the railroad wife

{March 7, 2014}   Spring is almost here!

Does anyone else have the winter blah’s? I think spring is so close, we can touch it, but living in north-central Montana all my life I know we can get at least one more shot of snow – even though it is supposed to be in the mid 50’s on Saturday. And after the freezing rain last night, spring feels slightly further away.   Although it has been a long winter here, I know it has been a lot worse in other parts of the country, and I hope all you ladies there are fairing well.

I don’t know about you gal’s but I have been a total home-body this season.  It is compounded by homeschooling Hallie (I don’t have to leave to drop her off or pick her up) and Mark being gone so much ( I am not cooking as much, less trips to the grocery store.  No complaints there!) Truth be told, since we had freezing rain, Hallie and I had a total pajama day today.

So what do we do to get out of the funk we are in?  Re-enter society? Become human again?

My first suggestion, is when you get a bit warmer day, turn off the heat and open a window for a bit.  Get some fresh air circulating through your house!

Go out and get some fresh-air induced exercise!  If you are in the melt-and-freeze stage, get some spikes to strap over your shoes so you don’t fall.  If your hubby is home, make it part of an afternoon date before the kids get home from school.  Whatever you choose to do, get out and do it!

Do a spring detox.  It is recommended to do a detox once per season to remove toxins from your body and give you a fresh start.  There are a variety of ways to detox and it does not have to be anything drastic such as a “5-day juice cleanse.”  But remember, before going on any kind of dietary changes or detox, check with your doctor first.

Start planning your garden (one of my favorites!)  I love the fresh vegetables from the fruits of my labor.  It’s a great way to get fresh food for your family as well as a great project for your kids with a valuable learning experience and they will love the rewards.

I hope this helps get you out of the winter blues and spring into some action for some fun times ahead!

For more information on Angie Kralich Health Coaching, visit me at or connect with me on Facebook.

{February 10, 2014}   Being Authentic

Wow!  Seems like forever and a day since I have posted to my blog!  I admit, I have been almost scared to post considering what’s been going on.  After reviewing my posts, it looks to me that every time I think we are all healthy and I can jump back into my work, I get proved wrong!  No sooner did I post Mark was all healed up, than I had to take a turn.  I have been struggling with my health for months.  And I am a Health Coach!  Board Certified!  I have to admit, part of the reason I haven’t posted, is I have been ashamed to face all of you.  How can I help you be healthy when I can’t keep myself and my family healthy?  That has been so hard for me to deal with.  What do I say to all of you?  What advice do I give you?  When contemplating this with a friend/fellow health coach, her answer was simple:  “Be your true authentic self.  Just like you’re being with me.”

Those are mighty powerful words!  And honestly, they are one of the key ingredients in life.  Be True.  Be Authentic.  The truth is, you ladies could care less if I have been sick too.  I don’t mean you are heartless, I mean that it doesn’t matter!  Until I pointed it out, you probably weren’t even considering the fact that I am an unhealthy Health Coach.  From reading your comments, you are just happy I am here for you!  And I want to be!  I would love to blame it totally on the brain fog that I have endured from the anemia I have been battling, but the point is, I was scared.  I was afraid.  I was afraid that 1.) I couldn’t support your needs, and 2.) that you would think I was a fraud.  So instead of admitting to you that life happens, I chose to hide.  Well, today I am choosing to be authentic!

The reality is, sometime LIFE SUCKS!  Things just don’t go as we planned.  And it seems every time something is running a little too smoothly, someone has to get sick to smack a dose of reality in our faces.  Maybe that’s a little harsh, but that is sure how it has felt!  I have the best job in the world!  I get to be a Mom.  I get to work from home so that I am able to homeschool my daughter so that her spirit and her heart aren’t crushed by bullies.  But most important, I am able to work from home so when someone in my family is sick, I can take care of them.  I love to help people!  That is why my chosen profession is as a Health Coach!  And the fact of the matter is, I can help you more by being authentic with you than trying to pretend that everything is o.k.  I know for a fact that I never would have been able to keep a job if I was employed by another individual or company this past year.  I would have had to quit.  It wouldn’t have been fair to them.  I mean, let’s face it.  Employers need someone who is reliable.  And last year, my place was flat out at home with my family.  Might sound 50’s-ish, but they needed me.  My husband was on medical restrictions and couldn’t even drive himself to his doctors appointments.  My daughter needed a lot of TLC to get over all of her hurts, both mental and physical.  These past few months when I have been sick, there is no way I could have managed to get up and go to work every day.  None.  But I was able to stay home and do a little here, and a little there.  In my pajamas!  Now, admitting that to you, that is being authentic!  And truthfully, my health has been declining for the past few years.  I knew, but thought I could keep putting it off until everyone in my life was 100% great!  The truth is I couldn’t.  And neither can you!

