Social Media Consumption

Something about that description vividly describes itself. “Consumption” really gets me. Mostly it’s convicting on all playing fields. We (general population) consume social media…not like a quick treat or indulgence, which would probably be a healthy approach; No. We consume social media like a snack before breakfast, a large breakfast, am snack, lunch, snack again…you see where i’m going with this? Constantly streaming either our own videos and pictures, and/or consuming everyone elses.

As a mom, I have been more than aware of “screen time” with my kids and have implemented, as best as possible, rules and limits and we hold fast to those. Meanwhile, for myself, I have implemented none.

After a small break from Instagram for personal reasons, a lot of things came to light as I embraced and faced reality for a month without a phone attached to my hand 24/7 to capture every “amazing” moment of my life..and here is the kicker…share it.

Don’t get me wrong. I love capturing moments on video and pictures but during my break from IG, I was solely doing it for my own enjoyment and to share with family and a few friends via text rather than “to share” to IG to subconsciously gain “cool” points or “likes” on Instagram (insert your social media habit of choice here to relate).

Overall, the day my fast ended, a bit of anxiety came over me as I pondered how I should enter back into the Instagram world. I looked up some articles (yes, I am a Type 1 ennegram) to gain some insight on what healthy social media consumption looks like. I didn’t get very far as I realized that just being aware of those words and what they actually mean, can really make all of the difference for your personal choices on how you decide to “consume” social media.

Here are a few things I noticed on my break that I don’t want to lose:

  1. Decreased anxiety
  2. Increased level of focus
  3. Less awareness of my phone (=more time in the present moment, able to miss calls without feeling the need to answer because I didn’t see the phone ring, able to miss texts and reply when actually mentally and physically available, and a longer battery life 😛 )
  4. Being present
  5. Less FOMO (As an extrovert, I struggle with feeling like I am missing out on fun. Especially as a mom tied to nap and early bed time schedules. Not being able to see everyone’s stories on the daily helped me enjoy my own decisions and plans without the “fear of missing out.”)
  6. More time (to organize, watch a show, read a book, pray, meditate on the Word, play with my daughter with 100% focus and energy, enjoy the outdoors, etc)

These things increased my quality of life by SO MUCH. If I had a formula to calculate by how much, I would insert that here. But you see my point?

Each person has their own life, commitments, standards, and beliefs. I just encourage you to take a look at your own social media consumption and tailor it to keep you at your healthiest, most focused self, able to relate to the world and still enjoy a focused and present quality of life. 

I have yet to decide how my social media consumption will look like from here on out. But I am not in a hurry to check or share on IG in the present moment. And I like that.

 

 

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My health journey with pcos, hypothyroidism, and God

Acne. Irregular menstrual cycles. Weight gain. Mood swings. Sore throats. Exhaustion. Fatigue.

These are just some of the things I struggled with in high school and throughout college. Half of the time I didn’t even know anything was wrong. I was so used to living with these symptoms that I forgot how the body should feel in a healthy, balanced state.

I eventually discovered, after a series of doctors and tests and time, that I had pcos and hypothyroidism. I was given birth control and thyroid medication.

These helped manage the symptoms but I was never at my optimal level of health. I was in my early 20s, and for so many reasons, around 2014, after taxing my body even more so with bad lifestyle habits like drinking every night, not exercising, stressing out to work full time and graduate college, not prioritizing sleep, and eating whatever leftover fried food was available at work, I decided to make some changes.

Just before graduating college, my friend and I had really started getting into yoga. I loved the idea of stretching and not strenuously exercising (although if you’ve done yoga, you know it counts as exercise!). I also did a Whole 30 cleanse which felt AMAZING and my skin had never glowed like that before!

After graduating college, I quickly found a wonderful, stable “adult” job, and since I was no longer bartending, it clicked that I didn’t have to drink daily. I decided to only drink on the weekend. And now that I had a stable income I decided to join a gym!

Drinking slowed down. Exercise increased. And healthful eating surrounding the paleo diet ensued. I was pursuing my health. I was pursuing living more balanced. More naturally. I was also taking Natures Sunshine supplements (my mom introduced me to this company and her naturopathic herbologist helped get me on a plan) to help my adrenals and thyroid at this time. I eliminated other toxic exposure by using essential oils to balance my hormones, help with anxiety, and help with headaches. I was introduced to Young Living through a mutual friend and dabbled (at this point) with some of the different uses for oils.

Now It was time to start dating! I had been single since 2012. And I really had very little experience with dating. One “long term” and a few dating stints was about it. I had a degree and a good job. I was taking steps to self care in every way. It was time to get on some dating sites! (Coffee meets bagel and Tinder if you must know;)

Exercise- check. Eating right- check. Stable job- check. Dating- check. Self help…continue reading.

I had been a Christian my whole life (since I was 3), but my walk was never really my own until 2015. I started counseling through a local (giant) church. It was free and I had heard good things. I really hadn’t been through anything traumatic in life. Why did I need counseling? I wasn’t sure, but I was taking all of the steps to better myself and counseling seemed to be the obvious next step. I was struggling with my faith. I had questions about the validity of the Bible, God, and Jesus. I am surprised I kept going to counseling because the counselor only used the Bible as her resource and told me to go there for answers. I was annoyed. How did I even know the Bible was fully accurate or true? She would just lightly say, “just read it. It has all the answers you need.” I would roll my eyes. But I DID read it, and I DID pray. And God met me there. There is a series of events that led me to fully relying on Jesus as my savior, friend, but I do know that no other book on the planet is alive and active, sharper than any two edged sword, and God breathed by the Creator of the universe. I may have started to behaviorally change myself, but He changed my Soul. And my life has only been peaceful since. Not because my circumstances have just been dandy, no the opposite. But with Him as my savior and friend, there’s nothing like it. I searched everywhere for this peace- yoga, education, knowledge, spirituality, and it was never solid. Never deeply comforting the way it has been knowing Him. There are no words until you experience it yourself. I know lack of peace. And I know peace. I remember pretending to feel peace before Him. And then I discovered His peace. It’s lasting. Always present. So safe. Can you tell I’m in love?

During this time, I also met Justin, who is now my husband! Meeting Justin was also one of the events in my life that led me closer to God. It’s an entirely different story. We both were entrapped in sin and shame with each other and our past, and meeting each other entangled all of that mess. It was a painful but beautiful time that God was totally intertwined in and I’m so forever grateful for His presence. All I can say is humans are messy and dirty and without Gods love, I don’t know how to survive it all. But mine and Justins story is another tale I can tell at another point in time.

Back to my health journey! After getting my ducks in a row with my health and personal relationship with God, I saw the evidence of how every little choice really did make a difference in my life! I was able to get off of my thyroid medication as my hormone levels balanced out. My pcos symptoms slowly subsided and I got pregnant without a problem at all! All of this really encourages me to continue pursuing living more naturally, and with less toxic exposure. I believe whole heartedly that every little change makes a difference. How we eat. What we put in and on our bodies. The people we are around. What we believe. How we define who we are. Our foundation of truth. I believe that God has been with me on this journey and it’s not over. He has been my true healer. And I don’t know what may happen with my health, but I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to use Young Living oils as a way to support my health.

If you want to know more about my health journey, please feel free to email me with any questions!

If you live local to me, in DFW, and are needing free counseling, I would love to share with you where I went for that. Reach out! Help is everywhere.

If you’re interested in getting some Young Living products of your own, this link will take you to the Starter Kit which is exactly how I got started. (disclosure: I truly love and use these products daily. I decided to become a member and I can share my link with friends and family, which means if you shop through my link, I may receive a small commission.) Using essential Oils is just one of the ways I choose to live more naturally and it has been amazing!

https://www.youngliving.com/vo/#/signup/new-start?sponsorid=2736072&enrollerid=2736072&type=member

My mom is available to talk to about Natures Sunshine’s products and I can refer you to her if you’re interested in those particular supplements!

And any other questions, feel free to reach out! Thank you for reading my story and I hope it helps you stay inspired to keep trekkin on your own health journey! Freedom and healing are possible!

Not all babies are the same- And it’s normal

When you had your baby, it’s likely you had expectations like I did. That fairly early on, you’d get into a structured nap and sleep schedule, implement certain routines, and just have a beautiful parent child relationship. You did all the research, took notes on what other moms did, and had it all planned out.

BUT things didn’t go as planned. Something is wrong with your baby. They don’t seem to like the sleep schedule you are trying to implement. They want to be on you all the time. They are not easily consoled. 

This was me. I thought something was wrong with my baby. I told mom after mom that something wasn’t normal about her. And they would pat me and assume I just wasn’t quite ready. But to be honest, they were wrong. It’s not their fault. No, something wasn’t  wrong with my baby. But my baby wasn’t quite like the rest.

I have nannied for twins. I have nannied for many infants. I have seen and heard what other infants were like. Mine was different. And if you’re reading this and feel some relief…then you know.

She wasn’t easily consoled. Cried all the time. Ate all the time, well past what any other mom or blogger talked about. Was I weak? Or was my child just different?

EVERY baby is different. And mine was drastically different than the ones written about in blogs. Only one blog helped me- and she said something to the effect of, “Don’t listen to other blogs. Your baby may just be that oddball who doesn’t sleep or eat. You may not get sleep for a long time. You will survive.”

That was my baby.

She never napped. Not as a newborn or an infant. She nursed around the clock for months past what you’d expect. She struggled nursing. She was not easy to console. She hated the car. Forever. Screamed the entire card ride- every time. She was “colicky” for months longer than babies are diagnosed as “colicky.” I got extremely anxious going out in public for A LONG TIME because of this. She never got into a sleep schedule when she “should have.” No matter how many night time routines I implemented. No matter how many soothing things I added to her routine. No matter how many things I cut out or added to my diet. She was different. And I never really found anyone who could relate. Everything I read discouraged me because the things that were supposed to work, didn’t. 

So I am writing this to all the moms who have those babies with slightly different temperaments. It’s OKAY. It WON’T last forever. You’re not alone.

I wish I had answers for you. I could tell you everything I tried. I will tell you- I tried EVERYTHING. And the only thing that helped me was to know that every baby is different, and you will survive.

I came up with reasons as to why my daughter was like this. I still don’t truly know. I have read that gifted children have similar traits as she did, but she is too young to really identify if that contributed to her patterns in infant hood. I have also attributed some of her temperament to her traumatic c section delivery. But no matter the case, she was different than what I expected and it was hard. Exhausting. For 9 months I never slept more than 3 hours. Ever. And finally things slowly started changing.

I am writing this to encourage you. And give you hope. And to tell you to ask for help. If you need a nap, ask for help. If you need dinner delivered, ask for help. Even if your baby is 6 months old and you still feel overwhelmed and exhausted, ask for help.

Other things to suggest if you need more peace of mind: There are tests you can run on you baby to identify other reasons as to why they may be struggling. I researched autism,  ADD and ADHD, and other things that might possibly give me answers. So you may need to do that as well.

No matter the case, it’s okay.

My baby girl is now 15 months. She sleeps regularly for the most part. All of my anxieties have slowly dissipated. And she is amazing.

How to have success with an At Home Workout routine

  • Set up your space// Where you work out has to be functional, comfortable, and realistic. For me, it’s in front of my tv because that’s where I get professional fitness coaching! Even more specifically, I have a basket under my tv with my latest workout gear: my yoga mat, yoga block, and a foam roller!

  • Gym clothes are NOT a necessity// so many times I have subconsciously avoided a workout because of the pressure to put on full gym get up and no desire to actually do just that. Maybe you have too? If you’re working out at home, wear WHATEVER! Sometimes I’m still in pajamas or my nightgown, but I’ll press play and feel motivated enough to get a workout in. No gym clothes necessary! Another option, is to ALWAYS wear gym clothes, then you never have to “change.” Either way, don’t let the right or wrong outfit deter you from getting a workout in. I may or may not have worked out in jeans and a sports bra pulled on over my blouse. 😜

  • Find a time that works for you// and if it’s different everyday, or not even everyday, that’s okay! It’s about DOING IT. If you get a work out in 3-4x a week, that’s an easily developed habit that becomes a lifestyle which brings about all kinds of amazing and positive change!

Now you have my 3 tips to success! And guess what? I’m on this journey with you! I’m not gonna get it right every day. I’m not gonna be perfect from this day on. But I will continue on this journey towards being healthier and creating a lifestyle that brings growth and change to my mind, body, and soul! I am excited to share my journey with you! 😘💕

-Crystal

How to avoid spending all of your money during the holidays

Red and Green Christmas Fundraising Poster

Holidays are fast approaching! Which means we overhaul our home decor, shop till we drop, and spend too much money on pumpkin and mint chocolate flavored things!

I have fallen prey to the marketing and the societal influences that come with the holidays! HOWEVER, I don’t want to be a victim to the hustle and bustle any more and end up not following my personal budget and goals just because of the madness around me. 

I am not a minimalist. BUT I am pursuing living with less. I am not rich nor poor, but I do follow a budget. 

That means less shopping. Less things. Less trendy eats and drinks. For me it means being intentional and planning to do what I want, rather than mindlessly being swayed by what an ad or influencer tells me I want. 

We HAVE to walk around vigilant. We HAVE to be aware. We MUST have a plan. Let’s take on the holidays together friends! Here we go. 

STEP 1: Have a plan. For example, my husband and I have decided to set a budget for each of our kids for Christmas. We have also decided to follow the rule of “something you want, something you need, something you can read, and something educational.” (I added that last category). Along with this plan, we have set small budgets for family members and will also regift or DIY some gifts. Don’t judge. Regifts are awesome and it’s a gift that keeps on giving. 

STEP 2: If you love going to Starbucks or other coffee shops to indulge on whatever holiday specialty is being advertised and raved about, just don’t. Go to the store, buy a giant creamer of that flavor, and make your own. If you must indulge, set a budget and don’t break it. 

STEP 3: Holiday home decor! I am guessing you probably already have quite the collection of holiday decor but with all the fun smells and colors around us, we just want to get that new Santa pillow or pretty table cloth. Just say no. RE SHOP the holiday decor you have and search pinterest for creative ways to decorate. 

STEP 4: Chunky sweaters. New boots. I need a new scarf. NO. You don’t. First, shop your closet, as my friend on instagram @houseonelm often does! And if you must indulge in shopping, hit up retail and thrift stores. You will be sweetly surprised! 

STEP 5: Stay motivated! Create social media challenges to have the motivation and encouragement to follow through. Watch YouTube videos on saving money and minimalism for motivation and inspiration. Unfollow accounts that tempt you to run out and buy that pumpkin spice latte or buy that new Nordstrom sweater. Remind yourself of WHY you’re being intentional and choosing your own path this holiday season. 

STEP 6: Check resale sites like offerup, Mercari, and Facebook marketplace for gifts you are thinking about buying. You can find amazing deals on softly used items and save yourself a ton of money!

Now, go have fun. And be the best you that you can be!

❤ Crystal

Stewarding My Time Well

 

Am I stewarding my time well?

For the past week or so, I have been pondering how I start the day at 6am, yet before I know it, it’s 6pm and I have not completed as much as you would think should be completed in a 12 hour period! And it frustrates me. Stresses me out. I get aggravated when i’m not productive the way I think I should be. It subconsciously makes me aggressive. 

I am, by nature, goal oriented and type A. I do well on a schedule, and I love being on time and/or early to everything. However, in my day to day real life, the struggle to be as productive as I want is real. 

“I want.” That’s my first error. Rather than start the day’s plans with what I have in mind, I need to start the days plans asking Him what He has in mind. God is the Lord of my Life. Not just something I confess, but my bread and water. My life giver. All of this time, I have been wondering why my day’s plans don’t succeed the way I want. My answer is to simply, give my day to Him and that IS success. 

How does that look? 

Probably different for each person. For me, it looks like sitting by myself with coffee, journaling out my prayers. Or reading a chapter or two from the actual, physical bible with a pen in my hand so I can underline verses that speak to me, or jot out questions to God in the margin. Or praying powerful prayers and speaking the word of God out loud in the car as I run my morning errands. Some mornings it looks like reading a quick devotional from my Bible App while still in bed BEFORE I check instagram. 

And then, after I have spent time with Him, I can plan my day how “I want.” But this time, I have mediated on His truth and goodness and have spent time remembering that He is my life giver; that now, He will seep through my daily plans, and hopefully my speech and actions. Him and His ways become my plans. 

I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. Psalm 119:15

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9

 

Can a stay at home working mom still be a Wonder Woman and do it all?

I love organization. I thrive on a schedule. I admire women who seem to have it all together; women who are organized, meal prepped for the week, clean regularly, and have well behaved kids. Sometimes referred to as Wonder Women, or Super Women! I follow their blogs, tips, and tricks, but I have noticed I can’t expect to be just like them. In fact, when I try, I get more stressed and feel like more of a failure.

I am different. For a lot of reasons. I am blessed to be a stay at home working mom, which means I have to focus on my work (my “9-5”) first, before I can focus on my house/family.
In a society presently in a movement towards female empowerment, I am empowered to say that I love cooking, cleaning, and in general, “home making.” And that’s empowering to me. Those are my passions and desires above other responsibilities. However, I cannot fully give any of that my attention until I feel accomplished in my “9-5.”
I also have my almost 1 year old daughter who is very active that I stay at home with. So as I have been striving to be like these amazing women I follow, my daily life is far different. THUS, I will be designing myself personalized templates for being specifically, a “stay at home working mom,” and I will be sharing those templates, trials and error, as I journey through how best to pursue the areas i’m passionate about, while still be successful in my “9-5” while working from home.

My hope is that other moms who are blessed to work from home can identify with some of the unique obstacles faced with wanting to be “all in” in home/family life as well as “all in” in work life. Because of these seemingly conflicting desires, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and never “good enough” in either or all areas we want to be great.

Stay tuned for more. This is just a sprinkling of my thoughts and desires and where I may be taking my blog/Instagram in the near future.

How to stay on vacation when you’re back home

 

Is that even possible? To “stay on vacation” when it’s over and you’re back home? Back in the daily grind? Refocusing on tasks that you pressed “pause” on just before you left for vacation?

Not entirely. But I am in the midst of feeling the remaining effects of our family vacation (which we are back from). However, for two days now, the vacation “high” has lingered; and it’s been good.

I am normally Type A and task and schedule oriented (sometimes to a fault). Being back from vacation has revealed some things about myself that I could change, and it has inspired me to jot down what i’m in the midst of learning, as I relish in the feeling of the remaining vacation “high.”  Continue reading

My Favorite Baby Items (0-4 mos.)

I have now been a mom to a baby girl for 4.5 months. In that short amount of time, I feel like I have learned so much and have finally found a groove with my girl. For now anyway. As they say, babies are ALWAYS changing.

I’ll be honest with you; the first 2-3 months were THE HARDEST. My girl Eden was colicky (which basically means endless crying for reasons unknown, but typically it’s thought to be due to gas). This meant that I had to try every trick in the book to keep her happy while she was awake and asleep. EXHAUSTING! After googling for hours on end, asking other moms, and finding a rhythm with Eden, these items became pretty much a necessity for us.

These vary with age appropriateness; some things were more necessary while she was a newborn, and others became priceless as she started becoming more aware of herself and the world around her.

Without further ado, here they are: My favorite items for baby!

Continue reading