Archive for the ‘Wellness’ Category

Simple Changes: Good for You and Good for the Environment

This morning I stumbled on an article by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen entitled 4 Green Moves That Help You, Too. In the article, the docs identify a great starting point for implementing simple changes that could make a big difference. Hop on over and see what they have to say, then check back here for my thoughts.

I’ll wait………

It’s okay……..

Now would be good………

GO ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, now that you are back, here’s my take on it.

I agree with them for the most part. They suggest you say no to receipts at the self-serve gas station and ATM. Some are dusted with a substance that is toxic and has been linked to everything from birth defects to diabetes and heart disease. It’s an estrogen mimicking substance called BPA. Nasty stuff. Plus, by nixing the receipt, you save oodles of trees. No argument from me there. If you need a record of your transaction, keep a small notebook in your car. Besides, those receipts just clutter my car. I’m over it.

The second change they mention is skip the red meat. They cite several “ill” effects of red meat both environmental and physical. I would put forth that the “ill” effects can be countered by choosing meat that has been raised in a sustainable way. No one can argue that the mass production model of the feedlot is probably not the way to ensure production of meat that is healthy for both the individual and the environment. But that applies to non-red meats as well. Has anyone toured a commercial chicken facility lately?

Where meat is concerned, I believe the solution is two-part. First, choose pasture raised red (and white) meats. It won’t be the tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth steak that you are used to eating, and which entices you to consume large amounts. It will be much more gamey, a bit tougher, and WAY more nutritious. The omega 3 to omega 6 ratio in pasture fed meats is something like 1:6 whereas in grain-fed mass production (feedlot) meat, the ratio is more like 1:24—way out of whack. Prices for pastured meat is a bit more expensive, but not nearly as bad as you may have been led to believe. In our area, there are two good sources for pastured beef: Paidom Meats, and David Horn, both near Nazareth, TX.

Part 2 will probably take care of itself once you commit to eating pastured rather than commercial meats. Eat less. In this part of the country, beef is so pervasive in our diets that in some families, hardly a meal goes by that doesn’t include beef. The tougher texture of pastured meats will go a long ways toward reducing the amount you WANT to eat. But keep in mind, that texture can be overcome with a good marinade and/or a killer crockpot. You’ve not had a brisket unless you’ve had a slow cooked slab of meat with some Claude’s brisket marinade on it. Marinades break down the fibrous tissue and leave a tender, juicy treat.

And if the chewiness doesn’t reduce your consumption, your budget might. Prices are slightly higher, but still very reasonable from the two local sources mentioned above, however, a trip up the road to the health food store will reveal a price tag that will slow your consumption of any meat to a crawl.

That’s all I have to say ’bout that.

Idea #3 suggested get outside more. I heartily agree. We’ve been told for decades that we need to cover up to hide every bit of flesh from any sun exposure and slather on sunscreen every 30 minutes. Quite frankly it’s easier to stay inside that go to that much trouble. And yet as sunscreen use has increased and people have received less sun, the related heath problems associated with sun have continued to increase. Studies now indicate that some of those sunscreen chemicals are in fact carcinogens (cancer causers instead of cancer preventers) and avoiding the sun deprives us of crucial vitamin D which is in fact a cancer preventer and a preventer of lots of other illnesses. Plus being outside just does something on an emotional level that boosts your positive outlook, nourishes and oxygenates your cells, and gives you a glow that lasts for days. No, I don’t mean the sunburn. No one says you have to stay outside in the direct sun. Find a shade tree, grab a glass of iced green tea with a spoonful of  honey mixed in, and take in the negative ions of nature. It rocks!

Finally, these guys said to start an organic garden. To that I say, DUH!!!

