We all know this past year has been a challenge unlike any we’ve experienced before. I think its safe to say that no one has come through it without some mental anguish. If not for themselves, then for others.
For myself, Covid just extended what was already a lonely time of resetting myself. I had spent the previous 6 months meeting with God to figure out my past and my future. And then my future was put on hold by Covid. And I was isolated even more from people I loved.
My response to it all has largely been to hermit. Spend my time alone, in my house, getting things done, but also escaping reality through Netflix and Instagram.
As a result, my health issues were not improving, and I began to feel pretty numb again. (TV seems to have that affect on me.) But I wasn’t as alone as I thought.
The Lord was creating some opportunities that I didn’t expect or look for, to connect me with beauty again. First through renewed friendships and meeting for Bible study, then through exploring my creativity and recently He convicted me of the effect of Netflix, etc. and I gave up ‘mind-numbing entertainment’ for Lent. Which has freed some time.
In thinking about my health issues, I realized that I used to walk every day. I had been told 15 years ago that I would not feel well unless I did so and at that time, I took up walking either outside or on the treadmill (and watching TV) but since I had been working full time, walking became less of a priority and I’d nearly given it up altogether.
But spring helps with creating a desire to be outside again and so I’ve been walking again. I aim for at least 30 minutes a day and I’ve been letting friends know that I need walking buddies. So re-igniting some friendships that haven’t had enough attention the last year has been a great side benefit.
Frankly, I need people as much as I need exercise. I am an extrovert and connecting with others is great for my soul.
But the other benefit is that being out in creation is making me happier. The heather looks vibrant, the bulbs are blooming, the magnolias are starting to flower and I get to chat with my neighbours. All creation is waking up from this long year and reminding us to be outside. It awakens my soul and tells me that just as the Lord is faithful to give the flowers and trees what they need to thrive, so is he with me. I have what I need to get through each day and its tasks, and plenty to make it enjoyable besides.
I’m so good at putting my nose to the grindstone and missing these blessings. And letting my health deteriorate in the meantime. Sometimes I wonder if that’s why the Lord gives me/allows physical difficulties – so I’m required to slow down and look around.
How does God get your attention?
This may not be the cleanest subject I could blog about but I wanted to share with you all what Karl and I have been doing for the last 10 days. Get your minds out of the bedroom now - we’ve been doing the Master Cleanse.
I have been struggling for over a year with really low iron and none of the oral supplements I have tried seem to be absorbing into my system. I heard about the Master Cleanse protocol and thought that cleaning out my gut might just solve this absorption problem. I told Karl about it and he decided to support me the best way possible by joining me in doing it.
It began with eliminating all foods that don’t grow in the ground which for us took two days. We then had one day of just fruits & veggies and then one day of fruits and veggies blended. Then one day of just fresh squeezed orange juice (with a little maple syrup for energy). Then we began 10 days of fresh squeezed lemonade mixed with maple syrup and cayenne pepper and of course water. We allowed ourselves herbal tea (decaf) and also drank a senna tea each morning and night. Some mornings we replaced the senna tea with a litre of warm salt water.
The senna tea and salt water help with bowel movements since we’re not getting much fibre. But they definitely caused discomfort some days. I think the hardest part was feeling uncomfortable (disrupting our sleep), not knowing when we’d need to go and having that restrict our lives a little. Covid of course, meant we weren’t going out much, so it wasn’t that terrible.
When we read what others had to say about the cleanse, many participants felt that they didn’t miss food that much and gained good amounts of energy toward the end. This wasn’t the case for us, partly because we had kids cooking in the house, so the smell of cooking made the evenings a bit of a challenge. Karl thought he had a bit better energy; I didn’t notice much difference at all.
Today is day 10. We nearly gave up on day 8. We were missing the joy of sharing a variety of foods with each other and our family and were concerned about the ramp up back to eating normally. The orange juice day in the lead up was pretty hard for Karl. He didn’t accomplish much at work that day, so we thought it might be better for orange juice day on the way out (the process is reversed at the end) to be on Sunday. However, we woke up Sunday morning and changed our minds.
The whole process up to that point had been very much a physical exercise for us. But we realized that morning that we hadn’t been thinking about our cravings for food in a spiritual way at all. In the book, Take This Bread, by Sara Miles, the author quotes a theologian, Ed de la Torre who says “To starve after justice is to ache for it, like food”. It made us think that perhaps our North American society is so satiated by food and ‘stuff’ that we can’t at all relate to those who don’t have everything they want at their fingertips. Recognizing our hunger and not satisfying it immediately is a worthy exercise to consider the needs of others. Not just those who are hungry, but also those who are oppressed or have to fight for any kind of justice.
