Friday, July 29, 2011

Helen Keller

My mom is always sending me great, positive, uplifting stories. The following one got me thinking about my testimony & beliefs.

This is an excerpt from A Place of Knowing by Emma Lou Thayne

Many years into my adulthood, when asked by a Jewish poet friend why I stay in my Mormonism, I explained it with a story, the details recounted by my mother. It is my mother’s story transposed into an allegory about my believing.

When I was a little girl, my father took me to hear Helen Keller in the Tabernacle. I must have been about eight or nine and I’d read about Helen Keller in school, and my mother had told me her story.

I remember sitting in the balcony at the back of that huge domed building that was supposed to have the best acoustics in the world. Helen—everybody called her that—walked in from behind a curtain under the choir seats with her teacher, Annie Sullivan. Helen spoke at the pulpit—without a microphone—but we could hear perfectly, her guttural, slow, heavily pronounced speech. She spoke about her life and her beliefs. Her eyes were closed and when it came time for questions from the audience, she put her fingers on her teacher’s lips and then repeated for us what the question had been. She answered questions about being deaf and blind and learning to read and to type and, of course, to talk. Hearing that voice making words was like hearing words for the first time, as if language had only come into being—into my being at least—that moment.

Someone asked her, “Do you feel colors?” I’ll never forget her answer, the exact sound of it—“Sometimes. .. . I feel . . . blue.” Her voice went up slightly at the end, which meant she was smiling. The audience didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

After quite a lot of questions, she said, “I would . . .. like to ask. . . a favor of you.” Of course, the audience was all alert. “Is your Mormon prophet here?” she asked. There was a flurry of getting up from the front row, and President Grant walked up the stairs to the stand. She reached out her hand and he took it. All I could think was, “Oh, I wish I were taking pictures of that.” “I . . . would like . . . ,” she said, “to hear your organ . . . play . . . your famous song—about your pioneers. I . . . would like . . . to remember hearing it here.” All the time she was speaking she was holding his hand he had given her to shake. I liked them together, very much.

I remember thinking, “I am only a little girl (probably others know) but how in the world will she hear the organ?” But she turned toward President Grant and he motioned to Alexander Schreiner, the Tabernacle organist who was sitting near the loft. At the same time, President Grant led her up a few steps to the back of the enormous organ—with its five manuals and eight thousand pipes. We were all spellbound. He placed her hand on the grained oak of the console, and she stood all alone facing us in her long, black velvet dress with her right arm extended, leaning slightly forward and touching the organ, with her head bowed.

Brother Schreiner played “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” each verse a different arrangement, the organ pealing and throbbing—the bass pedals like foghorns—as only he could make happen. Helen Keller stood there—hearing through her hand and sobbing.

Probably a lot more than just me—probably lots of us in the audience were mouthing the words to ourselves—“Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. / Our God will never us forsake; / And soon we’ll have this tale to tell— / All is well! / All is well!” I could see my great-grandparents, converts from England, Wales, France, and Denmark, in that circle of their covered wagons, singing over their fires in the cold nights crossing the plains. Three of them had babies die; my great-grandmother was buried in Wyoming. “And should we die before our journey’s through, / Happy day! / All is well! / We then are free from toil and sorrow, too; / With the just we shall dwell! / But if our lives are spared again / To see the Saints their rest obtain, / Oh, how we’ll make this chorus swell— / All is well! / All is well!”

So then—that tabernacle, that singing, my ancestors welling in me, my father beside me, that magnificent woman, all combined with the organ and the man who played it and the man who had led her to it—whatever passed between the organ and her passed on to me.
I believed. I believed it all—the seeing without seeing, the hearing without hearing, the going by feel toward something holy, something that could make her cry, something that could move me, alter me, something as unexplainable as a vision or a mystic connection, something entering the pulse of a little girl, something that no matter what would never go away. What it had to do with Joseph Smith or his vision or his gospel I never would really understand—all I know to this day is that I believe.


After reading it I was thinking about what made an impact on me as a child to create the beliefs I have. I struggled through my teenage years with my religion & what I really believed. But I never questioned that there is in fact a God. That I have Heavenly parents who love me & that I have a big brother Jesus Christ who gave his life to atone for me personally, for all my shortcomings & failures. That testimony has continually been strengthened in my life as I have learned through my trials & mistakes.

But where did it start. Probably partially innate & taught through the generations of my family lineage. But two things stand out in my mind as I sit here pondering the subject. When I was a little girl my Grandmother gave me a yellow t-shirt with a picture of a little girls in pig tails with a very grumpy expression on her face. The caption read "I know I am somebody because God don't make no junk!" Funny thing is that silly little t-shirt made a big impact on me. Anytime I was doubting myself & my importance in this world the image of that shirt would pop into my head & still does today. I still have it packed away thread bare & worn in my cedar chest. The 2nd is the song "I am a Child of God" (which incidentally my husbands great grandmother wrote the music for) The lyrics taught me & the message stuck. It is still the song I sing to myself when I can't sleep at night & my favorite lullaby for my babies. Music is powerful & speaks to my spirit. I am grateful for all the day to life lessons that teach & direct my life.

I am a child of God,
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.

I am a child of God,
And so my needs are great;
Help me to understand his words
Before it grows to late.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.

I am a child of God.
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will
I'll live with him once more.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.

