Children are the Most Important Work

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“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” – Dr. John Trainer

I was reading the latest issue of the No Greater Joy magazine the other day and came across this quote in one of their articles, and it really stuck out to me. It’s something I need to remind myself of every single day, and a blatant truth I must never let myself forget.

“Our children ARE our ministry. Sometimes I think I want to go OUT and tell people about Jesus. I want to do some kind of big ministry that’s bigger than me and affects the whole world. Maybe we should go to Africa or something. But then I look at my three babies and I realize their young, thirsty souls are my ministry right now. Maybe there’s a future for us in foreign missions… I don’t know. But right now, they are what God gave me to change the world.” -Hannah Stoll

It may be easy at times to look past the daily ordinary and think we could be doing so much more for God, so many bigger things for Him out there in the world that affect so many people. Changing diapers and wiping little faces and cleaning up the living room for the hundredth time in a day can be exhausting, and can feel like we’re not doing anything huge or important. But what we need to remember is that we were given this mom life for a reason, and our kids are the huge and important things of this world.

Sure, there may be people whose calling is to get out there and teach the Gospel to thousands of people, or feed orphans and widows on the other side of the world. That may sound so much better and more world-changing than cleaning the house and soothing a screaming baby and cooking supper every single night with a kid on our hip, but if that’s where we are in this moment, then that’s where God wants us to be right now. Things may change, but right here, right now, these little people are what’s most important, and to God they mean more than anything else. He gave you this job because He knew you could do it beautifully, and He knows you can do it even on the messy days.

Those little souls we’re raising are so very important–eternally important–and we cannot afford to take our God-given responsibility lightly, by any means. They are our ministry, they are the next generation, and raising them to be lights in the world and soldiers for God is the biggest job there is.

You’re doing a great job, momma! Happy Mother’s Day. ❤

I Had an Unplanned Cesarean and I’m Okay with That. (And Why You Should Be Okay with Yours Too!)

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When I was pregnant with my daughter, I could probably count on one hand the women I knew of who had Cesareans. But I didn’t talk to them about their experiences so I could get an idea what it’s like, in case I wound up having one myself, because “I’m having an all-natural, peaceful, whenever-the-baby’s-ready home birth, and there is no need to learn about the surgery or post-op recovery.”

WRONG.

Whether you’re pregnant now or will be sometime in the future, take this bit of advice from me, please: read up on Cesareans so you won’t have that fist-to-the-gut feeling I did when the doctor told me he suggested I have one. Get informed about the how, the why, and especially the recovery. You may never even need to have a C-section, but just in case you do, be prepared and at least know a little bit about it, unlike me.

Anyway. Back to what I’m trying to get at.

If two years ago you’d have told my pregnant self that I’d eventually go twenty-two days over my due date, have a failed induction, and then finally have no choice but to get a C-section, I wouldn’t have believed you. Because none of that was in my plan. Going overdue somewhat, maybe, but not the other stuff. Psh—no way.

I had hoped and planned for a home birth in Tennessee with my midwives, but as I kept going days and days over my due date, our time for my wonderful, ideal, dreamed-about-ever-since-I-can-remember birth was running out. Three weeks past due was the cut-off date, and so on the day I reached 43 weeks with no signs of labor starting anytime soon, we planned an induction at a hospital with a doctor for the next morning—already three things I never, ever imagined myself doing.

Long story short (you can read the full version HERE), the induction didn’t work because apparently my body and my baby STILL weren’t ready yet, and then my blood pressure was high enough to be concerned about, and the baby was assumed to be facing the wrong way (turns out she was), which could cause a problem later on if I delivered vaginally, SO we chose that last resort we’d never dreamed of: a Cesarean section. A full-on MAJOR SURGERY. (Okay, so I admit that part didn’t hit me till later on, but y’all—this surgery is NO JOKE and my heart and so much respect go out to each and every woman who has had this operation.)

