The Joys of Motherhood

I know Mother’s Day was yesterday, but I still wanted to write a short post in honour of it,  even if it’s a day late.  Being a mom is one of the greatest joys of my life.  My kids are my world and they have been such a blessing to me.  It is one of the hardest yet most rewarding jobs in the world.  I remember when my kids were little, the days felt so long.  Getting so little sleep and trying to be there for energetic little ones all day was so tough.  Especially seeing my hubby was on the road 5 days a week (sometimes away for two weeks). I remember people telling me then that I would look back at this time and miss it.  While that is true, it wasn’t necessarily helpful to hear at that moment. But, now that my girls are a bit older and both in school full-time, I realize that they were right.  I don’t miss the lack of sleep, but I often miss those baby/toddler snuggles.  Each season of parenting has good and bad though.  Each season is special and brings on different kinds of challenges.  The key is to find joy in the midst of it all and live in the moment.  It is true what they say…”The days are long, but the years are short”.

There are so many days where I feel like I’m failing as a mom, but, I know my girls love me and they know I love them.  Thankfully we get a fresh start each day to do things better when we mess up.  Being a mom that deals with anxiety, things tend to stress me out more than they should.  I feel I snap at my kids way too easily some days.  I do know that if I don’t take time to take care of myself, I can’t be the mom they need.  So, I have to make a point of doing something I enjoy every week, to refresh and re-energize myself.  I often feel guilty taking time for me.  I give and give to everyone around me, but feel that if I give to myself I’m being selfish.  I know that isn’t really true, but I have to keep reminding myself that it’s ok to take breaks and relax.  My kids then get a happier mom and my husband gets a more relaxed wife.  So, it’s a win-win for everyone.

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My greatest hope in this journey of motherhood is that I will always have a strong relationship with my girls.  I want them to know that they can talk to me about anything.  Every night when I tuck my girls into bed I ask them about their day and if they have anything good or bad they’d like to share.  There have been days when we’ve rushed through bedtime routines and I have forgotten.  But, then they say “Mom, you didn’t ask me about my day.”  I’m thankful that they like to open up and share things with me.  I hope that will continue in the teen years as well.  I was never really able to talk to my parents.  I love them and all and I know they did their best, but opening up and sharing was not something we did well in our household when I was growing up.  I sometimes felt very isolated and didn’t have a trusted person I could share big issues with.  That’s why I want my girls to know that they can talk to me about anything.

If you are a mom, what are some things you hope to teach your children?  What are some struggles you face?  Whatever they are, just know that you are doing a great job!  It’s not an easy task, this mothering thing.  Take it one day at a time and give yourself some grace when you make mistakes.

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Keeping My Joy

I’ve decided to change things a little.  I started this blog as a health blog a couple of years ago and I’m still going to keep most of my old posts up.  But, I felt I should change the format so I have more to write about.  I’ve been on a healing journey lately and I thought writing my thoughts and feelings and making myself more vulnerable and open would be a healthy part of it.  So, going forward my blog will be about that, plus different things that inspire me, product reviews and more.

I’ve been dealing with anxiety a lot lately.  It’s not fun.  It’s messy.  It comes up at the worst moments at times.  It used to be that I would just feel tense and anxious and then it would pass.  Now I’m getting panic attacks every so often and that is a whole new level of intensity.  It all started with the trauma I experienced as a child. I kept it quiet for years because I thought that was easier than dealing with it.  I was wrong.  Carrying that weight around me for so long was very unhealthy.  Now that I’ve started opening up about it and dealing with it, my anxiety has become intense.  I know it’ll be a journey until I feel completely free and at peace.  Seeing I held it in so long I can’t expect to be healed overnight.

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Thankfully my faith in God brings me peace when I need it.  Reading the truth in His word, spending time in prayer and just being still are things that get me through.  Spending time with quality people instead of isolating myself is also important.  We were not meant to walk through this life alone.  Community is so necessary.  While I am introverted and need my alone time to recharge, I also love people and need to connect with others.  If I spend too much time alone, my anxiety gets a lot worse.

