Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fighting Colds & Flus

This time of year there are always a lot of bugs going around. This month I actually had about 10 good days in a row - praise God! Then I got a nasty sore throat/cold that I've been fighting the last few days. 

So I thought I'd share some tips for fighting these bugs:

- lots of rest and plenty of water, of course =)
- extra vitamin C
- eat some fresh organic fruit if you can - oranges, tangerines, apples, or berries, which are full of vitamins, enzymes and anti-oxidants
- avoid sugar (if you aren't already), because it suppresses the immune system
- detox baths (I use a mineral powder, but there are other things you can use as well, depending on what works best for your body - baking soda & epsom salts, essential oils, etc.)
- foot baths (with whatever substance mentioned above that works best for you)
- rub organic coconut oil on your feet, also I've been rubbing it on my throat and sinuses since that's where the pain was
- drinking 1/4 tsp of baking soda in a glass of water often helps settle an upset stomach
- hold an onion in your right hand (if you have a bacterial infection) or a garlic clove (if you have a fungal infection) - for around 5-10 minutes 
- gargle with mild salt-water for a sore throat
- watch a funny movie and at least smile even if you can't laugh =)
- get lots of hugs =)

As far as supplements, there are some helpful ones. Just remember that it's best to only start one new supplement at a time. Always check ingredient labels, and remember that some supplements work better for some people than others. Each body is unique, so find what works for you.
Here are some suggestions:
- Olive leaf extract can help fight infections
- Quercetin is a good antioxidant
- zinc can help the immune system
- sometimes extra B-vitamins can help during an infection
- extra probiotics may also be helpful

Well, I hope some of these ideas are helpful for you. I'm sure there are many other good things to do to fight infections. Please share any additional tips you have in the comments. Thanks! 

And I hope you have a healthy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Joyful Christmas

I know a few of you have already read this, since I included it in my Christmas letter. But my mom encouraged me to go ahead and post it here anyway.

I know how challenging this time of year can be. I hope and pray these thoughts will encourage you today. 

May you have a truly Joyful Christmas! 

Sorrow & Joy -

I've been thinking about the strange coexistence of sorrow and joy in this life. 

We think of Christmas as a happy time. Yet for many people this Christmas will be anything but happy. And I think we've all experienced Christmases that were less than "merry." Even the first Christmas was not without sadness.

Luke 2:33-35 says, The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel...And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 
The first Christmas was a joyful time, as angels sang and shepherds worshipped. Mary and Joseph marveled at this special event. 

And yet, Jesus' birth was also greeted with this painful prophesy of His future. The child's life would not be one of ease and comfort. And Mary's own heart would be pierced with grief.

The joy of Christmas was in a sense shadowed by the sorrow of the cross. Yes, the Savior had come, but He came to die. 

At the same time, for those of us who know the whole story, the sorrow of the cross pales in light of Jesus' resurrection! 

After the most painful sorrow, Mary experienced (I believe) the greatest joy! The joy of seeing her son raised to life must have eclipsed even the joy of giving Him birth.

And that same joy is ours today! Regardless of whatever sorrows we experience, the glory of the resurrection is even greater! 

The resurrection tells us that there is more than just this life. 
It reminds us that in the end God's goodness will fully triumph over evil. 
And it assures us that the God who loved us enough to die for us, is WITH us through every moment.

So even if this isn't a very merry Christmas for you, I pray it will be a truly Joyful Christmas!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

You Know You're An E.I. at Christmas Time When...

I love Christmas time! Yet I know how challenging this time of year can be for those with E.I. So here's a little humor to (hopefully) bring you some Christmas cheer. =) 

You Know You're An E.I. at Christmas Time When...

*You use red and green cotton T-shirts to make Christmas "art" and "decorate" your house.

*You tape old Christmas cards on the outside of your window so you can see them from the inside.

*You take your neighbors sweet potatoes from your garden instead of Christmas cookies.

*You heat water in a Christmas mug and pretend it's hot chocolate. 

*You make your own Christmas cards using 3x5 notecards, a pencil, and stick-figure art.

*You wrap presents in aluminum foil instead of wrapping paper.

*You watch the same PBS Christmas specials over and over.

*You give your family and friends vitamins, supplements or other healthy products for Christmas.

And, *You know how to celebrate in your heart the real meaning of Christmas - the gift of JESUS!

May you have a joyful Christmas in spite of life's challenges! =)

What would you add to this list? Have fun with it! =)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tri-salts for Allergies

In 2008 my mom and I went to the Environmental Health Center in Dallas looking for answers. Sadly, it turned out not to be a helpful place for me. However, while there we did learn about one product that has been very useful - Tri-salts.

Tri-Salts is a powdered supplement that you can take to help reduce allergic reactions. Immediately when you feel a reaction starting, you can put some tri-salts in a little water and drink it. (I think the recommended dose is 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of tri-salts, though I usually only need 1/8 - 1/4 tsp) This has worked really well for me in heading off reactions before they get worse. 

Many people, when they feel a reaction coming on, often try to ignore it or hope it goes away. The usual result is that the reaction only gets worse. Instead of waiting, if you take the tri-salts immediately, it can help to stop the reaction in its tracks. (Of course, it also helps if you identify the allergen and remove it.)

Years ago I used the Alka-seltzer Gold product in a similar way. (But I believe it contains corn ingredients, so the tri-salts are better.) Thankfully, once I learned to use tri-salts immediately for a reaction, I didn't have to resort to Benedryl nearly as often. 

Tri-salts are a combination of calcium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate. They help to alkalize the body, which I believe is what helps to stop the reaction. (Because they are alkalizing, it's important to stay within the recommended dose on the label of each specific product, or you can upset your pH balance.)

For me tri-salts are helpful for food reactions as well as reactions to chemicals and other allergens. I always carry some with me so I can take it if I run into something troublesome. 

Here's the brand I use. Depending on your situation (assuming you're not allergic to the ingredients), tri-salts may be a helpful tool for you.

Question: What products have you found helpful for dealing with allergic reactions?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Accidental Recipe

In my ongoing adventures with gluten-free baking, one day I completely messed up the recipe I was trying to make. I didn't want to waste all the ingredients, so I baked it anyway. And to my great surprise, I liked the result! =)

So here's my accidental recipe for what I now call "Sorghum Wafers" - 

1 cup organic sorghum flour
1 cup Bob's Red Mill organic baking flour
1/2 cup organic Tapioca flour
1&1/2 Tbl. baking powder
1&1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup organic coconut oil
1&1/2 cup water

mix dry ingredients
add liquids and stir
pour into glass cake pan (greased with coconut oil)
bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes

When cool, cut into squares (or whatever shape you prefer). =) 

This "wafer" looks somewhat like cornbread, but has a pretty mild taste. I like to eat it with my meat and veggies, but I think it would also work well with soups or stews.

If you give it a try, let me know what you think. =) 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Celebrating Without Turkey

I was in a store the other day and heard a woman say "Have a Happy Turkey Day!" 

I think it's sad that anyone would say this. Not that there's anything wrong with turkey. But turkey is not what we're celebrating on this special Thursday in November. 

The pilgrims were not celebrating turkeys. They weren't celebrating any special food or even good times.

They were celebrating the goodness and faithfulness of God through years of hardship and trials.

During the last few years I haven't been able to celebrate Thanksgiving in the "traditional" ways. And I admit, it was challenging to be thankful while laying on my bed, alone, missing my family, craving some pumpkin pie....

But what I learned in those years is that our God is always worth celebrating - because He is GOOD! 

So even when it felt like I had nothing but God, He was all I needed to celebrate Thanksgiving in my heart. 

This Thanksgiving I'm looking forward to being with my family for the first time in several years! And though I won't be indulging in the traditional feast, I will be celebrating the goodness and faithfulness of my God - without turkey. =)

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
His love endures forever. -Psalm 118:1

How have you learned to celebrate holidays in spite of E.I. limitations?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

8 Years Later...

In November 2004 my health crashed. Every year since then I have looked back, sometimes with anger, sometimes fear, other times with questions or impatience.

I would never have chosen this path of suffering. However, 8 years later I can look back and say that I'm grateful God chose it for me.

I'm still not quite to the end of this E.I. road, but I'm far enough along that I can see the value of the journey. 

Here's the post I wrote about it on my other blog this week. I pray my story will encourage you. Wherever you are on the road, don't give up hope. I believe there is a beautiful place ahead for you. 

God bless you,

A Beautiful Place 

Well, here I am again. Marking another year since my health collapsed in November 2004. Except this year the view is much different! 

Eight years ago my world crumbled and my life journey took a detour I didn't like and didn't understand.

But now all the years of suffering are beginning to make sense.

Wayne Watson has a song that says, 
"Sometimes a rough and a rocky road is gonna take you to a beautiful place."

That's how I feel today. God has brought me on a more difficult road than I ever expected, to a place that is more beautiful than I ever dreamed possible!

In the last year God has done much healing in my body, praise His name! I'm now able to live an almost normal life, (I'm still not able to work yet, so I'm not quite 100% well).

God has given me a new vision for my future. He's leading me to a ministry I never imagined and couldn't have done without experiencing this health trial.

But most of all, God has blessed me with a sweetness in my relationship with Jesus that I can't even express. I love Him so, so, so, so much! Without the suffering of the last eight years, I'd never have experienced this incredible closeness with Him!

I know what it's like to live for years in a painful trial and to wonder, question, doubt, and fear. But now I'm coming out on the other side, and I am amazed at what I see.

God always knows what He's doing. I think His main goal in our trials is transformation. In the midst of suffering we can't always see His good purposes. But He is continually working in us for our good. And as we come to the other side, we begin to realize how different we are now than when we went in. 

"A rough and a rocky road is gonna lead you to a beautiful place." 

That beautiful place may include improved circumstances and enjoyable days. Or it may be in the midst of our circumstances that we arrive at the most beautiful place with God we've ever experienced.

I can't thank God enough for the ways He has changed me in the last eight years. I am eternally grateful for the rough and rocky road He used, so that I could experience the joys of this beautiful place with Him!

"Praise our God, O peoples,
let the sound of His praise be heard;
He has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
For you, O God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance."
-Psalm 66:8-12

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Something Silly

I just found this poem that I wrote several years ago, and it cracked me up. This is what a sugar-free, wheat-free diet can do to you. =) 

Ode To An Oatmeal Raisin Scone 

O how fair you are, most precious of scones!
Your crispy, golden edges shine.
Your rugged texture oozes warmth.
There is joyous nutrition in your ingredients. 
The contents of your substance bring health.
Without sugar or honey, still you are sweet.
As moist as a dewdrop, you melt in my mouth.
Many snacks abound to grab attention,
But you alone have gained my admiration.
I will tell of your goodness.
I will share your recipe with others.
I will enjoy your flavor and benefit from your nourishment.
You are an Oatmeal Raisin Scone.
In you I take great delight!

Those of you who try to eat gluten-free can probably relate. It's good to keep a sense of humor when your sense of taste is somewhat deprived. =) 

By the way, I do still eat oatmeal scones, but I don't put raisins in them anymore. Now I make them with shredded coconut and just a bit of honey.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Toxic Words

Unfortunately chemicals aren't the only things in life that are toxic. Words can also be toxic.

Recognizing toxic words that others speak to us is usually not too hard. We can tell when someone's words are healthy or unhealthy. 

I think it's often harder for us to recognize the toxic words we speak to ourselves. 

It's true that our brains listen to the words our mouths speak. How often do you say things like,

- I'm so tired
- I'm no good at this
- I'm such a wimp

These words are actually toxic to your mind, body and spirit. 

I know what it's like to live with these kinds of words frequently on my tongue. They can easily become a habit. Thankfully, it is possible to retrain our tongues to speak healthy, life-giving words.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. -Proverbs 16:24

The best way to get rid of toxic words is to consciously replace them with healthy, life-giving words. 

I remember when someone first recommended I use daily positive affirmations. I wasn't interested. It seemed insincere, even silly to me. But gradually I've realized what an amazing tool this is! 

Sometimes we know in our mind and heart that something is true, but we have a hard time really believing it because it hasn't quite penetrated through our brain patterns yet. As we speak that truth out loud to ourselves every day, it changes the physical pathways in our brain. This in turn changes the physiology of our bodies. It's incredible! 

So if you struggle with saying toxic things to yourself, try this exercise:

1) Write down at least 3 positive, affirming statements about yourself. 
 Ex: I am full of joy and peace.
      My body is healing every day.
      I can do everything through Jesus who gives me strength. (I especially love to use statements of what God's Word says about me.) 

2) Write these statements every day - in a journal, on a poster, or wherever you'll enjoy writing them. 

3) Say or sing these statements to yourself every day (more than once a day if you can). 

4) Anytime you catch yourself saying something toxic, immediately stop and then repeat your statements instead.

I think you'll be surprised at how beneficial this is. Our words really can bring "healing to the bones." And as we learn to speak healing words to ourselves, hopefully it will help us speak healing words to others also.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
-Ephesians 4:29

Please share one of your affirming statements in the comments so we can all be encouraged. =)Thanks!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meaningful Dreams

Several years ago it began to dawn on me that the strange dreams I was having might be significant. 

One of the first dreams I wondered about was a recurring dream where one of my legs was much shorter than the other, causing me to limp around. 

A few months later I went to a chiropractor who specialized in upper cervical. He had me lay flat and then checked my feet. Sure enough one leg was a fraction shorter than the other. He adjusted my C-1 over a period of weeks until it stayed in place. And I didn't have that strange dream anymore.

Later I had a recurring dream of me eating chocolate. This was odd because I'd been allergic to chocolate from age 9, so I would never consciously choose to eat it. 

Not long after I'd been having the dream, my herbalogist told me I needed to be eating a small amount of organic dark chocolate every day (I never told her about this dream). Using Dr. Smith's CBT allergy treatment, I was able to clear the allergy and begin eating chocolate every day. Then the dream stopped.

After these two examples, I paid closer attention to my dreams. And I've learned a lot from them over recent years. 

Sometimes I have horrible "toxic" dreams when I'm detoxing chemicals. 
Sometimes my dreams indicate an area of fear or emotional need.
Sometimes my dreams are outright hilarious! (I wrote about some of them here.) 
And sometimes (as described above) my dreams are my brain's way of telling me something important about my body or my health.

Dreams are strange things, I know. Sometimes it's hard to know what to think about them. Thankfully, God is the best interpreter of dreams. I've learned to ask Him almost every morning when I wake up, "Was that dream meaningful, something I need to pay attention to? If so, please show me." 

God has used my dreams to make significant changes in my life. I don't know what your dreams are like, but I imagine at least some of them contain important messages for you. You can ask God for insight. He knows you better than you know yourself. And He can use those meaningful dreams for your benefit.

Question: Have your dreams ever helped you realize something about your health? Or helped you in other ways?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Not The Only Ones

I know how challenging it is to live with Environmental Illness. For all of you out there who struggle with this illness, my heart goes out to you!

This week though, the Lord graciously reminded me that we are not the only ones who are suffering. 

All over the world, people are hurting. And in some cases, their suffering is much worse than anything we have experienced. 

Specifically I've been thinking about those who are victims of human trafficking. It's hard to believe such evil exists today, but it does. 

Thankfully there are many people who are fighting hard to overcome this evil with good. 

Life Today is a ministry I've appreciated and supported for years. This week on their show you can hear testimonies from some of the amazing people who work with their ministry of Rescue Life. Tuesday's program was especially moving for me. 

Another ministry I recently learned about is Make Way Partners. They help at-risk women and children to prevent them from being trafficked. They also minister to those who have been rescued from slavery. 

I know those of us with E.I. often feel totally limited in our lives, just trying to survive day to day. But we must remember that though we struggle, our lives are not useless. God still has a plan for each of us. He can still display His goodness through us, limited as we are. 

So as you think about others around the world who are suffering, I hope you'll be encouraged that YOU can make a difference for them. 

- You can give--even a few dollars to one of these organizations will help save a life.
- You can pray for these ministries, for the victims, for more people to give, for authorities to justly enforce the laws, etc. 
- You can pass along this information to others who will also give and pray and share these needs with even more people.

Those of us who are familiar with suffering have a compassion many people never experieince. And we can put that compassion into action. No matter how small it seems, what you do DOES make a difference. 

We are not alone in suffering. Let's reach out today and shine a light of goodness into someone else's darkness.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Have a Healthy Winter

Here in Florida, summer lasted longer than usual this year. We're just now getting slightly cooler temps at night. But for many people I know winter is well on its way. 

Here are some tips to help you in preparing for a healthy winter this year. (They're useful any time of year, but especially during winter.)

*Avoid unhealthy foods.
There's a very good article on the Beyond Organic Insider blog about the dangers of sugar, including how it damages your immune system. With the holidays coming, where sugar is often the main course, this is very important information to know!

Winter is also a key time to give extra support to your immune system. The Billings blog is hosting a 50 day Mold Diet Dare to help super-charge your immune system. Definitely worth a look. 

*Monitor your indoor air quality.
As people start using their fireplaces, smoke can be a problem. If you have cracks around doors or windows, aluminum foil tape is a great tool. Just peel off the backing and tape it wherever needed to keep out smells. We have it around both front and back doors. 
(It's also useful for covering up toxins you can't remove, such as the pipes we just had replaced in the bathroom.)
You can find aluminum foil tape online. We usually order it from Foust.

Also try to air out your house often, whenever the weather is clear and dry. Indoor air can quickly become stale in winter. Keep it fresh as much as possible.

*Use foods as medicine.
Organic coconut oil is anti-viral, onions are anti-bacterial, and garlic is anti-fungal (many other foods fit in these categories as well). Besides cooking with these foods, you can use them other ways as well. 

You can rub organic coconut oil on your feet if you're fighting a general viral infection. Or you can rub it on wherever a viral infection has localized - sinuses, throat, stomach, etc. (Just remember that a little coconut oil goes a long way. You probably only need a few drops, unless you have very dry skin. And yes, it makes a good lotion as well.)

Also, simply holding an onion in your hand for anywhere from 5-15 minutes can help your body fight off a bacterial infection. Likewise, holding a few garlic cloves in your hand can help fight off fungal infections. (Many winter infections are fungal, even though they're often treated as viral or bacterial. That's one reason the anti-mold diet mentioned above is so helpful in winter.)  

*Be sure you're getting enough vitamin D.
Many people don't get enough sun exposure during the winter, thus are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Be intentional about getting sun on your skin and consider supplementing with vitamin D if necessary for your situation. This article has some helpful tips for keeping vitamin D levels up through the winter.

*Keep moving!
Continue exercising and doing lymphatic massage. The natural tendency is to slow down during winter, but the body needs movement to keep the lymph flowing and the immune system functioning well.

*Most of all keep smiling, laugh a lot, be silly, sing every day, have fun, and celebrate the special joys that come with the winter season. =)

What tips do you have for enjoying a healthy winter?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

You Know You're An E.I. If... wash your new clothes at least 5 times before wearing them. know the difference between the words "fragrance," "scent," "smell," and "odor." still have a regular dial-tone phone that actually plugs into the wall. 

...aluminum foil is your best friend.

...your kitchen cupboard contains more vitamins and supplements than dishes. buy baking soda by the trunk-ful.'re on a first-name basis with the clerks at the health food store. understand the differences between a naturopath, herbalogist, osteopath, and chiropractor (because you've been to all of them at some point). wear the same shoes for 7 years until they've literally fallen to pieces. "decorate" your walls with shadow puppets. =) know how to celebrate holidays without sugary foods.

..."flexible" is your middle name.'re a champion at perseverance and endurance!'ve learned to see beauty in the wilderness.

What about you? Feel free to add your own statement to this list. And keep on keeping on! =)

"May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

E.I. Prayer List

Whenever I mention prayer requests on this blog, it's so encouraging for me to know that people will read them and be praying. Thank you! 

Today I wanted to share a few prayer requests for some of my E.I. friends:

S & R - mother & daughter who both have E.I. 
They've been in "survival" mode for a very long time - just trying to keep the bills paid, keep breathing, keep from giving in to despair.... Every time I call, S is faithful to tell me about whatever good thing has happened lately, in spite of all the bad things they're experiencing. God continues to do miracles for them! I wish they didn't have to suffer so, but I can only trust God and expect Him to do great things on their behalf.

*Please pray for miraculous provision and healing for them both, and for daily encouragement in God.

S, N, & K - twin brothers and their mom.
They've been living with E.I. for about 20 years now. Severe allergies, MCS, and chronic fatigue make life very difficult for them. In fact, their 93 year-old grandmother is the healthiest one in the family and often helps take care of them. Their perseverance and endurance is incredible! If I could make them well instantly, I would! But again, I must trust God with their pain and believe He is working out His perfect plan for them.

*Please pray they can get to a better living situation at a lower elevation so they'll be able to do more to work on their health, and for continued courage and trust in God.

D & G - friend with E.I. and his mom who is taking care of him.
He has RA, severe allergies, chronic fatigue, etc. He said that right now is the worst he's ever been, and he's desperately in need of prayer!

*Please pray God will alleviate some of his symptoms, strengthen him to endure, and give him peace of mind in spite of the suffering. Also for his mom to have strength and wisdom in taking care of him. 

K.M. - young lady who lives with constant pain, Chronic Fatigue, etc. 
She's been to many doctors and is still looking for answers. She has an amazing inner strength and heart for God, but she's weary of the battle (as you can imagine).

*Please pray for wisdom in all her health decisions, God's healing touch, and a growing understanding of His immense LOVE for her! 

J.L. - friend who's the same age as me and is as sick as I was when I was at my worst point 3.5 years ago. 
She's so weak she can't even talk, allergic to everything, etc. She has an incredibly positive attitude for her situation! (I was not very positive at that point in my journey.)

*Please pray that the lymphatic massage will begin to make a big difference for her, and that she'll hold on to hope. 

These are only a few of the people included on my E.I. prayer list. It seems to grow longer every week. I feel for each person, yet I know God is in control of these difficult trials. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to pray for them and to give encouragement and help where I can. 

If you'd be interested in "adopting" one of these individuals or families to pray for, I know they would be SOO grateful! Even if you can pray for them once a week, it would mean so much! 

(If you want to let me know you're praying for one of them, I'll gladly pass that encouragement along to them.)

Also, if you are an E.I. in need of prayer or if you know someone with E.I. in need of prayer, please feel free to post your prayer request in the comments or email me if you'd just like me to be praying. (My email address is on the sidebar.)

It is our privilege to pray for one another. Let's continue to "carry each other's burdens" (Galatians 6:2).

Thank you so much!

God bless,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

When God Says "No"

Three and a half years ago I was in an awful state physically. I don't even want to describe it, so I won't. 

In that horrible place, one night I wept in agony and begged God to heal me! 

I knew He could. I knew it was not hard for Him to instantly make me well. I poured out my heart to Him in anguish and pleaded for a miracle. 

I finally fell asleep. When I woke up nothing had changed. God said "No." 

Again, I won't describe the days that followed my prayer. They weren't pretty. But in my suffering, God never abandoned me. He carried me through one moment at a time. 

Now, three and half years later as I look back, I am astonished at what I can see! 

The path God led me on after that prayer was so filled with important details, that if He had said "Yes" to my request, not only would I have missed out on many blessings, but a lot of other people would have been hurt as well. 

If God had said "Yes" - 

- I never would have started working with my herbalogist and learned so much about how to keep a body healthy...things I've shared with many people in need!

- I never would have gone to see Dr. Smith, whose CBT treatments have been a true lifesaver for my mom's health!

- I never would have done the DNRS brain program, which I've recommended to other friends whose lives are being transformed by it!

- I never would have met so many people with health issues who desperately needed encouragement, help and prayer!

When I begged God to heal me, I didn't realize all the ramifications of what I was asking. I was only thinking about myself and my own pain. But God sees EVERYTHING. 

The blessings I've received since God said "No" would fill a book. But now I realize that He wasn't only thinking of me when He said "No". He was also thinking about countless other people whose lives would be affected by what He did in my life. 

And now from this viewpoint, I can only stand in awe of my marvelous God! I'm SOOO glad that He loves us enough to do what is BEST even when it may be what is painful. 

If you've begged God for something and He's said "No," please take heart! You have no idea how many people will one day thank Him for that "No" and praise Him for what He did in your life instead! 

"The Lord is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all He has made." -Psalm 145:17

Thursday, September 13, 2012

If You Give An E.I. Girl A Lumpy* Pillow...

Here's something a little humorous to cheer your day, mostly based on my personal experience. =) 

(*It's lumpy because it's actually made of rolled up cotton jeans and t-shirts, because she can't afford an organic cotton pillow)

If you give an E.I. girl a lumpy pillow, her neck will get out of alignment. 

If her neck gets out of alignment, it will cause inflammation in her back.

If there's inflammation in her back, it will cause nerve pain in her right hand.

If she has nerve pain in her right hand, she'll make an appointment with her physical therapist.

If she goes to the appointment with her physical therapist, she'll accidentally bump into a handsome lawyer who works next door and who happens to live a fragrance-free lifestyle. 

If she goes on a date with said lawyer, they'll end up getting married and going on a honeymoon.

If she goes on the honeymoon, she'll forgot to take her expensive cotton pillow and end up using a pair of rolled up jeans instead.

If she uses a lumpy pillow, she'll get a neck-ache. 

And if she gets a neck-ache, she'll remember how happy she is that she once had a lumpy pillow. 

The End.

Ok, so the second half of this little story is totally fictional, but then again you never know what might happen. Which reminds me, I better go make that physical therapy appointment.... =)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Coca-cola Recipe for Clean Clothes

A few years ago my mom found this great formula for getting fragrances/smells (even gasoline odor) out of clothes:

We call it the Coca-cola Recipe -

- put 1-2 cups baking soda and 1 quart (4 cups) of coca-cola in a small water level in the washing machine
- stir mixture (or let the machine agitate for a minute) 
- add the clothes (you can increase the water level after adding the clothes if necessary, just try to keep the load fairly small)
- turn off the machine and soak clothes overnight (or up to 24 hours)
- finish the machine's washing cycle and then wash once more as you normally would (we use Charlie's Soap for our laundry -

If the fragrance/chemical in the clothes is really persistent, you might need to repeat this process again the next day. 

This has worked really well for us. I'm just glad to know there's a healthy use for coca-cola. =) 

Note: If your laundry room is not air conditioned and you live in a hot, humid place (like FL), then after doing this a couple of times you'll probably need to rinse your washing machine with vinegar, as the coca-cola combined with humidity can cause a slight mildew build-up in it.
If you have any questions, please let me know. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Non-toxic Woman

I frequently mention my mom on this blog, otherwise known as "Non-toxic Woman" - my trusty sidekick. 

The reality is that she is more like the super-hero - doing feats of greatness, while I am more like the sidekick - cracking the silly jokes. =) 

(Although I was the one who climbed in through the tiny bathroom window the day we got locked out...but otherwise she's had the harder job for most of the last 8 years.)

During her tenure as my full-time caregiver, the amazing Non-Toxic Woman has done the shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning, massaging, grasshopper killing, cross-country driving, researching, form-filling out, recipe inventing, cheering, encouraging, praying, and so much more! 

I certainly wouldn't be where I am today without her selfless, loving, prayerful and devoted care.

So to Non-toxic Woman - today as you celebrate your 70th birthday, I just want to say again - 
You are my hero! 
I'm so blessed to be your daughter and your friend.
Happy Birthday! =)

My real life super-hero and her sidekick (me). =) 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Indoor Air Quality

You've probably heard that indoor air is much more polluted than outdoor air. I wish it weren't true, especially since most of us spend as much as 90% of our time indoors.

I just read a long article about this topic that frankly, is pretty scary for people who are unaware of the dangers. 

We've done a LOT in our home in recent years to significantly improve the indoor air quality:

- removed furniture items made of particle-board or other toxic materials and replaced with metal shelving, wood or glass furniture
- removed all carpeting and replaced with tile or laminate wood flooring (Tile is best, but we learned that after using the laminate in some rooms. I believe the laminate is still better than carpet.)
- got rid of mold in the bathrooms and painted with a non-toxic paint 
- replaced synthetic air ducts with metal ones

And of course, we've invested in several air purifiers. We've tried different kinds over the years, but by far our favorite is the 160R2 Room Air Purifier from Foust.  

Some other things we do to help the air quality are:
- open the windows and air the house out on dry, clear days
- frequently set plates of baking soda out for 15 minutes at a time to absorb chemicals and smells that accumulate
- allow any newly purchased items to "off-gas" outside or in the garage before bringing them into the house (all new items contain some measure of chemicals--either wash or let them air before using)
- leave wet towels or clothes outside and keep a light on in the bathroom to help prevent mold
- use a filter in the air conditioning intake vent (these are also available at

It does take effort, but improving the air quality in your home is well worth it.

Question: What suggestions do you have for improving indoor air quality?

Monday, August 20, 2012


I'm SOOO happy, just have to celebrate another of God's miracles in my life -- yesterday I went to CHURCH!!! 

The last time I attended a church service was 5 years, 7 months ago. And it's been even longer since I was able to go to church consistently. 

This is something I've been praying and hoping for for a very long time! And yesterday the dream came true! God's promise to me was fulfilled! And I was back with my church family for a WONDERFUL time of worship, fellowship, and rejoicing! 

I'm SO grateful for everyone who has prayed for me on this long and challenging road. Praise God for His healing power and His perfect wisdom! 

I would never have chosen this particular journey for my life, but looking back I can see that it was God's perfect plan for me. I wouldn't trade the last 8 years for anything!

I've learned that the best dreams are the ones we'd never think to dream for ourselves, but God dreams them for us. 

This is the journey I needed. This is the path God prepared so He could give me a better dream than I had imagined! 

As I celebrate this HUGE milestone in my recovery, I'm overflowing with joy and looking forward to the beautiful plans God has in store for me! =)

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High." -Psalm 9:1-2

Here's a photo of me after the church service with my brother and my nephew. =)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Searching for "Not Made in China"

In my ongoing efforts to never buy anything "made in China," I've had some challenges lately.* But thankfully God always provides what I need. 

This summer I really needed a pair of sunglasses. Every store I looked in only had sunglasses "made in China." (I found ONE pair that was "made in Taiwan," but the lenses were blurry.)

So then I went online. After much searching I found a few brands that are "made in the USA." However, I can't afford to pay $80-$150 for sunglasses! So I kept looking.

Finally I found some that were "made in Italy" for less than $10! It sure felt like a miracle to me. =)

The good news is that for most products there ARE still alternatives to "made in China." It's just a matter of reading labels and trying a different brand. For certain products you have to work harder and really search. But so far I've always found what I needed. 

For example:
cotton T-shirts - made in El Salvador
shoes - made in Italy
multi-colored pens - made in France
double-stick tape - made in USA!
spiral notebooks - made in USA! 
Bible - printed in USA!

I'm very glad that some companies are still choosing to sell products not "made in China." However, if we don't make a BIG effort right now to support those companies, then eventually we'll have no other options. 

So please, if you aren't already, join me in this commitment of NOT buying "made in China" products. Take a little extra time and effort to find better alternatives and know that it will be worth it! 

*There are several reasons to not buy "made in China" products. The Health reason is that almost all products "made in China" are HIGHLY toxic. Whether this is from poor internal regulation or some other reason, I don't know. But the products have high levels of formaldehyde, aluminum, mercury, and other dangerous toxins. So for the health of yourself and your family, I encourage you to avoid all "made in China" products.