Widmayer Wellness LLC

Encouragement in Your Wellness Journey

About CKWidmayer

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and follower of Jesus. I am a teacher, writer, and singer. I am on a journey toward ever increasing health and wellness through spiritual growth, personal growth, and natural, plant-based living solutions such as essential oils. I love to teach people about essential oils, and I love to use my talent for writing to share what I have learned about health. Join me on this healthy journey--even when there are bumps along the way. During my times of relaxing, I enjoy spending time with family, especially the grandkids, as well as reading and crocheting.

When You Don’t Like Banana Bread

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I like my bananas green.  Well, almost green.  There is nothing worse than biting into a mushy banana or putting an almost mushy banana on cereal and then pouring milk over it. I prefer to eat bananas on the non-ripe side.  I will use a yellow banana in a smoothie; but once they start to get brown, I’m done.  I try to buy only what I need, but leftover, yellow-brown bananas are always hanging around my kitchen.  And I hate throwing them away.

Yes, I hear you. Make banana bread, you say.  Trouble is, I’m not a fan of banana bread either. I mean you have to use mushy bananas, so there’s that.  And they get so sweet, the taste, even in bread, is overpowering.  What’s a girl to do?  Today, I decided to bake banana bread but find a recipe that toned down the banana flavor.  I had some ideas—maybe sour cream, yogurt, or lime essential oil. After exploring recipes online, I found ideas that supported my thinking, and the baking began.

To give credit where credit is due, here is link to the recipe I started with: https://reluctantentertainer.com/sour-cream-banana-bread/

What did I change? I used Einkorn flour, so I added an extra ¼ cup for a total of 1 ¾ cups of flour.  (I typically add an extra ¼ cup when using Einkorn.)  I followed the rest of the recipe as given, except I stirred in three drops of Lime Essential Vitality before I put the batter in the pan.

I used a 9 x 5 Pampered Chef stoneware pan for the baking.  The recipe said the batter would fill the pan about ¾ full.  Though I followed the recipe, I’d say I had a bit more batter than that. Maybe that’s why it took so long to bake.  I baked the bread at 350 for 50-55 minutes as directed.  I checked it prior to that.  It required more baking time, and the top started to get overdone. I turned the oven down to 325 and then to 300 and baked about 5 more minutes after each temperature change. I also covered the pan during the last 10 minutes so it wouldn’t be black on the top by the time it was baked through.  If I was doing this recipe again, I would bake it at a lower temperature from the beginning.

How did it taste?  I have to say, despite the adjustments in the baking time, the sour cream and Lime Vitality did what I had hoped they would do!  The bread is delicious.  The lime is not overpowering. You might even be able to add 4 drops, but it depends on how strong you like the oil  flavor to come through.  I suspect the sour cream is what cut the banana flavor the most.  If you wanted more lime flavor, you could add another drop of lime to a glaze to spread on top. Just mix a glaze using confectioners sugar and water or milk.  Stir in a drop of lime.  Drizzle over bread.

This recipe was a bit more work than the recipe I usually use; however, the flavor made it worth it.  Hopefully, I have found a recipe that will save those mushy bananas from being wasted.

Time in His Hands

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Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. . .” (Colossians 3:23)

I don’t have enough time. We are all guilty of expressing this sentiment.  Sometimes it is frustration, sometimes it is weariness, and sometimes it is an excuse not to do add more to an already busy schedule.

Colossians 3:23 reminds us to work at all we do with our whole hearts. We might find encouragement in that verse when we are teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, or taking a meal to a sick friend.  We are serving others when we do those things, and we know that work is for the Lord.  But what about the tasks we work on at home or our jobs? Do we take pleasure in housework, laundry, yard work, and grocery shopping?  Do we enjoy our jobs? Are we doing those unto the Lord?

And what about the added work that comes with the holiday season? Do you take pleasure in the extra cleaning, decorating, cooking, baking, and shopping that comes with the season, or is it just something you do because of tradition or expectation?