I also find listening to worship music so helpful.  Here is a really good song from our church that is so beautiful.  I recommend purchasing it so you can download it and listen anytime.  The words are powerful and the money goes to several good charities, including My City Care (helping our local communities) and Not 4 Sale, a campaign that fights against sex trafficking.

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What are some ways that you deal with anxiety?  It’s so important to help others by offering tips on what gets you through.  Whether it’s exercising, spending time with loved ones, watching a funny movie or anything else. It is always great to hear new ideas. I’d love to hear from you!

 

On the Move

I have been rather quiet on the blog this year.  Just before Christmas, we made the decision to move to Alberta, Canada (from Manitoba) and life has been busy ever since.  My husband has been there since the beginning of January, at his new job and I stayed behind with our kids to get the house ready to sell and get everything settled over here.  I’ve had very little free time to sit down and blog, so I figured I should make a short post today.

My hubby and I have felt God calling us to Alberta for a long time already, but the timing just never seemed right.  Our best friends moved there 10 years ago and we always felt God was calling us to help them in ministry at some point.  Now all the doors have opened for us…My husband got a great job, our house sold in less than a week and we got an amazing house to rent from new friends.  Change is always a little scary, but we have been living in fear too long, afraid to take a step of faith and move in a new direction.  We know that this is what our family is called to do and I’m excited about the new adventure.  It’ll be an adjustment and we’ll miss people here, but we have a lot of amazing friends over there and I know it’ll be a good change for us. Not to mention the better weather and beautiful scenery that will be all around us.  From flat prairies to beautiful mountains!

Once we’re settled, I will be able to get back to blogging again.  We move in less than two weeks, so I better get packing!  🙂

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Are You a People Pleaser?

I have a confession to make…I am a recovering people pleaser.  I say recovering because, while I have come a long way in the last year, I still have a ways to go.  I know a big part of my anxiety comes from wanting to please people and wanting everyone to be happy.  I have learned the hard way that I am not responsible for how other people feel.  While I do care about people and wouldn’t want to do anything to intentionally hurt someone, if someone is upset with me for saying no and having boundaries, that is on them and not on me.  It has been hard for me to learn to say no without feeling guilty, but I have to take care of myself and know my limits.

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How do you know if you’re a people pleaser?  Here are a few signs:

  • You pretend to agree with everyone.  You don’t voice your opinions, but agree with others just to avoid confrontation/conflict.
  • You feel responsible for other people’s feelings.
  • You apologize often, for things you are not responsible for.
  • You can’t say no.  You say yes to everything and feel burnt out from all you have to do.
  • You can’t handle it when others are angry at you.
  • You need praise to feel good about yourself.
  • You don’t admit when your feelings are hurt.
  • You act like the people around you, instead of being yourself.

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If you want to learn how to be more healthy and stay true to yourself, there are things you can do.  Here are a few tips:

  • Realize you have a choice.  You can choose to say yes or no to things.
  • Set your priorities and have clear boundaries.
  • Be ok with saying no and don’t make excuses when you do.
  • Don’t apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
  • Realize that it is impossible to please everyone.
  • Be proud of yourself for taking steps and standing up for yourself.

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Tips for Staying Healthy Over the Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time to spend with family and friends. Dinner parties, family get-togethers, office parties and school concerts can be so fun, but also stressful for many different reasons. With all the shopping, preparations and running around from one event to another, it can be hard to stay sane…let alone healthy.

If you’ve been staying healthy for the most part recently, but find you lose control over the holiday season, here are some tips to stay healthy both physically and emotionally:

  1. Don’t skip meals. Try to eat small meals more often, like every 3-4 hours. It will keep your blood sugar stable and keep you from being starving when you go to a party. That will in turn help you make better choices.
  2. Bring a healthy dish to a party. That way you’ll know you will have at least one healthier option.
  3. Drink lots of water, especially if you’re drinking alcohol. Staying well hydrated will keep you from feeling fatigued and getting headaches.
  4. Stay active. Find ways to incorporate exercise into your busy activities, even if it’s just a ten minute walk a day.
  5. Go on a quality multivitamin and probiotic. It’s important to boost your immunity any time of year, but especially when you are really busy and may not always eat healthy.
  6. Take time to rest and de-stress. Try to do something you enjoy each day, to unwind and relax.
  7. Be grateful. Being thankful for all the blessings in your life instead of dwelling on the bad can have such a positive impact on your health. Try writing a gratitude journal for a month and see how it changes your outlook on life.

