Tags Posts tagged with "stress"

stress

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“They’re going to lead me to an early death!”

“They’re giving me gray hairs!”

Raise your hand if you’ve either thought or said these sentences out loud when it comes to raising kids. It’s a running “joke” among moms that our kids are going to kill us one of these days because of the stress they put us through, because parenting is NOT easy!

 

Rewarding? Yes.

Would we trade it for the world? No way!

Parenting can be a physical and emotional roller coaster for sure, but did you know that some research is showing that giving birth and raising children may actually age our cells prematurely? Yay.

Researchers analyzed information from 1,556 U.S. women ages 20 to 44 who took part in a national survey from 1999 to 2002. The study involved these women giving blood samples.

Researchers were interested in examining the women’s genetic material inside their cells, namely telomeres. These are “caps” on the end of chromosomes that prevent chromosomes from damage.

Telomeres naturally shorten as people age, but the structures don’t shorten at the same rate in every person. The longer a person’s telomeres are, the more times their cells could hypothetically still divide, research has shown. Thus, telomeres are considered a marker of biological age — that is, the age of a person’s cells, rather than the individual’s chronological age.”

The study showed that women who had given birth had telomeres that were on average, 4% shorter than women who had never given birth. The results suggest that a “history of live birth may be associated with shorter telomeres,” the researchers wrote in their abstract, which was presented this week at the meeting of the American Public HealthAssociation in Denver. [9 Uncommon Conditions That Pregnancy May Bring]

Further research needs to be done to prove why telomeres in mother’s seem to be shorter, but the standing hypothesis for now is that having children increases stress levels, and high stress in humans is linked to shorter telomeres.

So there you have it. We’re doomed! Or, you can take the study with a giant grain of salt… because we all know many many mothers who lived well into their 80’s and 90’s, and even past 100! In my opinion, it’s all about perception. We can choose to dwell on being stressed all the time and view motherhood as a never ending chore, or we can focus on the amazing blessing that our children are, and choose happiness. I for one choose the latter! Motherhood is one of the greatest opportunities I will ever take part in, and I am happy to give up the length of my telomeres for it.

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Most of us moms have experienced this scenario… it’s been a crazy week, the kitchen is a little bit out of sorts, and you’re starving. What do you grab to eat? Well, preparing a salad is out of the question because your counters are covered with kid stuff, bills, and appliances. You could make something, but the dishes need to be done still….so you end up grabbing a high carb snack from the pantry, or something from the freezer you can throw in the microwave. And since you didn’t treat yourself to a proper meal, come 9 pm you are starving, so you fill up on snacks again!

 

 

 

It’s a cycle that many busy moms are caught up in, but don’t want to admit, and it’s an easier fix than you think. Healthy choices typically require planning and preparation time, and when the very room required to prepare your food in is cluttered… it can very quickly kill any motivation you have to fix a healthy meal (or snack) for that matter.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales in Australia conducted a study with 100 college students who were split up into groups. Half in a “chaotic” kitchen and half in a tidy, organized kitchen.

They were then asked to remember a time when they felt in control or a time they felt out of control. Then they were given cookies, crackers and carrots to taste and rate. Participants in the chaotic kitchen (and in the out-of-control mindset) ate more cookies, about twice the calories’ worth than those in an “in-control” frame of mind in the tidy kitchen.

The results suggested that eating in a chaotic environment may derail your diet and actually wire your brain to eat more. Afterall, many humans eat more in stressful situations, and your messy kitchen can actually induce stress you may not be aware of.

A statement from the researchers:

Although a chaotic environment can create a vulnerability to making unhealthy food choices, one’s mindset in that environment can either trigger or buffer against that vulnerability.”

Living in a cluttered state alone can induce stress and hormone imbalances that are scientifically proven to lead to weight gain and obesity.

The moral of the story is to make your kitchen space a top priority when it comes to being tidy, clean and organized. Not only will it be easier to prepare healthier choices, but it will actually help diminish environmental stress that can lead to weight gain!

