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Monday, March 31, 2014

Cleaner, Greener Home: Household Toxins

Like most people that live in the United States, I grew up with a whole array of household cleaners. Windex we used for glass and mirrors, Pledge was our "dusting spray", Chlorox wipes were our kitchen clean up, and all I remember is that whatever we had for the bathroom was super strong! 

Matt and I have a wonderful and very supportive family so when we moved in to our first apartment we barely had to buy anything because our family was so excited for us that they bought us nearly everything. We received the "normal" cleaners that we were used to along with the "brand name" soaps that everyone is accustomed to nowadays. It wasn't until recently that I really have been looking at what is really in these cleaners and soaps that I has made me start to rethink my purchases. 

Here's the deal. Everything we bring in to our home releases particles in to the air. That includes you and your clothing that you are wearing! For example, when you come home from being out with someone who smokes, don't you smell the smoke on your clothes and in your hair? Well all of those chemicals that were in that cigarette just came in to your home. That's why they say if you even smell smoke do not have a baby near that area or if you smell like smoke, don't even touch a baby. Babies skin absorbs everything so much easier than adults skin and all of those chemicals are being absorbed right in that innocent baby's body. 

It's the same with everything else also. If you bring it in to your home, you are breathing it in and absorbing it in to your body. There has been study after study about people who live along water ways and how alarmingly high the cancer rates are among those people because toxins are being carried by the water and released in to the atmosphere. 

I know, I know.... Rather if you are 100 or 20, you have been using these items since you were young and you're perfectly healthy! 

But are you really? How are your allergies and your sinuses? Do you have asthma? Do you know anyone who unexplainingly has one of the million forms of cancer? Do you know someone who has had a miscarriage or lost a baby to SIDS? 

How about did you know that America has a higher pregnancy lost and infant mortality rate than most other first world countries? Did you know that we still use a lot of different chemicals in our products that are banned in most other countries who are a lot healthier than people here in the United States?

Then why do corporations allow these chemicals in their products? Why does the government? 

One answer and that is simply MONEY!

It's more costly to use healthier forms of making their products! And heaven forbid they lose profits and actually care about people's health. This is simply shown in how organic products are normally higher than their chemical pumped alternatives (but that is a different post).

It's simply stated by Jesus in the Bible when he says "the root of all evil is money." Our country, our world has come to love money more than we love each other and there lies the problem. 

Jesus lived a very simple life and never let money control him, not even for a second and yet God took care of him. Jesus wasn't just sent to earth to show God our suffering but also to show us to trust in our God. Trust what he has given us! Do your research and use that beautiful brain that God has blessed you with! Take care of your earthy body as best as you can like he commands us to! Obey his every word and he will bless you. 

Like I said before, my husband and I only live off one income. We can't afford the most luxurious organic and natural items but we also don't have to. God leads me to the information I seek to be able to live the life he wants for me while living within my means. Trust in God and you will find what you seek. Seek God and he will open so many more doors for you! 

Don't get stuck in your earthly comfort zone. Always keep moving forward to our ultimate goal which is to be more like our Savior, Jesus Christ and obey Gods commands for our life!

I hope you enjoy this series! 

God Bless,

Jess




Cleaner, Greener Home

When I was about 12, I started being exposed to a cleaner living lifestyle. I actually got this exposure by the "Green Movement" in Hollywood at the time. I was instantly drawn in and went through a phase where everything in my bedroom was white, I had a million candles everywhere, I bought yoga supplies, a yoga DVD, and some essential oils that I had no idea at the time what they were for.

I was limited to where my family would drive me to get things, so I relied on bath and body works in our local mall, who at that time had jumped on the green bandwagon and was carrying a line of eco friendly products. Little did I know but this would be the starting point to a long devoted life to doing the right thing for myself, the environment, and my future family.

As I grew older and in to my teenage years, I wasn't anywhere close to a natural living person. I, like many other 15-16 year olds, were in to one thing and one thing only, MYSELF. I had a boyfriend, a great group of friends, and just an overall great worry free life!!! I started attending college in 2007, right after I graduated high school and instantly wanted to be out on my own and I wanted my own place. There was just one problem, I didn't have the money to do so. It took me a good 2.5 years to actually be able to move out with the help of Matt, my now husband.

