13 September 2015

A shiny new baby blog

If you've been following along on Dear Lissy, check out my new nature journaling blog, Thursday's Brush.  Thursday's Brush is a collection of techniques, products, tutorials, and links as I learn how to step up my drawing, pen and ink, and watercolor skills.  Hope to see you there!

12 September 2015

One Quick Tip: Basic Body Stewardship

Dear Lissy,

:Every 24 Hours

30 Minutes Brisk Walk 

12 Consecutive Hours Fasting 
(usually from after dinner to breakfast the following day)

        7-8 Hours Sleep       

= Basic Good Health

Nope, these habits won't undo a 6 hour a day screen habit, decaying teeth, or a 4000 calorie diet, BUT they will give you a shot of discipline that helps you tackle the underlying spiritual and emotional problems that caused the screen and sugar habit.

These three changes won't turn you into an athlete or reduce your age by 10 years, either.  They are BASIC MAINTENANCE.  At some point in your life you'll probably want to add in strength, stamina, balance, and flexibility exercises.  Optimal nutrition for your body can dramatically change your energy and immunity levels, too.  The hundreds of tweaks available to your health and fitness do add up, but they don't make much difference if you aren't taking care of the basics first.

As believers, we have a responsibility to steward our body.  God may ask more of us than these simple disciplines entail, but he will not ask less while we have the freedom to perform them.  If He chooses to place us where we cannot accomplish basic maintenance tasks for our bodies, He will also give the grace to accept the limitations.

 Love you to the moon and back,

P.S.  Some basic sources for the three parts of the equation.  Most Americans are woefully undereducated on fasting.  Because fasting doesn't create income for pharmas or food companies, it gets swept out of the way as hoo-hoo witchdoctor level medicine.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  If I had to pick just one consistent health practice for the rest of my life it would be fasting.  I've successfully treated hypertension, fibroid tumors, sciatica and cubital tunnel syndrome, and even a systemic yeast infection with fasting.  Very few people would debate the benefits of a 30 minute daily walk, but most wouldn't think it was "enough."  Sleep -- well, we all pretty much know how much we need to function, but that doesn't mean we make it a priority ever night like we should.

12 Hour Eating/Fasting cycle, also referred to as intermittent fasting or eating window. Dozens of variations exist, from an 18/6 to a 12/5/5.  Extended  mutli-day fasts can heal issues that even our current pharmas and surgery cannot.  A 12 hour window is the minimum fast that had measurable results.  The No S diet we followed all through your adolescent years is a variation on the 12/5/5.
New York Times
Healthy Living

30 Minute Walk
Tesco: 10 Health Benefits of a Daily Walk
Mark's Daily Apple  Mark is known for extreme fitness, but still recommends walking (and fasting...)
Everyday Health
American Heart Association:  Walking briskly provides the same benefits as running.

7-8 Hours Sleep
Ironically, this was the most heavily debated of the basic maintenance tasks when I wrote this.  Every source agreed on at least a 12 hour fasting window and a minimum of 30 minutes of brisk walking, but sleep times varied greatly.  Best current advice?  Go to bed at a time that allows you to wake naturally without an alarm.  Newer research even indicates sleeping a split shift might be healthier.
Wall Street Journal

10 July 2015

Human 101: Don't Be Gross

Dear Lissy,

As we settle into summer work routines, it's easy to get sloppy with personal care.  We've had longstanding routines in our home for what we dub "Human 101".   The goal is to keep every person and their personal space neat & clean.  Eventually these areas will become
a) a testimony issue when you have roommates,
b) a health/safety issue if you are neglecting these tasks,
c) relationship busters.
We want to have these habits and routines so ingrained that they are second nature to you!

Personal Care

Have you showered daily (and after work/exercise)?
Is your hair trimmed, clean, and styled?
Have you washed your face, ears, and neck carefully?
Are your eyebrows groomed?  (Sounds silly, but we've got two unibrows and three Gandalfs living here...we can get looking pretty scary)
Have your brushed and flossed at least twice daily? Lip butter?
Have you shaved?
Clothes clean and not wrinkled/pressed?
Nails and toenails clean and trimmed?  No chipped polish on girls?
Clean feet?
Shoes clean and polished/brushed? Odor eaters/spray if necessary?
Taken allergy meds?