So my advice for today is, be true to yourself.  Be authentic to yourself.  Love you for who you are and love your life for what it is.  Everything that happens to us in life, happens for a reason whether we like it or not.  If we allow it to, it will make us stronger.  If we listen to our life, we will hear the lessons it is trying to teach us.  Accept yourself.  God made us all special and unique.  He made us as individuals.  Love who you are and love both your strengths and  your weaknesses.  Love yourself enough to put yourself first.  This is not being selfish!  Putting yourself first gives us strength to help others.  I can honestly tell you, I haven’t been a lot of good to anybody when I can hardly find the energy to get off the couch.  If I would have been caring for myself first, I would definitely have the energy today to be the mom and wife my family needs me to be.  I can’t be much more true and authentic than that, now can I?

{September 22, 2013}   It has been a LONG haul!

Hello All!

I want to start by thanking my followers for their willingness to follow me and comment on my blog!  I also want to apologize for being out-of-site the past few months, as by reading your comments, all of you are thankful I am here.  I am truly sorry for my unexpected leave of absence from my work and my blog.

I didn’t review my last few posts to see where I had left things, so I will give you a quick recap.  Mark became extremely ill in April, being hospitalized in May.  He was diagnosed with viral meningitis.  In a nutshell, I have spent the last four and a half months caring for him, driving him to numerous doctor appointments and tests 250 miles from home (one-way!), and fighting with insurance to pay, arguing with the clinic over bills, and just trying to keep the paper trail straight!!!  In the meantime, if it could break down, it did.  At home and on the farm.  So on top of everything else, I have been dealing with the numerous repairs and trying to keep the never ending paper-trail of receipts where they should be for future reference.  In the meantime, I still had to hold the fort down at home and care for Hallie.  And I guess I don’t think I had enough to do because I once again enrolled in school.  Let’s pile on the work and the stress!  I have been exhausted!

Through all of this, I have learned the ins and outs of what to do when your man can’t work due to a non-work related disability.  We have learned the ins and outs of sickness benefits through RR retirement, the advantage of a private disability policy, and yes, everybody does pay attention to HPPA and will not give the spouse any information if you have questions on the medical bills, results of tests, what do we need to do next, or the disability insurance claims.  Every time I made a call, Mark had to get on the phone and give permission for nurses, billing department, insurance, etc. to talk to me.  You have no idea how many hours this has taken from my days the past few months.  Every month, I had to acquire and submit verification forms signed by the doctors that Mark was still sick, still not able to drive, and most of all, still not able to operate a train.

But good news!  Last Saturday Mark started riding the rails again!  Life can return to normal!  Hmmm?  What IS normal to the RR Wife?  Being a single wife/mom.  I have no other words for it.  Which in and of itself, is NOT the normal way of life.  But yet, we all find some way to make it normal.

So here I am.  Skipping church and skipping a morning walk (I just looked out the window, and it rained anyway) to do what I love on a Sunday morning!  I have missed my work and I have missed my blog!  So armed with my morning coffee, I am once again posting!  I am refusing to look at my messy house and laundry that needs to be done.  I am happy!

After an hour of trying to log back into my blog (it’s been so long, I forgot my user name!)  I was able to read all of the comments you have posted and I know that I was able to help people.  All of the ladies that left comments know the loneliness and the frustrations and have felt them.  And I gave their feelings a voice!  I gave them a place to let them know they aren’t alone.  So although I am not out fighting to save the world, I am supporting women like myself.  I am here to help, which was my goal when I started this blog.  So please ladies, even though I was gone for a bit, please keep following and posting!  And if you don’t want to put your feelings out there, please send me an email!  And please share this blog with your single-wife friends who might need some support.  We are in this together!

{March 18, 2013}   Are you taking time for you?

Wow!  Such a long time since I have posted here!  I feel like my world is spinning out of control when my schedule gets rearranged!

It turns out my daughter was not sick with Influenza in January.  I finally got the results of her influenza swab and it was negative.  I have taken her to a doctor to follow-up with since we have had subsequent headaches.  He is pretty sure that she had viral meningitis, and she definitely developed encephalitis as a result from whatever she did have.  So I have a child with a virus in her brain, I have been battling ear infections and sore throat, and to top it all off, I have discovered my house has been broken into – on more than one occasion.  Most recently last Friday.  Needless to say, on top of it all, I have obviously been developing stress headaches!

So my greatest apologies for not posting!  I have had a lot to say, but I have had a hard time articulating it into words!

Other than all of this (ha!  it’s a LOT!), I have received my certification with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (Woo! Hoo!) and I have now graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (DOUBLE Woo! Hoo!)  It feels so good to have my passion for a career!

So Railroad Wives (and other Single-Wives!)  How can I help you today?  Obviously by posting more frequently.  But what else can I help you with?  That is what I am here for and what I want to know!  My sole purpose for starting this blog is to be of a support system for you! What are your concerns?  I want to know!

