In spite of all the awareness why is suicide more prevelant?

The confusion of suicide.

Because today is World Suicide Awareness Day, I thought it only fitting to address the subject. This topic is never easy to discuss, is a hard thing to understand, and is always painful. I’m sure I don’t articulate well enough the darkness that was around me for so long trying to understand and wrap my brain around why my father chose to leave. I have reconciled to the fact that I will never know the answers.

Just this past month a pastor in California committed suicide and left behind a wife and three children. This just shocked me, but in some ways gave me hope that this gentleman’s story would be used to shed light on a topic so often ignored by the church.  Now people would understand that this isn’t exclusive to members of the church, or as some believe exclusive to non-believers. Depression which can often lead to suicide or thoughts of suicide can even happen to a pastor. Being a Christian doesn’t make you immune.

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Image credit: @kaylasteck/Instagram

The added grief of suicide.

There is added heartbreak that comes when you lose someone to suicide. The confusion, the shock. There is an added layer of emotions, on top of the natural grief of death. You can’t reconcile it. It doesn’t make sense, and those left behind are consumed with guilt. It falls out of the natural order of life. It’s something we can’t wrap our brain around, and honestly, I hope I never do.

You aren’t the only one.

Over the last several years as I’ve shared my story and sometimes with unbridled transparency and I have come to realize that so many people have lost someone to suicide, way more than I ever thought. The most startling aspect is that it seems to be happening more and more, not less and less. This should raise an alarm in all of us.

With all the technology, education, research, awareness, meds, virtual community and social media shouldn’t this problem be decreasing?

One thing, that I know many will disagree with is that we have spent so much energy teaching our children and ourselves independence that we have forgotten the power of community. We were created to live with others. The burdens the world puts on us were never meant to be carried alone.  The burden is too heavy, it is against the core of who we are created to be.

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When I look back at the early church and how they helped one another out I realize it’s such an example of how things should be, helping one another coming alongside one another to share in their burdens as well as work together to fill in the gaps, where you are weak I am strong.

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Real friendships, real community and real intimacy. 

And awe[a] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

Somehow we have lost this, we text, we Facebook message, we Insta message, we watch stories, we scroll the feed and think we know what’s really going on with one another, and yet we couldn’t be more disengaged, more lonely and more isolated than ever before. Real love, the love that Christ shows us and that we are supposed to emulate is the kind of love where you call someone, you bring them coffee, you offer to help them with their kids, you make time out of your schedule to meet them, you ask them about what’s going on with them, and listen, even if you don’t understand, even if it makes no sense to you, you listen.

           We are called to listen, to love and love without judgment, where someone is at, exactly as they are.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

We are called to love with every once of our being. So if you see someone hurting, even if you feel like you can’t relate, you don’t know what to say, lean in to God, lean on the Holy Spirit for understanding and let go of your own insecurities and show someone else the power of Christ’s love.

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19.

I stand with you,

Sara

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, contemplating suicide, or you just need someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

 

Anxiety, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

Anxiety comes at the worst time.

So often our anxiety completely wrecks us, and whatever we are anxious about hasn’t even happened, or for that matter doesn’t EVER happen. Yesterday I had one of my first official “mom coffee’s” at my son’s new school. First not only is my son starting a new school, but I am. For the last 3 years Zeke has been at a wonderful preschool, that has become home. I have made friends there that I absolutely love and adore. Women who have encouraged me and who have seen me struggle over the past several years.

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Zeke at his preschool graduation with his teacher’s. 

New school, new relationships an anxious person’s perfect storm.

Now, I’m embarking on a whole new journey in a whole new world. Mark and I spent a decade in prayer about where we wanted our children to go to school and what we thought was important. I loved my public school experience and my husband loved his Catholic school experience. We knew each had it’s flaws, but we both felt they were good choices. Ultimately we came to the decision to send our child to private school a couple miles from our home. We felt God leading us here and it was the best fit for our family. Every time we meet a family from the school it affirms our decision even more.  Unfortunately sometimes even divine affirmation doesn’t dispel discomfort.

