Four years ago, when my kids and I were living at our last residence, my daughter wanted a clothing rack that she saw in a PBteen magazine. The clothing rack was $400. At the time, I wasn’t able to afford any kind of rack. We had just found a place to live. Four months later, the Lord blessed me with the funds to build her a rack. I gave it to her as an early Christmas present. She had enough closet space, but she wanted this particular clothing rack to be used as a furniture piece in her room.
I took the picture from the PBTeen magazine to Home Depot with me. One of the guys there was more than happy to help out. I told him that I wanted a spin off of the rack with the best solution possible. He took the time to walk me through the aisles, showing me every single part that I needed. I wrote all the parts down so that I would be prepared whenever God’s timing was right to send the funds. The list of parts came out to about $118.00. Three months later, I had the money to build the rack. That’s when I decided to go to Menards to compare prices. I was able to get all the parts that I needed for about $56 dollars.
I had my son to build the rack while my daughter was gone to a function. I told him, “You have to hurry up before she gets home, so it won’t ruin the surprise”. I could tell that he enjoyed doing it, because he stated that it was just like building Legos. I was so excited to be able to bless her with this gift after everything that we had been through. After he put the rack together, we waited for her to come home. I told her to come up to her room because I had something to talk to her about. When she got to her room, she was had the weirdest look on her face. She kept saying over and over again, “When did you get this?” This made my heart happy. The smallest things during the toughest times can mean a lot to anyone.
If you like to be adventurous, and build a rack, then here are the instructions:
(4) 1/2″ pipe flanges
(2) 1/2″ T’s
(4) 1/2″ 8″ plumbing pipe nipples
(2) 6 feet nipples
(1) 1/2″ 3 feet nipple
2 1/2″ 90 degree elbows
2 1/2″ 45 degree elbows
Make sure not to tighten all parts fully until you have put the whole thing together.
Place two flanges on one side and two flanges on the other side.
Picture in your head that you are building a towel bar.
On both sides, screw a 90 degree elbow into the two pipe flanges.
On both sides, screw an 8 inch nipple, then T, then 8 inch nipple to form a “towel bar”.
Attach the 6 feet nipples to the T’s on both sides.
Attach the 45 degree elbows to the 6 feet nipples.
Place the 3 feet long nipple in between the 45 degree elbows.
Last week, we discussed the Depression Aspect: Living with and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis. If you’d like to refer back to the discussion you can click here. This week we are discussing: The Regulating Emotions Aspect: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis. For someone living with and healing from trauma on a daily basis, regulating emotions can be a challenge.
Having difficulty regulating emotions is a sign that your amygdala has had a beating from all the trauma. There are times when I have had a full two weeks straight of dysregulated emotions. What I have managed to figure out recently is that it usually occurs for one of three reasons: 1) when my system is overloaded with grief, and I am having a hard time getting it out, 2) I am in a place where I feel that I need to get up and go to the bathroom to grieve because it needs to be heavy release, 3) the trauma is causing my mind and body to self-protect, and I don’t feel safe enough to let it out.
Getting it Out
Dysregulated emotions isn’t the worst thing. However, it is not the most pleasant either. Once your emotions are dysregulated, then it makes you wonder if you shouldn’t have just gotten it out anyway. For example, when the emotions are dysregulated, your face may be showing something different than how you feel. The worse thing is being around other people when this happens. You almost feel like you have to put on a fake face to show that you are not in agony from being pinned up with emotions. On the flip side, you could also end up being way over the top in expressing the emotion that you are feeling.
Anger is one of those emotions that this can happen with. It’s best to try to be honest with the people that you are around by letting them know you’re having problems regulating, and that you need to excuse yourself to grieve. The best thing that I can advise, as I had to remind myself the other day, after having dealt with a two week flareup: “Better out than in”. Try to let the grief out as soon as possible. It prevents your whole emotional system from going haywire, and you having a long drawn-out episode that could have been avoided.
Last night, I attended an “Ask the Author” event with my Writing Group. It was different in that it was setup like more of a poetry workshop. We were given several handouts of bible verses, and we had to pick one. I decided to use John 15, since this particular chapter on love and abiding seems to be the theme of the last two weeks for me. God has definitely been speaking through that chapter. The poem below is what I came up with last night. I added a few more words this afternoon. It tells the journey of how God had me to relearn what love is after being in an emotionally abusive marriage for 20 years.
