Don’t Lose It Forever

20 Dec

This morning I stopped and spoke powerful words of realization out loud to myself.

“He is going to stay.  He won’t leave.  It’s going to be ok.”

And, when I spoke those words, they became my new truth, but also a painful knowing.  A sudden realization that I had been treating my whole life as one prepared for loss.  In fact, I expect family and friends to leave and sometimes treat them as such.  It is painful to suddenly know that you have been making a terrible mistake.

In assuming a state of loss, I’d been living in a state of mourning…and was about to lose it forever.

I really believe that if you can’t operate in a state of peace, stability, and joy that you will always be at war within yourself which brings a lack of balance and great misery.

When I was almost 3, my father was murdered.  He was murdered because he owed people money for drugs he couldn’t afford to abuse in the first place.  While he was trying to get his act together at the end, he was still on his way to jail for writing bad checks and lived in fear because unhappy drug lords had a price on his head for ratting them out to the police.  There are many times that I have been convinced of my father’s good intentions but bent towards temporary highs and poor influences led him down paths of debt, drugs, and disillusionment.

Others around him had tried to help him help himself.  He had been to rehab at least one time and I believe multiple times.  But, working late hours on the railroad in a drug infested county continued to lead him down paths of unrighteousness.

My mom chose to stay with him because she always believed in him and loved him deeply.  I was going to be 4 in January, my sister had just turned 2 and my mom was 3 months pregnant with my youngest sister when it all happened.  Mom needed the car but my dad has left it across town.  He called up some people he knew to drive him to his car.  But, he never made it.  They took him to a deserted stretch of land, shot him multiple times and coldly dumped his body in a deep snowy ditch, ensuring that he would have no chance of survival.  He just owed too much money and had sold them out so the price on his head was death.

As a little girl, I must have dearly loved my daddy because I have deep pain over his loss.  The only slight memory I have of him is riding in the front seat of the car with him and laughing at something funny he said.  I don’t remember his voice.  I just remember this smile on his face and I remember being happy with him.  The next memory I have is of standing at the patio doors staring out willing him to come home.  I was looking for him.  I remember feeling deep pain and not knowing where my daddy was.  It bothered me.  He was supposed to be home.  But, he never came.

My sister did, 6 months later…I remember that.  Her middle name, “Joy”, was appropriately given considering she was a bright spot of joy after all the loss and pain.

Quite a few years later, I found a bunny in the woods.  He was a black and white floppy eared bunny…he didn’t belong alone out there, but he was scared and alone.  Every day I tried to win him over.  I left food and water out for him.  I waited for hours on end silently, patiently, slowly edging in to give him a pet on the head and hold him in my arms, and eventually it worked.  He allowed me to love him, and love him I did!  We had a great time, my bunny and I…I found a little cat collar and hopped him around the yard and that was such great fun!  I wanted everyone to see my special pet!  He was a big deal to me because I had worked so hard to get him to trust and love me.  He would snuggle into me and eat carrots out of my hands and I loved him so.  But, our Pekingese dog ran out the front door one day while I was hopping the bunny around and my sweet bunny got so scared.  He started running frantically to get away from the dog and Gidget too great pleasure in the chase.  She chased the bunny all through the woods while I ran screaming and crying after them both begging and willing them to stop.  But, I was too late…the bunny’s leash got caught on a branch and screamed the most horrible cry as it’s back broke in half.  Gidget became very solemn and slowly walked back to the house as if she knew this chase hadn’t been meant to end this way.  I tenderly picked up my bunny and held him close to me…crying all the way home I told him it would be ok, that he would be ok, that I would save him.  But, I couldn’t save him.  He died in a box filled with warm towels to try and keep him comfortable in his last moments.

That night was one of the hardest nights I ever had.  I sat at my window all night looking up into the dark sky and bawled my eyes out begging and pleading with God to please bring my bunny back.  I was willing to do anything, ANYTHING, He wanted…  As I was praying, though, the deep realization of the pain of my father’s loss also hit me…it hit me to the core, because even though I knew my bunny was gone, I still felt a need to pray for his return, yet, the more I prayed the more I knew deep down that he would never return, just like my father.  The pain was cruelly intense, yet, necessary, but, without my knowing, I think a sense of hardness developed in my heart as a way to sort through the hardship and deal with the pain.