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Zeke and Priscilla at the school garden. 

Having FOMO as an adult.

This past week was one of our first school events. A kindergarten mom coffee. This little public school girl from a small town was completely out of her element. This coffee was so important to me, that I was going to move mountains to get there. Not only did I not want to miss out on any and all information, but these are the women I will be spending my days with and raising my children with, not just for kinder but hopefully for the thirteen years. (No pressure right? These ladies better be AWESOME!) I’m sure you can see how I was sort of setting myself up for a high anxiety situation. Did I mention that basically forty eight hours before the coffee I realized I had no childcare?

Sometimes even divine affirmation doesn’t dispel discomfort.

Yeah, I asked everyone I could think of, I mean EVERYONE. The irony was my husband was going to actually be home, but Murphy’s law he had a demo from 2-4, smack dab in the middle of my coffee. Not only did he have to be on the call, but was leading it. So there was no way he could watch my kids. They fight too much, it’s summer, so the wheels have come off and my patience is thin. If you saw my Instagram on Monday you would know why I wasn’t having high hopes.

The night before I emailed the admissions office and let them know that I wasn’t going to make it to the coffee because I couldn’t find any childcare. To my surprise they said that my children were more than welcome to come to the tea and they could color or play with some toys during the coffee. I had visions of my children, kicking, screaming and fighting and right as I’m about to remove my children from the premesis they quietly tell me that my child is no longer a good fit for the school and we would need to find Zeke other arrangements for kindergarten.  (Catastrophic much?) I just knew that everything that could go wrong would go wrong.

So to lower the odds of Zeke getting kicked out of his school that technically he hasn’t even started we decided to leave him at home.  Unlike Zeke; Master P as we like to call Priscilla, needed to be “managed.” So off I went to a situation that already was pushing me out of my comfort zone, with a ticking time bomb three year old girl.

I just knew that everything that could go wrong would go wrong.

To my surprise Priscilla couldn’t have been more PERFECT, and I mean perfect. It was scary, how perfect she was. She was quiet, played with a small box of dolls and entertained herself for an entire two hours. She was actually sooooo perfect, I began to worry she was up to something she shouldn’t be. Us mom’s know when a child is quiet, you better see what they are up too. I was constantly checking to make sure she wasn’t climbing the grand piano, or pulling down candelabra’s from the fireplace. So even though things were going well, I was still on edge because I just kept waiting for an outburst.  All this anxiety, frustration, anger, exhaustion, fear and worry for nothing. My anxiety was wasted energy, wasted frustration, wasted anger, wasted time and for what? Absolutely nothing.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s experienced this? Anyone else had social anxiety?

Your fellow warrior,

Sara

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 The Message. 

 

 

Summer Pea Salad.

Ahh what to eat in the summer. Anyone else struggle with this? I realize in the summer I just try to avoid cooking at all costs. It’s not really because of the busyness, but mainly it’s so HOT! The thought of the oven or the stove causes me to sweat. I mean I can feel it dripping down my back. But, as I’ve made lifestyle changes over to healthier eating, I needed to find recipes and things to eat. Learning to eat healthy and clean met reinventing the wheel in the kitchen. Starting from scratch and cleaning out my pantry from top to bottom.

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One of the best tips I ever learned was have a bowl for all your trash. (Thank you Rachel Ray!)

So in my quest to learn to eat more veggies, I needed to find something I knew I’d eat. My problem with healthy food in the beginning was I felt like it was all so bland, and blah. I wanted a meal with a kick, with some punch, some FLAVOR! Healthy doesn’t have to mean flavorless. I have learned this over time especially living in the great city of Austin where it’s easy to eat healthy and it tastes amazing.

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Use the left over celery for snacks and celery is always great with hummus.
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So many veggies. Veggies most ladies!

Here is my go to summer salad!

