Joy from Sorrow

By the way… this is long. Thanks for reading.

For me, it’s helping people. I love people and I find great joy helping them. (I’m not always good at it, because I also find great joy in people helping me!) But that’s how this website came about… I want to help people any way I can, by sharing who I am and what I’m learning.

Anyway, this summer, I wasn’t in a position to help people. At all. And since my passion is helping others, this meant my joy was gone. The only thing I wanted to do was sleep. And eat food that rhymes with chocolate. Why?

Major Surgery Required

After several doc appointments, I finally found out about a health issue I didn’t know anything about, and was overwhelmed. I’d actually never even heard of it. Two docs said, “Unfortunately, major surgery is the only option.” This surgery wasn’t like a mole removal surgery. They described it, “like a C-section.” Well, I don’t want a C-section unless I’m having a baby.

Upon hearing the news, and talking with my husband, I wiped up my tears enough to semi-coherently talk to an acquaintance who shocked me with her calm, and said major surgery may in fact NOT be the only option.

A Life Changing Alternative

Let me say right now up front, I believe western medicine has provided much hope for the past century. I’ll never discourage anyone from seeking professional help. However, when she said she knew people who’d been helped with my specific type of situation using more natural options, I was interested.

This isn’t something I’ve written about publicly until now. Time makes it a little easier. (Tears are still welling.) The health issue I have is “fibroid tumors.” There are multiple fibroid tumors in/near my uterus, and at least one was measured at 3cm x 5cm. We found out these were the likely cause of our multiple miscarriages.

Fibroid Tumors

Fibroid tumors aren’t usually scary. Many women have them (40% of all women). Often they’re benign and don’t cause pain. But sometimes they’re serious and debilitating, resulting in a wide range of issues, from pain to miscarriages to hysterectomy. They’re annoying and cause frustrating scenarios like frequent urination, back pain, constipation, etc. All of these were issues I experienced. I had no idea why.

So, I’ve had fibroid tumors for years, and didn’t know it. And don’t know where they came from. 

I just really wanted and needed to feel better. My body, mind and emotions needed to heal from another lost baby. When you don’t feel well, and you have no desire to do what you love, you feel empty. You certainly aren’t full joy. The losses, the pain. And now this news. It was overwhelming, honestly. I ended up being more depressed than I already was.

My husband, Mom, sisters and closest friends were solid and supportive. But no one could fix it. It was just a really hard time and things were spiraling. Thankfully, I’d just wrapped up a contract job, so at least I was able to rest my mind. And pray. And sleep. And grieve. And think. And cry. And start using some natural products. During this time, I also spoke to a doctor who used these same natural options for the same reasons I did, after being told she needed a hysterectomy. She declined that surgery, and ended up having five more children…

Essentail Oils

Back to my friend who mentioned a natural option: She told me to try Frankincense Essential Oil. What? But I trusted her, and gave it a go. I didn’t just try that one, but decided to get several oils.

I used a citrus essential oil daily (usually Lemon) from Young Living. Citrus has very uplifting and I absolutely LOVED it. Exactly what I needed. I also used Frankincense, Valor, Peace & Calming, Purification and Angelica. My husband stole the peppermint immediately, so I missed out on that.

One day, within weeks, I woke up happy.

For the first time in a very long time I actually felt genuinely well. I stayed that way all day, and day after day I continued to feel better. Started feeling whole. Happy. Grateful. And I was comparing this recovery to my previous miscarriages – AMAZED at the stark difference. I obviously started recommending several of these products to friends and family. And as I began to learning more and sharing with friends, I was slowly starting to help people again. And JOY returned the instant I heard someone (whom I’d shared the oils with) was starting to feeling better! Tears… And that’s happened over and over and over again.

We have been making other changes as well. We started drinking filtered water from a Berkey filter. We also exchanged our chemical-laden bed for an organic mattress.

I started using essential oils out of desperation. What was once only loss and pain resulted in joy. I was helping people again.

I knew that even if we never conceived again, I still wanted my body to be healthy. No matter what. One day recently, something else hit me. If we adopt (which we’re both super excited about, whether we ever conceive or not), we both need to be working — to more aggressively pay off debt and save up for the adoption costs. So, either way, God is going to use the oils to build our little family. (Stay tuned.) Here’s how. Since this Young Living is a commission-based (network marketing) company, when the oils help people I share them with, they are blessed tremendously, and I am blessed financially. Then they share with others, and it just keeps growing.

It’s been fascinating to me to hear the success stories of others, and I love that these oils are helping so many people. It’s incredible. I LOVE the testimonials! I LOVE helping people!

Be Cautious About Memory Foam

You Are What You Sleep

What comes to mind when you think of memory foam? Probably words like “comfort” or “dreamy” right? That’s exactly how we felt at a showroom in Austin, TX ten years ago. We were trying out the king-of-memory foam brands, and they had us sold.

We dropped nearly $3700 on that mattress and box spring set! Oh my. Such a big purchase. I’d never even owned a new bed before, so this was an exciting experience.

How Memory Foam Felt

Our memory foam mattress was a little stiff at first, but then felt wonderful. Some chemical smells too, but those seemed to dissipate. The bed turned out to be so comfortable… almost addictive!

After three years with that bed, I realized I’d had some issues only since buying it. Rashes, itching, extreme fatigue, sleep issues and the resulting frustration, and three consecutive miscarriages. Some or all (or none) of these issues may or may not have been caused by our memory foam mattress. I’ll never know. I do know ALL of the issues have either resolved themselves since we got rid of it, or have become significantly better. And they had only become issues DURING the time I had this bed.

“What the heck IS in our mattress?”

On our health journey we changed diet, went to doctors, changed supplements. But we hadn’t really thought about our bed. One day, we heard something about memory foam being toxic.

We did brief research and were scared so much we literally slept on the living room floor that night! We read that the bed releases toxins (VOCs). These are volatile organic compounds. Yes, our skin, being the largest organ of our body, was spending 7-8 hours lying on a mattress that “off-gassed” chemicals — from 60 to over 100 carcinogens. One specific memory foam mattress model was found to emit 61 chemicals, including the carcinogens benzene and naphthalene.

  1. benzene
  2. naphthalene
  3. polyurethane
  4. formaldehyde
  5. antimony trioxide (arsenic)
  6. boric acid
  7. silicon (silica glass) (not to be confused with silicone)

My husband, Kyler, decided to call the manufacturer of the mattress and get straight to the point. And this is where things got a little strange…

We Called The Company Direct

He got a rep at the company who was a grandmother. Claimed her family all used this brand of mattress. So Kyler simply asked her what the mattresses were made of. She said they’re not even allowed to know. Wait… what? Then how are you okay with your family sleeping on them? Kyler actually didn’t ask that. It was kinda obvious.

Kyler then proceeded to tell her we’d heard/read some scary stuff. She resisted until he mentioned we’d been to the doctor for my health issues, tried everything they said and didn’t have any relief. When the woman heard those words everything changed…

Will We Promise Not To Sue?

The rep said she’d send a document over to sign. The doc stated that we could never sue them for any medical condition. Weird. We ran it by an attorney who was also surprised. He was like, “Do you have cancer or anything serious?”

Since we weren’t dying, we signed the agreement. The company then came and picked up the mattress, and gave us a check for $3700. Crazy!

But Don’t The Chemicals Off-Gas?

A common argument you may hear with memory foam and/or foam related beds and furniture products is this: “The VOCs aren’t bad because the off-gassing is done after a day or two.” Unfortunately, the initial off-gassing is the least of your worries.

Why? Foam deteriorates with use. Even commercial grade foam. When that happens, small particles laden with chemicals are released into the air. Some of these chemicals will end up in your lungs (for starters) and it can take up to 7 years for them to go away.

What’s The Answer?

An organic mattress is what we decided on. Specifically, organic latex. And keep in mind, there’s a drastic difference between organic latex and chemical laden latex used in things like dish washing gloves.

