family, health and wellness

…and then June happened.

Well, for two weeks we ate right, exercised, and were feeling good. We knew that Michael and Steve were going to church camp with the youth group the second week of June, so Paleo was kind of out the window. Camp food is camp food. Early mornings and late nights. Just as it should be. Lauren and I stayed home because she is home from college and we had a room in the house to get cleaned out. Her room. I had used it as a storage room for all the things when we had wood floors put in and I had not emptied all of the boxes by the time she was home. She has been none too pleased to be sleeping on the top bunk in Michael’s room. So, we had plenty to do. There was no reason for us to stop exercising or eating right, but somewhere in between getting the boys packed, snacks purchased, and them sent on their way, I lost my mind and abandoned the exercise/eating right routine we had begun to establish. 

Lauren and I did get the room cleaned out. I even got the yard mowed while they were away. However, exercise was non-existent, as was the healthy eating. Somehow, I convinced myself that a box of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls and binge watching Dowton Abbey (yes, I know everyone else watched it like six years ago) was the new order of the day…every day…like four seasons worth. I know. I know, but we could get back on track next week. Right?

Life has a funny way of marching on where it will, even if the direction it marches isn’t where we intended. Steve and Michael had a good week at camp. They walked all over the Charleston Southern campus and despite the bus having a bit of trouble on the way, they all made it there and back home safe and sound. I thought that we could just get back into the swing of things when they got back, but God had other plans. Steve received word of a sweet family member’s passing in St. Louis and a couple of days later, I received word of my dear Uncle Jim’s passing. It was a long week, but we are so thankful that the services fell so that we were able to attend both of them. Trips were soon scheduled for Mississippi and Illinois and we got busy cooking Lauren’s meals for the trip and packing. 

Attending funerals has a way of presenting a crystal clear picture of how quickly time passes. I was reunited with cousins I had not seen for twenty to thirty years and met some of their children, who are practically grown themselves. I gave hugs to aunts and uncles that, in my mind’s memory, are 50, but in reality are now in their 70’s and 80’s. Waters muddied as we little cousins took for granted seeing each other at big family get togethers every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Fourth of July. Somewhere along the way, we all grew up, got married, had children, raised them, and are living our lives in respective states all over. Some of us have sons in law or daughters in law. Some of us have grandchildren now. It seems that life is so busy as we raise our own families that we have lost touch…or at least it feels that way to me. It makes my heart ache a little. I am grateful for seeing those I was able to see for the short time we had to spend together. It warmed my heart to see the new little family members and meet the teenage cousins that reminded me of what their parents looked like when we were growing up. That made me smile. 

We arrived home just in time to get ready for another good-bye. Our beloved pastor of our church in Alabama is moving on to a new chaper in his life. We were blessed to have him for fifteen years. I was blessed to sing with our choir at his last service with us. It was a nice celebration of him and his family. We love them. We will miss them, and we are grateful to have served with them. 

As I finish writing this post my family is on the road once again. We are coming home from a visit to Arkansas to visit my father in law and step mother in law. We have travelled like crazy this month. None of it planned, but all of it necessary. Time absolutely does march on and we are being more intentional about taking time to visit more often and spend time together. We had a good visit with our family in Arkansas. We showed our kids our old stomping grounds like the high school we graduated from, the college we met at, the church we got married in, etc… We had good conversations along the way. 

Over the month of June, I have been learning that balance and flexibility of all the things are the order of the day. Eating healthy and exercising are what we strive to do most of the time, but traveling to spend time with loved ones and pay our respects to loved ones that have passed on is important, too. The burpees, sit ups, wall balls, and paleo food will be waiting on us when we get back home.  For the month month of June, they turned out not to be the most important of all the things.

health and wellness, Uncategorized

Elderberry Syrup




I had a make and take at the house a few weeks ago.  We had so much fun catching up with each other and talking health and wellness.  We made elderberry syrup.  I had been to a friend’s house last year and watched her make some.  That is when I started taking a teaspoon every day.  Elderberries are rich in minerals and vitamins. They are also a great source of dietary fiber.

What are some reasons to take elderberry syrup?

  • to keep your immune system strong
  • for improved bowel function
  • to build your immune system back up after an illness
  • to help shorten the duration of an illness

According to, a cup of elderberries contains the following vitamins and minerals: 870 milligrams of vitamin A, 406 milligrams of potassium, 52.2 milligrams of vitamin C, 9 milligrams of folate, 55 milligrams of calcium, and 2.32 milligrams of iron.

I purchased a 1 pound bag of freeze-dried elderberries and some raw honey.  I also set out several Young Living vitality oils to add in for extra support.  It is really easy.  I loosely followed a recipe from I will post what I did below and also the link to the recipe I followed.

Here is what I used:

1 cup of elderberries

4 cups of purified water (I have a Berkey)

2 tsp raw honey or maple syrup (add more or less to taste)

Young Living vitality oils  (orange, lemon, thieves, clove, ginger, cinnamon, etc…)

Why put Young Living vitality essential oils in?

Well for one, flavor.  If you want a kick, you could put in cinnamon, clove, or thieves.  If you would like for it to have a citrus flavor, orange or lemon would be good.  Another reason to add vitality essential oils is for the added health benefit.  Clove, for instance, is a super strong antioxidant, so it is a great immune system support.  Cinnamon is high in trans-cinnamaldehyde.  Research it.  Good stuff.  Lemon is a great source of vitamin C and D-limonene.  Orange is another immune system boosting oil.


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  1. Add 1 cup of elderberries to 4 cups of boiling water.
  2. Simmer on stove for 45 minutes until the liquid has been reduced by half.
  3. Remove from the stove and allow to cool until just warm enough for the honey to melt.  This will preserve the properties of the honey and essential oils.
  4. Strain berries through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Pour into glass containers. (We used 8 ounce mason jars)
  6. Add in honey (or maple syrup, if using) and vitality essential oils
  7. Enjoy!

Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh. Adults take 1 tsp a day, children 1/2 tsp a day.



Here is the link to the recipe that was used at the first elderberry making class I went to.



Living Every Moment!


Phew!  Where did September go?  We have been going non-stop every weekend!  A wedding, a wedding reception, a BMX State Championship, and an essential oil roller bottle Make and Take class at the house.  I am exhausted!

Earlier in the month I spent three days in Mississippi with my sister as she prepared for her daughter’s wedding.  There was so much to do, the days went by in a flash.  It was beautiful, but hot.  That’s the south in the summer!  It was nice seeing family.

The very next weekend, I had some lovely ladies over to catch up on our kids and families, and to discuss how to stay above the wellness line now that school is back in session.  Everyone had a great time talking and learning each other’s secrets on health and wellness.  We made essential oil roller bottles to take home and put in our wellness toolboxes.  We also had a special treat of lavender lemonade and peppermint brownies!


Our third weekend in September was spent in Dothan, Alabama where Steve raced in the Alabama BMX State Championships.  He came away with the #1 plate for his class.  I am just thankful for no broken bones or concussions!  I swear sometimes I think he is just trying to give me a heart attack, so he can get himself a younger woman!  Anyway, it was a good weekend, too, but of course, very hot!

Just a few days ago, we got back from St. Louis, Missouri and southern Illinois.  We attended Steve’s cousin’s wedding reception and since we were so close to where he grew up, we met more family out at the home place early Saturday morning, before the reception in St. Louis that afternoon.  The farm where his father and six siblings were raised is quiet, out in the country, and very relaxing.  Another of his cousins, Shelby, and her husband, Eric, met us out there with their 4-wheeler and Polaris side by side.  Michael got his first driving lesson from Eric in the Polaris.  He loved it!  Steve and I rode the 4 wheeler behind them.  We had beautiful weather.  It feels like the beginning of Fall in Illinois – a nice break from the heat of the south.  Shelby brought a breakfast pizza and strawberry milk in a glass container from the Chester Dairy.  Steve said it was just like when he was a kid.

We then loaded up and headed to our hotel in St. Louis to get ready for the reception.  We had the best time.  It was so nice meeting our new family and spending time with everyone.  We sat around talking and laughing as stories were told and memories were shared.  We ate good food and danced and visited until evening.  It really was a wonderful day.  The next day we were able to see more family members out where they were harvesting corn.  We got an up close and personal view of the farm equipment and just how hard farmers work.  We had homemade chicken and dumplings at St. John’s Lutheran of Breman where Steve was able to connect with more old friends and family and then we headed back home to Alabama.

I will say that I am worn out and am still doing laundry, but I will also say that this is life.  Sometimes you are extremely busy and on the go and sometimes you are at home and things are a little slower.  I love it all.  I love being at home and getting things done around the house, or going for an evening walk after dinner, but I also love getting to see family that we don’t see very often due to distance and life.  In the end, when I am older and not able to do All the Things, I will look back and hopefully remember that I lived EVERY moment and did All The Things, and had no regrets!





The Power of Our Thoughts

jad-limcaco-256487-unsplash“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right either way.”  Henry Ford

Lately, I have been studying conscious language and the power of what we say to ourselves.  Actually, I didn’t set out to study this.  The subject just keeps finding its way into every article I read, devotional I do, video I watch, radio program I listen to.  You think God is trying to tell me something?

Well, I do.

You see, I struggle with depression.  Deep, dark, ugly depression…and when I say struggle, I mean fighting it tooth and nail most days, feeling like it has won.  What I have learned about this state of mind is that it doesn’t just stay on the inside.  It oozes out and seeps into every tiny crevice of my life.  Why do I mind?  Why should I care?  It’s just how I feel. Right?  Wrong.  Thinking negatively turns into speaking negatively, which then shapes those within my sphere of influence – my children, my husband, my friends, my coworkers.  It shapes how I feel, how I look, how I perceive everything and how others perceive me.  Soon, what happens?  My words create my world, whether I intended that or not.

