She’s Back? Julying!? 

Hey guys! It’s been a while!  A lot of chaos!  
It was my circus and it is my monkeys … (haha!)
Stay tuned for a post on Citronella coming up in the next few days! Maybe a little crazy update, too! 

Hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July!  


Keeping the Faith

We are your average family. We live paycheck to paycheck since Shawn was laid off from his oilfield job late in 2015. Despite that small set back, we are still so very blessed beyond words. When he was laid off, he found a job almost immediately.  We adjusted to living on the smaller amount and consolidated some bills to make sure we could stay afloat. We are fortunate that his new job allows him time off when he needs and is very accommodating for sick needs. We fight hard, love harder. For the most part, everyone is happy, healthy and thriving.  One could argue that from the outside looking in, everything is absolutely peachy keen..

  But we all know that looks can be deceiving.  Everyone is doing their best to conceal skeletons that they are embarrassed of or try to run from.  

Last Wednesday, my phone *dings* so I get up and check it and see this: 

Courtesy of 337 Magazine, I had won 2 tickets to see Wonder Woman the day before it hit theatres nationwide. Part of me was excited and then, the other part crushed.. here we are, in the midst of struggling and we win something pretty cool but timing couldn’t be worse. 
With money being so tight, and now gone, our grocery budget had been a little less than appealing. The bulk of it went to food and snacks for the boys while Shawn and I just ate whatever else we could afford. Hint: mostly ramen. My PCOS hated me, my weight had also been creeping back because I wasn’t able to eat correctly. 

I was over the moon with excitement that I’d won. I messaged my Mom and told her I’d won and that she was the reason I had even entered. I offered her the opportunity to go see Wonder Woman.. she had first dibs..but her response was that if I wanted to go with Shawn,  she would have kept the boys. Guilt consumed me.  Since his accident, I’d missed 4 events meant for me to have a little “Mom break”.. this would have been great just to get away for a few hours but things were just so gloomy.. I was so conflicted. I don’t regret missing a single thing but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t itching for a way to get out, even for a tiny bit of time. I just needed to get out of the house for a little while. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t also super excited because the movie was catered. After eating poorly, by this point, I was well over ramen and thrilled at the idea of a proper adult meal. The meal alone was worth venturing for but we are struggling so much, did we even deserve it? 

When Shawn lacerated his arm with the katana, it put us in a “rare but not impossible” emergency situation.  We already live a pretty balanced budget so there isn’t much left after bills and necessities are tended to. To afford the proper medical supplies, we had to dig into our very tiny savings we had just started rebuilding. It didn’t take long to eat away at that. We tried our best to situate late payment plans with all of our bills but one managed to slip under our noses.. and that was all it took to snowball things out of control.. 

Thursday, the day after winning the tickets, a bill came out and the account went negative.  All it took was an $11 bill to break us. Our account was $5 overdrafted and we had 9 days until payday. Things just took a turn for the worst possible path. 

I should have freaked out into sheer panic but I somehow managed to stay calm. I’m 99.9% positive my calmness was solely accredited to not wanting to freak the boys out. $5 overdrafted isn’t a lot, it was the fees that would accumulate over 9 days that scared me. Sure, we have family and even friends we could ask to borrow $5 from just to put us in the clear- but it’s so embarrassing to put aside your pride in situations like this. You are fearful that someone is just going to scoff at you and think you’re simply being irresponsible with money. I immediately start brainstorming things like “well let’s sell my such&such for a low cost. Someone’s bound to bite and $5 is all we need”… or “we could trade in a few games and get cash, sure it’s a huge loss but it’s enough to get us in the clear”.. I was determined we would figure it out. 

As the day continued, my nerves began to get a little worse. I knew once the day was over, those fees would start piling on and it’s a blow that would be extremely hard to recover from. We had literally just started to have control of the finances and it was crumbling through my fingertips like sand with each passing second. 

