Tag Archives: healing

I’m Coming Back…

The Lord has blessed us this summer with spending time with extended family, to our son’s trip to Scotland and competing in the Worlds and the safety and healing of Sydney’s ankle.  Now fall is here and I find that I have completely lost track of time and not written here for quite awhile.  When I think about it I consider my words and realize I don’t have much to say so I think about writing the next day only to forget.  Hence the problem with a blog that should be kept up weekly.  🙂

Anyway, moving forward I’m planning on spending more time here, especially with a new treatment plan coming for the Lyme and co-infections that are once again active and causing issues.  This disease is nothing short of interesting.  Plus, school is in session for our last child in HS .    Not to mention her healing and surgeries yet to come along with her rehab.  I’m sure the weather will keep us indoors shortly enough.  🙂

Anyway, if you find the time and could pray with me on my own health that would be wonderful.  I’m seeing a new doctor and looking into doing some traditional treatments for my Lyme.  Not sure if that means IV antibiotics or oral, I’ll find out in early Oct.  This means that even though I’m bad right now, it will only get worse as the little buggers die off and we work on getting my adrenals back in working order.  In the mean time I’m reading as much as I can on the meds used and making sure I understand each one.

I’m also seeing a cardiologist next week as I’ve been having some chest discomfort and some periodic pains that have been hanging around since July.  I know…I should have gone sooner.  Let’s just say it’s been a long summer and I have put myself on the back burner until now.  Since I had some heart surgery 23 years ago it’s enough of a concern that they are working me in next week and I’m limited as to what I can do right now.  No exercise and no walking long distance.  Of course that order went out the window last weekend when I had to walk from the RV to the stadium for the college football game while also pushing my daughter in the wheelchair.  Guess I’m still breathing and still moving around so all is well.  🙂  Praise God for the ability to keep on going and to keep focused on the things that really matter…like my family!

Anyway, I’ll try to keep up with the blogging if you would pray for my own personal healing as well.  Maybe we will find some great things come out of both.   🙂

 

 

Grace Abounding – Julies Story

It has been a pleasure to know Julie and her husband Steve.  I met Julie through our blogging and have since then been able to meet her in person on two occasions, and have had the pleasure of reading scripture and praying with her nearly every Thursday night through Skype for the last year and a half.  I adore her upbeat attitude when life seems to try to keep her down and her love for our gracious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I have witnessed first hand some of the episodes that take Julie’s body to an extremely vulnerable place and have also seen her rebound back to a smile a few moments later.  She credits her strength to the only one who gives it in such times, making her all the more someone to look up to.  Hugs and smiles to you Julie…. 🙂   (Wish my picture would download…)

Here is her story and I hope that you will also check out her blog for more on her struggle with Lyme.

About Julie

The Hope Beyond story began after kayaking in the Cedarville Reservoir in Leo, Indiana on October 11, 2011. What a great time I had with my husband, Steve, and the Fort Wayne Kayaking Group including enjoyment of Louise’s fabulous cookies afterwards! The only problem with our paddle that night was a few sanitary mistakes I made that led to a devastating bout of hepatitis, trip to the emergency room and over a month of wretched illness. The Lord healed me enough to enjoy a family trip over Thanksgiving weekend then symptoms returned thereafter and never really abated.

By January of 2012, my doctor was looking for other causes of the ongoing illness. He identified Chronic Lyme Disease largely by exclusion and clinical presentation; I may have had it for years! Treatment for Chronic Lyme Disease began with oral antibiotics and immediately I was exceedingly miserable. By March I was no longer able to work in my profession as an occupational therapist. We invested in Rife technology coupled with low dose antibiotics, compounded medications, and specific pharm-grade supplements. Daily seizure attack episodes began shortly thereafter and escalated to an unbelieveable level. (See more on my You Tube Channel.) A year later in January of 2013 Steve and I learned that mold in our home was contributing to these neurological complications. We fast-tracked the mold remediation of our home in three months so I could continue to live there! It turns out that the blue-green algae in the Cedarville Reservoir and mold exposures are both “biotoxins.” Then as 2014 began the big focus was on resolving a systemic Candida infection with even more restrictive dietary changes. Sish.

2014 ended with the bombshell news that underlying all of this illness was mercury toxicity!!! I investigated chelation then pursued the best mercury speciation testing and detoxification protocol I could find thanks to my chiropractor, family practice physician, and Quicksilver Scientific. Removal of 2 problematic, root-canaled teeth followed. While the journey of recovery continues to be difficult over four years down the road, I recognize the many cool little life lessons along the way that have served to grow my faith in the Lord no matter what happens to me! And now with my mercury burden down, my beloved Steve and I are hopeful that I AM GOING TO GET WELL!!!

The Lord, Jesus Christ has provided for our needs during this time and directed us through Steve’s leadership, love, and care. The tremendous trials have also brought Steve and I closer to each other and to the His throne of grace. When the isolation of this disease got unbearable, He brought me a local Lyme Support Group, Skype Bible Prayer Group, new friends, my own eBook (Hope Beyond Lyme: The First Year), and meaningful connections with others online including this blog! Somehow I became an Advanced Master Gardener along the way. A new hobby kept my hands busy when I couldn’t sleep and led me to open then sell my jewelry shop on http://www.Etsy.com called, Trinity Jewelry by Design. Although I attempted to write a second eBook (Caring for the Sandwich Generation at Home) and develop a unique home safety product for Two Step Solutions LLC, the severity of the complications rendered me bed-ridden this past summer, many days per week. These projects are on hold for now but not forgotten!

UPDATE: January of 2016 began the time to revisit the diagnosis of Chronic Lyme Disease with IV antibiotics, experimental treatment for a fungal infection (protomyxzoa rheumatica or FL1953), and genetic coaching by a naturopathic physician. Gratefully I am tolerating everything a bit better than when this journey began 4 years ago. Overcoming a complex illness takes time and persistence; I am grateful to report that the wretched episodes are finally starting to diminish! KNOW THAT I HAVE NOT GIVEN UP! I hope that you will see evidence of this in my posts here. The Lord continues to provide comfort and hope from my Heavenly Husband and gracious Father: awake with me in the middle of the night as well as in the light of the day, now and evermore. There is even a little bit of dirt under my fingernails from a wee bit o’ gardening too!

At some other life-changing points in my life, the Lord gave me these promises from His Word:

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

11 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.”

Romans 8 (NIV)

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Philippians 1:12 (NIV)

12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.

Gentle Reader: join me on this amazing journey! I know that the suffering during this part of my life will not be wasted. My prayer is that it edifies the Lord and is constructive for others too. Click on the “FOLLOW ME” button along the right hand column or at the bottom of your screen. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this blog and for your support. May the Lord bless you and lead you to Himself . . . a journey always worth taking! :JJ

https://justjuliewrites.com

 

A Story of Faith and Determination

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. (Psalm 9:1-2)

Giving thanks to the Lord, how sweet is my soul that I have the ability and the freedom to do so. Have you ever thought about how incredible it is to thank Him? To thank the one who has given so much more than we can imagine, without seeing, only knowing. To think about the incredible blessings that have been bestowed on this lowly being brings joy to my heart.

