Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Five Books about Diet, Nutrition, and Balancing Hormones

Hormones are nothing to laugh at! From PMS to menopause hormones affect women through many stages of life. Hormones can play with our mood, food cravings, desire for our partner, and the ability to conceive and carry a baby. Some women may never experience hormonal imbalances, and if you are one of those lucky ladies I tip my hat to you! But if you are like me, living with the horror of hormonal imbalance, then I will keep you in my prayers because I understand your pain.

I have suffered on and off from mood swings, food cravings, skin issues, anxiety, and abnormal cycles for years. It never occurred to me that I had a hormonal imbalance until I went two years without conceiving. I won't tell you the long, agonizing story as it is full of dismissive, unhelpful doctors and me not advocating for myself. What I will tell you is that two years without conceiving turned into almost four years and then over ten years of subfertility and recurrent miscarriage. 

Here are five of my favorite resources for understanding a woman's body and how hormones work in it. As well as the things that I have found that have helped me deal with my hormone issues. I hope that the list helps you or someone you know.

My Favorite Books About Hormones, Fertility, And Nutrition

I have read a ton of books about hormones, fertility, and nutrition. I am a firm believer that all three of those things go hand in hand. But that doesn't mean that a poor diet will cause infertility, nor does it mean that good nutrition will make an infertile woman fertile. There are so many things that affect our bodies and how they work (or don't work as the case may be). However, I think it is important to eat a healthy diet to improve health, fertility, and mood.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Searching For My Father and Finding Peace

My mother found out she was pregnant with me in the summer of 1975. She was seventeen years old. She could have aborted me, but she didn't, and I am thankful that she chose life for me. I lived with her and my grandparents until she got married and moved out when I was still a toddler. Though her words and attitude told me different when I was a child, my grandmother wanted me to grow up in her home, so my mother did not take me with her when she left.

When I was young, I used to ask my grandmother questions about my father. She would never answer them. When I was around the age of eleven, my mother divorced her husband of ten years and moved back into her parent's house, my house. I am sure that I annoyed her. I followed her around, asking endless questions. I wanted details that should have stayed in the past. But I could not leave them there. I had to know about my father. 

Finally, she told me about him. She told me about their short relationship, how she knew that she had conceived me before she ever took a test, but she also knew that she did not want to spend the rest of her life with my father. She told me that my father was a foster child from Brooklyn, New York. He was in the military until he was kicked out and had ways and opinions that my grandmother didn't approve of, and that is why she never talked about him.

I used to daydream about him. I would hope that he would show up on our front porch one day, call me his daughter, and take me away. Maybe not forever, but at least for a little while. I wanted him to know me and accept me. I wanted him to fight for me and care for me. Ultimately, I know I wanted to feel loved by him. 

He never showed up. He never called. I have never seen his face or heard his voice.

In my early twenties, I started two different searches. I searched for my  biological father online and studied the words of my heavenly Father in the Bible. I never found anything online about my father. Everywhere I looked was a dead end. 

But the Word of God was very healing for me. Over time, I stopped wishing for my earthly father's presence in my life and no longer desired his love. It didn't happen overnight. It was a slow process. 

Through reading scripture, I recognized that I do have a Father that calls me daughter.  I found a father who knows me and cares for me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Under-Appreciated? Me? Never!

There is this thing taking place right now. The Sheenazing Awards. You have probably heard of them, but just in case you haven't here is what Bonnie has to say about them: 

"The Sheenazing Blogger Awards get their name from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, who was amazing at using the newest forms of media to communicate the beauty of the Catholic Church and his love of Christ to the world. They are a fun way to celebrate the excellence of the Catholic blogosphere and honor Venerable Sheen."

Bonnie writes at the blog, A Knotted Life. I am sure you know her, but if you do not, you definitely need to take the time to get to know her. You can start with the story of her son's (alleged) miracle. And then move on to reading her thoughts about motherhood and check out how she parties it up with her family and friends. 

Also I am sure that you already know about Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, but if you do not then you can read about him here. You should read some of his books and check out a few of his talks on YouTube, too. 

And since we are talking about him I want to share one of my favorite Sheen quotes. It is from his book, Way To Happiness (1953), on page 51: 

"... one must inquire if education is of the mind alone, or also of the will. Knowledge is in the mind; character is in the will. To pour knowledge into the mind of a child, without disciplining his will to goodness, is like putting a rifle into the hands of a child. Without education of the mind a child could be a stupid devil. With education of the mind, but without love of goodness, a child could grow up to be a clever devil." 