 

 

 

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I was very close to posting a recipe for Chocolaty Chex Mix tonight.  I even took meticulous pictures as I moved through each step of the recipe.  I gathered the ingredients and positioned them on the counter…(camera click.)  I melted the sugar and butter in a saucepan…(click.)  I slowly poured the caramel mixture over the cereal…(click…click.)  And then I created a festive representation of the Chex Mix in a white bowl with a plaid kitchen towel underneath it…(click, click, click.)  Then I had to sit for a minute, as I often need to, because my body was hurting and I felt dizzy.  It was in that moment, as I sat quietly in my family room, by only the light of my Christmas tree, that I accepted the reality that I just didn’t have the energy to write about chex mix.  I barely had it in me to keep my eyes open.  I had officially reached the point where the only thing I cared about was surviving the holidays.

Surviving the Holidays?”  Since when is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” something to just survive?  I’m pretty sure every frazzled mom, and every exhausted retail employee, and every underpaid teacher can relate to this to some degree.  But I’ll tell you what takes holiday stress to the next, sometimes unbearable, level.
Chronic Physical, Emotional, and/or Mental Pain
 
If you’re a generally healthy person, I’d like to encourage you to try and remember a time that you felt truly rotten. Imagine your last bout with a stomach virus, the flu, a kidney stone, a migraine headache, or a toothache that hurt so badly you were completely incapacitated.  Now I want you to imagine that while you’re suffering, the entire world suddenly says to you, “You still have to get out of bed!  It’s the Holidays!  It’s time for shopping, presents, baking and cooking, parties, and socializing.  There’s no time for you to be sick.  You have to get up now and be happy, and pretend that you don’t hurt. You have school parties to get to. You have company coming- you better start cleaning your house. Oh, and by the way, you need to make 57 Pinterest-worthy treats to take to your neighbors, friends, and teachers.” For people that are chronically sick or in pain, the holidays present the problem of trying to find energy resources that may just not exist.  Often the month of December is a painful reminder of all the things we desperately want to do, but can’t.
After years of forcing myself to do it all, and working hard to make everything so magical that I literally made myself sick, I gained some wisdom and realized it doesn’t have to be this way.  As much as it feels like it, there really isn’t a gun to my head, requiring that I do more than I can handle during the holidays.  I have put a list together of suggestions that will hopefully ease your burdens a bit and remind you that Christmas really is something to look forward to, and enjoy.
Talk About It
 
Patricia Fennell, MSW, LCSW-R hits the nail on the head when saying, “Holidays act like a lightning rod where all the physical and social concerns around chronic illness get really highlighted.  The demands and expectations around holidays can “out” people whose conditions were hardly noticeable. During the year, they spend so much of their energy working and handling the daily chores of living that they have little time left for socializing.  Come the holidays, they’re expected to show up and contribute.  Many chronic illnesses are ‘invisible.’  People go to work or volunteer or shuttle kids to school.  Most of the time, they don’t look sick.  When illness flares up, their pain is invisible.  Or they have bone-numbing fatigue, so bad that they can’t take a shower and go to the store in the same day.”  Unfortunately there’s a cultural misconception that says you’re not sick unless you look sick. This perception isn’t going to change unless we speak up.  I have found that most people would do anything to ease your burdens- but they can’t help if they aren’t aware that there is an issue.
Plan Ahead
 
 
 
I can’t stress this one enough.  Since unpredictability is the nature of the invisible illness beast, planning in advance and preparing for all contingencies is imperative. When preparing for parties or traveling, we may need to bring medication, mobility aids, fluids, and special foods.  Don’t be afraid to discuss your needs with the host or your family members.  We all want to participate in the holidays the way we always have- including cooking, decorating, and hosting gatherings.  To do these things, we will just need to prepare over the span of a few days or weeks.  If we rush around and try to do it all in one day, we are less likely to enjoy ourselves and we could even end up bedridden.
Ditch Unrealistic Expectations
 
 
 
