Frost on our storm door looked like large beautiful jungle plants light by morning sunshine from a clearing in the woods.

Frost on our storm door looked like large beautiful jungle plants lit by morning sunshine from a clearing in the woods.

 

“Mom, do you think the frost on our door is so beautiful because I’m always so happy?” asked my son.

He had previously looked at the awesome book, Hidden Messages in Water, where scientist Masaru Emoto showed how positive and negative words spoken at–or even just thought toward–containers of water had real effects on the pattern of crystals when the water was frozen.

When looking at that book, my son remembered that a Ferengi in Star Trek The Next Generation had referred to humans as “ugly bags of mostly water.” And in fact, according to Dr. Jeffrey Utz (Neuroscience, pediatrics, Allegheny University, as cited by U.S. Geological Survey), humans are 55-65 percent water (except infants which are born at about 78 percent). Or humans are “about 70 percent water” according to NASA, which might be outdated truth since Dr. Utz goes on to say that basically the fatter a person is the lower their percentage of body water–and obviously the populace is getting fatter all the time, so we probably do average closer to 55 percent than 70 these days. But I digress.

The point is that if we’re made up of a high percentage of water, and a thought or word can affect water, it can have a physical effect on our bodies! And on all sorts of other things around us.

The idea that “words can’t hurt” has been outdated for decades, but while you can’t always control what words are spoken to you, you absolutely can learn to always control the ideas and emotions which you allow to linger inside your own head and which then resonate throughout not only your whole body, but also throughout everybody around you, manipulating energy and matter throughout your entire corner of the universe.

If you want more evidence of the power of thought, read “Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing” by Anita Moorjani.

You carry an invisible tool that does not require the lifting of a finger to operate. You have the power to affect creation, your health, and everyone around you. Will you choose to wield it wisely, kindly and positively?

Trying to be vigilant in controlling your thoughts and emotions is as tiring and impossible as pushing a train everywhere you want to go. However, if you get that train onto the right track, it will roll smoothly and take you where you want to go on very little fuel. As you learn to have the right outlook and manner of thinking, maintaining a positive outlook and joyful mood will become who you are automatically, rather than an act you have to maintain.

Beauty and goodness is everywhere to be appreciated and enjoyed, to uplift and enrich— especially if you put it there! Think it. See it. Be it.

Love, understanding, and true joy to you 🙂

Bright and beautiful frost in the pattern of leaves, woodland plants, or seaweed.

Bright and beautiful frost in the pattern of leaves, woodland plants, or seaweed.

Our frosty storm door, with a different lighting angle and camera exposure, looked like a shady woodland scene opening into a sunny field.

Our frosty storm door, with a different lighting angle and camera exposure, looked like a shady woodland scene opening into a sunny field.

 

 

Noname Porter-McShirley  © 2015 Noname Porter-Mcshirley

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Anger Comes from Pain

Why is it really important to understand anger? Because:

  • Understanding anger is the first step in dealing with your own, so that you can behave decently, and so that you are not controlled by automatic responses to other people.
  • Understanding anger gives you helpful insight when dealing with angry friends or family members.
  • Understanding anger is important in the bigger picture of society—for preventing the formation of, or responding to, masses of angry people.

Think about what anger is: Anger is an emotion, a very intense feeling which summons your attention and energy; it is your subconscious talking to your consciousness while it rallies your body for what it expects your response will be. But if you have this detached perspective, then you are not bound to act as your feelings seem to tell you to act.

Emotions exist to serve us. They say, “Hey Master, here’s something you should pay attention to. Don’t you want to do something about this?” That’s true for happiness, sadness, love, anger, or any emotion. “Hey Master, there’s a good-looking person, don’t you want to make contact?” “Hey Master, there’s a fun game. Don’t you want to play it?” “Hey Master, this food tastes great. Don’t you want to grab another helping?” “Hey Master, notice how great if feels when you receive a compliment. Don’t you want to do that again?” “Hey Master, you’ve tried this already. Don’t you want to give up?” “Hey Master, that person stepped on your toe, causing you a lot of pain, and she didn’t even notice. Don’t you need to kick her so she doesn’t hurt you again?”

But we are to be the masters of our bodies, not leave emotions in control. The first part, “Hey Master, notice this,” is rather automatic. The second part, the “Don’t you want to___,” is trainable. Untrained, we tend to be selfish and superficial. We grab what’s fun and strike back when hurt. But we can train ourselves to look beyond the surface before responding, and to be kind when hurt.