As a 15yr old girl quite a few years later, I met this great guy.  He was funny, charming, and smart and totally in to me.  We dated for 4yrs and then got married…a few months later I found out I was pregnant.  Life wasn’t as fun or charming as I thought it would be with him.  In fact, it was dirty, lonely, and empty.  He changed into someone I didn’t recognize.  He wasn’t loving anymore…he was stressed and angry and despondent.  Meds didn’t help but night long runs playing video games seemed to soothe the monsters inside his mind.  When my baby boy was 9mo old, I finally fled the home after many months of repeated emotional abuses that were turning more violent in nature with food flying and forks being stabbed into walls and into his legs by his own hands.   It was frightening at best.  So, malnourished, a 20yr old mama and her little boy showed up shaken, lost, confused, and alone back into the safe arms of the only constant she had ever known…with her mama.

I waited for him to say he was sorry, to make it right, to fight for his wife and child to come home…but, I waited in vain.  He never championed for my heart and I grew colder, stronger, and smarter.

A few months later, I left the safety of my parents home and took my future into my own hands.  I worked multiple jobs and cared for this little infant child of mine the best I knew how.  I gave him the only room in my tiny $300 a month apartment while I slept on the floor in the living room.  Eventually I bought a papason chair for $100 with the softest cushion available.  That is where I slept every night for a long time, curled up in a ball, holding myself tight.

Eventually I bought someone’s couch and chair that had lived on their porch for years…I paid $35 for both.  The couch became my bed.  Over time, friends pitched in and helped me get the things I needed.  A friend gave me a kitchen table, another friend gave me a computer and a TV, I found a TV stand on the side of the road.  Slowly, things started to take shape and my empty one bedroom apartment became a home.

More years went by, I bought my first house, started my baby boy in school, worked 4 jobs to support the household, and did most of it alone with no steady boyfriend or much family around.  My parents cared, but I was pretty independent and wanted to be able to do things on my own, so I didn’t ask for help very often.

One morning I woke up completely unable to go to my main job anymore.  I just couldn’t do it.  I was over worked, under paid, and I never ever saw my son.  It seemed pointless.  The very reason I was working was hard was growing up quickly without me being able to see it.  So, that morning, when I saw my hot water heater had stopped working and was overwhelmed with my need to be with my son, I just stayed home.  I shut out the world and forgot about everything else except for him.  We watched movies and played and had a wonderful time together.  Eventually I lost my house because without my highest paying job ($8.26 per hour) I couldn’t barely afford to pay my bills.  My son and I moved into a rental home my parents owned.  I couldn’t afford the $500 per month, so I had my sister stay with me at one point and help pay the bills, then she moved out and I had a friend move in, and so it went for a while…

Finally, a stroke of good luck.  I met him.  I was a piano teacher and his daughter was taking lessons from the piano teacher next door to me…the first time I saw him was like time stood still.  Our eyes locked…I remember what he wore down to his shoes.  His daughter was sitting there swinging her little legs next to him waiting for her turn to take lessons.  She looked to be the same age as my son.  Something resonated with me about him. I don’t know why.  But, apparently it was the same for him as he remembers everything I was wearing too.  It is odd how God brings you together with your forever, but, there was something in me that just knew.

It took a few years and a lot of back and forth between us, but eventually we went on a date…and I was very shy and nervous and he read that to mean I wasn’t interested.  But, oh, how I was.  I had cried my eyes out before the date because I just knew that going out with him meant signing on the dotted line.  He was my future and I was his.

A few months later we finally started seriously dating and it was magic from the first day. We married a year later and then bought our first home 6 months after that and then a month later found out we were pregnant with our first child together…and then 19mo after that I had our second child together.  We are now in our second home together, a larger better fit for our family of 6 and life is seemingly perfect.

Except that it isn’t.  It has been hard.  Really hard.  My husband and I have had serious issues understanding and relating to one another.  I have felt consistently under appreciated and lacking in affection.  He has felt consistently under respected and that I am too dominant.  We also consistently have loved on and given deeply of ourselves to each other.  You really have to take the good with the bad when two adults come in to a relationship with their own children and loads and loads of baggage.  It is hard to sort through it all.

Yet, here we are, back to the present moment, where I was standing in the kitchen and realized that all this time I have really believed that everyone was leaving and I’m just living out a pattern of loss.  I believe that I hold those I love at arms length to avoid the severe pain of their loss, whether they pass from this earth into the arms of Jesus or if they just choose to abandon me.  Having these knowings deep in my soul created a sort of shift in me-an awareness that I can’t live this way any longer.  I can’t keep living as if everyone is leaving.  I have to embrace each person, each moment, and trust a little more, love a bit more openly, and treasure each day because it is important, not because I expect it to be my last one with the ones around me.

