A Season of Thick Darkness

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To Set the Record Straight

Just for the sake of clarification, I AM NOT insane.

Crazy? …Maybe.

Friends, good friends that love me, have asked me, “What’s your goal in all of this?” I can understand the inquiry. I’m sure Noah’s friends all asked that same question while he “wasted his time” on a massive building project, muttering something about heavy rains and flooding in the midst of “business as usual”.

Stepping up to the Plate

Now, believe me, I don’t claim to be a prophet. I’m certainly no Noah! But, when an apparent RICO case ends up falling into your lap over a house matter about which God had previously given you promises, it becomes clear that YOU ARE CALLED to evaluate just what your level of involvement should be.

Weighed in the Balance

Within that calling, a number of physical and spiritual factors arise. A wise person brings them before God. The “what if” projections get weighed against the truths that you hold and the whispers that God has spoken to you.

And, in this balance, the “what ifs” may be found wanting.

As was the case with me. As what ALWAYS seems to be the case with me.

A Very Difficult Girl

I cannot set aside “truth” to avoid a dreary outlook of the future. I just can’t. Maybe its a physical defect of mine, but, it seems to be the way I’m wired. Truly, when the God whom I’ve known since my youth speaks to me, I KNOW His voice. And, I gotta obey.

My Goal

So, honestly, THERE is the true answer to the above mentioned question,  Friends and Critics alike- OBEDIENCE.

My goal is to simply obey.

In the words of my husband, “You can’t deny truth in the name of Jesus.” Truth is defensible, worthy, but often times, unpopular, offensive and inconvenient.

So, no, if you were wondering my goal to be “a free house” “a large sum of money” some kinda bizarre notoriety, its not.

God’s Goals

God has HIS goals, though.  I do know for certain that one of His goals was Hebrews 12:6. I also know that “truth” is His goal. Beyond that, it would only be speculation on my part.

I never asked God to give me the unfolding of events that transpired over the last four months. (the “what ifs” that actually came true). I DID, however ask Him to help me hear Him, obey Him and to be found faithful in the little things. Whatever the result of this obedience, it is God’s to give or to allow.

Captivated

I’m happy to oblige Him. And now, being on the other side my four month “thick darkness” where a convicted felony charge and jail time loomed over my thoughts like a rock teetering precariously above a steep precipice, I can honestly say that I would do it again if to be found faithful by the Lover of my Soul.

In my wretched state, He purchased me, bathed me, covered me and enfolded me in the shadow of His arms. He promised me hope and a future. And, all of this because HE has set His love upon ME.

I’m overwhelmed to tears at the thought.

So, in Conclusion

I’m His. If this happens to be a hill that HE wants defended, a battle that HE wants engaged, then, SO BE IT. If we die on this hill, if we falter, lose our footing, He alone sustains us and really, to Him alone do we give an account. But, there are a great deal of friends who have helped us through this trial. Most of them don’t even know what RICO is. They’re not the slightest familiar with mortgage fraud, foreclosures, kangaroo courts and the like. They have been moved by compassion to help through prayers and very physical means. To them I will say this,

“What you’ve done for me and my family will NEVER be forgotten. You have been my tangible scarlet rope. I will cling to you in Christ and defend you and be eternally on your side by the grace of God.”

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At the Core of the Matter – A Brief Look into the Importance of the U.S.Election of 2016

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After posting on Facebook an article regarding Hillary Clinton and the emails proving that she had basically “bought out” Google for the purpose of selecting key articles that would come up on search engines and would present her in a rather deceptive, lily-white light, I was asked by a young, well-meaning progressive, to give my stance. I was resistant at first, to delve into such a huge topic. But, I chewed on it a day or two and sifted it down to the core issue at stake. What you are about to read is basically my response, and then some.

What ARE We?

Any conversation on this topic would need to begin with a definition of terms. Therefore, what is our nation? Many would call it a democracy. It’s not. It is a constitutional republic. The difference is huge. Yes, we have democratic processes within the constitutional republic. BUT, that’s all. This fundamental difference removes us out of the realm of emotion and into the realm of law and order. I’ll explain…

Democracy=Mob Rules

The Clinton admin. as well as the Obama admin. rely on emotions to propel them forward. The mistaken “perception” of a democracy (which is literally, mob rules) fuels many emotionally based individuals to say, “Well, yes! we need total gun control. Yes! we need to fund everyone’s abortions. Yes! we need to pay for everyone’s medical. Yes! we need open borders.” (These are currently the main “emotional” arguments within our society) I might be persuaded to believe that these emotional arguments had merit if my basic premise regarding human beings was that we are all basically good.

Good….or Evil??

But, the truth is, we are not. We are basically fallen. “Fallen from what?”,  you might ask. We’re Fallen from the perfect nature of the Creator. HE is perfect. We are not. Not only are we not perfect, but we, each one of us, is ego-centered and self-seeking. We teach our children (hopefully) out of bad behavior, not in to it. We spend our whole lives fighting this “sin” nature. This is a Biblical truth. And, I would contend that this truth is ABSOLUTELY FUNDAMENTAL (a building block) by which we place all of our opinions. The framers of the constitution knew man. They understood this basic principle. That’s why our constitution is a well crafted set of boundaries placed on our federal government.

There are, ABSOLUTELY, Absolutes

A constitutional republic is a form of government that adheres to a higher rule of law, namely, unalienable rights and human responsibilities toward God. It is based on the truths of scripture- life is sacred, God is good, but, we are inherently flawed and sinful. That’s why the three pronged system of government has incumbent a heavy series of checks and balances. It is necessarily to protect “we the people” from tyranny.

If it FEELS right, …is it??

The emotional plea is based on the notion that we are all basically good. It seeks to entrust the federal government with the task to provide for the citizenry in virtually every way. This gives ALL the power to the federal government. The idea is, “we can heavily tax the citizenry and take the money, spread it out evenly to everyone in the form of healthcare, housing, food subsidies etc, etc.” In this system, the government has become a parent. The “children” are subservient to it. They are now completely at the whim of a governing body and they’d better hope to God that somehow, this group of people that they’ve handed their freedoms over to is God-like, perfect and “basically good” because, in a situation such as this, this emotional citizenry has become enslaved.

