Healthy Living

Zero Waste

Just about a week ago, at the time of this post, the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Right about this time people start pulling together to play an active role and become a rescue hero for the Earth. I’m so excited and I love to see this happening! We did our part by watching a documentary called The Story of Plastic. It’s an informative show teaching about the dangers of single use plastic. It was certainly a hard one to watch. It was heartbreaking. If you do any search on social media using the #storyofplastic you will see what I mean. You will see (spoiler alert) how little gets recycled. You will see people’s front yard looking like a landfill. It’s just disgusting.

My friend, I’m here to tell you that there’s hope! You can be the ripple. I’m not saying that you send back all the plastic to the company that manufactured it (oops another spoiler alert) but you have the option of not buying it. During this quarantine we have heard reports of the Earth being repaired. It’s sad that it took a world wide pandemic to open people’s eyes but what if we could start another movement and start eliminating plastic. Just think about how much better our Earth would look after that.

Our Journey

Our journey started waaaay back to a time when my middle sister did a science fair project for her school. She did a few pretty awesome projects but the one that had the most impact and ripple effect was the one she did on Global Warming. She even sent a text on Earth Day to remind us that she was the O.G. Greta Thunberg back in 1992. She cracked me up because I had never thought of that but, she was! It was that one project that she did that got our family in a better direction. We stopped using colored toilet paper and tissues. Ha! Remember when toilet paper would come in blue and pink? We started recycling and breaking down all of the cardboard boxes and crushing our cans and plastic. We couldn’t believe that there were machines out there that would turn our recyclables into something new. This was a great place to begin for our family and it’s a great place for you to start as well but it goes much further than that. If you watch the documentary or search the hashtag you’ll see what I mean.

Yes, recycling is good, but like I said, not everything we recycle gets recycled. So, if you’re wondering how you can play a role, I will help you reduce the waste that is being taken to the recycling center and the landfills. I’m here to help and not to judge. I’m here to help steer you into a better direction for both of us and for our planet. I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I will just start with 3 easy steps that you can do right now to work towards a zero waste lifestyle and I say lifestyle because it will change the way you think and do things.

Step 1: Use in full

The best way to start a low (zero) waste lifestyle is by using products you already have in full. Don’t run out and replace everything right away. Continue reusing them until they are falling apart and no longer usable. That plastic kitchen spoon? Use it. The chip clip? Use it. Plastic clothes hanger? Use it. When you can no longer use these products then dispose of them properly then choose better.

Another part of this lifestyle is paying close attention to the labels on the back of products that we use. Some of these products out on the market are using chemicals that are harmful for us and for our environment. Don’t let it go to waste because you paid good money for it. Just finish it up and choose better. Check out this list by EWG on the chemicals that you should be avoiding in your products. Use up what you have then make healthier choices and use products that are all natural and safe for the environment. Keep checking back to this site for inspiration.

Step 2: Straws

The earliest straw known was made by the Sumerians. The Sumerians brewed their own beer in big vats. Because the vats were too heavy to carry, they sat around the vat with their straws to drink the beer. Straws have changed over time and now the plastic straw has become the fifth largest contributor of marine waste according to Footprint US. With exception for some, because of health reasons, straws are not necessary. If you choose to use a straw, consider using a reusable stainless steel straw and keep it with you. You can purchase straws and straw savers and help support a Zero Waste Market by heading over to Bee Joyful Shop. I am not an affiliate for them and make no commission from sales. I just love supporting small business and helping my environment.

Step 3: Bags

If there is one thing that breaks my heart the most, its when I’m driving down the road or walking along a trail and seeing a plastic bag up in a tree or laying on the ground. The carelessness of how our earth is being treated is heartbreaking. It’s ugly. It’s disrespectful to the nature around us. The manufacturing of plastic bags is damaging. The carelessness end of life when not recycled can be equally damaging to the nature around us. The best swap one can do is to use reusable bags for your purchases. You can find them practically at any place you shop. You can also choose to either opt out of using the single use plastic bags in the produce section by either purchasing reusable produce bags or not bagging the produce at all. Reusable produce bags can be found in the kitchen section of your retail shopping store, zero waste shop or on Amazon.

