This month we'll talk about what natural remedies you may want in your medicine closet in anticipation of winter, cold and flu season.
There are two months out of the year when sickness is most prevalent. One is in September when children go back to school and begin to interact. In the growth of their immune systems, their bodies take new and varied bacterias that each one uniquely carries and "share" it in their interactions together. There are good reasons to have this take place. Most importantly is that as they begin to contract viruses and add it to their onboard antibodies, they build up immunity so that they are less susceptible in the future. If we don't get panicky and fearful about these viruses running their course but treat for sustaining their bodies through the process, we help them to be strengthened healthwise naturally. If we choose to over vaccinate so that our children no longer get an opportunity to build their own immunity, we potentially make them weaker healthwise. A great book to use as a reference if you have young children is The Vaccine Friendly Plan by Paul Thomas M.D. and Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D. They present a science based strategy for keeping children healthy and helping strengthen their immune systems while navigating the new viruses that are appearing on the horizon.
The other time of year that sickness is more prevalent is right after the Christmas/New Year holidays. This, along with Thanksgiving are the times when we spend time eating with friends and family and bring along our best baked and sugary treats of the season. The consistent and added sugars for a month's time adds to the vulnerability of our immune systems because sugar is truly a toxic substance - processed with 6 or 8 of the most toxic compounds in the world, like bleach, newspaper bluing, etc. Better to find substitutes for the sugar sweeteners in our baked products with honey, maple syrup, monk fruit, stevia, coconut sugars …. And stay away from sugar substitutes and additives like aspartame. Their chemical structure is just as bad as processed sugar. Even diabetics would do well to stay away from the side effects of these not so good substitutes. Aspartame even makes you more thirsty as in sugar free soda sweeteners causing you to want to drink more.
So what kinds of natural medicines do we want to have available to us when the need arises without running to the Pharmacy? There are many over the counter products that are available that are recognized therapies for common viral and cold symptoms. Take elderberry syrup for example. First produced in Israel and brought to the world as Sambuca, it is scientifically proven to be more effective for the flu than Tamiflu, a commonly prescribed flu therapy. It is easily made if you have access to elderberries and most pharmacies as well as health food stores have it. It is high in vitamin C so we keep a gallon jar of homemade syrup in our frig all winter; and take a shot of it each day as preventative maintenance. It is yummy and appealing to kids' tastebuds.
There are numerous tinctures that I would recommend to have on hand. Because they are mostly infused in alcohol, they have a long shelf life and will sustain you through the winter, and if not used up, continue to sustain you up to 2 years. I always recommend that you get 2 oz or larger bottles. During a season of sickness it is better to have more than you need than not enough. Depending on your household and what you can anticipate, I would recommend some of the following tinctures:
Echinacea - a blood cleaner and immune booster, as well as a strep killer. Use preventatively in elderly or compromised folks once a day, 2 weeks on and 1 week off from September to May. At the first sign of scratchy throat or sniffles, take a double dose and take 3x a day until symptoms subside. If you are needing to use other cold remedies like mullein or elder, continue with the echinacea and they work well together. Mixed in water in a spritzer bottle, you can spritz the back of the throat each hour until strep throat symptoms are gone.
Mullein - A mild expectorant that soothes lungs and helps cough up phlegm.
Goldenseal or Gold Thread - They both contain berberine which is one of our best herbal anti-bacterials. You can use topically (be careful it stains) or take internally for infection, stomach ulcers or bugs, and virus symptoms.