So I hope this cleanse will have long term effects on me. Not just physically, but also in how I think about the world and what it needs. And how just because I can’t do much today to bring justice to others doesn’t mean I can’t work toward helping others in some way.
Do I recommend the Master Cleanse? Absolutely. But I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone, so I do recommend getting at least one family member on board.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." Ecclesiastes 3:1
Structure is a word I have a love-hate relationship with. Its always been my nature (and my joy) to rebel against other people’s structures. They make me feel claustrophobic and resentful. I’ve always been a ‘colour outside the lines’ kind of girl and feel very much that the Lord created me that way and I don’t have to apologize for it (except for the glee I feel when thwarting other people’s structure, I probably owe a few apologies for that).
The last eight years I spent with the structure of going to work every day. My day at work was mostly built by what landed on my desk or in my inbox. The times when those items were cleared off resulted in a sense of freedom for what important but not urgent items needed to be done – because it was completely up to me to decide what to tackle. But what gets priority often still came down to what had the earliest deadline. So although there was structure in that – in terms of deadlines and urgency – the randomness of what I would deal with from one day to the next still felt freeing to me. And most delightful was being interrupted by those who walked in the door and needed a listening ear, or wanted to offer me theirs. Being able to respond to that randomness was the best part of the job.
Because of the structure of being away at a job every day, even my home time was determined by urgency. For working women, there’s always much more to do in the house than there is time for, so if you’re like me, you just tackle what’s in front of you and hope nothing gets left undone too long.
But now, my ‘job’ is undefined. Its still varied, but there’s nothing screaming at me to get done – except the dishes. They always seem to be there. And so I’m discovering that even I too, need structure. I need a framework and deadlines to determine what I do each day. Not because I expect to entirely stick to it, but because it keeps me going and doing the next thing.
My current structure says that I do ‘house’ things till 11 am and then ‘job’ things after that till about 4. But I was listening to a podcast while doing house things and that inspired this blog post, so I’m doing it now and its only 10 am. Which is what I love about structure that I create. Its up to me if I bend the lines and I don’t need to apologize.
I may be late to the value of structure, I know my teacher friends have been trying to impress upon me the value of it for a long time, but I do think that’s one of the things that separates those that do well as a homeschooler, entrepreneur or creative. It’s the ability to create structure that gives them purpose and success.
What podcasts do I listen to (so I forget that) while I’m doing housework? Today I found a new one called “The Next Right Thing” with Emily Freeman which really was the inspiration for this post, but also, learning to value my creative muscle as part of my job has been helped by listening to “The Creative Exponent” podcast. I listen to these on Stitcher.
I also created my own planner – again, someone else’s planner would just give me rules to break, but making my own meant it was exactly what I wanted it to be. And really its more about intentions, goals and priorities and less about appointments and timed structure since most days are like an empty book for me. I’m thinking about making it available for others – if you’re interested let me know!
Today I might say ‘not always’. I’ve been suffering from a migraine for 2 days. Why the Lord allows us to be afflicted with things like this is beyond me. You’re going along in life, getting things done and all of a sudden whamo! you’re down for the count. Although the fact that I can write this means its better than it was. But I still feel like I’ve been knocked down. And I’ve put every oil I can think of on my forehead, temples, feet, neck – everywhere.
So am I giving up on them? No. But I do recognize their limitations. They are not magic and their job is not to fix everything. Their job is support. Would my migraine be worse if I didn’t use them – probably. Let’s not find out. Gary Young, the founder of Young Living has been quoted as saying, “You can’t out-supplement a bad diet”. Which is the floor on which the magic dies. I haven’t been eating super healthy and my exercise routine suffered while the pools were closed. And my body isn’t 25 anymore. Its demanding that I do better.
So why bother with essential oils? Because whatever I do to support my body will help it. I can’t prevent everything that will happen to my body in this broken world. I will still have a lowered immune function, damaged muscles from car accidents and changing hormones. And maybe worse in the future. But anything I do for my body will allow it to prosper. Anything I neglect, will decline. Eating healthy, exercise and good supplements, including essential oils contribute to my body’s prosperity.
What do you do to prosper physically? I happen to be someone that likes to share my journey. I’d like to hear about yours too.
Thanks for listening,
The Lord has been talking to me today about accepting who I am - who he has made me to be. He’s given me strengths and limitations. He’s blessed me with gifts that I don’t always live into. He has made me different than those to whom I might try to compare myself. I don’t need to do a deep dive into what all my gifts and strengths are (again). But focussing on them and accepting what I am not is where I struggle.
My body inhibits me. I have medical issues that limit how physically strong I am and therefore restricts what I can do in my garden and around my house and in my life in general without paying a physical price. I find this very frustrating and often feel that its unfair. Because I have visions for my home that I want to accomplish on my own. I hate relying on others to help me and I feel weak when I say I can’t help someone else.
