Thursday, December 17, 2015

Blogging break

Hello my friends, I just wanted to post a quick note that I'll be taking a break from blogging for a few weeks. Some of you know that my family has been going through quite a crisis lately. My mom was very sick and now apparently there's mold somewhere in our house. So while our lives are in upheaval, I'll be focusing on other things. But hopefully I'll be back to blogging in January. In the meantime, we sure appreciate your prayers!
God bless.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

What It's Like...

Recently I came across something I wrote several years ago. It was when I was very ill and didn't have any answers yet. I thought maybe you could relate. And I thought maybe it would be something you could share with friends or family to help them understand a little better.

I praise God for how far He's brought me! But I still need Him every day. And He's still here for me, every day.

Here's there for you too.
God bless.

    I’m Walking

“How are you doing?” my friend asks me.

I pause before answering as a thousand thoughts run through my head.

I know my friend asks because she cares, but how can I explain to her in a moment the pain, loss, and struggle I’m going through? It’s not easy to put into words.

How am I doing? How do I really feel?

Well…I’m exhausted, too tired to stand up. Though I’m always resting, I feel like I’ve just run a marathon. My head pounds, and fever burns my eyes. My joints and muscles throb with pain and inflammation. I feel like an old woman, barely able to shuffle through each day. I’m too weak to cry.

This constant pain and continual weakness has led to discouragement and despair. I must accept the loss of my life as I knew it. No more sports, hobbies, or social life. No more work, ministry, or service. Every day I have to watch carefully what I eat, where I go, and what I do, for fear it might be the straw that breaks me. Limitation is my middle name. I am trapped in the prison of my body. 

Daily I struggle with hopelessness, the temptation to give up, the fear that things will never change. I feel alone, like an outsider. Always watching others, unable to participate in normal activities. I am reduced to a spectator in life.

Some days I remember that I’m not the only one in this world who is suffering. Others around me have lost their health, a loved one, job, ministry, or something else. I know they are struggling too. Yet we seldom connect. We just float around each other, stuck in our individual bubbles of painful circumstances. Wishing things were different, yet feeling helpless to change the way things are.

Yet in this place, I still cling to hope. Even when I’m too weary to care anymore, I know there is someone who cares for me. His name is Jehovah Jireh – the Lord who Provides. His provision often comes in unexpected ways...little gifts that remind me I am not forgotten, abandoned, or forsaken. He provides what I need just when I need it.

He gives me grace to let the tears flow. He sends a friend who steps into my world and cries with me. At His prompting, someone sends a card with Scripture that encourages my heart. He causes birds to sing outside my window, reminding me to worship. Flowers from a family member bring to mind His care of the lilies of the field. All of these good gifts come from my loving, heavenly Father. Even in the worst situation, He is my faithful provider.

So, how am I doing? I’m living through some very difficult circumstances one day at a time, by the grace of God, held in His loving arms, trusting in His faithfulness to meet my every need. In other words, I’m walking by faith. And though it isn’t easy, it’s the best way to live.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

How Can I Serve You Better?

This fall I've been inspired with new plans and dreams. I feel that the dawning of a new season is coming soon! I'm excited about what God has in store for me in the near future.

I'm so thankful for the opportunity I've had to serve you through this blog. I'm always encouraged when I hear from people who've been helped by it. That makes the time and emotional investment so worth it! =)

As I think about the changes I want to make in my goals and plans for the future, I'd love to hear from you about how I can serve you better.

Would you do me a favor and take a few minutes to reply to the following questions? You can post your answers in the comments or email them to me. It'll help me know how to move forward more effectively.

Thanks so much!

1. What is the most helpful/enjoyable thing for you about this blog?

2. Are there certain topics you'd like me to write more about? Or less about?

3. How often would you like to receive new posts...
 every other week, once a week, more than once a week...?

4. Is the blog mobile-friendly? Do you like the appearance/format of it?

5. How often do you recommend this blog to others or share specific blog posts? What prompts you to share or not share?

6. What suggestions do you have for me to improve the blog to meet your current needs?

7. What are you thankful for today?
(Ok, this one's just for fun.) =)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Great Coffee Debate

For years people have debated whether coffee is bad for your health or good for your health. Personally I'm not a coffee drinker, don't even like the smell of it. But I know that many people view coffee as necessary to life. =)

So I did some research for you. I found this article from 2010 which lists 8 reasons not to drink coffee, and I think they are valid reasons.

Then I found this article from 2015 that says coffee can be good for your heart, brain, etc.

Both articles cite studies to back up their claims. Clearly there's conflicting "data" on this topic. I'm sure it's hard to get accurate studies only about coffee when people's lifestyles are so varied and results of drinking coffee can be different from person to person.

However, there are some important, agreed-upon, facts about coffee that can guide your decision:

1) Coffee is a heavily sprayed crop (97% of it according to Dr. Mercola).
Unless you buy certified organic coffee from a trusted source, you need to know that what you're drinking contains several dangerous toxins - including pesticides, herbicides, toxic fertilizers, and sometimes mycotoxins (toxins from mold, which are even more poisonous than many heavy metals).

These poisonous chemicals are linked to all kinds of health problems including various cancers, Parkinson's, miscarriages, endocrine problems, etc. So saying coffee is good for your heart or brain is not true of non-organic coffee because of the toxins it contains, which are actually quite damaging to the heart, brain and the rest of the body.

2) Adding sugar, dairy and/or non-dairy creamers to your coffee is definitely unhealthy.
Sugar, especially first thing in the morning, spikes insulin levels and over time contributes to insulin resistance - a major indicator of disease and health decline. (For more info on that, here's a great article.)

While I think organic, raw dairy products can be healthy for many people, conventional dairy has many problems. And research indicates that putting dairy in your coffee interferes with the body's absorption of the healthy antioxidants in the coffee. So any benefit is basically cancelled.

Finally, non-dairy creamers are highly unhealthy. Just read the list of ingredients: partially hydrogenated soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, natural flavors (which can include things like MSG - which is very toxic), etc. For more details on the dangers of non-dairy creamers, check out this article.

