I want to start by saying thank you to those of you that have taken the time to reach out to me over the past few months to check on me. I have loved sharing my non-toxic cleaning tips and easy recipes with you over the past 8 years, but the past few months have been super difficult, and I needed to step away for a while.
I'm not usually one to share my personal life with others, but I feel compelled to share what has happened, because while the events of the past few months have totally rocked our family, they have also reinforced my belief that using non-toxic products and cooking meals with whole foods are not only extremely important, but also life saving.
Sidenote - I took the above photo in Hilton Head, South Carolina this summer where we went to rejuvenate and take a break from all of the sadness. This photo and quote have been a reminder to me that hope is so important. If you'd like to share it or use it for yourself, you can find it Here where you can download it for free.
So, what's been going on in my life?
Everything seemed to go awry this past spring, when my father-in-law had a massive heart attack and passed away. My own father was never really in my life, so Joe was the only real father I ever had. Losing him was like losing my own father...the one that God placed in my life to make up for the absentee father. His sudden death rocked our family to its core and left us all seriously lost. Matt's mom wasn't in good health at the time and was admitted to the hospital for over a week shortly after his death. She ended up having to have surgery and wasn't well for a while, which was really difficult on top of grieving. Matt was totally lost, and our kids were devastated, and I was trying to keep it together for all of them while I could barely cope. Joe was an amazing father and the best Papaw...he was one of a kind, and losing him left us all in shock and kind of dazed for a few months. Sometimes it still doesn't feel real to any of us.
Then came the second wave...the one that would truly knock the wind out of my sails. After going to the doctor for what my mom believed was her yearly bout of bronchitis, she had an x-ray to see what was going on. That x-ray led to a CT scan that led to a cancer diagnosis...most likely stage 4, but possibly a high 3. The cancer was in most of her lymph nodes and also her abdomen, her lungs were filled with fluid and there was fear that it could enter her nervous system because of a tumor located in her cavernous sinus. I tried to be strong, because that's how I've always handled hard things, but most days, I was totally faking it. I spent a lot of hours in my bed crying and wondering how life could be so unfair. I had many conversations with my little sister about what we were going to do if we lost our mother...something I never thought I would have to think about. And I had to tell my Grandmommy, which I knew could be too hard for her to handle...that was hard. Cancer was not in my plans. Cancer is never in anyone's plans, right?
I've become all too familiar with words like non hodgkin's lymphoma, plural effusions and of course, chemotherapy. I've learned that when you go to the hospital for a scan, procedure, chemotherapy or just about anything, 2 hours typically turns into 5 or 6 hours, or even an overnight stay. I've spent a lot of time watching and talking to other patient's families while sitting for hours at a time in waiting rooms, and have also gained a whole different kind of relationship with my own mother. It's strange and ironic how my mother being sick could help transform our relationship into the one we have both always wished we had. I've never seen someone who has been given such a grim diagnosis be so positive. Her amazing attitude about the whole thing has been the biggest blessing and has helped keep me and the rest of our family from falling into a dark hole. Funny how horrible circumstances can turn into an amazing gift at the same time.
UPDATE: We got some fantastic news at mom's last appointment...her latest scan shows marked improvement, which means that the chemo is working! It may make her as sick as a dog, but it's working!!! I'd totally appreciate any positive thoughts and prayers for my sweet mama!
So, What's next for me and Mom 4 Real
With everything that has gone in the past few months, I have found myself at a loss when it comes to having energy and enthusiasm for much. So, I decided to take the past couple of weeks to really reflect and decide what I wanted to do going forward. Researching and working on this blog bring me so much happiness, and I knew that I needed to get back to work not only for my readers, but also for myself. I take great pride in being able to help others learn to clean their homes with non-toxic ingredients and with sharing new and easy recipes that aren't filled with processed foods that your family will enjoy. When a reader sends me a note saying that I helped them in some way, it fills me up to the brim with happiness!
I decided it was time to hit the virtual reset button, and I've immersed myself in research over the past couple of weeks. I'm so excited and reinvigorated for the first time in a long time! I have a ton of new cleaning tips, non-toxic cleaning recipes, easy and delicious recipes for your whole family and even some budget friendly decorating ideas. I'm ready to live my best life again and hope that by sharing these things with you, I can inspire you to live your best life in a smart, healthy and budget friendly way too!
Here are a sneak of what you will be seeing soon...
I'll be sharing all of the details on how I organize our refrigerator so we know exactly what we have and use it to menu plan and to pack lunches with ease! It's been a game changer for our family for sure! I've shared some fridge organizing in the past...this will be an updated version.
I plan on sharing some new menu plans with recipes that can be made with like ingredients so you don't have to break the bank to feed your family. I've got a new Gnat Killer that I'll be sharing next week along with an easy and delicious recipe for Air Fryer Chicken Breasts and Oven Roasted Crispy Chicken and Potatoes. I'm also enlisting my daughter Kate to help come up with some fun kid's lunches that you can pack for your kiddos! Y'all, there is so much good stuff that I can't wait to share with you!
Also, there is an amazing new feature that I added to the blog before everything went sideways! Since I get so many reader questions, I added a reader question and answer page! You can ask me any questions you like, and I will answer them! This is a great place to check if you have a question to see if it has already been asked and answered, and I'd love for y'all to chime in if you know the answers or have your own opinions! As long as everyone keeps it nice and kind of course! You can Ask Questions HERE and find All of the Answers HERE!
I hope that you will continue this wild ride with me, and wish you and your families good health and happiness! If there is ever an idea you would like to share or something that I can help you with, I hope you will reach out to me! You can drop me a line at [email protected] or ask questions HERE!
Love and hugs to you and yours,