Thursday, November 16

There is More: Processing anger, control, and stress in Motherhood

This post could be called many things.
"A day in the life of a stay at home mom trying to blog, bake cupcakes, and babysit"
"Is my three year actually possessed?"
But you can read above what I picked, because I want to process with you what is happening in my heart as all the other stuff is happening too.

There is more.  It's good to identify what you are believing.  It's good to find scripture and feel hope that you can overcome.  It's good to share what you are feeling with your close circle of wholehearted friends and family.  But there is more.  I have been learning a sacred pause to ask God, "Why am I feeling this way?" "Why am believing this?" This morning, the Holy Spirit lead me in yet another gentle, sacred pause in something I have been feeling so much over the last few weeks.  This is not your story, but maybe my reflections will inspire your own reflections into the "more" God has for you.

I have been so angry with my kids.  I feel like they just do not listen.  I find myself yelling sooner, louder, and with more shame and berating in my words.  Like yesterday, when Nash began squirting his juice box onto the floor of the truck.  I went from 0-60 in less than a second.   ...   ...

I'm back.  My daughter was just irritating me, typing, interested in what I was doing, asking to play the Wild Kratts game she knows exists somewhere in this thing we call the laptop.  Sacred Pause. I sense the Father saying, "Later. Type this later." Rather than get angry with June for interrupting my creative process, I close the lid, and walk over to the living room.  The kids had been watching Moana for the 176th time this year.  My neck has been so out of whack this week-  I sense the need to lay down and rest it.  As the movie unfolds, a story I know has touched my heart many times, I see Te Ka in all her fury and think how much this relates to what I was just writing.  How many of us feel like Te Ka, when in reality, we have just lost our heart- we are really Ta Fiti. I listen to the lines from the climax, and imagine the Father saying them to my angry, stressed out heart, in the midst of literally trying to process WHY:

I have crossed the horizon to find you Me, your Savior, I'm so glad I have found you, Daughter
I know your name Your my daughter, and I call you Harbor.  My Harbor
They have stolen the heart from inside you
But this does not define you Daughter,
This is not who you are Your anger, it's not your heart
You know who you are You are my daughter.  Beloved. Remember who you are.

There is more.  I love how the Father interrupts my day to keep my identity in him.  ...  ...

Nash just ran off with a box of toothpicks and threw them all over the playroom floor. Pause. I remember our consequences chart. Instead of flying off the handle, I remember we've got a plan for consequences.  Jesus, okay, it's okay.  I can calmly address this.  Boy, this escalates quickly.  Nash steals two cupcakes while in timeout and runs downstairs.  He hits Logan. I keep following the consequences chart. Stick with it. 20 minutes laters, the ordeal is over.  Tears are wiped, apologies made, toothpicks picked up. Whew.  I made it.  I think I just managed to stay WITH God in that.  

The above is the exception for me, not the rule.  But as Lysa Terkhest wrote in Becoming I Am, "Every time I go to God and ask him to shed light on my situation, I'm trading a little of my struggle for his strength."  This is part of answering WHY I get so angry when I can't get my kids to listen.  I want to control them.  A part of me, a part of all of us, seeks to control to avoid pain.  This is not a bad desire- to have a stress free, pain free life.  It's a desire born in our hearts from a good God.  It's a desire that makes us long for joy, it's a desire that exists in the part of our hearts that yearns for eternity in heaven. It's good.  But while we're on earth, it's not yet.  We cannot have a pain free life, and to demand that here and now is taking into my own hands that which God has promised in his time and in his way.  The same thing happened in the Garden with Adam and Eve.  Can I really conjure up peace by getting perfectly behaved children? If that were the case, I would never need God, and I would never have true peace.  It's a trap.  God, you are WITH me in the broken, pain-filled world.  I need you most at the times I am trying to write you out of the story. 

Why am I angry? Biologically, I need to exercise to help my stress and anger.  And I haven't done that much lately.  Exercise in balance is caring for my soul.  Just a quick lesson from the Father for me.

Why do I want my kids to listen? It's up to me to raise them right.  To get them to show respect.  To become respecting, functioning adults. Really? Can I get them to respect me if I'm yelling at them?  If I don't show respect, how can I demand it? Am I really on my own in parenting? No! If I get them to obey to perfection, the end result is adults who live in a greater dysfunction of perfectionism.  Do I really want that? No! My thinking shows all these agreements that are not born from truth.

Other things that happened during my day:
Nash dumped out milk.
Nash hit Logan for sitting on his blanket.

