Being a “girl mom” is awesome, and I couldn’t be more crazy about my daughters. I have enjoyed every stage of raising them. Some stages have been a little more challenging than others, (hello terrible 3’s!) but overall being the momma to these girls is the best. I also know that I have plenty ahead of me yet as a parent, and I will be learning and making lots of mistakes as they go into new phases of their lives.
When I was first blessed with these two little girly peanuts, one of the things I knew I desperately wanted to do was cultivate healthy communication. I want my girls to know that they can come to us, as their parents, with any question or any concern that they may encounter in life. My husband and I decided early on that we wanted to be the first source of the knowledge for many of the important life topics they will come up against. We feel it is important for them to get their information from us first so they don’t get caught off guard and feel uninformed when they are exposed to certain things elsewhere.
Because of this, we started having casual conversations about things whether it was drinking and drugs, dating, relationships, etc. at a pretty early age. Obviously, we kept everything age appropriate, but as we began doing this we could tell that not only did it lay a groundwork for having more relaxed and engaged conversations as time went on, but we could see that they felt empowered. This empowerment builds trust.
The other thing that has been so helpful, is being receptive to those times when your child wants to talk. And they may not always be the most convenient times for you, but it’s so worth sucking it up, putting that phone down, and being present in that moment.
One of my daughters loves to talk at night before bed. We have gotten in the routine of spending time together before prayers and turning off the light. This is the time that we often have great talks. It’s not necessarily every night, but even if I’m crazy tired and it feels like I’m about to fall over, I try my hardest to tune into if she has something she wants to say. And when I do this, I am never disappointed. It’s always the sweetest time, and I love it.
I’ve also learned to hold my tongue when they are talking. My natural reaction, being an ex-teacher, only child, control-freak, is to jump in with a solution or what I think they should do. It’s SO hard to not do this, and I’ve learned my lesson when I’ve failed to keep my mouth shut. Instead, I’m learning to listen, and then listen some more. After they’re done sharing, I repeat back to them what I feel I’m hearing to make sure I understand what they’ve said.
Lastly, I ask them if they WANT my advice. THIS IS THE KEY! There are times when they really don’t, (shocker parents!) and that’s okay! This may be one of those times when your child just needs a listening ear and someone to tell them that what they’re feeling is normal.
Then there may be situations when they do want some advice. Yippee!! I love when that happens. But here’s another trick I’ve learned. Not only give them your thoughts on how to solve the problem, but share a story that you’ve experienced as a child that might relate. I can’t tell you how effective it has been when I share my past experiences with my girls.
My prayer is that I will always have a great and open relationship with my daughters. I pray a section of Proverbs 31 every morning and decree that “my (her) children will rise and call her blessed…”. That is my heart. I’m sure that there will be struggles in our communication as they get older and go through their teen years, and please don’t get me wrong. I know I don’t have this whole thing figured out and will continue to make mistakes. But I’m hoping that by setting the standard for that open door policy now, it will help us navigate through the future more smoothly.
Is trying to find a clean deodorant making you throw yourself a “pit-y” party? Sorry. I had to go there. This has been something I have struggled with for quite some time. Finding a deodorant that didn’t contain the potentially harmful ingredients REALLY became a priority after I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
My work with Beautycounter has taught me a lot about what ingredients I should try to stay away from in my products. Two of those ingredients are aluminum and parabens, and these are two ingredients commonly found in deodorants and antiperspirants. Once I knew better I tried to do better, so both my husband and I began a quest to find a deodorant that not only works, but is safer for us.
Research has been done specifically on parabens and the potential cancer contributing effects that they can have on breast tissue. Some scientists believe that parabens have the ability to change the way your body regulates and produces estrogen. Why does this matter? It matters because excess estrogen has a big part to play in the growth of cancer cells.
It’s also known that your skin absorbs what is put on it so think about how many times you have swiped that deodorant stick across your armpits. Whatever is in that stick is potentially being absorbed into the breast tissue that sits close to your axilla. Yep, having gone through what I did with my cancer journey, I knew I wasn’t going to settle for using the run of the mill deodorant any more.
