Thursday, July 10, 2014
Yesterday, while out getting some food for my family, a woman I know commented on how good I looked. She has known me for years and has not only seen me having baby after baby but witnessed my transformation when I lost all my weight. She made a reference to my appearance looking so young I could pass as a teenager. This of course made me laugh, a teenager? No, no way. But I am noticing that people are commenting on my appearance and my skin more often than before.
This got me thinking last night and I tried to analyze what was new for me that would make me look younger than I am and get the comments on my skin looking so nice. Then I recalled, I switched my skin care product.
My new love is what I want to share today!
evanhealy is the skin care that I have began using and have absolutely loved since trying it! I bought a starter, sample kit, at Whole Foods and have now progressed into the true sizes. I love this line for skin care because not only is it organic but the entire line is safe for our environment.
I love the day moisturizer because it is so light and clean feeling it does not leave my face oily midway through the day at all. The Facial toner is light and has aroma therapy in it that leaves my skin feeling cool and refreshed. The mask is light yet when it dries on my face I can feel it pulling the oil out allowing my pores to be clean and tight. I mix the toner and the facial serum oil together to give my skin extra moisturizer around my eyes and my forehead.
I can defiantly tell the difference from the expensive department store facial line I was using and apparently so can others!
If you are looking for skin care to help with your trouble spots, I would totally give this line a try. There are several different aromas you can try... I use the rose but have purchased the lavender for friends of mine, who rave about it as well.
Again, I purchased mine at Whole Foods but I am sure you can look on line and get it elsewhere too!
If you want more information about the line here is the link to the company: http://www.evanhealy.com/
My new love...... thank you for making my skin even better!
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
On my desk sits this cute bag that hold a bunch of little cards.
I have not pulled a card from this bag in a few weeks. Life has been a little overwhelming for me these past weeks, months and really years. What I have allowed to happen in my life is I have allowed the negative to take over and I have only been focusing on what is wrong in my life rather than what is right. I have allowed myself to have a limited vision of my life and I have only been focusing on my problems thus allowing them to overwhelm me. There have been days where I have gone into hiding, I go into dark places and have closed out people in my life because I would rather hide from them than disappoint them. I was starting to believe that I had no options and I had no way out of where I am right now, this was to be my reality. At night I lay in my bed and when I am all alone with no one left to impress or to have to fake happiness to I found myself surrounded by fear and sorrow.
But this week I am coming to a new place in my mind and my heart and I am realizing that I owe it to myself and to my family to pick myself back up and not let the past define me. It's time for me to decide, again, that I am going to stand up to life and I am going to be what I am suppose to be. I am going to follow my dreams and I am going to follow my passion for what I want while I walk on this Earth.
Just now, I pulled a card from that bag and it reads this.......
Today I was told how the brain releases chemicals to allow us to feel serenity and peace, this is called Serotonin. In addition the brain releases Cortisol due to stress. This is a way for the brain to ensure we continue to survive by giving us fear so that we do not do something that could harm us, anxiety to keep us from taking extra risks and gives us weary of something or someone that may harm us. All with the goal to protect our brains thus keeping our bodies alive. It was interesting for me to hear how the two different chemicals affect the brain and the way we react to it being released. It really made me realize, even more than I knew before, how my thoughts really will and do determine the way I live my life.
I have this story from my past that I like to share with people. I was told one time that I did not smile enough, I always looked cranky and miserable. So that day, I told myself no matter what I was going to just "sit and smile". I did not care how funny or crazy I may appear I would just sit and smile and that way I could not be told I never smiled enough. But what happened was I found myself being happier. I noticed that walking or driving around with a smile on my face, regardless of how I felt that day, not only made me feel better but it made others smile at me. So I learned to fake it till I could make it. I like this story because it is a good reminder that I can do this with my thoughts too.
If something or someone comes against me my first reaction is to sit and think about how it affects me. How is this going to affect my pride? How is this going to affect my family? How is this going to make me FEEL? What will others think of me as a person? Will they see me weak, strong, crazy or emotional? All these thoughts will come into my mind and send me spinning and usually gives me a knee jerk emotional reaction that I later will regret and most times makes things worse because they tend to never solve anything just leave me feeling emotional because I acted in a way that is not who I am as a person.
