Thought I'd Appreciate This in 10 years…

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Meet Joey, age 9:

Tell me a little about yourself: I’m 9 years old and I like playing Lottie and Finn with Katie.  I’ve got a lot of Legos that I like to play with and I love learning Spanish.  I love Roman Numerals and I want to be a policeman when I grow up or maybe a zookeeper.

What’s it like being 9?  It’s fun especially when you’re the oldest because then you get to be in charge and help look after your siblings.  You also get a bigger serving of elderberry syrup and now I have a hamster because I’m 9.

What’s your favorite book?  Well one of my favorite book series is Beast Quest.  My favorite book that Daddy read to me was The Green Ember.  Also, I loved Dangerous Journey so much.

What do you like about yourself? I like that I’m eager to build and I also like playing with my siblings.

Anything else you’d like to tell us?   My favorite color is red and I like everything to eat.  And I write a series of books called Animal Fight.  I’m working on Book #17 right now, Armando the Lively Anteater.

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Meet William, age 7:

Tell me a little about yourself:  My favorite thing to do is eat and do karate.  I like to eat peanut butter and almond butter sandwiches.  Also, another favorite thing to do is snuggle Mommy.

What’s it like being 7?  It feels so great.  You just have a lot of energy and you can’t wait to get it out.

What’s your favorite book?  I have a lot, but one of my favorites is Swiss Family Robinson because they get stranded on an island and they have to survive.

What do you like about yourself?  My hair.  It’s getting dredlocks.

Anything else you’d like to tell us?  My birthday is coming up.  I’m excited to be 8 because that means I’m one year closer to marrying someone.  I might marry my friend Ada because she’s very nice and she likes to dance and she’s 8.

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Meet Andrew, age 5:

Tell me a little about yourself: My birthday is June 22 and I’ll be six years old, as old as my friend, Cameron.  I used to want to be a mud puddle but now I want to be a monster.  Hopefully a monster with horns and sharp teeth and claws as sharp as knives.  I’ll be a good monster, though, and scoop up bad monsters with my horns and fling them.

What’s it like being 5?   Oh it’s really nice.  I like playing with Joseph and William and Katie.  I like it because I can spend my day outside.

What’s your favorite book?  Uncle Wiggily.  My favorite story in there is Uncle Wiggily and the Freckled Girl.

What do you like about yourself?  I like that I’m not always mean anymore.

Anything else you’d like to tell us?  I like monster books and I like playing with yarn.

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Meet Katie, age 3:

Tell me a little about yourself:  I am nice to Joseph.  I like to do my ABCs and I like to swing.  I really like to pretend I’m driving the car and I like to pretend I’m the mommy.

What’s it like being 3?  I sleep with mommy and daddy and I like to always be with my mommy.  I’m a good eater…I get ice cream when I give Daddy a kiss.

What’s your favorite book?  Anne of Green Gables.

What do you like about yourself?  The way I run.

Anything else you’d like to tell us? I like going to the aquarium and I like to snuggle and play Uno with Granny.  My best friends are William, Joey and Rooey.  Eleora, Maddie and Baby ‘Retta are my best girl friends.  I like everything that is pink and I love to “read” to my mommy.  I start a lot of my stories with “Last year…” or “Yesterday…” (although I have no concept of time yet).

 

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Miss Daisy’s Naturals: Being Intentional About Skincare Products

There’s something unintentional about the way we slather products onto our bodies.  We open a product, slap it on and, for most of us, never consider the fact that the skin is the biggest organ in the body, soaking up every chemical, every preservative, every molecule of whatever concoction caught our eye at the store.

Some of us have become a little more savvy.  We avoid parabens and synthetics when we can.  We buy things in recycled bottles that are BPA free.  We read the labels and see lovely things like coconut oil and essential oils and we just skim over the words we can’t read.  We settle for a $10 bottle of organic lotion (and hope it actually works) because surely buying it is easier than making it ourselves.

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Body products shouldn’t be so complicated.

Luckily, there are people in the world, like Lori Concert with Miss Daisy’s Naturals, that can help de-mystify the skin care product aisle.  She has taken beauty products to a level of simplicity that makes my skin sing glorious thoughts.  Her wrinkle-free skin and beautiful tone are a testament to the fact that her products work.  And the best part?  She’s not hoarding the secrets of beauty products.  While she makes products to sell at her Etsy shop, she loves teaching other women how to make beauty products in the comfort of their own kitchen.

