Tag Archives: wisdom

Why I Switched..

..to a mostly organic lifestyle.

IMG_0189In 1980 two life changing events took place. Our first child was born with Down syndrome and I was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis. The next twenty years of my life were all about conventional treatments: drugs, shots, surgery, drugs, shots, more drugs and drugs for the drugs.

In spite of all these ‘interventions’ my joints were on fire, cushioning between bones disappeared, tendons shifted, fingers and toes drifted out of place, neck bones began to shift and constant headaches radiated from the back of my head across the front. There were days it killed to comb my hair, button my shirt, hold a pen. Simple tasks became monumental. Pain dominated my life. Shoulders. Elbows. Ribs. Jaws. Anywhere bone met bone, pain and swelling existed. I cried a lot. I was angry a lot. I felt hopeless. A lot.

In the year 2000 we moved from New England to Florida. The sun and year round warm temperatures helped, but I was waking up to the idea that doing the same thing and getting the same results seemed stupid. I wanted to live long, especially for my son who will always need me. I needed to be healthy. What I’d been doing barely managed symptoms and I was afraid for the future if I continued down this road.

So I prayed. I asked God to help me. To show me what I was missing. What I didn’t know. A friend made an appointment for me at her chiropractor’s office and there I began to learn what the body needs to heal itself, to stay healthy. I started to exercise (carefully), cut many inflammatory foods out of my diet and had gradual success. I’ve been off all medications since 2005 and have learned I can live just fine without fast food, processed food, sugar, dairy and excess meat consumption.

Then in 2011, I started having reoccurring episodes of hives and rashes. Urticaria hives, an auto-immune condition, are large marble to golf ball size bumps that rotated around my body to any spot they chose. I could have one or ten of them at in a time in varying locations. They burned, itched and swelled my skin to uncomfortable tightness and would last 24-48 hours before vanishing. Then more would appear. Misery! I drove myself to the emergency room one night because I thought my throat was closing up. I had hives in my throat. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me and prescribed steroids.

Tiny, burning, itchy cluster bumps began popping up on my ankles, legs, arms and around my nose and mouth. I went to my primary care doctor and was sent to a dermatologist and an allergist. The dermatologist gave me steroid cream. The allergist ran all the typical allergy tests. Everything came back normal. When I went back for the follow up to discuss results he told me there was nothing he could do but give me steroids. He also told me I had about a 2% chance of finding the cause. By then I had totally lost faith in mainstream medicine. How can all these doctors not know the cause of so many chronic conditions? I thought they went to a zillion years of school to learn this stuff. I realized, once again, I was on my own. I’d have to figure it out for myself.

I began reading and researching and discovered how our food supply is being poisoned by large corporations. How the FDA, USDA, pharmaceutical giants, food corporations and chemical companies are in each other’s pockets. They do their own (not independent) short (not long) term safety studies then release demons into the food supply with no idea of long term intended or unintended consequences. They tell us everything is safe but the fox is guarding the hen house. Profit is more important than health!

I was eating all the right foods, fruit, vegetables, nut milks, lean meat and fish, but now I’m reading about gene splicing, genetically modified plants, toxins sprayed all over commercial farm fields and plants genetically implanted to withstand the pesticides sprayed on them. Wheat that’s sprayed with weed killer three days before harvest (gluten intolerance anyone?) and the animals who are fed GMO grains they’re not meant to eat in the first place (such as grass eating cows fed GMO corn and soy!) and then given antibiotics to keep them from getting sick from what they’re eating, not to mention the crowded living conditions of commercial stock farms. They’re given hormones to fatten up faster, probably so they can get to the slaughter house before they get sick! Then we eat the animals and the toxicity travels up the food chain.

The more I researched the more horrified I became! I realized my body was in rebellion against the toxic sludge it was ingesting, so I went on a total, organic only, plant only, eating experiment for three months. No cheating. And guess what, all the hives went away! After slowly introducing foods one at a time, back into my diet, I discovered I’m allergic to chemically grown foods. I made marinara sauce with GMO tomatoes and immediately got hives. Made the same sauce with organic tomatoes, no hives. I continued experimenting on myself until I was sure.