God has blessed me with a life to treasure and that is a value in and of itself.  There is something to be said for “living like you’re dying” so you learn to embrace each moment…but, when that becomes a detriment to your enjoyment, I say “life each day full of life” because we aren’t promised tomorrow, but there is no guarantee we won’t have a lifetime of tomorrow’s either.

Pain always finds a way to find us.  It is the very nature of things, but God has given us the great gift of joy despite our circumstances, despite our pains, despite the loss we all experience in so many varied ways.  But, joy, not pain, should be what drives the decisions we make.

Love over everything…even loss.

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All Natural C-Section Birth Plan

20 Feb
C-Section Birth & Hospital Plan for Baby __________________
Parents:  _______________________________________
 
1)  No interns, residents, or students
 
2)  As baby is delivered, please lower the curtain a bit and lift her up for mom to see if possible  
 
3)  Do not cut or clamp the cord upon delivery.  Please leave the placenta attached to baby until the cord goes limp.  
This may take a few minutes, so, please be patient!  Here is an example of what the cord looks like before and what it will look like afterwards.  
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During this time, I’d love to see my daughter.  Would it be possible to wheel her over to me or simply allow her to be in my direct line of sight?  
Dad would like to cut the cord when ready!  
 
4)  No Hep B, Vitamin K, or Erythromycin.  
 
5)  Please do not offer any formula to me for my baby as I will be exclusively breastfeeding.
 
6)  When giving baby a bath, please use soap provided by mom & dad  (gentle Dr. Bronner’s)
 
7)  Do not take baby out of either mom or dad’s sight at any point.
 
THANK YOU so much for respecting our wishes and taking such great care of us while at Mid-Michigan.  
We appreciate all of you very much!!!!  

Nursery DIY A,B,C’s

29 Sep

Shortly after my husband and I moved into our house, we found out we were expecting a baby.  Much of our time here has been spent updating minor things and making sure that our home is in order.  Attentiveness to decorating our children’s rooms has been somewhat low on the list.  My baby is now 14mo old and I am FINALLY getting around to creating some fun decorations for his room.

The absolute best part about this creation is that it cost me under $5 to make!!  If you don’t have the items on hand, I can imagine this project costing at most $15.

What you need:

  • An old pair of jeans
  • scissors
  • glue
  • glitter
  • yarn/ribbon/twine
  • mini clothespins (I got both colored and plain wood)  <—the only thing I had to purchase
  • push pins

 

Using a pair of jeans that my 10 year old son had grown out of and a pair of scissors, I proceeded to cut hearts out of the jean material. 

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Each heart out is a different size creating variation for a visually interesting piece.

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Make sure that you have at least 27-28 hearts in case you make a mistake later in the project.

Next, you will need glue and glitter.

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Draw a letter of the alphabet on a heart with the glue and then sprinkle glitter onto the glue (gently tapping off the excess).

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Set the letters aside to dry overnight.

The glue will bleed through the back of the jean material, so be sure to put each heart on a hard surface that can be cleaned easily once they are fully dried.

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Once the letters are dried, you will need yarn, ribbon, or twine and your mini clothespins.

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Shake off any additional glitter and then attach each letter to the yarn/ribbon/twine with the mini clothespins (you may need to readjust the letters a bit later)

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Be sure to make a loop before the “A” and after the “Z”.

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Once you are done attaching your letters, carefully take the finished project to the nursery as well as a handful of push pins. 

Push a pin into each end of your nursery wall and then hang the string of letters up using the loop at the beginning of the “A” and the end of the “Z”. 

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Once you’ve hung the “A” and “Z” end up, go through and push a few pins in at different points along the string of letters to create a wave pattern on the wall.  If you’d like, you can also hang the letters more tightly so it forms a straight line across the wall.

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I had to go along and adjust some of the letters so they weren’t hanging funny off of the yarn after I pinned each section up.  You may need to do this as well so each letter can be seen properly. 

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I loved this project because it was easy, took only a moderate amount of time (easily broken up into segments which works for busy moms like myself!), and was almost free!!!  The only thing I had to purchase were the mini clothespins, which I found at Hobby Lobby for around $3.  Aren’t they darling!!!