Mark is gearing up for spring on the farm which means less time at home for him, but also that I am back in my routine.  Which right now happens to consist of working and being a mom.  Now that I am done with school and I have more clients (another reason for my delayed posts!) I need to come up with a new routine of getting housework done, being a mom, and doing fun things with Hallie.  Mark’s stress level is about to hit the roof, so that means that I will be doing even more on my own.  I am so happy that I hired a housekeeper to at least scrub my bathrooms and my kitchen, otherwise, I don’t know when it will get done.  But what about time for me?  Now THERE’S a topic to discuss!

Are you fitting time in for yourself?  One of the hardest ways for us as single-wives/moms to take care of ourselves is to let ourselves relax.  Get some down time.  DE-STRESS!  Don’t pick up the house and do something for me!  Here are some relaxing and fun things you can do for yourself:

1.) Get a massage!  I know I have said this before, but I cannot stress it enough.  Massages are therapeutic, they are relaxing, and most of all, they work out the stress kinks.  This is and it isn’t spoiling yourself.  It is because it is so enjoyable, and it isn’t because stress will kill you.  It will eat you up from the inside out, make you sick, make you make bad choices such as eating or sleep which in turn works negatively on us.  I love the way I feel after a massage and all of the knots in my body stress has created are gone.

2.) Play with your kids!  And if you don’t have kids, borrow a niece or nephew.  Don’t have one of those?  Hang out with a friend and her kids!  Kids know how to have fun!  Ask them what they would like to do and jump in!  You will enjoy yourself and so will your child!  And a child’s laughter is one of the greatest things in the world to partake in!

3.) Go to the library, check out a good book and read it!

4.) Make a coffee or lunch date with a friend.

5.) Start a book club.  Find a few friends to join and pick a good book.  Once per month, meet at someone’s house (everyone takes a turn at hosting).  Have the host cook a main dish, and each member brings something such as appetizers, bread, salad, wine, or dessert.  At the dinner, draw for the next host, and that person picks the book for the next meeting.

6.) If you’re not into reading, start a birthday club, or do both!  Pick a few friends and get together on or near each other’s birthday.   Someone can host and everyone contribute, or pick a restaurant to meet in.

7.) Get a mani and a pedi!

8.) Take a walk and get back in touch with nature.  Leave your iPod at home and enjoy the sounds around you.  The birds singing, the wind rustling the trees, or the snow crunching.

9.) Go where you want to go instead of where you HAVE to go.  Tired of Wal-Mart?  Go to a museum or an art gallery.

10.) Check out a used book store, a second-hand store, a vintage clothing store, etc.  Who knows what treasures you may find?

I hope this gives you some new and inventive ways to do things for yourselves.  If you have to, schedule them in.  And don’t worry if your husband might be home.  You CANNOT schedule around the railroad!  It is impossible!  And if he is home while you are gone, the kids would probably love some one-on-one time with dad.  No kids or they are in school?  He would probably appreciate some guy time.  And who knows?  He might surprise you and have flowers and dinner waiting for you when you get home to go with that new mani and pedi!

Wow!  I feel like it has been a year since I have posted here instead of two weeks.  Things have been so crazy and hectic!  I have been working like crazy to finish up my homework and take my final exam from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  I took my exam yesterday, and I am so relieved that is out of the way!

So now what?  We all have that question from time to time?  Why am I here?  Even though it has been a tough year juggling school, work, and family, it has been a great year!  I love the people that I have met through IIN and all the wonderful things I have learned.  Not just for myself, but the things that I have learned to help others.  I love my career as a Health Coach. I have awesome clients and I love to teach them how to have happier, healthier, lives!  But what direction do I want to take with my business?  How do I want to continue helping people?  I will keep you posted as I plan it out!

As I was trying to spend the last two weeks catching up on homework it really seemed the single wife syndrome kicked my butt.  I was frustrated and overwhelmed as my engineer/farmer husband was busy doing what he needed to do.  My daughter ruled the house and I might add, it is a wreck (it was VERY easy just to close the door on my office and not look!) and I haven’t gotten any information together for the accountant yet for taxes.  So I am going to mesh spring cleaning and tax time while I start marketing my business.  Ha!  Let’s see how well that goes!

And since I haven’t gotten any sleep the past two weeks stressing over my homework, I guess maybe I will give you a few tips on sleeping easier!

1.)  As you lay in bed, close your eyes and think of a relaxing place.  I always think about floating on a raft in the Caribbean with the aqua blue water and the sun shining on me.  I close my eyes and I remember the smell of the water and the sounds of the waves, I can even feel the warmth of the sun.  Next, take one big deep breath through your mouth, then exhale slowly through your mouth.  After that, breath slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth, emptying your mind of your stress from the day.  Do this a few times until you fully feel like you are in your relaxing place.  Once there, keep imagining, keep your eyes closed, breath normal, and once you are relaxed, hopefully you will fall asleep.

2.) Read a book.  And not an exciting thriller, but a peaceful book to relax your mind.  You don’t want to get so involved that you stay up until 4:00 a.m. to see how it ends.

3.)  Turn some soft music on.  My daughter will put on any of Alan Jackson’s slow songs, hit the “repeat” button, and turn out the light and we will both fall right to sleep.  Her choice for tonight is “Remember When.”

4.)  If you have a lot of thoughts running through your head, whether it was a good day or a bad one, journal them out.  Once you have them written down, you know you won’t forget the things you need to remember.  If you had a bad day, think of it as taking the negative thoughts out of your head and placing them on paper, thus removing them from your mind.  If you are still having a hard time with this when you are done, start writing down things you are grateful for.  Keep writing until you are smiling and then you should get some peaceful sleep.

I hope these tips help you out!  Losing sleep is no good for any of us as it not only affects our mood, but it can be detrimental to our immune system too.  We need proper rest for good emotional, physical, and spiritual health as well as to help us make proper nutrition choices so we are not eating and drinking the wrong things for energy.

Take care and good night!

{February 13, 2013}   A New Day

If you didn’t catch my blog yesterday, I was pretty down in the dumps.  There is no other way to describe it!  I was feeling extremely lonely, largely due to the fact that after my father-in-law passed away, I didn’t hear a word from hardly any of my friends.  All I could think about is all of the things I have done in the past, asking for nothing in return.  And now when I needed someone, there were no cards, no meals, no visits.  Hardly anything to comfort my family at all.  I received about four text messages and couple of phone calls.  My husband received a few more.

Oh what a difference a day can make!  Or even a few hours!  About five minutes after I published the post, I received a phone call from a friend I haven’t seen in almost a year because she has moved.  She is going to be in town today, and we have a coffee date scheduled.  Then another friend called looking for me because she had made a plate of brownies for us.  And another friend graciously came over and sat with my sick daughter while I went to the grocery store.  Then four cards came in the mail, and at 4:55 p.m. another friend and her husband showed up with a hot casserole, a salad, honey-dew melon, and a wonderful basket of assorted goodies along with disposable plates, forks, cups, napkins, so I wouldn’t have to do dishes.  WOW!

So now I can’t decide, was God trying to cheer me up, or was He trying to kick me in the butt and show me I had no reason for my pitty-party?  Hmmm….  I think it was both!  And it couldn’t have come at a better time, because the very second I published the post, my phone was ringing from the school because I had a sick child.  What a wonderful day to receive a casserole!

I have been telling all of you that we need to have the attitude of gratitude, and where was mine?  Out the window, I would say!  But we all have lonely days.  Especially as single wives.  We have days when we miss our spouses and it is magnified when we miss our friends too.  But instead of feeling sorry for ourselves and wondering where our friends are, we need to take a look in the mirror and see what is missing in ourselves first.  I read an article this morning on about The Best Valentine’s Day Gift Ever.  It is about showing your spouse appreciation.  That’s a good start when we are feeling at our worst.  As lonely as we are, I am sure they are feeling it too.  And at least we have the comforts of home, not living in a hotel room, or a camper trailer, or a man camp.

And while we are at it, why don’t we show our friends appreciation for being our friends?  Take initiative and pick up the phone, or send them a card.  People love mail!  And what a nice surprise it would be to get a beautiful card that said, “Thanks for being my friend” amongst the bills.  Invite a friend on a coffee date or a lunch date.  Get your kids together for a play date and visit.  Or show up at their house with a bottle of wine.  Do all the things we wish they would do for us.

But most of all, learn to appreciate yourself!  I made the choices in my life.  Does that mean that I made a choice to be alone?  No!  It means that I made a choice to put my family first!  I work to pay for my daughter’s private school.  I chose the work I do because I want to help people.  And I chose to have my office in my house so if my daughter is sick (like today), I don’t have to miss work.  And I chose to be done working by 3:00 so I am available when she is home from school.  Could I work longer hours and make more money?  Yes, but why?  My husband works more than enough for both of us.  Some parents don’t have a choice about their kids going to daycare.  But my husband already works two full-time jobs.  So why would I put my daughter in daycare if I don’t need to?  So you see, I am fulfilling both of my choices – to be a mom and a Health Coach.  Do I need to work?  Probably not.  I am sure I would be a lot less stressed and a lot less lonely if all I had to do all day were household tasks and drink coffee and lunch with my friends.  But this way, my daughter is going to a wonderful school and truthfully, I am not happy unless I am helping somebody.

So rather than be as miserable as I was yesterday, I am choosing to be grateful for my friends and my family.  And also for my education and my lifestyle that allows me to do something I am passionate about while at the same time being a mom first.  And I appreciate myself for how hard I have worked for my education, and I am both grateful and appreciative of the fact that I chose above all to be a mom.  So what if the armless people have taken over my house?  Guess what?  Being in school with a young child is only a season in my life.  It will pass.  And the benefits far out-weigh the struggles I am having now.  My house will be clean soon enough.  There, that wasn’t so hard was it?

And after all, if I am not grateful or appreciative to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be?