With better stress point relief and no toxic chemicals, you can’t lose with organic latex.

Organic latex is pure, from rubber trees. It’s better at relieving pressure points than memory foam. It’s naturally resistant to mold and dust mites. And best of all, it doesn’t harm your body! We’ve been sleeping on one for 7 years and LOVE it.

What Brand is Best?

We’ve used two different brands of organic latex mattress, but owned by the same parent company. The company name is Lifekind®. They make online only mattresses and then showroom mattresses under the name of OMI®. We currently use an OMI Organicpedic™ but also have another we really like from Lifekind called The Trio™. You can read more about them on their respective sites:



I hope this helps you on your path to healthier sleep! Remember, your skin is your largest organ. Don’t underestimate what you breath and absorb while sleeping each night. Here’s to pleasant, healthy dreams!

Can’t get your bum out the door?

I’m a kinesiology major. I get the importance of exercise. But that doesn’t make it easy to do! Maybe you started a hard and consistent workout plan, became consistent, lost the belly fat and several extra inches, then you just STOPPED?

It’s like we sometimes think we feel so good we’ll just stay that way. (Guilty!) Muscles aren’t dedicated friends. They go away as soon as you stop giving them attention.

Even just 20 minutes a day will keep the muscles happy and working on your behalf.

Walking is Wonderful Exercise

Walking is the most wonderful exercise for those who have been off of exercise for any length of time. It won’t strain or pull muscles, and the gravitational pull on your body requires just the right amount of resistance to be beneficial to both your bones and muscles. No strain to the ligaments, no stress fractures, no pain. Just good ol’ resistance. SO good for you.

Weights & Speed Not Required

You don’t need to carry around weights, or run, or speed walk. Just get up off your bum, walk out the door, and start walking! Go for 10 minutes, then turn around and walk back. Enjoy what you see. Leave your phone at home. Stop to smell a flower. Look at someone else trying to get healthy, in the eyes, and smile!

If you stop exercising after a decent length of time working out, it only takes a few days for your muscles to start screaming for attention. The aches. This is when your body’s saying “don’t forget about me!”

Do these 5 things, 5 days in a row, and you’ll be very pleased with yourself each day, and happier and healthier when you’re done.

  1. Drink lots of water. Men should try to drink at least 13 cups a day. Women, at least 9. More if it’s hotter outside. This is just a baseline. Every body type is different, but the bottom line is, stay hydrated.
  2. Stretch after your walk. The muscles are warmed up so stretch while they’re hot. Don’t go crazy, just stretch until it feels good.
  3. Breathe. Sometimes people hold their breath when they walk or do other exercises. I have no idea why, but I catch myself doing it too. It’s not good for you… Let that oxygen get all over your body and into the brain.
  4. Walk more than one day in row. Don’t be satisfied with one walk a week. Just get up and go. You can do it! Five days starts with one.
  5. Good shoes. Don’t walk in flip-flops. Make sure your shoes fit well and aren’t too tight.

Have issues with tight toe boxes? Altra running shoes. My husband swears by them. Their “foot shape” can’t be beat. Check the Torin or Escalante.

Peppermint Spritz

A suggestion to get the oxygen flowing is to spritz some water that has peppermint oil drops in it, all over your body. You’ll be amazed at the difference this could make in your workout. It’s been said that Jillian Michaels from “Biggest Loser” even puts peppermint oil on her wrists before a workout. Try it! You can put Peppermint on your feet too.

Just get up and GO. Let me know in the comments if you did, and what you enjoyed about it! You can do it. Keep ‘Healthy’ simple!

Lavender Lemonade

Here’s a promise. You will fall in LOVE with this Lavender Lemonade!

Tip: Only add 1 drop of Young Living’s Lavender Vitality Essential Oil. Otherwise, it’ll taste more like lavender plant lemonade than lemon lemonade!

New to essential oils? I only recommend Young Living essential oils for ingestion. I’ve personally been to several of their farms and witnessed their Seed to Seal process first hand!

Sandi Boudreau