The Rest of the Story

I loved Paul Harvey!!  Hope he doesn’t mind that I used one of his most famous lines to title this article.

A few days ago I published an article called “Bake a Cake, Light a Candle.”  I shared some things that I am very excited about and those are regarding my physical health.  To be fair to myself, there was a lot going on during that writing.  My neighbor’s kids lost one of their dogs…disappeared into thin air.  Understandably, they were distraught, so I began to help in the hunt.  A storm was coming in with lots of lightning and thunder, so the hunt was more intense.  At some point, the electricity blipped, my computer shut down and I lost the first version of the story.  You guys actually got the third draft.

Suffice it to say by the time I finished that one, my head was tired.  Today, I realized, I only told you one third of the story.  This blog is about nurturing Body, Mind and Spirit.  I only told you about part of nurturing the body through Paleo.  My apologies to Byron Aeon Mulligan, Dana Hooper and Arleene Gregg.  You played an IMMENSE role in getting me on the path (and keeping me on it) to nurturing my mind and spirit.

I’ve always tried my best to be an open book.  I made a LOT of mistakes along the way to becoming 61!!  I’ve accepted responsibility for my actions, and the consequences from those mistakes.  And I try to be an open book to people who may be going through some of the same things if for no other reason than to give people hope.  Hope is something in pretty short supply these days, so it’s even more important to share from the heart.

What I was referring to in 1989 when I was told I had a year to live, I was told I was HIV Positive.  Back then, that was pretty much a death sentence; except in my case it wasn’t.    I have no explanation why except to say God had a different plan in mind for me.  According to everything every doctor told me, I “should” have died.

The one regret I have now about that is I lost a lot of time sitting around waiting to die.  I didn’t plan for retirement–I wasn’t going to live that long.  I consumed massive amounts of things I shouldn’t have–why not??  ‘Gonna die anyway….BUT, five years passed, then 10.  I started getting an idea the doctors were wrong.

I finally got used to that conversation and lived with it until around 2004.  Then it flipped again.  The virus got aggressive and I had to go on meds.  My conversation no longer was about being HIV+, it had gone full blown…that was a tough conversation to get used to…but I did.

I have lived in survival mode ever since then.  The medication I take is doing it’s job (it had better at $2,500 per month!!) I could get political, but I won’t.

I’ve previously posted I became a Reiki Master one year ago.  Byron was/is my teacher.  I won’t pretend to know all about it…I’ve barely scratched the surface.  I began using crystal therapy, tone therapy and essential oils.  One of my dogs, Bentley, nearly died twice from what I believe was a reaction to flea medicine.  No one gave me any hope he’d make it.  72 hours of prayer, Reiki, crystal therapy on his abdomen and white sage and lavender smudging sticks pulled him through.

I walk barefoot as often as possible letting all the negative energy that builds up dissipate into the ground.  I listen to the wind and water and I’m alert to see what animals, or birds or insects show up.  My spirit is full.  I always thought God and being with God was a destination–somewhere out there we have work to get to.  It never occurred to me He’s right here!!  I don’t have to go anywhere….He is right here!!

My mind is free to meditate, create and basically fly wherever I want to go.  The only thing that has us stuck here, is believing we are stuck here.  So yes, I am elated with the progress my physical body has made.  But I am comforted, quite often to tears as I learn to use every tool God has provided for me to discover who He is making me to be–who He has made me to be.    Our bodies were designed to heal itself.  But we get them so mucked up with junk from the first breath we take, we have to do something–everything to get back to a place where we can accept the place we are in.  Part of that begins with not judging things we may not understand.  And above all, understand God loves us where ever we are–the good, the bad and the ugly.  And, His desire is that we learn to nurture our body, mind and spirit.  And now you have, “The Rest of the Story.”

Thank You God…..and Namaste…………b

Bake a Cake, Light a Candle

I made my entrance into this world July 11, 1957.  This day has special meaning for not just being my birthday, but for being able to say “made it another year.” In 1989, at 32 years of age, I was told I had maybe a year to live.  I had just finished culinary school and my career was shooting up.  All of a sudden, the bottom dropped out.  I also enjoy this day because it gives me another chance to email the doctor that gave me that news just to let him know that me and God are still proving him wrong.

I began writing these stories last January.  I was recovering from what was supposed to be a routine surgery that was anything but.  What should have taken 45 minutes ended up taking 4 1/2 hours.  One thing that came out of it was, of course, they did all kinds of blood work and lab tests, so even though I hadn’t even discovered Paleo, it ended up giving me a starting place.  I found out about Paleo a week or so after that.

At that time, my blood pressure was high enough they wanted to put me on meds…”Nope.”  My blood sugar was high, my cholesterol was high and my triglycerides were really high.  I started to do Keto, but decided that was a bit too much for me.  I didn’t think I could stick with it, and I’m not the kind to not finish what I start.  Then I heard about Paleo.

In the beginning there were a couple of things I missed–good cheese, bread, pasta, sugar–OK, more than a couple.  But, I figured I would give it three months and then decide.  Two weeks in I decided I could live this way even though Day 10 was my withdrawal day–headache, cramps, nasty attitude.  There were things that were tough to give up, but a lot of things I loved.  It was a trade-off I could live with.  The first thing I noticed was that with no flour in my diet, I began to feel better.  I wasn’t as sluggish, my sugar didn’t spike then crash, and I slept better.

I started to lose weight, so that was encouraging, then after about a month, I noticed the inches were coming off my waist.  In all, I’ve lost about 25 pounds, and I’ve lost 8 inches!!  But what do the numbers say?

Last Friday I had another appointment with all the poking, sticking, bleeding as usual.  Before they even started, they took my blood pressure…120/80!!  Then the test results began to come in.  Every single one came back in the normal range.  Cholesterol was 165 and triglycerides 147–well within the normal range.

I can honestly say the only thing I’ve done differently was adopt the Paleo lifestyle…and I’m not doing hard core, and I’m not (gasp!!) exercising any more than I ever have.  So, even if I didn’t like it, I can’t argue with the numbers.

And I get another chance to tell the doctor “I told you I wasn’t going to be that statistic!!”

Namaste     b

Life Lessons from a Rescue

IMG_20180428_121108879Without question, many of the most intense blessings in my life have come in the form of a rescue.  With each one, I have had to ask, “Who really is the rescued?  Them, or me?”  Rescues come in all shapes and sizes, and in all life forms.  The bond that is formed, the love shown, the intense happiness and gratitude that can overwhelm you, and yes, the intense sadness when they’re gone–all show you have been rescued (too.)

IMG_20180428_121123190My first dog, Little Dancer, was a Papillon rescue.  A friend of mine got her for me not knowing that in doing so, kept me from taking my own life that day.  People never really understood why I called her my little four-legged angel–God sent her to me to give me something to live for.  And, I did live for her, and she lived for me.  Inseparable.

When my friend brought her over to me she was no bigger than my two hands cupped together.  She was so tiny and afraid–she was trembling when I took her.  I held her close and told her it was going to be ok.  She closed her eyes and melted into my chest then turned and licked my nose.  I carried her for most of the rest of the day so she would hear and know my heartbeat and she never really left my side after that.

She slept on my pillow curled up under my arm.  She was the first and only dog I’ve ever known that cried.  When I got emotional, tears running down my face, she would get up on my lap and lick my face, and many times, she had tears running down her face as well.

The hardest thing I’ve ever done was to let her go.  She had a stroke and went deaf and blind.  She was so scared and confused…I couldn’t let her be afraid like that.  I tried so hard to take care of her, but I could not take away the fear.  Only when I held her would she quiet down.

We had a little game we played–she could count.  I’d say “Dancer I love you,” and she’d lick my nose once.  “Dancer, I love you, love you, love you…” she licked my nose three times.  After her stroke, she couldn’t hear me anymore, but I would tell her every time I picked her up, “I love you.”

The vet came to my house and I walked around the house holding her, thanking her for all the laughter, the tears, the love we shared.  She was almost asleep and I told her one last time, “Dancer, I love you.”  After a second, she opened her eyes, turned around and licked me on the nose and went to sleep.  God let her hear me one last time, and He let me know she heard me.

I have many other rescues in my life as well.  The two roses pictured here are rescues of a sort.  They were being tossed out and I took them home and planted them in my rose garden.  I watered them, I talked to them, I fertilized them…I did everything I knew and they sat there for a summer–nothing–not so much as a leaf.  I left them there over the winter and even into the next spring.  All my other roses were blooming like crazy and they sat there without a bud or a leaf.

I finally decided to replace them and went and bought two new ones.  I got my shovel and was just about to put it into the soil.  Before I did, I looked really closely and I saw a tiny green shoot with a couple of baby leaves just coming up out of the ground.  I thought, “OK…I’ve waited this long…I’ll wait a little longer.  They were tiny and frail and they hardly grew at all.  Through the next spring and the next, they grew a little more but never bloomed.  By this time, it is year four.

This year, they were two of the first ones showing new leaves.  They aren’t covered in blooms, but they are blooming and they are two of the sweetest smelling roses I have.  So, if you want to know unconditional love…find a rescue.  Nurture it, love it, take care of it and you will be rewarded beyond measure.  Never give up.  You may find that you were the one rescued…just like I have been.   Namaste.  b


Here Comes the Sun

Here in East Texas we have had rain…lots of rain.  It has been more than two weeks since the sun has been out for more than a few minutes in the breaks in the clouds, and there have been very few breaks.  We’ve had flooding, but, Thank God, nothing like they’re experiencing on the Ohio River and in other parts of the country.

Our lakes are full and many have flood gates open.  My favorite lake, Lake Palestine, is running slightly less than two feet over the spillway.  Full lakes at the beginning of March is exactly what we need.  It won’t be long before the summer heat sets in and things begin to dry up.

The temptation to grumble and complain about the non-stop sogginess is certainly there,  but I grew up in the Texas Panhandle where this year they have gone nearly 120 days without any rain…3 months of nothing but cold and wind.  So believe me, I stop myself and anyone else I hear from complaining about the rain.  It’s only been a year since the Panhandle of Texas and parts of Oklahoma were scorched bare by wildfires.  So many people lost everything in those fires.  Scores of cattle, horses and deer, homes, hay, and miles of fences were burned.  So, I won’t complain about the rain (and I’ll pray for rain for them).

Yesterday, the sun was out all day.  I worked in the yard and my gardens like a beaver getting ready for winter.  I actually got to wear shorts and a t-shirt (except for when I was cutting the roses back).  It was great to just be outside in the sunshine.  My body was soaking up Vitamin D like a sponge soaks up water.  My whole outlook and attitude changed.  I have to have sunlight.  Otherwise I begin to feel like the weather–gloomy, gray, kind of soggy and just miserable.  I’m not really depressed, just–well, gray.

The whole world woke up yesterday.  Bees were buzzing around the early dandelions, birds were singing and animals were out and about everywhere.  I used to fight dandelions, but then I learned they are usually the first food sources for bees, so I leave them alone.  One of my projects this year is to plant a bee garden.  It will have plants and flowers especially for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Spending days outdoors like that is so good for the soul.  I take off my shoes, get myself grounded (literally) to the earth and the energy she gives.  I soak up the sun and sounds of nature and let all the negative stuff I’ve accumulated like dust by being shut indoors wash away in the golden warmth of the sun.  Has me singing that old song “Here Comes the Sun.”  Over the next few days I’ll be writing about using nature to nurture our body, mind and spirit.  When the sun shines, soak it in…it’s good for the soul.