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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Choosing Wellness


How the simple  choices we make lead to life changes.


  It's been over three months since Brian and I started taking nutritional supplements. I had high hopes that these supplements would help with several health issues, and I've been looking forward to getting the results of some recent blood work I had done. My doctor was very happy with the results, but it wasn't until I compared a printout of the tests with my previous results that I was able to see for myself how amazing the results really were. My cholesterol had dropped from 8 to 6.2, and I was no longer pre-diabetic, with a fasting glucose level of 5.6! Besides that, I've lost 20 lbs, (Brian has lost 33!) and I'm sleeping better than I have in my entire life...and that is no exaggeration...even as a child, I remember tossing and turning trying to get to sleep! I now wake up before Brian's alarm, and I no longer feel groggy. 

 Best of all, I finally have the energy to start working on another important part of my wellness journey...getting fit. I knew I needed something simple, that I could do at home without any equipment. I decided to ask for suggestions on FaceBook, and it wasn't long before someone recommended a walking program. I knew the first time I tried it, this was something that would work for me. It's Leslie Sansone's Walk At Home program, and I encourage anyone who needs a simple way to get fit to check it out. Weight loss was not my main goal when I started on the supplements, so I didn't bother taking measurements or even a before picture. This time, before getting too far into the walking, I did both. Even though I've lost 20 lbs, I don't have a lot of muscle, and to be honest, I'm a little flabby! I want to see how much difference the walking will make. So far, I've only missed one day of walking in almost 3 weeks. Some days I make 1 mile, others I've walked 4, but I'm determined to keep it up, so when I go back to the doctor in January, my results will be even better!

 I wrote previously about the need to reduce the stress in my life. I can't say that has happened. We just moved my mom into a care home, and are in the process of sorting through her belongings and preparing to sell her house, so if anything, stress has increased! But you know what? I haven't felt stressed at all. I feel strong, and full of energy, and excited about the future! It seems that when you take care of other issues in life, stress has a way of taking care of itself! 


 Recently, our church had a ladies conference with Amy Herbster, which couldn't have come at a better time! I gleaned so much from her sessions. The information Amy presented applies to every part of our lives. I particularly related to the session on choices, and have to share the quote.

A life change is as simple as changing my choices.

 Of course the most important choice any of us can make is to accept or reject the forgiveness that comes through Jesus. But Amy also spoke of the thousands of choices we make each day, usually without giving them much thought. I couldn't help thinking of how Brian's and my life has changed in the past 6 months because of one choice we made...a simple choice to change where we shop. And that choice led to so many other choices. We chose to convert our home to healthier safer products. We chose to begin taking nutritional supplements. That one choice has had such a dramatic effect on how we feel, that it enabled us to make more healthy choices.


 The following week, Brian and I we were in meetings with a business leader from Toronto, who took time out of her busy schedule to come out and spend time with our local group. Six months ago, I sure never would have thought that we would be speaking to a room full of people about the way our lives have been changed by a few simple choices. I'm thankful to God for directing our choices, and for the doors he is opening in our lives.


What choices do you need to make to change your life?





Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Living the Dream!

  While others may enjoy a career, or love to travel, those were never my dreams. For as long as I can remember, I just wanted to be a mom, and God definitely blessed that desire! 

Prairie Product Advocates
  
  I've been a stay at home mom since our oldest daughter was a toddler. I enjoyed working as a health care aid prior to her birth, but found it extremely difficult to go back to work after she was born. I was so happy to be able to just be a mom, and not have to leave her to go off to work...even if my babysitter was my mom! 
  In 1987, we took things a step further, when I also became a homeschool mom. It's been a long journey....our oldest daughter is now 39, and our youngest is 10, so 30 years in we still have a ways to go before the final graduation!

Youngest and oldest daughters


  Then we made the decision to become foster parents in 1989...which is how our family eventually grew from 3 kids to 8. 

Our small family 1985
Our small family in 1985, taken at our first church.

