The Inner Sun Shines Again

Feeling proud right now! Haven’t finished my first cup of coffee this morning, but I made my family a hearty Sunday breakfast. Of course, Phoenix takes all the items and makes a toddler mish-mash. It doesn’t look appetizing, but…eh. This is all a learning process for him; even if this momma ends up doing some extra cleaning.

On a more serious note…..

Making breakfast for my family today seems like a ridiculous thing to feel proud of, but if you knew my journey, you would know why this is a great sign. For a couple of weeks, Spirit/God has been calling me to write about a personal subject: my experience with Post-Partum Depression and after weeks of searching for inspiration, the “light bulb” went off this morning while cooking.

So here is my attempt at translating my experience into words. Please remember that everything that I write in this post is simply my experience and thoughts on PPD. Post-partum depression is different for everyone and can present in a million ways. But these are my views and how it felt for me.

Hello Darkness my old friend…

I can close my eyes and hear that song playing in my head, while having a visual of Princess Poppy singing. Total mom moment. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch this video:

Now all jokes aside. I remember that moment when I felt the darkness set in. Oddly enough, it is an old friend that I didn’t think I would ever see again. My first experience with post-partum depression happened 14 years ago, with the birth of my daughter. I don’t know if anyone else has the same opinion, but for some reason recuperating from PPD after my daughter was much easier than with my son. I’m not even sure if there is a scientific explanation to corroborate that, but that is my first hand observation.

With my son, I realized that something big had shifted in my mind. Everything went dark. With my daughter, I was sad but nothing like what I was experiencing this time around. I was doing what I thought were all the right things. This was my third birth and I thought I knew how to care for a baby. I was eating healthy, breastfeeding, reading to my son, baby wearing and taking care of the rest of my family. It was supposed to be a time of happiness, but I wasn’t feeling happy. I was feeling really overwhelmed and sad. Like I could’nt handle it. I felt that everything I did to care for my son was wrong. I started feeling like a stranger in my own body. Trying to take care of my baby, my family, life, my depression, felt like I was drowning.

Why couldn’t I see anything possitive about my life?

Why did I feel lonely in a world full of people?

Why wasn’t I overjoyed to be a mom again?

Why was I feeling so lost?

There were a million stressful sittuations happening in our life at that time. Things big enough to send anyone spiraling down a black hole. Were all of those sittuations to blame for my PPD? Possibly. Could it have been the hormone changes, battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum during pregnancy, the pitucin, the epidural? Your guess is as good as mine. The thing about my experience, is that there was not just one thing that happened, or one moment that changed everything. It was everything. All I knew was that I was loosing myself and I couldn’t wait until I felt like my normal self again.

This is the thing, during post-partum depression, our inner sun goes dim. This beautiful ball of golden happy energy gets covered by grey shadowy clouds (sadness, confusion and hopelessness) and dark birds (intrusive thoughts). I experienced days of deep sadness, confusion, anger and endless negative thoughts. I felt that I was the worst mother and wife in the planet. I had days where I gave it my all to everyone and everything, but still felt misserable, like a failure and empty inside. Some days, the intrusive thoughts had me convinced that the world was working against me or that the world would be better off without me. I was ashamed of who I had become.

At my darkest point, I didn’t hear my inner hero/guardian angel anymore. All I heard were the “dark birds”. What’s worse is that in my confusion and hopelessness, I started to believe these intrusive thoughts and I almost lost my life because of it. I never thought that I could reach such a level of hopelessness. But I did and even for that I am thankful. Sometimes I think that perhaps it had to get to that point for me to get serious about getting help. Going to weekly therapy and learning my daily activity limits, has helped me tremendously. Making time to quiet the mind and take care of my needs has been invaluable.

Back to cooking breakfast….

Today I woke up with an intense feeling of taking care of my family. It’s something I haven’t felt in a long time. You know, that feeling of showing your love through cooking. For me, nourishing my family is an act of love. As I was cooking, my husband walks into the kitchen and in total disbelief says “OK, where is my wife and what have you done with her?”.

haha! Isn’t that funny?! Wow! I can’t believe that I found that funny! 6 months ago, I would’ve been offended by that comment. I would’ve felt horrible about myself and probably started an argument over what I would’ve perceived as insensitive words. But I didn’t. I actually found it funny! I just hugged and kissed my amazing husband because in that moment I knew that he loves me, he missed me and he was being playful with me. That great moment in the kitchen with my husband is the inspiration for writing this post. Thank you, Babe!

