Your Perfume Makes Me Cry

A chiropractor acquaintance of ours is allergic to my perfumes. Actually so is my husband. Sneezing, hacking, gasping, watery eyes, and not the 😂 kind. As I originally thought it was just men being men, turns out there’s more to it. Here my friend, Jessica Hoogendorn, naturopath and CNHP, explains:

“Did you know that sensitivities to chemicals in perfumes, soaps, carpets, and other things has a name: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.

“It’s another problem stemming from leaky gut. A healthy immune system is able to handle these irritants! The problem occurs when toxins and other pathogens have leaked through the inflamed intestinal walls, and entered our bloodstream. Our body becomes overburdened! It starts shutting down or attacking itself.

“Adrenal fatigue, allergies, food sensitivities, anxiety, insomnia, hormonal problems that occur when we reabsorb estrogen (cysts, etc.), brain fog, asthma… Much more! It’s such a long list!!!

“It’s GUT HEALTH!!! Hippocrates knew what he was talking about when he said that all diseases begin in the gut. If anyone is still scoffing at the thought, you have a pretty closed mind! There are doctors and scientists and researchers everywhere who are publishing facts about gut health, how diseases are related to it, and how poor gut health happens.

“It is the very reason why auto-immune diseases begin. Lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, myocarditis, iritis and thyroiditis are some of the members of this ever-growing category of mysteriously incurable auto-immune diseases.”

Disease is no mystery, it’s big business. The American Cancer Society, for example, reportedly has in it’s charter the resolution to dissolve the Society in the event a cure for cancer is found. Small wonder the Society, like big pharma, is not interested in a cure, as they are sustained by millions of dollars in sales and research funds annually. Sick people will pay to get well, but wellness is not derived from adding synthetic pharmaceuticals into already struggling biological systems. At best, symptoms are alleviated in the short term, while toxins are building up over prolonged use. The consumption of pharma’s antibiotics, either prescribed or OTC, play an unholy role in the slow kill of populations worldwide.

Your body has been created to recover magnificently, if only you will give it the nutrients it needs. You are the governor of your health. You choose your diets and lifestyle, upon this we cannot improve. The universe is comprised of natural laws, and historical precedent has shown that violating them necessarily ends in tears, or worse. It is the method by which we learn, and thereby we thrive. If you are not feeling strong and vigorous 95% of the time, something is off kilter. Leave it that way and you can reasonably expect to crash, probably sooner than later.

Your Perfume Makes Me Cry

Why Should I Even Try?

walkers pubdom

The long dark days of Winter can tempt me to feel like not even trying. Since Spring weather has arrived, though, I’ve been enjoying walking with friends, and it’s been such a blessing. It’s good for the body, good for the soul, and good for keeping up relationships. If you can walk, you should. Here’s why:

Walking helps reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia, according to a University of Kansas study. In fact, the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center has recently begun the most comprehensive study to date, on the role exercise plays in cognitive health. Walking improves overall mental peace, by giving your body an outlet for daily stressors, stimulating production of endorphins and neural cells.

The Journal of Psychiatric Research showed that walking even 30 minutes a day improves our outlook and reduces depression. We can survive, or we can thrive.

A six-month study done by Duke University has shown that walking beats running for prevention of diabetes. The walkers were found to be six times more efficient than the runners in usage of their blood sugar. Better glucose processing is easier on the pancreas as well.

Walking contributes to spinal health, strengthening back muscles and improving circulation along the spinal column, thus reducing back pain. The American Heart Association has recognized that daily low intensity exercise is as effective at strengthening the heart as is more impactful working out. Overworking the heart muscle is not advisable, and each person must know their limit. Low-impact aerobic exercise, however, is an excellent way to strengthen the heart, improve circulation and lower blood pressure. Walking also improves lung capacity, thereby helping to oxygenate the cells more completely. This is critical for cellular function, especially for detoxification processes. Accumulation of toxins is one of the leading causes of disease.

The Glaucoma Research Foundation has found that walking significantly improves eyesight, by lessening the pressure that builds up inside the eyeball when we sit for long periods. Exercise stimulates the visual cortex in the brain as well.

