What to do About Stomach Flu: Advice from Trainer Mel

The past few days have been pretty rough at The Ethel Homestead.

The 3 year old woke up very early one morning throwing up. His older brother (4 years old) woke up a couple of hours later, same thing.

When it comes to mothering and taking care my kids, I become “Amy 2.0.” Everything else stops. In between washing bed sheets and sanitizing EVERYTHING, I started to feel queasy myself. Then my husband started to get sick. The Ethels were dropping like flies.

I hopped on Facebook and went to my friend (and trainer) Mel’s page, to send her a message. I needed advice quick! Let me back up for a second….

I met Mel at our local gym back in May and we connected immediately. We met at Panera for smoothies the very next week. I told her about my journey so far,  my health/fitness goals, and the bad habits (ahem, Alcohol just to name one) that I have overcome by participating in Celebrate Recovery and the 12 steps. As I told her my story, she had tears in her eyes and I knew I had met a fellow soul sister.

Mel is my GO-TO for all things health, nutrition and fitness. (If you don’t have someone like this in your life, I suggest you get one,  ASAP!)

Mel is one of the most positive, energetic people I have ever met. Not only does she live and breathe health, wellness, and exercise in her own life, she has the desire for others to have it as well.

Back to the current situation at hand…..

Sickness was in our house..and I wanted it gone NOW!  I always love the way that God works and how He knows what we need, WHEN we need it. When I went to Mel’s page, I ended up not even having to send her a message, because her current Facebook status was about (you guessed it) the stomach flu. I asked her permission to share this advice and she said “OF COURSE!” I love this gal! I wish I had known this information BEFORE we all came down with the bug, but now I will be prepared in the future. Thank you Mel!!!!!

Stomach flu graphic


Are there ways to keep yourself from getting the stomach flu?

Other than washing your hands until they bleed???

…the answer is YES!

1. Eat your probiotics.

Yogurt is full of bacteria but it’s “the good kind” that your stomach needs to combat the “bad” kind that makes it want to turn itself inside out in your toilet. The latest research shows that not only can probiotics help stop vomiting and diarrhea 1-3 days earlier but that they can also help prevent colds and improve the body’s response to the flu vaccine. Children given probiotics missed fewer days from daycare due to stomach flu than children who got a placebo (although the AAP notes that more research needs to be done and hence official recommendations can’t be made yet). To reap maximum benefits, avoid yogurts with a lot of added flavoring, colors and sugars as all of those things can exacerbate an irritated gut. Personally I like eating plain, whole yogurt.

2. Stay hydrated inside and out.

One of the reasons people get sick more in the winter is because dehydrated skin means more tiny cracks which means your body’s largest organ and best immune system defense is compromised. While you can’t change the weather you can drink extra fluids, protect your skin from cold weather and use extra lotion. Also, sadly, long, hot showers are not your friend as they dry out your skin too. On the inside, upping your fluid intake makes sure your body has all the H2o it needs to run properly.

3. Stress less.

Cortisol, the “stress hormone”, works partially by suppressing your immune system. When you’re in a true crisis that’s a good thing, but constant stress over time just hangs a “vacancy!” sign over the germ motel of your body. Meditate, take a walk outside, surf for craft ideas on Pinterest that you love or whatever you do to relax.

4. Colon cleansing.

Your body needs a certain balance of minerals and electrolytes to work properly. When you’re healthy, this balance is maintained partly through the colon as it absorbs what your body needs. If you upset the balance in the colon or irritate the walls too much, eat processed foods often, not passing or clearing the colon holds onto these chemicals. Thus affecting the colon to properly absorb the electrolytes and minerals your body needs.

Wow! Thanks again to Mel for this awesome advice!

It was too good not to share.

Until next time,  BE BLESSED!!!!


In the world You WILL Have Trouble

In John 16:33, the Bible says, “In the world you will have trouble…but take heart! I have overcome the world…”

It does not say we MIGHT have trouble…

It says we WILL.