Once I started coming off my newborn baby high (AHHH—the best thing in this world!) and I realized there was still a whole world out there with (gasp!) other people, and I was finally over the infection in my incision (O-U-C-H), I realized how very disappointed I actually was that I did not have the birth I’d always dreamed of, the one I’d been planning for nearly ten months, even rented the birthing house for. And I started hating myself for not being able to give birth like a “normal person.” I told myself I must have done something wrong, or not enough things right, to cause everything opposite of my plan to come about. What if I’d exercised more? I wondered. Or, What if I hadn’t eaten some of the things I did? How come So-and-So was able to do it but not me? A friend of mine from church had told me right after Eden was born to never let myself think these things, because I didn’t fail, and I did still carry and give birth to my child, and I was still just as woman as the one who delivered naturally. It was weeks later when I started actually thinking those awful things that I would have to remind myself what she told me. What she said was exactly true, but while I certainly felt that other women who gave birth by Cesarean were amazing mothers and women who had done only what was best for their children, in my heart I couldn’t believe it about myself.

I didn’t ever get depressed about the whole thing, but I did put myself down a lot whenever I thought about how my body couldn’t go into labor on its own, my body couldn’t get into real, good labor even with the help of Pitocin, my body “couldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t. It was also hard reading or hearing other people’s labor and birth stories, knowing I didn’t get to experience the real thing, wondering if I ever would.

A few months ago I spoke with a new friend of mine who had also within the past year given birth via unplanned Cesarean. We swapped our stories and they were almost identical! We chatted about the disappointment we felt when our bodies just wouldn’t do what we wanted them to, the physical and emotional sides of recovering, and our fears of ever having another baby and the same thing happening all over again. Beyond all, though, we are both thankful that we had the option of Cesarean for the sake of our babies, and for their well-being we would not have had it any way but the best way for them—which just so happened to be C-sections. By the time she and I met I can say I was very close to having accepted my daughter’s birth as a whole, but I think being able to talk about it (for the first time!) with someone who totally, absolutely understood exactly what I felt, was a huge weight off my shoulders and I think a big part of fully accepting.

To someone who hasn’t had a Cesarean, I probably sound like a big sissy for having worried so much for so long about how my baby got here, as long as she’s here, safe and perfectly sound—and maybe it is silly—but it’s something a lot of women have to work through emotionally, and I think there are a few big things that can help them get past the disappointment and embrace the truth that this did happen, that their plans can change in a minute, and that they are still every bit of a woman as the one who delivers naturally, or vaginally with an epidural. I may never have that “normal” birth, but that is something I’ll come to grips with if and when the time comes, and since I’ve done this before, I think it will be much easier if I go through it again.

Four things that I believe can help a lot are:

  1. Just be grateful, first and foremost, that your baby is safe and in this world, and that there are doctors out there who know what they’re doing when it does come down to major surgery in favor of the baby’s (and your) health.
  2. Write out your birth story, or record yourself telling it. Just simply getting it all out and off your chest (and reliving the glorious moments!) can sometimes be the best medicine.
  3. Talk to someone who understands, who’s been there. After having my daughter I was surprised at how many friends have had Cesareans, and I didn’t even know it before, but talking to them about it can be so helpful. Talk to someone who will let you spill out your frustrations, but who will also tell you it’s okay, you did amazing, and now you need to suck it up, buttercup. (Because friends don’t let friends throw pity parties.)
  4. Encourage other people. When you talk to a mom who is down about her C-section experience, you can thank God you also went through it, because now you can let her cry on your shoulder, you can tell her it’s gonna be all right (because you know it is), and you can show her what it looks like to pick yourself back up and smile, because you’ve been there, you’re strong, and she is too. I think this was the biggest thing for me to being able to actually be thankful for my C-section (besides the obvious fact that my baby is safely here). I can be thankful I went through something hard like this because when someone else has gone through it and needs encouragement, I can now be a help to that person.

There may still be days here and there when I’ll look down and see my constant reminder, that 6-inch battle scar on my abdomen that may fade but will never completely go away, and I start to think, What if—? but I’m going to stop myself right there, because it’s just a scar, that was just a C-section, it was just a thing I had to do, and I’m okay with it now. I am grateful.

And you can be, too.

Cosmopolitan Magazine, Celebrated Abortion, and Compassion

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One day last year we had someone else’s magazine dropped into our mailbox. Our address was on the back, but under someone else’s name. It was a Cosmopolitan magazine. I never read their stuff, because, like most other magazines, they are just full of garbage (and I am much more likely to read Better Homes and Gardens than anything), but before throwing it in the trash can, I quickly skimmed through it to see just what is printed in a popular magazine read by millions these days.

What I saw was nothing more than what I expected, sadly: weight-loss tips (because you’re not skinny enough), celebrity gossip (because that’s what’s really important), half-dressed women (because fully-dressed women aren’t pleasant to look at), beauty tips (because you’re not pretty enough), and how-to-have-better-sex articles (because, obviously, that’s what life is all about).

