Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What 'My Eureka' Looks Like

Ok, so I'm not exactly sure what it looks like to live the daily life of a family who grows and learns together, but I have a pretty good idea and I'm starting to figure out what it will look like for us.

The details will change over time. I've come to realize that I prefer 'templates' over 'recipes' for pretty much anything in life.  Which is good if you are informed, creative, adventurous and flexible. Phew!  That sounds like a lot of work.  But I do much better if I put the work in advance and reap the benefits long-term.  My poor husband just doesn't understand why I make things so difficult.  But, alas, it's my learning style and I must cater to it-or never learn.

The basic subjects to cover (I think):
Reading, Writing, Literature, History, Math, Science, Foreign Language, Arts (painting), Business, Religion, Government, Geography, Music & Dance, Instruments.

I'll add to that over time I'm sure.  But I want to work on a 'liberal education' first, getting the basics, before zooming in on details (like business, psychology, anthropology, etc.).

I have those titles written down in my notebook and I am going to find 2 or 3 books for each subject and work my way through them.  I do better if I work in 'blocks', so I'll study one subject for a few weeks before moving on to the next. I know I will like some more then others, but I want a good, solid foundation in all of them.  And I know, as I read, I will find more books that I want to read on each subject, so I will record those under each heading.  And I will circle back around.

I intend to do the same for the kids.  Keeping books under each heading for them to choose to read themselves and have me read to them.

I also intend to start teaching myself to play guitar. For some reason I'm really nervous about it.  But I'm excited also.  I had started about 10 years ago, but let it go. We have 6 or 7 'teach yourself to play guitar' books, and 3 nice guitars. So it's just a matter of committing myself to it and following through.  I want to take it slow and learn it well. Lucky for me, I took piano lessons for 8 years as a kid, so I have some decent musical theory already committed to memory.  I hope to brush up on my piano skills as I learn guitar also (we have a nice, electric keyboard my husband bought me for Christmas 8 years ago and I never use). I want my kids to learn to play instruments.  And the best way for me to do that, is to lead by example. So I hope by them watching me learn to play, they'll desire the same someday.  And have the tools to do it!

I am going to post the schedule I have for now.  I have decided to figure out what I want to fit into the day and approximately how it should look, and then work into it over time, changing things as necessary.  We tend to stick to changes if they are made carefully and slowly rather then abruptly.  But it's always best if I have the end in mind.

Some notes: I do not think children should be woken up early in general, so I do not wake my children up.  But they are generally up between 7 and 8 on their own.  Also, my husband works 2nd shift (4pm to midnight) so our schedule is different from most people, as our 'family meal' is lunch.
I also intend to do Reports for the books, videos and activities that we learn from.  My husband has made a neat document for each that we have printed out and put into binders. The kids have, so far, enjoyed them.  I'd like to come up with some prize for every 10 reports they do on a certain subject.  Or something along those lines.  

6:00-I wake up, take a walk/bike ride and read Bible/exercise
8:00-Breakfast (each child helps me one or two mornings a week)
8:30-Clean up/dishes
8:45-Get dressed, oil pull, pick up rooms
9:00-Read a classic, each taking turns picking out a book from top shelves
9:30-9:40 Go over math/phonics 
9:40-12-Free time [study my classics and prepare lunch]
12:00-12:20 Family Worship (details still unclear-but hopefully a few songs, say a passage of Scripture until memorized and daddy read a verse and expound on it and read a few stories from Eggermeiers)
12:20-12:30-set Table and help with lunch
12:30-1-Eat Lunch as family, talk about worship, book, etc.
1-1:30-daddy read a classic to us
1:30-2-clean rooms [clean kitchen]
2-3:00- 1/2 hour each on computer [read classics]
3-3:30-Read more of classic we read in AM
3:30-6 Free play/bike ride/park [read classics when home]
6:30-7:45-Free Play [study guitar and read classics]
7:45-8-Brush teeth, put on PJs, clean up toys
8-8:30-read any books the kids pick out
8:30-10 [read classics]

This is a 'template' for how a typical day can go, fitting in all the habits, chores, character development and books.  There is plenty of open/free play for them, which also gives me time to pursue my own education.  Lucky for me, I've been reading every hour I could find for the last 5 years, so that should make it easier for me.  I know the hardest will be to read things I'm not terribly interested in.  Most of my reading has been about spiritual, nutritional and educational things, which I'm passionate and hungry to learn about.  Hopefully that will come.

I realize it won't be easy, but I also believe the pay-off will be astronomically huge-on earth and in heaven.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast and Supper Options

VBS this week, so we're busy and I hope to have things done in advance as much as possible. 

Lunch is served with Kombucha, Swedish Bitters and Fermented Cod Liver Oil

This week's meat is pork.

Monday: Pork Chops, cream sauce and green beans

Tuesday:  Pork Fajitas

Wednesday: Liver and Onions 

Thursday:  Rice, pork and white sauce

Friday:  Pork Sandwiches

Saturday:  Cobb Salad

Sunday:  Pork Salad

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse, Andreas Moritz

You know how you hear about something, oh say, 5 times, and you finally decide it's time to take notice?  Well, that is what happened with the liver cleanse.  I've thought for some time, that although our bodies are VERY good at cleaning out toxins, in some cases, it seems to do better with a little boost.  Esp with all of the toxins we have to fight these days!  And a number of our symptoms seemed to be related to liver congestion.

I had heard about this particular liver cleanse from a number of sources-books, websites, chat groups, etc.  And I kept thinking I'd like to try it, but I needed more info.  Well, recently I saw it posted on a blog (I can't remember which one) and I decided to check my library.  Sure enough, it had not just one copy, but two! So I picked it up that day.  It was a quick and easy read.  I enjoy rereading the chemistry of cells and digestion, etc.  I find it fascinating to see how different people interpret it all differently.  I've learned that no one knows exactly what is going on inside the complex body.  But many of them have found ways of healing that seem to work for large groups of people. So they eventually write a book about it.

