Sue’s Solution

During-Angle

Sue was living a broken life and everything was coming apart.

She had one daughter when she became pregnant with baby number 2. It was a completely normal and healthy pregnancy until she went into labor at 23 weeks. Sadly, Austin passed away after only 23 minutes.

Upset and depressed, Sue turned to food.

Sue’s next pregnancy was not any happier. She lost “baby dot” at 6 weeks gestation.

Around Thanksgiving of 2006, Sue became pregnant again. To stay pregnant, she had weekly injections and some steroid injections. I have lived in fear through a tough pregnancy and I cannot imagine the terror Sue must have felt.

“I basically spent the entire time thinking I would be burying another child because I had already lost two….I flashed back to Austin’s little white casket frequently in my mind.”

Thankfully, Hunter came into this world–a little early–and survived! After 2 weeks in the NICU, Hunter was able to come home and join his family.

Some people dream of the NASCAR life, it was Sue’s reality.

Sue’s husband worked as an over the wall pit crew tire carrier.  Imagine the weekly races and traveling all over the nation. Winning big prize money and corporate sponsors to make you rich and pay all the bills.

That was not Sue’s NASCAR life. Her husband traveled from February to November every year. She was trying to take care of an infant as a virtual single mom. It caused a lot of problems within her marriage.

Sue continued to eat.

Unless you’re a top name driver, NASCAR doesn’t pay a lot. There were times when they sold personal items just to pay the bills.

“We were a month away from losing my only source of income (and knowing we cold not make ends meet just on what he made even with the help of the government systems – you know the catch 22 you don’t make enough to live but make too much to get help) so I was depressed and upset to say the least. “

Her marriage was broken. Her finances were in ruin.

 

Sue’s health was in decline.

She is what some would classify an emotional eater. Emotional eating is something that is complex and hard to explain. Sue explains it this way:

“Some people hit things, some people cry, some people eat. I was (and still am to some extent) an eater when I am down.”

The pounds piled on.

“I was obese, had daily migraines, was exhausted and napping every day by noon, and had heartburn every night. I popped Tylenol and Tums like they were candy.

I was a mess.”

Tired and needing to sit, Sue was scanning through facebook when she came across a post about a product that could give you energy. After trying countless other weight loss programs and even a personal trainer, Sue had not yet given up hope.

Another thing caught her eye. It was with a work at home company. A potential job. Sue started investigating.

She tried the product. She noticed a difference within herself. She began doing direct sales with the company and sharing her story. Others were interested as well. Within 2 months the income was more than that of a previous direct sales company and her unemployment.

42713-to-42814

This was the solution Sue was looking for.

“So far in my journey I am down in the around 30 pounds on the scale, I have lost almost 40 inches off my body, I have not had one single migraines since May 2013. I no longer take naps and feel tired, I have no heartburn or reflux.”

In the fall of 2013 her husband decided to retire from NASCAR. He now stays close to home, working on producing and co-hosting television shows. Hunter is enrolled in an online charter school so when he does have to travel, the family can go with him.

Sue chose to do something about her problem. When she was at the bottom, she could have allowed herself to stay there and continue down the road of poor health choices and financial ruin.

Instead she took a chance. A chance after seeing a facebook post, and her life is much better because of it.

The best part? Today I am able to influence thousands of lives – in both health and wealth. I am living proof that anyone can change their family’s future and live the life of their dreams. Follow me and my family on our journey to health and financial freedom ~ the good, the bad, the fat and the ugly… NO HOLDS BARRED!

 

Want to follow Sue’s journey? She blogs and shares her story at Slender Suzie. I highly encourage you check it out. All pictures were used with permission.

 

~Crystal

 

 

Every Thursday I share stories from people like you. Perhaps you have a story of overcoming something like Sue. Or maybe your story is one of contentment, happiness, success or surviving through tragedy. Regardless, I believe everyone has a story–and everyone’s story is worthy of being shared. If you would like to share your story, please contact me here or by clicking on the “share a story” tab above.

I keep it real simple. I’ve found it works best to have a short facebook or email chat–this is not a homework assignment or work project. It is a friendly conversation so I can learn your story and share it with others.

 

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Soul Survival

Homemade Sunscreen

Homemade Sunscreen

I’m addicted to sunscreen. It is a need I have to put it on every day and my body doesn’t feel ready to go until it is applied. Even my face feels funny until it is on. It doesn’t matter if I’m inside or out, I need it.

I am extremely sensitive to UV. It doesn’t matter if it is natural from the sun or artificial from light fixtures. For some reason, my body doesn’t recognize UV as helpful, and instead tries to attack it. Basically, when I get anything over minimal UV exposure I get extremely fatigued and may break out in a rash. It can also set off some of my other auto immune issues like arthritis.

Unless I want to medicate, I must wear sunscreen.

But there’s a problem. My body has become chemically dependent on sunscreen. I feel withdrawal and a difference when I don’t have it on. The higher the SPF the better. I wear at least 70+. I’ve seen the charts and I know that higher numbers only give you minimal added protection–I need that slight bit more.

Every time I make a change recently it has been a shift from commercially produced products to things I can make at home. I was very skeptical this time. There was no way I could make a sunscreen that would protect me as well as the chemicals for close to the same price. I thought it’d be expensive and I would blow my budget but I was willing to experiment.

[Tweet “#Homemade sunscreen is chaper and works better than store bought!”]

This sunscreen costs way less than what I was buying! I was paying about $8-9 for an 8 ounce bottle of 70+ SPF–about $1 per ounce. When broken down, this only cost me $2.70 for 6 ounces. That’s 45 per ounce!!!!!

No, they are not close to the same price. Homemade sunscreen is cheaper than commercial sunscreen.

I don’t know the SPF of this sunscreen. Without paying thousands of dollars for lab testing there is no way to know. I can guess and say it is above 20 SPF, but that is a guess. (based on this chart).

[Tweet “This homemade sunscreen and it works better than store bought sunscreen.”]

To sum it up, here are the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Less expensive per ounce than commercial sunscreen
  • Works as well if not better
  • Can customize your scent
  • I know everything in it and I can pronounce everything!

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • It is an investment to buy all the ingredients (I spent about $40 getting everything together) but I can make several batches before needing to spend more.

 

Homemade Sunscreen Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (buy it here)
  • 16 grams (approx 2 Tablespoons) beeswax (buy it here)
  • 22 grams (approx 2 Tablespoons) zinc oxide (buy it here)
  • 32 grams (approx 2 Tablespoons) shea butter (buy it here)
  • Up to 1 Teaspoon Vitamin E oil as a preservative–I use 6 Vitamin E supplements that we keep in our medicine cabinet, I just cut off the ends and squirt them in
  • Fragrance–I used about 15 drops of peppermint essential oil. You can add whatever sent you would like. (this is what I used but I didn’t need to buy it as I already had it on hand)

You will also need a jar and pan or double boiler, tablespoon or food scale, jar to store your sunscreen in–preferably not clear, and a stirring stick–I use a popsicle stick.

 

Directions:

  1. Shred or cut up the beeswax into small pieces.
  2. Add everything except the fragrance into a jar or double boiler. I use a canning jar dedicated to making lotions and sunscreen. This way there is no potential for cross contamination into my food.CAUTION:::Zinc Oxide is toxic if inhaled. Please wear a mask or bandanna over your face when measuring and working with the powder. Also use dedicated measuring equipment so there is no cross contamination to your food.
  3. Place a lid over the jar so that nothing evaporates. Don’t screw it down, just set it on.
  4. Place the jar into a pan and add some water. Bring the water to a boil and allow to boil for about 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer into your sunscreen container and allow to cool slighly.
  6. Stir in your fragrance. Add a little bit at a time until it smells how you would like. It may be stronger when applied so it is always best to go light on the fragrance and adjust over time.
  7. Stir occasionally as the sunscreen cools to ensure that all ingredients are equally mixed.

There you have it! I hope it works as well for you as it does for me. Have you ever made your own sunscreen? Leave me a comment and let me know how it worked for you.   ~Crystal

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Fulfilled Fridays 2 Link-up

Welcome to Fulfilled Fridays!

A place where we can celebrate and share what makes life great.

OpenClips / Pixabay

My life is a mess right now. I’m scatterbrained and forgetting things right and left. When people ask me things I’m finding I have to really focus on what they are saying. And I absolutely cannot multitask right now.

I can only think about or focus on one thing at a time. I feel lost, slow, and like I’m dropping things right and left.

As I told my husband the other day:

[Tweet “It must be hard to be a man and never be able to multitask.”]

As humorous as that is, it is a reality for me sometimes. It is part of my lot in life. I suffer from auto immune diseases (more about it here). There are days when my brain shuts down and doing simple things require great effort. There are days when just talking wears me out. That has been this week.

I have been so blessed with an amazing and understanding family. When I’m not doing well, my children take care of themselves. They get their own breakfast and lunch, they do their own laundry, they play peacefully and quietly–for the most part, they are 8 and 10.

My husband is the most compassionate man I’ve ever met.

He goes into care mode. He works a lot and comes home exhausted. I don’t expect him to cook and clean. However, he is very forgiving when I don’t either. He doesn’t complain about dinners of plain boiled chicken and white rice. He doesn’t complain about dirty dishes as long as there is a plate and fork to eat with.

I couldn’t have married a better man.