It would be REAL EASY right now to stay frustrated and fret over my trouble:

-I currently have a wicked flare up of diverticulitis.
-Nathan has been running a fever for 2 days.
-I am behind on work.
-My house is a mess. Side note: It does not go well trying to get caught up on said work and house work when your body is sick and your child is sick.
–My husband is leaving for 3 weeks on Sunday, he is my favorite and I am sad that we will be apart (yet happy for his opportunity).
-Nathan’s birthday party is this weekend, and I am not even close to being ready.

I could honestly go on and on…..

The first part of that verse promises that God gives us PEACE. His word is FILLED with his promises for us.

He will never leave us nor forsake us.

This morning, I was very broken and upset, but still set aside time to pray and read my Bible (BELIEVE me, I did not feel like it, but did it anyway). Wow, I’m so glad I did. This is what I read:

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The Lord works out EVERYTHING to its proper end-…..” (emphasis mine). Proverbs 16:3-4.

I cannot see the reason why everything is going on the way it is but HE DOES. I am so excited to see what is going to happen next for the Ethels.🙂 God is in control!

(If you read this all the way to the end, THANK YOU! and let me know in the comments how God is speaking to you in the midst of your trouble!)

By the way, this trouble is only temporary.🙂

In the scheme of things? This 70-80 years AIN’T NOTHIN’ (<—- insert Wayne County twang here).

Nostalgia & Grief

Picture by Dee Dee Boley on Facebook

Picture by Dee Dee Boley on Facebook

While sitting here planning on taking my boys to the movies today, I was trying to think about what I should pack in the diaper bag. I was tempted to “sneak-in” my own snacks, because the snacks at the movies are so expensive, then I realized they wouldn’t last anyway, and would get consumed in the car.. As I was planning and playing out the possible “sneaking in snacks” scenario, I was hit hard by nostalgia and grief.

(WARNING: I’m about to tell on myself here, It might be hard to believe)…

This reminded me of the time that Brad Boley and I snuck two 6-six packs of bud-light into a movie theater and got away with it. Never got caught.

Brad passed away in October. I didn’t get to attend his funeral because I was in the hospital with diverticulitis. I haven’t grieved properly. He was one of my best pals in my early 20′s. So this memory hit me in the gut today.  I still can’t believe that Brad is gone. Way too young, and way too soon. I’m sad that I can’t call/text/Facebook message him and laugh with him about this memory, and then talk to him about how I am now 9+ months sober.

I’d give anything to be able to thank him for being such a good friend during that time in my life, For having the courage to tell me, “Um, I think you’re partying too much. What’s going on? Do you need help?”

For being the “big brother” that I didn’t have.

For buying me Ralph Lauren Pure Romance perfume on my birthday after my boyfriend of many years had broken my heart into a thousand pieces.

Jesus? Will you hug Brad for me today and tell him thank you on my behalf? Will you please give comfort to the wife and family he left behind? Brad and I had moved on and didn’t speak often at the time of his death. If his death affects me this much, I can’t speak of how his close family and wife have grieved. These moments of memories are multiplied by THOUSANDS to those who were close to him. So, Jesus, PLEASE, send your love and comfort today. AMEN

❤ -Amy

Where is God When I’m Hurting?

The weight on my heart is heavier today than usual…

I logged onto Facebook this morning to check and see if there were any updates about Pastor Rob. I was praying for him, and wanted to see if his family had posted any updates.(He’s having open heart surgery today so if you’re reading this, please send up a prayer for him TOO!)

Pastor Rob served at our church when I was around 11-12 years old. It was during one of his sermons that I met Jesus. Rob asked a question like “If you died today, what do you think would happen after you died? Where will you go?”

The first thought in my 11-12ish year old brain was, “Of course I’m going to go to HEAVEN!”

My thoughts continued….

I’ve been going to church here since I was born. Well really even before that if you want to get technical about it. My mom came to church here when she was pregnant with me, so that makes a difference, right? I’ve been in the children’s plays at church. I sang in the children’s choir. I put money in the offering every week. This all means something, right? That gets me IN, Right? As it turns out, no.

No. No. No. No. No.

