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Links to Joy: Health…Part 2

What a tremendous blessing it is to have good health, to have the energy and ability to go about daily tasks and enjoy simple pleasures!

Periodically, I have been adding information to a health journal of sorts.  The post has gotten so tediously long that I decided to give it a fresh start in this new post today.  

Click here to view the original post if you’d like to read about appreciating your health, hypothyroidism, food obsessions, motivation to exercise, diet plans, health-related jokes and videos, Oxycise, essential oils (especially frankincense), or shrinking tumors and scars. I went back and labelled the sections to make it easier to find each topic.

~~~ May 9, 2016 ~~~

[raw vegan diet plan with progressive additions = family lifestyle change!]

My hubby and daughter have spurred us all into a lifestyle change (hopefully)!  What began as a five-day raw-vegan experiment has been expanded into at least a 45-day plan intended to change our diets for the long-term.

For five days, we ate only raw, whole fruits and vegetables, along with some nuts and seeds.  By the end of day one, my husband’s stomach was smaller and softer (meaning less indigestion), and his recently-acquired ulcers had stopped bothering him.  (By the way, a spoonful of honey or a few ounces of aloe vera juice will help heal ulcers if taken a couple of times per day.)  By the fourth day, I had much less hypothyroid “brain fog” and more energy.  My daughter, who had been experiencing headaches 4-5 days per week for the last month, had not a single headache after going on the raw vegan diet.

table covered with fruit, a plate of raw vegan food, and a fruit smoothie

With such great results so quickly, we put our heads together as a family and extended our dietary experiment.  Here’s the plan we are following:

Healthy Eating Plan

We will do five days of each of the following steps:

1.  Raw vegan whole foods = eat it the way God made it

 2. Vegan = no common allergens (corn, egg, dairy, fish, gluten, peanut, shellfish, soy), low salt, & no fast food or junk food

 3. Vegan = add corn, continue low salt & no fast food or junk food

 4. Vegan = add soy & wheat, continue low salt & no fast food or junk food

 5. Vegetarian = add eggs, continue low salt & no fast food or junk food

 6. Vegetarian = add honey & dairy, continue low salt & no fast food or junk food

 7. add fish, continue low salt & no fast food or junk food

 8. add white meat, continue low salt & no fast food or junk food

 9. add red meat, continue low salt & no fast food or junk food

10. Optional: add fast food on some occasions (no more than once per week), otherwise continue low salt & no junk food

11. Optional: add occasional junk foods & sugary foods

Lifetime plan: Limit meat, salt, sugar, & artificial additives; eat until satisfied, never “stuffed;” & stay away from anything that caused problems when reintroduced.

My husband wanted to reintroduce dairy as soon as possible, but I talked him into pushing it farther down the list to keep it out of our systems longer.  I have suspected for years that I have a slight problem with dairy, and he may, too, since he craves it as much as I do.  I’m expecting that dairy is the main culprit adding to my health problems, and it will probably have to be permanently eliminated for me.  Here’s hoping I’m wrong!

We began this journey on May 1st, so right now we are in the middle of step #2. So far, I’m feeling better and more energetic each day! (I should mention that, in addition to the dietary changes, I’ve been taking walks, gardening, and doing Oxycise 3-5 days per week.)  I may stop the diet plan at #8 and limit the rest to holidays and vacations, if I have them at all. I truly want to be healthier and feel better!

~~~ June 1, 2016 ~~~

[more about the raw vegan diet plan with progressive additions]

We began eating fish today (step #7), and things are still going quite well.  We regretted combining soy and wheat on step #4, so we tried each one for 3-4 days and pushed the addition of eggs back a day.

I’m thrilled to note that I did not have any noticeable problems during the five days of eating dairy.  I dedicated a couple of days to cheese and a couple to milk and had no problems.  Hooray!  So now I’m guessing my past problems from hypothyroidism and exhaustion were related to junk/chemicals, salt, &/or simply overeating.  We’ll see as the experiment progresses.  My husband’s stomach seems to disagree with having cheese in it (milk did not bother him at all), so he plans to limit it in the future.  Other than that, none of us have had adverse reactions to anything we’ve added so far.

I’m also excited to say that although I have not kept up with my exercises as often as planned, I am still gradually losing weight while eating about as much as I could want each day.  The only times I’ve gained a pound were when we made a creamy cheese sauce for pasta, and I “cheated” and added too much salt to my plate.  More fresh fruits and veggies the next day helps shed the water weight, though.

This has been interesting, and so worth it!