I am a child of God.
His promises are sure;
Celestial glory shall be mine
If I can but endure.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.



"Life is not a contest but rather a journey in which we help one another to a better place."

(unknown)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lucky



When I started this blog I did so with the intention of using it as a gratitude journal, thus the title Life is good...we are counting our blessings. I have done this and it has evolved to cover whatever else I decide to post as well. I haven't been very good lately at updating (haven't felt very inspired or motivated to type much of anything) But an event over the weekend has me again thinking about how looked after & blessed we are in this life.

My hubby completed his 3rd Ironman in Couer D'Alene, Idaho this weekend. The entire weekend carries many stories of inspiration, overcoming challenges, heartbreak, growth & accomplishment that entire volumes of books can be put together just between what Josh, his fellow Ironman & Ironwomen friends & their families could tell of the experience. Not to mention what the other athletes & those who supported them have to say. It is an amazing place to be surrounded by awe inspiring people who commit themselves to a common fantastic goal & set out to make their dreams come true. But I am digressing because the story I want to tell today is not about that journey but about what happened on the way home.

The morning after the race Josh & I were both exhausted & sore. (I am still recovering from a stress fracture in my femur & had done far more than I should have over the weekend in support of my hubby & an event I have come to love) Josh having just completed 140.6 mile race in 11 hours 36 minutes was also feeling gimpy. We decided to forgo the morning activities & head home. It is an 11 hour drive & we were eager to be home with our children.

Josh started the drive & time passed uneventfully hour after hour. Knowing how much I love nature, the mountains & especially trees my sweet hubby stopped on one of the dirt roads along the freeway so that we could enjoy a short "mini date" for our anniversary. We enjoyed each others company, chatting & taking a brief walk on a trail near a beautiful rushing river and reflected on 14 years of marital bliss.

Back on the road eventually Josh tired & it was my turn to drive. Again hours went by uneventful. I was watching the gas gauge & told Josh that there was less than an 8th a tank of gas left. He had paid attention on the way up to where gas was priced better. (some of those little towns in the middle of nowhere really jack the prices) He told me we should be good to make it to town X & fill up there. We set the magic truck computer to tell us how many miles we still had to go before the tank was empty. As we continued on eventually the gas gauge warning light beeped warning me I would soon need fuel. I passed a sign that told me town X was 65 miles away. The gas gauge warned me I could go 54 more miles. I brought this to the attention of my dear sweet hubby & he said it was fine the truck would make it. Being that it is his truck I said ok & continued on. There were 3 other small towns along the way before we reached town X that had gas stations where I could fill up. Each time we approached I would bring to attention the miles the truck computer said we had & the actual mile we still needed to go before we reached town X it was always at least a 10 mile discrepancy not in our favor. But the hubby reassured me that we would indeed make it to town X, fill up there & get dinner to celebrate our anniversary.

At the last town with fuel before reaching town X, which was another 18 miles down the road or so, the truck suddenly lost power. I was traveling with the cruise control set at 82 mph and was loosing speed quickly. Power steering gone. I said a quick mental prayer as I vocally expressed to Josh that the truck was out of gas. I cut into the other lane of traffic & onto the conveniently waiting freeway exit ramp. "Lucky" for me we had the high coasting speed to carry us & a slightly downhill exit ramp. The heavy truck with no power steering was hard for me to steer as it slowed but we kept rolling quite fast actually. At the end of the ramp was a stop sign & a 90 degree turn. I could see that there was no traffic so planned to roll through the stop & on towards the gas station a mile or so up the road. Josh warned me to slow down (when you have been going 80 all day 40 does feel slow!) I hit the breaks & he helped me turn the wheel quickly enough to make the turn. I hit the flashers because our speed was increasingly slowing. Both of us being sore & not moving great I prayed the truck would roll until we reached the gas station. "Lucky" again the road sloped downhill until it reached the gas station. We worked together & cranked the truck into the parking lot. Then rolled to a pump that had diesel fuel. Oh "lucky" us it was easy to navigate with the slowing truck & we pulled right up to the pump & was able to fill up. I was shaking & a bit overwhelmed with the whole experience so I excused myself to the ladies room & left Josh to refuel the truck. Alone I calmed down & said a prayer of gratitude.

This may seem like not that big of a deal & indeed we were incredibly "lucky". But I don't believe that. This was nothing short of a miracle! I believe that miracles happen all the time, all around us & we just don't acknowledge them. When I look at how many "lucky" moments happened in this short few minutes I can not help but see the miracles & know that I am blessed & watched over. As I was driving if the truck would have died any sooner it was uphill & we may not have made it to the exit. Literally one to two seconds later & I would have missed the exit! There was no other choices for gas for at least 18 more miles. If we would have missed the exit even had it been close it would still have equated to several miles worth of walking, something neither of us was up for. The fact that there was no traffic allowing me to speed down the off ramp. Josh looking at the right moment to realize I was moving way too fast to make a 90 degree turn in which I probably would have rolled the truck. His helping me turn the wheel to make the turn at the speed I did slow down to, afraid to slow down too much & loose all momentum. A downhill straight shot to the gas station. Last but not least a ready & waiting diesel pump and no one in the way at a busy gas station just waiting for me to roll up next to it. Yes it was most definitely a miracle! I am so grateful to be able to acknowledge this & recognize that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me & angels to guide me & protect me in my life. I have felt Heavenly protection in my life & honestly believe I would not still be alive without that protection. I know it is easy to often focus on the struggles in life. To feel like we are being punished or that our times of seemingly constant trials are what God gives us to learn & grow. (I believe that too)But all too often we are being helped, guided & our burdens lightened a long the way. I am blessed & so grateful to be able to see miracles in my life. Even if all too often I sadly miss seeing them.

