Sunday, August 31, 2008

I did it before getting to the car

I turned around before making it out the door of Wal-Mart, the "always" store, and did it....

I returned the socks.

Wildman Sprout is a bit confused (and so am I!), but I just couldn't do it. We will figure out how to get his little piggies covered for the winter, it's just not going to be as easy as getting our raw goat milk seems to be.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Surrounded by wealth

As far back as I can remember, God has always provided amazing people for me to look up to. In running, there were always those faster and stronger for me to look up to and emmulate. In piano, there's always musicians in my life that have been or are inspiring and amazing. In mommyhood, there's always been mom's who challenge me to be better.

It goes on and on.

It's no different now. We are trying hard to eat and purchase things as local as we can and as organic as we can. We have finally gotten into a good rhythym of eating after years of trying, that is healthy and works for our systems, keeping us chugging along well and vibrant. But...

  • I could definitely grow more of our own food
  • Make more of our own food
  • Find local sources for even more of our food

We just ordered our 1/4 of an organic, free-range, pasture fed (no grain) cow from a local lady that I have loved getting to know. SHe has a small operation, just selling by word of mouth. No Concentrated Feed Lot meat for us. Sustainable practices for our earth, bodies, and the animals are real choices that we can all make. This link is a quick look at CAFOs and sustainable food choices: http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/factoryfarming/

I have local friends that I buy organic veggies from. It's wonderful. Today the kids and I did our weekly trek to their farm and came home with fingerling potatoes, swiss chard, zucchini, beets, corn, beet greens, mixed greens, and bell peppers. All organic. All local. And all fresh. I chatted with Farmer Rob all morning and got to show the kiddos exactly who grew their food, where it was grown, and a bit of how it was grown. And then I handed my FRIEND money!! Not some conglomerate, where food is shipped thousands of miles, using tons of petroleum just to get it to my store shelf, but instead, I handed money to my FRIEND, for his well being in my own town!!

Then we went off to the little older couple we love to get our raw goat milk. Handed them our money, petted the goats with the kids, and made a date to come back next week with the whole family to help them milk the goats.

It felt good but the 3rd errand of the day included sock purchases at Wal-Mart where we had no choice but to buy "Pakistan" and "Honduras" made socks. Any local sock makers around? I'll happily drive to your house and get them. My money just got sucked into the Wal-Mart Cauldron - not sure who it's going to benefit, but at least my Wildman Sprout's feet will be cozy in his shoes, I sadly reasoned.

I try to improve our purchasing dollar direction but it's one step at a time.

It's nice that in my home town, I am surrounded by lots of great friends that grow amazing gardens of all sizes. I have much to learn, and am surrounded by a wealth if knowledge in the people I know. Check out http://creatinggoodsoil.blogspot.com/ . Featured their is one of those friends God Has blessed me with that knows so much about cultivating the earth. A few streets away from her is our friend, Jen, who shocks and awes me with all she knows about canning, soap making, gardening, quilting...and up the road our friend Ruth cultivates the prettiest garden with winding paths throughout it. All of us nearly giggle when the parsley and oregano of last year reseed and come back to life the next summer.

Then there's my own dad, wildlife and fisheries biologist himself, who has always cultivated large gardens, orchards, and proudly displays something in bloom every day of the year in his yard.

It makes it easier to try to eat right and grow good food and stay active when it's the norm for those around you for sure.

Sigh**** I have so much to learn!!

I am off to boil the milk for our latest pursuit - learning how to make our own cheese!! Can't wait to get rid of the preservatives that come with store cheese and make our own organic cheese, made from goats milked in a nearby farm this morning!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Do it afraid

To round out our summer and conclude this most amazing 5 week summer trip, we dropped the kids off with grandma and grandpa for a 6 day adventure of our own to celebrate 12 years of marriage.

Traditionally, we love to backpack for 3 days and then go to a Bed and Breakfast for 2...but this year Oregon and Washington were snowed in and full of mosquitoes (I mean clouds of these pesky creatures)...Northern Cali was on fire so we just kept driving 'till it was "perfect". It was fun to not know quite where we'd end up as we started off on Monday morning.

SH had been a camp counselor in the Sierras for 10 years and talks of their glory often. I'd seen mountains, how good could a different mountain range be?

To his delight, the High Sierras were the best bet and within our time frame - so Mammoth Lakes, CA - here we come!

The drive down was such a blast as we ate great organic food from the Ashland Co-op and read an amazing book together (I will post much about this life changing book). We laughed and drove and read and ate. Soon we were coming to Reno - we did this town the best way we know how - a lovely by-pass that zipped us around it without so much as a loud obnoxious casino light flashing at us. South we trekked. We had permits to get, bear cans to reserve, and some gear to still aquire.