We moved in to a small, one bedroom apartment. It was perfect for us because we both attended college and worked within a couple blocks from where we lived. Around the same time we had also started attending our Church which was also right down the street. As many of you also can relate, we were totally broke college kids. We literally we're living off ramen noodles and spaghetti for the majority of that first year. I had a budget of $60 for food, house products, going out, literally everything for a week. 

I then started becoming more eco conscious, not for the environment but because we were too broke to pay a large heat or electric bill. We unplugged everything! If you wanted to get on the internet, you actually had to plug it in and wait forever to connect. If you wanted to heat up anything, you first had to plug in the microwave or toaster. It was like this with everything! We also froze in the winter and couldn't stand being inside in the summer. I lived off fans and blankets. 

When we bought our home in the beginning of 2011, we were making more money but still brought those same habits with us. As time went by, we were able to afford more luxury items but I still always had my eco conscious roots telling me to do things differently. 

When I was put on bedrest in 2012, things went full speed with our eco lifestyle. We were now living off one income and I was home all day going stir crazy in bed. I started putting lists together of different goals I had for our home and learned way too much about how many toxins we subject ourselves to on a regular basis. I decided then, things needed to change! 

I have since then been slowly changing over our lifestyle habits to be more healthy and green. Throughout the next couple weeks, I am going to be sharing some habits of ours as well as some do it yourself recipes for your home as well yourself.

If you would like to see any specific topics in this series, please let me know in the comment section.

Thank you for reading!

God Bless,

Jess

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Another Year Wiser

This week is my 25th Birthday Week! I am a St. Pattys Day Baby which was pretty awesome when I was in college! I remember beautiful Spring Days and the warmth of just knowing that this day is all about me. I remember all of the little surprises my friends and family would have for me and everyone showering me with love. 

Well this year, I was still showered with love but it definitely wasn't anything close to the norm. Last years birthday was a big flop because I was put on bed rest right around the same time. I practically spent my birthday in the hospital and in doctors offices. So this year, I was going to get it back on track! 

It literally snowed like 6-8 inches on my birthday this year making everything shut down that I was planning on doing! Both of our cars had malfunctions, my Son was running a 102 degree temperature, I couldn't go pick up my macaroons that were replacing my birthday cake, my Mom and I couldn't go to a little small town like we planned (she even took off of work for me), and the restaurant where I was so excited for my family to visit was closed. It was like one of those days where if it could go wrong it went wrong. I was literally drowning in self pity! 

And then it happened.... You know! That wake up call that God gives you to snap you back in to reality! 

We rescheduled my family dinner to the next evening and on my way home we saw an accident had occurred about two miles from my house. When I got home, we realized that the driver had gotten shot by a police officer because he ran a police officer over with his car in an effort to not be arrested for marijuana. How precious is life, I thought to myself. 

I then heard a guy, the same exact age as myself was struck by a garbage truck and killed that same day. That accident was only one town over from me. 

And then the impossible happened. One of my friends, that I have known since high school, 4 month old had died. This was the morning after the other two accidents occurred. 

One of my best friends had contacted me to see if I knew anything but since I'm fasting from Facebook, I hadn't seen the posts about it. I contacted her to see if she was alright but it wasn't, her little angel was gone. 

How precious is life... All I could think at the moment was I can't even fathom the pain she is going through. I literally thought my heart was being ripped out at that moment. I still feel sick to my stomach from the news and haven't let go of my Son since I found out less than 24 hours ago. I've probably prayed 100 times for God to protect me from that feeling and for me to be long gone before anything happens to my Son. 

As a Mother, the worst pain I could ever feel would be losing a Child. And I have definitely been humbled since my Birthday. And I am so grateful for life! 

God is absolutely amazing in everything he does and has blessed me way more than I deserve starting with my precious boy and wonderful husband. 

The first lesson that I have learned since turning 25, only three days ago, is to not take people for granted. Stop holding off going to see someone because you think they'll always be there. Make plans and have fellowship together. Enjoy your life and give all the glory to God! We're only here for a small blip in the story of life so live it to the fullest!!!! Don't dwell in what could be or anything negative for that fact! Push yourself to be happy and fulfilled!!!

God Bless,

Jess

Monday, March 10, 2014

Gods Light on my Life

Ever since I was a young girl I have always known Jesus. I went through many trials and events in my youth and remember Praying and being comforted by Him. He was always my strength.

I didn't understand then what Jesus actually did for me nor was I from a Family who attended Church regularly. My Family did however Prayed to God, bought me bibles and bible stories, told me I was protected by God, sent me to Vacation Bible School for a week every year, and we attended Church a couple times a year. I guess that is more than a typical Family. 