* I also acknowledge that HE blesses us even when we bring the "would be catastrophe" upon ourselves. We are here to learn & grow... imperfectly. HE knows this & loves us anyway.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tropical Summer Salad

I "made up" a new summer salad & it turned out very delicious so I thought I would share.

Dressing:
1/4 c pineapple juice
1/4 c olive oil
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 tbs honey or agave
salt & pepper to taste

blend all ingredients in blender (I added a few chunks of pineapple to thicken & I thought the oil was a bit heavy so next time I am halving it & then will add more until it is right go for your preference)

Salad:

grill pineapple chunks on kabob skewers on barbecue
grill chicken tenders on barbecue
romaine leaves
1/2 sliced red onion
1 red 1 orange bell pepper cut into bite size pieces
crumbled bacon
mandarin oranges
sliced strawberries
slivered almonds
sugar snap peas
toasted coconut (put shredded coconut under broiler for short time to toast)

mix it all together & dinner is done.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Marathon Experience



On May 7th I completed the Provo City Marathon. It was my first marathon and I was so excited to get there. Writing down my thoughts on the day has taken me 6 weeks. I have been overwhelmed with competing emotions, thoughts and feelings about the day that I have not been able to form complete sentences.

Two weeks before my race I started to hurt during my last long run. It felt like my left leg was shorter than my right & took longer to strike the ground than the right side. I had swelling, tenderness & a deep ache in my groin. I was worried that I pulled a muscle and was out of alignment. I also occasionally give myself vit b & magnesium shots, prescribed by my dr to help with overall health. With the pain in my hip I decided to inject the vitamins a bit lower and boost my system for the race. Mistake! I hit a nerve. So on top of the hip pain a nerve, felt like sciatic, was numb with pins & needles feeling. Oops! I later found out that magnesium is caustic to nerves & damages them. Amazingly in all the years previous I never hit a nerve, not until my race was just a short 2 weeks away. I had several appointments with chiropractors and physical therapist, had a massage and some A.R.T.(active release technique) work done to get everything working smoothly so that I could do the marathon. I took it easy for the last two weeks (when I ran my groin would start to ache and I would start limping more & more so I backed off to save it for the marathon day) I was reassured by the professionals that I saw that I would be able to run through the pain & then work on stretching everything well after.

Marathon morning. I was so excited! Josh got up with me and drove me to the bus pick up in Provo. I had a brief moment in the car when I was thinking about the day ahead that I felt like I was going to throw up. I calmed myself down and felt fine the rest of the ride. I rode the bus up the canyon with a handful of other athletes. It was the 367th marathon for one runner & he was giving advice and telling his thoughts about the course along the way. (He did say that a hilly course is better because it uses different muscles groups. Our race was to be very steep for the first half some of it being a 7% grade coming down the canyon and then flat for the second half making it a harder course.) We got up to the starting line and waited for the start time.

At the starting area it was pretty relaxed. The group was much smaller than I had imagined it would be. I don't know how many people started the race but only 137 finished. It wasn't too big of a group. The mountain morning air was a bit chilly so I put a small hand warmer in my sports bra to keep warm while I stretched and warmed up. They announced it was go time & off we went.

Starting down the mountain was great. It felt good to finally be moving instead of anticipating. My left hip was a little achy but not too bad. The down hill grade made the first 7 miles fast as I worked to keep a comfortable pace and just keep my feet underneath me. I love the mountains and the trees so the first half was wonderful. We ran along the Provo River, which was full of rushing water right up to the edge of the trail at points. The greenery, waterfalls & fresh mountain smells made the run great. I had planned to do Jeff Galloway's run/walk method and it was hard to force myself to briefly walk every 10 minutes for a minute when it felt good to keep going and I was making great time. Around mile 7 I stopped for a minute to stretch my hip flexors. They didn't feel too tight but my hip still had that ache so I wanted to be sure they weren't going to get too tight. At mile 8 my left leg started to buckle but it only did it once and then felt okay again so I kept going. I could feel blisters forming on the bottom of my feet from the steep grade and the timing chip strapped to my shoe lace was biting my little toe.

I came past the half way point in just under 2 hours! My time was 12 minutes faster than my half last year. I was excited. My muscles felt strong, I felt good & I was half way through. I was pacing myself well. I was going to reach my goal! With the blistered feet I asked Josh to bring my other shoes to give my feet a change. Josh ran back to the car while I continued on to get my shoes and ran them back to me. I stopped to quickly change and got going again. I continued on and went over the viaduct on University Avenue.

As I turned to go around the mall around mile 14 things quickly went downhill. The ache I had been feeling in my left hip/groin was no longer an ache. Every step felt like I had a dagger at the end of my leg jabbing into my hip. It was horrible. I stopped & stretched and walked for a few minutes hoping it would subside. I would jog a few steps and then have to return to a limping walk because the pain was too great. I considered trying to run through it but knew if I continued with that pain level I wouldn't be going much farther and would not be able to finish. I wanted to finish this race so bad. I set a goal & I was determined to attain it. I took some ibuprofen and keep moving.

