Up-line Upside

Thou shalt not gossip…so I won’t mention any names.

An acquaintance, who evidently had an opinion of who she thought I was, asked me recently point blank: “Why in the world would you ever get involved with an up-line-based direct sales business?!” It reminded me of my own smugness due to the limitations of arrogance not so long ago. Reading between the lines, the question really is a veiled pronouncement: “I thought you were more intelligent than that.”

I thought I was too, a few short years ago. This multilevel business model had a sketchy track record in my mind; my husband would actually walk away smirking at your idiocy if you broached the subject in conversation. And if you were “passionate” and “excited” about selling beads and baubles in people’s living rooms, the bigger he smirked. But Life has a way of poking holes in our pride to make room for humility. Times have changed, and thankfully so has the direct sales business model.

The key to any successful venture is to know what you want. When we find our “reason why”, we find our motivation. I knew I wanted to spend my remaining limited waking hours doing something that would benefit people around me as much as possible, while providing opportunities and income for my own household. I wanted to lay my head on my pillow at night and know I had contributed something worthwhile to my people. And I wanted to do it in a way that wouldn’t take me far from my loved ones for most of the week. Armed with this criteria, it was easy to trim the fat as far as knowing what I didn’t have room to entertain. There are always opportunity costs, taking up one project means putting others on hold, perhaps indefinitely.

After much research (and no small amount of prayer), I settled on the business I now conduct, working alongside a company of souls whose ethos and product line I regard highly. It should be noted that it all had to pass muster with my husband before I actually stepped forward with confidence; no sexism here, no subjugation of the little woman staying in the kitchen where she belongs… my egalitarian husband has a modicum of wisdom, I wanted to be sure he could look over the business model and give it a thumbs up. All business start-ups necessarily bring inherent challenges; the learning curve is only elongated when your life partner is not on board. Miraculously, he approved my new-found entrepreneurial endeavor whole-heartedly, only after careful review of all terms and conditions.

Again, running a business is no cakewalk. A good fit and support all around certainly do make it feel easy. Plus there’s a fun factor as well.

In fairness, the first month was like holding my breath, wondering if I really made the right decision or had completely lost my mind. When the first paycheck arrived, completely covering my initial investment and putting us into the black, I knew we had lift-off. Who doesn’t want to get paid to improve your own life and the lives of others around you? Who doesn’t want to learn and grow and pass on to your family those things you’re learning, with results and income to support it? Who wants to stay in a job simply because of a wage, all the while dodging that sneaky suspicion that you’re not making the most of the daylight? And regarding products, if I could buy what I normally buy, but now from a friend whose values are in sync with my own, why wouldn’t I make the switch? In fact, I was already doing this before ever entering the direct sales marketplace. Peace, love, harmony and all that, yes. But why support multinational corporation’s of people whose values we don’t know (or worse, we disagree with) when we could be supporting friends and family who we know personally? In doing my own homework, the pros fully outweighed the cons.

I like the multilevel direct-sales business model, you can probably tell by now. And I think everyone can make a genuine go of it and attain whatever level of success is desired. There are no ceilings, glass or otherwise, in this line of work. As Jim Rohn (one of my faves) is fond of pointing out, we go for high numbers because of the person we must become in the process of achieving them. We become hopeful realists, we take the initiative to recognize weak points and fears in order to improve and overcome.

If you hear the call already, the only caveat is to make sure that the compensation plan of your chosen company makes sense for the amount of time and effort you will be investing. For me, though I may be thinking of my business off and on during my downtime, I am already seeing acceptable returns even when putting in less than 30 hours a week. Isn’t that something worth writing home about? Why not you?

Up-line Upside

A Day of Preparation

Today was one of many a day of preparations. T’is what makes the Christmas season last so wondrously long!
 
We put up our Christmas tree later than most people. I did not grow up with a tree, nor Christmas exactly. My husband grew up with the tree being placed and decorated Christmas Eve because, “that’s just how it’s done. Case closed.” Today he felled a tree that hasn’t been doing so well, but the top is nice for the house.
We keep our tree up through January 6, later than some, traditionally to mark the Epiphany. January 7 we put up lacy hearts and shamrocks so as not to be caught out. Kidding.
 