I am a strong person, I know this deep inside myself. This does not mean I am a narcissist it just means I know who I am at the core of my being and I am a fighter. I have lived a long life in my 40 years, a life full of struggle and battles to get me where I want to be and where I want my family to be. My tank may be just about empty and I may feel like I have depleted all my energy and am ready to throw in the towel but the truth is this is exactly where I WANT to be because this forces me to get up and succeed. I want to be successful in every part of my life just as much as I want to breathe everyday. I have no where to go but up from here and it is only up to me to choose if I am going to do it.
I may feel like I am at the end of my rope in certain areas but there is still time in my life to be who I want to be. There is still time to correct mistakes and continue to fight for my life. I still have a way out and I still have the chance to make this the best life I can have. The past does not define me, it needs to empower me!
So yes... I am.... strong. And I am going to get back to living my life as a strong woman! I am going to start following my dreams of writing and doing public speaking of some sort, I have big dreams I have not accomplished yet.... but I will.
What is in your life that is holding you back? What fears, anxiety is out there keeping your from your moments in life of being happy? What changes can you make to better yourself and improve where you are?
You... are strong.... live life like it!
Thursday, March 6, 2014
"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. ~Ephesians 4:32
One of the greatest expression of genuine love is showing kindness to your children. Kindness is the sweet aroma they should notice whenever your love enters the room. It inspires us to care for them. If flavors how we treat them. Whereas patience is love minimizing the negative, kindness is love initiating the positive. Patience helps us avoid problems, while kindness helps us be a blessing.
Love will make you kind, and kindness will make you liable. When you are kind to your children, they will enjoy being around you. In fact, it give you favor in all your relationships and opens doors for your children.
"Do not let kindness and truth leave you," the Bible says. "Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in sight of God and man" (Proverbs 3:3-4).
Kindness in love in action. It rejects passivity and reaches out. It takes time to listen, then take steps to help. It never requires the easiest path or simplest method to engage in the lives of others.
Specifically, kindness least to service--seeing a need and moving to meet it -- honoring others by putting their interests ahead of your own, even in the little things. At home with your children, you can model kindness by serving them without complaining, as well as quickly pointing out and celebrating moments when they show kindness in themselves.
Scripture describes the kindness of God by how He freely extends grace to His children, giving them exactly what they need (Ephesians 2:6-9). And He commands us to follow His lead by consistently being kind to others (Ephesians 4:32). This should begin with those in our families.
Kindness also brings willingness. It makes us cooperative, more ready to say "yes" then "no" to a request. It helps us become more agreeable and seek unity rather than coming up with another reason to dig in our heels. It reaches us to release and give rather than resist and hold back.
Kindness likewise seasons all our interactions with gentleness. It makes us more sensitive and tenderhearted. It stamps "Handle with Care" on the hearts of those with whom we come into contact and avoids being unnecessarily harsh or insensitive in our tone of voice or choice of words. Consider this thought: Just about everything we say or do could probably be greatly enhances with the addition of a little more kindness.
Why is this important? Because if we are not careful as parents, we too can become very unkind to the little ones we love. It is so easy to think that because we are the parent, because we are so much more mature and sacrificed so much for our kids, we can act however we want around them. Didn't we change their diapers? Haven't we spent untold dollars on them and put up with years of their runny noses and misbehavior? Yes. But love reminds us that our sacrifices never give us license to be uncaring or harsh.
Fathers should display more kindness than the men their children are around. This is what their kids are longing to experience (Proverbs 19:22) Mothers should have words of kindness flowing from their lips(Proverbs 31:26)
Be honest: Do your children see you as someone who is consistently kind to them and others? Do you model kindness in how you speak about people behind their backs? Do you give, share, and reach out to those in need? Do you regularly take the initiative to show kindness?
Your kids are more sensitive to you than almost anyone on earth. When you resist or ignore them, they will struggle inside and likely not respond to you well. But when you create an environment of tender love and kindness, they become more open to sharing their heart with you and listening to the words you say and the lessons you share.
