Hot flashes…

6:30am: Dress in layers for the day. Tank top, tee shirt, sweater.

9:17am: strip off the sweater

9:21am: put it back on.

11:48am: strip off the sweater and tee shirt.

11:50am: put tee shirt back on

11:55am: put sweater back on

5:56pm: strip off sweater, turn heaters in house off to cool it for night time.

6:15pm: put sweater back on.

2:00am: throw all covers off of body, wipe sweat from back of neck, take off jammy tank. Lie awake for who knows how long until skin starts to feel cool. Pull covers back over.

4:15am-ish: throw covers off of body (again), move pillow over to cool side of bed. Wait for body to cool, then shift to cool side, pull covers back on and try to get back to sleep.

5:30am-ish: wake up hot again, give up on sleeping and wake up to start the new day.

I hope you never have to experience hot flashes. However, if you do, know you are not alone.

Batatada…

Sounds like the name of a song from a Broadway musical to me! However, this recipe has become a new Sabbath morning breakfast favorite!!!

I have been trying new recipes from a Book called Overcoming Estrogen Dominance by Magdalena Wszelaki, CH, HHC. It is listed under desserts, but I had it for breakfast this morning with a bit of smoothy. Following is a link to this gal’s website.

https://hormonesbalance.com/

Without further ado, here it is!

Batatada or Sweet Potato Bread

I loved it so much when I sampled it, I decided to make a second batch today to freeze. A couple notes:

You could easily use a can of sweet potato purée.

I use essential oil instead of zest.

It fits in an 8×8” baking dish or the equivalent.

The first time I made it with 1/3 cup un-packed sugar, and it was plenty sweet.

And the second time I made it with half GF flour and half almond flour. and it tastes just as delicious!!!

I hope tasting this brings a smile to your face, and much joy to your tastebuds!!

Happy feet…

When Statler, our black cat starts winding around my feet, I know he’s wanting some love. Some “mommy pick me up and cuddle” time. As soon as I do, his paws start opening wide, then closing right. I call this his “happy feet”.

Happy, happy feet!

This week, I also have happy feet, for the first time in years. I was born with my right foot twisted in towards my left. It was corrected with braces before my memories begin. Over the years, I had to wear “corrective” shoes. They were ugly, expensive and invariably made my long flat feet look even bigger than life. For a few years in my early twenties, I tried wearing ballet style shoes, and heels. That didn’t last long, as the pronation caused ankle pain. To a podiatrist I went and I have worn orthotic inserts ever since. They would relive the pain for a few years. When the pain returned, I would try a different style of orthotics. Sports shoes were my life, but I wanted to wear sandals during the summer with dresses. I took a few summers wearing sandals, and seemed to do OK. It’s probably good we have short summers here.

Anyway, over the last three or four years, I noticed a bone had shifted in my arch area. I began had a three month episode of crushing pain at the end of the day that would cause me to limp horribly. Not good for the back or hips or knees. I could no longer wear my Birkenstock’s, as that dropped bone hit the arch area hard, and it was downright painful. The pin in the inner ankle continued to increase, making walking uncomfortable. I began to limit my activity around the house and property, and stopped walking with friends. I went through several sets of orthotics during that time, each set working for a while, but the pain eventually returning. Soon, I began experiencing unbearable pain with my first dozen steps each morning. After a bit of research, I decided to sleep in a plantar fasciitis brace. It keeps your foot flexed at a bit over 90 degrees. I figured if the tendon was shrinking at night being relaxed, and the pain was from re-stretching it, then keeping it in a semi stretched position would help. It did. No more pin in the morning. The pain continued to increase. I went to one foot doctor who listened to my symptoms, looked at my X-rays, but never touched my foot, only to tell me that it was just a matter of time before I would need surgery. No compassion, no intermediate options presented. The other day, I went to another foot doctor, basically to be told that I just needed better orthotics, and he could sell them to me because the ones I was wearing were crap. I asked about options, specifically if physical therapy could help. He ooo-pooed it and said it was structural, better orthotics would fix everything.

I left his office in tears feeling without any hope for a pain free future. I decided to make an appointment with a physical therapist any way to ask if it could help my condition. While we talked, the therapist worked my foot, twisting it, pushing on bones, etc. She said it was definitely a hood fit and recommended an exercise and dry needling (acupuncture) to relax the muscle the tendon was attached to. I said I would do anything. By the time my first session was done, the dropped bone was up again, not to its original position, but definitely better. The muscle in my calf felt beat up, and I had a tight piece of tape around my foot, which was uncomfortable. She said that because I have always had a structural issue, we probably couldn’t get it back to 100%, but could get it at least 50-75% better. I couldn’t stop the tears of joy. The best thing I left with that day was hope.

