Sunday, October 29, 2017

It's Time To Get Back In The Saddle Again: 10 Tips To Start Living Healthy Today!

By Rachael J DeBruin, Registered Holistic Nutristionist*

"For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! 
Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. 
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."

Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)

The scale has been quite unkind to me the last few years.

And for that, I am no longer its "friend"...


Yes, having three children back to back can make a person's
body weight fluctuate.

Particularly if you are markedly "lucky" to hail 
from a long line of diabetics, and those that seem to
have the "gift" of a slow metabolism.

Yep, famines must be somewhere down my family line ;)


So, I recently decided to combat this "formidable foe"
of extra girth, and returned to the gym.

And no, I'm not "one of those"
who supposedly have a new gym membership
but never darken the doors.

The staff are even becoming familiarized to our family.
We try to show up 2-3 x's per week.

I also recently joined an adult karate class.
Two hours of kickbutt fun every Thursday.

Wanna join me to suffer, er get in shape??
(seriously...send me an email. It can be a lot of fun too!)

I also started making myself walk the extra mile where I can.

And today, well today I am actually proud of myself.
I went to a health store and actually
didn't check out with a few too many of those so called 
"healthy" treats.

(& don't you dare judge me?! who really goes to the health
stores for only hemp hearts & kale??)


Ah, the lovely existence of making new resolutions,
and social media proclamations of one's 
new health plans...

BUT, this is not what this post is intended to be.

Well, not solely anyway.

I am hoping to encourage those who
have ALSO been struggling...

Struggling to get your pants zipped up.
(Hey, they were shrunk in the dryer, right??)

Struggling to walk a flight of stairs without being winded.
(It's my asthma, ONLY...)

Struggling to look & feel their best.
(I mean, who has the time when I'm so busy...)

It's time to leave the excuses at the door,
and begin to invest in your health.



I want to share TEN TIPS (reminders for myself too)
on how to get back in the saddle & take back your health!

1) Stop beating yourself up!

There I said.

Give yourself grace. Forgive yourself.
And then get up & begin again.

The more you beat yourself up, the longer you sit
in self-pity...the longer you sit there, and
the less likely you are to follow
ANY health plan.

2) Find an encouraging friend (or two).

Following a health routine is hard enough
to do on our own, but research shows that
grabbing a friend will help you BOTH get into
the groove together.

Accountability has great dividends
in any area of life, so why not
find someone today that can join you
in your new healthy pursuits!

3) Set a goal

Want to create a health-related goal that
you will actually follow?

The experts say make it something small & manageable to
start with. 

Then conquer that 'giant' and
get on to the next one!

Step by step, as we conquer our smaller goals,
they eventually snowball & add up to
something quite noticeable.

4) Drink more water

Hydration is one of the biggest keys to nourishing the body.

Start the day with some water, and
drink throughout the day.

I would advise drinking the bigger cups
in-between meals, so as not to dilute or
hinder digestion, but other than that, go hog wild!

5) Explore WHY you overeat (your triggers)

Everyone has their tempting situations, right?

For me, it's those days when I'm stressed, tired
and (or) feeling lonely.

It's also what we store in the house, and
when we don't prepare by packing nutritious
snacks when we are on the go.

Figuring out your trigger foods, and 
avoiding them, replacing them with 
more nourishing alternatives,
all help to stay off the extra weight.

6) De-stress your life

As said above, stress is one of my main triggers
for overeating. I would wager
it is the main trigger for 99 percent
of people who struggle with weight..

So, how to destress?

Many things could be said about this area, but
I think the biggest thing we all seem
to fall prey to these days is

And commitment to things that don't
really matter in the long term.

Evaluating our time usage, and planning
in margin can go a long way.

7) Start Moving

Our lymph nodes require movement to pump
toxins out of our bodies.

Keeping healthy requires that we move our bodies
each & everyday.

Even little bursts of activity can make a big difference.

Set a goal to park farther away.

Set a goal to walk 20 minutes a few times per week.

Go swimming.

Get a bouncing indoor rebounder.

Anything that can inspire you to move & stay active!

8) More Veggies

Antioxidants are abundant in this major food group.
I'd say aim for a veggie per meal, or at least
lunch, and dinner.

Stay away from starchy "veggies" like corn & potatoes,
but feel free to go hog-wild on the greens.

9) Eat Healthy Fats

Particularly Omega 3's which are anti-inflammatory.

These can help our body hugely with
pain management and our brain function.

If you cannot consume enough fish
per week, I would advise supplementing.

10) Break Up With Sugar

This one is hard!!!

Sugar is like one of the major food groups, right?


Sugar has many reasons that should cause
us to reevaluate how much
& if we consume it at all, but the
main one is that it is not nourishing our bodies
at all.


So, in summary, it is time to start afresh.

We do not need to wait for the next
health crisis or new year to take one of the steps
above & gain in the area of our health.

The healthier we are, the better we feel.

The better we feel, the more energy we have.

The more energy we have, the more we can do.

It all comes back to small steps.

“I believe that the greatest gift you can 
give your family 
the world is a healthy you.“

-Joyce Meyer

*The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

5 Things To Remember When Your Child Is Having A Bad Day

We all have our difficult days.
So, why wouldn't we expect our children to have their own
from time to time?


When our children act out, we need to step back & assess the situation.

While we may not be able to in the moment, I have found over time
our children may have certain patterns that become apparent.

Hopefully as you get to know your child, you can work with them
to disciple, teach, correct & encourage them much more 
efficiently as time goes on.


and then now started the process with another child, I have found myself
immersed in parenting literature for children with special needs, 
and behaviourial problems.

However, I have found that many of the principles can be applied to any child 
to help bring about a better outcome for you AND the child
in any stressful situation.


Your toddler is throwing a tantrum on your shopping venture because
he is feeling overtired & overwhelmed.

Your preschooler is not herself these days. She is finding your daily routine
too chaotic & acting out much more than usual near the end of the day.

Your school aged child is upset about changes going on in their sibling's life.
Unable to process this, he begins to act younger than his age and gets himself
repeatedly in trouble for being silly at inappropriate times.

Your tween is starting to notice changes to their body. They are continually 
looking in the mirror & feeling frustrated by what they see.
When you ask a simple question, they are on the verge of tears.
You are left wondering what just happened!

Your teen has just been told he was gossiped about by a supposedly "good" friend.
Said teen doesn't want to admit that it's bothering them, but instead starts to "bother" their
younger siblings for the duration of a long car ride to an appointment.

These may be real life specific examples from our own family,
 but I'm sure you can apply the 
principles to your particular life situation.

In the midst of whatever frustration is going on, we as the parents may feel overwhelmed,
angry, sad, frustrated, lacking understanding, and wondering where we went wrong!

It is often far later in the game that we can look back & see what the triggers were 
for our child, or the overall situation.

Of course, I need to add, this doesn't excuse poor behaviour.

It needs to be addressed. These are great teaching moments.

You can aid ANY parenting strategy by effectively identifying your child's triggers,
& trying to de-escalate the crisis.

Even as adults, I'm sure we can relate to a heavy issue weighing on us
& needing to be dealt with immediately before we continue on.

Sometimes a word of encouragement, and we're back at it.

Emphathy. Understanding. Patience.

All three allowing space for our child (& us) to breathe.


Here are FIVE things to remember when your child is having a bad day:
(maybe even write them out on your fridge!)

1. Let them know you love them.

Unconditional love goes so far with ANY hurting individual.

The most hurtful situations in life that I've experienced is
when I felt "love" with a string (or condition) attached...

No one likes that.

Put the behaviour aside, and always let your child know you love them
in spite of what they just did or said.

I have found this alone will sometimes diffuse a very stressful or tense situation.

2. Offer them a hug.

This goes along with the first point.

Physical touch is a key way to let your child know
that you feel their pain & are right there with them.

I say offer instead of force, because I know myself how 
much an unwanted touch (even a hug) can upset us,
even it comes from someone we usually would enjoy it from.

I have a few really touchy kids who love physical affection,
and others like me, who need to be in the right mood.

However, a safe hug can make all the difference in the world to a
hurting child.

3. Allow them a few minutes to breathe.

If the child or teen isn't making sense, they most likely 
are in flight or fright mode, and are no longer being rational.

It is important that if they need space, that you allow for it to help
them to calm down & self-regulate.

Both of our children with special needs get upset very easily, and if
we continue to push back ("argue", even try to discuss) and they
are not ready for it, then it is fruitless on both ends.

I have found allowing the child to go to their room, or take a quick walk
allows them to regroup & they usually come back
apologetic, and ready to work things out.

4. Allow them space.

This goes along with point number 3, but it also means that
you allow them space & time to think about their responses.

You may even have to allow them a day or two to think on a difficult or tense 
conversation you just had (especially with older ones).

If you have given them say two choices, don't pressure them
to immediately given an answer under duress unless
circumstances dictate it is necessary.

This is particularly important if their difficulty relates to others
outside of the family (maybe someone has deeply hurt or rejected them).

They will likely need a few shorter conversations over a few days, rather
than trying to jam in all of your thoughts & encouragement in a long session 
while the wound is still fresh.

5. Pray with and for them.

I am ending on what I feel is the most important point.

There is no one on the face of the planet who loves your child
more than God does!

He created them, and you, and He is very interested in helping
you both resolve the situation.

Sometimes I'll stop to offer a prayer right then & there.
Other times I'll just quietly pray on my own later.

Either way, the child is covered by our prayers.

I have found the battle is tough these days, and is not
for the faint of heart.

We must persevere both in our parenting, and in prayer, reading the 
Word, and fellowship, as we seek to disciple our children to Christ.


Most of all we need to show them grace.

To be consistent, and yes, hold them accountable for any wrong actions,
however, always remember their age, understanding (as in with special needs),
ability and the context of the situation.


Lastly, I wanted to add, that even with doing ALL of the above,
sometimes circumstances still suck for our child.

Sometimes our child may struggle for more than a short while.

Trust me, we have been there.

I can relate to the powerless feeling of saying you've done all
that you know to do, and life still stinks for your child.

Don't hesitate to seek professional help.

I find the best referrals are from other parents already
two steps ahead.

Ask around, and ensure you find the right team of people
to help you when the bad days are turning into weeks...months...
or even longer.


Whatever you are facing right now,
don't give up.

There is always hope. 


This post may have contained some affiliate links. 
Which means that if you purchase from an affiliate link, 
we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.

Thank you for supporting our family :)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Receiving The Diagnosis (Or Finding the Answers You Need)

In complete shock.

That's how I felt when I got the news...


The last six months have been hard.
Many aspects of that "hard" are simply the 2 facts that:
I am parenting seven children, and I have three younger ones!

..and teenagers...let's not get started ;)

However, today, I will share an aspect of that hard journey
and a peek into my heart.


Facing difficulties can also be seen as opportunities.
Opportunities for God to come through.

And to remind us that there is always hope for our future.

That is what I'm choosing to see this chapter of my life as.
A great big -freakin' hard-but rewarding opportunity.

"There is surely a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off."

Proverbs 23:18


When yourself or your child face difficulties of any kind,
usually our first response is to "buck up" & keep on keepin' on.

While perseverance definitely has its merits,
what about the circumstances
that don't simply disappear?

What about the situations where something in your gut feels off,
but you can't quite put your finger one it.

Hindsight, of course, is 20/20
but I choose to give myself grace in that
I can only act on the information that I currently have.


None of my children had that eventful of a birth.
Really, very little out of the ordinary.

There weren't any diagnosises given at birth.

Over the years we did see a few minor learning issues crop up,
but again, there wasn't anything noteworthy at the time.

Some of my kids had high energy levels, but again, I didn't really think much of it.

Some of them had memory issues ("I just said that!") but again, not overly noticeable.

Some of them have stuggled with disorganization,
but I'm myself a "neat nik" so who am I to render a balanced judgment?

Many children  (and adults!) struggle with these traits,
so on their own they don't necessarily say anything.

However, put together they could be seen as part of a bigger picture.

The last noted marker we noted was experiencing intense emotions
& the unique ability to hyperfocus on something that grabs interest.

Some of you may already know where this is going...


At the markers started to add up, we talked to other parents with similar children.
Some parents had shared how they had pursued answers,
 and once we acquired some leads, we decided to inquire about rates for 

That is the big "Bertha" of assessing for learning issues & related disorders.
It is also VERY expensive. 

Although we had partial coverage (thankfully!), we still had to pay out of 
pocket about $900. 

So, we had to put it off for awhile until we had the money saved,
but finally the testing could begin.

It included handing in past report cards, a self-assessment, a parental assessment,
teacher assessment (if applicable; we only used past report cards) & 
an approx. 3 hour test between the child & assessor.

That was last year, and we were very pleased with the depth of
the answers we received.

The results were very clear.


Suddenly I'm holding the test results & walking in a Dollarama.
And all I can say is I felt like I was floating.

Not in some dreamy mystical way, but that I was in shock.


I mean it all made sense now.

Kinda, sorta.

I felt like everything that was familiar to me was...
well, it wasn't.

I felt overwhelmed because I then realized some of my other children
also seemed to have a few of the traits.

Based on the current research that is out there

And I now began to see various traits "sticking out" to me in all
directions of our family tree.

Even some of the characteristics I saw in myself.


The assessor did say that much of the population displays various aspects
 of ADHD, and that's why so many have a hard time with the label being used
as an "excuse" (in their opinion) for children's (or adult's) negative behaviour.

However, she reminded me that the key to making a
definitive diagnosis is that these attributes are:

1) pervasive enough that they effect more than one area of their life &
Some people do "outgrow" it (or find ways to cope/compensate as we all do
with our given weaknesses), but not all.

My Doctor even told me that she has seen many doing well by the age of 40.
Well, I had to chuckle at that one.

That seems a LONG way off for any child.


Nonetheless, the journey into this 'foreign' new world of
special needs, whether invited or not, has come our way.

Our schedule has profoundly changed.

Our educational plan has changed.

Our goals have changed.

The way we allocate our finances has changed.

Some of our social circles have changed (very naturally; people tend to
gravitate to others in the 'same boat').

For the most part it has, thankfully, widened :)


Exploring these difficulties can be time consuming.
It's also often costly.

Many times we don't want to expend the energy, or even know where to start.

If you yourself are facing a difficult situation with your child and
are not sure what the next step is, I'd encourage you to speak with
the appropriate professional.

For us, it was the assessor mentioned above, and then
communication with our Dr.

Depending on the age of the child, there are (usually)
many resources available in any given community.

I was fortunate enough to even find other professionals
that have proved helpful.

Bonus, I stumbled upon a great parental support group.
The only group I've ever been in where I didn't
feel like I was the worst mother in the world
(due to my child's behaviour on a difficult day).

Yep, seriously.

We are now entering a season of further assessment for
another child for a different medical issue.

Often when it rains, it tends to pour.

Nonetheless, I am finding much hope in this season.

Answers have come, and are continuing to do so.

Compassion has grown, and I hope continues to do so.


More patience when child "x" acts out
(most days...I'm still growing).

Most importantly, we need to surround ourselves with 'safe' people.
People (and professionals) who we can talk to about anything
 pertaining to how this new diagnosis will affect us & our families.


My plan over the new few blog posts is to share
more of my journey.

While I will not share personal details, ages, or names
with you (& please, I won't discuss those in person either),
 I will describe how this very difficult journey
has FORCED helped me to learn & grow.

Sometimes "imposed" life circumstances are the best teachers in life.


& yet, they can also be rewarding opportunities when
we choose to learn what we need to, and pass
along that info & hope to others :)


This post may have contained some affiliate links. 
Which means that if you purchase from an affiliate link, 
we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.

Thank you for supporting our family :)


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