With the limp and slowing pace I knew I wouldn't make it in the time goal I wanted but I would still finish. I kept limping a long watching my pace get slower and slower so I kept changing & changing my finish goal. Every 30 minutes I would set a new goal and then keep working for that. I tried multiple times to start jogging again but it just wasn't possible. Around 16 miles I passed a high school kid who was doing his 1st marathon and went out way too hard in the beginning. He had hurt his knee, taken no nutrition, was getting loopy and overall was not doing well. I gave him a gel & he walked with me for a few minutes. He slowed down & I kept going. At the 18 mile point I stopped at an aid station and got some icy hot for my IT bands & a cold pack for my groin and continued on. From here the course took us back onto the Provo River trail running back towards downtown Provo. It was scenic and enjoyable if it weren't for the pain in my leg. I tried to draw energy from nature around me & wished I could run. It was past the time I should have finished and I still had miles to go. Josh was waiting for me at the end of the trail and had a bench set up with everything he could think I might possibly want. When I saw him I let out a small sob and tears filled my eyes. I was overcome with emotion & pain (but I wasn't going to tell him that) I pulled myself together before I reached him. I was so grateful for his love & support. I changed my shoes to the newer more padded ones again and told him I would see him at the finish line~ just much later than I had planned. My 1st 14 miles were at a 9:20 min pace or faster the last 12 were progressively getting slower until I couldn't do much better than a 20 minute pace. Back on the streets of Provo I was offered a ride 5 different times. People would pull up next to me, tell me how bad I looked and ask if they could give me a ride. Very sweet, but not too helpful for the mind over matter to be told you looked too gimpy to finish. I thanked them for the offer but declined because I was going to finish.

Two miles out from the finish line the high school boy caught back up to me. He said he had gotten a 2 mile ride to an aid station had been given more fluids & nutrition and was now ready to finish. He was worried he did not want to be last. (A fear I had had on previous races but at this point was no longer a concern to me, I no longer cared if I was last only that I finished) I told him that if we were last the scooter guy would be following us but that we could go in together so neither of us was last. I gave up my music and chatted with him as we limped along. Just before the 6 hour mark we watched the police traffic control officers leave the intersections on the roads up ahead of us. By this time Josh had jogged back from the finish line to come find me. (They had seen life flight take off a few minutes before and someone had said a blond lady with a pony tail was hemorrhaging on the course, guess my family was getting pretty nervous) I was glad he was with us. Every step was very hard and I was loosing stability in my leg. Josh stopped traffic for us and we kept going. He also carried a poster my friend Cindi had made that told me I was strong & I could do this. The words & hard work from my friend uplifted & motivated me to be strong.

I was having a hard time limping and moving forward & was incapable of quick movements. At this point I was seriously wishing for a morphine shot. Before my race Josh had given me a blessing and I was told I would be able to reach my goal. I knew I was going to finish my race. It never crossed my mind to stop but morphine or some other STRONG pain relief sounded wonderful. I tried playing it out in my mind just how I could get my hands on a syringe of morphine & shoot it into my hip. Totally unrealistic but I enjoyed the fantasy and idea of relieving the pain for a few minutes. As we came back onto University Avenue just less than a mile from the finish line they had street crews picking up the cones protecting us from traffic. I was upset. Just barely 6 hours and they were taking down the race!! From the finish line backwards to the start?! If they really needed to take it down couldn't they start at the other end?! I said a quick prayer to not get run over in the last few minutes of the race and kept going. Poor planning in my opinion and we weren't the last racers. But we kept going. Josh helped us again with traffic to get across the 6 lane road and come into the finish shoot. The boy I had been walking with decided to "run" in, he was happy to beat me by a whopping 20 seconds & I had absolutely no run left (besides his race was 2 miles shorter than mine so what did I care)

I finished my first marathon in 6 hours 11 minutes! Not the 4 & 1/2 hours I had hoped for but I finished it. Josh, my mom, my sister Jessica & her 2 little girls, my brother & sister Eric & Allana & their 3 little girls had all stood there waiting for me for hours! They were there waiting & cheering for me. The support was sweet & appreciated. I sobbed! I hugged Josh and cried. My mom came over and I just kept crying. I sat down to eat an orange wedge and get control over myself and breath. The race area was pretty deserted so we got in the car & went home to see my kiddos, I had Josh leave them home so that he could help me.

I felt okay riding home but when I went to get out of the car I knew I was in trouble. I could not put any weight on my leg at all & the pain was excruciating. When I reached the stairs I crawled in and decided that was easier than trying to stand. I crawled into my bathroom and ran an ice bath. I began to sob again because the scenario brought back a flood of memories of years not too far back when I had to crawl because my joints were too inflamed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. A time when I dreamed of running a marathon but was trying to resign myself to life in a wheelchair. Back then I really couldn't have dared to have gotten so much better & yet I had & I had even completed a marathon! It was overwhelming all the thoughts and feelings going through my head. Mostly at this point I was just so full of gratitude that I had been able to do it and figured a few days rest and I would be okay. I was so overwhelmed with everything I had dealt with, faced & overcame in the past 13 years. So I kept sobbing for most of the day. I stayed in the ice bath for 15 minutes (a record for me) When I got into the tub I realized that I completely forgot about the hot hands pack I had stuck in my shirt. My chest was a bit raw & blistered either from the heat or rubbing, not sure which but I never even felt it. After my bath I crawled to the couch. Josh helped me release some fluid from my blistered feet & then took the kids so that I could rest. The pain was bad so I went for the biggest drugs I had,lortab that I hadn't taken when I had my last baby. It didn't even touch it. So I just held really still (that usually helps).