Thankfully, Beautycounter has been working on creating a safer and effective deodorant called, “The Clean Deo”, for five years and they finally did it! It’s been a project that they have been very committed to and I’m excited that they have succeeded.
Before you jump into switching to a non-toxic deodorant, I want to give you a few tips on how to “detox” your pits. (I know, sounds weird. Hang with me here.)
It’s going to take little time for your body to rid itself of the toxin build-up that months/years of your previous deodorant has done. So here are the steps to start that process.
Wash with Charcoal Soap
First, begin washing your armpits with the Beautycounter Charcoal Soap. This soap brings out the impurities before your body starts sweating them out. Do this every day.
Use a Charcoal Mask
Once a week use the Beautycounter Charcoal Mask to further remove those impurities. Sounds weird. I know. But it’s really pretty simple. If it’s in the morning, put a small layer of the mask under your arms and allow it to dry for about 5-10 minutes. You can brush your teeth or pick out your outfit for the day while you wait! Then jump in the shower and quick wash it off. Easy, peasy.
Now remember, this is a DEODORANT. It’s not an antiperspirant. So you may experience a little wetness throughout the day when you first start, however, I have found that as my body detoxed I sweat less! True story. So give it a few weeks.
In clinical studies, 100% of people polled said that our deodorant was non-irritating, 96% said it went on clear, 90% said it absorbed perspiration, and 85% said odor was absorbed all day long.
Lastly, the other thing I love about our deodorant is that it’s refillable. That means less plastic waste in our landfills. Win, win!
Want to switch to safer? No sweat. I’ve got you covered.
What is the ultimate time sucker? Distraction! I am forever fighting this battle and honestly, somedays I win and others look like bloody battlefields of haphazardness. Being distracted is a condition that I think many of us face on a daily basis and one that not only drains our energy but makes our productivity almost non-existent.
I have found that especially in these times when my favorite local coffee shops have thirty minute minimums on tables, and I’m forced to work and write from home, I struggle with keeping my eyes on the prize. Instead, my eyes are flitting all over the place noticing the mounds of laundry, the living room that looks like a “tween bomb” just exploded in it, and the dishes still sitting in the sink from breakfast. What I wish were moments of uninterrupted, focused bliss, I am conversely flying around getting everything half completed and nothing done very well.
This year I am making it my focus to change that. Through trial and error, and prayer, I have found four simple steps that have helped me fight the distraction dragon.
Give your phone a vacation.
We all know that for some of us our phone is our number distractor. Most times, if your phone is anywhere within reaching distance you will grab for it. Half the time, we never really have a reason to grab for it, but we just do. I am SO guilty of this.
Give your phone a vacation. Here is what I mean by that. Simply put it in another room. While you are working in your office, send your phone to the lovely and tropical kitchen for a little R & R. Or maybe it would like some solitary spa time in your bathroom for a few hours. Get the phone away from where you’re working. Case in point, I just got some really cute blue light glasses, and I had the thought that I should share these on my Instagram stories. If my phone hadn’t been on “vacation” in the other room I probably would have picked it up, tried to take some semi-flattering picture of my glasses and then been sucked into the worm hole of Instagram. All writing productivity would have been flushed down the toilet for the next 20 minutes.
Create time blocks.
Time blocking is huge and I highly recommend it. Carving out specific blocks of time to do certain work tasks or things around the house is incredibly helpful. I talk a lot about these and how effective they can be. When you block off time it gives you accountability to stay on task. It also gives you peace knowing that all of those other things on your to-do list are going to get addressed at some point during their allotted time frame. It helps to keep you from running around like a chicken with their head cut off.
Identify a dedicated work space.
Whether you’re working from home or a stay-at-home momma/domestic engineer, having dedicated work space is important. For me, I only work on my Beautycounter business when I’m in my office. And when I’m writing, I sit in my favorite chair in the living room by the fireplace with my cup of tea or gigantic bottle of water. Each place has a different vibe and when I’m in those places my mindset shifts to the specific tasks that need to be done in that location. When I’m writing, I’m not thinking about Beautycounter. When I’m in my office connecting with my team, I’m not focused on what my next blog post is.