Powerful right? His writings are full of thought provoking gems like that! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

What I Learned During My Week of Silence (or My Time Away From Social Media)

I had no idea on Monday morning when I decided to take the week away from social media and blogs to discern whether I should continue blogging that I was coming down with the flu. But getting knocked down by the flu, I did! 

Despite the flu, I had a very good week. I felt your prayers, and I thank you for them. After spending last week praying (and a quick trip to confession on Saturday), I better understand the feelings of discontent that I was having.

You see, I had set up a writing schedule for myself so that I could be more organized with my writing. I had set these rules for myself, rules that I made after reading different advice from professional writers and other bloggers. There is a lot of advice out there that is good and worthwhile to follow, if one should feel the need. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Taking a Break and Asking for Prayers

Well, my word for the year is peace, and I knew it was going to lead to me focus my attention in a different direction than I was planning for myself.

Over the last several days, I have had so many thoughts about intentions and attention and distractions, and I feel like I need to take some time to draw closer to God and to evaluate what I am doing with this space. 

I need to step away from the internet for now, but it is not forever, I don't think. I am going to be silent here, on Facebook and Instagram through Sunday, at least. Then I will decide if I need more time away. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Peace, Charts, Prints, Comments, Saints, Confidence, Parenting {7QTs}

It has been a long time since I joined up with Seven Quick Takes. It was long before Jen passed the torch over to Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum. Congratulations Kelly! I am happy to join you and all the Quick Takers this Friday. 

I have had such a busy week this week. Plus we have a had a touch of the stomach bug that has been going around. Thankfully it hasn't been too bad, and I am glad that we got it after the new year. So with all of the madness going on this week writing a few or seven Quick Takes made sense.


My word for the year is peace. I wrote about it here. In the post, I wrote about how I didn't want peace to be my word for the year, even though I felt God was making it pretty clear to me that peace was my word. I mentioned a book that I had read that helped seal the deal on my word, not thinking that my little post would ever reach the author of the book. But it did, and she stopped by and left me the sweetest comment. It made my day! 


If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw this picture already. I was thinking about my daily schedules, and I came up with this chart. I already have a chart for school lessons and the housework, but I wanted to make sure that I take time every day to do the things that I love and keep me happy and healthy. So I wrote this list and then put it in an empty frame that we already had. I placed it next to my bed so that I could check it off at night. It has been a great reminder to me throughout the day as I come and go in my bedroom. Plus, if a day goes by that I do not accomplish one or two things off my personal goals chart, I know to make them a priority the next day. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

How I Became a More Confident Homeschooling Mom

Confidence was never my thing. Confident people always astonished me. Watching people take charge with an assertive attitude and self-assurance in their abilities left me with a sense that I had witnessed an anomaly because it was so far out of the ordinary for me. Most of my life I walked the safe path and let other people lead.

When I pulled my oldest child out of school to homeschool him was the only occasion in my life when I was the one surprising people. It wasn't a spur of the moment decision, but it was a bit out of character for me, the girl with low self-esteem. 

It took many, many months of praying, reading, and discussions with Chris to finally leap. I was able to do it because I had Chris's support, but also because I knew with every fiber of my being that it was what God wanted me to do. So I did it because I knew He had called me to it and would continue to give me the grace I needed to get through the hard times.

And believe me, there were hard times. Days when I felt tired, and frustrated, and incapable.

Several years ago I wrote a post on what the boys and I do when we have had a rough day or two. But I needed to do something about the periods of time when the boys were fine, but I was not. So I made a few attitude changes to reassure myself that I was capable of educating my children. They didn't work overnight, but over time my new rules for myself helped me to become a more confident person. Now there are days when I surprise myself with my assertiveness.

Does your story sound at all like mine? Do you lack confidence in your ability to teach your children? Are you interested in the behavior changes that helped me to become more confident? 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Peace in 2015

It happened a week after writing this post. I heard my word for 2015, and it wasn't the word I wanted. I was sitting with my family at Mass, listening to father's homily about preparing ourselves for the Christmas season. He talked about how society cries for peace from war and peace within our lives, but many of us have forgotten that true peace comes from a relationship with Jesus. 

I knew that the word peace was meant for me. It was the way it sounded when he said it. I heard it with my ears but felt it whispered in my heart.

You know what I did? I rejected it. I told myself that it was too early to have found my word for the year. I told myself that I needed more time to figure it out. I was still hoping for a word like rest or renew or health.

Then I started reading the final book I had on my list for the year, Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have written by Annie Downs. It seemed like a great book to end my year with since this was the year of being fearless. The author wrote about how she had followed God's plans for her life even when He wanted her to leave her comfort zone, and when His plan meant that her plan would end. She explained that that was what being brave was, doing things that we don't think we can and may not even want to do. 

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