There are times in life that we come across “Three Easy Steps” and we just laugh it off because, more often than not, it’s never that easy. I don’t know about you but we always run into problems. These “Three Easy Steps” ARE simple things that you can start doing NOW and be the ripple in your own community. Thanks for hanging out with me today. I’m sure we both need a refill of our coffee in our reusable mug. I’ll be back with more inspiration soon!

Homeschool

Welcome Home

Welcome! I just want to say how happy I am that you are here. Just incase we haven’t met yet, my name is Claudina. I am daughter to the King, wife to an amazing husband and mom to two kiddos. I have a few tools under my belt that I would like to share with you if you have just found yourself new to homeschooling.

Last fall God laid it on my heart to work on a little project that would reach out to families and to equip them with encouragement and tools for coming together as a family. However, at that particular time, my outreach was a lot different. Within the past week, it has erupted with all of the school closings due to the pandemic that we are dealing with globally.

Homeschooling, has been one of the greatest calls I’ve ever received. However, those first few months, they were our hardest. We did have time to prepare for this journey as we navigated our way from public school to homeschool where many this probably wasn’t the case. This is why I want to come along side of you and help you navigate this journey even if it’s just for a short period of time.

Where to Start

Coming together like this is a huge transition for your family. You are now adapting to being around each other for longer periods of time. I can’t promise that you all will get used to this overnight, but I can tell you that it’ll be so worth it. You will make it through this. When we first began I would see comments from other moms telling of their success stories and I wanted to know what magical land they were from. It will take time, structure and whole lot of prayers. I want to share some ideas with you to help smooth out your days ahead.

Before I get started with those lets talk about schedule vs. routine. I feel it’s important to get some type of structure going. I have come across posts online about a schedule that you could start your family on. Let me just say that it was like nails on a chalk board. Now, I’m not knocking them for this but schedules just aren’t for me. I would much prefer to have a routine for these reasons:

  • If your child is really into what you are doing in the moment why stop? Let them pursue it! You never know when the light bulb is going to go off and a new skill will be learned. I know if I had to stop doing my crafting before I was ready to stop, I’d be pretty ticked off.
  • With a routine, if something gets bumped off of your day, you can just pick up where you left off the next day.
  • Maybe your child just isn’t into that activity that day. Why battle? Just drop it and pick it up another day. This gives you a chance to tweak it and make it more enjoyable.

Our Routine

This is a little glimpse of what our routine looks like. Now it does change somewhat from day to day with our subjects but this is what our routine looks like. I also want to add that your routine will look nothing like mine because the first thing that I learned while homeschooling is that no two homeschoolers or families are alike.

  • Wake up, get dressed, head downstairs (momma gets her coffee brewing) and let the dogs out.
  • Eat breakfast, personal devotion time.
  • Gather in the living room for prayers and reading. Our reading can take about an hour or so but it’s because I have older children and we read various material. We have our readaloud for Language Arts and History.
  • Copywork and dictation are next
  • Kids will work together on a few things like ASL and a devotion together and mom works on one of her chores.
  • Kids will split up after that is complete and they work separately on science and math.
  • Lunch
  • Finish up what lessons need to be completed
  • Chores
  • Free time

Using a routine and not being married to a schedule allows for so much more freedom and it’s a lot less stressful. Wouldn’t you rather be watching for the light bulb to go off than a clock?

One final reminder. Your child’s ‘classroom’ has gone from 20+ down to a handful. You DON’T need 8 hours of school. The reasons why schools need 8 hours include:

  • Transition time between classes
  • Instructional time with 26 different levels of learning
  • Classroom interruptions

I hope this has been helpful for you and will help you transition into this new role even if it’s just for a short period of time. Mama, you have been teaching them from birth. You’ve got this. Like I mentioned in the beginning it is a transition. Begin this time with prayer, grace and maybe some character study. We have done a couple and you can try one here. God doesn’t call the equip, He equips the called. For more help please visit my other blog post here and check back for more tips and resources. Thank you and God bless.