The author, Andreas Moritz, had some serious issues as a child and teenager. And finally when he was 18, he decided to take his health into his own hands.  He read up on a lot of eastern medicine type healing practices and eventually decided to try a liver and gallbladder cleanse.  He saw such amazing results, he has done it regularly since.  He also has prescribed it to his patients and has seen major healing. 

He does think a relatively low-fat, vegan diet is the ultimate in healing and nourishing diets.  That, I believe, is 100% false.  But I just glossed over those parts and really read it to understand the science behind the cleanse as well as the details of it.

After reading the book, I'm excited to give the cleanse a try.  Essentially, he has you doing it once a month until you have 2 months in a row that no stones are released.  Most often it takes from 6-12 months.  Less for some and longer for others of course, depending on overall health.

The WHY of a liver and gallbladder cleanse:

The liver is a decent sized organ (about 3 pounds) that does a LOT of work every second.  If that work is disrupted, major health complications will appear.  One of it's functions is to produce bile that among other jobs, is used to break down the food we consume for proper nourishment of the nutrients.  Without it, digestion is impossible.  When we eat food that is not properly broken down, it mixes with the bile and forms into stones.  Eventually those stones can calcify and become hard and even more difficult to pass.  The body can handle some stones and even naturally passes them if everything is in working order. But, if they are not released, they eventually fill up the liver and gallbladder.  Most stones are not seen with modern technology (scans and x-rays, etc.) and are therefore overlooked as the possible cause of health issues.

If the stones get to be big enough, they start to disrupt the flow of bile, blood, toxins and all of the enzymes that are filtered through the liver.  You can imagine the issues that can lead to over time. the body is resilient and can reconstruct routes for a lot of things.  But only for so long. 

Some of the possible symptoms from stones in the liver and gallbladder:
Food cravings, constipation, digestive disorders, difficulty breathing, hemorrhoids, brain disorders, depression, PMS, Puffy eyes/skin, scoliosis, gout, obesity, sciatica, asthma, insomnia, nightmares, Alzheimer, cancer, chronic fatigue.

The HOW of a liver and gallbladder cleanse:
 I would highly suggest you read the book if you want to do the actual cleanse.  He has a lot of info that I couldn't fit into here.

What you need:  1 1/2 gallons of water of apple juice
4 TBLS Epsom salt,
1/2 cup cold pressed virgin olive oil,
2/3 glass of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice or lemon and orange juice combined.

Drink 32 oz (one quart) of apple juice every day for 6 days.  The malic acid softens the stones to make them easier to pass.  He does have other options if you can't drink apple juice for any reason (allergies, candida, etc.).

He suggests you eat as 'vegan' as possible during the cleanse. I'm not sure if that would help during the cleanse, since I don't believe that nourishes a body.  I don't think I'm going to worry about it.  He also suggests that you not take vitamins or medicines of any kind if you can help it.

He suggests that you do the actual cleanse on a weekend, or when you can be home all day, as some discomfort may appear.

On the 6th day of drinking apple juice, drink the apple juice in the morning, eat lightly and only drink water after 1:30 PM.  

6:00   PM   Prepare a jar of 32 oz. of water mixed with 4 TBLS of epsom salt (yuck!).  Drink 8 oz. of the jar at 6.  He suggests drinking it with a straw or your nose pinched to bypass some of the nasty taste.

8:00   Drink 8 more ounces of the salt water

9:30   He strongly suggests you do an enema or colonic at this point. 

9:45   Squeeze the citrus and mix thoroughly with the 1/2 cup of EVVO.  

10:00   Drink the EVVO/juice mixture as quickly as possible and lay down immediately.  He says to either lay on your back with your head propped above your abdomen.  Or lie on your right side with your knees pulled toward your head.  Lie perfectly still for at least 20 minutes.  

6:00 AM the next morning, drink another 8 oz of salt water.  He suggests you rest as much as possible, but being in an upright position helps the stones to pass more smoothly.  

8:00-8:30 Drink the last 8 oz of salt water.

10-10:30 Start eating, first fruit juice, then fruit and adding more 'heavy' foods throughout the day, but still keeping it light.  

He also suggests that you do a colon cleanse or enemas a few days after the cleanse, to make sure they all come out completely and don't putrefy in the colon. 

He also suggest you do a kidney cleanse before or after 4 or 5 cleanses, as the kidney can get backed up.  He suggests a tea to be drunk daily for a month.  Or, as I intend to do, taking a tsp of epsom salt dissolved in water every morning. 

So, I'm excited to give it a try.  I figure, if nothing else, it can't hurt anyway!  Not sure I can get the oil down, but I'll try!  Seeing results would certainly help.

Since Drew smokes, and has for 15 years, I'd love to get him to do it also.

Someone posted this forum site for the cleanse also.  Great resource for problem solving, etc.

Also, this blog post really encouraged me to look up the book and do the cleanse finally.  
My plan is to take the 1 tsp of epsom salt in water every morning, followed by 5-20 minutes of oil pulling, for 30 days.  After 24 days, I'll drink 32 oz of apple juice daily (yuck, I can't stand the stuff, but I'll try).  The morning of the cleanse, if I'm really on top of things, I'd like to do an enema or 2 (I've been meaning to try that since reading about it in GAPS).  I'll follow the schedule, and after 2 or 3 days, hopefully do a few enemas again.  My desire is to follow this regime monthly until my liver is clean.  And then annually after that.

** Update 6/25/10**

I sort of did the cleanse.  I had done the epsom salt/oil pulling for a month and then drank a quart of apple juice every day for 4 days and then I had to stop as the timing wasn't working out.  However, Monday I decided to just do the cleanse without the apple juice.  I followed the instructions above and actually passed at least 100 very small lime green, covered with a mustard yellow, stones.  It was pretty wild and exciting. :)

GRAPHIC:  I had terrible diarrhea shortly after taking the first epsom salt drink and all the next day.  And all I can say is 'owww!'.  I know it was intentional, but I have never really had diarrhea, so I had no idea how to deal with the 'clean up process'. Sorry, gross, I know.  But, if someone can learn from my mistakes, then it's worth sharing.  So, for next time, I am going to simply take a quick shower after every episode so as not to cause excessive wear and tear on the more sensitive parts with the rough toilet paper.  Did I mention 'owww!'?

