Tips From a Germaphobe: Eleven Ways to Keep the Cooties at Bay

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You hear it, “Ahchoo!!  Wheeze, snarf, sniff,  sputter, deep rattling cough!”  Forget about horror movies, this is the stuff that makes my almost deaf ears hear and my hair stand on end .  Or the ever dreaded, “My kid was throwing up all night, but here’s the pie I said I would bring,”(insert Alfred Hitchcock knife scene music).    I don’t want your pie!!

Gone are the carefree days of summer, where my favorite past time of swimming pools (fun and disinfectant all in one!) and play dates filled up our calendar. We already caught the plague in September and let me tell you, I thought of hunting down who ever left their cooties on my kids and making them pay with the vengeance of a… a…well something bad.

Today my kids had to go in for their well child appointment. The irony of this situation is comical. The one free visit from our insurance company, is the one visit of the year that my kids go in healthy and bring home da funk!  Oh, the humanity!!

I remember in my healthy days, I used to pop my medication pertaining to the virus I had and spread the plague like the pale horseman out of Revelation. I can’t even remember washing my hands after handling raw meat, picking up trash off the ground, or even staying home when sick, I just didn’t care!

I have had a whole lot of life that has happened between my son’s health and my own. If you hate getting sick, or you just want to do the rest of us a favor and help keep the world healthier, give these tips a try!

  1. Wash your hands!! Simple but true!  Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket any time you have to touch something that mass quantities of people have touched, or some “sickerson” insisted on shaking your hand. I dream of the day at church where we shake each others hands and anoint each other with hand sanitizer!
  2. Keep your hands off your face and don’t put inedible’s in your mouth. You know, that pen you are chewing on, the one you dropped on the floor yesterday where Farmer Ted was standing… Need I say more?
  3. Change your clothes and take off your shoes when you get home. This is a pretty simple method of making sure that anything you stepped in, sat on, or rubbed up against isn’t able to leave a trail of terror around your house. Germs can live up to 24 hours on surfaces and that even means clothes (Up to 4 weeks or longer if it is Norovirus unless cleaned with bleach, this will be the gift that won’t stop giving).
  4. Gargle salt water.  After you come home from being in public, mix 1 tsp of salt with a cup of warm water, and gargle. This is supposed to cut down airborne sickness and help kill germs.  Anytime I have a sore throat, I will do this throughout the day. I found gargling to the tune of “Little House on the Prairie,”  gives a nice deep clean!  Germs can’t survive when salt is in the mix!
  5. Saline rinse your nose. My sister hates this one.  She is convinced she feels she is drowning. However my son who has asthma, has really seen the benefit of the ancient method. It’s great for helping with sinus issues and colds.  There are several varieties you can buy that will do the trick.
  6. Take a shower!  Some germs you can’t kill.  Being that I am short, I spend most of my time being in the “sneeze/cough zone.”  It’s so gross, and I have had people do it straight in my face and in my hair. So take a shower and say good riddance little germies!
  7. Cover your mouth like a vampire!  Seriously, adults are the WORST about this!  A lot of these sicknesses could be prevented if people just coughed or sneezed in the crook of their arm instead of their germ spreading hands.  My kids have been taught early on, if I can hear it clearly, you didn’t cover well enough!  If done properly, it should sound muffled and we will all be so happy that you cared enough to protect us from the misery you are enduring!
  8. Stay HOME!!  If you are really sick, don’t take your kids to the play grounds, family functions/ etc! I can’t tell you often I hear, “I know we should have stayed home but the kids were bored. They were looking forward to coming so much and I couldn’t say no.” Just say NO! It teaches them patience, compassion and consideration for others.  People with weakened immune systems would like to get out too! If you are running a fever, hacking, throwing up, or anything that results in, “This is horrible,” please for the love of Moses, stay home! We don’t want your plague!
  9. Up  your vitamin C/Probiotic intake. My husband has several wedges of lemon added to his water. Great for vitamin C, digestion, and it puts a zing of energy in your day! Also probiotics are the only good bacteria we like in this household. We use supplements and Kefir (the champagne of dairy!) a liquid yogurt with many delicious flavors to try(although avoid Chocolate Truffle, because it ain’t).
  10.  Make sure to wipe down all surfaces that are used continuously with disinfectants!  Especially if you have the pukey flu. Throw out tooth brushes that have been used during sickness ( The best $1.99 you will spend!). Viruses can mutate and you don’t want to keep spreading the” love” around.
  11.  If you are sick, do not prepare food!! Stop right there Missy. It doesn’t matter if you signed up to bring the brownies, meatballs, or cheese dip. I can’t tell you how many FB posts start with, “I have been SO sick… Followed by, “Bringing the bean dip to the party it, should be tasty! ” No, no isn’t. People, we don’t want your infected bean dip! (Remember #8) Simply explain you have been sick and you will be the hero of the night.