Our grandparents intuitively knew that taking a walk after a big meal was the thing to do. Science has demonstrated that walking improves digestion and elimination processes, thus lowering risk of colon cancer. According to research, it even improves the survival prospects of someone diagnosed with such cancer.

The Arthritis Foundations recommends walking to support bone and joint strength. Sitting can lead to loss of bone density, increasing risk of fractures and breaks. This is one of those use-it-or-lose-it examples. Like muscular development, when we demand performance of the body, our body miraculously responds by generating more mass to meet the demand.

The most productive walking, for weight loss and muscle tone, is that pace right before you need to break into a jog. The faster you go from there puts more impact and chance of strain on the body. If you’ve been sedentary all Winter, or since the turn of the century, start with a stroll. Something is certainly better than nothing. The more we sit, the more we mentally stagnate.

Homework for you…get up off your bum and take a walk. No one can do it for you. If you don’t have any get-up-and-go whatsoever, I can help find you some fuel. But you are the the driver of your vehicle; yours is the engine.

#ineedenergytoday #walkingforpleasure #whyshouldieventry

Why Should I Even Try?

Who Do You Think You Are?


Image via Flickr by Alexander Day


Here’s a question: Are you what you think you are? An Old Testament proverb declares, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” I expect that applies to us ladies as well. How about this one: are we really what we eat? The correct answer is in the affirmative, it is impossible to be otherwise.

A startling figure was reported in The Guardian, in that, “About 85% of Americans do not consume the US Food and Drug Administration’s recommended daily intakes of the most important vitamins and minerals necessary for proper physical and mental development.” This is a 2015 metric, though I don’t see the state of affairs has changed much, from my own research. For example, french fries remain the number one vegetable consumed by Americans, some 28 pounds per person annually. And let’s just gloss over the approximate 180 pounds of sugar…for now.

The Guardian article recognizes that “hidden hunger” (micronutrient deficiency) wreaks havoc on our systems because we do not appear hungry, we appear filled out or even pudgy. If we don’t look emaciated and weak, it follows that we don’t necessarily move toward dietary changes. But the fact remains that body mass is clearly not synonymous with nutrient density. It’s one thing to consider our own body, quite another to feel the weight of responsibility for what we teach our children to consume on a daily basis. As a mother, this is an ever burning question for me. Am I giving my children the best building blocks that I can, or am I placating their demands for something of far less quality, content to set them up for a lifetime of disease?

Long-term illnesses and chronic discomfort have compounding effects, if we don’t clear things up quickly. In my own practice, I look at daily dietary intake, as this will give me a great idea as to what may be being set up in the body. Garbage in eventually equals garbage out. Sometimes, the real problem is that the garbage actually doesn’t come out; it remains lodged in the G.I. tract or in organs and fatty deposits. Over time, this equates to an ever-thickening toxic soup under our skin, clogging our veins, crossing the barrier and poisoning our brains. Little wonder that we’ve lost our get-up-and-go, or that our children are dulled vessels of apathy.

Nutrition, nutrient density, nutrient-rich foods…not the sexiest of conversation starters. But converse about such things we must, if we would live and live well. In her 2009 article, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride observes that so-called mental disorders in children are very frequently the symptoms of unrecognized physical illnesses. She writes that, in addition to suffering from environmental contaminants, children also “cannot digest and absorb their food properly and have severe nutritional deficiencies. As a result they are unable to learn, unable to function in society, to play sports, to make friends, to fit in.” The good doctor underscores my earlier point, that it is impossible to reflect anything other than what we consistently feed ourselves. And let’s remember, that aforementioned government recommendation is widely considered to be the barest minimum for survival.

So the final questions for the moment are: Are we thriving, or are we barely surviving? And are we clipping our children’s wings at the same time?

Who Do You Think You Are?

Diabolical Diabetes


Image via Flickr, by Paulo Etxeberria


The dreaded “D-words”: devils, demons, diseases, diabetes. I can’t speak for everyone’s spiritual condition…but I can nearly guarantee that, if you’re reading this, you are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or know someone personally who is. That’s how close this particular disease is to us, one degree of separation, and small wonder. Though it seems an acceptable evil nowadays, like dental caries and tonsillectomies, diabetes is the stairwell to a dungeon of miseries. Amputation, blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, and nerve damage can all be awful expressions of advanced biological systems failure, preceded by constant blood sugar imbalance and rampant insulin overproduction. The sad part is that the suffering is unnecessary. Imbalances can be balanced, overproduction can scaled back. Life can be good again.