ABSOLUTELY!!! There’s not a person within 50 miles who can’t grow something. No one says it has to be a five acre spread. You’ll hate it if you do that. Start simply. Get a kiddie swimming pool. Poke some drain holes in the bottom. Go get you some good dirt if you don’t already have a supply, then plant something. You’ll be surprised by what you can get from one tomato plant, one pepper plant, one or two squash plants, maybe a few herbs….whatever makes you happy. Just take some action toward controlling your food supply. And be careful what products you choose as your soil. Some of the stuff you get at the discount store is nothing more than a chemical factory, which will be absorbed by your veggies and thus your body. Good dirt is just that…good dirt….good animal poo….good mulchy stuff…..mixed together and cooked up by Mother Nature herself until it’s just right for your plants and your body.

Once things start rocking for you and production starts overloading you, consider taking your excess to a local farmers’ market and swapping out some of your bounty. You’ll be glad you did.

Simple baby steps to wellness. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.  Let’s get to it and make a difference.

The Woman with the Bleeding Issue

Five years ago, somethings begin to shift inside me. At the time, I had no idea just how much shifting there would be, but suffice to say it has been a lot.

I had begun to learn about the energy that flows in our bodies, and that information, combined with the extensive collection of Biblical information I had acquired over the years, started coming together in a way that pushed out some old beliefs and ushered in some new perceptions.

The story of the woman with the bleeding issue in Mark 5 fascinated me. I was new to the concept of the body’s energy system, but I had seen the evidence that it existed. As I read through that story over and over, the sentence where Jesus felt the power (some versions say energy) leave his body when she touched–not his skin, arm, leg, etc., –his cloak. She reached into his aura and didn’t even touch HIM, yet the healing energy transferred from his body to hers. That’s the part that really got me thinking.

Having grown up believing that all miraculous healing power of touch had passed away with the deaths of Jesus’ apostles, this was a bit of a stretch for me. Yet I reasoned that if HE did it, and if WE have that energy running through OUR bodies, why wouldn’t this still be possible? Could it be that through the ages of various oppressive religious regimes, we simply disconnected from the source of that healing energy? Could it be that we have excused ourselves from this responsibility to help others heal by claiming that it “passed away”? We are so willing to pray for one another, which is certainly a good thing, but is it enough for people who claim to be children of God?

Jesus spent HOURS with the Divine source of his power. Many Christians believe he WAS the source of the power, but I contend that he simply knew how to plug into and become one with the Source to recharge his own energy…..and so can we.

Seeing is believing for many people. When I began to raise these questions to spiritual leaders, I was asked if I had seen anyone healed…not the sneaky stuff that is subjective, but documented biggies like sight restored to the blind, paralyzed limbs regaining strength, cancer cured….which I had not. But there are those who claim they have seen and experienced exactly those types of healings. Obviously, theirs was not a circle in which I hung out, so the opportunity to “see” has been lacking. Interestingly enough, Jesus praised and called blessed those who believe without seeing.

I believe things are impossible because we believe they are impossible or non-existant. The first step to experiencing a miracle is believing one is possible. The woman with the bleeding issue had no doubt that all she needed was to reach into Jesus’ energy field. The second step is to find those modern day Jesuses who have plugged into the Divine source. They do exist. Maybe some day I will be one, too.

It’s certainly possible.

Who Decides Right and Wrong?

Sometimes it becomes necessary to analyze core beliefs as part of a pathway to wellness. Spiritual beliefs can have either positive or negative effects on our health. Therefore, this blog occasionally addresses spiritual beliefs.

A couple of days ago, I posted a comment on Facebook that triggered the question who decides what is right and what is wrong, specifically in terms of the Bible. I had suggested that the words of a public figure, who has positioned himself to be an influential spokesperson for conservative Americans, directed at a creative genius who has VERY different views were inappropriate behavior for someone who claims a connection with Divinity. The FB comment said there are lots of folks out there who are just Biblically wrong.

Wow…such a thought provoking statement. I was grateful for the opportunity to think through this part of my own faith.

One of my biggest issues is in deciding what “Bibilically wrong” really is. I’m probably only speaking about myself, but my views of what that is came from people (preachers, teachers, youth ministers, etc.) whose objective was to train me up to think exactly like them. Other kids were learning something else, while I was being taught that they were wrong. Same God, same Bible, same head hauncho (Jesus), but we were right and they were wrong and they were “lost”. That position has softened a bit, but it is still applied when it is convenient and benefits the position.

