When a parent is sick

It has been a good bit since my last blog post. Each time I blog I make a promise to myself that I will keep it up and be more consistent. Never happens!

2018 was not kind to my sweet mother. Literally one health problem led to another and then another and then another.  At 85, she is petite 4’9 and weighs 111 lbs.  A two-time breast cancer survivor, heart attack and stroke survivor too. She has diabetes, osteoporosis, heart failure, and seizures. Yet she fights on. Literally she is the strongest and bravest woman I know. Last year she had blood clots in both her legs. The clots were cleared but complications arose and she developed compartment syndrome resulting in the need for an emergency fasciotomy to relieve the swelling and pressure build up that was occurring, essentially saving her leg.  This event was truly the most painful and the most difficult she has had to endure in her life. Throw in a doctor who is as heartless and disconnected from his patient’s needs (pain control) as you can imagine.  Yes he saved her leg but so much more happened post surgery that could have been handled differently.  But that’s for another post. I simply want to talk about my mom and how faithful God has been and continues to be with her. The fasciotomy did indeed save her leg but left her with a drop foot problem and several months of recuperation. The wound was left open because it needed to heal from the inside out. Because of her diabetes the healing took much longer than expected and many months of painful dressing changes. My brother, dad and myself had to stand by and watch as the nurse changed her dressing every couple of days. No one should have to listen to their mother cry in agony from the pain.  Sure pain meds were given but it didn’t completely numb out the pain.  If that wasn’t enough she had to have a bulky wound vac attached to her leg for many weeks to suck out the dead or dry tissue. No easy feat for an 85 year old. Yet she did it. Through many hospitalizations and two separate stays at different nursing facilities she battled on so she could get home.

After several months and a referral to a wound care doctor who in my book was a gift from heaven for my mom, the wound finally started to heal and eventually closed.  The scar is not pretty to look at and the indentation it left is quite noticeable and she still has nerve damage that resulted in her foot drop, BUT, she has her leg and can walk even with a limp. For this we are extremely grateful to God and to the doctor He put in our path.

Unfortunately her health challenges did not end there. In the summer of 2018 she had a couple of heart attacks then three different strokes all mild but resulting in hospitalizations and more medications being added to her plethora of pills she is already taking daily.  Many more hospitalizations have since occurred and the latest one this year was for an infection and fluid buildup in her lungs which led to her being placed on oxygen so she could breath. More meds, and a bout with hospital delirium which frightened us to no end. To watch a parent’s health and mind deteriorate the way it did was heart stopping. We were told it was the combination of all the drugs she was being given, the difficulty with breathing, her elevated heart rate, the infection and just being in the hospital that brought on the delirium. Thankfully in the days leading up to her discharge her confusion and memory loss lessened and on discharge day she was her normal self. Still very very weak but much better.

She is home now with my dad who watches her and with my brother and I living close by we are constantly visiting and checking on things. What a year it has been.  Throughout all the ups and downs I have witnessed God move mountains for my mom and literally breath life back into her when we thought we were slowly losing her and there was no hope. He sent us the angels we needed in the form of doctors, nurses, home health nurses, physical therapists and pharmacists.  The saying goes “it takes a village”. I am here to say yes it does!  A village of people who are skilled at what they do, a family who loves ferociously, and prayer warriors made up of cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and even strangers who with faith, covered my mother in prayer and asked God to heal her and deliver her from illness.  My prayers were for healing, peace, strength and understanding if the Lord’s will did not align with what I was praying for.

I feel so blessed and grateful that my mother is with me and that she is strong-willed.  Life has not been easy for her but she finds strength everyday to put one foot in front of the other and keep going.  If you are reading this and your parents are still living please, please love on them like there is no tomorrow. Share your favorite memory of them, cook together and write down those favorite recipes, go for walks hand in hand, take pictures, cry together, and recognize that they are not perfect and flawed like you and me.  And more importantly, thank them for a job well done because being a parent is the hardest job.  Remember life is so short and tomorrow is never promised.