My leg was hurting badly and it wasn't about to hold any weight so I asked my Grandpa if I could borrow his walker. The 1st week I went back to the chiropractor. My left hip was twisted forward & my right hip was twisted backward making my left leg about 3 inches shorter than the right. I had an xray & he didn't see any breaks so I had him adjust me a few times. I went and had more A.R.T. done to loosen everything else up and continued using the walker for the 1st week and a half. I was getting to where I could kind of limp but movement wasn't very good and still painful. More tears remembering the days when I hurt worse than this for no good reason other than my immune system wanted to attack my body. Remembering the pain, fatigue & depression. Wow how easily those memories fade, much like childbirth. I had more gratitude & appreciation than ever before for the improvement and gift of health that I have been give. I went to a physical therapist, I was offered a wheel chair when I reached the hospital doors~ still very gimpy. She had me doing very basic exercises to strengthen my pelvic floor & stabilize my pelvis. She manipulated my hips & pelvis back into alignment & gave me exercises to hold everything in the correct place. I also had to retrain my muscles & nerves to communicate properly in my low back & legs. She told me that when you push to far on the pain threshold the nerves stop firing. :( With her help I was making progress, squeezing a cheek can be hard work! She sent me home with a crutch to aid my walking & orders to rest. But the ache in my groin wouldn't go away and if I did hardly anything weight bearing then the dagger feeling would return.

After 4 weeks I decided it was time for an mri to get a better idea of what was wrong & how to fix it. Diagnosis: stress fracture in my femur. Biggest strongest bone in the body & I broke it. I beat my old record! I have a high pain tolerance (good with chronic pain but not so good with injuries) and with the RA I often ignore pains because eventually they go away. Years ago I fractured my arm & it took me a month to figure it out. This time from the symptoms I figure I had the stress fracture 2 weeks before the marathon & then ran on it exacerbating it to the max. (Glad it didn't break in half!) So 7 weeks before finding out it is fractured. After 5 1/2 weeks of limited mobility and 1 crutch I was put on 2 crutches today and told no weight bearing on the left leg. Wish I had started that a month ago. I get to see an orthopedic specialist and hopefully he can get me a bone growth stimulator and any other tricky things to get it to heal faster. I am so ready to heal and be healthy. I am grateful for my marvelous body and its abilities.

The last month & a half has been challenging. I have cried a lot of tears & for different reasons. At first out of gratitude, then anger. I have been so angry! I don't even know for sure where it came from but it just swelled up. Josh asked me an innocent question one night and it just weighed on all the emotions I was feeling and I sobbed for three hours (I cry when I am angry, happy or sad, guess it is just an overall good release for me) I haven't cried much in years and it all came out that night. The only saving grace on the anger is that I at least finished the race. Had I been where I am & not finished I know I would be even angrier. Then I go back to gratitude and appreciation for my life. Overall life is wonderful. I hate not being able to move independently, that is probably where the anger comes from, and I have many responsibilities and commitments. But I also know it could be so much worse & I have lived with so much worse so I NEED to stay in gratitude. I am frustrated with the pain. I also discovered that I LOVE to run and not just because I can. I enjoy it for many reasons and it is something I do for me, it challenges me & makes me feel good. I miss it. I miss the endorphins & hormone response that clears the fog in my head & helps me think clearly. The weather is perfect outside right now & I want to be outside enjoying it. For now that means sitting & sewing the trampoline net my kids ripped apart back together and limping around the park on crutches. I can't wait until I can start moving NORMALLY again. I plan to come back & get stronger. In the long run I think this injury & the subsequent set back is going to be a good thing because it has taught me new things about myself & showed me somethings I need to work on to stay healthy in the long run. I do not regret for one moment running my marathon. I am happy I reached my goal. I would really love to do it again in the future & RUN the marathon but I have a lot of work to do before I commit to that goal again. I want to do it, do it well & stay healthy so it will be awhile before I get there. Red Rock Relay is in September. Right now my goal is to be able to go and do that race with my sweet hubby & an awesome group of friends. Wish me good luck that I am healed in time to do it.

* If you are still reading, thanks for listening to my ramblings. I am writing for my own benefit more than anything so you get to read the looong version. ~Hugs~

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Porcupine Theory





My mom sent me this story & I loved it & so now I will share it with you...


Fable of the porcupine


It was the coldest winter ever. - Many animals died because of the cold.
The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions even though they gave off heat to each other. After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. This way they learned to live with the little wounds that were caused by the close relationship with their companion, but the most important part of it, was the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.

Moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but the best is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person's good qualities.

The Moral of the story!..........LEARN TO LOVE THE PRICKLY PEOPLE IN YOUR
LIFE

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You always see firemen at burning buildings, but that doesn't mean they caused the fire...

