Getting my Joyful Socks Healthy: 7 Ways I Am Taking Charge Of My Health

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My own struggle with asthma, allergies, depression and weight were born around the same season in my life, the tender age of fifteen.  That means that I have struggled with this issues for a tiny bit over two decades ... Yikes!  Yes, I said decades.

There comes a time for many of us, speaking clearly here as "us" actually being "me", when the struggle for health becomes a more real and a prevalent issue.  I am much like my husband in this arena, I just don't go to the doctor or take health seriously until something literally pops.  The "popping" moment for me came when I realized, yet again, I had allowed my weight to dominate my health and mental well-being enough that my doctor demanded that I go back on blood-pressure medication, and he also made a gentle suggestion for depression medication.

Hello?!?!?  I am only 38 years old here.  My internal monologue began screaming, "Wake up stupid!  He's talking to you!"  

Reality check received.
Now what do I do?

I prayerfully came up with a game-plan of changes to take charge of my own health and wellness.  Changes that would not adversely affect my family, nor our meager budget.  Changes that were realistic and simple to implement, because let's face it folks, if it is not simple (or on a post-it note) it's just not going to get done!

  • Eating "real food" and stopping before I am full.  Not a truly novel idea, I know, but how many of us actually do this daily for our health.  I, for one, have been subject to our society's expectation that we should, at all times, feel full. Wrong!  We should eat to fuel our body, not in order to derive an overwhelming sense of satisfaction from being "full".  That, my friends, is the root of gluttony.  This, is what has been part of my problem in the past.  Food for reward, to relieve stress, or for enjoyment or entertainment.  
  • Change the mindset.  Food is fuel.  I eat to live, I no longer live to eat.  Food can be damaging, but to the opposite, it can also be healing.  Being intentionally healthy about what we eat is a great first step to change our mindset, permanently.  I focus now on incorporating real, whole, non-processed foods.  I eat organic (whenever possible), nutrient-dense foods, grass-fed meats, sugar-free, gluten-free and wheat-free.  I have gleaned research and resources from many places, so I will share a Healthy & Healing Food book-list soon.
  • I'm getting friendly with H2O.  Water is good, your body is made from it, it is for everyone.  Repeat after me, "Water is good".  I have spent the last 4 weeks experimenting with naturally flavoring my own water at home.  I will share those recipes and combinations soon.
  • Redefine how I reward myself.  I have put a halt to rewarding myself with food.  I have also decided that rewards, in general, are not a daily necessity.  Yes, you heard me right!  Our society pleads with us as housewives to reward ourselves . . . you deserve it.  Um, don't even get me started on talking about what I really "deserve"... I am a sinner saved by the grace of Jesus Christ only.  Praise the LORD that I do not get what I deserve.  There is a fine line between overindulgence and good stewardship of yourself.
I read a book.  I rub my feet with essential oils.  I soak my feet in Epsom salt.  I play with my kids.  I work in my organic herb garden.  I take a walk and enjoy nature.  I paint and draw.  I create and write.

  • Accountability, it is not a bad thing.  Find someone who is willing to stand beside you and help you stay focused on your goals.  A mentor.  A friend.  An online friend.  Anyone.  
  • Small changes can equal big results.  I have begun my fitness regiment slowly.  Small steps in this department are better than great changes for me personally.  I just do not understand the enjoyment of a 30 minute lift-weight regiment . . . but I want to.  Since I lack much motivation, then I am making small attainable goals for exercising.  I began with walking a mile a day.  Then I bumped to two miles.  Then an extra mile in the evening.  Next, I plan on adding some small weights and perhaps some cross-fit.  All starting small & building as I go.
  • All good things come to those who weight wait!  Eating for health and healing, and choosing intentionally NOT to eat for weight-loss has helped me to stay the course.  When health, NOT weight-loss, is the goal, then our mindset changes from the "diet" mentality to the lifestyle mentality.  A lifestyle is one to be maintained, daily, without excuses.  Yes please, no more excuses here.
One simple way to avoid to temptation is to be prepared with lunches ready made.

Now I am on my fifth solid week of healthy lifestyle living.  I feel great, not full, but healthy. Even better than that I think I am more pleasant.  I feel more optimistic.  More in-tune with God, my husband and children.  I feel like a better person.  

Truthfully, the first 3 weeks were difficult.  I was tired. I was a bit moody.  I felt like a nap everyday.  It was simple to make some changes, it just wasn't easy to stick with them.  Simple does not equate to easy.  Slow and steady, as usual, does typically win the race.  Praying for endurance and help from above, each day became less of a struggle.