Ingredients:

  1. juice of 1 lemon
  2. 2 Tbsp olive oil
  3. 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  4. 2 cups of green peas, cooked and cooled
  5. 1/4 cup red onions, diced
  6. 1/2 cup celery, diced
  7. 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
  8. 1/2 cup of crumbled goat cheese (or feta, I prefer goat)
  9. 2 Tbsp of fresh cilantro (or parsley or mint)

Place the first three ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the rest of the ingredients and combine. Serve!

Recipe found on Weelicious.

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Enjoy! I hope you love it as much as I do.

Its’ really that simple and your kids will love it!

Sara

Interested in joining one of my accountability groups? I’d love to have you join me!

 


 

 

How we speak to ourselves matters.

Is your life going how you planned? Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones that has always knew what you wanted to do, graduated college with a degree where you could step into a job, met your spouse soon after, have 2.5 children and live in the suburbs. Well my life hasn’t worked out that way even if it might appear that way on the outside.

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Here’s our 2.5 kids in the suburbs. 

How we think determines how we act and how we act determines the course of our life, so shouldn’t we focus more on our thoughts than our actions?

I had to learn the hard way this summer, that routine and consistency is a must for me. Summer is kind of a love/hate for me. I love the freedom of not having to be somewhere at a certain time, but I hate how I lose my time to myself. I tend to get out of a routine and I end up going off the rails with my diet.

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Working on mommy’s office. 

Summer is supposed to be a time of relaxation and enjoyment of the simple things and hopefully some time to disconnect. This summer has been a little different for our family. Things didn’t go the way we planned, vacation plans were changed, and still recovering a financially crippling 2017. With that, I’ve fallen out of my routine. This past school year, I was so good about getting my work-outs in, reading my Bible, and working on my blog. After my sinus surgery in March it just seemed like an uphill battle, and unfortunately I eventually threw caution to the wind. Let me tell you, it hasn’t worked out well. I’ve put on a few pounds, I’m not getting up as early and therefore I’m always behind, and my time to myself seems to be dwindling. I had a lot of grand plans for this summer. A summer filled with projects being accomplished, my house in tip top shape, and my blog skyrocketing into success. Well it doesn’t look like that, and I’m partially to blame.

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The one thing I have been consistent about. 

One I’m not realistic with my goals, as my husband says I “boil the ocean.” I focus on 20 different things instead of 1 or 2. I tend to think big, but then crash and burn. Ironically the only place that didn’t suffer was my exercising. I have been able to maintain my exercise almost daily the entire summer. I injured my knee and took a week off to recuperate, but was able to jump right back in stronger than ever and realized I had to spend more time foam rolling, stretching, and decreasing my weights. I realized the reason I was successful with my exercising wasn’t because if I had a bad day or didn’t feel like it I just didn’t work-out and figured I’d eventually do it and still maintain my strength. Instead I didn’t let the small setback, kill me and destroy myself mentally. I actually spoke to myself with common sense, compassion and encouragement. I reminded myself how far I had come, how far I still wanted to go, and better to take a week of rest and come back ready to win, than just give up and lose all the hard work I put in. Why can’t I speak to myself like this in all aspects of my life? What I did realize was the importance of a routine, and not letting my emotions dictate my actions. My emotions didn’t necessarily change.  Most days after I worked out my mood changed, but some days it didn’t.

” Regardless my mood I exercised.” 

I knew I couldn’t afford to get out of a routine because I had future goals. Spa girl triathlon is in September(which I still think I might be delusional) and I had to focus on my goal. I realized I should apply the same principles with my exercise in every aspect of my life. My emotions are fleeting, and so is my mood. To allow them to dictate my choices seems irresponsible and infantile. Besides if we are a new creation in Christ then we are equipped with power, love and self-discpline and I should put those into practice. We must celebrate the small victories, the day to day choices, because in the end they will compound into life changing realities.

Do you struggle with the thoughts in your head? Connecting our thoughts with our actions well change our lives.

 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. II Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

The heartbreak and confusion of suicide.

The heartbreak of suicide.