Astragalus - immune, antiaging, antiinflammatory, fatigue, allergies, colds, diabetes, strengthens heart Can be taken as tincture or in soup as described below
Tea: Bitter herb teas - they will help your liver detox and filter out toxic substances
Kloss's Linament - an age old herbal remedy that is antibacterial, both topically & internally,
Good for scrapes, sore muscles, open wounds, internal infections, bug bites, swellings, bruises, gum disease, canker sores, poison ivy and much more. (I have included a recipe below in the newsletter)
Elderberry syrup - great antiviral and preventative, keep a large bottle in your frig
Zinc losenges - often a good way to arrest a cold as it begins. Zinc helps strengthen ability to fight off colds and when contacting the back of the throat will sooth and heal soreness
Tumeric - anti-inflammatory
Ginger, Cinnamon, cloves - the "warming" spices that increase body heat and are immune boosters
Garlic & onion - Anti-bacterials, the stronger the better
Apple Cider Vinegar - detoxifier, immune booster, enzyme enhancer, combined with honey and/or cayenne (Fire Cider) Another daily tonic blend to keep in your frig
Honey, Pollen & Propolis - anti viral and allergy deterent as well as immune enhancers
Sage - create a strong tea out of dried leaves and gargle with it for sore throats and tooth pain
Thyme - Simmer on a stovetop and breath to break up a sinus infection. Include in cold remedies and meals along with rosemary for immune boosting
Astragalus - Simmer strips of bark in your soups and stews and then take them out before serving. An extraordinary boost to immune and nervous system
Mushrooms - turkey tails, reishi, shitake, chaga can be tinctures or brewed into tea to increase immune resistance and help the stress response
Eucalyptus, camphor, thyme, rosemary for clearing sinus congestion and bronchitus
Lavender - antibacterial, antiviral, stops bleeding
Geranium - applied topically over sorethroat area, will stop soreness in about 15 minutes
These are just a few of the first response items you can have ready in your home. Know your family's specific issues and purchase products that will address those issues to have ready. Winter is the time when sickness is most common. Plan ahead. Especially now when items are hard to get, stock up or make your own. AND find some holiday recipes that are low on sugar or can be made with natural products. You will be glad you did come January when others are battling colds and flus and your family is staying healthy.
3 John 2: “I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”
To wear or not to wear a facemask. That seems to be the current debate. From a physical health perspective, let me give you a few thoughts.
Certainly there is good reason to wear a mask if you have compromised health and you are out in a very public place where folks are apt to be in close quarters - like the grocery store. AND a compromised health does NOT equate to being over 60!!!!! Unless you have "bought" the idea that you should expect your immune system to go down after 60, there's no reason that some of us 60 and 70 year olds who are still active and not on major medications should be considered compromised. No offense to those of you who may have immune issues and are on major medications, but you know who you are and being wise is a good thing.
The thing about wearing a mask all the time, is that you will be continually breathing and re-breathing your own bacterial makeup. When it comes to our bacterial microbiome, it is important to have a continuing variety of bacterial exposure. That is what actually BUILDS your immunity and allows your body to develop strength against bad vs good bacteria. Your body was created to be able to drive out and overcome bad bacteria with the balance of good bacteria that your body develops. Things like gardening where we put our hands in the dirt and collect soil bacteria that are absorbed through the skin to continued interaction with other human beings that have varying microbiomes of their own; help to develop the strength and resistance of our own immunity. Science is now showing us that the more variety of bacteria we have in our systems, the better our microbiome and ability to overcome any new virus and bacteria that it comes in contact with. Eliminating ourselves from this exposure and using things like antibacterial cleaners which destroy the good bacteria as well as the bad, on a continual basis, do not allow our bodies to take that bacteria and develop anti-bodies.
We must always live wisely. I have always advised folks that when we feel like we are coming down with something to stay out of work and away from others. Compromised immune systems are a good reason to avoid possible exposure and take precautions. But if you have confidence in your immune system, there is no reason to fear. Most healthy people survive the flu every year and this Covid - 19 is no different. We can't live our lives in exclusion and fear because that is not healthy either. In your households, you are only as strong as your weakest link. So be wise, consider each person accordingly and live life to the fullest.
Adaptogens are herbs and supplements that help the body adapt from the many stress responses that bombard us daily. The stressfulness of this whole Covid culture is one that is not controllable in our daily lives as we each learn individually how to navigate our own set of circumstances. The adaptogens are the ones that help our fight or flight response to stay strong and not burn out during uncontrollable circumstances. They help to keep the communications between our brain and the rest of our organs both sympathetic (unconscious) and parasympathetic (conscious thoughts) nervous systems working at their peak. They also help condition us to respond in a calm, logical process so we are not reacting in fear.
Whether you're dealing with Covid or some other uncontrollable stressor in your life (like pain), adaptogens would be good to have on hand. The following are a few of them that are well known for their specific applications:
GABA - an amino acid that helps to generate and sustain the electrical connections (synapses) between nerve cells that carry the impulses in our nervous systems. It has a calming and anti-anxiety effect
Cordyceps Mushroom - boosts stamina
Ashwaganda - reduces stress, anxiety, & sleep
Astragalus - combats fatigue, boosts immunity
Rhodiola - reduces physical and mental fatigue
Holy basil (Tulsi)- reduces stress related anxiety and depression
American Ginseng - boosts memory, reaction time, calming, boosts immunity
Eleuthero - improves focus & mental fatigue
Schisandra - boosts endurance, mental focus
Tumeric - reduces inflammation, increases brain function, reduces depression
All of these adaptogens can be used daily, according to directions on the bottle or your healthcare provider, during times of long-term stress. Shalom!
