Free mental health evaluation

You’d get a physical check up for your body, right?

And you’d tune up your car? You know, change the oil, rotate the tires…

So getting a mental health check up is like that. Kick the tires of your mind a little and make sure you haven’t got a flat you didn’t know about.

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#momhack Monday: Meal stacking

Just a quick one for you that’s been a money and time saver for me: I call it stacking your meals.

This is my meal plan this week. I’m doing chicken soup and chili next to each other, because I always have leftover corn bread and it tends to get moldy if I don’t plan to eat it.

The leftover rice on Tuesday will go into the soup on Wednesday. I can’t eat pizza, so I’ll plan enough chili to have leftovers for me on Friday so I won’t feel deprived.

Does that make sense? Do you plan your meals? Is this a strategy you could use?

If you need a form to help you, I’ve got one for you here. (No, I didn’t use the form. Someone stole my wet erase pens. ūü§® And when I find out who…)

In the Word Wednesday: Your faith heals

18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.”¬†19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples.¬†20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment,¬†21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.”¬†22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. – Matthew 9:18-22

I find that a lot of missionary mamas I talk to have some sort of chronic health problems. It’s really prevalent, and I could speculate for a whole post about why that is…but it’s In the Word Wednesday, not Please, Bore us with Conjecture Wednesday.

She thought she had to steal her healing. She thought she had to sneak up on it, thought she wasn’t important enough for him to stop for her. And realistically? All the men gathered around Jesus would’ve thought so, too.

She still held out hope, after twelve years. I’ve been sick for ten years, and my sinful heart cries out “How?” How did she not give up hope? How did she not lay down and die, if only inwardly? I don’t know for a fact, but I suspect her hope ebbed and flowed. I’m sure she despaired many times.

I think that fact alone should inform us about the kind of person Jesus was, the kind of God he is, even now. Put yourself in his presence, and dead things will come back to life. Hearts of stone begin to beat again. Do you need hope today? For those you minister to, for your kids, for your marriage? Or even for yourself? You don’t have to steal it; you’re not bothering Jesus. You can look full in his wonderful face and ask Him, without shame, without guilt.

And that faith will heal the broken parts of your life; maybe not in the timing you wanted or the way you wanted. But you can believe it; your faith is not for show.

Father, please show this woman your compassionate love. Let her faith heal her, too. Grow it, fertilize it, water it, nourish it. Let her feel your pleasure when she seeks your attention. Let her know that you love to give it to her, that she is no burden to You.

How do I… screen a metal door?

How do I...

Windows are pretty easy to screen; most of us can get (or make) a frame, put the screening inside and mount it. But doors? Mama, doors are another story, and most of the doors here have some kind of openness to them, even when they’re closed. Never fear! There is a solution.

First, you’ll need some rubbing alcohol. Grab a rag and use it to clean the surface of the metal so that the glue will adhere well. You may also want a pair of disposable gloves to protect your skin from the cement in the next steps.

This is a bottle of rubbing alcohol

Next you’ll need…screen! It comes in big rolls. There are different quality levels with different sized holes, so go for the smallest gauge and toughest material you can find. I prefer fiberglass over aluminum, but that’s just a personal preference. If the fiberglass rips, it’s more easily repaired with screen tape.

Next you’ll need a sharp pair of scissors. Screen is actually pretty easy to cut. I measure the width of the door, then leave it longer than necessary (why will become clear). Leave it as wide as you can to allow more surface to contact the metal. When I was a new, fresh, green missionary (not the decrepit old lady I am now), I used bias tape I made from an old sheet and bound the edges on my sewing machine to make them look nice. (I was so industrious. Sigh.) I didn’t do that this time. I’m not sure if it would work with the clear cement; you might need RTV if you’re going to go that route.

Once your screen is the right size across, you’ll go ahead and start using the clear PVC cement to attach it directly to the metal. It smells pretty bad, so you may want a fan. I found it best to apply it fairly heavy, wait a minute for it to start to dry, then apply the screen once it’s tacky. (It’s helpful to have two people to do this part, but I know how you roll, mamas, and if it’s just you, you can totally still do it.) Press the screen to the cement all along the edge; the cement will pass through the screen. As it starts to take, I do another pass with the cement over the top of the screen. Hold it in place until it can take the weight of the screen (two or three minute at most; it dries quite quickly).

Next, you’ll work your way down each side of the door. If you have any odd things you have to work around, go ahead and make the cuts to accommodate it first. Then, just like across the top, put a layer of cement on the door, pressing down the screen, and applying another layer of cement on top. Be careful not to pull the top away if it’s still drying; you could wait until it’s hardened to do the sides if you’re concerned.

Once the sides are both done, you can tell how much you’ll need at the bottom. Sometimes the screen can gap or fold funny, so that’s what it’s important to leave the bottom part longer, to ensure coverage. You do not want to get to the bottom and be half an inch short. (Trust the voice of experience, mamas.) Then you can go ahead and follow the same procedure at the bottom. Once it’s all done, I do one more layer on top of all the edges, just to be sure. This whole project only took 1/4 of the PVC cement. If I was using RTV, I would expect to use a whole tube, maybe a tube and a half, depending on how thick you put it on.

