It's been a long time since I wrote anything here. So much life has been happening, and it seems I forgot to actually record any of it. To make up for that, I'll record a few favorites that I've discovered (or rediscovered) over the past few months.
In no particular order......
1. Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem
This is a book that serendipitously came into my view at the library just this week. I picked it up, fell in love with the illustrations, and then asked my son what he thought of it. His reply? "Beatrix Potter!" Jill's illustrations do, indeed, harken back to Beatrix Potter's talent a few generations earlier. What I like about Brambly Hedge even better than Beatrix Potter's stories is the fact that the stories are lovely and adventurous but not at all frightening for those of us with sensitive children. The stories are truly beautiful, and may just succeed in helping me learn to tolerate mice just a little. My 4.5 year old son sat with rapt attention while we read 68 pages yesterday. The only reason we stopped was because my voice was getting weary.
2. Cleansing, specifically the cleanse designed by Rich Ralph, Vancouver Nutritionist to restore gut health.
I grew up in a meat and potatoes family. Salads were mostly made of iceberg lettuce (yuck), and green vegetables were usually canned (also yuck). Crisco and margarine were standard pantry items, and Jiff was my favorite peanut butter. It was just what we knew back then. I developed an affinity for fast food and chocolate, which didn't ruin my figure thanks to medication that had a side effect of upping my metabolism.
Then I got married and went to do the first big grocery shop with my husband. He wouldn't let me buy crisco. He refused to let me bring Jiff into our home. Suddenly, hydrogenated oils were evil, and I would have to learn to develop a love for natural peanut butter. (Who knew peanut butter could be made from only peanuts?!) Little by litte, my habits changed, and I discovered a love for fresh vegetables and fruits. Eventually, my habits and lifestyle were pretty doggone healthy. The only downside was that I gained a bunch of weight now that I was no longer on that medicine.
But then I met Rich, and he suggested we try a cleanse. It was rather brutal at first. Planning ahead was key, especially for the first ten days when everything had to be cooked and all my usual food choices were not allowed. I started with a pep talk that went like this, "When I'm done, we'll celebrate with wine and chocolate." The pep talk by day 4 had changed to this, "When I'm done with this first part of the protocol, I'll celebrate with an apple. When it's all over, I'll celebrate with a Greek salad."
Addictions I didn't even know I had were brought to my attention and conquered. Weight fell off. My eating habits got even better. My taste buds regained acute sensitivity. I could no longer tolerate processed foods, and my nose and tongue could ferret out a fake ingredient in no time flat. And I discovered that my favorite muffin recipe doesn't even need sugar anymore.
3. Essential Oils
When I first got married, I was used to being on antibiotics several times a year, along with allergy medicines. Moving to a totally different part of the continent relieved some of my allergies, and I was able to get rid of most allergy meds quite quickly. The antibiotics still stuck around until I finally caved and tried a friend's suggestion to use Oil of Oregano at the first sign of getting sick. It usually worked, especially if I started using the oil as soon as I felt something coming on and continued to use it throughout the day. It rarely worked when I'd go back to my home in the States, but I suspect that had a lot to do with the germs involved with air travel, the food (lots of treats), and the dust and other allergens involved with being back in the midwest.
I started making my own personal care products (shampoo and the like) and cleaning products with essential oils and food grade ingredients this past year. I was buying the essential oils from my local healthfood store, and they were okay but not fabulous.
Recently, I was introduced to some other essential oils by a friend who uses doTERRA. Little by little, I have been completely won over by the quality and the wide range of use they have. There is no comparison to the brands I bought from the healthfood store and the one I now use. I've watched the oils help my husband fall almost immediately to sleep when just moments earlier he was dealing with huge amounts of stress, and I've watched the oils heal my son from a bad virus. Even now, I'm experiencing their healing power as they work to help me heal from the same virus. I've seen them deal with bug bites, skin eruptions, allergies, stress, stomach ailments, and hormonal imbalances. And that's just in my family.
After mocking others for getting into sales of this type, I get to have the opportunity to eat my words as I've decided to become a distributor for doTERRA essential oils. I'm still on the lookout for other brands to see if any of them can beat the ones I have fallen for, but so far none can meet all the expectations I have. I don't know if I'll become some sales sensation, but I do know that it's been a sweet privilege to share the oils with a few friends who have been curious. And I know that my family is benefitting from them, and that's what matters most.
Our community garden closed down last autumn after our church sold the hazelnut farm they owned. My husband built some garden boxes in our yard in anticipation of that move, but we don't get much sunshine due to all the towering trees around our yard. I have a few things growing, mostly berries and herbs, but not nearly enough to sustain us through even a season.
A friend who lives just 3 kilometers away on a hobby farm has allowed me to use a large part of her garden. That has been lovely, and it has been such a treat for my son to be around chickens, ducks, sheep, goats, rabbits, a dog, and horses. He loves going there, and it feeds our souls.
We've also been asked to take care of the landscaping for an elderly neighbor across the street. Henry David mows the large lawn with the tractor, and Grasshopper and I work on weeding, pruning, and planting. Another neighbor noticed my work and has hired me to do weeding for her.
Gardening brings life to me, and I love the peace that I find whilst digging in the dirt.