Category: Learning (page 1 of 6)

Holy Spirit, You Are Welcome Way Down Here

I’m finding that I have a hard time writing about life as it’s happening. I’m better at narratives, which means I find my footing better in hindsight. Bear with me, as I attempt to share in the midst…

2017 has had some really big moments. We bought a house, Hosanna learned to walk, Josiah started reading…we also lost a baby.  Just writing that sucks the wind out of me.

I’ve found myself back in counseling, because I’ve been a total mess since the miscarriage. I feel like there’s usually a single gripping moment that makes or breaks a blog post, but please understand, the point of this post isn’t about our loss. Continue reading

Overcoming Fear: Homeschool

I’ve been working on my November goals regarding homeschooling this week, and I’m happy to report some progress. The hand-me-down wooden shelf that we’ve shuffled around for years has found it’s purpose in holding all the homeschool curriculum and goodies.

Homeschool Shelf

Although this week has been productive, from the point in August when we “started” 4 year old preschool until early November, I, for all intents and purposes, wallowed in fear and self-loathing.

Can I be really honest? Homeschooling scares me…like fight or flight kind of fear.

I have a very intelligent little boy. He was speaking full sentences before 18 months, and he can recall minute details from years ago. It’s amazing and frightening to watch him absorb information at rapid speeds. I DON’T WANT TO MESS THIS KID UP. He has SO much potential, and I want to give him a foundation to fulfill all the dreams God has for him.

A few weeks ago, I was lamenting to Dustin how scared I am of homeschooling. He stopped me in my tracks when he said, “That’s so not like you. When you face a challenge, you figure it out and conquer it.” WOAH.

He’s right, though. I’m a lover of challenges, an information sponge, a lifelong nerd (er, learner), and I face life head-on…when I’m being me.

You see, fear has this way of making us forget who we are. It undermines us and our true nature. When the enemy whispers lies that make us question our abilities, we can find ourselves running away from the things that are important.

I was feeling like a homeschool failure, and because I was giving way to fear, I was BEING a homeschool failure. As my mom says, “The only way to fail at homeschooling is NOT to do it.”

Between my husband and my mom, I got the encouragement I needed to take the leap. Dustin constantly cheers me on, and I’m always overhearing him “unschooling” Josiah by using all sorts of teachable moments in daily life. He’s the best homeschool principal I know. Mom gave me way more resources than any new homeschool momma would need, so there’s no excuse.

My new habit is to prepare what we are doing the next day right after Josiah goes to bed. Then when I feel tired or am battling morning sickness the following morning, everything is ready to go. Josiah and I are having a blast. He enjoys this time of day when he has my undivided attention, and I am reveling in watching him learn. I mean, I know I’m a first timer, but am I the only one who tears up every time her kid writes his name? Every day, he gets better at it, and today, he spelled it without help and even wrote the “S” all by himself. If that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

So I want to encourage you today NOT to give in to fear. Don’t listen to those lies from the enemy. Take life head on, and remember who you are. Fear has no place in a life well-lived.

If you don’t have the confidence to live by faith, not by fear, because you don’t know Jesus, please reach out. He’s waiting for you, and I’d be so happy to walk with you as you embrace the Savior. God Bless!

The Weekend Wave: August 16

August is half way over. WHAT.

In the month that my two favorite guys were born (Josiah is soon to be four. Feelings. So many feelings.), we’re doing the wave daily!

  • This week I’m doing the wave for my favorite hairstylist, Missie Shawen, owner of Paradise Island Salon. If you live anywhere near Harrison, Ohio, MAKE THE DRIVE. She is so worth it. Totally down-to-Earth, straight-shooting, master of all things hair, nails, and make-up. She makes me, a low-maintenance momma, look beautiful. And apparently, people come from miles around to have her do eyelash extensions. It still baffles my mind that people pay for things like that, but it doesn’t surprise me that they’d have her do the job. I can’t say enough about her skills! She manages to straighten my hair in about ten minutes, and it ACTUALLY LOOKS GOOD. ‘Nough said.

A photo posted by Felisha Joyce (@felishajoyce) on

  • Although this is a place for cheering and fun, I think we should also commend our friends for doing the hard things…like sharing real life. This blog about experiencing miscarriage in the first month of marriage just about brought me to my knees. New life is so precious, and this post expressed that in such an honest and raw way. We can’t possibly understand the reasons for why life is lost, but God is there. He holds tiny lives in His hands.
  • On a completely different and goofy note, read How an Introvert Makes a Phone Call. Finally, someone put the struggle into words. I LOATHE talking on the phone. I’m not sure that’s a strong enough word for the negative feelings that rise up in me at the thought of making or taking a phone call. No one close to me really gets it; they just know it’s better to text me. Hopefully this blog post will bring some understanding.

I hope that you will make this week one of honesty, sharing, and joy. Living in community is the only real way to live. For whom will you do the wave this week? Look at the people around you and lift them up!

I’m Taking the Road to Health Less Traveled

Friends, I have been looking forward to sharing this post with you so much! It’s no secret to people who know me that I geek out about natural health. I’ve spent at least half of my life learning about food and how it affects us, body and soul. I was very athletic from a young age, and I’ve always enjoyed being active. Living a healthy lifestyle has always been important to me, and when I’ve veered off track, I’ve suffered for it.

