Christian Living, Finding Peace, Grieving, Healing Season, Surrender, Uncategorized

You’re Not That Strong (and why that’s good)

“You’re gonna be so strong after this thing, honey,” her eyes were locked on mine. Her heavy hands giving my shoulder an affirming shake.

“How strong does someone need to be?” I asked. I don’t think I want…sob…I don’t think I want to be…sob…that…sob…strong.

I was young.

I was wise!

You should not be as strong as I am.

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I’m not talking about gains in the gym, I’m talking about lifting the crushing weight of hopelessness.

20 years ago today my parents, Lee and Jacque Cook were killed by an F7 tornado in Montgomery, Ohio.

emt workers carry out mom or dad

I know. Ouch. So ouch.

At the time I received a LOT of help, so help people with their “ouches” now.

My friend was right, I became “so strong through this” but I’m still no convinced that is a good thing. It’s been suggested that my strength is often detrimental and creates imbalances in life. I bet that’s true.

Guess why?

It’s fake news.

I’m not strong. I am carried by the King and He strengthens me.

If all of a sudden you’re like…ope…I’m out.

Peace.

And speaking of peace…Jesus…He gets a crummy wrap sometimes, but He is actually known as the Prince of Peace. 20 years ago today, I became a witness. I know that heaven fell on me like honey from a comb and once I get a taste, I was like freaking Pooh Bear.

20 years ago, I was walking around the wreckage where my family and house used to be.

And I was looking to two things a)treasures-anything that proved we existed and b)answers-like why?

At the time, I believed in reincarnation. I thought that in each life we had a lesson to learn in order to progress forward and eventually attain Nirvana. I don’t really know what combination the “all you can eat buffet of faith”, I’d stacked on my plate to think that way. But…there it is. I wandered the ground asking “why, God” and “what are you trying to teach me” as my born-again brother was on the t.v. news saying stuff like “God is so faithful. He’s so good. He took them together. They would not have wanted it any other way.”

I was entirely carried by friends, civic and church people who I didn’t know. You can read the whole story in my book The Healing Season: How a Deadly Tornado Wrecked and Reshaped My Faith. It’s everywhere books are sold (and there’s a small group DVD and audio book, too)

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I was not strong. I was carried. I was weak. The community was strong and carried me.

I “have  some “strength”. I may even be strong.Or, maybe I’m weak and trying to keep you at arms length by flexing mine. I’m in therapy for my “strong ” because like I said, it’s fake news. I am needy. I need my friends, family, church, counselor. I need my workouts (but to burn off the crazy as much as build muscle).

For at least 20 years I wore I black pleather jacket. It was bad to the bone and looked killer on me.

But but God is doing a new thing. Think about it: do the words “bad to the bone and killer” best describe who I am and who I want to be?

I threw the jacket away. It does not make anyone think I’m tough. It’s not going to stop someone from mugging me (or worse).

I am covered by the King and clothed in His mercy and grace.

I know…so much Christianeese.

But, dude, it’s Him. He’s my strength. He carried me then and now and always. And that’s enough for me. My God strength is my good strength. Not my real strength. Not my black pleather jacket. My Jesus.

So, 20 years now.

20-years with a yucky title, I didn’t pick “orphan”or want “tornado girl.”

We all have those, right? “Divorced guy” “Cancer mom” “Unemployed boy”.

Is there anyone in your life saying, “this is going to make you so strong”…sure.

It is.

But I really hope it also makes you weak. Weak enough that you need someone and reach out and feel them clutch your hand.

We can’t do it alone.

We are not made to.

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Plus those titles, “orphan” “looser” “failure” are also lies. I’m calling them out.

You are not those names. You are a God-breathed and divinely inspired movement of heaven on earth. Put that on your next job application! Right next to “emergency contact: Christ”.  Like the t-shirt says, we need a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus. But we also need people. Not just our tribes either.

Part of my “so strong problem” is this lie: I don’t need anyone. I can do it myself.

Again, so much fake news.

We need each other and we are needed.

