The Reality of Life

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The other day we had some cousins come over to play. The day was beautiful and so very warm. We couldn’t bear the thought of being indoors for too long. So out for a hike we went.

And…we forgot our camera’s!

We were too far to go back and so we were faced with this surprisingly aching choice: Do we go back or enjoy the moment?

I realize that sounds silly. Of course the answer should be to enjoy the moment. And we did. We enjoyed the sun and fresh air. We enjoyed the chatter of little voices over new discoveries and earthly treasures. We enjoyed sweet mama talk. That fellowship is so amazingly precious.
We got to see things and hear things we have never seen or heard before. Did you know a flock…I think they are a flock (?) of ducks flying down on the water sound very much like a car of which its muffler is missing? Or, did you know that a Tadpoles mouth is a bit more like a fish’s than a frogs? Discoveries I tell you!

Perfect. Precious. Unforgettable.

Before we knew it our short walk had lasted the morning and we headed back. Promising the very un-ready mob we were wrangling we could return after lunch.

But before I go on, let me ask you; What do you think when you see all these images?

Ah, I knew you were smart! We forgot our camera’s right?!
In all honesty I was surprised at how bothered I was that I did not have a resource to record our morning adventure. Why else would a normally sane mother readily volunteer to skip the two-year-olds nap in the name of a second two-mile trek? Yes, I wanted those pictures, those memories to be preserved. As if the memory in my own mind was not enough.

We did make the journey home and ate a wonderful filling lunch which my talented and generous cousin prepared (Seriously Kelly is an amazing cook.)

And After…

We had to do some real soul-searching about daring to do it again. Because though it was an amazing morning, there was a little bit of reality to deal with.
Like the reality that packing a baby on my the front of my body for two miles does take its toll on me. The reality that a certain little girl who very much needs her nap would have to miss it. The fact that one boy loves the hike and had great plans and the other had quite had his fill. And…. That our guests had their own reality, similar in many ways to ours, yet totally unique to them.

In the end the pull of the warm day and the majority of eager voices sent us on our way. Along with the promise that some of the youngest could ride in the wagon part way. Not to mention the thought that this time we could capture a bit of our adventure.

And off we set again.

We got the pictures, but there was a little less magic in the moment.

We made the journey, but with a little less thrill.

We made it home, exhausted, less patient (me) and ready to call it a day.

Still, through it all I learned something. I learned that I still have some growing to do. I need to grow in patience, yes, even more. I need to keep working on living that life of quality and simplicity that I so often talk about. I learned that the moment does etch itself on the heart and camera or not we will still have so many memories.

I was also reminded that Life – that is, the living it part – is precious and is meant to be lived in the moment given to us. Not in the pictures left behind.

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On homemaking

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Its no secret that I am not a great home maker. Show up at my house any day of the week and you will notice a very lived in look. And for the most part I am okay with that. We live here, we love here, and we are real… all of us. But, that doesn’t mean I am not looking for ways to improve on things.
Laundry is one of those things that I always seem to be at battle with. I think I have mentioned before about my struggle to tame the laundry pile. I usually have laundry everywhere and seem to constantly be behind by four loads for folding and putting things away. The good news is we usually have clean clothes. The bad news… its anyone’s guess where they are. My son is always surprised and I think maybe just a little too grateful when he has clean laundry in his dresser.
Anyway, this week more than a few of my favorite bloggers started talking about this Stress Free Homemaking mini video e-course. So, I had to give it a glimpse, you know, see what all the hub-bub is about, and who doesn’t need a little less stress with around the house?
I watched the first video in the series and what-do-you-know the first video is on doing laundry.
Let me tell you, wow! Now maybe I’m a little slow, but I never thought about doing laundry this way. The shock of it all is it seems to be working. Crazy to think that I might actually vanquish the laundry monster after all.
If you are interested in checking out the course here is the link: Stress Free Homemaking   Some other great news; it’s FREE (for now. It looks like the offer is good until 4/23/15.)

Best wishes and peace in your homemaking endeavors. If you have any other tips that make your life easier around the house I would sure like to hear about them.

Just like that – It’s SPRING!

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Ahhhhh… The Sun! It feels like overnight the final remains of winter have blown away – quite literally. But on those breezes and with the rain of the last few days we are finally feeling as well as seeing Spring. Though the days have still had a chill to them, it is getting warmer. And that Sun! Oh how much more friendly it seems.
I see the pull of our days heading out doors ever more. It seems a challenge for Colt to see how many waking hours he can spend out there. I too am making more of an effort to be out doors. We are all stretching, running (yes, me too) and breathing this fresh new season in. What a blessing.