Have you ever heard the saying "You are what you eat"? Well I believe it. I believe that what we put into our bodies; food, thoughts etc affect us. I love to study the body and how it works. There are so many ideas, theories and hypotheses out there, so many truths. All pieces of the puzzle of how we work and still so many left undiscovered. One of the things I have studied that is very exciting to me is The Germ Vs Terrain Theory of disease. The terrain theory gets very deep on very small, microscopic, world and it really explains how & why we get sick. I want to share a story from an e-book I read years ago and am currently re studying to share the difference between the two schools of thought.

Let us proceed by setting the stage. Let’s go back in history a little over 100 years. We’ll go back to the days of the great debate between the “Terrainist School” and the “Microbiologists.” The setting is late nineteenth century France. The two great figures in our discourse are Louis Pasteur and Antoine Bernard (Bechamp). Both of these gentlemen were researchers and scientists. Louis Pasteur was a veterinary and chemist, while Antoine Bernard (Bechamp) was a medical doctor. They were both studying the cause of disease and each had a particular interest in the microbes that make up the vast flora of living systems.

Louis Pasteur believed that the microbe is the cause of all disease. He theorized that each disease had a particular microbe specific to itself. If one could identify the microbe and destroy it, one could cure the disease. This is the basis of the germ-theory.

O.k. Let’s pretend that you are a member of your city council, and you have hired me to recommend a course of action for the council to take in order to clean up the horrible trash problem. So, in I come, you have paid me millions of dollars, because of my degree and my years of experience, and this is my assessment –

“I have observed that your problem is not trash at all, it’s a rat problem. In observation of your fair city I find that where there is trash there are also rats. What’s more, where I have found many rats, I have observed more trash, and where I have found no rats at all, there has also been no trash at all. Therefore, rats cause trash. It is good that you came to me, because how else would you have understood that what you supposed was a trash problem, was actually a rat problem? For a fee, I will kill the rats in your city, and then all of your trash will simply go away.”

The Germ Theory of Louis Pasteur is precisely the same as the Rat Theory proposed by Dr. Bernard Jensen. Rats and germs have one thing in common – they are both highly opportunistic. In other words, they seek environments that meet their needs. Rats like garbage and germs do too.

Bernard (Bechamp) believed that disease is caused by dysregulation of the body terrain. That the state of the whole organism dictates whether an individual becomes ill, or manifests a set of symptoms, or whether they remained well and fight off the diseases around them. This is the Terrainist Theory of disease. The Rat Theory in reverse really applies here. Clean up the trash and the rats simply go away.

Bernard said in 1879 that, “It is the fixity of the milieu interieur which is the condition of free and independent life.” In other words, it is the homeostasis of the internal terrain that is most important to health.

Their philosophy, however, was not the only difference between these two great scientists. Each of them looked at microscopic environments using different equipment. Louis Pasteur looked at things under bright-field microscopy and he developed stains in order to identify clearly what he was looking at. The stains killed and denatured the blood, tissues and other materials observed. He was more interested in identifying and killing the offending organism, you see, than he was in understanding the body itself.

Antoine Bernard (Bechamp) did not depend so heavily on bright field microscopy for his understanding of microbes.. He also looked at living systems using dark-field technology. This allowed him to watch the living system and see what developed there. What he saw under Darkfield microscopy formed the basis of the Terrainist School of Thought.

In the plasma of the blood, between the red blood cells, against a black field, he observed tiny living organisms that he named “Microzhyma”. He postulated that the microzhyma were the living seeds of life and that these organisms in regulation help to maintain the body in a state of health and wellness. He further postulated that the lifestyle of the individual, the physical environment, the diet, etc., causes him to get sick and die or to remain well.

Rabies
A story has often been told that illustrates the debate that raged between these two researchers. It involves two brothers who lived in France, one in Paris and the other outside of Paris. One of the brothers was a prominent baker who provided baked goods for high-class restaurants in Paris. The other brother was a poor farmer. These two men had daughters of about the same age. One day both of their daughters were playing at the home of the farmer. Into the courtyard came a rabid dog and bit both little girls. One of them became sick and died. The other little girl did not become sick at all.

Of course the famous scientist Louis Pasteur was immediately called on to examine the body of the little girl that died. He had already gained renown for discovering the microbe that caused Hydrophobia (rabies). Having examined the body of the little girl that died from hydrophobia, he declared that she had indeed died of rabies. When he was asked why the other little girl didn’t even get sick his response is reported to have been, “perhaps the mouth of the dog was so cleansed by the first bite that when it came time to bite the second girl there were no more microbes left on its teeth and gums and that’s why she didn’t get sick”.

Those of you who have dogs or have ever worked with dogs know that the dog’s mouth, like any other mouth, is a filthy environment and that one bite is not ever going to “cleanse” all of the microbes off of the dog’s teeth or out of the dog’s mouth. But this explanation was fine and adequate for the uneducated family of the two little girls.

Bernard (Bechamp) came on the scene later. There was no body for him to examine, there was only a family to interview. He talked with the mother and father of the little girl that lived and with the mother and father of the girl that died. What he found was significant. The little girl that died was the daughter of the baker. She had quite a high lifestyle. She lived in town. She had fine clothing. She had plenty to eat. The little girl that lived, however, was the farmer’s daughter, and lived a much different lifestyle. This intrigued him.

