Dysfunctional Homes - Can You Relate?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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Hey Friend,

Let's talk about dysfunctional homes. Do you know homes where everything is off balance? Maybe you grew up in a home like that or maybe you feel your actual home is running in a dysfunctional way. Is there hope?

I like to think of the home of Zacchaeus, in the Bible. Can you imagine how dysfunctional his home must have been? Zacchaeus betrayed his own people for profit and money definitely guided his life. His home was probably isolated from the community and he could not even participate in the Jewish religious activities. There must be a reason why people hated him so much, he was probably not known for his loving and generous personality.

How many homes today are run on the same principle? Homes where the main direction is after money, power, selfish gains, lack of community, greediness, on and on. There is very little love, compassion, and respect going on.

In many dysfunctional homes, everything is done in a forceful and self-serving way. Zacchaeus was probably not the kind of guy who sits around and ponders about things, he was a go-getter. When he hears this important man, Jesus, is in town he runs over there, full speed, with a clever plan in mind. Not wanting to go beyond the text, but it is easy to see how Zacchaeus did not wait for things to happen, he made them happen in his own way.

However, suddenly, Zacchaeus plans turn into an unexpected direction. Zacchaeus did not ask for Jesus to come visit him, he did not plan the dinner meal beforehand, or had his place pumped up for the important visit. He was probably used to tell people what to do, not being told what to do.

Jesus spots him up on the tree and asks Zacchaeus to come down from the tree immediately. As in right now. However, it was not an order for punishment, it was a call for a relationship. Jesus wanted to love Zacchaeus unconditionally. 

Friend, don't underestimate the power of Jesus' love transforming dysfunctional homes like Zacchaeus'. When Jesus enters his home, Zacchaeus life direction shifts dramatically, not out of duty, but out of gratefulness and worship.

Jesus, in fact, did not choose to stay overnight in the functional homes of Jericho. Not at the priest's home, not at the religious dad's homes or any of the crowd's homes.

Friend, the truth is that all of us live in dysfunctional homes. Some of us are aware of it, some of us are blinded to the truth of it. We all need Jesus inside our homes transforming greediness into gratefulness, selfishness into generosity, loneliness into a community, and hatred into love. 

Some homes may look more dysfunctional than others, but aren't we all are guilty of lacking in love, compassion, and respect?

Thankfully, Jesus came to seek and save the lost, because that leaves enough margin for all of us to answer his call!

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5 Books to Guide You How To Teach Your Child to Pray

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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Hey Friend,

Let's just be honest that many times we hurry through mornings and evenings routines with our kids and don't even have enough time to sit down and just pray. Other times, prayer becomes this memorized five sentences that we go over before bedtime for the sake of covering our basic needs and requests.

Now, if we could really see with our natural eyes the power of prayer, I think we would all right now drop everything and just focus on prayer. Because you see, prayer is more than just words, it is a connection with the very Creator who holds the entire universe in his hands. There is no more important lesson our kids can learn from a young age than to pray!

My boys like to pray for people we know who are going through sickness, difficult times or friends they would like to come to know Jesus. One of my sons also loves to pray for pets we don't even own anymore, bunnies that run around our house and long-lost dogs he only saw once in his life. But that is ok because through prayer they can learn to entrust their hearts in the hands of God, and depend on God for their daily lives and those around them.

It is really a joy for parents to hear childlike voices lifting up their words to God with a simple belief in the power of prayer. We have so much to learn with our kids!

Incorporating family prayer time will look different for each family and season you may be living right now, so regardless of what it looks like for you, make a commitment to have a setup time when you can sit down with your kids and take turns praying. More than any sports practice, school homework or educational activity, prayer is the one thing that will last forever.

5 Books To Guide You How to Teach Your Child to Pray

What Happens When I Talk to God? - When younger, my boys enjoyed reading this picture book.

Prayer Works - This book has great lessons on prayer, you can make it a devotional reading one lesson a day.

I Talk to God About How I feel - It is important for kids to learn that they don't need to hide anything from God.

It will be Okay - When kids feel anxious or stressed out it is wise to sit down with them and pray about it. Let them know that they don't have to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, they can trust God.

Operation World - Why not teach about Geography and the needs of others around the world when praying? I love this book to be able to pray for specific needs for every country. Kids can enjoy looking for the countries on a map.

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The Secret to Re-Engage and Reconnect With Your Spouse

Sunday, April 22, 2018

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Hey Friend,

Do you ever feel your mind racing from one item to another on your to-do list, that you don't actually have enough time to engage with the people who really matter in your life?