Love leads you to look for opportunities to show kindness to your kids. This doesn't mean doing everything for them. Rather, it's the fine balance between loving them well and teaching them to love others. Part of their becoming an effective parent or leader as an adult is in developing the heart of a servant as a youth -- the heart they should see in you.
So teach them to proactive kindness around you and their siblings as well. Give them opportunities to serve at meals and take care of one another's needs at home. When they're ready, take them to places where serving others will build an appetite and heart for ministry. Visit a home for the elderly or a struggling neighbor who would be thrilled to receive a home cooked male for no other reason than kindness. Help them mow a lawn for a widow or reach out to children who have no father at home. These experiences remind you kids how precious and important other people are in the eyes of God, and that our kindness honors Him and reflects His character.
As you show and encourage kindness in your children, you are investing in the type of heart God calls us to nurture. It's the Golden Rule: treating others they way you want to be treated, freely giving the very thing we long to receive from those with whom we live every day. It's the blessing of kindness. And that's the beauty of how love takes action.
Surprise your children today by doing some unexpected act of kindness. As they take note of your gesture, ask them to do something kind for someone else that is also unexpected.
-The Love Dare for Parents by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
Having a larger family than most the biggest struggle in our house is time. Time for everything that needs to get done to meet the needs of each person. Because of this struggle sometimes small acts can be overlooked and pushed onto the back burner of life in hopes to one day achieve the goal. Kindness is not one of those in this house.
I have parented at two different times in my life. Our boys came early in my 20's and then our three little kids came in my 30's. Having a 10 year gap and then starting over allowed me to have two totally different parental experiences. Our boys will often joke with me that when they were younger something the current kids "get away with" would have never been allowed when they were younger. But one thing remains consistent through each season of my life.... kindness to our children.
I am not one to brag or boast about my kids. I do not think they are little geniuses, I do not think they are going to be the next President of the United States and I do not hold them up on a pedestal and think everyone just adores them. But what I think and know is that they are good kids full of love for each other, love for others in their community and love for themselves.
Because time is a struggle in our home we have not done the best job in having the little kids go outside of the home to show kindness to others but we always take any opportunity to teach them that they are VERY fortunate and live a good life that others do not live.
Recently at their school there was a canned food drive. Rather than just grabbing a couple cans out of the pantry and taking them into school we took the kids to a store and had them pick out the canned foods that they thought the families in need would like to receive. We talked about how others can not shop at the stores we shop at and a treat for a struggling family is not the same as a treat our kids get. Simply having enough food for a healthy meal isn't always an option. The store we choose to take them to was not the store we normally shop at. We wanted the kids to understand that not everyone can go to Whole Foods and pick up whatever they feel like having that day. So the store that the kids purchased the items at was in a neighborhood that was lower income and had more struggling families in it. So not only would our kids see the difference in the food but the people around them too. This turned out to be a very rewarding and educating moment for them and has stuck with each of them to this day.
Another act of kindness that our kids do is give to others. We recently had a friend in need for clothes for her kids. Our three little kids went through their clothes and toys and picked out items THEY thought the little kids in this other family would like. They did this without any thought of themselves or what they may be missing by giving away their items. They were happy to be able to help this family in need and found joy in knowing these kids would not only have nice clothes but toys to play with too.
We have another friend who is struggling and living check to check trying to do the very best for her kids. We have opened our home to her and allowed her to stay with us when things are too tight or she just needs comfort. One of our older boys changed rooms to give her a room of privacy and comfort and he did this with no thought to himself.
Seeing our children ages 20 through 5 have such kindness for others as well as for each others shows me that my hubby and I are doing a good job in this area. We show them firm but fair parenting and we not only demonstrate kindness to them we empower them to demonstrate it as well.
It is my hope that as our three younger kids get older and time becomes less pressing that we will be able to get them out into the community even more to minister and continue to build on their kindness in other ways.
