Posted in Christian living, communication, grief, health and wellness, Life, Love, Parenthood, Uncategorized

A Time to Move – A Time for Change

While undergoing missionary training I will never forget the comment by our lecturer who said the life of a missionary is one of good-byes. Never a truer word was spoken!

We said goodbye to elderly parents, siblings, our older children and in time our grandchildren as we moved across nations. I said goodbye to my father not knowing it would be the last time I saw him alive.

Goodbyes and change are never easy. As “third culture kids” missionary children are quite adept at change but nevertheless it is still a major grief process for them as well.

Grief is the word I use because ultimately no matter how “exciting” a new venture is whether it is leaving country, town or house, there is always going to be elements of grief associated. Here is a quick overview of what you leave behind.

  1. Family and friends – You are almost certainly leaving behind many you love, in some cases never to see them again or perhaps with an interlude of many years.
  2. Familiar places – Familiarity breeds contempt but mostly it breeds a sense of comfort. We like to know what the packaging says on what we eat. We like to go to our favourite hairdresser, car mechanic, business operator, or any of the many other connections we make when settling in to a place.
  3. Church family – We know these people. We have journeyed with them for perhaps many years. We know what to expect in a worship service or at least be able to understand what is being said and sung!
  4. Our precious things – Sadly we all are attached to the “Things” in our lives. When they are packed away and we don’t know when or if we will ever see them again there is an element of grief attached to that also.
  5. Work and school – Leaving behind familiar work and school situations, friends and colleagues. Also leaving again the comfort of familiarity as we move on to the unknown.  Encourage them to stay in touch with old friends as I do myself. You will of course drift away from certain friendships but I do try to stay connected with friends and families as well as old work mates.
  6. Memories – We accumulate just as many memories as we do “stuff”. To leave these behind can be heart wrenching.

Allowing ourselves to walk through the process of grief is imperative and to each of us this will look different.

I remember one of my little girls I taught, going about the classroom just before she and her family were due to leave the country. She was touching each book, special place, saying out loud this would be the last time for…  She also talked frequently about her last experiences; sleep over, concert here, etc etc. It went on for a few weeks and towards the end of the school year she wanted to have a farewell party for her little friends. Her mother eventually came in very concerned.

I asked why?

“Because when I leave a place I don’t say goodbye. I just leave without looking back or really having a farewell anything.”

To me, her daughter had the better coping mechanism! She was finalizing her memories, and giving healthy closure to her relationships! You must give yourself and your family time to grieve and process. We each do that differently!

Grief comes in many shapes and forms but if not dealt with well, can leave lasting negative impacts, particularly on children. Here are some practical helps I have learned over the past 30 years of traveling and change.

  1. Family and friends – Set them up for the farewells. Give them time to process and also try to be as cheerful as possible. I remember crying myself to sleep each night before we left country as I faced the prospect I might never see my parents again. I had a tape that I was playing and after the tears it brought peace to my soul. “Because He lives I can face tomorrow!” None of us knows what tomorrow will hold whether we stay or leave but we know that He does know and we can trust in Him. He will take care of those we leave behind. Grieve certainly, but then find your peace in Him.
  2. Familiar places – When we go overseas it is always a challenge to establish new connections but we face it positively and with anticipation of finding new friends. Someone said to me just the other day about Paul, “He doesn’t know a stranger does he.” I think that is a key. We embrace the challenges of finding the new! If you complain and whine and harp back to the “old place” you will definitely feel the negative affects of change. Embrace positively. Talk to new friends about their best people they have found for tasks until you set up your own network of the familiar.
  3. Church Family – I thank God I am part of an amazing world wide family! It is not just one denomination or people group. It is “church” the body of Christ and in our many years of travels we have been blessed by many different church family. It is good to get rooted in one family but not always possible. Keep your arms and heart open to the family.
  4. Our precious things – We always take just a couple of precious things with us, including photos (now more easily transported with digital photos). This is really important for children and I don’t recommend leaving behind their favourite toy. I remember one woman who said each time they moved as a Navy brat, she had to leave her toys behind! They don’t need to take it all but the really precious ones for sure. I also made sure we took a couple of familiar Christmas decorations, to make it feel like home. Naomi has one donkey made from a wooden peg in first grade that has traveled the world and is still placed on her tree each Christmas!
  5. Work and school – For adults it will require time to adjust to new work place routines and colleagues, and so it is with children – but on steroids! They are already facing daily challenges, particularly teenagers, but to uproot them at that age creates a whole different set of emotions and issues. I remember in my 5th or 6th grade Janice left town! I couldn’t believe how it made me feel to think I would never see her again! Encourage your children regularly! Naomi found her strength and peace as she left school, family and even country with two scriptures. Psalm 91 and Joshua 1. Be strong and of good courage. You can encourage them to grow through the time rather then succumb to the pain of grief.
  6. Memories – These you will always have. But you are pressing on, moving forward into new memories. Take the time to talk with children and encourage them to start to believe for new memories.