 

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Farmhouse Table DIY Refresh

Four years ago I bought this cute farmhouse table from a gal I met at our local antique flea market. She painted it to my specifications and it was exactly what I wanted….at that time.  I look at this photo and smile with a grateful heart for all the meals we’ve eaten at this table as a family and with those we’ve welcomed into our home.  But as the years go by and seasons change, so did my taste in home decor. Have you ever looked back at old pictures and say to yourself  “what was I thinking?”  Well that’s kinda how I feel when I look at the yellow walls  and the mint green chairs….so I decided it was time for a refresh.  The walls have since been painted white so we’re good there. 🙂 But the chairs and the table needed a fresh coat of paint.

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If you know me you know that I frequent instagram quite a bit. In fact a lot of my home decor inspiration comes from IG.  I didn’t know the first thing about painting or sanding anything so I just did a little research on IG and YouTube and learned that before sanding you can strip the paint off furniture using Citri-Strip Stripping Gel.

Basically it’s a gel  that you apply to your furniture piece and distribute evenly and generously then let it penetrate for about 30-40 minutes. That’s it!

Then you take a paint scraper and start scraping away all the gunk. The old paint comes off so easily!

 

After all the paint is scraped off, my husband took the table outside and sanded it down to a nice smooth finish.

 

My initial plan was to stain it with danish oil. But there was a spot on the wood that was hard to get rid of and would be visible through the stain. So I had to go to plan B.

I decided to give it the same gray wash look it had before. The old paint was looking worn out anyway so it was nice to slap on a fresh new coat and give it that old reclaimed wood look.  As you can see in the picture below I separated the sections and applied about two coats of Rust-oleum Chalked Linen White paint (forgot to take a photo of the table top painted all white but you can see a section of it here). Then I followed with Rust-oleum Chalked Aged Gray paint.

To give it that aged, look I waited for the white paint to dry then I dipped my paint brush in the gray paint and lightly brushed the gray paint over the white, varying the brush strokes and applying heavier paint in some areas and lighter paint in other areas. Since my goal was to make this table look old and weathered I didn’t go for a lot of uniformity here.

 

Considering this was my first time painting a piece of furniture, I was quite pleased with the results. Now time to seal the deal!

After doing some more research on how to seal the paint I came across some really great reviews on Miss Mustard Seed Antiquing Wax. I decided to give it a try and ordered both the black/brown and clear wax from Amazon. The link is HERE if you would like to order.

I can’t express enough how easy it was to apply.  First I started with the dark wax. I cut up one of my husband’s old t-shirts and used it to apply the wax.  You can see how it highlights the paint and makes those brush strokes really stand out.

 

After allowing the dark wax to cure for a couple of days. I finished it off with clear wax.

 

After the final application I let it seal for a couple of days.  Next I had to tackle the job of sanding down six chairs and painting them all white. But before I did that I used Citri-Strip stripping gel to remove all the paint. You can see below how after applying a generous layer it starts to break down and crackle the paint making it easy to scrape off.

 

I didn’t record the sanding of the chairs but was sure happy when I was done.  It was hard to get into those hard-to-reach areas with my husband’s sander so I ordered own :-).  There were so many to choose from but I went with one that had pretty good reviews and didn’t break the bank.  Go HERE if you want to check out the Black & Decker Mouse Detail Sander.  After all the chairs were sanded down, I wiped them all clean with a damp rag.  I let them dry then painted them all with linen white chalked paint.  Once the chairs were completely dried I distressed them with sandpaper until I was happy with the look. After wiping them clean from all the dust, I sealed them with clear wax.

I hope you enjoyed my step-by-step tutorial on how I refreshed our farmhouse table. I didn’t care for the sanding part much but sure loved the painting.  One thing I neglected to mention was the base of the table.  It was a cream colored paint which I painted it over with linen white chalk paint. No sanding. I normally would have stripped the paint with the gel stuff then sanded it down but this mama was tired and desperately wanted to eat off the table with her family again…lol!

Why Use Essential Oils?

It’s been about 3 years now since I started using Young Living Essential Oils. To be honest when I first signed up to become a member it was to take advantage of their discount program.  I didn’t pursue it in terms of growing a business. Even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t put my name on something without having experienced the benefits for myself.  I wanted to be able to share my own opinions and testimony of how Young Living Essential Oils has helped me.  Now after almost 3 years of diffusing essential oils and using them in homemade beauty and cleaning recipes, I feel I can bring something to the table and share what I have learned along the way and how I have incorporated essential oils into our home.