I spoke with two friends this week who had a lost someone to suicide. The heartbreak of their loss brought back a lot of memories for me.  There is added heartbreak that comes when you lose someone to suicide. The confusion, the shock. There is an added layer of emotions, on top of the natural grief of death. You can’t reconcile it. It doesn’t make sense, and those left behind are consumed with guilt. It falls out of the natural order of life. It’s something we can’t wrap our brain around, and honestly, I hope I never do.

Suicide is always a shock.

I remember all the emotions that I had when I lost my dad. I was in complete and total shock. I never saw it coming, not once.  I knew he was depressed, but not to that level.  My father was doing everything he could; meds, therapy, meeting with deacons, pastors, and he still felt this desperation that I couldn’t understand as a twelve-year-old, and still don’t fully understand today.  Before he died he seemed to be doing better, and my mom and I were encouraged, even hopeful. There were things that my mom saw, that I wasn’t privy to until I was older and ready to understand those things. I spent years trying to understand it, and to be honest I still don’t have all the answers, but I have resigned to the fact, that there will be things that I never will understand.

Why suicide isn’t like other deaths.

Like all death, your life is changed in an instant, but now you have to explain something to others, that even you yourself don’t understand. I remember people asking me when I told them my father had passed away. Once I told them how he passed;  what they thought  of his choice was written all over their face. Most people didn’t know what to say, or how to respond, which in turn made me all the more uncomfortable and I had to relive it over and over again. The horror, the confusion, the shock and all the questions that will never be answered, questions I didn’t have the answers to either.

Suicide doesn’t always happen the way people describe it. Sometimes it comes as a complete and total shock to those around them. They seem happy, good, life is good, but unfortunately there are things going on in their mind that we don’t see or understand.

Suicide and salvation.

I think the hardest thing was the confusion I felt about my dad’s salvation and was it lost; was he with God in Heaven? I didn’t even begin to know who to ask. I began reading some books, but none of them made sense to me, they were just disheartening and depressing. I needed encouragement and hope. I felt such judgment for my dad’s choices, that I kept quiet for so long. I had to learn for myself. Ultimately, I came to rest in this verse:

 “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from, Me.” John 10:28

God is not turning away from them. Their salvation isn’t lost. While I know that suicide is not what God wants for their lives, that He knows there is more, their salvation is not lost and I will forever hold on to this. I know my father and I will spend eternity together and will rejoice in the fact that God has not only healed our souls, but healed our minds. “Rejoice, again I say rejoice!”

Praying for my friends, and praying for those who are hurt. Please reach out, you are not alone my friend, you are not alone.

Sara  

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PMS, Hormones and Mental Health

The dreaded period.

Aunt flo, surfing the crimson tide, Mother Nature’s Gift, or as I’d prefer to call it, EVE! I’m sure you’ve heard these names, ahh the wonderful names given to your period in your teen years, either by you and your girlfriends, or immature boys. As if being a teenager isn’t hard enough, let alone dealing with your period and “becoming a woman.” Unfortunately, after I had kids and as I’ve gotten older, and my body has changed, I really began to notice a difference in my PMS. My PMS seemed much more intense. Like everything else in life what worked before didn’t work anymore. I noticed drastic changes in my mood. I felt out of control and that’s never a feeling I like.

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Can my period really effect my depression/anxiety?

So, I began to do some research about periods and moods. I needed to understand if what I was feeling was normal or a sign that I needed to be careful because maybe I was going to battle another bout of depression again. It’s crazy how quickly our minds can wonder to the worst-case scenarios isn’t it? Sometimes leading up to my period, I feel like I’ve completely lost control of my emotions. I’m always evaluating and making sure I understand where my mind and body are in order to combat another round of anxiety and depression. I wondered if I was just using PMS as an excuse to eat what I wanted and throw caution to the wind (which is partially true), but I also wondered how long PMS actually lasts and does it really effect my mood the way I perceive it does.