What does it mean to be “kind when hurt”? Apologizing for existing because someone bumped into you, is not being kind. Being kind is taking note of your anger and telling it, “Okay, I got your message, now go back to work. I’ll handle this.” Then you look for more information about who hurt you and why, consider their point of view as best as you can see it, and offer some response which might actually help the other person to feel better—even if such a response has nothing at all to do with what they did to you.

Here’s the natural, untrained, emotionally reactive cycle of anger:

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Person A has a problem which generates an angry feeling, and so lets those feelings explode on whomever is handy. Person B, feeling the pain of being unjustly blamed (exaggerated by feared future consequences), yells back about the injustice they feel. Person A, being far from calm enough to admit an error, gets even angrier from the pain of being accused of unjustly yelling. Person B, feeling the pain of being in a hopelessly negative situation, yells about how absurd person A is acting. Person A not only continues to defend his or her self, but also feels additionally pained/angry because Person B has not seemed to care about the original problem.

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But when a wise person gets unjustly yelled at, the thought patterns goes something like this:

“That person is angry and it’s not my fault, which means they are dealing with something more painfully difficult than their level of strength or wisdom at this moment. They are not an absurd person normally; they are only acting on emotions right now, so there is no point in responding directly to their absurdness. I’m going to look for ways to reduce their stress, and try to figure out the real source of their pain so that I can find a solution for their problem. Then their mood will return to normal.”

When you realize that an angry person is actually a person who is in some sort of pain, you can shut off your retaliation instinct and proceed with empathy, love, patience, and possibly assistance.

Acknowledge to yourself your own anger, but shut it down by working to alleviate or eliminate the underlying pain. And if that underlying pain is someone’s unjust anger vented on you, work to alleviate or eliminate THEIR underlying pain, and everyone’s anger will vanish.

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Further reading: Here is an article on the value of seeing people’s offensive actions as stemming from ignorance and poor assumptions rather than maliciousness, thus allowing yourself to avoid reacting angrily: http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2009/10/falkenblog-epictetus-the-life-coach/

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© 2014 Noname Porter-McShirley

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According to several webpages, potentially harmful metal particles are being added to foods to make them whiter, and to vitamin tablets—without always being noticeable (or even listed?) in the ingredient list!

What’s the loophole? Is it covered by “natural and artificial…”?

More importantly, what will you do about what you consume?

Here are some credible and informative websites on the subject:

 

What do you know about this?

One solution: Eat less prepared and processed food.

 

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If you’re out this Spring to trim back new growth around the edges of your property before wildness takes over, you might just run into Poison Ivy and not even know it until too late.

In the Spring Poison Ivy has no tell-tale leaves yet, but (as I once found out the hard way), both the bare vines and new shoots can irritate your skin in the Spring just as badly as the leaves can during Summer.

One easy and free way to protect yourself from this “invisible” danger, is to cover your skin with long pants, long sleeves, gloves, and even goggles if plant material might strike your face. If you need to cover a gap between sleeves and gloves, cut the toes out of an old pair of socks and wear them on your wrists. Be sure when you’re done working around the yard to put all your clothing in the washer and then wash your hands.

BUT sometimes no matter how careful one is, that’s not enough. Maybe a branch got up your pant-cuff, or poison ivy cropped up where you never thought it would be and you weren’t protected. We don’t want to live in fear of the outdoors! So…

Thankfully there is one natural thing which really helps me whenever I get my skin poisoned by Poison Ivy:  Jewelweed.

While you can buy Jewelweed products online, I have no personal experience to be able to recommend which version is best (although while searching for photos I found this interesting product testimonial http://beautyinfozone.com/skin-care/secret-weapon-alert-creation-pharm-jewelweed-topical-mist/ ).

What I can tell you is that if you can find it growing wild, it’s easy to make your own treatment. Jewelweed “tea” won’t instantly cure Poison Ivy, but it will (at least for many people) remove the painful itching for hours at a time, and it’s safe to reapply as often as one wishes!

How To Make Jewelweed “Tea”. . . NOT for drinking, but for wearing!

You will have to locate and harvest Jewelweed during its short Summer growing season, and freeze the “tea” for use throughout the rest of Summer and into Spring. So use the links below to see what the plant looks like, and then go Jewelweed hunting. You may want to print a few pics to take with you on your search, so you can avoid simular-looking plants which will be of no help. It grows in semi-open shady, dampish places, like in a very young wood—the type you might find in urban areas, behind city parks or apartment buildings, and on undeveloped treed lots. In one person’s YouTube video, Jewelweed was found along a roadside (I’m guessing at the edge of some trees for partial shade).