To begin, I have shared Young Living Essential Oils with family and a few friends but I have never really gone outside my comfort zone and shared it on social media.  I thought it would be nice to start this journey of sharing in the hopes it will bring more awareness to the powerful benefits of essential oils.  After all, sharing is caring, right? And I do care, a lot. I care that so many people still use over the counter pain relief medicine like ibuprofen, which can cause so many health problems.  I also care that people are still buying dangerous household cleaning products that contain formaldehyde, phthalates, synthetic fragrances and other toxins. I care that women are not aware of all the bad stuff that is in their cosmetics (which is pretty much the same stuff you find in household cleaners).  A lot of those ingredients can be migraine and asthma triggers and the cause of many other illnesses. I no longer take motrin for headaches. My new go-to for pain relief is in the form of a little bottle of pure peppermint oil. A drop or two massaged onto the base of my neck always brings me great relief. I ALWAYS carry a bottle in my purse and when we take family road trips, I will bring along my Lavender and DiGize essential oils too. They calm my nerves while on the road (because I am always a wreck when on long road trips and it drives my husband crazy) and ease any stomach upset.

My thought is this. If more people knew about the benefits of essential oils maybe there would be fewer sick people and fewer cancer patients.  For instance, regularly diffusing Thieves essential oils  (a blend of eucalyptus, lemon, clove, cinnamon and rosemary oils) for healthy immune function and support will give your system the ammunition it needs to fight off cold and flu symptoms.  And if you avoid inhaling toxic cancer-causing fumes by ditching your scented candles and chemical-filled household cleaners and try using Young Living’s Thieve’s household cleaner instead or make your own natural, plant-based cleaner using essential oils (you can find a plethora of recipes on Pinterest), you may lower your chances of developing an illness in the future, even cancer.  Some people will say things like “well cancer runs in my family so I’m bound to get it anyways”.  That may or may not be true in some causes where genetics is concerned. But the most important thing to remember is this saying that is sooo true…Genetics loads the gun but lifestyle pulls the trigger.  The lifestyle habits we keep and the decisions we make on how we do certain things in the home can either have a positive impact on our health or a negative one. That is really something to think about.  It really starts with you. How much you are willing to break free from using products that contain ingredients that are so bad for you.  Be the change. You can bet your family and pets will also benefit from a pure, clean and toxic-free way of living. Yes that’s right, I said pets! Your pets can also benefit from essential oils. Did you know that? More on that in a future post.

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Quick story – when I first heard about essential oils I was in my mid-20’s.  I was working as an office assistant in a pediatric rehab department where one of our occupational therapists there used oils regularly on her young patients. She applied hands-on aromatherapy to relax her patients, increase blood circulation, and even relieve their pain. Crying babies were easily put to sleep by her gentle soothing touch as she gently massaged the oils into their skin.  Parents would sit by in awe of this as their babies quieted down in time for the their therapy session to start.  She was like a baby whisperer…lol.  I remember she always shared the benefits of essential oils with the parents and even instructed them on how to apply massage aromatherapy at home to help them sleep better.  As a young 20 something year old I was impressed with how the oils helped her patients but I wasn’t inquisitive enough to ask for more details. I was young, dating my future husband and simply too busy with my social life to learn about essential oils.  She would have been a great source of information and happy to teach me if I had taken the time to ask.

I am definitely not one to regard myself as a know-it-all about essential oils or anything else. I don’t have a college degree and I am not trained in holistic medicine or anything like that.  I am just a mom and a wife who loves her family very much and will simply do what she can to keep them healthy. I enjoy learning new ways to live simply and naturally and sharing what I have learned with anyone who is willing to listen and be open to trying something new.

I hope I have provided you with some valuable information and maybe even planted a few seeds here and there. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to comment or email me.  I will be happy to answer.  If you are at all inclined to register as a Young Living member please click HERE.  If you are already using essential oils that are not from Young Living and they work great for you, then that is AWESOME! Just remember to always make sure they come from a reputable company that is focused on bringing you a product that is pure, clean, 100% authentic and created with the utmost care and the highest of standards.

(Disclaimer: This post was based on my own opinions and experiences. Please always seek the guidance of a medical professional especially if you have young children/infants.)