Love Equates Serving

The scattered mind. 
I can’t sleep, I’m not hungry, I’m not interested, I’m not me. Then who am I and what am I doing here? How did I get here? When did I let it all fall apart? I feel like Humpty Dumpty and I need to be put back together again. 
Life has been all about finding a cause and alternative therapies for my husband’s illness. My prayer life surrounds my words of asking God to make me have a servant’s heart. I want to love, serve, and help my husband in the manner that he needs without taking away his pride in doing things for himself. 
Make me a servant.
Serving each other is an act of love especially in the marriage relationship. When we look at it in this manner, we use our talents and gifts as loving offerings and expressions of love. 
An example of this. My husband needed some compression socks and knowing he didn’t have the time for such research, I took the bull by the horns and did the research on my own. Working with the criteria he gave me, I found exactly what he was looking for. He loves his new “Foot hugging socks” so much he went and ordered more. Everyday he thanks me for this little act of loving service and everyday I am thankful for having my capabilities. 
When we realize that our main responsibility in marriage is to serve one another in love our marriage takes on a whole new persona. 

10 loving ways to serve your mate

  1.  Take care of yourself. Don’t let the cares of this life bring you down. Pray, do your bible study, meditate, exercise, eat healthy. You can’t give what you don’t have. If you’re sick, it’s more difficult to serve. 
  2.  Ask your mate what he wants. I make my husband his two veggie and fruit smoothies every night before going to bed so he has them ready to go in the morning. This way I know he’s eaten properly and he doesn’t have to get up earlier than he does. (4 a.m. is early enough).
  3. Exercise together. Go for walks, bike rides, hikes etc. doing it together helps you encourage one another and brings you closer together. If you have children, bring them along or hire a sitter so you can have one-on-one time with each other.
  4. Turn off the TV and all your devices when you eat meals together. Give each other undivided attention. 
  5.  Use manners when talking to each other. Please, thank you, excuse me go much farther than demanding and condescending. 
  6. Encourage each other, especially when one of you is ill. Don’t let your mate’s illness stop your loving words of encouragement.
  7.  When our kids moved out of the house, we divided up the chores between us. If we can’t get to one of them, we let each other know and help each other out. 
  8. Relationships are a 100% commitment. Once we get this into our head and really understand it, we’re better able to clean a toilet, iron a shirt, or other mundane tasks. 
  9. Make allowances of our time for your mate. It only takes me 15 minutes to make two shakes for my husband. 15 minutes out of my day to say “I love you” and make sure he has a nutritious breakfast and lunch is a joy to me. 
  10. The first act of service we should do for our mates is to pray for them. Pray for their safety, their health, their wealth, their minds, their hearts, their visions, their works, their relationships, and whatever else you can think of that needs praying over. Spending time with one another will give you what you need to pray about. Sometimes my husband will tell me, “I’m having a problem with __________, can you pray about for me?” 

Love Equates Serving

Sleep Eludes Me

Listening to every sound around me…my husband snoring, the ticking clock, the melting snow dripping from the roof. My mind is everywhere but not where I want it to be. Unwinding after a long pain filled day is difficult but trying to unwind knowing the love of your life is in constant pain is a whole other beast. 

We never want to see the people we love in pain. 

We pray and beseech God to take away their pain and heal them. But the pain continues, the illness is still there. God does heal and He’s healed us in the past. I have no doubt He will heal yet again…It’s this patience thing I have a problem with. Waiting has always been difficult for me. 

Waiting in lines. 

Waiting in traffic.

Waiting in the doctor’s office. 

Waiting on God. 

Waiting and knowing that one day the healing will come all the while doing what we need to do. 

Our part in the healing process. Yes, praying. Yes, getting anointed. Yes, fasting. Yes, focusing on the joys. Yes, remembering all the miraculous healing God has done for us. Yes, continuing on with life. Yes, putting all our faith and belief in God to do what’s best for us. 

Acting on what we know. 

Faith and patience go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other. 

But in the wee hours of the morning when the house is quiet, you’ll find me praying for God’s intervention in helping my husband be whole again!

Getting Back Our Health

It’s been almost a year since I wrote my last blog post. Why? The simple answer is I let one negative comment and subsequent email derail my writing. That one negative comment cut me to the core, and I began to question everything I did. I stopped writing openly. I stopped sharing my thoughts. I stopped my healthy life journey. I stopped being me. 

We live in such a negative world where people are constantly at odds with each other and themselves. We think it’s our civic responsibility to point out other people’s faults without taking consideration of our own. We see each other as competitors instead of brothers and sisters. We don’t make the world better by constantly correcting each other. 

Getting from there to here. 

The last year has been filled with hills and valleys. Making adjustments and accommodations as life threw me curve balls and granted me with abounding blessings. As my health took a self-made detour, the scale went up and has remained at the steady unsightly number I am too ashamed to say outside my bathroom walls. I’ve missed out on life changing moments only to eat away my pain in silence. Until only recently, when my husband’s life altering health challenge has shown both of us the dire need of getting back our health. 

Taking control of our health 

Most people don’t make changes to their health until the whistle blows and they’re lying in a hospital bed wondering “How did I get here?” Putting the pieces together in your mind, they really knew how they got there. Opting to sit in front of the TV instead of going for a walk, sleeping in that extra hour instead of working out, eating all the wrong foods thinking “It’s okay, it won’t hurt me!” Drinking everything else except water. Sitting, working, sleeping, eating too much. 

Now our quality of life depends on us making the necessary changes so we can get back to being as healthy as we can. It’s not just about food choices, it’s about quality of life choices. We’ll never know how healthy we could have been but we can make these changes now and be as healthy as we can be possibly reversing the damage we’ve done thus far. 

I know this journey will have its highs and lows…I hope we can travel this journey together, taking it one step at a time. All I ask is your love and understanding in hopes that we may turn this journey into a friendship. 

Life’s health

Pain

All of a sudden there it was and I couldn’t ignore it any longer. It made my life seem unbearable at times. It took away my sleep, my figure, my family life, my joy, my art. It made me look at life through a different lens and what I saw was not who I was but who I could become because of it. It is Pain.

Last year it became apparent that I could no longer let go of the notion that walking up and down the stairs while holding on for dear life was normal. Nor could I console myself by thinking that if I just walked more the pain would go away. Then there was this inflammation that was ever present, I didn’t need a test to let me know that I carried around inflammation, all I had to do was look at my swollen feet, hands, and face. The pain I carried was like none I had ever experienced through any of the surgeries I’ve had and it was way worse than natural childbirth.

Everywhere was pain and the pain was everywhere. When all the pain receptors in your body are all turned on at the same time, you simply don’t know which way to turn. I turned to the medical community when I had an animal bite that would not go away even after two weeks. I still have flare-ups of strange pain around the scar that has disfigured my leg. The medical community tested me for everything known to them. I was sent to specialist after specialist and spent thousands of dollars but they could not understand where the pain and the inflammation came from nor could they give me a diagnosis. They just prescribed me with a couple of painkillers and strong steroidal meds that messed up my body.

On the personal front, it hurt to stand, walk, sit, lay down, type, and hold my husband’s hand. My skin hurt. My fingers and face turned shiny.  I could no longer crochet which meant the special afghan I was making for my son and his new wife would sit in my craft basket longer. (I am better and work on it from time to time until my hands cramp up with pain.)

Last summer seems like a blur because of the constant pain I was in. And it seems like the pain flare-ups are still with me. No matter what natural alternatives I take or do. Pain is still a constant in my life. The lessons I’ve learned through this pain are never ending and I view life so much more differently than when this painful journey began.

Pain Lessons

1st: Never take a day for granted. If you were able to wake up and open your eyes, then you’re day is a good one. If you woke up and you were able to move your hands and bend your knees your day got even better. If you were able to walk 10 steps when you woke up, or if you did something you couldn’t do the day before then you’re winning over the pain.

2nd: People in your life will look at you differently, they will withdraw from you, treat you with kid-gloves, and they may even call you names but none of it matters. What matters most is that you show up, you put a smile on your face and you tell the world, your family, your friends, your coworkers I am still here and I am still worthy of love. I can still contribute.

3rd: Never miss an opportunity to share your story with others. You never know when what you say and the example you live by will help someone else also dealing with their own kinds of pain. Our stories, become our history and our history becomes our legacy. Let’s leave a legacy for those who come after us to see that we went after our dreams in spite of the pain. We lived life the best we could while dealing with the pain inside.

4th: When people ask you how are you feeling? Tell them you are happy to see them, you are happy to be able to get out of the house, you are happy to ____fill in the blank. But never tell them how you are feeling. People really don’t want to know what you’re going through, it’s just a nicety that comes out of their mouths. You’ll be looked upon as a buzz kill if you share that you’re in so much pain that every movement you make feels like razor blades digging into your soul.

5th: Find comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your pain. Support groups help in listening to what others are going through and how they deal with their pain. Always remember there is One who suffered greater than we could ever suffer. He hung on the cross and bared our sins for us. His body was scourged and beaten for us. Our pain becomes miniscule when thinking about what Jesus did for us.

6th: If you need help, ask. If you can’t carry something, don’t. Asking for help is one of the most humbling things an independent person can do. It will help you grow and it will help the person who is helping grow.

7th: Concentrate on the joys and blessings of your life. Look at old photos of your children, remembering the good times you had with them. Play with your pets, if you have them. Pets love you unconditionally, they see past your pain and they love your heart.

8th: Focus on the good things in life. Stop watching the news. Stay out of deep political discussions about the degradation of our society. Watch funny movies, old televisions shows, videos of animals and little children. Better yet get away from the electronic devices all together. Get yourself outside and soak up some vitamin D.

9th: Cry. It’s cleansing. It’s restorative. It releases healing and painkilling hormones. I didn’t believe this either but it’s true. Let go of the guilt trips that you put on people for whatever reason. I learned how to use guilt trips from my mother who did it do me, but that didn’t mean that I needed to let it continue. Let go of the negative impact of dealing with the stress of your life. It all comes down to that anyways. How we deal with the stresses in our lives can have a negative or a positive impact on our lives and those around us.

10th: Those of us who live with pain every day know that it’s going to be there with every step, every breath, and every movement. Resolve to be stronger than the pain. This is by far the most difficult yet most needed. Once you have this resolve within you, your strength in doing the everyday tasks like getting dressed, making your food, and taking care of the people in your life gets that much stronger.

 

I had a few months of almost no pain thanks to a new chiropractic technique. But last Monday that all changed when the pain came back with a vengeance to wreak havoc to my entire body yet again. I know it stems from the whatever diagnoses the medical professionals think I have now. In my head, it doesn’t really matter what name it has and I’m not even searching for a diagnosis anymore because the last one they said is rare enough. I won’t take the medication they offer anymore than I would drink poison.

I can’t always do the things I want to do in the same way I did them before but I’m learning new ways to accomplish them. I am opening myself up for new alternative therapies some are working, some help me maintain, and those that don’t get tossed aside. I’m forgiving myself for all the wrong I did in being a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a friend and will continue to do so, because only One is perfect and I’m not it.

Pain is a great teacher.

Keeping It Going!

Keeping It Going!

My favorite blog post over the last several years is one from 2013.

Keep It Going

Keep moving!   Keep smiling!   Keep shining!   Keep dreaming!    Keep Imagining!   Keep planning!   Keep laughing!   Keep deciding!   Keep giving yourself a chance!   Keep paying it forward!   Keep singing!   Keep dancing!   Keep running!   Keep reading!   Keep asking!   Keep doing!   Keep sharing!   Keep saving!   Keep encouraging!   Keep inspiring!   Keep writing!   Keep blogging!   Keep helping!   Keep praying!  Keep serving!   Keep listening!  Keep searching!   Keep my eyes open!   Keep finding!   Keep learning!   Keep playing!   Keep loving!   Keep speaking!   Keep hearing!   Keep watching!   Keep bringing!   Keep painting!   Keep creating!   Keep it real!   Keep telling the truth!   Keep living the word of God!   Keep natural!   Keep organic!

Keep on Doing

Keep breathing!   Keep living in the present!   Keep changing!   Keep growing!   Keep putting one step in front of the other!   Keep improving!   Keep showing up!   Keep forgiving!   Keep calling!   Keep compassion in your life!  Keep empathy a part of your life!   Keep thinking!   Keep camping!   Keep hiking!   Keep climbing!   Keep walking!   Keep swimming!   Keep hugging!   Keep your lamp burning!   Keep spinning!   Keep digging!   Keep eating healthy!   Keep taking your supplements!   Keep cooking!  Keep sowing!   Keep harvesting!   Keep pruning!    Keep mentoring!   Keep building bridges!   Keep tearing down walls!   Keep recommitting!   Keep appreciating!   Keep standing!  Keep feeling!   Keep talking!   Keep making peace!   Keep staying positive!   Keep praising!   Keep journaling!    Keep journeying into reality!   Keep promising!   Keep coaching! Keep loving!

Keep it going!

These are the areas that I want to keep going at since I want to make a consistent effort to be the best me possible I need to keep doing the things above. If you have some more positive, uplifting things you do every day, let me know. We all could use as much help as we can get.

Keep it going! 

ACV Drink Hack

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) drinks are popping up all over the place. Our new trendy grocery store Main & Vine has these drinks and their not cheap either. $2.69 for 16 ounces. Granted they are made with Bragg’s apple cider vinegar and good ingredients. To me, it’s just another way to waste money when I can easily make this myself. In fact, this ACV drink hack has been part of my morning routine for over a year.

 ACV Drink

ACV Drink Hack

Base Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Tablespoons Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (coconut vinegar can also be used)
  • Juice of one lemon or lime
  • 1 teaspoon Sweetener of choice (coconut nectar, yacon syrup, honey, equivalent of liquid stevia, maple syrup)
  • 16 ounces Clean water of choice (spring, reverse osmosis, distilled)

Mix together in a glass or recycled glass drink bottle. Add one or more of the following.

Variations (Pick one of more)

  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons Great Lakes Hydrolyzed Collagen (adds 12 grams of pure protein)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped ginger (pulverized)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped turmeric (pulverized)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons mashed, seeded cucumber
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  • Substitute a good brand of coconut water for the water (Zico is my favorite)

Favorite Combinations

3 C’s: Chia-Collagen-Cinnamon

4 C’s: Chia-Collagen-Cucumber-Coconut Water

4 C’s Chia-Collagen-Cinnamon-Coconut Water

 

All mixed up ready to enjoy!

All mixed up and ready to enjoy! Chia-Collagen-Cinnamon-Coconut Water

 

 

Making My Own…

It’s been some time since I felt like writing but with spring around the corner, and here we are in the 3rd month of the year already, I have felt the need to get back to writing. So write I must.

These first eight days of March have been interesting. I’ve been focusing more on making my ownfill in the blank. I have made my own water kefir the entire month of February but it took over my kitchen because my husband and I weren’t drinking it fast enough; my husband ended up being the only one who drank it because I think it tastes like beer and I hate that taste.

This month I’ve tried my hand at making my own coconut milk that doesn’t have all the nasty ingredients in it. Do you know what’s in your coconut milk? Whether you buy your coconut milk (or any nut or seed milk) by the carton in the refrigerator section or in the can in a grocery aisle, it’s best to read the ingredients. Check out the ingredient label of your coconut milk. Are these ingredients in it? Carrageenan,  Sodium Metabisulfite, xanthan gum, tricalcium phosphate gellan gum then put it back on the shelf and learn how to make your own coconut milk. So many digestive health issues are associated with these ingredients alone that it would take the entirety of this post to list them all. But, I will give you this. Carrageenan may come from seaweed but it’s extracted using deadly chemicals. And Gellan gum is made from the lactose and cornstarch. This is why I am a big proponent of being an II (Ingredient Investigator).

So what do we do in the meantime? We make our own.

Coconut Milk!

Ingredients in My Coconut Milk

Ingredients:

  • 1  33.8 container  coconut cream (Chaokoh Coconut Cream Classic Gold is my go-to brand because it only has coconut extract and water) room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon the best pure vanilla you can buy. I happen to like Madagascar vanilla.
  • 32 ounces clean water. I use either spring or reverse osmosis.
  • 32-ounce carafe with lid for shaking, I usually reuse another.
  • A funnel that will fit into your carafe.

Step 1: Shake the coconut cream to mix the water and extract, it usually separates sitting on a shelf. Open the coconut cream container, pour through the funnel into your carafe. Sometimes you will need to coax the coconut extract into the funnel. I use a chopstick for this.

Step 2: Once you have as much of the coconut cream as possible into the carafe, pour in the water. You may not use all the water depending on how much of the cream you were able to use.

Step 3: Add the vanilla. Shake. Enjoy.

I use this coconut milk for making smoothies and in cooking.

PLEASE more than ever before we need to become Ingredient Investigators. So much of the food marketing industry is leading people astray making them think they are drinking something that’s healthy like this new Flax milk that’s out by Good Karma. The only thing good about it is in its name. The company touts that their flax milk is free of dairy, lactose, soy, nuts, and gluten. How can this be when one of their ingredients is made from lactose (gellan gum) and another is made from soy (xanthan gum)?

While I’m making my own...Fill In The Blank, I hope you gain some courage to make your own too.

Deceptive Food Labels

Phosphate Alert

Common Food Additives Linked to Crohn’s Disease