My husband is exploring processed vegan foods.  My opinions: Wheat hot dogs = disgusting!  I couldn’t get one bite down! Wheat/veggie burgers = not bad at all, as long as the cook isn’t distracted when the grill suddenly flames up and chars one side of them.  Lol  Falafel “meatballs” and falafel chips = wonderful!

I personally don’t care to go any further with the experiment, but I will continue to support my family (or else I’ll be in big trouble with my daughter!  ha ha).  Since we finished with homeschool last week, I’m really enjoying venturing into the garden in the cool of the morning for fresh breakfasts of sugar snap peas, strawberries, raspberries, edible flowers, and carrots.  Blissful!

~~~ June 24, 2016 ~~~

[RESULTS of the raw vegan diet plan with progressive additions]

The diet experiment is over, and the results are in.  The basics I’ve learned are that brazil nuts don’t like me at all if I eat a handful on an empty stomach, dairy (surprisingly) doesn’t seem to bother me, and sugary junk makes me feel gross after going two months without it.

I was weak and craving sweets today, so I gobbled down two sour cream cake doughnuts and a glass of chocolate milk.  I feel like I could throw up.  I don’t know why I caved and bought that today.  I know it’s not good for me!

I want to make processed, sugary junk food a thing of the past and take better care of my body.  I want that bursting energy and clear-mindedness back that I had the first week or two of our healthy-eating experiment!  If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it” (Proverbs 25:16).

~~~ December 21, 2016 ~~~

[recovering from shoulder injury, free exercise videos]

The second half of 2016 has flown by!  As far as diet, I’ve been keeping sugar intake low and incorporating whole foods into my diet every day (when I can keep my family away from restaurants!  It’s so tempting!).  After several months of laziness and working on special rotator cuff exercises for my injured shoulder, I’m finally getting back into an actual exercise routine this last month.

Setting aside time first thing in the morning is definitely the best method for me to make sure I actually complete my exercises each day.  Using Oxycise breathing methods and simple cardio and body weight routines for 20 to 40 minutes, 5-6 days per week, has made a huge difference in my body composition and energy level.

It’s been 15-16 months since I injured my shoulder (possibly tearing the deltoid muscle), and it’s still not quite back to normal.  I quickly learned not to push that shoulder to the level of discomfort at all when exercising and not to think “It’s well enough now to use it to lift this 50 lb bag as long as I mainly lift with my strong arm…” Nope, that doesn’t work because I reinjured it and set myself back several times over the past year.

After babying it for months, faithfully doing rotator cuff rehab exercises, and taking L-Lysine* and Vitamin C, I’m to the point now where I can use the shoulder enough to begin building muscle back onto it.  I’ve looked a little funny with the overused, healthy shoulder being full and round, while the injured one looked like a bony knob.  I’m cautiously on the way to evening out now — hooray!

*(L-Lysine is an amino acid that’s good for sports injuries.  It also helps you recover much faster if you get shingles!)

The main reason I’m adding to this health journal today is to tell you about an exercise YouTube channel I discovered last week called “Fitness Blender.”  The videos are created by a husband and wife team (Daniel and Kelli) who have years of experience as personal trainers.  The routines I’ve tried so far are great!  Here’s a simple beginner workout I completed this morning that was very relaxing:

Remember: Always modify exercise moves that aggravate an injury or push you past your flexibility or fitness level!

~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~

That’s all for the moment.  Please check back later for more updates, and please share your own tips and stories in the comments below!

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Links to Joy: Mourning

Yes, I know, that’s a strange title for a blog post.  It is an oxymoron that has been on my mind of late, as I have attended several funerals recently with family and friends.

King Solomon stated in the book of Ecclesiastes that “it is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting…”  But how could that be possible?  Who wants to sit around and pout when they could party, instead?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately of loved ones who have passed away and about friends who have moved out of state that I no longer get to see frequently.  Sadness and mourning fill my heart at these times, so how could that make me happy?

Look at the rest of the scripture to understand the answer:

SCRIPTURE -- Ecclesiastes 7:2 written on the photo of a teary eye

It’s easy to float through life when things are going smoothly or when you are busy with schedules and/or physical possessions.  Loss and tragedy can make you pause long enough to re-evaluate your life.

Sitting in the crowd during a funeral service, it’s hard not to think that some day I will be the one lying in the box.  It helps me think about and take stock of my life:

  • Why am I here?
  • What is my purpose in life?
  • What have I contributed to this world that’s of any value?
  • How many days to I have left on this earth, and am I using them well?

Such sobering thoughts help me organize my priorities and live more conscientiously. This pause for thoughtful self-evaluation is how mourning can lead to a joyous lifestyle and help you develop a meaningful, peaceful life.

When I slow down to examine my life and look around this world, I see the patterns, the complexity, the balance…I see the hand of the Creator.