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Baby boy loves it too!  ❤

Why I Won’t Be Vaccine Mandated

11 Feb

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Since I moved a while back, I have been searching for a new Dr. for my children that is near us.  Fundamentally, I disagree with a few different things most modern Drs believe in:

1)  That medicine cures all ills

2)  That vaccines protect us

Now, I don’t believe all medicine is bad.  Nor do I believe that vaccines have no merit.

What I do believe is that medicine is given with very little thought to its direct affect to other areas of our health (ever seen the disclaimers on tv?  may cause death, seizures, blindness…) since it is generally considered that the reason for taking the medicine outweighs the risks that it causes.  The same mentality is then applied to vaccinations.  The risk of the disease or ailment is much greater than the risk of being harmed by the vaccination.

I can appreciate that logic.  I just don’t agree with it.

I believe that diet and nutrition plays a huge role in the quality of our general health.  If people were to completely transform the way they chose to eat to a diet of vegetables, fruits, and even whole grains, I truly believe they could be cured of almost anything that ails them.  Look up the Gerson Diet for example or watch “Dying to Have Known”, “Hungry for Change”, and “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” on Netflix and you might get more of an idea where I am coming from.

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As far as vaccinations are concerned, here is what needles at me every time I consider them:

1)  There are dangerous preservatives, things that have been known and proven to cause neurological problems (just to name one), that are in most every vaccination.  Mercury, for example is dangerous for human consumption on an extreme level.

2)  The number of vaccinations that each child has to get by the time they reach age 2 is astronomical.  Outrageous.  How any human body can cope with the onslaught to their immune system is beyond me.  At the first, even though I had these beliefs, I thought that alternate vaccine schedules would be the answer for me, but after reading even more on the topic, I decided to fore go them entirely…  much to the chagrin of a handful of my disapproving friends, family, and the medical community at large.

And yet, I feel that it is my responsibility to make choices for my family that I believe will keep them safe.  While Drs will claim right and left that there is no evidence linking Auto Immune Disorders or Autism, for example, to vaccinations, there are privately funded (that means the Big Pharmaceutical companies didn’t fund the study to prove that their product is safe) studies showing otherwise as well as hundreds upon thousands of mothers who have testified over and over again that after a certain vaccination was given, their child changed.

How awful.

I don’t want to take that risk.  I really don’t.  I know, it seems crazy, to most people.  I understand and respect your choice to vaccinate your child because you believe in your heart it is the safest most effective way of protecting your little one.  But, this is what I believe is the safest most effective way I can protect my children…  No vaccines.  Period.

Autism has risen 78% in the past 10 years.

Read that again.

Any adult can look back and recall how few vaccinations they had and how few friends they actually knew that had a disorder such as Autism.  There is the argument that we are better aware of the actual issue and are thus able to diagnose it, however, even so, I don’t recall any kids even having issues I thought needed to be examined for something ‘out of the ordinary’.  Do you?

So, due to the medical fields blind belief that vaccinations, or the large quantity of them given in such a short period of time, are actually safe despite the complete lack of studies to prove so (H1N1 vaccination, for example), it is hard to find someone who treats their patients holistically.  Doctors want to do the right thing by their patients, I am sure of it.  But, they are completely and utterly convinced that what they’ve been taught is God’s gift to man and there is no more science to be discovered–we have reached a point where we apparently know it all–their science has no flaws and can’t be dis-proven or shown ineffective.  It is perfect and lacks flaw and YOU are flawed if you disagree.  Don’t question.  Stop reading that dang internet and just 100% trust that one man, that one woman’s advice to control and manipulate your and your children’s entire life to their belief system.  They went to school.  You didn’t.  They understand what you have no ability to understand.  They are doctors, they are smarter, they know better, and you. must. follow. their. advice. or. else.

This is a letter I received from a Doctor I was hoping to take my son to.  I refuse to show up after reading this.  Any “bold” section has been marked by me…  In a way…this letter gave me hope….hope that I’m not the only one in my area who is worried.  If this letter had to be written at all, it means there are other mothers and fathers out there who are concerned…worried…aware.  They are taking a cold hard look at the system and saying, ‘now wait a minute, what?’  They are asking questions.  They aren’t just showing up for a whole system of beliefs they know nothing about.  They are aware.  They aren’t just accepting everything they are told on pure faith anymore…  and that gives me hope.

