General

Floral Spray

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I love anything that smells fresh and floral and most particularly, non-toxic! Maybe you use this idea already, but if not, I think you’ll love it too!

 

All you need is a clean spray bottle.

Fill it with water leaving about an inch of air space in the top.

Add 3-4 drops of your favorite essential oils.

Then just shake the bottle lightly as you spray each time. That shaking will mix the oils in the water and diffuse them into the air.

The one I tried yesterday was made of:

3 drops Harmony essential oil blend {I used Eden’s Garden brand, but Young Living would be fabulous too.}

3 drops cinnamon essential oil

Ooooooh, this combination is heavenly!

You could spray your linens or your whole linen closet; spray clothes closets; storage rooms; laundry; and of course any room you just want to freshen-up!

Some of my favorite combinations are blends of citrus oils, lemon, grapefruit, lime and orange.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Love,

Jacque

 

Prioritizing Motherhood

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I just read an article about a new book that has people excited and happy, and some excited and upset!

The book’s author discusses the neurological  importance of mothers being with their children, most critically,  for the first three years of life. (Thank you for the head’s up Shanna!)

The book is, Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters, by Erica Komisar.

The Wall Street Journal article is mostly about the political reactions people are having to the science it reports and what it means for the conflict that many women feel about the demands of motherhood and the choice of simultaneously pursuing a career.

I would like to simply say that over a dozen years ago, I sat in a research class

and heard researchers report on the work they were doing then. One I remember in particular, was a project in which researchers were looking at stress responses in baby monkeys. Samples of the babies saliva were taken and tested for levels of the stress hormone, cortisol in different situations regarding the relationship between the mother and baby.

The scientists reported that monkey mothers who could calm and regulate their emotions, served as a calming and protective neurological and hormonal influence on their babies. When something in the environment was threatening or just new and unknown to the babies, the mothers would pull the babies close to them and the little monkeys stress response (measured by the level of cortisol in the saliva) calmed down quickly.

On the other hand, monkey mothers who had missed that calming influence in their infancy, did not instinctively know how to calm their babies and their own stress hormones were being kicked up in novel situations.

At the end of their presentation, the researchers were very careful to say that studies with monkeys can’t be generalized to human mothers and babies.

The memories of this conference were going through my mind as I read the WSJ article where Dr. Komisar reports on the cortisol levels in human babies and their response to their mothers. And now with human trials, it looks as if the mothers do serve as a central nervous system for their babies as they are developing.

The major take away, as I see it, particularly for anyone who is already committed to being at home with their children, is the fact that not only is it vital to be physically present for our children but emotionally well and present too.

Life is full of change and diverse situations that can try even the most stable parents! Mothers who are single or struggle financially, or experience any number of life changes can have increased loads of strain and stress. I don’t think it is realistic to think that any of us will always do right by our children in every situation. But the point here is to understand the why of doing our best to work things out to favor the healthy growth of our children. None of us are perfect, but having the ideal as a guide can help us to keep our priorities clearer and inform our most important decisions.

I remember an acquaintance whose husband announced that he was leaving the family and completely stunned her and their small children with his decision. She said she quickly felt grateful to have kept up her teaching certification current so that she could return to work to support her children, now as a single mother. She felt that being self-sufficient was the right thing to do. But when she prayed about the option of leaving her little people during the day, the prompting she felt was that she needed to accept assistance from her church and stay with her kids for the time being. As I read this article, I thought about her courageous decision to humble herself and follow the feeling that her children still needed her full attention, no matter how she thought others might perceive her choice.

We are all living with change and constant choices and no two situations are the same. Thankfully, we can pray for guidance and assistance when it comes to our biggest priorities and do our best to be available to our children because we understand that they need us.

If you need help in being present, not just physically, but also emotionally, don’t wait, find a way to get that help. Generations will be blessed for your efforts to be the healthiest version of yourself that you can possibly be. If you have kids, and you are struggling with your own emotional health, now is the time to get well!

It’s actually self-care that is vital to the functioning of your family. Absolutely vital.

If you think health coaching could be the support you need, please contact me! If you feel that a therapist is in order, please reach out to one today!

I’m cheering for your family’s success!

Be well.

Jacque

 

 

 

 

 

Pretending Can Work!

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Have you ever wished you could be more assertive or more thoughtful? Or maybe you’ve longed to be tidier or more organized in your thinking?

Well, just like putting on a costume and stepping into a different character, sometimes “pretending” to be or do something we don’t usually feel like we are or can do, can actually help us make the shift we want to make.

I think it works because much of what is normally going through our minds when we attempt to behave differently than our norm, is a list of reasons as why we can’t or don’t choose to change. Say, I decide to take a drawing class. Would it be more helpful for me to be thinking about what little confidence I have in my ability to draw something or for me to slip into a bit of my imagination and say to myself, I am an artist inside and this class is helping me to find it! Or what if I feel shy and insecure about meeting someone new; would it be helpful to go on in my mind about how scared I feel or might it be more useful to say, I am confident and brave! I am gaining more experience while I’m practicing my people skills!