Logic 101…Class Cancelled Today

The emotionalism that the current administration relies on is akin to the emotional plea of Hitler’s Germany. The focus was “the youth” because youth tend to be emotionally based. They have not honed their critical thinking skills yet. Couple this with a “state run” educational system that does not properly teach government and the very first law book (the Bible). Our youth have been stripped of their ability to reason basic law and order. They’ve been encouraged to be emotional, untempered by reason.

Is it Truth or is it Toilet Paper

So, the basic question is, does one believe that the Bible is accurate? ARE we basically fallen? IS life sacred because it came from God? DO we have the right to defend ourselves and family? IS God good? DID He make us? DOES He own us? DID He really die for us and raise from the dead for us? …if the answer is “no” to any of these, then, ALL of these are negotiable, because the Bible says of itself that it is the “inerrant Word of God”. If it errs in any point, it is not inerrant. Likewise, if Jesus, at any point, lied, then He was not good. If one examines all of it and comes to the conclusion (like I have) that the Bible is God’s divine revelation to man then, one would need to fully stand on it (that’s only logical) One would be unwise to pick and choose what from the Word one will accept and what one will reject.

If the Foundations be Destroyed What Will the Righteous Do-Psalm 11:3

We live in an anomaly. No other place on earth has our 200 year old form of self-governing constitutional republic. If we don’t embrace it. If we neglect to be watchful of it, then, very soon, Godless men and women will erode its constitution through  supreme court judicial activism that does not adhere to absolute truth. They will limit our speech under a guise of “hate crimes”. They will completely remove our ability to defend ourselves and our families from tyranny and crime. They will sanction the killing of those that the system deems “expendable”. They will sell our wealth to the highest bidder and buy out any voice of media that speaks against them. The sad truth is that this process has already begun. Obama has pledged our independence over to the U.N. in his last U.N. speech. Clinton has said on video that she means to get churches to change and conform to her ideology. The fraud and scandals now revealed through Wikileaks emails of the current administration, the Clinton campaign and the D.N.C. (Democratic National Committee) show a total lack of regard for virtue, integrity, and absolute truth.  To quote a founding father, Benjamin Franklin, when asked what form of government the founders had secured for the people, aptly replied, “A republic,  if you can keep it.”… In this, our self-governing constitutional republic, that challenge goes out to us today. Can we keep it? …Let’s pray so.

Bone Broth, My Two-Month Review

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The Results are In!

Well friends, its been two months since I started making bone marrow broth and I can overwhelmingly say that its EXTREMELY healing!

Here’s my run-down:

  • skin on my neck has dramatically tightened
  • teeth are thicker (I know this sounds weird but my front teeth had become a bit translucent on the bottom. The bone broth seems to have corrected that)
  • no more nerve pain around my gum line
  • reduced cellulite on my thighs…yep. 🙂
  • stronger nails
  • no joint pains
  • shiny, strong hair
  • hydrated skin
  • guts seem to tolerate moderate deviance from my strict diet better than before

My Recipe

Originally, I followed the basic recipe provided by Wellness Mama. But, since then, I’ve made some changes that makes this bone broth truly my own concoction. Here’s how I do it:

  1. Buy bones (obviously preferably organic) -I have used venison from New Zealand, Maui Cattle Co. beef, locally caught Ono fish heads, fins and spines and organic whole chicken fryer bones
  2. On a sided cookie sheet lined with parchment paper bake around 4 -5 lbs bones at 350° for 30min.
  3. Put the bones into your crock pot. Fill the pot with purified water and 2 Tbl. of vinegar (I use white). Let sit for 30min.
  4. Turn the crock pot on low, throw seasonings in. Season as you would any homemade soup recipe (I’m saying this because I rarely measure at this point in my life. If you are totally uncomfortable without your measuring spoons I suggest just googling any soup recipe and mimicking the measurements). Stuff that I include in my pot-o-broth: Sea salt, pepper or pepper corns, rosemary, oregano, thyme, garlic, onions.
  5. Let it cook with the lid on at low for 1 to 2 days. You will notice that you’ve lost some water. Either let it be or add more. It just doesn’t matter. (basically, its pretty hard to mess up this stuff)
  6. When its finished, I strain it. I use a 2 quart mason jar or an old giant pickle jar. I place a funnel on top of the jar and sit a strainer inside the funnel. I ladle out the broth into the strainer. I pick through the strained particles and grab out any meat, connective tissue (the oyster-like stuff) and any marrow. I throw these into the broth because they should be consumed (SO good for you!). Then, when all the broth is inside my jar/s, I pick off the connective tissue and crack open any bones that have marrow…haha!- I realize what kind of visual image this possible conjures up! But, yes, I go completely Neanderthal. No apologies here!
  7. When the broth has cooled a bit I lid the jar and put it in the fridge. After it is chilled, your broth will have a substantial layer of fat at the top. I used to break this up and use it every morning in my broth. But, frankly, I got sick of it. It was just tooo much fat for me to enjoy  any longer. So, now I take that out and use it for cooking.
  8. To use, gently re-heat your broth. DO NOT over boil. When its steamy and perfect I take it off the burner, pour it into my favorite mug, drop an organic egg and a bit of my homemade sauerkraut in it (as suggested in GAPS) and drink it down…ahhhh!

Brothin’ it Every Morning

I’ve found this to be the perfect way to start my busy days. My favorite has, quite surprisingly to me, been the fish head broth. For one thing, its pretty much free if you’ve got a fisherman or a fish market. Its such a rich and delicious broth! …. NONE of my family members will even give this one a try, BTW (their loss, I guess!)

I’m also very fond of the broth that comes when I roast a whole fryer. I use a deep pot. I slather the pot and bird with fat, season it very well (sea salt, pepper, rosemary, paprika, lemon, garlic) and cook it without a lid, breast side down per the weight specs at 350°. The drippings that I used to just toss out, (about 1 cups worth), are gelatinous and rich in nutrients. I let the leftovers sit in them and then use them as my broth the next morning. I’ll remove all the meat off the bone (throw some in my broth and save the rest in the fridge for sandwiches). I save the bones in the freezer until I have 2 fryers worth. Then, I’ll throw them in the crock pot and get every ounce of goodness out of them!

If you broth and you have any suggestions for me, I’d love to hear ’em. Also, I’m fascinated with these “fountain of youth” health benefits that I’ve experienced! What benefits have you noticed from YOUR broth?

