Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our family Christmas Card video

Merry Christmas video! If a picture is a thousand words, then this video is beyond!

Clips of family fun in the snow, of the major production I directed (specifically featuring the parts where my 2 kiddos had solos!), and some ballet and soccer times.


Monday, December 21, 2009

My little gal singing Happy Birthday Jesus

She made the 500 person crowd tear up with her sweet rendition of this song -

She is planning on touring with her Uncle David by 10. She calls him about once every other month to remind him of this fact. scroll down to see my previous post with more clips on it of the show.

Best Christmas Present Ever!

A few clips from our amazing night

My sweet son is one of the Wise guys - the one in the full suit.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Santa and Jesus

So as a new teacher at a Christian School, I am so focused on "ensuring that learning objectives are being met" that I have to put my sense of humor on hold...but today, it finally happened!

And those 9th graders didn't get it!

Our 12th graders (well a few of them) came into my 9th grade class to announce that Freshmen can sign up to be "Sneaky Gnomes"...same thing as Secret Santa but they can't call it what they told us.

(I couldn't help but laugh out loud at that.)

To which I said, "They can't talk about Jesus, and we can't talk about Santa..."

Seniors laughed. Freshman stared.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bring on the snow

Grabbed this post from my favorite blogger - Bo Stern - she pastors at WestSide in Bend, Oregon. THis post was so well written I wanted to duplicate it here so you can read it:

Oh, Snow!
December 3, 2009 by bolovesjoe
I really like snow. I used to hate driving in it, but 15 years living in a mountain town necessitated a change in attitude. I employed a bit of the crazy-eyed if-I-perish-I-perish spirit and now it’s more of an adventure than a heart attack waiting to happen.
I’m not sure what it’s like where you live, but in my city, snow is money. Without snow, our economy – built primarily on tourism – is toast. So we embrace the falling flakes and we wrap ourselves in woolly scarves and thick gloves and – like a city filled with Snow Farmers – thank the Lord for a robust harvest.

My husband travels regularly to Orlando, Florida. Orlando’s economy depends on people like us getting sick of living where we live. It relies on our soul-deep need to sometimes enjoy a tan without goggle lines. They need us to need their sun (and let’s be honest, their giant Mouse) and we need them to need our snow.

This same concept works emotionally as well. One needs help and another needs to be needed. Most friendships in life are built on shared need. Most dating is done the same way. Often the magnet that initially pulls our hearts to other people is that they have something we feel we need…identity, funny jokes, romance, wisdom, money or one of a million other intangibles.
Marriage, however, can’t operate indefinitely on this system. Parenting doesn’t even last through the first week home from the hospital on this system. Real life and real commitment moves beyond the mad grab for what I need, when I need it. Real love sometimes means giving up what I need when I need it. And this concept runs against every grain of my self-focused little heart.

So I’m asking Jesus for a new level of loving that grows even when there’s a small chance of a good return on my investment. Do you see a theme in my life right now? Yep. The Holy Spirit is definitely challenging the way that I love. Even at Christmas, He’s challenging the way that I love and it seems like I could get it right on my own at Christmas, doesn’t it? Nope. I really need Him. I really want to be like Him. I really want to learn to love like Him.
Praying for snow,

Monday, November 30, 2009

How 120 kids, a news anchorman, dancing, singing, and the Bible relate

Countdown begins...and I am antsy, jittery, and full of nervous energy.

Dec 17th is the big day - 3 months of work all displayed in a 45 minute explosive night of 1sts. The Best Christmas Gift Ever - featuring a news anchorman covering the story of a group of students planning a birthday party for Jesus.

Firsts are intimidating - you never have walked that road before so it's all new, surprising, thrilling:

  • 120 students all on one stage
  • High energy choreography (with very little room to do it!)
  • 20 actors and actresses making their acting debut
  • 15 student soloists (sing into the mic!!! Don't move around! Sing out, I know your nervous, but sing like you are not!)
  • Tech crew - learning music systems, lights and cues oh my!
  • Singing multi-part songs
2 1/2 weeks left to finalize a million details. And I still have my daily Spanish 1, 2, and 3 classes to keep moving along.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Climbing a move at a time

My friend over at in pondering about Never giving up hit home. As I take on this monumental task of working full time, teaching 1st through 12th graders, being a mom, a wife, a follower of God, a friend, a sister and still trying to maintain ME I too have wanted to give up, throw the towel in and walk back into my past life of getting to stay home, live on my own schedule, and be free to come and go as I wished. I miss catching planes to locations all over the US to perform with my brother, David. I miss going for a run in the middle of the day along the river banks. I miss just being out and about.

But these times, these super hard times, are really cool too. It's in these times that I find myself learning, growing, and becoming faster then I ever did when life was not so rigorous.

I get to a spot in the climb and it appears at first, impossible. I stare. I ponder options. I stare some more. I ponder more. And finally, I see a possible place to put a left foot that just might allow me to pull myself up and be in a whole new place on the rock...I try it, it's working....I slip...back to the begininning....

Stare....ponder....plan....Try again....

I slip again....

Stare...ponder...plan....Try AGAIN!

It's working! And I get my right leg to a foothold, push up a bit, allowing my left hand to grab a great hold and pull up and suddenly, I am moving into a brand new position, a brand new plateau, a brand new perspective.

The last spot that had me stuck is now figured out, it's now a part of my tricks, adds to my confidence. I get to enjoy the peace that comes when I make it past a sticky spot, but only for a moment.
It's time to take what I learned and think through how to make it past the next spot. And so it goes, one maneuver at a time, all the way to the top.
Gaining perspective one move at a time.

Which won't come if I give up.
And oh view , the sweet view from the top, a little taste of God's perspective on the little planet we wander around on.
I will lift my eyes, to the maker of these Mountains I am climbing!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kale chips recipe

This recipe is one of the many amazing creations you can find in

the new e-book Nuts Over Nuts! which contains 50 raw vegetarian recipes created by V

anessa Nowitzky (student of Victoria Boutenko).


These chips are so fabulous you will never need regular chips again. Dried kale is surprisingly filling-- these nutritious and rich chips are a meal unto themselves.

Each of the following recipes uses about 1 head of green kale. Ruffles have ridges- therefore curly kale holds the flavor best. Wash the leaves well; do not use a leaf if it has those little bugs that like to stick to the backs of the leaves. Don't use the woody stems. Tear large bite-sized pieces of the leaves into a large bowl and pour a sauce (recipes below) over the kale, massaging with your fingers until the kale is thoroughly saturated.

Spread saturated kale pieces onto dehydrator trays with teflon sheets and dehydrate at 105° for 12- 15 hours. The leaves shrink and should emerge crispy.

No dip needed for these chips, but a side of cherry tomatoes or sliced cucumbers helps wet the whistle.

Hummus Kale Chips
Light and lemony. • ½ cup sprouted pumpkin seeds • optional: ¼ cup sprouted sesame seeds • 1 clove garlic • 2 stalks green onion • 2 stalks celery • juice of one lemon • ½- 1 teaspoon cumin • ½- 1 teaspoon cayenne. Grind seeds well in coffee grinder. Chop all other ingredients and blend together in food processor. Follow directions (above).