As I became in to college age, I was being pulled in closer by God. He wanted me to find a Church Family. I then drug my then just boyfriend, now husband, around with me to multiple different Churches until I found the right fit for the both of us. We have now been attending our Church for 5 years and my Husband almost right away became a believer and accepted Jesus Christ in to his heart at only 19 years old, that first year we started attending.We both were baptized by full emersion on Septemer 20, 2009. 

Throughout the years I definitely haven't been close to a good Christian. There is a lot that I wish I never had done. It took me until August 2012, when I was 23 to finally hit that wall and I gave myself completely to God.

It's almost like God has a strong grip on my life. When I think about sinning, he is there, in me reminding me that I am now a Child of his. When I do sin, I ask for forgiveness. I don't like disappointing my Father! Oh but how I do sin! Not half as much as before but I do. So I counter that urge by learning and building a stronger relationship with God. I want To be as close to him as possible!

My mind fights me so much that it can become a heavy burden sometimes. God has blessed me with a very logical and knowledge seeking mind. This makes me question everything! But God always brings me to the answers. 

Just this morning I researched some main questions that have been forming for some time now and as a Christian, I was embarrassed to ask. If God is perfect, why did he let Adam, Eve, and Satan sin? Where did Cains wife come from? Why are there different nationalities and races? What happens to those who die without hearing about God? What happened to those people who died before Jesus came? 

My mind is always racing constantly! I know that Jesus's story is real and I believe in God. I have faith that everything the bible says is the truth!!! I just have questions all of the time that drive me absolutely crazy because I just want to have a moment of just bliss for being one of Gods Children!

And then I go back to the fact that God is in control! He has set up everything to happen for a reason. So my million questions I have are to serve a purpose for him! Maybe it's to help an atheist find their way to God or help my 13 year old sister seek answers she needs to be baptized! Either way, I am just here to serve my God and live my life fulfilling the purpose he has made me for.

As an FYI, I found all of the answers I was seeking for. The bible can defend itself, you just have to read it ;)

God Bless,

Jess

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lent 2014

This year Google Search says Lent is running from March 5th to April 17th. The reason I am second guessing this information is because my Catholic and Methodist friends are telling me differently. Their version actually makes more sense, running until April 19th (the day before Easter). 

I didn't grow up attending Church and only had a glimpse of traditional practices by watching others in my public School. In 2009, I devoted myself to God and started attending a local Baptist Church. I soon fell in love with my Church and became a member making me a Southern Baptist.

I still didn't understand some of our Church's practices at the time because in my head, I had let society, culture, and many different religions influence my thinking. It is now five years later and I am still learning and probably always will be. 

Even though the religion I have chosen does not push Lent, I have decided to participate this year not because of the traditional Catholic/Methodist views but very simply just to put my mind on God.

I have chosen to give up Facebook and Instagram for the reason that I simply waste too much time on both of them. It has became as if I can't grab my phone without instantly going to my social media folder. It is a bad habit if you are now doing it as an automatic response. 

Fasting also pushes my mind towards God because now when I open that folder and my FB and IG apps are not in there, I instantly think of God. It is keeping me more centered and balanced with the life that God wants me to have.

I truly believe social media isn't one of Gods favorite things for us. He'd rather us be out and about meeting and serving people. I believe he wants us to enjoy his creation, just not sit like a zombie in front of a screen all day facebooking with people you'll probably never actually hang out with or playing meaningless games to pass by the time.

I'm not saying that Social Media doesn't haven't it's perks, especially for staying in the loop in the community as well as doing business but I just think like everything else we do in America, we have abused our privileges. 

So I am giving it up, well at least for Lent and then maybe I will be able to just use it as a reference after that. I want to give all my Glory to God, not to a mindless internet. 

What are your thoughts? What are you giving up for Lent??? I would love to start a conversation!!!

God Bless,

Jess

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Snow Cream Recipe


Hi Everyone on this snow filled day!!!

I thought a little snow cream article was perfect for today's festivities!


This recipe is perfect for the entire family. Both my hubby & Son enjoyed it!


This is for 4 Cups of Snow:

4 Cups Snow
1/4 Cup Sugar 
1/4 TBSP Vanilla
1/2 Cup of Milk

Mix & Enjoy!!! Yummy!!!

Have fun!

Jess