My breakthrough came when I heard a message by Joyce Meyer, stating that in order to heal from abuse, we need to study as many bible verses on love as possible. Romans 8, seemed to tear me up the most. After studying about God’s love for a while, he allowed me to feel it. I was so overwhelming, that I was almost knocked off my feet. God never does anything halfheartedly. The reckless love that God showed me cannot be put into words. Sometimes, I would praise dance, and pretend as if I was a tree, and his love would take over.
At the beginning of the summer, I had to face some very tough trials, and as God revealed himself to Moses, he revealed himself to me, allowing his entire Spirit to penetrate through me for a good four to five hours, reminding me that he was there, holding my hand, and ready to walk me through another storm. This poem combines the love God taught me a few years ago, and the love that he poured on me a few months ago. Blessings!
Abide My Love, Dance With Me
Let his love so overflow,
Through my veins from head to toe.
Fill his presence on overwhelm,
Till that love tank is set at helm.
I now know no other love,
It’s not abuse,
Exploiting of doves.
For his love, we can’t explain.
No real words,
just like the pain.
Helps us heal from the abuse.
No more doormat,
He cut me loose.
Thought it was something that I’d just heard,
Your love engulfed me,
Felt so absurd.
The love you showed,
Your love, it jerked me into a kiln.
Oh, now I know, “it” was the One,
Given to me,
Straight through your Son.
You are so dear, so dear to me,
To let me feel to this degree.
Oh, my Lord, almost too much,
To let me feel your Loving Touch.
Healing those places hurt by trauma,
Loving so fast,
it’s like my momma,
For it’s your love that healed my trauma,
Loving so fast,
it’s like my momma.
No greater love,
No one can copy,
You have the patent,
You own no sloppy.
It makes me dance, Just like a tree,
My arms are waving and feeling free.
I dance and sway, move to the right,
Your love reminds me
“No need to fight”.
Abide in Me, and I in you
Your love protects and helps me through.
You see when everyone is gone,
Your love is constant,
Helps me go on.
It makes me wonder,
How can it be,
That you decided to dance with me.
I can’t believe I danced so high,
And with your love, we touched the sky.
I can’t believe you came so close,
To showing your Spirit,
It made me roast.
In your embrace,
It took some time,
Just pouring and pouring,
Now I’m new wine.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. John 15: 7-8
Today, I am featuring a guest blog post “Improve Your Health with a Simplified Beauty Routine and Natural Products” from Breanne Connor at Essential Moves to Wellness.
Do you find the idea of a natural beauty routine a little off-putting? Look, I get it. Why would you change out your products that already work?
While your tried-and-true products work great, they are slowly and subtly sabotaging your health.
This post may contain affiliate links. I only promote products I use and love. You can read more about it on my disclaimer page.
A Natural Beauty Routine Defined
What exactly is a natural beauty routine?
It’s a certain lifestyle where all of your beauty products are free from harsh chemicals or ingredients that can cause your body harm.
The thing is, most big-name beauty brands use way too many ingredients, and most of them have been scientifically proven to be harmful. Yet beauty companies continue to use and abuse these ingredients.
Some common harsh chemicals include sulfates, parabens, carcinogens, and “fragrance” (source). They can cause anything ranging from skin irritation to infertility to cancer.
Natural beauty products can be homemade, and some are only one or two ingredients!
Start With the Basics
When starting a natural beauty routine, it’s best to start with the absolute basic products and add only what’s necessary for your skin and hair.
A terribly underrated part of a natural beauty routine is many single-ingredient products are very versatile. Take honey, for example. You can use it as a facial mask, replace your shampoo, the list goes on.
See some more of my single-ingredient beauty product swaps with my free download! Just enter your name and email below.
To help you avoid overwhelm, I’m going to list what I think are the absolute basics for every beauty routine. Give these suggestions a go, and add on anything else as you go through your natural lifestyle journey.
Body and Facial Wash: Norwex Cloths
I’m sure you’re wondering, “What on Earth are Norwex Cloths??”
Norwex is an amazing company that sells microfiber cloths designed to pick up any unwanted microscopic organisms on a surface. Whether it be your body, or kitchen counters!
These cloths are literally the only things that have cleared my body acne, and I haven’t bought body wash in years! The antibacterial power of these cloths are the only thing your face and body need to stay clean.
Toner: Rose Water
I know that toner may seem like an unnecessary product, but it actually is very helpful for keeping an even and youthful skin tone.
Rose water helps balance your skin’s PH, control excess oil, heals scars, and so much more! (source)
You can find rose water at any health food store, or even the vitamin section of your local grocery store. I get rose water in a fine mist bottle specifically meant to be a toner. I just spray it all over my face after washing and let it air dry!
Moisturizer and Hair Oil: Argan Oil
I used Argan oil on face as a moisturizer for years before I decided to make my own! There are so many benefits, including repair to damaged skin, anti-frizz, and quick absorption for perfect moisture! (source)
After every shower or every time I washed my face, I would put a few drops of Argan oil on my fingertips and massage it into my skin. Then I would put a few more drops in my palms and run it through the ends of my hair.
Now I’ll admit that toothpaste is one area that I haven’t found much success in terms of safe ingredients. While there are some perfectly safe products out there, they are not effective for me at all.
There was one brand that I used for months, but my teeth looked like they weren’t brushed at all! I later found out that I was basically brushing my teeth with watered-down clay.
The only brand I recommend is Tom’s of Maine. They have several safe options that scored well on the Think Dirty app, and my teeth are staying clean!
Shampoo and Conditioner: Any Chemical-Free Brand
I’d love to list a Holy Grail brand for hair care here, but there is no one amazing shampoo for everybody. We all have different hair types, so this one will take a little research on your part.
But I’m not going to leave you completely hanging! Some brands that I love and trust are Desert Essence, Shea Moisture, and Calia Natural. All of these brands have amazing ratings on the Think Dirty App.
Also, you don’t need to have an app on your phone to tell what is natural and what’s not. I have a handy post on How to Tell if Your Natural Products are Actually Natural. Just because something says “natural” on it, doesn’t mean it actually is free of harsh chemicals, and this post tells you how to navigate through the confusion.
Razors: Get a Safety Razor
I bet you’re thinking, “What? I even need to change my razor?” The answer is yes, yes you do.
You know that little lubricating strip on your razor? That thing is chock full of unknown stuff that the razor company isn’t even obligated to list. Throw it out now!
I hope that this post sparks your own journey to a natural lifestyle. I’ve never felt better, and I’ve certainly never looked back.
Now I want to challenge you! Take a look at the ingredient list of one or two of your beauty products. Ask yourself if you’re okay with what you’re putting on your hair or skin every day.
If not, I challenge you to try natural products! I’ll be rooting for you along the way!
Would you be up for switching out some of your beauty products? Let me know in the comments below!
About the Author
Breanne is the owner of the blog Essential Moves to Wellness, where she writes about getting the most out of a healthy lifestyle. Her posts range from DIY beauty to ballet to mental health and wellness. When Breanne isn’t writing, she loves to crochet, tutor other writers, and dance ballet. Check out her blog for more on healthy living.
As you all know, I like mixing all different ingredients together to see what kind of concoction that I can come up with. The other night, I decided to make gemelli pasta with sauteed zucchini. It was quick and tasty. When the kids and I lived in our last place, I got the idea of using the potato peeler to peel my zucchini in strips, and then saute them. On one particular night, I made zucchini strips, tried out a couple of strips, and then went upstairs to do something. By the time I got back, all of the strips were gone. My daughter said, “Oh, those were good”. She had just told me that she didn’t want any.
One thing about pasta is that it is inexpensive, and you have the option to do a lot of different things with it:
eat it hot or cold
use salad dressing, butter, pesto, or pasta sauce as a topping
dump meat or vegan alternative to add protein
add vegetables to make it more colorful and exciting
season with pepper and olive oil to add more flavor
Here is the recipe:
Activity: Making Gemelli Pasta with Zucchini
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 45 minutes
two teaspoons of onion powder
two teaspoons of italian seasoning
two teaspoons of garlic powder
two teaspoons of cumin
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 box gemelli pasta
1 jar of pasta sauce
Add pasta to boiling water.
Add olive oil to water so that the pasta won’t stick.
While the pasta is boiling, cut the zucchini into strips using a potato peeler.
Saute the zucchini, and rinse the pasta off using a colander.