Sesame Kale Chips
Call these Dragon Wings for their fire-breathing Asian flavor!
• 1 cup sprouted sesame seeds • 2 medium plums (pitted, about ¾ cup chopped) • 1 stalk celery • 1 clove garlic • juice of ½ lemon • ½ cup chopped onion • 1 inch fresh ginger root, minced • Cayenne to taste. Grind sesame seeds in coffee grinder. Blend all other ingredients in food processor, finally adding ground sesame. Follow directions (above).

Fat Free Kale Chips
You will thoroughly enjoy this amazingly delicious fat free version!
In the Vita-Mix, blend the following ingredients well without water (use the tamper): • 1 medium small zucchini • 1 large red, orange or yellow bell pepper • ¼ cup chopped onion • 2 stalks celery • juice of ½ lemon • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste. Follow directions (above).

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cory's photography business is officially launched

We travel a lot. This summer alone we went from Bishop and Mammoth Lakes, CA, to the Leavenworth, Washington and lots of stuff in between (like Mt Raineer and Mt St Helens National Parks) before heading back to the Sierras, outside of Bishop again.

And all along the way, on trails, in National Parks, in the wilderness...Cory has his gear and we are cheering him on as he captures the beauty of a moment. Almost every one of these shots the family is near by chanting, "Go daddy go!"...and along the way we have all learned better how to first notice and then savor sunsets that light up the sky, leaves turning hues of reds and yellows, flowers bursting in color, and majestic mountain peaks glowing in the twilight.

To be able to capture an image like these, we are at the location for 1 to 2 hours, sometimes more. And many of these photos are after as many as 12 visits to the same location over 3 years of trying before the perfect lighting and conditions finally happen. Patience to the Nth degree.

Come enjoy his collection at his new on line gallery -

Sneak Peaks of what you'll find if you stop on in:

First morning on our anniversary trip this last summer - Dusy Basin - just over Bishop Pass on our 60 mile route through Evolution Basin on the John Muir Trail and Sequoia Kings National Park.

These types of images range from 9 to 36 images stitched together to create the full image. There's no way to capture the detail and vastness of God's creation with one shot - the pros have all the tricks, eye for composition, patience and equipment to make this happen so that we can all enjoy the beauty of a moment frozen in time forever. Cory is a purist and will never add things that weren't there or use PhotoShop in anyway to change what was really happening.

These pictures are authentic reflections of God's handiwork.

He has an entire collection dedicated to the oceans and waterways:

You'll find panoramics that can be blown up huge or remain smaller:

You'll find pictures that stir peace and joy:

New photos being added weekly.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A post for all moms

Go check out Bo's post about raising her son. It is so amazingly written that I think I just might print it out, stuff it in my son's scrapbook, and keep it forever.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bright eyes, Richard Simmons, and sweet thoughts

What my life is full of these days as I teach full time (FULL TIME!!! if I would have been able to see what future posts on my blog would say a year ago, I'd never have imagined reading that I was working FULL TIME!!!) is

  • Bright eyes full of pride on a student that just "got" it
  • Sweet comments about sending love notes to Jesus from a 1st grader drawing a picture about John 14:7 (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength) (and this student happened to be my very own princess)
  • 60 kids in unity with praise hands in the air during a rehearsal for our Christmas musical
  • 5 high school boys gathered around my computer You Tubing for Christian Spanish Praise music
  • Folders full of hopeful lesson plans
  • Listening to a student tell me after music class how "his heart is full of emotions - not on the outside, but on the inside...It feels GOOD! Like Christmas morning!"
  • Blowing kisses to my son as I cruise by his classroom
  • Early morning, daily staff meetings; 8 different classes to prep for; a Christmas musical to organize with 120 singers, 20 actors, choreography, and tons of solos; and 170 students to learn names of
  • Sweating all day long like Richard Simmons himself as I teach high energy choreography to 120 students that circle through my music classroom throughout the week

But, I still run just as much as I ever have. Got in a gorgeous 7 mile run through Shevlin Park - lots of trails, hills, and sunlit golden leaved trees. I smiled the entire run with my God and I.

I still play barefoot in my garden. Harvested 50 plus pounds of potatoes yesterday and half that in carrots. Potatoes are a must to eat organically as they are basically poisonous otherwise, but organic taters are so expensive. We are stocked for months now!

Made some yummy zucchini/banana honey and agave sweetened cookies yesterday, cooked down 10 pounds of tomatoes into a delicious sauce, and did laundry.

Somehow doing chores at home is just refreshing when you are gone all day. Somehow doing chores all day at home when there is nothing else to look forward to doing was not as could adding a full time job make home chores fun? I don't know how, but it has. I just like the variety I suppose. And this year, I do my chores with 3 hard working partners, all with their own jobs turning what used to take me a couple of days into a little over an hour and we are done.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

CBS Reveals that Swine Flu Cases Seriously Overestimated

Dr. Mercola Interviews Barbara Loe Fisher, founder of the National Vaccine Information Center

Please watch this video to break through tons of misinformation out there. Annual vaccinations of the flu shot from cradle to the grave is what CDC is recommending. There is this assumption that we are to never have any experience with the flu - but if you have a population that has lived it's life with these temporary immunities to the flu (the shot only creates a temporary immunity) then you have set up a situation where a population is extremely susceptible to a true catastrophic pandemic of the flu as they have not allowed their bodies to go through the natural progression of getting sick, fighting a virus on it's own, and getting strong and healthy again, on it's own. Instead, we become vaccine dependent which is nowhere close to as effective as having a strong immune system.

Infections are predicted to peak in late October (now) and by the end of the year it's estimated that 63 percent of the U.S. population will have been infected with H1N1 swine flu.

What does this mean? By the end of the year the majority of the U.S. population will have likely acquired natural immunity.

Natural immunity is what you gain when you recover from influenza and natural immunity is what is protecting older Americans, who have recovered from exposure to H1N1 strains of influenza in the past and are therefore less susceptible today.

This new revelation, coupled with CBS News' finding that swine flu cases are already being greatly overestimated ... and the fact that vaccines do not offer long-term immunity anyway ... and the questionable motives behind CDC's massive vaccination campaign ... puts an entirely different slant on the swine flu "epidemic," don't you think?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states on their main flu Web site that flu activity is increasing in the United States, with most states reporting "widespread influenza activity."

The CDC goes on to say, and I quote:

"So far, most flu is 2009 H1N1 flu (sometimes called "swine flu")."

But wait stop the presses.

A three-month-long investigation by CBS News, released earlier this week that included state-by-state test results, revealed some very different facts. The CBS study found that H1N1 flu cases are NOT as prevalent as feared. A CBS article even states:

"If you've been diagnosed "probable" or "presumed" 2009 H1N1 or "swine flu" in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn't have H1N1 flu. In fact, you probably didn't have flu at all."

Obviously CBS News and the CDC are completely contradicting each other. So who is right?

Well, CBS reports that in late July 2009 the CDC advised states to STOP testing for H1N1 flu, and they also stopped counting individual cases.

Their rationale for this, according to CBS News, was that it was a waste of resources to test for H1N1 flu because it was already confirmed as an epidemic.

So just like that virtually every person who visited their physician with flu-like symptoms since late July was assumed to have H1N1, with no testing necessary because, after all, there's an epidemic.

It's interesting to note that at the same time as the CDC decided the H1N1 epidemic warranted no further testing for cases due to its epidemic status, Finnish health authorities actually downgraded the threat of swine flu.

In late July the health ministry and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in Finland actually removed swine flu from a list of diseases considered dangerous to the public because the majority of cases recovered without medication or hospital care!