We arrived at Mono Lake in Lee Vining at exactly 4:59 - Ranger Station closing at 5:00...I dropped him off in front of the station to sprint in, he made it through the doors. I parked. I did not make it. Too late though for them to issue us permits or bear cans or any of it.

So we headed south to Mammoth Lakes, got a hotel and waited 'till morning to sign up. Unlike Oregon, most of these permits are paid for in advance, reserved, and quite official. Us Northern Bumpkins just wander to any trailhead, fill out the little piece of paper provided, put it in the slot and march on. Not so in Cali. Everything was official and formal and INTIMIDATING!

Upon arriving, all smiles and laughter and light heartedness gave way to nothing short of - FEAR. This was the real deal. I'd hiked for years in wildernesses but these mountain ranges are monstrous. It's where the big boys play. Mammoth Lakes itself sits at 8050 feet!

Background: 12 years earlier, during the second half of our honeymoon, we were backpacking in Oregon when I suddenly lost conciousness and went into a grand mal seizure. I had a total of 4 of these lovely mind altering fits before the life -flight helicopter arrived in the middle of this wilderness and wisked me away to a hospital, without new hubby. I have been a healthy pumpkin all the years after that until 2005 and 2006 when I suffered with massive fatigue, sinus infections, Epstein Barr, Diabetes, anxiety and on and on.

So.............I have struggled to believe that I am truly "back to normal", especially since feeling so rotten for nearly 2 years. Backpacking into Oregon mountains seems safe - usually close enough to any city if an emergency happens. But this trek required a shuttle JUST TO GET TO THE TRAILHEAD!!! With BEAR CANS!!! Yikes!!

We'd be doing a gorgeous high altitude loop - into 4 different high lakes, crossing 3 high passes topping out at 10,200 feet high. Plus, there were bears!!

But truly, I was more scared about my body and if it could perform then of the bears.

But, God wants us operating in FAITH not FEAR. I've always felt that you can't conquor your fears if you don't face them. In fact, 2 years after the seizures in that moutain range, I insisted that we go back to that same spot and peak that mountain again. But, these high sierras were scarey. Massive granite peaks for aas far as the eye can see. And then there was little me.

There was nothing I could do to reverse this fear that had overcome me but simply move forward in FAITH. Sometimes, those first steps on that trail (literal here) is done afraid. That's OK. Do it afraid and watch God show himself Faithful. The only way to slay the Fear Monster is to stare it down - even afraid - but stare it down.

So I did just that. I started out, afraid. And was greeted with in 10 minutes by this beautiful meandering river that we followed to it's beginning point at a beautiful lake - Shadow Lake. And up we kept climbing - these are intense trails - up and up, granite everywhere...unbelievable beauty. We got to our first like, Ediza Lake, perched at 9300 feet, surrounded by massive granite slabs rising 12 and 14,000 feet high. I noted that while I was slightly short of breath, I was not unconscious! I also noted that unlike Oregon, there were virtually only highly fit looking men out here hiking. Was I crazy? Was I out of my league?

Next Morning, I woke up and started the day with the simple act of crawling out of my sleeping bag to the rising sun. Drank some fresh glacier water and tentatively began the day. That day included a near sprint straight up this super steep ravine to a high mountain lake called Iceburg. It was during this high energy jaunt that the blue sky, sun, and mountains around me became God's created cheerleaders to my nervous soul. By the time I reached that lake, I was so jazzed.

SH knew it. I knew it. We had come home. And I was finally and totally healed. Fear was gone and in it's place for the rest of that trip was complete and utter peace, joy, and praise for the Great Physician and Creator of this Land.

Pictures to come or this 4 day, 35 mile trek with my Hiking Partner for life, my StudHusband of 12 years.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer is amazing

There is no way I could possibly summarize our last 4 weeks! I have hundreds of photos and thousands of memories. I am sitting in an RV park tonight in Baker city so I have Wi-Fi for the first time in 4 weeks. Since I last posted, we have backpacked into our favorite Eagle Cap Wilderness (12 mile trek), camped at our favorite Wallowa State Park for 2 weeks where the kiddos proudly became Jr. Rangers with our favorite Ranger - Ranger Lou!! , met up with some great friends along the way...we've also:
  • gone to the Joseph Days Pro Rodeo. I thankfully wear sunglasses to events like this because I always find myself tearing up as I see the cowboys get bucked around like a dead rag doll and the animals flailing around. Wasn't meant to be a cowgirl. Of the 2000 plus people there, our seat was the winning seat for the big package give-a-way. We get to go to a resort near Pendelton sometime in the next year - free lodging, food, and 2 rounds of golf! :)
  • done tons of lake swimming and local pool swimming (kids are so cute when they are wet)
  • gone boating a bunch
  • CONSTANT little moments together - we sleep in our trailer or tent each night so we are always going to sleep and waking up together. Every meal is together. What I love is how often I get to be holding either SH or one of the sprout's hands.
  • a day at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Those Pioneers were hardy folk! 1986 miles of walking! 25% of the ladies were pregnant.
  • day hiked a lot (Little Princess sprout has done 2 different day hikes of over 9 miles each...smiling and singing the whole way. She has amazed us for sure! Her constant happy spirit lifts all of ours.)
  • lots of fishing. Wildman Sprout caught at least 18 Trout over the last 2 days at Anthony Lake - a most gorgeous high alpine lake, perched around 7100 feet high surrounded by granite and huge rugged peaks
  • discovered Anthonly Lakes Basin - a beautiful new looking campground sitting at 7100 feet. We never got into our truck for 3 days. We could walk to the lake to fish and swim and from our campsite were in walking distance of incredible day hikes into high alpine trails.
  • Wildman Sprout fell in love with fishing. He is finally hooked. He fished all evening and then would wake up and go back and fish all morning until lunch.

The theme this summer has been the Oregon Trail. The kids did a one week Oregon Trail camp in Tumalo, the evening programs by Ranger Lou were all about the oregon Trail, then we went to Baker City and spent an entire day at the Oregon Trail interpretive center, and finally Bekah and I made a Cornhusk doll together (I'll post all about how we did that some time). I got a nifty new cookbook with great old remedies from the trail, recipes, and tips for life. I'll have fun posting some of that too.

We plan to explore the history here in Baker City tomorrow...then we are off to do a 10 mile day hike into the Strawberry Wilderness to conclude our vacation together before SH and I get a week to ourselves with the Sprouts heading to Grandparent's house for the last week of the summer.

Can't wait to hear about all of your adventures this summer!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lazy-D Ranch Blog

Through the amazing world of blog, I "met" this sweet and most amazing mother of 6. She homeschools, has adopted 2 children, and is currently mourning the sudden death of her husband in January. He couldn't have been older then 40, and collapsed in Jan and was dead 5 days later.

Get a cup of coffee, sit down, and journey through her blog. She so beautifully accounts her real emotions of extreme sadness, grief, loneliness, and shock as she simultaneously and continually lifts her eyes to Her Healer, Her GOD who is good at all times. To be able to write the things she does in the face of such an extreme tragedy is incredible. As she does her days she knows her husband is looking down at her from heaven shouting,"you can do this girl."

http://lazydranch8.blogspot.com/

Go to the archives and check out January on....incredible posts in the months that follow his death. Here is one example of a post. All of them are written incredibly with profoundity that is unparalleled.

I feel left behind. Eric has gone on to bigger and better things and I have been left back here on earth with an incredible sense of loneliness.
I avoid going to sleep every night because in the silence my mind starts thinking about my loss. Tonight was no exception. As the tears poured down my face I struggled with a desparate feeling of emptiness. I will never see or touch Eric again and I have no idea if the Lord has another man for my future life. Talk about trusting! I have no choice but to abandon myself to His perfect will.
As you can see my grief is changing. Every morning I wake up and say "Great is THY faithfulness...morning by morning new mercies I see" but I feel "another day to have to deal with the reality that Eric is gone". My heart breaks.
In writing this I do not want to be a "downer". So many of you are praying for us and so I feel obligated to share how I feel so you know how to pray. These things are not easy to write.
One thing I am learning is to really trust God. On a different level. This is a spiritual battle that I am gearing up for. The thought of lonliness could easily take me down the path of idolatry...using things as the healer of my life rather than allowing God his rightful position. The act of purposely communicating and developing a "husband" relationship with Him is not easy and there are many distractions to keep me from this. To trust His will for my past, present, and future is big and needed for all believers. But, I must now trust Him to be my husband, my counselor, my "lover" if you will, my best friend. No distraction of an earthly husband now.
I have to actively pray and pray more.
As I find myself getting deeper and deeper into the greiving process (it is no longer if I am going to cry but when am I going to stop) I have to guard my heart and lean steadfastly on my Savior. And, guide the children down the same path. Exhausting! I am exhausted but hopeful.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Killing the guilt monster when it comes to food

Is guilt an emotion from God? Did He ever say, "Thou shalt have guilt?"

NO!!

If you eat a donut for breakfast - enjoy it!! Don't attach guilt to your food. It's all fun and good, in moderation. What I have learned to do as I slowly got rid of more and more foods I could eat is to find joy in what I did get to eat. In otherwords, learn to just love that juicy red strawberry and to enjoy it as much as you used to enjoy your candy bars, chips, or icecream.

It might seem impossible now, but you can practice through discipline, what your brain is thinking when you offer it food.

My whole family gets more excited over a fresh fruit smoothie then some kiddos get over brownies. It's revered as the ultimate treat. So what if mama throws in some greens...the bananas, honey, peaches, strawberries, and berries make it so good, we'll beg for seconds!!

Make it a goal today to start identifying what emotions you have attached to foods and don't get hard on yourself about it, just start working, one day at a time, at retraining your mind. When you eat foods that would trigger guilt, tell yourself to just enjoy it. Without the guilt attached to the icecream, the temptation to overindulge will dwindle and a normal size portion will satsify.

I refuse to put yucky guilt=-laden rules on how I eat. There is inherent joy in eating well because you feel so good. That in turn makes it easier to say no to foods that might irritate your system. It's not out of guilt, it's out of knowledge and truth that we make our choices.

Blessings!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Going Unplugged

Taking a bloggy break - I've actually not been blogging since July 20th as we have been hitting the trail, but just know, I will be back in the fall with more adventures, discussions on healthy eating/living, reflections on God, and updates on the family. We are currently in some wilderness enjoying the beauty of God's creation, the closeness of family, and the quietness of no electronics.

Happy Olympics starting day!! 08.08.08 - a day that will never happen again!! Make it a blessed one!!

A couple other scheduled posts will appear:

August 10th - No guilt eating
Aug 12th - highlighting a blog that has blown me away with it's insights. Don't want to miss this one!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Balance

We follow these eating guidelines most of the time, and because of that, I really can happily allow my sprouts a treat at grandma's house once in awhile. Balance for me is about enjoying eating and not making decisions that constantly feel oppressive. My sprouts do want more sugar than we give them - but no matter how much junk we feed kids, they'd want more. I don't feel badly teaching them as we go through life about moderation, and that usually a bannana is the appropriate fix to their hunger pangs and not a chocolate power bar.

I do not want food to control me. I don't want to sit around thinking about food. I want to think on other things. Eating right, frees me to do just that. I want to be living my life to the fullest with energy to love those around me and serve.

Future posts in the fall will examine the truths about the following foods on the body: wheat, sugar, hydrogenated oils, and others. I will also explore exercise and healthy life style choices.

We need to make the switch from living to eat to eating to LIVE and live vibrantly, one juicy, organic apple at a time! :)

Now I am off, to backpack with my family. Princess sprout was doing 5 mile days last summer as a 4 year old so this year, we are eagerly anticipating some great trips. The truth is, God speaks to me even more when I am sauntering up a trail vs pounding the pavement!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008

What we Eat

What we eat:
1. Whole foods. I shop the permimeter of the grocery store– ONLY. I am seldom in the aisles. I don’t even know what to do with the array of cans, bags, boxes, and packages that line these shelves. I park at the end of the store that has the produce and spend 80% of my budget in this section. We eat tons of fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds. We eat food that looks exactly as it was created to look by the Creator.

My son asked me if I could please pack something in his lunch that came in a crinkly package like all the other kiddos had…it is true, his lunches had no colorful wrappers with superheros flying around on it to attract kids to eat it – it simply has containers full of real food. Cukes sliced up, carrots, apples, strawberries, a boiled egg, homemade hummus, rice crackers, raw almonds.

2. Organic meat. Meat that is not raised ethically, free-range, and drug and hormone free is actually toxic for you. Meat that is raised correctly is actually healthy for you. Literally, there are chemical changes in the meat that are carcinogenic in grain fed meat. It’s worth it! And it tastes so much better. We get a ¼ to ½ of a cow each year and eat from the freezer. And it supports local farmers when we do this. I meat the farmers, get to know them, and personally hand them money for our year supply of meat. I love it.

3. Beans and grains – lentils, split peas, white cannelini beans, pintos, black beans, garbanzos, mung beans, and a few others coupled with brown rice, quinoa, millet, bulgar, or basmati rice make for yummy, complete protein meals

4. Raw honey – our sweetener of choice. Full of live enzymes, bee pollen, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties it’s actually our health tonic. Anytime we get a tickle in the throat, I squeeze fresh lemon, add a bit of hot water, and put a few spoonfuls of raw honey in the mix for a yummy and easy way to stop any viral activity in it’s tracks. (pasteurized honey acts just like refined sugar in the system)

5.Tons of salads. Lunch and Dinner begin with a large raw salad. I make many raw salad dressings to top these off nutritionally. Store bought dressings usually are laden with horrible ingredients – some of the worst food on the market.