The Inner Hero Returns…

The other day I was playing with my children. I was laughing like a kid again and this time I actually noticed it. It was like my inner hero was telling me “Ding ding ding ding! Look, look you are laughing!”. I literally stopped playing and said out loud “OMG, I’m laughing again!”. The girls gave me the biggest hugs EVER in support ♡

It has taken 3 years to hear my inner hero again, to laugh without faking it, to feel joy again, to feel good, 3 years for my body to remember what happiness feels like.

Every day I feel the clouds part a little more and I feel my inner sun shine a little brighter. I’m so thankful for my family and how wonderful they have been during this difficult time. Our relationships have grown and deepened. Today, my outlook on life is brighter. Almost 3 years after giving birth to our beautiful child, I can say that I’ve survived the worse of post-partum depression. I’ve reached the shores of the other side; changed, humbled, spiritually aware and loving life again.

There are no words to describe how hard this has all been, but if there’s one thing that has become really really clear to me is that after this experience I will be changed forever. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I have returned to being my old self. Instead, with the love and support of my family, I’ve emerged a better, stronger, wiser version of myself.

To anyone that is battling port-partum depression or depression, know this: Getting help as soon as you notice something is off after giving birth, is supremely important. It’s little by little, day by day, hour by hour, that this battle is won. When people say the sun will shine again after the dark dark storm of post-partum depression/depression, they’re not lying. Ask for help, tell a friend, a family member or your partner. Call your doctor. The inner hero does return. The inner sun will shine again. It may take some time and finding the right treament, but it will get better. It’s depression that deceives us and tells us that all is gone and hopeless, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Today you may feel overwhelmed and hopeless, but with the right help, you will begin to reach moments of clarity, maybe over cooking breakfast or playing with your kids 🙂

Blessings,

Michelle

 

Helpful Links:

For more information on Post-Partum Depression: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/

For more information on suicide prevention: https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/

For more information on Hyperemesis Gravidarum: http://www.hyperemesis.org/

The Beauty in Allowing

Dictionary.com states that to allow is to give permission to or for; permit or to let have; give as one’s share; grant as ones right.

This word “allow” or “allowing” is key to creating a nurturing, well attached relationships with family.

For the past week, I’ve been in bed trying to manage the pain and swelling from a broken toe. Because of this, my family is taking turns covering all my duties at home. This has made me think so much about this word “allowing”.

Allowing in the context of relationships, is fundamental. In this moment, my family is allowing me the time I need to heal, to rest and get better without a care in the world. Their love is communicated in this allowing and I do not take it for granted.

Me being in bed has also made my two year old a bit cranky. Why? Because “Mami” (as they call me) has not been able to play with him and care for him as she normally would. So how does as child his age tells the ones he loves, that he is hurting or missing me? He yells, he’s cranky, he is moody.

I know this is a normal response to my semi-absence. Allowing him to feel how he feels, while supporting him through every emotion, is how we show him that we love him. We do not tell him his feeling are wrong. Poor little guy misses his mom!

I have always been a very independent person. I love taking care of others and it’s usually very difficult for me to accept help from in any form. I don’t know; it makes me feel weak or needy. But in these circumstance, I’ve had a much easier time allowing others to help me. I can see how I am growing and trusting more. I am allowing myself to rest, to heal and to receive, instead of always seeking to give.

This experience has also allowed our 4 oldest kids to work together as a team to look after their little brother. In turn they have spent great quality time together. As a mother, I couldn’t be more proud.

Breakfast in bed

The compassion and care that my family has showered me with has made me feel so happy and loved.

This fullness of heart that I feel, allows me to laugh through intense pain and see the true beauty of my family. Not that I don’t normally see it, but it is especially bright in this moment.

Moments of sickness and pain, can blow our hearts wide open with love, kindness and compassion.

This brings me to new understandings: It is in the allowing that we bless, we love and show that we accept others. Allowing each moment to be whatever it is. Allowing each person to be where they are and how they are, without trying to change them.