-GRAPHIC: See here for pictures of something similar to what I had, only mine were smaller.  

-I have always struggled with low blood sugar, but it had gone away most since changing my diet.  However, being gone over the weekend and not eating great, it was back with a vengeance. So fasting for part of the day was rough.  I was very tired Monday night, as I consumed only water after 1:30pm.  I think that would have been fine if I had been eating better before the cleanse.

-The oil/OJ mix was actually quite good.  I was expecting to gag on it, and I did plug my nose for half of it, but then I found it was actually kind of enjoyable.  I measured 1/2 cup of EVVO into a glass measuring cup and squeezed 2 juicing oranges into it and mixed and chugged. 

-I did not start off with the broth/GAPS like I intended. My husband had lunch duty and he is a wicked chef and I simply could not pass up his pork fajitas. I drank some kefir at 10 and had pork fajitas at 1. :)  Along with some yogurt, kombucha and fermented beets.  :)

-I intend to do this every month until I have 2 months with nothing, and then once a year hopefully.

-None of my stones were calcified or bigger then a piece of corn, and most were closer to the size of an ant.  But I still have to be better off without them.

-I did not do an enema, but I really think it would be wise.  I just need to find the equipment and work up the nerve. 

-Tuesday and Wednesday I felt great, but Thursday afternoon I had one of my knock-out detox spells and was out for an hour and a half, dead to the world (well, to my kids at least-but thankfully we had put in a video, which I just ended up sleeping through).  And today (Friday)  I've been mostly laying down with extreme exhaustion.  At least I've come to realize what is going on and learned not to fight my body, but to rest until it passes.

I WILL GET HEALTHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

** Update 7/15/10**

I did another cleanse, basically same as the last.  Only this time no toilet paper after I started on the epsom salt, so no pain from that.  I did, however, throw up in the middle of the night once, which did not happen last time.  I was worried that since it was mostly oil, it wouldn't work.  But apparently the oil had done it's job and it worked fine.  The book said throwing up was not unusual and nothing to worry about.  Once I did, I felt fine and went right back to sleep.

This time, I got at least 400 stones out, and some were the size of my thumb.  So I had more, and larger ones, then last time.  Still no enema.  Mostly a money thing.  The kids are $20 and we just don't have them .And I've not figured out a way to substitute something cheaper or free yet.

I'll do another one in August.  It's pretty crazy!!!

** Update 8/1/10**

I have had back pain in my lower back for close to 10 years now.  My chiropractor has been my saving grace and I'm so thankful for him!  This week I knew I needed an adjustment in a bad way.  But it was weird, because it didn't hurt.  I could just tell that I was twisted and a mess. I wonder if getting the stones out has taken some of the pressure off of my lower back.  I don't know for sure.

** Update 8/7/10**

I did my 3rd cleanse.  I find the salt water harder to take and I once again threw up in the middle of the night.  4:00 actually.  I slept fine most of the night, before and after.  And I picked a bad time, as I had Sunday School the next morning and that was rough. Note to self, pick a morning when you can stay home and take care of business.  The throwing up is no fun. I might try half as much EVVO next time.  I read that the throwing up is the gall stones pushing the EVVO back into the stomach.  And throwing up isn't supposed to be a problem. Other then being horribly unpleasant.  I think while drinking the salt water and throwing up, that I'm definitely not doing it again.  But then when I get hundreds of stones out, I can't help but assume it's helping me.  Chemo makes you throw up for months, so this is much better then that option!  I think I got about 400 stones out, most teeny, but about 20 of them were about the size of my thumb nail, which is big!  They seem to be more green and less yellow coasted.  Not sure if that is good or bad or indifferent.


Finally, I did another one. Took me long enough!  When I did the GAPS intro in November, I drank a lot of really salty broth for a few days, and I found I actually passed a few green stones, and a lot of, what I believe was, broken stones.  So I have felt like my liver had a cleanse since, and in a very healthy way. Plus I feel my overall diet is very healing for the liver, not too toxic and full of liver cleansing and liver building materials.  But I had found myself not wanting to eat much meat for a few weeks, and my poop was very light, so I decided it was time for an actual cleanse.  My husband and kids were away, so it was perfect timing.  I did the usual, minus the apple juice.  I got out approx 300 itty bitty stones and quite a bit of the broken ones.  It was really yucky to drink the epsom water and the citrus evvo as usual.  I was nauseous all night, but only slightly and it went away after I had some diarrhea in the morning.  I did a coffee enema the night before, and some enemas the morning of, and one the 2nd morning.  Just to make sure.  But no more stones came out after the first morning.  I will assume that is a good thing.  I really don't currently feel like I should do another one next month, so i will play it by ear/feel and do another one when I think I need it. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast and Supper Options

Lunch is served with Kombucha, Swedish Bitters and Fermented Cod Liver Oil

This week's meat is brisket.

Monday:  Brisket and Veggies

Tuesday:  Brisket Sandwiches

Wednesday Superb Afghan Liver

Thursday:  Brisket over Salad

Friday:  Canned Salmon over Rice

Saturday:  Cobb Salad

Sunday:   Brisket, rice and mango salsa

Friday, June 18, 2010

Make Your Own Swedish Bitters

We have been drinking 1/2 tsp of Digestive Bitters in our kombucha/water for the past 3 months. 

I had read about it in Nourishing Traditions/WAPF.  It's considered a SuperFood in the WAPF article.  It's one of the few supplements that Sally Fallon takes, which I found interesting.

