Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Essential Success: Treating a Virus Naturally

   They say you can tell a woman is a mother by how she responds to vomit: A mother runs toward it to catch it, and a non-mother runs away. Now I know this isn't true for all moms(and non-moms), but it's true for me. I'm totally a catcher, whether it be with my hands or pulling out the bottom of the front of my shirt to create a make-shift receptacle, and it's totally for selfish reason: because it's easier to take a shower and wash my clothes than it is to shampoo the carpet or clean upholstery. That said- I hate stomach bugs. At the first whimper of, "My tummy hurts," (to which I always respond, 'How much water have you drunk today? Do you need to poop?' because both of those cure 99% of ailments. I'm sure of it.) or as my third is most prone, the sudden and unexpected explosion of reversed peristalsis I go into over-drive. QUICK! Cover everything in sheets and remove every toy and book that CAN'T go in the dishwasher on high heat! Once everything is covered in drop cloths, non-washables are out of sight, the TV is turned on, every child is put on his or her own blanket with a big bowl or bucket and instructions not to move, then I can commence taking inventory of everyone's temperatures and symptoms, and treating what ails them. I may be one who runs toward the puke, but that doesn't mean I don't mind it. Blech!
   My younger sister swears by 100% grape juice. Once one kid has a tummy ache, everyone else drinks a cup of grape juice and they won't get sick. I'm so glad this works for her! For us it meant purple-stained
clothes and sheets.
   Several mommy friends are die-hard activated charcoal users for all things digestive. I have yet to be able to get my children to consume it no matter what I try. It very well might work! I have no idea.
   For us, fighting the viral onslaught of ANYTHING is a combination of things. Firstly, I start brewing a pot of "ginger lemonade," as my kiddos have come to call it:
Put into a glass(I use Pyrex) pitcher:
-1 organic grown-in-the-USA lemon, cut into 1/4's, squeezed, then put into the receptacle rinds and all
-1 inch raw organic ginger root, grated
Pour 4 cups boiled water into the pitcher. Let it stand 10-15 minutes, until it's cool enough for kiddos to drink. 

-1/4 cup raw, local honey
Stir to dissolve the honey.
Everyone drinks a cup of it, and if they're puking(if that's the virus we're fighting), they sip as they can tolerate it. Lemons are great for making the stomach and GI tract slightly acidic, makes it more difficult for the virus to proliferate, plus the vitamin C and essential oil in the rind are great for the immune system to help fight any virus already present, or defend against an approaching hoard. Raw honey is helpful not only for the flavor to make it more appealing, but it also has natural anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. Ginger root is a well-known intestinal and stomach-soother, but it also helps the body absorb nutrients accompanying it- like the fore-mentioned immune-boosters.
   Once the ginger lemonade is brewing, I break out my trusty Thieves essential oil blend. For us Thieves has been incredibly powerful, all-natural, side-effect-free weapon to bolster our immune systems. It was named Thieves because of the way it was said to protect the users from catching the Bubonic Plague when they marauded the germ-infested homes and bodies of the defenselessly ill and recently deceased from the plague, and in my house we treat the dreaded throw-up bug like a plague. Every member of the family gets a drop rubbed into the arches of their feet where the pores are largest and the thin skin is close to the blood vessels, then a "back rub" of equal parts Thieves and extra virgin coconut oil rubbed up and down their spines where it can quickly and easily absorb into the central nervous system.

*Want to try Young Living essential oils for yourself? Ask me how you can get 24% off every order every time with no commitment to reorder!*

*I am not a doctor. These are solely our personal experiences, or information from the stated sources. The statements made in this post have not been evaluated by the FDA. The products discussed are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.*