I have had problems writing on my blog the past week and therefore I am late in writing to you all. This is now May and it is Lyme Awareness Month. I have asked a few to share their stories and there are more that I would like to repost here for all to read. Think of it as an opportunity to be educated on this very real illness that plagues so many.

To start, I thought I would begin with my own story.

In July of 2013, I was very busy gardening in my own yard, working at a farm an hours drive away, and also sharing and working a large garden with a friend living 30 minutes from our home in the opposite direction. Previous to my full blown symptoms, I was noticing that I was having some balancing issues. I would step into the garden and sway slightly almost losing my balance. The first time it happened I didn’t think much of it, then it happened a few more times, giving me pause to wonder. I then woke up one morning early to mid July and as I walked down the stairs, I felt as though my foot was dragging. I had to keep looking down to make sure my foot was on the step. This continued for two weeks before I began to really get concerned. At about this same time, I also began to feel very tired. Who wouldn’t…I mean, all I did was work outside, travel with the kids and the band and try to keep up with cooking and housework. Every week I ran around non stop. The exhaustion however, took on a whole new level of “tired” when I would nap on the couch only to have my eyes feel like they were glued shut and I had to physically pull them open. My body also was physically unable to move. I could hear everything, and wanted so badly to communicate with others yet my exhaustion was so bad that I couldnt’ even form complete sentences. I wondered if I had had a stroke.

When the chills set in and the pain in my body was so bad that my husband couldn’t even hold my hand without me feeling like I wanted to scream I knew it was time to call the doctor. I gave her all my symptoms and she recommended two tests, a test to look into Rheumatoid arthritis and another for Lyme disease. What? Lyme? We pray for a gent at church who we rarely see because his symptoms are so bad with Lyme. So we ran both tests, and the Lyme was positive. The symptoms I was experiencing were more late stage Lyme, and in conferred with my doctor I requested a more natural approach to healing. Things began to make sense with the research I had been doing. Symptoms that were unexplainable for so many years. Was there finally a diagnosis?

I had at an early age, pains that would go up and down my legs throwing me into a tizzy because the pain was just awful. It was thought maybe they were growing pains or a mineral deficiency. Nothing would help them. I used to try hot baths, hot tub soaks, bananas for potassium, Tylenol, Alleve, the list goes on. I am now wondering if that could have been the start. I mean, we played in the woods all the time. The girl across the street had a tick on her head. They were definitely around. From the research I was learning that Lyme can lie dormant for not only months yet also years.

The summer after 8th grade, we had taken a trip to the east coast. When we were in Maine, I had an episode that had me nearly collapsing and my dad carried me back to the camper so that I could rest. Yes, we were camping in the east. Hmmmm….

In high school I began having what was diagnosed as superventricular tachycardia’s. At first we thought I was hyperventilating. Having them through college and early into my marriage, I finally had a heart ablation to alleviate the symptoms. CAUSE? Unknown! Amazingly these symptoms began the school year after the summer trip out east. Another hmmmm….

Before homeschooling, the kids were in public school. I was there nearly everyday volunteering in some capacity. I used the bathroom one day and about 2-3 weeks later I noticed a rash ring on my leg. Now, it wasn’t too high up my thigh, yet it was a ring. I actually thought it could be ring worm and I treated it and didn’t think about it again. Something to note is that this was also during the time that I would run the trail which was in the woods at our lake cottage.

About a year later I began noticing my energy levels dropping, I was feeling some of those pains again that I had had in my earlier years and I was just generally not feeling well. I also started gaining weight which I could not lose. I laugh that I was a weight watchers drop out. I went for three months, followed their diet and exercise plan only to gain weight. WHAT? Yes, I gained weight. WW had worked for me in the past so what in the world was going on now? I found an internist that tested me for Rheumatoid, fibromyalgia, thyroid and more only to receive results that were inconclusive.

Fast forward to our current home three years here. I found an integrative doctor who tested me again for the above, only this time with proper testing, found that I was in fact hypothyroid, I had cortisol issues, my adrenals were on shut down, and not only was our son celiac, we all tested positive! Mine turned out to show I was severely. Three of us also tested positive for food intolerance’s.

Hence, the reason the doctor and I both agreed that all of my above issues were likely the symptoms of the underlying issue, Lyme disease. It’s not too difficult to believe when you begin to read about Lyme and the symptoms that have plagued others for years. I must have either been bitten again, triggering a full blown Lyme reaction or my immune system and adrenals just could not cope with my activity level that summer. I had showed my son a deer tick that I found while gardening…guess I should also have checked over my body when we were done. Ironically, that was the same summer that our son had 4 rounds of strep back to back. Coincidence? I think not! Especially since both of us got sick after that little tick show and tell moment.

In all I spent 10 months battling fatigue, brain fog, speech issues, memory loss, extreme daily pain, loss of balance, tinnitus, hearing sensitivity and multiple co-infections and viruses that attacked my body. I could not walk down the driveway and had to use a wheelchair for any distances longer than a few yards, I could not walk up the stairs at night without almost passing out, I was unable to bend over to pick something up without losing my breath and almost passing out, I was falling asleep at 5 at night only to wake up at 2 with insomnia and then would fall asleep at 6 or 7 in the morning without waking up until 10. When I would lay down for a nap, my eyes felt like someone had sewed them shut and yet I could hear everything going on around me. I remember telling my husband that I wondered if that’s what it’s like for someone whose comatose. To hear everything and wanting to speak out yet not being able to.

One virus I acquired attacked my heart and I was told complete bed rest was necessary. The virus I had actually has 6 strains, of which I had tested positive for 5 of the six. If I wanted to make dinner, I was to have others wash veggies, cut them and all I was allowed to do was put it into the oven or give directions. I was showering every few days when I had the energy to actually do so, I wasn’t able to speak clearly when I was tired as I sounded like I was inebriated, I would try at times to talk to my family or friends and the words would just not formulate in my brain. I would forget names of people that I’ve known most of my life and I couldn’t remember the names of items or things, like trees or squirrels.

To friends and family it was the most shocking thing to watch, and for me I was determined to survive. When I was able, I read and studied as much as I could about the bacteria that had changed my life. I was determined to educate myself and my family so that we could all understand and cope together. I was also determined to overcome and I prayed daily that the Lord would heal me and use what I had been through to help others. I studied God’s word knowing that His truth would set me free from the bondage that I was experiencing. That my experience and what I had learned would be of value in helping others to heal. The experience of keeping my head up and remembering God’s grace in my life and His healing power was something I held onto and hoped others would see. I prayed that nothing our family was going through would be wasted, only that we would be able to encourage others, from the side of the patient to that of the caretaker.

Without failure, Gods plan and blessing for our family was for remission and for enough healing that life has become a little more normal. It is not what it once was, yet it is definitely better than what it had been. I still have moments of brain fog when I’m tired, I still have exhaustion when I do more than I should, and I still have pain as well when the weather is changing. My immunity is terrible and I catch everything I’m exposed too. Living in a bubble is not an option. The tinnitus in my ears is becoming the new normal and the change in my eyesight has me slightly troubled, yet I will not fret.

