Sunday, February 1, 2015

A New Year. A New Start.

Well, hello! Can you believe it? It's 2015!! That seems so strange.

When we begin a new year, there are always thoughts of goal setting, making this year better than last, and focusing on what matters most.  I shared with you before the new year that one of my goals was to post here at least once a week.  As you can tell, I have already fallen WAY behind. :)

But one of my other goals is to free myself of feeling guilty when I can't get it all done, to cut myself some slack, and realize that it's ok not to be "perfect".  This is something I have struggled with most of my life. But I am determined to make 2015 the year I put it under my feet.

I would love to hear from YOU, the readers who are still here, who have responded with such love and empathy as I have shared the struggles I've gone through the past couple of years.  Your words of encouragement, and just the fact that you are still "here", blesses me more than you can know.

Photo Credit Here
So, what topics would you like to see from me this year? Facts about real food?  Whole food recipes?  Posts on treating common illnesses with natural methods?  Biblical wisdom on healthy living?  How to overcome fear and shame? What else?

One of my plans is to share, in video form, more about my journey with postpartum depression. It has been something that I have not been ready to talk about in much depth, at least not past the written word.  But, I believe that by sharing my story, I may be able to provide a safe place for others to fall who are dealing with the despair and helplessness associated with such a disorder.  It is a very often misunderstood issue, and one that isn't spoken about in public terribly often.  Bear with me.  I am still trying to muster up the courage to be completely open and vulnerable.

I hope that all of you are having a wonderful start to 2015, and that this year will be full of countless blessings.  I pray that you will join me in the quest to stop the shame and guilt cycle we place on ourselves.  And I am excited to move forward here at Living Water Health and Wellness! Pin It Now!

Monday, December 22, 2014

To The One Who Feels the Need to Be "Perfect" - You Are Enough.

Hello again. :)  As we prepare to say goodbye to 2014, we cannot help but look forward to the coming year.  We set new goals, make resolutions, and re-commit to do the things we know we should.  One of those goals for me is to blog again.  The last year and a half has undoubtedly been the hardest of my life.  But, I have learned and continue to learn more about myself, my faith, my life, and the power of love and grace.  After a long season of silence, I want to continue sharing with you from an open, honest heart.

I have spent so much of my life trying to be "perfect", even though the very statement is completely impossible.  I have put so much pressure on myself to measure up, to be the example, to appear as though I don't struggle.  This tendency, I believe, was part of what lead to my deep struggle.  It has been hard for me to admit to the world (even though I know it could already tell) that I am far from perfect, that I struggle, that I mess up, that I need help sometimes, and that sometimes, even my greatest effort to do things "right" is not enough.


So...next year, in 2015, my goal is to STOP trying to be someone I'm not, and simply be me, unapologetically, and joyfully, knowing that the One who made me loves me and is ok with the fact that I'm a work in progress.  He has promised to finish the work He began in me.

Self-hatred, self doubt, and unrealistic expectations can leave you crippled and feeling like a failure.  If you are one who has struggled with these things as well, I invite you to join me in committing to love yourself better, to see the beauty in the journey, and cut yourself a little slack.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, the Good Shepherd, the very manifestation of Love in the flesh, let us accept WHO He is and what He has done for us.  He FINISHED the work on the cross, He bore our sorrows, our pain, our sin.  And His work is perfect, even in our imperfections.  He is Faithful, even when we are not.  And You. Are. Enough.

Merry Christmas to all of you who are still here, who are still reading my words. I am so very grateful for you.  I pray for you a wonderfully Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and a deeper realization of the immeasurable ways in which you are loved and cherished.

In His Love,

Brandy

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Friday, September 5, 2014

I Never Thought It Could Happen To Me: My Battle With Postpartum Depression

Hello, there. It's been quite a while since I last posted, and largely because the post below has been waiting to be published.  I wrote this almost a year ago during my terrible battle with postpartum depression.  I didn't have the courage to publish it at the time, and today is the first time I have even been able to go back and read it myself.  I have decided, in light of recent events and the public spotlight on depression, to be brave and hit that little orange button that will send the recount of my struggle out to the masses.  I didn't edit it at all.  Every word is just as I wrote it last year.  I ask that you read with an open heart, and that you limit your comments to those that would build up and encourage.  Thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to reconnecting with you now that I am well on the other side of the darkness.

Written November 2013

I used to roll my eyes at anti-depressant commercials.  I was convinced that depression could be absolutely cured by either spiritual or nutritional means, or both.  And while I still believe that those two things are an absolutely critical part of recovery, I must admit that I have been humbled in my opinions.  The last several months have been the most excruciating of my life, and I am still on the road to recovery.

I never thought it could happen to me.  Postpartum depression, or depression of any kind, was for the weak; for those who didn't have the knowledge of how to treat it with the word of God or nutrition.  Or so I thought.  Postpartum depression is a disease, a debilitating disease that can strike when you least expect it.  And it hurts.  Really hurts.  It hurts deeply, not just mentally, but emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  It has changed who I am as a person, and I will never be the same.  I have learned that there are many, many women who deal with this disorder.  I have also learned that there is a stigma about mental illness, largely because it's one you cannot see with your eyes.  Countless women have suffered in silence for fear of rejection, judgement, and shame.  This should not be.  My hope is that, by sharing my story, someone else may realize that they are not alone, that there are others who understand, and that they will recover.