When I seek His truths in His Word, I find a pattern of living based on relationships, love, and unselfishness.  Walking in His footsteps, I make choices that lead my life down a wonderful path which grows brighter every day.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

~Matthew 5:4

 

One last thought: “We’re all in this together,” as they say, so I encourage you today to pay extra attention to those around you and support them.  Whether you feel like laughing or crying at the moment, “this, too, shall pass;” and like it or not, we need each other.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

~Romans 12:15

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Links to Joy: A Sense of Humor

Life is laughable 99% of the time, I think.  Even in tough situations, I’d rather choose to laugh than cry, wouldn’t you?  During the darkest times in my life, I have found silver linings in the clouds, or at least an ironic aspect of the situation to amuse me.

A few days ago, a new friend I’m just getting to know wisecracked about my clothing, then suddenly looked surprised and apologized.  We have developed a running gag about her disdain for wearing socks with flip-flops and the fact that my feet are frequently garbed in that very fashion.  (I even buy special flip-flop socks.)  Maybe she thought she had gone too far this time by moving on to other articles of clothing?  I chuckled and told her I’m not easily offended.  With a relieved expression, she said, “Good!  I wouldn’t joke with you if I didn’t like you!”  It’s funny how many times I’ve heard that phrase.

humor is healing -- "A merry heart does good like a medicine" Proverbs 22:17

I was raised in a house full of humor.  My father, especially, has always been a big jokester.  Surviving certain unique friends during junior high school (what an awkward time of transition!) also added to my slapstick slant on life.  After being antagonized and embarrassed to a certain level by those classmates, nothing phased me anymore.  Strangely, it seems I can embarrass myself constantly, but the things others say to me rarely ruffle my feathers.  Ok, I’m rambling; back to the topic…

Have you ever met (or been) someone who has absolutely no sense of humor?  I have encountered a small handful of these personalities before.  These are the people, in my experience, who stay grouchy — angry, even — almost as if they prefer to be miserable.  Or, they are those who go through every moment somberly and react as if speaking with levity is degrading or hurtful.  These latter are the ones who overhear a friendly jibe, throw their hand over their gasping mouth as their eyes bulge in surprise, then furrow their brows in confusion when the recipient of the joke laughs.  With these types of people, I reign in my urge to quip, so as not to upset or annoy them.

Then there are those who seem to enjoy humor but aren’t completely sure how to participate in the fun.  This idea brings a funny story to my mind of an experience I had while shopping in a home improvement store.  My husband and I were seeking to purchase a new toilet (the highly-chlorinated, terribly-hard water in our town ruins toilets and water heaters).  While standing with our heads tipped way back, examining the signs beside the shiny porcelain bowls mounted way up on the top shelf, a couple approached and assumed the same position.  One sign amused me because it sported a large photo of a bucket of golf balls that it claimed could be easily flushed down due to the commode’s extraordinary flushing power and capacity.

The lady nearby asked me which one I was thinking about getting because she couldn’t decide what kind of toilet was the best.  Leaning in closer to her while pointing at the sign I was studying, I replied, “I don’t know, but if you’re really wanting to flush down a bucket of golf balls, I’d definitely go with that one.”

Her gaze briefly focused on the sign.  Then she straightened up, took a small step back, cocked her head and stared at me for a second.  I thought, “Oh, no, I guess I shouldn’t have said that.”

Suddenly, she smiled from ear to ear, reached out her arm, and gently slapped me across the shoulder.  “You’re…so…funny!” she slowly ejected in a high-pitched voice.