Lori’s journey has evolved over time.  It started with her food revolution.  She realized she was filling her body with all kinds of food that fueled it and she reaped amazing results (both in the physical and mental realms) but she wasn’t paying as much attention to what she was putting ON her body.  Then it dawned on her how much was being absorbed through her skin and she began reading labels and researching products.  Slowly she began experimenting with making her own products and it had a quick spiraling effect…once she made one thing, she was eager to try her hand at making something else.

Her beauty product production began with lip balm.  Then she moved onto making her own shampoo, body butters, lotions, bath salts, bath bombs and now she’s moved on to make-up. After years of making her own products, she decided to start her own beauty line to combine her love of crafts with her belief that natural products are a pillar on the road to health.  In 2015, she started her Etsy shop, Miss Daisy’s Naturals, based on the idea that people are interested in natural beauty products but are often intimidated to attempt making them on her own.

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This is her intentional movement to get natural products into the hands of women who value health and what goes on their bodies.

I had the lovely opportunity to indulge in one of her lavender whipped body butters.  Ooh la la!  My skin looks and feels beautiful and there is no greasy residue.  I have extremely sensitive skin (with the tendency to get eczema patches where products disagree with my skin) and after using her products for the last few months, I can testify that it works beautifully on sensitive skin!  Pop over to Miss Daisy’s Naturals to see what Lori has in stock (and feel free to message her with a custom order question if you don’t see what you’re looking for).

Lori and I encourage all of you to experience the power of natural body care products, whether it’s a product you discover in her Etsy shop or a product you decide to make yourself.  We promise that once you try them (or make your own), you’ll never go back to store bought products.

Won’t you join our intentional revolution and treat your skin with the care it deserves?

 

 

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed. 

So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words. 

Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

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Being intentional is one stitch at a time.  One moment.  One thought.  One conversation.  It’s not about winning the race.  It’s about enjoying the scenery.  Savoring the moment.  Living in the present.

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Windy Day Imagination

Today was windy.  Incredibly, incredibly windy.  I’m talking about the kind of wind that Brave Irene faced.  We went out for the morning, together as a family, and I cursed the wind.  I walked with my head bowed, barreling toward my destination, never stopping to look up.  My earrings flapped in the wind, the noise echoed in my ears.  Katie’s little hand was tucked inside mine and I practically dragged her along in my effort to get out of the wind.  I couldn’t imagine anyone choosing to stay outdoors on such a windy day.

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We arrived home and after a quick dash from the car to the door, I stopped briefly by the kitchen window.  Katie was glued to my side but I realized the house was remarkably quiet.  The boys had all chosen to remain outside, despite the wind.  They howled with laughter as they chased each other around the yard.  Before too long, Joey and William were parked on the swings, straining their muscles against the force of the wind, heads tilted back, faces turned upward catching glimpses of the sun through the branches of the tree.

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And Andrew?  Well, Andrew discovered the result of a windy day.  Branches and twigs galore.  I watched as he sorted through the branches, wielding one after another, testing the feel of each one in his hand.  I watched as he swung each branch, cutting through the air, imagining himself as a knight, battling a dragon.  His face carried his expressions as he drew within, fired solely in his internal world by his roaring imagination.

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I stood and watched.  Just watched.  For moments of that windy day, I, too, was captured by Andrew’s windy day imagination.  My world stood still as I saw the windy day through his eyes.  His intentional moment was captured in his expressions, in the way the branch swung through the air, in his moment of glory when the dragon had been slayed.

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I thought about all the windy days in my life.  The days when I walk, head bowed, barreling on, too caught up in a minor annoyance to stop and see the opportunity of the day.  I want to be like Andrew.  I want to face the windy days with the attitude of promise, the joy of intention.

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Intentional Eating: How Choosing My Food has Led to Healing

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I’ve suffered from health issues for a number of years now.  It started after my first son was born, and got progressively worse until my second son was born.  For a while it seemed to get better, and then suddenly when my son was a couple years old it hit me worse than before.  I saw doctor after doctor but they had very few answers even after running every test they could.  I was finally given several different diagnoses and a handful of medications that might help.

