Monday, April 8, 2013



Hope is a powerful thing. It has the power to keep you going through the toughest of situations, but it also has the power to crush you.

Let me explain.

I have hoped for a long time that I will someday get pregnant. However, it is a very abstract hope. It is the hope that some day, in a very indistinct future, that I will have a baby. Or 2. Or 5. It's enough hope to keep me afloat. Enough to help me make it through day to day.

But that hope is changing... and I'm terrified.

It all started quite a while ago now. My sister's husband, Damon, hurt his back somehow. (I don't remember how.) He was in the hospital and everything. Shortly afterwards, he discovered this chiropractor, Dr. Aaron Afrostrom, who believed in "Maximized Living." Maximized Living is a system of chiropractic, I believe. They don't treat the symptoms. They find the cause and fix it. To do so, they take x-rays and look at the spine. The spine is supposed to be shaped a certain way, and any misshapenness (new word) can cause problems with certain parts of the body, based on where the spine is misshapen. For example, the very first few vertebrae are connected to immunity and immune organs (spleen, liver, gall bladder, etc.), among other things. So someone who has a too-straight neck might suffer from lowered immunity. Slightly farther down on the spine affects your heart, so that person might experience high or low blood pressure, irregular pulse, palpitations, or even heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes. The thing is, you only feel about 6% of your nerves... the rest are internal and you don't feel them. So by the time you experience any pain, it's because the area affected has gotten large enough to affect the surface nerves, which you can feel.  Anyway, Damon had HUGE success with this chiropractor, and he and Julie have been going there for quite some time now. Even Liam gets adjusted every so often.

Back to my story. Julie and Damon recommended that Jon and I go in and get x-rayed and see how awful our spines are. We did. My main complaint was headaches, with tension/anxiety being a close second, and intestinal issues rounding out  the top three (constipation alternating with diarrhea). Jon, though, has extreme joint and muscle pain, migraines, stiffness, soreness, and just general pain almost constantly. The result was very surprising. I have way fewer physical issues than Jon, but my x-rays were worse.

My neck was too straight (I'm sick all the time!) and, most of all, my lower back, which should have a 45 degree curve toward my stomach, was completely straight. As in flat. No curve. None. Huh. So what does that mean? I asked.

The lower part of your spine affects your digestion and intestinal tract and fertility organs. Guys, I have AWFUL menstrual cramps. I typically have 12+ hours of severe cramping when I ovulate. I have been trying to get pregnant for almost 2 1/2 years. Your lower spine affects fertility???  What if by fixing this I get pregnant?!

And that's where the crazy new hope comes in. Doc Aaron anticipates significant recovery in just a few short months. I could have a baby by this time next year! Aah, my dream feels so close!!

...but what if fixing it doesn't help me get pregnant? Then my hope will be crushed. And not just gently buried in the ground with love. I mean dashed upon the rocks, stampeded on by a herd of buffalo, then tortured into submission. It will not die. I will always have hope. It just may end up as this mangled, crushed shadow of what could have been.

I'm looking forward to this new venture toward getting healthier, and hopefully toward pregnancy. What will happen if this doesn't work... I don't know. I guess we'll see.

The other night I had the song that starts "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." I just need to remember that. Jesus may use the chiropractor as a means to get me pregnant... but he may not. He may say to me, "No, I want you to keep waiting, to keep learning to trust, to keep Me first." He doesn't ask any more of me than he is willing to give--and he gave his life for me, to save me from eternal damnation. What is a few more years of waiting for a child? What is never having a child, compared to that?

Huh. I didn't expect my thoughts to take that turn, for this post to be so... hopeful. Funny how that works! 