Wednesday, October 11

My New Name

Life is a storm and we are at sea.
Sometimes we are the boat,
We cannot control the storm.
It beats us, relentlessly, unending;
Even the stars hide from those kind of storms.
Hope seems so distant,
Like a calm that will never come.

More often I feel like the water though.
A crash lingering at every crest-
Spraying, sloshing, internal control is elusive.
The enemy names me Tempest,
Telling me I have a temper and I bring the storm.

But Ho! What is this?
Someone, whether sleeping in the boat or walking on the water,
He calms my storms.
The storms around me and the storms inside me.
Either the waves stop or the boat sails safely into port.
You see this man, Jesus, he calls me Harbor.
I am not a Tempest, I am His Harbor,
Because of He who lives in me.

"A port of ships, a harbor"

Saturday, May 13

The Lord's Prayer- Aphesis Style

These words are paraphrases and sentences from material printed by Aphesis Group in the Untying the Knots of Your Heart class, which may be available in  your area.  This follows how Jesus taught his disciples to pray, with a thorough expansion on the depth of each statement. It's in first person, and my hope is you will use these words as a guide to your own daily prayer.

Our Father, who art in heaven.  I acknowledge that you are my true Father.  I picture myself as your child.  You are my kind, generous, emotionally involved, compassionate, loyal and affectionate Father, and you want the best for me, you delight in my company, you want me to be in heaven with you forever. You are intimately involved with my life.  You are the ultimate source of my reality, the definer of all my relationships.  Only you have the position to help me sort through reality and you are my source of rich emotional strength.  I smile as I imagine you as a Father.  (Picture in your mind a dad running to meet his child, a dad lifting his child in his arms, or another healthy image of the father-child relationship).  That's what you are like, Father.  and...
Hallowed be Your name. Your name, your character, works, and reputation are very special to me, above all other names.  I hold onto you, God, and your truth about who I am and what life is about, in higher regard than the family I grew up with or my current family relationships.  You have the exclusive right to tell me who I am and what I am worth.  Father, I value you above everyone else.  I trust you, massively respect you, and hold you in the highest regard.
Your Kingdom come.  Let your kingly authority be a reality for me in my daily living.  Let your kingly authority reign over me.  Let your authority as Ruler in heaven also be expressed in my daily experience on earth, therefore...
Your will be done. You are a good Father and King, and I am willing to accept your desires for my life.  I deeply trust you.  May your desire for my life, and for the people around me, and for your church, come to be.  As your desires are fulfilled in heaven, let them be fulfilled in my life here.  I am your daughter (or son) and I know you are a consistent, trustworthy, loving, affectionate, and caring Father.  Your yoke is easy and your burden is light.  You gave your only Son on my behalf.  You have my ultimate best in mind.  You will bring healing, character, and joy.  I know that your will for my life is not just about "to-do's". Your will deals with who I am, my character, and what is true of me, more than what I do.
Give us this day our daily bread.  You already know my needs before I ask, so I ask, Father, that you help me sort out what my needs really are.  My anxieties are often wrapped up in my view of what I have or don't have.  I know you care about my anxiousness, and I pray for peace as I sort out my needs with you.  Father, I'm worried about ______________. I have a specific request about ___________.  I thank you that you are bigger than my problems, and I genuinely trust you and allow your peace to settle into my heart.  I know you delight in the opportunity to reveal your presence through our prayers.  I know that as you answer these prayers, I won't see it as chance or coincidence, but I will see it as you at work in my life through prayer.
Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.  I pray you will enable me to sort out my daily relationships in light of how you have dealt with me.  I thank you for the forgiveness you have given me through the cross of Christ.  As your child, I am breathing in the air of forgiveness.  I specifically ask forgiveness for _______________.  I know that forgiveness is one of your highest values, and I pray that the truth of this would integrate into my own life.   I know you will enable me to deal with the chip on my shoulder due to unmet obligations in relationships. Help me forgive ____________ as you have forgiven me.   Help me sort through this issue and bring peace to my soul.  Help me actively extend to others the love and grace I have found in you.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  I ask, Father, to be rescued from Satan and his scheming.  I pray you would make me aware of where he is trying to convince me to doubt your desires and will for my life.  I know he will try to convince me you have no interest in my needs, try to cause divisions in relationships and in the church, and convince me that others are not worth forgiving.  He tries to tell me I am worthless and reminds me of my wrongdoing, trying to render me powerless spiritually.  He is directly battling me in the area of _________ and I ask to be strong in you and in the strength of your might. I pray that with other believers surrounding me, we would put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  I pray for righteous- to do what you say is right.  I pray for mental attentiveness on the Gospel- the good news of your love.  I immerse myself in your truth, the Word of God, and salvation- I know I am saved.  Give me alertness and perseverance to pray at all times in the Spirit,
For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. You are sovereign! You are in charge! You rule with all power and authority! These truths are good news.  I trust in you and your ability to deal with my life issues.  You are more than capable to take care of those who want to bring me harm, including enemies of the darkness.  You are in a position to give me good counsel.  I need to sort out ______________ with you, and need you to help me deal with ______________.  I now pause, and listen for you to direct me as you will. __________________________________  I trust you, I love you.  I pray that as I trust you, I will have every variety of joy, peace, and hope.  I fully trust and fully realize that I am not alone.  With great joy, I know that you are very present and watching over me, caring about what I feel, think, and do.  You are a good Father and you are constantly here to help me sort through life's problems and share in my daily joys and burdens. Thank you.  Amen.

