There’s a definite surge on the inter webs of people trying to make healthier, safer choices for themselves, so this blog post is not a rarity right now. But as I’ve talked and posted on social media about the changes I’ve been making for myself and my family, I’ve gotten a steady influx of questions about what I use. So, what’s easier than typing it all up in a nice, neat blog post to direct people to?
A tiny bit of back story: I’ve been a middle-of-the-road, closet crunchy mom for a while now. I’ve only use natural products on Pacey from pretty much day one, we’re a big essential oils family, and use almost exclusively natural cleaning/washing products. But we also eat Pringles and donuts and drink soft drinks. Balance, ya heard? So when 2017 rolled around, the stars kind of alined between having friends that were using safer products and being pregnant and wanting to make better choices and being introduced to the Think Dirty app. (Warning: only download said app if you’re prepared to be really bummed out about the toxicity of the products you use every day). I realized I’ve been making all these great choices for everyone but…me. So I’ve spent the last 2 months making slow but steady changes in the products I use, and I wanted to use this platform to share them, in case you’re in the same boat of wanting to change but not knowing where to start!
Here are some of the links that I found (or was sent) along the way that helped convince me this is an important change:
Nifty Yet Terrifying Infographic
Huffington Post article – about how what comes in contact with our skin effects our health
Paula’s Choice article – about how the use of fragrances in cosmetics effects skin
Experience Life article – about hidden toxins in cleaning products
Somewhere along the way, I bought into a big lie. And “bought into” is putting it gently. “Dove headfirst into” is more honest. Sometime after creating and growing and nurturing a human being, I decided I needed to be sorry for my body. To apologize for subjecting the world to it. The extra weight and softness and scars became my biggest sins that I spent all my time repenting and atoning for. No one implicitly told me to. Subliminally, I’m sure; it’s never exactly been American media’s M.O. to make women comfortable in their skin. But no one I loved looked me in the eyes and told me to apologize right now for this sad excuse of a body. My husband loves me exactly the way I am, and tells me so nightly. If anything is going to influence the way I think of myself, it should be that. Yet, it consumed me. It’s a strange and sad existence when every other thought about yourself is “ew”. You may not realize it, but that thought pattern will wreck you. One day you’re functioning fairly well, making it – at least, and the next you’re telling your husband you’d rather die than exist in this body anymore.
Uh, come again? No ma’am. You see, somewhere in this year’s wide-reaching journey for self-acceptance (more on this coming, eventually), I made an impossible deal with my body. “I’ll accept you and love you once you look the way I want you to.” I covered it up nicely in grace and that I’ll take it slow and have realistic expectations, but in reality I’m rolling my eyes at myself anytime I catch a reflection in a mirror, scooting out of pictures when others try to include me, and talking to myself like I would never speak to my worst enemy. I’ve said things to my reflection that I would fight other women for saying. Horrible, degrading, downright mean things. I put my self-esteem in a headlock and dragged her down as far as I could get her without actually killing her. I think. I think she’s got a small amount of fight left in her.
I’m about to get real “Christian” up in here, y’all.
I want to talk about the relationship between Christ and social media. Go ahead, get the eye rolls out of your system, and if you’re still here – let me be transparent about the things Jesus has been teaching me for a second. Lately I’ve found myself wondering what it would’ve been like if Jesus, Peter, and James had been Facebook friends. That’s a hilariously lame sentence, but if we’re honest, it’s kind of something to think about. In 2016, social media only continues to grow as a real deal part of the world we live in, don’t we want to utilize it the way Jesus would? I really wish there were chapters of the bible dedicated to the social media world. But there aren’t, and it’s can be a hella mixed bag.
So what do we do? Do we eliminate it all together? Impose time restrictions? Or maybe we just kind of keep Jesus out of it (it’s just Instagram…) and go about our lives. Raise your hand if you’ve at some point done one of the above. All three? Okay, me too. The Lord started stirring up this conversation around 6 months ago, and I’ll admit – there was a fair amount of eye rolling on my part in the beginning. Social media is so engrained in our generation, it’s as natural as breathing for some of us. Wake up, make coffee, check Facebook. Or maybe spend upwards of an hour under the covers scrolling through Instagram. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve auto piloted straight to one of the medias when all I picked my phone up for was to check the time. It’s insane! And it, for the most part, wasn’t something I felt I need to welcome Jesus into. It just didn’t seem important enough. But goodness – is it.