What if the far out ideas of people like Avatar and Titanic director James Cameron aren’t wrong, but are in fact more right than anything we’ve ever allowed ourselves to believe possible? What if we are limiting possibilities because of the way we choose to interpret the Bible?  Jesus was one of those with some pretty far out ideas that didn’t jive with the paradigm of the time. For that matter, he was as “Torah-ly wrong” as anyone could get: Healing on the Sabbath, picking grains of wheat from the field on the Sabbath, and claiming to be the son of God. Look what it got him, compliments of the keepers of right and wrong. The same scenario has been repeated throughout history anytime someone’s words, deeds, and actions didn’t fit the religious views of the time.

It seems we often forget that as humanity, we are all one—one body, one spirit, one Divinity, and actions taken to attack one is an attack on ourselves. I no longer believe that the “One Body” reference applied only to those who have followed a prescribed series of steps culminating in their being added to the Body. They may be a wetter, cleaner, better-smelling body part, but their being “added” is irrelevant since they always were a part of the whole which was God created and Spirit indwelled.

So when a person who calls himself Christian attacks, even jokingly, another person who dares question or criticize the traditions, beliefs, and manuscripts we have chosen to accept as divinely inspired (which ironically differ from the divinely inspired documents of similar religions–who is right?), it is essentially cannibalism and I believe may ultimately result in us destroying ourselves and our world. We won’t have to worry about a judgment day. We’ll just continue attacking anyone who chooses to see things differently, and eventually, like cancer, we will consume ourselves right out of existence.

Frankly, we will probably get to repeat this process until we figure it out and get it right. As for Blibical right an wrong, there are only two commands: Love the Lord and love your neighbor as yourself. In my opinion, everything else is subjective or simply historical.

Peace and love to you.

Bookstores, Health Food Stores, & Greenhouses

Everyone has at least one. I happen to have three of which I am aware. It’s my power place. Okay, in my case, PLACES.

It’s that place you can go where the world seems perfect, no harm can come, and time is irrelevant. It is a place that has a Zen-like serenity that nourishes your soul. It’s a place you may enjoy sharing with others. Me? Nah. If I’m going there, I’d rather go alone and just get lost….forever.

It’s that place where, if money were no object in your life, you would either work there for free, or just buy the whole organization. Yesterday, I had the privilege of experiencing all three of my power places.

I would have to say that my all-time favorite power place is a greenhouse in springtime. It’s the closest thing to a tropical rain forest I will likely experience in these parts. I love the foliage, the colors, the smell of jasmine and honeysuckle, and the protected environment that allows in the warming rays of the sun without the annoyance of our infamous winds.

I stopped by Lowe’s to check on a cabinet for the Wellness Center. As if drawn like a moth to a flame, the garden center beckoned me. Apparently they have snubbed their corporate noses at Mother Nature, because it was like an ocean of life, color, and fragrance. Beauty was everywhere. I just strolled along looking at it all, as if time had suddenly decided to extend my lunch break. There are other greenhouses that I like better, yet this one certainly filled the gap since I was already there for other things.

Reality finally kicked in, and I returned to my afternoon obligation, followed by my next power place. I had some time between the end of my workshop and the beginning of my yoga class (a power place in its own right), so I stopped in at the health food store. Yes, it’s another place in which I could stay for hours, spend a fortune, and stay some more. I think it’s the intention of such a place and what it represents that draws me in and keeps ahold of me. Energy is an amazing thing, and there’s just something special about the energy of a health food store.

Yoga class came and went. It was a nice experience: difficult, yet not; relaxing, yet requiring concentration. Since my brain has yet to figure out the concept of “shut up”, even in yoga class, I made plans to visit power place #3 to acquire a book on yoga basics. I am still feeling a bit lost and confused about the concepts, even though I work my way through the moves fairly well. Yep, a book on yoga was definitely needed. Oh darn! <sarcasm> That meant a trip to the bookstore and another dose of calm, peaceful energy. It was simply fabulous, and three great books plus a beautiful magazine found their way into my possession.