I have always enjoyed preparing for the holidays, but I often resented my “regular” work because it was taking my time from doing the holiday things I enjoyed.  However, as I now have more time on my hands, I find those chores more pleasant, or at least less irksome.  That led me to the realization that it isn’t really the chores themselves that are the problem.  The problem is my possessiveness of my time. MY time! Do you see the problem with that attitude?  My time is not my own time; and if I operate in that mindset, of course I will be frustrated.

If we are walking the path God has set before us and being led by the Holy Spirit, our time is in His hands.  Psalm 31:14-15 says, “I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord. I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands. . .”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says there is a time for everything, and we generally interpret this verse to realize we have seasons in our lives.  But what if we read it as there is time for everything?  Would we be less stressed and possessive of our time if we really believed we have plenty of it? What if you really do have plenty of time?

We know times goes quickly, and as we get older, the time seems to race by even faster.  We all have a list of things we want to accomplish—whether it’s today’s to-do list, this year’s goal list, or a lifetime purpose list.  But if God truly has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and He orders our steps, we do have time for everything.  Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,” but can you quote the second part of that verse?  “He delights in our way.”

If God takes delight in our way—in our daily steps, our mundane tasks, we can rejoice in Him and delight in our way ourselves.

Does that sound too easy?  Are you looking at your holiday to-do list and thinking there is no delight in it? It really is all about mindset. It takes a proper outlook and practice. It takes believing God’s Word about time is as true as everything else He has said, and then acting on that truth.

Here are some steps that may help you cooperate with God’s timing and bring the joy and delight back to your busy holiday season.

Set your mind. Cultivate a positive mindset. Rejoice in the day God has given you. “This is the day God has made! Rejoice!” (Psalm 118:24) You get to spend the day with God, the King of the universe!

Pray. Before you start your day or any of your tasks, ask God to order your day and give you strength. I have found, time and time again, that this is the best way to approach a day when I feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks I need to complete.

  1. Ask God to order your steps. He has promised to do that. Remind Him of His promise. (Psalm 37:23)  Claim it for your life. “In their hearts, humans plan their course, but God establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
  2. Ask God to keep you from distractions. Explore these promises.
    • Ephesians 5:16 “making the most of every opportunity…”
    • Hebrews 12:2 “Fixing our eyes on Jesus…”
    • Proverbs 4:25 “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”
    • Matthew 6:34 “Do not worry about tomorrow…”
    • Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”
    • Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Let your words match your mindset. We know words have creative and destructive power, so eliminate negative sayings, like I don’t have time; express positive things: I can do all things through Christ; My steps are ordered of God.You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” (Psalm 16:11)

Combine things you like to do with tasks you find challenging. Listen to music, a podcast, or a book as you work.  Count your blessings as you shop, thanking God for the provision to purchase groceries and gifts.  Check your email or social media while waiting for an appointment.

Rest and recharge. When your task list is long, make sure you schedule times for quiet, reflection, prayer, or just something you love to do. Don’t neglect that workout time, coffee date, or favorite holiday movie.  Psalm 23:2-3 reminds us God cares about our rest. “He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me besides quiet waters; he refreshes my soul.”

When we look forward to time with family and friends over the holidays, it is rarely about what we do. We just take pleasure in being with them.  If we take that same approach to our time with God, then we can enjoy His presence regardless of the tasks we need to accomplish. And we can take pleasure in the tasks because we take pleasure in Him.  We can rest confidently in the knowledge that He is aware of our time and our to-do list, and He will make the most of it, helping us to redeem the time we have efficiently. There is a time for everything.

Giving Thanks – 30 Reasons To Be Thankful

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Psalm 107:1 (NIV) -“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

November brings thoughts of being thankful. Hopefully, it is more than thoughts, and our hearts really are filled with gratitude for the many blessings in our lives.  I truly try to walk with a thankful heart all year long, but during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, I find my heart welling up with thanks for the overwhelming gifts that God pours out to me on a regular basis.  Today I share 30 reasons to be thankful—one for each day of the month—though this list could be much longer. I encourage you to cultivate gratitude in your life. Focusing on positive things helps to avoid negative energy and depression, which can rob us of life’s little joys.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