The letter that was part of my new patient packet (if it’s not supposed to be coercive or to frighten any unsuspecting parent, I don’t know what is):

We firmly believe in the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illnesses and to save lives.

We firmly believe in the safety of our vaccines.

We firmly believe that all children, adolescents and adults should receive all of the recommended vaccines according to the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

We firmly believe, based on all available evidence obtained via scientifically rigorous studies (I’m personally wondering which ones they are referring too…), that vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities or any other disease.

We firmly believe that vaccinating children, adolescents and adults may be the single most important health-promoting intervention we perform as health care providers, and that you can perform as parents/caregivers.  The recommended vaccines and the recommended schedule for their administration are the results of years and years of scientific study and data-gathering on hundreds of thousands of children by thousands of our brightest scientists and physicians.

We firmly believe, therefore, that vaccination is preventative medicine at its finest.

These things being said, we recognize that there has always been and will likely always be controversy surrounding vaccination.  Indeed, Benjamin Franklin, persuaded by his brother, was opposed to smallpox vaccine until scientific data convinced him otherwise.  Tragically he had delayed inoculating his son Franky, who contracted smallpox and died at the age of 4 years, leaving Franklin with a lifetime of guilt and remorse as detailed in his autobiography:  (The message being, don’t be persuaded to refuse vaccinations–your child might die)

“In 1736, I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the smallpox…I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation.  This is for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it, my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore the safer should be chosen.”

The vaccine campaign is truly a victim of its own success.  It is precisely because vaccines are so effective at preventing illness that we are discussing whether or not they should be given.  Because of vaccines, many of you have never seen a child with polio, tetanus, whooping cough, bacterial meningitis or even chickenpox, or known a friend or family member whose child died of one of these diseases.  Such successes can make us complacent or even lazy about vaccinating.  But such an attitude, if it becomes widespread, can only lead to tragic results.

In the US, the measles vaccine had been so widely embraced that we had seen a reduction of more than 99% in measles cases, compared to the pre-vaccine era.  However a recent outbreak of measles points to a dangerous trend among some parents who are not immunizing their children against measles or other diseases.  This poses a real risk to the health of all unvaccinated children.  In August 2008, the CDC announced that 15 children under 20 had been hospitalized with the disease and 131 have been diagnosed since the beginning of 2008.  Many of the children who were diagnosed had not been vaccinated by choice, or were too young.  It is believed that the sick children contracted measles from children who traveled overseas.  Similar outbreaks have occurred with mumps and other preventable diseases recently and increased international travel will continue to put children at risk for preventable diseases.

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Furthermore, those relatively few who choose not to vaccinate are taking SELFISH advantage of thousands of others of us who do vaccinate our children.  Because they are largely surrounded by vaccinated children, these unvaccinated children may “skate by” so to speak and not fall victim to any of the vaccine-preventable diseases.  In addition, this refusal to vaccinate undercuts a very important concept of vaccination:  herd immunity.  Herd immunity is the benefit everyone receives from a vaccinated population once immunization reaches a critical level.  When enough people are vaccinated, everyone–including those that are too young or too sick to be immunized–receives some protection from the spread of diseases.

We, the providers of Children’s Medical Group of Saginaw Bay, have all vaccinated our own children to protect them (and those around them), knowing full well that there is clearly a degree of discomfort and unpleasantness associated with the process, but also knowing that it is the right thing to do.  As is so often the case in life, the right thing isn’t always painless or easy (such as letting your child actually get the chickenpox?  or am I missing something…), and usually involves a degree of sacrifice.

We are making you aware of these facts not to scare you or coerce you, but to emphasize the importance of vaccinating your child.  We recognize that the choice may be a very emotional one for some parents.  We hope that you will trust our judgement in vaccinating your child according to the recommended immunization schedule.

We are no longer going to passively endorse, by accommodating, alternative immunization schedules that are not based on any scientific data (I think parents follow an alternative schedule so as to not overwhelm their child’s immune system).  Indeed,in our experience most of these alternative schedules have been suggested by a family friend or someone at work or church.  Unlike the recommended schedules, these “custom” schedules have not been rigorously tested on hundreds of thousands of children for safety and/or effectiveness. (Excuse me, neither has the mass number of vaccinations we are currently pumping in to our children)  Moreover, delaying the administration of certain vaccines can increase the risk to your child of contracting the disease that vaccine was meant to protect against.  If you request an alternate infant vaccination serious or absolutely refuse to vaccinate your child, we will ask you to find another health care provider who shares your views. (Good to know)  We do not keep a list of such providers, nor would we recommend any such physician/healthcare provider. (I’m laughing right now)  Please recognize that by not vaccinating you are putting your child at risk and are declining one of the best interventions our society has to offer in terms of preventative healthcare.