I no longer crave sugar or crazy salty foods that I cannot have.  I have NOT lost a lot of weight and I am okay with that.  My blood-pressure is creeping down, and I have little to no depression to conquer.  The results speak for themselves, and the longer I go in this mindset and health pattern, the greater the outcome.

Listen.  If I have come this far, anyone can.  My personal will power is zero.  You know, nada!  I hope you will be encouraged that if old Joyful Socks, the silliest woman on the planet, can get straight-up seriously healthy, then you know you can too.

What is your greatest obstacle to overcome in taking charge of your health?

Joyfully Learning with You,

The Joyful Socks Mom 

Be sure to keep up with Joyful Socks on PinterestTwitterInstagram & Facebook

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.


Welcome to the Gnomeshire: Organic Herb Gardening Gets Creative

It may be that we have read far too much of literature of the likes Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Yellow Fairy Book  . . .

It may be that we enjoy creating and expressing ourselves through storytelling . . . 

It may be that mommy was just in the mood for a new healthy outdoor-type hobby . . . 

Whatever the actual reason the end result of our family-team efforts has certainly spruced up my front yard.  Welcome to the Gnome Shire!

My maternal grandfather loves to paint birdhouses.  He paints, paints and paints.  Then to top it off, he blesses others by giving them away to everyone who visits.  He has always been a generous and kind person.  Well, the result of his generosity is that we have ended up with more birdhouses than we have birds in our yard.  The solution became to pick-up some gardening tools and transform our front yard organic herb garden into a fully functioning Gnome village.  I wanted to take a few summertime quite moments to show you around our little garden.

We added a few succulent plants to give the miniatures some sprucing up and a more believable look.  Above you will see the home of the Widow Smith.  She enjoys shells, it reminders her of her childhood living as a young gnome by the seashore.

This little commune is the home to the Orphans of the Gnomeshire.  It's a happy, sun-shiny sort of spot.

I typically do not like anything planted in my herb garden that cannot be consumed for culinary or medicinal purposes.  I mean really, I spend money to water, time to plant, weed and tender care to all of my plants . . . I had better be able to at least eat you when it's all over!  Yes, I am that cheap.  However, you will see in the photo above some Foxglove peeking around the corner.  This was my sweet husband's contribution to the garden, so I will try not to complain.  Oh wait, I think I technically did already.

Nestled in a place of honor is the home of our noble Mayor of Gnomeshire.  He needs some lovely little plants for his front yard pots.  Any suggestions?  Edible of course!

Nestled between the town of Gnomeshire and the Bog Swamp, you will find the lovely cottage of Farmer Brown.  That is Chamomile, Garlic Chives and Tarragon that he has growing just to the right of his house.  

Peeking just over the Bog Swamp's hill, you will spot the Hermit's Cave . . . but he is a total grump, so we will just let him be and move along.

The bravest gnome, the Gameskeeper, lives just past the edge of the Peppermint Forest, home of the helpful Blue Tensies, and just before entering the Dark Forest, home to the great ancient dragons.  Lots of Peppermint and Oregano on this side of the forest.

There is the big tour of our Gnomeshire.  I hope that you feel inspired to get your hands dirty, spend an hour outdoors with the kids, or at least join as a family to create a fun story.

Lots more to come from the Gnomeshire this summer.  I will be sharing more about all the organic herbs we use in the garden, and lead to discussing how I use them in the house . . . aside from the obvious eating them.

Joyfully Learning with You,

The Joyful Socks Mom 

Be sure to keep up with Joyful Socks on PinterestTwitterInstagram & Facebook

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.


Organizing Teens: A Plan In Place {REVIEW + Giveaway}

I received a complimentary Customized Student Planner in order to review this product. I received compensation for my time. All opinions in this post are my own. You may read my full disclosure here.

The joys of raising a homeschooled teenager can be vast and varied.  Add along with that the list of blessings that come with having a child who has learning differences.  Now, let's review our list of blessings.  We would most likely find attributes such as creativity, athletic ability, adventurousness,  ingenuity.  What we would more than likely NOT find is a great natural ability to organize.

Organizing Is A Teachable Attribute, You Just Need The Right Resource.

Enter my 15 year old dyslexic daughter, who is amazing on many levels, organizing not being one of them.  Organization for a dyslexic teen is essential, and fortunately is something that can be taught.  We have spent years providing her with training, motivation and reinforcement in the area of organization.  The time is now far-beyond upon us, that responsibility to organize belongs almost solely to her, as a student.

Homeschool Student Planner.

