“To be or not to be, that is a question”, a quote from Shakespeare spoken by Hamlet.  In that case, Hamlet was referencing if he should stand up and fight or just give up and die.  How many times have we thought how much easier it would be to give up, but then there is that thought that comes in, whether it is about a loved one, or a hope, or a need to take care of something else?  I’m sure none of us are immune to those times, it is what makes up life.  Without the lows, we could never appreciate the highs.  Without despair and desperation, we could never experience hope and gratitude.

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of celebrating a birthday with an amazing woman and her family.  Her view on life is an inspiration to me.  She embraces gratitude.  I do not mean she just says it, she lives it.  As I watched all those at the family gathering, a total of four generations, it was joyous to watch their interactions.  It truly was what the Christmas Spirit is all about.  It is about loving, even with differences of opinions.  It is accepting each other with all our faults, and differences, it was understanding that each person’s view of Christmas was just as important as another’s.   Everyone was practicing just being.

As everyone gathered at the table to say grace, and have a wonderful meal of beef stroganoff, Vallarta rolls and a beautiful homemade German Chocolate cake, I saw each person in their own element.  They were not trying to impress anyone, or solve the world’s problems, it was just wonderful jumbled conversations around a dinner table.  All the family members; each had their own opinion, different political stance, different ideas and yet not one of them boasted their ideas over another.  There was such an acceptance of each other, of their different personalities and beliefs.  There was a celebration of gratitude, of just being able to spend time together.  It was warm, joyous and communicative without any angst of any kind, they were simply enjoying each other’s company.  What a moment to take in!  It was wonderful watching each person interacting with the others around them.  When the party ended, it was so sweet to see each of the cousins telling the other they would see them Christmas Eve.

The party was not quite over.  It was time to go see Christmas lights, an annual tradition.  We stopped and grabbed a scoop each of  Winter White ice cream to enjoy on the journey.   We so enjoyed each other’s company and were having a lovely time together.

As we hunted the different neighborhoods for Christmas lights, I was struck by the differences in each one of the displays we saw.  There were so many ways lights and displays were put together.  In one neighborhood, there was a horse pulling a street car for people to enjoy the lights.  There were some houses that seemed to go way overboard.  Like this family, so many different opinions and designs are wrapped up in the most amazing people, who have no problem loving each other, despite their differences.

Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, and everything He represents.  It’s not about presents, it’s all about celebrating Jesus, showing gratitude and love, and gathering together and enjoying each other and celebrating each other.  At this time of year, if you know someone who doesn’t have anyone, reach out to them, you may be the one person who turns things around for them, by just being there.  I think with Christmas only a few days away, it’s important to understand how much we are loved.  If we were not loved, that little baby would never have been born in a manager.  In this season, it is important to focus on the moment.  Focus on those who are around you this moment.  Enjoy and embrace this moment, and every moment after.  Be in the moment, not focused on the past, or past perceptions or perceived wrongs or worry about the future.  Those we have with us this year, we may not have with us next year or tomorrow.  Love them, be grateful for them, embrace them, build the bridges, and mend the fences.  Focus on this moment, be in the moment.  I think if we would just learn to “Be”, we would have so much less stress and we could truly enjoy each moment in our life.  We seem to always be so busy doing this and doing that, we do not take the time to enjoy the moment or the Creator of the moment.  To learn to “Be” takes practice.  It is not about learning meditation or the newest mantra, though learning to meditate can help.  It is about being aware and intentional in each moment.  Do we embrace it, enjoy it, relish it and share it, or do we rush past and miss it all together?

I’m talking about enjoying who we were created to “Be”, about being grateful for every little thing.  We all can be part of an amazingly beautiful tapestry called life.  If we can learn to just “be”, we will see so many opportunities around us to show our heart and our passion.  If we are in tune with who we are, who we have been created to be, we can embrace with gratitude the moments we are given as a gift each day and have something to give of ourselves to others.

You may have heard of the saying “seize the day”.  I would go one step further, “seize the moment”, live it to the fullest, enjoy it to the deepest.  Take a deep breath, drink in the beauty that is around you.  Seize the moment and just “Be”.

“Oh God, please God no, not now, not now!! I finally have my life together, Oh God help me please!”  My cries broke through the serenity of the pounding of the waves of the Pacific Ocean as I lay at the top of the dune, buried 2 feet in the sand.   I had gone with friends for my first ever horseback ride along the Pacific Ocean for my birthday.  I had even gotten a brand-new pair of my favorite western jeans, not a trivial purchase, and a new western shirt to commemorate my ride.  The last thing I remember before hitting the ground, was the horse owner saying, “Watch out this is where he likes to……”  Before he could finish his words, the horse went into a full-on buck (apparently something he could do often) and I was 20 feet in the air going over his head before I heard the word “buck”.  I landed on my right hip and my back hit the only branch in six miles of trail followed by the concussive blow to my head.  You know, for sand, it is not so soft when you land that way.  I screamed from the pain that exploded in my back, my hips, legs and head.  The horse owner tried to re-position my legs which brought even more screams as I blacked out for a moment.  I knew at that moment I was not just hurt, I was severely broken inside.   He got on his other horse and rode for help.

I was so very scared.  I would black out for just a moment and then open my eyes and get brief flashes.  I saw the job I worked at and loved, I saw my new apartment I had gotten just two months before after living with friends for two years, trying to get on my feet after a divorce, health scare, and difficult move from another state.  I thought of my goal to work with the group I was riding with, we were going to work together to get horses for disabled veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Injury to work with.  I thought of my plans to train during the summer on cutting and reining horses for competition.  I loved horses, they were everything good for the inside of me.  As I saw all this, I knew if it was as bad as I thought it was, all the positive accomplishments in my life, my plans and my dreams were about to evaporate.  I kept crying out to God, please not now.