Just before heading home, I decided there were a couple more items I wanted to pick up from the grocery store. Hmmm….wally world or that other health food store down the street. Duh! No brainer! For the second time in one day, I cruised the aisles of a health food store. I actually like this place even better. The energy is just a little more flowing. It’s light and spacious, no crowds and very few “people of Walmart“, plus the selection is incredible for our area. Just an all-around nice place to be.

Yesterday really made me think about my life purpose and my potential new career. The recognition of which environments support me and allow me the space to experience peace and joy is a very cool thing. I thought about places I would love to work in each of these fields.

These three remain: bookstores, health food stores, and greenhouses. But the greatest of these is greenhouses. Now how do I roll them into one incredible career? Can we put a bookstore, yoga center, and a health food store here and pay me to hang out? I think I would be very happy with that arrangement.

Tapping Away Limiting Beliefs

About a week ago, I was discussing some things with a friend who lives between Austin and Waco. She has become my mentor of sorts in the field of Energy Healing. We were looking at options for bringing her to Tulia to see some clients. That’s a long drive unless there is a significant opportunity waiting at the end of the road.

In order to make it happen, I would need to market her availability and get committed clients lined up waiting to see her. Unfortunately, I don’t see myself as much of a marketer, so I suggested we try EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)  in order to move me past that marketing road block. It’s a pretty important thing to me since I will soon be needing to market myself really well in order to pay the bills. I figured this would help improve multiple situations, and hopefully get things to the point where she could come to Tulia to see and help several clients.

EFT is a form of energy work by which a person taps certain acupressure points on the body while making statements related to a limiting belief. Doing so releases the emotional grip that holds the limiting belief in place. It has a lot to do with letting go, changing perceptions, and in many ways bears strong resemblance to Brain Gym.

My friend’s name is Andrea Mincsack Bordelon. She’s a transplanted New Yorker  who saw the light and came to Texas, found love, and a bunch of long horn cattle. She’s a collector/gatherer of people, and she’s a clair-sentient meaning she has strong intuitive feelings. She’s a very cool person and an incredibly knowledgeable lady.

It didn’t take long for her to figure out that my marketing issues were probably tied in to emotions that would seem totally unrelated to the problem at hand. I won’t go into details, but basically I had guilt, resentment, and control emotions with a little bit of love and acceptance junk thrown in the mix all related to how I keep house. (Note: I don’t.) She was a master at talking me through the affirmations and tapping everywhere from my hand to my face to my collarbone and ribs to the top of my head. We cleared one emotion, or at least made some headway, then I would notice something else had come to the surface.

Andrea continued to work with me until I no longer felt the emotions at all. It’s a lot like I imagine an emotional lobotomy to be minus the side effects. It feels pretty good to go from that intense feeling of “everything is my fault and the world is judging me and nobody loves or accepts me because I’m a failure at this, but I don’t feel like I have any control over it” to “who gives a <bleep> what anyone else thinks?”

Oh, and we did this all over the phone. Very cool.

Every time I have an experience with any type of energy work, I am amazed at what surfaces for me. The thing about energy work is it can yield profoundly immediate obvious results, or its results can be subtle and barely noticeable taking days or even weeks to release the full impact of a session. A lot depends on the intuitive sensing abilities of the recipient. It doesn’t matter if a person sees themselves as intuitive or not, energy work works. Intuitive personalities simply tend to perceive the shifts a little easier.

For a skeptic, there’s always a way to explain away the experience. Fortunately for me, I left that skeptical world behind a few years ago. Some might suggest I am gullible. I prefer to think of myself as now being open to possibilities.

We are looking at having Andrea in Tulia near the end of June. She has quite a resource kit of knowledge and experience including Eden Energy Medicine, EFT, and Reiki, all of which are forms of energy work.

If you are interested in working with her in person when she is in the Panhandle this summer, please let me know. I trust you will be quite pleased with your investment.

