An Attack On Your Identity

The human mind seems to be the enemy’s main target. Did you know that a random ungodly thought isn’t sin?

It’s a temptation.

What you do with that thought is what matters. If you entertain it or act on it, then it becomes a sin.

Did you know that a random feeling of hatred, anger or any negative emotion isn’t sin?

Again, it’s a temptation that will become sin if we don’t process it and then handle it appropriately.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

This is one of my favorite verses. To live it out brings peace of mind.

If we take captive those random thoughts that disrupt our peace it will transform our minds.

All that to say: The devil will try to make himself the king of your thoughts and one his favorite areas to attack is your identity.

As I’ve studied identity, I realized that Jesus’ identity too, was brought into question by the devil.

That is so crazy to me.

Matthew 4 tells us the story:

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a](B) by the devil.(C) After fasting forty days and forty nights,(D) he was hungry. The tempter(E) came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God,(F) tell these stones to become bread.”

Here’s some points that I found fascinating.

Jesus was led into the wilderness by THE SPIRIT. In other words when we follow the Holy Spirit he will lead us through the wilderness because (in my opinion) it is in the wilderness that faith is built.

The devil attacked after Jesus fasted. It is those times when we intentionally pursue the heart of the Father that the devil is most interested in our lives. A mediocre christian life is not a threat to him. It is a life that pursues Jesus, a life that is willing to follow God to the ends of the earth that will change the world. And that, is what the devil fears the most.

The devil attacked when he was hungry. There’s a few takeaways here… Hunger, more or less, weakens us physically, which says the devil sees a weakened physical state as an opportunity to attack. Hunger is also a distraction. You know how the hungrier you get the more your focus shifts from your task to your next meal? Being distracted by whatever it may be, is an opportunity for attack.

The devil attacked Jesus’ identity. If you are the son of God, tell these stones to become bread. Can’t you just feel the challenge there? If you are the son of God… A challenge to do, say or act a certain way to prove that our identity as a son or daughter of God is legit.

As I’ve been thinking about this I’ve realized that when the devil attacks, it is often an attack on our identity because when we are fully confident in our identity as a son or daughter of not only a King but the KING OF KINGS, we will be unstoppable. Being a child of a King happens through birth (or in this case, by being born again.) It is not something we can accomplish by our own merit.

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

When Jesus was tempted his response was to turn to scripture. I love that. I believe scripture is a powerful tool against temptation. Name your greatest temptation, find a verse that tells you why giving in to this temptation isn’t worth it, then when you feel tempted remind yourself of your verse.

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city(H) and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,”(I) he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c](J)

This, in my opinion, is an example, of a temptation to abuse the grace of God… “If you are the Son of God,”(I) he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written…

Translation: Go do something stupid the Bible says you’re covered.

Another thing to note is the way the devil starts quotting scripture. If someone brings scripture into a situation, we automatically start backing down because to argue with scripture is to argue with God, right?

Wrong.

First of all, arguing scripture will get you nowhere so my suggestion is to simply walk away when this happens, BUT, it’s also important to recognize that devil often uses scripture to silence you.

How do you know if it’s from God or the devil?

If it’s from God, it will bring conviction (a feeling of ‘I was wrong, let’s fix this.’) If it’s from the devil it will bring condemnation ( a feeling of ‘oh my goodness, I was an idiot!’)

Scripture from God is used in the correct context, while the devil will twist it to fit his cause, which you can see from the above verse.

Last but not least, here too, he clearly questioned Jesus’ identity, ‘If you are the Son of God…’

Again Jesus simply brings his own verse to the battle, a verse that clearly points out how the devil manipulated the scripture he had used. Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

In conclusion: if you’re a born again Christian the devil will question and attempt to make you doubt your identity as a child of the King, but as you see here, he did it to Jesus too.

On another note… I started this blog a month or maybe even two months ago. Most of my blogs just kinda fall together but then there’s some that don’t make sense even to myself so I never finish them… and this one… I think it might fall under the ‘ not make sense’ category, but I mentioned it to Lillian (you know who you are.😁) and she encouraged me to finish it so… here we are! I typed, retyped and then typed again! I deleted entire paragraphs and replaced them with something completely different but eventually I managed to finish it.😅

My point is, this is probably my most time consuming blog ever and I really, really hope it makes sense!!🙃

Understanding Suicide

A common question asked is, ‘How does someone reach the point where they have no desire to live?’

I believe that the answer to that is quite simply, ‘They don’t.’

Human’s will take crazy, extreme measures to survive, to escape a threat to their physical safety. We’ve probably all seen the pictures of people trying to escape the building on 9/11 or more recently in Afghanistan.

In a moment of danger the rational part of our brain will shut down and we instinctively respond in one of four ways: flight, fight, freeze or appease.

Flight: get as far from the situation as possible.

Fight: take out the source of danger.

Freeze: shut down physically, lack of action.

Appease: pacify whoever or whatever in hopes of calming the storm.

In each of those, again, survival is the goal even when the rational part of our brain shuts down.

So, why does suicide exist?

John 10:10 says: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

The thief (devil) comes to KILL.

I believe that the devil has a hit list. If you’re a christian, you’re on it, if you’re an influential christian your name moves up on that list. The greater your influence the higher on that list your name will be.

Now, before you freak out, you might want to remember that the devil is also powerless. He accomplishes nothing that God doesn’t allow.

However, God gave us all the freedom to make our own choices. So, just because God allowed it does not mean he approved it.

A tormented mind.

I believe that suicide is the result of torment rather then depression.

I believe that suicide is 100% demonic. A demon whose only job is to convince a person, not that life isn’t worth living but that they aren’t worthy of life.

It will point out a person’s every failure and mistake. It will remind us of all the times we hurt someone, it will point out all our weaknesses and all the things we struggle to overcome.