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Miracle of Caleb

The Mighty Mellons
"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." -Flavia Weedn
   This is Caleb. Caleb is a little boy who was born in April 2011 against great odds. Doctors discovered while in his mama's womb that Caleb was fighting a heavy battle of a whole handful of congenital and chromosomal defects. Doctors said Caleb likely wouldn't make it to birth, and if he did, the battle of life would be too much for him. Caleb's mama and daddy heard what was said, but they knew of a Power bigger than doctors, and they believed in that Power to decide Caleb's days.
Pure love. Caleb and his mama.
   Then Caleb was born, and he breathed. Two major battles won: surviving birth, and breathing. Caleb was already a warrior.  There were tubes, wires, and beeping machines, but there was a life beyond what those things could do, and that was all Caleb and his Mighty Strength. His mama, daddy, and two big brothers- as well as a multitude of nurses, doctors, and prayers warriors around the world were in awe of this boy and His Strength. My family was among them. Every meal we prayed, "And please heal Baby Caleb." Every
bedtime we prayed for peace, comfort, and strength for Baby Caleb and his family.
   There were many ups and downs- I cannot even pretend to remember them all nor understand the depths of the strength required to endure them. I was 1,500 miles away, and praying. When Caleb came home from the hospital against all odds, we rejoiced and I cried happy tears. When Caleb became sick, we prayed fervently and I cried some more, begging God for a miracle. When he was healthy enough to again go back home, we rejoiced all the louder, never taking a single victory for granted. This Caleb guy was a fighter, through and through, and every single thing he did- every coo, laugh, reach, and roll were incredible, momentous occasions that we celebrated. He was AMAZING and his family knew it. I watched from a distance, via phone conversations and Facebook how his incredible family chose celebration every day. Their pain was evident, but their joy in their Caleb, his life, and their powerful God was even more. Every month was a huge celebration no matter if they were in
Brothers forever
the PICU or home. Every milestone was reason to party and praise God for the miracle of it all. This awesome family, their faith, their attitudes, their grace under intense fire was something beyond inspiring. Something I don't have words for. I have had a small taste of this battle with my own family, watching my sister and brother-in-law and my nephew who is profoundly affected by a mitochondrial disorder. It's gut-wrenching, and these Mellons were doing that kind of battle on hyper-drive.
   When Caleb's first birthday came in April 2012, many joyous tears fell around the world. It was a true miracle. This boy that science said wouldn't live outside the womb was still breathing, laughing, cooing, and fighting the battle before him with pure love and joy.
   In May 2012, Caleb fought his last battle and won. He finally received his healing from the Almighty. It was Mother's Day. A day mothers are honored for their love, dedication, and sacrifice, and Caleb's mama was making the ultimate sacrifice: letting her sweet warrior boy go free of his illness-ridden body. I cannot imagine the pain. I went to the quietness of my room and sobbed, my heart breaking just imagining the pain Caleb's family must be feeling, because I knew as much as I hurt FOR them it was nothing compared to what they were actually enduring.
   As the evening continued I had a whispered conversation with my husband about how I was going to tell our kids. At that time they were 5, 3, and 1.5, and we had never really dealt with death on their level, but we both knew that if we just did our evening prayer time together simply praying for the Mellon family and didn't ask Jesus to heal Baby Caleb that the kids would notice. My husband's suggestion was to just tell them, point-blank, and answer the questions that came. So we did. At bed time we went into their bedroom and I looked at those three smiling, sweet, happy faces, cuddled them close for our prayer time, holding back my tears and told them plainly, for lack of something more eloquent, that Baby Caleb had gone to Heaven to be with Jesus. The response shocked me. My five-year-old looked at me with a look of pure joy on her face and said with awe in her voice, "OH MAMA, THAT'S WONDERFUL! Baby Caleb isn't sick anymore! Jesus healed him and took him home to Heaven where no one is sad or sick or hurting!" I could not hold the tears back any longer. I squeezed my babies and told them that was exactly right. I was so shocked that such wisdom had come from my little girl, and thankful her sweet and tender heart could understand that. And that is just a small piece of what Caleb taught me and my family: That in death there is ultimately joy in God. He and his family taught us so much more, so many lessons, and were such an intensely powerful example of God's mercy, strength, and grace in the face of struggle, but my entire family will always remember- and still talks about Caleb- in the way he taught us about pure love, strength, and joy. He had a difficult mission, but he carried it profoundly.
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever." Revelation 21:4