And, as the CDC continues to use fear to motivate and control Americans with their worst-case swine flu scenarios, they say nothing of the experience of those in the southern hemisphere, which just finished their flu season and found it was not as bad as expected.

CBS News Finds H1N1 Tests "Overwhelmingly Negative"

Before beginning their investigation, CBS News asked the CDC for state-by-state test results prior to their halting of testing and tracking. The CDC did not initially respond so CBS went to all 50 states directly, asking for their statistics on state lab-confirmed H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July.

What did they find? CBS reported:

"The results reveal a pattern that surprised a number of health care professionals we consulted. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such as travel to Mexico."

As you can see from this CBS News graphic, not only are most cases of suspected flu-like illnesses not H1N1, they're not even the flu but more likely some type of cold or upper respiratory infection!

Where is the CDC Getting Their Data?

Given CBS News' findings that most cases of flu-like illnesses are neither H1N1 nor the flu, it begs the question: Why is the CDC reporting that most flu in the United States is in fact H1N1?

Barbara Loe Fisher, founder of the National Vaccine Information Center who I spoke with in the interview above, was a consumer representative on the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee in 2003, and she asked the head of the influenza branch of the CDC how much of the flu-like illness that occurs in America every year is actually due to the flu.

The answer was about 20 percent, which corresponds more closely with the CBS News data from 2009.

According to the CBS News study, when you come down with chills, fever, cough, runny nose, malaise and all those other "flu-like" symptoms, the illness is likely caused by influenza at most 17 percent of the time and as little as 3 percent! The other 83 to 97 percent of the time it's caused by other viruses or bacteria.

So remember that not every illness that appears to be the flu actually is the flu. In fact, most of the time it's not.

Curiously, the CDC still advises those who were told they had 2009 H1N1 (and therefore should be immune to getting it again) to get vaccinated unless they had lab confirmation.

Is the CDC Purposely Misinforming the Public to Sell More Flu and H1N1 Vaccines?

Conflicts of interest are rampant in the vaccination infrastructure. The same people who are regulating and promoting vaccines are also evaluating vaccine safety.

For instance, Dr. Paul Offit of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia earned at least $29 million as part of a $182-million sale by the hospital of its worldwide royalty interest in the Merck Rotateq vaccine. He also formerly sat on the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to help create the market for rotavirus vaccine

This type of conflict of interest has been going on for some time.

In August 1999, the Committee on Government Reform initiated an investigation into Federal vaccine policy. During the investigation the Committee extensively reviewed financial disclosure forms and related documents and interviewed key officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC.

It was revealed that many individuals on two key advisory committees had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines. These individuals were even granted waivers allowing them to fully participate in discussions about vaccine licensing and recommendations for children, despite the fact that federal law states members of advisory committees are required to disclose such ties and recuse themselves from such discussions and decisions.

Further, the investigation revealed that the FDA's and CDC's conflict of interest rules were not strongly enforced while the rules themselves were weak. Specific problems noted by the Committee included:

* The CDC routinely granted waivers from conflict of interest rules to many members of its advisory committee.
* Those CDC advisory committee members who were not allowed to vote on certain recommendations due to financial conflicts of interest were still allowed to actively participate in committee deliberations and advocate specific positions.
* The Chairman of the CDC's advisory committee owned 600 shares of stock in Merck, a pharmaceutical company with an active vaccine division.
* Members of the CDC's advisory committee often left key details out of their financial disclosure statements, and were not required to provide the missing information by CDC ethics officials.

And, when the FDA and CDC approved the controversial rotavirus vaccine in 1998 and 1999, the Committee's report said:

* 3 out of the 5 FDA advisory committee members who voted to approve the rotavirus vaccine in December 1997 had financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.
* 4 out of the 8 CDC advisory committee members who voted to approve guidelines for the rotavirus vaccine in June 1998 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.

The rotavirus vaccine was pulled from the market one year after approval, after it was found to cause severe bowel obstructions.

Given their sordid history, can the CDC really be trusted, even today? Do you think that much has changed in just one decade?

Is the H1N1 Vaccine Really Safe as the CDC Says it Is?

CDC officials are screaming that H1N1 is so different from the seasonal influenza strains that have circulated in the past few decades that a national alarm must be sounded and everyone needs to be so afraid that we all should get vaccinated to prevent a deadly pandemic.

Yet, they say the new H1N1 vaccine is safe based on vaccines for that very same flu strain from which it is so different. They write on their Web site "the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccines are expected to have similar safety profiles as seasonal flu vaccines ..."

Another contradiction.

While symptoms of H1N1 flu and seasonal flu are virtually identical, the H1N1 vaccine is showing signs of being quite different from the seasonal flu shot.

Although both are produced using antiquated 50-year-old technology that involves injecting the virus into eggs and allowing it to grow, the virus being used to produce the swine flu vaccine has been found to reproduce much more slowly in eggs than the ordinary flu virus.

And according to a separate CBS News report, the U.S. government is now funding newer unprecedented technologies to speed up vaccine production, including one that involves growing the virus inside animal cells and another that involves flu proteins grown inside insect cells.

The risks of these, and the current fast-tracked swine flu vaccine, are truly unknown at this time.

There is NO Incentive for the CDC or Vaccine Manufacturers to Care About Safety

You may think that the CDC and the vaccine manufacturers must be concerned about safety, as if they released a dangerous vaccine and promoted it to the American public, imagine the lawsuits they would face.

This is actually no longer reality as the U.S. government has granted vaccine makers total legal immunity from any lawsuits that result from the new swine flu vaccine.

In fact, drug manufacturers got a major boost in protection and were granted unprecedented powers to experiment on the population with the passing of the 2006 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (the PREP Act).

This law allows the DHHS Secretary to invoke almost complete immunity from liability for manufacturers of vaccines and drugs used to combat a declared public health emergency, which the "swine flu pandemic" qualifies as.

The PREP Act removes your right to a trial jury unless you can provide clear evidence of willful misconduct that resulted in death or serious physical injury. But that's not all. First you must apply for and be granted permission to sue by the DHHS Secretary.

The most problematic aspect of the PREP Act is that it removes all financial incentive to make a safe product.

In fact, vaccine makers now have a negative incentive to test it for safety, because if they are aware of problems, then they could potentially be held liable for willful misconduct!

As long as they can prove they "didn't know" of any problem, they will not be liable for damages. Hence it's in their best interest to know as little as possible about the adverse reactions it might cause.

It seems unimaginable, but you and your children are now being enlisted as an unpaid human trial subjects for experimental, fast-tracked vaccines like the swine flu vaccine.

Recent national polls have revealed that 30 percent to 50 percent in many communities are not planning to get a swine flu shot ... but there are many who are still ready to stand in line.


But I wanted to share one final detail, and that is a new study just released by Purdue University researchers and published in the journal Eurosurveillance.

The researchers found that at this point in time any vaccinations that are given in the United States will likely have little effect on the number of infections. The researchers state:

"The model predicts that there will be a significant wave in autumn, with 63% of the population being infected, and that this wave will peak so early that the planned CDC vaccination campaign will likely not have a large effect on the total number of people ultimately infected by the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus."

In other words, infections are predicted to peak in late October (now) and by the end of the year it's estimated that 63 percent of the U.S. population will have been infected with H1N1 swine flu.

What does this mean? By the end of the year the majority of the U.S. population will have likely acquired natural immunity.