You’re catching my sarcasm, I hope?

So, before tossing this abhorrent thing into the trash, one of the article titles in the index caught my eye and I stared at it in horror: How to Get a Safe Abortion. I flipped to the page it was on, hoping that surely it wasn’t about to say what I was afraid it would say. But it did. It said exactly that and much more. This entire magazine was filled with articles about how awful anti-abortionists are, and how great abortion is, how safe, how selfless, how empowering.

In the article titled How to Get a Safe Abortion, they use the word “safe” so many times. Isn’t it strange how their definition of “safe” means only one person is actually physically saved in the process, while at the same time an innocent, separate life is being ripped from the woman’s body and murdered, all in the name of “protecting women” and “women’s rights.”

A “safe abortion” would be not to have one. A “safe abortion” would be using your right to choose by choosing life for both mother and baby. A “safe abortion” is not even possible. There is no such thing as a “safe abortion.”

Defending once again the so-called “safety” of an abortion, they wrote, “Legal abortion remains exceptionally safe, with a major complication rate in the U.S. estimated around 0.2 percent.” But they have forgotten about the other “major complication rate” which is 100% to the life they are so heartlessly diminishing. They don’t care about that other life, as so many claim to by saying they’re doing it “for the good” of the baby.

“It’s not like ending a pregnancy is fun. But by three years later, 99 percent of women seeking abortions say they made the right choice, according to researchers who interviewed 667 women.” While it may be true that some women get through having an abortion with no physical complications and no regrets afterward, most women DO regret it, whether immediately or eventually. Most women wish they could have kept the baby. Most women hate what they’ve done and feel so ashamed.

This magazine issue included interviews with several women who had had abortions. While those women say they have no regrets or doubt they made the right decision, I truly wonder if they’re really being honest with themselves, if they have just lied to themselves for so long that they are starting to believe that what they did is okay. I would guess they have, at some point, felt pain and regret for what they did, but just don’t want to face it because it’s just too hard and there is no going back. Or maybe Cosmopolitan is not even telling the entire story; just what they want other women to hear and believe.

Reading the interviews with those women made me sick to my stomach. It also made me so extremely sad for them. I wonder if had these women had someone lovingly tell them everything would be okay if they kept their baby, they might have listened. If someone had given them hope and strength and the motivation to care for the little life inside them instead of pressing them to abort, they might have listened.

One of them spoke of her day at the clinic and remembered seeing protesters standing outside. She and her boyfriend were about to go pay for a murder, but the ironic thing is she was worried that the protesters would start something violent. She added, “There was a security guard out there too, and he let us into the building. I thought, ‘At least there’s not going to be any violence.’ It made me feel better.”

Pro-abortionists claim that it’s an act of selflessness when you choose to end a life (yes, they admit it’s a life) because you’re preventing him or her from having a hard or less-than-ideal life later on, but in reality it’s a selfish answer to their “problem.”

One of the women interviewed said, “I have a lot of tattoos and it hurts to get tattooed, but there is a point when you think, I am getting something out of this pain. The abortion felt sort of the same. It was uncomfortable and strange, but my brain switched to, ‘It’s fine because after this pain I get this [positive thing].’ …I wouldn’t be the person I am—a successful, happy person—if I had to have that baby. I would be somebody stuck in poverty with few options to dig out of it. I didn’t become a heart surgeon or win a Nobel Prize. I just became an independent person who was able to find happiness. The opportunity to do that is the least anyone deserves.”

This next one took me completely by surprise:

A wife and already mother of three, said that when she and her husband found out they were expecting again they immediately knew they didn’t want the baby and went to schedule an abortion the very next day. They thought their life was perfect just the way it was and that another baby would just mess all of that up. “We love our little family and are super happy,” she said. At the end of the interview she added that she doesn’t regret the abortion at all. “Recently,” she said, “I babysat for my sister-in-law. She has a 2-year-old and an infant, and I was like, ‘No, no, no, I don’t want to do this again.’ So, no, I don’t regret the decision, and I don’t want to have seven babies to make up for it.”