Yep! That’s one of my long, size 12, narrow feet.

Hope is a powerful thing. My prayer is that in these tumultuous times we live in, that you have hope for tomorrow, whether it be for the sun to rise, for a lack of pain, for better finances, whatever. May you find hope.

Twenty four hours later, the tape has relaxed and doesn’t hurt anymore, my calf feels great, and I walked up the stairs on my toes again, not flat footed like I have had to for the last few months. Monday I get my current orthotics adjusted for my new foot structure, and I have happy feet too! The pain has been minimal today, and I have hope. My attitude has changed, I am not consumed with worry about whether I will be able to walk next year, and I feel like a weight has been lifted from me. My soul is at peace. I even slept better last night.

Hope is a powerful thing. I pray that you can find hope for whatever it is that you are worried about, and that your soul can find peace in hope, and that you can have Happy Feet today!

Freedom…

Good Morning. I need to write this down while it is still fresh in my mind. Last week was a hard week. Nothing awful happened, I just had some life baggage that needed to be dealt with.

A little history: I am a 56 year old woman. I was married at 20, had our first child at 22, the next just after my 25th birthday. We were married for 13 years when I was blindsided by my husband having an affair and wanting a divorce. I knew our marriage wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t know it was that bad. We didn’t talk about our relationship. God brought my current husband into my life a couple days after my ex filed for divorce. Our divorce was uncontested and a month later it was done. One miracle that happened with the divorce was that I never wanted to put my hand to it. It was his decision, not mine. In the state I resided in, if one party does not show up and contest, the judge signs it into action, without me signing it. Not that I don’t acknowledge the legal proceeding, I just didn’t want my approval of the action via signing.

Fast forward: My honey and I will be celebrating our 23rd anniversary in a few months. We recently were having a conversation about some health issues and how we were going to deal with them. My honey was talking about a gal he was seeing for a type of physical therapy, when he made some comments that triggered fears from my pst marriage. I held it together, calmly finishing the conversation. But when I headed to bed, the tears began, the fears flooded my brain, my thoughts spiraled out of control to dark places of doubt, planning for a future without him, wondering what I do to make the men in my life desperate enough to have affairs. No, my husband was not having an affair. I knew that rationally, but fear is a powerful force.

It took a few hours to finally drop off. Because of the stress, I arose super early. I really didn’t want to talk to my honey, and I knew he would want to if he saw my “puffy, I’ve been crying” face. So, I took off before he woke up to deal with myself, to pray and figure things out. I headed down to our local lake and sat in the parking lot. As it began to rain, I closed my eyes to listen to the soothing sound, only to have it disrupted by the sound of seagulls next to my car.

I opened my eyes to see what the ruckus was about. Seems that two males were arguing over a female. I began to think about something I had been reading about animals, fight or flight, and stress. And as I sat there, I feel like God’s Holy Spirit spoke to me. Here’s what I heard. Animals have to deal with frequent fight or flight in life and death situations. You are not in a life or death situation. You are in an unpleasant moment. Life is just a series of moments. Some pleasant, some not so much, some hard, some easy, some victorious mountaintop experiences, some are darkest valleys of death. But no matter, life is just a series of moments.

My tears stopped, my fears fled, and I felt peace flood my soul. I knew I would live through this. The worst that could happen is my fears are confirmed, he leaves me and I continue living. I have been through that valley before and came out stronger on the other side. I felt like I could actually talk to him rationally about our decisions, some red flags I had about one protocol, without any emotion getting in the way. And not because I had stuffed my emotions, or emotionally severed the tie with him (which is what my fears kept telling me to do). It was because if there was anything inappropriate happening with him and his therapist, that was his baggage to deal with, not mine.

I went on with my day, and was actually looking forward to watching a big basketball game with my honey that night. We had a fun night and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with him. The next morning, we talked. I shared my “triggers” with him and how I responded, and my day. I wasn’t afraid of what his response might be. I knew it would just be a moment. One of many. He began to apologize for what he’d said, and I was able to lovingly say, “You have nothing to apologize for. This was MY problem, my baggage that needed to be unpacked and put away, hopefully never to come back out again.