It will not point a single thing that you’ve accomplished or done right.

This demon called suicide has no power over a person’s life as long as they don’t agree with it, but once they agree with one thought it will push the next thought until it has woven a person so tightly in it’s web that the voice of condemnation is the only voice the person hears anymore.

Over time a person’s resistance is worn down because we aren’t strong enough to stand against demonic forces on our own. Eventually, the lies win and a person can be fully convinced that their family, friends and even the world in general would better off without them.

How does this demon gain access to our life?

Demons cannot enter your life without an open door. They cannot access your life unless you agree to let them, more or less.

An open door, so to speak, can be unrepentant sin, wrong beliefs, trauma or dabbling with the occult. Maybe there’s more but those are the big ones that come to mind.

Living in unrepentant sin, is an open door for demonic torment. This is pretty easy to understand as sin is from the devil and separates us from the father.

Wrong beliefs are an open door to demonic torment because if our beliefs don’t line up with the truths found in the Bible, then it isn’t from God, which means are, more or less, we are entertaining thoughts the devil planted there.

Dabbling in the occult is an open door to demonic torment because the occult is the devil’s playground. This one’s pretty self-explanatory.

Trauma actually covers a host of things such as physical, sexual, psychological or spiritual abuse, or it can be any traumatizing life event: car accident, sudden death, prolonged illness, deep betrayal by someone we love, to name a few. Trauma covers a broad spectrum.

Matthew 4: 1-3 says: Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.

The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread.” (Message translation)

The devil ‘played on his hunger.’ My personal interpretation of this is simply that the devil chose to attack when Jesus was in a weakened state. Trauma momentarily puts us in a weakened state, therefore it becomes an open door.

However, the devil can’t just walk in and make himself at home even if the door is open. You’ve got to invite him in. We do this by believing (or coming into agreement) with the lies he’s telling us.

Once we agree with him we’ve given him the right to enter.

Once he’s in, the mental torment begins and he won’t leave till you kick him out.

How to get free.

Renounce the lie. Whatever it is that you’re telling yourself, replace it with the truth.

Next, tell the demon to get out of your life, literally. Tell it to go, you’ve renounced the lie, therefore you’ve rescinded it’s invitation and it no longer has a right to stay.

James 5:16 says: Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.

Find someone to talk to, someone you trust enough to share your story with, invite them into the darkest parts of your battle. This can be a professional counselor, a mentor (this is what I recommend most) or a friend.

When you invite this person in, when they process and pray with you, I can’t quite explain it but this is where healing can begin.

Through this process you also need to identify and close that open door. Repent of any sin and pursue healing of any deep heart wounds.

Jake Kail, Pastor of Threshold church, has some great resources: podcast, books, and social media pages on this subject if you’re interested in more in depth information on this topic. A good starting place is his book, ‘Keys For Deliverance.’

How to stay free.

Getting free is simple but the devil doesn’t like to lose, so his next step is to try to convince you that nothing actually changed and you will be stuck in this hopeless situation forever.

Let’s go back to Matthew 4 verse 3-4 say: The tempter(E) came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God,(F) tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

When the devil tempted Jesus, Jesus’ response was to quote scripture.

The Bible, I believe, is our most powerful weapon against spiritual warfare.

Find a verse that fits your situation and when the devil brings his lies, quote your scripture back at him.

Worship is also a powerful resource because it turns your focus from the devil to God, and also the devil isn’t going to stick around to watch you worship his worst enemy.

Persistence is key here because eventually the devil will realize that he has lost and he will leave you alone in this area.

God already won.

I believe we need to be aware of the devil’s strategies to a certain point because when we understand it we then have the power to bring change and freedom.

I also feel like sometimes we get hung up on the devil’s capabilities and forget that when Jesus died on the cross he declared, ‘It is finished.’ He won the battle for once and for all. The devil might attack but God is always bigger, stronger and more capable. We are fully and completely protected as long as we are abiding in him.

looking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]finisher of our faith, (A)who for the joy that was set before Him (B)endured the cross, despising the shame, and (C)has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

This Is My Why

Human behavior.

It is a thing that has fascinated me, my entire life.

As a kid in school I remember wondering why some kids followed the rules while others seemed bent on breaking every single one of them.

As a teen that curiosity turned into wondering why some teens partied while others seemed to have no desire too.

This is when I started actively searching for answers to these questions. I read so. many. books.😆 And googled things. And I studied the people around me.

Fast forward to my mid twenties we did foster care for a bit which means we did training on the different kinds of trauma that kids in the system deal with.

This was the moment when so many pieces to the puzzle suddenly fit together. This was the moment when my fascination (and my studying) shifted from psychology in general to a more targeted focus on trauma.

At this time we were also attending Threshold church which focuses largely on deliverance ministry. I learned so much there on inner healing and what it looks like to walk in the complete freedom. Jesus paid the price for our freedom (complete and totally unhindered freedom) on the cross. It is my deepest desire to see everyone learn how to access that freedom.

It was this season in my life that I realized… The medical (psychology) world has only half the knowledge they need to help people walk in freedom and the church only has half the knowledge they need to help people walk in the freedom of Christ.

Logic says if you take two halves, it makes a whole right?

At this point, instead of separating spiritual and medical I started interweaving the two. Since we are tridimensional beings (body, soul and spirit) it only makes sense that all three play a part in our pursuit of emotional freedom.

By combing the two, so many more pieces to the puzzle, again, suddenly fell into place.

This method of studying psychology by recognizing body, soul and spirit as all playing a part in our mental health is recognized on a very small scale. Psychology as the world knows it has not yet fully grasped this.