I am thankful…

  1. That Jesus Christ is my Savior.
  2. That the Holy Spirit guides me each day of my life.
  3. For God’s Word, the Bible, which teaches me all I need.
  4. For a loving husband who is supportive and a true partner in life.
  5. For two beautiful daughters who love the Lord.
  6. For two outstanding sons-in-law, who love my daughters and are good fathers to their children
  7. For five wonderful, awesome, intelligent, handsome grandsons.
  8. That my children and grandchildren live very close to me, and I am able to be involved in their daily lives.
  9. For a happy childhood and parents who loved and nurtured me. And for my in-laws, who have always been second parents.
  10. For siblings and extended family–the love we share and the fun times we enjoy.
  11. For friends who encourage and challenge me.
  12. For my career as a teacher and all who touched my life in those years.
  13. For new visions and tasks to conquer that I may use my gifts and talents unto the Lord.
  14. For the beautiful home God has provided me that keeps me safe, warm, and allows the space to gather family and friends.
  15. For the beauty of God’s creation that is ever changing and the fact that I have a front row seat in my home to the nature that is all around me.
  16. For health and wellness for my family.
  17. For times of relaxation and vacation and travel.
  18. For finances that supply my needs.
  19. That God allows me to participate in His kingdom by giving to others out of what He generously gives to me.
  20. That God helps me to grow, despite my failures, into His plan and purpose for me.
  21. For answered prayers.
  22. For a country where I can freely worship.
  23. For a country where I can vote and have an impact on my world.
  24. For those who give their lives to protect the freedoms I have.
  25. For the many blessings that come with technology that has been gifted to us.
  26. For books to read that I may gain knowledge and wisdom from others’ experiences.
  27. For sleep each night that restores my body.
  28. For the food I eat and the hands that prepare it.
  29. For the gifts that God gives to others that I may be blessed by their talents.
  30. For the gift of writing that I may share with others and for those who share with me by following.

May your heart turn to God in thanksgiving this day and every day. “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

EASY DIY ESSENTIAL OIL GIFT IDEAS

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It seems I have no sooner put out my fall decorations than my mind turns to Christmas and gift-giving.  When I was growing up, my family was not very crafty.  We were not a family who made gifts for one another.  We were a shopping family, and I have very fond memories of holiday shopping with both my mom and my dad.

Then I met my husband.  His extended family tended to give more hand-made gifts.  Of course, when we first got married, we had a limited income as most young couples do so making gifts seemed like a great idea to my husband.  Even while we were dating, we started a tradition of making hard candy every year.  During our early marriage we continued to make things for extended family members.  One year I crocheted “holiday candles” that fit over a cardboard tube.  Another year, I made yarn wreaths on a coat hanger.  And for a while, my husband made bread to give to family members every year.

I found gift-making somewhat intimidating. Making things was, and still is, a challenge for me. I will only attempt the simplest of projects.  However, over the past few years, as I have begun using essential oils and been exposed to all kinds of DIY recipes, I have found a lot more easy, creative ideas for gift-giving.  I thought I would share a few I have found simple enough to tackle.

I realize that everyone has favorite essential oils, so I will give you a list of suggestions and let you experiment. You may want to make minor adjustments so that each gift you give is as unique as the person receiving it.  For containers, I use decorative Mason jars. Do not use plastic containers if you are using any citrus oils.

SUGAR SCRUB

Directions: You can use white sugar, brown sugar, or a combination of the two.

  • 2 ½ cups of sugar
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. Honey, optional
  • 1 t. baking soda, optional, add more to achieve desired consistency
  • 10 drops of essential oil of your choice. Choose one or more of the following.
    • Fall scents – Thieves, Clove, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Christmas Spirit, Orange, Northern Lights Black Spruce
    • Citrus scents – Lemon, Orange, Tangerine, Bergamot, Grapefruit
    • Christmas scents – Peppermint, Orange, Juniper, Cinnamon, Clove, Thieves
    • Relaxing scents – Lavender, Stress Away, Valor
    • Muscle soothing scents – Peppermint, Wintergreen, PanAway, Valor, Frankincense
    • Man scents – Shutran, Northern Lights Black Spruce, Frankincense, Cedarwood, Sacred Sandalwood

BODY BUTTER

Directions: You can use any base – cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, kokum butter, or a blend.  You can melt it first or just soften it.  Use a stand mixer to whip butter base to desired consistency.  Add liquid oil slowly. You may not use the whole amount.  Remove from stand and fold in essential oils.  Add to a Mason jar and seal.