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Ever since I became pregnant with Clara I have had such terrible headaches. All through my pregnancy I fought them. I took far more pain relievers than I wanted to. I finally discovered that a cup of coffee for this non-coffee drinker helped and I was able to find some relief. But, I wasn’t happy about it. I didn’t want to be a coffee drinker for life. After Clara was born my body chemistry changed and coffee no longer let me escape the headaches, now caffeine actually seemed to make them worse. I talked to my midwife and she said they sounded like tension headaches and to get some rest. I did the best I could, but I had this nagging feeling there was a little more to them and just tension.
You see about 11 years ago I was in a horseback riding accident. I had gotten dumped head first into some pretty hard clay ground. I suffered a pretty severe concussion among other things. I asked some “serious questions” for a few days but all in all my poor battered brain did heal. As you can imagine in addition to the concussion I had injured my neck pretty bad. In fact since then I have dealt with chronic neck pain and headaches because two vertebra in my neck like to twist opposite directions. For years I saw chiropractors monthly to keep the alignment and headaches at bay. But a few years ago after one of our moves I was trying a new Chiropractor, and lets just say, she did not have the touch. After each visit my neck would hurt worse and she had to try repeatedly to even achieve an adjustment. It hurt. I didn’t go back again. After we moved back to MI I was able to resume seeing my old Chiropractor….until she retired. I was happy for her, but heart broken at the same time. I have been fearful of going to another chiropractor ever since. I prayed for healing for my neck and by God’s grace for several years I did not have too many headaches. When I did have one I learned to manage them at home, but it really shot my day, and it always took me out of the line of duty for awhile.
So, now you know the back ground of what I have been through with these headaches. I do believe they stem from the injury to my neck, but could be compounded my tension in my daily life.

The headaches themselves start in my neck as pressure and soon wrap over my temple and around my forehead. They will often increase to the severity of a migraine, making me nauseated and sensitive to light and sound. Since I have stopped seeing a chiropractor my only course of action is to get the inflammation in my neck to calm down. This required hours of ice, heat, medication, peppermint essential oils and lying still in complete darkness. And sometimes no matter what I did I just had to wait it out. It was so frustrating.
Since having Clara the headaches have not been too severe but they have been more frequent than ever before. Sometimes daily and I was growing tired of dealing with them.
While I was still pregnant A friend of mine started sharing about Young Living Essential oils. She was getting a lot of relief for herself and her family with them. From her testimonials I was encouraged to try using essential oils again.  I had used various ones over the years with varied success. And I have used herbs and teas to treat many things over the years. That is why God made these things after all. But, still none were a silver bullet for my headaches.
I hemmed and hawed at the cost of the Young Living Oils. They cost so much more than the ones I was buying from health food stores and on Amazon. We live on a budget and a tight one at that, so justifying the cost was hard. But the more I learned about these oils the more intrigued I was and with my husbands blessing I purchased a kit of them. I started using the Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil for my headaches. Imagine my surprise at how quickly I received relief on the first try. But My headache still would always return and I am a nursing mother and was a little wary of using it often (there has been concern over peppermint affecting milk supply, though I never did have a problem.) Anyway, I was still shocked over the relief I got from it. But still the headaches would roll in. And I still could not say it was the perfect solution. I still sometimes needed medication and rest.
One day I got to thinking about what really causes my headaches and it brought me back to my neck. I started doing a little research and discovered the essential oil blends Valor and  PanAway. Let me tell you when I read that Valor is sometimes referred to as a “chiropractor in a bottle” a serious light bulb turned on. So, that very day as I could feel my headache building I applied Valor along my neck vertebra. I added some PanAway diluted with a carrier oil on my neck and shoulders and for good measure some peppermint on my temples.  OH. MY. GOSH! I was in shock. My headache eased within minutes. This had to be a fluke! But the next day I did the same thing and it worked. Then I decided to try it first thing in the morning and see what happened. Let me tell you, I love applying these oils right after a shower. It just feels good. PanAway is very warming (which is why you must dilute it with a carrier oil.) When I did this I was surprised to get to the end of my day with NO HEADACHE. I’ve been testing this out for over two weeks and I have not had one headache…unless I skipped using the essential oils. Even if I did forget and applied the Valor, Panaway and Peppermint after it got bad it quickly gave me considerable relief.
On most days I use just the Valor and PanAway oil blends. I have also come to love the blends Peace and Calm as well as Stress Away. I like to use them topically most, but there are days when defusing them is really nice too. Oh, the diffuser! That is a whole other story for another day.
Anyway, I am in awe that these little bottles could do so much in the way of helping me gain relief. Of course someday I hope to overcome my fear and find a good chiropractor. But for now, I am so pleased with the results I am having with Young Living Essential Oils. I am also amazed at how quickly these oils have become a part of our daily routine. But like I said another story for another day. I’m just thrilled to have found a more natural way to deal with those blasted headaches! And my family is just as pleased I like to think.

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