Once you find the right plant, and you feel sure it’s the right plant, gather a big handful. When I did this, there were plenty so I plucked entire plants. However if you don’t find very many plants, I’m guessing there’s enough Jewelweed juice in the leaves alone, so you could try letting the plants continue growing by very gently picking just a couple of leaves from each plant until you have a big handful of leaves.

If you’ve picked entire plants, be sure to cut off and discard the roots, so as to not get dirt in your “tea.” Then, boil some water (just about enough to cover your leaves), turn off the heat and stir the leaves or plants down into the water. Let them soak until cool, remove the plants/leaves, and freeze the amber-colored water in ice cube trays. These are your “Jewelweed tea cubes.” Once frozen, seal the cubes in plastic to prevent evaporation inside the freezer. Whenever you have an itch you suspect is Poison Ivy, rub a Jewelweed tea cube on the effected skin, and return the cube to the freezer for later when the itch starts to bother you again.

IDENTIFYING JEWELWEED:

SUMMARY:

  1. Identify Jewelweed plants.
  2. Gather a handful.
  3. Trim off dirty roots.
  4. Boil water (in non-aluminum pot*).
  5. Steep (soak) plants/leaves in the hot water till cool.
  6. Freeze & seal for later use.
  7. Rub on irritated skin for itch relief.

*Side note: boiling water in aluminum releases aluminum into the water which is not a good habit, as too much aluminum entering your body can cause severe health problems.

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© NPM

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Aside from the people buying billions of bottles of water for convenience, huge numbers of people don’t trust their sources of drinking water. They either buy filters for their faucets and fridge dispensers, or buy filtered water from the store. Even if you don’t think you buy your water, what about the electricity to pump it out of the well? Or, depending on where you live, there could be a charge per gallon on your water and sewer bill? So to me, throwing out perfectly good liquid and paying (one way or another) for more water to cook with looks like a waste.

Whenever I cook pasta or beans I save the “broth” for making another batch, or for soup stock. But there’s another liquid I used to throw down the drain, simply for lack of a better idea. That is, until now.

My family goes through a LOT of dill pickles. Pickles on lentil burgers. Pickles on tofu sub sandwiches. Pickles on peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches. I even like pickles in tossed salads. So I was thinking about all the pickle juice I’ve thrown out over time.

Pickle juice is mostly salty watery vinegar (with some garlic and or herbs, and if it’s from sweet pickles it would contain some sugar). All breads include water or some kind of liquid in the ingredients. Bread also tastes best made with some salt, which I read somewhere is chemically important in the rising process. Sugar (or honey) is also good for softening the flavor of whole wheat flour, and for making yeast grow. (As a side note, adding a sugar crystal to a droplet of water containing yeast particles has so far been the most interesting thing my son and I found to watch under his microscope.) Biscuits and soda breads benefit from some vinegar mixed into the liquid ingredients, as it reacts with the soda to add puffiness. I even use vinegar in my pancake batter to help them rise. So, it almost sounds like pickle juice was made for making breads, doesn’t it?

This week I finally tried using a whole quart of dill pickle juice in making regular yeast-raised whole wheat dough for four loaves of bread. Also, instead of sugar, I added the syrup from a can of peaches, and I threw in the liquid from a can of black olives. When the bread came out of the oven, everyone devoured a loaf as usual, spread with butter and honey. My son agreed that this batch of yeast bread came out very well. No one could guess from the great flavor of the bread that I had done anything odd. It certainly did not taste like pickle bread.

I’ll admit that since I only had one quart of pickle juice on hand, I had to increase the volume of liquid by adding water. (Don’t ask how much–I rarely measure when cooking.) But the important fact here is that a whole cup of pickle juice per loaf of bread did not at all harm the bread’s flavor.

Vinegar is believed to have health benefits, so the juice probably improved the nutrition of our bread—even though store-bought pickles are obviously made with white vinegar. Some sources say apple cider vinegar is recommended for the most health effects, which makes sense because it still contains more of the original food material not present in distilled (white) vinegar. But other sources explain the health value of the acid content of white vinegar. Apparently, any vinegar is good for you, even though some kinds may be even better. So, if you make your own pickles using apple cider vinegar, and then put that juice in your bread, you might reap even more benefits than I did.