Bitters provide minerals, aid in the digestion of animal products and fat.  It stimulates bile and I believe, hydrochloric acid, which are not produced in people with gut dysbiosis.  Both are essential for breaking down foods for proper assimilation into the body.  You can eat a nutrient dense meal, but get nothing from it (except calories for energy/heat-but even sugar provides that!), if your gut can not break the food down into it's individual components.  One major problem in most people today is the lack of hydrochloric acid and bile.

After reading GAPS, I came to realize just how important these are and became more obsessed convinced to try harder to get our gastric juices churning properly.  I've tried to start having us take a freshly squeezed lemon into water before breakfast. I prefer the bitters, lemons are sour!  But they are supposed to also get the hydrochloric acid and bile started in the stomach as well.  I can't say that I've seen any benefits at the moment, but I realize I'm in for a long-haul healing.  And rather then do the GAPS diet, I'm kind of still working my way to it.  So I will continue.

I also found out that good salt, bone broth and esp fermented veggies help the body to produce hydrochloric acid. 

I ordered the Wild Harvest Digestive Bitters from Azure Standards.  It wasn't cheap, and we went through it in a month!  Whole Foods sold it, so I ended up getting it from there for the last 2 months.  But it's $15 from WFM!  $15 for a month for 4 oz?  There had to be a better way! 

I found a site that sells dry herbs-a formula called Swedish Bitters, that sounds great.  So I finally bought the dry herb mixture and some Everclear 95% alcohol.  I called the company a few times to ask questions and the guy was incredibly kind and helpful.

From the website:

Swedish Bitters Recipe
10 gm. Aloe
5gm. Myrrh
0.2gm. Saffron
10 gm. Senna leaves
10 gm. Camphor
10 gm. Angelica roots
10 gm Zedvoary roots
10 gm. Manna
10 gm. Theriac venezian
5 gm. Carline Thistle roots
10 gm Rhubarb roots
This mixture is put into a wide-necked 2 liter bottle and 1 1/2 liter of 38% to 40% rye or fruit spirit are poured over it. The bottle is left standing in the sun or near the stove for 14 days and shaken daily. The liquid is then strained and poured into small bottles, well stoppered and stored in a cool place. This way it can be left in the bottle until needed. The longer it stands in the bottle, the more effective it becomes! Shake well before use! Alternatively some of the liquid can be strained into a small bottle and used as needed for many years.

So I did just that:

I gathered my things:
1 Bag of Swedish Bitters
1 half gallon Ball glass jar
1 Liter of Everclear alcohol-95%

1.  I opened the bag and poured the bitters into the Ball jar.  

2.  I measured and poured in 2 cups of Everclear and 3 cups of water (to get approximately 35% alcohol)

3.  I shook the jar, put an air-tight lid on and put it in a paper bag and placed it next to my stove. 

4.  For the next 14 days, we shook it at least once daily. 

5.  After 14 days, I strained enough out to fill up the old Bitters container and left the rest in the glass jar. I put it in an arid cupboard and will strain more out as I need it.  It lasts indefinitely.

 Every day for lunch, if possible, half an hour before, I pour 1/2 tsp into each of our glasses, and then I add either water or kombucha.  And we drink it.  This stuff has a very different flavor then the stuff I bought. It reminds me of cough syrup, I still haven't figured out which herb it is.  We don't like it, but it's very little and we chase it with some kombucha afterwards and the flavor is gone.  I find if we drink it half an hour before the meal (which is what it says to do), then we don't have such a hard time taking the fermented cod liver oil with our meal.  That definitely needs to be chased with drink AND food.  Whereas the bitters don't need the food to lose the aftertaste.  

According to this site, there are numerous uses for the bitters, including topical.  I look forward to using them for various ailments.  At this price, it's not a problem!  :) 

I paid $27 for my homemade bitters, and they give me approximately 40 ounces.  It ends up being approximately $3 for my 4oz of homemade Swedish bitters, as opposed to $15 for the same amount of store-bought stuff.  Woo hoo!!!!!

Between these bitters and my Master Tonic that I have on hand, I feel ready to handle anything that comes our way!!  :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blame it on the Brain, Edward T. Welch

I have been studying nutrition, esp how it relates to the brain, for over 2 years.  I've learned a ton and been amazed that most of us survive at all! But, God has been showing me lately, that it's time to concentrate on the heart again. 

A few years ago, I read 'Shepherding a Child's Heart' and realized (after reading it 3 times) that while the heart is of utmost importance, there were other issues that were going on with Myia (and the rest of us to an extent) that needed attention.  So God lead me on the nutrition/education journey, which has been eye opening and fascinating!  It didn't take away from the issues of sin and the heart, but it was a mini-detour to take care of some necessary, albeit messy, business.

Now that I feel rather confident in the physical/nutritional side of life, I knew it was time to get back to the spiritual issues.  It was time to struggle through, think through and figure out, how the spiritual and physical sides of life come together.  What behavior are we responsible to God for, and what is out of our control?  I knew it was a question I had to grapple with until I had some idea of the answer.  Or at least the question needed to be fully formed in my mind.

One morning I was walking across the room and looked down and saw the book 'Blame it on the Brain'.  We've had it for 10 years on our shelf and I've never so much as looked at the subtitle.  But this time it was laying on the floor and out of curiosity, I looked at the subtitle:
 'Distinguishing Chemical Imbalances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience'

Wow! That was exactly what I was looking for.  It's so fun to see how God works.  He puts something in my head, shows me something I don't know or understand.  And then, shortly thereafter, he sends people, books, etc. along my path to start opening my eyes to the subject. It's pretty exciting!!  In this case, he simply showed me a book I've had for a long time, but wasn't ready for until now.

It was a fabulous read.  It was based on Scripture, with lots of references and actual printed verses to back it up.  As well as 'case studies' from Scripture.  I find those to be just as important.

I'm not sure I agree with him yet as to how much responsibility is placed on people with brain disorders, but it's something I need to think/pray/read about for awhile to come to some solutions for us.  It will greatly affect how I parent and so it is of utmost importance.