Sunday, May 7

What is "Leaky Gut," 11 Signs You Have It, and How PIE Can Help!

Leaky Gut has been a "hippy" conspiracy for a long time, but I get so excited when I find "breakthrough" research where the scientific community has come along and confirmed what hippies have said for a long time. Over 2000 years ago, the original hippy, Hippocrates, said, "All disease beings in the gut." But instead of using "Leaky Gut" in your Google searches (where many good, but less research-based articles are found), use words like "gut permeability" and "microbiome" and the results get VERY scientific, with clinical studies and proven lab experiments on mice, etc. and just plain PROOF that what we are talking about here is not a myth or for those just in the "crunchy" world.
So what is leaky gut? (or "gut permeability" if you want to sound really smart) Imagine your digestive track is like a long skinny balloon that carries and digests your food, and takes the good nutrients from your food and gets them to the rest of your organs for processing and distributing.
 Now imagine that instead of a balloon, your digestive track is more like one side of a pair of pantyhose.  While it still does its job OK, there are microscopic holes in the walls that leach out what is in your food into the rest of your body before it has been properly digested; bacteria, toxins, and heavy metals can leak out as well.  Your gut wall is designed to prevent these harmful microbes from entering your bloodstream.  When they do, it can wreak havoc on your body.

Here are some signs your health is being affected by Leaky Gut:
1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Constipation, diarrhea, or other digestion problems
2. Seasonal allergies
3. Food sensitivities- dairy, gluten, etc.
4. Skin issues- eczema, dermatitis, etc.
5. Mental or hormonal imbalances- clinical anxiety, depression, ADHD/ADD, Chronic fatigue
6. Autoimmune Disease- Hashimoto's thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
7. Spectrum-like behaviors- Autism is complex, and is a genetic disorder, but leaky gut can promote the development of autism.
8. Chronic pain- back pain, joint pain, migraines, etc.
9. Weak immune system
10. Overweight/Obese
11. Cardiovascular Disease- This can also have genetic components, but treating the gut can help in so many way. Also this relates to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc.

WHY? Each link embedded above goes into detail from people who are doctors (not me!).

WHAT can you do about it?  I suggest a PIE approach.  Imagine your overall health is a pie with several slices. Healthy eating is one slice of the pie, the most obvious piece, but that alone won't heal your gut.  Even with perfect food choices, you are still dealing with GMO food that your body just doesn't know what to do with, depleted soil conditions that rob even our good food of nutrients it normally gives, pollution and pesticides and antibiotic-ridden meat/dairy.  You can't control all these factors- it's impossible.

Now, warning, here's where I talk about Plexus Triplex. I hate hype, but I hate leaky gut more.  I now have a huge piece of pie label "Plexus" because this information has CHANGED MY LIFE.  So hear me out.  We NEED to fill in the gaps of healthy eating with pre/probiotics, enzymes, and nutrients/minerals we just aren't getting from food as much as we used to or need to.  Our guts need help. THIS is help you need.  You can message me about the three products in the Triplex regimen, and I will give you the detailed ingredient list so you can do you own research. The three products in the Triplex are: 1- Slim (the pink drink)- contains a prebiotic, helps your gut work efficiently by balancing blood sugar (and avoid cravings for sugary foods to help yourself meet your goals for the "eat healthy foods" piece of the pie), has an anti-inflammatory ingredient, and more. 2- ProBio 5- a powerful probiotic with enzymes and an anti-fungal to restore your healthy bacteria and break down bad organisms like yeast. 3- BioCleanse- this helps detox and eliminate the bad organisms that the ProBio5 has broken down and oxygenate your gut to create an environment that is more resistant to disease. Empower yourself and your gut with information and then buy it risk free, with a 60 day money back guarantee.  You will NOT regret adding this slice to your pie.   I am an official Plexus Ambassador now, and I'm not ashamed to sell these products, even though it is a Multi-Level-Marketing company (this hippy cringes at most MLMs).  I don't want to be another MLM salesman on Facebook, but I do want to spread the word about how to help heal the root cause of all these symptoms.