It is my opinion that God is doing a new thing in the psychology world. I believe that instead of medicating PTSD, anxiety, depression, chronic illness and trauma of all kinds, we are going to see complete healing. We are going to see people walk FREE! I believe that God is raising up people with a new and deeper understanding to mental health.

(There seems to be more and more people that are grasping this concept but it isn’t taught on a large scale yet.)

And this. This is my why.

I have seen pain and bondage ( u cant live in this world and not see it.)

I have also seen people walk in freedom.

I have experienced that freedom.

And that is my why.

To see change for the better, to see people walk in freedom, to understand why people act the way they do, to understand their pain, to cultivate compassion. This is my why.

This is why I have dumped hours upon hours of time and energy into learning and attempting to understand human behavior. Because when we understand something we then have the power to change it.

This is my why.

Now, it is my goal to share everything I’ve learned because it is my heart’s desire to see as many people as possible find healing from their past wounds and trauma and walk in the complete freedom that Jesus purchased on the cross.

In Conclusion…

I have blogged about many things but this is a subject that even though I have studied it for the last 10-15 years I have never really blogged about it.

Why not?

Because writing the other blogs was like babysitting other peoples children. If you thought they were or weren’t cute was pretty irrelevant.

But this subject… this is my baby. So, if you tell me it isnt cute, I will be deeply offended.🤨 Kidding.🤪 But really… This subject, the things I learned were cultivated through my own blood, sweat and tears. (Not literally. Why do people even say that?!)😅

Moving on…

Earlier this year I seriously considered shutting my blog down, because we have 2 babies + 3 other kids and it seems I never have time to write, but then the babies grew up a bit, Kenz and Kynaston are in school so I now have a wee bit more time and with those extra 3 minutes a day came this insatiable desire to start blogging about the the things I’ve learned on psychology.

So, here we are.

My goal is to blog as I have time and for now share mostly on Instagram.

So, if this is a subject that interests you, feel free to follow along!

Recognizing Our Different Opinions As A Good Thing.

Alright.

Take a deep breath.

Exhale slowly.

Do it again.

Just breathe.

That was for me, not for you, because the subject that’s on my mind gives me high blood pressure.

Let’s Unpack Grace.

More specifically: God’s grace.

I believe it is simultaneously one of the most abused and underused gifts of God.

It is abused because it doesn’t cover sin. It does cover sin we have repented of, but I don’t believe that it covers sin we are actively, unrepentantly living in.

It is underused because we often repent of our sin but continue to carry the shame of this sin, rather then recognizing that through the grace of God, it is fully covered and paid for, by the blood of the lamb.

It is abused because we allow professing christians to live in unrepentant sin (sins that the Bible calls out as sin) and call it grace and love.

It is underused because we verbally assault people simply because disagree with their actions, choices or opinions (actions that the Bible isn’t clear on, one way or another.

What’s your gift?

I’m in no way or means a pro Bible interpreter so bare with me here but this my interpretation of Ephesians 4:

1-3 In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

4-6 You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

7-13 But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is,

He climbed the high mountain,
He captured the enemy and seized the plunder,
He handed it all out in gifts to the people.

Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

14-16 No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are easy prey for predators. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.

There is much more to unpack here then I’m capable of covering in one blog so if you’re interested, go pick it apart some more.

The first couple verses tell us to walk in what God has called us to do, it also gives instruction/direction on how to do that.

This next part really gets me though… and it seems to me we’ve missed this point…

But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift.

Did u notice the part where we’re supposed to have varying opinions?

Ok, so it doesn’t say exactly that but still.

He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

He gave us different gifts (it is my opinion that every single believer has one of these gifts, although they might not actually use it in a church setting.)

In other words, you can have a pastor’s heart in how you respond to people but you might not actually be a pastor. Make sense?

The gifts explained:

Apostle: Identifies sin, strongholds etc and pushes back. The apostle actively takes back ground that the devil is currently in possession of.

When the apostle recognizes sin, injustices etc. his reaction is to fight back.

Prophet: Calls out truth. The prophet can usually clearly see the difference between good and evil.

When the prophet recognizes sin, injustices etc. his reaction is usually to call out sin and promote the truth. This is often done passionately because they can clearly see things that most people are confused about.

Teacher: Teaches the truth. The teacher usually has a strong desire to eradicate misuse of scripture and to interpret it correctly.

In all honesty, I’m not entirely clear on the teachers role but i picture them as more mild tempered. As in… I’m ready to show you the truth whenever you’re ready.

Pastor: Stewards the hearts of the people. The pastor takes care of people. They serve, meet needs and make people feel valued.

The pastor goes after the heart of the people. He is often less concerned about sin and more concerned about reaching the heart of each individual person.

The evangelist. Brings the lost to Christ. The evangelist’s sole desire is to preach the gospel and see as many people as possible be brought into the kingdom.

The evangelist, like the pastor, is less focused on sin and more on the hearts of each person. To see the lost come home is their main focus.

Now…

As the above passage goes on to say… we are all called to walk in OUR OWN gift until we (the church) are all moving rhythmically and easily with each other.

It’s quite simple really…

We should probably all take a deep breath, take a step back, take a look outside of our own perspective and encourage each person to walk in their gift.

This looks like:

Allowing Apostles to take the front line, to push back against the enemy and take back stolen ground.

Allowing Prophets to be the gatekeeper, bringing truth in and keeping the lies out.

If the apostle is fighting the battle and the prophet is guarding the door, the pastor is now free to minister to the hearts of the people without being concerned about enemy attacks.

I see the teacher working along side the pastor bringing truth into the lies that we’ve gathered along the way.

Meanwhile the evangelist is also protected by the apostle and prophet and is free to simply gather lost souls which he then delivers to the pastor and teacher for farther deliverance, discipleship and whatever else they need.

Do you see how it all flows together if we abolish the lie that we all need to have the same opinion on what needs to be done or how things need to be handled?

