Lyme video & Treatment Description

http://www.envita.com/conditions-we-treat/lymedisease

I cannot take credit for finding this video.  It was posted on another website I follow, the Lamp POST, who also has a great hour long video of their Lyme story.  Very worth seeing!

I hope this helps those understand treatment options and the disease more clearly.

Very well done!

Gluten Free Clam Chowder

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The snow falls and the fire place crackles with flames that light up the room warming not only the cool chill in the air, yet also our hearts.  With the close of the colorful fall months, it becomes soup season in our house.  As I’ve shared, fall brings about a craving of my previously printed Butternut Squash, Apple and Nut Puree, yet winter months bring about the craving of my son’s favorite… Clam Chowder.

After weeks of asking, every day I might add, I mustered up the strength and along with my daughter we made both of our favorites.  What a joy it is to cook with her, teaching her and watching her make her way around the kitchen.  I thought it would be a great time to share it as it would make for a great addition to the holiday celebration with children who are home or even company that is visiting.  Although, if you have more than 6-8 partaking, you may need to double it.  Especially if your children or visitors are anything like my son who ate nearly half the pot for dinner all by himself.

Gluten Free Clam Chowder

1 C. Onions, finely chopped

1 C. Celery, finely chopped

2 C. Potatoes, cubed

1 C. carrots, finely chopped

1/2 C. Butter

Melt butter in stock pot and lightly cook the above until potatoes and carrots are tender.

Then add:

1 Quart of Homemade Chicken Broth (for broth recipe, see the previously printed recipe on October 15)

3 1/2 C. Milk

1 box Gluten Free Pacific Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 TBS. Sherry Cooking Wine

2 TBS. Fish Sauce

In separate small pot:

Melt 3/4 C. Butter

Whisk into the melted butter, 1 C. Sweet Sorghum Flour

When blended well, carefully whisk into the stock pot with the vegetables.

5-10 minutes before serving, add: (Note: overcooking the clams will make them tough and chewy)

3 cans clams, drained and minced if desired

2 tsp. Thyme

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Stir well and serve hot.  If it becomes too thick, feel free to add either more chicken stock or purified water.  A cup usually will do the trick.

Enjoy!

Christmas Memories

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As the years slip by and the children grow older, Gary and I laugh at how we have changed our views of the holidays.  We’ve stumbled from our first Griswold Christmas,  of family, obscene decorating and parties, to where we are today.  Quiet Christmases spent with just the four of us.  Every other year we have the pleasure of celebrating with an additional one or two family members, with a tree that has minimal decoration’s and dinners that amount to appetizers.  Though we enjoy the celebration of family and friends, it has become apparent that change is in the air.

Last night we turned on the Christmas Vacation  movie with Chevy Chase and laughed over Clarks decorating of the house.  When Gary and I were first married Gary took it upon himself to see if he could top Clarks display by putting enough lights on the house we could see it lit up from the top of the street.  At our second house, we witnessed him dangling from the ladder over the front door as he tried to hang a huge wreath over the window.  Our third house had the welcome addition of lighted reindeer in the yard and blow up snow globes with the inside of the house looking like a Christmas Museum.  Our current home struggles to keep up with the Christmas fanfare.  Simple professional lights lining the house and one tree outside, and inside has been degraded to just a simple tree with enough decorations to hide the areas where the lights are out.  The snowmen that once adorned the window boxes are still stashed in the basement, the decorative green corner swags sit in their storage bins and the stockings…. we aren’t quite sure where those have ended up.  The soldiers lie still,  sleeping away another year of not being placed on the banister steps and only one Madame Alexander doll makes it on the tree.   As for the parties, those have long since become a thing of the past and our extended family celebrating Christmas together has ended due to distance, death and divorce.   In fact, the last time our entire extended family celebrated Christmas was in 2004 and the last time we celebrated with our parents all together was in 2007.

As we opened up the branches of the artificial tree on Saturday, we shared fun memories of Christmases past and real trees that were freshly cut hanging over cars,  those too big to stand alone and tied to walls, and those that fell during parties.   We talked about movies that make you laugh and cry and got excited looking for them so that we could enjoy watching them in the next few weeks.   After hanging half of the decorations, we started watching the movie Elf.  Laughing at the memory of our son dressing up as Elf and surprising his dad at his office.  Yes, he even had people on the streets laughing as he pretended to pull gum off of the railing of the bridge and considered jumping into the large tree in the lobby.   The memories and laughter had me thinking of A Christmas Carol, considering the past, present and wonderment of the future.

