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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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 40, and our youngest is 11, so 31 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, 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 the timing wasn't right, and we weren't able to commit to the time and effort required.

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. 

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 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 Living Our Lives Well 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. 

 To quote one of Brian's favorite expressions "We're living the dream!" But as the quote above says, "A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work." Somehow though, it doesn't feel like work when we're having so much fun reconnecting with old friends and making new ones....and 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!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Finding Wellness

 Garden tours, taking pictures, landscaping our yard, and working on DIY projects are some of my favorite things to do. But if you've followed this blog at all, you'll have noticed that I've wandered off the garden path. In fact I haven't posted here in about 4 months, and even then, my focus had changed...for good reason. 
 After years of ignoring my health, as well as my doctor, I finally realized I had to listen to my body. There's something about a chronically sore mouth that gets a person's attention...or at least it got mine. 
And that put me on a new to finding wellness.

 The past several months have been a continuation of that wellness journey. 
You may remember I went to the doctor back in the spring to find out if my suspicions were correct...I had self diagnosed Oral Lichens Planus, an autoimmune disease. I was given a referral to a skin specialist, with a 6 month wait. I did see the doctor in November, and he did confirm the OLP, but didn't feel a biopsy was necessary at this time...thankfully! He also prescribed a steroid medication to apply inside my mouth. After doing some research and hearing from others in my OLP FaceBook group, I decided not to use it. Right now, I'm able to manage my OLP by avoiding triggers such as spicy foods, citrus fruits, and tomatoes. I also find coconut oil and essential oils helpful in relieving some of the discomfort. Thanks to the supplements I've been taking, I haven't had any big flareups, and my general health has improved immensely.

"I firmly believe that when my body started getting the proper nutrition, it went back to healing itself."
Although this is a quote from someone else, it's exactly what I believe! As much as I would like to be able to get all the nutrients I need from the food I eat, clearly I wasn't. Since starting on nutritional supplements, there's been a dramatic improvement in my quality of life. I continue to have more energy than I ever had in the past, my sleep is better, and I wake up more refreshed. My joint pain is almost nonexistent, and I'm able to walk without pain. I honestly have never felt better!
 The proof that there has been a real physical change is in my blood work. My cholesterol came down enough that my doctor is no longer talking meds, and I'm no longer pre-diabetic! 

Finding Wellness

Nutritional supplements have made it easy to change the way I eat.
Intermittent fasting has become a way of life for me. I discovered intermittent fasting through Dr. Eric Berg's website and videos. Contrary to what most teach, Dr. Berg does not endorse eating 5 small meals a day, nor does he agree with the prevalent teaching that we must have a big breakfast. I can't tell you how happy this makes me...I`ve never enjoyed eating breakfast, and now I don't feel like I have to! 
Since implementing this new way of eating, I usually have my evening meal between 5-6 pm, and break my fast between 11 am and noon. This gives my body a much longer rest period, and increases it's ability to heal itself. It's amazing how getting the proper nutrition during a smaller window of time has made such a difference! I'm satisfied with so much less than fact I rarely feel hungry between meals. I don't crave junk food or snacks, not even chocolate! And I seldom eat bread...something I used to have daily, and I don't feel at all deprived.  I do have one crazy craving...peanut butter! I never could figure out how my kids could eat peanut butter every day, now here I am putting it in smoothies, and even using it for dip with apple slices! 

Apple slices and peanut butter

My weight loss is now at 30 lbs; Brian has lost 50! 
I've said in the past that weight loss was not our main goal...regaining our health was. But once we started to get proper nutrition, the weight just started to come off. Most of our weight loss occurred in the first 4 months, at what I believe is a very healthy rate. For me it was 1-2 lbs a week for the first 20 lbs. I then plateaued for a while, and the last 10 lbs came off much more slowly. 
I have about 5 more pounds to lose, but I still need to firm up some muscle, so hopefully some of that fat will turn to muscle! I'm still doing the walk at home videos and have added a few other exercises, as well as some work with hand weights. Brian's goal is to lose 10 -15 more pounds, which will put him at a lower weight than he's been in years. We just bought a family membership at our local gym...another step to better health!

What a difference from last year! I hardly recognize those tired old people!
What a difference a year makes. 75 lb weight loss

Five years ago we decided to go for a hike in our local provincial park. We chose a trail that we had enjoyed hiking in the past. It starts out as a nice leisurely walk through tall grass and shrubs with boardwalks over the wetlands. But gradually the path takes an uphill turn, winding through the trees toward the top of a hill. The final stretch is a steep path leading to a beautiful view of the park below. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see it. We only have the photo taken by our son, as we decided to turn back. In our defense, it was an extremely hot day and we had three puppies with us...but enough excuses!
Eight months ago we took that first step to finding wellness, and with each step along the way we've regained our health and strength. This summer, we're going back to that trail, and this time there will be no turning back. 

This year we're going to the top!

Finding wellness