I had never had anyone react like that to one of my lame jokes, so I just stared at her with my eyebrows raised.  “You are!” she reiterated while wagging her finger accusingly toward me.  I composed myself enough to thank her, and we proceeded to discuss in detail the merits of several toilets.

~~~~~~~

This post was not intended to be an analysis of humor, but rather a simple declaration of appreciation for it.  I guess I’m doing more of a freewriting or stream-of-consciousness writing style today.

The thing I was originally intending to write was a story about my cute daughter.  Though she is homeschooled, she takes choir class at the local public school.  On the drive there today, I was telling her about a funny conversation I had with photographer/blogger Willis Kier in the comments of his recent post.  I facetiously accused him of getting angry when he was too cold.  He concluded that if hungry + angry equals “hangry” then cold + angry would equal “cangry.”  My daughter thought that was funny, too.

I thought to tell her about the conversation because of how she was dressed.  Though it was 40 degrees outside and she was in a short-sleeved shirt, she would not follow my recommendation to grab a coat.  (Sometimes with kids, you have to ask yourself, “Is this really worth the fight?  Maybe she needs to learn this one the hard way.”)  As she climbed out of the car, cold air rushed in.  I called to her, “Hey!  Don’t get all ‘cangry’ now!”

Her laughter mixed with the sound of the car door slamming.  She quickly leaped onto the sidewalk in front of the car, pumped her fist into the air, and pretended to shout at me.  With one foot forward and her front knee bent, she looked like someone stepping out of their vehicle in a fit of road rage or like a Viking warrior raging on the bow of his ship.  I roared with laughter as I imagined a horned Viking helmet atop her head.  I’m very thankful for my girl; she’s so fun to be around!

Do you have your own version of a “cangry Viking” who keeps you laughing?  Please tell me about them in the comments below because I love happy stories!

Thanks for reading.  Here’s wishing you a beautiful, laughter-filled day!

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Links to Joy: Health

What a tremendous blessing it is to have good health, to have the energy and ability to go about daily tasks and enjoy simple pleasures!

Without good health, a person’s quality of life can quickly go down the tubes.  Since this is so true, why do so many so often take their health for granted by refusing to nurture and care for their bodies or by ignoring health problems until they grow out of control?

 I am so happy and thankful to have the level of health that I have, aren’t you?  Even if your health is quite poor, things could always be worse.  If you don’t agree because you think your health problems are overwhelming, please set aside some time to watch the following documentary which made a huge impression on me and my family.  It put things in a new perspective for us.  Even if your health problems are as cumbersome as the poor man in the video, at least you’ll know you’re not alone:

~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~

And now, I’d like to take you on a health journey with me.  I will be adding to this post from time to time with updates on my progress.  I hope that sharing this will be an encouragement to others and a catalyst for them to begin, or continue on, their own journeys toward improved health.

~~~ Early September 2015 ~~~

[hypothyroidism, food obsession, self-control]

Do you ever feel sick and tired of feeling sick and tired?  It sounds trite, but for me it has been true for far too long.  

And I’m doing it to myself!

That sounds dumb, doesn’t it?  But it’s a cold-hard fact.

~~~~~~~

Here’s my story:

I’ve had thyroid-related health problems since my late teens which are directly affected by my weight and fitness level (which is how it goes with a great assortment of health problems).  When I eat healthy, keep my weight in a certain range, and especially when I exercise regularly, I feel pretty great.

A year-and-a-half ago I was on the top of my game, fit and (somewhat) energetic and just a couple of pounds from my weight goal.  A family crisis or three later, my routine flew out the window.

Bring me a tissue!  Boo hoo!  What am I going to do?

Bye-bye vitamins!  So long exercise program!  Healthy routines no longer exist — I’m just trying to survive here!  Half a pizza and a quart of ice cream?  Bring it on!

Yeah, I didn’t handle things so well.  At first that worked OK, as far as my weight was concerned, because when I’m upset I generally lose my appetite.  However, after communication began to flow, help was acquired, problems were worked out, and permanent lifestyle and relationship adjustments were made, my appetite returned with a vengeance.

I was back to “normal” (if there is such a thing) with the monster appetite I’ve been famous for my entire life.  My family loves to share their list of food-related stories about me:

  • childhood stories of my voluminous eating sprees (Doesn’t every young teenager enjoy a small pizza, half a bag of Doritos, and a 30 ounce milkshake for lunch?  And then wish for extra dessert to top it off?)
  • young-adulthood stories like warning my fiancee that he’d better get a good job to be able to pay his impending grocery bills and seeing the shock on my in-laws’ faces the first few times I ate at their house and out-ate everyone at the table
  • stories after the birth of our daughter, who also seemed to inherit my love of food, involving predictions that we would one day fight over food when she got older (I have to admit, there have been a few times she scooped her arm protectively around her plate and either glared or growled at me!  ha ha)

My main health-related problem as we returned to “normal” life and my appetite returned was that I was no longer reigning in that appetite.  I was not maintaining healthy routines because, in the light of all that had happened, they just didn’t seem to be important enough to exert myself over it.

Well, at this moment I’m five pounds away from the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life, and I’m probably the most out-of-shape I’ve ever been, also.

This weight I’ve reached would be completely fine with me…if I felt good…which I DON’T.  Exercises that two years ago would not even get my heart rate up now leave me panting for air.  I can hardly remember things for more than a few minutes, I pause in the middle of sentences before I can finish them, I go to bed feeling like a stepped-on slug and wake up feeling the same way.  The typical thyroid standards are my constant companions these days:  being cold and foggy-headed.

~~~~~~~

Jumping back to where I started on this blog post, let me restate that I’m putting all these problems onto myself.  What an idiot I am for giving my own body and mind so little respect!

No one forces a third serving of macaroni and cheese down my throat at dinner except me!  (Cheese is such a temptation for me!  I love it so!  Oh, my family could probably tell many tales involving me and cheese.  For example, my grandmother would buy big blocks of cheddar cheese when she knew we were coming to visit.  She called me her “mouse.”)

No one ties me to the couch and orders “don’t move or else”!  I’m the only one who has caused myself to feel like that squished slug!

I need to stop taking the health I have for granted and start fostering its improvement, instead.

~~~ Mid September 2015 ~~~

[exercise methods, small goals, motivation]

Rather than having a set time for a long workout, I’ve been randomly exercising throughout the day.  Whenever I have a moment, I do 10 push-ups, a couple of (attempted) pull-ups, leg lifts, or whatever I think of at the time.  It was going great until I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder. (I knew those slight popping and grinding noises couldn’t be a good thing.)

During a show I was watching recently, I heard a man say this sentence:

Every little thing you do will make a difference.

That kept ringing in my head as I realized its application to so many things in life.  Though we often want to see immediate results when we try to improve our health and fitness levels, the man’s statement certainly applies in those areas, too.  Rather than focusing on the end goal, more progress can be made by simply taking things one step at a time.

I read a great article on this topic last fall.  If you have the time, you might want to check it out.  It’s pretty short, and it makes a good point about changing your diet or any other habits you wish to adjust.

I have the power to improve my state of physical, mental, and emotional health.  It IS worth the effort, and the effort will start NOW.

I plan to quit being so lazy, drink water almost exclusively, and eat foods that are closer to the way God made them rather than the way man processed/perverted them.

~~~ September 17, 2015 ~~~

[healthy-eating plan, motivation]

I didn’t start my healthier lifestyle as planned because I was whisked away on a spur-of-the-moment vacation (during which I became sick).  So, I moved my plans back about a week and gave it a fresh start.

Now, just a few days after making a commitment to improving my health, I’m on an upward path already!  I can’t help but feel better, though, since I still had the cold when I started and didn’t feel much like eating (or doing anything else, for that matter).

A thought came into my mind as I was lying on the couch cuddling a box of tissues and trying not to cough on my family.  I wrote it on the fridge for extra motivation and even made an image of it to share with all of you!

Quote on refrigerator:

There is a larger copy of this image on the “Happy Thoughts” board of my Pinterest account.

I haven’t started exercising yet due to the facts that I’ve been out of town and sick and my shoulder is still not 100%.  It seems that all the coughing may be toning my stomach muscles, though! Lol

I have dramatically adjusted my eating since returning from the vacation where I ate like a pig with no willpower whatsoever.  The measures I’ve taken are more extreme than I would normally attempt, but I’m trying to lose the several vacation pounds I gained last week before my best friend’s wedding in October.  I’ve got to be able to wear the maid-of-honor dress that was just tailored to fit a slightly smaller me!

I wouldn’t recommend this as a long term plan, but I’m currently following a pretty restrictive diet (for me, anyway):

  • breakfast = fruit with a handful of pecans or almonds
  • lunch = a reasonable meal that includes at least one fruit or vegetable
  • dinner = two or three small, healthy snacks spread across the afternoon and early evening
  • drinks = water, water, and more water
  • extra rules = very limited cheese and sugar; don’t go crazy with the salt shaker

So far this week, I’ve kicked several pounds and a bunch of viruses out of my body.  The energy and motivation is returning!

~~~ September 24, 2015 ~~~

[weight loss, self-control, sugar, exercise & injuries]

This is day 11 of the rest of my healthier life…I’m down five pounds and finally starting to recover from this lengthy cold.  Five pounds is pretty great results to me, considering I haven’t been able to exercise yet!

This just shows me that I eat more calories than I realize on a regular basis because

  —   I   —   L-O-V-E   —   FOOD   —

but my appetite must no longer control me.  I need to grow up and control myself and make better choices, realizing the consequences to my health if I don’t.

The strange thing is, it’s easier for me to completely cut myself off from a food than to eat sensibly.  For example, in 2014 I went a year with no processed sugar: no cookies, no ice cream, no soda pop, not even ketchup (since it’s 1/4 to 1/3 sugar).  When others were eating sugary things around me, it wasn’t a big deal because I knew I it was off limits for me.

watermelon on a black paper plate with birthday candles in it

Here’s the birthday “cake” my family gave me that year — a big slice of watermelon!

When this year rolled around, and I decided to allow myself a few sweet treats now and then, it was a different story.  After having a few bites of a dessert, I’d go crazy wanting more and crave sugar madly for two or three days afterward.  I’ve given in and pigged out many times in 2015.

Hopefully today I can exercise to pick up my metabolism.  Push-ups were helping me tone up quite well, but I’m afraid to try them again after hurting my shoulder.  Maybe I should start will wall push-ups?