Needless to say I was blown away by the statistics surrounding PMS. They are fascinating, to say the least. They far surpassed what I expected and there were way more symptoms than I ever imagined

Here are some fascinating facts about PMS and your period.

Serotonin levels change during PMS
PMS lasts 5-11 days BEFORE your period.
PMS can cause mood swings, anxiety, and irritability.

Serotonin, Depression, and hormones.

I think the scariest one off of that list is the serotonin levels changing. For those of you who have ever been on an anti-depressant, most anti-depressants are used to level out serotonin because of a lack of serotonin in our brain. Basically, if you struggle with depression more than likely you have noticed a change in your mood preceding your period because of the change in your serotonin. Also, serotonin is a chemical in your brain but the majority of serotonin is produced in your gut and therefore one of the many reasons it’s so important to pay attention to what we put in our bodies. Serotonin affects your moods, emotions and your thoughts! I’d say serotonin is a pretty powerful chemical!

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What exactly is PMS, and what causes it?

So how many women actually have PMS, I for one assumed that all women have PMS, but there’s a lucky 20% who doesn’t. Some of the factors for PMS are:

  1. a history of depression or mood disorders, such as postpartum depression or
  2. bipolar disorder
  3. a family history of PMS
  4. a family history of depression
  5. domestic violence
  6. substance abuse
  7. physical trauma
  8. emotional trauma
  9. abdominal bloating

What are the symptoms of PMS? I was surprised by some of  my girlfriends responses when I asked them about their own symptoms and many of them didn’t associate moods, or anxiety with PMS. Here are some of the  common symptoms of PMS:

  1. abdominal pain
  2. sore breasts
  3. acne
  4. food cravings, especially for sweets
  5. constipation
  6. diarrhea
  7. headaches
  8. sensitivity to light or sound
  9. fatigue
  10. irritability
  11. changes in sleep patterns
  12. anxiety
  13. depression
  14. sadness
  15. emotional outbursts
What now?
  • I was pretty blown away by these statistics, symptoms and just the overall effect that PMS actually has on our bodies, minds and spirits. It’s pretty powerful what hormones can do isn’t it? All too often we blame ourselves, and believe we are at the mercy of our symptoms, but the good news is awareness is half the battle so what are some things that we can do when we encounter PMS?
  • Recognize that what we are going through is normal, and is experienced by the majority of women
  • Recognize people who struggle with depression, anxiety or other mood disorders are at a greater risk for PMS
  • Women who struggle with PMS generally have more than one symptom.
  • We can talk to our doctor and track how we feel during our PMS, and make sure we aren’t part of the even smaller demographic who’s symptoms are so severe it affects their ability to cope with day to day life.
  • Be aware of how your mood and appetite are affected by it and recognize that things will be a little different during this time and plan accordingly.

No one should feel ashamed or frustrated by this, if anything I hope you will walk away feeling more equipped about what to expect the next time you are encountered with aunt flo and maybe just maybe you can have a little laugh about it just like I did gathering all these facts. Needless to say after all the talk about periods, and how they make us feel a little off our rocker, my girlfriends and I couldn’t stop thinking of this famous quote from Clueless:

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Hopefully you know by know irregardless of the weighty subjects we talk about, I have always end on a high note or with some laughter. Life’s too short. In all seriousness does anyone else struggle with increased anxiety or depression leading up to or during their period? Or is it just me?

Sara

 

Are you stuck in guilt or growing in grace?

Bad decisions not a bad person.

I don’t know about you, but I never associated guilt with anxiety. Have you? I always associated guilt with depression. You had so much guilt that you began to believe that a bad decision was somehow who you are, not just a bad choice. You know spending too much money on a dress, meant that you at your core were just completely irresponsible with money. Instead of a bad decision you ARE bad. I struggle with this a lot myself. Sometimes I look back to my twenties and would like a do-over. Most days I’m grateful I survived my 20’s, and know the bad choices led me to who I am today and without those bad decisions I wouldn’t be where I am at now. But other times I kind of wish I’d made good decisions and wonder what my life would be like if I did. You know if I had studied harder, (realizing later that the majority of my struggle in college was due to my depression, not because I believed that I just wasn’t smart), partied less, managed money better, or been more involved.

