Category Archives: Why?

A Natural Approach

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Last year we were on vacation and my daughter and I entered into a store that advertised itself as being a “natural” bath and beauty store. Being that we use all natural products I was actually very excited and the colors and smells were delightful. First clue that it really wasn’t natural. As we entered the store there were soaps, shampoos, bath salts, bath sugar scrubs and oils. The word natural on the wall in big bold letters was just shouting out to us, “try me, I’m safe to put on your skin”. Well, we obliged and began testing some of the products. The salts and sugars that you rub on your skin were amazing when you washed them off. Our hands felt like silk or like the skin of a newborn.

As my daughter looked around, she came upon a cream that she really wanted. The smell was fantastic and the cream itself was more of a butter texture that was smooth and felt nice on the skin after the salt scrub. We turned the jar around to look at the ingredients, which we should have done the minute we walked in the store, and let’s just say it was far from natural. The ingredient list was long with great big long words that needed a dictionary to pronounce. One of the ingredients I recognized and I told my daughter that I read about it on a list of things to avoid due to cancer. She of course, being the beautiful smart 13 year old she was at the time, informed me that I was paranoid and needed to quit looking at lists like that and enjoy the fun smelling creams and toiletries that could only enhance the aroma we were already putting off. (Not really, after all it was over 85 degrees at the time.) That being said, I whipped out my phone and told her I would enjoy how I smell, enjoy my life without the product, and gave her my phone with the product description. I told her that if she wanted it, she needed to read about the ingredient first, and I was not going to buy it for her. She politely read it, of course this is after the long drawn out sigh, gave me back the phone and put the cream back on the shelf. I asked her why she wasn’t buying it and she informed me she wasn’t putting that on her body.

What did she read? Well, my daughter got an education about much more than just creams that day. The information I pulled up said that tumors and fast growing cancers were detected in trials using this particular ingredient. It also said that anyone handling the ingredient should not breath it in, nor touch it with bare skin. It went on to say that in small amounts this particular ingredient has been used in various consumer products for adults and children, as a preservative. Yes, it really said that. Used as a preservative, even though in the first paragraph it advised upon protecting ones self from direct contact. My very smart 13 year old, turned around, looked at me, and a discussion ensued about how natural doesn’t always mean natural. That you have to read ingredient lists. We also discussed how even in small amounts, ingredients that are known to cause health issues, can harm us just for the mere fact that we don’t use small amounts of those products nor do we use them just occasionally. After all, a dime size dollop of cream will not cover your body once a month. Between cancers, endocrine disrupters, learning disabilities in children, neurological disorders, etc., I think avoiding unnatural products is the way to go. So, the end of our shopping in the “natural” bath and body store ended when we found one sugar scrub in the store that had only 3-4 known ingredients in it, and that is what we purchased. As for the cream, we went home and followed up the scrub with some coconut oil.

Over the years, I have switched out all of my cosmetics from toxic to more green and safe alternatives. There are websites online that will list the toxicity levels of all your favorites. It’s not easy finding products that match the colors you like or the coverage you like, I admit, it takes time to find a pleasing alternative.

Although I still color my hair, I try to choose healthier alternatives in the products used. Talk to your hair dresser and see if he/she is willing to work with you using more natural organic hair care products. It’s been quite a while since I’ve used products to keep my curls and shine my hair.

As for creams and astringents, there are organic and inexpensive items that work great. For people with skin that has acne or that is oily, a great facial wash is a bar of black soap. You can buy it by the pound online very inexpensively. Make sure you get it from a fair trade company. Black soap is made in Africa and takes days to make. It’s made of leaves and plants that are non toxic. If you find black soap in a liquid, beware, it’s not the same and it’s likely made of some form of chemical.

You can safely use apple cider vinegar as an astringent, yes it smells nasty yet it works for bacteria. You can also use it under your arms to help cut down on the bacteria in the arm pits. Apple cider vinegar is a safe natural alternative to cleaning as well. Great for sinks, tubs, counters, floors.

Coconut oil has so many uses. You can use it on your skin as a cream, you can use it as a mouth wash as long as you expectorate it into the garbage not your sink, or you can use it on a babies butt as an alternative to diaper creams. Coconut oil is a healing alternative that helps with burns and skin irritation as well. Nursing moms will find healing that is more natural as well. Coconut oil can also be used as a conditioner for the ends of your hair. Claims are made that it helps with taming the hair in the summer.

Baking soda is also great as a toothpaste, powder under the arms, and an alternative to chemical cleaning solutions. It also is a great wash for vegetables. I’ve read that you can also use it for a shampoo. (I’ve tried making my own out of other products, and was very disappointed. I buy organic shampoos now.)

Essential oils are great for shining up your granite counter tops, great for helping the laundry to smell nice, and are great alternatives to any chemical spray that is supposed to help your home or car smell better.

Did you know you can make your own laundry soap? It’s less expensive, easy to make and cleans just as well as the commercial brands without the chemicals. There are many “recipe’s” out there. For the most part they are all the same. The only thing to remember is that you need to stir it up before using it. Use an essential oil in addition for a clean smelling load. Some of the ingredients used for the laundry soap will also do well for your dishwasher.

If all else fails and you don’t have the time yet can afford it, buy organic. Stay away from “natural” and go for certified organic. There are food co-ops available all over that are more affordable than the local grocery store.

Lesson of the day: Read your labels! Learn about the products you use daily and see how they can affect your body. Always remember that whatever you put on your skin, does soak in and enter into your blood stream. If there is something you can change and have the ability to change, then take a chance and see if you notice a healthy improvement.

Another Fall Favorite Recipe

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A few years ago a friend of mine introduced me to a tomatillo. For those of you who do not know what a tomatillo is, it is a small green, tomato like vegetable that originally came from Mexico. The tomatillo grows inside a husk and when it is ripe, the tomato looking green vegetable fills out the husk and the husk splits open. Many times I find the tomatillo literally falling off of the vine when they are done.
The tomatillo has many vitamins making it a wonderful healthy treat on salads, in soups, or with a little bit of cottage cheese. The tomatillo has a sweet yet lemony taste to it. If picked too early, it can be quite tart.

This year, was my first attempt at growing them at my home as well as at my friends garden where we had an entire row of them. Just like the soup, the recipe I’m about to share is another one that I crave when thinking about fall and winter. It makes a yummy meal enjoyed throughout the colder months, and reserving any jars of it until the next harvest is nearly impossible. There are many uses for the Salsa Verde, however, my favorite is with chicken. This is such a simple recipe, whether you can the Salsa Verde yourself (my preference) or whether you buy it in a store. In fact, I shared it this weekend at our church’s fellowship potluck meal. Easy and quick to make.

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Salsa Verde Chicken

1 pint Salsa Verde (recipe below)

4-6 Organic Chicken Breasts

4-6 slices, or 1 cup shredded Raw Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9×13 glass baking dish. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Place chicken in bottom of baking dish and pour the entire pint of Salsa Verde over the chicken. Make sure to cover every piece.

Bake covered with foil or glass cover in oven for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour until chicken is cooked through. Remove foil or cover and place cheese on top of each chicken breast. Close oven and cook another 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve hot.

For our fellowship meal, I boiled up some chicken breasts, cut them into round slices and poured the salsa verde in layers over the chicken in the crock pot. I then turned on the crock pot to low and cooked until ready to serve. (unfortunately, I forgot the cheese in this picture. )

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Salsa Verde

Approximately 8 cups tomatillos, husk removed and washed

1 1/2 -2 cups chopped onions

2-4 hot peppers of choice, seeded and chopped

Approximately 1 cup chopped cilantro

Garlic cloves, I use about 6-8

1 Tbs. sugar, (optional)

1/2 cup lemon juice, (or use 1 cup and omit the lime juice)

1/2 cup lime juice, (or use 1 cup and omit the lemon juice)

2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup red peppers, mainly for color especially if you use a green hot pepper

I place all ingredients in the blender and blend until chunky smooth. Then you have the option of cooking it down on the stove for a few hours until much of the liquid evaporates, or go ahead and place into clean, sterilized hot jars for canning. The result of not cooking down is that the salsa verde will have a bit more liquid to it. If you do cook it down, it will also have a bit more of a potency to it as there is less liquid and the flavors will be more pronounced. Especially the peppers. I prefer to cook it down, however, if time does not allow, you will not have wasted your time in the above prep and can still can it. I did it without cooking it down two years in a row and it was just fine, just had a bit more liquid from the juicy tomatillos.

Be sure to leave a 1/2 inch at the top of the sterilized hot jar when filling. (I always add an additional 1/2 tsp. per pint of salt after filling the jars.) Wipe clean the rim and place the heated tops on the jars and the ring. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for approximately 20 minutes.

Keep in mind that if you buy the salsa verde in a store, my experience is that they usually are much spicier than the home made.

If you have leftovers, get some tortilla shells, roll up the salsa verde chicken in them and place them in a baking dish smothered with the leftover sauce (omitting some of the liquid) and bake until heated through. Top with cheese, a little shredded lettuce, sour cream and serve. Makes a nice lunch the next day.

Why I smile…

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5

Singing praises to the Lord for all our blessings!

The week was long, another spiral downward and an exhausting one at that. My body feels frail, and at times feels as though I am someone’s doll that they are pulling in different directions. In the worst of the pain I envision the little boy in Toy Story and the torture the toys endured at his hands. I am however, not someone’s doll, I am a daughter to an almighty glorious Father who loves me unconditionally and has not and will not disappoint. I have faith that all I am enduring will have a purpose, as does every trial in life. As I await for the discomfort to go away and for healing to progress so that I can get through a day without knowing I’m sick, I make efforts to smile at the blessings each day brings.

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I smile that my husband is walking beside me on this journey… as he played Mr. Chef this weekend, pounding out the meat for dinner and picking the last of the green beans out of the garden. I smile as he tells me to rest and assures me he loves me and wants me by his side at night, even when I am rolling around in pain and waking up to the alarm that is set every few hours for the consumption of the meds I couldn’t get in during the day.

I smile at my daughter who graciously accepts cash… as I pay her to give me the Raindrop Technique message with essential oils once a week. I smile even more when she has to pull off the head rest and wonders why it’s moist. I told her it was because she was doing such a great job I fell asleep like the cat and drooled. She didn’t think it was funny, but I sure did. I also smile at her reaction to the toilet seat mark on my face after an hour of lying there.

I smile at my son who thinks he’s too young to have a mom wearing spectacles… as he tried many times to push them back up my nose during the church service because I was embarrassing him. I smile that he didn’t care I couldn’t read my bible with my contacts in. After all, if I don’t wear the contacts, I cannot see the pulpit, if I wear the contacts to see the pulpit, I cannot read the bible. The contacts with the spectacles work nicely. I smile in knowing he will one day be there.

I smile at the little kids in church that are being taught to behave… and you have those of us who think they are so darn cute, so we make faces at them so they begin to laugh and squirm. I smile when I look at the pastor giving his sermon watching us and the kids… Gosh he’s good, he can keep a straight face.

I smile at the cats who cannot decide who their favorite is… one minute mom’s lap is the place to be and the next minute it’s Sydney’s back when she is laying down. It was even funnier when the cat started kneading her buttocks in order to get comfy.

I smile at the fact that the only auction item that didn’t get one bid was the ballroom dancing lessons… making me think of my husband and my dad before our wedding and how I begged them both for lessons. Of course they declined and on the day of the grand event, both looked at me on the dance floor of Henry Fords Ballroom with an 18 piece big band playing, and said “Well, I guess we should have taken those lessons.” 20 years later I still smile.

I smile each week as we count down… to Disney once again and seeing my brother and his family. The thought of the cousins laughing together makes me smile even wider.

I smile at the picture of a friend who we miss… a friend who showed us how to endure the toughest of times with a heart filled with compassion. A friend who was in pain most of the time, yet always wanted to know what was going on in others lives. A man of grace and a true willing servant that trusted the Lords will. Little did he know that he would be an inspiration to the rest of us who had yet to face physical pain or challenges in this world that try to bring us down.

Oh the joy that can be felt even in times of misery. It takes looking for those moments that can make you smile and grateful for the blessings of what you have.

Thank you Lord on this day for helping me to see beyond myself and showing me the joy that is all around.

The Wonderful Taste of Fall… Oh My!

I remember in my earlier years that fall was one of my most disliked season. As a child it meant the end of long summer days outside, days at the beach, endless board games and homemade dill pickles stolen from the fridge and the end of sleeping in until noon. As an adult, it meant the end of warm days, open windows, green grass, gardens and fresh produce from my own garden. It wasn’t my favorite season until a neighbor who lived across the street from our second home brought me a jar of soup. This soup was absolutely the most amazing soup I’d ever had. I asked her for the recipe and she gladly shared.

Fourteen years later, I am still making that soup, only now it’s my soup. I’ve altered it from it’s original recipe with ingredient changes as well as preparation alterations. This soup gets me giddy every time I think about fall. In fact, when someone mentions fall, it’s not the cold weather or brown trees and grass that come to my mind any longer, it’s that soup that I think of first. You know it’s good when you can taste it just thinking about it!

I suppose the protocol I’m on for my lymes disease must be working, since I can actually stay awake all day and actually get something done around the house while also making two soups. While my favorite soup is exactly that, “my favorite”, one of my families favorites’ is a Potato Leak Soup. Another favorite, and also very yummy, it’s one that I tend to forget about until my son looks at “my favorite” in the pot and salivates at the thought of the Potato Leak Soup. How can I resist making that too when I have all of the ingredients in my refrigerator just waiting for a purpose to be used. For now however, I am only going to share my favorite….. May your taste buds be stimulated….

Make a cup of tea, put on your apron, set aside an hour, grab your stock pot and enjoy the process as your work up to a moment of bliss… at least I hope!

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Butternut Squash, Apple and Nut Puree

    Approximately 1/4-1/2 C. Real butter
    1 medium yellow onion, outer brown layer only peeled away, then chopped
    3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

    Melt the butter in the large stock pot. Lightly saute the onion and garlic. Be careful not to brown them. Add:

    1 Medium to large Butternut Squash, peeled, seeds removed, and chopped in food processor
    4 Large or 5 Medium Honey Crisp Apples, chopped in food processor
    1 Cup of either pecans or walnuts, chopped in food processor
    3-4 Cups of apple cider, unfiltered and un-pasturized is best, alternately you could use apple juice
    1 quart of chicken broth, homemade is best and has less salt making it a healthier choice ** See below for chicken stock recipe
    3/4 tsp. Allspice
    1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. ground cloves, if you don’t have ground then use a pinch of whole, just make sure you take them out before blending

    Let all ingredients cook together until the squash is tender. Do not boil. When all ingredients are tender, use a strainer and strain out chunky ingredients and blend smooth. Pour back into pot.

    Right before serving, add:

    1-2 Cups of whole milk or cream, or 1/2 C. coconut milk (remember that if you use coconut milk it will have a stronger coconut taste.)

    Let heat throughout and serve in bowls topped with shredded cheddar cheese, and a dash of cinnamon.

    Additional items that may be added and are complimentary: Shredded chicken, 2 TBS. brown sugar if not sweet enough, or diced roasted red peppers added just before serving.

    **To make your own chicken stock:

    Take an organic, free-range, whole, clean chicken and place it in a pot with peeled and sliced potatoes, carrots, parsley, onions, celery, garlic and 1 TBS. apple cider vinegar. From my experience and from other helpful experienced “mom chefs”, the apple cider vinegar will not change the taste of the stock, yet it draws out the nutritional enzymes from the bones. Cover the chicken and vegetables with purified water. Put the lid on the stock pot and place in the oven at 300 degrees for several hours so that the chicken is cooked thoroughly and the nutritional enzymes are drawn out of the bones into the stock. Strain out the vegetables and the chicken, reserving the meat for either soup or for chicken salad or even a chicken pot pie. Yum! This stock when chilled should be the consistency of a thick jelly. I like to put the stock into freezer bags or BPA free freezer containers and freeze until needed. Make sure to leave a one inch space between the stock and the lid.

    I have quite often used glass jars to avoid plastic products, however, with that may come the occasional broken jar that sticks itself to the freezer door and makes a mess. For some reason I find that some of my stock just doesn’t expand up, it expands out. Not to mention, bags leave more space in the freezer than the jars.

Healthy Eating starts in the Home

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Genesis 1:29
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

People ask me quite often how long have I been eating healthy and organic. I tell them it’s been a 20 year journey. Honestly, it began just after my husband and I were married. I read a book that helped me to see beyond what I thought I knew about food. To add to that book, my cousins soon to be husband had a heart transplant and his doctor told him to only eat real butter, real sausage, real foods. If you cannot pronounce it, stay away from it. I remember thinking how different that was from what I was buying and from what I had known about food. I mean, isn’t low fat supposed to be good for you? Shouldn’t vegetable oils be good for cooking? What do you mean real sausage and real meats? What about all the fat?

When we were starting our family, I read about MSG not being good for you so I checked every label and avoided it when I was pregnant. I learned about High Fructose Corn Syrup when our son was very young, so we avoided it and only let him have soda on special occasion (although now, it’s completely avoided). By the time our daughter was born, I was learning about organic foods and was already buying it when I could. When our son was 5 he was tested for allergies and we found out he was allergic to tomatoes, wheat and dairy. So, once again I read all I could and changed what the pantry held. When we moved to our current home, in a completely new state, I learned about raw foods, Kombucha, beet kvass, fermenting, soaked and dried nuts, and my all time favorite book Nourishing Traditions and the Weston Price Foundation.

More recently, with my Lymes diagnosis, 3 of the 4 of us testing positive for Celiac, and food intolerance testing, 3 of us needed to again rethink how our bodies handled the food choices we made. We now eat nearly 100% organic and most of our meals are cooked in our kitchen. We belong to several food co-ops for discounts and eat raw as much as possible. This summer we had two gardens and also our CSA vegetable share.

I have learned over the past 3 years that from August through early October life will be spent canning all that the harvest produced. Canning Chili sauces, Salsa Verde, Pasta Sauce, Victory Sauce, beans, Ketchup, jams & jellies, fruits, and fermenting pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, carrots, corn relish and oh so much more. Another great process to keep some of the fruits is to dehydrate them. Great snacks for the family on road trips or when your walking through Disney. ūüôā

There is nothing like opening the cupboard or fridge and seeing it filled with the harvest that you spent the summer caring for with tenderness and eagerness. This year, my mom, my daughter and one of my dear friends were a tremendous help since I was getting sick half way through the summer. Canning and preparing the harvest for winter is not easy. It’s literally a labour of love.

The journey has been long, yet well worth it. People ask me why we eat the way we do when we still get sick or in my case, I still have Lymes. I tell them that I feel this journey has been a blessing. It’s been one that has taught our children more than a conventional health class, and is continuing to teach skills that will carry them through adulthood for the benefit of their own families one day. By growing your own vegetables, canning your own harvest, and preparing and utilizing what you have for future meals saves money as well. We don’t spend as much over the winter months when we have all we need in the cupboards.

Along with my blogging of Why? I look forward to sharing some of our favorite menus, recipes, and healthy household alternatives that have been learned through many years of studying and research. I tell everyone that it’s not something you can just do in a day, it’s a process. Just like a new Christian and his/her sanctification, it will not happen over night.

When you think about it, what could be better than God’s naturally grown foods!

Why is there a blessing in second place?

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1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 ESV 

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

 

Playing bagpipes is almost the same commitment as the soccer or hockey players.  Weekends away, numerous practices during the week and hourly practices during the day.  We have been on this journey for almost 10 years with our son.  We have traveled to Canada, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas and soon Scotland.   How did it all begin?  I blame Disney, with a smile!

We took a trip to Disney one year when our son was 7 and he saw the band Off Kilter playing in Canada in Epcot. ¬†He said, ‚ÄúMama, I want to play that.‚ÄĚ ¬† After questions of drums, guitar, and keyboard, we understood he wanted to play bagpipes. ¬†Going back to our home town I began calling music stores only to have them laugh at me when I asked if they had someone that would teach bagpipes. ¬† I looked online, and found that the only instructors I could locate were in the inner city, of which I was not driving into. ¬†The last one I found was in the country 50 minutes away, ¬†where we used to live. ¬†What are the odds??? ¬†Well, in that inquiry call, the gent who teaches said he would not instruct anyone younger than 11 as their fingers were not long enough to reach the chanter holes. ¬†So, with that, I stopped calling and waiting for him to stop asking. ¬†

The following year we once again returned to Disney on a family trip with parents and our son again turned around and yelled our way that he ‚Äúreally wanted to play that‚ÄĚ. ¬†Well, what could we do? ¬†We waited until the set was over and we spoke with the piper Jamie. ¬†He asked where we lived and low and behold he had a name to call. ¬†That is where our journey began. ¬†

Why second?  Well, this past weekend our 17 year old son competed against some of the professional pipers in our area and he beat them all.  He took second, with first place being one of his band mates from the band he just spent two years competing with.  He did it!  Almost 10 years of playing and he is at a level that he can compete against the professionals.  You are likely wondering why I see it as a blessing.  Well, let me explain.

About 3 months ago, when the competition season for Highland games was starting up, I commented to someone that ‚ÄúI know all our travels are worth it now, yet someday it will be even more so when our son can tell reporters that he thanks God for the ability to play, and his parents for the sacrifices they made to get him to lessons, paying for the lessons and the weekends spent going all over the midwest.‚ÄĚ ¬† On Saturday, I was reminded of that comment and I realized that was purely irresponsible on my part. ¬†I was also hit with the realization that the thankful heart of my son will not come through media, or words, yet through the hug he gave me on Saturday. ¬†After he won second, he put his pipes away, hung out a little bit with his friends and then he sought me out. ¬†The moment I saw him he smiled at me and walked quickly toward me with his arms wide open and gave me the biggest hug. ¬†He didn‚Äôt let go until he shared with me his thoughts on his win and how nervous he was in disbelief. ¬†His excitement at that moment and the fact that he shared it with me meant more than any public recognition. ¬†As most moms of teenage boys know, hugs are far and few between. ¬†This hug was the kind you give someone you haven‚Äôt seen in years. ¬†The kind where you don‚Äôt let go until the other person starts to, and let me just say, he didn‚Äôt let go quickly. ¬† It was a wonderful moment I live over in my mind with praises to God that my sweet little boy has grown into a young man who is grateful, respectful, and humble. ¬†

As a mom who stays at home I have to admit there are days that I wonder if my efforts and prayers will produce moral, upstanding children who go out into the world with God fearing God loving hearts.  I mean, there is no paycheck, and the days are long.  I have always said that I will know what kind of job I did when the children God gave me to raise are 18 and I see who they become and what they do with their lives.  That will be the paycheck.  Well folks, I have to say, I have now entered into that phase of my life with my son and I praise God that He has equipped me to raise such a fine young man.  

Why second is a blessing?  Because that second place meant more than first. It produced a response from my son that brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart.  It was a response that humbled my heart and once again helped me to see that it’s in the small blessings of life that mean more than all the riches of the world.  I thank God for that realization and for God’s children that He chose for my husband and myself to raise.   That is why second!

 
 

Why “not” antibiotics?

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(Picture taken from Berkley.edu)

 

In the last few months I’ve been asked many questions regarding my recent Lymes diagnosis. ¬†How do I know I have Lymes? How am I feeling? ¬†What do I need? ¬†How long will it last? ¬†What is the prognosis? ¬†And the most asked question prize goes to two questions which are tied together, “Are you on antibiotics” and “why not”?

Well, let’s begin with the fact that I know I have Lymes as my Lymes titer came back positive and further testing from IGENIX tested positive for the little bugger you see at the top of the screen. ¬†This is called a Lymes spirochete. ¬†It’s the famous Lymes bacteria. ¬†The picture alone makes my skin crawl and actually creeps me out more than a diagnosis of cancer or a tumor. ¬†To know that the little buggers are inside of me reeking havoc on my body is a bit unnerving. ¬†

How did I know to be tested for it? ¬†I have a great medical professional that I work with for overall health that heard my complaints and decided to run a titer test. ¬†My symptoms were easily recognizable to all who know me and know my busy lifestyle. ¬†One day I hit a wall and just didn’t feel good. ¬†I was flu achy, was so tired I could hardly stay awake, I had absolutely zero energy and I felt like I was dragging my foot. ¬†After two weeks of feeling miserable, I called my healthcare professional and she immediate recommended blood work. ¬†It came back about two weeks later positive and we began an herbal treatment until we got back my IGENIX test 3 weeks later. ¬†

Now on the to the big question… Why not antibiotics? ¬†Well, I believe that antibiotics help when there is no other option and when your life is in danger of being compromised. ¬†Isn’t Lymes a life changer? ¬†Yes it is, however, with Lymes there is no guarantee that you can kill off the spirochetes. ¬†In fact, in my personal research and longing for information I have found that studies have shown that most people diagnosed with Lymes have long lasting symptoms later on in their lifetime even if they’ve been told they were cured. ¬†You see, the spirochetes actually go into your organs, tissues and muscles and hide out when they are attacked. ¬† They can wait until the environment is right and they come out and proliferate until you once again are sick. ¬†Another issue, again from the research I have done, ¬†is that study after study shows long term antibiotic usage and antibiotics in our food sources all contribute to an antibiotic resistant outcome. ¬†Due to Lymes being so difficult to treat and cure, long term antibiotic use is recommended, creating a perfect environment for co-infections, which is attributed to chronic Lymes and further damage to the body. ¬†The spirochetes hide and the gut flora is damaged therefore allowing for the host to contract other infections that can be even more serious than the Lymes itself.¬†

Lymes has recently shown to be difficult to kill off due to it’s usage of manganese rather than iron. ¬†Most bacteria utilize iron, and this one does not. ¬†It also enjoys Flax and Magnesium. ¬†So much for my wonderful flax seed crackers. ¬†Ugggg!!!

Again, this has been what I have learned after hours upon hours of reading. ¬†So, back to the treatment plan. ¬†Well, I have once again changed my diet to no carbs (other than vegetables) ¬†and no sugar (other than natural fruits). ¬†I have gone back to adding in at least one or two fermented foods in a day. ¬† I found that a combination of essential oils gives me relief and ¬†I am taking A-L Complex which is a form of microbial components that have shown to ¬†break down the spirochetes. ¬†I take some of the Boiron products in combination to work with my body in helping ¬†with the inflammation going on in my joints and muscles. ¬†And I drink plenty of water to flush out the toxins. ¬†I have also added in a probiotic (for my gut), Krill oil, Berberine and Axtaxanthin (for my brain), CoQ10 and a Methylating Multi with enzymes to help my overall body and to boost my B’s. ¬†You see, apparently my body does not utilize the vitamins or supplements due to a gene link that is missing. Or, according to one doctor, this could also be a symptom of Lymes. ¬†

After about a month of this protocol, my energy level dropped again and I was having severe pains throughout my body.  I will admit that this did causing me to question my decision, I just wanted immediate relief and I knew that antibiotics would give me that.  I added in two more things that have brought me relief from the latest symptoms and once again I am on the upswing.  Bentonite clay or Activated Charcoal, both of which I had in the house.  Taking them once a day usually in the middle of the night has helped me to rid my body of the dead toxins the herbs are killing off.  I also needed an adrenal and liver support so I have a cream that I rub in my skin once a day.  I will be on this protocol for many months, yet I am confident that for me, this is the right path.  

What is my prognosis? ¬†No one knows… however, I am hopeful that my energy level and fatigue will soon subside. ¬†I am prayerful that there will not be any long lasting affects or disabilities and that I will be back to myself with few limitations within the next 6 months. ¬†I know that God has prepared me with the desire for knowledge, the ability and avenues to find the studies I need to help me battle this disease, and He has prepared my heart to trust His will for my life. ¬†Every day is a new day, every day is a new challenge and every day I praise God I woke up to a new day with my family by my side helping to support me in this journey of wellness and healing. ¬†

As Jeremiah 29:11 says, ¬†For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
 
Amen!

 

Why Proverbs 31:10-31?

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    THE WOMAN WHO FEARS THE LORD
    10 [d] An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
    11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
    12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
    13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
    14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar.
    15 She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.
    16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
    17 She dresses herself[e] with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
    18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
    19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
    20 She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
    21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[f]
    22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
    23 Her husband is known in the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land.
    24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers sashes to the merchant.
    25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
    26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
    27 She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
    28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
    29 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.‚ÄĚ
    30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
    31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.

Why is this important to me?

Oh, I remember when we were first married and how I would get up in the morning, make coffee, make breakfast and bring it to my new husband on a tray as my mother did for so many years for my father. I remember talking him into letting me do his laundry as I thought that it was important that I be the one to do it for him. I remember wanting to please him in so many ways whether it be helping him grow his business by handwriting mailers at night after our dinner, helping him with seminars or just supporting him when his days were long and uncertainty was great. I remember even taking up golf, which was important to him.

As the years slipped by and we became accustomed to one another and we were drawn into life as a married couple, it seems that the routine of breakfasts, laundry, golf, and so many other things became a thing of the past. We had children that needed our attention, my husbands career changed and I was needed in different ways to support him, and society convinced us that being a part of the community was more important. Time for our family unit was short, time for us was minimal and it seems that the once important process of pleasing one another as we once had became a thing of the past.

As I attended Community Bible Study one fall, we began the study of Proverbs. I was a core leader at the time and had a wonderful group of ladies that were Titus women, helping me as a facilitator to grow in my understanding of the Proverbs. We discussed many items in our discussions and I will never forget some of the wisdom passed down from several of them.

1. Community service is great, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the family first. We have limited time to be with our children, so use this time to raise them and help them to be seekers of the Word first. Charities can wait.

2. When doing housework, do we dread it or are we taking in the blessing that God has bestowed upon us. After all, we wouldn’t have mounds of laundry, piles of dishes, books and games sprawled upon the tables and floors if God had not allowed us to become wives and mothers. Perhaps we should enjoy every moment folding that laundry and cleaning up those toys.

3. When your husband comes home what does he come home to? Is he coming home to a house in chaos or a house of love that is joyful to return to when he opens the door. Taking a look at how our household runs makes an impact on our marriages and the life of our children.

4. And finally Proverbs 31:10-31. The view of husbands upon their wives. Keepers of the home, trustworthy, God fearing, God loving, trusting and hardworking that never ceases. One of the Titus women commented on even our appearance. Although we as Christian women know that our husbands love us for who we are without fanfare, we need to consider how they spend their days and the temptations that they are exposed to. If they spend their days at the office with women who are wearing clothing that is appealing, if they are made to feel more important by those who look up to them, or if they are with women who just plain want a life with them then as wives we put our families at risk when we allow our husbands to come home to frump city. We should consider taking a shower, making dinner and putting on clothes that represent the wonderful provider he is. We should perhaps put on some makeup or at least brush our hair and greet him with a loving nature that shows him how important he is.

I remember this woman looking at all of us in the room and her wonderful words of wisdom and I began to reflect upon the generations of past. One of my grandmother’s would do all of her cleaning, cooking and charity work during the day and by 3:00 p.m. it was time to clean up for my grandfather. My other grandmother raised 6 children, and I remember seeing a video of her on a sledding hill with her beautiful dress and winter coat helping her children get onto their sleds. My mother did much the same thing, having dinner ready when my dad came home and retreating to their room for their half hour of quiet time together before facing the children and the problems of the day.

I remember thinking also how I allowed life and society to interfere with my delight in taking care of my family. I posted Proverbs 31:10-31 on my kitchen refrigerator and pondered it daily until I began to truly feel those words on my heart. It took years, yet it worked. I now consider my life as a wife and mother to be the most joyful, most successful thing I have ever done and will ever do. Oh, it’s not perfect daily, and I could always do better, yet as I see how I viewed this blessing 10-15 years ago and compare it to now, I see growth.

That is why Proverbs 31:10-31. I know that it means different things to different women. I know that not all will agree with what my opinion is. That is fine. I am just giving an explanation of why it’s an important part of my life and why it’s at the top of my blog. I hope to pass it down to my daughter for generations yet to come to follow. I hope that the Lord Blesses us with generational strength to be Titus women teaching what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman.

Why name the Blog a Labour of Love?

Why a

Meaning

Work undertaken for the pleasure of it or for the benefit of a loved one.

Origin

Thessalonians 1:2, 1:3:

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

Hebrews 6:10:

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

A Labour of Love for me…

Whether married for 40 years, 20 years or not yet married, we as women and young ladies are teaching the next generation. Whether it’s caring for the ill or dying, canning, gardening, cleaning, doing laundry, teaching, reading scripture, trusting God’s will, or loving your husbands and children. The next generation watches, observes and learns. They are the future caregivers that will be used by God.

Is it always easy? Absolutely not. Is it always a work of pleasure? Not always, it’s a work that benefits others, rather than yourself. Sacrifice that doesn’t always have the earthly rewards that our society strives for. There is no paycheck, there is not always a thank you, and sometimes, it’s a laborious chore that can end with a sting. However, as we learn in Thessalonians and Hebrews, God sees and knows our own hearts and the intentions that went along with our actions.

As I look at the past 20 years of marriage and motherhood, I can honestly say that I regret nothing. I do not regret the worldly stings or pains that have been experienced as they all have only helped me to grow and be a woman striving to serve the Lord with gladness. I also know that each experience helps to show the next generation how to deal with all the world wants to toss at you. Is it always graceful? No…! Yet, the outcome can be. Even the growing of the gray hair and the wisdom gained can be looked at gracefully if one looks hard enough.

If you ask my daughter, I am not a perfect mother or wife. Yet, she will tell you that I humbly pray for strength each day to love my husband, my children, my friends and extended family to the best of my ability. To show all that they are important and loved, unconditionally. A Labour of Love!

I thank God that He has placed in my life a mother of faith who continues to teach A Labour of Love. I also thank God for a daughter that is also showing me she has learned what A Labour of Love means. As I am dealing with my health issues I know that God is taking care of all my needs and my families as He has blessed us with generational instruction for just such a time.

From one generation to the next, working together, teaching one another, nurturing one another, committed to one another and protecting one another. A grandma, a mom and a daughter. Titus 2:3-5I hope you understand now, why I named it a Labour of Love. And I also hope you will walk with me in this journey of twists of turns knowing that the gate is narrow. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Why a Blog?

Why start a Blog? During uncertain times it seems there is so much to say.

It’s canning season and I find myself wondering why more women do not spend time canning God’s wonderfully grown vegetables and fruits so they may warm the bellies of their families during those cold winter months. The answer is always clear, there isn’t time. Running from work, to school, to after school activities, meetings, exercise classes, sports games and all the extras society wants us to believe are important. What ever happened to sitting down with family to discuss the day’s trials, watching a good movie or better yet reading a book, picking the fruits of the earth, or teaching a child what it means to be a child. I pray for all women around the world today, that they find a connection with the Lord and that they find the time to hear the birds chirping in their yards, make a chocolate cake for their family, and smell the flowers that their children pick.

Why do I think of such things? Likely because I find myself with much time to do so. As my very active lifestyle has come to a bit of a halt and I must slow down. You see, I was recently diagnosed with Lymes disease. The fatigue is horrible , yet the pain in my joints and muscles is an even greater distraction as it wakes me up even during the night. I feel as though I am dragging my foot even though it plants itself on the ground every time I place it there. As my family and friends are supportive and loving, I still find myself resting while they go on with life and activities I am unable to expend the energy to participate in. I am determined that this will be short term, I take precautions and am following a strict healing protocol. The time resting has helped me delve into books again, catch up on my quilting and try to can the veggies that I worked all summer to grow. This of course is taking 4 days during a week vs. the one it usually takes. One could also add in that I’ve been spending quite a bit of time thinking and praying.

That is why I am blogging. I feel like I finally have the time to share with others things I’ve learned in the last 40+ years of being a daughter, 20 years of marriage, 18 years of motherhood, 6 years of homeschooling and a life long career in observing God’s creations. ¬†Perhaps too, I feel it is also healing to write about my thoughts pondered and share with others who possibly have something to say and need an inspiration.