I have also been raised with a very strong protestant work ethic. I tend to operate out of a belief that if we don’t spend 90% of our day physically doing things, we are wasting time. I’ve also been jealous of people whose life work is reading, thinking and talking – that sounds like a constant vacation. But they exist and its reasonable to think that the Lord has called them to the work that they do. And I’m pretty sure its not actually a constant vacation. 😊
But I’ve spent more time this year reading, thinking and praying then I ever have before. And its been good. But when I started to get busy with projects a few months in, I firmly believe the Lord caused me to trip and break my arm so I would stop and keep still and listen to Him. That was a painful lesson that I don’t want to repeat. But yet I still have so much I want to accomplish and I get frustrated that my body doesn’t cooperate.
Struggling to accept help (or ask for it) is a control issue and comes from a desire to present myself as strong enough. But working within my actual strengths and accepting the contributions of others is actually what God calls me to. Strength isn’t just a physical thing.
Race. Justice. Words that aren’t part of my daily world. I pray for justice regularly, but I don’t act in ways that seek justice. I don’t strive to learn what the deeper issues are. I don’t come alongside. I don’t learn about people I meet at their heart level.
Is this just a cry for anti-racism, justice and allyship? Or is it really a cry for deeper relationships, true love for one another? I don’t think we can accomplish a better world for everyone of all races and colours through posing our allyship and firing people who say the wrong things. Each of us need to commit to having better conversations, asking people how they are (and listening for real answers), stepping outside of ourselves and seeing the world from another point of view. This is not done by corporations or on social media (although following people who are sharing their stories is a start; I truly appreciate and have learned from those in the black community who have shared their hearts and their stories through media). And it certainly isn’t done by blanket claiming to love everyone. It is a daily commitment to everyone we meet and for whom we have responsibility. Everyone. If I want my MP to consider the heart and needs of the indigenous person suffering without clean water thousands of kilometres away from me, then I need to commit to regularly connecting with my MP (even through email, they are busy 😊), asking what they need from me to help them do their job better and what their prayer needs are.
We give a small amount of money to organizations working in justice issues. But I can’t remember the last time I emailed the front line workers and asked them how they are doing. Or told them they are in my prayers. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever actually prayed through the list of requests in their newsletter.
Prayer seems to be on my heart. It may feel like a remote thing to do and often feels like a cop out. “I’m praying for you” is easier to say than “how can I help you” or “tell me your story”. But if I truly were praying regularly for the people who suffer in situations outside of my small world, the Lord would be changing my heart and showing me better ways to show up for people and expand my reach.
Please bear in mind, this was not written to chastise anyone else. I really was working out what the Lord was teaching me while writing – and thought I’d share. If you appreciate it, drop a comment. Maybe more of my prayer musings will make it here. And if I haven’t heard your story and you would like to share, drop me a DM and we’ll connect. Love you all.
Its been an interesting few weeks as we ramp up more stringent response to the Corona virus threat. A researcher from the WHO claims Coronavirus will infect 30-70% of the population before its done. I posted to my personal FB page today an article written by a doctor in Europe that suggested social distancing was a very important step and that all countries and individuals should be taking measures to protect not only themselves but those around them, especially the vulnerable as we don't know who we come in contact with that is more vulnerable than us and we may carry it without symptoms.
We don't know what tomorrow will bring. Will more of our infrastructure close down? Will we all be asked to self quarantine for 2 weeks? I have gotten a little more groceries than usual, we won't be holding local church services. I see events being cancelled all the way through June and wonder whether there will be disruptions to our supply chains.
Young Living Essential Oils is being very proactive in maintaining their supply efforts as there is a thousandfold increase in demand for their cleaning and immune support products. At the same time they are offering plenty of information on how to protect ourselves and special sale kits of items to support clean hands, cough and cold relief and general immunity. Click here for details on these products or contact me directly to ask about them or any products that Young Living carries. It is important to take our health seriously and protect our families at any time. Essential Oil products have made a vast difference in my immunity and I would be happy to share my story with you in person.
What measures are you taking to protect yourself and your community?
I am a huge fan of shopping locally and when I can or am aware of products made or sold locally, I will choose to purchase them, if I believe them to be affordable for me. Case in point: I recently needed a glass straw – that’s a whole other blog post, maybe for next time. Amazon had a large selection of straws, mostly in packs of 7 or 8 for about $15-$20, made overseas somewhere. I chose to buy a straw hand-blown in Vancouver and sold at a small retailer in Fort Langley for $7. I actually saved money since I didn’t need more than one.
However, when shopping for items that I am ingesting or putting on my body, I’ve become a little picky. I actually want to know what it is I am putting in or on my body. And it seems much of the ingredients listed in these types of products are foreign to me. So what I like about shopping online is the ability to search the ingredients and find out more about them. For example, I was just considering purchasing a Lavender Bath and Shower Gel from Young Living and noticed some chemically looking ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce. I searched them up and satisfied myself that they were harmless, necessary for the product to be effective and in some cases, even plant-derived. If I had been standing in a store, I may have made assumptions about the length of their names and difficulty in pronunciation and determined that they weren’t safe ingredients.
Now if I could find a similar product made in Southwestern BC or even the Pacific Northwest US and sold in a local store, I might be interested. But I also don’t love the time-consuming nature of seeking such a product out. In writing this post, I decided to try to find out where Young Living makes its bath products. I’m still searching for that answer but I did find this little nugget of information:
“The terms of the Young Living Supplier Code of Conduct specifically requires all suppliers and/or subcontractors to verify/certify that no raw materials, finished product, etc. purchased by Young Living has been manufactured, assembled, and packaged through the direct or indirect use of forced labor, bonded labor, child labor, or unsafe working conditions.”
So that makes me happy, since my biggest concerns with overseas manufacturing is the treatment of the workers and potential lack of oversight in ingredient purity.
What information or factors are important to you in choosing the products you purchase?
Having trouble sleeping? There’s an oil for that.
Brought down by cough and cold symptoms? There’s an oil for that.
Feeling irritable and crampy once a month? There’s an oil for that.
Finding parts of your life particularly stressful? There’s an oil for that.
Kids always fighting with each other? There’s an oil for that.
Allergies getting in the way of accomplishing your goals? There’s an oil for that.
Feeling weighed down by chronic illness? There’s an oil for that.
What are you dealing with? Are you feeling like you just don’t have all the resources you need to live your best life? You’re right, you don’t.
Yes, you need to drink plenty of water, eat a good diet, and exercise regularly. But do you? And what’s a good diet these days anyway? Balanced or minus gluten and dairy? Vegan? Low fat, low carb, low flavour? Who really knows for sure? Or is it different for you than for me?
How’s that water drinking going? Are you getting half your body weight in ounces? (If you weigh 150 lbs, you should be drinking 75 oz/day.) Or so I’ve heard. Or just 2 litres – who really knows? Is it hard to get enough water daily? There’s an oil for that.
This is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure disease. That’s not what oils are for. They are tools to support your good bodily function. Would you try to race a triathlon if you hadn’t been drinking water for a month? That’s what living life without oils can be like. Your body is assaulted with toxins every day, from our environment, from the foods we eat, from the stress we live under. Oils help our systems rid the toxins and function optimally.
Contact me to find out what oils can do with your specific issue. Hint: the ones you need are probably in the starter kit, which, if you sign up and order one this week – there’s a bonus gift worth $50. Even more value! Yep, it costs $200, but if it changes your life, what’s that worth?
Go to the page titled Essential Oils (in the menu at the top of this page) to get started right away or contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) to answer your questions. I want you to feel better and I know there’s an oil for that.
I’ve been transforming myself lately. Two years ago, if I had some time to myself, the TV typically came on. I liked a few primetime shows as well as a lifestyle show that has segments about décor and cooking which I’ve learned a lot from as I feed my family and design our new spaces. But watching TV was no longer life-giving – it was a way to check out.
I don’t think there were any big issues that I was checking out from. I was just living life in a comfort zone. But I also wasn’t growing and it took some serious navel-gazing to realize I wasn’t happy in my comfort zone – just comfortable. I wasn’t doing any of the things that give me real joy – like writing.
Getting to the point of realizing that I was accepting too little for my life was a journey begun because of some frank discussions with my kids. They were the ones that pointed out that I was underwhelming as an example of how to live. They were kind in how they said it, but they definitely said it. I appreciate their candor. I feel a little - in the past year or so - like I’m following their example. Which is ok. Maybe that’s what’s supposed to happen as they find their place in the world and reach for more and better things than we did. The point is that as I watch them, I’m not sitting back and feeling like its too late for me. I want to grow and change still. I don’t want to decide at almost 50 that its all downhill from here. I’m still good with some uphill climbing. Because when I get to each small peak, the view and the joy of accomplishment will be so worth it. I’ve already seen some of the benefits and although the journey can be difficult, my eye will remain on the prize.
So how have I been transforming? I’m learning different ways to pray and implementing those ideas. I’m writing this blog. I’m goal setting. I’m getting real exercise multiple times per week and pushing myself to do more than I feel capable. I’m reading books about learning methods and entrepreneurship and spiritual disciplines.
What is the prize? A better me for you. Doing the legwork of building who I am so that I’m a better citizen, a better Christ follower and a better friend to those who need it. Because when I hear and see others learning from my example that is the peak I seek. I’ll still fail. But I will fail because I try, not because I fail to try.