In fact, get rid of all your expectations.  I once had a friend tell me that expectations are the root of all evil because they encourage you to pine over things that aren’t real, and ignore all the beautiful things in your life that actually do exist.  Of course it’s fun to create a beautiful table for Christmas dinner, or trim a picture-perfect tree- but only do these things if you truly enjoy them, and certainly not at the cost of your own health and sanity.  If you can’t do what you once did, you can still make new traditions that accommodate your limitations.  Whatever your idea of how Christmas is supposed to be, just remember that it doesn’t have to be like that for you to enjoy it and be truly happy.
Ignore Other’s Insensitive Comments
 
 
Louise, from the blog “Diseased, Divorced, & Dangerous says it best, “People often have their own ideas about what you should be doing with your life and this is none so evident as it is during the high stress month of December.  It’s when people’s opinions that should probably be kept to themselves come streaming out with a little shove from one too many drinks.   Whatever the unfortunate comment, it’s a good idea to remember their opinions are a reflection of them and not you.  When you’re sick you can’t win no matter what you do, whether you’re working and so you’re ‘not that sick really’ or not working and so you’re ‘exaggerating and not even trying to get better.’  As you can’t win, you may as well just do what makes you happy, and what you need to do for your health, even if it means missing a party or bringing your own ‘free-from’ food.  Embrace being the weirdo that leaves early, only drinks sparkling water, and has a handbag full of medication.
Respect Yourself
 
 
 
Respect your limitations.  Respect your right to enjoy the holidays.  Respect the fact that you are enough today, simply because you are a living, breathing person.
Serve Others
 
 
 
I can’t think of a better way to embrace the holiday spirit than to jump beyond ourselves to help others.  Just because we’re sick doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can do.  Get on the internet and order flowers for someone that is struggling.  If you’re having a particularly healthy day, offer to help with childcare, or housecleaning.  Spencer W. Kimball reminds us that, “Service to others deepens and sweetens this life while we are preparing to live in a better world.  It is by serving that we learn to serve.  When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective.  When we concern ourselves with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves.”  Talk about warm fuzzies!
Above all, let us remember what this time of year really means to us, and let’s focus on that.
I wish you warm, happy, and healthy holidays!

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Are you a little more irritable this time of year?  More tired? Do you just feel “down in the dumps” and lack energy? Many people who feel like they just have the “Holiday Blues” may actually be suffering from something more serious called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and it effects more than half a million Americans each year.

Dr. Jason Hershberger, Chair of Psychiatry at Brookdale Hospital in New York City says, “SAD usually occurs in those who already are diagnosed or afflicted with a type of depression. It occurs with the change of the seasons, beginning in the Fall and staying with you throughout the cold, dark winter months.”

“Your energy drops and your mood will swing.  Many shrug off the depressed feeling as the winter doldrums, denying that they be suffering from mid to severe seasonal depression”, he explained.

Researchers have found that the main culprit for SAD is typically the shorter days and lack of sunlight during the fall and winter months, but is also effected by age, sex, where you live and family history.

Dr. Hershberger adds, “If you are a young woman living far from the equator with a family history of SAD or a previous diagnosis of clinical depression or bipolar disorder, you are most at risk. Women are found to have more severe symptoms, while young people are often at higher risk than older adults.”

“Living far from the equator means there is less sunlight, especially during the winter. Any family or personal history of depression, bipolar disorder or SAD makes the disorder hereditary,” Hershberger explained.

If you suspect you may have SAD, it’s important to make a list of your symptoms and note any major life changes and/or difficulties you’ve gone through recently.  Take them to your doctor to discuss.

If you are diagnosed with SAD doctors will usually recommend phototherapy, which is “a form of light therapy to help your brain produce the chemicals, like serotonin, you need to feel healthier and happier,” Hershberger said. You can purchase light boxes from anywhere from about $100 to $300.

Antidepressant medication may also be prescribed along with counseling to help you learn how to cope with your stress and anxiety through the winter months.