I reread the facebook post and decided to just set the idea on the back burner. It really was a great opportunity.  The movie was catered with fun give aways, prizes and keepsakes offered. The timing seemed pretty perfect but still, it didn’t solve our problem. I couldn’t fathom just going casually watch a movie knowing the financial chaos that seemed to only be getting worse with each passing second.

I back burnered every single thought and managed to get through most of the afternoon. This could strongly be accredited to the fact that I’m a SAHM and my boys needed me. Then, they laid down for a nap and didn’t need me anymore. My mind was flooded with a mixture of emotions. I tried my best to block it all out to avoid getting anxious but I couldn’t. I put everything away and headed straight to my “War Room” and saw this:

Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

It was EXACTLY what I needed to read. We’ve hit rock bottom before, we’ve put our trust in the Lord and we’ve always overcome the obstacle. I have to trust in my faith and follow what has always pulled us through. This time should be no different. 

By this time, a few friends could tell something was off and had asked if I needed to vent.  I got the delimma off of my chest and politely declined all offers to just borrow the money straight up. I could feel it in my gut that we could figure it out without actually going into more debt. That scripture really relieved my stress with the entire situation and I just felt a sense of calmness. I was beyond appreciative, I just couldn’t wrap my head around “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul”.

I’m glad I followed that feeling. We managed to figure out a solution to get the account in the clear so we decided to head out and see WW just because it was all free and well needed. We realize we cannot pour from empty cups and we needed to get let that stress fizzle some so that we didn’t take that stress out on each other or (especially) the boys. 

The movie was great, we were too late for food but did enjoy a YooHoo & RC Cola. We said hello to a few friends we bumped into. We took a cute picture keepsake and admired the different booths and artists that had come out. And then we headed home to curl up to our sweet boys. 

Around 10 that night, Shawn’s phone chimed and he let out a huge sigh followed by a deep breath. 

Have you ever had “money from heaven”? You know, Money that finds its way to you out of the blue at the perfect moment? 

Money from heaven” had been deposited to our accounts for work I’d done at an earlier time.  The work wasn’t done with the expectations of getting something back in return so the money was truly a surprise to me. I like to think I’m pretty generous at helping people I care about however I can.. I never expect anything in return, I just want to help my friends.. but this Angels timing couldn’t have been more perfect to surprise me. Not only was it enough to cover the problem,  it was plenty leftover to buy necessities for the house and make it the next 9 days without fear of emergency. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

There are no words to describe just how much of a relief this was. I also cannot describe how perfect the timing was to win a small get away down the road from home. It was only a few hours and maybe didn’t give me some glorious vacation- but it recharged me enough that I am able to function and give my children the best of me as. 

Things haven’t exactly gotten easier. Of course, we’re being cautious and we would love to be able to create a new savings we can build up well but that’ll take time. Right now, we have a ltitle room to breath and for that I am eternally grateful. We will face hardships in life (probably more than we want to) but the important thing is to always hold fast to your faith and trust in the Lord. 
To my angel: Thank you. You provided a true sense of relief and peace in ways you may never understand. Your gift was truly one that helped us but your friendship is appreciated more than you know. 

When God Speaks..

For me, there is something absolutely magical about being a parent. I’m sure most parents would agree. One of those extraordinary magical momens happened this morning and I’m so happy I was there to see it. 
At Greyson’s MMA school, they learn a word each month that instills morals and/or values into their everyday lives. Today, they are introducing the new world of the month: confidence. We spent most of the morning practicing the definition and I would give him little mantras to say: 

  • “I am smart!”
  • “I am strong!”
  • “I am brave!”
  • “I can!”
  • “I am!”

So when lunch time rolled around, I sat them down with plates and tured Veggie Tales on. I headed back to the kitchen to work on supper and left the boys to eat. 

I hear nothing but silence aside from Bob & Larry on television as the boys eat and suddenly, I hear a shriek of excitement followed by “Mom!! Play that again! MOOOOHMMMM! Come see!” So I rush to the living room to check on them thinking Gage has tossed his plate or something and instead,  he’s pointing at the TV. I grab the remote and back it up to see David and Goliath followed by the ending scripture of the show: 

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippines 4:13

Greyson realized that David had confidence that he could defeat Goliath because he trusted God would assist him and got so excited he was able to relate! 