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College days where I played more than I studied.

 Guilt leads to anxiety.

Because of our guilt we bury these frustrations and pretend these things didn’t happen we cover it up, deny it, or numb it, but the longer we do that the more we wage war on our soul. Maybe your guilt isn’t about things like mine, but maybe it’s how you treated someone when you were tired, yelling at your kids, or taking digs at someone who you really love. Guilt weighs you down and robs you of your joy. Don’t confuse guilt with conviction.

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Post college when I was just beginning to process all the things that had happened to me over the years. Too many deaths, struggles and heartaches to process.

Guilt causes you to stay there, build a camp and somehow never leave.

Conviction acknowledges the mess up but remembers that grace outweighs guilt. Grace allows you to move on. Are you stuck in guilt or growing in grace? We all will mess up it’s inevitable, and the more I study the Bible the more I realize that everyone falls short. Somehow when we remember the stories of “famous” individuals in the Bible we forget their pasts and focus on their strengths.

Conviction acknowledges the mess up but remembers that grace outweighs guilt.

Somehow we’ve forgotten that grace applies to us too.

But really shouldn’t we be doing the same for ourselves? We don’t focus on Paul condemning Christians and being one of the worst offenders of the church. No, we remember how he wrote the majority of the Bible, how he spent most of his time in prison for his faith, how he spent the majority of his life pursing Christ. We remember him as one of the greats. The list goes on and sometimes those who were living lies completely outside of God’s best, seem to understand grace even more. Rahab is another one of those great stories, a prostitute who took in two spies sent by Joshua to check out the Promised Land. She saved them from death, asked for their protection, and trusted that God would keep His promises. In the end not only was Rahab spared, but her family was spared and she became a part of the lineage of Christ. I’d say she fared pretty well.

God’s got a plan, and His plan isn’t derailed by your mess ups.

Let’s live like we’re forgiven instead of chained to our failures.

Let’s stop missing out on what’s before us because we’re too focused on what’s behind us. We’ve all messed up and will continue to miss the mark. Let’s recognize we are flawed but, continue to pursue God’s best and trust that He’s got it figured out.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

And I believe my old worship pastor said it best.

If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking….. I don’t have time to maintain these regrets When I think about the way… That He Loves us, Oh, how He love us Oh, how He loves us Oh, how He loves. (Dave Crowder).

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Why organizing lowers your anxiety.

The Stress of clutter.

Yeah, I know you probably think I’m a little bit crazy, because I believe that organization and lack of clutter lead to less stress and anxiety in your life, but it’s true. The more organized things are, when everything has its place, when you get rid of the things you don’t need and you have margin in your home, your heart is content and you can breathe deeply and calmly.

This may sound delusional to you, or slightly dramatic, but how many times have you become irritable, or anxious because you are stressed about the mess, the mess that never goes away or closets or maybe rooms where you put everything that you don’t know what to do with. For me I know it took a long time to realize that mess, clutter, and disorganization created irritability and undue stress and anxiety in life. I know all anxiety can’t be eliminated nor can all messes be eliminated, but they can be managed, they can be reduced and therefore your anxiety can be managed and reduced.

 

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My husband’s nightstand. Clutter makes it hard to find things you are looking for. 

Organizing doesn’t have to be expensive.

I used to laugh every time I watched Friends because I could totally relate to Monica’s obsession with organization, remember when she made all those file folders for Chandler to help in find a job and then he only got to the first one and he decided that he wanted to do advertising. She didn’t care because she was just excited to use her label maker. JI’m a little bit like that, I love to organize because not only does clutter bring me stress, but organization brings calmness to my mind. Sometimes I’ve avoided organizing because it can be pretty pricey, and it seems you could spend $100’s at Etsy on cute labels, or fancy storage from The Container Store (I will say nothing beats their Elfa shelving), but my friend turned me on to a really inexpensive way to organize that’s made my life so much easier. The Home Depot carries Sterilite clear containers that are wait for it………, $.99!!! Yeah, you read that right $.99!!!!!!   ( for $30.00 I organized, my desk, nightstands, bathrooms, laundry room and a couple of closets). I went nuts with these containers and they are everywhere.

