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Valentine’s Day Blues Gotcha?? Here’s the Cure.

Here we go again. Barely got past Christmas, then the Super Bowl and now…
Red.
Hearts.
Everywhere.

Digitized, printed, wrapped, hung and glued on the whole universe: billboards, cards, candies, candles, lingerie, jewelry, steaks, and all that our men can see is…

RED! WARNING! DANGER APPROACHING! As they prepare to walk the tightrope of yet another female expectation based on popular culture’s superficial relational demands.

Can you feel the presssssurrrre as you walk through the drugstore, Target, or Nordstrom? Click on Amazon??
Because Hallmark’s at it again, collaborating with every other media and retail force on the planet to try to define for you what love is and exactly how it should be expressed.
They’re setting the baseline and adding a price tag.
Don’t fall for it.
And, women, snap out of it. Yes, you read that right and, no, I’m not a party pooper.
And yes, I love me some romance. (and yes, monogamy should be HOT!)

But my husband’s ‘performance’ on Valentine’s Day is not the measure of his love for me!

Valentine’s Day is a phony, plastic, blip on the screen.

A massive ATM for retail outlets to peddle their made-in-China wares and for FTD to grab a windfall of profits.

 

Am I against beautiful bouquets and Belgian chocolates? He!! to the no! Am I trying to discourage men from indulging their women this coming Friday? (Please, I hope you’re smarter than that.)

But I am against Madison Avenue’s effort to present to you the image of what your man must measure up to, comparing him to the Celebrity Class, bringing unrest in your heart and mind and creating angst between partners. And really, who gives a crap what Tom Brady’s buying for Giselle??! Hashtag meaningless. Remember Brad and Angelina, Blake and Miranda, Ben and Jen, Heidi and Seal, Chris and Gwyneth, Tarek and Christina, Naomi and Liev… (should I go on???)

Expectations destroy relationships.

Think about it.
Every disappointing holiday…wherein was the disappointment?
Was the gift not enough?
The calls not verbally indulgent?
The card didn’t arrive on time?
“What card,” you ask?!

Was it…eegads…forgotten??!!
YOUR sacred day—was it not celebrated as the day the earth stood still?! With power and might and trumpets and many and varied $urpri$e$?

You showed your displeasure.
The hmph in your throat.
The sigh in your voice.
Your disappointment was evident to all, or at least to the man in your life.
The clenched teeth. The cold spirit. The pout. How divisive and devilish they are. How much distance they place between loving souls.

So…you didn’t get enough? What’s ever ‘enough?!’
Isn’t love enough?
Does loyalty count for nothing?
Is faithfulness a mere token?

What of the handful of daisies brought you on no special occasion weeks ago?


…the scrawled sticky note of encouragement waiting for you on the door that winter morning?
…that recent deep and meaningful late-night chat?
…that quick call just to say, “I love you?”
…the spontaneous stop for wine and pizza last weekend?
…the takeout latte brought you randomly for no reason?
…the diligent work ethic and the steady paychecks to support the family?
…the foot rub that put you to sleep, or whatever simple task or action or verbiage was expressed to you in love.
Are these not celebrations of YOU? The loved, yes, adored soul of great importance to him?

Expectations ruin simple moments of pleasure and random expressions of affection.

All is lost on the Big Occasion’s perceived ‘#fails.’

And our children notice and form their values according to what we value and place importance upon.

Our culture is addicted to romance but have no clue about L.O.V.E. – that four-letter all or nothing, die a thousand deaths, til the end of time, covenant word.

 

Nora Ephron, screenwriter of blockbuster romcoms Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and Harry Met Sally said “most people learned their beliefs about love from my movies.” Even she knew, after 3 marriages of her own, the reality vs. fantasy of romantic love. Her brilliant writing apparently did not reflect her personal life, for behind the scenes she suffered decades of much relational agony.

Full Disclosure: Yes, of course I’ve received treats and surprises on occasional ‘Valentine’s Days,’ and yes, I’ve participated in the holiday every single year in some way by spoiling my children and grandchildren with fun little trinkets or gifting my adult friends with frivolous fun.

Because I’m not a legalistic, uptight chick. I love life and laughter and celebration any day of the week; I’m simply not willing to allow the systems of our world to stir up discontent and depression and strife in my home, while teaching my sons a big fat lie about LOVE, just because my husband doesn’t dance to their tune and obey their dictates.

Be wise, ladies. Be courageous, men.
Be free to be YOU as you love one another.

If you enjoyed the read, there’s more! I’d love to be a voice of encouragement along your journey.

 

Win YOUR day!

Christmas week I woke to this gorgeous view – a frosty winter morning here in Washington State.

Every season has so much beauty when we take time to notice; when we decide to be intentional about finding the gold hiding inside our current reality.

So instead of wishing you a vague, trite “Happy New Year!” I want to share a few of my favorite things to truly enhance your experience in 2021!

The BEST $3.99 you’ll spend in 2021!

I was soaking my tired bones in a lavender epsom salt bath recently, and found this movie sitting in my Amazon Prime account. Quite frankly, it took me back. ?

Let me explain.
I’m married to a giant; a man’s man who is naturally gifted at self-discipline, goal setting, taking charge, inspiring those around him and crushing it, whatever it is.

So… this wasn’t typically the kind of movie he tends to rent.?

Well, seeing it had a limited number of hours left on its rental, this girl pushed ‘play’ and for the next 97 minutes was nothing less than riveted.

Entertaining. Inspirational. Deeply moving. Transformational. Miraculous.

Just do it. You won’t look back.

Speaking of ‘tired bones’….in one single word: **THIS**

In a nutshell, I get the sense this guy cherry-picked his top EASY, passive stretches to address any of 650 achey, sore muscles that may be ailing you.

1. The stretching video is 40 minutes of Dr. Platt walking and talking you through each stretch carefully. I encourage you to commit to doing the entire routine of stretches ONCE to comprehend the breadth of his approach, unique philosophy and muscle magic!

2. Then, YOU can pick and choose your favs and quickly use them throughout your busy day – in the kitchen, the cubicle, your daily walk, wherever – to address what you need to address.

3. Relief! Dr. Platt’s style of stretching doesn’t feel like work and striving and one more to-do on my list.

It’s delightful therapy bringing forward growth and healing?.

You’re welcome!

Drugs don’t work. Try this instead…

Victory awaits YOU.

Click ‘play’ on this one little podcast, (skip the annoying ads) and in about 20 minutes EVERYTHING WILL LOOK DIFFERENT…

3 Mental Self-Care Habits of the Happiest People.

Dr. Caroline Leaf is my go-to for ‘all things mental.’ Whether anxiety, overthinking, depression, or confusion try to plague you, she has a gift wrapped in faith, based in science to FREE you!

Many of her podcasts are brief, however I can listen on 1.5 speed and get my daily dose of brain power in a few amazing minutes.

Empowering. Faith building. Transformational. Miraculous.

‘Seasons.’ The song I’m currently playing on repeat.

Sometimes a song is more than a song – it’s an anthem bridging the ‘now’ season to the future God is bringing, and it lifts our hearts and builds our faith and reminds us of the prophetic promises we cling to.

2020 was a doozy for all of us…but it’s not the end of the story, nope.

Give Seasons a listen. It may be the sweetest treat of the season for you!

Lobbing off the clutter in all its forms!

Earlier this year, I created a video about cleaning out the clutter. Then I took action, and moved mountains!

I’ve sold well over 70 miscellaneous items on cyber selling sites, hauled off multiple overflowing boxes to the Goodwill, handed off numerous former treasures to friends and family, shredded hundreds of sheets of unnecessary documents, and just chopped several inches off my golden locks.

Every single time something disappears, my heart is happier, and my spirit lighter.

Don Aslett, founder and president of one of the USA’s largest cleaning firms and author of Clutter’s Last Stand says this…

“I have found that every one of us is a junker – and that it is the SINGLE biggest reason for personal unhappiness.

Getting the clutter out of your life can and will rid you of more discouragement, tiredness and boredom than ANYTHING else you can do.”

 

Just DO IT! Need some inspiration? Check out my video on the topic!

I hope you find these favorites of mine helpful and inspiring in your 2021 journey!

May God bless you with His presence and guidance in this New Year, as you draw near to Him.

If you’re enjoying the blog, there’s more! I’d love to be a voice of encouragement along your parenting journey. 

Grab my FREE gift: 7 Simple Steps to Raising Happy Kids Who Persevere (while building team spirit in YOUR home) by clicking HERE. 

Is FEVER phobia a part of YOUR Mom life?

A guest post by Heather Michelle*

F E V E R

That dirty little 5-letter word indicating our normal 98.6ish body temp is climbing, spikes our anxiety level as well. Particularly mothers of young children sense fear’s grip as they touch their child’s warm forehead, imagining what’s to come. Visions of crying, sleepless nights, puke, dehydration and potential doctor’s visits back us into a scary corner of panic..we’d do anything to make it go away, disappear – POOF! 

We head to the cupboard and dig out the dreaded thermometer. We eye it with uneasy suspicion, trying to get the most accurate reading.

It hovers at 100 degrees. 

BOOM. 

We sigh deeply.

Our first thought is, ‘make that number drop STAT, or chaos will ensue.’

But as the mother of a toddler myself, I would invite you to S T O P for a second and ask yourself “W H Y?”

Why is there a fever? 

Why are we so afraid? 

Why do we feel that number MUST go down immediately? 

What is triggering this reaction in our minds? 

Where did we learn our beliefs about fever?

I attribute much of this consternation to what I call, ‘fever phobia.’ I think parents tend to overreact and over-treat due to this phobia which, according to my informal but diligent studies, took root around the time anti-fever drugs like Motrin and Tylenol were released. I believe God created our bodies wonderfully* and maybe, just maybe, that fever is there for a beneficial reason.

Mom-Life. Keeping it Real.

The simplest analogy I can think of is our kid’s dirty, germy hands and belongings after time spent at the park, the zoo, the grocery store touching communal surfaces, picking their little noses, licking the shopping cart, dragging blankie across filthy floors of public places – you get me – if these scenarios don’t scream ‘mom-life’ right there LOL! How do we then proceed to erase the diabolical dirt and germs threatening? 

With heat. 

We wash our hands with the hottest water we can endure, draw a warm bath for Junior, march straight to the laundry room and toss blankie, teddy bear, and every stitch of clothing into the machine, selecting ‘hottest’ on the Maytag console to sterilize and obliterate the looming infectious microorganisms.

Heat disinfects, and this is what our bodies are trying to accomplish with a fever, yet we sabotage it from minute one by dropping that Tylenol/Motrin ‘ice cube’ into ‘the boiling water pot’ because we are afraid of the inconveniences that come with that word. 

Dr.Kathi J. Kemper, Director of the Center for Integrative Health and Wellness and a Professor of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University weighs in with, 

“Fever is often a good sign of a robust immune system,” and “a fever in and of itself is not dangerous.” She reminds us to, “treat the child, not the thermometer.”

Our Miraculous Physical Bodies

The human body is a self-regulating organism, which means it’s programmed to heal and correct itself when given the tools necessary. Due to our compromised diets and other lifestyle factors, sometimes we need to give it a boost toward healing and restoring; but let’s be careful not to sabotage it just to reduce a symptom. 

Fever is just one tangible indicator of a problem going on within. Removing the fever doesn’t remove the bacteria or the infection, its just removes the engine from the train on the track to healing. Not addressing the root issue just means it continues to live on or grow into something greater like an ear infection, or pneumonia, or a myriad of possibilities.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries says this about fevers,

“trying to smack down a fever when a child is sick, is like shooting your attack dog when someone is breaking into your house!” 

Here are some practical solutions I turn to first, rather than grabbing the Tylenol or calling the doctor when someone in our home comes down with a fever:

Ginger Bath & Detox Bath

The first thing we do is a detox or ginger bath.These natural ingredient baths actually help the body reach maximum temperature quickly, so it’s able to accomplish its duty – destroying bacteria – then the fever breaks and the body releases pent-up toxins through sweating. When ginger is added to a bath it turns up the heat, encouraging this process. Some people will sweat a lot in the bath and after. These baths also encourage sleep, a benefit toward healing.

Dr. Donna D’Alessandro from Pediatrics at Iowa University says, regarding fever,

“the body is basically trying to do the right thing. Bugs like to live at body temperature. So if you raise the temperature, you kill them off.”

She also points out that the body can function very effectively at temperatures as high as 100.5 degrees. 

Ginger baths can be used on children and adults. If using on littles just know that water temp needs to be more moderate and they can rest on your chest or lap in bath at all times. If you have sensitive skin, wearing bottoms in bath may be helpful. 

Ginger Bath:

Fill tub with hottest water tolerable

Add 2 TBS to ¼ C Organic ground ginger powder

Submerge in tub and stay at least 20 minutes

After bath, dress warmly, drink lots of water, avoid sugar, and rest.

Temperature may continue to rise, but fever should break shortly. May need an additional bath next day if fever persists.

Detox bath:

Fill tub with hottest water tolerable

Add ¼ C Baking Soda to water and let sit 5 minutes

(when detoxing you are opening pores to allow impurities out and you will absorb what’s in the water, so by adding the baking soda, the water is ‘shocked’ and will turn your local water alkaline) 

After 5 min, add:

½ C Epsom Salts

1 TBSP Coconut oil

2 TBSP Bentonite Clay

2 drops Orange Essential oil (optional)

Soak at least 20 minutes

After bath, dress warmly, drink lots of water, avoid sugar, and rest.

Temperature may continue to rise, but fever should break shortly. May need an additional bath the next day if fever persists.

These detox baths can be used for fevers, headaches, muscle aches, and any general ‘under the weather’ feelings. When detoxing, symptoms can increase before leaving just as fevers spike before breaking.

Stats tell us that only 43% of parents know that a fever below 100.4 can be beneficial in a child.

 

Pharmaceutical companies have masterfully used advertising to promote their products using ‘fever phobia’ as a brilliant marketing scheme to keep parents in the dark about what is actually best for children. Before you allow fear and doubt to creep in, running to the doctor for a prescription, trust your body’s ability to heal itself. Help it along by detoxing, hydration, a clean diet and taking quality vitamins/supplements and then if necessary, seek medical attention. 

When our little ones are learning a new skill, it’s so easy to swoop in to do it for them so they don’t have to struggle, but that doesn’t build confidence or muscle for their future success. The same is true with our immune systems! Rushing to erase symptoms with that ‘magical’ liquid will not allow the body to build it’s own defenses in the end. It actually keeps it weak, and dependent on the ‘help.’ 

It’s hard to stand back and watch the struggle of an immune system growing, but if you trust your body and are willing to let it build its muscle, the next time sickness comes calling you’ll be happy you did!

*Psalm 139:14 I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

 

Heather Michelle Mira is a wholehearted wife, mommy, daughter and friend. A lifelong learner with a passion for homeopathics and all types of natural remedies, she loves sharing her victories to empower others in their pursuit of greater health. I’m blessed to call her mine! {Disclaimer: Heather is not a medical doctor and encourages readers to do their own research, seek expert advice and find what works for them.}

12 Secrets to Taking the ANGST Out of Your Family Holiday Gathering

(How NOT to Drive Your Kids Away at Christmas!)

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, indeed, but smoldering beneath the festive twinkle lights, there seems to be a pervasive sense of unhappiness associated with family holiday gatherings. Do you hear what I hear? Scores of adult kids don’t want to go home for the holidays. Is Christmas without you, your adult child’s wish this year? Sadly, this is a common circumstance, and far too many parents are none the wiser.

As a recently inducted ‘empty nester,’ being surrounded by my brood is truly all I want for Christmas, and I intentionally employ a few principles to ensure I don’t have a blue Christmas without them.

Here are some precious gifts of wisdom I’ve acquired over time during my personal journey as a mom. Please unwrap them with care, take them to heart and enjoy a new dimension of peace and joy with your loved ones this holiday season…

1.  Parents, remove your expectations — Expectations create angst in relationships. Begin the holiday season by erasing all expectations from everyone involved this year. Now folks, I could stop right there, but for some of you dyed-in-the-wool, traditional types, I will elaborate…

 

2.  Put the kibosh on the dreaded adult gift exchange — Every kiss does not begin with Kay® and most of us don’t need any additional material possessions, so why not eliminate this habitual pain in the Christmas arse from your adult family festivities and see what results? No debt, no ‘perfect gift search’ anxiety, no miserable lines at the mall, no competition, no wrapping, no returns, no shame.

A healthy relationship to my children and their presence in my life is the ‘present’ I most long for and the gift I’m willing to pay the price to realize.

Without a drumroll or an attitude, let the kids know you’re not expecting (there’s that word again!) a thing, would prefer no gifts for Christmas, and you’d rather they spend their hard-earned dough on something they need. And if you still want to bless them with a few crisp greenbacks or that perfect item you’ve had your eye on for them, feel free! Just don’t drop any hints beforehand.

 

3. Set the captives free — Hovering parents, take note. You are likely not in touch with your obsessive nature to micro-manage every detail, thus smothering your brood. We must address our tendency to control if we want to leave room for our kids to function in freedom.

If there isn’t freedom in our presence, they will run and hide, not just at the holidays, but every single day of the year. When Grandma got run over by a reindeer and the family was rejoicing, me thinks she was of a domineering sort!

 

4. Beware the big chill — The temperature’s dropping all across the U.S. this time of year, but let’s make sure it’s not cold inside, too! Mama, your mood and attitude will set the tone whether it’s a warm glow of love emanating from the heart of your home, or a cold chill driving the kids away. Trust me, there’s a troll living under the bridge of every woman’s soul. We have to work hard at resisting her desire to manifest. Don’t find yourself the subject of this song…

You’re a mean one, Mrs. Grinch

You really are a heel.

You’re as cuddly as a cactus,

And as charming as an eel.

 

5. Reign in your inner ‘foodie’ — Yes, we are a culture of foodies, but if we try too hard, applying pressure to those involved to make everything perfect to our satisfaction, the joy can be lost. So if Junior forgets his assigned ingredient and you don’t have those farm-raised, organic, non-GMO chestnuts roasting on an open fire this Christmas Eve, all is not lost! Pop some popcorn with a smile, and feast on love.

 

6. Redefine ‘family’- There are friends and acquaintances outside the Sacred Idolized Family Unit who are alone this Christmas, and would love to be included at your dinner table or other family festivities. Open your heart and your home to welcome ‘outsiders’ who are on you or your kids’ hearts. I find, more often than not, the presence of that widowed neighbor, single Army dude or the kids’ roomie enhances our together times and adds a dimension we hadn’t expected. Ask your kids, “Is there anyone you’d enjoy having with us over the holidays?” and see if you can joyfully accommodate their request in some form or fashion.

 

7. Respect the fact that your babies are grown-ups now — Your son’s in double digits buying his own toilet paper and paying for his own gas. It’s no longer your job to make him write a thank-you note to grandma, grandpa, auntie or uncle for the gifts. It’s not your responsibility, and quite frankly, it’s none of your business.

 

8. Cancel your married kids’ dreaded marathon— The last thing I’d want to do on Christmas day is drive across town thrice, fighting traffic and yelling at the tired munchkins in the backseat. ‘Twil not make the season bright! Why then do we expect this of our adult children?? Remove the presssuurrrre, mom and dad.

Relieve the kids of all responsibility to see you on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Did hell just freeze over? Was that blasphemy? No, but my kids want to be with me during the holidays, so maybe you should stop judging and keep reading.

My married children routinely alternate holidays with the opposite sides of the family. I’m not offended and I don’t pout. It’s not about you, Mama and Daddy, or one single last chance, this-calendar-day-only, holiday. It’s about goodwill and family and serving one another in love and just to key you in, much of the bending and serving is historically done by us — that’s why we’re the parents!

 

9. Remember that relationships are more important than traditions— Is it time to let go a few of your stubborn traditions? Last Thanksgiving, we (GASP!) cooked and ate our entire ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving feast a day early for the benefit of all parties involved. It was remarkably peaceful, freeing, and we all had a keen sense of wicked satisfaction the next day, thinking of you stressing out over your turkey temperature as we peacefully heated leftovers, played games and let football run all day on the big screen.

Some years we’ve eaten holiday dinners at a restaurant…I know you’re shaking your head, but it was fabulous, easy and fun. Then we drank egg nog lattes and played board games at a coffee shop before we headed to a movie.

Traditions can be comforting and therapeutic to the soul, unless they become lifeless laws, sucking our joy.

 

10. Quash all judging, critiquing and perfecting— Is a silent night exactly what your kids need from you this Christmas? Bite your tongue, folks. Repeat. Maybe even get the tattoo. Do you think I’m kidding?!

And while you’re at it, watch your voice tones, helpful suggestions, glares, rolling eyes and all the other tools you use to serve up a side of guilt with that prime rib dinner, giving the whole crew serious indigestion. I’m laughing out loud now, but it’s really not funny if it’s true.

 

11. Ban family gossip — So your kid smokes and it smells and you’re embarrassed. And their Facebook posts curl Grandma’s hair. Well grandma’s fat and you overspend and worry too much about what everyone else thinks.

Each of us is flawed.

What’s worse, people pleasing, cigarettes, donuts or debt? If you want to be legalistic about it, the consequences of eating poorly will kill more people this year than the effects of smoking cigarettes. Fact. And encouraging gossip amongst the tribe is divisive and destructive to your family. So put that in your pipe and smoke it with your holiday ham!

 

12. Let all that you do, be done in love — Love isn’t a feeling or a sentimental idea. Love is costly. It is kind and patient and longsuffering and sacrificial. My love as a parent compels me to place the best interests of my children and grandchildren above my own perceived needs, without expecting anything in return. A merry little Christmas with my contented, affectionate kids always trumps a grand affair with no love.

If this is your modus operandi each day of the year, and you work in these very practical ways at cultivating your priceless relationships with your children, I guarantee you’ll find spontaneous celebrations occurring throughout the year that rival any Christmas day you’ve experienced.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Meet Denise

Denise Mira, author of No Ordinary Child:  Unlocking the Leader Within Your Child  is the mother of five sons, three daughters-in-law and grandmother to six (so far!). Denise home schooled her sons for over 2 decades. Now to her great joy, her grandchildren are being home educated. Denise has traveled extensively, both nationally and internationally, inspiring change as she shares the message God has given her for families. Find her blog at www.denisemira.com. Reach her at contact@denisemira.com.