My heart was so full with pride and happiness. There was a pure joy in his eyes that told me he really understood and could relate to the episode because he understood the concept of confidence. 
Being a parent has its great moments and it has moments that are not so great. And then, moments like this morning happen.. those are the indescribable moments. There are no words to explain how overwhelmed with happiness I was in that moment to see my son not only understand this word but to be able to relate it to his personal life and his faith

I have always been excited when I would read a scripture or devotional and it felt as if God was speaking directly to me. To witness my son feel this same emotion was truly an amazing experience. 

To Love Him Better.. 

You know how they say “always trust your gut“.. and “Mom knows best“..Well, since Greyson was 2, I’ve dabbled with the idea that he would eventually be diagnosed with ADHD. I get that “boys will be boys” and “he’s just a child with energy and curiousity“.. but this was more than that. He was the classic textbook definition of attention deficit and hypreactivity. When I first spoke of it with my husband, he was totally against the idea. See, Shawn had very little interaction with children up until having his own so a lot of children’s illnesses were still super taboo to him. Fear of the unknown, if you will. It caused a few waves in our marriage but only because I felt alone in the matter until Shawn agreed to be a bit more open minded to the idea.. I didn’t want a diagnosis that day, just to explore ways we could play better and understand better so that we could help Greyson thrive. I mean, at that point, the worst that could happen is that we played sensory games with our young, developing child.

Well now he’s 5. And Shawn has come around to the idea after diving into research and seeing how different sensory games and toys always go over better with Greyson than stuff that just completely overwhelms and over stimulates his mind.  

If I’m being totally honest, I didn’t mind if something was wrong with him. Of course every parent wants for their child to be healthy at all cost.  For us, I wanted him to be healthy, but if there was something wrong, I wanted to know. It would never change how I love him expect that I could learn how to understand so that we could love him better. 

At his wellness check, his pedatrician agreed with us that he, too, suspected ADHD for a while. Now, here’s why I love this doctor: he didn’t automatically force us to toss him on medication and call it a day. He sent us home with paperwork and options. We follow up in 6 months to see how things progress but we are able to try natural methods to help him instead of creating more side effects just jumping into medicine for such a tiny body. 

**now, let me stress, if he needs medicine, we’re not against it. If we try all options and they fail, we will do what we need to do to ensure he is happy, healthy and loved. So please understand, I judge no one who chooses medicine, I just worry about him being so young and wanted to explore something that had less side effects if it worked.** 

 Our first idea was something filled with structure and discipline.  We started this back in January with MMA. We found the most amazing MMA school for what Greyson was needing in his life. He’s come far from where he was before beginning at Gladiators Academy but we still have some ways to go. The structure and discipline has helped curb some of his impulsive behaviors. He’s come very far in learning morals, discipline and has drastically improved in respect. 

Our second idea was to try essential oil blends. I should note,  I don’t take oils lightly, tons of research goes into making a blend in my house. So the search for the perfect blend for Greyson started. I know oils are not “one size fits all” so my job was cut out for me. I tried a various assortment of diffusing blends, inhaler blends and roller balls.  I saw some success but not nearly what I was looking for as far as relief goes. 

I finally decided that maybe my method of delivery wasn’t efficient. I’m not the most seasoned oiler out there so I decided to change up my usual approaches. So, one morning, I wake up a post on FB that would drastically change my life. Alycee LeBlanc, a friend from high school, shared a paracord bracelet she’d made for her son– and it *clicked*. The colors, the pattern, the material. This is it! This is how I’m going to oil him

And thus this blend was born.. 

As usual, I’m going to share why I chose the oils that I did…

  • Lavender – Lavender is such a versatile oil, it’s amazing.  Lavender oil helps promote relaxation and eases tension. I was hopeful the lavender component to the blend would help him “hit the brakes” some.
  • Frankincense – Frankincense relieves stress, uplifts one’s mood and assists in combating anxiety and stress. I was worried if I slammed the brakes and didn’t ease his mind at the same time, I’d cause other problems, so I took anxiety into account. 
  • Peace & Calming II – This blend smells heavenly and offers a calming effect. It also uplifts the spirit while promoting relaxation and peace. ADHD and depression are linked and I’m taking no chances. Remember,  my goal is happy and healthy. 
  • Valor II – Liquid Courage, in a sense. Valor II is an amazing oil that instills feeling of strength and courage. I didn’t want to take away his spunk. Greyson has such a bold and free spirited personality and I wanted to keep that about him. I never want him to lose that spirit and happiness. 
  • Cedarwood – Cedarwood oil is extremely high in sesquiterpenes. Sesquiterpene is a chemical compound known to stimulate brain function and help the body reprogram old genetic patterns into healthier ones. 
  • Copaiba – Copaiba is a fascinating oil in that not only does it do its own amazing things, it’s a magnifier. This means it magnifies the effects of other oils. It also aids in managing anxiety. 

And last, but possibly the most important part to this blend: 

  • Vetiver – Vetiver is known as the “Oil of Tranquility“. It is taken from the dried roots of grassy vetiver plant. Vetiver is a grounding oil that reduces anxiety, stress and nervous tension. It is a grounding oil that promoted restful sleep. Vetiver oil aids in rediscovering homeostatis after emotional trauma*(see note below) and shock. It soothes the central nervous system and manages compulsive behavior.  Multiple studies have been taken using Vetiver to treat ADHD and it’s proven itself to relieve symptoms associated with ADHD.

*in 2015, our home was unlawfully entered, several things damaged such as doors being forced open or opened incorrectly. Thankfully, it was not worse, it’s past us, things have improved and all has been settled legally. However, we happened to come home at the time of the event and this made for a very long evening but an even longer emotional trauma for Greyson. This benefit of Vetiver speaks to me because, although he is getting over it in his own time, it brings me great happiness to provide an oil that will also help with that emotional healing. 
So I applied this blend to his paracord and sent him on his way to play. See, everytime he pushed his arm back and forth, back and forth, he would inhale the aromas of this blend. I was hoping that the constant inhalation would work as an ‘extended release’ effect. I was right! 

There were no arguments over supper, his toys were picked up without having to be asked. His attention span longer than I’d ever seen in his tiny, precious life. He was able to focus, to self entertain and to control his usual impulsive behaviors.  

 If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I never would have believed it. The transformation was truly day and night. 

So far, this oil has been heaven sent. I know time will have to be the true test.. but for now, we’ve found a way to help Greyson remain Greyson but also enjoy so much more without all of the anxiety.

Now, let me stress, oils are a tricky thing. There are no set “one size helps all” blends. It can take numerous times to figure out what works best for you. If you’re dabbling with oils and it doesn’t seem to work at first, KEEP TRYING

In the end, my goal remains. I only want to understand my children as best as I can so that I can love them the best way possible. I want to help them thrive and succeed. I want them happy and healthy. I can only hope this journey opens new opportunities for him as his mind grows, absorbs more knowledge and he becomes more independent each day. 

Big Dog Relief Pt. 2 – Follow Up

Follow up as taken from my personal Instagram & Facebook:

Another reason #whyioil … Gage was diagnosed with severe allergies and scripted 2 medicines/daily. After giving them, there was literally NO change- brought him in, another Dr in the same office insisted they would help. So I put the prescription aside and started my research.. I wrote a blog on this particular mixture last week or so. We’ve tried it for 2+ months now and he’s cleared up so much, no longer wheezes, doesn’t choke in his sleep, etc.. But this morning, Gage coughed, the tiniest of baby coughs, but a cough… waddled over to my icebox ON HIS OWN, opened the doors, PULLED OUT HIS OWN MEDICINE and was bringing it to me.. (I was still in the bedroom making beds, pottying, etc).. when he saw me, falls over fake coughing and starts to try to open his oil container. IF MY YOUNG CHILD can understand this medicine gives him this much relief, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!? #jesusoilsgym #whensheJOGs #youngliving #younglivingessentialoils

Life : 1 | Mary : 0, Surviving PCOS in Crisis

Life is a lot like a roller coaster.. some days, you’re at the very crest of the highest loop, you can see the entire horizon ahead of you and you have a clear view of everything at once.. and then, in a shallow breath, you drop down a slippery slope into the lowest valleys and loops unknown. Sometimes, you encounter tunnels that are dark.. and you emerge into a beautiful view of light. What’s important is that make it through each of these legs of life to see the light at the end of every dark moment

Right now? I’m in a tunnel just waiting to see the light at the end of it. Since my husband’s katana accident, things have been an absolute circus around my house. Between a stitch popping within the first 24 hours and the laceration just being deep and gaping, this wrist injury thrust me into the roll of “sort of single Mom”. Of course my husband was around, but in an instant, our usually shared chores all became mine -which is totally fine- because I didn’t want him lifting or moving the arm much because I was fearful another stitch would pop or he’d just overdo it. So I took on the roll of everything possible and made it work. It was a ton to take on.  But it wasn’t what broke me..  

A few days after the sword bite,  our family shared a virus. It just seemed that we couldn’t catch a break. I had to miss a 5K, missed training sessions, missed my Moms Weekend Out plans. I didn’t mind missing anything, what’s hard is that my races are strategically planned out to give me a “break”. Being cooped up in the house so much takes its toll. So around this time, I was looking forward to a slow down but I got a gas pedal instead.  

Now, I know plenty of people out there have it worse than us. I realize that, I do. And I’m so thankful for the life we had.. but it was just a lot at once and (initially) completely overwhelming.

So what am I whining about exactly? I just know that someone out there is struggling and I first want to say: You are NOT alone. Second, don’t be like me.. 

When things first got crazy, I tried to be Superwoman. I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.. and then I crash and burn. Give yourself a break. Reward yourself for every second you survive the chaos, because it’s an accomplishment to face AND overcome adversity. 

I know better but I do it anyways. After a week of my new chores list, I was irritable, tired. I was at a breaking point. I knew I needed to be patient, my family needed me, but between the chronic pain of my PCOS and the overwhelming task of keeping everyone hydrated, entertained and happy,  I was defeated and needed to be rescued somehow..

  • So what is PCOS? PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, we do know that 1 in 10 women suffer from this chronic illness. Despite the name containing the word “cystic”- cyst do not actually have to be present for someone to have PCOS. Women with PCOS experience excessive hair growth on the face and body, irregularities of the menstrual cycle, difficulty of weight loss or gain, mood swings,  difficulty sleeping,  etc. Those affected by PCOS are at an increased risk for diseases such as diabetes, heart attack, depression and cancer.

So, I’m in pain, I’m overwhelmed and there’s no time to escape for a quiet workout.. what do I do!? Oils and Jesus.  

I reached for my stress buster first (from my older blog) to help calm my nerves. Next, endoflex. While there are better options to help me feel better from Young Living, I haven’t added them to our arsenal– yet. So let’s talk about Endoflex. Endoflex is a brilliant blend that helps support and balance the hormonal system. It helps support metabolic function, aids in reducing brain fog and provides some relief from hormonal head tension. I rubbed a bit of endoflex on my ankles.  

After I oiled up, I went to my Digital WarRoom.. aka Pinterest board. I have a Board solely dedicated to scripture and faith. It has never failed me. No matter what I am going through in life.. my “picked for you” section always delivers and I know God is speaking to my heart, providing direction.  

So I open up my App and I see two that jump out at me on the first screen.. 

  • Psalms 6: 12 – “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

I read this and a rush of peace crashed over me. I was in pain but I also knew, in my heart, that everything would soon be okay..

The second scripture was: 

  • Psalms 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.”  

    I spent this weekend being pretty lazy, partially because I was recovering from the virus and had no choice.. and partially because I knew my body would crash and burn if I didn’t. I’m so glad I did. I have spent most of it covered in oil, majority in prayer and I feel better. 

    The light isn’t at the end of the tunnel yet but I can finally sense that it will eventually be here and I’m not afraid of being in the dark for so long anymore because there is a renewed sense of hope

    Sensory Pillows & Hope.

    At Greyson’s recent wellness check, we dabbled with the idea of ADHD with his pediatrician. He’s pretty textbook for symptoms but no official diagnosis is to be made until school teachers see it, too. Being the proactive Mom I am, I started researching things like sensory aids, ways of eating, etc. Of course, we started using Vetiver and other essential oils but I wanted more hands on, too. 

    Sensory toys are amazing for children with Autism, ADHD, anxiety.. Sensory toys improve the child’s daily functuous and improves the way they learn and develop. It does this by changing brain interactions to touch, sound, sight and movements. Even small amounts of sensory play can enhance a child’s ability to absorb information.  
    I also found that weighted blankets and/or toys are very beneficial. Weight in a blanket/toy provide pressure to receptors throughout the body.

    The pressure helps the body relax. Weighted toys help to feel safe and secure, like a warm hug would. 

    After pricing sensory and weighted toys, I was so discouraged at the pricing.  I understand why.. but it was definitely out of our budget for the time being. So I took to trusty Pinterest and found some ideas.  
    Cue two weeks later, I’m strolling through Walmart and I stumble across Mermaid pillows… and mermaid tablet covers. You know, those neat flip sequins fabric items. It dawns on me for a DIY. I saw some blankets where they would sew in.. and toys where they would stuff.. surely this could work? 

    So I couldn’t pass up the idea.. or the deal. The mermaid tablet cover was on sale for $2.50 at my local Walmart!  I picked up glass marble beads at our DollarTree, along with some sand, duct tape and zip lock bags. I got enough to make 2. Monkey see, Monkey Do. Surely Gage would want to mimic big brother! 

    I calculated how much weight would be needed to be beneficial for each boy.

    I found several sources that suggest occupational therapist recommend 10% of the child’s body weight + 1 to 2 lbs. 

    I used the sand and glass beads to full zip loc backs. I did a half and half mixture because I wanted them weighted but not super lumpy. Once I had the bags filled, I sealed the edges of the bags. Sand can get a bit messy and I didn’t want it all over the house if the case cover were somehow opened. 

    After I had them sealed, I grabbed some old t-shirts. I wish I’d taken a photo at this stage, but I forgot. I laid each bag side by side flat on the t-shirt and rolled it up. This added some extra cushion. The GREAT thing about the tablet covers were they were pre-sewn, had a zipper already, a carrying rope and the backside was a super soft velvet. Two textures for a low cost. 

    After the weighted bags were rolled safely into the old t-shirt, I tucked them into the tablet sleeve and zipped it up, Easy-Peasy! I’m sure you could sew different fabrics for different textures or even mermaid fabric on both side.. sewing just isn’t my strong suit so I took a short cut. 

    After finishing pillow/toy 1, I called Greyson and Shawn over to check it out and almost instantly got smiles of approval. I may or may not have snuck some Young Living in there, too. A cotton sheet of Vetiver,  Lavender,  Valor II, Peace & Calming II happened to find its way inside the sleeve.

     Greyson had been playing with the mermaid texture about a week before I could actually do the weights due to the Katana incident. He’d even “drawn” Baymax from Big Hero 6 for hid Dad earlier this too help his “booboo”. 

    So, funny story, as I look down  to work on Gage’s pillow, Shawn was taking Greyson’s for a “test drive”. I looked up and managed to sneak this gem. Enjoy! 

    It took me about 30 minutes, max, to finish both. The family has been enjoying them since! 

    They are officially kid tested, husband approved!  I can only hope this is the beginning of finding a journey that helps us better teach Greyson with methods that are beneficial to him.