Our big family 2009
Our family in 2009

  Helping kids, and at times their families, has been a big part of our lives. We've lost count, but over the years we've fostered about 300 kids, from babies to teens. Some stayed for a very short time, and others became a permanent part of our family. There were some difficult times, but those are far outweighed by the blessings. Although we're no longer actively fostering, we still provide respite care for other families.
Holding babies
How we spent Valentines Day 2009!

 Our family has now grown to include 16 grandchildren, (edited to add- a great granddaughter in Sept./17) and I'm not only a stay at home mom, but a stay at home grandma! I love spending my days with our kids and grandkids, and there's nothing that makes me happier than to have the whole family gathered together in the home Brian and I built together.

Family gathering in the kitchen
A family gathering in summer 2017

  Yes, life is good, and we're thankful for all that God has given us...our family, our home, and Brian's job as a hotel maintenance manager. But there's something more we always dreamed of building....our own business. Maybe it's something that was instilled by my parents. Although Dad had a job outside our home, he and Mom always worked at something together on the farm...whether it was growing cucumbers, or strawberries, or flowers and vegetables for the farmer's market, or later in life creating a beautiful garden and rental cottage, they enjoyed working together. Building a business together is something Brian and I have always wanted to do, and early on in our marriage we did try our hand at a regular type of business. But our inexperience and high interest rates combined to make our restaurant a short lived venture. Over the years we made a couple of other attempts at home based business, but we allowed the negative opinions of others deter us, and we never followed through. 

A dream doesn't become a reality through magic


  With retirement age creeping up on us, our dream of a business was long forgotten. Then Dana, our oldest daughter, partnered with an amazing company, and we began using their health and wellness products, one of them being nutritional supplements. As we began to notice positive changes in how we were feeling, we couldn't help but endorse these products. We quickly realized that this was something we wanted to be a part of. It wasn't too late to fulfill that dream! 

  And that is how Prairie Product Advocates came to be. We're excited to be able to continue helping others in this new roll. We're able to educate people about safer, healthier consumer products, mentor them, and help them to build their own business. There's nothing quite like the feeling of helping someone else make positive changes in their lives and to take a step toward their own dream!

  Of course our family is still the focus of our lives, and this has become one more way we can help them. We never thought we'd get to build a business together, let alone with our kids! No longer said with a touch of sarcasm, one of Brian's favorite expressions "We're living the dream!"

Prairie Product Advocates

prairieproductadvocates.bolack@gmail.com


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Outside Our Comfort Zone

A pretty flower growing between patio blocks

I had to come up with a meme for this photo. I know yarrow grows just about anywhere, but this crazy plant grew up between two concrete patio blocks on our patio. I figured if it could grow there, it deserved a chance to bloom, so I left it!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Garden of Ede 2017

I started off last year featuring Mom's garden in Carberry, so I thought I'd do another one for the 2017 season. Hope you enjoy her small but pretty yard.




This Veronica looks a little droopy, but still very pretty!



Delphiniums are one of my favorite flowers. Mom and Dad always grew them at the farm.


These hostas grow along the north side of Mom's house, and they're already huge!







Yellow is my favorite colour! I love these false sunflowers!



Mom has always grown roses...I think they are one of her favorites.


We had to get a picture of this squirrel. Mom likes to sit outside and watch him run back and forth along the overhead wires.


These next pictures were taken a little later in July.

The lavatera is in full bloom.





We had to get our picture in the daylily garden!







More of the hostas!





And a wasp nest on the neighbours garage!

The colours are beautiful in this close up!


I may still add a few more photos as the summer and fall goes on.

To see last year's post go to The Garden Of Ede.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Deelat All In One Solar Courtyard Light ~ A Review

Solar Light

When I heard that our local community of Sprucewoods was in the process of creating a park and playground, I asked Manny from Deelat Industrial Products if they would donate a solar light that could be attached to a structure. Given that the light would be located in a public area, I wanted something that couldn't easily be removed. I was amazed when a large package arrived a week later. This Solar Courtyard light was much more than I was expecting!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Stepping Stones To Wellness, an Update

Time sure does fly! At the end of May I made a post, Journey To Wellness. I had talked about the need for changes in various areas of my life, and said I'd post an update....so here it is!

An update on my journey to health and wellness.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

June Blooms and Random Views

June photo tour

Time for my monthly photo tour! All of these pictures were taken around our yard....a mix of wild flowers and perennials, and some miscellaneous shots. Hope you enjoy this little glimpse of June beauty!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Scripture Picture Sunday, 3 John 2


Prosper and be in health

  Last week, a blogging friend posted a response to a reader's concern about the change in direction her writing had taken. She had recently begun posting about her health and fitness...where in the past her posts were more focused on spiritual encouragement. In her video she explained why she felt that the two were not mutually exclusive, and that both spiritual and physical health were important. 


  I appreciated her response, because I'm in a similar place...not just with writing, but life in general, and realizing the need to make some changes to be the healthiest I can be. I know that there are many things in this life that we have no control over...the timing of the last breath we take being one of them, but until that day comes, I think God expects me to be the best that I can be, both spiritually AND physically....and just as with Kasey...what is happening in my life tends to spill over into my writing...whether it's here, on Lyric Devotions, or on my Face Book.



Saturday, June 10, 2017

As Good As Healthy Feels

There may be loys of things that taste as good as healthy feels, but hospital food isn't one of them.

There are a couple of memes I've seen that generally  elicit an argument from readers...One is "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" and the other is similar, "Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels." Invariably, someone will beg to differ, listing some of their favorite foods, often chocolate! So I decided to post my own version. Unfortunately, because I posted it as a status update, some people thought I was in the hospital! The point I was trying to make was that eating a lot of yummy junk food is eventually going to land some of us in the hospital! Better to give up the junk now, and avoid hospital food in the future.

The picture in this meme was taken four years ago at Spruce Woods Provincial Park on one of the hiking trails. Brian and I never even made it to the top...that should have been a hint right there that it was time to take a serious look at our health and fitness! Unfortunately, it took a trip to the doctor to get me thinking seriously about making some changes. You can read about the start of that Journey To Wellness here.

I'll be posting updates here periodically...I hope you'll follow along and share some of your own journey, and perhaps we can create our own support group!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Under Deck Storage

Building a gate for under deck

We built our house five years ago, but there are still many ongoing projects. The front deck is one of them....or at least UNDER the deck. Because we cantilevered part of the deck out three feet from the house, we have a small room under there. It's the perfect place to store bikes or seasonal items, but it was lacking a door or gate to close it up.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Journey To Wellness

This may be a little off topic from my regular posts, but it's where I am in life and I feel like it's a topic worth sharing. It's a journey I'm just beginning, and only time will tell where it will take me...and what better place to document my progress than on my blog, and maybe get some accountability to stay on track!? I hope you'll follow along and if you have any personal experiences, or advice to share, please do! Even better, why not join me, and we can help each other.


Making life changes that lead to health and wellness.

I have never been one to go to a doctor on regular basis, and very seldom go to a walk in clinic when I have a cold, sore throat or  other minor issue. I know that I am allergic to penicillin, amoxicillin, and sulphas, so it seems pointless to go to a doctor when I can't take most of what they will prescribe! However, about three years ago I had a complete physical, and found that I had some more serious health issues beginning...I had high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and low liver function. The doctor wanted me to go on medication, but also said some lifestyle changes would help each of these issues...losing some weight through a better diet, and being more active were at the top of the list. I didn't want medication, so I said I would make the necessary changes. I don't drink, smoke, or use any medications, so those are all a plus. I went home determined to do better, but life happened, I got busy, and all my good intentions went by the wayside.