As you can see, some parts of my cutting were straighter than others…I had a five-year-old who was alternately trying to help and wrestling with his sister…it was so helpful…but it did impact the straightness of the screen. Which I now have to live with.¬† Forever.

Since these screens are not removable, I usually just use a stiff-bristled brush like with a dust pan and brush them clean. Try to make sure the wind is blowing through the house going out, not in. A fan is helpful.

Admittedly, I haven’t tried this on anti-corrosion paint. I’m not sure how that would work, but bare metal or regular painted metal should both work.

Also, I have no suggestions for getting your children to actually close the door behind them. You’re on your own there.

Hang in there, mamas! And while you’re at it, hang some screens. You’ve got this.

Bottled water: yea or nay?

So I stumbled across this article on the amount of microplastics in bottled water, and I’ll admit–it has me concerned! We filter our cistern water with a Big Berkey, mostly, but I do pull out the Culligans when we have guests, just because the filter can’t keep up.

Do you worry about microplastics? Do you use bottled or filtered? Well water? Spring water, as the unrealistic article suggests?

Got any hot tips for clean water?

You can read the article here.

You can read the most recent study here.

Come on and work it on out!

Last week, I set this year’s real-olution.

Oh, what’s a “real-olution,” you ask? Well, mamas, that’s simple. It’s a resolution that you suddenly realize you have done n.o.t.h.i.n.g. to achieve since January 21st, and you decide to get real about it, since the year’s half over.

And the biggest one that most people have?

Exercise.

Well, losing weight, but for most of us, it’s the same, n’est-ce pas? But as we all know, working out got ten times more complicated when you acquired that first kid. So since I’m just getting back into working out, here’s what’s helping me:

*Reject that this is a tedious burden.¬†Yeah, I know, it’s hot. But your body in motion glorifies the One who made it, because you are made to move. So stop with the attitude and commit to it as an act of gratitude for a body that works as it (mostly) should. I realized on my run yesterday morning that the only promises I break are the ones I make to myself. Mamas, this should not be.¬†

*Pray for self-control. It’s a fruit of the Spirit, right? You’re not in this alone.

*Accept that you will be interrupted.¬†As with your Bible reading, this is no longer a solo, spa-like, stress-reducing activity. It’s sometimes helpful to give them a snack just before you start to give yourself a head start. Let them know that you would rather not pause it unless it’s really important. (Clarify that fixing the bike bell that broke six months ago is not really important.)

*Involve your kids.¬†If your kids are small, try a babywearing workout like this one. If your kids are medium-sized like mine, I put out a second yoga mat for them to fight over¬†¬†share. They dance along and make up their own “workouts” to the music, and it all works okay, so long as they stay off MY mat. We use canned food for weights, and they get their own water bottles. If your kids are a little bigger, try something like a coin-flip workout, an alphabet workout where you can spell their names, or a playground workout while they play. They love making Mom work! Give them the stopwatch and see how fast you can lap the house.

*Start small. No, I mean,¬†small. When I first started working out a few years ago, I did not plan to run three miles or do a thirty-minute workout. You know how long my first run was? Five minutes. Then I stopped and walked home. Then the next time, I went for six minutes. Then seven. Forget baby steps–for some of us, that’s too big, even. Think insect steps. Ants get it done, mamas–observe their ways and be wise, especially when it comes to building a new habit.

*Think about what’s preventing you from enjoying it.¬†I run with a hat on because I realized a year ago that I hated sweat in my eyes. No more sweat now! You may need to change something small to make it more fun. Get a better yoga mat. Some new shoes. You’ll save money on health costs in the future.

*Get some structure.¬†Here’s a few that I’ve encountered at different points in mommyhood:

  1. Moms into Fitness. Her Pretty Fierce Weight Loss videos are ones I keep going back to. You can get a taste of it here. 
  2. Sworkit. This is a no-equipment required workout app with premade workouts as well as the option to customize a workout for strength, yoga, cardio or stretching. You can choose the length of the workout in five minute increments and it builds in a warmup as well as thirty-second breaks. It’s also easy to pause (that’s a Mom Essential). And it’s free! You don’t even need a smartphone.
  3. Wii Fit. We’re blessed with the electricity to make this work; I realize not everyone is. But the Wii does use less power than most gaming units–just make sure it gets unplugged from the wall when you’re done. But I did find it motivating to play games!
  4. Couch to 5K. This is a popular plan for true beginners. A 5K is a little over three miles; you can TOTALLY achieve that. And they’re addictive.
  5. Zombie app. My sister-in-law uses this one, and it cracks me up. If you don’t run fast enough, you can hear the zombies getting closer. I’m laughing even now. Whatever motivates you, mamas!
  6. Start a Pinterest board. TONS of ideas here! If you need inspiration, you can follow mine. (No judgment, okay? I know you want perkier breasts, too. Don’t pretend.)