  • ½ cup shea butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup almond (or grapeseed, safflower, jojoba, olive)
  • 20 drops of essential oil

RICE SOCKS

Directions:  Pour 1 cup of rice into a large bowl.  Stir in essential oils.  Add rice to tube sock.  Fill any remainder of sock with more rice. Close sock with a rubber band.  Shake the sock so the oil-infused rice blends with the plain rice.  Add a bow around the rubber band, if desired.  I personally find the bow is just a pain. Make sure you are using a rubber band or a band that does NOT contain any metal pieces because you are going to warm this up in the microwave.  You can always add more essential oils in the future if needed. These socks are, as far as I am concerned, genius!  I use my rice sock every day.  This would be a great craft for a Scout troop or a Sunday School class.

  • One cotton tube sock
  • 1-2 cups of white rice
  • One heavy duty rubber band
  • 5 – 10 drops essential oil
    • Muscle soothing – Peppermint, Wintergreen, or PanAway
    • Calming – Lavender or Stress Away
  • To heat: Put in microwave 30 seconds at a time to desired temperature, not more than 90 seconds total.
  • Do not apply directly to skin; use a cloth barrier.

SOAP

This is the easiest thing in the world!

Directions:  Melt the soap base.  Stir in essential oils.  Pour in mold.  Cool.  Remove from mold.  I have wrapped these in saran wrap and tied with a bow. I have also put them in small organza bags to give away.

  • Soap base – I have used a shea butter base and a goat’s milk base
  • Silicone Mold
  • Essential oils
  • Option – Dried petals – I tried adding dried rose petals to my soap. Though it worked beautifully, I found they did not hold up well. If I added them in the future, I would store the soap in the refrigerator; or, I would use dried petals in one batch and essential oils in another.

Whatever gifts you choose to give—whether store bought or handmade—may you embrace the spirit of the season, enjoy the preparations, and create lasting memories for the whole family.

Who Ruined October?

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Who ruined October?  Who decided we needed to start our January resolutions in one of my favorite months of the year?  I have received several invitations to join end of year challenges!  Start the new year early and work on your goals now.  Work on the goals that failed in 2018 because time isn’t up.  Get a head start on the goals for 2019.  Really, it’s a lot of pressure.  And it’s fall. Who wants to think about goals?

I love fall.  I love long pants instead of shorts and heat instead of air conditioning. I love Macintosh apples that are crisp not soggy.  I love cuddling up with a cozy blanket or crocheting without sweating.  I love the smell of campfires and crisp, cool autumn air.  I love football and seasonal movies. And I love socks.  Yes, weird.  But I am happy to put away sandals and be allowed to wear socks, whether anklets, knee highs, or tights. I want to keep my feet warm, and my children forbid me to wear socks with my sandals.

I also love Halloween and Thanksgiving.  And fall holidays lead into Christmas, and the holidays are such a busy time.  So, why would anyone want to think about goals?

It is common to “begin” a new year in September; as a teacher, this is still my mental start of a new year.  And January, despite being the real start of a new year, does seem a somewhat artificial time to begin new things. And yet, some schools start in August, some in September, and some are year round.  So, what’s the point of beginning in October? Why do people offer challenges now?

Because.  We really should be working on the goals we have set continually, and it is easy to lose sight of them in the busyness of students returning to school, schedules getting tighter, and the days get shorter. It gets dark sooner.  The weather begins to cool, and hibernating sounds like a great idea.   But instead of hiding out all fall and winter, we need to re-evaluate goals and make sure we aren’t coasting. We need to find balance. We need to enjoy life and accomplish goals.