I think acts of kindness in this house are almost weekly and have very lasting impressions on all the kids. There is always room to improve and we should never be content in just staying the same, but the foundation in this home is strong and sturdy.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Father's, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. ~Ephesians 6:4
When you truly love someone, two key attributes will show up on a regular basis: patience and kindness. In fact, many other characteristics of love are based upon these two attributes. Patience is how love diffuses something negative; kindness is how love initiates something positive. One takes in a deep breath, the other breathes out life. As you know, raising a child requires an unlimited supply of both. But today, we will focus on the first of these two essentials... patience.
Patience is when love chooses to "suffer long" for the greater good of another. It is like an experienced farmer who knows that fruitful field only come if he is willing to endure the heat of the sun. Patience is alike a wise builder who spend long hours slaving over blueprints, negotiating contracts, and overseeing supplies so his desired vision can become a reality. Both the farmer and the builder must persist when they want to resist. They must daily keep investing time and hard effort until they can celebrate the great harvest of the open house.
Likewise, being a loving parent requires a long supply of his amazing attribute. You are cultivating and building up your children, and all your work and sacrifice will ultimately pay off. But today requires your enduring patience. It is something we all need but rarely delight in demonstrating. Yet love invites us to exercise it frequently as parents. And when we do, it brings maturity both to us and our children, as well as needed grace and peace in the midst of our problems.
Children have an amazing ability to test the level of their parents' patience by their tone, disobedience, irresponsibility, or any lack of respect. Sometimes parents can feel so angry, they say or do things in the heat of the emotion that damage young hearts and minds. The impact can leave a deep and lasting emotional scar for many years to come.
This is why we find God's patience so exemplary. When Moses was on the mountaintop, he discovered why God kept putting up with His rebellious, complaining children: God was "compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness" (Exodus 34:6). He let His overflowing love control His anger. Whenever He did choose to be angry and firm, it was only after multiple, extended demonstrations of His compassion and patience.
Today, God is still gracious and patient with us as His children. So when we are unlovable and selfish, distracted and disobedient, we need to remember His enduring love for us and let His example of love overflow onto us and our children.
We must refuse to spring off the handle in front of our offspring. When they see us controlling our anger, it teaches them to control theirs. The Scripture says, "Be angry, and yet do not sin." (Ephesians 4:26) Sometimes anger is appropriate, but we should never let it get out of bounds. Discipline and correction must be wisely rationed, but only after we've first demonstrated loving patience.
Do your children see you as an angry, frustrated parent? Or would they describe you as compassionate and patient instead? Love chooses restraint. It controls your emotions rather than letting them control you. It challenges you to develop a long fuse instead of igniting a short temper. If you unnecessarily blow your top, it reminds you to humble yourself and quickly apologize, know much is at stake.
Wrath, on the hand, is cruel. (Proverbs 27:4) It divides and isolates. It weakens us and wounds others. It causes us to behave in foolish, regrettable ways. It almost never makes things better and usually generates additional problems.
If you struggle with anger, ask yourself why. Are you expectations realistic? Are you angry with someone else and taking it out on your kids? You may harbor painful memories of a parent's harsh anger toward you when you were young. But the pain doesn't need to be passed on to your children.
Sometimes anger is rooted in our own sin and hypocrisy. We often get the most angry with our kids in the same areas where we ourselves are weak. But overrating to wrongful actions and attitudes that are familiar to us doesn't do anything to "fix" us, and it only frustrates them. That's where a humble confession may yield more effective instruction than the firm anger of your correction. When they know you love them and can admit your own humanity, your counsel and training carry much more meaning.
Patience is always welcome. It gives people more time to work through their issues. It beautifully diffuses conflict before trouble has a chance to escalate. It whispers peace into situations brewing toward eruption. It's not a blanket form of tolerance that lets everything go, but rather a wise surveyor of the situation, allowing proper steps to be taken.
Parenting does call for action against carelessness and defiance. But we must differentiate between true rebellion and what might be childish ignorance. Our kids don't think like us; why do we expect them to act like us? We must factor in the circumstances, their age, and their level of maturity.
So instead of rising up and tearing down, let love calm you down. Then you can build them up. The more patient you today, the more victories you can celebrate tomorrow.
Write the words "Love is Patient" on a piece of paper and temporarily tape it to your mirror and refrigerator. When you see it over the next few weeks, purpose to display patience throughout the day as a further demonstration of your love to your children."