Taken to it’s natural extreme for this tornado girl looks like isolation that is justified by introversion, which is probably instigated by a scary freaking world where tornadoes kill parents and kids get shot at schools, and planes fly into buildings sometimes. Not always. Not usually. But sometimes. At the mall. Or movies. So maybe I’ll stay home.

But there’s a problem there.

It was not ME who held me up back then, it was YOU. It was them.

It was God (of course) and the community. I worry about the unity in commUNITY.

Today, 20 years later that worry is wasted energy.

I was not worried a tornado would come. And most of the “tornado” we worry about only swirl in our minds. But there is one who calms the storm and in our weakness, He is very strong.

Plus…biggest bonus prize ever, because of Him I know I for sure get to see Mom and Dad again. It’s a done deal and it’s makes me so bold in the soul I could trash talk a tornado: what you got windbag? It only LOOKS like you won.

But there I go, being strong again. Today, I’m being gentle with myself.

I’ll sit with a coffee, and blanket and dog. I choose the little way to remember: plant a flower, read devotions.

Maybe I’ll bake a cake (angel food, of course.) and share it with someone.

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Shannyn Caldwell is a Traditional Naturopathic Doctor and Founder of The Healing Season: Holistic Wellness Community.

 

 

 

Healthy Living, Uncategorized

Hot Flash! A Healing Season Women’s Wellness Report

HOT FLASHES-A Healing Season Women’s Wellness Report
By Shannyn Caldwell TND Candidate and Holistic Nutritionist
Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause and perimenopause. More than two-thirds of North American women who are heading into menopause have hot flashes. They also affect women who start menopause after chemotherapy or surgery to remove their ovaries.
Hot flashes start when blood vessels near the skin’s surface widen to cool off, making you break out in a sweat. Some women also experience a rapid heart rate or chills.

bamboo bamboo whisk board bowls
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
people sitting in front of bonfire in desert during nighttime
Photo by Tomáš Malčo Malík on Pexels.com

Conventional Medicine suggest that there is no prevention available, aside from limited triggering foods.
There’s nothing you can do to avoid hot flashes around menopause. But you can stay away from triggers that may make them more frequent or more severe. Common ones included on WebMD’s website include: Stress, Caffeine, Alcohol, Spicy foods, Tight clothing, Cigarette smoke,Sugar.
If simple adaptations like wearing breathable natural fibers and a cooling pillow do not bring a satisfactory result, the medical doctor is likely to suggest Hormone Replacement therapy. Side effect of such “therapy” include: a higher likely to have blood clots, breast and endometrial cancers, and gallbladder inflammation. Additionally, When you stop taking HRT, the hot flashes may come back.
For those wishing to avoid HRT, the MD offers there other “greatest hits” for you to try:
Prescription treatments include:
Low-dose depression drugs like fluoxetine (Prozac, Rapiflux), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), or venlafaxine (Effexor), Clonidine, a blood pressure medication, Gabapentin, an anti-seizure drug, Brisdelle, a paroxetine formula specifically for hot flashes, Duavee, a conjugated estrogens/bazedoxifene formula designed to treat hot flashes
Clearly, these offerings demonstrate a desire to “treat symptoms” not trace roots. I will not spend a lot of time tracing down side effect of each of these, for lack of space and interest.
A visit to your friendly neighborhood Naturopath will reveal a much less intimating set of options for your to consider.
Let’s look at some other choices that may help our bodies find ease in this transition.
Let’s consider the events in play that create this response in the body.
These include changes in reproductive hormones and in your body’s thermostat (hypothalamus), which becomes more sensitive to slight changes in body temperature.
Aside from menopause, other possible causes of Hot Flashes include:
Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism, which causes an overabundance of thyroid hormone, can increase the body’s metabolism and lead to hot flashes and sweating. While hypothyroidism is the usual culprit in these cases.
Hormone-secreting tumors such as pancreatic tumors override the organs’ ability to help the body function properly and can lead to hot flashes and sweating.
We can bolster the endocrine system with proper nutrition, including adequate levels of B complex vitamins, vitamin E. (Mayo Clinic suggestion)
Super stars in the “help for hot flash” category can be found in Mother Nature as well.
The best known of these helpers:
Black Cohosh
(Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa) This herb has received quite a bit of scientific attention for its possible effects on hot flashes. Studies of its effectiveness in reducing hot flashes have produced mixed results. However, some women report that it has helped them. Recent research suggests that black cohosh does not act like estrogen, as once thought. This reduces concerns about its effect on hormone-sensitive tissue (eg, uterus, breast). Black cohosh has had a good safety record over a number of years.
(menopause.org)
Vitex Agnus Castus has been particularly in demand because it has been proven in German studies to help women with their hormonal imbalance problems.
Vitex Agnus Castus works by increasing the number of progesterone hormones in the body. Vitex Chasteberry Tree contains compounds that have an influence on the pituitary glands. These compounds cause the pituitary glands to reduce their production of FS (Follicle stimulating) hormones and increase their production of L (luteinizing) hormones. This then causes the pituitary gland to produce more progesterone hormones.
Progesterone hormones are particularly important during menopause and with an increase it can help women to have balanced hormone levels. Consequently Vitex Agnus Castus for menopause can be extremely effective because it helps women to stay hormonally balanced, and to avoid the unpleasant signs and symptoms of menopause.

Essential Oils are also a handy tool to keep at the ready.
Phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogens. Essential oils containing phytoestrogens may help balance hormones.
Since many of the changes associated with menopause are due to declining estrogen, phytoestrogens may improve a range of symptoms, including mood swings, hot flashes, and irregular periods.
Clary sage, fennel, cypress, angelica, and coriander oils may support hormone balance, according to one study.

Citrus
Citrus oil aromatherapy is said to have a number of health benefits for women experiencing symptoms of menopause. Researchers in a 2014 study found the postmenopausal women who inhaled this essential oil experienced fewer physical symptoms and an increase in sexual desire.
In addition to a decrease in systolic blood pressure, they also experienced an improved pulse rate and estrogen concentrations.
Citrus also has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help with any aches and pains you may be experiencing.
Geranium used as an essential oil has also been found to help menopausal women manage hormonal changes.
Basil
If you’re looking for ways to increase your estrogen levels or to help improve your mood, consider adding basil aromatherapy to your daily regimen. Basil can also be helpful against hot flashes when diluted and applied to your feet or rubbed across the back of your neck.
Rose
Some researchers have proposed that rose oil strengthens the uterus, potentially addressing menstrual cycle issues. In menopause, rose oil may improve mood and reduce hot flashes by balancing hormones.
What a wonderful way to rebrand this often-maligned season in life.
Menopausal Hot Flashes: A bouquet of roses… geranium and clary sage.
Cool!

 

Learn more about Shannyn Caldwell and The Healing Season at www.thehealingseason.com

and join the Holistic Wellness Group at www.facebook.com/healingseason 

Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Uncategorized

Sweet Ways to Lower Blood Sugar

It’s National Diabetes Awareness and Prevention Day!

My family tree has an over abundance of Diabetes- my mom, aunty, grandma and even great grandma were (are) all Diabetic.

Not this girl!

It was years ago that I was blessed to have a massage (I know, swoon) and at the end of the massage, I asked the therapist if he noticed anything that was out of line.
“Nope” he said, “All the bones and muscles are in right order, but you eat too much sugar, that’s why your back hurts RIGHT THERE” as he pressed into the spot on the right side of my middle back that ALWAYS hurt.

“What? What do you mean?” with a shrug of his shoulder he gave me insight that would change everything for me.  “That’s not a muscle hurting” he explained “That’s where your pancreas is. It’s inflamed. Don’t believe me? Cut out refined sugar for a week and see if you notice a difference.” He further explained that I didn’t even have to cut out all sugar, just the white stuff. Switch to raw sugar or honey, he said.

I did. And guess what! No. More. Back pain!

