Ah Ha! There’s My Motivation!

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Recently, I’ve been pushed to the edge. So far so, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it back. Then, I was given a sudden reminder of why I’m fighting this fight in the first place; my family. It may sound a little cliche, but my children are the most important aspects of my life; emotionally, physically, spiritually. God trusted me to raise these beautiful people to value their lives and to serve humanity as instructed by God. But I can’t do any of that if my head is unstable. I’ll admit it. I’ve allowed people and circumstances to stress me out so much, I lost sight of why I was fighting. Now, after support from my husband, family members, and God, I was able to see why I NEED to fight.

I made a list of Daily Goals that I have to do no matter what, no excuses. There are only about 7 small tasks, but when I accomplish one, I feel even more inspired to accomplish the others. Hopefully, this will lead to my list growing with more difficult tasks that will lead to accomplishing my goals, thus getting the breath of air I spoke about in my last post Living with Depression. I know, once I catch the first breath after drowning for so long, I will be able to swim to land in no time and that moment….that moment is THE MOMENT! that will define the rest of this journey.

One item on my list is to listen to motivational speeches. It’s a way to get pumped up in the morning to start my day. When I’m in pain, I’ve begun a terrible habit of concentrating on that pain and the more I would concentrate on it, the more it would hurt. Then I would give myself excuses as to why I shouldn’t get up. Then…my mind would wonder to even darker places. It was a bad cycle. So, motivational videos help replace those negative thoughts. I’m too busy listening to what they are saying to listen to my own thoughts. Eventually, my thoughts will become those of the motivational speakers and I would no longer need to listen to them, well, maybe not as often.

I would like to share a video that really helped me get over a couple of fears I am having about moving forward. Take a listen and maybe it could help you as well. Sorry, I could only post the link that’ll take you to YouTube. Thanks for understanding 🙂

FIND YOURSELF MOTIVATIONAL VIDEO 2017

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” -Francis of Assisi

 

Side Note* I just became extremely overwhelmed while writing this. I began thinking, “what am I doing?” ,”whos going to read this?”, “people won’t like this”, “this is too much information I’m sharing.” <—– It’s these thoughts that confirm why I should continue to share my thoughts, as crazy as they may seem.  There has to be someone out there that can relate, right? 

Living with Depression

Emotionally, today was a rough day for me. Lately, I’ve been feeling this doom cloud hovering over me every second of every day. Depression is apart of my life, full time. Meaning, it is something that has not gone away and most likely will not go away. Like any illness, it can be a struggle if not properly maintained. People who don’t understand try to offer what they think is great advice; “pray, think happy thoughts, try not to stress, try not to worry.” Anyone who lives with depression knows it’s not something you can “get over”. It is literally a chemical imbalance in the brain. Some are fortunate enough that they don’t have highs and lows. They can change their diet, meditate a little and they’re back to normal. People like me, it’s not so easy. Sometimes the emotions are so strong, it feels like daggers are constantly moving in and out of your mind and body.

Today, I had a bit of a meltdown. I’ve always been pretty good at explaining my feelings, but for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been at a lost for words, until today. It was something that my husband said that made the floodgates open and my emotions and words were finally in sync.

Have you ever felt like you were drowning? Like, your entire life is engulfed in water and you fight every day, all day just to try to get your head above water. Not even your head, maybe just your face. You know that if you get one breath, one inhale, then you’ll have more strength to pull yourself out of the water completely. You have people around you who try to understand by throwing you a life jacket, rope, anything that they feel you need to pull yourself out, but you know you need more than that. At this point, it’s either fight or flight. Giving up isn’t an option, but you’re getting so tired. The more tired you get, the further you sink into the ocean. Slowly watching the light from the sun become further away. It’s so dark and so cold.   This is what I was able to explain to my husband after weeks of not knowing.

He then explained that he knew exactly what I was going through because he has been there, feeling the exact same way. It gave me a lot of hope because he is in such a great place and if God could do it for him, then I know he would do it for me. At that moment, I felt less abandoned by God. He reminded me, through my husband, that He has not forgotten me. He sees every tear and hears every prayer. During this storm, He has made it abundantly clear, that I will be clear of any illness and disease and I will be blessed beyond my wildest dreams.

Even though some people may not understand what I am going through, I have family and friends who constantly throw a life jacket or rope to help save me. Those are the ones that I think about when I am unable to see through the darkness. I am truly blessed to have people who want to see me succeed. When I become better and I’m able to look back at days like today and laugh, they will be apart of my “road to success” story; how I fought the depression and lupus demons and won! Until then, I will walk this journey and trust God’s process.

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them — every day begin the task anew.” -Saint Francis de Sales

Learning Life’s Journey

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Turning 30 has given me a different perspective on life. The amount of awareness that I’ve experienced has been a little overwhelming. A small example; I used to be one of those people who hated the idea of having insurance. Any kind of insurance; car insurance, renters insurance, medical insurance. I thought, why pay for something that might NOT happen to you. Then I turned 30. Now the idea of insurance is a necessity, something I refuse to live without. I remember last month our car insurance lapsed for 30 hours and I was in a panic. All I could think about was how it would just be my luck that I would get into a car accident on the ONE day I didn’t have insurance. I blame this fear on life experience (being in an accident without car insurance and dealing with that hell) and turning 30.