3 John 2: “I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”
We are now in a new era. Life has taken a paradym shift and will not be the same. As the scriptures say, "…if you put your hands to the plow, don't look back".
So how do we navigate unknown paths? It is time for creative thinking and a new way of looking at life. That would include how we look at medicine and where we get it. As well as learning to grow our backyard gardens and raised beds, container gardens and microgreen beds; we may want to make space for our commonly used medicinals. We need to start thinking ahead so that when there are shutdowns, or inventories of needed items are depleted, we have some access of our own that has been put away. As you prepare your canning, freezing and drying methods for the summer; don't forget your medicinals.
Whether you are collecting medicinals in summer when they can be found in the wild, or growing them in beds and pots in your backyard, access will be key. If you dry your herbs and wild edibles in a simple food dryer on low settings, you can place them in glass jars in your cupboards for use later when you have time to tincture or make them into salve. I always try to keep some dried material on hand to make tea formulas which can be just as medicinal; making sure always to replenish the following summer with new and viable material.
Choose the herbs that your family needs for specific issues like allergies and blood pressure as well as those for first aid for cuts, bruising and the common cold. And don't forget the anti bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-virals. The preventatives are as important as those for immediate need. And don't forget your kitchen herbs. Some of them can be just as potent as the specific remedy herbs. Every family has a different needs list depending on whether you have children, elderly members or a specific chronic ailment.
Herbs can be grown in pots or along house foundations; in little nooks and crannies of your property, under trees for shade, as part of the landscape or in a bed of their own. And you will be surprised as you are close enough to keep an eye on them in all their seasons, just what you will learn about the plant kingdom.
Just a quick note if you are into seed saving. There are seed saving "banks" in many parts of the country where people keep and trade seeds and varieties. You may or may not know that seeds labeled "heirloom" are seeds that are not treated with any suppressive chemicals or crossbred so that they cannot reproduce in kind. Heirloom seeds can be saved from our own produce, dried, stored and used again. If seed shortages are going to become a problem in your area, you may want to look for these varieties so that you always have your own ongoing supply. You just have to make sure you save some plants out at the end of the growing season, so you don't eat them all and collect your next years seed source.
It's May! The season is warming. We trust that the virus scare is slowing and that we will all be free to walk in our gardens, fields and forests. After all that we have gone through with social distancing, the upcoming Mother's Day will be all the more important. I trust that the COVID-19 situation has caused us to realize just how important all our relationships are. The heart of a mother who held and nurtured children as we grew will never stop reaching out to touch those, though now we are older.
I am anxious to be out in the woods and have slipped out of the house on a few occasions to catch a glimpse of the new shoots coming up from the spring earth and seeing the woodland flowers come into bloom. Long before the leaves come onto the trees and make the forest canopy dense, the intense spring sun brings out the spring beauties, purple and painted trillium, dogtooth violets, bloodroot and other familiar faces that have been out of site for a year. They're announcing spring to whomever will listen.
Life is simpler right now, with less travel and less opportunity to gather. I visit with people by video and phone, but I confess it's not the same as face to face. There's something about the way the atmosphere changes with dearest friends sharing the same space. There is some comfort to be out this spring amongst the wild flowering plants. They are friends of sorts also, who make me smile and remember that there is a Creator who fills our lives with good things, even in the midst of hard times.
I pray that you are all safe, healthy and looking with excitement to the times we can all spend with one another. May we learn something in this time of quiet reflection, about what is really important to us, and look for the voices of spring in our lives.
"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country". That was the exercise I used to type in high school typing class because it uses most of the keys on the keyboard. It is therefore, committed to my memory for all time…….
It now returns to me, as a principle of kindness (one of the fruits of the Spirit) that it would be good for us all to think about these days. I live in a rural community and due to the lack of density in population, it is not as tender a position for crossing paths with people inadvertently as it is in urban areas. That said, in rural areas, we are comfortable being in more isolated places and having to make intentional efforts to mingle. The culture is different but the principle remains the same.
In our rural culture, getting food, medicine, elder home care and first aid to folks takes more effort. Though we have first responders they are fewer and further away so that the care of community members is extremely important. In our urban areas, the first responders are more prevalent but the sheer numbers of folks needing help are more than the system can handle, so that the same principles of needing assistance apply.
So what's my point? While we are all sitting home behind closed doors, what efforts can we make that can actually show acts of kindness to neighbors, friends and community without causing strife, fear or threat of contamination?
We all need to keep moving and get some kind of exercise as part of staying healthy. Are we available to get groceries for someone and leave them on their doorstep; pick up musinesses stock shelves, do deliveries, shovel driveways ….. Think out of the box, I'm sure there are a myriad of things we edicine or other needs of elderly or disabled neighbors. Can we help our local grocers and small bcan do. Keep hand sanitizer and Four Thieves blend (recipes below) to kill germs in the air.
Are you homebound? You could make calls to isolated friends and family to encourage them. You could start a prayer call or a "friend call" with multiple people to just encourage and share with them. The same works with video conferencing software. Most of these have an entry level program that is available free of charge. If you are needing to stay in doors, you can get exercise via the internet via a number of youtube videos with workout sessions. There are many levels from beginner to advanced and often 20 minutes per day will provide good cardio and stretching opportunities. We know there are needs like, hand sanitizer and facemasks needed. There is a sanitizer recipe below that can be made easily, even if only for your own home needs.
Do you know someone that could use a great cup of herbal tea, some comfort advise, some ideas for recipes with reduced food availability to feed hungry kids. And speaking of kids, are there some creative ideas for kids to get them outside, without getting too close, but helping to get that extra energy out of them and have fun at the same time.
Are you a gardener? Maybe it would be a good time to plan your garden, start some seedlings and get your hands in the dirt anticipating spring. I've got my microgreens growing in a sunny window (see February newsletter) and have purchased my seeds for the summer so I'll be ready to plant when the weather turns. If you have no snow on the ground in your neck of the woods, you can plant hardy greens like kale and arugala and this IS the perfect weather for starting peas.
During World War II when times were tough and most manpower was fighting a war, there was a scare that the country would not have enough food to feed our population. Thus the birth of the Victory Garden. It's time to return to our Victory Gardens. Not only can you supply some of your own food available anytime from your backyard, but you can take the pressure off local grocers. It's possible with the floods, fires and weather emergencies all over the country that some items could be less available than prior years. Keeping your needs local can solve your problems of access. If you don't have a green thumb, perhaps you can support your local CSA and still keep your consumption local while supporting your neighbors.
This is also a perfect time to stop, reflect, and "spring clean" your personal life - throwing out the old and keeping what's important, a time to let go. It's a time to draw closer to your Creator and be thankful. It's a perfect time to let those cortisol spikes slow down and bring your body back into a normal circadian rhythm.
Regarding keeping things sanitized at home, we have already mentioned hand sanitizer and Four Thieves, recipes for which are below. There is a company called Norwex which makes cleaning clothes and products. Their clothes have silver threads woven within them which kill bacteria and are great for cleaning tough surfaces and removing bacteria even without disinfectant. These are great for polishing surfaces, cleaning glass, and disinfecting kitchen and bath areas that are significant for germs. I have one in each room and one for cleaning glass. They can be used multiple times before washing as they even disinfect themselves. Lavender aromatherapy oil is also another germ destroyer besides smelling wonderful. A few drops in laundry rinse cycle, and in spray bottle to wipe down counters and other common areas is very handy.
Lastly, there is a lot of fear around because some of us have never come this way before. If you want to reassure yourself that this will turn around, do a little history search on your computer for Scarlet Fever, the Spanish flu, the Swine flu and the Ebola outbreak to name a few. You will find that practice of social distancing, remaining at home, growing one's own food, and the number of deaths that occurred were just as bad if not worse. I believe that we have learned from history and have gotten a jump on this virus. Though we expect many deaths, we are far ahead with businesses rising to the challenge of supplying PPE, and strategies for bringing us out of this time more quickly than those prior events. Let us pray and encourage those on the front lines and our lawmakers that have the responsibility for leading us through this; and let not fear drive us to division, being judgemental and negativity.
Hats off to all of you, rising to your personal challenges!