I remember asking many doctors through the years if what I was eating had anything to do with my chronic conditions. All of them said no. If only I’d known then what I know now. As long as I eat mostly organic, I’m inflammation, pain and hive free.

Is it expensive? Compared to misery, agony, and piles of medical bills? No. I’d rather forgo other unnecessary wants to have my health. If you see me wearing the same clothes over and over it’s because I’d rather spend money on good food.

Is it easy? Not at first. Old habits die hard. But the longer I do this the easier it is. It becomes a normal lifestyle after a while.

I’m sharing this for several reasons:

  • People need to know. We’re busy living our lives, trusting the government, medical community and those who are supposed to be smarter than us, but we can’t trust that anymore. We have to be aware, informed and educated. We have to take back our health and the health of our children. I don’t want my grandchildren or yours, to end up like me, years of misery and pain, crooked joints or worse, especially if it can be avoided by something as simple as what we put in our mouths. I want my family, friends, everyone I care about, to live long, healthy lives.
  • I post often about health awareness on social media. I am a living, self taught science experiment and this information is too important to keep to myself (those who are tired of it can unfriend me or call me crazy or tell me to go jump. I’m ok with that). If you have any chronic conditions from cancer to diabetes, I dare you to try it and see what happens. I’m not guaranteeing a total cure for all, but I’m certain of a large turn-around for many.
  • We can change the toxic stranglehold on the food supply with our buying power. If we all start buying more organic, if we all start demanding no GMO, pesticide and hormone soaked food, with our wallets, WE can change the grocery store shelves faster than those in Washington, DC, can even think about it. Supply and demand still talks in a capitalistic economy. We can make organic, toxic free food affordable for all.

Do yourself and your family a favor. Buy organic, non GMO as much as possible. As much as you can afford.

Eat For Health! It could save your life.

A Perfect Imperfect Life

I celebrated another birthday last month. An odd thing about the years adding up, you realize how much you don’t know while also becoming wiser in the things you do know. Quite paradoxical, I’ve surmised. overflowSo on the wisdom theme; I’ve been thinking about clichés lately, both biblical and otherwise, those phrases we throw around as magic wand solutions to life. You know, stuff like “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” God won’t give you more than you can bear;” statements that help us feel better when we don’t know what else to say. I’ve been wondering where they came from and if they’re actually true.

Lately I’ve been contemplating this one: “Is your glass half full or half empty?” and have decided I don’t want my cup to be half anything. I want it filled to the brim and overflowing with thankfulness, grace, love, encouragement, joy, laughter and peace.

God has blessed me in many ways this past month, my glass is full and I want to acknowledge a few of these blessings with gratitude.

  • My husband took me out, brought me flowers and spoiled me. He spoils me all year actually and I’m awestruck that he has celebrated four decades of birthdays with me so far. I don’t deserve such love and loyalty.
  • We were able to visit our son, David, his wife, Clara and our cute, adorable, babbling, hug-able, my-heart-is-bursting-with-love, little grandson, Asa, for a long weekend. Someone please remove the stars from my eyes and forgive me for turning into the obnoxious grandmother I said I’d never be!
  • I have great friends! Three of them brought a surprise lunch to me on my birthday, cooked it in my kitchen and served me at my table. For someone who spends half her life in the kitchen (or so it seems) it doesn’t get much better than this. A few days ago, friends from Kissimmee drove up and stayed the day, brought gifts, food, laughter, a massage table (with essential oils! Ahhh!) and took me out for dinner before going home. And I had a night out with another beautiful friend this week who is rich in wisdom, overflows with love, makes me laugh way too much (if that’s possible), and challenges my heart and brain with stimulating conversation. God has surrounded me with the very best of His human creation.
  • I was able to get Jon to his dentist appointment on time (miracle!) and as he was waking up from sedation (our doesn’t want to be touched and doesn’t talk much son), held my hand and began quoting the 23rd Psalm and singing The Lord’s Prayer. God gives us deep glimpses into our Jon’s heart now and then, and reminds me that the heart of a person is more valuable than what is seen on the outside.
  • I’m not running marathons, but I’m more pain free and healthier than I’ve been since I was in my twenties, thanks to the knowledge I’ve gained in recent years about diet and nutrition. God has been faithful to lead me down a path of understanding my body as a temple of His Holy Spirit, and all this entails.