Faith

Basket of Bread

Life can seem, at times, dark and lonely and especially to those that are in the pits of despair when every thing is going wrong.  We as Christians are told to be fishers of men.  This includes our brothers and sisters that are walking in the same faith because Satan can come to try and overshadow our Light.

One time during our, lack of employment, we had most of our groceries to make up meals for the week ahead but we were lacking a few key ingredients.  This season was one of the hardest ones to be in.  We have always been on the giving side.  It was hard to humble ourselves to be on that receiving line this time.  I had to make a call to our church to ask for funds to make up for a few items we were lacking.  It’s recorded so many different places in the Bible about asking and receiving but it was still hard to ask. A little while later, we had droves of food coming in. It reminded me of the story of the 12 baskets or better known as Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand.  God is previous and knew that we were going to be in need and had already equipped the hearts of His army.

We need to be there for each other.  We need to plant seeds.  For example, take a cup and pour a little bit of dirt then cover it up.  Now, if you nurture it and give it water and light, that seed starts to grow into a plant and grows strength to push the dirt and darkness out of the way so it can grow to the light.  That’s what God’s love can do.  He sends people out in the world to give us food and nourishment.  Never give up on your faith.  Yes, there’s wicked in this world but have faith that there’s still good.  Never underestimate the power of God and His timing.

Faith

Worry

December 15, 2017.  This day will stay cemented in my brain for the rest of my life.  That was the day our lives got rattled and turned upside down or so we thought.  The kids and I used to have a ritual on Fridays.  I would get up with dad and take him to work so we could have the car and we could do our usual ‘Fun Friday’ activities.  These activities would include grocery shopping math, picking up craft supplies at our local craft store, hit up a park, etc. Our ‘school day’ was much more relaxed on this day and we used our experiences through the day as our classroom.  Our errands were done when it was time to pick dad back up from work.

On December 15th, not only did our routine get disrupted but our lives changed.  We had just stopped at Biggby to treat ourselves to a coffee and were heading into Joann’s to grab some last minute craft supplies to finish off some Christmas gifts. We LOVE homemade Christmas!!! I remember standing in the aisle with the Styrofoam when out of the blue I received a FaceTime call.  Hmmm. Strange. I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and it was my husband.  Me thinking to myself, this is early for him to be calling.  I picked it up.  The look on his face was absolutely dreadful.  The look of sheer pain and agony was written across his face.  My heart just sunk and a complete numbness crept up and enveloped my whole body.  Although he didn’t need to tell me what happened, the look was enough evidence to tell the story, I listened anyway.  He continued by muttering that he needed to be picked up because he had just been fired.  Our kiddos could tell by the look on my face and our exit of the store that there was something terribly wrong.

The drive to pick him up is only about 10-15 minutes away but on that day it seemed like eternity.  I just wanted to get to my husband and lift up his crushed soul and surround him with the love of his family.  It’s  never a good feeling to get canned but for men it’s different than a lot of us women.  There’s pride connected with it along with the sense of responsibility that has been instilled ever since the beginning of time.  The men are the hunters and gatherers.  They bring home the bacon.  He knew this day, his day, was coming as there were many before him.  His service of 13 years had come to an end and there we were, just the four of us, sitting in the parking lot of his now, former employer, completely jobless but hugging him and giving him the love and support that he richly deserves because of all of the time, effort and dedication that he put into this place.  It was so completely shocking at first thinking, “Wow, this is a bit frightening.  Two parents, raising a family, with pets, a car payment and a mortgage payment on top of all the other bills we have and we are JOBLESS.” I had left my teaching position to come home and homeschool our two kids.  I do get a thank you check from Young Living but it just covers our wellness box that we receive monthly.  It was almost hard to wrap my brain around this.  We were jobless.  Along with the other hundreds of thoughts running through my mind I’m thinking, “Did we got too comfortable? Maybe we got cocky? Maybe we thought we were invincible? Or maybe was this a blessing?”

Once the shock wore off and feeling came back into our bodies our first plan of action was prayer.  I grabbed our bottle of Believe essential oil and had everyone rub it on them then prayed, “Dear Heavenly Father, You are so precious to us.  We laud and magnify Your glory.  Lord, we just want to thank you for the provision that You have given to us all these years and allowing daddy to give his service to this company.  Lord, we know that you were already here before us and have the perfect plan for us.  Your plan is always so much better than ours.  Lord, we ask that you give us comfort and support during this time and to guide our steps.  In your name we pray, Amen!

Our  joblessness was WHERE we were.  It wasn’t WHO we were.  We didn’t let our situation define us.  Also, we didn’t worry.  We are God’s children and He commands us not to worry. “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27

There comes times in life when you get too comfortable.  You’re afraid to move out of that comfort zone you’re in to improve yourself.  God has that tendency to move you even when you’re not ready.  He shakes things up so the pieces can fit better in our lives.  Would worrying help us get a job? Absolutely not.  Would worry put food on the table for us? Nope! God did! “For I know that plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

So stop worrying and have Faith!  Like my momma always says, “Everything will work out, it always does.”  She’s right.  It always does.  It may not be exactly the way that WE want but it’s the way that God has it planned.  God is previous.  He’s already there waiting on you to call on Him.  He provided my husband with a position where he is valued so much more as a person.  They look up to him and he is under way less stress than before.  This makes for a happier and healthier husband and daddy.

Blessings to you friend.  May you be grateful, have faith and live Oola.  Until we meet again, keep your eyes and your heart on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

Faith

Hey God

I recently attended a conference that brought light to my prayer life and who I was showing authority to.  The theme was based on Romans 12:12 Be Constant in Prayer.  There was so many great take-aways but one struck me in particular.  It was about one of people’s forgotten prayers.  Let me redirect you for one moment then we will visit this again.

Let me ask you a question.  How techie is your family?  Do you have all those fancy gadgets in your home that you can talk to and give it all the different commands?  The gadget we have in our home is Alexa. She helps us with different tasks around the house when we tell her to. “Hey, Alexa, play my song list.”  “Hey, Alexa, tell me the weather.”  “Hey, Alexa, add Avocados to my shopping list.” This list could continue.

I remember when both of my children were toddlers and learning to speak and “requesting” things that they needed.  Instead of “asking” they would say “More milk.” Ok it’s wonderful that they had the ability to vocalize their needs but I knew I had to teach them some manners.  When the demand came, I would respond back with “Are you telling me, or are you asking me?” Then I would model for them how to ask.  “Mommy, can you pour me some milk please?” It took time but they got it soon.

So, when we are speaking to God, our Father, are we demanding Him like we do Alexa or our youngsters or are we asking?  Don’t we owe to Him more honor and respect?  Now, there are times when I’m in dire need and the only thing I can mutter at the time is “God I need You!”.  This is certainly a cry out for help and by golly if that’s all that you can get out at the time, then just say it! But, after leaving this conference I know that my prayer life needs a facelift.

We are taught how to pray and what to “ask” for through out scripture.  There are dozens of prayers in Psalms.  I was reminded of these questions by Rev. Christopher K. Paavola.

  1. Questions for guidance- But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” Genesis 15:8
  2. Questions for understanding-The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. Genesis 25:22
  3. Questions for doubting God- to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Matthew 11:5
  4. Questions for lament and giving voice to agony speaking about God’s behavior- Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Psalm 44:23
  5. Questions for confession- “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty.“It is you priests who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’
  6. Questions for praise- Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. Psalm 89:8
  7. Questions for requests- If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

Rev. Paavola said, “The ask is yours, the answer is His.” We are recognizing His authority.

So are you asking God or are you telling Him? Who is in authority of your life?