~~~ September 25, 2015 ~~~

[funny “Studio C” video]

For all you “health nuts” out there, I saw this video today that was just too funny not to share.  Enjoy!

~~~ October 26, 2015 ~~~

[fruit & veggie fast, Oxycise exercise program]

My will power weakened for a while, but I have found it again (along with those five pounds I had lost).

Ice cream, pizza, and doughnuts…SIGH…I will miss you!  I have decided for the sake of my health to do a fruit and vegetable “fast” for a while to get my energy levels back up and help me feel better.  I have a pot of veggie soup simmering on the stove right now with basil, dill, coriander, and lots of other goodies in it.  Mmm…it smells so delicious!

I have been keeping up with my exercises, which has toned me up physically.  It has helped me emotionally as well because of the routine I have chosen: “Oxycise.”

Have you ever heard of “Oxycise”?  It is a no-impact aerobic workout of deep-breathing and muscle flexing that is adaptable to people of any fitness levels.  I was introduced to the program years ago when a friend of mine found a VCR tape at a yard sale.  The original version I have is entertaining with all the 80s hair and funny faces. (yes, even your face will get toned!) But the theory behind it is sound, and the results are great!

I suggest you check it out at Oxycise.com.  If nothing else, grab a friend and practice learning the “basic breath” on the intro video–you’ll get an ab workout just from the belly laughs you get while watching each other!

Best wishes for you on your journey toward better health!  Now, for a steaming bowl of soup…

~~~ January 9, 2016 ~~~

[rebounding from failure and injury, frankincense shrinks tumors]

As far as diet and exercise go, I have not had the healthy start to 2016 that I had intended.  The diet fail is due to giving into stress and cravings.  The exercise fail is due to laziness and my bum shoulder.  (When I returned to doing push-ups a couple of months ago, I tore a muscle in my shoulder.  WARNING to all you 20-somethings out there: Get yourself in shape now and maintain it.  Injuries happen more easily when you get older, and you can’t sleep it off and wake up fine the next day.  Stupid little injuries can hang around for months.)

 Today, I have important information regarding a positive health change I’ve experienced due to frankincense essential oil.

bag of frankincense

photo by Liz Lawley

This will get a little too personal for my taste, but here goes…Most of my adult life, I’ve had small (pea-sized) lumps under my skin in my arms and legs.  I’ve shown them to doctors several times, the most recent being several years ago when I discovered a larger lump just below my collar bone.

I noticed the larger lump after I was elbowed very hard in that spot.  During a wellness visit, the doctor checked it and dismissed it as nothing dangerous.  He said it was probably a “common, harmless fatty tumor” like all the other little ones I have or some swelling due to my injury.

This lump slowly grew larger; and the last few months it has begun to bother me, especially when a seat belt touches it.  It began to concern me, also, since it did not “move around under the skin” when I touch it, which the doctor said is one sign of a harmless fatty tumor.  Instead, it seemed to be fastened to my ribs.  Thus, I decided to see what I could learn about tumors.

After stumbling across some videos and information about frankincense oil, I decided to try it.  I have used other essential oils with success.  (For example, thyme oil removed certain spots on my skin, while doing no harm to the healthy skin around them.  I’ve also personally seen thyme essential oil cure toenail fungus and greatly reduce snoring when a few drops were rubbed on a friend’s feet each night.)  I could find no information about negative side effects of frankincense oil, so I thought “What could it hurt?”

I’m thrilled to say that after putting a drop on my tongue about five times per day over the last six weeks, I’ve had great results.  The lump on my ribs has noticeably shrunk and now moves freely under the skin when touched.  A dime-sized lump that has been on the front of my thigh for many years also seems to be shrinking.  (All the pea-sized lumps are unchanged.)  [** See below for an update!]

Sorry, I should have written this in a shorter format to not weary you kind readers.  Here’s my point:

Using frankincense essential oil orally has shrunk a lump (possible cancerous tumor?) from the size of a half-dollar to the size of a nickel in less than two months.  If that piques your interest, I highly recommend you research the connection between frankincense and cancer.  

I’ve read that frankincense is an immune booster, as well as a potential cancer treatment.  After hearing about my progress, a friend of mine started taking one or two drops each morning.  She was suffering symptoms of a developing bladder infection and an infected tooth.  Now the symptoms are gone.

I don’t know if frankincense oil is a miracle cure for anything; I just know the great results my friends and I have experienced.  One thing I DO know…the claims about frankincense oil being able to reduce fluid retention are absolutely true.  If you decide to start taking it, hang near a bathroom for the first few days!  Lol

~~~ February 16, 2016 ~~~

[frankincense essential oil shrinks tumors and scars]

I am amazed at the effects of the frankincense essential oil.  I’m still taking a drop on my tongue every couple of hours, like I have been since mid-December.  There have still been no perceivable negative side-effects, and lately I am noticing that scars on my body are fading.  I’m talking about scars I consider to be just a part of me — ones that haven’t changed in thirty years.

For example, I first noticed this scar-fading effect on my face.  There has been a small hole on my cheek since I was seven years old.  It’s a scar from when I had a bad case of chicken pox.  (Don’t scratch those bumps, kids!  It only makes things worse!)

While looking in the mirror one morning, I saw that the very familiar hole was smaller.  I told my daughter, who laughed and said it still looked the same to her.  I, however, have stared at that scar in the mirror thousands of times, and I knew it was different.  I grabbed the camera to make a “before” shot to share with you later after the scar disappeared, as I was confident that it would.  We shall see. I also snapped photos of a few other scars for my future reference, just so I could compare the difference over time.  Hmmm…that was three weeks ago.  I think I’ll go take some update photos.  I’ll share the images later if they actually heal.

 

** Update on the original reason I began using frankincense essential oil:  It’s been about eight weeks, and ALL the tumors are shrinking, even the tiny ones in my arms.  The large one below my collar bone is flatter and smaller than a dime.  The larger one in my thigh is getting hard to feel.  Now, if I can consistently behave myself on my eating and give my body healthier fuel to use, the lumps might go ahead and disappear. (I’m working on that.)

~~~ February 22, 2016 ~~~

[frankincense speeds healing]

I forgot to mention last time, I have discovered one negative side-effect to taking frankincense essential oil orally several times per day:  my pierced earring holes are trying to close!  I’m having to wear earrings more often and use rubbing alcohol to keep them from getting aggravated.  It reminds me of my teenage days when I first got them pierced.

That’s not really a negative thing, though, is it?  It means my body is healing.  I can tell several old scars are definitely fading.  If they go away completely, I’ll share the before and after photos of a couple on my wrist.

~~~ April 19, 2016 ~~~

[essential oils which lower blood pressure, video of youthful vegan]

Wow, the things frankincense has done for me!  But, I’ve talked enough about that already.  One note of caution with it: frankincense essential oil taken orally several times per day lowers blood pressure.  My mother has decided to stop taking it this week due to this fact.  She was taking other essential oils for a toothache (basically what is called the “Thieves” blend = clove , lemon , cinnamon , eucalyptus , and rosemary), some of which also lower blood pressure.  Her pressure got much too low (around 105/45), and her chronic dizziness increased dramatically.

Today I watched a video with a quote that really struck a chord with me.  You may have heard a version of it before…

Hospitals are filled with people who are digging their graves with their forks, so we must put in our bodies what our bodies require.

~Annette Larkins

This healthy, happy, youthful-looking lady said for over 30 years she has eaten “fruits, nuts, vegetables, and seeds…in their natural raw state,” including many types of sprouts.  She also said she has drunk distilled water for 45 years, which I’ve heard is not a good thing to drink long-term (it seems to have done no harm to her).  The only other drinks she consumes are juices like fruit, wheatgrass, and noni.

Besides eating and drinking healthy foods, this lady also gets “eight miles of activity per day,” which is where I am definitely lacking these days!  She also recommends getting plenty of sleep, sunshine, and gardening, and sharing love and kindness to people around us.  Sounds like a great plan to me!

Here’s the video I watched, in case you’re curious about it:

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This health journal is continued in another post.  Click here to continue reading in Part 2.  Please share any questions or comments you may have.  I’m always interested in learning about health.

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Links to Joy: Expressions of Appreciation

Last spring, the trash truck would come by every Friday morning while I was homeschooling my daughter, and we would usually hear the noise and peek out of our high living room windows to see if a visitor had pulled into our driveway. One of the workers noticed and started watching for us and waving to us each week; it seemed to entertain him.

I observed the men loading the smelly garbage into the truck, and began to think about the rain, heat, and cold they worked in throughout the year. I thought how they were frequently in danger from impatient drivers zipping past the garbage truck, stray dogs, glass, chemicals, and the germy refuse that splashed out of the trash cans.

Seeing an opportunity to teach my daughter about compassion for others, I talked to my her about the subject of unappreciated, unpleasant jobs as we watched the truck continue down the street.  We decided as a result of our discussion to leave the workers a thank you note the next week.

large, green, wheeled trash can sitting in the grass with a yellow thank you sign

Our trash can sat by the street on the following Friday with a large piece of bright-yellow posterboard taped to the lid.  Written on the posterboard was a letter about how the garbage collectors’ jobs seemed to us to be difficult and usually ignored or unappreciated by most people.  We stated that the town would be a disgusting mess without them working hard to gather people’s trash every day and that we wanted them to know we appreciated their efforts.

When we heard the squeaking brakes and roaring engine of the approaching trash truck, things quickly became very cloak-and-dagger at our house.  Overcome with embarrassment and fearing the trash workers might think us insane for leaving such an unusual note on our can, we threw the curtains closed and waited.  The truck pulled up in front of our house and idled for a long time.

My daughter and I sneaked around to a different window and peeked out to see the friendly waving worker hand the posterboard note to the driver in the front of the truck.  Searching the house with his eyes, he proceeded to empty the trash from our can, close the lid, and slowly wheel the can all the way up into our carport before walking back to the truck.

For several months now, that worker has returned the empty trash can into our carport every week. Once, I forgot to set the can out by the street, and he took care of everything for us.  Any time he sees us in the yard or looking out a window, he waves and yells hello with a big smile on his face.  It seems that our simple gesture of gratitude made quite an impact on the man.

Everyone enjoys being appreciated.  Have you ever noticed in your own life that it is easier to work hard at something when you know that someone really appreciates what you’re doing?  If no one cares about what you’re doing, or worse, if people continually complain about how you do it, it can make you think about throwing up your hands and quitting, right?

I believe that everyone around us will have a more pleasant day if we make a conscious effort to spread a little joy via appreciation:  Rather than complaining every time someone does not do something the way you’d like, try instead to compliment the person when you catch them doing something well. With the example of my garbage collector story, that would mean moving from the attitude of

Ugh!  The trash guys left my empty can too close to the street!  Hey, man, someone could have run over my can!  Why don’t you do your job right?

to an attitude of

I’m glad it’s trash day.  Thanks, mister, for working hard for us and for hauling that bag with the stinking, rotten meat off my property!  You deserve a bonus!

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Links to Joy: Hope

When life seems to be at its darkest, turn around and focus on the Light.

 

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with stress, discouragement, or sorrow?  I saw that overwhelmed look in my neighbor’s eyes this morning after his wife passed away during the night.  As I crossed the room to give him a hug, his words were “This is SO HARD!  Pray for me because that is the only thing that will get me through this.

When you feel like your pain will never ease, like there is no way out of your misery, like no one understands or cares…you can find hope and comfort in the Light.

 

We are writing these things so that your joy may be complete.  This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

~ 1 John 1:3-5

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.  For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.

~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

 

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

~ Romans 15:13

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Links to Joy: Mothers and Grandmothers

Family relationships take many forms, ranging from fabulous fulfillment to frightening failure.  Today I want to focus on the brighter side of this spectrum.

A special bond I’ve shared throughout my life is the multi-generational “girl power” shared between grandmother, mother, and grandchild.  I remember loving the time spent with my mom & grandmother as a child, whether we were shopping at Yellow Front or Alco (remember those old stores?), taking camping trips on motorcycles to places like Yellowstone National Park, or turning up the radio to sing and dance in the living room.  Even while typing this post, I sit here smiling as I recall those special times spent with my loved-ones.

My grandmother is no longer living, but, thankfully, this triple bond has filtered down a generation to include my daughter.  She is blessed to be near both of her grandmothers and has enjoyed many memorable experiences and traditions with them.

My daughter can fondly recall many days with her grandmothers that involved taking walks, playing games, camping, afternoon shopping trips, picnics, and many other fun times.  She honored me a few days ago by saying she hoped to raise her future children similar to the way we are raising her and hoped that her children will have as great of a childhood as she’s had.  How many teenagers are that grateful and think in such terms?  (Wow, I’m so blessed!)

This month is an exciting time for our family trio — it’s time to go on our third annual Girl Trip to Hot Springs, AR!  Don’t get me wrong, we love the men in our family!  But there’s a unique joy in having a girls’ day out to laugh and play and do all those girly things we girls do.  ha ha  This year we are bringing one of my daughter’s best friends with us, and I have a nice surprise in store for them all (I’d mention it here, but I don’t want anyone to find out prematurely).

The three of us have become photo bugs this year and are looking forward to honing our photography skills while capturing images of beautiful outdoor spaces and interesting architecture.  Hopefully, I will soon have a heart full of new happy memories and a camera full of impressive (ha ha) photos to share with you…

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Do you have special activities or traditions with your friends or family that you’d like to share?  I would enjoy hearing your stories!