As medical professionals, we feel strongly that vaccinating children on schedule with the currently recommended and available vaccines is absolutely the right thing to do for all children and young adults.  Thank you for your time in reading this policy and please feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about vaccines with any of us.

Jeffrey T. aVanGelderen MD FAAP

Robert D. Thill MD FAAP

Donna M. Hammond, PNP – BC

Jamie A. Simon, PA – C

Jacquelyn D. Thering, PA – C

I believe in protecting my children.  I love my children more than life itself.  The implication that I just blindly follow what a friend, family member, or church goer said is absolutely insulting.  We aren’t idiots.  I am a parent who chooses to educate herself.  I ask a heck of a lot of questions and I read as much as I can on topics that concern me.  I listen, with an open mind to what doctors tell me but also to what other mothers and fathers have shared with me or have shared with the mass public via the internet.  WHY would that many parents speak up unless there was something going on.  Do you honestly believe that a multi-billion dollar corporation is going to say “Woops, you know what, you’re right…we WERE wrong afterall!” without a huge fight?????  Seriously?!  Many people are becoming aware of corporations such as Syngenta, Monsanto, ConAgra, and Dow who have contaminated our food system with their “safe” genetic modification of plants and now animals.  They have studies to prove that what they are doing is ok, and yet more and more people are developing allergies, weeds are out of control, and our animal and bee population is suffering.  So, please don’t tell me it’s ok for me to just shut up and not speak out when I, in my heart, have a fundamental problem with an issue.  I will not be silenced.

This IS a legitimate concern.  My voice is valid, even without a medical school training.

Parents, if you vaccinate your children due to your own personal research and you see the benefit outweighs the risk, good.  But, please don’t vaccinate your child without doing the research 1st.

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I’ve had multiple doctors remind me that I would absolutely never be able to forgive myself if I refused a vaccination and then my child died because of it.  I had another doctor flat out say “I hope your child doesn’t die, then”.  The 1st time I was given this sort of speech was when my newborn baby boy was 1 day old.  I had refused the Hep B vaccine as well as the Vitamin K shot.  My husband and I do not have any sexual transmitted diseases and my baby boy was born via cesarean section due to large fibroid tumors in my uterus.  There was no way he could contract this disease and yet I was being told that my infant needed to be vaccinated for it.  No thank you.  Regarding the Vitamin K shot, I refused this because there was a .05% chance that my baby would have any issues without this shot.  Of that .05% that are affected by the inability to form blood clots were babies born from women who were on blood thinners such as coumadin.  I’m not on any blood thinners and I think a .05% risk is one I’m willing to take at this point.

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Self Worth

11 Nov

Every day I am faced with a choice.  It has been said that you can only make a mistake once.  The second time, it’s not a mistake, it’s a choice.  Ouch.  I guess if that can apply to how I think about myself, well, I’ve been choosing to not think very nice things.

Insecurity is one of those things that kind of follows me around like my kids do when I’m on the telephone.  It interrupts my day, says things that I don’t want to hear, and is incredibly persistent.  Destructive, critical, demeaning, badgering, pandering, dishonest, unproductive, detrimental, painful, foolish, self deprecating:  These are just a few words to describe the nonsense I tell myself when I feel insecure.

Comparison has also been known to deplete joy.  Know the feeling?  Well, I do a lot of that comparing stuff too and I can tell ya, it’s a real mood buster when I’ve just looked at my 3.5mo post partum belly in the mirror only to immediately see two skinny minny chicks casually running past my front window.  Ugh.  Heart drops to the floor and I start beating myself up on the inside…  It’s a pretty sad cycle, really.

But, that doesn’t make me a sad individual.  I’m just being incredibly honest.  Honesty is hard, but I’d rather have people know me with my flaws than not know the real me at all.  Anyone can spin wonderful tales about themselves…I just can’t be bothered.