Allowing means to Love.

Ask yourself, how are you allowing in your life?

Blessings,

Michelle Jackson

Hurricane Season in Florida

It’s the first week of September 2017 and we have 2 systems lurking in the Atlantic. This morning we woke up to the news that Hurricane Irma could possibly impact Florida. Definitely not the words any Floridian wants to hear.

So, what do we do when we hear those dreaded words? We prepare.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being in stores or even outside of my home when panic sets in. People get frantic and carry a nervous energy that I cannot deal with. I’m too sensitive and it affects me tremendously. My husband, on the other hand, is another case all together. He is cool as a cucumber under all scary circumstances- (something I must learn from him).

Because of this, I try to get ahead of the game sort-of-say. As soon as I hear of a possible hurricane in the Atlantic, I go grab several cases of water, some extra chicken and dog feed and make a grocery shopping run for canned goods.

Another item that I always have in hand is buckets of emergency food.

I bought these 4 years ago at Sams for like $70-$80 dollars a piece, if I remember correctly. They last for 25 years and the container is waterproof. I chose this particular one because it comes with 30 days worth of food/300 servings, fire starter and a water filtration bottle.

Other hurricane preparedness essentials are:

  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Extra food for pets & animals
  • Non perishable food
  • Extra diapers, wipes, formula and baby food
  • Vitamins and make sure to have enough of your prescription medicine. Refill if needed.
  • Lighters/ matches
  • Candles
  • Charcoal/ wood
  • Propane gas
  • First Aid Kits
  • Battery Operated Radio
  • If you can afford it, get a generator with several containers of gasoline
  • Make sure the gas tank in your car is full, in case of emergency evacuation. Believe me,you don’t want to wait till they announce evacuations to get gas. The lines at the pumps will be ginormous and you will waste precious driving time.

There are tons of other things that can be added to this list- please help me by adding what I forgot in the comments.

It’s also very important to know your evacuation routes and local shelter locations.

My advise to everyone in Florida or anyone who will face a hurricane in the future is, be prepared! Have a plan well ahead of the storm. Take an hour of your day today to sit your family down and go over your plans. Include your children in your discussion so they feel a sense of calm, responsibility and preparedness.

These storms tend to have a mind of their own and can be very unpredictable, which ends up putting lots of people in harms way if they’re not prepared. We just saw what happened in Texas; let’s not be a repeat of that here in Florida.

I wish everyone good luck this hurricane season. Be ready and stay safe!

Blessings, Michelle

Follow my blog on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/The-House-of-Jackson-180160222392704/

Our Garden

This summer has been really hot in Florida. We have barely gotten outside to do any upkeep in the garden. It’s nearing September and I’m looking forward to cooler weather so we can get back outside to enjoy our beautiful Mother Earth.

Recently, I found a beautiful old looking book at a thrift store and when I looked inside it was jackpot!

An unused 10 year Gardener’s Journal for $0.25 cents! Talk about getting excited! Things like this get my energy and imagination going again.

As I read through the gardening tips and saw the garden layout pages, it inspired me to start working in the garden again and to document what’s happening in our garden each year.

So let me begin with a short update on what we call The Lazy Chicken Urban Garden.

V E G G I E S:

We still have some tomato, ground cherries and collards growing, but aside from that, our veggie garden is pretty dead. I’m hoping to soon get my energy together to get out there to clear the beds and start some seeds.

H E R B S:

We still have some herbs going such as Fennel, Rosemary, Parsely, Peppermint, Oregano and Holy Basil.

F R U I T T R E E S:

– The Passion Fruit vine is growing beautifully. I would love for it to completely take over the east fence. We are about 15% there! lol

– The Lemon tree fruited some month ago and we are hoping that in the next few weeks we will have some homegrown lemons 🙂

– One of our Papaya trees is giving plenty of fruit this summer. We must replant the second tree. Initially, we plant it too close to the other one and we think it stunted it’s growth. Seems like trees are as territorial as humans!

– One of the Hibiscus plants had a mayor growth boom this summer and it looks like it’s fruiting again. We have a few others fruiting, but they are very small. Can’t wait to harvest and make delicious hibiscus tea! Packed with vitamin C.