And that is why my life is fulfilled. I have forgiving and understanding people around me so when all things fall apart and I need to spend a day in bed watching movies on the computer, they happily allow me to.

Now it is your turn!

There are very few rules. You don’t have to follow me on social media or subscribe although I’d love it if you do. Links to where you can find me on social media are off to your right.

If you’re feeling extra generous, tell others where to find this link-up. I’ll make it easy for you if you use twitter!

[Tweet “I linked up at Fulfilled Fridays. Come join me! #linkup #bloggers”]

You don’t even have to link back but it’d be awesome if you did!

Simply share a post, recent or in the past about anything good. Perhaps it is a recipe, craft, a moment in time, something you overcame, something to inspire, or just a journal. Anything goes.

If you don’t have a blog, leave a comment and share below.

Let’s celebrate why our lives are fulfilled!!!!

 

And if you have a few minutes after posting your link, please spread the joy. Take some time and visit some of the other bloggers.

 

Grab my button:

 

Living In Green Grass
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.livingingreengrass.com" title="Living In Green Grass"><img src="http://www.livingingreengrass.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Fulfilled-Fridays-Button.jpg" alt="Living In Green Grass" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

 

The Linkup:

The link-up goes live every Friday at 7AM MST and closes the following Thursday at 5 PM MST.

 
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Marriage at its Worst

 

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

…to have and to hold,

from this day forward,

for better, for worse,

for richer, for poorer,

in sickness and in health,

to love and to cherish

till death do us part.

[/dropshadowbox]

 

At weddings we dream of the good times, knowing there will be bad times too but never fathoming how bad it can get. Marriage is a commitment and something that isn’t always pretty or easy.

I asked Kris if she would share a story from her life. Instead of chatting with me via facebook she sent me something she’d written a few years ago. After some edits to make it blog pretty….here it is in her own words.

 

Marriage and wedding day

Today, I am a happily married woman of 15 years and mother to four beautiful daughters.

But this wasn’t always the case.

My husband and I married when we were both young. He was just 21 and I was 23. The following year found us expecting our first daughter. I knew there were some things that my husband and I both needed to work on in our relationships with God, but I felt confident that we would both conquer any hurdles together.

In October of 2003, I gave birth to our second daughter. By this time, my husband and I were very distant. I began taking to medication to help me with nursing our daughter. I was unaware of the side effects which included fatigue, severe irritability, and depression.

I distanced myself even further from my husband because of this medication. There were many nights I sat at home alone with a crying baby, waiting for him to come home from work.

He began working longer and longer days. It seemed he had no time for me. The gap between us slowly widened until I felt married to a stranger.

In January 2004, I found out my husband was involved in an emotional affair with a co-worker.

My world was devastated.

People will tell you that an emotional affair is not as hard to live through as an ‘actual’ affair, but those people lie or have never experienced it before. Those first few nights after I found out, I just cried. What had we done to our marriage? Could it even be fixed? Did he even want it fixed?

I recall begging him on bended knee to please save our marriage and go to counseling. This was the single most humbling thing I have ever done in my entire life. And it worked. He agreed to counseling and we began the long process of picking ourselves up out of the bottom of the pit.

My first instinct was to berate him for all the things he had done wrong to cause us to get to this point in our lives. Those first weeks, I raged against everything: him, the girl who had coerced him away from me, even God. But then my attitude slowly started to change.

God quietly began speaking into my heart some painful truths regarding myself and my marriage. I resolved that I had to forgive many people, including me, for wrongs suffered. Such a hard thing when all you want to do is hit the girl who had (in my mind) caused the affair.

I resolved that I couldn’t change anything about my husband, even though there were a few things (ok a LOT of things) that I wanted to point out he was doing wrong. I let God instead be in charge of convicting, judging, speaking mercy, and redeeming my husband.

[Tweet “I resolved that I couldn’t change anything about my husband, even though there were a few things (ok a LOT of things) that I wanted to point out he was doing wrong.”]

Instead, I decided to let God speak to me and tell me what things I could be doing to become a better wife and a better follower of Him.

The first months of that year were truly a literal springtime for our lives.

We took the advice of counselors and friends and chose a devotional to read together. We worked through the book, “Fall in Love, Stay in Love” by Willard Harley, Jr. We also read a Psalm together every night and talked through how it could apply to our own lives and situation.

To say this was a difficult time is certainly an understatement. Committing to spending time with someone who has broken your heart and trust is never easy, but I stood on faith that this is what God wanted us to do. One of the key verses I stood on during that time was a promise from God:

The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves those with a crushed spirit. Psalm 34:18

This verse, along with a few others sustained me when all else looked bleak. I wish I could say things healed immediately, but I’m a stubborn redhead and uphold every single stereotype you may have heard about us.

Kris and Paul have fun

Things between us slowly started to look better.