Change is inevitable no matter where you are or what stage of life you are at. Paul gives the analogy of a boxer. If you resist a punch it will hurt but if you move with it, it won’t hurt as much. The more resistant you are to change the more it will hurt. A positive, respectful attitude towards each other will help you all move through the process and enjoy the journey.

You have a choice on how you handle change – Choose life or death. Choose to live in a positive, embracing mode or resist and fight with a negative attitude. It is up to you. There are so many wonderful new adventures you can enjoy.

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

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Posted in Christian living, gardening, health and wellness, Life, Love, Marriage, Uncategorized

Cruising Alaska – Prostitutes and Marriage

In December 2015 we celebrated our 40th Wedding anniversary and part of our 12 month celebration apart from walking the Camino,  included setting sail in May the following year for a cruise in Alaska.

It was a cruise Paul has always wanted to do and the weather, and cruise liner did not disappoint. It was very different to walking across Spain carrying a pack and almost felt indulgent! It was our first cruise for longer than an over night trip and I really wasn’t sure how I would handle living for 10 days  with thousands of other fellow travellers, eating and doing other “stuff” that I don’t particularly like doing eg drinking or cabarets etc.

But away we sailed! Firstly we spent a few days in Victoria. We would be passing that way later but we really wanted to see the Butchart Gardens without sharing with two thousand other people and for only a few hours. So we walked from the “Waddling Dog” a very quaint British feeling hotel that we fell in love with, including the resident British hound dog – 5th version of the Waddling Dog.

It was a small walk, only about 20 kilometers, but we enjoyed seeing the homes, paths through forests and meeting locals along the way. Walking really lets you see a place from a different perspective.

 

It was a comforting feeling to get the walking sticks back out.

We spent the day walking the amazing paths of flower gardens blooming with tulips and other spring beauties. I absolutely adore gardens and exploring them but the work required to nurture and grown them is colossal. Every sense soaked up the beauty and hard work created by Jennie Butchart and her team.

The next day a great friend of ours from the Camino caught up with us for a little while dropping us off to the ferry to take us to the mainland, with a promise to catch up when we came back with the cruise in a couple of weeks time.

We spent a week exploring British Columbia, staying at our time share in St Ives at Shuswap Lake.  The drive across and the surrounding country were magnificent and just how I always imagined Canada to be.

Returning to Vancouver a week later we then set sail up the Inland Passage.  The weather was amazing each day unveiling breathtaking scenery. Stellar was the word the staff and rangers used often!

One stop was Ketchikan. As we walked around the small town snuggled against the mountains, we discovered Creek Street. Creek Street is a great viewing spot to watch the salmon run although we were a bit early. There was a particular place though that saddened me. It is called Married Man’s Trail. This was the muddy path married men took to visit one of the 20 “houses of ill repute” found on Creek Street in ages gone by. Trust me the street isn’t that long or deep so they must have been falling over themselves!

There is a bridge that crosses over from the main township but the married men followed the trail to the “houses” so they wouldn’t be seen. I watched as many laughed and took photos with “girls” dressed for photo opportunities and all thought it was a good laugh. I didn’t. I thought of the many young girls who would have found themselves possibly trafficked but definitely abused by the men and as well ostracized by the “normal” women of the community.

I found it sad that men felt the need to visit the ladies of the night! The Street was also the place for liquor to be smuggled to in the era of prohibition! So it was definitely a party street.

What I find sad is how men relinquished their vows to visit prostitutes and still do. The Bible says that the marriage bed is not to be defiled. Having to look outside of marriage to be fulfilled is destructive on so many levels. There is of course the physical side of sleeping around which can attract any number of diseases. Then there is the emotional drain of secret keeping as well as becoming emotionally involved with someone else. Finally the spiritual aspect is the most dangerous. Jesus said even to look on a woman with lust was considered adultery! So bottom line looking outside of marriage for sexual satisfaction will lead down the path of destruction!  It will destroy your marriage, possibly your physical life and definitely your spiritual life.