So let’s start there. If you have a pain in the right side of your middle back, cut out white sugar for a week and see if anything changes.

Beyond that, there is so much you can to to keep your body humming along, healthy and even with the worst genetic pool, be encouraged. You don’t need to receive the diagnosis plaguing so many in our Nation today.

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Here are a few simple things that you can do today to help your body stay healthy or even return to the health it was created for.

1-SAY NO to fake food! GMO foods are not real food. Even if your tongue thinks they are, your cells not better. Don’t eat them. Kick them to the curb! Corn, Soy, Canola oil are the most common offenders with any hydrogenated oil fast behind. Skip the fake stuff, including dyes and bleaching agents.

2-FEED Your Body the good stuff! Macro’s are key. Good fiber helps your body do the happy dance. They slow down the rate at which your body absorbs glucose and help detoxify your system. Some great fiber choices that are nutrient rich are Artichokes, Avocado, Nuts and Seeds (especially Chia and Flax) Healthy fats (like coconut oil) can help level out your blood sugar therefore helping out your pancreas. Good clean protein is also key. They work to slow the absorption of sugar. So, if you eat meat, get good grass-fed organics, wild-caught fish (which are packed with Omega-3’s to reduce inflammation) or reach for lentils or eggs!

3-MOVE Your Body! Studies show that as little as 20 minute of light exercise 5 times a week can help prevent and even reverse type 2 diabetes.

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About 10% of the American Population has diabetes, including our kiddos.

How about we move that number down by moving our bodies UP and out for a nice walk and then a healthy plate of real, nutritious food. We can reclaim the health God gave us, one step, bite, choice at a time.

 

Shannyn Caldwell is a certified holistic nutritionist and author of The Healing Season.

Find her at http://www.thehealingseason.com

 

Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Homemaking, Recipes, Uncategorized

From the Healing Season Kitchen

Last month, we welcomed an InstantPot into our kitchen.

Honestly, pressure cookers have always scared me a bit, with stories circulating through our family history of explosions and spaghetti sauce on the ceiling. But when all of American exploded at Christmas with blog upon blog and photo after photo of happy/healthy mama’s smiling next to their shinny little cooker-bots…I BIT!

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that probiotics are a blessing for your belly, digestion and entire system. They are healing ninjas! I want an army of them!

Mostly, I wanted to be able to push a button that says “Yogurt” and then watch a tiny little miracle happen. And THAT’S exactly what I feel has happened.

yogurt

My Syrian grandma, Mary used to make her own yogurt. It was delish. Making is…GROSS, Grandma! But this…for realz, ya’ll. It’s “set it and forget it” goodness.

My husband says it’s the best he’s ever had. My son has requested I make it each week!

And…holy EASY Batman! So…if you are feeling adventurous or just want to up that pro-biotic count, this is for you.

I don’t know about YOU but for me, if it’s going into something called the “Instant Pot” it better be really, really easy. Dare I say Instant?

There are LOTS of recipes out there for homemade Instantpot Yogurt. So require boiling milk. Some require a thermometer! #aintnobodygottimeforthat. Because this is a coconut yogurt, no thermometer required! YES, LORD!

This is definitely easy.

Easy homemadecoconut yogurt

To create this Greek Yogurt textured pot of yummy, simply mix all the ingredients above (except the gelatin) together. Split the creamy goodness between your two clean ball jars and put them uncovered in your Instant Pot for 11 hours.  When your little pot sings it’s happy “I’m done” song it will read “Yogurt” on the display! That’s when you just pull out the jars, stir in the gelatin (or better yet, BLEND that goodness) and pop them in your refrigerator until they are cool.

And they are SO cool! I hope you enjoy this and thanks to the blogger at My Big Fat Grain Free Life for getting this idea started. (she doesn’t add the syrup so hers is a pure plain yogurt, while this is a tiny bit sweet)

Top with your favorites: Berries….MORE syrup? Have fun, sweet ones! Be well.

Shannyn Caldwell is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and founder of The Healing Season: Holistic. Wellness. Community! http://www.thehealingseason.com