Rooted in Wheat and Sugar

According to chiropractor Bruce West, diabetes is rooted in the increased consumption of refined wheat products, paired with the sedentary lifestyle of the western world. In his book, The 45 Day Health Turnaround, Dr. West states, “This disease is caused by eating processed foods loaded with wheat, sugar, and corn syrup, all the while staying on the couch and avoiding exercise.” If that’s you, this may be your wake-up call.

What’s the quick fix? Get more exercise; oh, and remove wheat and sugar from your diet. Easier said than done, I know; the typical English-speaker swallows roughly 125 pounds of sugar every year. And we’re not referring to heavy whole-meal or sprouted grain breads made (usually) at home, many without yeast, as these do retain nutritional value. Rather, let’s identify the troublemaker as the light-as-a-cloud, refined-then-refortified, loaves and pastries of simple carbohydrates that stock the public pantries. If you are in your best health and fitness ever, an empty carb treat once in a while has no immediate peril. The pre-diabetic, however, is already on the precipice of disaster. Less wheat products, less sugar, more physical activity, these are the new rules.

Those three new rules threaten to put the kibosh on “enjoying life” for half my readers, I suppose. Unless, of course, you’re desperate for pain-free longevity. Some of you dear readers have already recognized something is way out of balance; there’s a huge difference in how “old” you feel today, in surprising contrast to how “alive” you remember yourself being, maybe only a few short years ago. If you’re not yet convinced wheat flour + sugar = disease, try removing only these two items from your diet. You may find this alone to be near impossible, as sugar shows up everywhere in processed foods. If you can stick to the wheat / sugar fast for two weeks, take note of how you feel. Is your energy longer-lasting? Is mental clarity sharper? Keep on this fast for as long as you can. You may want to get your blood sugar levels tested as you go, for a more analytical metric. Dr. West goes on to say, “without exercise and the elimination of, or dramatic reduction in, wheat intake, you simply will never overcome diabetes. And conversely, with these two factors and the right supplements, you can be drug-free within 90 days.” That’s quite a prognosis, flying in the face of the conventional prescription meds model. But what have you got to lose? What could you regain?

Daily exercise seems to be an insurmountable hurdle for some. For me, I don’t mind it; but my husband, for example, only gets excited about physical activity if it involves a game or socializing. Find your inspiration. Promising to hit the gym in the morning, then waking up and not going breeds guilt. Guilt is not conducive to improving health. If you cannot muster the energy to crawl toward your goal, at least fall in the general direction; 20 minutes of Wii Fit is not too meager a beginning, if that’s all a body can take. You inhabit an amazing vessel, in that it will not develop until you make impossible demands of it. Consider the immobility that is overcome within the first year of life, when a newborn goes from struggling to hold its head up, to standing triumphantly, their relatively huge body balanced atop cute little feet and toes. That first year of development is an expression of unfettered faith in action. Over the course of a lifetime, that faith is hammered, attacked, and otherwise eroded, by means equally spiritual and physical. The infant who observed people walking upright, having no reason to believe he or she was ineligible for such a feat, has become so invaded by defeatist programming that the adult limits itself. No external forces need be imposed any more; the adult no longer believes in an ability which the infant never questioned. The joy of living, jumping, and running, has been usurped by the comfort of sitting, watching, bingeing.

The problem for the diabetic is a transparent one. The body is not managing insulin production well. The human body was designed to heal itself. Most of us were not born with critical deficiencies, weren’t brought into the world needing assembly and batteries. The healthy child of a healthy mother arrives a specimen of glowing health. And with good feeding and care, this little person should be able to go on for decades, requiring minimal maintenance. But what we see in this country, among our own people, is not good feeding and care. We see an accepted ethos of medicating and chemical micromanagement. Prescription medications are inherently deceptive, and should be approached with caution. There may yet be a need for antibiotics, for example; a few I know who survived this winter’s flu onslaught believe their lives were saved by them. Fair enough, but we cannot survive in an anti-biotic state forever. The prescription fallacy plays out when we think a problem is resolved because the symptom’s discomfort is alleviated. In reality, if we maintain the same poor diet and lifestyle choices, the ailments persist. More accurately, they are quietly worsening. The next wake-up alarm could be louder, with no snooze button.