– Our mango tree grew a whole 6 inches this summer. This is one of our favorite fruits. My little boy loves mangos and we are anxiously awaiting to try the fruit from our own tree.

– Our Tamarind tree has flowered for the first time (picture with small yellow flowers). Tamarind is a bitter fruit (some varieties are sweet depending on the soil and nutrients available).

– My vision came true on this one. The Morning Glory vine has completely covered the chicken coop. When my husband built the coop last year, I kept envisioning a vine all over it that would help give the chickens some shade. I’d say I manifested that pretty good 🙂

– Our Banana plants are growing and multiplying like crazy this summer! I have to do more research on them because we’ve only had one give fruit and that was almost 3 years ago.

– We aquired a Guanabana (Soursop) tree about a month ago and we’re still trying to figure out where to plant it since it grows so tall.

– Our Acerola tree has bloomed and fruited several times during the summer, but we apparently have squirels eating them because they’re magically disappearing from the tree! I keep dreaming of harvesting enough to make a refreshing acerola juice, but no luck so far.

Other happenings:

I purchased all my soap making supplies to make goat’s milk soap. I’m excited to get started but I must admit that playing around with lye is what makes me nervous and is holding me back from doing this sooner. I think hubby will have to go through the soap making process with me at least a couple of times until I feel more confident handling lye. I have a bunch of essential oil blends that I can’t wait to use in my soap recipes.

Our chickens are looking beautiful and we’ve added a few new breeds to the flock. I’ll make a separate post to introduce you guys to them. They recently went a whole week without laying eggs and I can’t help but wonder if the eclipse had anything to do with it. So far, we have 13 chickens and one roo that is still not crowing. I’m sure that will be short lived and we will need to find him a home because he will be too loud.

We recently aquired 3 baby duckies! The kids are loving the process of learning about these new animals. They are so cute and funny. I never knew I could laugh so much at watching 3 ducks swim and splish-splash around a baby pool 🙂

Chat back! What do you guys have going on in your gardens?

Share in the comments!

Wishing you many blessings, Michelle

First day of our Forest Kids Nature Study Program

As a homeschool mom, I want to make sure that I incorporate nature study into our weeks because I believe it’s supremely important to get kids connected with nature. Luckily for us, we have met several other families in the area that are interested in participating in a weekly nature/outdoor program, so that was the start of TC Forest Kids.

Today was our first meet-up and it was a great success! This is a project that makes my heart happy. You see, I literally feel that it is my calling to help expose the children in our community to the different aspects of nature. I feel, that at the very least, I have to do this by first working with our local homeschool community. Like they say “If you want to enact change, start where you are”. And so our Forest Kids adventure begins. Here’s a little peak at what our first day looked like…

At first, we got a little bit of rain, so the kids played in the playground or close to the gazebo where we took shelter.

Once the rain passed, we headed off to the trail to begin our hike and scavenger hunt. Our group has several families with children of varying ages (my family included). Because of this, some of our moms were carrying/wearing their little’s while hiking. In my opinion, baby/child wearing is the best way to go. I have done some trails with the stroller and it works, but wearing the little’s in a carrier or sling, is less hectic.

As we followed the trail, the kids came across a dead tree stump and they took turns pretending to be captains of a ship.

They climbed on a slanted palm tree.

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And to our surprise, we spotted an owl (sorry for blurry pictures). The kids made noises as if they were talking to the owl and the owl “whood” back! It was almost like he was letting us know that he was glad we came to visit 🙂

Parents and kids did a wonderful job at working together to find all the items listed on the scavenger hunt. I think the only item that we didn’t find was the animal tracks, but we got to see an owl. I say that counts and more!

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He found “something prickly” 🙂

Some of the kids even found painted rocks left by people in our community that paint and hide rocks to bring happiness to others. This counted as “something to treasure” in our list.

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They found “something to treasure”

Once the scavenger hunt/hike was over, we met back at the gazebo for lunch and rest.

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I feel extremely blessed to have found other families that love the outdoors as much as we do. What’s even more wonderful is that these meet-ups not only benefit the children, but they also help bond different families together. As the weeks progress, our kids will get to know each other and will form beautiful friendships.

As a parent, I’m also grateful for the friendships that I am making thanks to our group. Lord knows that homeschooling can be lonely and tough at times. But when you find your tribe, it makes all the difference in the world.