All that being said, there were still a lot of things I’ve done poorly. This life is a journey, and we have to keep learning. If we stay the same, we’ll become stagnant and risk keeping habits that aren’t truly healthy.

Although I’ve maintained a relatively healthy weight through the years, I’ve battled chronic pain since I was in my freshman year of college. It’s only gotten worse through the years. Poor Dustin is probably so sick of hearing “I don’t feel good.” I’ve dealt with anxiety, depression, fatigue, poor temperature regulation, low blood sugar, low iron, PMS (before, during, and after that golden time of the month), menstrual migraines, weather induced migraines, sinus headaches, seasonal allergies, and food sensitivities…

Um watch out, I’m the hot-mess-express! I’ve been way sicker, weaker, depressed, and tired than a person my age should be. I’ve had doctors tell me my joints are older than my biological age…not where a health conscious momma wants to find herself.

So…what’s the deal? I mean, I eat healthier than the average American, and I’m active.

Like I said before, I was still doing things wrong for a long time. I wasn’t feeding my body what it needed, and I was giving it a lot of things that were causing me harm.

The first year Dustin and I were married, I figured out that gluten really contributes to my pain and fatigue. Dairy contributes to my allergies and stomach pain. For several years, I was faithfully off of gluten, and I began to eat as a vegetarian. I considered myself pretty healthy then. I suffered a lot less pain, and I was able to get pregnant with Josiah during that time.

Apparently, Josiah has been a carnivore since conception, because not long after I got pregnant, I began CRAVING meat. “Eat all the hamburgers!” was the message I was getting from the womb. Suddenly, my diet did a 180. I went from eating veggies, some dairy, eggs, and healthy grains and legumes to eating meat and starches. Yikes. I gained about 40 pounds and did not manage to go back to my previous lifestyle.

Although I was able to drop the pregnancy weight, my chronic pain increased dramatically through the years, and I continued to experience fatigue and the inability to keep up with other people my age. 

I’ve been told I’m an old lady more times than I’d like to admit. It sounds funny, but if I let myself think about it for too long, I’d probably melt into a puddle of tears. I despise feeling run down and having pain that interferes with living a normal life. I do not want to be able to determine the forecast with my joints, for the love. 

Over the last few years of chaos, my diet has basically been eat-whatever-is-available. If someone else cooked it and offered it, even better. As you can imagine, consuming dairy and gluten, along with all sorts of other convenience foods have reeked havoc on my body and mind. So. Much. Pain.

Recently, though, I’ve been cleaning up my diet and trying to get back on track. My family is doing great, and I want to be my best me.

The more I researched and the more migraines I had (In spite of being gluten free and very low in dairy), the more I started to believe there was a big piece to the health puzzle that I was missing.


It’s the problem. I’m convinced.

If you’ve ever walked through a grocery store and turned packages over to read labels, you’d know that sugar is in EVERYTHING. Anything processed and prepared by the food industry has sugar added or some other neuro-toxin that will trick your mind into thinking fake food tastes good.

Although I’ve been trying to eat whole foods, I still sometimes go for convenience. That “healthy” organic granola bar I’d have in the afternoon was full of sugar. The homemade, from scratch, pumpkin bread I made for breakfast contained sugar. Even though I bought the far less processed cane sugar, I was still eating way too much. I know sugar is what was making me sick.

Sugar causes inflammation in our bodies.

Inflammation is a major contributing factor in chronic pain, cancer, ADD/ADHD, diabetes, PCOS, thyroid problems, fatigue…just about any ailment you can list. Sugar makes you sick. END OF STORY.

Knowledge is good, but wisdom requires action…so just cut out sugar, right?


Sugar is highly addictive. Even if you don’t want to read up on it, I challenge you to watch the documentary Fed Up. In one section, they reported that cocaine addicted lab rats were offered sugar water…and they chose sugar water over cocaine. If that doesn’t convince you that sugar is addictive, I don’t know what will.

How do you give up a drug, especially one that is so readily available in our food?

In my experience, shear will power alone won’t kick this habit.

July 4, 2015 was the day I finally decided to stop whining and start taking the initiative to better my health. That day, I started following the Trim Healthy Mama Plan

Trim Healthy Mama


I am so glad I did.

This meal plan is like no other I’ve tried, and I’ve tried plenty…Adkins, Weight Watchers, Vegetarian, Paleo, Whole 30. None of them worked for my body entirely. Although each of them emphasize a lot of good things, none of them helped me kick my sugar habit.

This plan is one that strategically feeds my body the things it actually NEEDS, so that it can fight back when my brain sends signals to eat things that are extremely harmful (i.e. processed foods, refined sugar and starches, etc.).

The basic concept is that you only eat whole foods, eat protein with every meal and snack, and if you are actively trying to lose weight, do not consume fat and carbohydrates together. Eat the food God made. It really can be that simple.