Natural immunity is what you gain when you recover from influenza and natural immunity is what is protecting older Americans, who have recovered from exposure to H1N1 strains of influenza in the past and are therefore less susceptible today.

This new revelation, coupled with CBS News' finding that swine flu cases are already being greatly overestimated ... and the fact that vaccines do not offer long-term immunity anyway ... and the questionable motives behind CDC's massive vaccination campaign ... puts an entirely different slant on the swine flu "epidemic," don't you think?

If you are still concerned about the swine flu, you should know that it is relatively easy to improve your immune response to fight this infection. If 99.9% of the people are not having any serious complications from H1N1, it would seem perfectly rational to believe that minor lifestyle changes could have dramatic effects on fighting this infection, and none of these involve taking potentially dangerous and unproven vaccine interventions.

Simple Measures That Can Help You Fight Illness

* Vitamin D has been well documented to increase the production of over 200 anti microbial peptides that fight infection.
* Eliminate sugar from your diet as that will impair your immune response
* Get plenty of rest
* Exercise appropriately

Friday, October 16, 2009

In a moment....

.... you can accidentally push delete and suddenly every picture you took in 2009 is gone. It doesn't matter that you have not printed any pictures yet and have no way to ever see those 28,000 pictures pushed delete, they are gone.

This was how our school year started. I was blissfully reading a book on the couch, sipping some tea, relaxed and happy until I heard the strangest gutteral noise come from my Renaissance man that I have ever heard. I came running. Something disastrous happened, I just never would have imagined what.

There is nothing like the moments right after you realize that everything is truly gone that memorializes 2009. Birthday parties, holidays, vacations, school all flashed before my eyes and I just started to laugh. I was too shocked to cry.

We called a dear friend from church - now renamed our computer doctor - and he has spent the last 6 weeks working on seeing if he could recover these pictures. Hundreds of dollars later, weeks of work, and lots of waiting....he is sitting in the studio right now loading all our pictures back into our computer. It's still a massive mess as recoveries like this are never neat - some pictures are gone forever while others are duplicated hundreds of times. It's a pile to sort through - where there once was 26,000 pictures, neatly filed away in monthly folders there is now 110,000 pictures in one giant random mess.

But I don't care - I get to remember, through pictures, what my little gal looked like on her 6th birthday and what soccer stud looked like scoring his umpteenth goal.

Feeling light and happy. Such a close call makes me realize how precious pictures are to all of us. They help us remember this amazing thing we call life. Without them, it's just a blur...but with them, moments are captured, memories preserved, and our stories memorialized.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Swine flu H1N1 vaccine is dangerous!

Watch this video from Fox News....

Crazy stuff.

My chiropractic doctor yesterday explained to me that those that are getting the vaccine are actually getting the live virus. THis method of using a live virus hasn't been used since the Polio vaccine which proved to be disatrous then. So, folks that are vaccinated are actually sheading the live virus for about a week - putting the rest of us at higher risk of getting it.

They have learned through studying the trends of this virus that only 50% of those exposed to it are getting sick - so half of the people that get exposed have bodies that quickly respond, make the antibodies to kill the virus and they don't even get sick.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Locals - go check out the newest coffee house in town! Green plow is here

One of my dearest friends -met her the first week we moved here- has gone for her long time dream with her husband and opened their coffee house. It's heart is ministry - the "living room of our town". It seeks to create a meeting place for good coffee, good conversation, good community connections, and maybe even for seeing who Jesus is through the folks that work there, the events that happen there, and the conversations that spring up there.

It's Christianity in action.

And, it truly is the yummiest coffee on the planet. Pat is perfecting his roasting skills and weekly roasts the coffee making for the freshest cup of coffee I have ever had - no bitter aftertast, just smooth and perfect.

While I work all day loving on the students I get to teach, please take a moment and meet a friend at GreenPlow coffee! Tell them I sent you!

Open hours:
Monday-Thursday 6am-8pm
Friday 6am-9pm
Saturday 7am-9pm

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Feeling like a squirrel and loving it

It's harvest time!! Gathering and processing, cooking, steaming, freezing, canning, bagging. All so that we can eat fresh, homegrown, organic veggies and fruit all winter.

Our freezer is packed though and we have a 1/4 of a cow coming any day now from an organic farm near our home - it'll make it's home in our freezer next to 50 pounds of tomatoes (or more!), AND 360 pounds of organic peaches and well as bags of pesto, shredded zucchini, squash and spinach puree, and bell peppers. Not sure how it's all going to fit...

Still in the ground awaiting their lucky moment to meet the family are 2 yummy varieties of potatoes (German Butterlings and a buttery fingerling), carrots, beets, and the rest of our onions.

Above ground we have 4 different types of lettuces, swiss chard, collard greens, and kale as well as broccoli, rhubarb, and acorn squash.

But this weekend, we were seeing red. About 200 pounds of tomatoes - half red and ready - were harvested last weekend and on this rainy, slushy day after an invigorating 5 mile run, we spent the day blanching, peeling, and cooking down the yummiest looking puree. To our tomato blend we added oregano and basil and onions from our herb patch...the whole concoction grown in our back yard. I LOVE IT!! We'll can it later today.

For weeks we have often had lunches and dinners that were totally acquired locally - goat cheese I made from our sweet friend's goat milk we get each week and sun-dried tomatoes (from our garden), on a huge salad or an egg omelet with eggs from our friend's goat farm, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, onions and herbs from our garden. Or our favorite - fresh tomatoes on top of an olive oil brushed pizza crust with our homemade goat cheese and tons of garden veggies to top it off. The best pizza I truly have ever had - and I grew up eating Chicago pizza, living in the burbs of the windy city.

So my little princess sprout said today, "It's so fun to store up food for winter! Mommy, are the stores closing this winter?"

Friday, October 2, 2009

What to do about the Swine Flu

We are doing pretty much everything listed in this article so I thought it'd be a perfect thing to share on this blog. Lots of great ideas in here.
Summer is over and the question I am being asked most frequently in my practice is, "what do I do about Swine flu?" My patients are wondering whether or not they should get vaccinated and the simple answer I give most of the time is ..NO!

From what you may have read, you might think that the swine flu vaccine is the answer to swine flu. Unfortunately this is not true and until we know that the vaccine is safe, I cannot in good conscience recommend it to most of my patients.

From the outset, let me say, I am not anti all vaccinations, rather I am pro vaccine safety and freedom of choice.

This is why am I not recommending the swine flu vaccine

1) At this stage, for the most part the swine flu seems benign.

Over a million people in the US have already come down with swine flu, many of them without even knowing that they had it. The vast majority of people who get the swine flu recover after a week or so of high fever, aches, and respiratory distress. It's not pleasant, but except in rare circumstances, it is not fatal. Most people who've been infected by swine flu think so little of it, they believe they just had a really bad cold or a regular flu. So unless the swine flu evolves to a much more virulent form, there's no need for mass vaccination.

2) We don't know if the vaccine will be effective.

Vaccines are only useful against the specific viral strain that was available at the time of their manufacture. But influenza viruses mutate quickly, and as the WHO has already said, the real concern with H1N1 swine flu is that it will combine with seasonal flu in the Fall, creating a new strain that will of course be immune to all available vaccines.

3) We don't know if the vaccine is safe.