Whatever you end up doing this season, I wish you joy, happiness and good memories. Wishing all my American friends a Happy Thanksgiving! Be a blessing to someone you see.

8 Benefits of Detoxing

93606Detox diets are all over the place and for good reason.  There are so many benefits of doing regular detoxes.  With the number of toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis, it is so important to help our bodies by cleansing out the toxic overload.  Even if we are eating fairly clean diets, we are still exposed to toxins in the environment and several products we use around the house, from cleaning products to hygiene products to make-up.  And with our fast-paced lifestyles, we often do make poor food choices.  Even if we’re only occasionally eating at fast-food restaurants or eating processed foods, it can weigh on our bodies ability to function the way it should.

Our bodies do have natural ways to detox, through the liver, urine, sweat and feces.  Detoxes help vital organs rest and recover and support and increase their functions.  So, while our bodies are designed to cleanse us from toxins, doing a detox diet helps them to reset and work the way they’re supposed to.

With all the detox plans out there, which ones are best?  It can be overwhelming knowing which one to do.  A detox doesn’t have to be complex or confusing.  A simple, foods-based detox is all you need, as well as eliminating processed and inflammatory foods, refined sugars, alcohol and caffeine.  Here are some incredible health benefits of doing a detox:

  1. Eliminates toxins from food, beverages and hygiene products.
  2. Increases your energy, as you’ll have more stable blood sugar.
  3. Supports bodies detox pathways.
  4. Helps control cravings – your body will start craving healthier foods.
  5. Gives your body the nutrients it needs, as you’re eating healthier, clean foods.
  6. Helps with weight loss – if you’re having trouble shedding pounds, ridding toxins from your body can speed things up.
  7. Gives sharper mental focus – your mind will think more clearly once you give your body what it really needs.
  8. Gives clearer skin – you will start seeing benefits on the outside as well as in!

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It’s amazing what can start happening in the body when you start to cleanse from toxic overload and provide your body with what it really needs!  While I take supplements that help cleanse the body (a probiotic, cleanse and health drink), I still do a cleanse every few months, when I haven’t been eating as well as I should have.  If you would like access to my 3-day sugar detox that I do, please comment below or fill out the contact form and I will send to you.  It has done wonders for me and is a very easy one to follow.

Top 10 Antioxidant Foods

834b9bd2-cdc5-4587-9c2c-52ac773e48f9Antioxidants are important substances in our bodies.  They inhibit oxidation or reactions promoted by oxygen and free radicals.  Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals that in turn can damage healthy cells.  What exactly are free radicals?  They are molecules that contain unpaired electrons, making them highly reactive.  Antioxidants can help neutralize these free radicals and help boost immunity, detox the body, promote healthy skin, prevent premature aging & cell damage, provide protection against cognitive problems & vision loss and help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

We all have antioxidants and free radicals in our bodies.  Our bodies produce free radicals as byproducts of chemical reactions and they have important functions.  For example, the liver produces them and uses them to detoxify the body.  White blood cells send free radicals to destroy bacteria, viruses, and damaged cells.  When antioxidant levels in the body are lower than free radicals, damage can occur in cells.  This can happen as a result of poor nutrition, exposure to toxins and high-stress levels.

The good news is that there are plenty of good and tasty foods available that have antioxidant content.  Here are the top 10:

  1. Goji berries
  2. Dark chocolate
  3. Pecans
  4. Blueberries
  5. Artichokes
  6. Elderberries
  7. Kidney beans
  8. Cranberries
  9. Blackberries
  10. Cilantro

There are also a number of herbs and spices that are also high in antioxidants:

  1. Cloves
  2. Cinnamon
  3. Oregano
  4. Turmeric
  5. Cocoa
  6. Cumin
  7. Parsley
  8. Basil
  9. Ginger
  10. Thyme

Add plenty of the above foods and spices to your daily menu and you will greatly increase the antioxidants in your body and reduce the amount of cell damage due to oxidation.  And the best news is…they are all very tasty!

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