold, and now that person is unhappy in marriage or even divorced. Is it God’s fault that person didn’t seek the Lord? Or someone who spent a LOT of money buying something that felt good in the moment, but is now spending a lifetime of regret attempting to pay off the debt, and absolutely miserable? (These are just examples. It doesn’t always happen this way, of course.)

No, this doesn’t mean that life is going to be perfect and that we’re never going to have trials... because we are. But If you want his hand and his anointing on you...then you must walk in obedience.

His Word is not a list of rules preventing us from having any fun. It’s boundaries set in place to protect us from harm. Because He can see things we cannot see, and doing things HIS way are far better than doing things OUR way. There is such reward in obedience. And we have way more control over our circumstances than we realize. I don’t always get this right, but praise the Lord I am learning! I have spent way too much time suffering consequences that resulted from my own disobedience. I’m grateful I’m finally mature enough to take personal responsibility and ownership. (There is so much freedom in that actually. No blaming, making excuses, etc. Just owning it.) The seeds we plant now will result in the fruits we eat later. Choose to obey the Word of God! His promises are real & so, so sweet.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Healthy Kiddo Hacks: Boosting the Immune System

Benjamin Franklin said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is SO true!
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It’s that time of year. Back to school. Flu season will be here before we know it. (SHEW- it was BAAAADDD last year. Like epidemic levels.) My goal, like all the rest of the mamas, is to keep my boys as healthy as possible, so I wanted to share some of my favorite homeopathic/natural remedies for boosting their immune systems and keeping them well. (For the record, it’s not fool proof. My boys had a summer cold/cough last week. But I do believe this helps + shortens the length when they do come down with a little something.) I don’t think there are many things more heartbreaking than seeing your baby not feeling well, so I want us to help with that some if I can.
I also have an awesome FB group called “Health Mama/Healthy Kiddo Hacks” where all my mama & grandmother friends share their fave resources, ask questions, etc., and I’d love for you to join us there if you like. You can just click on that link & request to join.

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.
As promised, here is a list of our fave homeopathic and natural immune boosting secrets. (I included direct links to purchase.)
  • Probiotics. ALL of us, every single day. Over 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut, so gut health is VERY important. Your gut is often referred to as your “second brain” because so many aspects of your health (even mental health, which is astounding) is tied back to gut health. (P.S. Antibiotics destroy the gut. They kill ALL bacteria, both good + bad, so probiotics are especially important in maintaining gut health while on an antibiotic and/or rebuilding it after. And we personally try to use antibiotics as a LAST RESORT. I have three babies, 5 & under, and have only had one kiddo on an antibiotic ever.)  I like Klare Labs & Garden of Life (although they were recently bought out so I’m on the look out for ingredients to change). I put it on my breast while breastfeeding, in a bottle if I pump one, and eventually use a clean finger to swab it in their mouth.

  • Vitamin D drops. I think vitamin D is one of the most underrated supplements there is, and people are totally missing the mark. (Most adults are deficient too. (Here is the calcium + D3 we take. One of the doctors on our sci/med board told me it’s important to take calcium, D3, and magnesium together for maximum absorption and they have taken care of that for us in this supplement. It’s a multi-faceted approach by incorporating all three in one. Aren’t you grateful for super smart people like them?) I give Jase 1000 IU, Kade 800, & Beau 400. I do this daily, with breakfast, year round. The liquid drops are easiest, and I start at around 6 months (even while breastfeeding). I like for them to get as much sunshine as possible when the weather is nice because our body stores it up and this helps us fight off infections during the winter months. (I don’t use much sunscreen for this reason unless we are going to be in direct sun for extended periods.) There is nothing better than the real deal vit D, but because most of us aren’t getting enough, we need to supplement. P.S. I’m not super picky about the brand, but do yourself a favor and get the kind with the dropper. It’s such a pain trying to get them to hold their mouth open long enough for the other kind. I’m finishing a bottle of this brand now and it has lasted forever!!
Vitamin D Drops for Infants - Liquid Vitamin D3 for Adults, Kids, Baby - 400iu Per Drop - 2oz 2140 doses
  • Citrizinc chews. These help support your immune system with these grab-and-go chews that offer a great source of vitamins C and D as well as zinc.* You do want to keep them put up though because the kids love them and think they’re candy. (We take these as well, especially when we’re traveling.)

