Anne Frank (Can I be honest?)

There have been a lot of articles going around the last couple weeks with headlines something like “Anne Frank may not have been betrayed.”The idea being that the people who knew where they were hiding may NOT have sold them out.

Well, EXCUSE ME!?!?!?

Anne Frank’s family was killed in the holocaust. She was betrayed by her government, her country, her fellow countrymen. It doesn’t matter if someone ratted them out in the end, or they were found on accident. The family, and more than a MILLION other Jews were killed in that holocaust.

Image result for anne frank free photo

So please, can we stop all the headlines about them “not being betrayed.” My heart just aches at that language. They WERE betrayed. And unto death. Surely they can find a better way to say there may be new info about how the Frank family was found. I fear for how little the knowledge of the holocaust is spoken of, taught, how easily it is forgotten.

May we never forget.

 

What if… {Choosing}

I was recently working with a coach for my business/personal development, and one exercise he gave us was to notice what we choose. The exercise was a powerful reminder:

We have way more power than we  ̶t̶h̶i̶n̶k̶ ̶w̶e̶ ̶d̶o̶  admit.

Immediately, as I got ready to say “I have to run” at the end of that meeting, I realized “I’m choosing to go now… because I want to keep my promise to be somewhere else at a certain time.” So I changed my language: I’m going to go now. And it felt weird, and good at the same time.

What if we took ownership of our choices? How many times a day do we claim to “have to” but really choose to do something?

As the coach mentioned, even taking care of our kids is TECHNICALLY optional. All choices have consequences, but we do, in fact, CHOOSE. And it’s sort of a freeing feeling to  ̶f̶e̶e̶l̶ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̶  realize, I have more power over my time, and my day than I ̶t̶h̶o̶u̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶I̶ ̶d̶i̶d̶  admit.

I keep striking through “thought”, and changing it to admit, because I think that believing we have no power over much of our time, frees us from responsibility for the way we spend our time. I want to remind myself, that even believing we have no choice, is a choice.

I don’t really want to admit I chose to burn myself out. Who does?!

But the reality is, in an attempt to feel valuable, important, meet others’ needs (“later” always seemed soon enough for my own), make people happy, or even get people to like me, I chose it.

I have mentioned StrengthsFinder before.  In my top 11 strengths,  10 of them feel sort of forward moving to me, they have a drive to them. I kept seeing this image in my head, and finally had to make a graphic for it.

I may be wired this way, but I still get to choose. And being aware that I am, in fact, choosing, creates a pause if I choose to take it, and consider why am I making this choice.

What if, even for one day, we all acknowledged the myriad choices we make. We choose to oversleep, to be late, to eat the crappy food instead of the healthy food (probably due to choosing not to plan/prep for the right food), we choose to take time to pray and meditate, or we choose to rush off into the day choosing to believe we don’t have time. We choose to worry instead. We choose to be tired, by staying up too late, and leaning on things like caffeine.

Wait a minute… I choose to be tired?! Yup. Sometimes, I do.

There are things I don’t  have control over. Health issues, life stressors.  We can’t control the choices others make.

But there are so many more things I DO have control over. Especially all those things pertaining to Spring, and how she responds to those out-of-control things, and what she does with the time that has been given to her.

 

#Blessed (Can I be honest with you?)

I am tempted to apologize for what feels like a rant brewing in my fingertips. But the lesson learned behind this rant came at a great cost to my heart. So, I don’t apologize. I will do instead what the psalmists do: journal their faith journey to help others find words for the journey they are on.

You probably know, we are “an adoptive family” as it is sometimes called. God led us to adopt from an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, in the months after their horrendous earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people. Located only 25 miles from the epicenter, P-a-P was wrecked. (They don’t do building codes like we do here, either).

Image may contain: outdoorThis adoption journey was a serious faith-tester for me. The adoption that was supposed to be quick, due to urgency in getting the kids out of there, turned out to be nearly 5 years in length for us (and some kids still haven’t made it home). We visited nearly every year for those 5 years. We stayed at the orphanage (now referred to as “The O”), visited the school, attended church. We lived the weekly life of the kids there. No running water, rare electricity unless the generator was able to be filled, which means no fans… and tropical island heat.

It was a physical endurance test for me every time. But it was even harder on the heart. It was so hard to leave my kids at home, the youngest always in tears. It was hard to leave Wesley (then Wisly) behind in Haiti, when I had to come home. I blogged some of those things back in the day. What I want to tell you about today, is something that haunted me one Christmas nearer to the end of our adoption journey.