Recipe for Hand Sanitizer:
Rubbing Alcohol 70% or less, found in any pharmacy
Aloe vera or glycerine or jojoba oil
Aromatherapy scent of your choice
Straight rubbing alcohol will work, but adding aloe will help it not to dry out your skin so much.
I use 3/4 bottle of alcohol and 1/4 of aloe
Add enough drops of lavender or lemon or other scent you like to taste.
Four Thieves Recipe
This formula when worn externally will dispell and kill bacteria in the air. Put on collar or edge of shirt or hat as well as on your skin. This is most potent when made with aromatherapy oils but you can also tincture raw ingredients together and use that way also.
2 parts Clove oil
2 parts lemon oil
1/2 part cinnamon oil
1 part eucalyptus oil
1 part rosemary oil
Store in bottle and keep in cool dark place or purse or glove compartment of car depending how your lifestyle is and where you might need it. A few drops in a pan of hot steamy water will dispense into your house or you can even inhale. You can also add this to your disinfectant for wiping down counters.
Act wisely, Be safe!
Be well and stay well. If you do your part, God will do His.
felt the need to address the issues around the coronavirus to dispel fear and educate all of us on preparing our bodies for any virus that may come down the pike.
There has been a lot of information in the alternative medicine arena in the last few years warning us that there would be new infectious bacterial and viral strains that would develop because of mutations from overuse of antibiotics, additives in vaccines, and toxins in our environment. Steve Buhner wrote a book called Herbal Antibiotics, Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria in 1999 that has good explanation of how it has happened. We have now arrived at what he warned us about.
Your best offense will be good defense. I have for years tried to get folks to think about building up their immune systems intentionally. And now with coronavirus a realty, it pertains even more. Many of us have come through our own health crises and had to build our immune systems back up. When we arrive at a healthy level again, a lot of us ease off on our watchfulness or stop entirely. Unfortunately because of the toxic levels of our environment, and the general lack of full spectrum nutrients in the food we eat, caused by depleted soils; we can't afford to stop intentionally looking out for our health daily.
Today I'm focused on viruses and the antiviral foods, supplements and herbs that might help you and your family stay out of the pandemic numbers. Whether we classify this as a pandemic or an extremely virulent flu strain is not as important as learning from and doing something about it. Let's take our body's ability to ward off disease up a notch.
First of all, eating a "clean" anti-inflammatory, alkaline, well balanced diet without a lot of sugar and junk food will go a long way to keeping your body strong. Add to that foods like onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables, sprouts and fermented foods like kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut will keep your gut biome diversified and working efficiently. Herbs like astragalus, echinacea, elderberry syrup, goldenseal, ginger, grapeseed extract, and usnea to name a few are especially good to have on hand when symptoms begin and as specific symptoms become apparent.
Spices like oregano, thyme, rosemary, curcumin, capsicum, and basil have specific uses and can be found in most kitchens. Use them to flavor soups, stews and other dishes and you are getting your medicine while you enjoy your meal. The mushrooms have a lot to say about your health and you can forage for them or find tinctures and formulas to supplement daily at your local health food store.
Hydrate with good water daily and stay away from fad sports drinks and too much coffee, cafeinated tea, soda in all its forms, and alcohol which are very dehydrating.
In addition to thinking about your health; consider what you need to have on hand should the need for less public interaction become necessary. Stock up on non-perishable foods and health needs so that if it hits your area, you are not forced to interact with the public rushing to the grocery store. If anyone in your family has a compromised immune system, that is another good reason for them to stay out of the public venues as well as family who could bring something home. Always use good hygiene like washing hands and stay home from work and school if you are sick.
The following is a soup base that contains astragalus, an herb that is well known for its immune boosting characteristics, supporting T-cell function and lymph among other things. You can make it and freeze it or keep in the frig and reheat daily.
3 Cups water, vegetable or bone broth
1/2 Cup Vegebroth powder or miso
6 slices dried astragalus root
3 Tbsp garlic powder or 10 fresh cloves
Place all ingredients in a pot and simmer 2 to 3 hours
Take out the root slices.
Take 1 C broth once or twice a week as a preventative or Add veggies for a substantial soup
If you get sick consume as much as you can and continue to make more.
We have a couple of series that we are offering for the spring/summer months that I encourage any of you to take that struggle with the changes our toxic environment and food sources have thrown at us. You will be amazed at the improvement simple changes will make in your overall health and energy levels.