There are a lot of other things that I was used to doing and saying, that now hold a different meaning, a different value. Take love for instance. I thought love was kissing someone and being filled with unexplainable emotion (lust). I thought love was “feeling” like you would do anything for that person, no matter the circumstance. I honestly thought that wedding vow was just something romantic to say to get people teary-eyed and “awwww” mode. When in fact, it is a warning. It is a warning that life is going to get hard, really hard. And the person standing in front of you is supposed to be there no matter what. They even ask you if you’re sure if you can keep the commitment. Honestly, my first marriage, I didn’t understand that. When people told my ex-husband and I that we should wait to get married, I didn’t see why. I was forced to grow up quicker than the average kid. So, I thought I had everything figured out. I thought if I knew what I wanted and did everything to accomplish it, then my life would be great, right? Wrong! Double wrong! Triple wrong! Life is a journey, it develops in stages. Just because I was more “mature”  than the average 21-year-old, I definitely didn’t know about marriage. My life’s journey hadn’t come to the part where it taught me how to love my husband and conquer life’s challenges. Eventually, getting through my 20’s and a shit load of mistakes, I now know what it takes. I know what love truly is and I know what it isn’t.

I love my husband. I love my mother. Both are two very different people that I’ve had to learn to love despite who they are without judgment. We say we want unconditional love until you find out he/she has the ability to hurt you like no other person walking this earth. Or that the person you love has some weird fetus that you knew nothing about. (Not me, of course, just saying 🙂 )

I like to read comments on Instagram about celebrities breaking up for whatever reason. It’s funny to read what others think about love and marriage. You see comments like, “I would never put up with that.” or “He/she wouldn’t be able to treat me like that” or my favorite “I would leave if he/she ever did that.” If you love someone unconditionally and they show you a side of themselves that you didn’t know anything about (I’m talking something like a porn addiction, not spousal abuse) and you leave them without helping them through it, then why did you marry them? Why did you repeat those vows to your partner? Now I know that love is waking up next to the same person every day, not wanting to kill them. It’s waking up next to them being just as committed to them as you were on your first date, hell, even your wedding day. It’s learning something new about them every day and love them despite how it may annoy you, hurt you, or disappoint you. Love is working through the tough crap, the really tough crap! The “I don’t know if I can do this anymore” crap and loving them despite. Love is accepting any change that life throws your way and working through it together; mad, sad, whatever. You do it together, for the sake of your love, your marriage, and your family. It’s realizing that your relationship is bigger than what you want or need. It’s about someone else’s needs. My husband and I have been through a lot, but I would trade it in for anything in the world. Our trials were hard, but they taught us how to love each other so much more and appreciate each other so much more. So when we say “I love you”, it’s not just something we say out of habit. We’re really saying, “Thank you for sticking around and appreciating me. Thank you for loving me despite my flaws and secrets.” We know the worst parts of each other and that is what makes our love so strong. We know that whatever we face from here on out, we got this, cause we’ve been through worse.

Life is a journey. You can’t rush it, you can’t force it. No matter what you think you know, trust me, you don’t know the half of it. We may plan our journey, but God may have other plans. When He throws your plan out of the window and set His in place, it would be in your best interest to follow it. I thought my marriage to my ex-husband was a good idea, not knowing my current husband is what God wanted for me and I’m so grateful that His plan was way better than mine.

I now see insurance as something to have WHEN an event happens, not IF it’s going to happen. Life is one tricky bitch. The moment you think you have her all figured out, BAM! a curveball smacks in the face. Plus, life doesn’t discriminate. No matter who you are, life will happen! I never understood that until recently. I can admit to that. It makes it easier to not look at life’s challenges like something is happening to you when in fact, who isn’t it happening to? Everybody I know, right now, is going through something life-altering, but trust your journey, grow from your journey. You will notice your perspective has changed and that have you made progress, no matter how small you may think it is. 

“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.”  -Mandy Hale

 

 

Changing your Mindset; Becoming More Mindful

Imagine, for weeks at a time, you are unable to sleep, eat, or even function. Your mind is so heavy and so clouded, that you are unable to see the wonderful things in your life. Some time has passed and now you are able to see the beauty in things that you weren’t able to before. Spiritually, you feel hopeful and that every challenge is just one step closer to becoming who God wants you to be. Well, this is definitely me! I struggle with depression, but instead of seeing the glass half empty, I embrace the knowledge that every glass is half full. All because of I am learning about managing my stress and mindfulness, which is, “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

What is Depression? A lot of people have a misconception of what depression is and how it can develop a life of its own. There are two main types of depression that you may be experiencing; reactive depression and clinical depression.

Reactive Depression

  • Medications, such as steroids, are known to make you more emotional and prone to depression.
  • Common in people with Lupus
  • Since Lupus directly involves our nervous system, it causes such symptoms like memory issues, difficulty concentrating, confusion, and mood swings.
  • Overall, sickness can cause more sickness

Symptoms of Clinical Depression

  • Feeling like a failure and that nobody loves you
  • Feelings of hopeless, empty, or lost
  • Losing interest in things you once enjoyed to do
  • Feeling like life is worthless and that you can’t go on

If you have Lupus or any other auto-immune disorder, you may be experiencing one of these or both. Personally, I’ve struggled with depression way before I was diagnosed with Lupus. Depression is a lifelong struggle for me. It is something that I’ve had to come to grips with and accept. It’s like any other illness, such as Lupus, that I have to manage, most times on a daily basis. Giving up is not an option and money is extremely tight, so I’ve had to research free ways to become healthier; meditation, maintain a healthy diet (which is hard!), prayer, and mindfulness.

I am mindful of my condition in this present moment while acknowledging my feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. I have Lupus, there I said it. But, Lupus doesn’t have me! I have accepted that stress is apart of everyday life. It’s how I choose to deal with stress that determines how I feel overall. Chronic stress is like kryptonite to lupus warriors. It makes our flare up so much more difficult. So we have to reduce our stress.