The final verses tell us that if we accomplish the feat of accepting each other’s different opinions and ways of handling a situation and above all, stay focused on Christ, we’ll ‘be healthy in God and robust in love’

I would also like to point out that each person needs to learn how to walk in the gift God has given them.

Have you ever compared a first graders handwriting with that of an 8th grader? There’s a pretty big difference.

In my opinion walking out your gift looks much the same. A younger christian, like the first grader, will have a smudged paper with many erases, restarts, some letters on the line with others falling off the paper. It’s messy. But if God is invited into the mess, he will simply teach, correct and lead and slowly but surely we will walk in our gift much more gracefully.

Side note: We won’t make it to graceful grade 8 of our gifts until we complete messy grade one.

So with all that in mind…

What if we stood together and encouraged each other?

What if we offered each other the same grace that God offered to us?

Eczema 101

I spent a lot of time and money learning about and trying to find a cure for a chronic case of eczema.

Now, I’m passing on everything I learned for FREE OF CHARGE!😁

Actually, I was thinking if it could help someone else, why not share it?

Disclaimer: I’m obviously not a DR. I have no medical experience or training. In fact, some professionals in the medical field would disagree with me, so there’s that. I do, however, have about 3 1/2 years of life experience in eczema.

What is eczema?

Doctor’s opinion: Eczema is dry skin. Use lotion, lots and lots of thick high quality lotion. Moisturize from the inside out… get him to eat lots of fish.

My opinion: She’s right on the lotion part… eczema gets itchy and when you itch it, it turns into a miserable looking rash so it seemed I should use ointments but they made only a small difference. I took her advice and we lotioned up every 3 hours. I had the timer set on my phone.

His arms were itched raw, bleeding and oozing from wrist to almost his shoulder. Putting lotion on it every 3 hours through the day brought almost clear skin within 1 week.

However, it didn’t fully clear up.

Lotion that worked best for us: Unscented body icing from lemongrass spa. We also learned that the skin adapts to one product so in order to see continued results you need to keep switching out lotions. Different brands, kinds etc.

The moisturizing from the inside out thing… she probably knew what she was talking about but I wasn’t sure how exactly to put that into action.

What causes eczema?

Doctor’s opinion: There is no underlying cause, some people just have naturally dry skin. He’ll probably outgrow it.

Here’s the deal… I don’t do ‘there is no solutions gloom and doom.’ It’s simply too depressing. So, realizing I’m on my own, I set out to find a solution.

My opinion: Eczema or any skin condition is a symptom of an unhealthy gut. I’m not a gut expert and if you start talking about balancing the gut microbiome etc, I will become very confused and will space out in utter boredom. 😁

So, here’s the simple version: processed foods, food dyes, toxins, sugar, antibiotics and probably a whole slew of other things, destroy the ‘good bacteria’ in our gut.

If this ‘good bacteria’ is continuously destroyed but never replaced, the ‘bad bacteria’ will take over and can cause all kinds of physical problems.

Hello skin problems, body aches, fatigue and more…

In our eczema battle I concluded that an unhealthy gut was the cause but other possible causes of skin issues is: problems with the liver or hormone imbalances. I didn’t spend a lot of time on either of these so you’ll have to do your own research if you want more info. Sorry🙃

What exactly causes an unhealthy gut?

Doctor’s opinion: Again… There is no underlying issue, some people simply have dry skin.

My thoughts: Nope. Something is wrong with my child’s body. Skin so dry that he itches it raw is not normal. FOR ANY SKIN TYPE!

(If you want to learn about gut health, find a nutritionist not a medical doctor.)

My opinion:

  1. Antibiotics. They kill not only the bad gut bacteria but also the good. If you’ve ever had antibiotics you should take probiotics for sure.
  2. Medications of any kind. Painkillers, prescriptions, over the counter etc. (I didn’t do enough research to explain this one but IMO they mess up your system)
  3. Food allergies. If your body reacts negatively to something you repeatedly put into it, it eventually starts to wear down your immune system and a weak immune system allows the bad bacteria to over produce.
  4. Processed foods and food dyes. Our bodies were never meant to digest some of the things we call food. So, it needs to work harder to digest these and again we wear down not only our immune system but every part of the body by eating processed foods. Kinda like putting diesel fuel in a gas car.
  5. Sugar. Sugar is just all around bad it seems. Do your own research but some studies are claiming that Sugar feeds cancer cells. There’s also studies being done that claim over time sugar kills brain cells and may be the leading cause of Alzheimer’s. There’s also studies that try to refute all of that, so who really knows but currently I stand by opinion. Sugar is bad for your health.

There’s more things that supposedly affect your gut health but those listed are the ones that I believe played a part in in our case of eczema.

How to balance the gut bacteria

Nutritionist’s opinion: Probiotics and a good multivitamin. Plus cut out all processed foods, food dyes and sugar.

My opinion: I agree 100%. Not sure how it all works but probiotics help balance out your gut bacteria. A good multivitamin helps your body run smoothly because it turns out if your body is running low on only one small thing it can actually cause a whole host of problems. (This is why so many multi-level marketing supplement business’s Seem to be good. They are full of vitamins and minerals, but I’m here to tell you that a good quality multivitamin would probably work just as well.)

I have become a bit of a supplement snob. IMO if they have a bunch of added ingredients it kind of defeats the purpose.

Multi- level is a no go for me. Their main focus is money, not product. (That is over simplifying a big subject so stay calm and sell on.)😁 Their products Are probably mostly good but I don’t trust them completely.🙃

Mary Ruth’s Organics (online) is where I get our supplements. To the best of my knowledge she uses all natural, clean ingredients. Most importantly I’ve seen results from her products. They’re pricy but worth it.

