Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Thoughts On Giving Up Coffee On The Ultimate Reset

So, a few weeks ago on facebook, I posted this picture. 

It's the Ultimate Reset I ordered, which is a 3 week program.  The goal of it is to get the inside of your body in great shape, to give it a reset. That includes doing things like reclaiming your body, releasing unwanted compounds that hold our bodies back {think toxins, pollutants, chemicals, etc}, and restoring the digestive system.  {Which 80% of your immune system is in your gut, so I want mine restored, please!}  However, the struggle I have with it is eliminating the coffee. Let me explain.

See, part of me thinks "it's only 3 weeks, I can do anything for 3 weeks. To get the full flavor/results/impact/effectiveness of the program, I should cut out coffee."  Ok, so that's one camp. The other camp is over here saying "it's not like you're going to cut out coffee forever, so why bother? It's only 3 weeks. You can get a low acid coffee and use that. You will be fine."  Then, I go back to thinking that's not following the full program though and I want to prove to myself I can do it.  See, the struggle is real!

Then I get into the whole "you've given up so much as it is, why give up coffee?  Coffee is like the one thing left, ha!?"  We have cut out wheat and dairy due to food intolerances and with clean eating, there's not a lot of junk food we eat anymore.  That's totally fine because I don't like it anymore and don't really miss it either, so that's not a big deal, it's just the idea of something being taken away, ya know?  

So, that's where I'm at.  Still haven't decided what I'm doing on the coffee yet, but will let you know. Ugh.  Why does it have to be so hard? Is it possible it's an idol to me?  I've been trying to think through and really pray about what coffee means for me, what it does for me, etc. And, maybe that's it.  Maybe it's an idol.  Not sure....but ya know I will update when I know more!

Thanks for letting me process this.  I'm an external processor, so this is helpful!!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Summer and the Reality of My PTSD

Yes, I have PTSD.  As much as I prefer to say I HAD, the reality is I still have it and sometimes it is apparent.  Other times, it is not.  I do believe God has done a mighty healing in me with the PTSD and I have learned to manage it well with nutrition and exercise, however, I do still get "triggered." This reality hit home this week through some various situations that surfaced.

My kids got out of school for the summer this week.  It's been a rough week,  My husband is just getting over bronchitis and our daughter seems to have caught some of it from him. She doesn't have bronchitis, but she has this nasty cough that's been around for a few weeks.  Our oils, natural remedies and medicines haven't helped much.  So, that's frustrating.  There has also been a lot of sugar involved with it being the end of the school year {don't even get me started on that...that is ANOTHER blog post, friends!}  Monday, it all kind of hit the fan after I picked the kids up at school. Our daughter also has food allergies, and I believe the combo of being tired, sick and having something we shouldn't have food wise led to the rough evening we had.  Behavior was out of control, she was irrational, it wasn't a pretty evening at our home.

The next night, it was our son's turn to throw a 45 minute fit.  That was fun too!  Oh, and I forgot my husband had been gone all weekend, so add that to the mix as well!  Good times here....So, husband being gone all weekend, sick child, lack of sleep, 2 45-60 minute tantrums back to back, all the week of school getting out.......nice, huh?

I posted that Tuesday night on facebook something about dreading summer.  Because at the time I was.  Routines are important to me, as are schedules, I also need margin, time to myself, quiet and some time when people don't need something from me.  See, all of that changes with summer.  I love my kids dearly and of course would do anything for them, but the reality is I have PTSD.  And, it sometimes rears it's ugly head when I am triggered. What are my triggers?  Well, unfortunately, sometimes, my children.  See, conflict is one {they tend to fight more after extended amounts of time together...hello, summer!}, lack of margin is another {hello, summertime!  Granted, there are camps, etc., but it's not the same as the school schedule}, noise is another one {the house is much noisier when they are home vs when they are at school,  usually it's yelling...see trigger #1.} So, as you can tell, summer is more challenging for me.  And, I just realized why this week.

After my post on Tuesday night, another friend posted something about it being a pet peeve that people post dreading summer with their kids.  As friends continued to comment on it, someone said "how unloved those kids must feel."  This brought up a lot of emotions in me.  I was angry, hurt, upset, but most of all I felt misunderstood.  It also made me feel like a bad mom, because most moms do enjoy their kids being home {I do too, don't get me wrong, but I am also more triggered then as well.}  After praying about responding or not, I decided to let it go.  The reality is it's not a black or white situation.  There are lots of factors in everyone's situation, I think. Personality being one {of moms and kids both}, what activities are planned for the summer, what the routine looks like, if the mom feels called to be home or to work, see, there are so many factors to consider including several I didn't write that it's not so clear.  Do my kids know I love them?  You betcha they do.  Am I a bad mom because I struggle in the summer and it's hard for me? I don't think so,  I think it makes me human. Personally, I am thankful God showed me this so I can make progress in these areas.  After all, knowledge is the first step, right?  Now that I'm aware of my triggers, I can hopefully manage or diffuse the situation.  

The other emotion I felt from that post was injustice.  It's not my fault I have PTSD.  It's no one's fault they have PTSD.  In fact, I felt God saying that to my spirit all day on Tuesday, "it's not your fault."   Even if it was my fault, or I thought it was, God came to set me free from shame/guilt/condemnation, whatever it is.  He did the same for you too. 

So, friends, anyone else struggle with summer?  Let's hear some tips of what works well for you and your kiddos in the summer. Would love to get some fresh ideas!  Thanks!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day 2016: Why I'm Glad I'm Not Her Anymore

With Mother's Day being tomorrow, this blog seems appropriate. Mother's Day hasn't been a stellar holiday for me in previous years. Part of that is due to my expectations quite frankly, being unrealistic, and the other part of that has to do with me and where I have been.  Let me explain.  The pictures taken below are from Mothers Day 2012, when we were living in Illinois.  Lauren was 4 at the time {just turned 4 the month prior} and Landon was 1, going on 2 in July. And, I was the captain of the Hot Mess Express then!  While many parts of those early years of my kids lives are a blur, due to my mental state, I do remember this day.  I also remember that the outfit I was wearing was something I bought myself on my weekend away.  Yup, I was having such a hard time adjusting to motherhood, my children, life, etc. that my wonderful husband let me go away {locally} for a weekend to take some time for me.  It was a gift, to be honest! I remember staying in a hotel by myself, eating meals by myself, where I wanted, having coffee, journaling, praying and shopping. However, looking back now, it grieves my heart. It makes me sad that due to where I was emotionally and mentally that I needed to take that break, that I needed that time.  Now, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with taking time for yourself at all.  In fact, I'm a huge proponent of it!  However, in my case, it was because I was about to break. {Looking back, I believe this is right before I was diagnosed with PTSD.}  That Mothers Day, I remember wondering why I was so sad when I had so much...a great husband, beautiful, healthy children, a great church, wonderful friends, a nice home and life was really good {or should have been!}

As I look back on these pics from 4 years ago, I am so thankful to not be that woman anymore!  Granted, I am still that woman, but because I have changed so much, I don't feel like her....does that make sense? Guys, this is so embarrassing to admit, but I was in such a low place that my thoughts were not good.  I was an angry mama filled with much rage, anger and not loving life.  My heart wasn't thankful and it was not a good spot, but it was dark and full of darkness.  To be honest, I didn't like being a mom.  I loved my kids and thought they were great, I just didn't think I should be the one responsible for them.   Those days were dark, filled with anger, rage, self hatred and I spent a lot of time crying and miserable.  {It sounds like I was depressed, doesn't it?  Realizing that as I write now....} See, the smile is there and it looks like all is well, but inside, my heart, my mind, my emotions were not in a good place. Was I still attending church then?  Absolutely!  Going to a small group? Very consistently.  Reading my Bible?  Daily!  Praying?  Daily!  So, what was going on?  How could I as a Christian, who was doing all the right things, have all this inner turmoil going on?  

Well, I have some thoughts :)  One is my wounds were not healed.  I had been to counseling, yes.  For years!  But my wounds still weren't healed. I had to let Jesus come in and clean me up.  That meant I had to admit what was going on and what was wrong. It meant having to deal with things in the past that weren't pretty and that I didn't know how to process, handle, sort out, etc.  It meant having to WORK to get better. It meant having to show up and do things I didn't WANT to or FEEL like doing.  It meant doing what my counselor told me, even if I thought it was dumb.  {This was in Illinois, prior to our move to South Dakota.}  

As we were moving, Lauren had some health things going on - turns out it was sensory processing disorder and food allergies to wheat and dairy.  So, in the midst of me having PTSD and meeting with a holistic doc and getting a boatload of supplements {due to PTSD, but also being pre-diabetic and lacking in vitamins and minerals}, we needed to change our families diet due to the allergies. So, lots of changes going on here, but it was all good!

After we got to South Dakota, we got plugged into a great church and God connected us with an awesome mentor couple.  Again, we had work to do in our healing...we had to meet with them, go through a workbook and DVD series; it wasn't just meeting for lunch and/or coffee to talk about the weather.  It was deep, we talked about past wounds, generational curses, word curses, etc.  It was work and it was a process! But, through that process God began to heal our hurts and give us more freedom!  It was {and still is} awesome!

Sometime after that, I started to change my nutrition.  I had cut out wheat and dairy, yes {turns out I am intolerant too!}  I also started the 21 Day Fix, and learned how to eat clean, how much to eat of what types of foods and how to exercise effectively.  Shakeology was also a part of my routine.  For the first time in a long time {maybe ever!}, my body actually got the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needed!  It was an amazing feeling.....my energy was amazing, my mind was clear, and I was at peace.  My body was nourished and no longer getting all the chemicals, additives and junk that is added to our "food" these days. For the first time in my life, the anxiety was gone, the anger was gone, I was a new person!

So, if you ask why I'm so passionate about clean eating and our bodies getting what they need, this is why.  God showed me the other day I'm passionate about things/experiences that have transformed me ~ the Greek System {I became a Christian through DG}, Purdue {again, where I got saved}, Healing Prayer {where God set me free from SO many things!} and health/wellness.  I sincerely believe that Jesus + the 21 Day Fix have brought me so much freedom!

So, as we head into another Mothers Day, my heart is at peace knowing I'm not the same mama I was in 2012.  I remember her and hurt for her, but am thankful to not be her anymore.  Happy Mothers Day to all the mamas out there!  Enjoy your day and be blessed!

Because of Him,

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May, and Freedom?!

This morning, I woke up and realized it was May 1. May...it's an interesting month, for sure. It's the end of many things ~ school, some students end their high school careers and graduate, the end of cold weather {hopefully!}; it's also the start of many things ~ summer, a new phase for seniors who have graduated, the start of warmer weather. For me, May is the beginning of summer. {Let me be honest, summer is based on when school is out with this current season of life we are in.}

However, this has not always been something I look forward to. In fact, it's something that has brought much dread. When my kiddos were little {before preschool}, it didn't matter too much...most days were the same, there was no real schedule or structure as there was no school, it was home all day with mom and whatever we had planned. Granted, we did some things, it's not like we sat at home all day, but there wasn't much structure to our days. {Which looking back as I type this might have been a small struggle for me! I thrive on order, structure and consistency.} However, once we started preschool, that gave us some structure with our days. Then, when summer came, it was gone. That was hard for me. Here I was, this mama of littles who didn't have a lot of tools in her parenting toolbox, home alone with no structure. Recipe for disaster. But, God sustained us, thankfully!

But, this morning, I realized how excited and ready for summer I am! This is huge progress, friends! It's made me look at why that is and what is different about this year verses years past. Part of it is what I mentioned above ~ the lack of structure, schedule {this summer we have lots of fun things planned that we are all excited for, which helps!}. Another part I think is the age our kids are at. They are at an age where they want to be with you and have fun with you, yet they are also old enough to do fun things like swim lessons, camps, etc. I think this is my "sweet spot" of parenting....where they need you, but not for everything. There is some independence there as well.

Another factor is me. Where I am at ~ spiritually, mentally, emotionally. {This might be the biggest factor, to be honest. My mentor always says "when parents get well, the kids get well." This has been so true in our home. This morning during my quiet time, I was reflecting on what is different. Well, God has healed me! That's a huge part of it. The other part of it is my nutrition has changed. I'm no longer eating chemicals and artificial foods that were doing who knows what to my body, but also my brain! There is a HUGE connection between what we eat and how it affects us ~ physically, of course, but also mentally and emotionally. {If you're unsure, check out the book "Brain Maker," by David Perlmutter, MD.} Proof is in the pudding they say ~ I can tell when I've had something I shouldn't have.....by how I act, how I think and how I feel. It's gotten to a point where my family notices too.

My struggle this morning, though, was how much is just God and His goodness healing me vs what I've done? I believe He has given me a part in this, and what He spoke to my heart this morning is that it's a partnership. He did His part, while I did mine. Just like the crippled man in John 5:7-9 ~ "The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me." 8 Jesus said to him, "Get up, pick up your pallet and walk." 9 Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk."

What happened there?  The crippled man needed some help.  Jesus told him to "get up, pick up your pallet and walk!"  Jesus told him to DO something!  There was action required on this mans' behalf....he had to DO something.  The result?  He was healed! That's what God revealed to me this morning....I was like the crippled man, needing to take action.  Jesus was there, ready, willing and able to do His part, BUT I needed to do mine as well.  It makes me wonder how many people miss out on things because they aren't taking action?  God is a God of action...the first two letters in GOspel are GO, as are the first two letters in GOd!  I think that means something, don't you?

The moral of my story is this ~ God has healed me, and that required me to take action and do something on my part.  Because of this, He has given me freedom!  I'm no longer in the place I was two or even three years ago....the chains no longer hold me back, no more bondage, no more depression, no more darkness.  This has changed my life! {And my family's, for that matter.}  The moral of the story for YOU is this ~ what is something God wants to free you from? Pray about it, ask Him and be willing to DO what He tells you to.  It's a partnership and for it to work, we have to do our part. Someone once said "doing what God called you to is obedience, but NOT doing what He called you to is disobedience." Truth right there.

Is there anything I can do for you?  If so, let me know.  Happy to pray for you, listen, talk.....He wants you to be free, and I do too!