This can be as simple as sticking to folding your laundry in the laundry room (if you have space), not on the kitchen table. Because what inevitably happens for me is if I’m folding laundry any place other than the laundry room, I begin to see the messy dog bowl area and I leave my laundry task half done to clean up the kibble. Have your work spaces identified and dedicated. It really helps a ton.
Pray for focus.
Ya’ll. This is the secret sauce. Quick story. A while ago I was walking the dog and praying for God to help me in this area of fighting distraction. When I got back to the house I found a strange, but beautiful sight. One of my daughters was tying up my other daughter in a chair with a ball of yarn. (That was the strange part.) The beautiful part was that the daughter in the chair was reading out loud from her devotional book, You’re God’s Girl! By Wynter Pitts. She “happened” to be reading a chapter that spoke about distraction and she read the verse Proverbs 4:25. It says…
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”
Boom. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Here was another sword in my arsenal that I could use to help me fight distraction. Now, everytime I sit down to a new task I pray out loud and ask God to keep me focused on that task. I say, “Lord, let my eyes look straight ahead and fix my gaze directly before me.” I believe this keeps me from letting my eyes veer off course and from looking at other things that could steal my focus on what is at hand.
Distraction is what I like to call a “soft enemy”. It doesn’t seem particularly harmful compared to all of the other craziness going on around us in this world, however it’s still very real and very dangerous. Distraction keeps us from moving fully and effectively into our purpose and so much progress can be lost if we allow distraction to rule our lives.
It’s a battle I know many of us continually have to fight, but making some easy adjustments in our routine and asking God to keep our eyes on our paths will help kick the distraction dragon to the curb.
Last year at this time the world was anxiously anticipating the dawning of the year, 2020. Not only did it have a nice ring to it, but it just felt like the year that would bring new wonders and the promise of good things to come. In fact, many organizations developed marketing strategies around the numerical play on words, 20/20, creating slogans referring to the optical connotation of seeing things very clearly. The idea of casting vision about our future and making New Year’s resolutions along those lines was heard and seen frequently. And as much as I love a nice, shiny new start to each year, and I’m ALL for casting vision, I have found that beginning the year with a “filter” alongside that vision is so important.
My husband and I have a tradition that every year in the month of December we begin praying and asking God to give us our “words” for the upcoming 12 months. These are literal words that we feel God impresses upon our hearts to act as filters that we look at our lives, and anything we put our hands to, that year. Last December, after praying and asking God for our word filters for 2020 one of the words we felt Him gently impress upon us was “RESET”. We wrote it down in our journals, and I posted it on the back door of our home so that we would see it and be reminded of it everyday as we left the house.
At the time, I thought that this word was a prompting for us to take a look at things in our lives that perhaps needed to be done a little differently. I had no way of knowing that the entire world would be given a big, fat, RESET. I didn’t understand the enormity of that word and what it would mean last December, but now I see how God was giving it to us to use as a filter. A filter that we would eventually sift everything through. Having this filter gave us incredible peace and confidence as we began to walk out what this physical, emotional, and spiritual reset looked like in our own home.
I can’t stress enough the importance of committing your New Year to the Lord, and asking Him for a filter in which you can look at your year through. This may be something you’ve never done before and that’s okay! This year would be a great time to start. It’s simple. It’s as easy as committing to spending regular quiet moments with God and asking Him to impress His truths upon your heart. It’s coupling that with consistent time, even five minutes, of reading the Bible and filling yourself with His wisdom and knowledge.
James 1:5 (AMP) says “If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.
After you have spent time seeking this wisdom, then write down whatever you are feeling is being impressed on your heart. It could be one word or a phrase.
The most fun part of this process is looking back on your “word” at the end of the year and seeing how so many things that happened fell into alignment with that filter. It’s incredibly beautiful how God loves us enough to go before us into the New Year. Instead of trying to white-knuckle through that list of New Year’s resolutions, as you binge eat leftover Christmas cookies and write out that unrealistic gym schedule fit for an Olympian, ask the Creator of the Universe to guide you this year. Add a filter to your vision and watch as what you “see” becomes more clear than ever before.