Side note: I think most everyone is fine taking a multivitamin but adding in other supplements with out blood tests might not wise because There is such a thing as overdosing on supplements. Google it.

Adding probiotics and vitamins to Kyna’s diet controlled his eczema without the constant lotion regimen but it still didn’t clear up completely.

I do try (and fail a lot😤) to keep everyone on a Whole Foods, low junk diet around here. And while I feel like it has helped Kynaston’s eczema quite a bit, it still never cleared up completely.

Food Intolerances…

At this point I went down the food intolerances road. I had tried cutting out dairy before but hadn’t seen enough results to consider it worth it. And in case you’re wondering… this is no small feat! Dairy is a vast food group!

After some research, I learned that it can take up to 3 weeks to see results after eliminating a certain food. We’re doing this, I decided, we’re going for It. We cut out milk and yogurt. Just milk to drink. After one week I saw a huge difference in his behavior.

Side note: Here’s what we were dealing with:

• social anxiety

• whining (so much whining)

• irritability

• pale, washed out skin color

• underweight

• dark circles under his eyes

• extreme eczema

• and overall he just seemed unhealthy

One week of no dairy and I saw a huge change in behavior although I saw no change in his skin.

We kept going tho because just the Change in behavior was worth. At this point I started noticing that anytime I used milk in a recipe he would be grumpy afterwords.

This is the moment I started Using almond milk in everything. Bye bye dairy.

The process continued and I realized that he reacts to single slice of cheese in a sandwich for lunch. Bye bye cheese.

However, even after a month of no dairy his eczema still hadn’t cleared up. It was much improved tho. And his mood… he was a completely different kid. (At this point he just had really small patches on his arms but behind both knees he had a big patch (covering almost half his leg) of thick rough (alligator like) skin.

Hello dermatologist.

Her opinion: possibly food allergies but we can’t know for sure without doing all kinds of tests and he’s a bit young for that. He’ll probably outgrow it.

Her advice was to use steroid cream for 2 weeks, followed by an over the counter cream for one week. Because his body has been fighting this for so long it just needs a little help getting caught up.

She also said we might need to use the over the counter cream for life in order to keep it under control.

My opinion: It’s definitely a food intolerance (side note: there’s a difference between food intolerances and food allergies. Google it.)

She was absolutely right on his body needing help. I was determined not to go down the steroid cream route because using it can cause your skin to become dependent on it. (Google it for more info.)

However, I have no regrets. 3-4 days after starting on this cream his skin was completely clear. His appetite finally increased and he lost that gaunt, undernourished look. No more dark circles under his eyes, no more pale skin. His face looks so different. He has rosy, glowing, healthy cheeks.

I also have no regrets not using steroid creams earlier because until we found the underlying cause it was only going to be a temporary band aid.

I do however refuse to believe that he needs any kind medical cream for the rest of his life. There is always a solution. And if not then we’ll invent one.

And there you have our eczema story. If you’re familiar with eczema, I hope this helps you out somehow.

Here’s some random facts:

• If your baby was born with any kind of medication: c-section, epidural, Pitocin etc. they probably have a gut imbalance. The main symptoms for this are: sugar cravings, getting sick easily and skin rashes. Solution: a good probiotic.

• If you are on any type of medication during pregnancy this can mess up your baby’s gut health. And if mom’s gut health is imbalanced it will effect baby’s gut health.

• Behavior problems such as irritability and whining may be related to a food intolerance or vitamin deficiency.

• I haven’t gone far down this road yet but I’m pretty sure there’s a relation between gut health and ADHD. Myles has always been my wild child… and that is totally his personality.🙂 but he is much calmer and more focused since I started him on a multivitamin and probiotics.

• kids not sleeping well, teeth grinding, hyperactivity and even bed wetting may be caused by vitamin deficiency.

• Certain skin types are more prone to eczema (heredity) but I’d say the underlying issue is still gut health.

• If your gut health is off balance for an extended period of time it has probably led to leaky gut. (Google it. My thumbs are tired of typing.)😁

Conclusion: if you have ANY physical problems start with balancing your gut and your problem will quite possibly disappear.

Good luck, be blessed and live healthy!🙂

When I Lived Through 6 days without realizing it🙃

I woke up this morning and was rather surprised to find myself at home, in my own bed. I mean how did that even happen?

Let’s rewind a bit…

Checkers’ brother Ben got married in Southern CA on April 21st. His whole family flew out for the wedding and spent 5 days there.

So, last Saturday, we got up at 5:15. I’m not a morning person at all, so I spent the next hour in haze.

We packed up the car, microwaved some breakfast sandwiches, packed up our five kids, water bottles and all the things, locked the doors and headed out.

I was driving the first shift of this 11 hour road trip because the babies usually sleep late in the morning.

I drove a couple hours, then Checkers took over. The rest of the trip is a bit of a blur but I know I spent my time nursing babies, making bottles and climbing over the consul from the front seat to the back and then front again. Multiple times.

After their long morning nap, Hayley and Harmony were done traveling. It seemed 1 or the other was constantly complaining about something and don’t even get me started on the noise and demands that came from our other 3 kids in the back seat.

Let’s just say by the time we got there I felt like I ran a marathon when in reality I just climbed through our car like it was some kind of kid’s play set. Even I was amazed at my flexibility.😁

Side note: the middle seating row in our SUV has 2 bucket seats with a center consul, so every time I went back there I was sitting on the consul. (We are currently accepting donations for a vehicle upgrade.)😁

We arrived at our air bnb and found glass decor on most surfaces. I removed most of it immediately and set it in safer places.

A bit later as I was feeding babies, I heard a loud crash. Turns out the kids knocked the glass centerpiece off the table. One of the few I hadn’t moved yet.🤨 I quickly proceeded to remove ALL glass things, even those that seemed safe enough.