So, I encourage you to enjoy October.  But I also encourage you to drag out that January goal list, dust it off, and see if you can finish one or two things you planned to do so they can be checked off as done!

Think about how good it will feel when you are taking a walk at dusk on a cool fall evening to know that your goal list is nearing completion.

There will be time for those new goals in January. . . or next October.

What’s Your Heart Condition?

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September 29 is World Heart Day! There are many ways to improve your heart health; so, rather than writing about heart health myself, I decided I would point you to the experts.  I hope you will check out some of these links, as I did, to read more about how you can take care of your heart.  Preventing an early death from heart disease will lower the risk of your loved ones being broken-hearted.

Did you know the leading cause of death among women is heart disease?  What are you doing to improve your heart health? Motivate yourself to make some changes by getting involved.  Check out this contest sponsored by Young Living to encourage heart health. Working with others toward a similar goal will help keep you accountable.

What are the symptoms of heart attacks and strokes?  The American Heart Association identifies the main symptoms of a heart attack as

  • Chest discomfort
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Other signs including cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness

How can you prevent heart disease?  You can reduce your risk up to 80% by changing your lifestyle, according to Go Red for Women.  Walking for 30 minutes a day, getting enough sleep, taking control of your eating, and avoiding salty foods and unhealthy fats are some ways to begin.  Check out their website for more details.

Who is at risk?  Check out Health magazine’s “9 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Heart.

What steps will you take for your heart this month? What changes will you make?  Don’t ignore the warnings. Make a change today.

My heart, your heart! September 29th! I’m going to walk for 30 minutes now.

Consider the Lilies

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Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. Matthew 6:28 (AMPC)

 Today when I read the above verse in the Classic Amplified Version, the highlighted phrase “learn thoroughly how they grow” caught my attention. How do lilies grow? What can I learn from studying lilies?

Lilies are beautiful.  They don’t work to look like that.  They don’t spin yarn or weave thread to create their own beauty.  They are already beautiful.  We are also beautiful, just as we are.  We are created in God’s own image.  And even though this verse is specifically addressing the concern of clothing, the entire section addresses worrying about things in life that we shouldn’t worry about.  So, when the verse said, Learn how lilies grow, I was curious.  What is important about how lilies grow? What can I learn from studying lilies?

Here is what I found.  Please note I am not a botany expert—not even amateur botanist.  I am just applying what I learn about lilies to draw a deeper understanding of God and His desire for me, His daughter.  Though there is much technical vocabulary I don’t really understand, there are lessons here.

“Lilies…form naked…underground bulbs, which are their organs of perennation.”[i]  I did not know what “perennation” meant, so I looked it up.

Dictionary.com defines perennation this way:  “To survive from season to season for an indefinite number of years.”  Wikepedia.com says, “In botany, perennation is the ability of organisms, particularly plants, to survive from one germinating season to another, especially under unfavorable conditions such as drought or winter. It typically involves development of a perennating organ, which stores enough nutrients to sustain the organism during the unfavorable season, and develops into one or more new plants the following year.”

What does that mean?  A lily has the ability to survive challenging seasons of life by having an organism which sustains it.  This challenging season bring forth new life the following year or season.

How can we be like the lily? When we have challenging seasons in our lives, what will sustain us?  What gets us through the challenge to come out not only whole but also sprouting new growth?  What is our perennating organ? What stores enough “nutrients” for us to survive unfavorable seasons?

I believe it is faith! And how do we store up faith?  Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Therefore, by studying the Word and applying what we learn, we can store up faith for the challenging seasons in our lives when we know God is working, but we cannot see Him working.

Many scriptures encourage us to grow in our faith.

II Peter 3:18 – “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Hebrew 6:1 – “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity. . .

Jeremiah 12:2 – “You have planted them and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit.”

1 Peter 2:2-3 – “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”

Colossians 2:6-7 – “…continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith you were taught. . .”

So, what do we learn from lilies?  We learn to increase our faith through study of God’s Word so that when we have struggles and difficult seasons in our lives we can press on in faith, knowing that our struggles will produce new growth and fruit in our lives.

James 1:3-4 – “…the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

[i][https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilium]