Category Archives: Stretch n’ Grow

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Wings of the Wind [Book In Review]

Category : Stretch n' Grow

I have read Out From Egypt 1& 2 which is the first and second book in this series and loved them both, so it was a no brainer to request this book for review. I love following the timeline and stories of the slaves from Israel as they wander the dessert and eventually find the promised land. This book recounts as a fiction read, with characters that would depict the life of an Israelite. Cossette follows generation after generation as her template. She does a fantastic job using the tradition and culture of Israel to form a storyline with twists and turns along the way. I cheered for each character because they grab your heart right away. Recommended for all readers!

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my review.


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Invitation [Book In Review]

Category : Stretch n' Grow

I love the organization of this book! Written in four smaller stories, told in the point of view of four different characters, you will have a well rounded understanding of the team by the end of the book. These four authors have collaborated to give the reader something amazing. I liked reading short stories, and having an “ending” while continuing in a larger with each story, much like a TV series.

My favorite character was Tank of course, but I think each character had it’s own quirks to love. I will definitely be ordering the next book in this series.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my review.


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Conspiracy of Silence [Book In Review]

Category : Stretch n' Grow

This book is the second in a series, and well worth the read! Tox, the main character named for being Toxic to those he loves, fights his way through an archeological mystery. This book holds tightly to the verbiage and culture of the military. There is Biblical mystery woven throughout the pages and it leaves the reader intrigued. Even though I wanted to read this book cover to cover, I had to put it down several times due to a hectic life and I did find that it was hard to pick back up because of all of the many details to keep track of and back story. I found myself a bit confused at times when the author was referencing the past. I give this book 5 stars, and I am looking forward to purchasing the next in the series.

 

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for this review.


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Fatal Frost [Book In Review]

Category : Stretch n' Grow

This book catches you from the first chapter, and the suspense does not end. I had a hard time putting this book down. I love the main character, Mercy, and her tough exterior. As a US Marshall, she needs to be tough, but the author does a good job at developing her character and softer side as well. Both of my siblings are in law enforcement and I could just picture each of them in the pages of this book. I would recommend it to anyone because it is very clean.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my review.


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Coming Full Circle

Today, I will see my testimony come full circle. Do you ever have those moments in life, that make you stand back and marvel at the hand of God? This is one of those moments for me.

In my children’s elementary school, they have a program in the mornings called Rise and Shine. It’s an inspirational start to the day where the kids learn the Pledge of Allegiance, the State of Oklahoma salute and the Tiger creed which involves character attributes like Tenacity, Integrity, Gratitude, Encouragement and Respect.

With each Rise and Shine they start their day off with a moment of silence to reflect, meditate or pray about the day ahead. And when you stand in the gymnasium with 600+ kids who pause and take an actual moment of silence, it’s powerful.

Today, my kindergartener will be the one on stage leading and teaching the quote of the week to the school. We’ve been memorizing it at home.

“Look for the best in others.” by  Rachel Joy Scott

For those that don’t recognize that name right away, Rachel Scott was one of the victims in the Columbine shooting in 1999. Her story includes pieces of her relationship with Jesus and her refusal to deny that she was a Christian in the face of death. Her testimony changed my life forever.

In 1999, I was a Senior at Littleton High School in Littleton, CO. I heard of the mass chaos happening while at school on April 20th, but learned of all of the details just like every other American after I returned home and sat, glued to the television in complete shock that this was happening miles from where I went to school. The following week, I remember walking around the halls in a daze. We all were. We had classes where teachers just stopped teaching as we were all processing the event still. I will never forget it.

This single event changed my life. I had been born into a family that believed in God and went to church but the relationship with Him had not yet taken hold in my heart. Sure, if anyone would have casually asked me if I was a Christian, I might have said yes, depending on the day, but in the face of a gun? I couldn’t answer that truthfully in my heart. Rachel’s testimony left me pondering a very important question introspectively in my heart for weeks.

After the tassles had turned and the celebrations of graduation had ended, I was still wrestling with my eternity. It was that summer that I finally developed my own relationship with Jesus. God became real to me. I finally landed on the decision to follow Him for real, with my whole heart because if Rachel Scott was willing to die for him, then that’s what real faith looked like.

Jesus, being fully human died a very real death on the cross for me and I finally understood what it meant to deny Him. I had a real life martyr as an example of love and faith to learn from. Sixteen years later, I can answer that deep question honestly in my heart of hearts; what would I do if the same gunman walked into my school?columbine_memorial

Each year on April 20th, I remember. Not because it’s a traumatic memory for me, but because I’m thankful that God used Rachel’s story to change my heart.

Almost 16 years to the day, my son gets to stand in front of his classmates, in a public school, and teach out of the journal of Rachel Joy Scott. It’s a full circle moment.

This isn’t about Rachel per say, but it is about the message that her life and ultimately her death can convey. No matter what your age, no matter what your background or family history; take your eternity seriously. Think about it. Weigh it in your heart. Being a Christian isn’t about all of the do’s and don’ts list or the attendance at church. It isn’t about rejecting this people group or that one for their lifestyle choices, but about looking for the best in others. Being a Christian is about following Jesus, studying his life and trying to learn from his words to us in the Bible. It’s about loving all people. It’s about asking God for help, knowing that I’m not good enough or pure enough to enter eternity with Him forever without Jesus vouching for me.

Today, I know what my answer would be in the face of death. The question of eternity is a world wide denominator. What would you do?


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A Worthy Heart {Book In Review}

Category : Stretch n' Grow

This book started off slow, and when I say slow, I mean I fell asleep 4 times trying to read the first chapter. I almost gave up on the book altogether but I pressed on and I’m glad I did. The book has a lot of characters which were a bit difficult to keep straight at the beginning, but their personalities are unique. A story about love, forgiveness and grace. The main characters were riveting and the plot had a few twists that were unexpected. Overall, I enjoyed this book.


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A Big Reveal & A Birth Story

 

I feel like I’m about to reveal the gender of my baby. Well, a baby that I have been working on for months now with a very talented logo designer.

She’s DOULA’d me through the process with creativity, patience and love. Logo planning is full of expectations and idealism. When I was a mess of ideas, and bursting with 1,000 different thoughts, she guided me. And when we had tried them all and came up with empty hands, she was patient. This baby was still cooking and she knew that even though I had a due date in my mind, these things don’t always happen on time. I was apologizing for being a bad client and she continued to encourage me. “This is the process,” she would say.

In mid process, reality had hit me and I had given up hope. This was a lot harder than I had expected. I was going through transition and nearing the end of this long labor, but I couldn’t see that at the time. I felt like this baby would never be born. I needed to get out of my frontal cortex and use my intuition. I needed to feel my way through and she gave me the room to do just that. She gently suggested a few places to begin again, to refocus, and it worked. I found exactly what I needed to be inspired and all of a sudden I could feel the urge to push. I told her we were getting close, but of course, she already knew that. She had Doula’d me through this process and was familiar with the ending.

Like a seasoned trail guide, she encouraged me up until the very end coming up with new creative spins. Her professionalism never wavered and her heart shone through. As I hold my new baby in my arms, I am so grateful for all of her help. Thank you Ginger Dixon, I could have never done this without you. She will tell me that I birthed this baby and that I am a strong woman, but I will be forever grateful that she was by my side.

 

deirdre_hopkins_logo


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Penicillin Allergy

It had been a full holiday season and all of the Christmas gifts had been opened and played with. My sweet 3 year old son had come down with an ear infection and we went to the Pediatrician to get our routine prescription of penicillin. A few days later, he had full body hives and we discovered he had a penicillin allergy.

My trusted Pediatrician informed me that there are two types of allergies to antibiotics: mild or life threatening. She determined my son’s allergy was life threatening and immediately removed the bottle of antibiotics from the room. He was to never have another dose of penicillin or any of the other forms of penicillin again because it could trigger anaphylaxis shock.

This was serious, and I knew all to well how serious it truly was. Three years prior, my husband went into anaphylaxis shock as he entered his local Dr’s office.anaphylaxis shock We were both clueless that he was so close to death at this point that I was driving him to the clinic, not the emergency room. He was posting on Facebook.

I walked out of the Pediatrician’s office feeling panicky because I never wanted to relive another event like that. Up to this point in my motherhood, I had always relied on antibiotics to treat common childhood illnesses like ear infections. I knew there were other antibiotics on the market he could use, but they were stronger and scarier. They were unknown. None of the other mommies I knew had dealt with this and I was at a loss.

Fast forward one year to an essential oils class that my friend had invited me to. I was interested in holistic healing, I had been visiting a naturopath myself recently and wanted a more natural approach to illness and disease.

Up to that point, my son had not experienced another ear infection, or anything else that required antibiotics and I was grateful, but I felt like my luck would run out at some point.

As I was sitting in my first oils class and learning about all of the benefits of using essential oils, I knew that I had found my answer. The relief was palpable and I didn’t have to secretly sit and worry about when the next ear infection was going to hit. I had new tools in my tool belt.

The words penicillin allergy were no longer a threat in my mind.

This is the number one reason why I choose essential oils to treat my family’s sickness. It’s #mywhy; my motivation for teaching others and sharing them with friends. Even this week as I fill out the medical forms as school is starting, I still have to mark down “penicillin allergy” on my son’s forms, but it serves as a reminder of how far we’ve come.

If you’ve never tried using them for yourself, what are you afraid of?

Email me today  ddeirdre (at) yahoo (dot) com and we can find a class together for you to learn and ask questions in. You won’t regret it!

penicillin allergy


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Natural Family Planning

The Natural Family Planning Method

Natural Family PlanningThe Natural Family Planning method of birth control has been our first choice for the past 10 years of childbearing. Why?

  • hormone free
  • cost effective
  • flexible- the decision to prevent or plan a pregnancy can be changed instantly
  • foster’s communication between the couple
  • creates an awareness of the female’s natural cycle
  • adds an element of empowerment for individuals
  • long term effectiveness
  • no known side effects

What are some of the known side effects of taking synthetic estrogen often in the form of a Pill?

  • increased risk of breast cancer
  • increased risk of blood clotting
  • migraines
  • gallbladder disease
  • increased blood pressure
  • weight gain
  • mood changes
  • nausea
  • irregular bleeding or spotting
  • benign liver tumors
  • breast tenderness

These known and documented side effects are often subtle at first, but the more women I talk to, the more I hear about the dangers of using hormone therapy as a form of birth control. Before you put something in your body that you are unsure of, learn about all of the options available to you. If you have suffered the effects of synthetic birth control, I would love to talk to you as well. I offer birth control counseling for free. Please contact Deirdre at:

stretchngrow (at) yahoo (dot) com


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Yoga and Jesus: Just Breathe

A few years ago I had a counselor critique me. He said, “you don’t breathe.” I looked at him with curiosity and then realized I was in fact holding my breath. Maybe you do it too?

His recommendation? To breathe, and practice breathing deeply when I feel stress. And for at least 8 years now, I have been practicing this. Reminding myself to breathe, reminding my children and my best friend, “just breathe” I say. Try it, right now, nice and deep. Doesn’t it feel good? A cleansing breath.Just breathe, doulaThere’s this new adventure in my life right now called yoga. I’ve been a bit close minded about it in the past I’m afraid to admit, and now since trying it I’ve come to understand the benefits. I was close minded because it seemed so zen and associated with religions other than my own. But, I’ve come to realize…

1. We can be friends with Jesus and Yoga without compromise. My pastor said that sometimes as Christians we can be so afraid of Eastern religions and the traditions that we have completely dismissed meditation in Christianity. Abraham meditates in Genesis 24. In the book of Joshua, the LORD tells Joshua to meditate on the law day and night. And all throughout the Psalms we are instructed to meditate on God’s wonders, His promises, His statutes, and His works. This is an absolute Biblical habit. We should not be afraid of compromising our relationship with Jesus by meditation. In fact, it can strengthen it.

2. Yoga trains the mind and body to be still before the LORD. Now,  there are definitely challenging poses that require effort, but what I’ve experienced is a stillness of mind while doing yoga. I’m not going through my to do list. I’m not paying attention to my mobile device. I’m in my body, giving my full attention to my muscles and my breathing. I’ve learned to hold a pose, and still my mind and ignore the thoughts of “I can’t do this.” If I am intentional about prayer while practicing yoga, I can walk away feeling like I’ve actually spent time with Jesus during a session.

3. Yoga trains me to breathe. So, let’s just state the obvious. If you hold your breathe while exercising in general, you will pass out. During a stretching pose that is particularly difficult, if I breathe, I can maintain a deeper stretch than if I don’t. If I breathe, I can stretch further and longer than if I don’t. If I breathe, I can hold a pose longer because I’m focusing on the breath instead of the pain. This is what I often tell my doula clients during labor contractions. Focus on the breath instead of the pain.

yoga, doula

During a yoga session I wear Bergamot and Ylang Ylang essential oils to help with the mind/body connection. They don’t drug you into submission, they just encourage the natural processes that are happening in the body while exercising. You will often hear instructors remind the class to breathe. It’s training and it’s good for you. For stressful times, for pain filled times, just breathe.