He talks about the current science research into brain chemistry, as well as it's history and interaction with society.

He also gives the Biblical bases/theology for what he thinks about the brain-body connection, and then goes on for the rest of the book to apply it.  He gives some basic Biblical principles to keep in mind:

-The brain cannot make a person sin
-Each person's abilities-brain strengths and weaknesses-are unique and worthy of careful study.
-Brain problems can expose heart problems
-Sinful hearts can lead to physical illness, and upright hearts can lead to health

He gives a great recipe to use when dealing with a person with mental issues.
1. Get information (about their current brain issues)
2.  Distinguish between spiritual and physical symptoms
3.  Address the heart
4.  Maximize remaining strengths: correct or minimize weaknesses

He applies the above principles specifically to: Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia, Head Injury, depression, ADD, homosexuality and alcoholism.

"Biblical perspective simplifies (parenting).  Biblical parenting is time-consuming and it relies on counsel from others, but it is not necessarily complicated.  With the distinction between physical and spiritual problems in mind, take steps to grow in nurturing your child in the Lord.  No matter what your child's strengths and weaknesses, he has the same spiritual problem as everyone else: his heart is in a war between selfishness and obedience to Christ.  Like yourself, a child engages this battle with 1.  the knowledge of Christ and 2. obedience to Christ.  The knowledge of Christ consists of learning about the great justice and love of God displayed in Jesus' death and resurrection.  Obedience to Christ is our response to this good news.  It consists of practicing the command to love God and love your neighbor as yourself, two commands that are fleshed out by the Ten Commandments and other clear principles in Scripture."

"If someone suggests that your child displays behaviors consistent with ADD, don't panic. Translate ADD as, "It is time to develop a deeper understanding of this person."  Don't let the label cause you to think that you now understand the labeled person.  You are just beginning to study him.  Both the spiritual and physical must be taken seriously.  If you ignore the spiritual, there will never be a place for repentance and faith in your child's life.  Sinful behavior will be excused.  The power of the Gospel will be ignored.  If you ignore physical or brain-based strengths and weaknesses, you will never find the creative methods you need to help the person learn.  When the teaching style is poorly suited to the individual, he or she will soon be confused and hopeless.  With many children labeled ADD, the arena of the heart is ignored.  ADD sits at an intersection where physical and spiritual meet.  Like other psychiatric labels, the root cause may be physical or spiritual; it is typically both." 

"For children who tend to be more impulsive in their speech or actions, some biblical principles might deserve special emphasis. The parental task is to develop priorities among the various biblical principles and stay focused on the ones that are most important for the child's spiritual needs.  It is wiser to take one principle and work with it intensively for a few months than it is to work with ten principles superficially, leaving them undeveloped, unclear, and not regularly prayed for. "

"As you gain proficiency in spiritual nurture and discipleship, turn your attention to the person's unique strengths and weaknesses.  The more you understand about the particular strengths and weaknesses of the person, the better you can creatively teach and apply relevant biblical principles."

"Structure means having predictable, clear, simple and written household rules.  These rules should be rehearsed weekly with the child and consistently enforced.  Avoid lengthy, abstract explanation.  If you tend to deliver monologues (I do!), don't.  Structure means that instead of constantly reacting to problems, you pre-empt them.  If the difficult situations can not be or should not be avoided, prepare the child to fact it with prayer and practice."

"When we see the spiritual realities behind our addictive behaviors, we find that we serve what we love. Either we will love and serve God, or we will love and serve our idols. Idols exist in our lives because we love them and invite them in.  But once idols find a home, they are unruly and resist leaving.  In fact, they change from being the servants of our desires to being our masters.  That is why the Bible says that we first choose the addictive substance, but then the addictive substance chooses us.  We can either have the blessing of serving the Most High God who love us, or we will have the curse of being a slave to our desires and the idols that symbolize them.  That is why a biblical approach to addictions must do more than simply say, "Stop it."  It realizes that addicts are both in control and out of control.  This dual aspect of the addictive experience-the rebelliousness and the bondage-is what we commonly call sin, and it is a far deeper, more profound explanation of addictions than the disease metaphor."

I have an addiction to sugar, I have for some time. It's intense once I start on the stuff.  And I've struggled with where the spiritual ends and the physical begins.  Drew smokes, has for 15 years.  He wants to quit, he's tried to quit, but hasn't been successful yet.  But again, where does the physical take over?  I found the book helpful for addressing those issues, as well as the obedience/temper issues in the kids, Myia particularly.    I still have a lot to learn, but this book was very helpful in starting to sort out our particular issues.  God is so good!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Monday: Taco Meat over baked potato
Tuesday: Tacos
Wednesday: Liver and Onions
Thursday: Taco Salad
Friday: BBQ at campground
Saturday: Camping (pics from our last camping trip)
Sunday: Camping (travel food link)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Born To Run, Christopher McDougall

As I mentioned in my post on my aching feet, I was looking for ways to strengthen my feet bones and muscles when I came across some great sites, which eventually lead me to read Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall.  It was a great read!  I'm not a runner, but I thoroughly enjoyed his narrative on some of running's best names, and esp about his time spent with the Tarahumara Indians who live in the Copper Canyon of Mexico.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I cried at the end. Not a full-blown, girly cry as at the end of Emma when Mr. Knightly professes his love to Emma (back off, I am a girl after all). But a few tears dripping down the cheek, out of relief and respect for some amazing people and the experiences they shared together. 

McDougall's blog/website is fascinating as well.  He has pictures from the marathon he talked about in the book.

McDougall is a reporter with an amazing history.  War stories and tons of backwoods stories to his name.  He says the book all started because of 5 words 'Why do my feet hurt?'.  Excellent question I thought!  He went on a search to understand why all of his attempts (and over 75% of all runners' each year) ended in pain and agony and some new physical problem he needed to rely on drugs or some other medical breakthrough to try and heal. 

