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?