We don't include devotions, exercise, or healthy eating in this list, but if we notice a problem in one of those areas, we'll ask the person involved what their current plan looks like and help them make an adjustment.  Fail to plan, plan to fail.

Personal Space

Bed made daily and sheets laundered in the last week?
Dirty laundry in hamper?  (Workout and wet clothing has to be washed immediately.) Clothing level below lip of hamper?
Clean laundry put away?
Personal care items cleaned, dried, and stored in proper space?
Bedroom and computer stations tidy?

Daddy and I keep a running idea on these items and pull you aside if "always/usually" is slipping into "sometimes/never".  He deals with the boys, I take point with you no matter who notices the problem.  In the next couple of days, I'll write another letter about Human 102:  Live Well With Others.



19 June 2015

My Better-Late-Than-Never Garden 2015

Dear Lissy,

The 2014-2015 school year absolutely flew by!  I dealt with some major health issues in April and May as well as planning Nate's graduation and the garden "went to weed."  We enjoyed a good year of asparagus, strawberries, and rhubarb (perennial crops), but I missed out on all of the cooler spring crops as well as the long season storage squashes.  Daddy was ready to write off the whole season, and I was tempted to as well since both brothers are working full time and can't help in the garden this year. With the amount of veg I'm eating now, though, I really needed to get something into the ground to offset my produce bill.

My Better-Late-Than-Never Plan

I'm only planting gifted sets and last year's leftover seeds.
I don't want to invest a lot of money or time in the garden this year.  Nate is headed to college late summer, and you and Matt have full course loads that will require a lot of my time.  I'm only planting what we can eat, dehydrate, or sell -- I won't have time to put up much veg this year.

I'm pre-sprouting the seeds in damp paper towels so I get full beds.
Older seeds lose viability.  By sprouting them in paper towels, I know which seeds to plant in order to keep the beds full and easier to weed.

I'm only planting seeds with 60 day season or less.
I might be able to harvest the 100 day squashes, but it's a gamble at this stage of the game.  I'll save those for next year and try to pick up a bulk box from a friend or local farmer for storage.

I'm only planting warm weather crops until the end of July.
I don't see any point in trying to keep lettuces and cruciferous veg cool through the hottest summer weather.  I'll purchase those vegetables as needed this year from a local farm stand.  I may put in fall crops at the end of July to catch the end of the growing season.  I do have two varieties of lettuce that grow well in the heat, so hopefully those seeds will produce enough to make my daily salads.

I'm weed-whacking the pathways, spraying with vinegar, and covering them with cardboard as I have time.  
Being French, I like a tidy, weed free garden.  This year, I'm working on one part of the garden at a time and foregoing all of the hand weeding.  Weeds in the walkways aren't going to affect the veg much at all.  Our grocery store boxes our groceries instead of using bags, so I have a surfeit of large cardboard boxes to use up.

I'm clearing one bed at a time to plant.
I find it emotionally painful to look at my beautiful garden beds all filled with weeds!  It will take more than a week to clear all of them, so I'm doing one at a time and planting it.  You can keep up with the daily weeding once I've cleared the bigger weeds.  As of today I've cleared and planted the nine racing slick mini-beds and four of the big beds.  I hope to have the rest cleared and planted by the end of next week.

I'm not allowing my expectations or Daddy's disappointments to keep me from doing something.
We had plans for a big garden that would provide a substantial amount of veg this year.  A business loss meant that we didn't have any money to invest in the garden or canning/freezing supplies we needed to make that dream a reality.  Dad is an all-or-nothing kind of person.  I'm not.  I can let his obvious frustration result in nothing, or I can be a true helpmeet, and just keep plunking away on getting something done.  Even if I only provide two months worth of vegetables for our family, that will help.  I have a large dehydrator and a big, cool basement; so I can put up some veg even if I can't can or freeze.

Often in life, our big plans and dreams will be thwarted by lack of time, health, or finances.  We may have to settle for good enough, and that's ok.  We thank God for the time, health, and finances he has given, and make that work to the best of our abilities.  Gardens, like most worthwhile things in life, require a small investment of time every day and then a big push once or twice a year.  I'm grateful I have the space and the health to plant a few vegetables this year even if I can't have the garden of my dreams.  When life hands you challenges, look at them as ladders, not as roadblocks!

Doing the next right thing,