This blog has been dormant as I’ve considered whether or not Facebook can replace it. I believe not, so the intention is to get cracking again right here after the first of the year. Check Instagram and Facebook for the decorated tree. Meantime, enjoy these images of my everlove prepping an evergreen.
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A Day of Preparation

Choosing to Losing

For all who’d like to lose weight, the big secret is out!  Eat less and exercise more!  Duh.  It’s like telling a drug addict to just say “no”.  If it were that easy, it would be that easy.  But it isn’t.  Similarly, when it comes to losing weight and improving one’s health, the truth is simple:

1 – Quit eating refined sugars
2 – Quit eating white flour
3 – Take a daily walk

But simple truths aren’t as easily followed, or the world would be filled with peace, love and understanding.  I digress.  If you can’t even accomplish the above three health-ups, you’re in a bad way and you already know it.  Hang in there, you’re not alone.  When comfort eating is in full swing, the most satisfying binge is usually comprised of white flour and refined sugars, even if you’re a salty snacker.  Comfort eating typically is high in buzz and low in nutrients, so the brain keeps calling for more food with the expectation of nutrients…which are not on the train.  So this “comfort” is an exceedingly temporary satisfaction, after which another binge is required…and another and so on.  It’s a similar pattern for heroin addicts, mind you.

We’ve all heard the reports of refined sugars being harmful to us, though most of us don’t really take stock of just how harmful.  There is a saying in wellness circles: the whiter the bread, the quicker you’re dead.  Not pretty, but memorable.  Cutting out these 2 items alone will significantly improve energy levels and improve our mood and mental clarity, primarily by cutting down on the demand for insulin production in the body.  If you’re like me, mood and mental clarity are precious commodities.  But what if one hasn’t even the energy, nor the care, to quit consuming the yummy breads and sugars?  To those in fair health this may seem like a ridiculously rhetorical question; to those on the sofa not reading this because their shows are on and they just opened a bag of cheese puffs…the question is an awful reminder of present reality.  To such a one, the real question might be, “How did I ever get to this place?”  The next question is usually more painful and far less entertained: Can I ever get out of this condition?  The first voice to respond (remember the voices?) usually sounds like this: “Who cares? Pass the ranch dip.”  The bona fide answer, however, is a resounding, “Yes you can get out of this condition!”  It requires some effort, but not as much as you may think.

My husband has struggled a few times with his weight since we were married.  A health-conscious young man who spent his free time cycling long distances and body-surfing off famous beaches, he accumulated 30 pounds in our first year of marriage.  My large dinners for him when he got home late in those days may have had something to do with it, but let’s not point fingers.  We’ll both attest that putting it on is easier and funner than taking it off.  His occupation in our early years together placed him at a desk in front of a computer for 9 hours a day, plus the bus and train journeys back and forth.  The handsome man I married had gained back all his cute baby fat and then some.  Where he was once inspired and inspiring, he became uncharacteristically listless and sarcastic.  Worse was his seeming unwillingness to change back to good eating and exercise habits.  There are reasons people let themselves go, spiritual and emotional; a sinister and vicious cycle develops.  Some habits are often imposed upon us from childhood, and the intention of this missive is most certainly not to weaken my man’s reputation.  It took me far too long to realize that, though willingness to change may have been present, accumulation of toxins in his system had put him on a path to inactivity and dwindling self-esteem.  Depression is the natural bedfellow of these last two, we’ll get to that another day perhaps.

Who can say exactly where and how some habits creep in and usurp the rightful stations of good ones?  The devil, they say, is in the details.  I argue not in this case.  But now I comprehend.  One little habit can nudge us off course, and we’re in danger of being sidetracked in our life goals and callings.  Add one or two more destructive habits and we may be forever tormented by the spread between what might-have-could-have-should-have been and what actually is.  Let us not forget the mind; we are what we dwell upon all day long.  The hope lies in this:  if one bad habit can nudge a body off course, one good one can elbow out the bad until it no longer finds place in our lives.  With prayer and consistency, just one good habit can make all the difference in getting back on the track to abundant living.

If those 3 requirements at the top seem nearly impossible to accomplish, allow me the liberty of a suggestion.  My husband began taking (reluctantly) the Plexus Tri-Plex Combo to jump-start his energy levels, specifically to facilitate a proper blood sugar balance.  He reports that, since beginning the Tri-Plex, those 3 items above became not only easier to do, but ultimately desirable.  Where he began by merely adding Plexus to his daily intake, inconsistently at first, it wasn’t until 3 months later that he actually felt like getting his game on, shedding 15 pounds in the 30 days just passed.