More information about Seasonal Affective Disorder can be found at mayoclinic.org

 

 

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Hi, I’m Taylor Brock and I’m a local mom of 4 boys, a dog, and a loving husband.  I love to teach and empower women to become better than themselves and reach their full potential!
It is amazing how overwhelmed a mom can become trying to raise kids, keep a clean home, and work in or outside the home!
I can empathize with most women because I have had a husband before who wouldn’t help around the house or with kids, and I now have one who goes above and beyond. I have worked several years working 10-5 everyday, being single, coming home, and going straight to work taking care of kids. I have also worked less hours, being married, and was able to pick up the kids from school, and I have also been a stay at home parent. Everyone’s situation is different and no matter what your situation, there are ways to lessen the stress!
First, make a list of what you would LIKE to accomplish in a day. My list includes things like….
Cook Dinner
Work Out
Play with Kids
Chores
Have Time to Myself
What things do you HAVE to do on a daily basis? Write it down.
I HAVE to take the kids to school at 7:15 every morning, and I have to pick them up at 2:30 every afternoon. Those things HAVE to happen so I always clear time out of my day to do those things. Out of the list, prioritize from most important to least important. I know that the things I listed above are things that should happen everyday, but what is most important to you?
Second, get an early head start. I wake up at 6:15 every morning. I am able to get so much more done when I wake up early. It is always better to wake up before your children. At 6:30, my husband and I wake up the boys to get them ready for school. They know to brush their teeth, get dressed, brush their hair and make their beds. Then we have breakfast together, and leave to go to school.
Let me tell you a secret…
Having their rooms cleaned, helps a lot with not being so overwhelmed. How do their rooms stay clean? There are no toys in their room! We never have to worry about picking up toys in their room because they have their own playroom and they know the rules. After you are done playing with a toy, put it back before getting another one. Secondly, they know if they don’t make their beds in the morning they get 100 points (watch the video on “Disciplining Children” below) to find out what I am talking about, and they don’t want that. Proper discipline, although it can be time consuming, helps so much by decreasing how overwhelmed and stressed you are.
Another trick to help ease the morning rush, is that we have a place where we store our shoes by the front door (not in a basket) but in a shoe shelf and we don’t allow shoes in the house. My previous home I didn’t care whether they wore shoes in the house or not, and nearly every morning the kids would have a hard time finding their shoes! The floors were also a lot dirtier. Now that we have a no shoe policy and we keep all the shoes by the front door, its easy to find their shoes and be out the door and they are always on time for school.
We also keep their backpacks lined up or hung up by the front door so we never have to search for their backpack.  By 7:15 the kids are being dropped off at school. Now this is where your schedule might differ from mine.
I work from 10-2 M-TH. I have to leave the house by 9:20 to get to work on time. So between 7:30-9:30 this is what I do…
My husband and I go straight to the gym. I hate working out but I made a commitment that between 7:30-8:30 we would work out. It also helps with energy and gets you started for the day. The other good thing about doing it in the morning, is that I can shower and get ready afterwards and be ready for the day, rather than doing it later on and being all sweaty later. You can work out from home and there are good apps and videos on how to exercise from home too. I never liked working out and it had actually been years since I had worked out when I started, but my age must be creeping up on me because I can no longer eat whatever I want, and not exercise and still be thin. Now I have to work hard for it.
After the gym, I shower, and get ready for work. If you don’t work outside the home, than your schedule may be more flexible.  Now, it is hard for both stay at home and working moms. Stay at home moms, it can be boring because you do the same thing everyday and you might feel like your whole life is based on cleaning up and taking care of your kids. The day can get boring quick. For working moms, you are making money, but are overwhelmed when you come home and now have to work harder to get your home and family in order. The grass is greener where you water it. I don’t think one is better than the other because I do both. I always thought that if I got a job, my life would be happier, and when I got a job, that if I didn’t have a job I wouldn’t be overwhelmed. But you have to make the most out of what you have been given.
There are some things that are temporary, a young child, attending college, being single, living in a small house, working until the day you don’t have to work anymore. Realize these things are temporary. They will put a glitch or give you more things to deal with, but realize it is temporary and make the most out of the situation you are given. It’s hard but it won’t last forever. Just do what you can with what you have. The thing I love about my job now is that I am home when the kids get out of school, I pick them up, help them with their homework, and I can raise and teach them the way I want them to be raised and know me as the mom that was there for them. When I was single, I didn’t have the choice of getting off work when they were out of school. I had to work twice as hard just to provide a home and food for them. If you have the option to stay home or work, realize your kids need you. I honestly think working at home is harder than working at a store, but it pays off in the end. Make what you are given enjoyable. Switch up your schedule. You do not have to clean and work all day, take care of the kids, and clean some more. Change it up. Follow the tips I am about to give you to make it easier on yourself, but also learn to let some things go. The house does not have to be perfect all the time. Take time for you, and schedule things within your week to make each day different.