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It may sound sad to others, yet to us it has brought new opportunity for the four of us.  We have started out our holiday season the last two years enjoying Disney and the beautiful displays that go up the day after Thanksgiving.  Spending that first week of December driving around the campsites to see all the work put into decorations really is something all four of us enjoy, and hopefully something we can continue.

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It makes me wonder how many more Christmases will we have with our children before they move out and marry, having children of their own?  How much longer will we be able to celebrate in our own home before we have to start traveling to theirs? (After all, 17 years ago we started the tradition of not leaving our home on Christmas day, so I hope our children will continue that when they start their families.)   Our senior is taking college classes and is confident he will be leaving as soon as he finishes his degree.  Moving to Scotland is in both kids future plans.  The question of the future remains, will they stay there or will they return to raise their families here?  Will they end up somewhere else?

Do I long for Christmases of the past, with family, parties, decorations and fanfare?  Of course!  However, I embrace what God has done with our family unit and the memories that we are making.  It is with great Joy that He has shown us what is truly important at this time of year.  It’s the reminder that Christmas is not about us at all, it’s about celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior.  It’s not about shopping, stress, speeding tickets, selfish desires and parties.  Nor is it about the mythical figure of Santa.   It’s about worshipping  the creator of all things and enjoying the simple pleasures of just being together, with smiles and laughter that will be heard in stories for future generations.

“Make sure to have on clean bundies…”

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Oh the power of prayer…I marvel at His mercy!

“What?  Are you serious?  We are stopping 35 miles from home?  What are we going to eat for dinner?  I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed!”  Oh out of the mouths of babes… can I still call them that when they are 17 & 14?

We tried with all our might to get home before the snow, however, we delayed slightly by leaving Orlando on Saturday at 10 rather than friday.  Although, if we had left Friday, we would have run into the sleet and ice that hit the mountains on Saturday.  As it was we saw numerous cars on the side of the road and a semi that had spun out in Knoxville when we got that far on Sunday.

Knowing that we were going to hit some snow, I began to pray and sent out texts asking for travel mercy prayers to those whom I knew would actually pray.  By the time we hit Indianapolis, I saw on the local news channels in our home town that there were numerous spin outs with several multi car pileups.  Not excited to see what was coming, I admit my panic level rose slightly.  Gary and I have differing views of snow and what is drivable vs. “stay at home and wait it out”.  Being that I already didn’t feel good and was in quite a bit of pain due to upping one of my meds, I admittedly was even more anxious. When you add in the extras:  that we were in a 40 foot RV made out of plywood placed on a semi chassis, towing a car, riding with your best friend, your two children and two cats, to say the least I was extremely uncomfortable.

Not knowing quite what else to do, I embraced the moment by washing the dishes as Gary drove and put away all sharp projectile objects, cleared off the counters, pulled sheets off of the bed, changed from my pajamas into my clothes and into clean “bundies” and brushed my hair and my teeth.  After all, my mother always joked that you needed to make sure to have on clean underwear just in case you get into a car accident.  I thought that it would be appropriate to brush my teeth as well just in case recessitation would be in order.   Then I sat in the passenger seat with my phone to capture spin outs, hoping that it wouldn’t be ours.

Thank goodness I didn’t capture anything other than snowy roads, which by the way got so bad that we could no longer see any lanes.  After almost two hours of driving trying to guess what was a lane and going at a speed of 30 mph, we crossed the border into our home state and stopped for the night at a rest area.  Yes…. 35 miles from our house!  It wasn’t pretty yet it was necessary.  We did not have to experience any spin outs and we missed all of the fun others were having closer to home.  Rather, we sat on the couch of the RV watching Duck Dynasty reruns, eating cereal and chips for dinner while truckers began to follow our lead and pour into the rest area.

This will be one final mishap memory in the travel journal of our 2013 Thanksgiving road trip to Florida.   Alongside the memories of the glass gallon of milk that fell out of the fridge (for the second time), monster mosquito bites (thanks honey for grilling for us), the toilet that overflowed during the flush out process (note to self: don’t leave the campsite when you are flushing out the black tank), and the cat crap cleanup…trying to forget that one actually!