I think of the Butchart Garden and the effort it took to create such a place of beauty out of an old quarry and I stand in awe of that work. Yet similar effort must be given to the marriage relationship to cause it to grow beautiful things. Nurture the relationship, plant good seeds, and keep it fed and watered with love. Also keep the marriage bed fun and faithful!

Don’t find yourself walking down a married man’s lane and heading to a Creek Street – either figuratively or in your imagination.  Marriage is too precious!

Blessings for now

Until next time

NarelleIMG_095020160512_105853IMG_0952

 

Posted in Christian living, communication, Life, Love, Marriage, Parenthood, Uncategorized

Keeping on Top of Attitudes

How often are we let down by our poor attitude, or those of others around us. Every day we meet someone who challenges our attitudes! It can be as simple as being challenged by our children or spouse before we have left the house. Then as we drive to work or shopping, the person who cuts us off on the highway. Then there is the stand in line or waiting on line for service!

This is not to mention traumatic situations that occur behind closed doors. These are severe stress situations that I won’t broach here too much as they create deeper issues that need to be addressed. However, every day in many ways we are confronted with how we handle testing situations.

Most of us can feel we are alright emotionally and spiritually until we are confronted by our own attitudes towards a situation! Its all good until it isn’t!

The Bible tells us to love others as we love ourselves. So many don’t love themselves and are incapable of  loving others in a healthy manner. So we need to start there by loving ourselves and who we are.

Recently I posted about turning 60 and having felt pretty much invisible during my 50’s. It was interesting to see some of the comments. I think women particularly who don’t have an established career which carries them through that period, find themselves once children leave home, redefining themselves and who they are at this stage. When we don’t know who we are or it is in a bit of chaos, we can find our attitudes start to get smelly. We must understand our identity is not found in what we do but whose we are!

When we forget whose we are and loose our identity at any stage of our life, when we are tired, stressed, have financial worries or health issues, we can find ourselves coming out with some pretty poor attitudes.

It’s then we have to fall back in to the arms of our Saviour and say, “Lord help me put off this stench and put on your fragrance!” The stench of the flesh is sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies.  His is the fragrance of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, patience, goodness, gentleness, faith, kindness.

When I place the mirror of His word up to gaze in to, I see that I must constantly move back into the Spirit. This is hard when you are confronted with situations that make you angry, hurt or offend. When we loose our peace and feel that churn within our gut towards someone we think about who has offended or hurt us, we need to forgive and begin to put on that fragrance again! 20151025_115756.jpg

It is our choice. We chose life or death every day when we are confronted with situations. Taking a deep breath and not allowing the overwhelming anger to envelope ourselves, is the first step.  Count to 10 wasn’t such a silly idea! Don’t confront at that moment in anger. Take time to calm down.

There is a lot more to talk about this but suffice to say for the moment is just breathe!

B – Back away, r – resist, e – emotional, a- action, t – think, h- healthy, e – emotions!

Until next time

Let it go – Let it go – (Frozen theme running through your head now?)

Blessings Narelle

Posted in camino de santiago, Christian living, the way, Uncategorized, walking

Camino – How to Get There

In my previous blog I spoke on how to prepare to walk the Camino. In this blog I would like to share on how we actually got there.

As I have said it was a process of preparation over a 2 year process. Losing weight, gaining better health, studying, reading, and of course training by walking regularly were all a part of that process.

I checked on many sites to see what the cost would most likely be to walk the Camino as well as cost of food and accommodation.  We were living back in Australia at the time so an airfare to Europe was a great cost.

  1. So the first thing to consider is when will you undertake walking the Way?

As we don’t like crowds, we decided that either spring or autumn would be our preference to walk. Due to time constraints we settled on autumn. I am an autumn girl and love the colours of fall so this was really great for me.

Weather in Northwest Spain in October is usually warm but not hot, we found this to be so with some cooler days and nights. Generally it was pleasant. You can expect some rain (unless you travel with Paul – more on that later).   Galacia is Spain’s wettest region and on average,  rains 18 days out of 31 in October.  Santiago de Compostela averages between 64 degrees and average lows 55 degrees.

We found these temperatures to be pretty accurate with some fog in certain areas. Some times there were light showers as we headed out in the morning but by mid morning it would fine up to become sunny. Paul had a special anointing and was spoiled with the weather. He prayed because he hates wet feet and started believing for fine weather. Almost immediately the sun came out and stayed for nearly 3 weeks! We really only had a few days of heavier, uncomfortable rainfalls early on – hence the prayers. This is not normal, particularly in Galacia! So be prepared with wet gear and good weatherproof shoes!