My Willpower is Confused defines willpower as control of one’s impulses and actions; self-control.

Apparently mine is in a state of total confusion right  now.

Yesterday I blogged about body image as it relates to massage, then I took three of my girls to the dentist and the subsequent and inevitable shopping adventure. Understand that shopping is one of my least favorite activities for a couple of reasons. First, I have issues with money. It’s complicated, but let’s just say that they lie somewhere between a spending addiction and a guilt complex.

Second, I have a few body issues of my own. Things aren’t staying put in the places I think they “ort” to be. I don’t know who designs fashions for us “tweeners” (that’d be someone in between the perky hard-body and those that have established themselves as a frequent shopper in Lane Bryant), but they need to go back to design school. Their stuff doesn’t usually fit our bodies in a way that makes us LOVE shopping. Top that off with the fact that the designated shopping day will likely be accompanied by a case of bloating, and it makes for a less than pleasant experience.

Therefore, shopping usually equals a huge reality check for my wellness-wanna-be personality. And of course, it did.

I have had periods in my life when I made a firm resolve to forever change the way I live. I adopt new eating habits, I establish an exercise routine, and I torture my family with both. My willpower ROCKS!!! Then, like an alcoholic who thinks one drink can’t hurt, I fall off that wagon. I just haven’t figured out why my wagon has to be scaling up the Matterhorn with me sitting cliff side. It seems that when I fall off that wagon, I fall WAY off.

I think my willpower slips a cog and begins to think “will” means “Yes, I will…have six, that is. There’s power in numbers, right?”

Slipping it back into proper alignment seems to require more than setting an occasional good intention after a day of trying on clothing. “Won’t Power” certainly doesn’t work. Nixing the Sonic Route 44 Sweet Tea with extra ice won’t keep me from going to get one at 2:30 every day. My 7:30 am good intentions seem to leap off that wagon cliff side at 2:29 pm. For that matter, I usually start leaning to the side by about 12:30, so by the  time 2:30 rolls around, I’m already free-falling. Nope, won’t power just won’t cut it. I have to reprogram the willpower.

So today, I focus on what I will do to rebuild my willpower. I will eat breakfast. As a matter of fact, I am eating this and it’s actually pretty good. I will park a little farther out in the parking lot today. I will eat something raw with every meal. I will consume some water. I will stretch at least some. Little by little, I will–I am–reprogramming myself once again towards wellness.

In the meantime, I won’t be washing my new jeans in anything that even suggests heat.

Does your willpower ever get confused? What are some things you can do to begin the reprogramming process?

Worrying Makes It Better, Right?

Yesterday, 32 baby chicks arrived at the post office with my name and address attached. I love baby chicks. Sometimes we order an assortment of breeds, which allows us ample opportunity to speculate as to what breeds we have while enjoying their different colorings and personalities. This particular assortment is called the Rainbow Layers collection. That means I get a smidgen of everything from seven pound brown egg laying giants to four pound floofy-headed princesses, all hens — we think.

Apparently that also means I have to separate out the little princesses who need their frequent naps so the big bullies won’t trample them. Ugh! That wasn’t in the manual. Now I have three dead chickies (one of which arrived like that–it happens) twenty one bruisers toasting their tootsies in the “planned for” chickie condo, and eight little princesses getting royal treatment in somewhat cramped quarters INSIDE the Wellness Center. Those little princesses cost me about $40 extra in un-planned-for equipment.

And so yesterday afternoon was spent babysitting chickie-princesses. I made sure they had occasional drinks of water by dipping their little beaks in it throughout the afternoon. I watched their breathing. I tested the warmth of the heat lamp to make sure I wasn’t toasting chickie squab for dinner. Basically, I fretted over these two- and three-dollar fluffballs of downy feathers and tiny bones.

And then I went home.

And then I began to worry.

What if the lamp is too hot and they can’t escape the heat? What if I show up this morning and they are all dead? What if one of the little geniuses decides to fall asleep in the make-shift waterer and drowns herself? What if that heat lamp catches the wellness center on fire? And on and on and on.