You see… as I prepared for Christmas here at home, I knew the life that my other little boy was living. I knew the people who were feeding him, and caring for him. I knew that without some big donation, there would not be a special Christmas meal for them. And yet…. they were celebrating Christmas.

No gifts. No gorgeous decor. ( Wesley says that one year, someone gave them some lights to hang up). They DO have some pretty amazing music at church! Not only do they  not have all the bells and whistles of Christmas, but they barely scrape enough money together to eat. They live in the poorest location in the western hemisphere. Let that sink in.

They live in the poorest location in the western hemisphere.  They barely survive at times; sometimes they don’t survive. And yet… they celebrate Christmas.

This was haunting me. They celebrate Jesus’ birth with as much (if not greater, to be he honest!) joy than we do. And it’s just because they are so grateful Jesus came. Yet how much do we associate ease in life with “God’s goodness.?”

We live in the #blessed world. Where is their blessing? I started to ponder… what does it TRULY mean to be “blessed” by God. If being blessed by God means we never go hungry, we have enough money to pay our bills, our cars work, we don’t lose our jobs, we are safe, we are healthy… then most of the world is not benefiting from God’s blessing.  Where is God’s “goodness” to all of the believers who do not live the life we live here?

I realize that none of us would say “to walk in God’s blessing means my life is perfect.” We expect there to be hard things. But we don’t usually consider the hard things a blessing. We consider the easy things, the fun things, the happy things… as blessings.

I heard an allegory once, that I will attempt to retell in my own words, that sums up so well, what all my months of pondering and struggle on this issue led me to….

There was a man in the Asian countryside, who one day found some horses had wandered into his yard. His friends all said “wow, you are so blessed to have these horses sent to you!” The man replied “we’ll see.”

Then one day, one of the horses kicked his son in the leg, and his son’s leg was broken. And his friends said “what curse has befallen you, that these horses have come?!” The man replied “we’ll see.”

A few days later, a violent group came into the village, looking to recruit young men to their cause. They passed over the man’s son, because his leg was broken. And his friends said “what a blessing these horses came to you!” The man replied “we’ll see.”

We do not really know what is a blessing and what is a “curse.” What if we were less focused on what these tangible things “mean?” What if we didn’t look to those things as proof that God is good?  Because if that is proof… there are a lot of believers on this planet who don’t have any proof that God is good.

To make it modern… we find a car at an amazing price we can’t believe. We post to social media: Just found our car! #blessed

The car turns out to have major transmission issues.

What do you post now: The car was a lemon. #blessed ?

I do know that God meets my needs. I do believe that every good and perfect gift comes from above.  But like the old man in the story, we don’t know what is the “good gift.”   I live in gratitude for all I have. But I don’t want to say THAT is why I am blessed. I don’t want to freak out when the car is a lemon. I don’t want to lose my peace of mind when a job loss happens. Or when health issues happen. Those things all going smoothly are not “proof” that my God is good.

The proof of His goodness is usually most visible in how He walks with me through those hard things. Those are the times when I know, most confidently, that He is truly by my side.

And that is where I want to spend my hashtags. That is where I know I am #blessed. That is the kind of blessing our brothers and sisters in Christ experience around the globe. Why they celebrate Christmas despite poverty, sickness, and loss.

Semantics? I don’t think so. Because the words we use have power. What we repeat, we believe.

God is good, even through the heartbreak of a miscarriage.

God is good, even when my little son was stuck in poverty and danger for years due to a corrupt system. God is good, even if He didn’t subvert the system and get my son miraculously home sooner.

God is good, even when my husband loses his job. Even when we have to give up our house. (Turns out, He sent us somewhere better!)

God is good in chronic illness. He grows me, and changes me deeply, while He has me sitting still enough to let Him work.

People ask “how can God be good, when these horrible things are happening?” He is good IN them. THROUGH them. DESPITE them. BECAUSE of them…

God is good, all the time. All the time God is good.

 

What if…. {Monday}

Every Monday, on Facebook, it begins… the Monday memes.

Sure, they are amusing. But I also realized they are all so negative.

And I thought to myself today…                                                                                                                    what if we decided to LIKE Mondays???

So, in my #input* style, I googled to see if I could find any POSITIVE Monday memes. And on the first hit here was only one. ONE.

My #achiever, #responsibility and #communicator then decided it was on me to start the positive Monday mindset myself!                                                                                       Here are some reasons I choose to like Mondays:

 

*a new week is full of new possibilities

*all my favorite parts of the week (my chorus class, no-school-Fridays) are ahead of me to look forward to

*another chance to accomplish the things I didn’t get to on the previous week

*this is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)

What if, we tried to help each feel GOOD about mondays? What if, on purpose, we put something into Mondays that made it easier to look forward to? For me, it could be as simple as planning some weekly after-school-fun, a special breakfast item, a phone chat with a friend…

What would YOU put into your Monday?