This blog began when I needed something to do to keep my mind active. It has become an avenue for me to share what I know to be a help for others. I have met and prayed for so many affected by Lyme the past few years, and I praise God for the opportunity to understand it and learn. Education isn’t cheap, and trust me when I tell you that my medical bills and supplement bills monthly/bi-monthly speak to that. I do however value that education that I have been given and I see it as part of God’s plan to help others in their own healing. I do keep in mind that you can lead a horse to water, you cannot however make him drink it. Every person with a debilitating illness and unknown or questionable diagnosis has their own decisions to make in their healthcare. For me and for my family, we continually ask the big question….why? For every symptom, there is a cause. Nearly all causes are bacterial, viral or parasitic. Which one is the cause and what the adequate treatment plan should be is the challenge. Finding the right doctor that will hear what you have to say and that will educate himself/herself are the doctors that I find to be the ones pioneering in the healing of Lyme.

I hope to continue sharing information, educational materials and other stories of faith and healing in dealing with Lyme disease this month. If you are a Lyme warrior, please email me your story and let’s share with others how to cope. Keep in mind, you are not alone.

Remember, this disease is estimated to surpass breast cancer. You will or do know someone who is affected.

Rich or Poor?

God’s word is such an amazing gift.  Never failing to assure me of His presence, His written word sustains my soul.   It’s not easy to be reminded of my former self prior to my knowing the truth of the gospel, nor is it easy at times to keep myself standing firm.  The worldly obstacles that pop up like gophers in the Whack the Gopher arcade games come when I least expect them.  Yet, the Lord’s grace falls upon my quiet time and brings me closer to Him reminding me who I am now and the promise of what is yet to come.

In yesterdays quiet time study, I was reading Spurgeon’s morning devotional and it was from Galations 2:10,  ‘Remember the poor’.  As it started out asking the question of ‘Why does God allow so many of His children to be poor?’ my first answer prior to continuing on was “So that he can fill their hearts with Him and with treasurers of the written word.”  I had stopped reading after the first question to contemplate the gifts that are offered to us from a God who has already given more than any of us on earth can give.  He offers these gifts to those who he calls by name.

(John 10:3 – To him the gatekeeper opens.  The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  John 10:7-9 “Truly truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the door.  If anyone enters by me, he will be saved an will go in and out and find pasture.)

I did end up reading the rest of Spurgeons morning devotional and he took the study in a different direction, reminding that the Lord has all the control in the world to give his children all their wants and riches, yet he holds back, ‘allowing them to suffer want’.  The reason for this is explained by Spurgeon that God wants to ‘give us, who are favored with enough, an opportunity of showing our love to Jesus’.  Through prayer, song and ministering of the truth to the poor in spirit,  we have the opportunity to show God’s love through the caring of the poor.  Leading with a loving heart toward the riches of salvation and an eternity with an everlasting loving Shepherd.

As I continued on to the study I have been working on in Psalm 119.  I read Psalm 119: 9-16 and was overwhelmed at the words before me and their correlation to the devotional…

9 How can a young man keep his way pure?  By guarding it according to your word.  10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! 11  I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.  12 Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes!  13 With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.  14 In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.  15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.  16 I will delight indoor statutes; I will not forget your word. 

I read Calvins’ commentary and then Mathew Henrys’.  Although I gleaned a greater understanding of the Psalm passage  through both authors, I was particularly struck by Henry it’s relationship to my morning reading by Spurgeon.  Here are some of my take aways:

v. 9 – Making the word of God the rule, following it, studying it, and making it a priority in youth and in life protects and guards, cleansing oneself more than any other form

charting ones own course only end up steering self into a course of destruction; lost; empty;

comfort comes from following the course set out by the Lord;  through the trust and faith of His word, and all that He sets before us;  our path may be winding and narrow, yet He is our guide;  the written word should not be taken lightly and without ponder

v. 10 – pleasure comes from the keeping of God’s commandments;  we will wander less off the path if we stay focused on preserving what is before us in the written word

v. 11 – (this one particularly struck me and kept me thinking all day…)  Hiding the word in our heart; knowing it, preserving it’s truth and living it out;  by hiding it in the heart it cannot be stolen, lost;  ‘It’s a treasure worth laying up.’ (Henry’s words)  (A treasure…hidden in one self; so that even if the mind fails, it’s held within the heart and kept safe.)

(again, Henrys’ words)  Good men are afraid of sin, and are in care to prevent it; the most effectual way to prevent is to hide God’s word in our hearts that we may answer every temptation, as ourMaster did, with, It is written.

v. 12 – continually pray that the Lord will teach and provide; praise Him for His continued blessings

v. 13-16 – the filling of the word in the heart allows for the sharing of the word; (Henrys’ wordsThose whose hearts are fed with the bread of life should with their lips feed many. ; obedience brings rejoicing; truth in the gospel brings ‘riches in Christ’.

(Henrys’ words)  Good thoughts produce good works and good intentions in them ; mediation on God’s word provides a safety net without fear or danger in forgetting.

The Riches in Christ are from the study, perseverance and preservation of God’s word.  The promises are complete, unwavering and secure for those He calls by name.  What a blessing that no matter how poor we are in status on this earth or how poor we are in spirit, we have a guide and a guidebook that can walk us through every step of the way.  As the sheep who are called to follow, and as those who are already rich with the truth overflowing, and preserved in the security of our hearts, we can share the riches of Christ and the sustaining truth with others who do not know the comfort and peace otherwise.

To God be the glory in all things.  Be blessed sweet reader as you go forth in this troubling world and know that there is peace if it is sought, held tight and hidden away in the heart.

New Hope?

Science is defined as “knowledge attained through study or practice,”or “knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world.”  (New Collegiate Dictionary)

The scientific method is an ongoing process, which usually begins with observations about the natural world.

All that being said, in my opinion, any mom is a scientist.  Knowledge is gained from the moment of conception, especially if the blessing of morning sickness is present.   As the days and years pass by, a mom is not necessarily just a scientist, yet also an expert.  If paying close attention, she knows the habits of her spouse and children, what it takes for their survival and knows how to best help them succeed.   Observations are taken in, processed, and as time goes by, adjustments are made to fit the necessary needs of one or all individuals.

In science, nothing is constant.  Things continually change with new findings from new observations.  You could say that  a new perspective may have come to fruition, allowing for an observation and conclusion that had not before been attained. (You all know I truly enjoy perspective)

I remember when we were first married and I had purchased a book called Beyond Cellulite.  I remember reading in it things about the body and nutrition that I had not heard before.  Although that first book made an impression, I cannot remember all that I read, only that it was the start to my journey on health, nutrition and making proper food choices.  We’ve been married 22 years, so that book must be at least 21 years old at this point.  It’s been quite a learning process and just when I think I’ve nailed it for my family, I find out I’m still on the first step at the basement level.  This brings me to my post for today and a challenge I bring to all of my followers who struggle with health, illness, weight, depression, anxiety, allergies or who just have plain old too much time on their hands and like to try new things.

Let’s talk food….

When I was pregnant I read everything I could on carrying for my baby so that he/she would be healthy.  I nursed both of my children for a year, introduced foods as the pediatrician recommended and made sure not to introduce sweets, sodas, or anything of the like too early.  Over the years, we learned that our son, who was having allergy symptoms and night terrors, was allergic to many environmental allergens, pets, and foods.  His food allergies included tomatoes, wheat, and dairy.   I remember the doctor asking which we wanted to avoid first and my response..”All“!

Amazingly, after only one month of complete avoidance of all three food allergens, he was a calmer child, his intestinal discomfort was nearly gone and for the first time since infancy he was not as congested.  It was not as easy as it is today, gluten free foods were bland, hard to find, unaccepted and misunderstood.   He was teased in school over his lunches and we as parents were criticized by many that we were doing wrong by our son by not letting him eat whatever he wanted.   It was difficult for all of us, yet we understood that health issues at an early age could become more severe with serious consequences to follow if we didn’t manage it in a timely fashion.

Fast forward 14 years later and we come to where we are today.  We eat all organic, eat gluten free, low carbs, low grains, very few potatoes, organic grass fed beef from 1/2 a cow in our freezer, drink raw milk and eat raw cheeses, free range organic chicken and turkey, free range organic eggs daily, soda only on holidays or special occasions, very little sugar (especially since I’m a failure at making cookies and GF are too expensive for a daily dessert or treat)…you get the point.  We avoid, MSG, HFCS, the dirty dozen, all gluten, processed meats, cereals etc.  Yet, at the same time all four of us have been diagnosed as celiac…yes by a doctor and yes through testing.  (A common question I get quite often.)  Three of us are hypothyroid, we are all on the obese scale, I have Lyme disease, and three of us have adrenal issues.  As many have said, “Why would I eat all organic, it’s too expensive and hard to find.  I don’t have time to cook all day like you do.  Plus, what benefit have you seen?  After all, you guys are always ill and I’m thin and healthy.”  (Okay, I exaggerated that last part a little, after all, they let us know how we always have issues, they just don’t tell us we are fat!)

I myself have been told over the years that my priorities are not in order and that I could be thin again if I would just quit spending so much time at church or in bible studies and get myself in the gym.  I’ve been told that I just don’t do enough to get my body moving.  (I so wish sometimes that those people could be inside my body when I come inside after a 4 mile walk and collapse from adrenal shut down, and then, because of my Lyme, I cannot move because every muscle and joint has stiffened up due to too much activity.)  I know, sounds like I’m complaining doesn’t it.  Yes, fetch me some cheese to go along with the whine.  🙂

I just need to explain why my journey has not been an easy one and why I continue with every cell of my being to learn as much as I can about nutrition, foods and health.  I do not take it lightly.  I do hours of research, reading and learning.  What started 21 years ago, has only continued and hopefully  will continue until I no longer find the need to have the information.  This brings me to….

My old discovery made new.

I bought a book over 10 years ago.  I do not know when or why I bought it, yet I know I unpacked it at this house so I’ve had it at least 10+ years.  I remember reading most of it and putting it on the book shelf and honestly I don’t think it went any further than that.  I remember almost taking it to goodwill a few years ago as I thought it was likely inaccurate and just another silly “diet” plan.

Well, I have to admit that I was wrong and I have since pulled that book off of the shelf, dusted it off and am taking a  serious look at the subject, content, theory and finding.   You could, if you were reading this closely, come to the conclusion that I’m just desperate and looking for anything to help our family.  In fact, if I didn’t know myself, I would say that too.  I have however, come to the conclusion that there is something to this book and that God’s timing for me to understand the content of this book is now, after the journey of learning through everything else that I have.  There was a process of observation that needed to take place before I could understand and accept the knowledge before me in this book.

Let me explain a little further.  In our journey over the last 5 years the kids and I have gone through food intolerance testing, only to learn that foods that were on the avoid list were things that caused inflammation, and illness.   We learned about foods that were in our daily diet and our bodies response to them.  We had several lists of foods that were to be avoided for several months up to a year.  After that we could slowly introduce them back in.  Knowing that we do all organic and the test is done on conventional foods, I had a difficult time accepting that everything on it was accurate.   We did what we were told and avoided accordingly, knowing that some may not be as accurate because of how we already ate.  What we did learn however, was that our son’s unknown fevers and aches that lasted 12-18 hours were due to conventional beef, and that my intestinal track was not dancing with joy after rice intake.  We saw that some foods the kids or I did not enjoy were on the avoid list.

In November/December our 19 year old son decided that he was going completely raw.  My husband and I were concerned over this concept (even thought I own a book of recipes on raw foods) because we thought he was not taking in enough protein etc. for his age.  We did notice however, that his attitude was better, he played his bagpipes almost flawlessly, he had more energy and he was motivated.  He also lost weight.  During the holidays and through our move from our cottage things got crazy around our home and he found it difficult to resume this lifestyle.  He went back to eating as we were.  High protein, red meats, fruits, vegetables, lots of eggs, etc.  He complained that he did not feel as well and was not functioning as well as he did on the raw diet.  His proclamation last weekend that he was going back to raw grabbed my attention.  My husband and I decided we needed to understand what was going on with his body and the foods that he was consuming.  I woke up Saturday morning remembering the book I had purchased all those years ago and wondered how far back in the book shelf it would be.  Ironically it was right in the front.  I pulled it out and began reading.

At this point your asking yourself if I’m ever going to reveal the book name.  Yes I will, with one promise from you dear reader, please continue reading before you think I’m off my rocker.  🙂  It’s called Eat Right 4 Your Type.  It’s a book regarding one’s blood type and the foods that affect how your body responds to foods based on that type.  I am not kidding you that I was stunned what I was finding.  Many of the foods that were on our food intolerance avoid list (which was not a cheap test to have done, not to mention that 3 of us had it) was on the avoid list in this book for our blood type.   I also noticed that the foods that I did not like and avoided in my younger years (when I was a size 4 and healthy) were on the avoid list.   The foods that our kids do not like or that do not make them feel good were on the avoid list.  Everything we eat daily is on the avoid list.  The things we were allowed to eat were  the things we avoided on all of the meal plans we had tried previously.

Just a little more history….

Prior to 9 years ago (which is when we moved to our current home) we were thinner and healthier.  We were gluten free, dairy free, and ate limited red meats.  Well, shortly after our move here,  we were introduced to raw milk and our son who had been dairy free since the age of 5 could drink it without any issues so we began introducing dairy back into our diet.  We also found that we could order a 1/4 or 1/2 a cow.  The freezer was stocked, we made weekly or biweekly trips for raw milk, we were the healthiest eaters around.  We learned about fermentation, gardening, raising chickens, bee keeping, sprouting grains, seeds and nuts.  Our diets have been so different than mainstream society that our dinner invitations are limited out of the fear for cooking for us.  🙂  With all of this, how in the world could we be obese and ill?  Could this book be the key we were looking for?  Could we have finally found the answers that we were looking for?

Back on track.

Let me just tell you, nothing happens just because.  There are no coincidences.  God leads us and gives us what we need when he wants us to have it.  In most cases, people don’t believe just because it makes sense, they have to be convinced.  In my case, as an “expert mom in training” and as a “home scientist” I like to consider theories or hypotheses, make observations and conclude.  My Lyme disease is no different.  I have had to see the science behind the research and choose the options for my care that through observation were making a difference.  I currently have minimal symptoms and when my friends peak their ugly heads to remind me they are still a part of me, I work with what protocols I have observed work for me.  Sometimes they need tweaking and sometimes changes have to be made.  Just as changes need to be made for our family and our food choices.

One month… that’s it… one month should give us a glimpse into whether or not this book is accurate or just another lost hope for healing and wellness.  So, we started officially Monday, with several family and friends joining in as support.    For the kids and I, we are supposed to avoid all red meats and eat minimally fish and chicken.  We can eat lots of vegetables, yet not the night shades.  (Hmmmm…. remember our son could not eat tomatoes?)  We have to limit dairy to fermented choices, kefir and yogurt with limited goats cheese and ricotta second.   We are to avoid all gluten, which we already did…hmmmm….is this why?  We are to add back in soy products.  (Hmmmm…. not a fan of this, yet willing to add in Tofu, Tempeh and Miso only if it’s organic.)  We can eat GF grains?  What about the protein or paleo diets?  Nope, causes inflammation and weight gain if we do.  Is this why I still have inflammation and the doctors cannot figure out why?  Not to mention the water retention that has them stumped?   No eggs (which we eat daily), olives or pickles…. Again, you get the idea.

In talking with others, it’s interesting to hear that for their blood type, they should be avoiding certain foods which they already know cause them grief.  Or, they lose weight based on a specific diet plan that fits with their blood type food lists.  You could call this a second observation.

Have we observed any differences in just a few days of eating for our blood type?  Yes.  Bloating and water retention is already lessening.    Feeling detox affects through exhaustion.  Sleeping through the night again.  Hmmm….It is with great hope that this is the final stage of the healing of our bodies and that we will once again look like the pillars of health so that others will want to follow in the right path to nutrition, healing and wellness.

If you will join us, please drop me a note and let me know. We can support one another during this one month trial and exchange our observations so that perhaps our conclusions can be considered by the trained “experts” as “scientific”.  🙂

To be continued…..

Reflection and Progression

 

Picture taken from Omnibus III
Picture taken from Omnibus III

Romans 8:25
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 

Sitting in a chair facing my friend, who sits reclined back comfortably in her recliner we discuss our new book and what a wonderful author John Bunyan is.  His incredible allegory of the walk of a Christian in Pilgrims Progress. We usually meet once a week at her home (she is completely home bound and unable to do anything for herself anymore) and read a chapter or two of a book.  This week, we began a new book and because we both were enjoying it so much, decided to throw in a second day.  Our visits over the last 6 months have been pretty much the same, we visit first, her husband sweetly confirms she is comfortable and as he exits to his “man cave” office, she and I share a little more of our week and I begin to read.

As we began our new book, we were thrown a curve ball.  I began reading and when I finished page 16, I began reading what I thought was page 17 only to realize that the story didn’t make any sense at all.  I looked up to see that the page after 16 was actually page 23. Now, keep in mind that I cannot read on my own without having to read one page several times due to my Lymes and my friend cannot read at all and depending upon the day may have issues with processing information due to her corticobasil degeneration.  That being said, you can just imagine my dismay to find that in a neatly hardbound book there were no pages ripped out and yet pages 17-22 were missing.  We both sat there laughing not quite sure what to do.  We quickly realized that our time together that day may be cut short by a error in the binding of the book.

Upon further investigation, I found the rest of the pages… 10 pages further into the book.  So, as if it isn’t funny enough that we are reading Pilgrims Progress together, both of us having cognitive issues and both of us being more tired in the afternoon, I now was challenged with reading from right to left rather than left to right and my friend had to endure me stopping at critical parts of the story just to find my place.  Honestly, I kept thinking it would have made for a great home video recording.

Well, as it is with my memory these days, I completely forgot this when I went over to read to her the second day.  So of course, I began reading where I left off and of course ended up reading some of what we had already read earlier in the week amongst the new pages of the story.  Once again, we had to laugh and I had to regroup and figure out where my next pages were.  Were they 10 pages forward or 2 pages back.

Having Lyme makes life so interesting!  Seriously, I can relate to the frustration that was felt in the movie Still Alice… I am physically so much better than last year that I am not complaining at all.  Last year at this time I could not walk up a flight of steps without nearly passing out and I could not do anything for myself except maybe a shower, and that was not daily as I just didn’t have the energy for it.  I was in constant pain, my exhaustion was unexplainable and my energy level was at best good for only about an hour.  By mid afternoon my brain was so foggy that I could not process information, I was unable to drive as I forgot where I was going and when I drove I completely blanked out and couldn’t remember I had driven at all.  To go anywhere that needed walking I had to use a wheelchair.

After 10 months I had serious doubts I’d recover from this illness. You can imagine my my excitement when I found the doctor and protocol I had been looking for since being first diagnosed.  So in early May, my Integrative doctor agreed to let me try the protocol of the other doctor I found and by June I was going to the Highland games with the family and the wheelchair stayed in the garage.  I’m not saying it didn’t need to be brought out from time to time, but overall I was seeing improvements.  By July I was able to make an 8 hour drive to our cottage alone with my daughter and by September I was driving to CA with the kids.  The pain subsided within that first month and slowly my energy level began to increase.  The brain fog has also improved, unless of course I am extremely tired and have not slept well.  Learning my limitations, keeping track of my symptoms and making adjustments with my meds has been such a help.  Having two doctors who look beyond, listen to me with all ears and keep an open mind to the research I also do has been a blessing.

Your likely wondering why I went from reading Pilgrims Progress to my health.  Well, as we read on Thursday, I couldn’t help but to think about the characters in the story, what they stood for and how even though the book was first published in 1678, the allegory is so powerful for us today.  No wonder it is the second most widely published book in world to this day, second only to the Bible.  Although I enjoyed the book a few years ago when the kids and I read it together and studied it, I think after the last year I am enjoying it even more.

On Thursday we read about Christian meeting the Interpreter and what he finds in the Palace prior to going any further on his journey.  Within the Palace there are a number of rooms.  One of the rooms was rather small and introduced were two children, Passion and Patience.  The characteristics of the two were such:

Passion was seen as being discontent; wanting of all things now, and at that moment Patience was quiet; willing to wait for that which is yet to come

In the story, the Interpreter explains:   “These two lads are Figures; Passion of the men of this World, and Patience of the men of That which is to come:  For as here thou seest, Passion will have all now, this year; that is to say, in this world;  so are the men of this world:  they must have all their good things now, they cannot stay till next year, that is, until the next World, for their portion of good.  That proverb, A Bird in the Hand is worth two in the Bush, is of more authority with them, than are all the Divine testimonies of the Good of the World to come.  But as thou sawest, that he had quickly lavished all away, and had presently left him nothing but rags; so will it be with all such men at the End of this world.  

Christian replies:  Now I see that Patience has the best Wisdom, and that upon many accounts.  1.  Because he stays  for the best things.  2.  And also because he will have the Glory of his, when the other has nothing but rags.

Interpreter:  Nay, you may add another, to wit, the Glory of the next World will never wear out; but these are suddenly gone.  Therefore Passion had not so much reason to laugh at Patience, because he had his good things first, as Patience will have to laugh at Passion, because he had his best things last; for first must give place to last, because last must have its time to come; but last gives place to nothing; for there is not another to succeed:  He therefore that hath his portion first, must needs have a Time to spend it; but he that has his portion last, must have it lastingly:  Therefore it is said of Dives, In thy Lifetime thou receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou are tormented.

Christian:  Then I perceive it is not best to covet things that are now, but to wait for things to come.  

And in conclusion, I want to end with the beginning of what Interpreter has to say next:  “You say truth:  For the things that are seen are Temporal; but the things that are not seen are Eternal:  

I have to admit that last year when I was diagnosed, I wanted my body to heal and for my life to go back as it used to be.  I wanted to go back to being the super mom who could get up in the morning, make breakfast, school the kids, drive them around town for their activities, pull weeds out of the garden, help my friends paint their houses, stop for groceries and spend long hours in the kitchen preparing dinners for my family, all in one day.  I wanted to be able to plan out events for the homeschool community or prepare classes as I once had in our co-op classes.  I wanted to be organized without losing things.  I wanted healing at that moment.  I tried to be patient, and I even prayed that the Lord use my illness for His good will.  Yet internally, my mind wanted desperately to have my life back.

In reading the above exchange between Christian and Interpreter, I was seeing myself as being like that of Passion.  Although my heart longs to be more like Patience, I know that my human nature as a sinner is more like that of Passion.  As the months drew on and  now another year, I am learning more and more the importance of the lessons of Patience.  The story has resonated in my mind ever since our reading on Thursday and I know it’s through the Providence of God that He continues to teach this weary being of lessons He needs for me to learn, sanctifying me so that perfection may still yet be seen.

If I had received the blessing of quick healing, would I have followed the leading of my heart to go see my friend who was already home bound?  Would I have understood what it was like for those who have no or limited social interaction with others?  Would I be reading Pilgrims Progress with a friend who needs to be reminded of the eternal blessings yet to come?  Would I have understood that I truly had sisters that took time out of their days to help me cope in my own loneliness?

Honestly, I think not.  If God had allowed me to follow my own way, just as Passion, then I am quite certain my short lived illness would have been placed in a box on a shelf where dust would settle only to be forgotten.  I would have gone on with my days wanting to be something more and someone more than I am meant to be.  I would have likely filled my days with things that have no real meaning other than for self.  My friend would still be sitting in her recliner, yet I would have missed the blessings of seeing her smile, her sense of humor with her husband and our wonderful discussions that come out of our readings.  I would have missed an opportunity to serve another who was and is desperate for her own healing and for understanding as to why her life has taken the turn it has.

As I continue to read through Pilgrims Progress I look forward to seeing what the Lord once again has to show me.  I hope that as you read this post, you too may consider reading along with us.  I promise, you will not be disappointed.

Luke 8:15
As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

 

Fall is Here and The Soup is On

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Fall… The trees changing colors remind me of a painting in a museum.  God’s palatte of colors amuse the eyes and challenge the imagination.  A tree stands tall with it’s summer leaves expressing it’s desire to hold on to summer at the bottom of the tree, while the middle hesitantly relinquishes  it’s leaves to the cooler temperatures and the top willingly submits in excitement over the seasonal change.  From green to an orange hugh to the glaring red with a hint of purple creating a color unknown to the crayola crayon pack.

College Football games, warms coats, turtle necks and gloves.  The flip flops are put away and the shorts hit the storage bins.  As the heat turns on and the air conditioning is turned off, the blankets are pulled out of the basket as we snuggle up on the couch by the fire place.  Once again, the menu choice that takes center stage is soup.  Especially when the fall harvest is bringing in the squash and the last of the winter storage vegetables.

As we drove home last night from another weekend away, I looked forward to the yummy butternut squash soup I had made before we left.  Simple, quick, healthy and full of nutrients.  Butternut squash is a wonderful source of  vitamins A, B6, C, and Potassium.  It is also filled with anti-oxidents and is good for inflammation.

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Start with cutting 2 butter nut squash in half long wise.  Scoop out seeds and place the squash into baking dishes flesh side down with enough water to steam.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until flesh is cooked through and soft.

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1/3 stick of real Butter

1 large Onion, chopped

4 Celery sticks  with tops, chopped

3 Garlic cloves, chopped

Melt butter in pan and saute the onion, celery and garlic.  When sauteed to look translucent, add:

2 small or 1 medium Red Pepper, chopped

bunch of Parsley, chopped

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When the squash is done, scoop out the flesh from the shell and add it to the sauteed vegetables above.  Add also the water from the baking dishes.  Do not let it boil.  After cooking for about 10 minutes, add:

1 Pint of home made Chicken broth concentrate, I used my canned broth (recipe on previous post last fall)

2 cans of Organic coconut milk

dash of Red Pepper Flakes, add more if you like really spicy

1/8 tsp Chipotle Pepper

1/8 tsp Turmeric

1/2 TBS Sea Salt

Pepper to taste

Cook until all are tender.  I use an immersion blender right in the pot to blend.  If you don’t have one of those, use a strainer or a slotted spoon to pull out the chunks of vegetables and place them in a blender, blending until smooth.  Add back in to the soup pot and serve warm.  Make sure not to boil or it will burn.

A warm and tasty treat served with a nice warm piece of baked home made bread.  Or, with a grilled cheese sandwich, my kids favorite.  By also making a grilled cheese sandwich on home made gluten free bread and using raw cheddar, the kids are more inclined to enjoy any soup I make.   🙂

Hope you enjoy!

Back in the Kitchen…

This week has been spent putting up more vegetables for winter.  From green beans to tomatoes to even more fermented vegetables.  I’m so excited to be back in the kitchen, at times too excited as my legs and feet don’t hold up the way they used to before Lymes.  I do however, take breaks to rest between projects so getting it all done plus making dinner actually gets accomplished…most nights!   🙂

Tonights dinner was one of our son’s favorites.  Ahi Tuna with a wasabi sauce.  Easy to make and very tasty.  I found a great recipe out of Make It Paleo, however, didn’t have all of the ingredients as they listed, so I improvised a slight bit.

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Ahi Tuna

Mix the following ingredients together in a bowl and pour in a bag over 4 Tuna Steaks:

1/4 C. Coconut Aminos

1/8 C. Fish Sauce

1 TBS. Chopped Garlic

1 TBS. Garlic Tea Tree Oil

2 tsp. Ginger (if you have, fresh even better)

1 tsp. Sea Salt

Let marinate 2 hours prior to cooking.  Before placing on the grill, dip each side in a bowl with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sea salt and ginger.  Lightly coating.  Cook each steak on the grill or in a grill pan for about 2-3 minutes per side depending upon how rare you can handle it.  It’s far better the rarer it is.  One of our children does not like it rare so I compromised and did the 3.  It was slightly over cooked for my taste, however, all ate dinner so that was an accomplishment.

Wasabi Dressing

Homemade mayonnaise (see previous post on recipe) with some wasabi powder.  Wasabi is strong and it’s taste gathers steam to the palate the longer it’s in the dressing so be careful when using.  Start small and gradually increase quantity to your personal taste.

Served along side the cucumber, tomato, olive and basil salad.  Yumm!

 

Why bother…?

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(This painting hangs in my kitchen… It’s so me!)

Why fermentation?  Why canning?  Why grow your own food when you have grocery stores on every corner?  Why go through the work?

Oh my, so many questions.  I’ve heard it all.  I’ve even heard, “Sherry you are too sick to be doing all of that”, or “I did all that when I was younger and see no need to keep doing it.  I hated doing it then with my mother why would I do it now.”  Well, the primary answer to everyones “why” about this topic is this:

Neighbor, “Yeah we have so many tomatoes this year that Sally (name changed) is thinking we should make some pasta sauce.  We just aren’t sure what to do with so many.”

MY husband, “Oh yeah.  Can the sauces so you have them this winter.  It was great this last winter when Sherry was so sick and I prepared the meals, those canned sauces really helped out when I needed them.”

Neighbor, “Maybe they can help one another and do the canning together.”

Said and done!   Two verses come to mind when I consider this conversation exchange.  The first is from Proverbs 31:10- 18  “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.  The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.  She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.  She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.  She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.  She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.  She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.  She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.  Her lamp does not go out at night.”  Keep in mind that as I type this I am aware that it sounds boldly prideful on my part to consider this verse and my husbands conversation.  However, when you realize that the title of this portion of Proverbs is titled “A Woman Who Fears The Lord” you understand that all that I do is pleasing to the Lord.   I understand who the Lord is and why I am here.

Now, I also must admit that the human side of my being, living in a self indulgent world also realizes that homemaking has become a taboo word for women.  The thought amongst our peers is that we were either too stupid to make it doing anything else (and yes I’ve even heard of one persons interpretation of my being a stay at home mom described as “not being highly educated”) or we have an overbearing husband who chains us to the house without allowing us to have a mind of our own.  That being said, I have to also admit that worldly thinking can and does creep in sometimes.  My worldly thought on the conversation was this, “Thank you Lord that my husband appreciates the sacrifices I have made.  I was not at the pool, tennis courts, golfing at the club, sitting down watching soap operas (are those still running?) or going out spending money with friends buying designer clothes and enjoying lavish expensive lunches (as many of my friends did at our last place of residence).   I will consider this my paycheck… A wonderful compliment from my husband.”  Now, being that I started it out as a sort of thanksgiving prayer, one would assume this was not worldly, however, I would argue with you that it was very selfish on my part to look to myself with pride expecting praise from someone for something I’ve done and sacrifices I made.  Really?  I’ve made no sacrifices, this is my JOB as a wife and mother.  Going to the Word of God you see that Proverbs 31 has much more to say past verse 18.  And, it’s all to please the Lord.    Does that mean there is no laughter and fun?  Of course not.  There is great joy when you all sit down together for a meal, or when the aroma of dinner tantalizes your husbands nose when he walks in the door, and the pleasing look in his eyes when he knows that he doesn’t have to worry about one more thing after a full day of work away from those he loves.

Gardening, canning, fermenting, and housework is done to please the Lord.  Not to please anyone else.  Now, in pleasing the Lord, I am also pleasing the family.  It’s a win win.

The second verse was from Titus 2:3, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine.  They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”  Again, God honoring to teach the younger women (Sally) how to please the Lord by also pleasing, preparing, saving money and working for the good of the family.

Now, that I’ve shared what’s been on my mind the last two days, I need to share why it’s been on my mind.  Yesterday began canning day.  With the harvest coming in from our own garden and the local CSA it’s time to begin preparing for winter.  Oh we enjoy enough of our harvest now, however, we also enjoy it all winter long.  The first comment of my being too sick actually came to reality when I was on my feet all afternoon without sitting down for a break and by dinner time my right leg was numb and I felt like I was again dragging my right foot.  Oh swizzle sticks!  (as the little girl next door says)  Today is a new day and we will try again.  Taking breaks this time so as not to overdo.

Yesterday I canned the two day project I was working on.  Chicken Stock.  Yes, I canned it.  I did some reading and educated myself so as not to ruin anyones day with illness. I made my chicken stock the day before, cooking it in the Nesco all day.  Then I poured it into jars, refrigerated it and skimmed off the fat the next morning.  I then put it back into a stock pot (2 – 3/4 gallons of it) just to the boiling point, poured it into clean hot pint jars, added a tsp. of salt and placed on the lids and began the canning process.  Because water baths are not sufficient enough for chicken stock, I used two of my pressure canners at 10 lbs. of pressure for 20 minutes.  I made 23 pints of stock.  (See previous post last fall on making the chicken stock.)  Disclaimer:  I would NOT can any chicken that comes from the traditional conventional marketplace.  I would only can organic, non-GMO fed chicken stock that was homemade with all organic ingredients using pure unadulterated water sources.  

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After the chicken stock I moved on to making fermented salsa.  I took the beautiful ripe organic tomatoes from the CSA (mine are not done yet), one very large onion, a large bunch of cilantro and about 10-15 garlic.  I put them all in the food processor and gently processed them down to a mildly chunky state and poured it all into a bowl.  I took clean jelly jars and a few pints placing 1 tsp. salt and 1 TBS fresh whey in each.  Then I scooped the salsa into each jar leaving 1 inch space at the top.  Wiped each clean and put on the lids.  I then shook the jars to mix in the whey and the salt.  Placing them on the counter on top of a towel I then unscrewed the lid of the jar so the air would be able to flow.  I will leave them on the counter from 3-7 days, burping the jars each day to release the fermented gases before putting them into the refrigerator.

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Fermented foods have been a long tradition in many cultures and is wonderful to help aid in digestion.  We see the importance of eating yogurt, this is the same only using fresh organic vegetables.   Each month my doctor wants to know if I am continuing to eat my fermented veggies, juicing, kefir and kombuccha of which the answer is always yes.  We both agree it helps tremendously.

Today, I will be creating and making fermented beats, fennel, cabbage recipes which I will share at the end of the week.

 

P.S.  I am college educated with a 4 year degree. 🙂

 

Thank you Lord for the blessing of a family to care for.  Thank you for the knowledge you have provided regarding health, nutrition, foods, and the human bodies response to unnatural man made resources.  Thank you Lord for the daily strength that can only come from you as I open my eyes each day feeling weary.  It is only through your almighty grace that I continue on.  Lord I pray that I can honor you through all that I do, say and think.  Help me to keep my focus on you and you alone so that all I do on this earth will be glorifying to you.  Amen…

 

Beauty or Truth? You decide…

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Proverbs 4:7  The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,and whatever you get, get insight.

Ecclesiastes 7:12  For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.

We recently returned from another Highland Festival gathering which took place once again in Canada.  We decided to take an additional few days before the games to take a tour of the north eastern part of Canada since we were going to be so close.  So off to Quebec City we drove.  There is so much to share about our trip, yet one part of it continues to haunt my thoughts and is something I have been praying over for the last week.

When I began writing this blog, my earlier posts had a theme of “why”?    I thought it would be interesting to write in that direction, however, many other things popped up that had me writing and sharing outside of that why box.  Well, I have over the last week continued to pray about and ask why about one small hour in time that took place on our trip.   I know and am very aware that this subject could be a hot point and am not certain how many will continue reading once I get to my point, however, I certainly hope that more will at least consider that this is me asking why and maybe they will consider my question and God’s truth on the subject.  After all, 2Timothy 3:14-16 says “14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

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On our country tour of Quebec City, we were taken to St. Anne’s Basilica, or as the French call it Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine.  My first why was questioning “shrine”.   In the dictionary this is how they describe shrine: a building or other shelter, often of a stately or sumptuous character, enclosing the remains or relics of a saint or other holy person and forming an object of religious veneration and pilgrimage.   My second question was more of a “who” rather than why.  Who was St. Anne?  On the tour bus we had the explanation given through our tour guide describing her as the mother of the virgin Mary.     Now comes the third question, why is the mother of Mary a saint?  Well, saint in the dictionary reads as such: any of certain persons of exceptional holiness of life, formally recognized as such by the Christian Church, especially by canonization.  Did she lead an exceptional life?  Her name is not listed in the bible and from what I researched it is only listed once in the middle of the second century in the apocryphal Protevangelium of James.  Everywhere I looked for information about Anne, there were different stories and legends about her life.  From her being barren and sharing the same story as Hanna and Samuel, to her being married once to her being married three times and having three daughters.   I repeatedly found the word “tradition” used when describing her and her importance. Making me wonder what the definition of tradition was: a : an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)
b : a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable.

Ah, definition b. is where I see the bigger picture. “Commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable.”  With such inconsistencies,  no clear biblical explanation into her importance, why is she a saint? It must be obvious at this point I am not catholic.  I do not understand praying to someone other than directly to the Lord in the name of Jesus.

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Back to the trip…off through the country’s winding roads and small towns we went to see a shrine dedicated and named after a woman who is a part of history yet whose name is not even in God’s holy scriptures.  The driver went on to explain that St. Anne was prayed to for healing and that people have hobbled into the basilica crippled and walked out leaving canes and crutches behind.  As I sat uncomfortably in my seat, knowing that my body is riddled with spirochetes and various other infections, I was no longer concerned over my own health, yet was concerned over the spiritual health of those who pray to someone other than Christ.  I began to pray  for the miracle of His divine power to change the heart.  I began praying for all of those who ooed and awed at the thought of seeing the basilica, seeing her hip bone under glass, and their praying to “St. Anne”.  I asked Christ directly to show those who did not know Him to be shown Him.  Just as my peace and healing has come from prayer directly to Christ himself, they too can feel healing if they only knew Him.

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Exiting the bus, it was hard not to breath deeply at the beauty of such a towering “shrine”.  It certainly was beautiful from the parking lot, and from the road.  I took a great number of pictures of the beautiful windows that the suns rays shown through, and the enormous copper doors which a local man had made.  However, as I studied the sculpture above the door as we entered in, I was wrought with sadness.  Sadness at seeing a woman (St. Anne) portrayed as an idol by those who were bowing down before her.  (I tried for 3 hours to download the picture, not sure why it will not upload.)  Why?  Her name is not listed in scripture, she is not the reason for Mary’s immaculate conception, her history is sketchy at best and there is no history of her doing anything spectacular other than being a mom to someone else who was an important part of history.  Bus loads and car loads of people unloaded to go into the basilica and pray to her.  There was even a campground across the street and a small building behind the church to buy your souvenirs.   Why pray to her?  Scripture tells us even in the old testament prayers were lifted to either the creator of the earth, our Lord God Almighty, or to man made idols.  So, since we know she herself is not God, does that make her an idol?  After all, people make pilgrimages to her basilica where miracles of healing are proclaimed and they pray to her.

The following prayer was found laying out for people to read and use in their prayers.  (Please note 1/2 way down the page under Before a relic of Saint Anne, second paragraph..)

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It must be mentioned that the Catholic Church in 1677 condemned the belief that Anne also participated in the immaculate conception of Mary.  Another why… why then is this prayer sitting in a Catholic Church dedicated to a woman who is not listed in scripture enticing people from all over the world to visit and to pray to her?

1 Timothy 2:3-6  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

I know that the answer falls back onto the shoulders of those who taught such ideas, as well as tradition.  Tradition passed down from generation to generation.  It is possible however, to be the one person to break with tradition and begin reading scripture as God intended for us to do.  We no longer live in an age where all we have is personal reflection and stories passed down due to the lack of writing and paper.  We have bibles in our stores, churches, hotels and prayerfully in our homes.  We have internet, Bible aps and ipads.  If one begins reading them and praying directly to the Lord in the name of Jesus Christ one may find wisdom.  As Christians we need to ask hard questions when something doesn’t seem right in the teaching of the scriptures.  If people do not know truth, how will they know Him?

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

To the reader that has read all the way through, thank you.  Thank you for pondering with me the questions which need to be asked.  I hope that you will continue to read the scriptures below and listen to the following sermon posts on the first two commandments so you may understand my concern for those who pray to anyone other than Jesus Christ.

I titled this post Beauty or Truth?  because I think it’s another pondering question.  Would you rather have a beautiful sanctuary with gold and silver relics and copper doors or would you rather have truth?  I would rather have truth.

Who should we pray to:

John 14:13  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.  

John 14:14
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

John 15:16
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

(Please note that the Father in this text is God, not the local priest or pastor.)

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Let us remember:

Deuteronomy 5:6-21

6″I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
7 “‘You shall have no other gods before me.
8 “‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 9 You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
11 “‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
12 “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
16 “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
17 “You shall not murder.
18 “And you shall not commit adultery.
19 “And you shall not steal.
20 “And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
21 “And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’

Jeremiah 18:15
But my people have forgotten me;
they make offerings to false gods;

Zechariah 10:2
For the household gods utter nonsense,
and the diviners see lies;
they tell false dreams
and give empty consolation.
Therefore the people wander like sheep;
they are afflicted for lack of a shepherd.

Jeremiah 10:1-15

Idols and the Living God

10 Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the Lord:
“Learn not the way of the nations,
nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens
because the nations are dismayed at them,
3 for the customs of the peoples are vanity                                                                          A tree from the forest is cut down
and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so that it cannot move.
5 Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
for they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them,
for they cannot do evil,
neither is it in them to do good.”
6 There is none like you, O Lord;
you are great, and your name is great in might.
7 Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?
For this is your due;
for among all the wise ones of the nations
and in all their kingdoms
there is none like you.
8 They are both stupid and foolish;
the instruction of idols is but wood!
9 Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish,
and gold from Uphaz.
They are the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith;
their clothing is violet and purple;
they are all the work of skilled men.
10 But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.
At his wrath the earth quakes,
and the nations cannot endure his indignation.
11 Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
12 It is he who made the earth by his power,
who established the world by his wisdom,
and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
13 When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
cand he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
14 Every man is stupid and without knowledge;
every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols,
for his images are false,
hand there is no breath in them.
15 They are worthless, a work of delusion;

 

I hope that you will consider listening to these two sermons on the first two commandments.  Very thought provoking.

http://crbc.us/media_events/953-The-First-Commandment

http://crbc.us/media_events/954-The-Second-Commandment

 

For more information on biblical teaching of the commandments, visit CRBC.us.