And then I said to myself, “Stop it.” I was working myself into a tizzy of stress over things that are more or less out of my control. I was giving my attention and energy to all the horrible things that COULD happen rather than thinking about how they are toasty warm little princesses that get to nap in peace and strengthen their little bodies without being trampled by the massive masses. Wouldn’t my time be better spent thinking about how cool it is that I have a space to give them respite and the resources to buy or invent the needed supplies and equipment? It’s called law of attraction, but it’s also called Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the Bible.

Worry = Fear = Opposite of Peace & Love = Stress.

The cure for worry = peace & love.

So why do we do this to ourselves? Why do allow our minds to think the worst when the worst hasn’t happened? And if the worst does happen, what did our worrying about it do to keep it from happening? NOTHING. It zaps our energies, negatively affects our health and wellness, and doesn’t change the outcome one bit. Or does it? What if worrying and the mind-racing scenarios of horror we invent actually contribute to the manifestation of that which we most fear?

Fortunately God’s cool universe doesn’t operate quite that fast. We have plenty of time to think the worrisome thought, recognize it as not what we desire, and then change that thought to one that supports and encourages our desires. After all, that which we fear, which is usually some sort of death or tragedy, cannot be made any less likely to happen by worrying about it. Instead, why not send visions and thoughts of blessings, success, safety, and life, instead?  Sounds like a much better plan to me.

Okay, little princess chickies. I’m sending you the energies of strength, light, perfect warmth, and full little tummies (or in this case “crop” –pronounced like “craw”) so that when I greet you later this morning, I am pleasantly surprised at how you are thriving. If by chance one or more of you has chosen not to remain here to be a part of our little farm, then so be it. Maybe I’ll catch you next time around, but I am NOT gonna worry about it. Blessings my little ones.

Locally Grown On the Panhandle-South Plains

A few years ago, I made a serious effort to find high-quality food to put into my body. I read a book call The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin, and decided to adopt the ways of eating he prescribes. Most people take one look at the book and and toss it aside as an impossible way to eat and live. Maybe it was my farming heritage, or maybe it was simply stubborn willful determination, but I committed to feed my body as he suggested, in spite of the challenges.

At first, it was no easy task. The book calls for eating REAL food, not things that come from a box, a package, or a can. It also calls for eating organic as much as possible. AND it calls for foods that I had no idea where to find. It declared that pastured-this, free-range that, and raw everything were far superior foods. Such would have been simple enough if this were still 1978 and farming/ranching were a part of my life. The only beef I ever ate back then was raised on pasture, and while WE didn’t raise chickens (the only thing we didn’t raise at some point), I knew plenty of people who had them roaming their barnyards. It certainly wasn’t a foreign concept.

Thirty years had past and something was lost along the way. I had to find the good stuff–real food–but where to look? The search was on. Being a techie, I scoured the internet. There were plenty of places where I could order pastured, free range, and organic food, but who wants to pay THAT much money. We’ve been conditioned to feed ourselves as cheaply as possible. It was painful to see what eating this way might cost.

Gradually I began to find local sources for these super foods. First came the eggs. Divine coincidence led me to a small family farm west of town where chickens roamed freely wherever they pleased. Later, I found out this family and another just up the road raised pastured beef to sell through local outlets. The prices are a little higher than grocery store products, but not so much that I had to leave my children unclothed and unshod.

Over the years, busy-ness has caused me to abandon my Maker’s Diet for the most part. Even so, I have continued to consume whatever I can find locally and healthfully grown. A few things I believe are worth having shipped to me. Here are some of the resources I have discovered in my search for quality food:

David and Debbie Horn, Nazareth, Texas–Free range eggs, pastured beef

Paidom Meats, Nazareth, Texas–Pastured meats of all kinds

Apple Country Orchards, Idalou, Texas–’nuff said

Tule Creek Apiary, Tulia,  Texas–Raw Honey, not specifically local, but a product of the central plains states. The raw honey price is VERY reasonable when compared to raw honey products in stores.