*Schedule it.¬†The night before, I lay out my workout clothes next to my regular clothes. Yeah, it’s nerdy, but it reminds me. I also put it into my schedule: what time, exactly, am I going to do this? It’s working for me to do it right after homeschool, while kids are killing their brain cells via Netflix and snacking.

More thoughts:

The Art of Simple Podcast: Exercise

Your thoughts: Anything to share with us? How have you found success with this?

Make it Monday: Oat Milk

Make it Monday

Hi mamas!

We’re making some changes to our diets around here, and we’re not finding it so easy. Eating healthy is great. We love it. What we don’t love is paying for it. So for those looking for a dairy-free milk option overseas, I don’t think you can do better than this.¬†You already know how much I love oats for gluten-free baking, but now it’s coming to the rescue for us dairy-free folks as well. Amazing!

https://simpleveganblog.com/how-to-make-oat-milk/

She recommends soaking them and then dumping the water. That’s to cut down on phytic acid and make it easier to digest. If that’s not important to you (or you just don’t want to waste the water), you can skip it. If you’re like me, it’ll make as much difference as five minutes spent with the mountain of laundry you have to fold…that is to say, not much. Another recipe also mentioned adding cinnamon and vanilla, which sounds amazing and perfect for a smoothie.

Are oats available where you live? What food solutions are you pondering at your house?

#Momhack: Cooking While Traveling

We’re at our organization’s HQ for two weeks, doing some training and meetings, and the food situation? OY. Because my babies want ALL. THE. SUGARY. THINGS. and Mama doesn’t want crazy behavior due to too many treats. So I’m fighting back on costs and sugar with whole chickens…the leftovers of which I’m putting with stir fries, over pasta and into soups.

But my #momhack today has to do with flavor…because I don’t want to buy a whole bottle of sesame seeds for my stir fry, but without it? Kinda bland.

As you can see, even this tiny jar is $2.21, which is really more than I need for two weeks.

Instead, I went over to the bulk section at Winco Foods, and got just two tablespoons for $0.39. BAM.

In case you’re still not convinced, I also needed thyme and sage for my chicken soup, neither of which was cheap for a whole bottle…

A little trip over to the bulk section…(and look at all the options!!)…I scoop out what I need into a small plastic bag, write the four-digit code on the twist-tie, and close it up.

And I ended up walking out with just what I needed for two batches of soup. I paid $0.09 for thyme and the sage? Well, there was so little in the bag, it wouldn’t register on their scale, so they gave it to me for free. That would make me feel bad, except they’re the ones who designed the system, not me. So hey, I’ll take advantage of it! You don’t have to rely on junk food just because you’re traveling, and the smell of soup simmering can make even a temporary place feel like home.

Don’t let the big jars intimidate you! If you’ve got a kitchen available to you, don’t let it go to waste. Your wallet will thank you.

You’ve got this, mamas.

Aunt Flo, Mother Earth and You

While many of my posts are appropriate for both sexes, guys, you’re probably gonna want to pass on this one today. And if you don’t, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

And ladies, today’s post may freak some of you out, too, so here’s some lavender, which is supposed to be calming…

Menstruation.

And now the guys believe me and they’re out of here.

Good! Now that it’s just us, let’s talk, mamas. Most likely, if you’re using disposable menstrual supplies, you are spending a small fortune every month on these things. And now some of you are thinking, ‘if’? Yes, mamas–for I am about to introduce you to the sanity of reusable menstrual supplies. Let’s talk ‘why’ first, then move to ‘what.’

More lavender? Okay.

They’re affordable: You can make or buy these quite cheaply compared to disposables.

They’re reducing your chemical exposure: My understanding is that most disposable supplies are laced with bleach, fragrances, petrochemicals and other things that aren’t great to have that close to you. (You can read more about that here.)

They’re good for the earth: Because if you trash our planet, where will *I* live?

There’s been some kind of innovation wave that I completely missed until a kind missionary friend told me what she used. Personally, I had no idea there were so many options out there! So here we go.

Cloth reusables: these are like regular maxi pads, but they have snaps instead of glue. They’re usually made of cotton or bamboo. I’ve found lots on Etsy or Amazon and even patterns for making them on Pinterest. In my opinion, it’s better than washing cloth diapers; they’ve come out very clean.

Menstrual cups: these are small silicone cups that catch the blood like a tampon would. Most are reusable for a long time, and there’s now a huge variety of shapes and sizes! Between you and me, I don’t know much about specific brands, so if anyone’s had a positive experience, please chime in!

Six ways to fold a menstrual cup

Sea sponges: I know, right? Weird? Maybe. But if it works, a game changer.

Leakproof underwear: Apparently, this is a real thing. It’s build right into it, in a variety of absorbencies. Neat.

What do you think, mamas? Am I rocking your world or is this TMI? Share your experience with us, if you dare.