I write all this to point out that there is so much hurt and so much hatred and so much selfishness in this world. There are very, very cold hearts that maybe we even think deserve to die in their filthy sins. But we must remember that there are also those who are 100% ignorant of the wrong they have done. They all simply need a loving person to help them see the error of their ways and be merciful and compassionate enough to help them through the tough times and just be their friend. Even the knowingly guilty ones can turn from their sins and be forgiven. Even the women who “don’t regret” their abortions. Even the doctors, who are trained to help maintain life but who choose to take it as well, can turn from their evil deeds and be forgiven.

We must remember that there is still good in this world too, even though thousands of babies are killed every single day. And we need to BE that good in the world. WE need to be the loving hands who help others find the right way. WE need to be the arms that hold those who have made horrible mistakes and grieve with them. WE need to be the merciful and forgiving people who will befriend those who have repented of their sin and are washed of it. WE need to be like Jesus, who looked past a person’s mistakes and simply saw a dirty soul that, through Him, could be washed as white as snow.

This past Sunday our preacher gave a lesson on compassion. He gave a contrast of the scribes and Pharisees versus Jesus. They were all against sinful living and told people about the error of their ways, but the way they presented their messages to the people was different: the scribes and Pharisees did so with a haughty spirit and pride and hatred in their hearts, but Jesus did so with compassion every single time. And in the end, who got the people to listen? It was Jesus, because He cared about each person and wasn’t haughty and arrogant like the scribes and Pharisees. We ought to have that same compassion toward every single soul we come in contact with.

We are called to be compassionate people. Pro-choicers are so convinced that we are a hateful gang with no tolerance whatsoever and no love for women. But while there may be some pro-lifers out there who are hateful and angry (and with good reason), we don’t need to be like that. Jesus called us to be lights in this dark world, and the salt of the earth that has lost its flavor. When we speak, we are to do so with grace, just like He did. He looked past the dreadful sins of the people and reached for their soul. We can do the same by not judging someone by their terrible deeds–even an abortion–and kindly help them see the wrong, show them that there is forgiveness, and love them just like Jesus loves them.

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)

Cosmopolitan Magazine, I have a suggestion for you: If you so claim to love and help and protect women, why not show a little genuine compassion and help them to see that a baby is not the end of their world. Help them see that murdering a baby is not ever the right or selfless or loving answer to their predicament. Show them that maybe if they sincerely think they can’t support a little human, then adoption is an option because so many couples not able to have a baby of their own are desperately wanting one to love. Maybe you could help these women get back up on their feet again so that they actually can support the little life growing inside them. Maybe instead of “empowering” them by helping them get the career they want by taking their baby’s life, really empower them by helping them strive for that career, all the while loving and caring for their baby, because I have seen so many women prove that it is possible. Cosmopolitan, there are SO many ways of loving and helping and protecting women, and it’s not the way you’re doing it.

~Courtney Faith

Be There

   

   

This day and age we all have smart phones, or some type of cool camera that we’ve got on hand 24/7. We’re practically attached to our electronic devices, virtually glued to a screen.

I go to the park, to the library, to the grocery store, even, and see moms on their phones while their kids are playing, talking, laughing. A lot of times the mom is on her phone because she’s taking a picture or video of her lovely kids.

I get it. I’ve been there. I’m there a lot. Now that I’m a mom myself I love snapping photos of every little milestone or cute face or fun activity I don’t want to ever forget. I find myself taking a dozen or more pictures a day sometimes, and several videos frequently.

But as I watch others doing it too, it strikes me– are my efforts to capture precious moments on my camera actually robbing me from truly soaking up the moment to treasure in my heart forever? Am I really spending those wonderful moments with my daughter, or am I simply her paparazzi and videographer?

Even if I remember every moment I snap a picture of, will she remember? Or will she only remember her childhood filled with Mommy’s face hidden behind an electronic device?

  
I’m not trying to say that we should quit taking pictures or videos. No, I’m all for saving those sweet moments of our growing children. I’m just saying (to myself!) that maybe I should make less pictures and more memories. Maybe I should put down the phone and camera and pick up my baby. Maybe I should use my fingers more for tickling and playing than for typing about all my kid’s sweet and silly antics to post on Facebook or Instgram.

None of these things is wrong, but I want to try to use my screens in moderation, and love and play and make memories with my daughter in liberation. You’ll still see me holding my camera, not able to resist the urge to capture a memory with film (or whatever it’s technically called these days), but I want to take more of those chances to witness the whole scene with my own eyes, uninterrupted by an electronic device.

  
I don’t want to just witness and record my baby’s growing up– I want to be there when she does.

~Courtney Faith

How I Cured My Infected C-Section Incision Naturally

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I had a Cesarean section when my daughter was born 9+ months ago. As I mentioned briefly in Eden Lily’s Birth Story, the incision later got infected and I had extreme pain for about a month and lots of trouble simply walking and moving around.

At the hospital, where I stayed two days after the birth, I was on two different pain medicines, so I stayed pretty numb to any pain for that short period of time. They prescribed me some medicine to pick up at a pharmacy once I got home, but it was late before we finally got to leave the hospital so we didn’t stop to pick any up.

The incision stayed numb for a while, but I remember it being slightly painful to get dressed that next morning, and by Friday it was very hard to get into the car to go for Eden’s pediatrician appointment. There was a very sharp pain at the top of my right leg, like someone was stabbing me with a knife, and I just assumed it was a normal part of the healing process since the nurses and doctor had told me pain was perfectly normal for the first several weeks after a Cesarean section. I started taking ibuprofen regularly on Friday to help control the pain.

I kept hoping and praying it wasn’t an internal incision and that it wouldn’t get any worse or that I would wind up having to get an antibiotic. I’m not completely against antibiotics, because I do believe they can be necessary at times, but I prefer to only put good things in my body, and killing not only the bad bacteria but also the good is not really my cup of tea. I hadn’t had an antibiotic in over 15 years, and had to have one for the C-section, so I was going to do everything I could possibly do in order to avoid having two in one month, especially since I was now breastfeeding my baby.

I got a late start on fighting my infection because it took me so long to figure out what it actually was that was causing my pain. I had been told that pain even up to two months after a Cesarean was perfectly normal, and so for about three weeks or so I was just taking ibuprofen and resting a lot (which were not bad things to do). I removed the tape from my incision after ten days, and it was a good while after that that I realized it was looking infected, but I wasn’t 100% sure. But by about the third week I was fed up with the pain and knew it was definitely infected, and I asked my midwife and herbalist and mom what I should do about it, and that’s when I started taking lots and lots of herbs.

I should NOT have waited as long as I did to do something about it, but I’d never had surgery before and wasn’t exactly sure what was all right and what wasn’t when it came to a major incision. The outside looked fine for so long, and then eventually began to ooze a little bit, and that’s when we figured it was an internal infection. (Not. Good.) Looking back, I should have seen the signs much earlier on and done something about it quicker, and it probably wouldn’t have gotten so bad.

I started taking LOTS of garlic powder (two capsules, never on an empty stomach, every couple hours during the day), bentonite clay plastered directly to the sore (rinsed off and reapplied every few hours), and several drops of tea tree essential oil applied directly to the infected area. I also avoided breads and sugars (for the most part) because those only feed infections, and I took a probiotic, vitamin C, echinacea, BP-X, Plexus Bio-Cleanse, Young Living Thieves essential oil applied externally, and my mom’s homemade good-for-everything salve. When I would start feeling more pain than I could handle and had already taken my dose of ibuprofen for the time being, especially if I was about to go to bed, I would also rub Young Living Valor essential oil directly to the painful spot, and that helped a lot.

(All these things may have helped in many ways, but I do believe that the garlic— which is good for absolutely everything!– bentonite clay— which draws out poison, and evidently pain as well, for a time!– and the tea tree oil— which kills infection– are what really did the trick.)

Nearly another week passed after I began taking my herbs and watching what I ate more closely, and I did begin having better days, but the pain was still nearly unbearable most of the time. I had been completely adamant up to this point about not getting an antibiotic, but the pain had gotten to be so bad that I started to be afraid the infection was too much by now for the herbs to be able to do anything to help, and so I reluctantly told my husband I wasn’t sure anymore that the herbs were even working and that maybe I needed to get an antibiotic to get rid of the pain once and for all. And frankly, I felt I’d done enough crying that month to last me a lifetime. I was ready to walk again like I used to, without any pain, and take care of my family like I wanted.

So, I called my doctor’s office and spoke to the receptionist. I told her I had an infection and she said I should just go to the ER. But the ER was NOT a place I wanted to take my three week-old daughter in the middle of flu season. My sweet husband took off work early one day and we went to see a doctor at an urgent care clinic instead, and some sweet friends of ours came over to watch Eden while we were gone. The pain seemed to have suddenly gotten much less intense by that afternoon when we got in to see the doctor, which was obviously a relief, but I worried that she may not see my problem. I told her what I had been feeling, what it looked like, and that I knew it was an infection and hoped she would give me an antibiotic. She took a very quick look at my incision and said, “Oh, that looks much better than you made it sound. It’s just fine.” And then she proceeded to be so surprised at my stretch marks and even asked to see them a second time, because apparently I have “a lot more than most people” and she went on and on about how she could barely believe her eyes. (Really?! Why would anyone say that to a new mom?)

Anyway, so since I was “just fine” and only very stretch-marked, I was not given an antibiotic and was sent home to heal myself because up to two months of pain is completely normal. I understood that reasoning, but the pain I’d been feeling for three weeks was not at all normal.

Let me just say that I went home a bit discouraged but more determined than ever to get rid of this stinkin’ infection once and for all– without an antibiotic, since I was apparently “just fine.”

So I continued the same remedies I’d been doing before, and after about five days of taking loooooots of garlic and doing lots more bentonite clay applications and lots of drops of tea tree oil, I was back on my feet, walking upright, and feeling human again!

Only once since then have I felt a bit of a twinge in the spot the pain had been, but only a little twinge, and after taking more garlic it completely went away and I’ve been fine ever since. Let me tell you– I am a very firm believer in GARLIC (and of course bentonite clay, tea tree oil, plus looooots of patience and prayer for strength. I could not have gotten through those tough days if it weren’t for praying for God to give me strength.)!

If you ever have an infection like this, please talk to your doctor or midwife as soon as possible. The sooner you treat the problem, the sooner you’ll get rid of it. Yes, maybe an antibiotic would have worked better and faster for me, and maybe I should have taken one as soon as I noticed there was an infection, but I am very grateful I was able to cure the infection completely naturally, without having to worry about any side effects from the antibiotic. And now I know it CAN be done and I have even more faith in natural remedies than before.

I know many people have been through much harder things or experience worse pain on a daily basis, but that month I spent gritting my teeth every time I got up from the couch, or gasped in pain when I moved the wrong muscle when turning over in bed, or having to have help from my husband to get dressed or even walk me to the bathroom– that taught me to never ever take for granted the things that used to seem so simple and be easy for me before. I’m now very grateful that I’m able to take a full step without help, bend over to pick something up, and hold my baby without wincing in pain. The things that seemed so little before don’t seem that way anymore.

“Morning by morning, new mercies I see;
All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”

Have a blessed day!
~Courtney Faith

5 Teething Must-Haves for Babies

  

Today we’re going to talk about that dreaded “‘T’ word.” Teething. My 9 month-old– bless her– is currently cutting her 4th tooth, and it hasn’t been fun for her or me.

BUT there are, thankfully, some things we can do to help make this rough growing stage a liiiiiittle bit easier! If you’re going through this terribleness as well, know that you’re not alone, and that there ARE some things you can do to help.

Below are five things that definitely ease the teething troubles and reduce the tears.

Amber necklace – Helps to ease the pain. I know this sounds bizarre to some people, but since I’m a crunchy momma who was raised by a crunchy momma, something like this is not hard for me to believe. Here is a quickly summed up explanation of how it works: When worn against your skin, your body heat makes the amber rocks release an oil which contains succinic acid. When that is absorbed into your skin, it works like a natural ibuprofen and blocks out pain and reduces inflammation. So, since it’s all in the rock, make sure when and if you get one of these necklaces, you get a real deal one from the Baltic region, and then see for yourself if you like it as much as the rest of us. (PLUS! This necklace is also good for colic, growing pains, sleeping troubles, and speeding up healing of cuts, scrapes, and burns.) I’m a believer in these things. I may even get me one for when I don’t feel well. 😉

Lemon essential oil – Some babies, like mine, tend to run a fever when they’re cutting teeth, and that’s no fun for anybody. To help reduce the fever, put one drop of lemon oil on baby’s spine.

Young Living “Gentle Baby” essential oil – This is full of calming oils to help relax the baby (and you!). Put this on baby’s head, feet, or back when he/she isn’t feeling well, and also diffuse it in the room.

Lavender essential oil – Rub this oil on baby’s jawline to help ease the pain in those swollen gums. I haven’t tried this yet, since my daughter is still just cutting front teeth, but a friend of mine has done this to her babies, and said it’s a tried and true remedy. I know we’ll be doing this once my daughter’s molars start coming in.

Loooots of nursing and cuddles – This is by far the best thing for a teething baby. Your breast milk is exactly what your baby needs because God designed your body to make it specially for your baby, and changes when his/her needs change too! How cool is that?! But whether you breast-feed or bottle-feed, holding your baby while he/she eats will help tremendously. Your baby just needs to feel you close, so enjoy the sweet cuddle time! (This is definitely the only fun part in the whole nasty teething business.)

And for you, momma – COFFEE. Okay, so that’s just my personal suggestion, but truly it’s the only reason I’m alive some days. The stuff’s a life saver.

I hope you’ve found this helpful! Good luck, momma. You’ve got this.

~Courtney Faith

My Morning Routine As a SAHM

Hello, friends!

Today I want to share with you a little bit of what a typical morning for me looks like. I think it’s good to have a comfortable rhythm to start your day off well, and while I’m definitely not the schedule-loving, everything-is-planned-ahead type of person, I do like to at least start each of my days off pretty similar to all my others.

With my husband currently working and going to school, our days don’t always look the same and they change each semester when his classes do, AND we have an almost 9 month-old, so my routine looks pretty different even from what it was just four or five months ago, when she was way more predictable and would sleep 2-3 hours in the mornings and I could get alllll the housework done in one stretch. BUT, although each day has some differences of its own (for example, one day a week we have story time at the library, and another day we go grocery shopping), I do try to keep things pretty steady here at home, at least in the mornings, as the day is getting set into motion.

So. Here’s a general glimpse of what a typical weekday morning for us looks like (as long as Miss E wasn’t up half the night with teething troubles).

1) Get up, fix coffee/breakfast/lunch for hubby.
On hubby’s work days I’m up at about 5:30, and a bit later on his school days, but this part of the day starts off the same way, no matter what time it is when I begin the morning: I get up, start the coffee maker, pop a bagel in the toaster, and then pack his lunch for the day.

2) Rest, nurse, play.
If it’s still early and baby’s not up yet, I sometimes go back to bed for a few minutes of precious shut-eye or just browse my phone (but that extra sleep normally doesn’t happen, because baby’s usually up by 6:00-6:30). Otherwise– get baby up, nurse, and talk/play with her (she is–usually–in her happiest, sweetest state at this time and I LOVE these moments with just the two of us!).

3) Coffee/breakfast for me.
This is usually the time I fix myself a nice, big, hot cup of fresh coffee and eat a small breakfast (cream cheese bagel or cereal– I’m not a huge breakfast eater), and do a bit of reading (I’m working on being more diligent in my Bible reading). Sometimes Eden will want to join me and eat whatever it is I have on my plate, but I usually fix her a bowl of applesauce or yogurt, or give her some dry cereal to munch on.

4) Play, clean, read.
Play with Eden (read books, play with toys, etc.), clean up a little around the house (usually kitchen + dishes) while she either plays on the floor next to me, eats a snack in her highchair, or watches a VeggieTales movie. I also use her quiet play/snack/movie time to read some more, if I’m not busy doing something else.

5) Make a to-do list for the day.
Maybe this should be the first thing I do each day, because that would only make sense, but, personally, I need a little time to wake up and clear my head (AKA coffee up!) before I can start thinking of what all needs to be done that day. This is usually the time I write everything down– even the things I’ve already done that morning–so I can highlight or check each chore off as I go. (This is about as far as the scheduling side of me gets, and I’m perfectly okay with that.) Typically my list looks a little something like this:

6) Nap, clean, shower.
By 10 AM Eden starts to get fussy and is ready for her morning nap, and she’ll normally sleep about an hour, sometimes more. This is the time I take to get the other cleaning done (e.g. put away laundry, sweep kitchen, pick up toys in living room, make bed, straighten bedroom, etc.) while she’s not up to get into things and I don’t have to keep a sharp eye on her. This is also the time I can take a quick shower, with the baby monitor close by. And if all that gets done before the baby wakes up, I get a little more quiet time to myself to read, drink my second cup of coffee, or work on a project.

And that’s what a typical morning looks like for me! Do you have a general routine you like to stick to, or do you prefer to stick to a schedule? What are some things you like to do in your quiet time? Do you have any tips for personal devo time and how to stick to it and stay focused? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Take care!
~Courtney