Soil Mender Products, Tulia, Texas–Organic soil conditioners, potting soil, fertilizers for wannabe gardeners.

Angie Cox (that’s me!), Tulia, Texas–Free range eggs, seasonal produce

One imported item I can’t live without:

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil–I haven’t seen many coconut trees growing in these parts, so this is something I order off the internet. There are health food  stores that carry virgin coconut oil, but none that I have found have the taste, texture, and buying options available through Tropical Traditions. If you are using store bought canola oil thinking you are doing something great for your heart, you have been shammed. Do some research on the topic (somewhere other than the canola oil industry, of course), and I think you will agree that coconut oil is a healthier option.

One other recommended food item that can be purchased locally is raw milk. Unfortunately acquiring raw milk for human consumption is a bit tricky. Once a source is found, a person should respect the producer’s generosity by keeping that information quiet. It seems most state agencies frown on the sale of raw milk. Keep in mind, too, that consuming raw milk has its risks, which you must weigh and accept responsibility for. In other words, don’t blame me if you get sick and decide it was the milk. It’s probably healthiest to avoid milk completely, but if you are a milk drinking family, you might want to investigate the research related to consuming raw milk and then make your own decision. Personally, I feel guilty giving my family the store-bought stuff knowing what I know.

Keep checking back as the options for locally grown foods are expanding. Plans are underway for a Local Foods Day in June and subsequent Farmer’s Market. Would you like to be a part of the local foods move? Get a large flower pot and some Soil Mender products and plant something, even if it is nothing more than herbs in your kitchen window sill. Your body and your taste buds will thank you.

Do you know of any other sources for locally grown foods? Post them here!

My Wellness Garden Plans

Lately I have been looking at ways to make the wellness business work as a full time gig. It is something I  have always wanted to do, yet fear and security issues have kept me stuck in the safety of the employment of an organization. I am beginning to see through those issues and realize that I have the talents, knowledge, skills, and abilities to make my own way in this world, and do it quite nicely.

Freedom is one of the qualities I am seeking through this process–the freedom to choose when I work and for how long, the freedom to take off and go visit some place awesome, or take a class without having to ask the permission of upper management, freedom to chase my kids without a pang of guilt, and the freedom of figuring out how my income will find me.

I am trusting that the freedom I seek will also result in finding time to feed my family nutritious, healthy meals. From time to time over the years, I have been able to do this, and yet, it seems busy-ness always gets the best of those good habits. I see this transition as an opportunity to reignite that homefire.

There’s no time like the present to kick start a new habit, so I have begun to again attempt a menu and shopping list to help with the budget and the implementation of cooking from scratch with REAL food. I intend to blog on that topic as a means of accountability. I am also beginning to look at what I can raise myself, so I am setting some goals for our spring/summer/fall garden and farm this year.

I have a fairly unlimited supply of fresh free-range eggs, since we have our own chickens, so that expense is for the most part negated. We seem to consume lots of tomatoes, which could have something to do with the Italian blood that runs through my husbands side of the family. What I am reading about commercially canned tomatoes is quite disturbing, due to the effect of metal cans leaching unwanted things into the tomatoes. I guess I will be adding those to my home processing list for summer. I have never canned (or in this case “jarred”) tomatoes, but I have put up some other things over the years and I think I can get it figured out.

Other options will include fresh spinach. I’ve never really tried to grow spinach, but I am loving it for salad fixin’s and as an omelet add-in. I’ve attempted carrots a few times with minimal success, but I’m going to go at it again this year, along with beets. Maybe I’ll invest in a fancy juicer/blender thing to mush it all up together and hopefully make it taste fabulous.

I have been freezing my greenbeans the last few years, but I may go back to the canning method. The fam seems to prefer the mushy version over the almost fresh freezer style. Maybe I’ll do some of both. Black eyed peas are another good one, but picking beans and peas happens to be my LEAST favorite thing to do in the garden. It rates right up there with weeding.

Some other possibilities include potatoes, cucumbers (great for making relish with no HFCS), and of course watermelon and cantalope. There is nothing sweeter than a beyond organically-grown, left-on-the-vine-to-fully-ripen melon. My mouth waters thinking about them. Home-grown potatoes are important because of the chemicals they absorb from the soil in commercial agriculture. I discovered a couple of years ago that they aren’t that difficult to raise, and they are absolutely delicious straight from the ground to the cooking pot.

We planted several fruit trees last year, and I expect to put a few more in the ground this year. It will be a while before those help us out, and yet, I am quite excited about that possibility.

With all these plans, I will need the time flexibility of setting my own schedule. I will also need an outlet such as the local farmer’s market that is being planned. What garden crops are you planning? Do you have an interest in bringing your excess to a local farmer’s market? Share your plans with us and let’s see if we can make a difference in the health of our community.

Black and White and Absolutely ALL OVER

Most of my life things have been pretty much black or white, right or wrong, either/or. To some extent, this is still the case with me. I’m a pretty black and white sort of person. Right is right and wrong is wrong. My version of right, or at least the one I had learned somewhere along the way, was the right version. Your version was wrong if it didn’t align with my version. This worked pretty well most of the time, and probably kept me out of a lot of trouble. That doesn’t mean I always CHOSE what I knew to be right. Sometimes I chose to do what I believed to be wrong because I desired it more than I desired to do what I knew to be right. It was simply a matter of weighing the benefits against the consequences to see which one would win. Fear of consequences usually won, but not always. The times when desire overcame fear did occasionally come along, and when they did, I was usually blessed, even when some negative consequences were inflicted.

A few years ago, the lines between black or white and right or wrong began to blur as my typically left-brained analytical self began to open up and see things as part of a bigger picture. Connections and inter-relatedness began to trump details, rules, and absolutes. Many ideals that had always been accepted as just “how it is” began to lack the element of common sense. Thoughts would occur to me such as, “…if this is true, then how can this other not be true?” I had begun to see possibilities when previously only absolutes had existed. Black and white was all over.

It certainly hasn’t been an easy journey. Most people like absolutes as long as they serve their purpose. Anyone who questions those absolutes is a bit of a troublemaker. Stirring the pot is not a highly regarded gift in most social circles, especially religious ones. Since religion was where my blacks and whites had been strongest, that’s the cauldron that has been the primary target of my stirring and the source of much of my personal stress. As such, it affects my wellness and earns its place as a post on this blog.

I am certainly not the first to be gifted with the opportunity to see the world through a wider, clearer lens. Gallileo had his problems dealing with the status quo of the religious world. He landed in some serious hot water over his whole “earth isn’t the center of the universe” theory. He was almost killed for that one. The knowledgeable women of Salem, Massachusetts, discovered that their herbal and healing expertise was grounds for being subjected to the infamous witch trials, complete with false witnesses. If they died they weren’t a witch, but if they lived they were a witch and would be put to death. That one resonates with the …ahem… quite logical methods of our own FDA and a few other government agencies <stated tongue in cheek of course>.

And of course, the most famous casualty of all was Jesus Christ. What an amazing human with an amazing connection to deity. So much good stuff is contained in his story: Way more than most people who claim to be his followers will allow themselves to recognize. He, too, was eliminated by those who sought to maintain their existing traditions and protect “their people” from this supposed blasphemous man. His crime was one of showing followers what he knew to be the truth about the Divine. He taught people to live a life of love rather than one of rules, rituals, and fear. Fortunately for us, he had the power to take up his life again once he had allowed himself to be killed.

How many times do we lock ourselves into a world of absolutes – black or white, right or wrong – because of the teachings and traditions we have been taught in fear? If instead, we would look at the bigger picture and see the abundance of mysterious and amazing evidence in world around us, much of our stress would fall away. Life would be filled with so much more love and so much less fear. My challenge to you is to release your fear and embrace that which offers love. In each situation, ask, “Is my reaction to this coming from a belief rooted in love or a belief rooted in fear?” Let’s loosen the grip on black and white and see things through the eyes of possibility. As we do, we invite more wellness into our lives in the form of love.

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