Here are two handy articles about the nutritional values of vinegar. Normally I don’t like the quality of eHow articles, but it really depends on the particular article’s author, and I’ve read similar information as this in numerous other places including books.

http://www.ehow.com/facts_4814363_health-benefits-vinegar.html

http://www.ehow.com/facts_4814363_health-benefits-vinegar.html

Even WebMD can’t argue that there clearly seem to be benefits to consuming vinegar:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/apple-cider-vinegar?page=2

There are multiple books on the market dedicated to the health benefits of vinegar, which include helping with such things as cholesterol, diabetes, weight-loss, allergies, skin care, and more.

Whether or not you believe the findings on vinegar’s benefits, the absolute least that I did was conserve money and water, by reusing three liquids which were already processed for human consumption and which otherwise would have gone down the drain.

Do you have other uses for pickle juice? Have you tried cleaning with it, giving your mirrors and counters that “fresh pickle scent”? How about using it in place of vinegar in that old method of clearing sink drains? I have yet to try these uses myself, but I’m thinking about it—if I have any left after bread-baking 🙂

 

© NPM

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Being natural bodies, we fall under the power of inertia.

When we’re working, really working, we’re often energized and propelled by seeing progress, making small accomplishments, checking items off our to-do list, knowing that we’re finally moving in the right direction. We want to keep going to see bigger victories and reach the end of a project or mission. At least we want to finish something, some stage of work, so we can move on and not have to come back to it later.

If you were writing a report or email when someone yelled “quitting time,” would you stop in the middle of a word, or say “okay, just let me finish this sentence”? (And you’d probably keep going at least to the end of the paragraph!) If you were wiping a counter and saw food dribbled down the cabinet front, you’d wipe that too, and then seeing some on the floor you would clean that up too, which would lead you to see the pet’s empty water bowl which happens to be in need of washing before filling. While you might be thinking “when will I ever be done!?!” you would keep going because you are in motion and one thing leads to another.

When we’re at rest, we feel like staying at rest, either because we’ve worn ourselves way down with our overly long work sessions, and/or because it’s easier to dream than to act. It’s easier to worry and procrastinate than to get the blood flowing through our muscles and brains. Just thinking of all the work we have to do makes us feel tired and lost. We want another hour of rest before facing what feels like a loosing battle with life. (Hint: when we have a schedule, we don’t always have to think about all of our work—usually only the next thing on the schedule.)

When we are working there are always more things to do. When we are resting there are always other positions to roll into, limbs to stretch or retract, dreams to be watched.

But we are not only natural bodies. We are also spiritual beings inhabiting our bodies like exosuits. And it is supposed to be our spirits in control of our bodies. We are supposed to choose what’s wise and make ourselves enact wisdom. Wisdom doesn’t rely solely on willpower—it adds strategic management.

One of the delights in being self-employed is supposed to be the freedom to work when we want to, and not when we don’t want to. But that is only viable once we learn to value work and know how to motivate and schedule ourselves.

If left to my own tendencies I would probably have a 34 hour day/night cycle, but God only designed a 24 hour cycle for us. I believe He had reasons.

I’ve discovered that working to the end of one project, while other things pile up, collapsing in exhaustion and resting until bed-ache or an outside force (or family member) demands wakefulness, and then tackling another mountain of work of one sort other until that pile’s cleared away, is NOT efficient—or healthy.

You might think for instance, washing dishes only once per week would be more efficient than washing after every meal. That not thinking about laundry until you had a washer-worth of each type (lights, darks, reds, whites) would let you focus on other things for a week or two. That piling up unsorted receipts, and sorting out accounting and taxes all at once annually would be most efficient. Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

While there are sometimes real advantages to grouping work into batches, cutting down on time required to get things in and out and switch mental gears from one task to another, this definition of efficiency has to be kept in check. There can also be a disadvantage we should examine—the ripple effect on life flow.

Cooking and serving in the second half of the week may take longer and be far more frustrating when the most appropriate dishes are in the dirty pile from three days before, and are filling up half of the available counter space. Picking out an appropriate outfit for your day may also take longer and be less satisfactory when most of your clothes are dirty and waiting for that one big laundry day. Finding time for several days of sorting, categorizing, and adding up income and expenses can not only be hard, but it also means pushing a week’s worth of everything else off track every Spring.