 

*I am a HUGE fan of the gallup strengthsfinder approach to understanding your talents/wiring. We use it a lot in  my business, but also have used it in my family. Not an affiliate, just a fan! 🙂

 

It’s green.

It’s green.

That was my first thought when green smoothies and juices became all the rage a decade or so ago. I could not imagine that **I** would ever drink a green juice. Yet here I am! Funny, it’s true that your taste buds will change when you switch over to eating natural, whole foods.

I first tried this juice at a restaurant where I was teaching an essential oils class. Yup. You’ve come a long way when you’ll PAY to drink green juice!  It has kale, cucumber and apple. ( Use green at home. I think the restaurant uses gala apples, that have been peeled).

I use about 2 cups of baby kale (big curly kale is hard on the gut) with the stems removed, half a cucumber, and a green apple. I add a second apple if I am offering inviting bribing  a kid to have some too.

We bought this juicer about 14 years ago, in the very beginning of my natural health journey. I took up juicing, dehydrating, and soaking nuts/seeds as hobbies that would help me feel better.  My recent health issues have led me back to my natural-eating roots I guess you could say. Green juice was not on my radar back then; we primarily did carrot juice and some fruits. The Captain had to order one part, and it ran beautifully,  just like I hadn’t given up juicing 5 years ago!

After I run all the produce through the juicer, I pour it through a filter to catch any chance pulp that lingered. I have done smoothies for several years because I wanted the fiber for keeping my colon healthy, and also to keep my blood sugar from spiking. But right now, getting nutrition absorbed more quickly is important, so juice it is!

I have to say though, this is deliciously delightful, and I do not feel bad for myself that I need to drink this. I plan to slowly decrease the apple/up the greens in order to get more healing nutrients into my body.

Because of my hyperinsulinemia, I was a little unsure of juicing, even if it were mostly greens. But I have a handful of nuts with it, and my blood sugar does fine! No sugar crashes mid-morning at all. It is, of course, work. To get out the product and cut it all up, and run it through the juicer, and then clean the machine etc. But like with most things we could procrastinate, if I just set my mind to it, and decide it’s important, it is all done much more quickly than I’d expect.

I learned that little trick from the Flylady. If there is something you are avoiding with an “I don’t have time” excuse, use a timer to see how long it actually takes. You’ll be surprised usually! And then you’ll feel less overwhelmed at the idea of doing it. I did this for things like mopping the kitchen, putting away the clean dishes etc. It worked for me!

Do you drink green juice or green smoothies? What are your favorite combos?

Deodorant– SUCCESS!!

Bringing a most-requested blog post over to the new blog this morning! Seriously, you might as well bookmark it now, because you-and-everyone-you-know are going to want to reference it again.     (I have people re-requesting it all. the. time.)

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Finally posting this here, because people ask me for my deodorant recipe ALL. THE. TIME. JENNIE-MAE. (Inside joke. Go see  the play The Diviners if you ever get a chance!!) 🙂

I started with a recipe from another blog. But come summer, it was too runny. (Picture liquid deodorant flinging all around the bathroom when your husband tries to take off the cap). Sooooo…. I had to tweak it for the hot weather.

Here is my tweak:

1/4 cup aluminum free baking soda

1/4 cup arrowroot starch (corn starch would also work, but I avoid corn)

3 tbs ish coconut oil

2 tbs cocoa butter

1-2 tbs beeswax

5-10 drops essential oils of your choice (favorite combos are 5 each of lemon/meleuca, or 5 each sandalwood/melaleuca-esp for  the Captain, it’s a nice manly combo)

Melt the coconut oil and cocoa butter and beeswax in a stainless steel pot, then add to dry ingredients. Mix with a pastry cutter, or food processor etc. Add essential oils at the end, and then pour/scoop the soft mixture into empty deodorant containers. Voila!

Takes only a handful of minutes, and THIS STUFF WORKS! My husband used to have to put store-bought deodorant on twice a day (with a sit-down job). I kid you not, I had to sniff his armpit to believe when he told me once a day with this stuff worked! LOL We will NOT be going back to store-bought deodorant! Avoid the chemicals (esp toxic aluminum) and try something that really works!

*This made two-ish sticks of deodorant. Sometimes I double it to make a bigger batch.