For the past year, I have been on http://www.myfitnesspal.com working on my weight.  When I started I was incredibly motivated and lost 23lbs in 2 months.  Then, I got pregnant.  I continued to watch my weight and food intake and exercised daily until the summer heat and my bulging body killed my motivation.  I thought I’d be fine because I had been so careful for the first 7.5mo of my pregnancy.  Unfortunately, I was mistaken.  Now, I’m 6lbs heavier than when I started my weight loss journey a year ago and that’s not including the 15lbs I’ve lost since my son was born in July.

Watching what you eat is always a choice too.  I hate diets and refuse to be on one but I do watch my portions and try to put wholesome food in my mouth. But, not always.  For example, today, I had a small Coke and three cookies from McDonalds and it was delicious.  🙂

I want to be better, look better, think better, act better, better better better better.  Who doesn’t?  Unfortunately, criticizing myself isn’t going to make me better.  If it did, I’d be perfect by now!

Lately, I’ve been realizing how critically I think about myself and how destructive it has been to my self confidence and how I have viewed my self worth.  Once I started realizing this and facing the fact that I had been telling myself a bunch of lies, I got upset.  Upset enough to say “NO MORE!”

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am perfectly me.  I will always be in the process of becoming me.  There is nothing more beautiful than a confident spirit.  If I want to be better, there is nothing to it but to do it.  Instead of comparing myself I will choose to empower myself.  Instead of thinking critically I will think compassionately.  I will stop the self hate and foster self love.  Acceptance will replace rejection.  When I look in the mirror my reflection will not just be my image but also my heart.  There is more to me than what meets the eye and that is the most important part.

As a first step towards having and developing a more cheery outlook on life, I scrawled this reminder on my scale:

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We all can improve ourselves daily but I believe this should start on the inside FIRST before we start trying to change the outside.

In parting, I want to remind you to be kind to yourself.  We only have this one shot at life.  There really is no point in tearing ourselves down.  Rather, we should not only work at viewing ourselves more kindly but also having a kinder heart towards those around us.

My dad has always said “You win or lose by the way you choose.”

So, what will you choose?

Softness Worth Sharing

30 Oct

As I listened to my 9 year son coughing and sniffling the other day, I realized that cold and flu season are about to hit us full force.  Don’t you just hate it when your friends and loved ones are feeling under the weather?  I’m sure most of you are like me and would love a way to brighten their day but to also help them feel better.

Well, Kleenex has made that possible with an initiative called “Softness Worth Sharing”.  There couldn’t be an easier way to show how much you care!  Specially marked tissue boxes or tissue box bundles will have a code on them for purchase at your local retail store.  Once you purchase your box of Kleenex you simply go to https://www.kleenex.com/softness/ and enter the code to send someone a lovely Kleenex Brand Share Pack or Kleenex Brand Care Pack!

If you purchase a single box of specially marked Kleenex tissues, entering your code with allow you to also share a box of Kleenex with a friend in need via The Kleenex Brand Share Pack.

If you purchase a bundle of Kleenex boxes (typically 3 boxes come in a bundle), you can send a get-well package via The Kleenex Brand Care Pack.  This Care Pack goes a bit above and beyond with the inclusion of a lip balm, hand sanitizer, Kleenex Brand Share Pack, Kleenex Brand Slim Pack, and a card that allows you to download up to 4 songs from select music artists!  How fun is that?

I’m sure this would definitely boost someone’s spirits if they were to receive a lovely surprise like this.

I hope you have enjoyed this wonderful tip and are able to use it as a way to ‘kick off’ this year’s season of giving!

Best wishes for health and wellness to everyone.  🙂

On the Heels of Success…

15 Oct

I am sitting here with dirty hair, an iced capp, a glass of water, and a forlorn look on my face.  The baby is still in his car seat.  I’ll probably leave him there for a bit since he is sleeping and I need a moment of silence.  I’m forlorn because yet again, I failed at this thing called parenthood.  This failure naturally comes right on the heels of awesome successes, but the mistakes just seem so much more giant to me than the perfections.

A few minutes ago, I barked a quick ‘I love you’ and stern ‘be good in school’ and frantic ‘hurry up’ at my son as he scrambled out of the car to get in to school before the bell rang.  His responses were in tune with mine and thankfully he made it to school on time.  I drove away, shaking my head, super frustrated with myself.  Tim Horton’s tried to sugar soothe my bruised ego a bit with a cinnamon roll and iced capp but to no avail.  I still feel miserable.