If you homeschool and live on the Treasure Coast, we welcome you to join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TCForestKids/.

And to everyone that joined us today, I say a BIG thank you! This truly is a dream come true. See ya’ll next week!

Michelle

Find us on Facebook:

For Florida Treasure Coast residents- https://www.facebook.com/groups/TCForestKids/

For all Homeschoolers – https://www.facebook.com/groups/HomeschoolingThroughtheEarlyYears/

 

Joining Young Living

Guess who started an exciting new venture? You got it! This girl right here!

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For some time, I’ve been looking for avenues to earn a living while still homeschooling the girls and being a stay at home mom. After eyeing several companies, I decided to go with Young Living. In this post I explain some of the reasons why.

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As you guys know, I love essential oils. I literally collect them and make tons of household and beauty products with them. Over the years, I’ve collected and used oils of different brands, but I never got around to ordering oils from Young Living. I’ve always heard wonderful reviews about them from family and friends, so I decided to finally check them out.

Doing the Research

I pretty much went to their website and did some research on the company and the way they process their oils. What impressed me the most was the Seed to Seal promise. To read more about the Seed to Seal promise, click here.

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They are not just selling their products, they also educate their customers and distributors on how to safely use them for everything from aromatherapy, household, beauty and overall wellness. I can already imagine me replacing every single toxic cleaning and hygiene product in my home with wholesome Young Living products.

The best part is that these products are versatile. My brain is going on and on about the home-made products that I can make with them. Take this kitchen cleaner recipe, for example:

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Or this oil recipe to unwind at the end of a hectic day…

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The YL Vitality line of oils is safe for internal use and consumption. See this delicious guacamole recipe made with Lime Vitality essential oil.

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Stress Away smells so good! I have diffused it every day since I got it in the mail.

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Who needs expensive and toxic face creams when you can make this wholesome serum.

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Affordable Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils

Not only are YL oils labeled as Therapeutic Grade, they are also affordable. See the image below for a list of oils in the $5.00 – $20.00 range (wholesale prices):

MJ ADVERTIZEMENT

To order please email me at earthmothershealing@gmail.com or click here.

I also liked that Young Living is not a multi level marketing company. Their model is a networking model designed to help members achieve abundance. Read more about it here.

Benefits of the Young Living Membership

What are the benefits of a Young Living membership? The best way to get more bang for your buck, is to just become a member so that you can buy the products at wholesale prices instead of retail prices.

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As a Young Living member, you get 24% off retail pricing on products, you get to earn free product by participating in the Essential Rewards program and if you are interested in the business side of it, you can participate in the compensation plan and earn commission just by sharing Young Living.

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To sign up as a Young Living member click here and follow the easy process.
**My Sponsor and Enroller number are already assigned.

Essential Rewards Program

The Essential Rewards program IS AWESOME!!! When you purchase qualifying products as a YL member, you get points back to redeem in free products. What? Yes you read that right! To sweeten the deal even more, they give you free gifts for every 3 consecutive months that you are enrolled in the program in the first year. There is so much free product that you can earn with this program! Read more about it here.

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Getting Enrolled

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So I did it! Last week, I became a member of Young Living by ordering my Premium Starter Kit. I found the sign up process to be simple and intuitive. It was right on their website, just enter your information in the boxes provided and done.

Premium Starter Kit

Now lets talk about the Premium Starter Kit. Truly, the way they have packaged this kits is so pretty. Watch my slide below.

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There are several options that you can chose from to get the kit that most benefit your needs. I selected the Premium Starter Kit with the Home diffuser. For $160.00 (not including tax and shipping), I got all of these items in the Premium Starter Kit (PSK):

  • 2016 Product Guide
  • Home Diffuser (my choice)
  • 11 5ml bottles of essential oils from the Everyday Oils Collection
    • Lemon Vitality
    • Copaiba Vitality
    • Digize Vitality
    • Thieves Vitality
    • Peppermint Vitality
    • Panaway
    • R.C.
    • Purification
    • Frankincense
    • Lavender
  • 1 5ml Bottle of Stress Away Essential oil
  • 2 Ningxia Red Single Samples
  • 1 AromaGlide (roll-on)
  • 10 Essential Oil Sample Packets
  • 10 Sample oil bottles
  • 10 Business Cards

See the image below to see the breakdown and why this kit is the best choice.