After our conversation, which went surprisingly well (stupid fear!) we both went about our days. I wasn’t stressed, I was at peace. Still am a week later. Although, at least to my brain, the phrase “Life is just a series of moments,” doesn’t seem very spiritual, I truly believe it came from God, the one in the Bible. His words always bring peace. Even the hard words that convict me that I am the one in the wrong. And I am a better person for listening and doing whatever he says.

That phrase brought freedom to my soul and broke the chains of fear, doubt and self condemnation. That’s what Jesus/Yeshua preached. Relationship with the creator of all things. Relationship that cuts through all the crap we accumulate in our hearts because of living our own way, and brings freedom, when we listen, hear and obey. In the Bible, there is a verse in the book of John, chapter 8, verse 36. If the son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed. I was enslaved to my fears, to my past, to my triggers, to the enemy of my soul. I am no longer a slave to them, to Satan. I have been set free by my Creator. I belong to him now. He is my Father now. I pray that if you have not experienced this type of freedom, that you will stop, and ask him to speak to you, to set you free. Then, choose to follow the one who set you free. Read his written love letter to you, the Bible. May today, have a victorious, mountaintop moment for you!

What’s on my mind…

As I am reclined on the couch with my ankle resting on the back wrapped in an ice pack, my mind is wandering. It is hard to shut it off. I really want to read my Bible and drift off for a nap, but, am having a hard time shifting into low gear.

One cat is curled up at my un-iced foot, the other is snoring on the ground somewhere behind me.

We recently added two bedrooms in the loft above our shop event room. I need to get the rest of the base/door trim installed soon so the painter ca. Come and caulk and do touch up. But, I really should make the time to caulk, so we can save a few bucks. I am pretty good at getting a smooth caulk line.

We are looking into the cost to landscape a formal garden with our tax return money. How much can we do ourselves? Is it worth the chiropractic visits that might ensue? I need to follow up with the concrete guy about patio costs. And I need to touch bases with the stone guy about getting the estimate doe the stone wall and the outdoor fireplace. Since both my honey and I have been involved in the real estate industry for years, we are always thinking of resale value. Our barn is more of an event center, and should city water and sewer make it down this way, we could use it as such. We really should have an outdoor space for events.

Trying to figure out how to keep kids from plucking up entire rose bushes when we have large group gatherings. the last gathering we hosted for Purim found two of my fathers rose bushes broken off at the root. Since I found one entire bush in one of our playhouses, I can only assume it was broke. Off by a child in full run, or broken off to use for some sword play. We are talking about putting a large play set out in the yard, but where is the best location? We will probably shift my food garden space to behind our greenhouse, and put the playset out just past the lawn where the parents (who aren’t watching their kids) can see it. Then fence the food garden in so they can’t destroy it when it is planted later in the season.

If I fence the food garden, I can do it myself with T-posts and cattle panels, but the cost of those materials is similar to the cost of the materials I really want for a 6’ black cyclone fence. However, I can’t I stall that myself. The difference in price would be about $10,000 in the two fences. I think I need to lower my expectations and just put up the one I can by myself this year and be happy. But without a permanent fence, I’m not sure what to plant my grapevines on. Decisions, decisions.

I should probably put some of the physical therapists suggestions for my dad to use in my life to avoid what I have seen him struggle with in old age. Limps throwing backs out, etc. He saw a VA physical therapist for the first time last week. The hope was that they could help strengthen his back and legs so he could stop using a cane, which he has been using since his slip on the ice. After just one visit, he is walking like he used to six months ago, well before his fall. She retrained him how to put his socks on, how to walk with his cane properly, how to get in and out of a car to best avoid falls, and so much more. The transformation is amazing! He has been good about following her instructions and doing his exercises. That takes a lot of stress of my shoulders, figuratively and literally.

How can I self treat my ankle pain if I don’t know what is causing it? I have been told that an MRI is the next step to seeing what’s wrong, by a doctor who has a horrible bedside manor. His nurse took X-rays. He walked into the room, introduced himself and told me “Well, your on the path to needing surgery on that ankle tendon. It’s just a matter of time. Put more arch support in your orthotics, and call me when you’re ready for the MRI”. Yea, NO, I won’t be calling you, I will find someone with a little more compassion, who will maybe do a bit more thorough investigation of what could be happening. I realize that an MRI may still be necessary to find out if it is damaged or infected, since each would require a different form of treatment. But I don’t want to spend a thousand bucks (or more) for one, and have to go through the process of getting that reimbursed through my medical sharing insurance thing. But, I should probably do it sooner than later to avoid causing any further damage.