{February 12, 2013}   It’s a Meltdown Day!!!

Have you ever had one of those days when things aren’t so rosy-dixie?  I have been having four weeks of them!  I am feeling SUPER stressed out and frustrated today.  I am 7 weeks behind on my homework, and I keep running into roadblocks getting it done.  I am getting pressure from everywhere, it seems to do so many different things with my work and personal issues.  Everything is piling up on me through illnesses and now a loss in the family.  I am almost ready to have a meltdown!!!  And on top of it, everywhere I walk, someone has left something in a pile around the house.  Because, with work, and homework, and wife-work, I don’t have anything better to do put pick up after the other members of my household that have no arms.

This is why I decided to create this support group!

It seems that when I am at my worst, I am also at my loneliest.  My friends all have their lives, and their kids, and their families to take care of.  And as I mentioned before, most of them are single-wives too, and that is why we are friends because they are the ones who get it!  It seems my other friends who are not in the single-wife status just sort of phased me out.  They didn’t get it.  They don’t know what it is like to be a mom/dad 24/7 every day of the year!  I know a lot of single-moms, but they share custody of their kids so they get a break.  Not me!  I have to pack ALL of my stuff to do into the 7 hours a day I am without my daughter.  Before school and after school are devoted to her.  I have to get her ready in the morning, and help her with homework after school.  I have to cook supper, make sure she gets a tub, and practice her instruments that she begged me to have.  I have her read to me and then I read to her.  And rarely does this go smoothly without an argument, because after all, she has been in school all day.  And then finally, I lay down with her at night and rub her back because it is literally the only quality time we get together.  And weekends?  Other husbands are home to relieve their wives so they can get a break and to do stuff with other couples, but not mine!

So when I became a mom, slowly but surely the phone calls stopped coming. I seriously think not one of my friends has ever looked at my life to see what it is truly like for me.  Here I am married to a man who works not one, but two VERY demanding jobs.  Is rarely in town, and I have no family in town to help me out.  I work, go to school, cook, clean, and do laundry.  That’s the short list.  In addition, I want to be a mom who is there for her child, and I try to watch my money as close as I can and NOT spend extra on babysitters so when my husband gets a break, we can do something as a family.  I think in the past 10 years, I have literally gotten ONE phone call from an acquaintance who said “I should have called two months ago, but last time I saw you at church, you looked a little stressed.  Would you like to go out for coffee?”  And this person cancelled the coffee date because she was busy, telling me she would call me to reschedule.  It has been two years, and I am still waiting for a call back.

The reason I think none of my friends have ever looked at my life, is because none of them have ever showed up on my doorstep with a meal to help me out and relieve my stress.  Even through my years of chronic fatigue and chronic illness.  Instead, they just quit calling.

And truly the loss of my friends are contributing to my meltdown.  Oh, I know they still care, I am just not in their “circle” anymore.  But it still doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt.  I guess when I think about it, I rightfully chose my daughter over them.  But should it be a choice?  I didn’t want to be one of those parents who puts their needs ahead of their kids.  I have a strong belief that some of the issues going on with kids today have to do with how selfish their parents are.  So I make sure I am home for my daughter.  Oh believe me, I have tried to get my parents to move to town to help me with my daughter so I could have a little bit of a life!  Maybe take a quilting class or have dinner with a friend once a week.  But they are retired and they have their friends and their lives.  And it does not escape my notice that most people my age have kids in jr. high or high school.  Or no kids at home at all.  And I don’t quite fit in with the 20 somethings who are just starting their families and get their kids together for play dates.  Does this mean I am destined to be alone?  I am still available for lunch dates or coffee dates.  And when it comes right down to it, I still have feelings.

Seriously, does anyone else out there feel like this?  Or am I alone because I have no family in town to help with my child.  Do we need to have monthly meetings where we get together and get our frustrations out and see what we can do to help each other out?  Or are we all happy pretending that everything is “fine?”  These are not rhetorical questions!  I want to know!

But enough of my pitty-party.  So to follow my previous posts, I guess I will try to be positive and have gratitude.  I am very thankful for the wonderful friends that I do have, even if I don’t get to see them very often.  And the home that I live in, even if it is a mess today.  And God gave me a wonderful gift when he gave me my beautiful daughter, and I truly can’t spend enough time with her!  For one day, and soon, I am sure she will want to be with her friends rather than me.  I know this is just a season in my life, and today is just one bad day in that season.  And even though I am surrounded by armless people, tomorrow will be better.   Tomorrow I will be more cheerful and less gloomy.  I promise!

{February 11, 2013}   Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year!  Spring is coming soon.  Well, maybe not in north-central Montana, but we can hope!  And the sooner we get it done, the sooner we can enjoy the nice weather!  But did you know that there is more to cleaning out the clutter than cleaning out your closets?  Spring is a time to start anew!  It is a time for new and re-birth.  It is a time to awaken our senses and our minds and give our bodies a recharge.

I have come up with 5 things that we need to consider when we are spring cleaning.  When it is all done, think of how refreshed we will feel!

1.)  Home

This is a tough one!  It is a very daunting task which is no fun to tackle, but a good one while it is cold outside and still snow on the ground.  It is not as hard as it looks, if you don’t try to tackle it all at once.  And rather than run to the nearest Wal-Mart and buy storage bins that we have to, well…  store, get some cardboard boxes instead and clean out!  If you haven’t used it in a year, do you truly need it?

Pick a room to start in.  Go through each closet, shelf, drawer.  Some rooms may take you more than one day, but that’s ok!  Be sure to take everything out of drawers, closets, and off of shelves and vacuum them and wipe them down.  Wash the walls in the room.  You can save the windows for a warmer day, but be sure to wipe off the tops of the windows, door frames, and door!

Having a hard time deciding about your clothes?  Put the hangers on the clothes bar backwards, and by May you will easily be able to see which ones you wear on a regular basis.  Do you want or need to clean out the rest?  Try doing this for each season of clothing.  Are you keeping clothes for when you lose weight?  If you lose the weight, will you want to buy new ones that are more in style?

Another good tip I have, is to keep an open box handy yet out of sight.  I have mine in my dining room, and every time I open a cupboard or find something that I haven’t used for a year or two, it goes in the box.  When the box is full, take it out to the garage or other storage.

Enlist help from your kids and then be sure to offer them a great treat when you are done.  Maybe a family game night or a movie night.  How about going ice skating?  Make it worth their while and they are more apt to get rid of stuff they don’t use anymore.  If you don’t have kids or don’t have any old enough to help, check with a church youth group or a club at your local high school to see if any kids are willing to work to raise money for their organization or a trip.

2.) Body

So now you are saying, “How do I spring clean my body?”  Easy!  Detox!

When you detox, your body flushes out all of the chemicals that we ingest, breath in, or are absorbed through our skin.  Your liver stores these toxins as well as your fat cells.  And did you know that your colon can carry 10-15 lbs. of extra sludge in it?  Detoxing is a great way to flush your system, and restart your body, allowing it to start out new.  It is recommended to detox every season, or four times a year.

There are several different ways to clean out your body and refresh it.  You can detox though food and following a special diet.  Check out This month’s issue of “Whole Living” for their 2013 action plan.  You can detox through juices and/or smoothies, fast, or you can purchase a detox kit from your local health food store.  Whichever method you decide to use, be sure to check with your doctor about any health concerns and which program is right for you before you begin.

I also recommend if you haven’t already, to start an exercise program.  Even though we move a lot during the day, it is not the same as regular exercise.  Exercise raises our endorphins which not only helps our bodies, but helps our minds.  Plus it keeps things moving and helps to avoid your colon being stagnant.  Any exercise is better than none, so don’t think you need to start off with “Abs of Steel.”  Normally the best exercise for you, is the one you are able to do.  And always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.

3.) Mind

Spring cleaning the mind is one of the hardest things we have to do.  I know my mind is going a million miles an hour with everything I need to get done during the day.  Not to mention, things that are bothering me or upsetting me.  Even something as small as forgetting to send a birthday card when I should.  Or like today, when I realize I forgot to have my daughter decorate the living room for Valentine’s Day.  Important to me?  Not usually.  But it is important to her, therefore, it is important to me.

Make sure you start each day with gratitude.  When you start off on a positive note, it helps your day be more positive.  Also, try to turn each negative situation into a positive.  For example, Mark was changing the lightbulb on the font porch yesterday and dropped the fixture, shattering it.  True we had to clean up the mess and now find a new one, but I haven’t liked that one for nine years.  I thought it was a win-win situation!

Try to organize your thoughts.  Make to do lists.  Do you have daily goals?  Weekly?  Monthly?  right them down on separate lists.  For example, what would you like to accomplish this month?  What are the weekly goals you need to reach to do that?  What do you have to accomplish daily to get your weekly goals done?

Organize your time!  Do weekly meal planning and grocery shopping.  Try to run all of your errands in one day so you aren’t wasting so much time and fuel running around town.

4.) Relationships

Spring cleaning relationships is very important for your health!  Do you have a friend or a loved one you had a falling out with?  It doesn’t matter whose fault it was, forgiveness and apologies are the key to fixing things.  Find them both and start over.  Is there a friend or a loved one who sucks the energy out of you?  Sometimes we just need to say “no” when asked to do tasks and put our needs first. Haven’t seen one of your friends for about a year because you have both been busy?  Get in touch with her.  It would be good for both of you and give you a chance to renew your relationship.  Getting rid of your emotional baggage with troubled relationships will help refresh you.

5.) Spirit

Whose spirit doesn’t need a lift?  I know mine does!  And often!

There are so many ways to lift our spirits.  Yoga, meditation, get a massage, call a friend.  Those are the easy ones.  There are a few other ways to lift your spirits.

Find a Bible Study group and start participating.  You can generally find a few with women that have similar situations.  Such as a “Moms” group.  Check with your local church.  If they don’t have one going on, consider starting one of your own.  Not sure how to do it?  Check with your church.  Your pastor can help you find resources.

Go have fun with your kids!  Be silly and don’t care who may see you!  We get so caught up in our busy lives we forget how to have fun.  And who knows better than kids?  Finger paint or play with play-dough.  Play dress-up or super heroes.  Whatever your kids desire!  And you never know what they will come up with!  Last night my daughter got the bright idea to play “hotel.”  And lucky me, her hotel has a spa!  I got a foot rub, a back massage, breakfast in bed, and she put a little tray of “necessities” by my bed which included raisins and coconut water if I woke up in the middle of the night hungry.  She did the dishes and made my coffee this morning.  And she is the happiest girl in the world today because I played along.  And I am the happiest mom because she tended to my needs!

Try getting back in touch with nature.  Start planning your garden and get your hands in the dirt while you plant seeds.  Go for a walk, or a hike.  If you are like me and surrounded by ice, go buy spikes to put on your shoes.  But get some fresh air and get in touch with God and all of the glorious gifts he has given us!  And don’t forget to show him gratitude while you are at it.

{January 24, 2013}   Show Me The Money!

So I got to have one of those all time (least) favorite discussions with Mark today.  One of the hottest topics among married people.  And sometimes not in a good way.  MONEY!!!  Every January it seems, we take a look at our finances and re-evaluate.  Which generally means my showing him where we spend our money, and him telling me where he thinks we need to cut costs.  Which turns out to be my perks.  i.e.  my Onstar, my Directv, my lattes…  OK, maybe I shouldn’t be drinking those anyway.  Especially as a Health Coach.  But I justify my extras because I spend so much time alone.  When he isn’t here and it is 9:00 at night, yeah, I like to watch my TV.  And I can’t get nick@night without having a little extra going out for the upgraded package.

Don’t get me wrong, Mark isn’t asking me to cut out anything without making sacrifices himself.  He already trims as much as he can.  He rarely eats out when he is away from home and he always gets gift cards for Christmas and birthday for places to eat when he is in Whitefish and for gas for his car there.  Neither one of us has any extra-curricular activities on a regular basis.  I don’t do girls night, and he doesn’t do guys night.  We rarely get an opportunity to do “couples” night (another topic for another day).   And sure he goes hunting, but he does that once a year.  I take Hallie and we go on vacation once a year.  That’s fair.  He rarely gets to go snowmobiling, and the summer fun toys (jet skis and boat) didn’t even make it out of the garage last year.  Again, that topic will be another day.

My point is, all couples need to be on the same page regarding money or somebody gets a little hot over the topic.  Before you read on, please keep in mind that I am not a financial counselor, and these are suggestions that have worked for us, therefore I am passing them on to you.

First of all, when it comes to money, no matter who is running the household, make sure you two are on the same page.  This will save arguments later down the road.  If you don’t have one already, find a plan you like.  I recommend that you use a plan made by a financial counselor.  I love Dave Ramsey’s suggestions and tools and he is my go-to guy for budgeting and, if needed, debt reduction.  In fact, before I sold my insurance agency, I used Dave’s debt reduction tools and stuck with them, and I was able to quit working and stay home with my daughter within a year, instead of five like I had originally planned.  No matter who or which software you use, make sure you are both agreeable.

Work together and discuss a set limit where you need to have a discussion with your spouse before you buy.  For example, I won’t spend over $100 on any purchase without discussing it with Mark first and vice versa.  Except on groceries.  In this day and age, no family can help that.  By doing this, hopefully this will save arguments later down the road.  And if possible, try to go over finances a minimum of once a month.  Once every pay period would be better.

Give.  10% if possible.  Whether it is to a church, a charity of choice, or a cause you believe in, it is very rewarding to help out.  I know sometimes it seems hard to fit a donation in, but maybe there is something you can cut out.  For example, eating out once a week, or (like me) lattes!  And if you are really, truly having a hard time financially, try to donate some of your time and as you reduce your debt, budget in some monetary donations.

Don’t impulse buy.  If there is something you are really wanting, go home and wait a day to purchase it.  I have done this countless times and I have never gone back to the store for the item in question.  Is it something you really want, or something you really need?  And wouldn’t you really rather save that money for a vacation to the Caribbean, even it is two years down the road?  If so, put that money in a jar.  When it is full, put it in a separate savings account.  Or apply the extra to your existing debt and pay it down faster.  Even $25 extra per month helps.

Make sure you budget in your “fun money” and vacation money.  Even if you are trying to pay stuff off, you can’t sit at home and rot.  Try to find fun, free or inexpensive things to do for you and your family.  For example, take your kids to the park for an evening picnic and play with them rather than go out for pizza.  And if you are wanting a vacation, stick it in your budget.  Estimate what it will cost and divide it by the number of months you have to save.  Then start saving!  And if you have extra “fun money” left at the end of the month, think about adding it to your vacation account to reach your goal faster.

I hope you find these tips useful.  Money is one of the major differences in relationships, and what to do with it is one of the hardest things for couples to agree upon.  In a recent survey by, 41% of couples argue about money.  And it has been listed in the top 10 issues among divorces.  Setting up a good financial plan for your money and sticking to it may be one of the best things you can do for your marriage.

{January 23, 2013}   Time for the Flu

Hello all!

Just when things are going great and I plan a fun trip out-of-town for everyone to have fun and relax, Hallie gets influenza while we are gone.  She has had a fever ranging from 101-103.3.  We had two trips to the ER.  The first was to the ER in Great Falls at 5:30 a.m. when her fever spiked to the 103.3 to confirm she had the flu, and another later in the day when we were back home because she was having severe pain in her chest when she was breathing.  We are on day 4 today and the fever is gone, but now we have severe headaches and vomiting.

I am a more than a little exhausted!  I haven’t slept through the night since Friday.  So my main focus for myself is not getting sick so I can continue to care for her and run the household.  Before I give you some tips on staying healthy, there are a couple of things you need to know.

First of all, in addition to riding the rails, Mark is also a farmer.  Not too big of a deal, but he farms by another town 35 miles from where we live.  He mostly maintains all of his equipment, so even during the winter he is out of town, which brings me to a new, higher-level of  single-wife status.  I don’t have him here to help me out on the days he isn’t driving train.  I didn’t tell you this in my last post because I was already up to 1083 words.  I felt you needed to know this because some days it certainly adds stress to my life and I want you to understand that I really do need to do all I can to stay healthy.

Second, I did make the choice for us to NOT receive the flu shot.  I do not believe in them.  This is the first time Hallie has ever had influenza, and she has never had the shot.  However, please do not let my personal beliefs sway you in one way or another from getting the flu shot.  It is a choice that you need to discuss with your doctor and make with him/her.  The tips I am posting are not meant to replace the flu shot.  I am giving them to you to help support your immune system whether or not you choose to receive the shot.  These are only suggestions in supporting your immune system and are in no way a guarantee that you won’t get influenza.  By offering extra support to your immune system, you lower your risk.

That being said, here are some great ways to support your immune system:

1.)  Eat the Rainbow!

We are provided with all kinds of natural supplements and disease fighters in our natural food!  Incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.  They have a wonderful array of vitamins.  If it is hard for you to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet, be picky about the ones you do eat.  For example, according to the June 2012 issue of Natural Health Magazine, a kiwi has “Five times the bioavailability (the rate of absorption into body tissues) of the vitamin C compared with the vitamin C in supplemental form.  Also, kiwis have 60% more vitamin C than oranges.”  Also, keep in mind to eat white’s for immune support.  Garlic, mushrooms, onions, etc.

2.) Vitamin D

Vitamin D has wonderful immune support properties.  It aids our bodies in calcium absorption and, according to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin D may provide protection for osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer, and several auto-immune disorders.  When taking Vitamin D, always opt for D3 rather than D2.  I found this wonderful infographic on Vitamin D by the Health Ranger.  As always, these are suggestions.  Please consult with your physician regarding how much Vitamin D3 you should be taking.

3.) Probiotics

Probiotics are essentially “good bacteria” that mainly live in the gut.  The good bacteria helps support your body to digest food and protect against infections by giving us enhanced immune support.  And since many of our chronic illness begin in our digestive system, it only makes sense to take care of it.  Stress, unhealthy lifestyles, and unhealthy acidic diets can destroy our natural supply of good bacteria.  Taking probiotic supplements will help to replenish it.  The Global Healing Center has supplied us with a great list of additional reasons to take probiotics.

4.) Stress Management

So who doesn’t get stressed when they are sick?  Or with life in general?  The fact is stress will break down our immune systems.  Without a properly functioning immune system, it is inevitable that we will not only get sick, but we will be sick longer and be worse off.  Managing our stress will help protect our immune system.  So do something for yourself.  Put the kids to bed early and relax with a good book or take a hot bath and add some lavender oil to the water.

5.)  Avoid Sugar

Sugar is extremely inflammatory and breaks down our immune system.  My suggestion to you is to avoid it as much as possible.  This includes refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup.  If you must have sugar, go for a more natural alternative such as organic agave nectar or honey.  Also, living without sugar also reduces your risk of illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.  Since starch converts to sugar, replace your “starchy whites” with healthy alternatives.  Add whole grains to your diet and replace things like white bread and white pasta with “browns” such as multi-grain bread and whole wheat pasta and replace white potatoes with sweet potatoes.  I use cinnamon as a way to add sweet flavor to things such as oatmeal, toast, or sweet potatoes to in leu of white or brown sugar.

Hopefully this post finds you all well and I these tips give you the added immune boost so that you and your family are not going through what we are!

et cetera

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