Lyme Disease and the Gift of Maternal Instinct

This past week has been a challenging one, but it has also taught me a very valuable lesson – to always follow my gut. This past week, I diagnosed my son with Lyme Disease.

One week ago, my 15-year-old developed a high fever, headache, fatigue, neck pain, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes after returning from a camping trip. A bull's-eye rash developed on his back a few days later. I was convinced that he had Lyme disease. How did I know this? I just knew. Did my training as a Physician Assistant aid me in this diagnosis? Maybe. But to be honest, I believe that God has given mothers a very real and specific sense regarding our children. Your gut instinct. That nagging feeling or urging when you just know something about one of your kids. Does this happen all the time? No. But it does happen, and when it does, I plead for you to listen and obey it.

After I noticed the rash, I brought him to Urgent Care. The PA left the room to go “look up” Lyme disease. When she came back in, she said it was a virus and that his rash didn’t look like the pictures she had seen. We were sent home. That evening, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling any longer and brought him into the ER. The resident also diagnosed him with a virus, stating that teenagers can have fevers of 102 degrees for two weeks and that she, too, didn’t think it was Lyme.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. We were about to be sent home again when everything in me was screaming, “This is serious! This is Lyme!” Finally, the attending physician came in, listened to my condensed version of the last several days, looked at his rash and without batting an eye said, “This is Lyme disease and we’re treating him.”

I broke down crying. Thank you, Lord! This experienced ER doctor knew my son had Lyme and was going to give him the treatment he needed!

But what if I wouldn’t have listened to that still, small voice? What if I dismissed that urging and went home and waited for this “virus” to pass? How many other moms have doubted their maternal instincts and dismissed the nagging and urging of their spirit to listen to the voice of the “expert”?

Let me just say - you are the expert when it comes to your child! You know your child better than anyone! I want to encourage all parents to strongly advocate for their child – whether this means advocating for them in a medical situation, educational situation, social situation, etc. If something isn’t sitting right with you regarding your child and you feel an urging or nagging, please listen to it! You were given that prompting for a reason.

Listen to your gut.

I am so thankful I did.

Our Commitment to 100% Natural

When I first started Cindy's Suds over a decade ago, our company and business looked very different than it does today. Our "company" consisted of only me, and our "production facility" was my kitchen. I primarily sold products through craft shows and we had a combination of products containing both essential oils and fragrance oils. Fast forward to today: Our company no longer consists of just me, but a team of many talented and hardworking people. Our production space is an actual facility that we've developed on site, and our products are sold in many fine retail shops and stores in addition to our online store.

Our thought process on what we want to provide for our customers has also changed. There has been a lot of behind the scenes work going on this past year and we are thrilled to announce that our entire Cindy’s Suds line is now 100% Natural! Up to this point, our line has contained products that were scented with either essential oils or fragrance oils, but this practice has recently changed as we have discontinued production on products containing fragrance oil. This philosophy better reflects the heart and soul of Cindy’s Suds as well as the eco and health conscious customers that support us. Our mission as a company is to partner with parents and families to provide the best, all natural products for their families that they feel good about using and that really work. By discontinuing products with fragrance, we are better able to support this mission.

What does this mean for those of you who love our fragrance oil products? Well, you can purchase them in our Etsy store (click here) until we run out of stock. Don’t wait too long, though, because once they’re gone, they’re gone for good! What products are being discontinued?

            Soap – Garden Lilac and Honey Almond
            Body Butter – Almond, Cucumber Melon, Ginger Lime and Sweet Pea
            Sugar Scrub – Almond

But don’t despair! We have been creating new, 100% Natural essential oil blends that are sure to become new favorites!  We will be unveiling these new products over the next couple months and even offering some special opportunities.

Looking forward to sharing our new scents with you! Keep an eye on our Facebook page!





The Importance of Community

I just returned home from an amazing and energizing weekend! I traveled to Nashville, along with 40 other women, to sit under the teaching of 4 incredible business mentors. These 4 mentors are major players in the bath & body and entrepreneurial arenas and all have serious accolades and awards attached to their names. These wonderful ladies - Lela Barker of Lucky Break Consulting and Bella Lucce, Donna Maria Coles Johnson of Indie Business Network, Anne-Marie Faiola of Bramble Berry, and Kayla Fioravanti of Selah Press – hosted a 2 day conference, 2X4Live, to pour into the lives of business women and bless us with their wisdom and knowledge. Day one was rich with panel discussions and lectures. Day two was thoughtfully intense as we broke into small groups hosted by each mentor. We really dug into our businesses and did some seriously deep brainstorming and planning. Hard work but really good stuff.

For the last year, I’ve been involved in an online business coaching community and have met many wonderful women through this group. It’s amazing how you can consider people you’ve never met in person among your closest friends. We all get each other because of the experiences we’ve shared and supported in each other’s lives and businesses. I had the privilege of connecting in person with 4 of these women. Spending the last few days together with them has been truly life giving for me. I love these girls and it was so great to hug them and see them in person. These women are a part of my journey and will be life long friends. I also connected with several other women who I know will become a part of my community and I can’t wait to develop these relationships as well.

What does community look like in your life? My sister with quadruplets joined a Facebook group of “mom’s with quads” when she was pregnant. Now these 5 or 6 ladies meet yearly in addition to “talking” daily on their group page. These moms go through experiences that no other mom goes through. They get each other. How about you? Who gets you? Maybe you have a couple toddlers running around and MOPS has been your saving grace. Maybe you have a child with special needs and routinely check in with other families going through the same circumstances. Do you suffer from fibromyalgia? Your group might be the only ones who truly understand the pain and frustration. Homeschool your kids? I know our homeschool group has been sanity saving for me.

I am so thankful to have an incredibly supportive husband and family along with many close friends who believe in me and encourage my work. I am so grateful for these people who walk everyday life with me. However, I am equally thankful for my core group of friends that I have through my coaching community. We support each other in the big wins and encourage each other in the dips and disappointments of being an entrepreneur and business owner.

There is so much comfort and relief in knowing that there are other people out there that really get you. We were never meant to walk this journey alone, no matter what stage in life you are in. We were created for community.

What groups are you a part of? I would love to hear how your community of friends has improved your life.

Lela Barker, Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Anne-Marie Faiola, Kayla Fioravanti

Mentors extraordinaire! Lela Barker, Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Anne Marie Faiola and Kayla Fioravanti


These are my girls! From L-R, Lisa T, me, Rachel, Lisa B and Stacia.

Weddings, Baby Showers or Graduation Parties – where are you?

The type of parties we are invited to mark the stage of life we are in. When I was in my mid-late 20’s, it was weddings. I had a wedding or bridal shower almost every weekend for a few years. The next several years were spent delivering meals to new moms, hosting or attending weekend baby showers, and welcoming new little ones. Now, I’m entering the graduation party years. My niece is starting us out as she graduates this year. Our daughter will be two short years behind her…Oh where does the time go? How does life speed by so quickly from picking out baby names to picking out graduation announcements?

Speaking of baby names, when I was pregnant with our first child in 1999, the Internet was still pretty new. We didn't think to use it as a reference source for information like we do today. Ancient, I know! I bought a book to help us choose baby names because we needed some inspiration. Today, there is instant access to thousands of baby names with the click of a mouse. In fact, you can even include friends and family via social media to help you decide what to name your baby! 

If you or someone you know is pregnant, I’ve got something fun to share! We’ve partnered with Belly Ballot, the enjoyable and interactive social site to make naming your baby more fun, and are offering our Sweet Baby gift box to the mom who gets the most votes this week! Sounds fun, huh? Take a look at Belly Ballot's web site for baby name ideas. Then follow the prompts and share your top five names and try to get the most votes.

Wherever you are in the journey of life with weddings, baby showers or graduation parties, I hope you take the time to enjoy each and every stage!