Ways I’m Learning To Reduce Stress

  • Eliminate triggers- I’ve had to think long and hard about what and who stresses me out. Example, Facebook stresses me out. The only thing that I get when I walk away from scrolling down my timeliness is stress, worry, anger, and frustration. So, I deactivated my profile. Right now, I am unable to separate those feelings. When I close the app, I still have the world’s destruction and everyone’s opinion about it, on my mind. It is so unhealthy.  
  • Exercise
    • You don’t have to exercise, exactly. You can do yoga, walk around the block, or simply walk to the mailbox. There are days that we can’t or won’t move due to pain, but being proactive helps you feel better, more accomplished.
    • You can do this 2-3 times a week. Pace yourself and know your limits.
  • Eat Healthier Foods
    • For lupus warriors, it would be best if we ate more anti-inflammatory foods.
    • Foods That Fight Inflammation
    • Avoid foods that worsen inflammation, such as, soda, pastries, margarine, lard, white bread, and red meat.
  • Mindfulness Meditation
    • Mindfulness Meditation is all about directing your attention to the current moment and accepting that things are the way that they are. In regards to lupus warriors, we have to accept that this is what we are dealing with and calmly regain a sense of control over our lives and this disease.
    • Make time to meditate, even if for a few minutes, every day.
    • Find a quiet space
    • Sit up straight with your legs and upper body relaxed. Good posture helps you breath easier.
    • Be aware of each body part, and try to become completely relaxed.
    • Focus on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose (extending your belly outwards) and slowly out through your mouth.
    • Start in slow increments; meditate for 5 minutes and increase daily or weekly.
    • Personally, I like to have mediation music playing in the background to help me focus.
    • How to Guide to Mindful Meditation

Being a lupus warrior is exactly that, I am a warrior. I fight battles every day. Some caused by everyday life and some caused this illness. There are some circumstances that I am unable to change, but how I choose to deal with them is half the battle.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from any of the symptoms above, please talk to somebody about them and/or your doctor. Depression is life-altering and should be taken seriously. Be your own advocate. You simply may be dealing with receptive depression, but there is a fine line between that and clinical depression. Also, here is a Stress Test that helps you determine how stressed you are. There are others like it online.

   “In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility.” ~Victoria Moran

Resources
Dr. Therese Tryniecki, Phd
Lupus Foundation of America Heartland Chapter

Trust The Process: What Choosing Life Looks Like

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Live for Today. Choose life. The mantra that I repeat to myself everyday, every hour, and sometimes every second. Chronic illness will try to trick you into thinking that your life is over after diagnosis. We aren’t the same people that we once were. We aren’t able to do the same things that we once did. It can be devastating, if you let it.

Two simple words with so much meaning. Choose Life. I feel as though God has given me sign after sign to stand still. I’m so used to moving and grooving. I was on a fast track to finally becoming financially stable. I had just finished school and after 10 long years, received a college degree. I was working at my dream job as a registered medical assistant at a prestigious hospital, and I loved the day-to-day interactions that I had with my patients. I really felt like I was making a difference. But then, I became ill. After going through the “woe is me”, “my life sucks” phase, I began to notice that God is trying to tell me to be still during this storm.

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (NLT) (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Now when I think about my battle with Lupus and Fibromyalgia , my perspective has completely changed. After reading His word, I was reminded that God will break you to position you, to put you in the right place, and to promote you. Lucky for us, He is a just God and a loving God, so when he breaks you, it will not hurt you or destroy you because He is also a graceful God. Trust the process that God has set before you. We may not always know why things are happening to us, but honestly, it’s not for us to know. When God wants it revealed, it will be revealed. Until then, trust the process.

Trusting His process is hard, at least it was for me. But then, after nine long days of going through a lupus flare I noticed something different about my husband. It’s not that he did anything different, it’s just God changed my perspective. When I’m in pain, everything that he does is annoying. Everything he says I take offensive and sometimes everything he does is wrong. Well, at least that’s how I felt when my mind is so engulfed in my own pain, that I am unable to see how blessed I really am. Until today. Today, my husband woke up, got our three children feed, clothed and ready for school and then went to school himself. Immediately afterwards, grabbed lunch for me, then went to his first day at his new job, only to come home, cook dinner, feed the kids, entertain them!, put them to bed, and still have the energy to give me a deep-muscle massage to relieve my body ache.

I immediately asked my husband to forgive me. He has been a ROCK throughout this entire process and I’ve taken him for granted. He effortlessly makes me laugh and smile everyday so I wont think about the pain. He tries so hard to make me happy, even when I’m working his last nerves. And most importantly, he is an amazing father to our kids; helping them understand and cope with what mommy is going through. Thank you Jesus for sending me this man! He is proof that You have not forsaken me, nor forgotten about me. You’ve sent the perfect person to stand with me and push me to beat this.

God has placed the tools that I need in my life to get through what I used to call a tragedy. I would be lying if I said wonderful things haven’t blossomed during my illness; I’ve grown closer to my husband, kids, and family members. I’m able to be more attentive to my families needs and wants. I’ve even been able to build a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ.

Remember, trust the process. Trust Him. Thank you to EVERYONE who has prayed for me, helped me, blessed me, and has been supportive of me. I love you more than I can express.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Rj’s First Fist Fight…And Im A Little Proud!

I received a very interesting phone call from the principal at my sons school today. She called to tell me that Rj has been in a fist fight. This is shocking for three reasons.

Shock #1: I was literally in a screaming match with his principal the day before about Rj having a bully, and the lack of regard that I felt they had for his safety. This bully has made Rj’s life miserable. He began to show signs of extreme stress. So, naturally being the mama bear that I am. I was pretty irate. So irate, that she got irate too. It got ugly, folks. I’m not proud of this, but it produced results. We quickly acknowledged that we’re both overly stressed moms and it was just one of those days for the both of us.  We were able to recognize that, tone it down, and move on. And really, was able to come up with a solution for my son’s bully that we felt was beneficial for everyone. So it turned out great. But you can imagine, how embarrassed I felt, when she called the next day telling me that Rj had started a fight with another kid. Whom in which, was completely innocent. That’s right! Rj admitted that he started the fight.