Dump the zucchini, and all the rest of the ingredients into the pot and serve.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4
My kids know that when it comes to me getting my hands on some paint in the house, it can be really dangerous. I mean really dangerous. When I am trying to process things, and having an emotionally challenging day, it calls for creativity and fresh air. Creativity for me could be dancing, praise dancing, painting, journaling, writing, or decorating. When I am in painting and decorating mode together, watch out! So about a year ago, I was in one of my moods, and I sat on the couch thinking about how absolutely bland and lifeless the color of the kids’ piano was. I also started looking at a particular chair that I’d found my daughter about seven years ago from World Market on clearance for $24, which at this point, had been painted three times already. The original color was espresso.
On A Mission
Well, my mind kept going on the possibilities, and I ended up using the last bit of Antique Silver Paint, a color that I had bought from Menards in their Paramount Pittsburgh All in One, One Coat Paint and Primer Series. I had a paint brush, drop cloth, and paint, and one extra tray already in the laundry room. I was on a mission. No one was going to stop me.
I wanted to get everything done before the kids got home from school. They walked in the door, and they had the look of shock on their faces. My son’s main concern was that I didn’t ruin the piano. I said, “NO, you’re good.” He still looked skeptical. They slowly walked over to check it out. I think it took them a week to get used to it. All in all, it turned out pretty decent, and the best part about it is that I had just enough paint to finish the job. God is good. All the time!
This is the fifth part in the series “Living with and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis. The fourth part in the series, “The Overwhelmed Aspect: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis”, can be found here. Without having trauma, people living with anxiety and depression on a daily basis can find them both debilitating. When you add trauma to the mix, it takes things to a whole new level. What I have been able to finally realize within the last year is the difference between regular depression and trauma depression.
Regular Depression and PTSD Depression
The difference with regular depression and PTSD/trauma depression is that there is no in between, or gradual shift into depression. Sometimes, you might be sitting in a group talking to people, and they happen to mention one word. That word might not have any major significance for them, but for you, it could be the opening of a traumatic experience that consists of twenty different things. The next thing you know, your whole system has dropped without warning, like the ride called “The Giant Drop” at Great America. The worst part about PTSD depression, which is similar to regular depression, is that it is felt at a deeper level if you are already dealing with other life events causing emotional stress.
Depressive Job Experience
A few years ago, I accepted a job at a manufacturing company, thinking that it was the ticket to getting out of debt, and more financial security for my kids and I. It was my worst nightmare. I stuck out like a sore thumb. From start to finish, the entire process that had played out in my twenty year marriage played out at this company. I went from being a trophy to being discarded like a broken toy. I didn’t fit into the culture of anything and everything goes, so there was a plan set in place to fire me , with a good majority of the employees involved. The workplace was a constant lion’s den of bullying, emotional abuse, and the “workplace untouchables”, so to speak. It was God’s great mercy and grace that I was let go. My whole system was wrecked with trauma when I started. By the time I was let go, I was in worse shape emotionally, mentally, and physically than when I started. The Holy Spirit had shown me what would take place from start to finish three months before I got fired. I am not sure what was worse: knowing what would happen, or the anxiously waiting for it to happen.
Fighting for Normality
I was not prepared for what happened afterwards. The “Giant Drop” occurred without any warning. When I explained how I was feeling to my therapist, she gave me a good analogy. I was a deflated ball when I started. So basically, the “already deflated ball” was kicked around. One friend tried to encourage me by telling me not to let the job get me that down. I was glad to be done. However, my system had been through so much compounded trauma, that in turn this is how it responded. I thank God that he slowly brought me out of it. It took a few months for the “giant drop” to leave, but a few more years after that to even start feeling significantly better. Have a blessed night!
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
Last week, I went on an adventure of trying to figure out what meals to make with the ingredients that were left. You know that it’s time to go grocery shopping soon when you start getting really creative. Either that, you’re feeling adventurous, or you’re bored. One of the three. What I ended up doing was making my own version of chili. It turned out pretty good. Last night, I decided to make it again since I had leftover ingredients. My son actually gave me a thumbs up. If he doesn’t like how something tastes, trust me, he isn’t scared to speak his mind in that area.
Racing to Get Out
It’s funny because I heated up a bowl of chili. Then, I decided that I would take a walk for some fresh air, and also drop three books off at the Train Station library while I was at it. Right before leaving out, I went upstairs to grab something. That’s when my son asked, “What are you eating down there?” And to which I replied, “A chili concoction that I made. Do you want some? Of course, the answer was yes. I had to quick heat him up some because it was starting to get dark outside, and then rush to take a quick fifteen minute walk and head on. If you are feeling adventurous, how about giving it a try. Drop a line below to let me know how yours turned out. Here is the simple recipe:
The Overwhelmed Aspect is another section in our series: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis. One might ask, “What is the overwhelmed aspect?” When I am discussing the Overwhelmed Aspect with my friends, they know what I am talking about because I have given it the nickname of “The Movie Reel”. Another one of my friends call the “Overwhelmed” Aspect a Whirlwind. So, my new combined nickname is the Whirlwind Movie Reel. It may sound funny, but believe me when I say that it isn’t a laughing matter.
What I have realized after having experienced compounded trauma in such a short period of time, is that the ability to handle stress is significantly lessened. Not only is your stress fighting abilities lessened, but your brain processing speed is affected as well. The overwhelmed aspect is a combination of the following:
Four Parts of the Overwhelmed Aspect
An acute traumatic panic attack.
Replaying the details of the stressful event(s) in your head over and over again.
The feeling as if you are literally in a whirlwind and can’t get out.
Images of the stressful/trauamatic events going around inside of the “whirlwind”, literally like a movie reel of events.
My Experience with the Overwhelmed Aspect
When I first experienced this, it totally knocked me off my feet. The whirlwind/movie reel effect was slower. Now, since God has increased my brain processing, the movie reel is faster, which makes me feel even more out of control when it happens. To be honest, there is no time table on when this will happen. It isn’t something that can be predicted. One day, one of my friends posted an article on Facebook. I decided that it was a good read since I have a teenage daughter. I clicked on the article to read it, but the article wouldn’t load properly. After trying for so long, and getting more frustrated by the moment, I figured that I would just read it later. I was disappointment because the topic seemed really good.
With trauma, sometimes one word can send you into a tailspin. After finally making peace with the fact that I would just read the article later, my brain opened up every traumatic event that I had experienced as a child. The whirlwind movie reel took over, and it took me a good thirty minutes or so to get out of it. What I have noticed as of lately if it happens, is that it is best to try to see if I can allow myself to come out of this whirlwind by giving myself permission to feel the pain from some of the events. I just recently learned that when this happens, this is a coping mechansim/form of dissociation as well. If we can feel the feelings a little bit at a time, we can more easily come out of it, and sleep better as well.
I hope that this series has been helping those of you who live with and are healing from trauma on a daily basis.
There are times in our lives when situations come up that are completely out of our control. When things get this intense, we know that it will take the hand of God to literally turn things around. I find myself laying out prostrate praying to God, waiting for him to deliver. A lot of times God would answer right away, almost before I had finished praying or right after. I would call my friends up and say, “You’re not going to believe what just happened!” There have been other times when my physical body was so wrecked with trauma, and I would literally be at the point of passing out from an acute whirlwind trauma panic attack, as I call it, and I would place my hands on myself, and zone in to prayer, and God would deliver instantly. I love these moments.
But then there are the other moments that we all know about. Days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months, and months turn into years, and God still hasn’t answered. Can God Deliver? Yes, he can. Will God deliver? We don’t know. We know God is sovereign, all powerful, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. As he told Moses, he is the great “I AM”. He is a present tense God. What we don’t know is if he will deliver us from our situations here on earth, right now, later, or in heaven.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew God could deliver them, but they didn’t know if they would be delivered from the fiery furnace:
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Will He Deliver?
About three years ago it was time for me to renew my state sticker. I couldn’t renew the state sticker without having an emissions test done. To line up with how things were going at the time, my car didn’t pass the emissions test. We received an extension on the sticker, but to no avail. I was in one of the worst situations of my life financially. The worse. I had no money to get another car. I barely had money to buy food. The next thing we knew, we accumulated six tickets on the car because of the situation. I had it all figured out. God would answer my prayers through a certain situation. He didn’t. The depression from the trauma dropped even lower. God had us to wait ten months and then he came to deliver. Just like he delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace.
God gave me a sneak peak of how he would deliver. The night before he delivered, I had a dream. In the dream my friends handed me about four different turquoise colored gifts. One of these gifts was a sewing machine. I woke up thinking that maybe I would be blessed with a sewing machine for my craft table, and I could finally learn how to use one. I felt God’s Spirit, but I didn’t want to overthink the situation. I also asked God if he was trying to tell me something. I went to my small group that morning, and one of the members handed me an envelope with a note and check attached, saying that the Holy Spirit told her to give it to me to help me get a new, used car. I had my timing of deliverance and God had his timing of deliverance.