-The Love Dare for Parents by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
When I was growing up and resided with my mother our home was filled with anger. My mother use to call it her "red headed temper" I, on the other hand, had other names for it even as a small child. My mother was quick to get angry, quick to yell, and quick to throw things in the house. When the three of us kids, or anyone else for that matter, made her angry it would last for days, sometimes into weeks. She was the Queen of giving us the cold shoulder. I recall at a very young age when she use to say to us after getting mad, "I don't care what you do, do what you want."
I remember hearing that statement from my mother more times than I could count growing up. I recall it use to make me feel resentment towards her because I felt as if I then was put into a position to win her love back. Somehow if I changed MY behavior towards her then she would care what I did again. This pattern of not feeling loved has been carried with me throughout my entire life and in all my relationships, even to this day in one form or the other.
Growing up I use to say to myself and everyone else, "I was NOT going to be like my mother!" I was not going to raise my kids the way she raised myself and my brothers, I was not going to talk to my kids the way she would and still does speak to us. I was going to break that chain and give my kids more. Being a mother now, going on 21 years, I would like to think I have done just that. That I have accomplished all the things I set out NOT to do with my kids. But the reality is when you live in a certain atmosphere, things just become a part of you no matter how hard you try to avoid it.
I am quick to anger, especially when I feel threatened in my life. I am quick to show my frustration with my kids when they are not taking advantage of the chances they have in life, especially the chances I never had. I am quick to allow my emotions, especially with my older boys and my hubby, to control me and run away with me. I am not quilt free of any circumstances my own mother displayed to me as a child, but I can say that I have never taken them to the extreme she did.
The book asks you to ask yourself "Do your children see you as an angry, frustrated parent? Or would they describe you as compassionate and patient instead?" I truly think that my kids do see me as compassionate but know that when I am pushed to the end of my ledge about something that I am passionate about then the emotions can come out and they WILL be raw. I have never in their lives, all 5 of them, ever told them I never cared about them or cared about what they did in life. I have never washed my hands of my kids or their feelings.
But I can see after reading this chapter that there are some areas that I need to improve in. I need to do a better job at hearing my kids, especially the older ones, and taking in what they have to say. I do not want my children to ever look back on their childhood and recall that their mother was a tyrant, and honestly I do not think they would. But there are times when I am so tired, or so stressed that I might take my frustration of others out on them and this of course is NOT what I want for any of them.
"Love is Patient" is the best lesson for me and came today as a much needed reminder. I must be more patient in all areas of my life and I must demonstrate this to my children so that they understand this too. So many times in this face paced life we are all about instant gratification when really we should just be sitting back and finding the beauty in the moment. So many times I have rushed decisions because I want the pain or anxiety it is causing me to be over, when really I should just be sitting quietly and waiting for the answers to come to me. And of course I have to learn, after 41 years of life, how NOT to let my emotions run away with me and carry me into a darkness of the abyss.
I must allow love to calm me down so that I WILL have more victories to celebrate tomorrow.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
"My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me accoridng to Your word."
I have spent the last few weeks reflecting on my life as it stands today, the childhood that brought me to this point and the choices I have made. This reflection has brought some understanding to the person I am now and hopefully will help me change and become the person I want to be.
When I look back onto my life as a child my memories are really from the age of 11 and up. This was a significant time for me full of changes and challenges that would truly begin the development into my adult life.
I always looked at life with childlike eyes. My eyes were wide open, aware of everything around me and aware that I was destined for a bigger life than the one playing out for me. However, along with those big eyes of wonder and hope I hide a dark secret behind them, fear and anxiety.
At the age of 11 I was living with my mother and two older brothers. Life was not easy as a child. My mother was a single mom, who for years dated a married man with a family of his own. It was known and understood in our home that we were not to talk about this with anyone, especially the wife who happened to be my mother's friend. My mother really never worked outside of the home. She relied on the income of social security from the death of my two brothers' father. In addition to the social security checks my mother had support from the married man. This developed a very unstable lifestyle because we were constantly moving from rental to rental. My mother would move us because she got bored or she would have to move us because she could not pay the rent anymore. We moved once and sometimes twice a year from as far back as I could remember till the age of 14. This created the fear and anxiety of not feeling secure.