A lot of times, I find my mind filled with so many worries and tasks that when my husband or kids tell me something, their words just go to the back burner of my thoughts, instead of giving them my full undistracted attention.

I believe that a lot of relationships suffer because we engage with the people around us superficially. Our bodies are present in the moment, our ears can hear the words, but we can't really feel what they are saying or be truly empathetic with their needs.

We have so much to do, so much to worry, so much to race around! Who in the world has time to slow down and have a real conversation with a spouse?!

The downside is that we think the solution is somewhere else. Outside of us. We blame ourselves because we are not making enough time to go out on dinner dates, or special marriage activities, or couples retreat, when in fact what we need is to learn to engage with our spouse in the mundane, in the busyness of life, when it counts, where it counts.

Ok, friend, before you give up, there is hope at the end of the tunnel! What if you could have an instant switch where any time your spouse is around you or talking with you, you have the power to switch your emotions on and be tunned to him and him only?

Here is the secret: You can only feel what you think. So, your spouse is sharing with you about his hard day at work and you are thinking, "I have to get dinner done before the kids start asking for snacks... Should I go to the gym tomorrow morning?... Oh, I forgot to sign up a paper for the school registration... I wonder if that blouse I saw online is still on sale...... And on and on it goes.

You can hear his words, but you have so much going on your mind that you actually start to resent that he is wasting your precious time on a conversation. "Doesn't he realize that there is still tons of homework my son/daughter needs to get done before tomorrow? Why is he not offering to help with dinner? I am already stretched thin around here, I don't need one more person asking me for advice!"

This is a dangerous cycle of thinking friend! Because all these thoughts will become emotions, feelings. Over time you will not feel as close to your husband as before and will slowly disconnect from his feelings and then from his person altogether. 

Now friend, do you want to live differently? Think back to the days you used to date your spouse and how every word he spoke meant the world to you! You were 100% engaged with each other, and it felt so good, so complete!

Are you ready for a change? It is actually not that hard. Here is what I encourage you to do. 

This week, every time your spouse is close to you or speaking with you, I want you to have only one thought in your head, running over and over again, only one. Ready? "Boy, I really like this guy!" That is it! Think as you mean it, right there in the middle of the mess, kids screaming, laundry pilling, dinner burning. Keep thinking the same thought over and over again, until it feels familiar, it feels yours, it feels real.

And guess what? Your thoughts will change your feelings! Here is a little example: Are you worried and frightened right now that your airplane is about to fall? Probably not! One, because you are likely not inside an airplane, and second, this thought did not even cross your mind today.

You can only feel what you think. So, the answer is not outside there somewhere. It is right inside your head! It is not inside your husband's head, you can't control his thoughts! 

See friend? It is very simple but it is also very effective, I challenge you to try!

Now, attention!! There is one more thing that you need to implement. Ready?

When you are saying anything to your husband this week, any words coming out of your mouth, I suggest you also keep running the same thought in your head: "Boy, I really like this guy!"

Please, let me know in the comments below in the next days, your results with this little experiment, I would love to hear how your relationship has been impacted by the renewing of your mind!

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10 Gift Ideas for Your Child Who Feels Loved When Receiving Gifts

Thursday, April 19, 2018

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I still remember reading the book 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman after getting married and being amazed by such simple and yet practical concept to show love to your spouse. Have you read it? Were you surprised by your findings? You can take the test here to find out what is your love language.

The book basically describes five different ways in which people perceive love or show their love to others around them. To my surprise, people are wired differently even when it comes to showing and receiving love and it is so important to understand how to pour the right love language to those we care about.

Among the five love language, there is one called Gifts, meaning people who feel loved when receiving a thoughtful gift. More than words, time spent together, physical touch or works done for them, people who feel loved through Gifts, need that physical tangible object in their hands that they can come back to it over and over again and remember how much they are loved.

The Love Language Gifts is not among my top category, neither is my husband's so, for most anniversaries, birthdays or Christmas, we usually skip the gift part or downplay it and focus more on spending quality time together doing something meaningful.

However, now that we have kids, we are practicing on gift giving again because, for one of our boys, Gifts is one of his top Love Languages. 

Do you have a child who feels loved when receiving Gifts?

For my son's seventh birthday, he got a digital watch from my mom as a gift and he has worn this watch every day and night for the past year. He also loves the expectation of receiving a gift, the time waiting for it and the surprise effect of unwrapping the paper in a slow motion. It is not a surprise then, that he loves to have all his friends for Birthday Parties and relishes on the gifts everyone brings.

His favorite watch day in and out
So, how do you show love to your child who treasures the process of gift giving?

1- Don't associate receiving gifts with materialism: For the child who treasures gifts, it is so much more about the meaning of the object than the object itself. They treasure the object because it was given by someone special. So, don't worry about the object itself, relax and enjoy the experience!

 2 - Create gift-giving traditions: Plan for times celebrated with small thoughtful gifts like the first day of school, last day of school, holidays, small accomplishments like learning to bike or passing a swim test.

3 - Don't overspend: More is not always better. Think about the meaning, not the price. Small gifts can have as much impact when thoughtful.

4 - Keep a list of ideas: Throughout the year, write down ideas of things that your child may be interested: hobbies, favorite toys, or even foods. When you need a gift idea, it will be ready for you.

5 - Let your child gift you: Some kids enjoy giving a gift as much as receiving, so even if your Love Language is not gifting, make it a big deal that special moment by appreciating their gift, giving them a hug and letting them know how much you will treasure their gift.

6 - Give the gift of food: Preparing their favorite dish and displaying on a nice plate, or buying their favorite brand of snacks or drinks as a surprise are also everyday ways to show your love through gifts.

7 - Allow them to keep their gifts: Your child may come home with a bucket of Valentines from school, and while it may seem like a waste of space to save all the notes for the next 5 years, if they are important for your child, allow them to keep in a safe box with all their other special memories.

8 - Place special treats in their lunchbox: Sometimes, I place chocolate chips on my son's lunchbox as a surprise treat. He likes the surprise of seeing his favorite candy when he opens his lunchbox.

9 - Shop together for gifts: Is Grandma's birthday coming up? Teacher's appreciation day? If you child enjoys showing their love by giving gifts, let them be part of the shopping experience and help pick a thoughtful gift.

10 - Remind them of the ultimate gift: Children who appreciate gifts will understand God's love for them when we tell the story of God giving us an ultimate gift in the person of Jesus Christ, to bring salvation and be with us forever.

Interested in learning more about the Five Love Languages? Scroll down and check the other posts of the Mother's Day 5 Day Challenge on Showing Your Love to Your Child through Physical Touch, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service!

A group of parenting bloggers has joined together to bring you this Mother's Day 5 Day Challenge!

How to Join!

  1. Go to our Facebook page post and write--Count me in the #MothersDay5DayChallenge
  2. Go to your local library and get The 5 Love Languages of Children book or buy it HERE!
  3. Download the FREE Love Languages Assessment and go over it with your child together if they are young or have them do it on their own if they are old enough.
Then just follow along for the next 5 Days! Each day I will share a video on our Facebook page and discuss one love language. Also, for each day one of our bloggers will share some fabulous practical ideas so you can start using your child's primary love language. I will update this schedule each day as the posts go live.

What are some of your ideas for kids who feel loved when receiving gifts? Feel free to comment below!

"SipMom is a participant in the Amazon Servicess LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com"

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The Supplement That Changed My Life

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

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Eight years ago, I was strolling the streets of New York City, pushing a toddler and a baby, following a real state agent as he took me from one apt to the next hoping to find anything affordable closer to my husband's work.

Little did I know that I would not find an apartment that day, what I would really find out is that there was something wrong with my heart.

After a few hours, being done for the day, I started strolling the kids back to the location from where I would leave the city, just to be surprised by my heart jumping suddenly from a regular heartbeat to more than 200 beats per minute.

Picture From Eight Years Ago
 Right away, I found a Whole Foods Store across the street, went inside and told a trustworthy looking lady behind a table displaying some new products, that I was having a heart issue and I needed to sit down there to rest. I wanted at least someone to be aware of what was going on, in case I passed out and she had to watch the kids.

After calling my husband, who was working nearby, I was surprised to find out that even after having sat down for 5 minutes, my heart was still going as fast as before. My husband immediately left his work and started his way to the place where I was. 

I remember sitting there, like if I was inside a dream, my entire body being highjacked by this foreign force that had sped up my heart without any reason and left me gasping for air and strength. My kids next to me, I wondered what had gone wrong, and if I was about to have a heart attack.

Picture From Eight Years Ago
There had been some signs before, sporadic palpitations, but never this bad. So after my husband arrived and my heart finally went back to its normal rhythm, I decided to find out what had just happened. 

It turns out that after many similar events, doctors, tests, opinions and my own research, I learned that I have Mitral Valve Prolapse, which is quite common among a lot of people, but in my case, it was part of a much bigger problem.