 

 

What’s Eating You- A Review of GAPS- Gut and Psychology Syndrome

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Hippy Wisdom

I have a hippy friend. Not one of these young vegan hippies, mind you, but, the well seasoned type. She’s easy-going, in love with God’s creation, and FULL of homegrown, Mother Earth News . As she came over one final visit before leaving Maui for Oregon, her home, she inadvertently imparted to me the final morsels of motherly wisdom.

“When I get back to Oregon I’m gonna start drinking bone marrow broth again and that’ll straighten out all my aches and pains.”

HUH??…Wait, WHAT Did You Say??

As you can imagine, I latched onto that like a hungry fish on bait. Of course, bone marrow broth couldn’t be “something new” but, to this SoCal-Gal raised on the standard 70s and 80s packaged grocery store convenience foods, bone marrow broth was, indeed, a new thang.

Google That

As she explained, I was intrigued by the thought of providing my family with bone, joint and connective tissue health for literally pennies a day. So, I commenced to Google. As Google would have it, one thing lead to another and I was convinced that I needed to read the book GAPS, Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci (nutrition) to understand her bone marrow broth diet.

The Clincher

This revelation came about after reading a few compelling testimonies of mothers of autistic children, who, after being on the GAPS diet for a while, lost their autistic characteristics. WOW! I mean, REALLY…WOW!!! To me, this was HUGE!– I’ve been “enlightened” by a couple autistic children in my Sunday school class before and have some autistic relations as well. If there ever was a need for fresh insight, its there, in the homes of these families, who daily and completely, exhaust themselves for the sake of loving their autistic child.

 The Gut-Brain Connection

Dr. N developed a diet that is rich in animal proteins and probiotics based on patterns that she has witnessed in children with autism, dyspraxia, eczema, allergies, asthma, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, depression and schizophrenia. She noted that ALL of these patients, and usually their parents, suffer from digestion problems. Dr. N explains how all of the brain problems on the above list result when the guts are decimated by unhealthy bacteria, leaving intestinal linings, which are supposed to provide a remarkable barrier against toxins, vulnerable and weak. Toxins from food then pass into the blood and penetrate the blood-brain barrier causing problems that, to date, have NOT been attributed to digestional malfunction in our western medical community.

Dr. N makes it clear in the introduction, however, that this idea of mental and physical health originating in the gut is as old as Hippocrates, 460-370BC, who said, “All diseases begin in the gut.” and, was similarly echoed by the French psychiatrist, Phillipe Pinel (1745-1828) who concluded in 1807,”The primary seat of insanity generally is in the region of the stomach and intestines.”

A Vicious Cycle

Sadly, in the case of autism, ADHD, etc., western medicine throws drugs at the fearful and exhausted parents. Their child’s doctor’s words are powerful and damaging, “Your child’s condition is incurable.” They believe the lie despite the natural, God-given ability of the body to heal itself and, give their own child the drugs further annihilating the gut of the child, causing EVEN MORE health symptoms. Its very hard for exhausted, over-burdened parents to break free from this cycle of drugs upon drugs. But, for those who do, the rewards of having “their child back” is so worth their efforts.

A Word to Expectant Parents

The most shocking and sobering aspect of the GAPS book was the understanding that a child first receives its gut bacteria from its parents-NOT genetically, but rather, by way of the placenta, the birth canal and the breast milk. If an expectant mother has an over abundance of bad bacteria it will come through the birth canal. The father’s gut bacteria enters the child in the birth canal as well since his gut bacteria populates her vagina through sperm. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that, if yo mama and yo papa didn’t take care of their guts, if mama didn’t nurse, if vaccines were administered, if antibiotics were taken, well, your guts are screwed. If you don’t fix the problem and you have a child, then, that child’s guts are REALLY screwed. This goes on generationally until either ancient wisdom is applied or major “incurable diseases” happen.

Are You Talkin’ to ME?

As I read GAPS, I realized that Dr. N was, to a lesser extent, writing about me. Fortunately, I had not had any of the major maladies that she highlights in the book. But, to be honest, my aches and pains after meals had, as of late, been accompanied by exhaustion, undernourished skin and hair, arthritic pains, pain during intercourse, etc etc. Truly, as I turned the pages, it was obvious that this “formula, vaccine, antibiotic and processed food fed girl” had killed her gut bacteria and now I knew what I needed to do.

Whatcha Cookin’?

So, here I am, making my very own bone broth and sauerkraut for starters. My diet was already very much like what Dr. N introduced in the book, having had a regimented cancer protocol that I still follow already, so, the adjustment to “no processed” hasn’t been a factor at all. The bone broth has healed my skin in many ways. I noticed that difference within the first 3 days. It does seem to have decreased my cellulite, too! The kraut is just downright addictive. I usually put a bit in my cup of broth. I also eat it with my eggs and salads. Overall, its been about 1 month and I’m still pretty tired. My guts have still hurt at times as well. I’m staying positive and blaming it on detox. Frankly, the improvements in my skin alone help me to know that I’m on the right track.  Just yesterday, I purchased a probiotic to see if I can speed up detox a bit.

Givin’ it Five Stars!

So, basically, I would encourage anyone with our western diet to read GAPS! I think that its realistic to say that every one of us either suffer from some sort of digestive problem ourselves or we know AT LEAST one other person who has suffered. The information presented in the book is extremely helpful and rudimentary; necessary for anyone interested in breaking away from “drug/surgery care” and becoming their own health care advisor and advocate. I’d love to know what you think about GAPS if you’ve read it. Do you make bone marrow broth? If so, have you noticed any improvements to your health?

 

Mama Drama…My Front Street Debut

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Act 1 Scene 1

Its extraordinary how a traumatic experience can remain so vivid in our minds years and years later. I can picture the kid, the bike, the crowd with their puzzled faces, the 800 block of Front Street. And yet, I cannot tell you what year it happened, or, just how old my son, Angelo was. It was definitely a school day because we were riding home on my pink Electra beach cruiser. The trip was short and straight. We’d never had any problems before so we obviously weren’t anticipating any.  He was an obliging passenger on my handle bars.  The setting was Front Street, Lahaina, swollen with tourists and, as I stood up to peddle past someone, the back and forth motion of the bike sent Angelo’s foot right into the spokes of the front tire.