The book chronicles that journey and ends with a race of some top American ultraracers against a mostly unknown tribe of runners from the Copper Canyons of Mexico.  They had some contact with the outside world, and some of them had even run some ultramarathons in the states, but mostly, they preferred to keep to themselves.  But they were known for running, gracefully and painlessly, for hundreds of miles without tiring.  And they never seemed to get sick or hurt.  They were at mile 75 of a race, smiling and thoroughly enjoying themselves. It was an altogether fabulous, compelling read, even for a non-runner who had little background info to glean from while reading it. 

The overall theme of the book is that barefoot running is the best way to run, and running for joy is the reason to run. 

Quoting 'Barefoot Ken Bob' "Shoes block pain, not impact!  Pain teaches us to run comfortably!  From the moment you start going barefoot, you will change the way you run."

I loved this exchange of the man in charge of the race and the Americans who were running.
"We shrugged, dropped our packs, and lifted our hands.
"If I get hurt, lost, or die," Caballo began.
"If I get hurt, lost, or die," we chanted.
"It's my own damn fault."
"It's my own damn fault."

There was a LOT of language, so be forewarned if you decide to read it.  While I won't put up with language in a 'novel' of little value to me.  I did glean a lot of great info from this book, and really, it widened by world view of sorts.  So it was worth that nuisance.

He was also big on the 'low-fat, animals products are evil', which I disagree with most heartily.  But he did talk about Iskiate, a chia lime drink the Tarahumara used for energy drinks during their long runs.  I'd love to look more into it.  I found this post on it.  I'm guessing the Indians actually fermented their chia seeds, but I don't know how to find out, and there was no interest in that aspect.

Now I want to study the Tarahumara and the way they run, and the way they eat...and...  :)

I'm fairly certain I'll never read the book again, but I am really glad I read it once and I'm excited to learn more about barefoot running/lifestyle.  It was definitely a spring-board for my research into that 'world'.  Hopefully I'll glean some great stuff and get a stronger over-all body from it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Idols We Serve

God has been showing me the idols myself and my family serve.  It's crazy how easy it is for something good, to take the place of God in one's life.  Satan is so subtle about it, he's downright sneaky.

Exodus 20: 3-6 

 "You shall have no other gods before Me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
 "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."

I tend to think of 'other gods' or 'idols' as actual, physical objects.  And of course, I would not think of such an object as a 'god' by any means.

But....  The Holy Spirit, in his gracious, refiner's fire, has been showing me that I actually do have idols in my life, they are just more subtle then a little wooden budda doll.

When I started learning about how to take care of my body, I came to the realization that I would have to give up my 'dream body' of a toned, size 6, whispy little thing.  Maybe that is my body's optimal build, but, probably not.  And either way, if I were to stress about it, then it would color the rest of of my decisions regarding food, time spent, even thoughts and emotions spent, etc.  I want to be truly healthy, whatever that may look like.
That was hard.  It took me awhile to mentally get to the point where I could be ok with that.  But I did not, until now, see it as an 'idol' that I had put before God.  Sure, it distracted me at times throughout the years. Yes, it caused me to make bad decisions in many aspects, but my worrying about my body seemed harmless enough.

But God has been showing me how many things distract me from him.  Satan uses the subtle, almost silly things, to take our time and energy away from what is important.

We don't have a TV, haven't for years, and don't miss it.  But, I spend a lot of time on the computer.  And God has been showing me that, while spending time on the computer in and of itself is not evil, if I am using it to waste time or, esp in my case, to fill a void of loneliness and real communication, then it becomes an idol. 

Anything that Satan uses to distract us, even from our hurts and pain (maybe esp from our hurts and pain) is an idol. Rather then deal with what is causing the emotional discomfort, we try to fill the voids through other, often seemingly good, activities.

I lead the first grade sunday school class at my church. I LOVE it.  And I'm pretty good at it.  It utilizes gifts that God has given me.  And.... it was filling a need in my life that only God should be filling.  Who knew that teaching Sunday School could become an idol?  It made me feel important and useful.  It made me feel good about myself, rather then digging into why I had this need for people's approval.  When I thought God was going to take away my 'job', I wanted to cry.  But He was so gracious to let me see how it was feeding into my prideful sin nature, and then help me to go to Him to have my needs met.  And in so doing, not only did I get to keep teaching, but I've been able to see His power through me.  It's been humbling, but very exciting!

Food was definitely an idol for me.  It still is, sort of.  But I pray that God would help me to keep my priorities straight.  Two years ago I was addicted, and I mean addicted, to sugar/refined carbs.  I craved it all day long.  I snuck away to the grocery store and then snuck bags of junk back and hid them so I could eat them throughout the day.  It was a sad, miserable existence.  But, through my nutritional studies, I started to see the lack of nutrients/fat that my body had and the chemical/physical dependency I had created through it.  As I am mostly past the physical part, God has shown me lately how I had used junk food as a band aid for any pain I was feeling.

Stressed out?  No problem, eat a quart of Edy's!  Overwhelmed with my responsibilities?  No worries, polish off a bag of Hershey's kisses.  Depressed about how life wasn't what I expected it to be?  No reason to feel the pain and take it to God for comfort.  A big bag of Doritos did the trick, but with a lot less emotional pain.  As a matter of fact, they gave me the 'high' right away!  All of my worries just slid off my back.  Until the 'high' was over and I was crashing fast and in desperate need of more sugar to keep me happy.

Oh, what a vicious cycle it is!  I will never look at an alcoholic or drug addict the same again. It's an awful roller coaster that you can't get off of! 

And, it's an idol.  An idol that kept me from bringing my sin to God.  That kept me from trusting him fully and wholly to meet my needs.