Could the diet alone make the difference between life and death in the case of hydrophobia? What is it that is so terrifying about rabies? It is that every person who contracts the disease dies? Even today the prognosis after actual infection is very low.



This is what he observed about the little girl that died.

• She lived in town.
• Air was polluted outside because of the predominant use of coal.
• Air was polluted inside because of the use of whale oil lamps.
• Water was polluted because it came from the river that also doubled as the sewer system.
• Her diet consisted largely of processed carbohydrates (white flour), meat and rich sauces.

This is what he observed about the little girl that lived.

• She lived in the country.
• Air was clean and pure.
• Water came from the well. It was not polluted with sewage.
• Her diet was high in garden produce and low in processed carbohydrates. They were poor. They probably couldn’t afford much meat, rich sauces, etc.


Bernard observed the difference between these two lifestyles and these two diets and postulated that the little country girl’s internal terrain was regulated and the micro-flora that lived there naturally prevented the rabies from taking hold and making the little girl sick.

Whether or not this story actually ever happened is irrelevant. The fact that it has been told and re-told many times indicates how really diametrically opposed to each other’s way of thinking the two camps of microbiology were at that time.


In a nut shell there are the two schools of thought. Over the years I have worked hard to improve my health; changing my diet, healing emotional wounds & feeding my spirituality. I have put the Terrain Theory to the test and know it as truth. I also can appreciate medicine. There are times when our systems get out of whack and we need medicine to help get us back in balance. Combining the two schools of thought and gleaning from the truths of each and using them to our advantage are great tools to help us achieve wellness.

If anyone is interested in exploring this topic in more depth I found a great website that is easy to understand and gets in pretty deep http://www.laleva.org/eng/2004/05/louis_pasteur_vs_antoine_bchamp_and_the_germ_theory_of_disease_causation_1.html

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Help to Avoid the Ickies this Winter.

The "ick" season will soon be upon us. Our extended family has already had a few cases of the "ickies" and it is a good reminder to me to start supporting my families immune system to keep everyone healthy and well. A few simple things we do to stay healthy and have had success with are: Probiotics, fish oils & Vit C, taken daily and increased at first sign of illness. I also have found a few herbal remedies I absolutely LOVE. My favorite is Immunity Take Care by New Chapter. It is an elderbery lozenge that when sucked on gets into the blood stream in less than 30 minutes and begins fighting viruses. Last year "B"s class had an outbreak of swine flu along with a few boys on his football team getting it as well. He came home from school exhibiting all the symptoms and feeling miserable. I immediately started him on the elderberry lozenge along with vit C & another herbal remedy I like called Defence. I sent him to bed and by morning he was better. The elderberry lozenge can be taken as a preventative and if you have family members with weak immune systems I would recommend it. It can get pricey for a family of 7 so I typically just use it at first sign of illness or as a preventative when I know the kids have been exposed to a virus going around. Immunity Take Care can be bought online just google it or locally at Dave's Health & Nutrition (it is usually on sale this time of year which reminds me I need to stalk up) You can also go to their website at Daveshealth.com The other one I mentioned was Defence. It is a Native American herbal remedy made by Native American Nutritionals. I will put a link to their website below along with the info on its ingredients along with a little more info on the elderberry lozenge. I have a very smart health conscious friend. She has a lovely blog that I follow and can be found on my side bar "World of Wisdom" She just posted a great post on staying puke free this winter and keeping our families healthy. If anyone is interested in reading her suggestions go to: http://aworldofwisdom.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-i-achieve-flu-free-winters.html


How Immunity Take Care Works

Immunity Take Care, with the exclusive extract is the first all-herbal, natural therapeutic that acts to block viruses from entering human cells, therefore preventing them from replicating.*

A virus is much smaller than a human cell, but despite its small size can be very powerful, especially when allowed to replicate. When a virus gets into the nose, lungs or mouth it targets particular cells in the body and attaches to them in very specific ways. Once inside the cell, the virus multiplies rapidly to make copies of itself. These newly copied viruses escape the cell and enter the bloodstream to find even more cells to attach to.

The bioactive molecules in Immunity Take Care by New Chapter seeks out viruses, bind to them, and create a coating around them. This coating is like a fence around the virus that blocks its ability to attach to and enter cells.

The bioactives in Immunity Take Care actually bind themselves to viruses, coat the viruses, and block their ability to attach to and enter human cells.*

In-vitro laboratory studies of this patent pending extract have demonstrated up to a 100% success rate in inhibiting the entry of enveloped viruses (like influenza).
How Immunity Take Care Is Different

*

Acts Before the Virus Can Attack

Unlike antivirals that begin to work after viruses have begun multiplying, Immunity Take Care works to target and block viruses before they can replicate.*

*

Complete Herbal Bioactive Chemistries

Immunity Take Care is not a synthetic chemical isolate. Immunity Take Care is a 100% Herbal Virus Blocker that provides the full range of bioactive chemistries of the natural herbal source, thanks to the combination of supercritical extraction and a breakthrough technology for validating potency, called DART (Direct Analysis in Real-Time).*

While other commercially available natural products contain fewer than 150 components, Immunity Take Care contains over 1,000 natural chemistries and the key bioactives in each dose.

You can google elderberry health benefits to learn more about this great natural health inducing plant. Elderberries have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. It was used to treat the flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.