Life is far from perfect, there are constant obstacles and challenges but the longer I live, the more I’m aware of the perfection that exists in beautiful moments of time. Yet our selfish flesh loves to wallow in the mud of misery, negativity and pity. The enemy of our mind and soul delights in reminding us how hard our situation is, how difficult that person is, how we don’t have enough, how we aren’t enough and most of all that our God is too small! I can choose to remain mired in negatives and dwell on downers or allow Jesus to fill my cup to the brim with goodness, mercy and joy.

Remember, an overflowing cup is going to spill all over somebody. With every today, I want to live in a refreshing overflow of God’s presence, discovered in the richness of an imperfect life.

Perfection in imperfection, it’s the ultimate paradox lived in and through Christ.

John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”

John 4:14 “But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life.”

Luke 6:45 “The good man brings good things out of the good treasure of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Proverbs 4:23 “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.”

Psalm 68″19 “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation!

 

React or Respond – My Special Education, Lesson # 9

react-respondJon desperately needed a shower and shave. When I went in his room to vacuum and change his sheets, I took his iPad and told him he could have it back after he cleaned himself up.

“Why don’t you do that while I clean in here,” I said with a smile, “then everything about you will be clean and shiny today.”

He scowled at me and left the room.

I busied myself for the next hour picking up a variety of things from the floor: sticks, strings, marbles, batteries, dice and pens, throwing away piles of old paper he’d collected and organizing his DVD and VHS collection back on shelves.

When I went to check on him he was in our bathroom. I’m never thrilled about Jon in the master bath. He gets into all our stuff when he’s in there, but it’s the only bathroom in the house with a tub so we allow it from time to time.

Later that evening I noticed Mike’s electric shaver was missing along with my pearl necklace. I knew Jon had used the shaver since he emerged from our room with his caveman beard missing.

We looked in all the places he might have laid it down and didn’t find it so I knocked on his door.

“Jon, Dad’s shaver is missing and so is my pearl necklace. If you have them would you please set them outside your door? Dad needs his shaver before he leaves for work in the morning. I was going to give back your iPad but we need those things returned first”

He frowned, glared at the floor and when I left the room, threw a small object at the back of the door to emphasize his disapproval of my decision.

In the morning the shaver and the necklace were lying on the hall carpet in front of his door. I thanked him and returned his iPad.

Negotiating with Jon has become a survival skill I have learned over the years. He is slow and often resistant to respond to everything, including directives. The more he’s pushed, the further he retreats, so I need to remain firm, calm and wait him out.

When caring for someone long term, who needs help making good choices but doesn’t want it, choosing which battles to engage is important for sanity’s sake. Some aren’t worth fighting and others are tough to resolve no matter what. Then there are those days I know I won’t have the patience needed, so it’s best to avoid conflict, if possible.

Dealing with difficult people requires a good amount of tongue taming, self control and wisdom and all of us have plenty of opportunity to practice because we all have difficult people in our lives.

How we respond to them is usually more about us then them.

Because we are naturally selfish, anger is often the normal response. Our reaction is usually based, not on what will solve the problem, but how the other person is making us ‘feel’ at the moment.

What we say at such times and just as important, how we say it, reveals who we really are. A response of great character is described in Proverbs 15:1-2 & 4, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly..a gentle tongue is a tree of life..”

Jesus was a master at responding to others instead of reacting. He knew exactly what to say in every situation and confrontation. He also knew when to be quiet and slip away. (John 12:49 “For I have not spoken on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a command as to what I should say and what I should speak.”)

Can we begin to see the difficult folks in our lives as teachers instead of problems, opportunity for personal growth instead of someone to conquer, and a challenge to build strength of character instead of an irritation to curse? It’s certainly not easy to maintain this idea!

As we set our heart on the intentional practice of responding to others with grace, gentle words and quiet confidence, we find God gives us what we need to be changed from the inside out.

And as we pray for help to become less reactive to difficult situations and people, it becomes natural to keep a calmness and peace about us that others notice and desire.

Then we will “Be ready at any time to give a quiet and reverent answer to any man who wants a reason for the hope that you have within you..with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:15).

Twenty-one Things I Would Tell A Younger Me

My upcoming birthday has caused me to think about what I would tell a younger me if I could go back and sit down for a meaningful chat with her. The fifty-nine year old me has learned some important stuff I didn’t know then.21 things

So here it is, twenty-one things I would tell a twenty-one year old me, if I could: 

1. Get over yourself. Everything isn’t always about you.

2. You don’t know everything and never will. So stop thinking you do.

3. Life can get messy. Clean up the mess and move on.

4. Practice good attitudes and choices. What you choose today becomes tomorrow’s reality.

5. Always needing to be right usually isn’t. Don’t be too proud to admit you’re wrong.

6. Lower the drama meter. Laugh more. Save serious for when it’s really needed.

7. Changing/fixing others is not your life calling. Offering grace and love is.

8. You can still be nice to people who don’t agree with you. Just remember they might not return the courtesy.

9. It’s not the end of the world if everyone doesn’t like you. Enjoy the people who do.

10. Learn to balance work and fun. Too much of either is…too much.

11. Simplify. Busy is not always a sign of productivity. If it won’t matter twenty years from now it’s probably not worth your time.

5912. Take care of yourself. You won’t be young forever. De-stress. Exercise. Rest. Eat Right. Smile.

13. Don’t worry. Worry is borrowing fear for tomorrow from delusional scenarios created inside your own head (it also gives you permanent creases between your eyebrows).

14. Comparing creates misery. Stop measuring your imperfect life against everyone else’s imperfect life. Enjoy the life you’ve been given.

15. Let go of regret, guilt and shame. It does no good to live there. God forgives the broken. So forgive yourself. It’s never too late to start over.

16. Don’t expect any person to satisfy your every want /need when the rest of humanity is just as flawed as you. The only one who loves you perfectly is your Father God.

17. It’s not God’s fault when others are stupid, mean, rude, disloyal, unkind…Forgive them so you can be forgiven and free of their hold over you.

18. Pain, suffering, loss, delay, irritation, frustration and the mundane is where you can learn and grow the most. Not what you want to hear I know. Sorry.

19. Life isn’t always fair and sometimes doesn’t turn out the way you hoped or planned, but remember God is with you in it all. He promised.

20. Pray more. Well actually, pray all the time. Your Creator holds the owner’s manual to your heart and He loves having conversations with you (don’t forget to listen).

21. The years fly swiftly. Relish each day. Each moment of your journey is the best part of now.

I’d love to hear what you would tell a younger version of yourself if you could?

 

 

Wisdom Is Calling

According to Proverbs eight, Wisdom is personified as a woman who goes into the busy streets of the city calling for those who would seek her. Many destructive voices constantly call mankind away from an upright life but Wisdom, according to the Message Bible, draws us to a life defined by good counsel, common sense, insight and virtue. These qualities are certainly needed in our current generation.

Wisdom’s neighbors are listed as Sanity, Knowledge, Discretion, Wealth, Glory, Honor and a Good Name. She and her companions live at the intersection of Righteous Road and Justice Avenue. The real estate value of this space cannot be estimated! It is priced far above all wealth possible to obtain in a lifetime.

Proverbs also tells us Wisdom begins with fearing the Lord (Proverbs 9:10; 15:33). Fear, as the word is used here, does not mean to be afraid, but to show respect and honor. Proverbs 8:13 defines the fear of the Lord as hating evil, or hating the things God hates. Some of the evil God hates, is defined in chapter six and several other places in Proverbs. If I truly honor God, I will love what is good and hate what is evil, according to the standard that He sets, not the standards of society, culture or the world.

James said if we need wisdom we should ask God for it and He will give it generously to those who believe (James 1:5). If Wisdom is on the street corner calling loudly and God is so willing to give it to me, it shouldn’t be hard to find. Many voices compete for attention above Wisdom’s, but if I am listening intently and diligently seeking, Wisdom and I will discover each other and become good companions; in doing that I receive abundant life and God’s favor.

So the important question is: what am I seeking and what voice am I listening to today?

Proverbs 8:34-35 (MSB) Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me [Wisdom], awake and ready for me each morning,alert and responsive as I start my day’s work. When you find me, you find life, real life, to say nothing of God’s good pleasure.

Psalm 51:6 (NKJ) You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.