  • Bone broth. If you can’t get them to drink it by itself, cook with it. It’s best if you can make your own. It’s very easy. Just google how to do it.
Kettle & Fire Chicken Bone Broth - Organic, Collagen-rich Chicken Bone Broth,Pack of 2
  • Oscilliococinum is an awesome herbal remedy (my personal preference over Tamiflu) if someone DOES catch the flu. I’d stock up now because when flu season hits, you can’t get your hands on any. We have friends that used this + elderberry last year and the flu symptoms eased very quickly.
Boiron Oscillococcinum for Flu-like Symptoms Pellets, 30 Count/0.04 Oz each
  • Colloidal silver spray. I first heard about colloidal silver at a huge holistic health conference we attended a couple years ago. They sold me on it. You can give it daily as maintenance, and amp it up when they’re starting to come down with something. You just follow the directions (age/weight and desired outcome determines the # of sprays). You can get drops too, AND they have some for adults as well.
Sovereign Silver® For Kids Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol™ for Immune Support* - 2oz – Fine Mist Spray - Ultimate Refinement of Colloidal Silver - Safe*, Pure and Effective* - Premium Silver Supplement
  • Vitamin C. I first learned about orthomolecular vitamin C while watching the Healthy Child Summit with Dr. Saul. High-dose vitamin C is POWERFUL for healing! (Check out the site to read more about the benefits, how it works, etc.) Some people give it to the point of loose stools. I don’t do this, but I do give a pretty good amount if they’re coming down with something. 
  • Elderberry syrup. We give this daily during flu season and amp it up if they’re coming down with something. (Reminder: NO honey for any babies! Botulism is very REAL, and their digestive tracts aren’t formed well enough to be able to handle raw honey. They say once they’re over a year old it’s okay, but I’m very conservative and don’t do any honey under the age of 2 1/2. I also don’t use as much as the recipe calls for.) We buy our own organic elderberries and make our own (Wellness Mama’s recipe, or follow the recipe on the back), but you can find someone local who makes it or buy it pre-made too.
Viva Naturals Organic Elderberries, 1 lb Bag - The ULTIMATE Superfruit for Defense Syrups and Longevity Teas

  • Limit sugar. Too much sugar at one time shuts the immune system down for 5 hours at a time. FIVE hours!! No wonder “flu season” shows up right after Halloween & Christmas and all the parties, treats, candy, and cookies. We are basically filling them with poison and shutting their immune systems down. (For the record, I’m not a total weirdo and my kids aren’t deprived. I haven’t totally found a solution for how to navigate this and I do let them have candy. I’d like for them to consume less sugar though.) We should shoot for LESS than 25 g a day.
Sugar recommendation in kids infographic
{image from here}

  • Make sure they get plenty of sleep. Sleep is when their bodies recover, their brain grows, etc. Not getting enough sleep weakens the immune system & hinders their ability to fight off viruses.
{chart from here}
  • On Guard + Thieves (oils on the bottom of feet & diffuse). I use them interchangeably and like them both equally. I diffuse oils every single day & I love them as an alternative to toxic candles, scents, air fresheners, etc. I also uses Thieves hand sanitizer and clean our house with Thieves (I just ordered some Thieves oil, but before that I made my own with a recipe I found online.) Make sure you do your research to determine what is safe for littles (not everything is) & proper dilution. Also, I personally do not ingest or use neat. I know some people do, so you’ll want to come to your own decision on that. You can find your fave oils person to get hooked up.
  • Don’t wear shoes in the house. You track in all kinds of yucky germs from the outside. Easy peasy, just take them off at the door. I love cleaning our floors with Norwex items! (I love their cloths too. This is what I use to wipe down our counters, the baby’s high chair tray, etc.)
  • Nutrition. I try to help them eat real, whole foods as much as possible. Lots of fruits + veggies. Organic when you can. Avoid processed food, junk food, and fast food. I sneak in Superfoods when I can by making homemade smoothies, grain free muffins with Superfood blends, etc. I have some tips for these are in some previous blog posts, so feel free to scroll back through to take a look at those.
  • Homeopathic allergy relief. This is my preference over Claritin or other OTC drugs when it comes to allergy relief.
Genexa Homeopathic Allergy for Children: The Only Certified Organic Kids Allergy & Decongestant Medicine. Physician Formulated, Natural, Non-GMO Verified & Non-Drowsy (60 Chewable Tablets)
  • I am not one who is quick to go to the doctor. I avoid antibiotics at ALL COST unless 100% absolutely necessary. If we’re not careful, we can develop a resistance to antibiotics which would make them less effective in the future if we ever had a serious infection and REALLY needed it. Plus, antibiotics destroy your gut by killing the good bacteria (it has know way to differentiate between the good & bad guys, so just kills them all.) I have also found that it seems lots of antibiotic use leads to more sickly kiddos. When you don’t develop and immunity to something, you won’t be able to fight it off next time. Most things will run their course if you allow them, & you’ll want to use common sense/discernment here. I personally VERY RARELY use fever reducers anymore. Like, I can’t even remember the last time. Thankfully my boys haven’t had many fevers, but fevers are actually our bodies’ way of fighting something off. They are for our benefit. Our bodies heat up to kill whatever is trying to take us down. When we use a fever reducer, we are many times extending the life of the virus & interfering with the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Febrile seizures typically happen when fevers spike very rapidly, so definitely keep an eye out for that & reduce that fever! Also, I definitely encourage you to do some research on the topic for yourself. I recommend reading THIS BOOK (absolutely NO offense to doctors- so grateful for their knowledge! I wish it had a different title, but it is FULL of valuable info nonetheless) for a more comprehensive overview & explanation about this topic. Maybe check out this article about Tylenol raising risks of asthma. If you’re in need of a more natural fever reducer, I recommend this homeopathic option. 
Homeolab USA Kids Relief Pain & Fever
  • Wash hands often with non-toxic soap and warm water. I’m not a fan of antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer (endocrine disrupter), but if that’s all that’s out, it’s better than the alternative. Teach them to wash their hands OFTEN & how to do it the right way. (Tip: Teach them to sing their ABCs or the “Happy Birthday” song while scrubbing, then use the paper towel to open the door if in public.)
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**I also love earth clinic to look up a collection of natural cures and remedies. Awesome resource to keep in your back pocket!
Sweet mama friends, I hope this is helpful for you. I know mommin’ ain’t easy, and we all want to do the very best by our children. Praying that if you’re reading this, the Lord blesses your children with a hedge of protection and thriving HEALTH in the upcoming year! Also praying He gives you wisdom as you navigate the BEST way to take care of your babies. I truly believe God has given you instincts to know how to best care for them, but I also know that when we know better, we DO better. Knowledge (applied) is power.
P.S. I’m always looking to learn! Anything else you use I need to know about??

Positive Affirmations for Kiddos

The Word is VERY clear that there is power in the tongue. Take some time to read some of the verses about the power of the tongue and the power of our words.

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So I got the idea to do this with my boys because this is something I personally do in the form of belief cards. That might sound silly or lame or whatever, but it has led to personal breakthrough for me. It has changed the way I view myself, allowed me to tear through some lies I have believed, and helped me grow into who I know I can be, even if I wasn’t there yet. It has changed my beliefs and shaped my thinking, and if it can do it for me, I know it can do it for my boys.

The words we speak to our children and about them become their inner voice. There are so many “voices” speaking to who they are and their identity, that Jonathan and I want to make sure WE are the loudest voices in their heads. We want our boys to have a strong foundation. Our hope and prayer is that as they grow up, their choices and decisions will align with the TRUTH about who they are and who they are created to be.

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Here are some of our affirmations we go through at night with the boys. We start when they’re really young (we even do them with Beau). We don’t do it every single day, but we try to. It doesn’t matter when you do it, but you really want to be as consistent as possible. We say them then have them repeat them loudly and confidently after us in the form of an “I” statement. They don’t always love it, but we make them do all kinds of things they don’t necessarily like to do…because that’s life. (I mean hello…I don’t LIKE to do laundry, but we don’t wanna be nasty & stanky so I do it anyway.)

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- I am a champion.
- I am a leader.
- I am a child of God.
- I am strong.
- I am brave and courageous.
- i am healthy.
- i am wise & make wise choices.
- I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and made in the image of Christ.
- I am a hard worker.
- I am a problem solver.
- i tell the truth.
- i am a protector.
- i am friendly & enjoy making new friends.
- i enjoy talking in front of others.
- i like to share.
- i am helpful.
- i am respectful.
- i have a grateful heart.
- i love to learn new things.
- i honor my mom & dad.
- I am smart & have a great memory.
- I use my gifts for God’s glory.
- I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
- I trust in the Lord with all my heart.
- I love the Lord, my God, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- if God before us, who can be against us?
- i’m going to change the world.

Parents…your words have POWER. You are not raising kids…you are raising future adults. That perspective is POWERFUL, so wrap your mind around that and parent them in that way. Talk to your spouse about the kind of adult you want your child to grow into, and then start speaking that into them, over them, and have them learn to speak it about themselves. Then watch that manifest into their reality.