Picture of me as a Toddler

My little self. I grew up in church and was always a “good kid.” But going to heaven is not about “ME” it’s about HIM.

I had been in church all that time, yet that’s not what it was about at ALL. It wasn’t about the actions of DOING for God or about being a good person. It was about a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus.

That was the gist of Pastor Rob’s sermon that day. Something he said that morning made me not sure I was really going to go to Heaven. After the service I started asking my Dad lots of questions about it. He opened up his Bible and took me through the “Romans Road.” It was there at the dining room table of my grandparents’ house on Pine Street that I decided to give my life to Jesus.

So Pastor Rob means a lot to me, and was a huge part of my coming to know The Lord. His son married one of my close friends, and now leads the Celebrate Recovery group at our church. This family has poured so much into me, therefore it was only natural for me to pour my heart out to God this morning and ask for healing for Rob and for comfort and peace for his family.

As I looked through my facebook newsfeed for the lastest news about Rob, I saw so many other burdened friends. A childhood friend of mine posted that her grandmother had gone on to be with the Lord, after many long days and nights at a Hospice House… Another friend was asking for prayers as her baby was getting tested for food allergies today.. Four months today marked the passing of Brad Boley (which I haven’t even been able to muster the strength to blog about yet)… Two friends from high school are planning their Nana’s funeral…

And it just goes on and on….

So much pain, worries, and real suffering.

It’s in these moments that I really have to dig deep and cry out to God.

When I open my Bible, and give my worries over to Him, He always answers me.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

To my dear friends who are hurting: God has not forgotten you. He loves you. You can find peace in HIM.

Afterall, He’s already paid the ultimate price: He suffered more pain on the cross, more than we could ever imagine, just so that we can be with HIM in heaven.

Do you know that today? I’m praying that you do.

Because of Him,


Burdens: Hand ‘Em Over

The last couple of days have been kind of rough. 

Nothing major or catastrophic has happened, just your regular, run of the mill, grown-up/first world/parenting problems.

If you are a grown up with small children living in the United States and (taking your job as a parent seriously) breathing actual air, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

Silly little annoyances over the last few days have brought me DOWN:

-Waiting in long lines.

-Vending machines that WON’T work.

-Little children that WON’T obey.

-Slow internet.

-Computer crash. (A special kind of frustration when you are a WORK AT HOME mom.)

-Missing your husband because he works 6 days a week.

-Forgetting to pay the water bill/waiting til the last minute, then the website you need to pay it on will NOT load.

-Laundry that WON’T do itself.

Neverending messes.

-Child with food allergy runs out of non-dairy milk at pre-school, so husband rushes to the store to get it while you sit and imagine worst-case scenarios of your 3-year-old grabbing other kids’ drinks and a trip to the ER in your future.

Graduation looming. (What in the world and I gonna do next?)

Stuck by trains in Kenova. Enough said.

-Running late for EVERYTHING.


I could go on, but I won’t.


Why are these things bothering me so much?

I asked myself this question.

Then I asked God this question.

I opened up my Bible.

Here’s what it said:


“Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Psalm 55:22 (NASB)

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

Wow. I wasn’t giving my concerns to Jesus. THAT is why I was feeling so yucky. It’s not the same as just telling your friend about your day and venting your frustrations. The Word says to CAST them. In other words hand ‘em over.

 I needed an attitude check.

So I had a long heart-to-heart with Jesus. I handed it all over. It’s amazing the freedom that comes with that!!!!

At Camp Cowen, we always used to sing this song that went along with 1 Peter 5:7…..

Imagine these words to a cheesy Reggae sounding beat. And with the words ending in –ER, pronounce them with –AH (Instead of Higher, we said High-AH, Instead of super, we said SUP-AH… and so on)…


Here it is:


“Cast your burdens

Upon Jesus

‘Cause He cares for you.


Cast your burdens

Upon Jesus

‘Cause He cares for you


Higher, Higher

Higher Higher Higher Higher Higher Higher

Lift Jesus Higher


Lower, Lower

Lower Lower Lower Lower Lower Lower

Stomp satan Lower


Super, Super

Super Super Super Super Super Super

Supernatural Power


Fire, Fire

Fire Fire Fire Fire Fire Fire

Holy Ghost Fire!!!!