3) Caffeine is bad for pregnant women.
Some doctors say it's ok to drink coffee in moderation while pregnant. However, Dr. Mercola advises never to drink coffee while pregnant, because caffeine easily passes through the placenta to the baby, who does not have the ability to detox it. I would think that erring on the side of caution is always best in this situation.

4) If you do drink coffee, be sure to use non-bleached filters. 
The bright white filters are bleached with chlorine and contain dangerous disinfection byproducts such as dioxin. These toxins then leach into the coffee during brewing.

I realize it's sad that in today's world you can't just drink a cup of coffee that's free of toxins. But I hope this information is helpful for you in finding a healthy form of coffee, or in encouraging you to wean yourself off of it and find better, healthier sources of energy and antioxidants. Because if you can't function in the morning without a cup of coffee, then your body is trying to tell you something.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

If You Can't Pronounce It, Avoid It

For the last few years I was using a wonderful organic shampoo that was homemade by a small business. It only had 6 ingredients and no fragrance, plus it worked great in my hair! I was SO thankful for this awesome product! Then as of August, the company was no longer in business. =(

So I began searching for an organic shampoo to replace it. I read almost every shampoo label in the health food store. I scoured the internet. Weeks and weeks of searching and I still haven't found a satisfactory product. In fact, I was shocked by what is sold as "organic" shampoo. The only truly chemical-free product I found was made out of olive oil, but it had borax in it. I don't have a great history with borax, so I didn't want to try that one.

Otherwise, these so-called "organic" and "natural" shampoos still contain various ingredients that are chemical or toxic in nature. You wouldn't believe the kind of ingredients I found in "organic" baby shampoos even! I guess companies assume that if they label their product as "natural" or "organic" consumers won't bother to read the labels and investigate the ingredients.

So, I've decided that my basic rule of thumb is this - "If you can't pronounce it, then you better avoid it."

In the process of my search I found this great website that has a list of many of those unpronounceable ingredients. I think it's a great resource for when you need info on a specific chemical. This link is for the information on an ingredient called "phenoxyethanol." When I read that on a baby shampoo label, I was pretty sure it couldn't be a "natural" ingredient. I was correct. Here's the info on it, rather scary if you ask me.

The Environmental Working Group also has a helpful database, which lists specific details about all kinds of cosmetic products and what toxic rating each product has. I found the info in this database enlightening, but unfortunately I still didn't find a suitable shampoo.

For the moment I'm using a "natural" shampoo that has less than 10 ingredients. Unfortunately it does contain parabens, a kind of preservative used in many cosmetics. (Parabens are endocrine disruptors and have been linked to breast cancer.) Thankfully, I found out this month that my organic shampoo maker is back in business! So hopefully I'll soon have my healthy shampoo again. In the meantime, I encourage you to read the labels on your shampoo and find the least toxic option you can. And with all your personal care products, remember this rule of thumb:
If you can't pronounce, better avoid it."

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Cancer Resource

Just a quick post today to let you know about a great new resource. It's a series of documentaries called "The Truth About Cancer." It includes interviews with health experts from all over the world! (Including some experts I already knew about and highly respect, such as Jordan Rubin and Dr. Mercola.) All nine episodes of this docu-series will be free to watch online for a limited time.

If you click on this link, you can sign up by email to receive notification for each new episode:

I realize cancer can be a controversial topic, but I think this series of documentaries provides, at the least, a different perspective on cancer, and at best a lot of helpful information and useful tools.

Below is the video of Episode 2: "Cancer Facts and Fictions, Breast Cancer, Hormones, Skin Cancer & Essential Oils"

This video is worth watching even just for the info on essential oils (that starts a little more than half way through the video). I found it very informative and encouraging!

Let me know what you think and please pass this info along to anyone you think would benefit from it! Thanks!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Things I Like About Living Naturally

Ok, so there are a lot of things about this EI life that are difficult, challenging, even ridiculous. But I don't want to forget that there are also things I appreciate about having to live naturally. Here are a few. =)

Things I like about living naturally...

- eating healthy, home cooked food (yum!)

- smelling like peppermint (from using peppermint essential oil) =)

- learning to appreciate simple pleasures in life

- not having to buy all kinds of hand soap, dish soap, body wash, facial cleanser, etc. (I just use baking soda for everything)

- having people complement me on the gray streaks in my hair because they look "sparkly" =) (seriously, it's happened twice!)

- not having to spend time deciding which shoes to wear with each outfit ( sport slides or black sport slides?)

- becoming a master at "repurposing" things

- lots of opportunities to use my creativity to find alternate solutions to problems

- being thankful for the "little" things that most people take for granted (like having a pillow for my head, water I can drink and clean laundry)

- meeting lots of great people who are also on this journey

- knowing that the patience and perseverance required for this life is building character in me =)

Ok, so I don't always feel thankful for that last one, but deep down I know it's a good thing. Of course we would all choose to have a perfect life if we could. But I've accepted that on this earth no life is perfect. I certainly wouldn't have chosen this EI life, but I am thankful for the benefits that come with it.

How about you? What things in your imperfect life are you thankful for?

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Ridiculousness...

I apologize that this post is a day late. I actually had it written on Wednesday, then that evening our kitchen drain got clogged and we had another disaster on our hands. I spent the last two days staying away from the house so my mom could use liquid plumber, which didn't work and she had to take the sink apart, and it's still not completely fixed. It's been an ordeal. Just one more thing to add to this crazy, ridiculous month. Anyway, here's the post I originally wrote. Thanks for your prayers for us!

This EI life is never easy. But sometimes it goes past being difficult to just plain ridiculous. The last month or so has been like that for me.

We had the worst pesticide spraying ever in our neighborhood! It contaminated our garage and laundry room and almost everything in our kitchen. My sweet mom spent days scrubbing out kitchen cupboards, soaking our dishes in vinegar, washing the walls, mopping the floor, etc. We had to throw out some organic food that got contaminated. I used the same 5 dishes (that didn't get contaminated, praise God) for days. We're still not quite finished putting things back to "normal" in the kitchen.

Not only that, but since the laundry room was full of the awful pesticide, I couldn't go out there. So my mom has been doing all my laundry again. It's taken several times of soaking and washing to get all the pesticide out of my laundry. It's been ridiculous!

In the midst of all this, I've still been detoxing like crazy. Toxins are coming out so fast (especially while I'm sleeping at night) that every evening I spend an hour or more detoxifying my bedroom - washing the wall next to my bed, mopping the floor, putting on clean bedding and curtains, etc. Because of all this, I haven't been able to get to bed til midnight or later most nights. Not a good thing for my body.

We have 5 air purifiers we rotate through the house, but my mom still coughs when she's near me (that's when you know you're detoxing a LOT). I'm thankful to be getting rid of more toxins, but at the moment the process feels pretty ridiculous!

I could go on about several other problems I'm dealing with right now, but I don't want to depress you. =) My mom said that she'd never have thought of doing laundry as a "trial." Trials are things like losing homes or jobs, or going through cancer, etc. And while those are awful things, I think "trials" aren't always the big catastrophes. Sometimes they're made up of so many small difficulties that life just feels overwhelming. I admit that's about how my mom and I feel right now. We'd sure appreciate your prayers.

Right now we're holding on to God's promises - that He won't gives us more than we can bear, that He's always with us, that He does work all things for our good somehow. He is still faithful, even when life is ridiculous.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Some Random Health Notes

The last three weeks have been pretty awful for me. Our neighbors took turns spraying pesticides, then last week someone near us sprayed industrial strength pesticide. That one was so awful it contaminated almost everything in our garage and house. We are still in recovery and decontamination mode, and I've barely been able to keep up with daily needs. I'm behind on emails and blog posts. So today I thought I'd just post some random health notes that I've been thinking about lately.

Dangers of Pesticides

Obviously this has been on my mind. Pesticides/herbicides are designed to kill and destroy. To say that they can kill pests/plants without causing harm to humans is simply untrue! They are poisons. They do damage. They may not kill a human right away, but the toxins in these products cause all kinds of health problems, including cancer, reproductive problems, and brain impairments such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.

If you aren't already aware of the dangers, please check out these articles which give specific details about how/why pesticides are so dangerous - to people, pets and the environment.

And please keep sharing this information with others so we can work together for a healthier world.

This site lists some alternatives to pesticides -

Resource for Parkinson's

I did some research for a friend lately about Parkinson's. Ironically, I learned that there's a proven link between exposure to pesticides and Parkinson's. High numbers of gardeners/landscapers who regularly used pesticides, later were diagnosed with Parkinson's. This makes sense because many of the chemicals in pesticides directly affect brain function.

The good news is that I found a wonderful resource about recovering from Parkinson's!
I was impressed with this site because it expresses many of the same concepts I've learned, such as:

- the body is able to heal itself when we provide the help it needs
- recovery is possible
- always look for root causes
- then use various natural means to help the body resolve those root causes

If you know someone dealing with Parkinson's, this is a great resource. There's a ton of information on the blog, plus there are archived radio programs and much more.

Eat the rainbow

One other note is something I heard in an interview with a nutrition expert. She mentioned this concept about diet of "eating the rainbow." I thought it was a fun way to evaluate and pursue a healthier diet. She suggested you take three days and simply write down everything you eat. Then on the fourth day, take markers and put a corresponding colored line next to each item. So if you ate an apple, put a red line. If you ate bread, put a white or brown line. Etc.

She said most people eat a majority of white/brown/yellow foods. (Mostly starches, processed foods, grains, junk food, etc.) By putting colored lines next to each food you'll get a visual representation of what your diet looks like. If you eat a lot of green or orange foods, you'll notice that right away. If you're missing blue, purple or red foods, you'll see that too.

Since listening to her interview I've been inspired to eat a more rainbow-like diet. =) I went to the health food store and came back with blueberries, kiwi, apples and a tangelo.

I realize eating a healthy diet is a tough thing, with so many individual variables. But I hope maybe this idea will give you something fun to try. =)

Ok, that's all for today. I hope your week is going well.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Causes and Solutions

When thinking about the natural health care approach, the two main things we look for are root causes and healing solutions. With that in mind, I thought I'd re-post something I wrote in 2011. I hope it's helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Right Perspective

As a follow-up to my last post, I  wanted to add some specific examples and details about having the right perspective on health care.

Most regular doctors routinely run thousands of dollars worth of tests on sick people. The usual result is that they still don't know what's wrong, or at best, they can only tell you what you don't have (you don't have malaria, or hepatitis, or whatever).

In those rare cases where they discover "the problem" of someone's symptoms - such as high cholesterol, improper hormone levels, brain chemical imbalance, etc. - they still haven't told you what the root cause is. If your hormone levels are off, you need to find what caused them to be that way. Just adding more hormones to your body may "fix" your test results, but it won't actually heal the root problem.

And most often, once doctors find a "name" for your problem, they either prescribe a drug (or several drugs), or they recommend surgery. It usually doesn't  occur to them that there are things you can do to actually help your body heal, once you find the  root cause of the problem.

I've discovered some basic things that I believe are root causes of most health problems.

1) Poor nutrition - anyone who eats a "typical" American diet for even a few years, will end up with a body starving for nutrients, and they'll experience all kinds of health problems as a result.

2) Toxic overload - our environment is riddled with toxic chemicals like never before. They are everywhere! The body can only handle so much toxic exposure before it begins to break down in several areas.

3) Bugs - things like parasites, entrenched viral or bacterial infections, overgrowth of candida, etc.

4) And STRESS - this is also a big factor in our overall health. Though I think it's mainly in combination with these other things that it manifests in serious problems.

So, before you face spending hundreds of dollars on more tests, having surgery or filling your body full of toxic drugs, why not explore the things you can be doing right now to help your body heal and repair itself.

1) Eat organic foods -- especially organic meats (if you eat meat) since non-organic meat is actually more toxic than non-organic produce. Eat organic veggies and fruits if possible. Eliminate sugar and processed foods. You might not see a huge change overnight, but eating healthy foods will make a difference in your body, nourishing it so it can function properly.

(Here's my post about some general diet recommendations that anyone can follow -

2) Get a lymphatic massage at least twice a month (or use self-massage techniques) -- I know I've mentioned this many times before. There's just no way for me to overstate how important this is in facilitating your body's ability to detox! If you don't do the massage, then whatever else you do to help detox will probably not work or at least not be as effective. God created the lymphatic system to drain the toxins from your body. If it's "choked" then you will have serious repercussions.

(Here's my post about lymphatic massage -
For more ideas about detoxing, here's my post on that - )

3) Do a parasite treatment -- The CDC estimates that 80% of Americans have parasites. However, most doctors never think of this, and if they do, they only test for about 10% of the possible parasites. And, most of the regular drug treatments only kill the adult parasites, not the eggs. Thus they are completely ineffective. Some herbal treatments are recommended as more safe and successful. I tried a few of them, but I never had complete success with any of them (and one of them made me much worse). So exercise caution with herbal treatments as well. A trusted natural health provider should be able to give you specific ideas for what might work for you.

Dr. Smith's CBT method is the most effective parasite treatment I've found. If you're interested, I can share how to use it. Just send me an email.

4) Start with essential supplements -- Most people are magnesium deficient and mineral deficient because of poor diets, depleted soil, etc. Since the body cannot produce trace minerals, magnesium or vitamin C, these are three important things you should supplement with (since it's almost impossible to get high enough amounts of these from food).

Also, probiotics are vital, as I mentioned in a previous post. And coconut oil is valuable in boosting the immune system and fighting bugs in the body.
(Probiotics post -
Coconut oil post - )

5) Find a natural health care provider -- I've worked with 2 naturopaths, an herbalogist, Dr. Smith in Idaho and a physical therapist over the last couple of years. All of them are Christians and have helped me tremendously in understanding how to work with my body toward the goal of good health. The best way to find someone is to get a good recommendation from a friend who has been helped by their natural health care provider.

6) Take care of your mental/emotional/spiritual health -- Things like stress, anxiety, anger, fear, etc. are all damaging to our bodies. Renewing our minds in God's Word, prayer, laughter, relaxing, fun and encouragement from others are always helpful and beneficial to all areas of our health. =)

These are things anyone can do, things that will make a difference, and things that can help your body heal and be strengthened, so you can avoid the many health problems that are prevalent today.

If we want to be healthier than the average person today, then I believe we need to think differently and act differently. Let's not be "conformed" to the world's ideas (Rom. 12:1-2) about health and the body. Let's continue to seek the knowledge God gives - after all He created our bodies! - and do the things He has provided so that we can live in good health and be available for all God longs to do through us!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Self-massage Techniques

If you've followed my blog very long, you know I'm always recommending lymphatic massage as an essential health tool. It's the thing that finally turned my health around when I started using it in 2009.

The problem with lymphatic massage is that it's not convenient or cheap to go to a professional regularly. I'm so blessed that my mom has been able to do the massage for me consistently. But many EI people live alone and don't have someone else to do massage for them.

So I was very excited recently when a friend told me about some lymphatic self-massage videos. I've already tried the techniques in the first two videos and I'm impressed. They're simple to do, don't take a lot of time or energy and seem to be effective.

I hope you'll watch these videos and start using the techniques to improve the function of your lymphatic system.

Important: Below the last video, I've included the notes from the massage therapist, which list a few contraindications for these massage techniques. Please read them before using these techniques.

This massage therapist also has a blog, which I found informative and encouraging. You can check it out here:

self-massage for the neck and head - to help with drainage from colds or allergies

Lymphatic breathing and self-massage for the abdomen - part 1

self-massage for the abdomen - part 2

"Contraindications include pregnancy (Lymphatic breathing is excellent, but don't do part 2 of this video series). Other contraindications for Lymphatic Drainage Massage work in general are as follows:

1. Fever, acute infection, early onset inflammatory disease. You need to wait until the acute phase is over and the fever is broken.
2. Circulatory system problems, especially thrombosis. If there is any risk of embolism of phlebitis, do not use LDM and see your physician immediately
3. Cardiac issues such as heart disease, acute angina pectoris or coronary thrombosis (heart attack). Using LDM increases the fluid load on the heart, and compromised cardiac systems should not be subjected to LDM.
4. Active bleeding, internal or external.
5. Active malignant cancers, undiagnosed lumps, or tumors whose origins have not been determined by your physician.
6. High risk pregnancy or late term pregnancy with complications."

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Purpose of Symptoms

Through the years I've experienced a wide variety of physical symptoms, ranging from unpleasant and annoying to debilitating and dangerous. It's not enjoyable to have symptoms of any kind, but I've learned that symptoms really do have a purpose.
Most doctors are trained to provide symptom relief for patients. Few doctors seem to understand the purpose of symptoms, and that the goal isn't just to make them "go away."

The purpose of symptoms is to let you know that something is amiss in your body and it's time to address it. This is just like when a squeaking or grinding sound in your car makes you realize you better get it checked. Physical symptoms are the body's way of communicating that there's a problem. You would think this concept would be common sense, yet so many people have an unhealthy perspective on symptoms.

There are two extremes in how people handle their symptoms.

One is to ignore them completely and to keep pushing their body to do whatever they want it to their own detriment, usually symptoms getting more and more severe.

The other extreme is to focus on symptoms so much that the person becomes consumed with them and actually perpetuates even more symptoms.

I can tell you that at different times I've experienced both extremes.

I realize that with chronic illness, a lot of time is spent managing symptoms. But I think having a healthy perspective on their purpose helps us handle them better.

First, we recognize that a physical symptom is a message from the body. Then we keep asking questions until we identify the root cause of the symptom. Why is the body asking for help? Once the root cause is identified, then we can select appropriate treatment that will help the body do its job of healing the root cause. Then, hopefully within a short amount of time, the problem is corrected and the symptom goes away, because it's no longer needed. This is the healthy approach to whatever symptoms we experience. And the sooner we address symptoms, the sooner we can help the body resolve them.

So for example, about two weeks ago I started feeling really awful, much worse than I normally do. My body felt heavy, achy and exhausted. I mostly ignored it for a few days, just continuing with my regular healthy habits of taking care of myself. Finally about the 4th day, I realized I better figure out WHY I was feeling so awful. A little detective work revealed two bacterial infections. No wonder I was feeling awful! But since I didn't have other "common" symptoms associated with bacterial infections, I hadn't thought to check that originally. But my body persisted with some symptoms until I discovered the root cause. So now I'm doing specific things to fight the infections and hopefully I'll soon be feeling like my "normal" self again. =)

Sometimes I experience symptoms from detoxing. When the body is ridding itself of toxins, parasites, viruses, etc., there are usually accompanying symptoms. It's important to listen to the body and not push it to detox too quickly or too much at one time. But when I know it's a detoxing symptom, I endure it until that detox cycle is finished. Thankfully, there are some natural remedies that help with symptom relief, as well as with foundational healing. (I'll write more about these two things next time.) 

The main thing is to look past the symptom to the root cause and take whatever steps you can to help your body heal that. So you might say that symptoms are actually helpful things, when we understand their purpose and take a healthy approach to resolving them.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

He Holds Your Hand

Sometimes life feels like such a roller-coaster.

Last week two more of my friends were diagnosed with cancer. Another friend is nearing the end of his journey with cancer. Other loved ones continue fighting their tough battles of defeating cancer, recovering from surgery, trying to survive mold illness, overcoming lyme, etc. It's a tough world out there.

This week I also rejoiced in some good news. The new documentary "The Sensitives" has been fully funded on Kickstarter!!! I'm so excited about all the support this film has gotten! I can't wait to see the finished product. I think it'll be a great tool for sharing the stories of precious people who are suffering with MCS.

Ups and downs. I know that's life, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming.

Thankfully, today I was reminded that I do have a constant through all the craziness. His name is Jesus. And He holds my hand through every sorrow, celebration, tragedy, triumph, or mundane moment. He is the reason I can have Joy in trials and Peace in stress. He is the reason I can get out of bed each day with Hope. He is the one who gives me Life, even when life is tough.

I hope that encourages you today. Jesus loves you too. He's there for you. He's holding your hand as you hold on for this roller-coaster ride. May His Love give you Peace and Joy, Hope and Life today.

Here's a song I come back to again and again, to remind me that He's holding my hand.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Exciting Newsflash!!!

I had to do an extra post today after my friend Sam called me last night with some good news!

Sam and his family were recently filmed for part of a documentary about people with MCS called "The Sensitives." The film's director does not have MCS, but he was so moved by the stories of people with MCS that he wanted to make this movie to bring those stories to others.

My friend Sam was quite impressed with Drew (the film's director). He was willing to go through all kinds of difficulties in order to film people with MCS (like sleeping in a tent, using special soap, wearing non-smelly clothes, traveling across the country, etc.).

I so appreciate the compassion of this man who is willing to endure hardships to reach out to those in isolation and suffering.

The good news is that the documentary is in the final stages of production! They've started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds needed to finish it. If you can, please consider donating $5 to this worthy project (you'll even get your name listed in the "thank you" at the end of the film). =) And please share about this project with anyone else you know who would help spread the word! 

Here's the link to the kickstarter campaign where you can watch a short trailer of the film and a behind the scenes snapshot. You can read more about this film and even hear part of a song sung by my friend Sam!
The campaign only has 11 more days to reach its goal, so please check it out soon.

I've asked for prayer for Sam and his family on here several times, and I thank you for praying for them. I'm just so excited that God has given them this gift of "being heard" - of letting their story be told and hopefully seeing it inspire others.   

I know what it's like to live in a dark place of suffering and isolation. My experience was short compared to many. Sam and his family have been walking this hard road for decades. But even in the darkness, I believe there is blessing. I read this verse this morning:

"I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." -Isaiah 45:3

Sam and his family certainly are treasures hidden in secret places. And there are so many more like them. Please join me in sharing about this film and raising awareness and compassion for those who too often feel like they have no voice.

Thank you!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Natural vs Unnatural

Through the years I've tried a lot of different health treatments. And I've talked to a lot of people who've tried things I didn't.

For every recommended treatment there's always a "success" story - "I did this treatment and now I'm totally well!" For almost every treatment there's usually more than one "horror" story as well - "I tried that treatment and it almost killed me!"

The reality is that each body is different. Each health situation is different. Each person has different factors that led to their health problems. So each person needs different things to help them regain their health. This is important to remember when assessing whether a recommended treatment will be good for you or not.

However, I've observed through the years that most health treatments can be divided into two categories:

- Natural to the body
- Unnatural to the body

This applies to any form of health treatment, whether mainstream medical, alternative or wholistic.

By "natural to the body" I mean treatments that the body can understand, can receive without stress, are compatible with how the body functions, etc. 

By "unnatural to the body" I mean treatments that the body sees as foreign, invasive, stressful, not compatible with how the body functions, etc.

Some examples:

Natural to the body - massage, reflexology, deep breathing, stretching, exercise, sunlight, grounding, foot baths/detox baths, etc.

Now obviously even with these "natural" things, we need to be wise...too much sun or exercise is not good; massage and reflexology need to be done within the individual's tolerance level, etc. But in essence, these things are natural for the body.

Things like herbs and essential oils I would consider natural to the body, however with caution because they are quite potent. Be sure they are used appropriately and with the guidance of a professional. 

Some things like juicing and supplements aren't strictly natural to the body, since we have to produce them. But again, when used with wisdom and guidance, I think they can be good tools. 

Things like sauna and coffee enemas may sound natural, but they can still put stress on the body. I always advise caution with things like this. For some people they are a wonderful help, but for others they can be harmful.

Unnatural to the body - IV's, injections, medications, surgeries, electro-therapy, etc.

Please don't misunderstand me here - I am not saying you should never use these kinds of treatments. I am only saying that they are not "natural to the body." I realize that these things are life-saving in many instances, and for that I'm grateful! The point is that when you are evaluating various treatment options, it's helpful to recognize whether the treatment is something natural to the body or unnatural.

Some treatments like acupuncture and chiropractic are considered "alternative" today, but I would categorize them as more unnatural to the body than natural. But again, they do help some people. I think it depends a lot on the specific practicioner whether these treatments are helpful or harmful for people. Personally, I recommend physical therapy, which I think is much more natural to the body (as long as you have a good therapist who doesn't push your body past what it needs).

The point of all this is to help you in evaluating what kinds of treatments are best for you.

A treatment that is natural to the body is not likely to do harm (unless used unwisely or in excess, as noted above). So whether it is very helpful for you or only a little helpful, there is less risk involved in trying these kinds of things. 

A treatment that is unnatural to the body will cause stress in some way. The potential for harm is also much greater. So the question is, will the benefit outweigh the risk and the negative effect of the stress it causes?

In my own experience, I began with many "unnatural to the body" treatments. At one point I even did a treatment where my blood was removed and run through a machine and then put back in my body. (It didn't actually work because my blood clotted so severely, so I basically just lost a lot of blood.) Looking back I can't believe some of the things I tried, simply out of desperation. But eventually I learned how to better evaluate the options and make better decisions for my health. I hope what I've learned is helpful for you as well. =)

P.S. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this post. Do you agree with this theory? Do you have any wisdom to add? Do you have questions about specific treatment methods and which category they fall in? Please let me know in the comments. =)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Can Illness Affect Personality?

When I was eleven, I fell off a horse and got a bad concussion. I missed a week of school, and it was a month before I could do sports or get on a horse again. At the time I just thought it was part of being a horsewoman. You fall off, you might get injured, you get better and you get back on. But looking back, I can see how that injury significantly affected my physical health and my personality as well. 

A brain injury like a concussion can cause various physical health problems. But today I want to talk about how injury or illness can affect our personalities. 

Before the concussion, I was an energetic and imaginative little girl. After the concussion, my brain started doing something that I only recognized in hindsight. It started "budgeting" my mental energy. Instead of having extra brain power for fun things or learning stuff outside of school, my brain basically "conserved" its energy for classes and things that were absolutely necessary. 

I can see now how all through school, though I had plenty of intelligence, it seemed like I always had to push my brain to focus and complete tasks. And at times I'd get really frustrated because I didn't have the mental energy I needed.

When I see people who've learned 5 or 6 languages or who keep acquiring new skills, I marvel at their mental energy. How is it possible? Then I remember that since childhood my brain has been "protecting" itself by rationing my mental energy instead of overflowing with it. There are probably a lot of kids with similar experiences. It's not that they aren't smart. It's that their brain isn't letting them work to their potential. 

Sometimes I wonder what things I would have learned or skills I'd have mastered if I hadn't had that concussion.... Having a brain that rations energy affects the way you see the world and the way you see yourself. It leads to thoughts like, "That's too hard, I can't do that, why try?..." Instead of being outgoing and adventurous, the personality can change to timid or resistant to change and challenges.  

In 2012 I did the DNRS brain retraining program, which helps to heal brain injuries. I was amazed at the results! Suddenly I could memorize the Bible easily; the words just stuck in my brain! I enjoyed learning again! I felt excited about life, like when I was a little girl bubbling over with energy and enthusiasm. Healing the brain injury changed so much about me! 

Living with chronic illness also affects personality. After college I was the healthiest I'd been in a long time. I spent two years in Mexico as a missionary. I was on a grand adventure and I loved it! Only months after I left Mexico, my health crashed, and the spirit of adventure was quickly gone. I didn't want to make phone calls or decisions. It was an accomplishment just to get out of bed each day. Every little thing became an arduous task. I couldn't think clearly and had trouble expressing myself. I missed the "old me." 

Many things can affect or change personality (work, stress, friends, etc.). But I think sometimes people don't realize how much injury and illness are a factor. What I've shared are just two examples from my own experience. If you know someone who used to be outgoing, optimistic and energetic, and after months or years of illness they're depressed, exhausted and withdrawn, then you've seen firsthand what I'm talking about. Illness does affect personality because we are whole beings - you can't separate the physical from the emotional, mental and spiritual. 

The good news in all of this is that God is still good. As He has brought physical healing for me, He has also healed and restored much of my personality. In fact, I believe He has developed in my personality even stronger qualities than I had naturally, because now they come from His power and His life in me. 

For those of you who feel like you just want the "old you" back, please take heart. You are not the symptoms of your illness. You are more than how you feel right now. And I believe God will use your trials to transform you into an even more amazing person than you were before the injury/illness.

I hope that understanding how illness/injury can affect personality will make us all more patient and gracious with each other. In reality we're all still "in process." Let's keep encouraging each other in the journey.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

How To Find Made In USA Products

I've written posts before about the dangers of buying products made in China (here's one post from 2011). For various reasons, almost every made in China product is highly toxic (containing high levels of things like lead, mercury, formaldehyde, BPA, etc.). I realize it's not easy to find things we need or want that are not made in China. However, it's almost always possible to find an alternative if you know where to look and are willing to spend a little more time and money. 

I recently was looking for some nice shoes that weren't made in China. That's when I discovered a lot of great resources about where you can find all kinds of products made in the USA! 

Here's a website that lists dozens of American-made shoe companies: 

This site also has a list of products by state, or you can search for a specific product. I actually had a lot of fun just browsing their site to see what I could find. =) 

I also found this great website that is another directory of American-made products: 

It's good to remember that just because a product is made in the USA doesn't automatically mean it is "non-toxic". Some products just contain more toxins because of the materials they're made out of. But on the whole, you can know that the manufacturing standards here in the US are FAR above whatever is used in China. You can also be glad to support our country and its economy, support more jobs for people here, etc. 

Also, remember to always read the full description of any products you find on these sites, because sometimes the company will sell some products made in the USA but others are made in China or other countries. 

I've also found shopping on Amazon to be pretty good as well. They are very helpful If a product doesn't list where it's made in the description. You can post a question and people will reply. I've found several products I needed on Amazon that weren't made in China. 

A few stores are now carrying made in the USA products as well. If you read labels and watch the signs and sales, you'll see more of them. But online is still where most of these products are found. 

If you have any other tips on finding quality products made in the USA, please leave them in the comments. Thanks!

And here's one more site you can check out as well:

Happy Shopping! =) 

Note: This summer I'm planning to focus more of my time and energy on some writing projects that are in process. So I'll only be posting here every other Thursday instead of every week. I'd appreciate your prayers for me as I work on these projects, that God will direct and make them what He wants them to be. Thanks so much! 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Help For Autism

I'm posting a day early this week because I have great news! My friend Carolyn just published her book "Becoming Real: Our Journey Through Autism" and it's only $.99 (ebook) now through Saturday! (Print copies are also available at the regular price.) 

If you know any families blessed with autistic kids, please share this with them. Carolyn has been on quite a journey, but God has used it all for good. I'm so excited to see this beautiful fruit that God has brought from her trials. I know this book will be a blessing and help to many! 

You can order it on Amazon here, and here's a more detailed description of the book:

"Becoming Real: Our Journey Through Autism" is Carolyn Johnson’s own inspiring true story as a mother of an Autistic child. She shares both the light and dark sides of Autism, as well as the deeper journey every family experiences with special needs children. Her powerful lessons on life and spirituality bring readers to a new level of awareness. Tears of both of laughter and compassion will flow as readers enter into Carolyn’s overcoming story of “Becoming Real” on the journey.  

Along with inspiration, readers are given the necessary tools and education to heal themselves and their families. Carolyn’s uniquely designed program called “Covering Your Bases” will guide readers along their journey to health. Practical steps on using healing diets, essential oils, supplements, and other natural home-based therapies are provided in the book. Additionally, as a Certified BodyTalk Practitioner, Carolyn explains what her own innovative approach to holistic healing has been able to do for hundreds of clients. 

"Becoming Real: Our Journey Through Autism" is a map for helping parents and children reach a new kind of “normal life” in a holistic manner. Carolyn took into account that each child is different therefore created a guide or framework to lead the reader through the process of helping Autistic children live a better quality of life. This Autism book is designed to share her unique experience, effective holistic remedies, and offer encouragement through the process of healing.

Thanks for sharing this with others!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Is Your Hair Affecting Your Health?

I know you've probably been pondering this question all week (or not). =) So, is there a connection between your hair and your health? 


1) First of all, the products you use in/on your hair can certainly affect your health. All you have to do is search "toxins in shampoo" to find a wealth of information about how dangerous "regular" shampoo is. Here's one article that lists 8 specific toxins commonly found in shampoo. The various toxic ingredients in hair products cause allergies, disrupt hormones and the endocrine system, irritate skin, eyes and lungs, and even cause cancer, just to name a few things.

Since shampoo and other hair products are generally used every day, the cumulative effect of all those toxins is serious and dangerous. (Here's another website that lists 10 toxic ingredients to watch out for.)

So yes, shampoo, conditioner, gel, moose, hairspray, etc. are all very toxic products. And using them will have a negative effect on your health. Believe me, I know it's hard to give up those products, even when we know they're laden with chemicals. My shampoo was the last chemical product I used, because I liked having soft, shiny hair. But I did finally give it up. =) And eventually I found an organic product that works well. (I use Karen's Naturals. They offer both "organic" and "natural" hair products. There are other safe shampoo and hair product companies as well.)

Congratulations to those of you who have replaced toxic hair products with natural ones! That's a great step toward better health.   

2) Another big factor for health is hair dye. Because of poor diet, genetics, and hypothyroidism (just to name a few), many people now have prematurely gray hair. Most of the women I know regularly dye their hair. Unfortunately, hair dye is extremely toxic and a serious health hazard.

Here are a few comments from Dr. Mercola's post about the dangers of hair dye:

"Your scalp has a very rich blood supply that is more than capable of transporting the toxins in hair dyes throughout your entire body.

The Environmental Working Group has ranked 456 hair colors in their Skin Deep cosmetics database, and roughly 400 of them are considered high hazard because they contain toxins linked to: 
  • Cancer
  • Developmentive and reproductive toxicity
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Immunotoxicity and organ toxicity
  • Allergies and irritation of the eyes, skin or lungs
More specifically, in your box of “chestnut brown” or “ash blonde” -- or in the dyes used at your salon -- you may find:
  • Para-phenylenediamine and tetrahydro-6-nitroquinoxaline, both of which have been shown to damage genetic material and cause cancer in animals.
  • Formaldehyde, a preservative linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity and more.
  • DMDM Hydantoin, another preservative that is a known immune system toxin (and has been restricted for use in cosmetics in Japan).
  • Eugenol, a fragrance ingredient that’s associated with cancer, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and allergies. study of nearly 900 people found that women who used permanent hair dye at least once a month were twice as likely as women who did not use permanent hair dye to develop bladder cancer."

Now, I know this is a big issue for a lot of people (men and women). The good news is that there are some natural hair dye options. Here's a good resource that gives instructions and recipes for natural hair dyes, using things like coffee, sage, chamomile, etc. I'm looking forward to trying some of these natural options myself. =) 

(Two more articles about toxins in hair dye:)

3) One more thing to mention about hair and health is the possibility of neck strain. I noticed after my last haircut that my head felt much lighter, perhaps putting less strain on my neck. I've also noticed that with certain hair styles, I end up tilting my head at an angle or tossing my head often to keep the hair out of my eyes. These things are not good for keeping a healthy neck and spine.

Depending on the individual and the specific situation, it might be better to have shorter hair or at least to evaluate what style will be most conducive to neck/spine health.  

It is also true that your hair can be an indicator of your health. If you have chronically dry, straw-like hair, hair falling out excessively, or other problems with your hair, that's a sign that something in your body needs help. (These things can be caused by a mineral or vitamin deficiency, thyroid problems, parasites, etc.) But that's another post altogether. =) 

So what do you think, is your hair affecting your health? 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Some Days Are Like That...

I know I said I was going to do a post about hair and health this week, but I didn't have time to do the research I wanted yet. So that post will have to wait til next week. In the meantime, I thought I'd share an update on what's been going on with me. So here's a somewhat rambling description of my life over the past week. =) 

Last Thursday - I went to the beach for the first time since October. And it was a BEAUTIFUL day! The air was so clean and fresh, like drinking cool, clean water for the lungs. It was the most perfect beach day I've had in a long time. =) Thank you God for such a sweet blessing! 

Friday - The ants invaded our kitchen again. Between fighting them and trying to ignore the symptoms of my reaction to them, I was totally unmotivated to do any dishes. Why leave clean dishes out where ants will crawl on them and they'll have to be washed again? (In case you're wondering, we do have a dishwasher, but we don't use it because of my issues with it. So yes, we wash every dish by hand and leave them drying on the counter or stove-top.) 

On top of the ant invasion, my chair - my beloved chair - finally broke-finish. It's the chair I've sat in for years to do all my typing, puzzle-work, scrapbooking, eating meals, etc. It's been taped and re-taped to hold it together, but it finally bit the dust. Which left me sitting on the piano bench or standing up to work on my computer and such. I do have a comfortable office chair that I bought at a garage sale two years ago, but it still isn't completely decontaminated. It's been on my "to do" list for months to vacuum and scrub it so I can actually bring it in the house. ...maybe I'll finally get to that project next week. =)

Saturday - I was feeling pretty good, thanks to the effects of a great beach day, and in spite of the ants. =) I went to the first meeting of a ladies' Bible study that my friend and I planned. She's been so wonderful about working with my needs, so we met outside at a picnic table. Unfortunately, one of the ladies who came and sat next to me had MAJOR mold on her clothing. The GOOD news is that I was actually able to stay for the whole two hours of Bible study, which was awesome! The bummer is that once I left, the effects of the mold were in full force, and I spent three days in serious recovery. 

It can be so frustrating when you make a big effort to do something worthwhile, like meeting with other Christians for encouragement, and then you end up with serious health repercussions. But I am thankful for all the wonderful detox tools we have that helped me get through the aftermath. My friend was also very understanding, and next time we're going to try me just calling her and being on speaker-phone for the meeting. It won't be the same as face to face, but still better than nothing. (Appreciate your prayers with this one, not to get discouraged or give up. Thanks!)

Sunday - I spent the whole day doing things to recover from the mold exposure.

Monday - Still recovering, but I actually went to the park, and it was nice to get out of the house for a bit. =)

Tuesday - I drove a friend to the airport - another big victory for me! Haven't done that in years. God gave me amazing strength for it, including taking a wrong road and getting lost in downtown Orlando. Thankfully, using the map on my phone we found an alternate route and still made it in time. Praise God! =) I was exhausted when I got home, but thankful I could serve my friend in this way.

Wednesday - I went to physical therapy, the health food store, and grocery store. Talked with a couple friends on the phone. =) And that was pretty much my day.

Today - I managed to do a few dishes (no sign of the ants yet today) and write an email to a friend, in between resting, eating and keeping the laundry moving. This is definitely a 'recovery' day after the very busy, eventful week I've had. But as the children's book so wisely says, "Some days are like that...even in Australia." =)

Well, that's the quick update from here. I thank God for the progress, victories, and sweet gifts He gives me. Still learning to trust Him with the difficulties and frustrations, knowing He's always with me. I hope wherever you are, you're giving thanks and finding joy in both the challenges and the victories of this crazy life. =) 

God bless you.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hair, Health & Transformation

I've been thinking lately about the effects hair can have on health. Kind of a random topic, I know. But I think there can be a connection. I'll talk more about it next week. But today I wanted to share something I wrote for my other blog last year. I was reminded again today that even more important than good health is inner transformation.

Let me know what you think. =) 

Hair Dye And The God Who Never Changes

The funniest thing happened to me in the grocery store last week. This little white-haired man was ringing up my groceries and looking at me kind of funny. Then he said, "You look too young to have gray hair." 

I was completely surprised. I didn't know what to say. How's a girl to respond to such a comment?
"Thank you for saying I look young," or "thank you so much for pointing out my gray hair"? 

I still can't believe he said that. Not that it isn't an accurate observation. I've had white hairs mixed in with the brown ones since college. Back then, after a little kid made a comment about my gray hair, I decided to dye it. And I probably would have kept dying it if my health hadn't crashed and I learned just how toxic hair dye is for the body. 

So for the last ten years I've had to accept the gray hairs. Many times I've remembered Jesus' words in Matthew 5:36:
And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.

I've often wondered if the original inventor of hair dye was someone who read that verse, and thought, "Oh yeah? We'll see about that." 

Hair dye does affect the appearance of hair color. But in reality it still can't change the hair color. Once the dye wears off, the original color is still there, whether it's white or black (or another color). 

All this got me thinking. How many times do we try to "change" things in our lives by simply altering their appearance or covering up with something else? 

The reality is that we cannot change ourselves. We can learn new things and train ourselves and alter our appearance or behavior.... But we can't truly change who we are. 

There's only One who can change us, the One who never changes - God Himself.

God created me. He knows exactly who I am and who He wants me to be. He knows which aspects of me should never be changed, and which aspects He wants to change. I don't always know which is which. 

Sometimes I try to change the things that shouldn't be changed, while holding onto the things that should be changed. 

Thankfully, because God is perfect and never changes, He is able to perfectly work the best changes in me.

So I'll never be taller and I have gray hair. (I keep asking Him to change the gray hairs back to brown, but I'm still waiting for that miracle.) =) That's the way God made me. But the way I think and my desires are some of the things I believe God wants to change in me.

If I ask Him, I'm sure He'll teach me to see myself more clearly. He loves me too much to let me try to change the unique person He created and too much to let me stay as I am.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. -Psalm 139:14

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. -2 Corinthians 3:18

When I think about it, I'm actually glad that I can't change myself. I'm sure I'd do a poor job of it. But my loving, heavenly Father knows exactly what He's doing. I believe He's making the most beautiful changes in me. I rejoice in that! Even if I do still have gray hairs. =) 

What things about yourself do you think God doesn't want you to try to change? 
What things do you think God wants you to let Him change?