We all may vary a little with our PIES, but here's mine.

What's up with the Untying the Knots/Counseling piece? Thanks for asking.
You can make changes, take the best supplements, exercise, etc, but without God, you will not have the inner peace and health you desire.  You may run to food or even exercise to cope with pain, discomfort, or bitterness.  You may make food choices based on your family background and what is normal for you is not healthy.  You may have spiritual warfare going on.  We all need help untangling the WHY behind our food choices and without a clear-eyed, whole-hearted counselor, mentor, or a class like Untying the Knots of Your Heart, a huge piece of your pie is missing. Basically, God holds my whole pie.  He's the pan and crust you cannot see, but without Him, there would be no pie at all.

The "Imperfection" and "Stuff I don't know about" slices are because this is a HUMBLE pie.  I don't know everything, and my diet and healthy choices are far from perfect.  I'm not aiming for perfection, so a slice of my pie is imperfection.  We will never have perfect health, and I've had to get over the illusion of control that my perfect pie will lead to perfect health and happiness.

So there you have it, Leaky Gut and how PIE can help.

Sunday, April 23

Sabbath Readings (Part 3)

Island of Stillness
There are 24 hours in each day and 7 days a week.  We live day in and day out in time.  All this time seems so crazy and frantic with doing work, but every week we get to have Sabbath time.  It’s like this: Pretend you are in a crazy storm in a boat out at sea, with the waves crashing over you and the wind blowing your boat in all directions.  But then you see an island with a harbor, where you can anchor your boat for awhile and come in from being out in the crazy sea.  You sail into the harbor and your boat rests.  You rest.  That is what the Sabbath is like for you.
The seventh day, the Sabbath day, is a day different from the rest of the days of the week.  The stormy sea is like the rest of the week, and Sabbath is like that island with a harbor.  It’s a place in time, where we can let go of things and stuff we normally think about during the week.  We can let go of homework and all the things on our to-do list.  We can let go of cooking, cleaning, and fixing.  Instead, we grab onto God and attach ourselves to His Spirit.

Architecture in Time (Building Meaningful bits of Time)
We want to think about how important it is to remember Sabbath, as well as other special times in our weeks and years.  When the sun rises and sets, think of it as a reminder from God to pray.  When the Passover comes each year, think about the Exodus from Egypt.  Remember God’s faithfulness, and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  One day, there will be no time.  Jesus will come again, and it will be the end of days, weeks, and years.  Use the time you have now well to build your faith stronger.

Holiness in Time
The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time instead of things.  We decorate our houses and try to keep them clean.  We give and receive presents, buy new things, make new things, and spend a lot of time thinking about all the stuff we have.  All these things try to keep us from thinking about God.  On the Sabbath, we say “no” to thinking about all the stuff we have and instead, we focus our thoughts on God.  We think about how the Sabbath is set apart from other days of the week, and how just as God rested on the seventh day, we get too as well.  We use our toys, cars, phones, and other stuff all week long, so one day a week we stop and think about Who made it possible to have all this stuff in the first place.  We think about how God made the whole world, and what a wonderful thing that is.

For Part 1, click here
For Part 2, click here

Tuesday, April 11

My TMI Gut Health Story

OK so let's talk about poop.
 My mom has a story of giving me castor oil when I was three years old because I desperately needed a bowel movement. In fact the doctor was ready to clean me out if I didn't have one soon. Needless to say, I can't remember a time where I've ever been a regular crapper.  That was just my life. I can think of many specific, painful times where I endured constipation beyond what was normal. But I didn't know it wasn't normal until I was about 22. 
 I was on the verge of hippiedom, little did I know. I browsed the isles of Mama Jean's natural food store, gathering bits of information about food, supplements, herbs, but not really sure what to do with all that information. I  I had my blood tested and the Tester was crass, blunt, and very intimidating to a new hippie. She looked at my blood and sized me up in about five minutes: "Candida overgrowth. Are you constipated? You have a wheat intolerance."

 So I can't eat wheat? What is candida? You mean it's not normal to poop once every four or five days?

I immediately went to the store and bought WHITE bread. White bread, ya'll. That's where I started. That's how little I knew. If you don't catch the irony, white bread is still made from the wheat plant.  Needless to say I had a lot to learn.