If by reading this you have “heard the call”, felt led to get the back-field in motion or otherwise found that spark of inspiration to get a move on, quench it not.  Care for it, love it.  Throw embarrassment and shame out the door, kick them all the way to the curb if you must; give them absolutely no welcome in your life.  The adage is true, a year from now you’ll wish you started today.  Do not add one more straw to your back.  Make better eating choices today, even small changes.  Begin now to build a new foundation; soon enough you’ll wake up and realize you’re living in a new temple.  The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.  The challenge here is to take it in increments of 7 days, and ramp up from there.  Cut out refined sugars and white flour altogether, cold turkey, for just 7 days.  Take a daily walk; walk a mile or a meter, but walk further than you usually do in the course of a day, enough to break a sweat.  Take stock of your mood after 7 days and then go for another 7…and another 7 after that.  Forgiveness is built into the universe for cheaters, but don’t look for opportunities to bail.  If all you can stomach is half a serving of steamed broccoli a day, resolve to stick with it.  It only takes one serving to start an avalanche, in a matter of days you’re on the slippery slope to excellent health.

Learn more about Plexus Worldwide and their natural plant-based products at http://www.shopmyplexus.com/borarew

 

 

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Choosing to Losing

Fragrant Fermentation

The preservation of food did not begin with refrigerators.  Sunlight and salt were the most popular natural methods used, primarily for desiccation of ingestible items.  Water brings life for organisms, including those that may be designed to render putrid something which might have earlier been a satisfying meal.

Researchers at large have identified what we call lactobacilli, bacteria that produce lactic acid, present just about everywhere living organisms may be found.  With some intention, we can use these bacteria as we see fit.  Our ancestors saw fit to keep food digestible for longer and longer periods, well before electric refrigeration.  As a bonus, we now know that these beneficial bacteria produce beneficial enzymes, thus aiding our digestive flora.  Evidence exists to show that lactobacilli support our immune systems which, as I’ve posted previously, is rooted in our gut.

Sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers, and preserved fruits are commonly recognized at home and abroad.  In my own Korean culture, fermented foods are a staple, left over from generations of traditional pickling of our vegetables for longevity and health benefits.  Below is an abbreviated recipe for my favorite iteration of lacto-fermented vegetables: kim-chee.  All my life, the Korean table was never lacking a dish or two of this vegetable preparation.  At it’s simplest foundation, kim-chee is made by salting a head of cabbage and then leaving it stand for several days in an earthen vessel, sometimes buried in order to maintain a consistent cool temperature to extend it’s edibleness.  Seeing how one might become bored of salty wilty cabbage, Eastern epicureans long-since departed found other ingredients to add to the cabbage, serving up a bit of finesse with each dish.  The addition of dried hot peppers was probably a Eureka! moment for my ancestors and, thus, very few kim-chee recipes omit this ingredient.

 

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Lest you believe all kim-chee to be the same (as does my husband), I should inform you that there exist myriad variations of kim-chee “dressings”.  Yes, the fundamentals must be present, but then a pinch of this and a pint of that leads to subtlety of palate-pleasing expression.  In some parts of Korea, a purely vegetable preparation is preferred; in other parts, salt-cured shrimps or fish is added for a specific flavor.  In actual fact, no matter what speciality a Korean restaurant may be known for, they are judged significantly on their kim-chee.  As polite as we may be on the outside, a plate of bland restaurant kim-chee has caused better Korean noses than mine to curl up and never return.  You don’t want to get this one wrong.

One must take into account that the final preparation won’t really be ready for consumption until after at least three days.  More than a few people have made the mistake of downloading a recipe on the rush-hour subway with the idea of impressing dinner guests later in the evening.  I still laugh when I think of it…in a kind-hearted way, of course.  A very fresh plate of kim-chee is quite acceptable, having just been made, like a crisp salad.  Digging into it too soon, prior to real fermentation, and you get what tastes like yesterday’s salad.  I find this has no appeal.  Once you pass the 3-day mark, you can tell fermentation is well under way, the longer you let it set, the more pungent it becomes.  This is what we come to expect from a serving of kim-chee.


Bora’s Mild Kim-Chee Recipe for the Western Epicure

Serves a small household for a week or two

Ingredients
1-2 heads of Napa cabbage, depending on size
1/4 – 1/2 cup good quality sea salt (or kosher) per cabbage head
3 Tbsp dried hot pepper flakes
1-2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1-3 green onion, chopped or minced
2-3 medium carrots, julienned
1 Tbsp of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp fish sauce (optional)
3/4 tsp sugar to assist fermentation

Preparation of cabbage

Clean and rinse all fresh ingredients

Remove tough outer leaves of cabbage if necessary, then chop cabbage into bite-sized pieces.

Rinse the cabbage pieces fully in a sink of cool water.