If you are struggling with any sort of ailment, physical or mental, PLEASE give this some consideration. I would get on my hands and knees and beg the people I love to give this a try if I thought that would be effective (People think I’m crazy enough, so I won’t). I just hope someone reading this will take control of their health and experience the benefits I have.

In my first month on THM…

1. I stopped having weather induce migraines.

2. I stopped craving junk food and excess sugar.

3. I didn’t have my very predictable menstrual migraine.

4. I was NOT hungry. You get to be full on this plan! No misery over feeling hungry. Or in my case, hangry

5. I did not count a single calorie, and I ate gobs of butter. Yum! (Healthy fats are SO important!).

6. I ate until I was full 4-5 times per day. We’re talking meal portions, people.

7. I have experienced far less pain (almost none!). Glory!

8. I lost 7 lbs. (This is a big deal. That’s about 1/3 of what I want/need to lose…all in the first month!).

9. I have gotten excited about all the yummy foods I CAN eat. Hello skinny chocolate, chicken enchiladas, and Good Girl Moonshine

10. I do NOT have sugar crashes and the afternoon slump that I could count on before.

11. I have gained so much confidence that a healthy weight and overall well-being are possible.

12. My husband finds me even more attractive than he already did, and he’s very supportive of this new lifestyle. Whoop whoop!

I wouldn’t dare endorse something I hadn’t experienced for myself…That being said, I would wholeheartedly recommend this plan to anyone reading, because it’s working wonders for me. Truly, I would follow this plan even if I wasn’t losing weight, because I think it’s the key to good physical health…and physical health is a major factor in mental and spiritual health, as well.

Although I don’t believe that what we eat should be a religious matter (Read the New Testament if you disagree), I do think what we eat is a spiritual matter. Is it a sin to eat sugar? NO! Are we probably better off without it? Yes! I know that when I’m not at my best, I can’t reach my potential for Christ. The confidence and improved health I’m gaining with Trim Healthy Mama is allowing me to give my best for HIS glory. Can I get an AMEN?!

There’s a great community of ladies on Facebook who are available to offer suggestions and support 24/7, so I’d suggest joining today, even if you aren’t sure you want to try it. The testimonials on there are evidence enough for the skeptic in me. Stories of weight loss, pregnancy after years of infertility, healing from PCOS, diabetes, thyroid disease, and the list goes on…real life accounts every single day. It’s incredible and such a blessing to watch other women succeed.

Although you can start the plan without the THM Book (Here’s a quick start guide), I really think it’s a great resource. I’ve been fortunate that my mom has shared hers with me. If not, I’d definitely want to buy my own copy.

If you’re ready to get healthy, please consider this plan. I’d love to answer any questions I can. I always love to chat about food and good health. I guarantee you don’t have to do anything fancy or buy any expensive products to experience the joy that is Trim Healthy Mama. You can make this plan as simple or complicated as you like. It’s doable on a budget and on the run. Why not try it for one month and see what happens? I bet you won’t regret it!

Goals for August 2015

July passed just as quickly as June in the Dummel household. I’m actually excited for summer to end, although that sounds like heresy as I read it back. Summer in Indiana is sacred; we soak up the few warm months before the long cold season comes. I thought that staying home 6 out of 7 days per week would make me feel more calm, but we’ve been living summer to the fullest. This has left me physically and emotionally drained and ready for the mundane of the fall and winter seasons. As much as I like to think I’m adventurous, I cling to routine. I love to read and think and write and love on my people. I love the sunshine, but allowing Josiah to take full advantage of the good weather, I’ve spent more time away from home than suits my sense of peace. If you think I’m boring, you’re probably right.

I’m starting to understand why some writers take a summer hiatus from their blogs. A lot of living happens, and it’s a rare moment for energy and free time to coincide. There’s no lack for things to think and write about this summer, though. Many of my emotions over the last month have been negative, and I’m not confident in writing through those times. Too often negative emotions are fleeting, and I don’t feel sure of what I’d say in those moments. I was raised to be mindful of my tongue, so I don’t want to leave a careless word here. Between personal anxiety and current events in America, I’ve been challenged to reevaluate exactly what I believe and what action I’ll take in faith. As summer turns to fall, I’m convicted and excited to learn, grow, and write more.

Recap of July Goals

1. Continue to grow in Spiritual Discipline.

2. Finish reading Love & Respect and Scary Close. <Scary Close was a great read, and I plan to read it again. I’m still finishing up Love & Respect, but I would recommend it without hesitation.

3. Document our family vacation on the blog. <NOPE.

4. Blog 1-2 times per week.

5. Complete embroidery hoop and list it in the MBW Etsy shop. <Not even close.

6. Research homeschool and begin learning activities with Josiah.

7. Go on a nice date with Dustin! <We have date night planned for tomorrow, so I’m not a complete failure. Sorry, Babe!

Greeting Card
Goals for August 2015

1. Continue to grow in Spiritual Discipline.

2. Finish reading Love & Respect.

3. Continue developing a plan for home preschool.

4. Complete embroidery hoop and list it in the MBW Etsy shop.

5. Continue organizing our home and ridding the house of clutter.

6. Have a yard sale.

7. Make homemade soap and shampoo bars 🙂

What are you up to this month?

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