The FDA has authorized an expedited approval process for the swine flu vaccine but we don't know yet if it is safe. Even GlaxoSmithKline, one of the vaccine manufacturers has said, "The total population studied in clinical trials will be limited, due to the need to provide the vaccine to governments as quickly as possible. Additional studies will therefore be required and conducted after the vaccine is made available."

In other words, the only thing that is safe, is to say that no one knows. Since it's never been used before and they have not had time to conduct any sufficient human testing, by getting vaccinated you are being a human guinea pig.

4) Vaccine manufacturers have been insulated from liability by the government.

The Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius has granted legal immunity not only to the makers of the 2 drugs being used to treat swine flu, Tamiflu and Relenza, but also to the swine flu vaccine makers, for damages due to their use against swine flu. By effectively manipulating the legal system, the Pharmaceutical Industry through their powerful lobbyists have acquired almost complete and total insulation from any liability for their vaccines and adjuvants, which are additives added to generate a stronger immune response. It is believed that it is these adjuvants which often cause the problems. The last time the government embarked on a major vaccine campaign against a new swine flu was in 1976. Thousands filed claims for side effects such as paralysis caused by the vaccine and a number of people died. I am sure that the researchers know more now than they did last time and no one can say for certain that bad things will happen again or that you will suffer dire consequences if you get vaccinated. But this time you have no legal recourse even though this vaccine involves new factors, which makes it therefore experimental and unpredictable.

By shielding the manufacturers from any responsibility for any harm caused, the pharmaceutical firms have no financial incentive to make the safest product. In fact, they have a negative incentive to test it for safety, because if they are aware of problems, then they could potentially be held liable for willful misconduct.

Instead I advise my patients to build up and strengthen their immune systems to prevent viral infections.

Here are my top 10 recommendations:

1) Optimize your vit D level

Adequate levels of Vitamin D are essential for our immune systems to function optimally. Unfortunately there are no significant dietary sources of Vitamin D, most of our intake comes from exposure to sunlight. If you live far from the equator, you simply don't get enough sun through Fall and Winter to make all the vitamin D you need. So unless you supplement during this period, your innate immunity will be compromised. Vitamin D plays such a crucial role in so many aspects of your body's functioning, that supplementing with it makes sense whether you decide to get the flu shot or not.

We know that influenza always gets worse during the winter months. Now there is good evidence to suggest that this is because as sunlight hours lessen during the winter, the people living in the northern hemisphere become vitamin D deficient and are susceptible to influenza infections of all kinds. Here's a great article available at NIH pertaining to this topic.

There is also some evidence that supplementation with a sufficient amount of vitamin D can help to prevent the onset of a flu or cold.

The current recommendations from the Food and Nutrition Board of the U.S. Institute of Medicine: from 200 to 600 IU/day depending on one's age, are way too low. These values were originally chosen because they were found to prevent osteomalacia (bone softening) and rickets. It is now recognized that vitamin D has many additional physiological functions, for which these levels are totally inadequate. A number of scientists are therefore calling for the Food and Nutrition Board in the U.S. and its counterparts abroad to reassess their current recommendations.

To optimize your vit D levels, you will need to

  • Take at least 2,000 IU of a Vitamin D3 supplement daily.
  • Get your 25 hydroxy Vitamin D level checked by your doctor (if that is not an option, you can self test your level with ZRT labs)

Although the current normal range is between 20 and 50ng/ml, this is much too low for optimal health. You want your level to be between 50 and 70ng/ml. This is the most important step you can take to prevent the flu!! It may require a number of months taking 5,000 to 10,000 IU of Vit D3 daily (especially during winter) under a doctor's supervision, to optimize your blood level. Monitor your 25 hydroxy vitamin D status every 3 months until you are in the optimal range, then cut back to a maintenance dose of at least 2,000 IU a day.

2) Get adequate sleep, this is an indispensable requirement for a strong immune system.

3) Get adequate exercise, this keeps you robust.

4) Take actions to lower your stress levels

Do breathing exercises, meditate, practice yoga, spend time doing something that makes you happy. Feeling spent, overwhelmed, and/or mentally run down has a causal relationship to your physical health.

5) Wash your hands frequently but not excessively

It decreases your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap because of the risk of creating resistant bacteria. Rather use a simple chemical-free soap.

6) Avoid sugar and processed foods as they decrease your immune function dramatically.

7) Eat phytonutrient rich meals (lots of colorful salads and dark greens)

8) Eat lots of garlic, it works as a broad spectrum antibiotic.

9) Take a probiotic daily (look for one with 10-20 billion organisms).

A strong immune system relies heavily on having a strong foundation in the gut.

10) Keep a supply of antiviral herbal supplements on hand.

As opposed to antiviral drugs, antiviral herbs do not cause resistant strains because they are multifaceted and contain literally thousands of different medicinal compounds. Thus they are able to attack viruses with a full spectrum of synergistic substances. Andrographis, Olive leaf extract, Grapefruit seed extract and Elderberry extract, all have antiviral properties. Use one or a combination of some of them as a prophylactic measure, for ex.whenever you travel (airports) or enter a potentially compromised environment such as a large office, auditorium, stadium, theater etc.

And if you really want to go all out, here are 4 more tips:

11) Take 1-2 grams of fish oils daily, its beneficial for immune function.

12) Take 2 grams of Vitamin C daily, yes it does help.

13) Stock your home pharmacy with an immune building formula.

Look for one that contains Cordyceps and Astragulus. Take it throughout the flu season.

14) Keep homeopathic Oscillococcinum on hand

Take it at the earliest sign of a cold or flu. Early intervention is essential. If you are exposed to someone with the flu directly, you can take one dose twice a day for two days. You can also take one vial once a week throughout the winter, and two or three times a week during flu season, as a preventative measure.

Frank Lipman MD, is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC a center whose emphasis is on preventive health care and patient education. His personal blend of Western and Eastern Medicine combined with the many other complimentary modalities he has studied, has helped thousands of people recover their energy and zest for life. He is the author of the recent SPENT: End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again (2009) and Total Renewal; 7 key steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health (2003).

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WHY you should avoid the flu shot

This article is worth reading. Our family never has gotten the flu shot and none of us have ever gotten the flu either.

Studies show that flu vaccines are unsafe and ineffective.

Signs and Symptoms of Influenza

As most of you probably know, influenza is a contagious viral respiratory infection. Symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Runny nose

  • Sore throat

  • Cough

  • Muscle aches

  • Fatigue

  • Decreased appetite

Typically, the condition will improve after two to three days of bed rest, although some symptoms may persist for about a week.

What many people do NOT know, however, is that death caused directly by the flu virus is very rare. The vast majority of so-called “flu deaths” are in fact due to bacterial pneumonia – a potential complication of the flu if your immune system is too weak.

Other complications can include ear- or sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic health conditions.

The elderly and people with other pre existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, are at higher risk of developing pneumonia after a bout of the flu.

The Flu Vaccine Does Not Prevent the Flu, nor Protect Against the Vast Majority of Flu-Related Deaths

The conventional treatment for bacterial pneumonia is an antibiotic, not a viral flu drug, so to think that taking a flu vaccine will prevent death from pneumonia doesn’t really make sense.

“But the vaccine will prevent the flu, which will prevent the possibility of developing pneumonia,” some might say.

That sounds good in theory, but the statistics simply do not support this assertion.

Because study after study, and master studies that compile the results from several studies to get a more objective result, keep coming to the same conclusion: Flu vaccines DO NOT WORK, and in many cases do more harm than good.

In fact, one shocking statistic brought to light in this video is that BEFORE the CDC advocated vaccinating children under the age of five, the number of children dying from the flu was very low, and on the decline.

Then, in 2003, just after children aged five and under started getting vaccinated, the number of flu deaths SKYROCKETED. The death toll was enormous compared to the previous year, when the flu vaccine was not administered en masse to that age group!

How anyone can consider a strategy that yields a higher death toll to be a “success” is a mystery to me.

The Problem with Flu Death Statistics

However, as frightening as much of this may sound, it’s important to keep things in perspective. According to the statistics shown in the video above, more Americans die from asthma, and even malnutrition each year, than the flu.

Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grossly distort the facts about flu deaths, making the flu virus seem far more dangerous than is warranted. On the CDC’s main flu page, they state that about 36,000 people die from the flu in the United States each year.

But if you search a little harder, you can find the actual number of people who died from the flu in 2005 (this is the most recent data that’s available) was 1,806. The remainder was caused by pneumonia. In 2004, there were just 1,100 actual flu deaths.

The statistics the CDC gives are skewed partly because they classify those dying from pneumonia as dying from the flu, which is inaccurate.

How is the Flu Vaccine Made?

This is another area that many people do not understand or take into consideration before getting a seasonal flu shot.

In January or February of each year, health authorities travel to Asia to determine which strains of the flu are currently active. Based on their findings in Asia, they assume that the same strains of viruses will spread to the U.S. by fall.

At this point, U.S. vaccine manufacturers start making that season’s flu vaccine, which will contain the strains found in Asia. However, if the viral strains circulating in the U.S. that season are not identical to those in Asia, the vaccine you receive is a complete dud.

And to add insult to injury, you’ve just been injected with a laundry list of harmful ingredients.

What’s in the Seasonal Flu Vaccine?

The flu strains selected are cultivated in chick embryos for several weeks before being inactivated with formaldehyde, which is a known cancer-causing agent. Then they’re preserved with thimerosal, which is 49 percent mercury by weight.

Even many health care professionals are confused about this and are not aware that the preservative thimerosal is mercury. As a quick side note, one of my chief writers told me that, “the doctor’s office told me the vaccine does not contain mercury, just something called thimerosal.”

Please, don’t be fooled by this incredible ignorance. If you have carefully studied this issue there is a great possibility you may know more than your physician about this topic. Don’t back down if they tell you something you otherwise know to be true.

According to the CDC, the majority of flu vaccines contain thimerosal. Some contain as much as 25 mcg of mercury per dose. This means that it may contain more than 250 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety limit for mercury.

By now, most people are well aware that children and fetuses are most at risk of damage from this neurotoxin, as their brains are still developing. Yet the CDC still recommends that children over 6 months, and pregnant women, receive the flu vaccine each year.

In addition to mercury, flu vaccines also contain other toxic or hazardous ingredients like:

  • Aluminum -- a neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease

  • Triton X-100 -- a detergent

  • Phenol (carbolic acid)

  • Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)

  • Betapropiolactone - a disinfectant

  • Nonoxynol - used to kill or stop growth of STDs

  • Octoxinol 9 - a vaginal spermicide

  • Sodium phosphate

How Safe is the Flu Vaccine?

Serious reactions to the flu vaccine include, but are not limited to:

  • Life-threatening allergies to various ingredients

  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a severe paralytic disease that is fatal in about 1 in 20 cases)

  • Encephalitis (brain inflammation)

  • Neurological disorders

  • Thrombocytopenia (a serious blood disorder)

How Effective is the Flu Vaccine?

Remember that the potential effectiveness of a flu vaccine is dependent on the ASSUMPTION, made nearly a year in advance, that Asia’s viral strains will be the ones hitting the U.S. When they guess wrong, the vaccine is worthless from the very start.

But does that mean they withdraw the flu vaccine when they discover it contains the wrong strains? NO! They just keep giving it out anyway.

But even if they were to overcome that hurdle and actually select the correct strains, there’s still no evidence that it does anyone any good to get a flu vaccine.

Study after study comes back showing the same dismal results: the flu vaccines are not an effective method of prevention of the flu, and they do not save lives. As mentioned earlier, they may even be responsible for an increased death rate in some groups.

Sometimes determining efficacy is as easy as reading the information coming straight from the vaccine manufacturer.

How about this quote taken directly from the flu vaccine FLULAVAL’s package insert (which you likely never see when getting the flu shot) for the 2009-2010 formula:

" FLULAVAL is an influenza virus vaccine indicated for active immunization of adults 18 years of age and older against influenza disease caused by influenza virus subtypes A and type B contained in the vaccine. This indication is based on immune response elicited by FLULAVAL, and there have been no controlled trials demonstrating a decrease in influenza disease after vaccination with FLULAVAL.”

That’s right, NO controlled trials demonstrating ANY decrease in your risk of contracting the flu at all after vaccination! (It also states that each dose contains a total of 25 mcg of mercury.)

For those of you who are still unconvinced, know that there’s plenty of scientific evidence available to back up the recommendation to avoid flu vaccines. In addition to studies mentioned in the video, here are several other examples showing that flu vaccines do not work for any age group:

  • A study published in the October 2008 issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu had no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons.

The researchers concluded that "significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting" examined.

  • A 2008 study published in the Lancet found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people.

This supports an earlier study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

  • Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia in the elderly, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now.

  • In 2007, researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious

Diseases, and the National Institutes of Health published this conclusion in the Lancet Infectious Diseases: “We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality,have led cohort studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits.”

  • A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in children. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.

Last but not least, I think it says a lot that 70 percent of doctors and nurses, and 62 percent of other health care workers do NOT get the yearly flu shot.

The reasons why they opted to not get vaccinated were:

  • They didn't believe the vaccine would work

  • They believed their immune systems were strong enough to withstand exposure to the flu

  • They were concerned about side effects

Might Influenza be Little More Than a Symptom of Vitamin D Deficiency?

Vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin,” may very well be one of the most beneficial vitamins there is for disease prevention. Unfortunately it’s also one of the vitamins that a vast majority of people across the world are deficient in due to lack of regular exposure to sunshine.

Published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection in 2006, the hypothesis presented by Dr. John Cannell and colleagues in the paper Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D raises the possibility that influenza is a symptom of vitamin D deficiency.

The vitamin D formed when your skin is exposed to sunlight regulates the expression of more than 2,000 genes throughout your body, including ones that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. Hence, being overwhelmed by the “flu bug” could signal that your vitamin D levels are too low, allowing the flu virus to overtake your immune system.

At least five studies show an inverse association between lower respiratory tract infections and 25(OH)D levels. That is, the higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections:

  1. A 2007 study suggests higher vitamin D status enhances your immunity to microbial infections. They found that subjects with vitamin D deficiency had significantly more days of absence from work due to respiratory infection than did control subjects.

  2. A 2009 study on vitamin D deficiency in newborns with acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) confirmed a strong, positive correlation between newborns’ and mother’s vitamin D levels. Over 87 percent of all newborns and over 67 percent of all mothers had vitamin D levels lower than 20 ng/ml, which is a severe deficiency state.

Newborns with vitamin D deficiency appear to have an increased risk of developing ALRI, and since the child’s vitamin D level strongly correlates with its mother’s, the researchers recommend that all mothers’ optimize their vitamin D levels during pregnancy, especially in the winter months, to safeguard their baby’s health.