Be well and stay well. If you do your part, God will do His.
Seed catalogs and more seed catalogs!! Tis the season for gardeners to consider the strategy for next season's garden.
Here is New England, we still have many overcast days, but as the days get longer, we begin to see the sun shine and the hint of spring a few months away. Looking at seed catalogs and envisioning the green plants popping through the ground is a way that I get through cold winter evenings. But for me, there is always something beckoning me to play in the soil whether it is my house plants, my windowsill herbs or the newest discovery - growing microgreens. As the sun begins to shine stronger each day, my windowsills and sunny, south facing rooms begin to see the gathering of plant pots and seedlings in anticipation of a fast start to new plants in my vegetable garden. Now I am making room for plastic trays that I can fill with numerous varieties of seeds that I can sprout quickly and begin to have fresh salad greens at my fingertips without any threat of ecoli microbes.
We have always known the nutritional advantage of sprouts because of the full value of plant nutrients within the seeds themselves. Now we have the advantage of experiencing what happens when those seeds are planted in soils warmed at home in a sunny window and containing the dense nutrients provided by the chlorophyll within their green cousins. There are any number of things that you can raise this way from obvious salad greens to their herbal cousins for flavor combinations and diverse vitamins and minerals as a base for your winter salads. In Europe, it has always been a custom to have a simple green salad with meals with fresh olive oil and vinegar. The combinations, shapes and sizes are diverse. If you google growing microgreens at home, there are many sources of information with instructions.
Some of the more uncommon greens are mache, beets, broccoli, arugula, cress, nasturtium, radish, peas, sunflower, celery, buckwheat. Or how about the herbs basil, mustard, cilantro, parsley, oregano, alfalfa, dill, leeks. These are just a "taste" of what is available for creative cooks as well as not so creative. Even if you only grow one kind of green that you use as a salad base for your household, the consistent contribution of nutrient value in these simple salads will increase your health and immunity in a season when ripe, fresh vegetables are not so easy to come by. They are picked fresh from your home garden and no value is lost in transport.
The other way you can use all these wonderful shapes and flavors of greens is to use them as garnishes on sandwiches, wraps, meats and sauces. So the skies the limit. While you're dreaming about your summer garden; start a mini-version in your house. You may find that microgreens are a great addition to raised beds and patio gardens if space is limited.
So dream on……….
It's a New Year!!!
As always, many of us are looking for a new start in some area of our lives. It seems that health issues are always near the top of those lists. Whether those issues are health problems or something else, the problem is that we have good intentions, but neglect to make a plan; or if we do make a plan, it is full of unrealistic expectations. As a result, the resolutions soon fall flat.
As the numbers 2020 often insinuate, maybe we should look a little closer at what we want to accomplish and make this a year of new perspective. People are not bringing their best to the world because they're sick. There is so much potential in human relationship that is being sidetracked. We are so easily tempted by quick fixes and instant gratifications. If we understood our worth, we would also understand that we need to eat, physically and spiritually in alignment with our values. Not only do we need to understand the value of what we eat; if we know our worth, we should be compelled to find the food that maintains our value to fulfill our potential life achievements.
My encouragement to all of us is to evaluate where we are at. Take of stock of where we have succeeded over the last year and where we have fallen back. Evaluate outside influences, versus personal motivational issues, versus existing health issues, versus what information we need that we don't have. You may also evaluate if there is anything that needs to be removed from your life, goal list, etc. Once your evaluation is complete, then it's time to make a plan.
Begin with setting some goals. Make sure they're realistic in light of the evaluation you have just completed. Then give yourself smaller incremental steps and timelines that are realistic and obtainable. Under those incremental steps list the outside influences, then the motivational issues, health issues, resource needs, etc.
Next prioritize what is the key issue that is keeping you from your goal; then the next key issue etc. With this information you can begin to see what needs to be accomplished first and then the next steps in order to accomplish your goals. Laying this foundation will provide you with a better perspective. Though you may not be able to accomplish all that you would like in a short period of time, the little successes you make can carry you forward and I guarantee that as you gain forward momentum, you will see your successes come more quickly.
As for your health issues --- we are here to help!! I cannot stress enough that the more excellent your health, the greater energy and momentum you will gain in whatever endeavor you begin. If you need help with purchasing supplements, addressing specific health crises, need more information on specific health issues and alternative therapies, nutritional questions, getting your diet back to alkaline, taking the Intermittent Fasting challenge, learning how to use herbs, how to fight back your autoimmune problems ….. we can help. The list here is endless. You are each unique and your solutions will be as unique as you are!!!