Should we start letting the cats out during the day to get the mice in the lawn/garden space? Would they hunt them? Would they wander the neighborhood, something we don’t want. Are they big enough that the hawks won’t go after them? How in the world can I supervise them when I am outside to work, not supervise? Last summer we let them come outside with us in the evenings when we sat on the porch to watch the sunset. They mostly stayed close to the house. Until, I calmly said, “Okay boys, it’s time to go inside”. The black one let me pick him up and put him in the house. Waldo the Wild and Weird on the other hand decided a run towards the neighbors field would be the appropriate course of action. What a butthead! Needless to say, I am not looking forward to trying to train him to stay close. But, it needs to be done this summer. We don’t want to let them out all day and night, since we have many stray cats in the fields and they are scrappy fighters. I spent our first summer here helping our neighbor heal up her cat’s fighting wounds. I don’t want that with our boys.

There. Now that all those thoughts are out of my brain, maybe I can relax and read and nap. As long as the cats don’t start WrestleMania on me again.

Hope you have a great day!!

Yummy….

https://hormonesbalance.com/recipes/berry-pumpkin-seed-kefir-smoothie/

This delicious smoothie has become one of my favorite meal replacements. Since I can’t find coconut kefir locally, and don’t have the emotional strength to figure out how to make it, I buy a cashew vanilla yogurt and do t add the sweetener. If you have the will power to save some for the next day, it will be pretty thick. Just add some alternative milk to it and enjoy! Delicious and filling!

This website has been a good one for me, and if you are a female grappling with out of control hormones, maybe some of her stuff can help you too. Her supplements are terrific too! I use her Zinc because it has no fillers, and her B Maximus has really helped to calm my daily stress.

And a side note. I recently freeze dried a quart of this (one recipe) and our 1 year old grand daughter enjoyed sucking on some pieces as I packaged up the lovely purple powder into a mason jar. I plan to bring it with me to a personal retreat I have planned at a local camp. Since it is winter, and I will be the only camper there, I decided to bring my own meals. This will make a lovely lunch on one of the days.

Lessons learning…

As my father ages, I continue to learn. Here are some of the lessons I have been learning.

Slow down. Do whatever you need to to walk with them. I hold his elbow to keep me slowed down. I will periodically scout ahead for hard to find items and bring them back to the cart. But, for the most part, I will just walk slowly with him.

Sometimes run errands without them when time is of the essence. Since my father walks so slow, it is hard to get more than one or two errands done each day, and still leave time for the house stuff that needs to get done. Once a week, I split early, and get a bunch of things done quickly. I try to save certain errands that I know he enjoys for when I take him out. Monday we will go to Hobby Lobby.

Let them do everything they can for as long as they can. On laundry day, ask if it would help for you to get their laundry basket to the laundry room. Then let them do their laundry.

Try not to push help on them. It helps keep their dignity intact. It can be embarrassing that their bodies are betraying them, and that they can’t move quickly. Offer help, but not constantly.

Make a mani/pedi appointment for them monthly to take care of their nails. They can’t reach their feet on their own, and often, the aged nails are hard and tough.

Hire out a housecleaning once or twice a month to help you keep up with things. For your own home, and for theirs if they live alone. Being a caretaker takes more of your time up than you may realize. If they live with you, you may be taking over some of the things they did to help around the house. If they live on their own, you are probably spending time traveling to them and helping to keep up their house. Don’t let things get so bad that it becomes stressful for you.

If they are housebound, spend time with them. Play a game (we play scrabble), watch the news with them, or just sit and talk. Ask if there is anything you can help with. My father plays the lottery and often won free tickets. I was daily visiting the stores to get those for him. Do they need a library book?

Plan ahead. Since it is looking like my father may not get past having to use a cane, and that steps are increasingly difficult to maneuver, even with grab bars, we are looking into installing a ramp in our garage to make getting in and out of the house easier for him. He is resisting the idea, but, I think it is time. He eventually agreed. He often forgets the lessons he learned while caretaking for our grandmother who lived with us through our teen years.

Make time for you to get away from responsibility. Whether that be a weekend at a local hotel, or a weekly visit with a friend. Get away. If you need to, call a sibling and ask them to fill in for a day. If there is no help, see if Medicare, or maybe they have veterans benefits, provides caretaker support. I like to book a room at a local summer camp to scrapbook for a few days twice a year.

Make sure to share your struggle with a spouse or trusted friend. It isn’t easy watching a parent’s health deteriorate. It can take. A huge emotional toll on the caretaker. Take care of yourself, so you can take care of them.