  1. A similar Indian study published in 2004 also reported that vitamin D deficiency in infants significantly raised their odds ratio for having severe ALRI.

  2. A 2009 analysis of the Third National Health andNutrition Examination Survey examined the association between vitamin D levelsand recent upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in nearly 19,000 subjects over the age of 12.

    Recent URTI was reported by:

    • 17 percent of participants with vitamin D levels of 30ng/ml or higher

    • 20 percent of participants with vitamin D levels between 10-30 ng/ml.

    • 24 percent of participants with vitamin D levels below 10ng/ml

    The positive correlation between lower vitamin D levels and increased risk of URTI was even stronger in individuals with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

  3. Another 2009 report in the journal Pediatric Research stated that infants and children appear more susceptible to viral rather than bacterial infections when deficient in vitamin D. And that, based on the available evidence showing a strong connection between vitamin D, infections, and immune function in children, vitamin D supplementation may be a valuable therapy in pediatric medicine.

How to Prevent the Flu without Getting a Flu Shot

For most people the flu shot does not make you healthy; it does just the opposite and weakens your immune system.

If you follow a healthy lifestyle, you will not have to worry about getting the flu. Take it from me -- I’ve never received a flu shot, and I haven’t missed a day of work due to illness in over 20 years. The key steps that I follow to stay flu-free, which I suggest you follow too, include:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Swine flu paranoia humor

For those of you wondering, I am having a blast in my new role as teacher of 170 students, ranging in age from 1st through 12th. I teach music to the 1st - 12th graders throughout the week and I teach high school Spanish. I just love the daily moments, the hundreds of conversations that happen, the learning, the excitement students show when they grab a hold of a project you present.

I love that I walk down the hall and throw I love yous silently at my son who happens to sit near the door and can see me throughout the day as I traverse from office to copy machine to staff room. I love that every time he sees him, he leaves the line he is in to dash over to me for yet another kiss on the cheek.

I love seeing my little gal throughout the day, getting hugs and kisses from her all day long, and getting to see her in action at school.

I love that I totally know the kids my sprouts are playing with.

Once a month at our school, 7th - 12th graders spend the morning doing a service project in our community and then they get to pick a teacher led activity to do in the afternoon. Well this teacher offered a hike at a local State Park. So today, in the bright happy sun, I grabbed my Wildman Sprout son and Rennaisance Man husband and took 10 middle school and highschool kids out on a 5 mile hike. We all talked the entire time - getting to know each other even better and wishing we could do this every Friday. And I get paid for this??!!

What humors me about being in a school in the US is the paranoia over the Swine flu. I anticipate it will be at our school in a couple of weeks as it's already in our area - and I anticipate that my family will be down for a few days because of it - maybe not, but I am guessing so and frankly, I just want to get it done with.

So I leave with this humorous depiction of our country's current paranoia:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A thank you note I'd like to share with all of you

To my pastor:

Your sermon blessed us in many ways, but truly, it takes courage to be as transparent as you are, willing to be coming before the church with your own questions.

I don't think I have ever followed up with you over a conversation we had a few years back that set me in a direction of restoration. Your sermon reminded me about it all and I wanted to finally thank you and share with you what transpired.

Remember when I was sick? I dealt with a strange illness for nearly 2 years that resulted in a myriad of symptoms - daily fevers, fibromyalgea, adrenaline tremors, anxiety, no energy, depression and on and on. My whole chemical being was disturbed which kept triggering more problems (like the anxiety) and finally it triggered diabetes II. It was around that time, that when you asked me how I was doing I surprised myself even by saying I'd like to go stand in front of a train at times. It wasn't truly what I felt but after 8 months of being sick and then getting diagnosed with diabetes too I was at my lowest.

So, you pulled me into your office and I was half hoping you'd assure me that I'd be fine...that my body would snap out of this slump and that the nightmare would end...but NO, you said, "your real task is to figure out what you are going to do if you never get better". Oh man did that make me frustrated. Not at you...but at the thought that the hope I was living for that the sickness would end was not the right hope to have but I was challenged to replace my direction of hope from "someday I'll get better" to "what will be my attitude of praise be NOW as I am not necessarily assured that this will pass".

I let that thought simmer and boil in my mind and it slowly perculated down to my heart but it didn't really grab ahold of my heart until a year later. I thought about it often and kept challenging myself to let go of the anxiety and fears even in the midst of a scary situation. A good 9 months after you said that to me, I was finally diagnosed. I had Epstein Barr - the same virus that causes mono but in the EBV state is often called Chronic Fatigue Syndrom - and the doc said I'd probably be this way for 5 to 20 years or even for the rest of my life. So the truth of what you said was now a reality.

I was down for no more than a week before God grabbed me and said you can either stop living or you can grab my hand and keep on with as much joy as you can muster. I decided then and there that despite the diagnoses, I was going to start smiling, like Julie does. Maybe I could slowly trick my body into thinking I was happy. It was a first step anyway. I was going to LIVE fully, and praise HIm and not let this EBV be who I was but instead let the fact that I was a child of God, wholly and beautifully made by Him, be who I believed myself to be.

So God began a work to restore me spiritually. And about the time when I was feeling alive in Him again and not defeated by a diagnoses, the diabetes, anxiety, fibromyalgea, adrenal surges, sleepless nights, and fevers disappeared. So, He then healed me physically. Now, I did do things to help my body have a chance as I had no desire to be in this decrepid state for 5 to 20 years - like eat tons of organic veggies and fruit, exercise, etc. - but God did the healing.

I so love that through that one God appointed conversation that we had He was able to bring about Spiritual Restoration to me...and He chose to then bring about Physical Healing too. If he would have healed my body first before restoring my spiritual health, I would never have learned what I needed to learn or been deeply changed and molded by the whole ordeal. It would have been easy to bound around in Joy if he just healed me right away...but He instead insisted that I do what your challenge to me was: let go of the fears, Hang on to Him, keep the faith and the Joy for life in the MIDDLE of it.

It feels so good to feel so great again - but it feels even better to have been given the wisdom that only comes through trials and then Spiritual restoration as He did in me too.

So, since I am not sure I ever thanked you - thank you so much.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Here I am

I just got home from an 8 day anniversary trip (13 years!!) with my Rennaissance man. 5 nights in the wilderness and 3 nights in travel to get there (plus a gloriously romantic night in a bed and breakfast). He asked me all year if I still wanted it to be a killer backpacking trip and I never waivered in my resolve - ABSOLUTELY! There is no other trip that deeply restores like being in the deep backcountry. Nothing.

Our first night was such a ridiculous contrast to the remaining nights. I thought it would be fun to see book a super cheap hotel and found a deal near Reno for about $25. Flashing neon lights, gambling, people trapped in windowless casinos, was a great hotel really but the setting was so unsettling. Do people really go to Reno to relax? Yikes. We got up the next day and hightailed it to our trailhead, outside of Bishop, CA.

God can speak so loud when the world's city distractions give way to his creation. For 5 1/2 days we hiked - 60 miles - into high elevation Sierras into a basin called Evolution Basin that is heralded as one of the most beautiful places on earth - and it was. We lived at 11,000 feet high for 5 nights - with steep climbs and a total of over 22,000 feet in elevation changes (that's like climbing South Sister 2 times!).