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The after. Books, watches, work-out items, and sunglasses. Who knew?

Organize what you have before you spend on what you think you need.

Not only do they reduce some of your clutter, but they organize what you decide to keep. I of course found out that we have multiples of pretty much everything. Apparently, I’ve been stealing black pens from my church for about a decade. Anyways, you’ll be amazed at what you find, what you didn’t know you had and what you didn’t know you needed.  I cleaned out nightstands, desks, craft tables, my husband’s office (that’s still a work in progress), my bathroom and the kid’s bathroom. You wouldn’t believe how much those things came in handy.

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The pantry is one of my favorite places to organize, because I can see the results immediately since we use it multiple times a day. Put cupcake liners in mason jars. (Valentines and Christmas)

Organizing takes time.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your house be organized in a day. Take things one day at a time, one draw at a time. Get your kids to help you sort through drawers, their bookcases. Sometimes just going through one drawer might be enough for the day, while other days you can attack an entire nightstand, or dresser. I know my kids LOVE cleaning the pantry, throwing away old food, labeling items, and organizing their snacks. As the saying goes, when mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.

 

What’s your favorite way to organize in your home?

Sara

But be sure that everything is done properly and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40 

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The 5 Most Common Lies of Mental Health.

  1. Christians don’t struggle with mental health.

Mental health is exclusive to non-believers and if you are a believer you will never struggle with mental health. This is setting people up for failure and an abandonment of their faith. If you believe this lie then what happens when you do struggle, you will view your struggle as an indictment on your faith and it’s just not, period.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

This Bible verse does not say IF, it says WHEN so let’s acknowledge that on this side of heaven you WILL have trouble.

  1. You can pray your way to healing.

Prayer is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal. Christ died on the cross and paid for our sins and sent us the Holy Spirit so that we could have a relationship with God. Christ is our high priest who intervens for us before the Lord and therefore enables this direct relationship. Because we have a direct relationship we can bring anything before God. All this said, it isn’t the sole solution to the problem. It’s a tool in our toolbelt that goes unused and is seen as inferior. Throughout the Bible people prayed to God in order to set their heart and to discern God’s will, but prayer was always followed by action. God is a God of action. God worked, and He expects the same from us. Jesus didn’t sit in the temple and pray everyday. He fed people, He healed people, He served people and relayed God’s truth. Jesus worked hard and so should you.

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matthew 26:39

  1. Medicine will fix all your problems.

We’ve encountered a culture where a pill is the solution for everything. You can’t sleep, take a pill, your back hurts, take a pill, your nauseous take a pill, you have anxiety, take a pill. Medicine in of itself is not a solution, just like prayer medicine is part of the solution. Medicine isn’t for everyone either and there should be no judgment for those who seek alternative ways of dealing with depression/anxiety, especially those who struggle with addiction. On the flipside there should be no judgment for those who take medicine. Sometimes medicine is the push you need to get out of the pit and start taking the right steps, for others it is a life long supplement needed to correct something your brain is lacking. So if you take medicine, ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS pair it with therapy.

4. You have mental health issues because you have a weak faith.

This one unfortunately has been perpuated by the church, and not all churchs, but the “church” as a whole. I have always appreciated my pastors candor and honesty about the realities of mental health issues. They can happen to anyone and they are not the result of a weak faith, but the realities of living in a fallen world. Our world isn’t perfect so we all will encounter troubles whether our faith is new or decades old. We all go through seasons and some seasons our faith is stronger than others.  King David, who was called a “man after god’s own heart,” struggled with depression. Depression isn’t a litmus test of our faith.