By this point I felt discouraged, rundown, and exhausted and I still had more questions than I had answers.

Just ten years before I had been in my mid-twenties and I was healthy, active and saw the doctor once a year for a checkup.  This spiral downward had me questioning everything, especially the doctors who couldn’t figure out why my body wasn’t working the way it’s supposed to.  Instead of looking at me as a whole person, I was a part to one and a different part to another, and though individually they could address some of my symptoms with medications, they couldn’t get to what was causing all of this in the first place.  The medications came with an impressive list of side effects and I was advised that I would have to decide if the side effects were worth it to treat the symptoms.  For me, they were not.  They caused more problems than the solved, but no one had real answers and I hit a dead-end unless I wanted to go through all of the tests again.

So I suffered for a while because I was too tired to do anything else.

During this time I was introduced to the Paleo lifestyle by my husband’s friend and for the first time I found something within my control that had the potential to help.  It didn’t solve all of my problems or stop all of my symptoms, but as I started making changes to my diet, a little bit at a time, I started to see small changes that at the time made a big difference in how I felt.

I spent five years studying everything I could find on how diet affects health and body wellness and I knew that whether or not it addressed the core illnesses in my body, it would be a change for the positive for me, and it was.

After finally being diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases last year, my doctor offered to do surgery to help address some of the more debilitating symptoms.  He told me it still wouldn’t address all of my issues, and because I am still young, I could choose to wait without risk of further complications if that’s what I wanted to do.  I chose to postpone surgery for now because  it will be a major surgery and it comes with its own risks and potential complications that I’m not ready to take on yet.  I opted instead to spend six weeks following an intensive autoimmune protocol diet in an attempt to see if I could control at least some of my symptoms through diet. At the end of my six weeks I felt the most amazing I had felt in years.

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But little by little I started to slip back into my old ways of eating and preparing meals, which though healthy, included foods that were causing chronic inflammation and many of my symptoms came back in full force.  Let’s face it: a diet that requires a substantial amount of planning, cooking, and balancing isn’t easy and the time it took to follow this diet for myself while still preparing other foods for my family made it hard to maintain.  At times my work schedule and our homeschooling schedule would interfere and I would have to choose which one we would do that day.  I thought many times since about going back on the AIP diet.  I know it can help.  I know it can heal.  I know it isn’t for everyone, but it worked well for the diseases I have.  But it’s tough; I’m not going to lie.

So this year, my intention is to change one thing in my diet at a time.  My intention is to be purposeful in what I eat, but to do it gradually so it becomes sustainable over time for me.  I have shifted my focus from treating my symptoms to healing my body through diet and nutrition, and as the healing happens, it seems the symptoms lessen.

There are times I miss mindlessly grabbing something to eat at the grocery store without having to give it thought and consideration, but I remind myself that this is what intentionality is all about.  It’s about making the decision to give thought and consider to what you do or the choices you make in order to have a lasting effect into the future.  It makes it a little easier to know that not only do I benefit from healthier food and lifestyle choices, but I set the example for my son going forward.  THAT makes it all the more worth the effort.

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Boosting my Body: Intentional Reading

This is the second post in my Intentional Reading series as I tackle pinning down my intentions for the coming year as far as the information I put into my brain.  You might remember that I’ve broken my intentional reading list up into three areas: Mind, Body, and Spirit.  This list focuses solely on books meant to boost my body.

So what requirements do I look for in choosing books to “boost my body” and for that matter, what in the world do I mean by “boost my body?”  By “boost my body”, I simply mean finding ways and working hard to keep my body in good condition.  I’m not getting any younger (trust me, I’ve noticed those wrinkles, too) and when I pay attention to how I’m treating my body, my world just seems better.  My body is meant to be a well-tuned machine so the food I put into it, the output I require of it (exercise), and the nourishment I give to it (herbs, rest, relaxation) all help keep it well-tuned.

So in making my list, I was thinking about those three main areas: food, exercise, and nourishment.  Since food and nourishment help boost my body to help keep it well-tuned, I have also included a few survival books that I like slowly digesting (just in case…’cause disaster can happen anytime and I’d feel rather pathetic if I was like the grasshopper playing all summer plus apparently I am at greater odds for needing survival skills based on my city’s track record with water).  You’ll see some hobby books here, too.  They’re not here by accident.  I feel it’s essential to my overall well-being to have some books that remind me to relax.  Trust me, this old body works much more efficiently when it’s well-balanced.

A final thought…this list was a bit harder to make, mostly because many of these aren’t books I plan to read cover to cover and so it almost feels like cheating to say that I intend to “read” them.  However, after thinking it over, I decided to include them all here as the information in them will be savored and mulled over and will, therefore, be food for thought.  I’ve marked, with an *, the books I don’t plan to read cover to cover, but instead plan to read bits and pieces in no specific order.

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Books for my Body:

  • Books about Food:
    • *Well Fed Weeknights:  You cannot go wrong with Melissa Joulwan’s recipes!  While she’s totally Paleo (and heavily Whole30), you won’t even notice it…her recipes just rock.  Even my kids all eat her stuff without complaints.
    • *The Wellness Mama Cookbook:  I like The Wellness Mama and I like cookbooks.  I figure it’s a win-win.
    • *Eat Like a Dinosaur:  I’ve heard lots of good things about this one.  And I’m tired of trying to explain for the millionth time why they can’t have crackers for a snack.
    • *The Paleo Kids Cookbook:  If she’s taken into account picky eaters, then this might just become my new go-to
    • Eat Dirt:  Because everybody has gut issues these days, I figured I’d educate myself a bit
    • The Paleo Solution:  Is it possible to eat Paleo and not read this?  I’ve managed to for too long…time to dig into the science a bit more
  • Books about Exercise:
  • Books for Nourishment:
  • Survival Skills:
    • Survival Mom:  I love this book!  I am working through it slowly, chapter by chapter.  It’s so practical…it was written by a mom for moms after she realized that most of the survival books out there are geared toward men and usually single men.  I love her research, her candor and her realism.
    • The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide:  I don’t tend to panic in my mind about food.  I don’t necessarily go crazy over imagining life without electricity (although that would be a nuisance!).  But the thought of having no water?  Yeah, that one drives me to my knees.  I figure without a healthy water supply, all of my other survival tactics are in vain, so this is one thing I want to conquer this year.
    • Little House in the Suburbs:  This one has been sitting on my shelf for some time.  I plan to dust it off and go through it little by little.  Will I raise chickens and bees as suggested?  Probably not if Daxson has anything to say about it but still it’s full of lots of good information.
    • Prepper’s Natural Medicine:  This falls into that “gosh, I hope I never need this” kind of knowledge, but I figure I’d rather have exposure to the ideas than face disaster with a blank stare
    • *Idiot’s Guides:  Foraging:  Mark “Merriwether” Vorderbruggen has written an awesome book about foraging.  The pictures are crisp and clear and he’s photographed everything (flower, leaf, root!) you need to help you correctly identify edible plants plus he’s told you how to harvest them, when to find them, how to cook them, and their plant mimics.  This book combined with a few of his half day seminars and I’m in my backyard exclaiming, “Don’t pick that!  It’s more than just a weed!”
    • *Botany in a Day:  Because plant identification overwhelms me unless someone else has confirmed my identification
  • Herbal Study Books:  These books get their very own category because my list is so long.  I’m currently enrolled as a student at Sage Mountain and so as I learn about an herb, I use my books to research it further.  It’s slow going but already I’ve learned so many amazing things about the plants I’ve studied.
  • Books for Rest and Relaxation:

There it is.  My intentional reading list to boost my body.  It looks so intimidating but remember a lot of those books are being read in small chunks or referred to as necessary.  Others will be a slow work of progress (probably over years) as I soak in the information.  I’d love to see what’s on your intentional reading shelf…please come back and, in the comments, share some titles or a link to your list!

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{this moment}

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{this moment} – A Friday ritual.   A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, visit Soulemama to leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed. 

So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words. 

Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

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Nature is all around us just waiting for the chance to be noticed.  Maybe you don’t have time like Katie to grab your nature journal and head outdoors to write and draw what you see.  But it doesn’t mean you have to rush by it from the car to the door either.  Walk a little slower.  Breathe a little deeper.  Look around you.  Make this moment intentional.

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Mindlessness

I found this old post over on Standing Over Running Water and thought it was so relevant to the idea of being intentional that I thought it was worth sharing. 

It’s happening again.  Although this time I didn’t misplace something, unless you can misplace your thoughts.  I’d like to think these are random events; the effects of being a busy mommy, rushing through the day, but I’m afraid it’s a little more than that.  It’s mindlessness again.

When will I learn to be conscious of each sweet moment?

You think I’m exaggerating?  Fine, I’ll confess my mindlessness.  First instance that comes to mind was my shower the other day.  I was almost finished washing up when I thought to myself, ‘gee, I don’t remember my soap smelling this way.’  I sniffed it again.  It sure smelled familiar.  Right.  That would be because it was my shampoo.  Yep, I washed my body with my shampoo.  Well, maybe it was just a moment.

Fast forward a few hours.  I was in the kitchen searching for the one cup measuring cup.  It was getting a little frustrating.  I knew Joseph and I had just used it very recently and I’m pretty sure I washed it.  Where could it be?  Maybe I put it away?  Nope, there’s an empty box in its place in the cupboard.  Strange.  Oh my.  I threw the cup away and put the trash in the cupboard.  Is that normal?

Tonight I was making pasta, multi-tasking as women are so wont to do.  I was stirring spaghetti sauce, talking on the phone, playing Bert to Joseph’s Mary Poppins, trying to console a fussy toddler.  Did I put salt in the pasta?  I’m pretty sure I did.  I’m racking my brain, frantically trying to replay my actions.  I just can’t remember.

It’s not forgetfulness.  I promise.  I have an excellent memory (believe me, it’s excellent…I can recite every single line of Mary Poppins…after all, sometimes I’m called upon to play Bert, sometimes I’m Mary, sometimes I’m Jane or Michael…I have to know my lines or it really slows down my little mimic).

So what is this syndrome I have?  It’s mindlessness.  Pure and simple.  Somehow I manage to get things done, but half the time I can’t remember what all I’ve done.  Again, just like before, I’m looking at my children but not really seeing them.  I’m hearing my husband but not really listening.  How can I possibly pass so mindlessly through my days?

We’re only given so much time here on Earth.  Only so much time to soak in all the details.  Only so much time to notice each passing moment.  Our children grow so fast.  Our lives move so quickly.

I hope you’ll take a moment today to really stop and savor the moment.  And don’t choose an extraordinary moment.  Choose one of the ordinary moments…the moment when your toddler puts his hands up and says, “Mommy Time”; the moment when your preschooler says, “Watch this Mommy”; the moment when your husband kisses you as he walks in the door…because that’s what makes our lives so incredibly rich and these moments won’t last forever.

Journaling: Keeping the Details of Our Lives from Being Lost

In her book Leaving a Trace, Alexandra Johnson tells a story about how she was given a journal that was written by a woman who once lived in the house she now owned.  She imagines the woman walking up the same steps she walked up every day and marveled at how the writer probably thought the details of her life were unimportant.  Yet Alexandra was quickly captivated by the woman’s story, which took place in 1895, mesmerized by the smallest details, drawn in by the story.  Later the journal writer records how, in an effort to gain a little extra pocket money, she and her sister had gone to a local cemetery, which was about to be relocated, to record names and dates on tombstones.  After that her journal entries changed almost as if the time spent in the cemetery had made her realize that without a journal, no one would remember all the details of her life.

And so it goes with us.  The details of our lives are ours uniquely.  Without some type of written record our details will be lost to memory at some point. 

Sometimes I wonder. One day, when I’m old and gray, will I remember all the little details of raising my children?  Will I remember how Katie cups my face in her hands and tells me she loves me?  Will I remember Andrew’s face when he discovers the tooth fairy left him some money?  Will I remember the way William stood at the kitchen window while I washed carrots asking question after question?  Will I remember how one day my sweet Joseph declared that he no longer wanted to be called Joseph, but preferred to be called Joey instead?  Will I remember picking them up, carrying them, rocking them, singing to them?  Will I remember losing sleep as I prayed for them or praising God for all their little smiles?  Will I remember the way their downy hair smelled and their little button noses felt as they snuggled right up next to me to fall asleep?

Head over to Corpus Christi Moms Blog to finish reading about how I journal to keep all the little details in our lives fresh.