My mother loved her kids; there was never a question of that. However, the love my mother had for the three of us was not the normal mother child love. It was clear to me at a young age that my mother felt slated. She felt as if her life should have gone another way. She use to tell me the day she married my brothers' father she told her own mother she didn't want to marry him. My mother explained to me that her mother told her it was too late for that kind of thinking and basically said "You are going marry this man." I could always sense the resentment when she would talk about this to me. It was not a story that she shared in hopes to help me understand that she wouldn't force me to marry someone I didn't want to. Rather it was a story of self-pity and almost a way for her to lash out at her kids saying if only that one decision could be changed her life would have been so much different. This created the fear of not being loved.
When I think about the relationship I had with my mother it was a giving one, me giving to her. I basically took on the role of trying to make sure my mother was happy. I cared for her needs as well as tried to care for my own. My mother would go through weeks of depression. She would be up all night and sleep all day. This required me to have to not only have to care for myself but take care of the house as best as I could at that young age. It was always my goal to make sure she had what she needed. I loved her so much I wanted to have her love me back and I thought the way to achieve this was to give myself to her and care for her in any way I could. But no matter how hard I tried or how much I gave to her, I could never pull her out of her depression and I could never help her accept and make the most of her life within herself and with the three of us kids. This created the fear of not being good enough.
My mother could not tell the truth to save her life. My brothers use to get so mad at her because she would tell us we were going to do something or she was going to do this with us and those times would come and go. Our life was full of empty promises and lies. My mother would make promises to us that she would never keep. She would tell us about a trip she was planning only to find out it was trip she was taking by herself and would leave us with friends. My mother would promise to come to school events but then never show up for one reason or the other. This created the anxiety of not trusting.
I always defended my mother and always stuck by her side trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. I was the peacemaker in the family and I wanted everyone to be happy. Looking back I can see my pattern was that I believed if I gave her unconditional love her own heart would soften towards me and my brothers and she would finally step up to be the mother we all wanted her to be. But she continually chooses her own feelings over ours, made choices that really benefited her first and continued to make promises she could not keep.
It's funny how you can go through life continuing on a pattern of behaviors that you are not even aware you are doing. Then one morning at 2:00 am it all becomes clear that you have lived your whole life this way. I have always given people the benefit of the doubt. I have always wanted to give myself to those in need in hopes to help them become a better person. I hide my fears and anxiety from the world in hopes to gain my own strength in others to overcome them.
As an adult when faced with these fears I have triggers that have come up over the past four years that really have set me into a spin. I now understand how these fears affect my own life today and the choices I make. I understand that rather running or hiding from my childhood I need to embrace it so I can understand and finally grow from it. I have stunted my own growth due to fears of the past and fears in the present.
Fear is a very powerful emotion. It has been embedded in me for years, this I now know and understand. I can look back now and see the patterns I live today are mirrored by the patterns I lived as a child. Yet rather than facing the fears young and learning how to grow from them I pushed them into the back of my mind and powered through whatever I had to get done. Rather than learning how to manage the fear, I ignored it and simply moved on. This can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing.
As I sit here today typing, my mind searches for a lesson or for some motivating thoughts to help anyone reading this as well as help myself. But the bottom line is I need to understand my fears and learn more about them. I need to fully understand and see that those fears as a child still live in me today as an adult. I need to understand and recognize my trigger points and work my way through them. I need to depend on my hubby more and get him on board to not seeing his wife as the strong one but rather in a position where I am vulnerable and seeking his help. I almost need to step back in my own life so that others can step forward allowing me to work on helping myself.
For so many years I have cared for everyone giving them my all, I made myself the last priority on the list. Along with putting my needs last I compartmentalized my own fears and tucked them away never to be dealt with. There is nothing wrong with fear; it is a survival emotion that can save your life. However, being stuck in these emotional and paralyzing fears is destroying me from the inside out. I don't want to live in the shadows of fear any longer. With the Grace of God and the love and support from my hubby and friends it is time for me to break free from my fears and start living the life I was meant to live!