Caught

As you can imagine, the bike came to a screeching halt and, before I even knew why, Angelo’s tear-filled scream gave me the answer. Looking down around my small child’s enormous back pack I spotted his bare, left foot wedged tightly between the spokes and the fork.

Assessing the Damage

Faces in the crowd stopped to stare at the unfolding scene, to which I was a major player. Consumed with concern for Angelo’s foot, I turned my attention to the task at hand. With great tears rolling down my son’s face, I had to roll the bike backward in order to loose him from its grasp. A kind man hurried over with Angelo’s slipper and as I lifted him up and held him close I could see that multiple layers of skin were peeled back off of his ankle in an area about the size of a quarter. It was so fresh and the pressure was so instantly released that, as I watched, the blood began to emerge like little bright dots of red against a fleshy white background. It looked bad… Really bad.

Desperate Times Desperate Measures

I remember the thought coming to me instantly in that moment; I do not believe it was my own thought.

“Kneel down and pray for your son.”

Believing this to be an order from the Holy Spirit, and, quite frankly, having no better thought in my head at the time, I did just that. I cuddled him up to the sidewalk, got down on my knees and, with my arms wrapped around him, spoke out loud to God.

It wasn’t eloquent or lofty, just teary and heart-felt. It was the desperate, faith-filled prayer of a guilt-ridden mom. “Please Lord, please touch Angelo’s foot and ankle right now… Please heal it, Lord… Please.” When my words felt complete within me, I stopped. Angelo had stopped crying. I lifted my head and opened my eyes to see people towering over us, some looking down, stopping, some bustling by, having missed the drama altogether.

 Did I Really Just Do That?

Like a dreamer shaken from sleep,  I instantly came back to myself. A wave of embarrassment swept over me as I realized what the scene must have looked like from the spectator’s point of view. I was desperate to leave as quickly as possible. I scooped up the “now perfectly calm” Angelo, giving him rapid-fire instructions to be careful to keep both feet perched on the front fender for the remaining 2 minute ride home.

Well, THERE’S a Twist

Upon our arrival, I immediately carried him off the bike, hustled him inside the house, and sat down on the couch. As he sat on my lap, well out of the scene of the drama, time began to slow down to a normal pace. My mommy- problem-solver thoughts began to flow in a familiar, organized fashion. I grabbed my phone to call the doctor’s office and reached for Angelo’s injured foot  so that I could explain to the triage nurse what it looked like.

To my shock, the ankle and foot were completely sound. There was not a scratch. There was no swelling. There was no bruise. It wasn’t even red. As I write these words, a wave of emotion swells in me, even now, years later… Slightly disoriented and desperate for a logical explanation, I grab Angelo’s right foot. Of course, there was nothing there-the injury was on the left foot. Perplexed, I again, grabbed his left foot…

“Angelo, where did it go, Buddy?…I KNOW what I saw!…”

pause, and then…

“Angelo, …God healed it!”

We both started laughing with joy, like a couple of kids marveling at the greatness that IS their dad.

Words Can’t Explain “Miraculous”

What happened that day was big. It was momentous. Sometimes I try to encapsulate it-wrap my brain around it. Questions ruminate in my head, like: Was there someone on that street that needed to see that desperate act of faith? Is this gonna be as much of a touch-stone in my son’s future walk with God as it has been for me? Will I ever be allowed to see You heal in that way again? Will You use my prayer to do it?

Angelo and I caught a little glimpse of eternity that day. We were ushered in to the magnificence of our loving Father. I wish I could say that that sort of thing happened again and again, because, IT WAS GLORIOUS. But, it has not… Instead, it remains to me a singularly special event, a reminder that desperate circumstances are the fodder of miracles and that, quite literally, at any moment, our loving God can reach down with His healing touch. May I NEVER lose the perspective that I gained, the day  that I made my Front Street debut.

 

Who Needs Fiction?

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Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of amazing fictional stories out there. But, as for me, someone who was, shall we say, “slow on the draw” with reading, I’ve found that my true love affair with stories happened when I discovered the wonderful world of biographies. The following is an excerpt from mine…

Stranger Than Fiction

Just about the time you think you’ve seen everything, a guy comes over to your house with a mini, plastic gin bottle that he claims in yours… Huh?!?

Unexpected Guest

About the time that we were battling cancer and questioning if we were gonna be able to stay in our house or have to give it to a bank that legally had no valid claim to it (yup, but that’s another story), a young man came into our outside studio. It was evening and we were entertaining some art clients out back. He walked right up to me and asked if Auggie, my husband, was here.

Message In A Bottle

He explained that his mother and her new husband were here on Maui and had decided to take a snorkel trip. On that trip they got to hang out on Lanai’s Shipwreck Beach. As they were preparing to swim back to the dive boat they spotted a little plastic bottle. It looked like it had something inside so, intrigued, they grabbed it. Sure enough, there was a neatly rolled piece of paper. As they unrolled it, they found a smiling couple with one word typed above the image…

generations.

A Face in the LineUp

Strange right? The guy, Tony, told us that his mom was so amused that she brought the bottle and its contents back to Maui and showed her son. Tony recognized the guy from the Honolua Bay surf lineup, but, he didn’t know his name. He asked Dooma, the local photographer.

“Yeah, that’s Auggie and his wife.”

Years Ago

As he pulled it out to show us, I recognized the paper. Years earlier, I had made an art bio that we could give to our art clients. It had three columns of text and pictures. That picture of us was the first on the page and the word “generations” was the last word in the first paragraph above the picture. That bio was at least 2 years old!

We don’t know who carefully ripped out the image, inserted it into the bottle and sent it out to sea but, we were grateful. In a time of deep uncertainty, it was a divine encouragement to us. It spoke to us of happiness and health together for generations.

Unconditional Love For Miles and Miles

This simple message and the path it took to get to us brought tears to our eyes. It absolutely baffles me to think about how long that bottle was alone in the waters of the channel or half buried on the aptly named Shipwreck Beach. But, I just could not look upon this occurrence as luck, chance or coincidence. God is too big and thorough for that. This was a carefully orchestrated plot to encourage us– a beautifully woven yarn to clothe love and hope over us. We’ve come to know that when you dedicate your life to God, realizing that this whole thing called life is “for Him” and “about Him” in the first place, He will go out of His way and take great lengths to shower you with affection and encouragement, sometimes in the most bizarre ways.

 

An Inch and a Half-A Tale of Flesh and Wood

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Sizing It Up

An inch and a half is not really much to brag about, right? Or is it? I guess it would depend on the context of that measurement.  When that inch and a half just happens to be a sliver of wood deeply embedded inside a six year old’s foot, well, that’s another story.

Shoes Are For Wimps

Courtney, our youngest kid, was prone to barefootedness. Try as I may to keep shoes on that kid, it was not gonna happen. So, the untimely union of her feet and our old, neglected wood deck produced the inevitable.

That Just Bites

It was a “come now” call for me. Moms out there, you know what I’m talkin’bout. Its the kind that says, “stay calm, keep your head on” ’cause your just about to see something new. Sure enough, there’s Courtney, foot in hand, blood on deck. She was just kidding’round out back when, apparently the deck attached itself to her. I say “apparently” here, because there were NO SIGNS that a piece of deck was in there. There was a puncture type wound and nothing else. However, you’d be hard pressed to convince Courtney that she had just gotten stabbed and that’s all. She FELT it in there.

If Looks Could Kill

It didn’t take long for the tell tale signs to emerge. A tidy little swelled area, about 2 inches long and an inch wide, directly under the biggest toe, beginning at the puncture wound and ending somewhere within her arch, made itself known. I was at a loss. It had the potential of being a two inch chunk of deck in there, but, I couldn’t see ANY of it.

Back Off Mama

The decision not to tweeze, poke and prod at it was thoroughly realized when Courtney would let out screams of terror just by my glancing in the general direction of her foot. Apparently, I had made an impression on her at an earlier date, as being the type of mom who didn’t mind a little blood and guts operation.

Father Knows Best

No, I knew that, if we were gonna get through this, it wasn’t going to be ME. AT ALL… Period. Appropriately, I prayed. The answer I got was a reminder of some good advice my daddy, the lineman, gave me.

“The body will  push it out on its own”,

he’d tell me every time he’d come home from work with telephone poll pieces inside his skin. To tell you the truth, that actually sounded like the most pleasant option. After all, we had no insurance. We paid, out of pocket (or should I say, “out of mouths”) for everything. Visiting the doctor didn’t sound fun at all and was something that I didn’t want to be “frightened” into doing. Assessing the situation, Courtney wasn’t feverish.  She really only screamed when I, as previously mentioned, glanced at it with intent. So we soaked her foot. That sounded reasonable. Perhaps if we epsom salted it in warm water the splinter would emerge out the point of entry.

The Waiting Game

We waited in vain. But, boy, I didn’t know just HOW vain- a whole six weeks of praying, soaking, wrapping, crutches, hobbling, hopping and colloidal silver. Swelling persisted and redness accompanied it. Intuitively, I knew that it had to look a bit worse before it would get better. I mean, that piece of deck wasn’t gonna give up without some kind of a fight. But, the shear feeling of being the “neglectful mom” goaded me into a doctor’s visit.

Fear Driven

Feeling like I was wasting my time, the doctor x rayed it. (x rays don’t show wood, Doc) I guess, somehow,  he felt like he was doing his doctoral duty. And, of course, he gave me a prescription for antibiotics because he contracts with the AMA – that’s just what they do when something looks red. As the weeks drew on with still no sign of “anything wood” I actually went back to him. Again, I was goaded by my own fears. After all, what must Courtney’s teacher think? Here’s a child struggling to get around during school, weeks on end, as mom WAITS IT OUT on a splinter that, apparently, has some sort of stage fright.

Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands

This time the doctor decided that that thing had been in there just too dang long and we should get Courtney to a podiatrist. Okay, I have to admit, I was getting a little perplexed myself as time rolled on, so, I made an appointment. We were instructed to get an MRI and have the images sent  to him so our appointment would be complete with pictures of her foot and its foreign invader.

A Can Of Worms

When the podiatrist looked at the images he was incredulous. There it was, a piece of wood about 2mm wide at the top and tapering down a whole 1.5 inches in length, snugly embedded inside the ball of her foot, but, the patient seemed to be doing so well. Yes, the spot looked a little aggravated, but there was no sign of eminent danger. Still, of course, the deck needed to come out. He gave us a run-down of the events that were to follow the visit. I was to take Courtney into a doctor that could okay her for anesthesia. Then, I was to bring that signed consent to the hospital the day of the surgery.

“Huh?? I was thinking we could just get the thing out in your office here?”

“Hehe, um, no.” was his official reply. He made it clear that he was going to have to cut her foot open the length of the splinter and remove it. After that, he said that we would have to pack it for, most likely, ten days to make sure we get all the bacteria out before he can stitch it shut.

Ugh! What a headache! I was dismayed by all these new “requirements”, still holding fast to my understanding that by the same path it entered it should be able to exit. WHY WASN’T IT EXITING ALREADY?!?!

One Crazy Week

On Tuesday, I scheduled the appointments. The doctor’s appointment for the consent to anesthetize was set for Thursday and the surgery was scheduled for Friday. By Wednesday, clinging to my “go to” Bible verse that I recall in frustrating times like these, I resolved that, for some unknown reason, our presence was required by God, at that hospital.  It was the only thought that gave me some comfort about the situation that, in my own brain, I could not reconcile. I surrendered to God’s will, reluctantly though, like a two year old who has his arms folded in front of him as he walks along side, as if to say, “I’m going, but I still don’t like it.”

A Glorious Appearing

Wednesday night came. After five and a half weeks of this, Courtney was getting pretty good at life with a splinter in her foot. She had been all day at school, hobbling around, half walking on it without crutches so, by the time bedtime rolled around her dressing needed to be changed and the foot, washed. We unwrapped the area. Then, removing the pad, to my amazement, I saw something at the puncture hole. Not wanting to get my hopes up I first guessed that it was, perhaps, dried blood. We had never seen dried blood at the puncture wound yet, but why not? …I looked closer.

“Courtney, is that the splinter?” I asked. Her eyes grew big as saucers and her jaw dropped. “I don’t know.”

I touched it…YES, indeed! It was the wood! (Words, here, cannot express the shear exhilaration of that moment). We were so astonished that I began jumping up and down like a school girl and praising the name of Jesus like some kinda Southern Baptist choir. Courtney just watched, face beaming. I instructed her to massage her foot down behind the splinter’s end. As she did that, I grabbed my phone and called everyone I could think of. I jumped and called and jumped some more. As I informed the world, thanking those that had been praying for weeks now, Courtney kept on rubbing and that splinter began to emerge, slowly at first and then quickly like the birth of a child. And just like a child, that little sliver was perfectly coated with a cylindrical disk of goo (for lack of the proper term). Around 10 to 15 minutes later, when the whole thing finally popped out, we stared at it in child-like wonder.

Lesson Learned

The swelling and accompanying redness dissipated almost as quickly as the splinter’s exit. But, my absolute amazement stuck with me for weeks. I was literally high as a kite, in awe of the complexity and brilliance of the human body, my dad’s simple yet profound wisdom, my daughter’s patient endurance and my God’s loving care. We kept that little piece of deck as some sort of a trophy and a tangible reminder that faith, being sure of what you hope for, is always accompanied with a price- patient endurance. Sometimes God will take us all the way to the final hour to stretch us, never to harm us, but, rather, always to give us a more steadfast hope, a secure future and a sure footing.

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I Kicked Cancer’s Butt (part7) Mind Control

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shopsource.org for bags, T’s and accessories that remind you that God is in charge and you are greatly loved.

 

Mind Over Matter

If the human brain is a terrible thing to waste, then, believe me, the fight against cancer is one of its ultimate testing grounds. From the onset of my diagnosis, I was challenged to let my mind walk down the cold, dark alley of fear or to make it soar on eagle’s wings far above the emptiness and confusion of that alley. Believe me, I seemed to slip right into the “fear choice” like my favorite pair of blue jeans.  No matter how much those who loved me wanted to impart strength to me, still it came down to my own willingness to be renewed in my mind. The choice was mine and mine alone.

Fear is Crippling

Its our very first and natural response to be afraid. We’re human, after all. But fear left to fester, paralyses us and creates stress. Its like a shell that encapsulates us, preventing us from stepping out in freedom. On top of that, stress harms our cells. That’s right, our mental state affects our physical bodies. Remember, all the parts of our body were created to function and thrive cohesively. Our brain is an organ, too (I actually think that we forget that point). Just like our other organs, the brain is affected by what foods we consume. In turn, the thoughts that we think trigger chemical and electrical responses within our body, either for its harm or its benefit. In other words, we can have everything pertaining to life and Godliness, but, if our brains dwell in the land of fear, doubt and unbelief, we’re gonna lose the battle regardless of our initial odds.

 Penny For Your Thoughts

It takes a conscious effort to stop our minds from heading down the fear path. Just as we replaced foods in our diet  (I Kicked Cancer’s Butt -part6) we MUST replace negative thoughts with faith-filled ones. Where cancer is concerned, our very lives depend on it. Hold on tight because its very counter-intuitive! But, its definitely THE ONLY WAY that I could pull myself away from the accepted western medical system and do what I believe I was created to do.

The Bigger Picture

And, WHAT was it that I was created to do? I was created to use all that I have been given- my body, mind, talents, etc. to give glory to my Creator. I’m completely convinced that that’s why I walked through this trial in the first place. SO MANY amazing things have come out of it!…so many “God things”!

Out of This World

I know what you might be thinking, “Sure, but, that’s YOU. Some people aren’t so lucky.They had faith and they’re dead now.” And, my reply to that would be, “Ah HA! See how easy it is for our brains to go to the negative?? Again, fear IS the natural response. But, I believe that we’ve been called to be SUPER-natural!

Use the Force, Luke

You may be wondering at this point, if I think that you can just effectively say to yourself, “I’m gonna be well. I’m gonna be well” every time a negative thought pops up… Actually, no. You and I are not the Source of Truth. We can assimilate truth but we did not create it. Our “faith-filled replacement thoughts” must be rooted in something bigger than ourselves or they’ll be meaningless. God is the biggest thing that I can think of. So, His words are the biggest, most solid thing I can cling to when the proverbial rubber meets the road.

I Aint Talkin’ Bout Religion

Can you actually know God’s words? That’s an excellent question. And, the answer is YES. The Bible is a love letter written to us. It tells us some really key stuff about God:

I call these My Basic Precepts about life. They are the five truths about God that keep me in a state of peace-or GET ME BACK if I’ve wondered! (My many humanist friends are rolling their eyes about now, thinking, “Aw, Dear Steph, here she goes again, getting all religious.”) …Hey, Humanist Friends, it aint religion. Its called

                                                RELATIONSHIP

….Yep. God wants a relationship with us (not religion from us). That’s why people write love letters, after all 😉

The Promise Ring

The consummation of this relationship is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is clear that  God the Father will give you God the Holy Spirit when you believe and accept the finished work of God the Son, Jesus. Its really that simple- You receive the son, Jesus Christ  as your Lord and Savior and the Father will put His Spirit inside you. Sounds pretty “relational” to me. The Spirit is like a “promise ring” from God (only, it goes on the inside. NOT just on our finger).

The Missing Piece

Like a missing piece of a finished puzzle, there’s a hole in our hearts. Like I said in I Kicked Cancer’s Butt (part5) we were created to house the Holy Spirit. That puzzle piece IS the Holy Spirit. Without it, we’re functioning at a disadvantage! What better help could we have than someone inside of us that adores us, knows everything past, present and future, and can speak to our hearts and give us direction every day! The Spirit helps us comprehend God’s word, too! He’s a constant friend.

A Work in Progress

So, there ya have it. This series has been a synopsis of my cancer journey. Its not, by any means, finished, though. I will maintain a care-filled diet for the rest of my life as I truly seek to let the Spirit give me direction. I have no need to waste my time with stuff that, the Spirit has made perfectly clear, was harming me. There’s really too much livin’ to do to directly contribute to my own dying. The intimate ways and directions, the gentle leadings and promptings that I had through this journey will just have to be covered in an e-book. (Along with, of course, some really fun recipes!)

Here’s to your healing!

-stephmaui

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Kicked Cancer’s Butt (part6)The Replacing Game

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Off With the Old, On With the New

When you meet a person with good advice it can really stick with ya. Wayyyy back when I was pregnant with our second kid, my midwife, Julie, said these words to me…

“Its not about ‘removing‘ so much as it is about ‘replacing‘. If you are determined to eat cheese, for instance, make it THEE BEST quality cheese that you can find.”That idea stuck with me.

Here’s a list of possible replacements for a few of my favorite things…

The Glorified Extras

These are NOT the main things. I repeat, these are NOT the main things….

Eggs-Do you eat eggs? Boy, I sure do. Its really the only thing that, at this point, holds me back from being vegan. I love my eggs!  -sauteed, soft boiled, poached, scrambled, those little rays of sunshine just seem to hit the spot. If you’re like me in this regard, then, why not make your eggs organic. Even better-local, organic! Eggs are concentrated nutrition. (remember, its the starting place of a whole new chicken in there).  Stop eating eggs with antibiotics, hormones or the horizontal transfer of genetically modified feed (Yes, standard feed in America is GMO). You wouldn’t want concentrated doses of those things going into your guts, would you?

Bread– This one’s a killer for most of us. I actually know people who practically LIVE off the stuff. (That’s a really bad idea, BTW). I replaced breads that had long, hard to pronounce, lists of ingredients for the organic, sprouted grain Ezekiel 4:9 breads. The difference was amazing. I didn’t feel sluggish after my egg and toast breakfast anymore. Still, moderation is the key. Now, I’m trying the “gluten free” thing. I really can’t seem to settle on a gluten free brand that I love so I’m getting ready to make the maiden voyage of a gluten-free loaf in my bread machine. I hope its smooth sailing. I’ll keep ya posted. 😉

Rice– Switch out your standard white with an organic brown, black or wild. You probably WON’T be a fan, at first. (There’s just something so comforting about plain ol’ white, sticky rice) But, you may notice a difference in your energy levels after you switch.

Soy Sauce– Soy is generally genetically modified, so, instead of the old standard, try an organic brand. Or, better yet, try Braggs Liquid Aminos. Its a lighter taste but you get the health benefits of amino acids. Another great choice and my personal favorite is Coconut Aminos. Brown rice, organic nori and Coconut Aminos is a great start to any nori wrap!

Butter– Try coconut oil and a dash of sea salt, instead. It virtually tastes the same.

Potato Chips– Avoid, like the plague, standard Canola oil. It is genetically modified. Its so cheap and in nearly EVERYTHING because its practically indestructible in the field. (Good yields mean lower prices at the market) Instead try these options:

  • buy organic
  •  Try dry-roasting unsweetened coconut chips. You can add a spritz of coconut oil and sea salt after they’re out of the oven. Your body will LOVE it! No more tummy rumbles from  potatoes fried in oil.

Popcorn– Standard corn is genetically modified so make sure your popcorn is organic. I found this sure-fire recipe for stove top popcorn. If the directions are followed explicitly it will work, as it says, every time. For an even better popcorn, buy an air popper and add the coconut oil and sea salt, maybe some nutritional yeast too, after the popping part.

Salad Dressings and Condiments– Refuse to abuse your body with any salad dressing or condiment that contains high fructose corn syrup and/or canola oil or, in fact, ANY hydrogenated oils. Its best to go organic on all this stuff, too.

Meat– to avoid horizontal transfer of GMOs switch to organic meats. Local is always better. Grass fed must be 100% or it will have usually been “finished” with GMO feed. When I had cancer, I avoided meat all together and would only allow myself wild caught fish. (NEVER buy farmed fish. Again, they will use cheap feed and that will, most likely be genetically modified!) Lately, I’m not eating much meat. I’ve been successfully replacing it with things like olives and avocados, sauteed mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, eggplant or tofu. If they’re seasoned right, they really seem to satisfy the craving.

Peanut Butter– Switch to an organic brand or, if you have a Vitamix or a Champion Juicer (with a blank), make your own! Its fun, delicious and less plastic or glass to recycle! The main thing here is to avoid hydrogenated oils.

Beans– Again, go organic with no added oils. Or, better yet, get the dry beans, sprout ’em and then cook ’em. You’ll find that they’re far less, shall we say, intrusive, to your guts.

Dairy Products– GO ORGANIC! If you must put that extra large molecular structure into your digestive tract where it will become practically indigestible and the cause of copious amounts of mucus, AT LEAST, make it organic. Don’t let you or your family suck down the standard, Bovine Growth Hormone crap they call milk. Another great possible option is local organic. Or, RAW, local organic- yeahhh!

The Main Attractions

YES, these are the main things!

  • WATERMAKE SURE that you get the right amount of purified water into your body EVERY DAY. This is the most basic way, aside from breathing, to get vital oxygen to your cells. Remember the primary cause of all cancers?-a lack of oxygen!
  • Fruits and veggies– go organic  -Here’s a helpful guide to the  fruit and veggie crops that are sprayed the most with pesticides.
  • Oils– Oil EVERYTHING.(You could even oil your water, if you want to) All oils are NOT created equal so, please refer to I Kicked Cancer’s Butt (part4) and its associated links, for all the oil specifics.

How simple is THAT?

The Art of Salad

Yes, friends, water, fruits, veggies, and oil should be your goal. Try to fill-up on that salad and save the rice, bread, etc. as the side, NOT the other way around. In fact become a Salad Master! Have, at least 1 salad every day. Why not have a breakfast salad? Throw a bunch of spinach in a bowl, coat it in a healthy drizzle of coconut oil, throw a soft boiled egg on top, some nuts, some seeds, avocado, home-made ranch dressing, olives, other veggies, an apple (with the core, of course), sauteed mushrooms and onions, and, voila! Perfection!

Waldorf Salad recipe –this is a twist on the conventional Waldorf Salad. I was craving cabbage of all things. And, this is the result..

Steady As She Goes!

You would be either really hard core or in a very urgent situation to make all these changes at once. I didn’t. I don’t believe I could have. Where my will was resolved, sometimes my checkbook was, um, unwilling? But, I managed to bite off a little bit more as the weeks and months rolled by. It was a gentle transition for the most part.  It starts with the determination that you are providing life-giving oxygen and vital nutrients to your cells. And, where your cells are concerned, REFUSE TO ABUSE! Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made. They’re meant to house God’s Holy Spirit in them. Let’s take good care of what’s been entrusted to us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Kicked Cancer’s Butt (part5) GMOs Exposed

Intestines Are Interesting

I betcha never heard THAT before! Well, I never thought that, before I got cancer. Quite seriously,  our guts are golden. And, one of the first “Ah, I get it now!” moments for me, after my diagnosis, was the realization that there was a correlation between how crappy my, um, crap had been looking and the apparent onset of cancer. Now, I’m no scatologist but give a child a piece of paper and even he can draw a “good, healthy poop” and what my body was producing…well, lets just say, it didn’t look like the pictures. :/

No Guts, No Glory

Truth is, our absorption of nutrients depends on guts that are capable of actually absorbing things. Makes sense right? The fact is, we can utterly destroy the inside of our intestines and still function, for a while. But, if our bodies cannot process and distribute nutrients because we’ve abused them, we will see a more rapid degeneration in our over-all health than we were intended to see (Throw in a stress-factor or two and its a recipe for hyper-drive deterioration. But, that’s another post..) There are numerous things that can wreck havoc down there individually but, the one I will touch on in THIS post is the GMO…mostly because its creepy and insidious. And, apparently, I enjoy exposing creepy and insidious stuff.

Enter, the GMO

Although GMOs had been around since the early to mid 90s, I only just learned about them after my diagnosis. That means that I had been ignorantly ingesting them for around 15 years-plenty of time to help decimate my intestinal walls.

Wait, aren’t GMOs just hybridized seeds?

Good question and, no… no NO NO. Hybridization occurs when plants are “genetically modified” by using the natural process of propagation (you know, “plant sex”). (Yes, it is possible to ‘by-hand’ propagate within a species in order to get a “super tomato” or a more hardy squash, etc. its literally been going on since the first farmers stuck a hoe in the soil.)

NO, the term, GMO, refers to a different kind of genetic modification that can ONLY be accomplished in a laboratory. That, in and of itself, is NOT the problem with them.

Here’s the Problem

In the world of GMOs, DNA cells from a species are force injected into DNA cells of a completely different species (yes! – corn/human, soy/fish etc, etc). This forced injection effectively breaks the protective barrier that God placed around every DNA cell to protect it from foreign DNA.

In other words, God, in His wisdom, placed a safeguard around DNA to prevent what scientists are NOW DOING in laboratories, TO OUR FOOD SUPPLY! (note the “bold” and “all caps” type again?…VERY important info.)

The repercussions of these kind of tamperings are far too numerous to mention here. I would whole-heartedly encourage you, who are unafraid, to view this movie. It’s a REAL eye opener! A great book on the subject, that’s near and dear to my heart, is Facing Hawaii’s Future, Essential Information About GMOs. Please visit that link!  The best article I’ve read on the subject is written by Jeffery Smith (Seeds of Deception). He wrote this compelling piece on GMO’s early testings with concise clarity- its a “must read“!

 GMOs and YOUR GUT -A Scenario

A certain corn farmer, struggling to earn a living, gets approached by a major bio-tech corporation called Monsanto. They understand the farmer’s plight and offer him their GMO seed. The seed that they offer has been genetically engineered to be resistant to the application of an herbicide called Round-Up (a product that this corporation also makes). So the farmer can spray down the weeds that are plaguing his crops without effecting the crop itself. The farmer thinks this might be the answer to his financial woes. He signs a contract with the corporation and takes a required class to work with these new chemically laden, patented seeds. He plants his field. He sprays it with Round-Up. His crop is beautiful! It looks like AMAZING corn, with no damage from pests. He sells his crop and gets an amazing profit from it.

Next season comes and he plants his GMO seed again. This time, he finds that he needs to spray more Round-Up to keep the weeds down than he did the year before. The crop STILL looks amazing! He sells it and makes a great profit.

The years go by and the only real difference is the amount of Round-Up he uses out there. He has had to increase his use of the herbicide because the weeds are mutating themselves to withstand his applications (Ever heard of “superweeds”?).

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What’s Really Happening Here?

Well, Round-Up has a chemical in it called glyphosate. Glyphosate is systemic. This means that it enters the plant from the roots up. It effectively enters the weeds and kills them… UNTIL these weeds are able to mutate into superweeds. The corn, remember, has been modified to withstand the Round-Up. So, through its life cycle, it has been repeatedly coated with Round-Up by the farmer’s crop sprayer. Glyphosate is no respecter of plants so it has also entered the corn through its roots.

Counterfeit Corn

Because the corn’s DNA has been altered to withstand glyphosate, the corn appears to be unaffected. HOWEVER, glyphosate was patented as a mineral chelator. That’s just a fancy way to say that it binds with important minerals and removes them from the corn. So, when you or livestock eat it, it looks, tastes and smells like corn but lacks corn’s nutrients. The reason the farmer’s crops always looked so good is that bugs are smart. They won’t eat FAKE corn.

Here’s Your Parting Gift

As your body digests it, the devalued corn leaves you with a lovely parting gift-the patented antibiotic, glyphosate. (Yep, its a chelator AND an antibiotic) And, yes, there’s Round-Up in your gut. Contrary to the claims of Monsanto, glyphosate transfers horizontally into whatever ingests it. Sick, right?? We all know, or should know by now, that antibiotics kill the friendly flora in our guts. When the good bacteria dies it renders our guts vulnerable to a proliferative amount of bad bacteria. And, as you can imagine, our intestinal health goes right down the ol’crapper.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

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GMOs are in around 80% of all the food in your local grocery store. Its sad but true. It’ll be rough at first but here’s some suggestions on how to avoid them:

  • read labels
  • buy organic whenever possible
  • buy local
  • grow an organic garden
  • increase your personal knowledge on the subject (Do your own research!)
  • print out the list of companies that use Monsanto GMOs so that you can avoid their products. And, while you’re at it, print out this one too!
  • find a good probiotic and use it to replenish and restore your gut’s friendly flora

This is, by no means, a comprehensive list. Likewise, this post is, by no means, a comprehensive report on GMOs. It was designed to “get your feet wet” so to speak. The days of being happily uninformed are over, as either we, or some of our loved ones, are now the victims of negligence.  At first its totally overwhelming but, if I can do it on a starving artist’s budget in Hawaii, no less, then I bet you’ll be able to do it, too. Granted, we eat very simply now. But, you will find that your body begins to require less food because you are giving it MORE nutrition. AND, on top of that, you’ll be pulling your $$$ away from the companies that care more about THEIR PROFITS than they do about YOUR guts. Just take it slow. You got this. ❤