A Plan In Place allowed us the recent opportunity of reviewing a wonderful organizing tool for the homeschooled student, the Student Edition of their Customizable Student Planner.  A resource that helps transfer responsibility and accountability for organizing to the student, where it ultimately belongs.
We first chose the features that we thought were essential in making a Student Planner that works for her needs, which was made easy with A Plan In Place and their easy to navigate and use website.  Here are a few items   of customizing that I appreciated when building and using our own Customizable Student Planner.

• Ability to customize her Weekly Schedule pages to meet my student's individual education plan and schedule. This allowed me to enter her specific subjects, checklists according to our unique curriculum, and assist her with weekly focuses.

• The customizable Calendar that allowed her to plan according to our unique schedule (we school year-round).

• Self-guided Goal & Planning section that allowed my teen to take responsibility for planning her homeschool year, with minimal input from me.  Including important points like Personal Goals, Chores & Responsibilities, Study Plan, Time Schedule, Savings & Spending and Summer Plans. 

• The ability to help her in recording her yearly achievements and consolidating all of that vital information in one place.  This  means I am not the only person doing the record-keeping for our homeschool. Awesome.

• My teen found this planner easy to use & navigate, which helped her take responsibility for her homeschool day and be successful in that endeavor. She also really seemed excited about the "wet-erase" Doodle Page on the inside cover.  She is an easy-to-please kid.

The Right Resource

I would love for my readers to experience the ease of assisting their own homeschool student with this valuable resource.  Organization and responsibility are important skills for all homeschool students, and with A Plan In Place as a resource, we can maintain that precious jewel of organizing on a daily basis.

A Plan In Place is giving away 10 individual $25.00 Gift Cards to A Plan In Place Online Shop! Hop on to the link below & join other iHomeschool Network bloggers & readers for a chance to win.

Be sure to start organizing your school year now & use this discount code IHN15 now through June 15, 2014 to receive 15% Off your entire order with A Plan In Place.

Keep up with all the great products, discounts and organizing resources by hooking up with A Plan In Place on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and You Tube.

Happy homeschool planning to you all!

Joyfully Learning with You,

The Joyful Socks Mom 

Be sure to keep up with Joyful Socks on PinterestTwitterInstagram & Facebook


Saying Good-bye to Cookie-Cutter Parenting

* This post may contain affiliate links.  Thank you for your support. You can read my full disclosure policy here.**

It is a truth universally acknowledged???
  • Boys and girls are not that different.
  • Our expectations of our children should be the same across the board, regardless of gender.
  • What is good for the goose, good for the gander.
  • Anything you can do, I can do better . . . blah, blah, blah.
Holding children accountable in a "cookie-cutter" fashion, with no regard to gender is an outward sign the we are allowing the world to influence our parenting.  

The current politically-correct, socialistic-styled parenting that our American culture appears to promote, dictates simply, that our boys and girls should be parented in the same manner.  Our society, in general, has a bend toward promoting this manner of parenting as a basis for "equality".  The main-stream cries out to the conservative moral-minority demanding, "non-separation by gender", and that all should be "fair and equal".  Anything less than this socially accepted standard is considered narrow, or close-minded thinking.

Well then, if we are going to label and name call, let me be the first to volunteer.  Yes, you may go ahead and slap me with the "narrow-minded conservative" label if it makes you feel better, and let's all get on with our lives shall we?
  • God's Word is clear in the rearing of children as individuals, whilst considering gender as a standard for accountability and discipleship.
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the world of God be not blasphemed.  Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.  In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing corruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you."  Titus 2:4-8 (KJV)

  • It is widely accepted that men and women have different needs, emotionally, physically and mentally.  Logic therefore dictates that boys and girls are different from one another in their emotional, physical and mental demands.  Rightly then, they should be raised toward obtaining these needs, specific to their own gender.  We are should be training children to step into God ordained roles as husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, therefore; a child's training   should be specific and geared toward these roles as a life learning goal.

Yes, we are equal in the sight of God . . . on that, I believe we can agree.  However; equality does not automatically dictate sameness.  Equality, in my own estimation, means mutual respect, for the position and purpose of the opposite gender, and a respect for yourself in embracing your own God ordained role.
"For whatsoever things are written aforetime, are written for our learning, that we through patience, and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.  Now the God of patience and consolation give you that ye be like-minded one towards another, according to Christ Jesus, That ye with one mind, and with one mouth may praise God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15:4-6 (GNV)

In short, toss the cookie-cutters parents, and embrace the differences in your sons and daughters with joy and determination to go counter-culture with your parenting of the future husbands and wives of the Church.

Joyfully Learning with You,

The Joyful Socks Mom 

Be sure to keep up with Joyful Socks on PinterestTwitterInstagram & Facebook

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