Healing Ginger Water

I’ve caught a cold…a full on, sneezing, fever, aching, coughing, lots of congestion cold. It’s the first one I’ve had since going plant based. Although I was disappointed when I realized I was getting sick, it is not the end of the world. Rather than whining about it, I’ve switched into self care mode…again. My knee has healed nicely under my own ministrations. My clogged head and chest will heal too.

I’m taking cold meds as I need to. However, I love the quote by Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine…” I’ve spent time in Life Changing Foods by Anthony William, looking up which foods help with those three C’s…cold, cough and congestion.

Here’s my list of helpful, healing foods:

Common Cold

Ginger, garlic, grapes. NO dairy products.

Cough

Cherries, dates, grapes, lemons & limes, radishes, oregano & thyme, garlic, ginger, turmeric, rose hips NO wheat

Congestion

Apricots, grapes, lemon & limes, cruciferous veggies, radishes, oregano & thyme, cilantro, garlic, ginger, turmeric, dandelion NO dairy, corn or wheat

These foods will be the mainstay of my diet the next few days. I already avoid the NO foods. They all tend to increase mucus production and I don’t need that, ever.

Today I’ve been preparing pots of thyme tea, and tomorrow I’ll try rose hip tea and then oregano. Cilantro goes into my morning smoothie and I drink a dairy free turmeric milk before bed.

The foods that are on all three lists are garlic, grapes and ginger. I have organic grapes that have been very good for snacking on or tossing into a smoothie. I cook with garlic. I’ll have to think creatively to include more garlic in my meals. Ginger. I just saw a simple recipe for Ginger Water, in Anthony’s new book, Thyroid Healing. This afternoon, I made up a pitcher of this healing drink, to sip on throughout the evening.

Ginger Water Makes 2 servings

• 1 to 2 inches fresh ginger

• 2 cups of water

• 1/2 lemon

• 2 teaspoons raw honey

Grate ginger into 2 cups of water and add juice of 1/2 lemon. Allow to steep for at least 15 minutes. Strain water and add honey and more lemon, if desired. Ginger can also be chopped and squeezed in a garlic press, rather than grated.

I doubled this recipe, mixing the water, ginger and lemon in a small glass pitcher. I added a teaspoon of raw honey to my glass of ginger water before drinking.

This is such a refreshing drink. I’ve come to appreciate the zingy taste of ginger and frequently add it to my juices. The ginger water reminds me a bit of a cold ginger ale, without the carbonation and sugar. I love it and found it difficult to slowly sip. I wanted to chug the drink down. My head immediately cleared up and I could breathe easier.

Ginger is the ultimate antispasmodic, relaxing tension in the body and calming an upset stomach. Ginger helps with muscle spasms and cramps throughout the body, digestive disorders, and…congestion, cough, and sinus pain. It also combats the Epstein Barr virus and a host of other conditions.

I am already on my second glass of ginger water. This is good stuff. And best of all, it is good for me. I am going to kick this cold to the curb.

Thyroid Healing

I was so excited to receive book three this week, in the Medical Medium series. Nothing has impacted my healing journey more than the writings and teachings of Anthony William. His first two books became my roadmap back to health, after suffering from chronic sciatica for 22 years. To my great delight, I have also healed from a variety of other ailments.

I had time this afternoon to read several chapters in Anthony’s third book, Thyroid Healing. As I sipped on a cup of hot chaga tea, I began the next phase of my continuing health journey.

I will be sharing more about this remarkable book as I finish reading it and undertake the 90 Day Thyroid Rehab, included in Part III of the book. Today I learned more about the thyroid, the small gland located in the front of the neck, and about its importance in maintaining a healthy body.

There are so many misunderstandings about the function of the thyroid and the cause of thyroid disorders. A healthy thyroid isn’t something most of us think about, until we feel bad, suffering from a wide array of symptoms, or we get a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s or Grave’s Disease. I have received such diagnoses, being told by my doctor that I had a nodule on my thyroid (it is benign) and hyperthyroidism, which is an overactive condition. No treatment was prescribed. I was told my thyroid would eventually “burn out” and become under active. In the meantime, I was encouraged to learn to deal with heart palpitations, night sweats, jitteriness and excessive energy.

But…what if there is another cause for thyroid disorders, and a host of other symptoms, other than a malfunctioning gland and/or the body turning on itself, creating autoimmune disorders? Anthony explores the effects of the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) on the thyroid as it invades that gland and reproduces. He then offers, in this wonderful book, ways to heal from the virus and restore the thyroid.

The culprit…the Epstein Barr Virus.

This is what I will be learning about in the upcoming weeks…EBV and how to eliminate it completely from my body. These last 16 months I have focused on ridding my body of the shingles virus, which attacked my sciatic nerves, creating my chronic pain and inflammation. I am so much improved, as a result, so much healthier, that it makes me giddy. I have adopted a plant based lifestyle, thanks to what I have learned from Anthony.

Many of the foods I eat and supplements I take to rid my body of the shingles virus also combats EBV. However, while I will continue with those foods and supplements, my focus now is shifting to the elimination of EBV. Because, I still have some symptoms of a problematic thyroid. It is time to take my healing to the next level.

I noticed this afternoon that as I read in Thyroid Healing my eyes would slowly fill with tears. As a non-crier, teary eyes alert me to the fact that something deeper is taking place, something is stirring at a heart and soul level. I sat quietly, alone with my thoughts, and went inward.

I realized the words in this book, as in the other two books in this series, bring me such profound hope. I have learned what healthy feels like. In me, it translates to a feeling of euphoria and heightened energy. This is a new sensation in me. Two weeks ago, hobbling about after I injured my left knee, I was abruptly reminded of the way I used to feel. The thing I have learned as my knee heals, and it is about 90 percent there, is that I don’t want to return to feeling unhealthy. Okay, I also learned patience and to tune in to my body so that I would know how to heal an injury. But mostly, I have been reminded of where I was, not so long ago. Nothing, no food, drink, or dessert, is worth compromising my health. I’ve come through this time of healing more determined than ever to stay the course, maintain a plant based lifestyle, and stay open to ways of continually improving my health.

Holding Thyroid Healing in my hands today supported those desires that I have and infused me with hope.

Tonight, before I began my blog post, I flipped to the back of Thyroid Healing and looked through the recipes there. There are so many excellent ones to sample. I decided to try the Thyroid Healing Tea. I still have lemon balm and thyme growing in the herb garden and I had fennel seeds on hand.

As the tea steeped, filling my kitchen with its earthy aroma, I opened the book at random. I read the section called Butterfly Sun Soaking. The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly. Anthony wrote that the thyroid collects sunlight on those “wings” much like a butterfly does. When you allow the sun to shine on the front of the neck, even for a few minutes, the gland stores up that light energy. This sunlight helps to power the thyroid, balances the production of hormones, keeps EBV from proliferating and stimulates and strengthens the immune system. Anthony provides a soothing and restorative meditation to accompany soaking up the sun.

I was reminded that Greg’s dad, who was in his 90s, would sit daily in the sunlight, his head tipped back, soaking up the beams. It gave him energy, he said. He didn’t know that the thyroid benefits from sunlight. However, he instinctively knew he needed the energy the sun gave him. How amazing.

As I sipped my freshly brewed Thyroid Healing Tea, which is fragrant and delicious, I glanced down at my glass mug. There is a butterfly etched on the mug, which was a gift from my daughter Adriel. How serendipitous. What a wonderful, and insightful, synchronicity. Those telling tears filled my eyes again.

This is going to be an incredible new journey.

Get your copy of Thyroid Healing here!

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For the Love of Cats

Truthfully, every day is Cat Day at my house. However, this week is National Cat Week. I felt this created the perfect opportunity to do an update on my fur babies.

I currently have three felines, which officially removes my title of “crazy cat lady”. I believe you have to have at least five cats to qualify! My three are siblings, a brother and two sisters, litter mates brought to me four years ago by their momma. These babies were feral, born in the wild, or at least, in the neighborhood, and unused to human interaction.

It was a freezing cold November day when momma cat brought her litter to my front door. I had been feeding the little family for weeks, out on the porch. But on this frigid day, I opened the front door and one by one, momma cat brought her youngsters in. They’ve been here since. Momma cat, later named Momba, moved on a short time later, after I had her spayed. I think her offspring got on her nerves. And another little tomcat that she had, that I kept, has gone to live with another family.

Most of my life, I have been a dog person, and I still like canines. However, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for cats. They are more independent, making them easier to care for. If I have a long day away from home, I know they will be okay outside, hanging around the house and garden, as long as they have fresh water and a bowl of dry cat food available. They don’t have to be walked, and my cats have short fur, eliminating the need for brushing. All three are spayed or neutered, which means they don’t wander far or get into cat fights. They are basically self sufficient, and yet always glad to see me when I get home.

These are my cats:

Shy Boy, or Shy for short, is the male. My granddaughter Aubrey named the cats when they were kittens, and she chose apt names. The only name that would suit Shy better would be Fraidy Cat. Shy was the last of the litter to allow me to touch him. It was a long process, requiring gentleness and patience, before he would let me pet him. He is a cuddler now and has the most ingrained habits.

Giving the term “leg warmer” a new meaning.

Shy often sleeps in the prayer pose. Who knows? Maybe that is what he’s doing.

He is still very shy about strangers and afraid of many things including the trash truck that comes by on Thursdays, ceiling fans in motion, thunder and loud appliances such as the vacuum cleaner. Shy adores Greg and wants to be held on Greg’s lap at least once a day. With his sisters, he is not so timid. Shy is almost twice their size and at times he can be a bit of a bully with them, chasing them away from his napping spot or nudging them away from the food dish. But overall, this boy is a sweetheart, affectionate now, and wide eyed like he was as a kitten.

Sleeping in his favorite chair, on his favorite blanket.

Angel is the different one in the litter. Her sister and brother are both black and white. Angel has short, thick silvery gray fur that is beautiful. This girl is unusual in many ways. She is very vocal, communicating with a variety of meows, chirps and mews. She responds to words, plays the most, likes to watch television, and although she is now the best hunter, her first catch as a young cat was a piece of styrofoam, which she proudly brought to Greg and me while we were working in the garden. Yes, we praised her!

Angel is the cat who most enjoys being on someone’s lap. She will curl up, or stretch out on her back, and sleep for hours on a lap. She is also the most social, visiting the neighbors regularly. One of my neighbors grew concerned when she didn’t see Angel for several days around the 4th of July. The cats don’t like fireworks and hide out in the house or under the porch. Judy missed Angel’s visits and was relieved that she was ok. This beauty also has a dog-like trait. She begs for table food and will eat almost anything. Angel is the easiest of the cats to care for, in that she doesn’t do the “I want to go outside/I want to come back in” routine as much as the other two.

I was unboxing Christmas decorations. Angel was watching football. I’m not sure which team is her favorite.

Greg created this hilarious pic of a napping Angel.

Rilynn is the smallest of the three cats, the runt of the litter. And although she be small, she is fierce. The day the kittens first appeared at the house, at about six weeks of age, she was the tiny tigress who bounded out from beneath the front porch, to say “hello”. Her sister and brother stayed in the safety of the shadows. I laughed then, and still smile today, at her cute face. It looks like she dipped her nose into an ink pot. Although she is brave and very curious, she is the least likely to curl up on my lap and she does not like to be picked up or cuddled.

Flower girl.

Of the three, Rilynn seems to enjoy the gardens the most. She loves to hide in the ornamental grasses. And most days, she stretches out atop the picnic table in the backyard to catch the rays of the setting sun. When I am working in the garden, Rilynn is the cat who follows me around and checks out every new planting. She has some unique habits. If she wants to go outside and no one notices she’s at the door, she does something bad or annoying to get attention. In the winter she lays directly on the heater vents. And sometimes, if she wants to go outside, she rings a bell in my bedroom, by tugging on a long needlepoint pull. What is funny about that habit is that my granddaughter, who gave this cat her own middle name, also rings that same bell when she is headed to the bathroom! Rilynn is my funny girl, adorable and sleepy eyed, who seems to enjoy getting into mischief.

She rarely sits on my lap, but plop a doll into a chair and Rilynn is there.

I can’t end a post about National Cat Week without including these foster “cats” who think they are pets too. And why would they think otherwise? They get fed and have even come into the house several times, which is why the cat doors have to be closed and locked at night.

These guys behave in very feline like ways, having been around cats all their lives. I often come home to find possums waiting on the porch. One likes to sit on the pillows on the porch swing. Another has the (bad) habit of climbing up onto the table near the front door, the better, I guess, to survey the world.

Yep, this one is in the house, eating cat food like he belongs there.

I have to admit, I have a fondness for the possums. The cats accept them or at least, tolerate them. I can look out most evenings and see two or three cats and at least two possums, all sharing the front porch companionably. And because they have grown up eating cat food, these possums have the most gorgeous fur! It is long, thick and luxurious, nothing like the stringy rough looking fur I’ve seen on their wilder cousins.

Andre Norton wrote, “Perhaps it is because cats do not live by human patterns, do not fit themselves into prescribed behavior, that they are so united to creative people.” Maybe that’s why I am drawn to cats, or cats are drawn to me.

Or perhaps it is something more basic and simple. The well known veterinarian, James Herriot, said there is no greater gift than the love of a cat. They choose you, and then they love you, on their terms, in their own unique ways, but there is no denying that they bond with their humans and love them, and accept love in return. I do love these cats and I am the recipient of their love and affection. I guess that makes me a cat lady, after all.

What Endears Me to Myself?

Last week my Facebook friend Marva posed an intriguing question. She first told a charming story on herself, that resulted in delightful giggles, even though she was alone at the time. Marva wrote, “My childlike enthusiasm and eagerness made me smile and hug myself.”

And then she asked, “What endears you to yourself?”

That is such a good question. She didn’t ask for a list of strengths, or what our best character qualities were. Nor did she ask what other people liked best about us. She dropped beneath those into the heart of joy and mirth.

“What endears you to yourself?”

Endears…the definition of which is to make dear. I discovered there is a more obsolete meaning to the word. In the late 1500s endear meant to increase value.

I have thought about my friend’s question for several days.

“What endears me to myself? What makes me dear to myself? What do I do that in my own estimation, increases my value to myself?

What makes me smile, giggle and want to hug myself, even when, or perhaps especially when, I am alone?

I considered several things…my creativity, my magical connection to the Divine, my intuitive and empathic abilities. Today, the answer rose, and I knew it was the right one. It made me laugh and feel lighthearted.

What endears me to myself, and makes me smile, giggle and want to hug myself, is my playfulness. As a child, and a first born at that, with tendencies to shoulder responsibilities and please the authority figures in my life, I could appear quite serious.

And yet…I had, and still possess, this wild, unbelievably vivid imagination. I created stories and daydreamed about alternative realities, disappearing up into trees and onto rooftops. I “fished” in mud puddles and sold mosquito larvae, thinking they were baby guppies. I played long and hard every day, in the company of other children or totally alone.

I am grateful that while I never completely lost my joy of playing, I am much more connected to that part of myself now, than I have been since childhood. Oh, my children gave me an outlet for imaginative play and my grandchildren provide that now. However, recently I have realized that I don’t need the excuse of being in the presence of kids to play. Playing is my birthright. It is who I am.

Seventeen months ago, in the midst of playing a month long game that I created for myself, I asked God…Do you want to play with me? That’s a bold question to ask the Divine. But I was experiencing amazing synchronicities and an invitation seemed to have been extended. The answer that came changed everything for me.

“Do you want to play with me?”

This whole year has been about playing, about creativity being birthed though play and tenderness being birthed through creativity. More times than I can count, I have burst into peals of laughter over my own playful antics, over my own ahas, and no one has been there to witness it. No one needs to be. This is about me discovering who I am at my core…and playing with the Divine, engaging with Life, expressing creativity, and learning and growing. And yes, it includes playful interactions with others, compassion, tenderness, and love…wholehearted, unconditional, big as the universe…love.

I am deeply grateful for Marva. What a soulful question to ask, and how beautiful to ponder it for a few days. My desire to create, to write, to share via a blog is an extension of my fondness for play. I will keep playing and making up games for myself and creating and sharing, because it both deepens my joy to do so and broadens it.

Being playful endears me to myself. And that makes me smile.

27 Day Walking Challenge

It’s time to do an update on the 30 Day Walking Challenge that I initiated on September 29th. Inspired by the amount of walking I did while on recent trips, the intention was to walk daily for a month, in a new location every day.

This was a great activity for me, interesting and fun because of the challenge of picking a different trail or area each day. I saw tremendous benefits, health wise. And then the unexpected happened. A problem with my left knee developed, and on Day 26, the Walking Challenge became a challenge to walk. I toughed it out that day and managed a short walk. However, recognizing I needed to focus on healing my knee, the 30 Day Walking Challenge ended on Day 27, after an extremely short, and painful, stroll.

I have to admit initial disappointment at this surprise ending to the challenge. However, I am not sorry that I created this game for myself. I thoroughly enjoyed the daily walks, and especially delighted in walking in a different place each day.

Most of my walks were outdoors. There is nothing more restorative to my soul and more centering to my body than walking through woods and along rivers. These meanderings through nature were meditative to me.

Destinations included the Joplin area, Springfield, and northwest Arkansas.

I also walked in each of Joplin’s city parks, discovering all have paved paths that loop around the perimeters. Each park offered different views, and most had some form of water on the property.

I met other walkers, joggers and cyclists at these parks, and appreciated the camaraderie that exists between people who desire to be healthier. Most simply smiled or said hello as we passed each other. One enterprising young man at Leonard Park impressed me with his energy, and the game he had created to challenge himself physically. He tossed a frisbee, and then ran to retrieve it. Over and over he threw the disc and then ran to pick it up and toss it again. We chatted about health and the necessity of challenging ourselves in playful ways.

I met my intention of walking with each of my adult children, exploring a neighborhood, a new trail and a family fun farm complete with a corn maze. I traveled to Columbia to walk across Mizzou’s beautiful campus with my grandson Dayan. Together we ventured downtown for a shared meal together.

My sister accompanied me on a walk that was impossible for me until recently. We climbed to the top of a bluff along Shoal Creek and gazed across the valley below. Greg was my walking companion on many of my treks. I appreciated each person who took the time to walk alongside, chatting quietly, and experiencing the beauty around us.

A couple of times, I resorted to cleverness, to fit the walk into a busy day. During an afternoon or running errands, I parked the car as far as possible from each stop, and once inside the store, did a lap around the perimeter. Doing this at five different stores gave me plenty of walking that day.

I only walked at the mall once, on a chilly overcast day. I combined that walk with visits to a couple of new vintage stores that had opened in the mall. Another day, when a sharp cold wind seemed to cut through me, I ended up at the new Joplin Library and walked around the perimeter several times before heading into the stacks. Funny story from there. The next day I ran into a woman who said she saw me, walking around the library, and she asked if that was one of my walking challenges.

Overall, I am very pleased with the results of the challenge. I felt energized by the daily walks. I enjoyed visiting different locations. My body responded by toning up, especially in my calves, thighs, butt and abs. I felt really good during those days of walking, and experienced an increase in stamina and flexibility.

Did the walking contribute to inflammation in the tendon and muscles around my left knee? The honest answer is, I don’t know. Intuitively, I feel this is a form of old energy working its way out. It is something for me to heal, and release. The flare up with my knee was very discouraging at first. I was walking SO well and with such ease. I felt frustrated with my leg, for bringing the walks to a halt, just days before the end of the 30 Day Walking Challenge.

This is part of my journey though. It is, after all, a healing journey, and apparently, I have more healing to do. My intention is to return to the daily walks, as soon as I am able to. After a week of focused care, that has included resting my knee, eating foods that fight inflammation, drinking daily cups of chaga tea and turmeric milk, topical application of Young Living Essential Oils, low impact stretching and brief walks, I am recovering. My knee is healing. I’ve battled impatience. I’ve run the “why’s” through my head and shrugged those off.

What matters is that I allow my knee to heal, by caring for myself in the highest possible ways. And when I can walk without pain, without a limp, with a knee that bends and flexes smoothly, I’ll be back on the trails and looping again around the parks.

30 days on the walking challenge…or 27…it’s all good. I have learned during this month of walking and not walking, and challenge ended up being the key word. I accept the not knowing and not being able to script things out. It is the journey and not the destination. It is during this time of walking in this world that I am growing and discovering new things about myself. Onward and upward.

Trick or Treat

Celebrating Halloween changes when your kids grow up. And it shifts again as the grandchildren grow older too. This is perfect, as it is the way of things and signifies growth. I was mindful of the day, as I took care of business and ran errands, celebrating in small and joyful ways.

I also had a decision to make. As one who no longer eats sugar, I felt conflicted about handing out sugary treats to trick or treaters.

From that place of desiring to offer more, the Trick or Treat Experiment was born.

My own nod to Halloween was simple. Tropical Smoothie Cafe hosted a Hogwarts Day event. As a fan of the Harry Potter books and films, I stopped by to have a pic taken with the Headmaster, Dumbledore, and pick up a fruit smoothie.

No need to try on the Sorting Hat. I already know I am in the House of Slytherin.

On this day only, Tropical Smoothie Cafe offers a Butterbeer Smoothie, in honor of Hogwarts Day. Because of its high sugar content, I opted instead for a refreshingly tart cranberry strawberry smoothie, with no sugar. It was just what I needed for an afternoon pick me up.

At the grocery store, I made a decision about what to offer trick or treaters. We can’t hand out fresh fruit, for safety reasons. Unfortunately, fruit can be tampered with. But happily, I found fruit snacks in little sealed give away bags, and mini fruit roll ups. These aren’t as healthy as a banana or apple would be, but at 45 calories and 6 grams of sugar, they are a better alternative to candy bars.

I purchased a bag of mini Kit Kat bars as well. I don’t want to be that crazy health lady who forces a different lifestyle on others. But what if I offered a choice? Given the option of a Kit Kat bar, with 210 calories and 21 grams of sugar, or a packaged fruit snack, which would kids choose?

I was about to find out.

I offered the bowl of treats to each trick or treater, without influencing the child’s decision. I let them choose, and kept a running tally in my head.

Given the opportunity to choose, the majority of the kids asked, politely, if they could have more than one treat. Of course, I replied. Help yourself. And they did, with grins and words of thanks.

At the end of the evening, here were the results. More fruit snacks were chosen than candy bars. The mini fruit roll ups were the night’s winner. Among kids that selected two snacks, if they picked up a candy bar, they also grabbed a fruit snack as well. And often, those who chose two treats selected two fruit snacks.

With the group of kids that came to my door, it appears that given a choice, most of them preferred a fruit snack. I felt ridiculously pleased with the trick or treat experiment! This gives me hope that a generation is rising that will be more health conscious.

Trick or treat? Treat…especially when it is a low sugar one. I have a year to see what other options are out there, for even healthier treats. Perhaps next year my choices will be fruit snacks…or cashews!

My Halloween costume…a Slytherin pin.

Birthday Dinner & Shopping with Aubrey

This evening it was Aubrey’s turn to be treated to a birthday dinner and a shopping trip. She will be nine years old on Halloween day. I began this tradition several years ago, of taking each of my five grandchildren out for a special evening to celebrate their birth. It has become a wonderful time of sharing and listening and being together, one that the kids anticipate and that I do as well.

Aubrey selected Chicken Mary’s, in Pittsburg Kansas, as her dinner destination. Normally these outings just include the grandchild and me. Because of my knee slipping out of place yesterday, Greg volunteered to join us and drive. Aubrey was delighted.

I’ve never seen this child eat as much as she did at our early dinner. Chicken Mary’s was a good choice for her, with their home style meals and plenty of food. I was able to enjoy a salad with the chicken on the side, so that Aubrey could take it home for her lunch tomorrow.

Back in Joplin, Greg dropped Aubrey and me off at the mall for the birthday shopping, promising to pick us up when we were finished. This is the part of the celebration that the kids most look forward to. I give them a specific amount to spend, and they can use the cash to purchase what they want or they can save it. They typically spend most of it, and that is perfectly fine.

I can tell my granddaughter is getting older. This is the first time she has chosen the mall for her birthday shopping trip, rather than the toy store. She wanted girl stuff…jewelry, a billfold, a unicorn, small items for her school backpack. And an experienced shopper she is. I loved watching her examine items she was interested in, looking for the wow factor, weighing the cost of the item against the gratification. She kept up an amusing chatter the whole time.

This girl loves her fake fashion glasses!

What an almost nine year old girl’s shopping basket contains.

Aubrey settled on Claire’s Boutique, and struck gold here. A big sale meant her birthday cash went further. We visited several other stores in the mall, but this one drew her back. The young female clerk did an amazing job of assisting Aubrey, and every other customer who walked into the shop, with genuine warmth and obvious joy. She and Aubrey connected well over their discussion of animals.

This child, who is rapidly approaching her teens, has a big heart and such profound insights. In her I see echoes of myself, and Aubrey likes to discuss all the ways we are alike. In her I see a boldness and a fearlessness that has taken me years to cultivate. In me she sees a woman who tries new things and makes her dreams come true. She believes anything is possible, and that she can become whatever she wants to become. I agree with her.

At the girls’ clothing store, Justice, Aubrey discovered a writing table set up, with the question posted, What makes your family special? She carefully wrote her answer on the star shaped note and stuck it to the display.

LOVE she wrote. Love makes her family special. Love fills Aubrey’s heart and overflows to touch her family members and her friends and even the kind clerk she just met at Claire’s. Love is woven into her very soul. Aubrey receives it, accepts it and just as easily offers it to others.

Happy birthday, a few days early, sweet child. I appreciate the love that you so freely bestow upon me. Someday I hope you can understand how much healing you have brought into my heart and soul, just by being you. I love you!

In Love with Me…But Not Today

We all have a certain friend, or even a family member, that we love dearly, and yet if anyone in our little group is going to act up, we know it will be him or her. We sigh over misbehavior and misdeeds. We wonder if change will ever take place. We roll our eyes. And yet, when things are good they are very good. We forgive all.

I have a body part that is just like that. When she is good, she is very good. And when she acts up, she grieves my entire body.

If you have been following my healing journey for a while, you will recall that my left leg, whom I call Darling in both tenderness and vexation, is my wayward “friend”. The sciatica that I suffered with for 22 years most greatly affected my left leg. When I began walking with a cane, it was because Darling couldn’t bear weight any longer.

In 2014 I made peace with my seemingly contrary leg by shifting the way I perceived her. I exchanged frustration for gratitude. In spite of the pain and stiffness, my leg was doing her best to get me around. The last 15 months it has been beautiful and amazing to experience healing throughout my body, and especially in my left leg.

This morning, having just arisen, with a full day ahead, my second step resulted in a mishap. My left knee shifted with a loud pop, while my leg tried to continue in an altogether different direction. The result was immediate pain…and an inability to walk.

My first response was strong. No! No, no, no…no! I had too much to do today. My upcoming Friday and Saturday were full as well. I didn’t have time for this.

And sadly, my second response was frustration and disappointment. The internal chatter with my left leg went something like this: It’s always you, isn’t it?! Always the trouble maker, aren’t you? We don’t act up anymore! Remember? We don’t do PAIN.

Sigh.

My day changed. All of my attention now was focused on easing my discomfort and being able to walk. Everything else would wait. I opened to Divine guidance with a plea…Now what? It wasn’t a return of the sciatica, thankfully. This was somehow a slip of my knee joint. Ice came to mind. Ice to prevent swelling and numb pain, alternated with heat to keep my muscles, which tend to become too tight around my knee joints, from locking up.

Gradually my frustration dissipated. This was not the day I had planned. However, it was the day I was given. I accepted it. I chose to follow the guidance I was being given and stay open to what I could learn from the experience. I chose to practice deep self love with my Darling left leg.

Along with ice and heat, I used Young Living Essential Oils on my knee, a blend of Panaway and Frankincense. Because the pain was making me feel nauseous, I inhaled Peppermint oil and added a drop directly onto my stomach.

I used my Life Changing Foods book to look up foods that are good for easing knee pain. They are: figs, kiwis, berries, cruciferous veggies (especially red cabbage), leafy greens, onions and turmeric. As it “happened”, I had most of those on hand. In fact, I had sautéed onion and red cabbage in the fridge. I simply needed to prepare a sweet potato for a tasty and beneficial lunch.

My recliner became my office, my creative studio, my contemplation spot and my reading chair. And it became the place where I forgave my wild child left leg and just loved her and loved on her.

Reading in Thomas Moore’s newly released book, Ageless Soul, I was struck by the appropriateness of his words:

“Fighting anything makes it into an enemy and then it looks worse than it is.”

Ah, yes. Tears filled my eyes. Darling and I have certainly had our differences over the years. And she totally hijacked my day. But an enemy? No. She needed extra attention today. She got it, in the only way that would slow me down and give me pause.

And gradually, throughout the day, my left leg has responded to the care and love. I can walk. I have a limp, at the moment. However, I know this is temporary. I even managed a very short walk late this afternoon, so as not to disrupt my 30 Day Walking Challenge.

I’m not sure why my knee shifted so painfully today, however I am staying open to discovering more about the cause. This is not a set back on my healing journey. It is an opportunity to go deeper into health and wellness, acceptance and patience. It is a time to show great love to the most wayward, stubborn and plucky part of my body.

We’ve got this Darling. We are in this journey together. I love you.

Sunday Saunter

I love the slower pace of Sundays. Typically, this day is devoted to self care, and catching up on rest and laundry, while getting ahead on food prep for the week. On this bright day, made cooler by storms that rolled through overnight, the theme for the weekend continued. It was a family afternoon.

Grandson Joey finished the football season with his final game. This year’s super bowls were held in the little community of Carl Junction, northwest of Joplin. Family gathered in the stadium to cheer Joey and the Tigers to victory.

Conveniently, my daughter Elissa lives in this town. We made plans to walk together after the game. During this 30 Day Walking Challenge, one of my intentions was to walk with each of my grown children and with my grandson Dayan, who is away at college.

I’ve realized that intention. I walked with daughter Adriel and her husband through their neighborhood at dusk. I drove to Dayan’s college city and walked the campus with him. Friday night I walked with my son and his family in Exeter, around a fun farm which included a corn maze that we got hopelessly lost in. That adventure surely increased my steps for the day!

This afternoon my daughter Elissa, and her two chihuahuas, Beatrice and Agnes, walked with Greg and me through her neighborhood.

Talking with my daughter earlier in the week, she mentioned that there was a trail near her house. Our destination was that trail. Elissa said she had no idea where the trail led. My response was that we could discover that, together.

The dark clouds moved eastward, freeing the sun to deliver delicious and appreciated warmth. It turned into ideal walking conditions. The dogs were excited to join us, and being a small breed with short legs, we let them set the pace.

We easily found the well cared for trail, just a couple of blocks from the house. The gravel path heads west toward the Kansas state line, bypassing the high school football stadium where games continued. I looked this trail up later and realized it is the last section of the Ruby Jack Trail. The Ruby Jack begins in Carthage, and continues west 16 miles along an old train track bed, culminating at the Kansas line.

We enjoyed our walk, which with the pups busy checking out interesting scents, became more of a stroll. This pace was perfect for appreciating the beauty around us. I love how even common grasses put out tasseled stalks in the fall. These slender stalks rippled along the edges of the path, the shorter days turning the grasses shades of rust and coral and brown.

As we walked I thought about the parallels between what Elissa said about not knowing where the path led, and life’s journey. As I walk in life, I may know the general direction I am headed. However, I don’t know where the path is going, ultimately, or what is around the bend in the road.

I am okay with not knowing. What is important is that I trust the journey itself, and trust that all on this path is for my highest good. I am thankful for those who quite literally walk with me. And I deepen my growth during those times when I walk alone.

During this walking challenge, which concludes in six days, it has been my privilege to have companions. As it happens, they are my life companions too. I am grateful to share the journey with them.

I Love a Parade

Family fun continued today, kicking off early this morning with an event that has been held annually for 51 years. The Maple Leaf Festival in Carthage Missouri hosts a variety of activities each year, the highlight being the Maple Leaf Parade.

My son Nate was in the parade this morning, commanding the Color Guard as they led the parade. And three of my grandchildren, Joey, Oliver and Aubrey, rode on floats, along with their Tiger football teams and cheerleading squads.

I enjoy parades…the festive atmosphere, the camaraderie of the people gathered along the streets, the smiling participants waving from the colorful floats. And although Christmas parades have a beauty all their own, I am particularly fond of this parade that celebrates autumn. I marched in this parade during my years in high school band. I’ve watched my children and grandchild as they in turn have walked, ridden or marched by. I have a long history with this event.

Here are highlights of the Maple Leaf Parade:

This has become a yearly tradition, capturing a pic of my son with his wife Megan. Nate serves his community as a police sergeant. As a member of the Color Guard, it is their task to lead off the parade with a presentation of the American and state flags.

I watched my son, standing confidently, tall and straight backed, and remembered when he was a boy, standing with rapt attention as we watched various parades begin. He was there to watch the police officers and the police cars with their flashing red and blue lights. He dreamed of being an officer someday. Did he know that when that someday came, that he would be the one leading the parades?

This adorable dog, sitting calmly in the back seat as he sports a hat, seemed to love being in the parade.

Grandson Joey, with the sixth grade Tiger football team, stood up and waved so we could see him!

Grandson Oliver, with the fourth grade team, gave us a smile and a wave.

Granddaughter Aubrey and her sweet friend Karleigh, who is like another grandchild to me, with the Tiger cheerleading squads.

A crowd favorite the last few years, this float features characters from the Star Wars movies. The band marching in front of them played Darth Vader’s theme song.

My grandson Dayan marched with the Carl Junction band the last four years. I missed seeing him today, and felt compelled to snap a pic of the tuba section any way. There were many marching bands performing during the parade. I heard this band enter the square and I knew it was the CJ band without seeing the banner carried. I know this band. I recorded them as they played, so I can share with Dayan, who happened to be in a parade after all today. He rode on a float, representing resident hall government, in Mizzou’s homecoming parade.

A sweet moment between Nate and Megan, after my son completed the parade and returned to the square to find us before starting other duties.

Horses always signal the end of the parade, and today, there was a unicorn in their midst!

What a fun morning. The weather was the warmest we have had, that I recall. Usually I am dressed in layers and bundled up in winter gloves, scarf and hat in an attempt to stay warm. Not so today. Temps were in the 70s and many people took advantage of mild weather and lined the streets.

I combined the parade with today’s walking. Greg parked the car a distance from the square and we walked to our viewing destination. After the parade we walked around the square, looking at booths, and running into Nate again, who was chatting with friends of ours. The trek back to the car then completed a good walk for Day 23.

It was a gorgeous fall day, that began with an event that is fun to watch, and never fails to tap into warm memories. Yes, I certainly do love a parade.