Our evening was spent introducing the twins to Checkers family as they dropped by our house and met them for the first time. (We hadn’t seen his family since July so it was so good to see everyone again!)

Day 2: (Sunday)

The day started with feeding babies, then breakfast, dishes and packing up all the things and getting the kids ready to go to the beach.

Packing the diaper bag is a 5k all by its self. There’s water to heat, formula to mix, diapers to find, wipes, extra formula, extra outfits and because I was driving, I needed my phone and drivers license as well. Nope my brain wasn’t spinning at all. (Note the sarcasm in that last line)😅

And water… I go nowhere without water, but unfortunately I spent a lot of this trip thirsty because a water bottle seemed to be the least important thing.🤷‍♀️

Oh and I didn’t even mention how wrangling 5 kids from point A to point B is a 1/2 marathon all by its self.


We finally headed out to the beach… and the parking lot was full and then some. The roads were narrow, the corners and turns were many, there were cars everywhere, kids were complaining and I had this big massive vehicle that I didn’t know where to put.😜

Long story short… I saw a train at the beach, so I found a train station because logic says that if the train runs past the beach, u should be able to park at the train station, board the train and end up at the beach.

Turns out that this logic fails if the train doesn’t stop at the beach. ‘Stop’ being the keyword in that last sentence.

The train station was on the beach though, so we spent some time there. The problem was… it was a different beach then the rest of our people were at. But the kids did have fun for an hour or so. Even the babies did really good.

We headed back to the house, bathed the willing kids, waged a war with the 3 year old who saw the whole bath thing as a waste of time, fed and changed babies and ate lunch.

Then I went to get groceries.

I made it back just in time to start the whole backpack packing, baby feeding, diaper changing, shoe finding, put the kids in the car marathon again. All so we can eat pizza with the whole family.😁

Now you know why Myles tends to show up shoeless, with ketchup on his face. All I can say, is at least he was fed.😁

Oh and we did a load of laundry somewhere in there.

Day 3: (Monday)

Fed and changed babes.

Breakfast. I don’t even know if I helped with dishes.

Ran to target.

lunch.

Checkers took the kids to the playground while I took a mini break which consisted of feeding babies, changing diapers and ‘trying’ to put them down for a nap.

Then Ruthie and I had all 8 kids while Checkers and Elmer went out for lunch with Ben and his friends and family.

They made it back just in time for us to head out to Gabrielle’s bridal shower while they watched all the kids.

The babies were fine when we got back but the rest of the kids were snuggled up on the couch shaking with fear because they watched a scary movie.😂😂

I may have stretched that a bit. Fine. I stretched it a lot. But it was rather humorous.😂

Things I didn’t yet mention: kids fighting about which car they ride in, Harmony crying pretty much every time the car was put into motion, keeping Myles out of trouble pretty much 24/7 and kids being loud. Just. So. Much. Noise.

Can anyone say over stimulated?

Yea, that was me. Pretty much the whole trip.

Day 4. (Tuesday)

Babies. You know the drill by now. Bottles, nursing, diapers.

Breakfast. Dishes.

Remember that leaving the house marathon? You know the whole backpack packing, shoes finding thing? Yea we did all that again. Every last step. Then went to a playground to hang out with the whole crowd.

We didn’t even forget the whining about which car we ride in and Harmony crying on the way part. Thank goodness for Ruthie. She was a pro Harmony whisperer by the end of the trip.😅

Oh. Elmer and Ruthie are also pros at feeding our kids by now. I think there’s a very real chance we wouldn’t have gotten around to feeding them.😳

After the park, we managed to bath the kids, did a load of laundry, we did the whole baby routine, ate lunch (or maybe it was supper?🤷‍♀️)

Then our men took the girls to rehearsal while Ruthie and I held down the fort at the house.

And then…

Wait for it….

We did the entire leaving the house marathon… AGAIN. You know, shoes, backpack, formula, car seats, fighting, crying, relaxing, no wait… that one didn’t happen on this trip. Not even once.🤨

Also, I made coffee, because coffee makes everything better.

Anyway, the goal was to get to a park to eat cake ad ice cream. We made it. And we even made it back to the house in one price with everyone in tow.👏

Day 5: (Wednesday)

I woke up and there was one thing I was very, very sure about. I had ZERO desire to run another marathon and yet I knew that since it was the day of the wedding, I was running that marathon, like it or not.😬

I think it might be called running on fumes. Or in my case running on coffee.😂

And so it started.

Baby routine.

Breakfast routine.

Then we went out to walk the pier. I have no clue why, except it was something we had wanted to do.

Hayley and Harmony thought it was the dumbest thing we had done yet. But at least they took turns voicing their opinions. Mostly anyway.😁

The other kids were sure the ocean was going to swollen them up.😅

They did enjoy it though once we got out past where the waves were crashing.🙃

We got back to the house and realized we are out of toilet paper.

So, I ran to target for toilet paper. And Starbucks. Because coffee makes everything better, remember?

I got back from target and realized that we only had 2 hours to run our leaving the house marathon and this time it was more like a triathlon because we had to dress up and Kenzie was a miniature bridesmaid.

The goal was to bath the babies. I should probably admit that I bathed them Friday night b4 we left and they didn’t get bathed again till Thursday night when we got home.

No, I won’t admit that. I’ll just focus on the fact that I intended to bath them during this trip. It’s true. I even packed their soap and lotion. Not that we used it. Talk about overpacking!

Anyway, we managed to arrive at the wedding with 1 min to spare. Technically, we were late since we should have been there early, but we’re not admitting to that either.

At this point even coffee was losing it’s power. But there was cake. 👏 And we survived the wedding.

While we’re talking about the wedding let me just say that it was beautiful! Gabrielle’s family is amazing, worship was incredible and the Holy Spirit was so clearly a part of the ceremony. It was so peace filled after a crazy couple days.

After the wedding we packed up most of our things.

Day 6 (Thursday)

Basically, we packed up and headed home. Although we did the marathon one last time. You know, diapers, feedings, backpack packing etc.

The ride home was a pretty much a repeat of the ride there, we were just headed in the opposite direction.

We got home around 7 and I finally bathed the babies.🙈 I put them to bed around 9 and they slept till 8 this morning. (Hayley woke once b4 that to eat) at 8 I fed them, they were awake for about 30 minutes, then fell asleep again. They’ve been sleeping ever since and it’s currently 1:00.

I think they may have been exhausted.😂

My alarm went off at 6 this morning and I could barely wake up.

Thank goodness for coffee.

As I thought back over the past week, I couldn’t help but wonder what on earth just happened.

I’m currently very sure of two things though.


1. Traveling with two babies is no walk in the park.

2. Benji did get married and that was the whole point, so mission accomplished. 😁

Our Life In A Nutshell

Grace: Makes the plan, figures out the details and lists the pros and cons. Then she hands the plan to Checkers.

Checkers: takes the plan, studies it and then makes it happen.

Kenzie: likes a solid plan, follows all the rules and has an absolute meltdown if we deviate from the plan.

Kynaston: looks at the plan, thinks, why so rigid? And does everything in his power to convince us to change the plan.

Myles: eyes the plan with a smirk, says yes! The plan is great BUT we’re going to make every last second of it SUPER EXCITING!

Harmony: has no clue there is a plan, squints a little at all the excitement then she naps the whole way through the plan.

Hayley: doesn’t know about the plan but knows that something is different, hollers from her corner till someone includes her in the plan then she watches every part of the plan unfold with eyes so big I wonder if they might pop out yet.

That is the story of our life. It’s a life we love.🙂

2020: The Year We’ll Never Forget

January: The month to rest and recharge. Even market normally slows down after the holidays. Not in 2020 tho. We saw record sales in January.

Ah, 2020, we should have seen the warning signs.

Plus we started renovations on our house. The goal was to be done by the end of February and have it on the market by mid March.

It was a crazy busy month.

February: Due to a busy January, we weren’t as far along on the house makeover as we hoped. We again saw record sales at market.

March: This month found us even farther behind on the house project but we contacted a realtor and moved forward with listing it while we tied up all the loose ends.

The first two weeks in March we again hit record breaking sales. Our sales increased so drastically that all year we had a hard time keeping enough food in the case.

Ah, 2020, if only we knew the tricks you had up your sleeve.

The second week in March, on a Saturday night when we once again sold out early I told the girls: ‘Next week we aren’t making just a bit more food. We’re making a lot more food!’

And so we did… we made ALOT of extra food. And then the drama started. We made all this food on Wednesday, and on Thursday Tom Wolf shut down the county.

Needless to say, we had an incredibly slow week.

Saturday morning we got there to find two of our employees (local girls who got there a bit before us) just kinda goofing off. Normally they got started without us. Their explanation: There’s so much food, we decided to wait for you, because we didn’t know what to do with it all.

Yea, I didn’t know either.

Ah, 2020, we were off to such a good start.

Saturday night we had quite a bit of food left and we peddled it for free to anyone who would take it. One person helped us out a lot by taking a lot of it and passing it out to their neighbors.

So, the next week we made a lot less food! March was definitely the most bipolar month our market stand ever saw as far as sales go. The last week in March was even slower, so…. (See April👇)

As far as our house… we got it listed and had at least 9 showings plus a great turn out for our open house, all in 4 days…

We even had a buyer and were almost ready to sign the contract…

Then the drama started.

Tom Wolf shut down the county and all real estate activity ceased.

Our buyer lost her job and therefore her financing so our house wasn’t sold after all.

Ah, 2020, is it your goal to make everything complicated?

By the end of March our realtor suggested taking our house off the market until real estate open back up because a house just sitting on the market for weeks isn’t good.

So that’s what we did.

April: At market things went downhill fast. Actually, our sales went uphill but I was never sure what to expect week to week so it felt like one big chaotic mess.

The first week in April we made less food again because we had a lot leftover the week before. You guessed it… we had a busier week and ran out of food early.

And that is how April continued… every week was significantly busier and every week we were running out of food. It seemed, no matter how much food we made it was never enough.

Ah, 2020, you’re driving me crazy.

To give you an idea… pre-pandemic we were turning 30 lbs of beef into meatloaf each week and by the end of May we were turning 60 lbs of beef into meatloaf each week. It really was insane.

We put our house back on the market at the end of April because our plan was to move to CA in June.

May: We had plans to spend a week in Redding CA, but pushed this trip back till June.

We had a few virtual tours on our house but nothing seemed to be happening there.

At market we ditched the masks and believe it or not we saw an incredible rise in sales. Yes, we had people tell us they’re never coming back but we also seemed to collect every single person within a 100 mile radius that was anti-mask.