Mommin’ Ain’t Easy, But it is a BLESSING

Children are a gift from the Lord. (Psalm 127:3)

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If you’re having a “moment” & not feeling like it for a second, that’s okay. We’re all real people & we have real nerves & these little people that call us Mama know how to get all over them sometimes.

Just don’t let yourself stay there, friend. Remind yourself that your child is a BLESSING! A gift entrusted to you. Chosen specifically for you and you for them. They require work + patience + training. And God has called YOU and will equip you to that work if you recognize what a mighty & wonderful calling it is.

Choose to enjoy them. Get yo mind right & do it quickly. Memorize Scripture & renew your mind in the Lord. Guard your heart. Pour into your children. Invest in them. Treasure them.

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God doesn’t expect us to be a perfect parent, but we should be a present & praying parent. ❤️ and p.s. Kids spell love T-I-M-E.

Closed Doors

Today I am grateful for CLOSED doors.

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That may sound strange, but one of the ways God shows us his love is through CLOSED doors. Many times it doesn't feel that way at the time. In fact, in our immaturity we tend to think the opposite and that it is unanswered prayers. Sometimes, we become bitter, we try to force our own way, we pout, and we stop seeking the Lord. But in reality, closed doors often mean God has something better for us that fits in HIS perfect plan & HIS perfect timing. We will get to experience His faithfulness if we allow the Lord to lead, stay in His will, and don't force anything on our own. We can usually look back and see that closed doors were actually Him protecting us from something. Isn’t He GOOD??  YES! He works together for the good of those who love Him, so we can fully trust Him.

Next time you experience a closed door, choose the perspective of gratitude. Be thankful for his protection, provision, and omniscience. Declare that you trust Him fully, and praise Him in the waiting. He knows and wants the best for YOU, so keep seeking Him.

I just wanted to share that in case you’re in a season of experiencing closed doors. I know if can feel disheartening, but hang in there! Your best days are yet to come.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6

Homeschooling Update…

When people ask how homeschooling is going...ummm, it’s going.

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Transparency moment: I don’t feel like i have been totally honest with everyone about homeschooling. When people have asked me about it and said “Wow, i could never do that!” I really wanna say “Yes! Same here! Me neither!” Cuz that’s how I feel. I feel like I can’t. And I know that although according to the world’s “standards” I should be equipped (from an education and experience standpoint anyway), I am actually having to unlearn many things from my teaching background because this is SO, SO different. I think people assume I chose to homeschool because have unlimited patience with my boys or something...& while I’m working to grow in that area, I just want to confess: I’m not the most patient mom ever. Sometimes I lose my cool & don’t react/respond the way I’d like.

I have also been telling people i feel “called” to it because I feel like that eases the awkwardness of the conversation. But again… I don’t necessarily feel “called” to it. This is very much a CHOIE. I believe it’s the best choice for our family & our boys & the fruits we are trying to produce..but y’all, I’m not scared of hard things because I’ve done hard things before. And while many times I feel like I “can’t,” I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So I’m clinging to that!

Hopefully at the end of this year I’ll be saying “Whew, we’re getting this thing figured out & we are thriving!” But for now, it’s just plain hard, & if I’m totally honest, i don’t necessarily ‘want’ to do it. Navigating this new journey with two other littles running around… while we’re living 5 deep in a friend’s camper in our driveway…(that’s a different post for a different day!)…it’s just a little crazy.

But, I want to be super transparent about my thoughts, feelings, and insecurities in our journey. SO I’m sharing my “struggles” because I fully believe there is some other mama reading this that has felt a tug on her heart to homeschool, but is maybe feeling some of these same obstacles I am. I just want you to know, you’re not alone & you CAN do it. God planted that seed in you for a reason. Don’t allow the enemy to steal this from you.  Yes, it is hard. But many of the most worthwhile things in life come with challenges. And there isn’t a better way to teach our kids to do hard things, even when you don’t feel equipped, even when you don’t necessarily “want to,” than to lead by example.

My major goal is for my kids to be worshippers, to know God and make him known, to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, to be entrepreneurs or in ministry, to be effective communicators, to enjoy learning, to be avid readers, to live healthy lives as productive members of society, and to have the Word hidden in their hearts. And this is the approach I feel like is best for our family in this season to make those things a reality.

Now back to Butler Academy...

Bible: Awanas + Character Calendar + Bible Study Fellowship

Memory Work + Community: Classical Conversations

Reading: Teach Your Child to Read in 100  Easy Lessons

Math: Horizons Math

Music: Funderful World of Music