I don’t use a timed schedule. Pick out the most important things and don’t schedule anything for those times. For instance, if you go to church on Sunday between such and such time, you never schedule anything else between those times and you never miss it. You wouldn’t schedule a doctor’s appointment or go to a party during church hours because you set those times aside. The same thing can be done for scripture study doing it the same time everyday, working out, and for me, once a week on Monday evening, we always have Family Home Evening and nothing disrupts those times. On friday night, we plan an evening together as a family to go do something fun, and on Saturday, my husband and I have date nights. There are certain things each week, that should never change.
Now it doesn’t matter what time of day the things I am about to list happen, but at some point it should happen.
I don’t overwhelm myself with a list of chores to do. I just choose 3 chores that need to be done. I don’t have to accomplish everything that day, but atleast I accomplished something. It also leaves more time to yourself, and not hate cleaning so much.
If you are only doing 3 chores a day, how is your house staying clean? We have rules in this house. Clothes always go to laundry basket if they are dirty. There are never clothes lying around. We eat ONLY in the kitchen, so dishes are not all over the house. After the kids eat, they know to put their dishes in the sink. My husband and I help each other do dishes. Kids play with toys, but pick up after themselves or toys get taken away or they get more points (watch video), and on Friday they get a $5 allowance if they help us during the week, put their own clothes away after we sort the pile, make their beds, go to school, and do their homework.
My husband and I keep up on the laundry. As soon as the basket is full, we do the laundry and sort it together when it is clean, put our own clothes away and the kids put their own clothes away.
Another thing that will help if you are overwhelmed with a messy house, is if you get rid of stuff. The less you have the less you have to put away. The less clothes you have, the less you have to put away. You don’t need all these “things” to make you happy. You will be happier with less. I have never cried or remembered anything I got rid of after it was gone. Might have been hard at first but once it was gone, I didn’t care about it anymore. It was so much better having a clean house than keeping that “thing” in the house.
Next tip, is that you say “just 10 things” or “just ten minutes” and you clean up for that amount of time or put that amount of things away and that is it. It helps get you started and if you didn’t want to keep going after that time, than atleast you accomplished something. Instead of being overwhelmed by how messy a room is, just say “ok i am only going to clean up for ____minutes. I am only going to pick up and put away ____items. Just try it. You’ll love it.
If you are a working mom, stick to quick and easy meals you can make when you get home or prep a meal the night before or crockpot meals. If you are a stay at home mom you can cook whatever you want.
I like to make a difference, so I post on my blog or I will serve someone in need. I will use my talents to improve someone else’s life. If you do the same, you will feel better about yourself because you are not concentrating on you anymore or your life. There is a reason, God asks us to serve. It is because it makes us happy. I don’t have time everyday to do everything, but I can schedule it sometime in my week to change up my schedule and give me something else to look forward to.
My last couple tips include, getting your kids to bed early. After dinner, around 6:30, the boys take turns taking showers and getting ready for bed. By 7:30 I can read them a story, say prayers, and say goodnight to each one and give them a kiss. Kids want to feel loved. Getting them to bed early will not only give you more time to yourself or to you and your spouse, but children behave better when they get more sleep and have a routine. I also recommend that you spend even 5 min a day REALLY playing with your kids. My parents never really played with me and I wish they did but now that I am a parent I don’t really know how to play with them and booked my day so much that I never spent much time just BEING with them, PAYING ATTENTION to every word they are saying and PLAYING with them. Practice Mindful Parenting. Be fully present with your child as often as you can. One day while I was driving on the highway by myself, I lost control of the car and flipped my car going 75 miles an hour. I should have died. But while the car was flipping, all I could think about was, “I wish I spent more time with my boys and told them I loved them more.” I hugged my boys tighter that night knowing I was given another day to enjoy them. I never really enjoyed them before and was just an overwhelmed parent. I hate that it took an accident for me to realize how fragile and special life is and my children. Each day just pretend that tomorrow is your last day, that you will have to say goodbye to your children tomorrow. How will you treat them differently today? What will you say to them? What did you teach them that you want them to know or remember the most since you won’t be there to teach it to them later on that will get them through life.
Read my blog on “How to be happy” and other life lessons I have posted to help you in different areas of your life. I hope this post helps you in your life and to realize that not everything needs to be perfect. Remember what is important and make time for the important things in life. That should come before anything else, and if everyone chips in around the house, you all can have more quality, happy time together.