Reading.  I love to read, and I even mostly read only good, uplifting, non-fiction, teaching books.  I have so much to learn, and I really do believe that it's important to continue to learn and grow.  However, God had to point out, that I was reading to avoid dealing with sin in my life.  And I had to slow down for a time and ask my motivation every time I picked up a book. Was it to ignore the kids?  Was it to avoid feeling hurt or frustration?  Was it to distract me?  Mostly now, it's for learning sake and not to avoid problems, but it was and can easily become an idol-even 'good' books.  Movies also fall under this category, but for some reason, I have ADHD when it comes to visual entertainment.

Exercise.  We are instructed to care for our bodies, as they are temples of the Holy Spirit.  Exercise is important, esp in our convenient society today.  However, it can easily become an idol, and certainly did for me.  My motivation was esp prideful.

Relationships.  Ish, that's a big one for me.  God made us relational people, we are not meant to live in our own little worlds.  But yet, He can, and will meet ALL my needs.  And I should only approach others once I have those needs met.  Otherwise I quickly look to them to fill my needs, which is a sin, and can often get ugly.

Reading Scripture.  I know, I know, that is weird.  But, I find for myself, that I have to be careful about my daily Scripture reading.  I get dogmatic and don't get the kids breakfast until long after they should have eaten. Or I start to get all prideful about how 'faithful' I've been about reading it regularly.  While studying Scripture daily is of utmost importance, it should only be done as a means of knowing and loving God more. Not as a means to pat oneself on the back, or to check off one more item on a list.  If it's done for either of those purposes, it can become a false god. Leave it to me to make that a sin! 

Music.  God gave us music as a means of expressing our love for and worship to Him. It's very important.  But much of the music today, even and maybe esp Christian music, is really meant to point us more into ourselves.  To make us see what we don't have, who we are not, what we could be.  And not who God is, and how we are to act toward Him.  Emotions are constantly being played, and often a 'high' is gotten out of music, the same way it is from drugs, alcohol or sugar.  Even much worship at churches today does this. 

Church. Here I go again.  Church can be so, well, churchy!  It's so often a game we play, trying to look our best (or worst, if that is considered more holy).   And Satan gets our mind off of what is truly important and gets us worried about the silly little things that do not effect eternity.  Guilty!

Busy-ness.  That was a big one for me for a long time.  I'm a people pleaser and I love to be 'needed'.  It's easy to make being busy an idol-meanwhile ignoring important issues that God means for you to deal with.  

In my kids, I see idols already creeping into their little worlds.  The latest fashion (stupid silly bandz), new toys to distract them for a time, junk food, entertainment, applause of men, materialism, shyness, not-shy-enough-ness, friend's approval, ability to control.  I want to teach them early, to see and avoid such idols. They can become such a part of us, that we don't even realize they are there!

I think in America today, Satan esp uses distractions.  He just keeps us too busy on the wheel of life, that we don't even stop to think there may be more out there.  What we are doing is important and mind-consuming, so we continue on. Instead of seeking a deeper relationship with our Maker and Sustainer. 
Satan is so subtle, but when the Holy Spirit is allowed to work, he starts rooting out the sin in one's life, and it's so exciting to see it happen!  It's like I have a new pair of glasses, and can see life in a whole different way!

My chains are gone, I've been set free!!!!!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast and supper options

Lunch, served with kombucha, swedish bitters and fermented cod liver oil for all:

It's chicken week.

Monday: Picnic on beach-chicken salad, cheese and milk
Tuesday: Hawaiian Pork Chops and rice
Thursday: Canned Salmon on Toast
Friday: Chicken Tacos with avocado, cilantro salsa
Saturday: Cobb Salad
Sunday:Roast Ham and Potatoes

Friday, June 4, 2010

Oh, my Poor, Aching Feet!

My feet hurt.  And it's not because I'm a runner and use them hard.  The small amount of running I did in college, I blame entirely for my back problems.  Ok, not entirely, but it did seem to exacerbate it quickly and intensely. 

I now realize my lower back problems stem from a number of issues, including slight spina bifida, poor diet in utero and out of utero, bad posture and bad form in general.  So, the chiropractor helps with the spinal issues, my Nourishing Traditions type diet (esp bone broth, raw dairy, sea salt, liver, coconut oil, fermented cod liver oil, lack of refined carbs and chemicals in general) has helped to strengthen my terribly weak bones, core exercises have helped strengthen my muscles and my posture and form.  So, I am doing 200% better then I was 10 years ago.  Woo hoo!

But, one thing that I still use and hate is my orthodics. I got them from my first chiropractor in NYC.  He was trying to be helpful, but I've come to the conclusion he was quite the opposite.  Now, to be fair, they probably got me through the last 8 years with less pain then had I not had them.  But I also am starting to believe that they exacerbated my issues more then helped in the long-run. 

I walk wrong, I pronate, one leg is longer then the other (that was from spinal problems, which are now corrected with regular adjustments), my arches are fallen, my knees hurt when I walk.  Yikes!  What a mess.  The orthodics were supposed to last 5 years and then it was time for new ones. Well, that was 8 years ago.  And my arches started really bothering me about a year ago.  So I was resigning myself to having to put out $500 for more arch support and be stuck, for another 8 years, wearing only sneakers 99% of my life.

And this was a problem, because I had taken a fancy to the idea of finding a pair of moccasin-type shoes that I could wear everywhere-church with my skirts, out walking in my sweats, to the mall in my jeans.  I wanted to have one pair and only one pair of shoes.  I sort of became obsessed with the idea.

I am not, fyi, a girly-girl when it comes to fashion. Esp for shoes. I go for practical 100% of the time (well, except for the Sunday School Christmas concert, but even then, they are off more then they are on.).

But, I thought I needed my orthodics, and you can't wear those in mocassins.  But I just couldn't give up the idea of a one pair of shoes fits all idea. 

Plus, things just weren't adding up.  When I was walking around without shoes, my feet seemed better off.  But when I did a decent amount of walking, they'd hurt like crazy-still do.  I hated the idea of being stuck with orthodics the rest of my life.

I had had 5 chiropractors tell me I walked wrong, and so I needed good foot support to correct it and protect my spine.  But none of them could give me specifics when I asked how I could learn to walk properly.  A few mumbled something about a physical therapist, but from their voices, I never had much hope from the idea. 