Recently, I had a health issue that required a visit to the doctor. 
My mouth had been sore for a few weeks, and then I got sick with a terrible cold and irritating cough that lasted a couple of weeks. Before I even went to the doctor, I had figured out that I had Oral Lichen Planus (Yes, I know, it's never good to google your own symptoms!) I won't go into detail, but this link explains what OLP  is-
Oral Lichen PlanusIt's thought to be an autoimmune disease, and can be triggered or made worse by stress. I'll be seeing a skin specialist in November to confirm the diagnosis, which is done through a biopsy. 

Something else that showed up when I saw the doctor was high blood pressure...which may or may not have been caused by white coat syndrome! Whatever caused it, it got my attention....and reminded me that I can't just ignore health issues. 

And that is where this journey began.

The hardest part for me, always, is the physical activity. 
I am not an active person, and at this point, I haven't come up with a plan that I feel I can stick to...so that may be addressed in a future post. I'd like to start walking more, but, my focus for now will be more on nutrition, and finding ways to help my body heal itself. 

Although I didn't keep up with my daily exercise routine from a few years ago, I did make some changes that I have continued, even if only sporadically....we bought a juicer, and I started making fresh fruit and veggie juices...and found some delicious combinations. Sometimes I just throw in whatever is on hand and come up with what we call caboodle juice! One benefit of having a sore mouth is it has helped me to get back to doing more juicing!

I also started having a smoothie for breakfast a couple of years ago...usually a banana, blueberries, and some milk...not completely healthy, but way better than corn flakes or toast and jam! I'm now switching to meal replacement shakes that are specifically formulated to support balanced glucose uptake, normal insulin activity, and slow the absorption of high glycemic foods.

Quitting coffee...again....is also one of my goals. I had stopped drinking coffee for a time, but unfortunately started up again. At this point, I drink about two cups in the morning, but plan to switch to herbal teas.

Concerning the Oral Lichens Planus
The only treatment seems to be to manage symptoms. What I have been doing is making my own mouth rinse, using tea tree, lemon, and peppermint essential oils. I'm also applying Frankincense to the sides of my tongue and inside my cheeks...wherever there's discomfort! I don't know if these oils can help with OLP, but I do know there are many benefits of essential oils, so I think they are worth trying. I use other essential oils for various purposes, such as pain relief and help with sleep, and I may experiment with more for the lichen planus, but until I have time to do some research, these are the ones I'm using.

STEP 1 on this journey to wellness 
Start taking supplements....12 to be exact! Brian is joining me in this one. Our vitamin package arrived yesterday, and we started on them this morning. They are prepackaged, making it easy for Brian to take his to work with him, and there's no reading labels or counting to make sure we haven't missed any.


This is the list of what we are taking.


Intermittent fasting is something else I've been researching. Basically, I try to keep my meals within a 6 - 8 hour window, ...somewhere between 10 am and 6 pm. This allows my digestive system to rest for a longer period than a normal night's sleep. A 16 hour fast is not difficult, and from everything I've read, the health benefits definitely make it worth trying. I've fasted in the past, and always feel better for it, and I know that cutting out snacks in the evening is the best way to lose weight. Not that weight loss is my main goal, but it IS important to my overall health, so I'm recording my weight today at 155 lbs.

Of course there is one other aspect of my life that needs to be addressed, and that is reducing stress. 
I don't have a specific plan for that, since we can't afford to move to a quiet cottage on a deserted island, but finding some time for just Brian and I wouldn't hurt. Spending more time in prayer and Bible reading, I'm sure would benefit..... Maybe getting back to my songwriting would help too...it's always been the best way for me to express my thoughts, feelings, and worship....my own form of therapy. I'll let you know how that goes!

That's all I have for now, but I hope to make a post in about a month to record any progress or changes I notice. In a few months, I'll go back to the doctor for another physical, to see if there's a change in my blood work.

Oh, and I just ordered this book that my sister in law recommended. Thanks Pauline!