Even if you don’t care or feel getting sick is not a big deal to you, it is to a lot of us out here. From babies, to the people battling life altering health conditions, to the elderly, we thank you!  The best gift you can give all of us this season, is the consideration of doing these extra steps to keep this world a little healthier.

So if you hate germs, sleepless nights by the world’s dirtiest porcelain, vaporizers with eucalyptus, mouth breathing, or paying your doctor just to hear he/she say “Ew, (long awkward pause) it’s just a nasty virus.”  Try out these simple steps and hopefully you can save those sick days for a nice healthy skip day!

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Right Where We are Supposed to Be

Autumn Leaves Courtesy of Mark Nickerson

Autumn Leaves
Courtesy of Mark Nickerson

Hayrides, apple cider, doughnuts, and running amok in an orchard, bursting with autumn colors!  It’s an image taken straight out of a picture. My kids have been giddy with excitement thinking about this field trip since school started. They made sure to get all their assignments in and waited with great anticipation!

I got dressed in my fall ensemble, complete with a bow. I made sure to get my hair curled up and makeup done with just a bit of sparkle. I was already to go, when I realized, I couldn’t…

I believe each day I am getting better and stronger. The healing is in process. However, I still wrestle every day with low levels of energy. Dealing with health issues is the last thing I expected at my age. Each day I have to try to reserve energy for what is most necessary.  Some days it works, while others..  While I am not where I want to be, I praise G-d that I am not where I was.

The hard part is when it involves letting down your loved ones, especially the kids. I called them in from playing outside and explained I couldn’t go. My son immediately responded, “But you worked so hard to go!”  His green eyes started to water and I could feel my heart sink to see his disappointment.

I went on to explain we had two choices: I could go, but we might have to leave after a short while. Or they could go without me and stay, and make sure that they got to enjoy the full benefits of the fruit of their labor. I adamantly reminded them how hard they had worked and how much I wanted them to experience this long awaited field trip. Just because I couldn’t go, didn’t meant they shouldn’t have fun!

There was a time a few years ago, I would have felt bitter for not being able to go. Now, I feel that the love of Jesus has taught me to truly be happy for others, even when I miss out. I am so thankful to have a husband who willingly jumps in to make sure our kids get to be kids! I am thankful my kids treasure each outing like it’s a trip to Disney World (boy would their minds really be blown)! I am thankful I am alive to get to hear all about their awesome trips and let them relive each detail by their creative minds!

I love that they can’t wait to get home to tell me all about it! What’s even better, is I can’t wait to hear their stories! I get so excited seeing them excited, it’s heaven on earth.

The thing about dealing with a chronic health condition is that it has really helped change my perspective about each day. I celebrate the good ones with great joy at what has been accomplished and given! On the not so good days, I choose to mull over where I used to be and how far G-d has brought me. I relish in the memories of the good days, because they keep me encouraged for what will be again.

I believe G-d is a kind father. He constantly allows me to change and grow from each life lesson. I was a very self focused woman, deeply wounded, and never feeling like I was enough. Now, as each day I take His hand I realize He has more in store for me than I could have ever imagine. I found that I love to give, G-d is healing me, and He makes me want to be more like Him every day. I am enough. Each day that I am forced to stay home, I get to walk out my faith. I can either be angry and offended as the world teaches. Or I can choose to find blessings in the quiet moments that I am allowed to be on this earth.

Life is too short to live in fear, condemnation, and regret. Every day really is a chance to see the beauty in every situation, and know, we are right where we are supposed to be. Whether we get to join in, or just be able to listen and live vicariously through others stories, it’s all so precious.

For me it’s been good to learn how to not be jealous, it’s a useless emotion that is toxic to everything it touches. Instead, I am learning the art of patience and self control and to really love to hear about others and celebrate in their happiness.  After all, this life isn’t about me. Instead, it’s about finding the good and lovely things in the deep valleys, the cracks and crevices of the road, the deep waters, that will lead you to contentment in what is.

Following the ways of Jesus isn’t always easy. I find it has tested me all the more. What I am finding though, is that with each root of fear, bitterness, envy, and heart break that is broken off, He heals.  Not only does He heal, but He transforms the shattered pieces into a beautiful display bringing glory to His name.

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns.  May we lay down the burden of expectations and rest in His promises that He will never leave us, nor forsake us.  Instead He gives us beauty for ashes.

The One Thing I NEVER Expected My Child to do…

I was pacing back and forth, borderline hysterical. How could he do something SO crazy?! On one hand I am praying for G-d to protect my son from needing surgery and internal bleeding, on the other I am thinking, He better protect him from me!

It started like any typical morning. I did our usual pep talk before we began our day at Nickerson’s Home School. I reminded them that Mom and Dad are going to need to study for our midterms, so we need to be extra efficient. Right?!

My eye’s locked with theirs. Their little heads bobbed up and down with agreement.  Yes, message has been received! I communicated lovingly and I hit a home run!  Score for Mom!

Not even one hour, ONE HOUR, had passed before my house of cards came tumbling down.

You see, I am learning there is NO such thing as preparation for young children.  Nope, they live in the moment. You can talk their ears off, set up schedules, promise cool surprises…  For the most part, they get pumped and as quickly as their balloon inflates; it is released and goes flying around the room and ends up a heap lying on the floor swollen from all the what could have been to, it’s not happening.

It all started with Literature and Comprehension.  My son loves to read and talk (A boy after my own heart), but hates to write. (Why?  How can he turn on me?) My mind can’t even comprehend the thought of not loving to write!  I am a writer!

I thought Narnia would draw him in and it did, until he was asked to write.  I have stated, reasoned, pep talked, pleaded, threatened, all in one day (One of many).  I found my frustration brewing into a catastrophic storm.  It dawned on me, my children will forever remember that I was going to college for a degree in ministry. They will tell the tale of the monstrous mother who blew a gasket at every little thing because she need more time to study Jesus!

Can we say hypocrite?

So I think aha devil, I am going to one up you and slap you across the face with a prayer of surrender! I will douse the kids in what I have learned from class and make a teaching moment out of all of this!  Yes, brilliant!

So I prayed, breathed, released, and calmly asked my son for his pencil.

He wouldn’t give it to me.

I stuck my hand out and fluttered it about in Mommy language which means, hand it over boy!

He still wouldn’t give it over.

I was puzzled. You see, he is my rule follower. He is brutally honest (wonder where he got that from, ahem) and will usually obey any direct command.

He has been known to nibble on an eraser while writing, and it dawned on me, he must have eaten the eraser! He is trying to hide the evidence!

I snatched it out of his hand and I lifted the pencil high!  I waved it in the light of day and said, “AHA!” He took a step back and looked positively guilty. Only, the eraser was intact.

“Huh?”

If the eraser is there, why the shame? What am I not understanding? My Mom radar was telling me a misdeed had been done, but where is the evidence?

Then I saw it, the metal band around the eraser was jaggedly sticking out!There is a chunk missing; my blood ran cold.

Perplexed I asked him almost sarcastically, “So you ate the metal band? Who does that?”

No response.

Fear has now just spread to every vessel in my body.

“You didn’t eat the metal band! It’s sharp!! It’s dangerous!!!” I reasoned with him, all the while hoping he would deny it. But he didn’t.

Words came out, they were not good. I will repent of them later.

I called my husband hoping he could convince me that there was nothing to be worried about. Of course he didn’t answer. He couldn’t talk me off the ledge!

Next, I called the doctor’s office. Surely they could put my mind at ease. We have had Lego swallowing’s and a pea up the nose emergencies before, and we were assured all would be well.

The receptionist answered. I cut the niceties and sternly asked for the nurse. I needed to talk to her, NOW!  All I could think of was this jagged piece of metal cutting my sweet boy’s insides. . If they know I am nervous, they will be nervous. When they get nervous, they instruct us to go the ER. I  don’t want to go!! The nurse answered, I played it cool but straight to the point. She instructs him to eat some bread and drink some water. Success! We are ALL good. (Whew)

She informs me we must clear it with doctor and chuckles. I get off the phone and give the boy what for and all the what could have been scenario’s. He cries. I cry. My daughter cries.

My husband finally calls back and I relay all the specifics. 7mm long and 4 mm wide jagged metal band. My normally cool as a cucumber husband says, “He did what?!” Panic surges through my body.

He sternly requests that I send a picture. This freaks me out because normally School of Seth says, don’t worry about it.  After all, it’s small piece of jagged metal right?

He’s baffled. Time to call his mom who used to be an Endoscopy nurse.  She is on the fence. I finally start to calm down and decide there really isn’t anything the doctor can do.  It’s so small.  I am not going to take him down to the ER so they can charge me $2,000 to say, he will pass it on his own.

My husband finally gets home and we agree to wait.  We decided to focus on what would be a fitting punishment for putting us through all of this.

The nurse calls back, it’s been three hours. NOW, she wants a plan of action?

WHAT? I thought we were in the clear?

She says we need to get him to the hospital ASAP.

Seth reasons with her that it will pass on it’s own.  She replies, “The metal could drag along his intestines and cause a perforation.  We don’t want him to bleed to death.”

We have to take him in.  I sob and hug my boy like it is our last.

He looks at me and says, “Don’t worry Mom, G-d is with me.” I cry harder.

They leave. I call and text for prayers. My friend prayed with me and peace starts to soothe my guilt ridden body. I hang up and continue pray.

While we wait, the minutes tick by like every one is an eternity.  Like most women my mind tries to assess the situation:

Is he going to need surgery?

It’s my fault, I made him write!

I am a horrible mother!

What can they really do?  The bill is going to be huge!

There better be something there!

No, I take it back!  Please let nothing be there!

The phone rings, it’s Seth. “They are going to need to X-ray, but probably it will be fine.  Hopefully nature will take it’s course and watch for bleeding.”

Relief spills over my body and I cry tears of joy and I thank G-d for answered prayers!  Now the boy better say his prayers because I am going to get him!

Long story short, he is home under watchful eyes. We will have to keep a close eye on him for the next three days. Thank G-d for now he is safe.  I can laugh about it now, but yesterday I was terrified. I love my sweet boy more than words ever can express. I would be crushed if anything happened to him. Losing our other children has made me prone to probably reacting more dramatically than the average parent. Poor kid has a mother hen sitting on him.  He never had a chance.

Oddly, the thought pops in my head, have there been any other pencils? The sad answer is, yes. There have been others. I found their mutilated little pencil bodies, they didn’t even have a chance.  Lord, have mercy…

What’s a Mama supposed to do?  Burn all the pencils? Therapy?  How about cheese Danish? Yes, that will help for now.  Till I get the bill…

Now I Lay Her Down to Sleep

Aurora Skye Nickerson.  We thank G-d that she lived for ninety glorious minutes.

Aurora Skye Nickerson. We thank G-d that she lived for ninety glorious minutes.

We held her for hours.  We talked to her, we sang, we just stared in the silence.  Finally, the nurse came in and said we needed to say goodbye.  I begged for more time.  They assured me it was in our best interest to let her go.  As soon as they took her, I demanded to leave the hospital.   Even though they had us in, “the quiet room.”  I knew mothers were with their babies and I felt like I wasn’t a mother anymore.

Our first daughter Aurora Skye, had been born on June 21st.  She was perfect in every way.  Her beautiful blond hair had natural finger waves, her skin was smoother than a petal on a rose.  She gave out two cries and then went silent.  I remember staring at her perfectly shaped oval fingernails, she looked so, normal.  3 pounds 11 ounces, and she snuggled in my arm so naturally.  I was convincing myself it was all a mistake and that she would live.  G-d had answered my prayers.  She lived for ninety

Later, the Neonatologist came in to check on her.  We looked at him with great hope, only to see him shake his head.  We knew. My head fell onto her tiny body and I began to sob.

She had lived for ninety miraculous minutes, but I wanted more.

We had been prepared long before her birth, that she would likely be born,”asleep.”  I prayed day after day, asking G-d to change His mind, to allow us more time.  She had no amniotic fluid, I could see the shape of her body on my small rounded tummy.

I went back and forth wondering if we should put up a nursery, just in case. My sister brought over her son’s cradle and let me borrow it. She probably knew it would never be filled, but had mercy on me.