I figured that the main problem with the foot/arch pain was that the muscles and bones were not strong enough to hold themselves (and the rest of me) up.  Since I have been eating well, I hoped they must be stronger by now.  So why do they still hurt?

Somehow, I stumbled upon this interesting article, and I read through it and the many comments and became quite excited about the idea of exercising my foot to heal it and allow it to support me properly.  Even allowing me to feel when I was walking wrong, so I could fix it properly and give my spine and knees the protection they really needed.  Besides, they were against sneakers and all for moccasin type shoes.  I had to read more!!

I also read and enjoyed this thread on the same subject.  I was definitely convinced that I wanted to give this minimal footwear a chance.  Shed the sneakers (which were terribly worn out and needing desperately to end up in the town dump). 

I decided on this somewhat unusual looking shoe from Soft Star Shoes:

I was a bit apprehensive about the price. I paid a total of $92 for them, as opposed to $50 for my regular sneakers.  Hopefully they'll be worth it though.  They were too big,but before I had a chance to ship them back, Drew tried them on and decided to keep them.  At least we'll look goofy together. :)

Also, I decided on trying to implement a 'daily' exercise routine for my feet.  Or really, just be cognizant of it all day (which is easy to do when its hurting) and try doing the exercises from the link above-Mark's Big Apple.  Mainly, I do toe spreads, toe pointing, side walking and tip toeing.  And, I go barefoot as much as possible. It does really seem to be making my feet ache less. 

I also love what this guy has to say.  I must confess, after more research, I have decided to give the whole 'running' thing a try. I don't see myself going actual barefoot, and the only way I will run is if I find it's helping my body and not causing any pain.  But I am going to walk in my RunAmocs and possibly, if I find I have good form and it's natural, I'll ease into the running.  But only if it's natural and feels good on my back, knees and feet. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Innis Family Classics

I thought it would be fun to compile a list of 'classics' that we own or that I am searching for.  I hope to add to it over the years.  And many of them I know I/we will read many more times.  I love finding a book like that!

The TJE books suggest finding some reference lists to be sure and get classics from every genre and subject.  I bought 'Books to Build On' by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. as a reference list of classics for preschool to 6th grade.  There are many lists on the internet as well.  Here is another one I just found by Jim Trelease, that is updated often. 

The Bible - NASB mostly, but I like the KJV and ESV, also-NIV is used in church.  I also hope we will all study the Greek New Testament and the Hebrew Old Testament over time.  This is our 'canon' and 'family classic' that has stood the test of time, and will until Christ's return.  The only source of definite truth.

I have two thrift stores near me that I check often.  They have books for $.50 to $2.  It's great!  There is also an amazing used book store 2.5 hours north of here in Niantic, CT that has books for $1, thousands and thousands of books.  Some are more expensive, but we went a few weeks ago and got some amazing books.  We'll visit often as our lists of classics grows.  We have a bunch of Illustrated Classics for kids. We are reading those now, but hope it won't ruin them for the 'real' versions. 
I don't nearly have all of the subjects covered, but this is a great start I think. 


Desiring God, John Piper
Don't Waste your Life, Larry Crabb
C.S. Lewis
Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul
Thomas Jefferson Education, Oliver DeMille
A Well Trained Mind, Susan Bauer Wise
6 books by Charlotte Mason
When you Rise Up, A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling, R.C. Sproul, JR.
Shepherding a Child's Heart, Tedd Tripp
Instructing a Child's Heart, Tedd Tripp
Successful Christian Parenting, John MacArthur

Sacred Marriages, Gary Thomas
Square Foot Gardening, Mel Bartholemew
Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon
Eat Fat, Lose Fat, Sally Fallon and Mary Enig
Good Calories, Bad Calories, Gary Taubes
Kingfisher History Encyclopedia
Streams of Civilization I and II
Almost anything by DK
Eggermeir's Bible
DK Illustrated Body Book
DK pretty much anything-and they have a ton of awesome stuff!
Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia
Charles Dickens


Jane Austen
Louis May Alcott
Bronte Sisters
Don Quixote, Cervantes
The Last of the Mohicans, Cooper
The Scarlett Pimpernel books, Orczy
The Call of the Wild, London
Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling
Louis L'Amour
Les Miserables
Robin Hood, Green
Jules Verne books
Uncle Tom's Cabin
George Orwell
Gene Stratton Porter, Laddie, Girl of the Limberlost, Freckles, Michael O'Halloran
J.R. Tolkein, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
Mark Twain
Alexander Dumas

Children's Literature
Aesop's Fables
Mother Goose
Dr. Seuss
Peter Pan
A Little Princess, Burnett
Johnny Tremain, Forbes
Wind in the Willows (we've read it twice-LOVE it), Grahame
The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
The Princess and the Goblin, George MacDonald
The Princess and Curdie, George MacDonald
Little Britches, Ralph Moody
Pollyanna and Pollyanna Grows Up, Porter
Black Beauty
Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White
Little House Series
Miss Pickerell Series, Ellen MacGregor
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books, Betty MacDonald
Paddington Bear books, William Collins
Thomas the Tank Engine, Rev. W. Awdry
Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
Fairy Tales
American Girl Series
Autobiographies geared toward children (so far Helen Keller, Florence Nightengale and Amy Carlisle)
The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams
Sebastian (Super Sleuth) Series, Mary Blount Christian
A Child's Garden of Verses, Robert Louis Stevenson
Henry and Mudge books, Cynthia Rylant
Amelia Bedelia, Peggy Parish
Frog and Toad books, Arnold Lobel
Mouse Tales, Arnold Lobel
Books by Madeline Brandeis on children in various countries
Green Forest Series by Thornton W. Burgess
Madeline series, Ludwig Bemelmans
Beatrix Potter's tales of Peter Rabbit and others
Magic School Bus books
The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren