Natural Counterparts to Prescribed Drugs

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been cleaning out drafts. I currently have 7 pages of drafts! I found this draft based on a 2013 article at Waking Times.

Although the statistics are a little old, I think this article is still very relevant given the opioid epidemic in the US. Many of us want more natural and much less expensive alternatives, but we don’t know where to start.

For our part, one of the biggest reasons we got into suburban homesteading is to improve our health, reduce our dependence on systems that could fail, and reduce our living expenses to get debt free. For many Americans, reducing healthcare costs is a huge part of that.

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Clearing the Clutter

As I was reviewing old drafts, deciding what to trash and what might be worth developing, I came across an entry–this entry–that I had started in May of 2017. It’s interesting how things come full circle.
At the time, I was sifting through our belongings as we prepared to moved. Now, I’m decluttering once again as we’re settling into what I hope will become our forever home. Continue reading

Getting Things Done – Part III

MinimalistDeskIn the first installment, I talked to you about my vision statement and how that translates to my planner and task lists. In the second installment, I talked to you about what I do to maintain my energy and focus. In this final installment, I’m going to share with you a book that changed my life, a philosophy that changed how I work, and a way of life that changed everything. Continue reading

Getting Things Done – Part II

In my last post, I introduced you to my vision statement and my planner. I also talked about the importance of having a mentor or an accountability partner. In this post, I’m going to share with you what I do to maintain my energy and my focus.
Diet, Sleep, and Exercise
At 30, I was on statin meds for high cholesterol. I was in daily pain from rheumatoid arthritis. I was wearing a size 18. I was miserable and tired all day every day. I had trouble getting to sleep at night and trouble waking up in the morning. I suffered from chronic sinus headaches.
At 44, I have no issues with cholesterol and have been off my statin meds for over 5 years. I can’t remember the last time I had an arthritis flare up. I’m in a size 14 and headed to a size 12. Continue reading

Getting Things Done – Part I

checklist-2077025_960_720The question I get the most by friends and family? “How do you get so much done?” I think the answers would surprise most people. I don’t work ridiculous hours. I don’t multi-task like a mad women.
While so many are trying to turn over a new leaf for the new year, I wanted to share with you exactly how I get things done, so in a three part series, I’m going to share with you all my secrets. Continue reading

A Little Tough Love

I’m getting ready to kick off the new year with a four part series on time management/organizational strategies that have helped me get where I am, but I don’t think any of that has value without a little tough love.

You are exactly where you want to be.

Yes, that is exactly what I said. You are exactly where you want to be. You have chosen your life.
Now, I know some of you are thoroughly pissed at me at the moment and are thinking things like, “I wouldn’t be here if my ex…” or “I wouldn’t be here if my parents…” I’m sure all of that is true, but you made choices that put you where you are, and you continue to make choices that keep you where you are.
How can I say that? How can I be so harsh? Because I’ve been there, and now I’m not. I know how feels, and I know how it feels to break free.
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Winding Down 2018

annual-reviewOn Sunday, many Christians start a new liturgical year. I begin a new journal and a new planner. The reflection and preparation for the new year that most people start the last week of December or the first week of the new year I started last week and and will be winding down this week.
2018 has been up and down for me. There have been significant loses and struggles, but there have also been some positive changes that have set me up beautifully for 2019.
My word for 2018 was Shalom. I didn’t know everything that word meant when I started the year, but I came to understand that it was much more than peace. Shalom is the peace Christ has and spread. Shalom is a peace that passes understanding, a peace that springs from wholeness.
As I look back on the year, that is exactly what I found: wholeness.
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Struggling to Find the Light

I’ve always struggled in the winter. Not only does the cold slow me down, but the shorter, darker days leave me depressed and unmotivated. I’m normally a health nut, eating right and exercising every day, but this time of year, I indulge in cookies and donuts and am lucky if I hit 5,000 steps on my Fitbit Alta HR. The farm chores seem harder and less rewarding.
To add to the depression, I’m put off by the obligations of parties and gift exchanges that have so very little to do with the season of Advent. I enjoy the quiet contemplation that fits so well with Advent, but I live in a world that calls people to shop until they drop and to attend one party after another.  Instead of preparing the way for the Lord, the world around me consumes and consumes and consumes some more.
For me, Christmas existed to remind me of how much I wasn’t like others. As a kid, I hated opening box after box of things I didn’t really want, pretending to love each one.  As a mother, I hated the ridicule I received because I taught my daughter the stories of Saint Nicolas rather than following along with American traditions of Santa Claus. As a Christian, I resent being told to celebrate the season when it isn’t here yet and being expected to prep for the next holiday when for me it’s still Christmas. Continue reading

Eating Intentionally

Over the last few years, I’ve been on a spiritual journey to make the appearance of my life–my daily acts–match my inner spiritual life. One of the areas that has required the most change is self care, particularly eating habits. Two of the things that define me most are my Christian Faith and my belief that caring for God’s creatures is a core part of that Faith.
While the Gospel says that food cannot make us unclean, that does not mean that what we eat is unimportant. The same scripture states that what is in our hearts makes us clean or unclean. If we are truly transformed by the Grace of God, our behaviors will change. That includes the way we eat.
I recently read an eBook entitled The Biblical Foundation of Wellness written by Keith M. Henry N.D.  Henry argues that, according to the Book of Genesis, there are 9 fundamental requirements for good health:

  1. Trust in the Creator
  2. Sunshine
  3. Exercise
  4. Water
  5. Fresh Air
  6. Rest
  7. Proper Diet
  8. Self Control/Temperance
  9. Positive Social Interaction and Companionship

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A Quiet Christmas

StPaulsChristmasEveAt church on Christmas Eve, several people asked me what my plans were for Christmas Day.  Most were surprised to find out that my husband and I would be spending a quiet day at home with our animals. Our only plans were to meet my mother at IHOP for lunch.
Today is the fourth day of Christmas, and my husband and I have both gotten the question, “What did you get for Christmas?”  Again, people are surprised when we either dodge the question or admit that we didn’t exchange gifts on Christmas.  People are surprised to learn that we haven’t put up a tree in years.  Not since the children were small enough to want to make Christmas decorations.
Most people assume that we have something against Christmas or that we have bad memories and don’t want to celebrate.  Neither are necessarily true.  We care very deeply about the holiday, but we both prefer to focus on the Christian holiday rather than the common American traditions.  In fact, the older I get the more I feel like the traditional trappings of Christmas distract from my ability to appreciate and celebrate the Christian meaning of the holiday.
Nativity_tree2011More and more, I find myself wanting to deeply embrace the religious experiences of Advent and Christmas.   I want to spend the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas not at parties or out shopping but in contemplation and reflection.  I don’t want to give or to receive material things but rather want to give and to receive acts of kindness and love with no monetary worth.  On Christmas, the only activity I really care to participate in is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the communion with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
For some, this may seem restrictive or puritanical, but I’m finding that more I allow myself to indulge in this desire, the closer I grow in my relationship with Christ and in my communion with others.  I’m finding that finally admitting my feelings about Christmas and being with a spouse who shares my feelings is incredibly liberating.  I am free to simply be, living in the knowledge that God is the gift of the season.
What did I do for Christmas?  I sang to the Lord, serving in the choir of my church with my husband and daughter in the congregation.  I spent time with my mother, who is missing her childhood home, her siblings, her other children, and her grandchildren.
What did I get for Christmas?  The Lord our God became incarnate, so he would understand our life, our pain, our joy, our sin, and our death.  In the days ahead, our God will exist with us as his Son, our Savior Jesus the Christ.  Our God will sacrifice his only son to pay for our sins and to create a new covenant with us.  What more could anyone ask for?