Over the next two or three years, I did learn, I learned a lot. I learned about Candida overgrowth in the gut, and how it affects our bodies and minds when your gut is leaking all these toxins into your body. My food intolerance was just a mild form of autoimmune issues, but more serious autoimmune conditions are prevalent these days that all begin in the gut. I began to detox my body with a Candida diet, and strict gluten-free eating. I did figure out that I couldn't buy wheat or white bread and unfortunately gluten-free products were still a few years away from being convenient. I felt a lot better and my bowel movements were not painful, and I was pooping every 2 or 3 days. Still not idea, but progress. Let's fast-forward.

 I noticed when June was a baby, so about five years ago, gluten free craze began sweeping America. I felt duped, I felt like I had just been ahead of the hype. I hated that feeling. So I began to test the amounts of gluten I could handle.  I didn't want to be a consumer sucker duped into buying expensive gluten-free products when it was all just in my head.

Enter: probiotic foods.  While I had previosuly started a regimen of probiotic supplements , my research led me to discover the benefits of fermented foods in providing probiotics. I started with Kiefer and would drink it daily and this was great. Well I love kiefer, but I soon discovered Kombucha. And if you know me, you know I love making Kombucha. I made it at home faithfully for about the last two years. My friend Sharla also gave me some of her precious home made sauerkraut, which I loathed!! But it was very effective in combating any stomachaches associated with gluten. As I began to test my gluten limit, I knew it wasn't in my head- if I ate wheat more than once per day, I had a stomach ache and I would also not poop for several days. If I ate my fermented food/drink I could have a little more freedom with my food- about one serving of wheat a day.

 This whole time I figured out how to avoid stomachaches, how to feel better, but I have never really pooped every day. I could go on rabbit trails about experimenting with taking out dairy too, drinking Smooth Move tea A LOT, peppermint essential oil, natural laxatives, making sure I exercised, yoga moves for constipation, but let me tell you, it has been mentally exhausting to constantly analyze food and my own life choices to try to get to the point where I will poop everyday. (If you are still reading, I told you TMI!!)

Enter: Plexus Triplex. I began this regimen of three products to improve gut health ONLY because there was a money back guarantee. I thought it couldn't hurt to try- literally it hurts to NOT try because I wasn't pooping everyday! If you asked me in the first few weeks "How's it going?" I would say "Well, the jury is still out. We will see!" I was waiting to see if I could have regular bowel movements everyday AND eat gluten- that was the full test for me. And now, it took the jury two months to decide, and the verdict is in: I am pooping everyday, I can eat gluten, and all the little things that go along with healthy gut are falling into place. I cannot tell you the mental freedom I have found in my new regimen. For example, my sweet mother-in-law made spaghetti one night when Kenny was gone. Pre-Plexus thought process: "Oh man, I can't eat that. But she made it for me, it would be rude to refuse. If I eat it I'll get a terrible stomach ache. And I know I won't poop till next week!" Now: "Oh this looks wonderful! Thank you!" Sit down and eat. No stomach aches. Two bowel movements the next day.  True story.

This is my poop story. My gut story. Plexus worked for me. I don't like that it's a MLM (multi level marketing company) I don't like the hype on social media about this "weight loss" company (it's much more than just a few weight loss products),  but I don't like constipation more. I like the products I'm taking and I like pooping everyday. The end! 

Saturday, April 8

Sabbath Readings (Part 2)

We set apart one day a week for freedom.  We are free from our jobs, chores, homework, or any other work that makes us tired.  We are free to do whatever makes us feel free.  We are free from bad words and thoughts, and the only thing on our to-do list is “nothing.” We are free from phones, TV’s and other technology that seem to rule our lives the rest of the week.  For one day, we stop trying to fix our problems with money, relationships, or anything else in this world.  Is there any other tradition that gives us more hope and helps us become our best self other than the Sabbath?

The seventh day is a way to pause our lives from feeling so hard, even when nothing has really changed.  When the seventh day comes, it is like a little bit a break from any conflicts, fighting, or tension.   Sometimes we are mad or frustrated with each other, the world, or with ourselves, and the Sabbath brings peace to all areas of our lives.  We don’t have to worry about money at all; it’s best if you don’t even talk about money on this day.  Money is the most important thing to everyone else in the world, so on the Sabbath, we don’t let it have any of our attention.  Only God gets our worship on the Sabbath.
The seventh day is telling sadness and worry to go away all day long.  Even if you’ve been in big trouble all week long, you can let it go on the Sabbath.  God has set up the Sabbath for us, and we can’t speed it up, slow it down, or skip it when it comes each week.

For Part 1, click here