Until next time,


Happy 2016!

I can't believe we are already half way through the first month of 2016! Does time seem to be flying for anyone else besides me? Well, I hope you are having a wonderful start to the New Year and are keeping up with your resolutions and goals for 2016. I'm not a resolution maker, but I do like to mentally set some goals.
Almost always on the top of my list, is a recommitment to healthy living. I don't know about you, but the holidays always seem to give me "permission" to eat badly. We also spent 3 weeks in Florida between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and vacations are another time when healthy living seems to go out the window. One of the hardest things for me right now is that I'm giving up caffeine (thanks heart palpitations!). This time around, giving up caffeine has been so hard! I'm in a fog most mornings until lunch and I SO want to go over to my friend the coffee maker and brew a pot. Ahh well... This too shall pass.
What resolutions or goals have you made this year? Anyone else on the Get Healthy bandwagon? Comment below with what struggles or success you have had so far. We'd love to celebrate with you or encourage you in your goals. 

Until next time,


Why I let my daughter dye her hair red


The stares. The looks. The pointing. All at my 15 year old daughter. 

Why, you may ask, would any parent allow their child to color their hair a bright red?

Well, here’s the reason - she’s a good kid. A really good kid. If she feels rebellious and wild sporting red hair (which she asked me to color for her, BTW), my reaction will be, “Sure, sounds cool!”

Does this go against everything I value about using natural products? Yep.
Does this go against the norm for a Christian Homeschooled kid? Probably.

But, you know what? I’m okay with that.

I used to look at teenagers with mohawks or strangely colored hair and have a pre-conceived notion that they must be naughty kids, rebelling and going against everything their poor over-conservative parents taught them. Now I see past that. Teenagers are in a strange and foreign land trying to navigate the waters between childhood and adulthood. They want to exert their independence one moment and call you mommy the next. If my daughter wants to feel wild and independent – and her answer to that is dyeing her hair red – my answer is, knock yourself out. Go for it.

So the next time you see a teenager with a bright blue mohawk or teal colored hair, cut them some slack. They may end up going into the Missionary field and leading young people to Christ.

Until next time,



What are these bumps on the back of my arms?

What are these bumps on the back of my arms?

This question was posed to me a couple weeks ago on our website. After responding, I thought it would make a good blog post to share with others.  :)

Keratosis Pilaris, or KP, is a common skin condition that results when keratin (a protein found in skin, hair, and nails) builds up and forms a plug, blocking the opening of a hair follicle. Usually many plugs form, causing patches of rough, bumpy skin. It commonly presents as numerous small, raised, tan or red little bumps around hair follicles on the upper arms, thighs, buttocks and cheeks. Why keratin builds up is unknown, but it often occurs in people who have other skin conditions like eczema. Keratosis Pilaris tends to improve in warm, humid weather and worsen in cold, dry weather. Like eczema, KP is a condition that often persists for years and tends to be worse in the childhood and young adult years. Similar to eczema, you can treat the appearance of KP but you may not necessarily resolve the condition.

So, what can you do to minimize the appearance of Keratosis Pilaris? For starters, keep your skin healthy. Follow some of these suggestions to start out in the right direction.

Moisturize your skin. Thick cream and ointment are better moisturizers than lotion. Apply them just after bathing while the skin is still moist. Try our Healing Salve or Unscented Body Butter.

Use warm water and limit bath time. Hot water and long showers or baths actually remove oil from skin and dry it out. Limit your bath or shower to 10 minutes or less and use warm water rather than hot. In some cases, KP can be slightly itchy. If so, try our Oatmeal Bath.

Use natural soap.  Most OTC soaps are harsh and drying and actually made with detergents. Choose mild, handmade soap made with natural oils and botanicals. Try any of our Soap.

Pat dry. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on the skin. Immediately moisturize.

Don’t exfoliate. You may be tempted to exfoliate or scrub the bumps with a pumice stone or similar harsh exfoliant. Similarly, avoid scratching or picking the bumps, as these actions can lead to skin irritation, worsening of KP, bacterial infections or scarring.  

Use a humidifier as needed. This step is dependent on climate, season and geographical location where you live. Low humidity dries out skin. A portable humidifier or one attached to your furnace will add moisture to your home and raise the humidity. If you use a portable humidifier, make sure to keep it clean to ward off bacteria and fungus.

Over the counter medication. Some people may want to use OTC products in addition to the above recommendations. Look for products that contain a mild acid to help break down the keratin. Preparations containing hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid, citric acid, lactic acid or salicylic acid have been used in KP treatment.

I hope these recommendations are helpful if you or one of your children suffer from Keratosis Pilaris. When I worked in Family Practice, these are the steps I would offer my patients when they came in asking, “What are these bumps on the back of my arms?”

Until next time,





When are you going back to work?

When are you going back to work?

I’ve been asked this question many times. As some of you know, I am a Physician Assistant. I worked very hard to get myself through all the schooling required and had a wonderful job working in Family Practice. However, 14 years into my career, my boss wanted me to commit to working more hours. I was a homeschooling mom with a soap company on the side and felt like I couldn’t possibly be pulled in any more directions without going totally insane. I felt like my back was to a wall. I cried. I prayed. My husband and I talked over pros and cons.

Then guess what? I quit.

To the world, that seemed like a crazy decision. However, for our family, it was the best decision. Our kids were getting older and requiring more of me for schooling, and my husband and I had always planned on “one day” growing the soap business with our kids. 

Fast forward to the present day. Do I have any regrets? 

No regrets. I am so thankful that I have continued to homeschool my children. Had I chosen to work more, I’m not sure I could have done both, at least not well. Next year I will be teaching a 7th, 8th and 10th grader. NEVER did I think I would be able to homeschool into the high school years, but here we are. It works for our family.

Do I miss working as a PA? Yes and No. I do not miss how medicine in general has changed and is dictated more and more by insurance companies than by what the provider feels is best for the patient. Practicing medicine today is very different than practicing medicine when I graduated in 1996. That’s a whole other blog post…

I will never lose my skills or knowledge. Both have served me well with our own family. Rarely do we have to bring our kids into the doctor, because I can “fix” most things at home. That includes stitching up my husband’s nose and forehead on the kitchen table when he fell off a ladder. I am the “go-to” person for anything medically related for our friends, for our neighbors, for my kids sports teams, in our homeschool co-op, etc. Knowledge is never wasted, it’s just redirected and used in different ways.

What about the satisfaction of helping people? Well, I feel that I get my “warm fuzzies” from my customers now, instead of my patients. I get so many phone calls and emails from customers who tell me that this or that product has made a huge difference in their skin and in how they feel. Those customer interactions make my day. Seriously, make my day!

That tiny soap company has grown. My customer base has grown. The amount of testimonials I get coming in from customers has grown. I feel that we have tried to position ourselves in the natural body care market within a special niche. Since I have a medical background, all of our products have been carefully created with a focus on good health and healthy living. I welcome questions and try to help educate customers as we all journey together in our quest for better health.

So when I will I go back to work? Well, I don’t think I ever left.

All my best,

New Labels, New Website - Yay!

We have been hard at work re-creating our labels and website to make our products easier to find and more accessible for you. In fact, this entire process has taken over a year by the time it was all said and done. Whew!

Our mission is to offer great natural products that you and your family can use and feel good about. We have carefully chosen and formulated each and every product with our own children and family in mind, so you can feel confident knowing we put our best in everything we make. We always create in small batches so our quality control is top notch. Customer service? Superb. Quick shipping? Check. Safe, skin loving ingredients? You betcha.

I will be using this blog platform to share information about a ton of cool things, so make sure to follow us and be in the know! Speaking of being in the know, did you know that we are offering FREE SHIPPING now through June 20?Get the special code from our Facebook page and enjoy free shipping now through June 20, 2015. See, now you know!

More soon!
All my best,