You’ll also find that you work smarter, think clearer and faster, and feel more cheerful and creative when you go to sleep before you’re on the verge of illness, and get a sensible amount of sleep at least several nights per week.

So we need a schedule where everything gets done when it’s best for the flow of everything else. A little of this and a little of that, to keep every department of our lives running well. If you don’t believe me, try imagining the only grocery store in town saying that it’s more efficient to restock everything at once. What if they didn’t care that half of the shelves were empty and you couldn’t buy what you wanted, because there was still half a store’s worth of something for sale? And then what if everyone had to wait outside in line for three days while the whole store was restocked at once? This is an example of the ripple effect “efficiency” can have on the rest of life flow. It can be very inefficient for everything it touches.

The surprising part is that we will find that we seem to have more time–enough time–when we both have a good plan, and stick to it. That’s because we won’t be wasting time in confusion, frustration, and depression. You probably don’t know how much time those negatives take until you free yourself from them.

If your life is complex or you have many responsibilities, you may find it hard to make a plan or schedule which you can stick to. It takes thought over a period of time, and trial and error. Be willing to adjust when you find what won’t work.

I think my biggest problems with scheduling were being unrealistic with how fast I could work, not planning bumper time (for interruptions, bathroom trips, switching between tasks, etc), no allotment for the unexpected, and leaving no time for catching up when a project or chore didn’t fit it’s time slot. For years I refused to make a realistic schedule because I refused to accept it might take years to do as much as I wanted to accomplish in months. But I’ve found a time saver—a magic way to get more out of each day.

What’s important is to accept when you’ve found a workable schedule or plan, and then “just do it!” Know when to stop thinking thoughts like, “I wish I had a plan,” “I just don’t know how to get it all done,” “I’ll have to give up some sleep.”

Just do it” saves time. I’ll explain.

When you hear “stick to the plan” I’m sure that triggers the protest that our plans can’t take into consideration the unknown future, so we’re bound to have to go with the flow and that means we’ll get behind again, so no schedule is going to work. That’s what I used to think. However I’ve learned that the best defense here is to swap. For example, if you’ve scheduled an afternoon at the computer and your spouse invites you out on a date or your kid gets sick, tend to the family today but make sure you reschedule (and accomplish) that afternoon worth of computer work on the next day where you had intended family time. But only swap when it’s wise to, not when your whim dictates.

So I’ll say it again: once you have a workable schedule, just do it! Whether you feel like it or not, you can just do it. Do what your plan calls for, when it calls for it. If you’re scheduled to load the washer tonight, do it. Don’t say to yourself, “oh I know I’m supposed to wash laundry, but I have clothes for tomorrow and I just want to go to bed. It will be okay.” You could have done it in the same time it took you to debate and excuse yourself. Stay on track and you’ll feel incredibly energized! Telling yourself “Just do it!” is like revving your own engine—you’ll go farther faster. You’ll rest better knowing you’re on track, and wake up happier knowing your not starting the day behind on your chores.

Once you have a good schedule, you won’t have to constantly waste time thinking about what you’re forgetting to do, trying to figure out where to start, calculating what will happen if you put something off, and wallowing in negative thoughts.

Every time you “just do it” you find out you can do it, which makes you feel like you can do anything. And you can. Without wasting energy and time thinking and rethinking the routine and mundane, you’ll have more time and energy for bigger and better things. After a while your schedule will become habitual, and that will free up even more time and energy for whatever you choose.

ANOTHER TIP: Once you have scheduled time periods for each type of work, be thoughtful to choose the most important or forward-moving activity for that category. For instance, if you’ve allotted one hour with your child, which adds most to the quality of your relationship: passively watching a TV show together, or interacting imaginatively with action figures? If you only have an hour per week for social media, decide which will move you closer to your goal: to write a blog post, browse other people’s FaceBook pages, Tweet encouraging responses to other people, search for an ezine which might publish your article, or what? Accept the length of time you have for a type of work, and focus on using that time slot wisely.

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3).  It’s our job to discipline ourselves to do the right things at the right times.

 

© NPM

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Is there a bit too much of you after all those holiday dinners?

You can give “yourself” away on EVERY ordinary day.

Giving away your food, or the time you would spend preparing food and eating, reduces your intake which over time will reduce your size. This can be done within your ordinary routine—there’s no need to join a club or charity or diet. You can even give to yourself!