Shock #2: I know a lot of parent say this about their kids, but anyone who knows Rj knows that he is the least aggressive person that you may ever meet. I like to say that he wouldn’t be able to bust a grape in a fruit fight. His soul is so gentle. He loves everyone and just wants everyone to love him. So to hear that he started this altercation was….shocking. But it also shows signs that something is bothering him and it’s starting to seep its way out through aggression, but that’s for another post.

Shock #3: Rj story of events pretty much matched the principals story, which was, this kid “joey” tried to get into Rj’s group at recess. Rj told him he was in the wrong group and that his group was across the gym (which was true). But then “Joey” didn’t listen to Rj and that’s when Rj shoved him. “Joey” shoved Rj back, Rj then shoved “Joey”, then “Joey” punched Rj in the mouth. Rj then grabbed “Joey’s” shirt to try to pull him down. Once “Joey” got loose from Rj’s grip, he then ran hysterically to the nearest teacher. I was told by the principal that “Joey” was very upset and Rj was “cool as a cucumber”. Now, Rj’s personality is normally laid back, EXCEPT when he has been apart of an altercation, even with his siblings. So for him to be so relaxed says to me that he was proud of himself and that he thought he did the right thing, regardless of the consequence.  Also, Rj has never, I mean never, defended himself this way. And by defend I mean, he got back up after he was pushed down. He’s not a fighter. Well at least not before today.

I felt bad for “Joey” because it sounded like he was pretty shaken up. But….I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that I’m a bit proud. My Rj got into his first fist fight. He showed aggression. He showed he was wasn’t going to back down. Although shoving was a bit extreme. I mean, the kid was in the wrong group. But he showed emotion and with children on the autism spectrum like Rj, it very common for them not to understand or have the ability to process their emotions during the appropriate time.

Rj did later confess that earlier in the day, “Joey” did something to really annoy him. So in his own way, he was tired of “Joeys” shit and shoved him. Most people have been there. So I told Rj that he had to write a letter apologizing to “Joey”. He was very hesitant and sluggish about it.

Me: “Rj, write a letter to “Joey” saying you’re sorry.”

Rj: “Well, what do I say?”

Me: “Say you’re sorry. You are sorry, right?”

Rj: “I mean, not really.”

Me: “I appreciate your honesty, but you still have to write a note. It’s the right thing to do.”

I explained that it is never ok to take your frustrations out on other people. But I also explained that when life throws you a punch, you get back up. He learned both today.

Below is the second note that he wrote to “Joey”. The first one, well, lets just say it was a bit disrespectful. I wish I would have saved it to show you guys because honestly it was hilarious.

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“When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up. Let your reason get you back up.” -Les Brown

 

A Hundred Weeds or A Hundred Wishes?

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A few years ago, I was having lunch with my brother. We were catching up on the latest tea in each others lives. I can’t remember exactly what made him ask, but he proceeded to ask me a question that I would think about almost everyday since that conversation. He asked, “Ashley, why do you always expect the other shoe to drop?” In other words, why do I always expect the worst to happen? My response was very simple, “Because I know it will and I want to be prepared when it does.” Most people would say that my skeptical personality is lethal to my overall perception of humanity, but it all depends on one’s perception of skepticism. I would say that I am more of a realist.

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I believe that there are two different ways to perceive Karma; fear-based and love-based. Fear-based karma is the consequences, good and bad, that are brought to you based on your actions, good or bad. You are judged for your actions; basically, you reap what you sow. While love-based karma is a belief that every lesson is a gift that provides lessons for your soul’s personal growth and will continue to bring back these lessons until you have learned from them.

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I’ve learned that how you perceive life’s challenges is half the battle. Love-based karma believers take the challenges of life and learn from them. They see each challenge as a lesson to get through and grow from the experience. Fear-based karma believers view life challenges as punishment for something they may have done to someone else in the past. I used to think that my condition, SLE ( systemic lupus erythematosus) and Fibromyalgia, is a punishment from God because of all of the awful things that I have done in my past. While now, I look at this illness as another one of life’s challenges that I need to work through and learn from. Now the only question left is, what am I supposed to learn from this? But I think that question should be answered in another blog post. Bad things happen. It’s life. The only things we can control is how we perceive the challenges and our reaction to the challenge. This is what separates us from the animals, right?

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“When you look at a field of dandelions, you can either see a hundred weeds, or a hundred wishes.” -Unknown

Benefits of Black Seed Oil

Have you ever thought to yourself, hmmm, I wish there was something that I can do to improve my overall health besides ton and tons of vitamin pills? Or are you dealing with an illness that requires expensive pharmaceuticals? Well, I may have an answer for you.

My mother in law told me about Black Seed Oil. She said that it works wonders for her and that I should try it. I initially had to go online to find it, and from what I saw, it was not cheap. But I was determined, and was finally able to order myself a bottle. All I can say is wow! I’ve only been taking it for 4 days and I already feel a difference in how I feel. I feel so much better physically and mentally.

So I would like to let you more what I have learned about Black Seed Oil, and maybe it will do for you, what it has been doing for others for thousands of years.

What is Black Seed Oil?

Black Seed Oil is oil that is extracted from black seeds, made from Nigella Stativa flower.

How Can You Consume Black Seed Oil?

  • Add a teaspoon of black seed oil to food or drinks
  • Mix teaspoon of black seeds with honey
  • Consume plain 
  • Boil seeds, and then consume
  • Add black seeds to bread, food, and/or pastries

Me personally, I love taking a teaspoon and putting it into orange juice or yogurt

What is Nigella Sativa (black seed plant) used for?

  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-cancer
  • Antiasthmatic
  • Antihistamine
  • Anti-viral
  • Anticoagulant

What is Black Seed Oil Good For?

  1. Heart Health – Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women. Adding black seed oil to your meal, once a day, can prevent blood clot formation and arterial pressure. For centuries, black seed oil has been used for heart health, which is one of its most praised benefits.
  2. Fight Against Fungal Infections-Research is showing that fungus and mold cannot exist with the compounds founds in black seed oil. Fungus infections can occur when bacteria has grown on the top of your skin, causing rash and disease.
  3. Reduce allergies 

 

Heart Health

  • 100 and 200 milligrams of boiled extract has been taken by mouth twice daily for eight weeks. Based on traditional use, one teaspoon of Nigella sativa oil has been taken by mouth in any hot drink with two cloves of garlic before breakfast.
Helps Fight Against Fungal Infections

  • the affected area of skin is wiped with cider vinegar, followed by application of Nigella sativa oil. The process is repeated if necessary.
Reduces Allergies and Skin Infections

  • 40-80 milligrams per kilogram of black seed oil has been taken by mouth three times daily for up to eight weeks.
Good For Your Skin and Hair

  • 1/2-1 teaspoon of Nigella sativa oil has been applied to the scalp after the scalp has been stroked thoroughly with lemon, left for 15 minutes, then washed and dried.
Known Efficient Cancer Treatment Acne
Kills Infection/Reduces Fever and Flu Symptom

Mix a teaspoon of black seed oil, honey, and warm water. Drink once a day as long as your fever persist

Boost Fertility
Cures Boils and Carbuncles Treat Coughs and Asthma Symptoms

  • one teaspoon of Nigella sativa oil has been taken by mouth three times daily.
Get Rid of Diarrhea

Mix 1-2 teaspoons of black seed oil with yogurt for 2 days or until diarrhea is gone

Reduce High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Helps Eliminate Insomnia Prevents Muscle Spasms and Cramps

  • one teaspoon of Nigella sativa oil with one teaspoon of olive oil has been taken by mouth three times daily.

Can be used orally or topically

Relieves Nausea and Upset Stomach Treats Toothaches and Oral Bacteria Infections
Cures Psoriasis/Treats Eczema Aids In Weight Loss
Prevent Diabetes

  • 2.5 milliliters of Nigella sativa oil has been taken by mouth twice daily for six weeks, in addition to existing metformin.
Epilepsy Treatment

  • an aqueous extract of Nigella sativa seed (40 milligrams per kilogram per hour) has been used together with standard treatment for four weeks.
MRSA Treatment Opiate Addiction Treatment

  • 500 milligrams of dried black seeds has been taken by mouth three times daily for up to 12 days.
Improves Beard Growth Relieves Insect Bites and Stings
Helps with Chest/Nasal Congestion

  • the back and chest have been rubbed with Nigella sativa oil.
Removes Gallstones/Suppress Liver Stones
Helps with Gas and Flatulence/Constipation Treats Hemorrhoids
Relieves Headaches and Migranes

  • 1/2 teaspoon of Nigella sativa oil has been taken by mouth after a meal three times daily.
Boost Immunity
Improves Memory Cures Rheumatic Pains

  • one teaspoon of Nigella sativa oil with one teaspoon of olive oil has been taken by mouth three times daily.
Helps with Stomach Pains/Disorders

  • mint tea with lemon has been taken by mouth with one teaspoon of Nigella sativa oil three times daily or until symptoms are relieved.
Improves Dry Mouth
Bladder Infections Treat Nose Bleeds
Dandruff/Dry Scalp Helps Relieve Joint Pain
Regulates Menstrual Cycles Relieves Arthritis

  • one teaspoon of Nigella sativa oil with one teaspoon of olive oil has been taken by mouth three times daily.
Lower Anxiety/Depression

  • 1/2 teaspoon of Nigella sativa oil has been taken by mouth with herbal tea.
Treats Heart Burn
Relieves Stress Treats Meningitis
Promote Healthy Kidney Health Improves Sperm Count
Aids Treatment of HIV/AIDS Remedy for Colic

  • Nigella sativa oil has been warmed and used to massage the abdomen.
Removes Chronic Fatigue Prevents Anemia
Cleanses Parasites Treats Obesity
Detoxifies Body Deep Cleans Pores
Treats Schizophrenia Protects Brain Damage from Parkinson’s Disease

 

Although, Black Seed Oil could be your cure-all, but like anything, it does have its side effects. Please make sure that you consult with your physician before discontinuing any medications that you may be currently taking. Even though it may work for me, does not guarantee that it may work for you. I’m just a regular shegular person, who wants to live a healthy life without addicting, expensive pharmaceuticals drugs. 

 

Sources:
http://www.naturallivingideas.com/black-seed-benefits/

 

 

How Tea Tree Oil Will Change Your Life

 

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Ok! Im really excited to tell you guys about something that I’ve been doing a lot of research on. I am always looking for ways to increase my chances of staying healthy; mind, body, and soul, without using man-made chemicals unless absolutely necessary. Although I am in the baby stages, I would like to share with you what I have learned thus far.

Tea Tree Oil! Derived from leaves of a tea tree,(not to be confused with tea-plant) is an essential oil that is widely used to treat infections and household problems. Although Tea Tree Oil is highly toxic if ingested, it is surprisingly a miracle cure for skin infections and scars. This is awesome for my any one living with an autoimmune disorder, like Lupus, because once we get an infection, that’s when my body completely shuts itself down.

Tea Tree Oil is safe and all natural ONLY TO BE USED TOPICALLY. If you have sensitive skin, I would recommend diluting it with a carrier oil, such as, olive and coconut oil or sweet almond oil.

Below are several reasons why you should have tea tree oil on hand at all times

Acne Treatment

Tea Tree Oil antimicrobial terpenes content makes it popular for fighting acne. Along with MRSA or staph infections, it is also known to kill Propionibacterium acne that lives inside hair follicles. Although it may take longer to heal acne bumps and scars, it is the best way to combat infections since it is all natural and it is proven to be less damaging to the skin.

Eliminate Ringworm 

Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin that is highly contagious. I had about 2-3 when I was younger. The oil’s anti-fungal properties make it effective treating and preventing ringworm. Just apply 2-3 drops of pure tea tree oil diluted in carrier oil. Apply to infection 2-3 times a day. You could also clean personal items that have come in contact with the infection to prevent spreading it any further.

Oral Health

It is known to reduce gum bleeding and tooth decay, along with healing open sores, and any bacteria or fungal infections. Just add a drop on your toothpaste or you can make your own toothpaste. Just add 1/4 cup of coconut oil—2 TBSP baking soda—10 drops of tea tree oil. Use it like you would use any other toothpaste.

Insect Bites and Stings

Tea Tree Oil is great for bringing down the swelling of an insect bite or sting. When you add a carrier oil, the infected area will disinfect the wound, prevent itching, and lessens pain. Healing would take about 1-2 days. Also, it is great for keeping the bugs away, or even killing them. This is great because since I have 3 small kids, who are ridiculously afraid of bugs, it will allow my family to save so much money on bug spray, that smells weird and feels really oily.

Pest Repellent

The oil’s anti-parasitic properties destroys and/or suppress the growth of fleas, lice, and ticks. This is great for my outdoorsy folks! Also, you can keep away mosquitoes, ants, spiders, and fleas. Just douse a cotton balls with Tea Tree Oil and place it in the area needed, and those pesky critters will be gone. Garbage cans, outdoor adventures, you name it!

Household Cleaner

Tea tree oil is a disinfectant and a fragrance, all in one. There are so many, everyday household chores that you can use tea tree oil. You can make it an all-purpose a cleaner by placing 10 drops of tea tree oil, 2 cups of hot water, and 1/2 cup of vinager into a 1 quart spray bottle. It cleans counters, fixtures, mirrors, etc. You can even use it as an air fresher by adding a cup of water, 3 drops of tea tree oil, 2 drops of lemon essential oil, place into a spray bottle, shake, and wa la! Your very own homemade febreeze. Hmmm. That may be an interesting candle scent.

Scalp and Hair Health

If you have mild to extreme dandruff or just plain old itchy scalp, which is caused by an allergic reaction, bacteria, or fungus, this is the stuff for you. I’ve always suffered from dry scalp, and its super embarrassing when I see large flakes of skin on my shirt and pillow case. I was advised to place 2-3 drops in your shampoo per wash, and rinse. I will update you on how that works for me.

I dont know about you guys, but once I found out all of this information, I knew I had to grab a bottle. Find the reviews for this particular brand at Amazon ArtNaturals Tea Tree Oil

 

 

In Memory Of….

I remember being as young as 5 years old, observing that actions of others. I knew from a very young age, what I wanted my life to be like. Of course, back then, I did not know the specifics, but I knew what and who I did not want to be.  I wanted to be smart. I wanted to be successful, not with monetary possessions, but with love and respect. I wanted to be nice to everyone, no matter who they were or what they did. When I was old enough to have children, I wanted to be their best friend and their mother. I wanted to shower them with love and gifts, but at the same time teach them the true meaning of life.

As I grew, the more specific my life’s requirements became. This caused me to have a feeling of entitlement for the things I wanted in my life. Looking back, I noticed that I did not pay to much attention to other people or serious life issues. And then I turned 30 years old, with three children and a husband. It’s almost like I woke up, and this was my life. And all of those things that I thought I wanted, well let’s just say, life had other plans.

Not only did I turn 30, but I was diagnosed with an immune disorder. Unknowingly, these two events would turn my world completely upside down. I used to worry about gossip, lose or gain of friends, or even finding a babysitter so I can go out. But then, life threw the fastest curve ball at my head. It is like, life purposely aimed at my head cause that curve ball knocked me on my ass so hard, that I died.

The Ashley that I worked so hard to become, since I was a little girl, started to slowly slip away. At first, I thought, I’ll come back from this. But then, almost everything Ashley wanted to be was fading, eventually floating into the dark abyss. I then realized, that this diagnosis wasn’t just the run of the mill, life problem. This diagnosis is not something that I’ve ever thought about, nor prepared for. Thinking about it now, since I’m such a control freak, it’s probably why I’m grieving so much, because it was unexpected.

So, in memory of Ashley Tara. She was kind soul, and became what she thought she deserved. Which honestly, wasn’t much.

Now, I must find this new person. I’m not sure who she is, but she carries the same hustle mentality and drive that the old Ashley had. This new person has the strength of the old Ashley, plus more. I’m just not sure if I know it yet. They will sing songs about my old identity, about my triumphant win against chronic depression and lupus nephritis.

The best part about this diagnosis, is that this new person is able to enjoy the things that the new Ashley has once forgotten. She can now see the beauty and joy in people who the old Ashley no longer enjoyed; the glow from my kids smile, the wonder of a sunset, and the blessing in hearing a bird sing. My new heart has been opened and my mind has been released.

I used to mourn the loss of the old Ashley, but the more I think about, the more I think a part of her had to go, so that this new person has room to grow and flourish. I miss a lot of the qualities that the old Ashley possessed, and some of those qualities I would like to have back. But I think in order for me to fulfill my duty in life, I have to follow this new journey that has been given to me.

So I say farewell to the old Ashley. It was amazing having that part of myself for the last 30 years, but now there are goals that I need to accomplish. And this path will take me there. Although, things may seem detrimental, it is all for a reason. I have to make all this pain and confusion turn into something that will live on well after my physically body is deceased.

If you are reading this, and you are suffering from a chronic illness of any sort, just know, mourning you’re healthy lifestyle is normal. You will find that you can move forward by getting to know the new you. As you know, once you deal with an illness, your life changes dramatically, and you may find yourself doing or saying things you thought you would never have to. It’ll get better, you HAVE to believe that.

Peace.Love.Happiness

Love Letter from Depression

Dear Ashley,

Its your oldest friend, depression. How’s it been? I’ve missed you so much. I’m glad to hear that you are sick because I knew it would be the easiest way to get back into your life.

I’ve missed our long nights of no sleep and endless tears. I’ve missed the sound of your heart breaking every second of every day. Do you remember, Ashley? Do you remember the wonderful negative thoughts you used to have? I’m glad to see that they have come back, stronger than ever.

I love that you feel like a horrible parent and a horrible wife. I love to watch your tears flow as you beg God for mercy.

It’s just you and I, Ashley. Cant you see? We belong together. You and I are one. I will never leave you, nor forsake you. No matter how many pills you take, no matter how many bible scriptures you read, no matter how much you pray, I will always be with you.

Love,

Depression

 

Young Parenting

I was on Facebook the other day, and I saw this picture of this young lady. In the picture, she was standing alongside her five beautiful children. I am not sure of their ages, but the oldest child looked around 6/7 years old, and the youngest child was 6 months old. Above the picture, the caption read, “When you[r] 22 with 5 kids, one is 6 months and the other one disabled.” The caption was suppose to boast about how well she is doing with 5 children when she is only 22 years old. I will admit, the kids are super cute and based off of the picture, it seems that they are well taken care of.

She immediately began to get thousands of comments. Some good, some bad. There were people who felt outraged by the picture, stating that she’s “a hoe” for having so many kids at such a young age. Others praised her for keeping her children clean and well put together in the photo. Others were just being a bag of butts, commenting hateful words about her disabled son.

I wanted to share my thoughts, but its Facebook. Who pay attention to anything someone has to say, that may be insightful, on facebook? So, I would like to share my opinion with you guys.

When I was 20 years old, I became pregnant with my first child. I was more excited than fearful. I knew everything that I did NOT want to do with my child. I had it all mapped out; her father and I would get married, we would have great jobs, buy a house with a white picket fence, and live happily ever after. Well, it didn’t exactly go like that. There were so many people who tried to tell me, in a nice way, that I wasnt ready for a baby, and that I really didn’t know what I was doing. At 20, I was pretty mature for my age, but looking back at it, I wasnt mature enough. I thought I knew what I was doing. I would get offended when people would say, you’re to young to have a baby.

There are so many things that I didn’t think about then, that I think about all of the time now. The problem with having a baby at a young age, is that, at 20 years old, no matter how mature I was, there were life lessons that I hadnt experienced yet, that would come in handy when raising kids, and that I would learn until later on in life. I would get offended when people would say, you’re to young to have a baby.

It’s common sense that children are expensive. But geez! I never thought about the expenses of braces, specialty care for disabled/sickly children, school clothes and supplied, activities, etc. I definitely didn’t think about the fact that something may happen to me, to where I am unable to care for them like a mother should take care of her children. I also didnt think about when I need to get away, I can’t just walk away. I cant leave or take a vacation. I have to be here with them, especially when all 3 kids are calling my name, back to back to back to back, without taking a breath. I have to be here.

When I think about parenting, I think about the things that our children need and deserve to become productive citizen of society. Yes, they are my children, and I love them unconditionally. But one day, they will be someones wife or husband. They will be parents, co-workers, friends, etc. So, I have to raise them the right way, the proper way. And when you’re young, you really don’t know the proper way yet. You’re still trying to find yourself; your likes and dislikes, your career choice, your temper, and how you deal with certain social situations. Otherwise, you’ll just end up teaching them childish ways, because you haven’t matured enough yet.

I love my kids, but I do wish I would have waited to have them. I think that if I had the knowledge then, that I have now, I would have done things so much differently. Now, I’m 31 years old with 3 little people who I am responsible for and to be quite frank, I still have no idea what I’m doing. But at least now, I am mature enough to admit that.

So, my opinion, even though her children are well taken care of, and she may be a great parent, will her lack of life experience and juvenile ideas of the world allow her to raise productive members of society? I have no idea. I guess we will find out in a few short years.

 

 

Why I Chose To Recycle

I used to be one of those people who didn’t believe in recycling. I figured, why recycle? My efforts won’t stop anything. I can’t save the world by myself. Plus, I probably won’t be alive by the time the world shallows itself up. So, why should I waste my time and energy?

We’ve all seen the public service announcements, the heart-felt commercials explaining that our world is dying. I’ve changed the channel a few time myself, never thinking twice about it. I wish I had some awesome story that I can tell, explaining what has changed my mind. Well, folks, I don’t. One day, I just woke up, and became more conscious of my surroundings.

I started thinking about my kids, and my grand kids, and what kind of world I would be leaving to them once my last day comes. I’ve began to notice health problems that my kids began to have, due to the chemicals they are subjected to everyday; eczema, asthma, acne, etc.

So, I started to recycle. It may sound a little corny or cliché, but every time that I reuse or recycle something, I feel like I’m making a difference. And it feels amazing!

For example, I love making candles out of old jars. This lavender tangerine scented candle was made from old fruit jars that I buy for my kids. I love how unique the jar shape is AND we’re recycling! F9285738-95FC-4C28-AC54-DF98802DDF23.jpg

So, why should you recycle? Well, because Earth is your home. I like to keep my home clean and fresh (well, as much as I can with 3 kids and a hard-working husband). My house is my safe haven. I like to keep my memories reserved, so one day, my family can reminiscence and create new memories. Earth is the same way, the same idea. We have to preserve it, we have to take care of it. That way, our children and our childrens children will have a “home” that will continue to feed them, clothe them, and provide for them.

The materials that you should recycle are paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass. Please contact your local recycling agency to find out ways you can recycle and make a difference.

We’re Being Poisoned People!

The United States has been poisoning the American people with genetically modified food organisms since 1996. Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMO’s, are defined as organisms, such as, animals, plants, and microorganisms, in which the DNA is altered to where it is unable to occur naturally.

Our government decided to use GMO’s to alter our food to enhance desired traits, such as, improving nutritional value and increase resistance of herbicides and to provide “long-lasting” products. If you do not know, herbicides are chemicals designed to kill unwanted vegetation, such as, garden weeds.

There are several reason why this was a bad idea:

 

  • In 1999, Europe discontinued the use of GM food due to a high-profile case stating the dangers of GM foods.

 

    1. Dr. Arpad Pusztai, a hungarian scientist, first began to notice the negative effects on the human body and DNA caused by GM foods. Jeffrey Smith, founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology, is leading the movement to eliminate genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the United States. Jeffrey Smith did an interview with Dr. Pusztai, where he described his experience with the government and gm foods, stating, “Dr. Arpad Pusztai… has been gagged and told that if he talked about what he knew, he would be sued. Well, by an order of parliament, his gag order was lifted and he could finally talk about how he discovered that genetically engineered foods were inherently unsafe and could create all sorts of damage — just from the process itself, irrespective of what gene you put in.”

 

 

  • GMO’s are extremely unhealthy

 

    1. AAEM (American Academy of Environmentally Medicine) encourage doctors the prescribe non-GMO foods to their patients
    2. Animal studies show that GM foods caused GI and immune system disorders, organ damage, accelerated aging, and infertility issues.
    3. Human studies show that GM foods can leave materials inside of us, causing long-term problems and health issues.
      1. FDA scientist found toxic insecticides produced by GM corn inside the blood of a pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.
    4. The number of Americans with (3) or more illness’ increased from 7% to 13% within 8 years GM foods were introduced
    5. Food allergies increased dramatically.
    6. Disorders, such as, reproductive disorders, autism, and digestive problems increased.
  • GMO contamination is FOREVER
    1. It has been determined that self-propagating GMO pollution will out last nuclear waste and global warming.

 

 

  • GMO increase herbicide use, causing more chemicals around our organic foods and environment
    1. Between 1996 and 2008, farmers used 38 million pounds of herbicides on GMO’s.

 

 

  • Government oversight is lax
    1. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not require safety studies
    2. Companies are allowed to sell food to the public without notifying the FDA.
    3. FDA scientist have gone on record to say that “GMO’s can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects”.

 

  • Independent researchers are being attacked
    1. Scientist that have spoken out about the dangers of GM foods have been attacked, gagged, threatened, fired, and denied funding for their research
    2. In 2001, New Zealand Parliament member Sue Kedgley told the 2001 Royal Commission of Inquiry on Genetic Modification: “Personally I have been contacted by telephone and e-mail by a number of scientists who have serious concerns about aspects of the research that is taking place…are convinced that if they express these fears publicly, even at such a commission. . . or even if they asked the awkward and difficult questions, they will be eased out of their institution.”
  • GMO’s are harmful for the environment
    1. Monarch butterfly population down by 50% in the U.S. due to habitat elimination caused by GM crops
    2. GM crops and herbicides are known to harm wildlife, such as, birds, insects, amphibians, soil organisms, and our ecosystems.

As you can see, the use of genetically modified organisms in our food causes long-term damage, not only to your body, but to our plants and animals. Research shows that if we, as a society, stop buying GM foods, that it’ll force the government to discontinue their use of GMO’s. It is definitely easier said than done. I mean, GM foods are a lot cheaper than organic foods. But, there are ways that you can try to cut out GM foods in your diet.

Grow your own fruits and vegetables and you don’t have to be a professional gardener to do it. You can practice by going to your local Dollar General or Dollar Tree and buy everything you need to garden under $5, including seeds. Grocery stores, such as Aldi, offers organic foods for a low price. Make sure that you see on the product that is “non-gmo”. It is usually on the bottom of the product.

Stay Healthy. Stay Happy. Stay Free!

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. – 3 John 1:2

References:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/09/jeff-smith-interview-gmo-week.aspx
https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/arpad-pusztai-and-risks-genetic-engineering
http://www.globalresearch.ca/gmo-researchers-attacked-evidence-denied-and-a-population-at-risk/5305324

 

Flax Seed? I Put That Sh*t On Everything!

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Have you guys ever seen the Franks RedHot sauce commercial? There a little ol’ lady who apparently loves Franks Redhot sauce so much, she “…put that sh*t on everything!” Well, if there is ever a commercial for flaxseed, you will see my face, holding a bag of flaxseed, saying “I put that sh*t on everything!”

Flax seed has so many benefits, it is kind of unbelievable. Lupus treatment is so expensive, and adding to flax seed to my food is a small, but crucial necessity to my health. One thing that the doctors always tell you, is to eat right and exercise. But where do you start? There are so many diets, websites, new age treatments; it can be overwhelming! Well, look no further. Adding 1-2 tablespoons flax seed to your meals at least once a day will help you in multiple ways:

  1. Great Fiber, Low Carbs – Flax is high in fiber which supports colon detoxification, reduce sugar cravings, and fat loss. It also increases nutrient absorption.
  2. Healthy Hair and Skin – Flax is known for improving symptoms caused by eczema, acne, and rosacea. Flax seed oil is also used to internally hydrate your skin and hair.
  3. Weight Loss – Flax seed is full of healthy fats and fiber, such as, Omega-3, protein, vitamin B-1, etc. that helps you feel more satisfied for a longer period of time, which will allow you to eat fewer calories, and will lead to weight loss.
  4. Digestive Health – Flax is known for helping with constipation and other digestive issues. It is known to help people who suffer from Crohn’s disease and other digestive ailments.

There are so many foods that you can add flax seed to. Below are a list of foods that you can start out with:

  • Yogurt
  • Salad
  • Smoothies
  • Soup
  • Sandwiches
  • Applesauce
  • Ice Cream

Good Luck in your journey to a healthy you! Comment below on other ways you like to stay healthy or your experiences with flax seed.

“I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you.”    -Joyce Meyer

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