There are probably a lot more lessons, but these are the ones that come to mind without too much effort. As hard as it is to care for an aging parent, what a blessing it is to help them maneuver through their last years with dignity and a friend. I hope these things sit in your minds database and come back to you should you ever need them.

Fun project….

My father recently decided to switch headboards. He preferred one from another bed that we were using. We have it back to him and decided to replace it since we also weren’t fond of the one he switched out. It was a heavy golden oak piece.

We decided to donate it to a local charity. Thrift store, after thrift store said “no.” Apparently oak headboards, especially without a footboard are impossible to sell. Eeesh.

The headboard before

My honey said to take it to the dumps, but I hate scrapping a perfectly good piece of furniture. My creative, anti-disposable mind went to work pondering what could be done with it. Maybe I could cut the bottom portion off and use it as a mounted wall shelf. Practically speaking, it was just too heavy for that. Then as I looked around a room we were furnishing, I wondered if I could make it into a console table for an entry area. I googled “DIY headboard into console table”, and sure enough, I was not the only woman to have thought of this! Thank you house of Hepworths for the encouragement!

https://www.houseofhepworths.com/2011/09/22/you-turned-a-headboard-into-what-project-23-done/

Day one: I measured for height and pulled out my trusty power tools and set to work. After an hour I had removed the “leg” hinges, cut off the excess, re-attached the shorter legs and secured them to be immovable.

Day two: Look through my current stock of spray paint, then off to the store I went to purchase enough spray primer and spray paint to cover an elephant. I am not a sand it down, use chemicals type of gal, so I figured that if I used enough primer, the paint should stick. Here’s hoping.

Day three: figure out how to drag the beast out of the garage by myself to get it into the sun so it will actually dry in 45 degree weather. I am a tualy pretty proud of myself for figuring that one out. Two plastic bin lids worked great as sliders. I went through two cans of white primer, then emptied 5 partial cans of flat black primer/paint combos, all the while wondering how I got five partial cans in my stash. I am usually good about using a partial before starting a new can. But wait! I digress. After the flat black, I coated it with gloss black, then a final coat of black polyurethane.

Drying outside
Finished project. Still need to put the drawers in the center with fun pulls.

I must say, I am pretty happy with the results! My mindset as I age is be adventurous! Take risks! What is the worst that can happen? It is usually way less serious than we think. I hope you too can step out of your comfort zone to be adventurous and take chances. There is so much beauty and fun to be had in this amazing world we have been placed in!!

Aging…

Watching an aging parent struggle is hard. My fiercely independent 84 year father recently slipped on some ice and pulled a groin muscle and bone bruised his back end. Within hours, the pain and stiffness was so great he had to use a walker to get around. It broke my heart to see him struggling to get around, and sit down. He couldn’t get his own socks on, couldn’t balance to do his regular chores around the house. And worst of all, was confined to sitting in his living room without being able to get out of the house.

He’s been a great patient though. Mostly because he will do anything to regain his independence. He iced the sore spots, regularly took the homeopathy regimen we planned out for him, and didn’t overdo it. After 5 days, he took his first shower, alone. After 8 days, he graduated himself to using a cane instead of the walker. On the 9th day, he went down the two steps required to get in and out of the house and we walked in the sunshine on the patio for a change of scenery and fresh air. Today, day 11, he wanted to try to get in and out of a vehicle (as a passenger). He was able to take this next step towards independence, but it was hard for him. And hard for me to watch.

He had already slowed down this past year. He is even slower now. I walked holding his uncaned arm. Partly for him, partly for me. It reminds me to slow down for him, and makes me feel like I might be able to help should he lose his balance. Although, honestly, I might end up going down with him if that ever happens. Although he is healing very quickly compared with other 80+ year olds, the progress is still slow going. He hopes to be driving himself again in the next week, but I am cautious about that, and have already cleared my schedule for his various appointments done the next month.

I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for the resources he has given for natural healing, and for wisdom on how to use them. Homeopathy has been a huge resource that I have utilized again and again in the past four years. Below is a link to the website that started me on my healing journey. I hope you enjoy it also. https://joettecalabrese.com

Using homeopathy, our family has dealt with hemorrhoids that we’re requiring surgery, explosive diarrhea, IBS, hot flashes, tendon/ligament injuries, shock, pain, rashes due to food intolerances, UTIs, fever, hormone headaches, sinus infections, and more. We believe there is a place for doctors, but that many health issues can be dealt with safely, and in expensively with homeopathy.