Remove and strain w/ collander

Place cabbage in a non-reactive bowl, add 1/4 cup of salt and mix to cover all leaves with salt

Let cabbage sit in the bowl, turning cabbage 2-3 times at 30 minutes intervals

Rinse cabbage 2-3 times

Preparation of filling

In a non-reactive bowl, combine pepper flakes, minced garlic, green onion, carrot slices, grated ginger and sugar.  If you’re not using fish sauce, add as much as another 1/4 cup of salt.  Then mix thoroughly.

Add the above mixture to the rinsed cabbage and mix thoroughly to cover all leaves.

Storing

Pack covered cabbage into airtight plastic container or sterilized glass container; a large Mason or Ball jar works well.

Store in the refrigerator.  If you want to accelerate the fermentation process, let the filled and sealed container remain at room temperature for 24-48 hours before refrigerating.
The kim-chee keeps in the refrigerator for weeks, developing more complex sour flavors.  Typically, once it becomes too mushy and sour, we add it to certain soups for additional flavoring.

P.S. Don’t be surprised at the “fragrance” of the preparation after a few days.  When you open the container, it will certainly announce itself to your nostrils, and to the rest of the house.  Such is the glory of Korean kim-chee!  Enjoy!

 

 

*By the way, the picture above is a fresh jar of kim-chee; compare with the first image further up the page.  That’s the same jar, unopened, after three days, the reduction due to fermentation is clearly evident.  — B. R.

**Gateway to Korea’s YouTube channel has an excellent video for a greater appreciation of the kim-chee process; link below.

Fragrant Fermentation

Voices in My Head

I hear voices. They are in my head. If you’re honest, you hear voices too. It is given to man to hear voices, lest we miss that still small voice within us. Similarly, it is imperative that we learn to recognize the voices in our heads, lest we take ownership of every single one. From before exiting the womb, my soul has been subjected to the voices of others. I had no control, nor frame of reference, for the nature and persuasions of those voices.

An acquaintance of mine checked himself into the psychiatric ward of a hospital some years ago. I don’t really know his reasons, he said he felt overwhelmed by life and decided to drop out for season. In hindsight this seems to have been a mistake, psych ward admittance is no small stigma on one’s record. During a visit, he told me he heard voices in his head, suggesting to him that he was of no use to anyone and would never amount to anything in life. I argued with him. Surely every soul is valuable under heaven, to someone, somewhere, somehow. God had need of him in the here and now. My earnest attempts at encouragement most likely we’re received as plebeian platitudes, I could not compete with such deep grooves in his wax.

I asked my friend if he told the hospital workers about the voices. “Oh no, you don’t do that here. You don’t say you hear voices. And they will ask you, it’s one of the first questions on their little clip boards. They’re very interested in your voices. But you never, ever say that you hear voices.” When I pressed him, he explained that he had become friendly with another young man in his ward, who also heard voices. “I told him to keep quiet about it. But he didn’t. When he was a no-show for our game of chess, I asked about him. The worker said he had been moved to the ‘blue wing’.” Stronger chemicals in the blue wing, I assumed. Perhaps they were merely washing his brain out of talkers.

It is no secret that, through mass media outlets and education establishments, we are all brainwashed. If we’re wise, we’ll choose that which washes over our brains with discretion and no small amount of intention. It’s important that the voices in one’s head be of value. For those we must search. There is seemingly no end to the negative programming that gets carved into our minds, from cradle to grave. Psychologists will tell you that replacing a bad habit with a good one is easier than trying to drop the habit cold. We squeeze out those things which are crippling when we fill our vessels with thoughts and activities intended to produce good fruit; victory by starving the baddies for time and attention. It is written, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing from the Word of God.” It would not be incorrect to consider the first half of that statement on it’s own: faith comes by hearing. It is analogous to a spoonful of cough remedy. We may whinge and wince at the taste but, once swallowed, the medicine produces results. Similarly, whatever we allow into our conscious minds most certainly finds place in our long-term subconscious minds. Et voilá, we are programmed.

If we spend our listening hours in the company of detractors, we become down on ourselves by internalizing their estimations of us. No shame to the detractors, they are expressing their own programming; forgive and be forgiven. If we tune in to the news of the world, which is known to be produced with agenda back of it, we shall become angry and fearful…whereas everyone I know would prefer to be joyful and at peace. It cannot be otherwise, God is not mocked, we reap what is sown. So we must sow in our own gardens seed of our own choosing.

I continue to hear voices in my head. Most are ones I’ve invited in, a conscientious self-programming in accordance with those concepts I consider most valuable. There are other voices occasionally, spiritual entities connected to other programmers, controllers, tyrants. Those are like weeds and must be silenced immediately. Emerson wrote that “a man is what he thinks about all day long.” Before him, the writer of Proverbs illuminated the same truth: as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. These concepts bear out as self-evident after only a few years in one’s skin. We are the products of the thoughts we think.

Let us think well, with conviction toward the desired end of prospering. Let us think love. Confucius say, “The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.” The apostle Paul expressed this notion most excellently in his letter to a church in Philippi, that we do well to meditate upon uplifting and honorable things, so as not to become bogged down in bleak despair. There is no shortage of valuable voices. We have only to seek them, study them for truth and internalize them. If we do not, we most certainly become the product of someone else’s intentions. And who’s to say they have our best interests at heart?

Voices in My Head

YOUR GUT LEAKS? OMG!

I learned of a new concept in the last few months.  As I’ve said, I have very few health issues over the last 20 years.  By God’s kindness I have a mother who taught biology in the local school, educating us in good nutrition at home.  The vast majority of my family and friends are very healthy too.  I would love to believe it’s by their association avec moi, but surely one may not be so vain.  So it came as a surprise to me in late 2015 that there was an already-well-known malady commonly referred to as “leaky gut”.  The bigger surprise was that so many people suffer this debilitation, with an estimated 80% of Americans having some degree of the syndrome, this according to health watchers on the internet.

Increased intestinal permeability, as Leaky Gut Syndrome is also called, is a situation in which one’s intestines have become so weakened as to allow the passing-through of larger particles than is beneficial to the rest of the body.  These particles can include partially digested food matter, even toxic waste which should be moved through and expelled.  In many cases this will cause inflammation and an immune response, and here the trouble really picks up speed.  In progressive cases, the elements passing through an overly permeable gut can turn up in just about any system of the body.  Common symptoms of LGS may include poor digestion, food allergies, inflammation, headaches, weight gain, skin disorders, chronic pain, brain fog, adrenal fatigue, thyroid irregularities.  This is not a conclusive list, but you get the idea.  Our colon is the manufacturing plant of nutrients to be dispatched for use in the body.  These nutrients are distributed through the blood, deposited in all the critical life systems of our vessel.  Leaky gut is like allowing known contagions into your home where they may work their destruction unchecked.  To my way of thinking, this is unacceptable; code red.

Here’s a riddle: the current Wikipedia entry for “leaky gut syndrome” still claims that LGS is actually a “hypothetical…condtion”, and that the scientific community generally doesn’t recognize the existence of “credible evidence” that diseases may be caused by a so-called leaky gut.  Rather LGS is considered, by some, a quack’s theory used to peddle magic powders.  If it weren’t for the numerous testimonies I’ve either heard or read, I might have laughed such an ailment out of class myself.  But what’s this?  Another Wikipedia entry, “leaky gut”, essentially pulls the previous punch.  On one page we find the same no-evidence statement, preceded immediately by a section which states that evidence exists to show that “nutritional depletion results in increased intestinal permeability”.  One can readily see where confusion might set in.

So often the case, any alternative practitioner outside the established medical model is open to ridicule.  As an aside, one of the telling points in a flawed argument is the presence of an ad hominem attack.  Hippocrates’ quote comes to mind: all disease begins in the gut.  Surely the scientific community hasn’t departed from this maxim.  If so, a body might wonder if the Hippocratic oath, in it’s original intent, is of no further interest either.  The argument could be made.  Back to the main point.

To quote another inspired soul, Albert Einstein said that “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.  In other words, our great grannys knew that one doesn’t get sick because the body is deficient in prescribed or over-the-counter synthetic chemistry.  So many elders in my childhood promoted the concept, “we are what we eat”.  I offer no argument here.  If disease begins in the gut, it stands to reason that health can be allowed to flourish in the gut, touching all areas of the body, even the mind.  Not all cases are the same, someone may be deeper in the trap than another.  But there is no substitute for excellent nutrition and adequate exercise.  But what if you are caught in the trap?  Perhaps you’re unwilling or unable to change eating and exercise habits.  What then?

Nutritional supplementation seems a good bridge from poor health to excellent health.  I personally pop as few pills as possible and, if something does go down the hatch, I must know that it was worth the pop.  Sometimes all it takes is assisting the body toward proper balance in order to get someone on the track toward optimal health.  Supplements can be considered a means for priming the pump for the sake of longevity.

The reason I chose to independently promote the products offered by PLEXUS WORLDWIDE is because I have recognized that they have an effect, I notice results.  I have improved my own life, and have seen improvement in those around me, simply by adding some of their supplements to the daily routine.  The company monitors the quality of it’s product carefully.  And a major area of interest to the company and it’s customers is Leaky Gut Syndrome.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with LGS or another digestive issue, do yourself and them a favor by considering a quality probiotic supplement right away.  A probiotic worth taking will reduce disease-causing microbial populations (including yeast) in the intestines, while maintaining a healthy level of beneficial flora.  An excellent partner with that would be something to help cleanse the colon of disease-causing toxic residue or build-up.  I can recommend PLEXUS’ Pro Bio 5 and their Bio Cleanse as well worth taking.  The reason a cleanser is important is that, as the probiotic is breaking down harmful microbes and build-up, we need to eliminate that material from the colon.  Otherwise, as we like to say at home, it’s like scrubbing a filthy toilet but never flushing the bowl.  Ew.

You may contact me with questions via the comments section here, or visit http://www.shopmyplexus.com/borarew to learn more about what PLEXUS products can do for you.  It could make the difference between a measurable return to good living, or a slow and aggravated wearing-out of your body.  Please don’t put off your good health.

 

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YOUR GUT LEAKS? OMG!

When Something Finally Works!

I work as an independent ambassador for the PLEXUS WORLDWIDE  line of natural products, as I’ve mentioned previously.  I knew the supplements were great, but had no close-to-home experience with their body cream.  Now I have, and the account below is nothing less than wonderful! I still can’t resist an enthusiastic overflow when something I recommend finally works for someone who’s had little to no success.

I’m blessed to have a mother-in-law who is simultaneously well-read in health matters and skeptical of all things until proven to her satisfaction.  This week I interviewed her about an issue of eczema that has lately troubled her.  If you’ve ever suffered skin disorders or know someone who does, please read on. Pictures below too. My mother-in-law was willing to go on record to state her experience using the PLEXUS Body Cream.  I recorded her speaking and believe it appropriate to let her words give account from this point forward.

“My eczema started about a year and a half ago, a small patch on my elbow, and over that year it seemed to move around a bit on the arms. Then, probably six months ago, I would notice small patches here and there and I would put on creams and aloe vera, and other things. About six months ago I noticed that I had a large spot about the size of a half dollar, on my back. When it flares up, you’re aware. It’s like heat rash. It’s very itchy and I didn’t know any better so I’m scratching and scratching and spreading it. I had eczema once before, I was 24, it started on my calf, real small, and I let it go. It got to be the size of a baseball before I went to get treatment. The doctor used ultraviolet light and a cream, that took a month or two and it all went away. It never came back, I haven’t had it since until a year and a half ago. I’m now 66. Now I have 11 areas.

“So for the last 6 months I’ve been aggressively trying to treat it. I put on different creams. It still woke me up, the itching was so bad. This scratching would bring relief, but then it becomes inflamed and seems to leave something like a scar. You can feel the evidence, I have a rough patch even after it stops flaring. So I went online to do some research. One person said to take borage oil, a certain amount each day internally. They said try GLA, gamma linoleic acid, so I added that. I did see a cream that was guaranteed to help, it’s like a gel. It’s very expensive but it’s guaranteed to help you. I ordered that and probably used that for 3 to 4 weeks the way the instructions read, two or three times a day. My husband would put it on my back and I would put it on my arms. I was religious about it because this thing was waking me up at night and it’ll just flare up and you just want to scratch it. They say cold compresses help too, to calm it down. So I tried that too. The expensive cream did help, I noticed it began to work after about three days.  I’d say 50% reduction in the symptoms of the redness and itchiness over three weeks. But if I missed putting the cream on it would start to flare up. And there were periods where it would all flare up again, terribly, it didn’t all just go away. Even if I was using the cream, even if I put it on earlier in the day I might have a flare up. The cream didn’t burn my skin but it felt like it, as if the eczema was getting agitated by this expensive cream and then would start to calm down. Sometimes in the middle of the night I would get up and put the cream on, that’s what was going on.

“And then Bora suggested that I try the PLEXUS Body Cream. And I thought, ‘Well how is a body cream going to help this?’ But she showed me some testimonial videos online. The pictures online seemed to me to be some of these phony before-and-after pictures that you see; like these cosmetic surgery pictures, you’re 80 but now you look 30. So I thought, ‘I don’t know.’ But my daughter-in-law is very tenacious! So I decided to try it just to get her off my back! And so, after four days of use, it’s definitely calmed the itching down by, I’d say, 90%! And the redness is down by 90% as well! I did have a flare-up on day 2, but I put on the PLEXUS Body Cream and it calmed down in about a half an hour. That was my only flare-up. Even if this is as well as the PLEXUS cream does, I haven’t found another thing like it. Nothing. I’m going to keep using it.”

PLEXUS Body Cream contains spirulina algae as a detoxifier, also activated charcoal.  Activated charcoal has been shown to create a protective pathogen-blocking barrier on the skin, as well as to absorb toxins.  If you or someone you know suffers from eczema or similar skin disorders, please refer them to this blog post. Questions may be asked in the comment section. You may also visit my ambassador website to learn more about the product, http://www.shopmyplexus.com/borarew.

 

The images below were taken 9 days apart.

 

 

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When Something Finally Works!

Get A Move Out

Part of keeping up the vim and vigor is playfulness, actively playing at something even when you don’t feel like it or haven’t the time for it.  One must force oneself to play, as if that were ever a consideration during childhood.  Part of bringing up children, in fact, is encouraging them toward activity when they’d prefer not to budge.  A game must be hatched.  The game this morning was a we-are-not-wimps exercise, designed by my husband for our two young people…and for me, I suspect.  First snow is upon us and, as is his way, my husband decided we needed to get out in it while the flakes yet fell.  The outside thermometer indicated twenty-seven degrees of cold comfort.  I could feel my feet getting heavier already, torn between the contentment of inertia and the challenge of establishing momentum.

We suited up the children, opened the door and walked away into the woods near the house.  The game was clearly going to build character.  This was not the quiet soft snowfall of the movies.  This was sharp little ice crystals carried on the wind at terminal velocity against our cheeks, pelting the poor birds sideways at my father-in-law’s feeders as we passed them en route to adventure.  Our son is typically the first to broadcast his opinions, just now his regret over joining the trek.  This man that I married reminded him that a choice to join was not given, reluctant enlistees all of us.  Would they really rather be inside on such a rare and glorious day?  They would.

Our daughter is clever.  As Dad barked his orders of “let’s go!” and “turn this way!” and “not that way!”, my young lady recognized the hike for what it actually was, a game of Follow the Leader.  Not to be outdone, she extended her gait until she overtook her father and put a significant distance between herself and the three of us.  Now we would follow her, no more barking.  I was, for a moment, almost envious.  My daughter had more of my own spirit than I just then.

Uphill, downhill, through sheltering woods and across windswept fields…such a lovely thing to hike through deep snow with the ones we love, really.  Upon returning indoors, I noticed we were all chirpier than before leaving, some extra buzz to our beings.  The pictorial follows, humble testament to the notion of things that are good for us.  Happy days to you!

Get A Move Out

Eau de Lavender

Lavenderpickers

My husband really digs lavender. Though I’m not quite as in-love with it as he is, I do have a great appreciation for the plant. I would have been content with a single specimen in our garden; my husband installed several clusters of two or three specimens right up against the house. This so he could dart out from the home office and be in lavender bliss within seconds. He’s funny.  But maybe not as much as I thought. Did you know that lavender essential oil is known for having antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties? And, according to Wikipedia, the lavender plant is considered a weed in Spain. I didn’t know that. Poor Spain.

Not technically an “oil” by definition, I shall stick with the term essential oil because of it’s prevalence of use. My first exposure to essential oils was several years ago through my mother-in-law. I, like her, initially considered aromatherapy to be the science of air fresheners. Yet another example of showing my ignorance. For those who know, the use of essential oils goes way beyond air fresheners, with the highest-grade distillations yielding seriously impressive results.  As I learn about plant essences and their uses, I do rely much on my mother-in-law; she’s easily the most educated member of the family on this topic. Back to the lavender.

The word lavender gets its name from the Latin term for washing, lavare. Lavender oil is used in many household cleaning preparations because, like most essential oils, it is high in antifungal and antibacterial properties.  I had also heard that lavender essential oil could be used to fend off a headache; not the mighty malevolent migraine necessarily, see earlier post for that. But for an aggravating headache our household has found it to be an excellent remedy. The story of first success goes like this.

My in-laws were in the natural cosmetics section of a well-known grocery store chain. My father-in-law had been complaining of a persistent headache; for him to complain at all is rare. My mother-in-law serendipitously happened to be browsing the essential oils at that moment when, as if against some unseen cloud of resistance, the light went on. “Oh!”, she exclaimed, “I just read that lavender is supposed to help with headaches!” She opened a tester and stuck it under his nostrils. “Here, smell this.”  It’s worth mentioning that my father-in-law has no sense of smell, so the sniff-and-be-happy marketing of perfumes is lost on him. I should also say that he is a research scientist of some renown, who readily admits to being “the doubting scientist who thinks it will have no effect whatsoever” whenever someone suggests something resembling a home remedy. In the best of humor, I’m sure, he smiled and sniffed. I suppose years of wisdom has taught him that a quick whiff was the quickest way out of the cosmetics section. Yet it wasn’t 20 minutes before my mother-in-law remembered to ask him about his headache. “Hmm. It’s all gone. Whaddaya know.” Amazingly, we continue to find reasons to trust Nature.

Not all essential oils are equal. It is important to recognize the difference between fragrance oils and high-grade therapeutic oils. Generally, a fragrance oil is synthetic and good for making your bathroom smell nicer then it might.  A medicinal grade essential oil is a natural plant (actually quite a few plants in bulk) undergoing a steam distillation process, all to produce a concentrated essence of that plant’s particular chemical traits. Since these are natural products and cannot be patented, pharmaceutical companies have little to no interest in them; this is probably why the only information we seem to find is anecdotal over the generations.

Most topical essential oils should be used in combination with a carrier oil or other natural agent, so that they are not used undiluted. If you’re going to use lavender only as a household cleaning ingredient, you need not pay the therapeutic-grade price. However, because of quality and purity standards, it is worth paying the extra money if you intend to use it, or any other essential oil, on your body. The same applies for oils to be used for inhalation, the chemical ingredients of the vapors now traveling into your lungs and being taken up by the bloodstream. Before going ape crazy and splashing oils on yourself, be aware that some oils can be dangerous, affecting the skin or increasing the heart rate for example.  Each oil is known for it’s specific chemical make up and, ergo, specific treatments…the details of which go beyond the scope of this post.

You can easily make a lovely lavender water, or hydrosol, by combining 2 cups distilled water, 2 ounces ethyl alcohol (or vodka), and 15 drops therapeutic-grade lavender essential oil. The ethanol is used here as a preservative. Use a sterile glass container and stir the concoction until evenly blended. This water is good as a skin toner or astringent, the acidic nature of flower waters is helpful against blemishes and the like. It can also be used as a perfume in the hair. I may do this tomorrow, see who notices. Wink.

Eau de Lavender

A Clear Head

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When does a woman take to the internets in order to laud the accomplishments of a nutritional supplement company?  This one, right here.  Right now.  I suffer exceeding few health issues, truth be told.  For this I am grateful, mama taught us well, God is good.  One item, however, has been the bane of every month.  You see where I’m going with this.

If I may risk some overexposure for a moment, that famously feminine cyclical occurrence used to be little more than an inconvenience for me, from day one.  Being the chip-on-my-shoulder girl that I was, I still felt compelled to complain.  No one told me it was anything to rejoice over.  First came love, then came marriage and, joy of joys, we became pregnant with our first child and (insert magic wand sound) no more monthly bother for a while.  I can’t say I missed it.  For all the anticipated inconveniences of motherhood, I rather appreciated the monthlies passing uneventfully.

It was after our second child that the migraines kicked in, along with the associated brain fog and top-to-bottom malaise.  Anyone who’s suffered regular migraines can attest to the inflicted debilitation.  I determined it was most likely related to sleeplessness and the demand of two small children, that normalcy would surely return as soon as, well, normalcy returned.  That hasn’t really happened yet, in case you’re wondering.  And as my cycle returned for it’s regular visits, a new guest joined the party:  Monsieur le Crippling Headache.  I found I needed extra rest a few days before first sighting, almost a solid day of napping at least once during the period.  I avoid pharmaceuticals unless absolutely necessary, so I toughed it out every time, ensuring I ate as healthfully as I could prior to the main event.

About a year ago, my dear friend, Mary June, introduced me to the Plexus line of nutritional supplements.  She was an ambassador for their products and, by her initial excitement, I assumed she must be high on a recent sales meeting and was looking to fill her quota.  My eyes glazed over as I backed away with a smile, sad to lose such a good friend.  Happily, these many months later, due diligence done, I am now an ambassador and fan of the company and their products.  Mary June and I remain fast friends to boot!  The penny dropped when, after taking the Plexus Tri-Plex Combo for only about two weeks, my next period came and went without a single inkling of aggravation.  No fog, no pounding, no throbbing, no pain!  After nearly six years, no head pain.  It bears repeating one last time for speed readers:  no pain.  The same held true for subsequent periods.  I still get a bit giddy when those days come and breeze along with no hassle.  I can stay on track.  I got something of a missing peace returned to me and I am ecstatic.  Woman thou art loosed!

If you’d like more information about Plexus Worldwide, their products and / or the business opportunity, please ask your questions in the Comments section, or visit http://www.shopmyplexus.com/borarew.

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A Clear Head