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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 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 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's always been the best way for me to express my thoughts, feelings, and 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!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

May Meanderings

Photo tour

May will soon be over, so I thought I better get my monthly photo tour posted. Brian took these while I was visiting Mom in Carberry, on the May long weekend.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

April Showers?

April photos by Brian Bolack

We didn't get much for April showers....

....but the crocus made an appearance early in the month....

.....and the pine trees are a beautiful bright green.
Pine tree

Pine tree against the sunset

Looks like spring is here!
Rail fence

Rail fence

But the snow didn't get the memo...It's supposed to be spring!
Snow on the deck

Such a sad, grey day!
Snow in April

This little bird was happy to see the snow melt!
A bird hoping for spring

That's it for this month...hopefully we'll have some May flowers next time!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Five Good Memories

  As my mom's dementia grows worse, I find myself thinking a lot about my childhood. I started this post months ago, but never fact this is only half... my other five memories will have to be a post for another time. I haven't been doing much blogging lately, so I thought this post would be a good way to let you know what is occupying my time and my thoughts.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Decorating Kids' Rooms

 I come from a family with eight kids. When I was a girl, all I wanted was a pink bedroom. My parents weren't crazy about bright colors, so what I ended up with was more like white with a pink tinge. We didn't have much money either, so I didn't even have flooring...just bare plywood, but I did have a little purple rug beside my bed!

 When our older kids were growing up, Brian and I didn't have much money either, so their rooms weren't much better than what I grew up with. In fact we often joked about our decorating scheme being stripes and polka dots....meaning we had mudded the joints and screws in the drywall, but there was no paint. I guess that's why I got a little carried away with decorating our kids' rooms in later years!

Decorating and making memories

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March Memories

A photo tour around the Carberry MB area

Each month we do a photo tour of scenery in our area. This month the photos were taken in the Carberry area, about 20 minutes away, where Brian grew up, and where I attended school. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Faux Painting Ceramic Tile Walls

 I'm always looking for easy and inexpensive ways to decorate our home. I love the look of tile in a bathroom, but it can be pricey. Keeping those grout lines clean can be a chore too....Boys and bathrooms...need I say more?!

 A few years ago, when we were finishing our basement, the money for tiles just wasn't available, so I came up with another solution. We had already painted our basement floor and liked the way it turned out, so why not the walls?

 Today, I'm going to show you how we did our bathroom walls with the same faux painting technique we used on our floor.

Faux painting with a sponge.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Cheap and Easy?

 I want to preface this post by saying, if you are one of those people who actually do make all of your own cleaning products...I applaud you. Let me just admit something right now...I'm kinda lazy...Remember this post? I'm the Cheap and Easy Blogger!

Cleaning with natural cleaners

 Many years ago, my sister developed extreme sensitivities to many products; even to fragrances...whether it was perfume, cosmetics or household cleaners. Just being around some scents caused a reaction. While I didn't have the extreme sensitivities that my sister suffered from, I did get headaches from cleaners....even walking down the cleaning aisle at the store gave me a headache! My sister's and my own experience were enough to make me question what was in all of these products. I did some research and found that they were full chemicals, some I had never even heard of.

These are some of them: Phthalates, Perchloroethylene or “PERC", Triclosan, Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”, 2-Butoxyethanol, Ammonia, Chlorine, Sodium Hydroxide.

This article provides information on each of these.

 That was 13 years ago. At that time I cleaned all of the toxic cleaners out of my house, and replaced them with natural products; baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice, along with some products that I was able to buy online. My daughter told me about a company where I could not only buy my cleaners, but also toiletries, lotions, supplements, even dog shampoo! I started buying from there, and I've used natural products ever since.

 But a while back I had the brilliant idea that I could find these products locally, or maybe even make some of my own cleaners. I had seen all kinds of recipes on pinterest....hahaha...ya, I hear you laughing.

Homemade natural cleaners
 So, I stocked up on all my old favorites (really stocked up!) and cancelled my membership with the online shopping club. These products are super concentrated, so I was able to make them last a very long time, but little by little I started to run out of things. Even though I squeezed every last drop from bottles, and then rinsed them out with water to get every last bit, eventually my cleaning spray bottles were empty. 

 I tried some of the natural products offered by another company, but wasn't really impressed with the quality or selection....and the price was way more than I wanted to spend! I continued to use huge boxes of baking soda, and gallons of vinegar, but make my own laundry soap...who was I kidding!? So the store bought detergent soon found it's way back in. Still, I refused to buy other cleaners from the store...and as much as I hated to admit it, my bathrooms and my kitchen sink were looking matter how much baking soda or vinegar I used. 

 Homemade may be cheap, but I also like convenience...I like to be able to spray a surface and wipe it off and I'm done! So this scrubbing with baking soda was getting old fast.

Cleaning with baking soda

 Then one day my last family size shampoo bottle was facial cleanser was last bar of soap was a tiny liquid soap was just water, and I had even used a knife to cut open my lotion bottle to get the lotion coating the inside! I had high hopes of buying homemade bars of soap, but never did....other than some that was so highly perfumed I couldn't use it. You can't imagine my excitement when I found a partially used bar of soap in the back of a cabinet! It was a little shriveled up, but nothing a little water wouldn't fix! I can't help but laugh at how silly this was.

An old bar of soap

 Shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, supplements? Once they were gone, I had to buy them somewhere.....and soon they were all coming from the store. All of the products that I had removed from our home 13 years ago.....

 And once again, my daughter came to the rescue.....and once again, I have all of my favorite chemicals, no smells that give me a headache, inexpensive and EASY!....and my bathroom is sparkling clean! 

A sparkling clean bathroom

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday Snapshot, After the Storm

snowbanks are almost to the top of our fences

The blizzard is over, but the snowbanks left behind are so huge that our dogs managed to jump the fence in one part of the yard!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Manitoba Blizzard of 2017

While so many of my blogging friends are posting pictures of plants coming up in their gardens, and making plans for the new garden season, I'm sitting here looking out my window at snow and ice! 

Blowing snow, white out

I have no idea how much snow fell, because the wind blew it all into huge snowbanks, leaving other parts of the yard bare. This storm lasted over 24 hours! 

Faux Painting A Concrete Floor

  If you're looking for an inexpensive way to finish your basement floor, why not paint it? This is a project that we did a few years ago, and it has held up quite well, with just a few scratches. We've done a lot of painting projects, but we'd never painted a concrete floor before. We have, however, spilled enough latex paint on concrete to know it doesn't come off easily, so we knew latex paint would work well for this job. It's also the easiest to work with.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Pathways I Have Known

  Maybe you are looking for ideas for a pathway through your yard or garden...or maybe, like me, you just love pathways. Whatever brought you here, I hope you enjoy taking a stroll through the garden, a hike through the forest, or just a walk in the park. Brick, stone, sand, or grass, wooden or strewn with leaves....I love pathways!

A split log and rock pathway through the flower garden

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

February Spring

In spite of some dreary grey skies, February has been unseasonably warm, and we're seeing signs of spring everywhere. But this IS Manitoba, and we know it won't last...winter will have it's last hurrah....but we're trying not to think of that!

Looking for spring in February

Monday, February 20, 2017

Manitoba Sky Monday, February 20/17

I know, I's more sunrises and sunsets.
But I never get tired of them...
hopefully someone else appreciates them too!

The moon at sunrise
The moon at sunrise

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Home Made Bird Feeder

Looking for a simple project to do with the kids? We love watching birds, and ever since we moved here, I have planned to buy a bird feeder to put up in our yard, but somehow, just never got around to it. But this year, I came across a really simple way to make a homemade bird feeder from mesh bags.

Mesh bag bird feeder

Monday, February 13, 2017

Manitoba Sky Monday, Feb.13/17

Welcome to another week of Manitoba Skies!

I'm not sure how I got this one, but I really like the way it turned out!
Beautiful orange sunset