My entire Autonomic System is out of sync. The problem is that the Autonomic System controls almost every part of our bodies, so while symptoms may feel disconnected from each other, it is all part of one problem.

That is when I found out the one supplement that was finally able to calm down my heart, stop the palpitations, and let me live life without dreading highjacking moments. Enter Magnesium!

Apparently, Magnesium is needed for everything from breathing to flexing our muscles and when deficient in the body, it turns all the body chemical reactions into a big mess. 

In my case, it is a supplement called Magnesium Taurate that helps me the most, because it targets especially the heart cells.

After learning so many great things about Magnesium, I also give Magnesium to my kids as it helps them relax, have better focus and it is good for bone development, as new research shows that Vit D can only be metabolized when there is enough Magnesium in the body.

The Magnesium Citrate I give to my kids may have a laxative effect if taken in higher doses, so it is good to start small and experiment with increasing doses.

Just a reminder that Magnesium supplements pills are not easily absorbed by the body, so some people benefit more from Magnesium Oil that is applied direct on the skin and easily makes its way to the entire body, besides helping local pains or issues like headaches. 

After my heart was back in control, I was also able to introduce aerobic exercise to my routine, as it helps to control the Autonomic System, besides a healthy diet, good sleep and some other lifestyle changes that affect the Autonomic System. 

Most days, I don't even notice that my body works a little different, but I am thankful that I found ways to prevent moments like the one in New York City from ever happening again.

I hope my story helps you, if you are experiencing something similar, I wish I knew this information many years ago.

Maybe you are not experiencing anything extreme but would like to have enough Magnesium available for your cells to work at their best. Either way, Magnesium may be a try worth taking.

For more information about Magnesium, you can find here.

For more information about Mitral Valve Prolapse, you can find here. 

Books on the subject:

Picture From Eight Years Ago
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Free or Under $5 Natural Skincare Samples

Monday, April 9, 2018

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Lately, I have been trying to substitute regular skincare products with those made with natural ingredients. There is enough overload of chemicals in the environment for the body to process already, so it is nice to give the body a break when it comes to skincare products and let the skin enjoy stress-free ingredients.

That is how I learned about ways to try natural products for free without having to invest in something that you are not sure how will work with your skin.

The samples below are not just a one time use sachet. They should last you a few days to some weeks. If you get all of them you may just have enough skincare for a few months on the cheap!!

Here are Free or Under $5 Natural Skincare Samples for you to enjoy! Click on the name of the company to be directed to their website. (you may have to pay for shipping)

- Silk Therapeutics: They offer 3 mini containers per client and each one is no more than 5 dollars. With the EWG verified seal, you know that your skin will be absorbing safe ingredients. I want to try the C advance serum as my skin seems to be getting more mature! 

- Maias Minerals: Most of their samples cost around $2,50 and you can try just about anything, makeup, creams, hair products, nail care. They are also EWG verified and everything is non-synthetic, non-fragrant, non-toxic, chemical and artificial color free. 

- Real Purity: They usually offer one FREE SAMPLE per customer. Right now they have a promotion where you can get FOUR FREE SAMPLES. They offer high-quality ingredients and free-from parabens, sulfates and other toxic chemicals. I like that you can try their concealers in different colors to see what works better for your skin tone.

- Ceela Naturals: A skincare line for people with allergies or eczema. You can get 3 FREE SAMPLES to try out. It is a great way to try out for allergic reactions or sensitivity.

- Biossance: I have been using the free samples I got from this company. I love the Squalane oil and the Squalane oil with Vit C and Rose Oil. They are having an even bigger FREE SAMPLE offer with more products! This is a $32 deal for FREE! Click here to get yours!

Annamarie: This company has great reviews by health experts like Dr. Mark Hyman. I have found a link where you can get a sample of their natural sunscreen that is also antioxidant for only $5. This offer also comes with a $5 off coupon to use on a future order!

- True Botanicals: This is a smaller sample but still lasted me an entire week. There are samples for Aging, Acne, Shampoo and Basic Care. I loved their Pure Radiance Oil for acne prone skin, it cleared my skin while keeping it moisturized. I will try now the Aging sample they sent me to compare. 

sample size
Pure Radiance Oil regular size

- Sunflower Oil: This is the cheapest of all because you may already have some in your kitchen! Try using some every night and watch your skin transform on the cheap!! It has loads of Vit E and can help with acne, sun damage, aging, dryness, and many more skin issues. You can spread not just on your face but on your hands, feet, legs, arms, and all your body! Sometimes, the best things for your skin are the ones you already have on your kitchen counter!

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