When you give something up, you won’t feel deprived if you focus on the joy of sharing and seeing someone else enjoy what you’ve just given (or the joy of giving yourself something unusual and fun).

Your kind act should give you an emotional boost to counter any lingering hunger. If you need extra help, take a deep breath stretching yourself tall while pulling your tommy in, and tell yourself, “I’m getting thinner.” Then go on to your next chore with a cheerful mood.

Here are some examples:

  1. If you are making yourself a snack when your spouse or friend walks in the room, give your food to him/her, or at least half of it. (This may or may not work with kids, as they might not like the kind of food you fixed for yourself.)
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  2. When making breakfast or lunch for your kids, don’t make any for yourself–just eat the scraps or their left-overs. Give the extra time saved to your kids instead, in the form of your attention while they’re eating.
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  3. When you usually eat with family, but find yourself alone for dinner, either skip dinner alltogether or have something quick and light like popcorn or a piece of toast, and give yourself the meal time for something special instead (like a long bath, or reading a book you’ve been wanting to get to, or cleaning the closet, calling a relative or far-away friend, writing that book you’ve been dreaming about, or any other thing you don’t usually have time for).
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  4. Taking lunch to work? Watch for a homeless person and if you see one, then give away your lunch and go without that day. (You’re more likely to see a hungry person if you are looking for one.)
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  5. Taking lunch to work, idea #2: Share it with someone who has less quantity or less quality in their lunch bag.
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  6. At home OR at work, when you’re thinking of getting something for yourself to eat, look around on your way to the food for little chores that need doing, and do them (an hour or two may pass before you get to the fridge, and by then it might actually be meal time). You’ll feel happier because you were productive rather than wasteful/waist-full.
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  7. When you’re thinking of getting something for yourself to eat, idea #2: Ask someone nearby if there is anything you can do to help them right now. (This gives you a break from your own activities, and gives you an energy boost from being surprisingly & kindly helpful, while keeping you too busy to eat.)
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  8. Planning on buying your lunch? Give that money to something later by putting it in another pocket, telling yourself it will buy XYZ (or it will go with tomorrow’s lunch money for XYZ if XYZ costs more). Make sure XYZ is something you’ll feel good about, like a present for a child or spouse, lunch out with your mom, or something you could really use that you’ve been putting off buying.
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You can probably find more ways to give yourself thin, if you get started and keep looking. You’ll become happier, and so will those around you!

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© NPM

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Holiday gatherings, and the month of dread which comes beforehand, are some of the most frustrating and depressing times for many people. These are supposed to be celebrations and reunions, but one of the biggest contributing factors which makes these events problems, is that so many people are measuring themselves and others with the wrong measuring sticks.

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Tradition is to compare and judge others’ lives against one’s own life, based primarily and superficially on physical accomplishments, because these are the easiest things to put into words and are most similar across humanity in western cultural terms.

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Examples: awards and educational degrees earned; prestige or money from jobs and number of promotions; home size, toys, and cars; money spent on gifts; kids and their growth, involvements or accomplishments; fun activities and places visited; number or class of friends; club memberships; books read or written; childhood dreams realized; etc.

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But you can HAPPILY look like a failure by all of those standards, IF you have gained (or know you are gaining) understanding of humanity and of God, your reason for existing, and what will outlast the fleeting years at hand. For if understanding a good chunk of those things is what you pour your time and resources into, you can feel confident in your abilities to be an honest benefit to fellow humans and to the entire universe.

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Communicating a meaningful measurement of your life is often hard, because there’s so much value in the fleeting moments which are like little pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and just as hard to remember or explain their context.

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Examples: the times you made someone smile, were kind to a clerk, gave a hug, answered someone’s nagging question, realized the answer to your own questions, forgave someone, lovingly sacrificed your own desires for someone else’s good. The times God’s Spirit embodied you and shined through to lighten and enlighten the world with love.

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So gather with grace, confidence, compassion and love for everyone, wherever they measure up at the moment–or think they measure up–on any yardstick. Hope for meaningful progress.

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Happy holidays!

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© NPM

(This information is not doctor-confirmed—it’s just my personal experience and opinion. Use your own judgement for your own health.)

Many websites list iron-deficiency symptoms such as tiredness, which I never really noticed. Yet it is my belief I was iron deficient.

I had a severe problem: I couldn’t move–not even roll over in bed–without feeling like my brain was spinning; and along with causing head discomfort, this kept me on the verge of nausea. This was extreme dizziness!