Defence:

It stands without question that if the immune system is strengthened, numerous ailments and illnesses can be aided and alleviated. The main ingredients in “DEFENSE” are Black Cumin, Stabilized Rice Bran, Muscadine Grape, the Native American Sacred herb “Tsi-Ahga” and the Heart of Garlic. Each one is demonstrated in scientific research to strengthen, support and modulate the Immune Response in different ways.

Black Cumin has impressive scientific research that shows it to have very beneficial anti-microbial properties. It has been demonstrated to have potent anti-microbial properties and science has demonstrated why it has always been the best bet to combat colds and viral infection. One of the most important components of Black Cumin Oil is known to be effective for bronchial asthma and respiratory allergies because of its ability to expand and relax the airways. It also reduces the release of histamines into the bloodstream and thus works against allergic reactions. Black Cumin has been shown to reduce allergy symptoms up to 90% over long term use.
Scientists know that Black Cumin stimulates the bone marrow to produce immune cells, increases interferon production, protects the body against viruses and inhibits infection. Black Cumin has also been proven effective against the development of cancer. The Cancer Immuno-Biology Laboratory of South Carolina ran a series of experiments in which mice were infected with tumor cells. Two thirds of the animals treated with Black Cumin oil were still alive thirty days after being infected. In contrast, ALL of the mice that did not receive Black Cumin treatment died within thirty days. It stands without question that if the immune system is strengthened, numerous ailments and illnesses can be aided and alleviated.

Stabilized Rice Bran is the result of the specialized processing of rice concentrates and extracts. Being an all-natural whole food, Stabilized Rice Bran works synergistically to restore optimal health. Consisting of perfect chains of essential fatty acids, trace minerals, amino acids, PhytoNutrients, glyconutrients, and over ninety powerful antioxidants including tocotrienols (which have been found to be 6000 times more effective than vitamin E) Stabilized Rice Bran provides the nutritional therapy and protection that our modern diets often lack.

Muscadine Grape contains higher levels of antioxidants than blackberries, black raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, red raspberries, and strawberries. This finding was established in the early 1990s by Mississippi State University, as well as by the National Institutes of Health. Because it is so much higher in antioxidants, Muscadine Grape protects and restores Immune Function resulting in a wide variety of protection throughout the body.

Tsi-Ahga is a Native American Sacramental Medicine derived from Conks that grow on certain cone-bearing trees. The 3-beta-D-glucans which make up part of the cellular structure of these Conks cause a pan-systemic modulation of T-Cells, Macrophages and Neutrophil White Blood Cells, when ingested. In fact, it has been established that the number and viability of these particular cells is increased by as much as 4000% within 20 hours after taking Tsi-Ahga! Macrophages and Neutrophils are the two cells upon which all other Immune Cells depend. You can have many viable B-Cells and T-Cells, but they will not be effective without the programming provided by these “Communicator” cells. Tsi-Ahga also contains bitter triterpene compounds that support the thymus and spleen (essential to insuring that immune cells are properly programmed), anti-tumor polysaccharides, blood pressure-reducing angiotensin re-uptake inhibitors, and perhaps the highest source of germanium in nature. Germanium is an oxygen catalyst and one of the most powerful free-radical scavengers found in nature.

Heart of Garlic contains the antimicrobial substance known as “Allicin” which is produced when the Alliin and Allinase of the garlic are brought together as a result of damage to the bulb or by microbial invasion of the plant. Allicin is the natural defense mechanism of the garlic plant that science has proven to be so effective as a defense for us as well. Some research-supported actions of Allicin are: reduces blood pressure, kills microscopic organisms, poisonous bacteria, parasites and fungal infections, aids in preventing neoplasm, reduces high blood cholesterol, removes heavy metals and other toxins, scavenges and removes free radicals, repairs immune system cells by providing high sulfur compounds, and increases blood circulation.
The chemistry of garlic is complex and even though Allicin was discovered in 1944, its volatility has resulted in very few supplements or garlic based products that contain any Allicin by the time they reach the consumer. In the past year alone, supermarkets and mass merchandisers in the United States have sold more than 5 million units of garlic. This makes garlic the most popular herbal product in America, according to Information Resources, Inc., and yet none of those consumers are getting what they actually need (Allicin) from the garlic products they buy. It is worth mentioning that with a new patented process for extracting and stabilizing Allicin from garlic, we can now offer people the product they thought they were buying.

For more information on this product you can go to: http://www.nativeamericannutritionals.com/Product_Desc.aspx?Inventory_ID=2 A bottle is $25 and taken regularly lasts a month. When I was unhealthy and my RA was flaring I took it regularly now we use it to quickly fight off illnesses. To order you can call 1-877-432-5446. You can set up your own account or order under my name.

I mention these things because they work for us & have helped us stay healthy when I remember to use them. I really like what Amy said on her blog and am planning to incorporate some of her ideas this winter as well. Time to order my thieves essential oil. Pure Elements (carried locally at Dave's) & Native American Nutritionals (where you buy defence) also have an oil combination equivalent to Theives for about $10 less. It is called Ancient Remedy. I put it in our diffuser so that we are are breathing the oils & put it in a small spray bottle about 10 drops of oil & fill the rest with water. This I will use to spray on feet like Amy recommends on her blog.

** and don't forget the disclaimer that I am not a doctor. nor am I giving medical advice...merely sharing things that help our family avoid the winter ickies ;D