It’s hard to explain to others what it was like being pregnant, knowing your child will never come home. When we went out, people would ask what we were having and when we were due.  I found myself stuttering as I tried to explain we couldn’t tell what we were having because our child didn’t have any amniotic fluid.  We had an estimated date but knew our baby would be coming early and probably wouldn’t survive.

Some days I glowed with motherly love. I adored feeling her kicks getting stronger.  She knew when my husband was going to be home before I did. My strongest memory was during one ultrasound. We were about 19 weeks along.  My doctor was a compassionate man and allowed me as many ultrasounds as we wished.

The tech had the wand on my belly. I am thankful Aurora was our first because we didn’t know any better.  Instead of seeing a smooth outline, we saw her skeletal body.  Seth loved to talk to her. He would crouch down by her and speak so sweetly. Each time she would stop fidgeting and hold really still to listen.  As soon as he stopped, we could actually see her jaw moving up and down. She was talking!  We thought it was a fluke thing and he tried again.  The same result; she would stop, listen, and then talk!  She had won our hearts.

Every step of the way, we got to see her slowly grow.  I LOVED being pregnant. I have never felt so whole in my life.

The worst day of my pregnancy was going to the funeral home. I was still pregnant. I felt horribly guilty planning her funeral while she was fully alive.  I remember sitting there and feeling her movements slow down.  She could feel my sadness.  I felt like a failure as a mother.  I just wanted to go leave and pretend everything was normal.  I went home and cried all night.

There was no baby shower.

No real nursery.

Just reality.

I share these things with you, not to make you sad.  Instead, I want anyone who reads this to take away the fact, that these little lives matter.  These small people leave a mark on our hearts that many can’t describe.  Their life starts in the womb, not after being born.  G-d sends them not to upset our lives, but to learn and take care of His greatest treasures.

What I LOVE about our G-d is that He doesn’t measure anyone’s worth by how long they live.  Instead, G-d measure’s His love by His standards.  He loves us all.  I don’t understand why things had to happen the way they did, but I believe that we only see a small part of a big picture.

Our children dying is not a punishment.  Each life is a gift no matter how long they are placed on this earth.  The weirdest thing to explain was the feeling that she wasn’t really gone.  Like they had made a mistake. I have spoken to a lot of people and this is a common thread.  You stand by their graves and await a resurrection.

I feel that is something that G-d puts in our hearts to remind us, that their lives aren’t over. It’s a knowing in our spirit assuring us, we will be with each other again.

While I fully believe our children are in heaven, it’s hard for us who have been left behind.   I have found throughout the years of our journey that, no mother forgets.  I can’t tell you how many times I go somewhere and once a woman knows my history, they open up about their losses.  Some are new to grief while others have carried it in their hearts.  It never ceases to amaze me when they open up and at the end say, “I don’t know where all that came from?”  Silently I think in my head, “I do.  You’re their Mama.”

Silently I think in my head, “I do. You’re their Mama.”

Thirteen years ago I wasn’t on FB or social media.  I would have thought you a liar to think years later, people would be lighting candles in honor of their little ones.  It sadness me that there are so many of us.  Yet, I am thankful we can unite and share of our heavenly children with great acceptance and awareness.  In a world where babies are literally being cast away, we stand and say, “They matter. Each and every single one of them.”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To the world, it may seem foolish, but to G-d, it makes perfect sense.  I am forever changed by the loss of my children here on earth.  It is an ache that never goes away.  They are precious and I will hold them close to my heart until I am carried into heaven myself.  The true treasures in heaven aren’t gold, diamonds, and pearls.  I think the treasures are our loved ones, knowing that death no longer has a hold on our spirits.  Our loved ones are in the hands of our Father, and so are we.

Is Time Stealing Your Peace?

Is today one of those days where everything seem to be stuck on fast forward?  Do you ever feel as though there aren’t enough hours in the day?  Do you ever just love the idea of closing everything down and living in The Berenstein Bear tree house?  Okay, maybe the last part is just me.

I miss simple!!  What you see is what you get.  I love the idea of having just enough technology to help us out, but not so much that it controls us.  Remember when technology was supposed to make our lives easier?  Yet it seems to have made things busier and harder.  Between the internet and the cell phones we are expected to be reachable at any hour of the day with a response in hand ASAP!

Think about it, even 25 years ago when you came home from work, your work stayed there.  One kid fought for domain over the phone and was kicked off within a half hour; to make sure the phone line stayed open.   TV had only a few channels.    If your show wasn’t on, you weren’t interested.  Everyone in the family had to eventually communicate, because let’s face it, you had nothing else to do.

Now we have cell phones.  Which means your bosses, co-workers, and the people that need you, can reach you at all times.   If people aren’t talking on the phone,  they’re on social media.  I can’t tell you how often I see people pull out their phones in the middle of a face to face conversation to check their FB account.  Their FB account!!! What’s worse is when they scroll through, looking for something while missing out on actual human interaction!

Seriously people,

put

the

phone

down.

Deep cleansing breath.

Don’t even get me started on the hundreds of channels and movie streaming options, just to hear kids say, “I’m bored.  I already saw that one.”  Tough.   If watching a rerun is the worst thing in your life, consider yourself  blessed.

The norm today is our children having  a full day of school, then shuttling them back and forth from sports, clubs, and events.  Some how dinner is always eaten on the go.   The countless trips back and forth with one kid going here and the other kid going there… Before you know it, the evening is over and you wonder, where did the time go?  Did I do everything I was supposed to?  Did I pay the bills to the correct payee?  Oh man, I forgot to get to the store!

Before you think I am throwing stones, know that I too battle the pulling in every direction.  We do home school, but it is through a state mandated program.  While I do teach, I have to answer to the teachers and follow regulations and time requirements.  I am trying to balance teaching my kids 8 hours a day, write, pay my bills, clean (yeah, not happening), grocery shop, try to remember to feed us, answer my emails/return calls, ministry/college classes, study for exams, field trips, church, family functions, bible study…  That is just the list I can think of off the top of my head.  Which means I am probably forgetting stuff, as usual.  In other words, every word I share is because of what I have observed or done in my own life.

What I am saying is;  could our families be overbooked and going broke trying to make sure that we have it all? Maybe we are missing something?

It’s called rest and peace.

So I decided to get back to basics.  We all know G-d created the earth and everything in it and on the 7th day, He rested.

Remember when on Sundays the whole town shut down?  You went to church.  Sometimes you hit up a potluck or just went home and ate a big brunch and took a long nap!  I grew up in smaller towns, but rarely were any stores ever open.  You would think you hit the jackpot if a gas station was open!

I miss those days of simplicity.  I have been determined to experiment and see if I would see any difference in my life, by giving one day over.

Since our schedules are so busy, we decided to find a 24 hour period where we just stop working.   We still cook and do the dishes, but leave all the cleaning, school, work, and stress off the burner.

At first it was really weird.  We found ourselves almost antsy with a need to work.   My mind kept going to all the things I should be doing.  However, as the day wore on we all became less snappy and more happy.  We watched a movie with the kids, we took a long walk outside, played in the yard, we spent time praying, and just resting.  It was better than vacation!  There was no itinerary, no pounding pace, just peace.

I will admit it, every time our day of rest comes, we find temptation to skip.  I have noticed on the weeks that we took a Sabbath, the rest of the week just seemed less chaotic.  I didn’t feel as frantic.   The best part, the kids count down to our Sabbath day with great anticipation!  I may even implement a no phone/internet day.  The more I have studied the bible, I am realizing that G-d has wired us to rest.   The King of the  Universe Himself, took a day to rest!!

In most parts of America, Sunday is no different than any other day.  Most stores and restaurants are open.  Events, sports, and even kids sports practices and games are now scheduled on Sundays!

Is it me, or does it seem that America is like the little child who ate too much candy and refuses to take a nap?  We all know how much lack of sleep reeks havoc on a small child.  We also know, that anyone around that child will suffer for their lack!

Know this, I am not coming at you in a place of condemnation.  I am just sharing what has given me great hope! Pray about what really needs to stay a priority in your life.  Then try the experiment for yourself and see how it works out for you and your family!!  It may take several times before you get the hang of it.  If it doesn’t work out one week, try for the next!

My hope is for all of us to walk in the victory that G-d has for us.  He longs for us to slow down and enjoy the very precious gift that He has given us, to love life! 

Go on and enjoy!!  I would love for you to share how this experiment worked out for you and your family.  Maybe you already do this and would like to share what you do on your day of rest.