I used to think I was strong, that I could handle almost anything.  I was confident.  Confident in my faith, in my family, in my ability to be a wife and a mother, in my competency as a homeschooler, in my knowledge of nutrition, and in my fitness business.  But when the darkness started to settle in, all of that began to disappear. I was almost 8 months pregnant when we moved to Georgia.  It was the first time I had ever lived more than 2 hours from my family.  There had been so many stressful situations leading up to the move, and I guess I didn't realize just how much they had affected me.  We had a tragic loss in our family around the time we found out we would be relocating.  Then the stress of flying back and forth to Atlanta and finding a house in a place we had never been in a very short time period was extremely difficult.  My husband was spending the weeks in Atlanta for work and flying home on the weekends. The boys and I lived with family for two weeks after we closed on our home in Texas, and then in a hotel for several days until our furniture could be delivered to our new home.  And then, all of a sudden, there we were.  In a new place, a new house, where we knew almost no one.  Nothing felt right.  Nothing felt like home.  And the cloud started to descend.

My "postpartum" depression actually began during the last month of my pregnancy.  We didn't recognize it as such at the time, since we didn't know that postpartum depression could actually hit before the baby was born.  I lost 10 pounds in the last few weeks of being pregnant because I was so anxious I could not eat.  It felt as though everything in my world began to crumble.  My reality became distorted.  Everything that had made me happy didn't.  Everything that had been important to me wasn't anymore.  I stopped cooking, stopped exercising, I could hardly get out of bed.  In fact, some days I didn't.  If I could force myself to walk down the stairs, I would usually end up crouched in the kitchen floor crying or shaking in anxiety.  I couldn't take care of myself, my husband or my kids.  Everything seemed to be spinning out of control.  And, though I tried, I couldn't do anything to stop it.  I think that is one of the most defeating things.  When depression invades your soul, you still think you know the answers.  You think you know how to beat it.  But you can't do it.  You literally, physically can't.  Friends and family tried to help.  They tried to tell me what to do.  Pray more.  Read your bible.  Read this book or that book.  Repent.  Eat this way.  Take these supplements.  Accept the way things are. Just CHOOSE to do what you need to do.  Pull yourself up by your boot straps and move on.  All great suggestions.  And of course, these are all things I would normally have been able to do, and I knew that.  But the fact that I couldn't, drove the depression deeper and deeper, and the feeling that I was a total failure became crippling.  All of those people were trying desperately to help because they love me.  They did everything they knew how to try to pull me out.  But we didn't really know what we were fighting against.

It wasn't until around 4 weeks postpartum that we finally realized what I was dealing with.  But by that time, I was so defeated, so unsure of everything I had once been sure of, that the road to recovery has been long, and I'm still on it.  Something about going through major depression changes your perspective about everything.  My whole world had been shaken, and I'm still figuring out what has remained and what has been burned away, what is true and what isn't.  There are no words to truly describe what postpartum depression feels like, for the person suffering or those around her.  But my hope is that by sharing my heart, my suffering, my journey to recovery, that others will find comfort.  I also hope that the friends and families of those suffering with depression or PPD will gain a glimpse into what it feels like to be trapped by your own mind, and know that there may not be a quick or easy fix.  It takes time.  So be patient.  Love them.  And love them some more.  Don't try to understand or fix them.  Just listen and love.  And realize that what they are feeling is very, very real to them, even if it doesn't make sense to you.  I'm so thankful for all that my family has done to support me during this incredibly difficult time, especially my wonderful and forgiving husband.  I know that it has been heart wrenching for them.  I will be sharing more about the pain of the last months as I move forward.  This is, I believe, part of my continued healing. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Coconut Oil: Nature's Healing Miracle - Featured Article at CFN The Voice

Hello there!  We are finally starting to get settled in our new home and to life as a family of 5, and I am beginning to re-focus my writing efforts.  As part of that, I have started doing some freelance writing (about health and wellness, of course), and am loving it!





Today, I am so very honored to have an article featured in Christ For the Nations-The Voice online magazine!  I would love to invite you all to hop on over to their web page, read the article, and explore their other offerings.  Christ For the Nations is an amazing ministry school that has sent thousands upon thousands out into the mission field to win others for Jesus.  I am so excited to partner with them in bringing the message of divine health to the Body of Christ!

Here is a snippet of the article.  Click below to read more.


What if I were to tell you that adding one ingredient to your diet could help you lose weight and increase energy, alleviate diabetes, prevent heart disease and renew your skin?  Well, I am happy to tell you that such a product does, in fact, exist! It’s called Coconut Oil. This “miracle” product can be used for cooking and baking, and as a spread on toast, waffles, etc.
The fact that coconut oil is immediately absorbed causes it to be burned much more quickly than other fats. Most fats have to go through a long process before your body can use them for energy. However, coconut oil stimulates metabolism, which makes it more efficient. This helps you burn calories and lose weight throughout the day! Coconut oil provides a quick and healthy energy boost as it supplies nutrients to your cells directly after consumption. As a bonus, you will typically feel more satisfied and not crave sweets and unhealthy foods between meals.
What makes coconut oil so beneficial for diabetics is the way it is digested into the body. Unlike other fats, it does not cause a spike in blood sugar and does not require any insulin to be used by the body to digest it. This greatly decreases insulin resistance and stress on the liver, alleviating diabetes.


Please CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article at CFN The Voice.

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