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Hi, I’m Taylor Brock and I’m a local mom of 4 boys, a dog, and a loving husband.  I love to teach and empower women to become better than themselves and reach their full potential. I have gone through so many trials that allow me to connect with women on a personal level. Since I have been through and overcome many trials, I want to help other women do the same. This is my story. 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you battle with depression or know someone who is? I have battled with depression most of my life and after the ups and downs, I still find myself asking sometimes, “How much longer do I have to fight for my life? God, you keep giving me trials and I just want to give up. I don’t want to fight anymore. I don’t want to live anymore. I just want it all to be over with.”

For those who want to give up, I know how you feel. Life is hard. Contradictory to what you may believe, relief comes through fighting, not by giving up. Want to know why? There are things in this world, you can do with a physical body that you can’t do with a spiritual body. If you left and you saw your child, husband, or family member hurting and crying day after day and also wanting to give up, it’s not like you can wrap your arms around them and comfort them or tell them you are there. The pain you feel now is temporary, but it can change. I wanted to end it all many times, but I want to tell you a story about the time God changed my mind.

“Is this really happening?” I thought as I held on tightly to the steering wheel, realizing my life was about to end. There was nothing I could do about it.  I no longer had control and was at the mercy of God’s angels. Although, I had wanted my life to end for years, I didn’t realize it was going to end so quickly and unexpectedly. My car flipped going 75 mph on the freeway, and I knew that there was no coming out alive once it was all over. I closed my eyes, not wanting to see what could be my last few seconds on earth.  Time slowed down drastically. As the car began to flip fast and with heavy force, even though it probably only lasted 5 seconds, I was able to have a conversation with myself for what seemed to last for a minute.

These thoughts came to my mind at the end of my life.

“Is this it? Is this where my life is going to end? God finally gave me a way out. I’ve been asking God to end my life for years. I don’t have to suffer through life anymore. How am I going to die? Is my neck going to snap? Will I be thrown out of the car? Will it hurt when I die? I hope I don’t feel it. My children! What will they do without me? Who will take care of them? My mom would be telling them I passed away tonight. They will be crying and wanting me back and  I won’t be able to comfort them or dry their tears. They will miss me everyday and need me and I won’t be there to help them. Who will comfort them when they cry and are down? Will they no longer enjoy their childhood without their mom? Did I tell them I love them today? Did I give them all the advice I can give them that will help them in life? How will they remember me? Did I make them feel loved everyday and give them memories to remember me by? I wish I enjoyed every moment with them and realized what a blessing it was even to hear their voice. I wish I held them tighter today. I wish I could hold them right now and assure them that they were my world. I wish I could tell them I love them one last time. I will miss all their milestones. I want to be there for them. You need to be there for them Taylor. You need to hold on and fight for your life one last time. Keep your head straight. Don’t let yourself be tossed around. You keep fighting and don’t let go because the second you let go, you will be tossed out of the car.”

I gripped the steering wheel and held my neck as straight and tight as I could to keep it from being whipped around and smashing into the window or pavement. I felt like the car kept flipping and I remember saying, “I don’t think I can hold on any longer. If it flips one more time, the force will toss me out. Try to keep holding on. ” Right then the car stopped rolling. It is a good thing I am short because the front end of my car was smashed in so deeply that I only had an inch or two from my head to the ceiling. The windows had all been smashed.  If I decided to let go, and become a casualty, I would have to see my children in spirit where I can’t tell them I am there watching over them. I can’t hold them and kiss them and tell them I love them. I can’t comfort them or dry their tears. I would be watching my children struggle through life without their mom.