My doctor was on vacation. I don’t remember what prompted me to try iron supplements (I think it was an educated person’s suggestion), but a few hundred percent of the “recommended daily allowance” of iron, a few times per day, cured me gradually over I think about a day or two.

This does make sense, because iron is needed for red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body; and what happens when the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen? Dizziness of course!

Here is a nice clear page about iron http://health.learninginfo.org/what-does-iron-do.htm  But if you read that page, and many others around the web, you’ll see that tiredness is the symptom most often mentioned.

So why didn’t I feel tired or lacking in energy? Because I was a person who habitually did what I judged needed to be done, regardless of my energy level. In other words, I had long before forgotten what rested and energized felt like, living on adrenaline, willpower, and love for others. I was deaf to my body’s subtle signals.

I repeated the on-off “test” process a few times: I stopped taking iron for a while or maybe only a couple of times per month, had the dizziness come back; took more iron and felt fine. I repeated this cycle more than twice, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t coincidence. Iron really was what I needed. (BE WARNED: Too much iron can damage organs, so be careful and consider having your blood iron level tested.)

Then I had “another” problem: taking an iron supplement daily for a long time wasn’t enough. I cooked in iron skillets; took 100% US RDA of iron daily; I included in my diet lots of fresh broccoli and swiss chard, canned spinach, eggs, beans, prunes and raisins, and occasionally red meat (all iron-rich foods, but most are calcium too). Still I could feel the dizziness coming back (thankfully I’d learned to notice it before it got severe). Without blood tests I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but I was worried.

I did another internet search to learn what interferes with iron absorption. I realized that I was usually consuming my iron-rich foods with calcium-rich foods and whole grains (both of which block iron absorption), and I was always taking my iron pill with my multi-vitamin-mineral pill which also contained calcium. These were not helpful habits.

See these pages for detail on what interferes with iron absorption, and how to increase absorption:
http://www.ivillage.com/iron-absorption/6-n-145851
and
http://www.livestrong.com/article/34792-foods-interfere-iron-absorption/

I also read in the book “the Four Hour Body” that the author, Timothy Ferris, did have his blood tested before and after adding orange juice to his somewhat strict diet. His test proved what one of those webpages says: citrus juice increases blood iron content (because, it is thought, of the Vitamin C content in the juice). This didn’t make Mr. Ferris happy (because, he says, men don’t lose blood monthly and so have no way to rid themselves of too much iron); but it’s some good news for anyone already low in iron. Orange Juice can help. ……….By the way,  I’ve only read a part of his book, but found it has a lot of good information in it. Here’s a link to it on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/4-Hour-Body-Uncommon-Incredible-Superhuman/dp/030746363X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342717373&sr=1-1&keywords=the+four+hour+body

So, I started taking my near-daily iron pill with vitamin C (which helps with iron absorption), AND when other nutrients can not interfere: in the middle of at least a 4-hour stretch between meals, or two hours after dinner if I won’t be having a late-night snack.

Before I figured out how to absorb enough iron, I had already committed to taking better care of myself, including getting enough hours of sleep. I noticed that even 8-9 or more hours didn’t feel like enough, and I blamed this on my dreams. I was always busy in my dreams trying to get things done, just like in my waking hours. I learned to turn off my mind when going to sleep, telling myself that everything can wait because now was the time to rest. This helped considerably with waking up energized. But after correcting my iron intake, I was surprised at how much better I felt! I still get 8-9 hours of sleep occasionally, but often only seven, and I have real energy—I don’t have to push myself like I did for years. (I still sometimes have to push myself to work on the right chores when I’d rather work on different ones, but that’s another issue.)

SUMMARY:

  • Iron deficiency can cause tiredness; BUT, if you don’t notice that, it can go on to cause severe dizziness.
  • It’s serious when your body doesn’t have enough oxygen flowing—not something to cure with will-power.
  • To make sure more of the iron you consume is absorbed:  A) try to eat some iron-rich foods at separate times from tea, coffee, bread, cereal, dairy, beans, tofu, etc., B) try to take any iron supplements on an empty stomach if you can, or with foods that don’t interfere.
  • Take citrus juice or vitamin C with your iron foods or iron pills. (NOTE: Potatoes are rich in vitamin C too, if not over-processed.)
  • Listen to your body and find out what it needs, so you can last longer to do more for others (and for yourself).

Now I feel great, and have more energy than I’ve had in a long time. Real energy.

© NPM

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