Trial and Error

My health journey has been interesting complicated. I have had more doctors throw their hands up in the air, saying they don’t know what to do with me, than I care to count. Even m y current doctor that has me on the right track mentioned something about my being a particularly complex case, on more than one occasion. (What a claim to faim, huh?)

However, always in the nick of time, I have been led to the right person who can help me on the next step. Sometimes we hit on just the right thing quickly (like when I went gluten/corn/soy free 9 years ago and my BP went from 180/120, to a much safer 130/90 in three days). Other times it takes some trial and error.

You can google and find all kinds of information about the link between a healthy/leaky gut and autoimmune issues. I had done a ton of reading about myself. (Incidentally, I highly recommend the writer of paleomom.com for this type of information! She is a microbiologist who turned to lifestyle medicine for her own health, and she is so good at studying the science and putting it into usable laymen’s terms for people like me!) So I knew that healing my gut was going to be important.

Often, to heal the gut, people turn to the GAPS diet. There is a lot of evidence that it can not only heal the gut, but also help many mental health issues that are so impacted by the “second brain,” the gut. I was not surprised when my new doctor suggested we start there.

However, in my trial of this diet, I found I had a hard time with the fat and broth. It turns out that people with histamine/mast cell issues may have a hard time with fats and with high histamine foods. So I went back to my research, and I found this interview with Dr Castells, a leading mast cell doctor in Boston, where she says that fats may not be so good for people with mast cell issues. So we put that diet aside, and went back to focusing on eating whole foods, while I learn more about what foods may trigger histamine reactions for me. It will be a slower process to heal my gut that way, but I have to work with the body I’ve been given!

It’s also a bit hit or miss with supplements. I have been very pleased with the number of temporary supplements I have been able to successfully add in. But there was one that gave me a severe histamine response. I called it a 3-alarm (3 benedryl required to get symptoms to abate.) It’s no fun when it happens, and the lost $ is always equally painful. But it’s a journey, and somehow I have to just stay at peace with that.

So while I won’t be blogging about my journey on the GAPS diet, or using medicinal stevia as a health too, I will be blogging what works and doesn’t as I go along on this journey!

Onward and upward!

Ginger-Turmeric Tea

Hey There!

I’m so happy to be kicking off the blog with a new favorite therapeutic yummy recipe for you.

I am at another jumping-off point in my health journey. A couple really stressful years, beyond my control (adoption, job loss twice, giving up a house, moving etc) highlighted some of my genetic health/autoimmune issues and my body has been shouting for more attention.

I have found a new wonderful doctor, who happens be both a cardiologist AND an oils lover. Am I blessed or what?! 

He started me on fresh ginger tea with ginger oil added in, to support healthy blood pressure. And then he had me add in fresh turmeric for added benefits. I have read about both of these supporting mast-cell stabilization as well, ( a part of my journey yet to be written about). I use about an inch of ginger and 1/4 inch of turmeric.

I LOVE ginger, and was totally happy to comply. I admit I was a little doubtful of adding the turmeric; I associate it with chicken soup, which is NOT what I’m looking to sip as tea.

Turns out, it was amazingly yummy!

And happens to look like carrot when you grate it!

I fill the teapot twice a day with a fresh batch, and then drink it through the day. So yummy!

I add two drops of this to the teapot to boost the therapeutic benefit (but also use the whole plant for all of the other components).

You should totally try it! The health benefits of ginger and turmeric are all over the web for your perusal. Or you can take my word on it, and just enjoy the warm deliciousness with me.

Be Well,

There’s a new blog in town…

I am so excited to introduce to you my new blog and website, The Whole You! (Lifestyle.TheWholeYou.biz) My husband has been working hard behind the scenes getting things set up for me, and I am loving seeing it all come together!

I’ve been itching to write for a while, but struggled to figure out where and how, as I have my fingers in a variety of different pies, as always! I found myself initially prepping blog posts about doing the doTERRA business (one of my several passions). I was so torn about an area of focus, because I love so many things.

Then one night, I was reading in The Big Leap, and something really struck me that made me think about “the whole you,” all of the facets that make me who I am. And I realized I need to write about ALL of it!

So, here is the home of my new online presence, where I will write about my pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, with food, working on emotional well-being, my spiritual walk, essential oils (I love to share with others how I use them for my family) and even financial health in the business portion of my blog.

I have inherited a new-to-me laptop, and I am so excited to dust off my camera and share with photos, videos and words, all the areas God leads me into in the coming year! You will also soon find my most popular posts from my old blog here, like my deodorant recipe, and my facial lotion. You will find links in the recipe section.

I hope you will join me in pursuing health and wellness in all areas of life together in 2017 and beyond!

Be well,