Shout out to Camp Cowen Peeps: You can thank me later for putting this song into your brain that will surely be there ALL DAY LONG.

(P.S. I’m so thankful for you. Thank you for being part of the foundation that God laid down in my life. It’s the foundation that brought me back to Him after a long time of going astray). *HUGS


Just a couple of my Cowen People (Not sure about the year, Maybe 2000? or 2001?)..Help me out peeps. :)  From Left to Right: Lee Boso, LeeAnn (Jordan) Woda, and ME!

Just a couple of my Cowen People..
From Left to Right:
Lee Boso, LeeAnn (Jordan) Woda, and ME!


I’m giving Him my burdens today. Even the little ones.


Will you?


Because of Him,


The Story Behind the Mess

This past week, I posted a video on YouTube of a huge mess that my 3-year-old made. Here it is:

Here’s the story behind the mess…

My 3-year-old loves the snow. We live here in the Tri-state area of Huntington, West Virginia/Ohio/Kentucky and we really haven’t had a great deal of snow. At least not enough to go outside and make snow angels and snowmen with. (Which is really the best part of the snow, right?) The shoveling and barreling through part, we can just do without.

Due to this lack-of-snow situation, my creative boy decided to come up with his own solution. He made “snow” with BABY POWDER!

I am a full-time college student, and also doing an internship (from home). I was catching up on some work while my 2-year-old was napping and while (I thought) the 3-year-old was busy playing! Unbeknownst to me, he was creating his own “snow” in his bedroom.

I took the above video in the aftermath. It was a MESS! I had a minor “panic attack” I believe! However, he was just so cute, I couldn’t stay mad. He just wanted snow!

At one point he even asks me “Are you mad?” Bless his heart.

I praised him for his creativity, but made SURE to tell him we CANNOT do this everyday.

(For the record, there was baby powder ALL through the drawers of clean clothes. Which I had to wash all over again!)

So yes he had fun. Yes he was/is cute. But this is not a very practical means of creative fun! Maybe we’ll try it in the bathroom next time… Maybe.😉

Time Goes By Too Fast

When I was pregnant with Nathan, a friend of mine told me, “Time will fly by, because you will be so busy!”

Oh my goodness, how true that has been.

I wish I had more time to write, blog, create, etc. I know there are times when I am not an incredibly reliable/available person.

99% of the time I am TERRIBLY behind in my school work. But you wanna know the truth? If I were given any more than the 24 hours already allotted to me, I would probably STILL be spending it with these two precious boys. They are irresistible and delicious!

The ONLY reason I’m able to write this post at this moment: It’s early on a Saturday morning, they are still asleep, and I was able to drink an entire cup of coffee all by myself. Trust me, that is something. I rarely even get to go to the bathroom by myself. True story.

So since it’s been a little long while since my last post, I thought I’d take 10 and write out this quick post.

While I’m at it, I’ll share a cute/funny video with you. (Just in case you didn’t see it on Facebook!)

Thanks for visiting my friends!

Gotta go, Nathan is up and ready to start wallowing me. 


Love, Love, Love,



It’s not every day that you get to sit and learn directly from an author, teaching the subject they wrote about.



I’m so excited about the next 6 weeks!

Monday Musings: “Anything”: An Online Summer Study

A New Session of GMG starts today!

I am very excited to begin another Good Morning Girls online study. I am leading two groups this session and feel very blessed to be able to do so!

My time alone with God is crucial. It makes my whole day fall into place and pushes me ever further toward being the kind of wife and mother I long to be. I am a work in progress! After a long semester of school and some very VERY difficult personal trials and struggles, I am looking forward to pouring over God’s word and seeking a deeper relationship with the Jesus I love SOOOO very much.

Won’t you join me?

For more information about this Online Summer Study and Good Morning Girls, visit the GMG site at http://www.goodmorninggirls.org 

Today I’m linking up with The Better Mom: Sharing Life and Learning Together