Like a Crocodile…Silent, swift and deadly! (What I’ve learned about Lyme Part 2)

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(Like a Crocodile…Silent, swift and deadly!)

Lyme dis·ease

noun
an inflammatory disease characterized at first by a rash, headache, fever, and chills, and later by possible arthritis and neurological and cardiac disorders, caused by bacteria that are transmitted by ticks.

Let’s start with the definition:

1. It says transmitted by ticks, yet what it doesn’t say is that the bacteria can also be transmitted by sand fleas, mites, mosquitos and spiders. Not all of these carry the bacteria, just as all ticks do not carry the bacteria, however, there is research that has shown that these other biting insects can carry the bacteria that will make you sick. You do not have to be in the woods to get a tick bite either. If you have birds, bunnies, squirrels in your yard, you could get a tick bite. Ticks can hitch a ride on one of these delightful creatures and end up in your back yard. (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/05/dr-dietrich-klinghardt-on-lyme-disease.aspx)

Also, if you find a tick on your body, you have to be extremely careful on how it is extracted. Once removed the tick can be tested by a lab or the health department to see if it contains the Lyme bacteria.

2. The bacteria is called Borrelia burgdorferi. Named after the scientist that discovered the bacteria in 1982. Bb as it’s called is a bacteria found in the spirochete class of the genus Borellia. A spirochete is the cork screw shaped bacteria that literally drills itself into it’s hosts cells taking it over and proliferating until the cell is destroyed. Once the spirochete is attacked by treatment it will release a biofilm protecting the DNA makeup and proteins which can make eradication very difficult.

3. The definition says “first by a rash”. Only about 60% of the patients with Lyme disease have had a rash and many (like myself) cannot recall a time of being bitten by a tick or of having had a rash.

4. “Later possible arthritis, neurological and cardiac disorder”. Unless of course you are like me, who started having chills, fever, limb numbness, fatigue, nausea, brain fog, and stabbing pains at the onset. If my doctor was not aware of my lifestyle and was not up to date with Lyme, then she could have looked at my personal blood tests and diagnosed me with Lupus or MS. As it was, she tested twice for Rheumatoid due to the high inflammatory markers showing up in my blood tests and my family history. At the same time, she started me on Lyme treatment and we ordered the IGeniX lab test to confirm.

Why IGeniX rather than the ELISA or Western Blot tests alone? “Two primary antibody tests are used to diagnose Lyme disease, the ELISA and the western blot. Doctors commonly order an ELISA first to screen for the disease and then confirm the disease with a western blot. However, current ELISA tests are not sensitive enough for screening and may miss over half the true cases. Because of this, the best antibody test to use for diagnosis is the western blot.” (http://www.lymedisease.org/lyme101/lyme_disease/lyme_diagnosis.html)

The most accurate test is the IGeniX tests. It takes several weeks and is not covered by insurance. Because the ELISA is most used as the first test and it’s accuracy is less than ideal, many cases go undiagnosed causing frustration on the part of the patient and the doctor.

Now let’s dig into what the definition does NOT say:

5. There are many co-infections that are equally as debilitating and difficult to diagnose. A few are:

a. Bartonella (one of mine)
b. Babesia (one of mine)
c. Rickettsia
d. Ehrlichia
e. Mycoplasma (one of mine)
f. Colorado Tick Fever
g. Powassan Virus
h. Q Fever
i. Tick Paralysis
j. Tickborne Relapsing Fever
k. Tularemia

The list goes on, you get the point. (For more information about any of these, just google the name and read away.)

6. Lyme Spirochetes have a 9 month life cycle, have 3 different stages of life, are difficult to kill, and unlike other bacteria that use the hosts iron supply, a Lyme spirochete has recently been found to utilize manganese.