The Need for Change

The statisticians suggest that more than 30 percent of Americans are trending toward obesity. Many overweight diabetics and pre-diabetics are given misleading information as regards weight loss. Whether they are advised by medical professionals, or they come to their own conclusions, losing weight is often seen as the priority first step toward healing. But this is not necessarily so. Granted, maintaining a healthy body to mass ratio is a good thing; but weight gain may be as much a symptom of chemical or hormone imbalances as it is it’s own problem. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., in his book, “Eat for Health”, observes that excellent nutritional intake has “profound effects on improving pancreatic function and lowering insulin resistance over and above what could be accomplished with weight loss alone.” Dr. Fuhrman advocates a high-nutrient diet which, in my experience, very few people are willing to follow. This has as much to do with belief as it does effort and willpower. If you are a believer, then you’re already aware of the never-ending quest for a greener-green, a more “organic” whole food. All this adds up to time and money, and even the crunchiest of us are susceptible to taking short cuts for expediency.

As long as people generally believe they’re doing okay, no crippling aches or pains, people don’t change. We see it in nations as well as in the individual. All too frequently, the desperation level must become hellish before we are motivated to repent. Nowhere is this as obvious as in how we satisfy our appetites. It becomes an issue of philosophy, perhaps of morality. Before naysayers poo-poo such notions, spend a few years watching a loved one knowingly and willfully destroy his or her health right in front of you, not caring enough to make the effort. No matter the validity of their reasoning, you’ll find your morality, and your exasperation threshold.

Nutrient-rich eating is the ideal, without question; in fact, it is how our ancestors survived and thrived since the Flood. Unless we grow our own veggies from heirloom seeds, we take your chances at the grocery store and growers markets. Purists resolve to be on a first-name-basis with their growers. It’s people who do the planting, after all; people feed other people.

Finding What Works

What if “the best” produce is 30 miles from home, or more, and you work in the opposite direction anyway? And what if you’re already maxing out your window well with potted herbs and peppers? Vitamin and mineral supplements were created for such reasons. Most Americans are barely getting the minimum recommended daily allowance of the essentials; going for optimum health requires intention and focus. If fresh, raw, whole foods are the vehicle to longevity, nutritional supplementation can be seen as the insurance. But again, you’re looking for high quality plant-based natural products to put into your body, to serve your essential functions, which requires more diligence on your part. The old question arises again: isn’t life worth living? Aren’t you worth thriving, not merely existing?

Balancing our internal systems through proper diet, exercising our muscles, lungs, and brain — these are the simple keys to happy longevity. This is the straight and narrow path to health, physical, emotional, and mental. Deviation from this protocol, neglecting the fundamentals — these are the slippery slopes into the abyss of discomforts, diseases, and miseries. Some of us who leave “the path” in our youth, with cavalier disdain for self-discipline, return to the high road later in life, licking our wounds. Some never make it back to optimal health at all, struggling for decades under the likes of those above-mentioned horrors. A few leave us altogether; their stories and wisdom remain unknown to us.

We gain much by being vigilant over our wellness, and we have much to offer to those around us as we do. If you know you’re sliding down the slope, you can dig your heels in right now, with the determination to arrest your own disability and destruction before it’s too late. The good news is that, while there is yet breath in our lungs, it is not too late to make changes. Small improvements add up to the renovation of a life. Today’s the day.

Diabolical Diabetes

Monkey Do

I always found amusing the age-old monkeys image where each monkey covers its eyes, ears or mouth. It was almost as if to my childish mind, that some monkeys were smarter if they kept their opinions and strategies to themselves. They just might live longer, perhaps even get ahead of the troop. I have spent many years being an observer. It means that much time was spent on the sidelines, maybe even more than actually engaging in the game of life. But it is not enough to observe. Life is for living.