May your hope always rest in the greatest Hope of all!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

My [new and improved] laundry and shampoo routines

Dr. Bronner's Organic Fair Trade Personal Care
(Image from Dr. Bronner's website)
I think I've mentioned before that I am slowly switching from commercial products in favor of the more natural homemade stuff. If I haven't, well, now you know. Well, one of those projects turned out to be laundry detergent. I have to buy all the "free and clear" stuff, since my skin is super sensitive to the fragrances and dyes found in most detergents. Despite the fact that there are fewer additives in these products, they still smell and they charge a premium for the "hypoallergenic" stuff. Which I find super annoying. So I said, "Enough" and did some research online. And by research, I mean Mommypotamus posted a DIY laundry detergent recipe like 3 loads before I ran out of  my commercial stuff. Oh Mommypotamus, how I love you!! I looked at the recipe and thought, "Hey, that looks easy... and natural... and... oooh, balls of yarn!" (She has a link to making your own dryer balls... check it out!)  Also, I am not ADD.

So I went on my merry way expecting to have cute, colorful balls of yarn for cheap! Yeah! (You CAN buy cute, colorful dryer balls online, but they are PRICEY! Like, $20 for 3 pricey! I said no thanks.) I drove on over to JoAnn Fabrics and looked at their yarn. To make the dryer balls, the yarn has to be 100% wool and able to felt, not "machine washable." They had exactly four (4) options for me. Light tan, brown, dark brown, and a speckled brown one. Ohh, fun...not! And one thing (skein?) of yarn was 11 bucks! Still cheaper than online, so I got a tan one. It was enough for 3 balls. Which was fine. But they're all a boring tan color. Oh well, these are for functionality, right? I keep trying to tell myself that. Ha. (Also, making dryer balls was FUN. I was surprised. I wanted more yarn just to make more, not because I needed them, but because I just wanted to make more.) (I have since found yarn several dollars cheaper at Wal-Mart, but it's the same colors... poop.)

The best part of the dryer balls? I can dry my towels in the dryer, without having tons of static! Before, if I used a fabric softener sheet in the dryer, I had to hang my towels on our [huge] drying rack in our [tiny] apartment OR not use a fabric softener sheet... but then they got super staticky! So I love my dryer balls.

Then, a few days later I officially ran out of commercial laundry detergent. Huzzah, time to make my own! I had purchased a couple bars of Dr. Bronner's peppermint bar soap from my local grocery. I only made 1/3 of a batch as written by Mommypotamus, because I wanted to try it out. I have used it a couple times and I love my new routine!

The clothes feel soft, clean, and have no scent or residue on them. I thought they might smell pepperminty or lemony (she suggests adding a bit of lemon extract as a degreaser), but there is no smell whatsoever. With which I am fine. I am going to keep track of how many loads I get out of my 1/3 of a batch and also how well it cleans, and if it continues to work I will make a full batch later. Check out Mommypotamus' website for the full tutorial.

As for shampoo, I am using Dr. Bronner's Liquid Soaps for that. They also have a conditioning hair rinse available that I use and love, but it is a bit pricey, especially if that's the only thing you're having shipped. (The bottle is 8 oz and costs $10 before shipping. I have used just over half of it since the end of February/beginning of March...when money is tight, that's just too expensive.) So instead, when this is gone, I will go ahead and use apple cider vinegar--it works just as well. (The purpose of both is a pH balancer, as the shampoo pH is different than my hair, so it makes the follicle stand out, making it feel sticky. Using the rinse makes it lie flat and feel soft again.)

So those are my new homemade products. I am looking for a good dishwasher detergent, but they all use Borax, and I've heard that that is poisonous... so I don't really want to put it on my dishes that I put my food on/in! So if you have a good dishwasher detergent that is homemade, please let me know. Other homemade DIY projects are for toothsoap, deodorant, body scrub, and cleaning supplies. I already make lotion, sunscreen, citrus infused vinegar (for cleaning), and most of our food. I love it! Can't wait to be "all natural!"

p.s. guys, I give up on trying to take pictures for my blog. They're always awful. Like, blurry, bad lighting,  and most of the time you can't even tell what it is... so... yeah. You'll have to use your imagination, unless someone wants to be my photographer... for free.

May you never be as crazy as me!