So, what do I do with this world that I’ve created?   What a mess!  How do I turn the ship around?   I have found that a negative thought pattern that is ingrained in the brain is a terrible place to be, however, there is hope.  There are physical things we can do and there are spiritual things that we can do to flip the switch, so to speak.  I don’t think it is easy for anyone who struggles with this, but I do believe it is possible.  For with God, ALL THINGS are possible.  Matthew 19:26.  Living an intentional life is just that. Intentional.  If I wake up grumpy and filled with anger and frustration, I will reap anger and frustration if that is all that I sow.  If I continue to think about, mull over and fuss about that which upsets me, then, my attitude will be negative and I am going to have a bad day.  If I step out of the shower and say His mercies are new EVERY morning, this is the day that the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever can be admired, if there is anything excellent or praiseworthy, think on such things – then I have chosen to change my thinking and I can pray that the Lord will honor His word and bless me with a good day.  For He is faithful to watch over His word to perform it.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I KNOW that it is not easy and there are days where, nope, my day still stunk.  I deal with chronic pain from degenerative discs and exhaustion from adrenal fatigue and I have two special needs children.  LIFE is not easy.  So, what else can I do?  Rest is important.   Vitamins and supplements to support my health are important.  Exercise is important.  (Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.  Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.  They just don’t.)   Ha ha.  It is true that exercise does make me feel better and I absolutely believe in the power of proper nutrition and vitamin supplementation.

When I fail miserably and give in to the anger and irritability, and sadness, it feels terrible.  Isaiah 55:6-7 says: Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.  Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.  Let them turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.  I ask forgiveness for my stinkin’ thinkin’ and I try again.  Life is God’s gift to me.  What I do with it is my gift to him.  So, tomorrow is a new day.







Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?


This year has been pretty brutal with regards to the flu, bronchitis, the stomach bug… you name it and we know someone who has had it.  The news is covered with stories on the latest area to be stricken.  Schools with low attendance, workplaces with hand sanitizer stations just inside every entrance, and grocery store shelves empty where tissue boxes, cough syrups, and fever reducers used to be.  The waiting rooms in all of the urgent care clinics in our area are filled with people suffering from these awful illnesses.

I am so thankful that we have had an unusually healthy Fall and Winter season in our household this year.  I can remember a time when our youngest had strep throat almost every Thanksgiving.  Yes, I mean on Thanksgiving.  It never failed.  If we were supposed to be going out-of-town, he would get sick the day before.  Bless his heart.  He would spend the day on the couch with a bowl, a washcloth, and a cup of Gatorade.  It seemed every Fall our two youngest would get the sniffles and the stuffy nose and congestion would just stay with them almost all Winter long.  Not really sick, but not really healthy or well either.  I remember one Valentine’s Day, I had already been sick for about a month and had an asthma type attack at work.  I had to leave and go to the doctor.  I had developed Bronchitis and was prescribed an inhaler and other meds.  The last couple of  years has been remarkably calm for our family and again – I am so very thankful.

So what changed?  Have we just been lucky this year?  Extra blessed?  I don’t think that’s it.  I thought this would be a good place to just think about and write down the changes we have been making over the last couple of years and how I believe they have helped and maybe how they might help you, too.  These are the big things that I believe have helped our family stay above the wellness line, so to speak.

We try to limit the amount of sugar we consume.  Excess sugar depresses immunity.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  We still ordered Girl Scout cookies.  We aren’t crazy!  We just watch the amount of sugar we consume and cut it out where we can.  I use raw Stevia in my coffee, for example.  I don’t drink coffee every day because it has a tendency to make me too acidic.  When our bodies are too acidic, disease can take root.

My son now drinks non fluoridated water and uses non fluoridated toothpaste.  We have been trying to reduce as much inflammation in his body and brain as we can.  This has proven, for us, to help him tremendously.  We also use aluminum free deodorant for the same reason.  We try to eat less inflammatory foods, such as dairy, grains, and soy.  Reducing things that cause inflammation in the body has been key.

My family started using essential oils last April.  We began that journey when our daughter had a severe eczema flare and nothing else we tried helped.  As a result of venturing into the world of essential oils we stumbled upon a super fruit drink called Ningxia Red.  It is a highly concentrated blend of super fruits, the wolfberry, and essential oils.  It helps support the immune system and is high in nutrients and anti-oxidants.  This has been a game changer for our family.  I will post another article on how this has helped our autistic son tremendously.

The last thing I believe that has helped us stay above the wellness line is the reduction in the use of toxins in our home.  I used to love to burn candles.  I was unaware of the dangerous chemicals released into the air when burning candles.  Most candles are made of paraffin wax, which emits highly toxic benzene and toluene when burned.  We have stopped using aerosol sprays that contain highly toxic chemicals like regular household cleaners.  The ingredients in some widely used disinfectant cleaners are highly toxic and can disrupt our endocrine and respiratory systems.  We are still in the process of replacing our cleaning supplies with non-toxic ones that won’t harm our bodies.

Now, I know that even doing all of this doesn’t make it impossible for us to get sick.  I just hope that by making these changes we stay healthy more often.  Each of these changes are simple, but I believe they add up.  As we eat healthier and take vitamins and supplements that strengthen our immune systems and rid our homes of as many toxic chemicals as possible, we get stronger and healthier.  Praying that you find all the things that help you and your family stay healthy, too.