In essence, we can mentally put on the costume we need or want to wear and work with ourselves to expand and develop ourselves instead of allowing past mistakes or limitations and false beliefs to direct what we can accomplish now.

My love to you today! Keep going, you’re doing so well!

Jacque

Safety First

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Enjoying relationships that are close and tender and trusting, or in other words, intimate, is the fruit of cultivating safe places.

Consider your words: Do you laugh at or criticize other people’s ideas or opinions? Do you, in word or expression or even with body language cause others to feel the need to withhold their real selves? (How I wish I could say no, never! to each of these questions!)

Our tender-sides are those we tend to protect! What self-protective behaviors might you be seeing in your spouse or children? Are they confident enough in your response to them to show you the small child that resides in them? To show their hopes and dreams, their fears and challenges? Can they trust you to keep their confidences and honor their wishes?

Self-protection looks like: withholding ideas or opinions and only sharing a guarded exterior self; keeping to themselves; not confiding in you; being careful, trying to say what they think you want to hear.

Do you know someone with whom you feel absolutely safe? Someone who gives you the sense that no matter what you say or what you’ve done that they will love you and withhold judgement of you?

If you do, you are blessed! That is a priceless friend and advocate! Because when we are free to be ourselves and to feel loved and thoroughly accepted, we can really learn! We can accept feedback because we don’t have to use up our brain power and energy on self-protection, we can just hear what is said knowing we are still loved the same.

I hope that some of these thoughts are helpful. They have come to me through the miriad of experiences I’ve had as a wife and mother, daughter, sister and friend.

May you be able to offer safe spaces to those you love, and may you be the recipient of generous and true friends— even, no especially, those within your family.

Much love,

Jacque

P.S. Crazy though it is, that critical and demeaning attitude we all can have at times is a self-protective behavior too! So while we’re trying to guard ourselves, we’re giving others the signal that they need to guard themselves from us! Aaaarg!!! What a vicious cycle! This is one more reason to practice declarations every day and to cultivate safeness with our own selves. If you are mentally cutting on yourself, you are going to be feeling defensive whether you realize it or not…and that will keep this defensive/offensive cycle running in your relationships.

”I can change.”

”I love myself and I like myself.”

”I am human and I forgive myself of past mistakes.”

”I am a good person striving to be better.”

”I love others as I love myself, with gentle kindness and true acceptance.”

 

Contingency Plan

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If a friend came to you and told you that she was feeling down and asked if you had any suggestions about how she could feel more happiness and hope in her life, what would you tell her?

Would you possibly tell her that one surefire way to move out of a discouraged and disheartened mindset (that awful, bottomless pit!) is to find someone who has need of your assistance and get busy shifting your mind to offering what assistance you can?

If you have experience with this magical phenomenon, you’ll know that it really can work a miracle to get out of our own heads and the downward, circuitous pattern of depressive thinking and truly see and think and care about someone else!

Ok, so the problem is, what if the person in the mental black hole is you? What counsel would you give yourself? Well, here’s the rub: it depends on how sucked into the black you are before you think to counsel yourself! Because part of the experience of the black hole is that your right mind goes to lunch! Even if you have great counsel for yourself, like you would give a friend when you’re feeling chipper and she’s feeling hopeless, you may end up singing Alice in Wonderland’s wonderful song;

“I give myself such very good advice, but I very seldom follow it!”

So just maybe a contingency plan would be the ticket!

Of course the first part of that plan is to be getting as much deeply nourishing self-care as you possibly can first thing every day, or as many days as you possibly can. That effort will at least set you up for a better chance of success in dealing with the stresses that will come.

The second part of that plan might be a regular “looking out for others” activity that helps you keep your perspective and sense of humor and simply keeps your mind in an outgoing spiral instead of an in and downward one. You may consistently visit someone in your area and offer them a hand with something, or regularly sing with an elderly person in an assisted living facility, or serve food in a soup kitchen or volunteer at a local children’s hospital, or an animal shelter or give of yourself in any number of situations of ongoing need.

And third, what about crafting a string of declarations that are ever-ready and at your disposal for the moment you feel the temptation to drift or escape or wallow in self-piteous or fearful thoughts? (If you don’t act immediately, these lose their effectiveness fast simply because with every minute that passes, you will actually be caring less about keeping yourself in an uplifted place!)

Fourth and finally, for this post anyway, directing your mind toward gratitude by writing out your grateful thoughts every day will go a long way in steering you toward light and mental, physical and emotional health.

Here’s the truth: it isn’t our circumstances that dictate our level of peace and joy in this life!

May you have a blessed week. And may you create and cultivate a spirit of contentment and sharing.

Love always,

Jacque

P.S. Take your children along and let them learn by watching, by doing and by how they feel when they bless others. You’ll be creating a safety net under their lives by teaching them to be “outward reachers!”