Truly, this is the best way to go to try an assortment of Young Living products; and that’s what I wanted. I wanted to be introduced to Young Living the right way. I am always finding new ways to bring wellness and balance into my home and essential oils are certainly a big part of that. I’ve started on a journey to discover the different Young Living lines of product.

Can I introduce you to Young Living?

Now that I am a member, I can introduce you and others to Young Living. I have big dreams for my future with Young Living and I would love for you to join my team. I started a Facebook group called Young Living – Earth Mothers, to help my team grow in this business. If you would like to order Young Living products or join my Young Living team, I would love to be the one to introduce you to these amazing products and help mentor you so that you can achieve your personal dreams.

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Many Blessings,

Michelle

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12 Facts About Me

Here are 12 facts about me:

  1. I love nature. I am not held back by the Florida heat. Having been raised in Puerto Rico, where the sun is hot and the days are beautiful, I got used to being outdoors and enjoying the day. I like going on hikes, learning about the medicinal value of plants, gardening and camping with my family.
  2. I’ve been told many times that when people first meet me, their initial perception is that I am either stuck up or not interested in them. I am an introvert. INTJ to be exact. I am a thinker and always lost in the wanderings of my mind. I love meeting new people and making friends, but I am quiet and a bit shy at first. The good news is that these very same people, didn’t let my shyness or social awkwardness stop them from getting to know me. And I am so thankful. Had they not made the first step, I don’t know that I would’ve been brave enough to initiate conversation and develop these amazing friendships. They lovingly reached out and pleasantly discovered a very good friend in me. I am very sweet and caring and once I open my heart to you, you will be there for ever.
  3. Food is my love. Fish Ceviche is one of my favorite dishes- EVER. I remember eating octopus ceviche as a child in Puerto Rico and it is a treasured memory in my heart. I later found that most countries have some kind of version of this dish. Some use vinegar as the base sauce and others use lemon. If you don’t know about ceviche, I urge you to try it. It is delicious. You won’t regret it.
  4. I believe in Astrology. Determining my sun sign is tricky because on some horoscopes I am Cancer and on others, I am Leo. I have heard of “being born in the cusp of 2 signs” and that’s pretty much where I land. I am Cancer/Leo. Moon child/ Sun child. According to Astrology, this means that I am ruled by the moon and my emotions run deep. I am very affectionate and nurturing with those close to me and I hide away in my crabby protective shell when hurt. Creating a loving home for our family is very important to me and its a very common Cancerian trait. I also have some Leo traits, but I’m still learning about that side of me.
  5. I love to read and I love books! I have a good variety of books here at home. I think there is something special about holding a book in your hands and turning the pages. I still prefer it over my Kindle. The smell of an old book is just magical to me.
  6. Surgeries. I had my first surgery this year. Gallbladder removal. I started having gallbladder attacks during my last pregnancy and it was horrible. Have you experienced gallbladder attacks? They are so painful. I researched ways to heal this the natural route, but I was not successful. Don’t judge me 🙂
  7. I prefer natural waters over pools. Oceans, rivers, lakes, springs. Not a fan of chlorinated water.
  8. Sports. When I was a teenager, I used to boogie board and even won 2nd place in a surfing contest. Now that I’m a mom, I am terrified of being eaten by a shark lol… so I don’t get out there much. I also played volleyball up until I graduated from high school.
  9. I have a creative side. I like to write poems, paint, make crafts, dance and sing. I am learning about professional photography with my daughter; although, capturing special moments is something that I have always naturally done.
  10. I love animals. Currently we have 2 dogs, 6 chickens 2 hamsters and one mouse. We also love and care for the countless little critters and birds that come into our yard.
  11. I dream of living in the middle of a forest, with lots of animals, a beautiful garden and a tiny house next to a big river. With our many obligations and big family, it doesn’t seem do-able, but I can dream none-the-less.
  12. I would love to travel the world and try foods from every country. Andrew Simmern, if you ever need a show assistant, I’m in!

Well there they are! 12 fun facts about me. Do we have anything in common? Tell me some facts about you in the comments below. I would love to get to know you!