It was only due to our diligence in keeping our word about being brutally honest with one another that we were able to work through issue after issue. Issues that had caused the initial downward spiral into the darkest time in our marriage. There were times when I didn’t want to allow him to hold me again or comfort me, but I had committed to keeping our marriage and that meant making myself emotionally vulnerable again.

Time eventually passed and my heart began to heal. God was faithful in sustaining us through what was the hardest thing I think I’ve ever done in my life: surviving and thriving in a marriage after an affair.

[Tweet “What Satan had meant for a great evil and destruction became a testimony of redeemed love.”]

In the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to speak our story to the women at my church during a retreat. Many women have come to me, some without knowing my own story, and said “My husband is having an affair, what do I do?” What Satan had meant for great evil and destruction in our lives became a testimony of redeemed love, commitment, and faithfulness of God towards broken, crushed people.

There were times I despaired that I would ever love my husband again the way it first had been upon our wedding day. I’m sure he felt the same way. There were times it was a lesson in obedience only that we even spoke to each other in a civil manner. Whole days when we thought things would never ever be okay between us again. And yet, we stand strong today.

Kris Family photo

Today, I am a happily married wife.

That newborn baby from 2004 is a gloriously beautiful almost eleven year old redhead with two younger sisters who would have never existed had we given up on our marriage.

I can’t imagine my life without all four of my babies together. I can’t fathom that there was a time that my husband didn’t dote on me or cherish me, because that simply isn’t my story any more.

Friends wondered then why I chose forgiveness and trust over throwing away a marriage and a husband. They wondered how I could possibly be ‘strong enough’ to start over again with him. Some openly mocked our decision to stay together telling me I was setting myself up for pain and heartache again.

I’m so thankful I listened to God on this one and not ‘man’. The years of happiness that have sprung forth from that desolate time in our lives has truly all been 100% worth every single night of struggle and wrenching desperation spent in redeeming our marriage.

 

 

Thank you Kris for sharing your story about love, grace, and redemption.

 

 

Every Thursday I like to share your stories. Stories of grace and redemption, stories of overcoming, stories of living life the best you can, stories of happiness and contentment, stories of real life. If you would like to share your story, please click here or on the “Share a Story!” tab above.

 

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Beauty Observed

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Mondays Musings

Soul Survival

Tea Tree Oil

 

I have always been interested in essential oils and doing things a more natural way. I dabbled from here to there, but I never took the plunge.

About a year ago I started doing lots of research into alternative medicine. A few months ago we lost our insurance when The Husband switched jobs. He got tendinitis. Without insurance to pay for a doctor visit, my interest became a necessity and reality.

I got some essential oils and started doing nightly massages on his arms. He isn’t completely healed but he is improving greatly, and for less than 1 trip to the doctor!

With that success, I built a list of oils to buy, items to collect, and things I wanted to add to my medicine cabinet. I’m not giving up traditional medicine by far but there is a new balance in our family.

One of the things on my list was Tea Tree Oil.

Tea Tree Oil is not a typical essential oil. It isn’t something commonly used to relieve this pain or that ailment, but instead is an antiseptic. It is also used in lots of soap and shampoo.

In short, it’s a germ killer.

Recently I was given the opportunity to try some tea tree oil by Apothecary Extracts (disclosure: they provided the oil to me, all opinions are my own). When I ordered the bottle, I received an email to download a recipe guide with 53 different uses. It gave me lots of different ideas and other ways to put the oil to use.

I will never go back to my old ways of cleaning again.

My go to all-purpose cleaner is a bottle of plain white vinegar. I spray it all over my house. I added some tea tree oil to my bottle and was so thrilled. It cuts through soap scum and grease much more effectively. I also like knowing that it has a germ killing kick.

Tea Tree Oil works

Please forgive my nasty walls. My shower was long neglected and past its cleaning date.

 

My shower was nasty. It is one of those chores that I always put off. It takes a while to scrub out the tub, and it doesn’t ever seem to get clean enough. Many cleaners smell funny and I just don’t like them. I took my bottle of vinegar and tea tree oil to the walls. It cleaned faster and better than most commercial cleaners I’ve tried.

The only thing I don’t like about using it as a cleaner is that it is very clearly listed as not for consumption. I’m fine with this, but I do have to be a little more careful when cleaning in the kitchen. With straight vinegar, I didn’t have to worry about where I sprayed–with this I do.

I’m excited to make some soap, shampoo, and experiment with the many other uses.

I love homemade things because I know all the ingredients what I’m using. Tea Tree Oil has given me another way to do this.

The best part! After the initial investment it is cheaper than buying commercial cleaners. It helps me save money in my budget and makes my patch of grass a little greener.

What do you use to save money while cleaning?

~Crystal

 

Shared on:

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

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