Monday, January 15, 2018

Natural Headache Relief

I first recall getting headaches on a regular basis when I was in 8th grade.  I'd take Ibuprofen but didn't notice much improvement.  I struggled with them off and on in my teenage years, but then it really escalated shortly after we got married.  Every day I'd wake up with a dull ache in my head and a burning sensation.  I described it as feeling like I'd been hit on the head with a hammer and having fiery hot spiders crawling around my brain.  Obviously, I've never actually experienced those things, but that's how I imagine this felt.  So I went to neurologist.  He was very intelligent and a good communicator.  He enlightened me about the differences between headaches and migraines.  Migraines aren't just bad headaches.  They don't go away with OTC medications.  They run in families.  You have a slightly different structure to the base of your skull.  He said, "You have a migraine right now, don't you?"  I said yes.  He told me he could tell because one of my pupils was dilated.  So interesting!  But ever sing learning that I have noticed that to be true for me when I'm experiencing a migraine.  Anyway, he got me started on a daily medication that really helped a lot, but once I got pregnant with Sarah I needed to get off of it.  While I was pregnant I didn't have too many migraines, but when I did it really stunk because I could only take Tylenol.  I actually had one of the worst ones ever the day I found out I was pregnant.  After Sarah was born I had every intention to get back on the medicine, but the migraines just never got horrific like they had been.

Like I said, I've never been one to take Ibuprofen and feel better half an hour.  Robert is the total opposite and is a new person half an hour after taking Aleve, just like in the commercials!  Any time I would get a migraine I pretty much knew that I would feel like that all day, and then sleep it off through the night.  Of course, this doesn't work great when you have a life like all of you probably do.  It's hard to "push through" a migraine and take care of a two year old all day.  So I started trying to educate myself, and I've come up with an arsenal to combat migraines that is working really well for me.  I want to share my positive experiences and knowledge with you, dear reader, just in case you suffer from migraines and could benefit from what I've learned.

  1. Intervene as soon as possible - At this point in my life, I've learned that my migraines don't just go away.  They're only going to get worse throughout the day, so if at all possible I need to intervene as soon as I started to feeling one coming on.
  2. Have a cup of coffee every morning - Various OTC medicines like Excedrin have caffeine in them, and for me I've noticed that if I have one cup of coffee right away when I wake up it really helps me prevent migraines for the day.  I don't drink more than that because I don't want to be jittery, and I try not to drink it any later in the day except for on special occasions so it doesn't interfere with my night time sleep.
  3. Peppermint oil on trigger point - I totally wasn't an oils person, but since having Sarah I care more about what comes into our house, and I don't like the idea of having lots of chemicals around that could be deadly if ingested.  So anyway, I've gotten a bit into oils, but I'm not expert.  However, I can speak the praises of peppermint oil!  Seriously.  I rub this into the base of my head, my temples, or my forehead, and it starts providing relief almost instantly.  I love it!
  4. Diffusing peppermint oil or lavender oil - Robert got me a diffuser for Christmas, and I've been enjoying it.  I've always like lavender for its scent and relaxation, but I've also started enjoying peppermint for the nausea associated with migraines.
  5. Rice sock or cool eye mask - It changes, but every time I have a migraine I can easily tell if a hot rice sock or a cool eye mask is going to feel better.  My rice sock is not fancy.  It's literally a long tube sock with dry white rice in it, and I heat it up in the microwave for two minutes.  My cool eye mask stays in my refrigerator so it's ready whenever I need it.  Both feel good over my forehead/eye area or on the base of my skull.
  6. Himalayan salt massage rocks - I mentioned in a previous post, that I'm not about to get into whether or not Himalayan salt ionizes the air or if that's even necessary, but massage rocks are awesome when you go to the spa, and these are just as great to have at home!  I like heating them up and rubbing them on my jaw, temples, head, and neck to provide some heat and pressure.
  7. Magnesium oil - In 2017 I read a book called Sleep Smarter and was introduced to the benefits of magnesium oil.  Probably about five years ago I had learned about magnesium's ability to prevent headaches and calm anxiety, but when I took the supplements they made me really nauseous and were tough on my system, so when I learned about magnesium oil I was intrigued.  The author, Shawn Stevenson, presents scientific evidence that magnesium is best absorbed topically, so through something like an oil or a lotion.  I was able to buy magnesium oil from a local health food store, but I'm sure you could get it on Amazon easily as well.  I spray it on the bottom of my feet every night.  Since it does make them a bit oily it's nice to do it at night since I'm not trying to walk anywhere, but you could also just put on socks after putting it on.  Stevenson also recommends putting it on your chest, but I noticed that the oil was leaving grease stains on my clothes, so you've been forewarned.
  8. Mouth guard - Previously, I told you that I've been diagnosed with TMJ and clenching my jaw in my sleep.  I got a custom-fit mouth guard and was really hoping that it would work since it was fairly pricey.  Within two days I was sold!  It's been a month now, and I have absolutely no dental pain, and I have to also imagine that clenching my jaw all night was not helping anything in the migraine department.  Often, when you grind your teeth your spouse notices and says something because it's a very annoying sound, but clenching your teeth/jaw is silent, so your spouse doesn't know that it's happening in the night.  My dentist could tell by the signs of wear on my teeth that I'm a clencher, so the next time you're at your dentist ask him if he can see signs of clenching or grinding.  Honestly, the mouth guard doesn't bother me at all when I sleep.  It has yet to fall out while I've been sleeping.  I was used to it after maybe five days.
I hope you notice some relief by implementing these tips!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sarah lately