What if we asked ourselves the honest but hard questions about our usage? What goodness does this actually bring into my life? How much time am I wasting on it? What emotions or patterns do I see emerging in my mindless scrolling? Comparison. Judgement. Validation. I mean the list is endless. Here I am comparing (& probably questioning) my life up against a photo someone could have spent who knows how much time posing and editing. You can’t even take the way people look in photos at face value anymore thanks to beauty editing apps (don’t even get me started). Millennials are referring to themselves as “content curators” and I want to jump off a cliff. But I digress. Let’s get back to Jesus.
This isn’t going to be a long post. Mostly because I spent the weekend helping throw my wonderful church’s 10th birthday reunion celebration extravaganza, and I’m tired. But not to tired to share some free stuff! When 2016 rolled around, I decided to set a couple of goals. I refuse to refer to them as resolutions on principle, but let’s be real – that’s what they are. There’s a few, but one of them is to be more organized across the board. That means more detailed meal planning, a cleaning schedule that is actually doable, adding some spreadsheets to my bill paying, and a few more odds and ends.
As I headed into the year raring to go, I had the thought “You know what would make this more attainable? Pretty printables.” So I carved out some time from my normal schedule and created these five organization printables. It only took 18 days for it to occur to me to share them with you! I hope these help you keep this crazy life in order, and add a splash of pretty to your days.
I’m not really sure how to lead into a post such as this. My strangely sarcastic-in-the-face-of-tragedy self contemplated using the lines from Fresh Prince of Bel Air, because well – our lives did get twist turned upside down. But I won’t, because that’s ridiculous. What happened in the days between Wednesday and Saturday of last week was the most contradictory marriage of chaos and peace, and it’s honestly still a little difficult for me to retell the stories. I think that’s understandable, having faced the potential end of my 2nd favorite human’s life. But my village showed up in ways that I still can’t even comprehend, and I know people want to know what happened, and I want to tell you! You prayed and checked in and showed up and fed us and I want you to know why all of that was necessary. So I’ll just start at the top:
Pacey Claire had had a cold for about a week. Nothing serious, benign to the point that I hadn’t even contemplated taking her to see her pediatrician. Wednesday she woke up feeling a little warmer than usual, but I knew she had some molars coming in and her temperament was fine, so again – I wasn’t worried. As the day went on, I found her to be a little more lethargic that her usual non-stop self. By 4 o’clock she was exhausted and laying in my lap. The fever came on quick, one moment she was fine and the next she was on fire. On fire enough for me to pull her head out of my chest and look at her. I could tell in that moment that something wasn’t right. Her eyes were blank and her neck was stiff and she wasn’t responding as I yelled her name and lightly shook her. By the grace of God, my sister was 2 minutes from our house, on her way to pick something up. I called her in hysterics, telling her I didn’t know what was wrong with Pacey but she needed to get here. We got in the car and faced 5 o’clock traffic on Essen to try to get to Our Lady of the Lake’s pediatric ER. I can’t even talk about how long this took (is nothing being done about the complete inaccessibility of that hospital?) By the time we got there and Jeremy met us, Pacey was fine. I mean fine. Playing, talking, laughing. We called my father, a neonatal nurse practitioner, and he told us it sounded like she had had a febrile seizure, that the doctors would probably just send us home. So we didn’t go in. We turned around and headed back to the house. We were shaken up, but confident she was okay. Ha.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound”
After I read this verse, I right away looked up the definition of the word anoint. I mean, I know the meaning, but I wanted a more tangible, written out meaning than what was floating around in my head. To consecrate or make sacred, to dedicate to the service of God. This lead me to 1 John 2:27, “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit – just as it has taught you, remain in him.” This really stuck with me. I’ve been kind of wrestling around with my purpose lately, knowing that it’s more than just being a mother and a wife, even though those things are huge and amazing. I know there is more. I recently stepped down as a contributing writer for the mom blog I’ve been working for, and suddenly felt like I no longer had a platform. Like I wouldn’t be heard. Even though it was definitely the right decision for me and my sanity at this time, the wheels started turning. Do I need to become part of a ministry with a name and cute logo? Do I need to expand my business, start taking on more clients? Am I really putting out my full potential as a person and vessel for the Lord? The fact that I get to stay home with my daughter is still unreal to me. My prayer is that there is never a day that passes that I am not thankful for the blessing it is (even on the days that she poops all over her carseat and I haven’t eaten yet and it’s 4 o’clock and I’m completely overwhelmed). I find purpose in shepherding her little heart and life well. In loving and serving my husband as the church loves and serves Jesus. But I know for a fact that it pleases the Lord to see me serve him outside of my home and my family, I was just struggling to grab hold of what that looks like in mama world (although I’m fairly certain I grappled with this in college student world, recent graduate world, newlywed world, etc). And in reading this verse, I could hear the still but clear voice of the Lord reminding me of why I’m here.