Thursday, July 31, 2014

Welcome to Life after Pristiq...using essential oils...Part 2

So...I left you hanging in the cold turkey-ing of Pristiq! (Yes, it's been a couple of months, I'm so sorry!!  Been trying to work things out over here and just been busy)

Yes, I know you aren't supposed to go cold turkey.  Yes, I know there are horrible withdrawal symptoms.  Yes, I know weaning is better.  However...this is what I had to do.  So I did it.  The week I stopped Pristiq, I also started taking Fish Oil at night, Super B Complex twice a day (these are supposed to help minimize brain zaps), extra Vitamin C, Vitamin D3 1,000mg and in week 2, I started taking St. John's Wort per my doctor's advice.  And my 6 friends were praying daily.

This time, the brain zaps were more mild and only lasted around 2 weeks.  The irritability did kick back in but I continued to pray through it.  The emotions started to return, but I actually felt good about that.  I tear up a bit more again, like I used to, but this time, it doesn't feel out of control and it doesn't happen a lot.  It's normal...that's really nice to feel :-)

I had researched several options for essential oils to go along with the supplements I was taking, mainly starting with those which helped boost a positive mood and those that helped with low seratonin levels.  I opted to make my own blend while also using some singles and blends from Young Living as they already come.

Each week, I sort of figured out which oils seemed to be needed and which didn't.  Some blends I ordered because they had things like chamomile, clary sage, ylang ylang and other relaxing and hormone boosting oils in them but were cheaper than the singles. Some I wasn't sure either way so I just played around with them.  Some I don't use now (Into the Future), some I only use for other issues like headaches or sleep (MGrain) and some I inhale more than rub on because that's the fastest way to get the oil particles in (Orange, Lemon, Lavender).

And today, I can truthfully tell you that God, as always, has been faithful in bringing me back.  I know I will not have to get back on Pristiq.  Thanks to Young Living Oils and the friends who introduced me and my doctors, I am winning this battle of the hormones (or lack thereof) naturally. 

What I've used so far has definitely helped, no doubt about it because I am calm, truly calm.  I do not feel anxious, I don't worry or fret about things as I have before in my mind or out loud, sort of like I felt on Pristiq!  My last remaining issue was that I was more irritable than I was before, especially around "that" time every month.  Not anxiety, not stress necessarily, just cranky-lady syndrome, as my 15 year old likes to call it.  Quick temper, but mainly with my family, much like I would feel when I was off of the Depo shot before I started Pristiq.  I also didn't feel extreme joy, but I truly felt deep down this has all been related to hormone imbalance and going back to low seratonin levels now that the Pristiq is out of my system.

I think the symptoms I continued to feel were related to that as well as what getting my tubes tied did to my body chemistry.  Everything I have recently read and several female friends I've talked to have said this is exactly how they have been feeling and acting due to being low on estrogen and being off balance hormonally.  So...because of this, I finally had my bloodwork done and waddya know?  Pre-menopausal and low on estrogen as well as very low on B12.  

I am now a month into B12 shots and two months into what I currently call my miracle oil.  Amazing the changes.  The doctor wanted me to try a low dose hormone but I really, really didn't want to venture there with the history of cancer in my family.   I felt God leading me to order SCLARESSENCE oil. two months ago. It's mainly clary sage and fennel, two oils that are known mood boosters and also wonderful for boosting estrogen levels and seratonin.  It has been a miracle in my body.  I take 2 gelcaps a day (each with just 2 drops of SclarEssence) (3 drops during "that time" of the month).  I also put two drops on my wrists and during "that time", I rub a couple of drops across my slower stomach.  My joy has been returning!  I was noticeably less irritable this time around, it's awesome. I ran out for 6 days while waiting on my last order and man after two days, I was dragging and a bit more cranky.  It truly works with my body.  And naturally, praise God!

Along with SclarEssence, I also upped my use of Progessence Plus a month ago to a full swipe down my spine twice a day as well as the forearms.  This progesterone blend has been a tremendous help in reducing my headaches, which I have learned seemed to be more hormone driven.  I rarely have them anymore and I used to get nauseated with the knots and headaches the day or two before my "time". The St. John's Wort helps a lot and I have learned while I was taking 2 a day, I should take 3 because since my B is so low, the St. John's Wort, which needs B to get in the system well, wasn't giving me the full effect.

The best thing about these last few months is I have discovered I'm not the only mom out there with these issues.  There were days when I felt like the worst mom and wife in the world because I could get so mean and irritable and I seemed to no control over it.  But then I heard from a few friends who say the same thing, exactly.  And we are all very close in age and have young ones running around (yes, I do believe three year olds have a part in this, lol!).  I know there are moms who can handle 5 plus kids under the age of 10 and not have a mad moment...but I'm not one of them. This in turn makes me feel awful, but God still works through me, thankfully!!  My hormones and body chemistry obviously need a little help, it doesn't come naturally to me.  I am having to accept that about myself, and I'm still praying that "help" can continue to come in natural forms.  

Prayer is still my biggest weapon.  The mornings I wake up and ask God to guide my day, my mood, my hormones...those days are so much smoother.  The mornings I wake up a little too late for a nice, quiet chat with Jesus, they don't tend to always run as smoothly.  Don't get me wrong, I am praying on and off all day, but there is something about that morning prayer that just settles things in my heart and my body.  

I definitely encourage you to try these on the picture(s) to get to the website.  These are the main oils I use daily, specifically for my peri-menopausal symptoms.  They have been lifesavers along with St. John's Wort and prayer. you would like to order one or more of the oils, sign up as either a retail customer or a wholesale customer (ask me for more info) and use my Sponsor ID #1533838  You can get them shipped directly to you and I can help you with directions, ideas, tips, etc...

My new best friend in oils...SclarEssence is a mix of clary sage, fennel, sage lavender and peppermint.  It was created for female hormonal support, glandular support and relaxation.


 RutaVaLa is actually one of the first oils they recommend for helping overcome depression and anxiety.  I have to be up front with you...T will tell you it smells like throw up to him, apparently that's the valerian oil in it.  So we use it mainly on feet.  I use it every morning on my big toes and on J's.  It's also a great one to help improve sleep.

Ah..Lavender...Wonderful for relaxation, but also is one of the best first aid items you can have...the go to for cuts, scrapes, burns, itches...

Another great oil to just have on hand but I use daily on my chest and just to inhale.  Lemon is great in water for digestion, weight loss, dlimone (a powerful antioxidant), etc... 

Frankincense is just a no-brainer for me now (although T calls it Frankenfurter...because he can)  It's not only being studied as a cancer cell fighter, but it's wonderful for your skin (I use it in my coconut oil facial cleanser/moisturizer), it has been shown to help with hair growth, fights bacteria, you name it.  This is a pricier oil, so inhaling is a great way to go but J and I both use a few drops everyday on our necks.  It relaxes.

The 15 year old and I have also started adding a "shot" of Ningxia Red every morning for alertness and energy.  We love it.  The 3 year old gets his through an orange juice popsicle mixed with a little Red :-)
Of course, after reading this novel of a post and part 1...please know that we don't all react the same to life changes, medicines and even essential oils and natural products.  These are my personal results.  You can find many testimonials online and I encourage you to research like I did to find what will work for you!
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Digi Scrappin' Freebie!

I have been very out of the scrappin' habit lately, as in...for the last couple of years unfortunately. Not for lack of want, just lack of time. Or when I've had time, it just hasn't been in the forefront of my mind. 

Thanks to my mom and her new 12x12 printer (and her insistence that I start printing out the hundreds of pages that are completed on my hard drive but haven't been printed), my creative scrappin' thoughts are coming to life again! 

In honor of this, I am hoping to begin posting some wordart freebies occasionally. Now yes, if you follow this blog at all, you know I start things with great intentions but then stop (no really...I do have the best of intentions!). It's not flakiness necessarily, it's just that life gets in my way and I forget...VERY easily. seriously easy. So for now, I say "occasionally" in hopes there will be more posts and freebies for ya! 

I hope you enjoy the first 2014 Purple Frog wordart freebie :-)  Click on the image to download.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Book Review: Daisies are Forever

Daisies are Forever takes place in Germany during World War II.  This is a story of a young American, Gisela Cramer, who is living in Germany, where her family originally resided.  She has already had to run because of Russian soldiers and is having to do it again. 
About the book: 
Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country. 

Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin. However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch's identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her "marriage." Their journey to Gisela's mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella's daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. 

During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances. In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever. 

I truly enjoyed this book.  I enjoyed the love story as I typically do, but this time I also enjoyed the historical references.  The author based this book on research of a young woman from 1945 who escaped Russian troops much as Gisela does in the book.  She also based this story on an aunt and the stories she told of surviving the bombing raids, Russian troops and other war trials.  In fact, after finishing this book, I caught a documentary on Hitler in which the youth camps that are mentioned in the book were discussed, which impressed me even more with the author and her attention to historical accuracy.  

I've always been a fan of historical fiction, but this is one of the first set later in time (World War 2) that I truly couldn't put down.  Maybe it's because I'm a homeschooling mom now, but this was such a great read plus I couldn't wait to see how life worked out for Gisela.  I think I would definitely read another book from Liz Tolsma.  This is one I definitely encourage you to check out if you enjoy historical fiction, especially faith based.

About the author: 

New York Times best-selling author Liz Tolsma is the author of Daisies are Forever, Snow on the Tulips, and the contributing author of A Log Cabin Christmas. When not busy putting words to paper, Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children, all adopted internationally. 
Connect with Liz: website, Facebook, Twitter

Purchase a copy: 
For other reviews:
Blog Tour Landing page: 

Disclosure : I received this book free from Thomas Nelson through Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review, the opinions expressed above are my own.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Review: One God, One Plan, One Life by Max Lucado

Max Lucado has long been one of my favorite authors.  I started reading his books late in high school because my mom purchased a few to try.  I have always loved his short, succinct chapters and his words...well, he uses them so well he doesn't need many.  He is a very visual author.

So when Book Look asked me to review his new devotion for teens, One God, One Plan, One Life...and I happen to have a 15 year old in the house who needed some encouragement, I jumped on it.  We were not disappointed.

Each page of this devotion begins with a scripture.  Each devotion itself focuses on an issue faced by teens regardless of where they are in life...doubt, fear, insecurity, strengths and weaknesses, etc...He doesn't "dumb down" his wording either, they work for young teens and college age readers.  He writes as he does all of his books...clear, visual and personal.   At the bottom of each page is a small section entitled "One More Thought" in which Lucado adds just a bit more description or a short example of what the devotion covered.

The best review I can give this book?  My 15 year old this morning told me that he read the entire month of March last night after getting in bed.  He seriously told me "I couldn't stop, they were really good".  He is a voracious reader...of comic books, other boy-related and funny books...but devotions?  Not usually.  This book has changed that!

I highly recommend this devotion for any reader from 13 on up through college.  It's quick, to the point, descriptive and completely focused on God's vision for our lives in the situations we find ourselves daily.

Disclosure : I received this book free from Harper Collins Publishing through BookLook Bloggers Group. I was not required to write a positive review, the opinions expressed above are my own.
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Welcome to life after Pristiq...with the help of Essential Oils

We will start back in 1999...I had a growing, adorable one year old boy, who came into this world 3 months earlier than expected and in a way that literally almost killed me (long story short, I ended up with H.E.L.L.P. syndrome).  My hubby told me the minute I woke up from that experience that we would not be having any more children ourselves because the doctor gave us a high percentage that it would happen again.  It scared him way more than it scared me, although I was scared out of my wits once I woke up from it all...after all...he faced losing two of us, I only faced losing one.  So, enter the Depo-Provera birth control shot.  See...I was horrible at remembering my birth control pills (for exhibit A, meet my oldest...J).  ;-)

So my doc at the time and I decided the shot would be the easiest thing for me, once a month, one dose.   

T (my  hubby) began calling the Depo my "Happy Shot".  It really did improve my mood, and it was really good at it's main job, keeping us from going through another life-threatening birth to both myself and baby.  Keep in mind that also having gone through H.E.L.L.P had some lasting effects as vision has never been the same, my hair changed a bit, so my internal chemistry also changed a bit apparently, this didn't all start with Depo but my doc and I agree it contributed. 

Around 2006, my new OBGYN in Lufkin sat and talked with me about this shot.  I had been on it now for almost 7 years, she was concerned with the side effects after being on it so long.  I didn't know that I was having any, but I had been nervous about it for a few years as well. Without going into a lot of detail, there are things it "stops" that I know can be ok, but just didn't seem natural to me after awhile.  She was concerned that there wasn't a lot of research out there at the time on the effects of being on the shot longer than 6 years.  So, together we decided that I would have a tubal ligation and stop the Depo shot.

Here's where the fun see, as my main doctor explained, when I stopped the Depo shot, I would either stay mellow through menopause age or I would tank.  I tanked.  My seratonin levels were low, I was not a very nice person to be around all the time.  I had major anxiety every summer before J started back up in school (before we homeschooled), I cried in movies...EVERY movie...even the Chipmunks...seriously, I was irritable with T and J especially.  I had good days, don't get me wrong, but not much. 

So my doc prescribed Pristiq.  Pristiq is a wonderful medicine.  It evened me out, so to speak and I had no bad side effects from being on the medicine, it worked right away.  I was more calm around home and I stopped crying in movies, even my anxiety slowed down.  It's been a good few years.

But see...that "stopped crying" thing bothered me on and off.  As a friend explained to me, it's like you know you should be sad about some things but you just can't.  I was ok with that, but not great with it.  Before I go any further, let me be perfectly clear...I have NO issues with people (or myself) using prescription medications for anxiety, depression, etc...none at all.  They are a blessing to many of us.  I actually assumed I would end up staying on Pristiq through menopause at least.  Even though the doctor didn't plan on my being on it longer than a couple of years, I ended up on it for almost 6.  Again, not a bad thing, please don't read this as "you should never take these meds".  NO, if you need them and a doctor agrees, take them!  They can help in many ways and I don't think it goes against anything God would advise, I believe that with all my heart.  In fact, after meeting SP and knowing my history, my main doc has since told me I might need Prozac when I hit menopause. I laughed...he was serious!

However, over the last six months, I've been feeling God leading me to take a leap of faith, to stop taking Pristiq.  I felt Him saying "look, you are trusting me by using oils and vitamins on your son for therapy, trust me to help you with your 'issues' also."  Basically...put your money and your faith where your mouth is.

I've been a believer praising Jesus for as long as I can remember.  God has blessed me immensely through life and He has brought me through so many situations (usually ones I created that could have been my ruin) good and bad.  I've also been praising essential oils (Young Living oils mainly but also doTerra which his horse teacher uses) as far as J has been concerned since we started last fall.  The changes in his stretching, his reach, his fear levels, are so very easy to see, I mean actually see with your eyes!  

I knew without a doubt this time that God wanted me to try this for myself, not just use them as cold/sickness intervention.  I have several friends/family members who have kicked their meds with the aid of essential oils and supplements.  On the whole "emotional" side I have several friends who cry easily (even in movies like Chipmunks) and it's so natural for them, they've never taken meds to stop this natural feminine gift...why is that one thing I was worried about?  I was leary to say the least...I've tried stopping Pristiq before, side effects when you stop taking any SSRI med, especially cold turkey, are A.W.F.U.L. terrible. daily routine halting. horrible. 

Let me add, T and J have been very nervous about this, T said he would sell a kidney to keep me on Pristiq (that's something I forgot to tell you...another reason I wanted costs us $75 a month WITH insurance...without it's $225 a month and there is NO generic and not one in sight because the company knows they have a good thing going).  But I asked them both to give me a month and I would get back on if we all agreed it was needed.  They were to be honest.  They remember what it was like when I stopped 2 years ago because our insurance stopped covering Pristiq unless you received special permission.  They didn't want "mean mom" to return.  ever.

But my "plan of attack" was much different this time around.  I had God leading me, I did my research and I gathered a small group of friends to pray with me daily, sometimes several times a day....and I knew it was cold-turkey or nothing.  So a month ago today...I cold-turkeyed Pristiq.  (to be continued...)
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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Melva Mae Infinity Scarves

 As you know, I am passionate about the 3Day for the Cure. I have been walking and crewing in this event in the Dallas area since 2008.  My initial inspiration for joining this cause were my Aunt Jo and my maternal grandmother.  Melva Jo and Dora Mae were there names and they are still on the back of our Team Priceless shirts every year.  As the years continue, more family and friends end up on our shirts...5 of my high school classmates have battled cancer in the last 4 years.  FIVE.  4 of them fought breast cancer.  So you can see why this continues to be my passion and my mission field.

I started making scarves last year as a fundraiser for our 3Day Team, knitting them for the main part.  But then spring started arriving (well, here in Texas it keeps TRYING to arrive) and I realized I needed to switch scarf gears.  

Enter...the Melva Mae Infinity Scarf.  This is an ultra lightweight, organza/knit infinity scarf.  But instead of simply being sewn together in a loop, these are fastened into the loop with vintage buttons ranging from the 1960's to the 1990's.  And...they are all from the stashes of my mom, my grandmother and my aunt.
Please visit my Etsy Store and place your orders!  These are a mere $12 each, all profit going to our 3Day fundraising for Team Priceless :-)  Colors currently available: black, turquoise (shown), hot pink, purple, white and a dyed lime green/turq/blue.  

And please absolutely Pin away on these scarf pictures and the post!  The more exposure we get, the more funds we raise in the fight against breast cancer!

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: Captured By Grace

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound"... always will be a special song to me, it was the one my grandmother would ask me to sing when I was little (so I've been told over the years) and after she passed away it remained a special song to my family. David Jeremiah uses the lines from this beloved hymn to share God's Grace with readers. 

This book is a practical "guide" to learning to live in God's grace and is backed with scripture throughout.  Through the example of Paul, we are reminded of how much He loves us, how his grace captures us and brings us to the truth in a way we cannot ignore...nor will we ever want to.  None of us are beyond God' reach when He wants us as His.  He also compares Paul to John Newton, the man who penned Amazing Grace, this was an interesting comparison for me.

I enjoyed reading this book, I thought it was well written, although to be honest I did have a hard time getting into the first few chapters.  I think it just didn't "grab" my attention right off but after getting in a few chapters, I saw exactly where he was going and what God wanted me to learn from this book.  

About the Author
Dr. David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California, and chancellor of San Diego Christian College. He is also the founder of Turning Point, a ministry committed to providing sound Bible teaching through national radio and television broadcasting. Dr. Jeremiah has authored numerous books, including the best-selling "Captured by Grace," "Life Wide Open," "My Heart's Desire," and "Sanctuary."

Disclaimer:  I was given this book for free by BookLook Bloggers to review, the views expressed in this post are solely my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

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Good Girl Moonshine...the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar...all I could think about when I first learned this was a part of Trim Healthy Mama was the fact that my dad always used it on his sunburns. And I remember more than anything the stink that accompanied this treatment! 
However...with age and Trim Healthy Mama comes wisdom (and the ability to give new things a try without gagging every time...ok most of the time).  There is a drink called Good Girl Moonshine (GGMS) which has apple cider vinegar in it that is a staple in my day now thanks to THM.  Here are some things I'm learning about ACV...

ACV is a huge promoter of good health...(this is from the Trim Healthy Mama Facebook page and author Serene)

"•It is abundant in potassium which is imperative for growth and building muscles, the transmission of nerve impulses, heart activity and preventing brittle teeth and hair loss.

 •It encourages weight loss by breaking down fats to be used instead of stored in your adipose tissue.

•It is loaded with acetic acid which slows the digestion of starch and lowers the rise in glucose levels that occur post mealtime.

•It is anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial due to its high levels of malic acid.

•It is super alkalinizing though being rich in ash.

•It lowers bad cholesterol and helps to regulate blood pressure.

•It is a powerful detox tool and improves bowel function

•It clarifies the skin

•New research reveals it shows strength in killing cancer cells or slowing their growth."

That last one?  Yea, I like that one.  Now here is the don't use just any old ACV if you want all the health benefits, which  let's face it, why else would you drink ACV, certainly not for the smell or taste itself!  You need to use a good, RAW apple cider vinegar.  Heinz may work for relieving sunburn pain but for the above benefits you need one such as Braggs.  I have found it at Drug Emporiums, the Granary (natural food store around here), Whole Foods and even our HEB has it.  

It is SO worth buying this one over the grocery store generic or Heinz, it's just a few dollars and will last quite awhile. doesn't have near the stink as the others and Two...the taste is not near as pungent either.  

If you want to start off Good Girl Moonshine once a day to get this wonderful supplement in your body, I highly suggest you start with just ONE or even 1/2 a Tbs of ACV per 2 cups water because you do need to let your tastebuds adjust, or atleast I did.  I now put 2 Tbs in 2 cups of water for my GGMS, but I started off with just 1/2 Tbs.  You will become addicted, I assure you.  Once you start adding a few strawberries or dark cherries, some lime and/or lemon juice and then sweeten with Stevia or honey...YUM (a few links to my favorite versions are below)!!  Some people even add plain sparkling water along with some berries and/or lemon/lime juice.  You can basically add any fruit flavor you like, just not an entire bag of fruit for just 2 cups of water or you will end up with extra carbs and sugars you don't need.  

Now, before I end this post...another ingredient in GGMS is most Trim Healthy Mama drinks you will find one to four spices added.  They aren't there just for taste, they are all included for their health benefits as well!  There is no set amount for my daily drink...I just put a few sprinkles of powdered ginger in my glass.

Things you may not have known about ginger...

* It is wonderful when trying to combat nausea.

* It's a great digestive aid and gets your digestive juices moving (ACV is great for this too!). 

* It reduces gas and eases stomach cramping. 

* It aids the body in the absorption of essential nutrients.  

* It can help clear clogged sinuses, throat and nose congestion

* Best of all, it is one of the top natural foods with the most potent anti-inflammatory supplements (can help with arthritic conditions and other aches)
Made this one yesterday....ACV, lemon juice, ice, ginger, stevia and some Ningxia Red juice from Young Living (because I had some and it is a great nutritional boost) then topped glass off with water.

Good Girl Moonshine recipes I've tried and enjoy:
 Strawberry Limeade GGMS
(I have also done this with lemon juice and dark sweet cherries, add a little Vit. C and tumeric for even more health can hardly tell there is ACV in there at all!)

Lime Twister GGMS

Almost like a margarita GGMS

The original THM GGMS recipe

Next post...Stevia, Truvia and Swerve...sugar free sweeteners.

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