I was not sure, at that moment, if I would be leaving that beach in anything but a body bag, as my breathing became labored and I started to lose the feeling in my legs.  As I laid there interchanging my screaming, with crying, with begging God to help me, and praying in my spirit, I was aware of a very kind woman walking into my view.  I must have looked crazy.  In her hand was a blanket.  She knelt in the sand by my head and stroked my sand encrusted face repeatedly telling me it was going to be okay.  I just cried and cried, I hurt so very much. I kept alternating with trying to talk and praying in the spirit, interlaced with moans, screams and sobbing.  I knew she was being kind, but then she said you will get through this and He will not leave you.   She said a very quick prayer, looked me in the eyes as she stroked my head and told me again that I was not alone, He was with me, everything really was going to be okay.  There was such warmth and comfort in her words and for a momentary sliver of time it was as if I was not on the sand, but looking at myself and everything from above.   She covered me with the blanket saying her husband and she were retired, and that was all she had to offer.  I told her through my tears, “thank you so much”.  She placed her hand on my shoulder and I swear there was a warm glow around it.  I looked over at the gathering crowd and there was no husband.  I felt her hand leave my shoulder and looked over, wanting to beg her to stay, but she was gone, nowhere in the crowd, nowhere along the trail I could see.   In the next moment, I was back on the ground, and the extreme pain kept causing me to pass out.   When I would wake, I was praying in my spirit and the promises from God that were yet unfulfilled came flooding back to my memory.  I knew then, together with the wonderful “angel” sent that this was not where I was going to die, no matter how much I might feel I wish I could.  I do not know how long it took the beach rescue crew to get there.  They could not do anything without someone with a medical background because of how injured I was.  Soon I found myself surrounded by paramedics and firefighters from the Arroyo Grande Fire Department.  It turns out the station was just on the other side of the sand dune and they had crossed it to get me when they heard there was an emergency on the beach.  Together with the beach rescue crew, six men slowly dug the sand out from around me.  Two feet embedded in the sand is a lot of sand to move.  They finally got enough access to slide a split backboard under me to extract me from the beach and put me into the ambulance that was pulling up at the bottom of the trail.   Once, in the ambulance, I remember one of the paramedics trying to put in an I.V., but between my injuries and the jostling of driving on the sand, it was impossible.  I remember telling him forget it.  I do not remember much else of the drive to the hospital which was less than a mile away.  Once wheeled into the ER, a quick look and nurses were cutting off my brand-new jeans and shirt.  They started for my 1-year old Ariat boots and I remember telling them no, I know it will hurt but don’t cut them off, pull them off.    Oh, my goodness, it hurt worse than anything in the world at that moment.  I blacked out as they took me to CT to do my entire body.  I awoke to the neurosurgeon talking to me, telling me that I was hurt bad and I had a piece of loose bone in my spinal canal, where it did not belong.  The neurosurgeon went on to tell me that had my back not landed on that branch, the straight-line impact would be like falling from a three-story building and it would have spiked my spinal column up into my brain.  He told me I would never ride horses again.  At that moment, I realized how close to death I could have been.  From that day to this, I tell people I fell on the branch and was saved by the Branch. We had ridden the whole six miles of trail.  There was not one branch on it as the beach had been recently cleaned up following a storm.  The statistical improbability of that branch being in the right place to disrupt a fall that should have killed me is astronomical.  But, with God nothing is impossible.  He says He will protect and guide us, that His ways are higher than ours.   God does not hurt His children.  But we live in a world that is messed up and full of sin, it is not a perfect place.  Things happen, life happens.  Yet in the middle of all of that He promises to be with His children, to never leave them, or forsake them, to give them a hope and a future for He knows the plans He has for them, to do good.  That day I know He sent an angel to speak the truth, to speak life to me, to comfort me,  knowing without it I could lose my life.   I knew when I prayed in my spirit He was present, even though everything was so grim.  There was much pain, but the “why God” did not come until much later. And when it did, I learned that sometimes I must wait for that answer, that I may never know while on this earth and I am OK with that, finally.

It is so easy to do a “1-2-3 step, jump, kick”,  and say God must work and protect me this way because that is how I understand it to be.    But what if… what if by yielding to go through the process instead of the instant healing we can reach one person with the good news.  What if, because of being obedient and forgiving and not getting my justice, this is part of why I can walk today and perhaps in the process someone met Jesus??  What if in our journey on this earth, it is about being accessible and real and humble?  What if what He is asking us to do is be available for whatever the plan may be, whether we understand or not?  We say, “here I am send me”, but what if that “send me” includes prison, pain, injury or death?  What if that is the call, because there is one who needs to hear about Jesus and the good news and they can only be reached in a certain manner or place that only God knows?  What if I was obedient, I did go where I was supposed to and the very nature of the accident and all that has happened since, gives Him the glory because I could not walk it without Him and people see Him and not me?   I had no idea that my walk with Jesus was about to get real.  It is easy to talk about how to walk with the Lord or how to be a good person or how to endure hardship like a good soldier.  It is a whole different thing to walk it.  Without the challenges and trials, how could we ever exercise our opportunities to totally yield our life, our dreams, our challenges and all our hopes and make Jesus the Lord of our life?  What if we really would trust Him?  What could be done if we did?

I use reflexology a lot to deal with pain, and when I have issues with my body that I do not want to take a pharmaceutical for.  I believe the body can heal itself most times if given the proper tools.  For me, reflexology has been one of these tools.

I am sharing the following article to give a better understanding of reflexology.   When the web site launches, there will be more information and graphs that can be helpful.

The following information is provided according to Expert Contributor: Karen Teagarden, BA, ARCB and Reviewer: Donna L. Morris, DrPH, CNM, NBCR.

Because reflexology is an ancient practice, its origin and history is difficult to track. However, reflexology is thought to have been passed down through an oral tradition, and possibly first recorded as a pictograph on the Egyptian tomb of Ankhamor in 2330 BC along with other medical procedures. Reflexology symbols are thought to be recorded on the feet of statues of Buddha in India and later China.
A brief timeline
1. The Chinese classic, the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, which was written around 1,000 BC, has a chapter on “Examining Foot Method” and is the beginning of discussions in print about the connection of life force and points and areas on the feet.

2. It is believed that Marco Polo translated a Chinese massage book into Italian in the 1300s, thus introducing reflexology and massage to Europe. In 1582, a book on an integral element of reflexology called zone therapy was first published in Europe by Dr. Adamus and Dr. A’tatis.

3. In the United States, William H. Fitzgerald, MD, who is frequently referred to as the father of reflexology, wrote in 1917 about ten vertical zones that extended the length of the body. He found that the application of pressure to a zone that corresponded to the location of an injury could serve as relief of pain during minor surgeries

4. Dr. Fitzgerald’s work was expanded by Dr. Shelby Riley, who developed a map of  horizontal zones going across the body and a detailed map of reflex points on the feet and  hands. He also suggested pressure points on the outer ear.

5. Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist who worked for Dr. Riley, is another prominent figure in the development of reflexology. In her research with zone therapy’s pressure points, she found the feet to be the most sensitive and responsive. She developed the foot maps and reflexology charts still in use today and introduced reflexology practices to the non-medical community in the 1930s.

6. In 1957, Dr. Paul Nogier recorded a reflex map of points on the outer ear. His work has been expanded by Oleson and Flocco and is now being taught as part of an integrated approach to hand, ear and foot reflexology.

According to the University of Minnesota* – Reflexology is the application of appropriate pressure to specific points and areas on the feet, hands, or ears. Reflexologists believe that these reflex points correspond to different body organs and systems, and that pressing them creates real benefits for the person’s health.

For example, reflexology holds that a specific spot in the arch of the foot corresponds to the bladder. When a reflexologist uses thumbs or fingers to apply appropriate pressure to this area, it may affect bladder functioning.

Many people confuse reflexology with massage, Reiki, or acupuncture, but there are essential differences between these therapies. Massage therapists manipulate larger areas of soft tissue in the body while reflexologists apply pressure to specific points on the feet, hands, and ears. Unlike either massage or reflexology, Reiki does not involve any physical manipulation or pressure, but instead uses light touch to work with the subtle vibrational field thought to surround the body. Finally, while acupuncture and acupressure, like reflexology, use reflex points on the body to influence other parts of the body, the points are not the same and acupuncture uses points over the entire body.

While these are different practices entirely, one thing they all have in common is that they are sometimes used to help manage symptoms associated with stress.

 

I used acupressure and reflexology extensively to deal with inflammation and pain so that I could function daily. It works so much better than pharmaceutical narcotics or muscle relaxers for me.

According to Wikipedia, acupressure, by definition, is a traditional Chinese medicine technique based on the same ideas as acupuncture.  It is bodywork which involves placing physical pressure, by hand, elbow, or with the aid of various devices, on different pressure points on the surface of the body (which may be far distant from the symptom, related by what is called the meridian system) to bring about relief through greater balance and circulation of fluids (blood, lymph) and metabolic energies in the body (heat,qi).*

Acupressure for Beginners **
Some of the most common acupressure points for treating everyday ailments like stress and chronic pain, and how to stimulate them.

What is Acupressure?
The role of acupressure has been paramount in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for more than 2000 years, and the fact that it is still in use today is a testimony to its effectiveness in the treatment of illness and pain. Acupressure is essentially a method of sending a signal to the body (by needle or other means) to “turn on” its own self-healing or regulatory mechanisms.
Normally, Qi (vital energy) circulates through natural pathways in the body called meridians.  Blockage of this flow or an imbalance in Yin and Yang can cause illness and pain. Acupressure
helps to correct functional imbalances and restore the flow thus returning the body to a more natural state of well-being.

Acupressure is an effective form of stimulation used to help relax the muscles. If done regularly, this method of self-massage can sustain improvement and minimize recurrence of symptoms. Be patient and consistent when practicing acupressure on them. A simple way to stimulate these points is to press firmly with a finger in a rotary movement or an up-and-down movement for several minutes at a time. It is recommended that you use this information under the guidance of
your physician.

How to Administer Acupressure
• Use deep, firm pressure to massage and stimulate each point.
• When massaging acupoints, try to relax in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe deeply.
• Repeat the massage as often as you like; there is no limit to the number of times a day.
• Besides massaging these points on yourself, anyone can also help massage these points for you.

What Are Some of Common Acupressure Points to Learn?
Here is a list of eight commonly used acupressure points. Click the name to learn when to use each of the points and how to locate it.

Gallbladder 20 (GB20): Feng Chi
This point is recommended for headache, migraine, eye blurriness or fatigue, low energy, and cold/flu symptoms. It is located by feeling the mastoid (ear) bone and following the groove back to where the neck muscles attach to the skull.

Gallbladder 21 (GB21): Jian Jing
This point is located by pinching the shoulder muscle with your thumb and middle finger and is commonly used for stress, facial pain, headaches, toothaches and neck pain. Use with caution in pregnant women.

Large Intestine 4 (LI4): He Gu
This point is good for stress, headaches, toothaches, facial pain and neck pain. However, as a word of precaution, it can induce labor and must never be used during pregnancy.

Liver 3 (LV3): Tai Chong
You need to take off your shoe to find this point. This is an excellent area to stimulate for stress, low back pain, high blood pressure, limb pain, insomnia and emotional upset.

Pericardium 6 (P6): Nei Guan
This point can help provide relief for nausea, anxiety, carpal tunnel syndrome, upset stomach,
motion sickness and headaches and is even used for regulation of heart palpitations.

Triple Energizer 3: Zhong Zhu
This point is located in the groove formed by the tendons of the 4th and 5th finger, behind the knuckles and is commonly used in the clinic for temporal headaches, shoulder and neck tension, and upper back pain.

Spleen 6 (SP6): San Yin Jiao
This point can be very helpful for many urological and pelvic disorders as well as fatigue and insomnia. Avoid during pregnancy.

Stomach36 (ST36): Zu San Li
You can find this point useful for fatigue and depression as well as knee pain and gastrointestinal discomfort. Asians frequently stimulate this point for health promotion and longevity.

* Wikipedia

**Self-Care Acupressure (from UCLA Health, Exploring Integrative Medicine, https://exploreim.ucla.edu/self-care/acupressure-and-common-
acupressure-points/)

Each one of us are touched by the change in the season.  We speak of the winter when it is cold, in the summer when it is very hot. We like the spring, because it is the greenest of the season after a winter season of bareness.  We love the fall because of the changes from the hot days of summer. We love it for the changing leaves and snuggling into the comfort and warmth of our homes.  Like the seasons around us, we each face different times and seasons in our own lives. Where are you now in the season of your life? Have you been enjoying a wonderful springtime of refreshment and renewal? Are you like so many others feeling as if one more year of winter just cannot happen? 

Winter, to the eyes and other senses, is a time of desolation and loneliness when there are no signs of life.  It is a time spiritually when nothing seems to go right. It is a time when things are often distant and cold, having a yearning to be touched by God’s hand to touch our heart and lives.  Ah, but wait! It is during the winter, the miraculous things that were planted in the summer and fall are taking on new life in the ground below! 

There is much activity below the surface of what appears to be a very useless time of life. There are many hurts and heartaches that crush our hearts from betrayal, remorse, guilt, and abuse to deal with.  All these seem to overwhelm us in the darkness as we try to go to sleep at night. Take heart, Jesus knows right where you are and is making a way for you. Spring is at the door! We go through many of these seasons as we walk with Jesus. The Father has had a plan for you from the beginning of time, He knew you while you were in your mother’s womb.  He loved you then and He loves you now. He has a great and mighty plan for you, but it is all in His time, His season.  Ecc 3:1(amp) says, “to everything there is a season and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven”.  A time and a purpose under heaven bears repeating.  An example of this would be, you just know that you are destined for something big, with a very bright future, but right now there is nothing around you except what looks like meager survival. Situations look as if there is no hope, no hint of success. The enemy, Satan, comes in and tries to convince us there is no plan for us in God’s kingdom. He is a liar! Even in this season rejoice and be glad, for spring is coming

Take heart, perhaps it is not the season or time for you to go from winter to spring. Perhaps, it is time to wait on God. The butterfly stays in the cocoon for protection and grows until it emerges ready to accomplish, in a very short period, what it was specifically created for, it’s niche in eternity. It is the scrapping against the cocoon edges as a butterfly emerges that makes the wings strong. Without that adversity, the butterfly’s wings will not get strong enough to support its weight and the butterfly will die prematurely before ever getting to fly. It is important for us to embrace challenges and adversity, to allow them to strengthen us in the middle of our very being. These challenges & conflicts are the very same that will give wind beneath our wings so that we too can fly when it is time to accomplish our destiny. This time for you may be one of protection and/or growth.

Rejoice in the winter for spring is coming! Give glory to God, changes are coming! Jeremiah 29:11 says, quote for I know the thoughts and plans I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your outcome”. The word hope in the original Hebrew is “miqveh” and means something waited for in confidence, abiding in confidence for something expected. Again, time is in the formula. If you read further in Ecclesiastes 3:2-9, you’ll find many things spelled out about this, such as a “time to heal”, “a time to lose”, “a time to be born”, “a time to embrace”, and a time to die, etc. Time in the Hebrew is “ayth” derived from the word “ad”.  It means now, when, due season, so long as, continually, evening, noon, always, certain. So, time is a season, a sliver of eternity. 

Eternity in the Hebrew is the word “ad”, and time is derived from eternity and means perpetuity, perpetual, continuously, never ending.  Ecclesiastes 3:11(amp) says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds (a divinely implanted sense of purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun by God alone satisfies)”. One step in time is a place in all eternity and God has placed the need for Him in our hearts, for He alone can satisfy us. Time, a sliver of time…eternity it goes on forever. How are we to live today and tomorrow in the sliver of time? In Matthew 6:25, Jesus said to stop being perpetually uneasy, anxious and worried about your life, what you shall drink, which you shall eat and what you shall put on your body.” He goes on to say in verse 32, the Gentiles (heathen)wish for and pray and diligently seek after these things, and your Heavenly Father knows well that you need them all”. In verse 33, 34, we are given what the eyes and heart should seek after, and when we should seek it. This is especially true for us when there appears to be a lack, loneliness, depression, and destruction all around, seek (aim at and strive after) first, His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right) and then all these things taken together will be given to you besides, do not be anxious about tomorrow.” Again, in seeking Jesus, time is a focus. We must seek Jesus. Time to us, many times, is our immediate focus, we want things to hurry up, to break through, to get better NOW! Time, a time to build, a time tear down. To everything there is a purpose in the Father’s plan. Patience is a virtue, fruit of the spirit, that we work through in time. We are all in the last sliver of time, before Jesus Christ’s return. In time and eternity, where are we standing? Seasons will change and bring trials, test and temptation. Seasons will bring life, sorrow and joy. We must stand and know what He has promised and believe He will do what He says He will do. Believe is to trust in, to cleave to, no matter what it looks like.  It all began with a step in time. Jesus, the Son of God, walked across eternity, one step at a time. He was righteous, just, and pure and His steps ordered of God. It was time, when they decided Jesus would die. Time cringed as nails are driven into his feet and hands. Time then stopped for the greatest moment in history. Everything was dark when Jesus Christ gave up his last breath for you and me. He conquered death, hell, and the grave in that sliver of time. When Jesus had conquered death, hell and the grave, He rose up and went to the right hand of His Father, so that we too could have a new life. (John 3:16). Why did He do this? He did it for the joy that was set before Him. That joy was you and me. That joy was knowing we could all to be together in eternity. Jesus saw us in time through eternity, and He saw as redeemed by His blood. It all started with one step at a time. Where is our next step in the sliver of time we live in? What will you do with time?  

For two months after my accident, before having my spinal surgery July 10th, two separate valley doctors refused to treat me the way that I should have been treated according to standard medical practice for my severe injury.   One orthopedic spinal surgeon refused to even see me, even though I had an appointment, all because the neurosurgeon in Arroyo Grande dared to tell him what he thought should be done. I was in tears, holding onto my walker, barely moving, when I arrived in their office. On check-in, the office manager came forward and let me and my daughter know that her doctor didn’t care for the Arroyo Grande doctor’s attitude and I would have to find somewhere else to go. I did not understand.  I was not from there, I was from Visalia.  I had my accident in Arroyo Grande.  I got the appointment after waiting a week since the accident and release from the hospital. I was in total shock, and the anger and frustration could hardly be measured as I broke out sobbing.  What kind of oath did this man take?  Do no harm was it not?  My daughter started to go across the desk demanding I be seen and the office manager looked at her and said, “well that is too bad.” All I could do to restrain her was tell her God must have a different plan, let’s go home and find someone else.  She was livid to say the least. I thought about suing this doctor once all the dust settled and then I thought I heard that still small voice that said forgive, he doesn’t know what he is doing.  I just could not believe it, after all that had happened to hit another wall to get treatment in the central valley. He so deserved to have his pants sued off him. I knew in my heart before I reached the car, I had to forgive this man and his mean-spirited staff. I had a long talk with the Father on my way home about what I felt He was saying to do. By the time I reached home, I had made the decision to do just that, even though I had to do it about every hour on the hour for days.

My youngest daughter got on the phone and started searching for another doctor. With no one local, she found an orthopedic surgeon in Fresno and made an appointment for me for the next week. In the meantime, I was told to lay still, no moving other than to get up to go to the bathroom. I started seeing patterns in the ceiling around the fan that danced after a while. That first trip to Fresno was agonizing, as were all the rest for the next four weeks.  The 99 freeway was under construction and with each bump and pothole it felt like my spine and vertebrae were shattering even more. On my first visit, after looking at my x-rays, the doctor said I needed to allow my spine to heal itself, which it normally does in traumatic fractures. He forgot to add it was in simple compression fractures this happened, not the type I had.  But, since I was not the surgeon, I listened to him and went home to lay in bed for what I thought would be another four weeks.  I started developing issues with my bladder and walking was becoming almost impossible and the pain was not like anything I had ever had. On a scale of 1-10 the pain sat around a 20 consistently. I knew something was very wrong, but I wanted to be compliant. I finally cried uncle and went in to see him again. He ordered an MRI, which showed further collapse of the vertebrae and bone fragment tipping further into my spinal canal. The doctor insisted that the nerve issues with my bladder and not being able to hold urine were due to infection. I knew it was no infection, as did my primary care doctor who wrote the referral after examining me, but he refused to listen. He made an appointment for some urologist two weeks out. I had finally had my fill and found my voice.

The doctor had a bad habit of talking with his back to me while writing in the chart. I asked him to turn around and look at me. When he did, the annoyance was so evident on his face to be bothered by my request. I shakily told him I was not old enough to forever be in a wheelchair and that I had a lot of life ahead of me and I was not going to just settle for my lot like he suggested I do without surgery.  He turned back around said he was not even sure what equipment he needed to order, which would put the surgery several months out. Then he told me that he refused to stand in any operating room for more than four hours for me or anyone else and to do my surgery in one stage would mean many hours of surgery. He said the only place that happens is in a university hospital setting where they would have multiple doctors doing each of their own specialty as part of the surgical team. I then asked him to please refer me to a university team to have this surgery done. He looked up from his papers at the wall and he said, “I will not, you can just have three separate surgeries”, and left the room. I was horrified at his attitude and lack of care. I called my general practitioner in tears. I had now been laid up seven weeks with no appropriate medical care because of these two surgeons. Surely, I missed God, they both needed to have complaints filed on them and sued.  As I headed home, I heard that gentle whisper again, forgive them both, let it go, trust Me. I was in too much pain to argue, and in such a state that all I could do was take a moment at a time and pray.

As I closed my eyes on the way home, I was impressed in my heart about all that had happened over the past 7 weeks. My youngest adult daughter was taking care of me, in ways I have always felt a child shouldn’t have to. During some of the worst pain of my life, I dug deeper into who God was, I spent hours in meditation and contemplation, I could not do anything to escape myself. You know it is tough when you cannot escape dealing with your stuff. I came face to face with a lot of truths about my life, about my faith, about where I was in my life and where I thought I was.

Since I could not take pain medication, I also researched every possibility that might help me deal with the pain, to get rest. I wanted to heal, and I knew I was so broken it was going to take a miracle. I also knew I had to make a choice whether to dwell in the pain and let it and the gathering darkness and depression consume me or find a way outside of it and find answers to things that might be of help. I needed to be proactive.  As I lay there, I would hold my kindle on my chest and research about essential oils, acupressure, and noninflammatory foods (inflammatory foods cause pain) to start with and started applying what I was reading to myself. I was able to take the edge off the pain enough to not scream anymore.

Then I remembered something from when I first became a Christian, how singing always seemed to transport me to a place where nothing going on around me mattered. I was reminded how I would sing for hours, then pray, then sing during those 7 weeks. Sweet friends would come by and pray with me and for me, and bring meals. That seven weeks was a great time in learning who Jesus really was, and how much He loved me, and He would not leave me, how he would send people across my path to encourage me to help me hold on and not lose my mind. It was a time that tested my very existence. During it all, I could hear His sweet voice say hold on, nothing is impossible, I will walk you through, walk in forgiveness, walk in My love, love never fails.

What is that old saying, hindsight is always 20/20. As I have learned how emotions impact how the body functions, and whether it can heal the way it should and how harsh anger, unforgiveness and bitterness can not only cause inflammation, it can cause disease and stop healing. I have been amazed that all those things I learned while I was flat on my back, are the very tools that I have been using to be healed emotionally, mentally and physically over the past five years, not only from injuries from the accident, but the injuries suffered when I was a child.

I am so very grateful for the time flat on my back.  When asked if I would change it all if I could have, I would have to say no. It was a turning point in my life, an embracing of life and living a life in the light. Forgiving those who so greatly hurt me and loving them and praying for them instead released me from a seed of anger and a root of bitterness, allowing me to find ways to deal with the pain and find ways to heal. I learned healing is a process, sometimes a very long process. It was a time of deep seating my faith and finding wonderful modalities that can help with pain, brokenness, healing and helping to live a life of wholeness in an attitude of gratitude.

These are the types of things I want to share from my journey with you. I want to share all the amazing things I have found along the way that have helped me to heal in some way, that have helped me to live my life in the light again, instead of in the dark shadows of depression, anger, and hatred.

If my life journey could help one person, it is all worth it. I am grateful for every step, for it made me who I am today and has taught me that God is always looking out for me, even when He asks me to do things that make no sense at the time or when He is so very quiet, I still know He is closer than my breath.

In my next blog, I will share with you about acupressure and reflexology, which helps me greatly with dealing with bone and nerve pain, among other things. It is amazing how fearfully and wonderfully we have been made. Until next time, may this small spark ignite the desire to live a more radiant life.

 

A very important part of living well begins with understanding that we are three-part beings, body, soul & spirit. I stand in awe of my Creator, of His wisdom and knowledge in how our three parts are so linked together and dependent upon one another. It is important to note, that all three of these parts be balanced and healthy in order to live a life of wholeness. What we experience in the body and the spirit will affect how the mind functions. There are many avenues available to help with healing the mind. A healthy mind can help heal the body. Today there are so many mind/soul wounds bred by things such as PTSD, abuse, rejection, abandonment, etc. Who we are on the inside is our spirit which was breathed into us by our Maker.  In order to have balance in our being we must feed and be free in all three parts, body, soul & spirit.

Being a three-part being reminds me that I am made in the image of my Creator, and that my free will allows me the choice to accept or reject Him and His creation, namely me. If I want to live well, to live whole it is my choice to embrace myself and Him with love accepting Him in His fullness, all three parts. Yes, that is right, He is also a three-part being. He is Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit.

Scientists have proven that each part of our being is reliant on the other, interacts and impacts the other, and short of traumatic injury or significant disease is fully capable of healing itself if given all the right components to do so. It is my responsibility to do all that I can do to find out the things that have the ability to help my body to heal as well as those things that disrupt or interfere with my body’s optimum healing ability.

There are many recent scientific studies that are showing how anger, unforgiveness and bitterness actually resonate in organs in our chest and abdomen, disrupting their normal functions and many times inflicting inflammation, pain and disease.  The list goes on and on of how each emotion reflects in the body and how if we address the root cause and emotion many times the affliction resolves itself.

I am currently dealing with several things; the first is the continual after effects of physical trauma from five years ago that still elicits significant bone and joint pain, as well as nerve pain on a daily basis.   In addition, the firestorm of the #MeToo revealing touched neatly wrapped, deeply buried trauma I experienced as a child, a teenager and as an adult which basically came spewing out much like a jack-in-the-box that has been over cranked. While many of the women that are accusing powerful men have been found to be lying and their accusations discounted, there are many who are coming out after 40-50 years describing what they went through.

These women touch my being in a way that is hard to explain. You see, when I was ten, I was sexually abused/raped by a close family friend. This went on for two long years. I went to my mother finally and told her what happened. She was in shock and could not believe it.  I begged her to say nothing to his dad, for she had years before given him the right to discipline her children as my dad had died and they had been friends. Yeah, weird lines of thought back then, I know. I was given a beating for talking and told to be quiet. The dad was a leader in the church, but that did not stop four more years of inappropriate touching from the dad. To say there were physical, emotional and mental traumas that occurred over an eight-year span, would be an understatement.

My coping mechanism back in the day, when cops didn’t do anything and referred these matters back to the very family /friends involved, was to wrap my emotions very tightly and push the experiences very deep to the point of trying to forget them so I could go on. I lived in a smaller nowhere town. I learned how to be real quiet, to the point I lost my voice and could not emotionally deal with intimacy, relationships, and had lots of self-hatred. It affected me to where I was not as good of a mom as I wanted to be. The experiences so paralyzed me, I could not find my voice to report an attack at my school by the custodian’s son as I was cleaning the classrooms at 15 or a rape when I was 33. Yes, this was all horrific, but those experiences have made me who I am today.

What my journey has provided is the cultivating of a deep relationship with Jesus Christ, along with tools such as prayer, EFT, journaling, and meditation in order to deal with the physical, emotional and mental trauma from both my childhood and adulthood. These challenges provided me the opportunity to either be a victim or victor and I chose victor. Yes, the challenges of a catastrophic spinal injury can be daunting and chronic pain is not fun, but I am continually looking for ways to heal, to be whole again and am amazed at the daily joy I get to experience because of good choices in my health and nutrition.

I am thankful that this particular part of my journey is giving me the opportunity to identify things that can bring healing and apply them. I am excited to be able to share what I find. Over the next week or so I am hoping to share information that can give insight into how to live a life healthy and whole body, soul and spirit.

DON’T FORGET TO “COCONUT UP”

As the Christmas holiday approaches, so does the cold and flu season.  It has been my experience if I “coconut oil up” before going out in public, or around sick family members I do not get sick.  I believe part of the reason is because of the anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties of coconut oil.  To “coconut up” means to apply coconut oil to my hands, face, the nasal passage entryway and mouth rinsing.  I find this effectively blocks any cold or flu pathogen’s entry into my body.  I also find I need to be intentional and consistent in this application if I want to really enjoy the holidays without getting sick.  I was turned onto this by my friend Diana, who experiences great results from doing it.  I did some research on one of my favorite online doctor’s websites, Dr. Mercola.  Here is a link you might find useful:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/11/18/coconut-oil-uses.aspx

I use coconut oil as a carrier oil for my essential oil applications as well.  Check out the above link for some more uses of this amazing oil.

COCONUT OIL PULLING

I am doing this now and starting to see some results in my teeth and gums.  I deal with peridontal gingivitus and tooth decay where my partials wire wraps around my teeth.  My teeth are decreasing in sensitivity and the gums are no longer bleeding.  Where one cavity is, the decay is not as bad as it was when I started.  It is recommended to first start with consistent oil pulling with 1 tsp of unrefined organic coconut oil for two weeks, every morning.  Then decrease to 3 times per week.  Apply the coconut oil to teeth and as it melts, start swishing between teeth and in mouth no more than 20 minutes.  This method helps me not gag.  Do not swallow.  After you spit out, rinse with a water with 1 tsp baking soda to clear any remaining oil/residual bacteria.  The following is straight from Dr. Mercola’s site as my blog will not let me post his link.  Per Dr. Mercola:

Oil pulling is making headlines as it seems to becoming widely popular, but it’s actually an Ayurvedic Indian tradition that’s been around for thousands of years.

To perform it, you simply swish an oil in your mouth, “pulling” it between your teeth for about 20 minutes. You can use a number of oils for this, but sesame, sunflower, and coconut oil are the most commonly used.

As for the benefits, this is one of the easiest ways to support your oral health naturally, especially if you use coconut oil, which is a powerful destroyer of all kinds of microbes, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa, many of which can be harmful.

Oil Pulling to Improve Your Oral Health

Ancient Ayurveda texts claim that oil pulling may cure about 30 systemic diseases and even today, it’s widely discussed as a tool for detoxification of your whole body. These uses are controversial and I can’t vouch for their validity. However, in your mouth,oil pulling does have significant cleansing and healing effects, which are backed up by science.

Anecdotally as well, virtually everyone who tries it notices an improvement in their oral health. Personally, this technique has significantly reduced my plaque buildup, allowing me to go longer between visits to the dental hygienist. As reported by the Indian Journal of Dental Research:1

“Oil pulling has been used extensively as a traditional Indian folk remedy without scientific proof for many years for strengthening teeth, gums and jaws and to prevent decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums and dryness of throat and cracked lips.”

If you take a look at the research, it’s easy to understand why:

  • Oil pulling reduced counts of Streptococcus mutans bacteria – a significant contributor to tooth decay – in the plaque and saliva of children.2 Researchers concluded, “Oil pulling can be used as an effective preventive adjunct in maintaining and improving oral health.”
  • Oil pulling significantly reduced plaque, improved gum health and reduced aerobic mircoorganisms in plaque among adolescent boys with plaque-induced gingivitis3
  • Oil pulling is as effective as mouthwash at improving bad breath and reducing the microorganisms that may cause it4
  • Oil pulling benefits your mouth, in part, via its mechanical cleaning action.5 Researchers noted, The myth that the effect of oil-pulling therapy on oral health was just a placebo effect has been broken and there are clear indications of possible saponification and emulsification process, which enhances its mechanical cleaning action.”
What Type of Oil Works Best for Oil Pulling?

It’s worth noting that the above studies used sesame oil, which is traditionally recommended. However, it has relatively high concentration of omega-6 oils. Therefore, I believe coconut oil is far superior, as most of us get far too many omega-6 fats, which distorts the sensitive omega 3:6 ratio. And, in my mind, coconut oil tastes much better.

From a mechanical and biophysical perspective, it is likely that both work. However, coconut oil has antibacterial and anti-viral activity that makes it especially well suited for oral health. In fact, coconut oilmixed with baking soda makes for a very simple and inexpensive, yet effective, toothpaste and research suggests it may be a valuable tool for fighting tooth decay.

Researchers at the Athlone Institute of Technology’s Bioscience Research Institute in Ireland tested the antibacterial action of coconut oil in its natural state and coconut oil that had been treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion.

The oils were tested against strains of Streptococcus bacteria, which are common inhabitants of your mouth. They found that enzyme-modified coconut oil strongly inhibits the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria, including symptoms of Streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing bacterium that is a major cause of tooth decay.6

It is thought that the breaking down of the fatty coconut oil by the enzymes turns it into acids, which are toxic to certain bacteria.7Enzyme-modified coconut oil was also harmful to the yeast Candida albicans, which can cause thrush. So when oil pulling is combined with the antimicrobial power of coconut oil, I believe it can be a very powerful health tool.

Oil Pulling Is Simple

Oil pulling involves “rinsing” your mouth with the oil, much like you would with a mouthwash (except you shouldn’t attempt to gargle with it). The oil is “worked” around your mouth by pushing, pulling, and drawing it through your teeth for a period of about 20 minutes. Oil pulling will work your jaw muscles as another benefit, but if yours become sore or tired you’re probably “swishing” the oil too vigorously. Just relax and focus on moving the oil with your tongue as well as your jaw muscles.

When you’re first starting out, you may want to try it for just five minutes at a time, or, if you have more time and want even better results, you can go for 30-45 minutes. This process allows the oil to “pull out” bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other debris from your mouth. Once the oil turns thin and milky white, you’ll know it’s time to spit it out. The best time to do oil pulling is in the morning before eating breakfast, but it can be done at any time. I try to do it twice a day if my schedule allows. When you’re done, spit out the oil and rinse your mouth with water or a combination of water and baking soda. Avoid swallowing the oil as it will be loaded with bacteria and whatever potential toxins and debris it has pulled out.

Candida and Streptococcus are common residents in your mouth, and these germs and their toxic waste products can contribute to plaque accumulation and tooth decay. Oil pulling may help lessen the overall toxic burden on your immune system by preventing the spread of these organisms from your mouth to the rest of your body, by way of your bloodstream. Many people think oil pulling sounds strange … until they try it. Then many become hooked. It’s just one more way that you can use a natural, simple substance to significantly boost your oral health. People have been using this technique, and others like chewing sticks, for centuries because they work.

 

 

The purpose of this blog is to share my journey and the information that I found along the way that helps me achieve wholeness in body, soul and spirit every day.

It takes knowledge to get answers and this knowledge to be applied correctly to get results.  In addition, it also takes commitment and consistency.  Results are almost never instantaneous, but they do occur over a period of time.

It is my responsibility to take care of myself.  I have found that my challenges have created an opportunity to explore so many different things to help me heal in body and soul and spirit.  For me to live a life of wellness, a radiant life, is not something that accidentally happens.  It is something that only comes with intentionality of thought and action.

What works for my body, for my spiritual well-being, for my mind to be balanced, healthy and whole is personalized.  That does not mean it only works for me.

I am sharing my experience in hopes that something that works for me might also work for you.  At no time am I giving medical advice or telling anyone what they need to do.   I am simply sharing my experience, and information I have gatheted along the way.  In my journey, I have had many common and unique challenges that have caused me to look beyond what is readily available to meet the need.  What I mean by that is because of specific medical challenges, I have had to look for complimentary and alternative medicines that can either work with or instead of Western medicine.  Western medicine is typically based on pharmaceutical treatment being heavily relied upon and leaves little inclusion of other modalities of healing.

In my case, I am highly sensitive to 90% of narcotic pain medication and very sensitive to standard pharmaceutical hormone replacement and insulin therapy.  My body just doesn’t process it.  I am also sensitive and allergic to many environmental and agricultural items as well.

In 2012, I suffered a catastrophic spinal injury and almost died.  Some of the nation’s best specialists at Stanford put me back together in a 10 1/2 hour surgery.  While given no promises of walking again, I was told I would deal with pain the rest of my life. Following my surgical treatment, the doctor found a narcotic I could take short term. However, there was nothing available I could tolerate for longterm relief, not for lack of trying.  Everything available my doctors knew of was tried, but of no help.  My neurosurgeon spoke the most important words I had ever heard that set me on my journey.  He said, “You are going to be in pain the rest of your life, sometimes very intense.   It is up to you, you must find a way to deal with it.  You can live on narcotics or find another way. There is nothing else I can do.”

It is through these challenges and the lack of readily available information that could help me or bring relief that I was motivated to dig and search deeper for what might be a solution, or a piece of the puzzle.

I know what chronic pain does and without relief how dark the world can be.  I know what I have found that has helped me do more than just survive, that has helped me to love, live and enjoy life again.

In sharing my journey on my blog and the information that I have found and applied that has helped me, it is my hope to provide some hope and encouragement.