Sarah is at such a fun age!  We definitely have our share of "terrible two" moments, but mostly I think she's just discovering the boundaries and figure out how the world works.  I just wanted to give a random update on her life.


She has developed a huge sweet tooth, and her absolute favorite is ice cream.  She's really enjoying oranges and grapes for fruit.  She likes crackers, dipping her food into sauces, soup, and string cheese.  She really loves helping in the kitchen which is a lot of fun.  She specializes in dumping in ingredients, stirring, shaking spices, and taste testing.


She absolutely adores Mittens.  It's pretty cute, and Mittens puts up with it well.  Sarah will come home and declare, "I missed you baby Mittens!  I love you!"  Sarah made her a picture the other day and said, "I made this for you, Coco.  Do you like it?"  She enjoys brushing Mittens and giving her treats every day.  She gets sad that Mittens doesn't always want to participate in her ideas like taking a bath with her. haha!


Sarah has always enjoyed listening to books, but her interested has really increased lately.  She enjoys filling up her basket and checking out books at the library.  She enjoys curling up in someone's lap and reading a good book.  She's also started "reading" books by looking at the pictures and telling stories.


She enjoys art: coloring, painting, Play-Doh, , singing, playing her guitar and the piano.  She usually has a song to sing even if it's just, "I'm looking for my shoes.  Where are my shoes?"

She frequently comes up to us to say she loves us and that she wants to give us a hug or a kiss.  It's the absolute best!

She absolutely loves bath time and could stay in there for hours if I would let her.  She likes her foam letters, cups, bath Crayons, and bath baby so much.  She likes to go "swimming" in there, too.

She enjoys playing with Barbie's which must be hereditary because my mom and I both loved Barbie's.  They really hold her attention, and it's fun to see her imagination really soar.

Sarah is an extrovert and gets energized at play dates, playing with family members, and play with her friends (students at church).  She lights up with a group of friends and gets so silly.

She stays dry at nap time about 90% of the time, and we've started letting her wear underwear then.  Just have the night time diaper left! 


She went to the allergist recently.  In summary she's allergic to the whole world other than cats. ;)  Seriously though, she was allergic to everything except for three things: the two types of trees that we have and the one type of pet that we have.  Kinda cool, huh?  The doctor was great with Sarah, and we have a treatment plan to try to give her some relief.  She was very brave and a trooper!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Robert's Books 2017

Robert also tried to read more in 2017 and hopes to challenge himself in this area even more in 2018.  He's going to take over this post and tell you about the books he read in 2017.

I did not read as much as Amy this last year, but I did up my game. I read slower and more methodically than most people so if I say a book is long and you are a fast reader it may not be that long for you. My favorite books of the year were as follows from three to one: The Compelling Community, Parenting, Desiring God.

1. Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity is a book from C.S. Lewis taken from a radio show he did during WWII. The book answers what the basics of the Christian faith are. A more challenging read that will require you to stop and think a few minutes every so often.

2. Desiring God

This book has probably shaped my theology more than any other book besides the Bible. John Piper expounds upon his personal theology that he calls Christian Hedonism. His main point is that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. This is a very challenging book where you will have to read over sections multiple times. Piper never claims to be easy, but you will be richly rewarded with some of the most eloquent and moving writing you will ever read.

3. The Pleasures of God

This is the "sophomore album" so to speak to Desiring God. This book elaborates on the idea that God finds His ultimate pleasure in Himself and the things He does. Not as thrilling and moving as Desiring God, but still a good book.

4. Church Discipline

Jonathan Leeman is a very easy to understand writer. He takes complex ideas and makes them very easy to understand. This book is about how the church should approach discipline. Pretty straight forward and an easy read.

5. Church Membership

Membership is the basis for a healthy functioning church. Leeman outlines how membership in the church is how we tell the world who Jesus really is.

6. Student Ministry that Matters

Simple, quick book encouraging student pastors to stay focused on what is really important in ministry.

7. Family Worship
 
This is a small book written by Donald Whitney about how a family can practice worship within the home every day. The principles are practical but difficult to apply without the help of the Holy Spirit. Good encouragement for how fathers in particular should be the leaders of their family in worship.

8. God and Politics
 
Short book on how we should view politics through the Christian lens. Nothing really life-changing.

9. Adoption

Short book on how we should view adoption and the sanctity of life. Good, quick read.

10. Every Waking Hour

I really wanted to love this book seeing as how I know one of the authors, but it is so academic in nature it never really "swept me up." The book is about how a Christian should view work. The principles in it are theologically sound and a good challenge, but it is a dry read for the most part.

11. Simple Church
 
I love research. This book is full of research that shows all of us in church leadership are way over complicating how we do church. This book encourages us to trim down on what we do at church to be more effective and focused in our approach to ministry and evangelism. Loved this book, and even though it is longer it feels like it reads quicker.

12. The Compelling Community

This might be in my top three books I loved this year. This book challenges us to make church a place that people actually want to be at. It challenges us to be the kind of people that nonbelievers want to be around. Excellent read!

13. The 12 Week Year
 
This book was assigned to our staff by our pastor this year. If you are into organization, accomplishing tasks, and spreadsheets this book is totally for you. The premise of this book is that we get too bogged down by trying to plan out an entire year all at once. This challenges the reader to break up their planning into measurable and reachable 12-week goals. Their research shows that people who plan this way are far more effective than those who do not.

14. The Ideal Team Player

I chose to read this after the author spoke at the Global Leadership Summit. The book lays out the characteristics of the kind of person who makes a good team player. Fairly easy read.

15. Onward

I really wanted to love this book. The concept and the author gave it great potential, but I couldn't get into it. Every chapter seemed to be just a variation on the theme but not enough to make it interesting.

16. Parenting

Challenging. That is the one word I would use to describe this book. Tripp knows how to write and has a lot of experience in parenting and pastoring. Do yourself a favor and read this book. You will not regret it!

17. Exposition: Revelation

This and the next book are commentaries. Not exactly page turners for the every day reader, but these are phenomenal little commentaries for anyone looking to gain a better understanding of the scriptures without spending a lot or having a seminary degree.

18. Exposition: 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus
 

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