The New Year is here. Let us help you prepare to be ready for long term success and the exciting life experiences that are waiting for you!!
OK, so it's hustle and bustle time…. Christmas approaches. How are we going to make this Christmas different from the last ones? How can we make Christmas meaningful amidst all the tantalizing stuff we see on the shelves? Sometimes it's so overwhelming. Maybe we need to just take a step back in our gift giving and look at life from the outside in and what special gift would be appropriate for each one according to their heart's desires. Ah, you have to get close to people to see what that might be you say…….
I'd like to share a story with you. I have been to the country of Haiti as a missionary three times in my younger years. I remember after returning from one trip, getting into a conversation with someone about the ghettos in New York City and how there was a Haitian community there. The comment of my friend was "how can they live in such terrible conditions with extreme heat and no air conditioning, open to the street, and only cold water coming out of a faucet." My, comment to her is that "everything is relevant. If you saw the conditions they live in in their country, just having running water, even if it is cold, is a huge improvement." I remember seeing the stick huts with mud floors and palm branch roofs. I remember the pallets for sleeping on the floors of those huts, side by side with exposure to wind, rain, and mosquitos carrying malaria. I remember how they spent an entire day, gathering enough things to sell or trade so that they could eat a meal that same day. I remember the lack of choices, sickness without doctors and little food to eat. And I remember that even though they lived a meager lifestyle, when there was an event or gathering, they could always be found celebrating, singing, dancing, & playing their simple instruments of music. As I got to know the people of Haiti, I found them to be joyous for life despite it's hardships and the individual creativity and uniqueness of each person as I came to know them personally.
I remember returning home and looking around me at my life in the United States and wondering if all the choices we have was a blessing or a curse. Wondering if any of us would be so grateful for what we had that we would sing and dance and celebrate just that single blessing. Wondering if the whining and complaining I hear about what we do and don't have, comparing ourselves to someone else, would ever change to gratefulness.
I'm not wanting to do another exhortation on being thankful. I would challenge you as you begin to shop for gifts, what is the dream or desire in the heart of the one you are buying for that could be touched by a gift that would encourage and strengthen them as a person? What do they love so much that they would jump at the chance to pursue that journey. What don't they have that you could supply simply by encouraging them in their identity to continue to be who they were created to be; or even to find the adventure of their life they were destined to carry. Maybe you don't have the money to buy what they would really want, or maybe you have someone that is really difficult to buy for. But you could get them a gift that is simply symbolic of what they love and who they are, a sentiment that you see and care.
In this fast paced world of multi-tasking, perhaps it's more important to give a gift that affirms to someone that you see their uniqueness, their dreams and their hearts desires. So you'll have to look to get to know who they really are. Perhaps that is their gift to you. Maybe time together on a common interest or at least talking about it for lunch. Allegorically speaking, we're all gardens waiting to be planted, nurtured and harvested; much like the herbal ones we nurture. My prayer for you this Christmas is that you give the gift that nurtures the spirit in each one and that you may receive the same.
We're still canning, freezing and processing all the bounty from the gardens, fields and forests with the promise of cooler weather and a time to rest over the winter months. We are all looking forward to getting together at the end of the month with friends and family for our Thanksgiving feasts together. It's always a time to put together our best recipes to share with those we care about and to spend time with those we may not have seen for a stretch.
It's amazing how we look forward to spending time with others and it makes me realize just how important it is to be together. As much as our technology can be a lifeline of communication in our busy lives, being together and sharing moments of time, is the best!! I have more memories of moments with people I care about than email communications to those same folks.
Don't forget all the lovely and thoughtful gifts we can give to those we care about using the herbs, trees and other natural surprises in our own back yards. Let the aromatic herbs share their fragrances as well as their flavors, let your jams & relish, pickles and syrups restore and rejuvenate. Sometimes the simplest gifts are the best!!
Thank you to all our students, friends and supporters. You are all important to me and I am able to learn as much from you as I hope you can learn from me. You are all true treasures!!
It's a busy time as we look forward to the holiday season. My new motto is shop less and spend more (time that is!) It is a gift of love.
Over 40 years of Herbal and nutritional experience.