Observing life from the back of the room is advantageous to a point. Many of us would do it simply to steer clear of criticism or social aggravation; others of us would choose to not expose our own ignorance by keeping our mouth shut and our hands off the table. Some of us would even go so far as to let others talk long enough until they have enough words upon which to choke themselves. I have been at all three stations at least once in my life. A shrewd and critical surveyor of the characters around me. But it bears repeating: life is decidedly for living.

In the last several years I have noticed a willingness to connect with people… People who generally didn’t get me or otherwise were difficult to handle. You know the ones, those people who aren’t like you, the not “my kind of people” people. But we do ourselves and society at large a great disservice by harboring distrust to the point of seclusion. We stunt our own growth. And we limit the collective growth of humanity.

One of my favorite Biblical verses is James 5:16, “Confess your sins one to another…”. In broad strokes, I take the verse to mean that we should lead open and compassionate lives, to the enrichment of each other. Confessing sins, so to speak, is another way of being real and honest about who we are, warts and all. If you can forgive me my errors, I can forgive you yours. And if I can’t handle yours, I’m either vainly proud, unrealistic, or both. This verse, to me, goes in tandem with another more easily (even haphazardly) slung-about maxim: “Judge not, lest you be judged.” The clarification of this latter verse is for another day, let it be enough here to compliment the former.

The soul who sits back in observation is seduced into hiding, maybe believing it is better than some of the souls in its company. Such a temptation leads to false impressions of superiority, or worse, inferiority. Verily, we should not think more highly or lowly of ourselves than we are, for this leads to hiding, observing. But when we connect with one another, when we observe and engage, we remove vanity, prejudices and false pretenses. We cannot point the finger outward for too long before recognizing we must point the finger inward as well. We may be different on some things from those around us, but we must also recognize we are so very much the same. Self-preservation is no longer that desperate and overbearing need any longer. We are free, for we know the truth. And this makes us all the healthier.

Monkey Do

Blessings & Curses


You’re not good enough. You’ll never do it. You’re a dreamer. You’re not getting any prettier. You could stand to lose a few pounds. You’re not the kind that succeeds. You’re too skinny. You’ll just keep failing like you always do. You make me so angry. Have you had enough of this?

Sticks and stones do far less cumulative damage, generally speaking, than words. The above line of declarations being decidedly deconstructive, they do make firm a general theme: someone is good for nothing. Whether it is true or not is immaterial, the recipient begins to believe. All the above statements have been pronounced over me, and I suppose over many of you dear readers. The words of influential people in our lives most certainly have an influence upon us, like it or not…believe it or not. The math checks out. So let us learn to put this knowledge to good use, to our advantage.

The science behind affirming ourselves is simply this: we give weight and consideration to everything spoken to us. Whatever washes over our brains has an effect; therefore we should be highly selective as to what we allow to wash over us, making sure we sparkle and not wither. The purpose of speaking to ourselves is to edify ourselves, to encourage ourselves in truth. If we do not know truth, then herein lies the first endeavor. Once we are persuaded of the truth, we can shamelessly affirm the truth over our very lives, bolstering our footing, expanding our circles of inspiration and influence.

Our lives are programmed, for good or for ill, most influentially during our first decade of life. Any destructive or fruitless programming accomplished during this early season will hinder us for the remainder of our lives, just as any positive programming will serve us forever. This is why ascertaining the truth is imperative, affirming the truth as it applies to us individually is liberating. Let us agree on two things.

The reprogramming of one’s headspace is a monumental task, made more difficult the longer we neglect to commence in earnest. It is a process of unlearning and re-learning, from darkness to light. In the second place, it is a task most assuredly worth beginning, for the obvious fruits it must necessarily produce. A record may only play according to the grooves placed upon it, whether sweet music or dissonant mental aggravation. We have an opportunity to smooth away the initial destructive grooves by the repetitive application of those desirable grooves.

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” [Deuteronomy 30:19] This verse encapsulates a reason why one might choose to practice the discipline of affirming herself as something that she heretofore has believed she was not. It is a form of the prophetic, calling that which is not yet as though it is already. In time, the reflection of the affirmation appears in the mind, then in the body. In due time, the reflection has become the word made flesh, no longer a reflection at all, but the substance of that which was once hoped for. Faith comes by hearing, so we should be sure to listen to ourselves and to others with longevity in mind.

Blessings & Curses

Short & Sweet

No, this is not an autobiographical post; those should be longer and tend to disprove sweetness.  This is, however, a post about the most addicting substance on Earth, namely sugar.  “Most”, not because of it’s strength, rather it’s ubiquity.  Sugar is present in the majority of our grocery store processed food comestibles; would that world peace had the same clever marketing team.  But what do we know of these mono and disaccharides, these cute cubes of sweetness on the cafe table, this organic free trade GMO-free juice from vegetal cane?  Let us make a brief survey here.

The western world, in 2017, is notably well-apprised of the benefits and drawbacks of sugar consumption, even within common core educational facilities.  On the pro side, sugar is…well…sweet.  It makes what we like to eat more likable perhaps.   There is also food preservation, a February 2006 article in Scientific American explains how sugar (and salt) may be used “to inhibit or prevent growth of food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella or Clostridium botulinum when properly applied.”  Whereas salted pork legs, such as jamón serrano, are enjoyed without licking off all the salt used in the curing process, the same discretion seems less likely when sugar is used.  I’ve seen occidentals consume a jar of sugar-preserved fruits, then drizzle the remaining liquid over bread or pancakes or ice cream.  If a jar of pickled cucumbers was only mildly seasoned, I maybe could stomach drinking the liquid.  Maybe.  Sickly sweet preservation syrups go to my head, not to mention my teeth; this is the result of growing up in a culture that has only very recently given in to sugary sweets…promoted by the west no less.  Mother had a special treats cabinet for which she alone kept a key, doling out one square each of a Hershey’s chocolate bar, per week, to my siblings and me.  One.  That’s how sugarless we were only thirty years ago in South Korea.  Salt, conversely, is heavily used and shows up everywhere in my culture, from soy sauces and kimchi preparations to lunch table condiment racks.  No surprises here.

“All things in moderation”.  Whoever said that should be widely celebrated.  Actually, as my husband now points out, it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “moderation in all things”, but, being shuffle-averse, we rarely quote it so.  We are not, as a species, averse nearly as much as we ought to be to liberally stimulating ourselves with heaps of sugars for all of our waking hours.  The known health fallout ascribed to over-consumption of sugar are before us constantly.  William Dufty, in his 1975 classic, Sugar Blues, shouts from the rooftops: “It has been proved that (1) sugar is a major factor in dental decay; (2) sugar in a person’s diet does cause overweight; (3) removal of sugar from diets has cured symptoms of crippling, world-wide diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart illnesses.”  Doctor Nancy Appleton’s 1996 offering, Lick the Sugar Habit, lists the following direct effects of sugar consumption:  dental caries, hypertension, hyperactivity, long-term lethargy, headaches, poor mental function, depression, allergies (including food), poor digestion, constipation, asthma, psoriasis, candidiasis, PMS, reduced immune responsiveness, shall I continue?  How about blindness, cataracts, anxiety, appendicitis, emphysema, pregnancy toxemia, eczema, cardiovascular disease, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, Crohn’s disease, kidney stones, cystic fibrosis, arthritis, osteoporosis, gall stones, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, accelerated aging and premature death?  Oh, come on, just a few more:  atherosclerosis, pancreas damage, hormonal imbalance, and all manner of ailments associated with fermentation in the digestive tract.  This is a partial list, for brevity.  The above publications are well-established, the truth is out there, the truth is old.  With direct effects such as these, those little cafe packets should come with at least a warning: sprinkle responsibly.

It has been said that the single easiest thing the average person can do to improve his or her health is to add a single raw vegetable or fruit to their daily diet.  An apple a day.  Then add another, and another.  We consider adding good habits easier than striving to break bad ones, crowding out the undesirables being the idea.  I have found this to be true for me.  If we are unwilling to do the very least to improve our health, we really should expect no sympathy when, sure as bears sleep in the woods (family friendly blog), we succumb to the natural consequences of our inaction.  God will not be mocked, we cannot reap except what was sown.

Short & Sweet

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.
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.

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Choosing to Losing