I hung upside down in my car and opened my eyes. I was alive. I wasn’t even sure where my car was on the highway, but I felt like the roll over happened so quickly, that maybe the car behind me would ram against mine or run me over as I tried to exit my vehicle, but I didn’t want to be in the vehicle any longer. I unbuckled my seat belt and my head hit the ceiling. I struggled to crawl through the shattered window of my car, feeling the broken glass under my hands cutting into my skin. My bare legs slid across the glass on the pavement until I had room enough to get to my feet. I ran away from my wrecked vehicle toward the side of the road where it was safe.  A police officer only 100 feet away from the accident had witnessed the roll over and ran toward me. I started to run toward him and his pace slowed down and a look of fear came across his face. “Where are your children?” I turned around to look and saw my crushed up vehicle and then my children’s car seats in the middle of the freeway that had been thrown out of the vehicle during the roll over at 75 miles per hour. Relief came to my mind when I realized I didn’t bring the kids with me. They were at home with my parents. Relief came to the police officer once I told him they hadn’t been with me. I never expected this to happen, but life changing events never happen when we expect them too. In an instant, your whole life can change.

I was emotional because God gave me another chance to see what was really important in life. I had concentrated on how bad my life was for years that I forgot what was truly important. When I got home, my boys were asleep in my bed. I curled up in bed with my arms around each one balling and thanking God for giving me another day to hold my boys and kiss them and tell them I love them. For 10 years I was depressed because it was one trial after another and its hard to keep living when you don’t want to. I was raped, molested, my husband had cheated on me, abused me both mentally and physically, I was going through a divorce, I was living with my parents, I couldn’t provide for my children on my own and my life didn’t feel like it was going to get any better.

By the time I got home, none of that mattered. I was just so happy to see my boys and hold them one more time. I realized I was truly blessed. There were many days I thought about ending it all before the accident happened, and it felt like God just gave me a free pass to leave this world, but I chose to live. Why after years of asking God to end my life, did I not take it after I had the opportunity? Because life is valuable. Life is a gift. Even if I didn’t feel valuable, even if I was struggling, we are so blessed to be able to do things in this life that we can’t do in the spirit world, and I am so grateful God gave me that time to debate and remember what is important in life. The trial you are facing is hard, but the blessing God will give you after the trial will be greater. There were days I didn’t think I would ever feel whole again. I didn’t know how I would ever recover from my trials but I am glad I held on for one more day because God did make it up to me more than I could ever imagine. The constant pain and hurt I had felt all those years started to diminish and what was truly important in life gave me new hope and something to hold on to. I am not immune from trials or hurting. I still hurt, and I still face trials, but there is a blessing that will come from it. God will make it up to me and I know He will make it up to you too. I know this trial is hard for you, but just hold on because God will make it up to you. You will be happy again more than you ever have been. Yes! It’s true! It might take a while, but its worth it to hold on. It will get better, I promise. I know that if it weren’t for my kids, I would not be here today. And as hard as the battle was, I am glad I kept fighting even if the only thing I could do that day was to keep breathing, then just breathe. There would be times when I was hurting so much, something needed to happen. I could live, or I could die, but I wasn’t just going to stand there and rot away. I needed relief. Those times when you are THIS close to wanting to end it all, just remember this story. You just need to survive today. It WILL get better no matter what you think. There were times when I couldn’t even sleep and I would look for something harmful to do to myself that would distract me from the pain I was feeling on the inside, but I found something better. Instead of turning to cutting, drinking, smoking, drugs, pills, gamble, or whatever harmful thing you would normally do, pray, rent a funny movie, talk to a friend, read the scriptures, listen to uplifting songs, take a walk, go hold your kids, sleep if you can (might need to take a melatonin which is a natural sleep aid), exercise or clean, read uplifting stories and quotes and don’t stop till you feel better, and if you can’t do anything, then just breathe and remember what is truly important in life. Tell yourself, “God will make it up to me.” Ask God for help. He said “Joy comes in the morning.” When does morning begin? It begins at midnight. It’s still dark outside. 1 AM its dark, 2 AM its dark, 3 AM its dark. It might not seem like there will be joy because it is morning and its still dark outside, but the sun is about to break and you will see the dawn. Just hold on one more day__________. <insert your name here. Repeat that over and over.

God will not only give you daybreak, but he will give you the noon day sun when it’s all over. Breathe. Stay awake so you can see this out pour of blessings that will shortly come upon you. Everything is magnified when you are depressed. It may seem like your life is over or there is nothing to live for, but you haven’t seen your future. Only God can. Just as quickly as things can change for the worse, things can also change just as quickly for the better. You won’t expect it, but God will make it up to you in a way you wouldn’t expect. “If that unexpected crisis you are facing could stop you, be assured God would have never allowed it to happen. If that sudden challenge could have kept you from your destiny the most high God would not have permitted it.” “All things work together for your good to those who love God.” The key word is TOGETHER. A difficulty on it’s own may not make sense but when it all comes together one day, it will make sense.

You can read more from Taylor on her blog The Real Life Housewife

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My dad is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Air force.  As part of his training, he learned to fly airplanes.  I can imagine this is a stressful undertaking- at least it would be for me.  One of the pieces of advice his flight instructor gave him to stave off anxiety was to, “Wiggle your toes and relax.” 

The instructor was simply encouraging my dad to focus on something within his power, while the surge of adrenaline ran its natural course.

I have so many memories of my dad reminding me to do just that.  Those nights before a college exam, when my shoulders were bound, and my jaw was clenched, I could hear his voice- “Relax, Janet.  Just wiggle your toes.”   By offering this council, never once did he suggest that I avoid whatever it was that was stressing me out.  Life isn’t about averting and bypassing every scenario that poses a threat.  How boring would that be?

My dad’s flight instructor understood that once the plane was in the air, the pilot didn’t have the option to succumb to his anxiety.  He also grasped the reality that fear is inevitable, and should be viewed as nothing more than a temporary obstacle that can be overcome, more often than not, with practice, training, and perseverance.  Felix Baumgartner became my inspiration for overcoming the body’s natural reaction to scary situations when he jumped out of a capsule over 24 miles high and set the records for the highest manned balloon trip, highest skydive, and fastest skydive.  Fear doesn’t have to be the end all.  If you get scared- take a deep breath, say a prayer, wiggle your toes.  Do it anyway.

By Janet Schlosser @ forgetthefinishline.blogspot.com

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Have you ever let your kids fall asleep in their clothes?  Forget to sign their homework? Send them to school with a t-shirt from the dirty laundry pile (hey, it smelled ok).  We all mess up as parents from time to time, and some days we are just in survival mode.  I’ve been a parent for 16 years, and the older I get, the more I realize – it’s OK to fail sometimes!  Our kids don’t live in a perfect world, and for goodness sakes, we don’t need to be perfect parents to raise good children.

Commercials, magazines and websites like Pinterest are really good at making us feel like failures as we are bombarded with perfect images of perfectly dressed kids, and perfectly dressed moms, throwing perfect parties in their perfectly decorated homes!  We all know these ideals are unrealistic.  Finally one company is screaming reality with a new campaign.

Baby food company Plum Organics says, “If it feels like parenting isn’t always perfect, you’re doing it right.”

“The truth is that 99 percent of what parents are experiencing in their everyday lives is not reflected in the media, ads or their social media communications,” says Plum Organics co-founder and CEO Neil Grimmer. “We believe that there’s too much pressure on parents to be perfect.”

The company is encouraging parents to be real, and to share their real life experiences on social media with the hashtag #ParentingUnfiltered.  Their website ParentingUnfiltered.com also shares real life parenting fails and tips like serving breakfast for dinner on busy nights, and using diaper wipes to wash your baby to put off bath time until the next day.  Watch the video below to feel better about your day!

So. refreshing. Let’s talk about it!  What are some of your most REAL parenting fails?