Each morning, I awoke with the same song. Every time we'd hit a rhythm on the trail and descend into silence this same song started playing in my mind. When that happens, I listen. I know it's not a mistake. The chorus played. Each morning I asked God, is this song for me? Yes.

You see, the big change in my life is that I will start, tomorrow, teaching full time. I never wanted to work full time but when I interviewed for part time, they couldn't resist offering me full time. I am half time music for grades 1 through 12 and then half time high school Spanish.

I am undoubtedly nervous. I don't know if we can maintain the family lifestyle we have with me working full time. Renaissance man has told me he will do 100% of the cooking and shopping this year to allow me to put in the hours I need. But, ALL DAY! EVERY DAY! My life was totally full before this.

I want to serve these kids at this school. It's such an honor and opportunity, but I don't want to sacrifice my own family.

Back to the song. It's called "Here I am" and each morning the mountain radio playing in my mind sang to me this chorus. I just got home and had to go see what the rest of the song had to say and it spoke directly into my life. I am to take on this song as my prayer. It will be hard...but as the song says, "Aren't you the closest when it's hardest to stand?" If I take on an attitude of "Here I am, use me" it will undoubtedly trump grumpy attitudes that threaten to steal my servant's joy when this job bleeds into evenings and weekends.

So God, Here I am, send me to the ministry field of the classroom. All of my life, make it an offering.

Here I Am by Downhere
Sometimes Your calling, comes in dream
Sometimes in comes in the Spirit's breeze
You reach for the deepest hope in me
And call out for the things of eternity
But I'm a man, of dust and stains,
You move in me, so I can say
Here I am, Lord send me
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan,
Here I am
When setbacks and failures, and upset plans
Test my faith and leave me with empty hands
Are You not the closest when it's hardest to stand
I know that You will finish what You began
these broken parts You will redeem
Become the song that I can sing
Overwhelmed by the thought of my weakness
And the fear that I'll fail You in the end In this mess,
I'm just one of the pieces, I can't put this together but You can
Here I Am, all my life an offering to You, to You Somehow my story is a part of Your plan
Here I am

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

David Klinkenberg is twittering!

All you twitters and tweeters, you can follow my brother on twitter now! I don't know a thing about this program but I am sure many of you do.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Power of the Word - have to share!

Some of us just easily accept that we are God's child, that He loves us, and that we just have to follow Him...others of us fight much harder through life before these revelations reach our heart. I have 2 sprouts. One wrestles with this. One just believes it.

My wildman sprout is the wrestler. He has been hard on himself since he was learning to crawl upon which God made it super clear to me, "be easy on this guy, he is already too hard on himself." I try. I do. But he is a super sensitive child and lives his emotions OUT LOUD and the loud kiddo gets a lot more negative attention, unfortunately.

These wrestling emotions have erupted this past 2nd grade year as he often said how horrible of a person he was, how he hated himself, and how he wanted to start running and never stop. As mommy, I had to tell myself not to panic but just to calmly listen. So I did all year. But finally in April, I brought my concerns to my Friday morning prayer group at his school and we prayed over his little heart.

That weekend, I shared with him the verses where John asks, "Why do I do the things I don't want to do and I don't do the things I should do? For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing." My wildman was shocked to read his very words, thoughts, and feelings in the WORD and even more shocked that it was a grown man who thought this stuff.

YES little one. We all feel inadequate. 'cause we are!!

While many kids proclaim, "I didn't do it!" or "It's not's Suzie Que's fault, not mine!" my little guy fully knows he has messed up every time he does. He is and always has been completely aware that he is a sinner. Which sets him up to be so deeply thankful for this next part that I shared with him from that Romans 7 passage - "Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!...Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Jesus Christ the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."

I drew a picture of a boy carrying a large bag over his shoulder, like Santa. This boy in my picture could hardly walk from the heavy bag he lugged - and I shared that that is him - carrying all his sins with him but he didn't need to do that!! That's what freedom is.

It was a long and beautiful conversation. I shared much with him and we read many other passages.

I write about it now because it's been about 4 or 5 months since we talked and I have watched that message from the Bible peculate and simmer in his mind and have been so in awe of the power of the word because my wildman has completely stopped proclaiming how horrible he is, how he wants to disappear, or any of it. He has stopped throwing himself around in his emotional tantrums of frustration at himself.

He has turned into this smiley, helpful, more relaxed, and happy version of himself.

All from reading God's truth.

(and from the power of prayer of a few mom's meeting together to pour prayer over their kids lives together one rainy April morning.)

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Just returned from a wonderful week at our favorite camping lake - East lake - perfect beach, camping right on the lake, safe, quiet, beautiful.

The week was well-paced as it started off with our wonderful friends, the Christiansens, from our church and then some other friends came on Sunday....that first group left on Monday and then we came down to our home town for Tuesday's ballet spectacular with our own darling ballerina loving every second of getting to perform in front of hundreds of spectators. Then we went up to the lake again and more friends came on Wed and stayed with us through Sat.

As well, all week my hubby's mom and step-dad were up there camping all week and his brother and his family came on Wed for the rest of the week. So cousins, family, friends...all filled us up to the brim with love and community and connectedness. The stuff of summer!

On Tues though, as I walked into the house the phone was ringing and the person on the other end was bearing news that would completely change our direction as a family. This new season of our life will be so consuming that I have decided to officially stop blogging. If you'd like to know the details, just call or email.

Seasons come and seasons go and this next season will just simply be too hugely consuming to be able to keep this wonderful world of blogging up. I had so many thoughts to share and ideas to ponder out loud with you all, but alas, I will be brought back to conversations face to face with friends and not be able to maintain conversing with the WWW.

It's been a fun journey!!

Love, Julie

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Klinkenbergs Unite

The Klinkenbergs all descended on Silver Falls into quaint cabins perched in a park like setting in the middle of Oregon, from all over the country, for our family reunion. No agenda other then to eat and visit. I spent 3 days learning more about what my roots are, soaking in the love of family everywhere, and noting characteristics that I have seen in myself and brother and dad walking around in many other Klinks that I never even knew where Klinks.

Flashing from the eyes of all my dad's siblings and cousins was a consistent twinkle that spoke of happy lives and content spirits. That twinkle expresses itself in some as a quiet smile and in others as a boisterous laugh.

My roots do not contain any famous people or men and women noteworthy enough to appear in any history books, but what it does contain are hardworking folks that love their family, their country, and God. Many came from very poor families (my own dad never had running water in his home until he arrived on Oregon State's campus as a freshman) and yet they have college degrees ranging from bachelors to PhDs and worked as civil, nuclear, and mechanical engineers; biologists; doctoral research scientists; teachers; and in the Marines. It's a large family as my great-grandparents had 5 children all of which had large families ranging from 6 to 11 children each. I count myself immensly blessed that God chose to put me amongst their descendents.

Their children rise up and call them blessed and all of the older generation speak of having had such a full and wonderful life that they hope no one cries for them when they die but instead rejoices over a life lived with blessings overflowing.

George Eliot's novel Middlemarch, in speaking of the main character Dorothea, pens a beautiful prose to this effect:

Her finely-touched spirit had its fine issues, even though they were not widely
visible. Her full nature spent itself in channels which had no great name on the
earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for
the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life and rest in unvisited tombs.
May I never forget the lesson I learned this reunion: to be someone who never desired status but instead spent my life caring for and loving others.