My deepest and heartfelt thanks to the Mellons in allowing me to publicly write about their incredible family and their warrior's journey from my perspective. Please remember them in prayer as they continue their journey here on Earth until they can be with their miracle, Caleb, again. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Dream Job

I am so blessed. So few people can honestly say, "I have my dream job." I can. When I was a kid and was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always, "A mommy."  Okay, well, there was a little variation from time to time where, "AND a veterinarian," or "AND a marine biologist," or "AND a figure skater," but I always wanted to be a mom, too. I confess: I've always been a multi-tasker. I don't know how NOT to be. I decided in high school to be realistic, so until I was blessed with the man of my dreams to have a family with, I would settle for raising other peoples' kids. I babysat, I nannied, and I went to school to be a teacher. At every meeting with my college adviser, she tried to convince me to switch my degree from Early Childhood Education(birth through second grade) to Childhood Education(preschool through sixth grade), because the money and the jobs were more readily available for some one with the latter. I refused, always saying, "I love babies." She thought I was nuts. I couldn't understand how she didn't get it. 
   When I did meet the man of my dreams, it was less than ideal circumstances. I was dealing with some traumatic experiences and subsequent depression and anxiety, but he saw me for the person inside and loved me anyway. The man is a saint, I tell you. SAINT! Among the issues I was dealing with was the realization that I might never be able to biologically have my own children. That was like the ultimate punch in the face to my dreams. I'm not anti-adoption. FAR FROM IT! But for me, the person who always wanted nothing but to be a mommy to be told I may never have children was devastating. It was almost a deal-breaker for my incredible knight in shining armor, but in the end we came to terms with it. 
    Then, in our first year of marriage came our first daughter. We were in awe of her. I was in heaven. I still had to work my job outside the home, but I quit my teaching job to work opposite shifts with my husband so we could hand her off in the afternoons and skip the whole childcare thing. 
   Then, when she was 22 months old, our first son was born. He had special needs(more on the at my other spot, My Sensational Square Peg ), and he was not an easy child to parent, but still I cried every day as I left for work, wanting nothing more but to be home with my babies. I knew they were always in the best of hands they could be besides mine- my incredible husband's! It couldn't get better. But it sucked. And I cried. I loved my co-workers, I enjoyed my job(most days), but I wanted nothing more than to be home with my babies.
   Then, when our guy was 23 months old, our second daughter was born. She was a miracle of miracles, not only because she was our third baby to be born despite doctor's prediction I would always miscarry before I knew I was pregnant if I did conceive, but at 20 weeks we were told she had strong indications of a chromosomal defect that was "incompatible with life." We chose life. We prayed, we cried, we cried some more, and we gave her a name that meant, "God has healed me." When she was born she was the picture of health. A miracle. And we decided we were done having babies.
   That's when I got my dream job: I quit my job and got to be a stay-at-home mommy. When God gave us one last miracle, our #4 this past year, I felt like he was our bonus baby. Like our family was complete before, and he was just this awesome frosting on our life's cake.
   I'm a mommy. My babies are my pride and joy. I look like crap every day. I'm lucky if I remember to put on deodorant or brush my hair daily, and I can shower every other day it's a major bonus. My nails are never painted. I don't remember the last time I had a martini, and the last "girl date" I had with a friend was when said friend was 8 months pregnant with her 2.5-year-old. And I could not be happier. Truly. I get burned out, I get touched out, I cry my little eyes out, and at the end of the day I still hate the feeling of coaxing on bed time because I don't want to wish away a day with my children. I refuse to get a "Smart phone" because I see the majority of parents with their minds on their screens, missing so many of the priceless little nuances of awesome in the fleeting moments of their babies' lives. My children don't know pop culture because we don't do much TV or internet. I spent the first 2/3's of my life longing for a family, and 2/3's of their lives being the primary bread-winner in the family, dropping tears on my steering wheel every day. I'm not better than anybody. I'm not inciting "mommy wars." I don't look down on anyone, whether they want to be a SAHM or not. This is MY journey, these are MY dreams, and I'm living MY life. And that's okay. I could not be happier.