No eating laundry pods here... Instead, I took the plunge into a greener and healthier laundry room with Seventh Generation Free and Clear. I joined Generation Good and was selected to try out their laundry detergent for free after sharing about my daughter’s skin woes.
When Avaline (my three year old) was born, she developed a chemical burn from the “natural” Huggies baby wipes we had purchased. We’re talking about red, blistering, burn on my newborn babies bum. You bet I was angry! When you purchase a product that’s supposed to be natural and for babies- that kind of reaction is the last thing you’d expect! After multiple doctors trips, we ended up switching exclusively to cloth diapers and cloth wipes which solved our problem.
Flash forward three years, and I’ve become much more conscience of the chemicals that enter our house. I’ve chosen natural, plant-based, soaps and lotions and made sure our laundry detergent was free of scent and dyes. I also bounced the harmful bounce sheets in exchange for these wool dryer balls* that are safer AND reduce the drying time by 25% which saves on electricity.
When Seventh Generations asked me to sample their Free and Clear Laundry packs, I was up for the challenge. It’s made for sensitive skin, has no dye, fragrances or artificial brighteners, and it’s stain fighting! I’ve never actually used a laundry pods, so this was new to me. When I pulled out the little pod, I was surprised that it was wrapped in plastic so I watched it in the water to make sure it dissolved… and it did!
I loaded in my laundry… and let me be clear… I load laundry in. There are no small loads in my dictionary! And I topped it off with this shirt:
No pre-treating here, I keep meaning to make my own stain remover, and I haven’t gotten to it yet… so I wash everything, stains and all!
And I was pleased with the results! There's still a slight stain on the arm... but with out pre-treating or harsh chemicals, this is a win!
I'm thrilled with the quality of the Free and Clear Detergent, it certainly gave my Arm & Hammer detergent a run for it's money! I will definitely be checking out some more of Seventh Generation's products. With such a trusted name, you can't go wrong!
Signs of sepsis
Albert Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Last year, I pleaded with doctors to help me make it to my sons fifth birthday. God saved my life three different times, and I’m thankful to say that I have a clean bill of health from the cardiologist, neurologist, and rheumatologist. I went from completely healthy one day, to a nasty case of mastitis, to septic all within 24 hours.
My struggle lasted for many months, with infection after infection and an inflammatory response that hit most of my joints and made simple tasks painful. But I was thankful to be alive. Though I couldn’t go out and enjoy my son’s birthday, I was there for it. Everyday felt like a miracle.
Flash forward almost a year, and I find myself caught up in the next battles of life. This time with the mundane and common struggles of parenting, finances, and homeschooling. But over the weekend, I realized I had forgotten to be thankful to be alive. It’s the simple gift of opening our eyes in the morning that we take for granted the most.
I particularly wanted to share this now because there has been so much fear and turmoil over the flu season that we’re in. I’ve seen multiple posts that talk about the flu death tolls and how most deaths are caused by the flu turning to pneumonia which turns to sepsis and causes death within a few hours. While I can understand the terror that invokes, it’s important to remember that simple things like a bladder infection can turn into sepsis.
Signs of sepsis can easily go unnoticed by medical professionals, especially if they don’t personally know you. When I showed up at my doctors, they noted on my chart that I was “giddy.” I also had a high fever, had collapsed the night before and they ran an abnormal EKG. Putting together all these symptoms should have read "Sepsis." Instead, they gave me antibiotics and an urgent referral to a cardiologist.
When I ended up going to the hospital, I couldn’t walk without falling and I couldn’t explain to them how I arrived because I was so mentally confused- WHICH IS A HUGE RED FLAG… but these doctors didn’t know how I’d normally act, so they let me go home and told me to keep taking my antibiotics! The lack of initial treatment lead to the infection spreading to my heart, I’m alive not because of the medical care I received but because of God.
Despite being a miracle, I was angry about the lack of medical care for quite some time. I talked to malpractice lawyers, and combed through my medical records, but I realized we’re all guilty of human error. The doctors I saw missed the first sign, and so did I.
I’m sharing this so you DON’T miss those signs- especially in older loved ones!
Many of these symptoms can be confused with the original illness- especially the flu! I should add, a lack of urination is also a red flag that something very serious is going on.
Finally, if you find yourself extremely sick and suffering from these signs, don't go into the hospital trying to be a "brave solider" as I did. If you are suffering, let them see that don't try to white knuckle it as I'm guilty of! EVERY hour after sepsis sets in COUNTS!
Walls are a good thing: they define boundaries in space. But imagine a wall going through the middle of your kitchen that was made out of bricks. It simply wouldn't make sense? and would be an unnecessary boundary.
The Bible also tells the story of Joshua and the children of Israel. Some very big walls of Jericho separated God’s people from the Promised Land. They had to conquer the city in order to move into the territory that God had promised generations before. So, in the most absurd battle plan, they marched around the city until the walls came tumbling down. Yet, there’s an overlooked peculiarity about Jericho’s walls. God wanted them to fall down and be destroyed- He didn’t want a gate to simply open.
John Paul Jackson pointed out that the walls of Jericho were made of some very alarming materials. A variety of ancient Mideast cultures would sacrifice unborn babies and even children to the god Molech. They then would take the bodies, burn them, place them in a jar and build them into the city walls or the walls of their home with the hopes that it would bring prosperity. God knew the walls of Jericho could not stand, they had to be destroyed.
As sadistic as sacrificing babies to a god seems I’m sure most people participating weren’t doing it out of dislike for their child. They had a twisted view of god and were willing to hurt a part of themselves in an effort to please this god. In Jeremiah 19:5, God addresses this sacrifice as, “something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.”
The people had been deceived into building a wall of pain that the real God never wanted.
So my question is, what kind of walls surround your heart and what are the walls made of? Some walls are beneficial and establish respectful boundaries. Some walls are built on fear, mistrust, and pain. The sad part is that walls built in the wrong place with the wrong material can serve as a boundary between your heart and God’s. The walls that we build out of protection really just become a barrier which keeps us from fully entering into God’s goodness. They can’t contain God, but they can contain us.
The Temple had a big red “veil” that was like a wall. It served as a divider between man and the presence of God; a presence so Holy that nothing unholy could enter into it and live to tell. When Jesus died on the cross, that veil was torn in two. As Jesus walked the earth, His name Emmanuel meant “God with us.” After the veil was torn, it made a way for God to be within us. And in case you didn’t know, it is God’s great pleasure. Living in you isn’t a chore or a burden for God, it’s a shared gift that He paid the highest price for.
Let that gift flood your heart, remove the wrong walls, and erect the right ones. There’s nothing to lose, only everything to gain.
This post is sponsored by My Patriot Supply! Sponsored posts keep our website running, so we appreciate our amazing sponsors!
Do you remember the “Shemitah” back in 2015? Johnathan Cahn began talking about financial judgment that would be coming, and Perry Stone was preaching on the rapture, John Hagee on the blood moons, and Rick Joyner on being prepared?
Well, whether I agree or disagree with their ideas, let's just say they inspired me to get set up with emergency supplies. I quickly saw the multitude of products and options that you could spend thousands of dollars on... and still get eaten by a bear!
I decided to focus on items I deemed essential, that I could still put to use if the world didn't tear itself apart at the seams: extra food, water filtration and a way to obtain water. Plus, some solar lights and a solar cell charger.*
Now that we've successfully made it to 2018 alive, I have to say I'm still delighted with my prep purchases. I didn't splurge on freeze dried food or MRES, instead, we purchases a few extra canned goods and dried food items every time we'd shop to slowly build up a store house. I also purchased water purification tabs which could be essential in an emergency. The solar lights became a great teaching tool for my children and I love my water barrel for gardening!
Ready.org had some great, simple, ideas that I missed like anti-bac wipes and recommended having one gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days. We’ve all witnessed just how quickly water is cleared off of grocery store shelves before an impending storm, so stocking up a little bit each week will save you a headache and provide peace of mind the next time snowpocalypse is coming your way.
After the last hurricane season, this seems to be increasingly important. When Harvey and Irma hit, the world watched in fear as people were stuck for days. Water can easily become contaminated or simply unavailable with the loss of electricity. Thankfully, when disaster strikes, there are always amazing people who help strike back. Our sponsor this week, My Patriot Supply was there assisting Floridians obtain pure water with theirAlexapure Pro off the grid water filtration system (and its only $24.99!!). Their websites awakens the prepper in me- heirloom seeds, cooking equipment, and food kits… maybe I need to take up camping to justify some more purchases!
What’s in your emergency stash? Did I miss anything that I’ll severely regret after a major storm?
Have a great week!
'Dear brave mom" letter contest
If you've been around here during the last week, you've probably seen that we're hosting a "Dear Mom" Letter contest. This letter was emailed in, and it was just too funny!
I love you because you always make my lunch, even if you forget yours."
I wanted to share it (with permission) because it shows how simple and fun this contest is. We love reading the funny and the sweet letters that will brighten the hearts of mothers near and far. The upcoming book has room to host approximately 100 letters like this one, and each one is helping to fund a brave mom of 4's cancer treatment... and after her fundraising period is done, it will go to help another brave mom in a similar situation. It's an exciting way to make a difference!
You can e-mail photos of letters or submit them through the form. Remember the deadline is February 15th.
Silver Lining Cupcakes
Our first winter back in New England has been COLD! We’ve spent a great deal of time inside, and no one has taken it harder than my three-year-old. Every morning she wakes up and asks if we can go to the beach. When I explain it’s too cold for the beach, she asks if we can go to the playground, and I have to explain the playground is covered in snow. Then she asks if we can make cupcakes. And the answer is always, "not right now."
So today, she was taking a much needed nap and I decided to bake a batch of cupcakes as a special surprise. I pulled out a new Christmas gift from LetGoShop, silicone cupcake liners! I can’t keep the paper liners in stock so, I figured food grade silicone was a great alternative and eco-friendly.*
I made some cake batter and filled the cups 3/4 of the way, and baked them on a baking tray. I peeked in at about 20 minutes...
Clearly, I used too much batter. I felt so discouraged, I was trying to go the extra mile as a mom and the cupcake batter just wasn’t working with me!
Nevertheless, my daughter came down from her nap and was so excited that I had made cupcakes. She didn’t care if they looked as though they had been dropped a few times. Instead, she asked for a pink star cupcake with a sleepy grin. We all devoured the messy treat and my focus shifted from perfection to counting smiles.
The joy of motherhood is built upon looking for the silver lining and embracing the small victories. It’ s too easy to become wrapped up in the mess of dishes and the misbehaving toddlers. But, if I let that be my focus, I’ll miss the smiles, and the giggles, and sorting through my son's rock collections while my baby climbs on me link a jungle gym.
I have to continuously remind myself that amongst the clutter and the Pinterest fails are the victories which make childhood beautiful, and thankfully, that's what children focus on the most. They're not concerned with how organized the kitchen looks, instead, they thrive on the new experiences of banging on the pots and pans or stacking soup cans into towers.
When clean-up time comes, they're equally ready to put their little hands to work for a smile and a "thank you!" It's usually this mom who would rather do it myself than risk more impending messes, but I have to remind myself that, "love is patient." When I'm short on patience, it's really an indicator that I'm short on love. Luckily, God has an unending supply and He's always available to refuel a tired mama!
Have a wonderful week!
This post is sponsored by User IQ Customer Success Software.
I have a funny story to share, just promise not to laugh too much. The first time I self- published a book, I thought I would hit submit and then sit back and watch the royalties roll in. After all, I spent the last three years toiling over every sentence so logically I had reached the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
The crux of the self-publishing industry is that writers like to write, but they also like what they write to be read. That involves having a business plan to help you achieve your goals. While I’m still learning by trial & error and/or fire, I’ll share some tips that can help shape your personal plan.
First, understand your customer. Knowing who will buy your work is crucial! With Re:Birth, knowing that bit of information felt easy at first. My target audience was pregnant moms. Considering the numbers of women expecting babies worldwide, that’s a huge marketplace. But, Re:Birth has content that is geared towards faith and spirituality. That narrows my market while providing direction on where to find your target customer.
Next, you need to know how to find your customer. Once you know who your customer is, it’s important to develop a strategy to acquire them. Social Media gives authors a huge hand as you can promote posts, messages, and ads to target audiences. Likewise, Amazon and Google offer pay per click programs to help you increase your visibility. Maybe your reader would read a specific magazine or shop through a certain website? Consider strategic paid advertising to help get your product and message to customers who will enjoy it!
While understanding your customer, and finding them are huge victories. You’ll also want to put together a long-term plan with weekly or monthly goals. It’s common to become frustrated and burned out in this industry, but setting goals like writing a guest blog post, having an article published, and reaching a certain number on social media can help you stay motivated and on track. It also helps you to celebrate small victories. It’s easy to harp on failures, but far more valuable to celebrate even the smallest successes.
Composing a written plan is always the hardest part for me. I find it particularly challenging because the ‘big picture’ is not my thing, my mind is in the details. I managed to swing that into an excuse for quite some time until I realized I was truly holding myself back and becoming the root of my discouragement. I had become so focused on what I hadn't achieved that I missed all that I had accomplished.
While your working on your business plan, make sure you glance up from your book and peer around at other authors to see what they’re doing successful (or not successfully). There is plenty to be learned just through observing!
My final tip is, don’t be shy! You may find yourself having to ask for reviews and calling in favors from friends near and far. It never hurts to knock on doors. The worst that can happen is the door doesn’t open and then you head to the next one! But, you’ll never know if you don’t try!
Do you have any self-publishing tips to share? What's worked for you or hasn't worked?
Again, we'd like to thank User IQ Customer Success Software, sponsored posts keep us up and running!
Have a great week!
is a writer & tired homeschooling mom of five.