Here’s some of my favorite mask stories:

  1. From day 1 we didn’t wear our masks over our noses. Why? It’s the weirdest thing really, but it turns out, I really like breathing fresh air!🤷‍♀️ So… I’m helping this guy and he says: ‘you forgot to cover your nose!’ I feel instantly defensive because some people weren’t very kind about these things. ‘Yea that’s because I kinda enjoy breathing.’ I said, as I shifted my gaze from my task to him. I find him standing there with laughter sparkling in his eyes and his mask very obviously under his nose as well.🙃 Later I’m talking to one of my employees and it really felt like she couldn’t hear me properly so I pulled my mask down to my chin. ‘Hey! You’re not wearing your mask properly!’ A customer hollered. My irritation rose slightly as I turned to find this annoying person. Instead I find the same guy that I had waited on before. He had a gigantic grin on his face and you guessed it… his mask around his chin.🙃
  2. Our stand was right inside the front door. It was funny watching people come in with masks on, then removing them when they realized the people working there weren’t wearing them. One guy came in with a mask on. He stopped right inside the door and looked around. Then heaving a huge sigh (of relief, I assume) he removed his mask and went about his shopping.
  3. Another customer told us she lives 5 min from a farmers market but they require masks there so she started driving 1 hour (1 way) each week to shop with us because we allowed her to shop mask free.
  4. I rung up a ladies items and told her the total. She pulled her money out but it seemed to be sticking together so she pulled down her mask and licked her finger in order to keep the money from sticking and then handed it to me. Thank goodness I have no faith in these masks.😅😂

This is also the month I got plagued by morning sickness worse then I ever experienced before. Just another side effect of the craziness of 2020 I assumed.

Trying to sell a house, no clue what to expect at market each week, when it had previously run like a well oiled machine, add severe morning sickness and I was about ready to lose my mind.

Miserable, might describe May pretty well.

Ah, 2020, I don’t think we can be friends anymore.

June: We sold the market stand and took a week long trip to Redding CA. Our moving plans got pushed back till July.

This was pretty much the most miserable trip I ever took. My morning sickness was at it’s absolute worse. I spent the flight there and back trying not to throw up while trying to keep an energetic two year old in his seat. (Someone should invent car seats for planes.)

The plan was to find a house to live in, set up bank accounts, meet Checkers boss etc.

We did most of that but every time we traveled anywhere I ended up feeling extremely sick. So mostly I sat in the corner of the couch with a blanket and went back and forth between being extremely hot to fighting off chills, while Checkers and the kids got bored with staying at the house but didn’t want to explore the city without me.🤷‍♀️
We didn’t find a house.

2020, I blame you!

Once we were home again, my goal was to start packing. However, I was still so miserable that I would pack a little bit then sit down. Then I’d repeat the cycle. There was days when I wondered if I’d ever manage to complete the task.

July: Our house finally sold. Since we couldn’t find a house to live in we bought a camper and a truck with plans to live in that for awhile and find a house once we were actually in CA.

I continued packing and while my morning sickness eased somewhat, I still felt really miserable and had zero energy.

Checkers picked up the camper and had mentioned painting it just to brighten it up. I remember stepping into the camper and it all just looked so overwhelming. I told him: ‘You’re welcome to do whatever u want to this thing but you might be on your own because, I just don’t think I have the energy for it.’

A week later I musta felt slightly better because I had this sudden urge to renovate this camper after all. So we tore the thing apart and started putting it back together.

We spent 1 full day painting. And I paid a hefty price for it. The next day I found myself feeling a lot worse again and spent the whole day under a blanket on my chair again.

The next day I still felt miserable but forced myself to continue packing and cleaning. Although I stated very far away from the paint. Checkers kinda got stuck with that task on his own but I wasn’t about to risk the misery again.

2020, What have I ever done to you?!

Settlement for our house was on July 31st. That week was another extremely miserable week. Monday morning I woke up with a bad head cold on top of already feeling miserable. I pushed myself to be productive because we had things that needed to be done but by mid morning I found myself back on my chair with my blanket. My energy was completely zapped.

Tuesday morning I felt a little better and headed to Walmart for material for curtains then went to my parents house to sew them. I made it till about 1:00 before I headed home to my chair. The misery was real.

Wednesday my head cold had mostly cleared up and although my energy was still non existent, I managed to finish the curtains and get some more packing done.

Thursday we had family come to help us move our stuff out and do some cleaning. I was going to finish up the packing and cleaning but by 6:00 I was so dead on my feet that I just quit. I felt exhausted and wrung out like I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before.

2020, Please know that I am plotting my revenge!

Friday morning, I did a quick clean over the rooms that hadn’t been done yet. We packed up the last of our things, said good bye to our home of almost 9 years. The first house we lived in as a married couple and the house we brought each one of babies home too.

Our settlement was at 1:00, then after stopping in at my parents house, we headed out. First stop: Dauphin county, to see Checkers family before leaving.

August: We spent 10 days traveling across the states. Final destination: Redding CA!

My morning sickness was slowly fading but there was a couple days of driving hilly, curvy roads that were pretty miserable.

We got here on the 10th and Checkers started at his new job on the 12th. Kenzie started school on the 13th. We spent the rest of August settling in and finding a routine.

Mid August I actually started feeling better and realized for the first time just how awful I had felt.

2020, your schemes will not control my life.

September: I finally found a midwife and scheduled a consultation with her. Since I was already at 20 weeks she sent me for an ultrasound and we found out we’re having twins!

Suddenly, all that afore mentioned misery made sense.

Ah, 2020, always bringing the unexpected.

Turns out it’s illegal for a midwife to deliver twins in CA do I was back to where I started, only this time I was looking for a DR instead of a midwife.

We also joined a house church. (Since Bethel is closed, their members opened up their homes to host small amounts of people.)

October: Finally found a DR. That felt like a lot accomplished.

We were also looking for a house. We looked at quite a few and even put a couple offers in. Turns out the housing market is insane and all the houses seemed to slip through our fingers.

2020, I do believe it’s time you moved on.

November: A month of frustration due to no progress. We still didn’t have a house and we’re having twins sometime in the next 6-8 weeks.

Before November Ended though we finally had a house that was looking like it might work out.

December: This month was spent working out the details on our house and trying to make Christmas in a camper fun.

The plan is to move into our house on January 2nd.

2020, I’m not sad to see you go. I’m believing that 2021 will bring redemption in all the areas you have let us down.