Remembering to set your alarm is a great thing to do.  I did that!  Woo!  But, remembering to set your phone to ‘alarm’ or ‘vibrate’ or ‘ring’ would have been much more helpful than the ‘silent’ that I left it on.  So, yea, my alarm went off…silently and I kept sleeping…silently.  Waking at 7:40am to my almost 3 month old baby’s cries wasn’t so bad.  I mean, school starts at 8:30am and we live 2 minutes away, so that wasn’t a huge deal.  I got my 9 1/2 year old up and in the shower, changed the wee babe, and started nursing him.  Once my eldest son was dressed and ready to go, I had him check his book bag to make sure he got all the papers out and put his reading book in.  I heard an “Oh man!!” from him as he pulled things from his bag.  “What?!” I yelped.  “I had homework and totally forgot about it!!” he cried.  Of course then I went off with pointless parental questions such as “Why didn’t you remember?” or “Don’t you realize how important getting your homework done is?” or “Why did you do that?”  Sigh.  Naturally, I got equally as pointless answers.  Now, here I am wondering to myself how in the heck this happened.  I always check his book bag and make sure he gets his work done, but here we are, Monday morning, frustrated with one another and a large project unfinished with only 27 minutes left before school begins.  I started pressing him to get as much done as possible which was a pointless venture considering the sizable amount of information he would have to retain and record.  My perfectionist brain got upset when I looked over his paper and saw spelling errors and so he heard about that too.  I’m just not a picture of love and flower blossoms when I’m feeling the heat and turning into frazzle dazzle mommy.

Reluctantly, I wrote a note to his teacher explaining that her student failed at remembering his homework and therefore it is unfinished and I failed at checking up on him until too late.  That was painful.

As I nurse my drink, I realize that in the hustle and bustle of the morning, I completely forgot that our Friday routine got thrown off by a wedding I was matron of honor in.  I mean, generally, when he gets off of the bus on Friday, as soon as he comes in the door I ask him if he has any homework.  If he does (and he often does), I make him do it right away.  But, this past Friday, my husband picked him up for school, got him and our baby ready for a wedding, and carted them off to the church to celebrate with the lovely couple.  The whole evening was filled with celebratory festivities.  The next day, we did chores together as a family.  I had a vocal audition which scared the crap out of me.  Then, we left as a family and went shopping for diapers, paint, and a halloween costume in the dreary rainy weather, came home, ate nachos, watched a movie, and went to bed.  It was a good day.  Sunday, we had church, went to lunch with friends, dressed up and went to the State Theatre to watch Scared Shrekless, walked to the library, checked out some books, went home, did more chores, ate dinner, and then read books together until it was time for bed.  I fell asleep Sunday evening feeling happy about how successful the weekend had been even though my house is a cluttered mess and my refrigerator and pantry are pretty empty.  And then this…  this failure.

As a parent, mistakes like this really make me feel low, stupid, weak, and like a complete and utter failure.  I mean, I know super moms who are probably going to read this blog and smile at my simplicity and think of a hundred ways I could have organized my weekend better and why I shouldn’t be flying by the seat of my pants.  I wish I didn’t even think of the super moms.  I definitely didn’t ‘save the day’ here.

But, while driving home earlier, I had a thought.  As a Christian, the Lord is my perfect and holy Father.  He cares for me and loves me perfectly.  He also has consistently offered His help if I simply ask for it.  He has told me over and over again that in my weakness then he is strong…that when I fall, He will pick me up.  Yea, I expect to be perfect like He is…I mean, He is my Father after all.  That bar is set pretty high, I guess, but He has told me over and over that He alone is perfect and that’s why I need Him.  Most of the time, I try to just get through the day.  I get frustrated at myself when I fail and question my worth right along with those short comings.  But, this morning, I am reminded that He is my friend and that He wants to help…I just have to ask, you know?  I wish I had it all perfectly together, and I’m sure as the years go on, I’ll learn how to get it more and more together like so many other women I know and admire.  But, for today, I am going to have to get back to the heart of the matter and start relying more on the Lord to help me get through each day.

It’s not easy to just ‘shake off’ failures like these, so instead, I am going to pocket this lesson in the memory book of my mind and do my best to include the Lord in my future moments so my failures can become His successes.

I am not perfect, but I am perfectly me and in His perfection, he formed me.  I am thankful for being wonderfully made and I am thankful that when I am knocked down I know that I don’t have to stay down.  I’ve got a Friend that sticks closer than a brother and He teaches me how to forgive myself with how perfectly he forgives me.

Now, for that shower before the baby wakes up…