“Scientists have confirmed that the pathogen that causes Lyme disease—unlike any other known organism—can exist without iron, a metal that all other life needs to make proteins and enzymes. Instead of iron, the bacteria substitute manganese to make an essential enzyme, thus eluding immune system defenses that protect the body by starving pathogens of iron.” (http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=164849)

7. Conventional medicine recommends the use of antibiotics for treatment concluding that with their use Lyme can be cured. However, the spirochetes are difficult to kill completely due to their 3 stage life cycle and biofilms. Personally, everything I have read and researched on the matter clearly shows there is no conclusive proof that Lyme can be eradicated completely. (As my uncle said, who by the way runs a medical lab, “Get on the antibiotics to control the colony.” Notice he didn’t say to “cure” the lyme.) Most doctors recommend and insurance companies usually will only cover one month of antibiotics. With a 9 months life cycle is that enough?

I have one friend that found the tick on her, had it removed by the doctor, had the tick tested and was put on antibiotics immediately. Eight years later she is still dealing with the effects of Lyme. Once you begin learning more about Lyme disease, you realize that more and more people are suffering from the disease long after their doctor has claimed that they are “cured”.

8. Lyme is a bacteria. Bacteria love sugar. I am learning that the people that do the best are those that follow a strict diet change that includes low natural sugars, zero processed sugars and foods and those who are also strict about a gluten free diet. They also eat fermented foods and drinks along with herbs or foods that break down biofilms. They also work very hard at eating only organic and limiting their intake of toxins that could make them feel worse. Raw garlic, apple cider vinegar, lemon water and grapefruit extract also can help break down the biofilm aiding in killing the bacteria.

9. There are many treatment plans out there. There are many herbs that can also help with treatment, even alongside conventional antibiotic treatment. I have also learned that those who do better on antibiotic treatment are those whose doctors work with them to also boost up their immunity before and during treatment. (Currently, building my immunity, my adrenal functions and cleaning out my “gut” are the start of my personal protocol. I am also on microbial herbs strong enough that my doctor considers them to be like an”herbal chemotherapy.” )

Not all treatment plans are alike and people need to work with their doctors to find the right treatment plan that works for them and for their individual treatment. Some people do better with a treatment plan that someone else may not do well on. Because Lyme is complicated and the co-infections vary, people need to seek out the best option that works for them.

10. Many people with Lyme do not have the ability to detox. The “die off” of the Lyme bacteria and various other co-infection bacteria can build up in the body and cause what is called a Herxheimer reaction. This makes the body extremely sick, almost sicker than the disease itself. Many Lyme patients are unable to detox naturally. When a detoxing agent is added to the protocol many lyme sufferers will be able to clear out of their bodies the toxins that are being killed off. I was actually worse until the doctor added in Bentonite Clay, activated charcoal, and psyllium husk to my protocol. I alternate these, however, I find that the Clay works the best for my body.

11. The CDC has estimated that there are over 300,000 new cases of Lyme each year. In comparison, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 22,048 flu cases from Sept. 30 through the end of 2012.” (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/01/10/flu-season-2012-13-by-the-numbers-how-bad-is-it/) I’d say Lyme disease needs more attention by our medical community.

12. Chronic Lyme is REAL! I am a very living and breathing example of the disastrous affect of Lyme Disease. At the beginning of the summer I was tilling and weeding a garden that was the size of my house, weeding the flower beds around my house and my own personal garden, running circles around my kids and my family getting ready for camping trips and Highland Games. By the end of the summer, I couldn’t even pick my harvest of the season, nor stand long enough to grocery shop, or stay awake later than 8:00 at night. I had difficulty making meals for my kids and doing laundry for my husband. In fact, last February I was snorkeling in the Keys of Florida and lost 12 lbs. walking around the Walt Disney World parks. This past week I struggled to stay awake and to keep smiling at 5:00 in the afternoon while being wheeled around in a wheel chair at the Disney World parks. Disney is my all time favorite place to be and running to the rides and staying up late for the Extra Magic hours is what our family lives for. We enjoy the fireworks so much that we usually sit in our favorite spot for up to an hour just to see them. This trip, I have struggled to even stay awake to be able to see them and I’m not sure I’ve enjoyed them as I usually do.

Brain fog is another issue that is difficult to deal with. Yesterday I asked my husband if he was going to ride Mt. Everest with our daughter. Completely forgetting that he doesn’t ride rides, never has ridden that one and likely never will due to his own issue with vertigo. To say the least it did not bode well for either of us when he was frustrated with me for forgetting he had the vertigo and that he wasn’t going to be riding anything that swirled, twirled or sped around. What made it worse was that 2 hours previous I guess we already had the conversation with the kids and I didn’t even remember it. Ooops!

It is with great hope that if you know someone with Lyme or if you are recently diagnosed, you will find this information helpful and maybe even a starting place to help to understand Lyme.

This disease is real and needs to be taken seriously!

Please note: I am not a doctor, nor am I a licensed medical health care provider. I am only sharing some of what I have learned through months of research on a very real disease that I am currently suffering from. Work with your health care professional to find the best plan that works for your health and healing. I am not suggesting any specific treatment plan nor am I dissuading anyone from using what their doctor recommends.

Why should I care? (Part 1)

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Educating myself as well as my children has been something I have enjoyed since I began my journey of living a healthy lifestyle. Anything I did with my children when they were little was an adventure into the “why” zone. With the information now present on the internet it’s even more fun and sometimes can be a bit daunting. Whenever the kids ask me a question about something I’m completely unsure about, we research it and look for answers.

With my diagnosis of Lymes, and recent finding of several co-infections, I am finding my days filled with trying to answer the why question. Why does it hurt so badly? Why do I feel good for a few hours and then all of a sudden I feel like I’m on deaths door? Why can’t I stand longer than 20 minutes without feeling 3+ hours of pain in my feet and body when I finally sit down? Why does my right foot not want to bend, feels numb and just doesn’t work well 90% of the time? Why do I all of a sudden have severe shooting pains that come and go throughout different parts of my body that leave me disabled until it passes? Why do I think of things I want to say but the words don’t always come out or I forget 10 seconds after I thought it? Why is there no known cure for Lymes? Why do I also have multiple co-infections? Why me when so many others don’t care about what they do to their bodies, what they eat or drink or inhale? Why? Why? Why?

The list of my questions is long and unending. The more I learn the more I ask why. Most people could look at me (some have) and say, “Just take the antibiotics, find a project, rest and wait to feel better. Let the doctor’s tell you what to do and let them take charge of your health. After all, they are educated to know the answers. Why do you care to know about it? It would just freak me out, your better off not knowing.” Key statements that make me want to run to the Library of Congress, set up camp and stay until I’ve read every published study, report, article, and book written on Lymes and their wonderful debilitating co-infections. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means anti-doctor nor anti-antibiotics. If I thought for one second that an antibiotic would heal me and actually get rid of the little buggers destroying my body I would take them. In fact, that may be part of my future protocol. For now however, I’ve done enough research, as has my doctor, to know that at this time my personal journey is difficult and weary and that my body needs more than heavy duty short term, expensive antibiotics.

When if comes to learning about the disease and it’s counterparts, I care because I am blessed to have a body that for 44 years worked well and supported me. It’s my God given, God designed body that I need to take care of. The more I know about this disease, the better off I will be to ask intelligent thought provoking questions that will help myself heal. Besides, whoever said that you needed to stop reading and learning just because you have a degree. I am an educated woman who feels that learning goes beyond the classroom door and actually begins with life skills. We teach our children memorization of dates, places, equations and names of important people, yet have we taught them to be proactive and free thinkers? Have we taught them to ask questions or to just listen to what we want them to know? Have we taught them or are we teaching them how to research everything and to be open to understanding the answers to why? If my children do not retain anything else in their school journey, they will remember that in order to help yourself in anything in life, you need to be completely informed. You need to research everything and don’t trust someone else to do it for you.

I have been asked over and over again about my illness, how I’m doing, why am I not on antibiotics yet, what is the diagnosis, how long before I feel better, etc. etc. Then, inevitably, if they are not like me and have the “doctors know all attitude”, they roll their eyes or get quiet and give me the bodily signs that they feel I’ve made every wrong decision in helping myself.

Little do they know, I have been going in to my doctors or health care professionals with questions or information that help us work together in my healing. I have the respect of my health care professionals and doctors because I care about my over all long term healing and am not just looking for the quick fix pill or idea that may help for the interim. Little do my critics know that while I sit day after day quietly waiting to feel “normal”, I spend countless hours researching every website I can find on Lymes. From Western traditional medicine to Integrative to Holistic. Oh, there are some very “quacky” ideas out there, and there are some very sad stories and videos that have scared me to tears. One even kept me up all night.

As I said before, I’m a college educated woman who does not easily fall prey to the latest and greatest. In fact, I am very aware of the effects of untreated Lymes and of the dangerous co-infections and my very low adrenals. For these reasons, I am being treated with protocols that are attacking the problems individually in hopes of long term healing. The disease may not be curable, however, the symptoms can be controlled. I love to research and will keep on researching until my journey comes to an end with this devastating disease. I look forward to sharing with you in the near future what I have learned and hope that you will find my sharing to be an inspiration for you to keep on learning.

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.

20 Years Of Bliss…

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Bliss? Well, let’s just say it’s been a journey and no it has not always been bliss. Why do I say that? Because I looked up the word bliss in the dictionary and it says “extreme happiness”. Marriage is not always “extremely happy” and I do not know one person that can say that theirs is. In fact, it’s a lot of work, it’s painful at times and the reality of marriage is not as romantic as the movies would like to portray.

Have you seen the statistics? It’s shocking and honestly a bit sad. There are several things lacking in our society today that contribute to the declining of marriage. One being that society thrives on ease. “Bliss” is expected in everything that is done and if it’s not experienced then one walks away and looks for it elsewhere. You know the saying, “The grass is greener on the other side”. Children are growing up in today’s world without having to work for anything. There are trophies for each player even if they are bench warmers, there are gimmicks and commercials glamorizing immoral behavior and acceptance for mediocracy is tolerated. If something is too hard, then rules are changed to make it easier. There is no longer parental respect and the word “no” to a child is nearing child abuse status.

The second issue is that God is no longer a daily figure in the lives of most families or households. Divorce no longer follows biblical application and adultery is as common and accepted as feeding the pet. Getting married is no longer a bond between a man a woman based on God’s design, it’s a romantic idea of a future that just doesn’t exist. Seriously, does anyone stand at the alter and realize that in a few years they will have screaming kids, burning pots on the stove and a stressed out husband that walks in the door to find his once beautiful wife standing at the door with a desperate look on her face that just screams “Help me now, I’m drowning”? The Proverbs 31:10-31 wife is looked at today as a pitiful figure who has no ambition beyond the front door, therefore she must be uneducated or have a controlling husband.

Why do I feel I have the ability to say anything? I feel that 20 years of watching friends and family go through divorces, raising children, and working hard for our marriage warrants at least an opinion. The last 20 years has not been bliss, yet it’s been a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when two people who love one another unconditionally put in the effort and work hard for a common goal. The power of prayer and having God in our marriage has also been an example to our children that will prayerfully carry through many generations yet to come.

As we celebrate 20 years today, it’s been fun to glance through the wedding album and see loved ones who have come and gone in our lives. Looking at how young we once were and how gray we are today. Seeing old friends who age just as well as you… ha ha ha

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Gary asked me last weekend if I wanted to plan the next 20 and I told him no. I think we are doing just fine swinging by the seat of our pants. Besides, it’s more fun allowing God to plan out our future. How can we be disappointed when He’s done such a great job thus far.

A few notes and memories to share:

To the husband of my youth, the love of my life, and my forever best friend… I love you and I thank you for all the twists and turns that have made us what we are today. Thank you for the fun dinner… who else could try rattlesnake rabbit sausage on their 20th anniversary. (it really wasn’t very good honey, sorry!)

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I thank God also for the strength, wisdom and mercy that has allowed us to come together, stay together and be an example to those who who need encouragement in their marriage. I also thank Him for wonderful God loving God fearing children who have blessed our marriage.

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I thank my parents and in law’s for teaching Gary and I to work hard at all we do, never giving up on the hard things of life, and keeping their arms open when we’ve gone astray. Thank you for your support in our marriage the last 20 years.

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I thank my and Gary’s grandparents for the wonderful examples of the marital promise, “till death do us part”.

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I thank also the friends that stick with us through thick and thin, through moves, illnesses, and loss of family. (what is that on your head?) ha

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20 years of bliss? I would rather say:
20 years of educating ourselves on agape love through the eyes of the Lord
20 years of ups and downs twists and turns
20 years of growing gray in wisdom with someone else whose faults are equal to yours
20 years of watching time tick by knowing that you are more fortunate than someone else who doesn’t have what you have
20 years of living with someone that can bring out the best and worst of you, yet who can also love you like no other
20 years of looking forward

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.

Proverbs 31:10-31

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