   “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:11

  1. Mental health is punishment from God for the choices you’ve made.

God doesn’t hand out punishments for the choices we’ve made. It just doesn’t work that way. He’s not sitting in heaven sending lightning bolts from the sky to strike us down whenever He sees fit. If that were the case we’d all be dead, and this would negate all that Christ did for us on the cross.

He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. Psalm 103:10.

So all this to say, the next time someone, something, some ideology states that any of the lies above are truth, remember God’s Word, and don’t believe the lies. The scariest thing about a lie is that it sounds like the truth. It’s the truth twisted, twisted to the point that we can deceive ourselves into believing it is God’s truth.

Sara

He  (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 

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Trader Joe’s staples for healthy eating.

Why I love shopping at Trader Joe’s.

Growing up in California my parents loved Trader Joe’s and talked about it all the time. Great food, for a cheap price. In the land of Whole Foods, that seemed impossible. Needless to say when Austin finally got Trader Joe’s I was shocked and excited. I heard about it this place forever and when I would visit my best friend in Venice Beach, we’d always manage to make a trip there. What I didn’t realize was how many healthy options they have, great foods for strict diets like paleo, GF, or Whole 30.

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Their turkey and chicken burgers are a hit and have no sugar.

Sometimes we need quick fixes, not time intensive meals.

So often I feel like when we think of healthy we think we have to make something, and it’s usually elaborate. For me since I never really knew how to cook healthy every time I’d find a recipe it was so labor intensive, and time consuming that I’d end up throwing in the towel, or just not cooking again for several days because it took everything out of me. To me it’s just not always relastic to cook every night and I need frozen options that taste good. These turkey and chicken burgers are seasoned so well, and they only  take a matter of minutes on the stove. A win, win especially on those nights that I’m single mommin’ it.

 

I use to find pre-cut things to be such a waste of money. I’d think how hard is it to cut cup mushrooms, well some days it just is. Kids have activities, or you’ve had activities all day long. Trader Joe’s has so many things that are pre-cut for reasonable prices. I love their sliced mushrooms, cut up butternut squash,  and sweet potato noodles. Their fruit is always great too. My kids love the three in 1 grapes with red, black and green. Variety is the spice of life.

Kids eat your veggies!

We all know how hard it is to get your kids to eat vegetables. My kids used to be much healthier eaters, but as they have gotten older it has been more of a struggle. They don’t always want them, or they’d rather eat their body weight in fruit. Trader Joe’s Spinach and Kale bites are a MUST. Not only do my kids love them, but Mark and I love them too. Yes there is a little flour in them which isn’t ideal, but getting your kids to eat their greens is worth it.  There are other great options for snacks too. They’re pretzel slims are great if you’re child is younger because they don’t present a choking hazard. Cranberries, raspberries, nuts, slivered almonds, you name it every healthy snack out there.

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Spinach and Kale Bites are always a hit. Mark and I love them too.

Special Diet Options.

I know there are plenty of people that have chosen to do a special diet, whether for health reasons, to stay lean or food allergies. You’d be amazed how many options Trader Joe’s has. From vegan cream cheese to gluten free buttercream cupcakes (not exactly healthy, but they are good), there are options for everyone. One of my favorites is the pasta options. There are so many to choose from.

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Black bean, red lentil, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta. Options galore.
Trader Joe’s for the win.

I definitely give Trader Joe’s a thumbs up, not just for their amazing options of healthy foods, but their customer service and pride in what they do. You can pretty much ask anyone about any product and they can tell you when they’ll get it, if it’s been discontinued or they’ll order it for you. We couldn’t live without our weekly Trader Joe’s runs between the great choices for my kids and lots of healthy options for us, the whole family is happy and it didn’t cost us a fortune. (And no this is not a sponsored ad, I truly just love Trader Joe’s.)

What are some of your favorite foods at Trader Joe’s? I’m always looking for more ideas.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, you were bought with a price; therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19

Sara 

 


 

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