The wind and changeable weather on the Pyrenees can not be underestimated and you need to be prepared for that.

We also liked that there was fewer people on the Camino. One issue starting mid autumn was the amount of albergues that were closed or closing for the season. Spring also has the same but reversed with some not being open yet for the start of the season. Winter there are even fewer albergues  open so a lot of research and preparation needs to be done! Summer has its own challenges with so many vying for a bed for the night and space on the walk.

2. You’ve chosen the season, now where are you going to start the walk?

Most choose the Frances Camino which starts most commonly from St Jean Pied de Port. We chose to warm up by walking two days from Bayonne. There are many other points of starting and ways to traverse, France and Spain. It is purely up to you which direction you start from and which way you head. We actually met a couple walking the Camino backwards, starting at Santiago and walking back to St Jean! We chose the most common route to begin with but who knows where we will go next time!

Some of our friends flew or trained it from Barcelona. It really depends on where you are coming from and where you want to start from.

3. You’ve chosen the season and the route, now how much is it going to cost?

The average day:

  1. AIRFARES – Of course this depends on where you are starting from. We flew from Sydney to Paris. From Paris we took a train trip down to Bayonne in the South of France where we actually walked two days to the jump off point of St Jean Pied De Port. From Santiago De Compostella, after having spoken to some people on the Way we decided to self-drive through Portugal and then across to Barcelona where we flew back to Paris. These are all costs that need to be allowed for.
  2. HOTELS – We slept mostly in the Albergues, the hostels that you will find in nearly every town you come to.  At that time of year and in 2015 the fees were about Euro 10-15 per bed per night. I see that some are saying currently it has risen to nearly Euro 30 per night We paid more for the odd hotel stay but rarely more than Euro Euro 30- 35 per night. We wanted to experience being with others but did enjoy the alone nights as well. Some paid much more when they arrived in Santiago staying in an up market hotel to celebrate their completion. On reflection I would do that too next time.  Because we hadn’t pre-booked we had to take what we could get. Summer would be much worse! It is up to you what you choose to pay but I would suggest getting more up to date costs before you head off. Some chose to camp along the Way too but I would be considering what you need to carry to do that!

3. FOOD – We set ourselves a 30 Euro a day budget each, but probably would be closer to 35 Euro per day. We found the Pilgrim meals, a three course meal most towns offer, for 13-15 Euro were fine and economical. We often bought lunch, cheese, bread or other foods, from the little food places or markets along the way. Sometimes we ate at a restaurant but they were fairly inexpensive. Tapas bars are a great way to eat economically too.  It’s your choice on your budget.

4. INCIDENTALS – We probably allowed 10 Euro per day for these including pharmacy items, but I would suggest shopping at larger stores as some of these were very expensive particularly when dealing in Euros.  Mostly I brought medicines and other items from Australia but you must consider the weight factor of carrying as opposed to buying along the Way.

All up our total budget for the two of us was 4000 Euros exclusive of return air fares to Australia and doesn’t include the cost of setting up your kit or travel insurance. This did include our train fare, hire car and flights to Paris to fly home and we had some cash left over. I would have preferred to train it back to Paris but we left the run too late and from an overnight fare costing 100 or so Euros, booking on the day of travel would have cost over 500 Euros – each! So we booked a cheap air fare and flew to Paris for lunch before our flight that night back to Australia. I could then say, “My husband flew me to Paris for lunch!”

These are suggestions and there are a lot of sites with up to date information which I again suggest you read. Some of the forums give great information but ultimately half the adventure and fun of the Camino journey is working it out as you go along!

Bein Camino!

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

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Posted in autoimmune, dementia, energy, Hashimotos, health and wellness, inflammation, Life, Night shade Allergies, stress, thyroid, Uncategorized

Alzheimer and Dementia – Inflammation, Diet, Auto Immune connections?

The third video in the series on Auto immune diseases discusses the links to dementia and Alzheimer and other neurological diseases. The link was only up for a limited time so I would consider purchasing the entire set of information if this area is of concern to you or yours.  I am going to. This in helpful formation is in all one place with great explanations.

If you have ever watched a love one suffer with dementia or Alzheimer disease you will find this video probably a little sad that you hadn’t seen something like it before or at least all in one place to be able to really get a fuller understanding of it.

The more I explore inflammation and the issues that ensue, it is very challenging and makes you sit up and look at what we eat, what we allow in our home e.g. cooking, cleaning, make up even, not to mention  EMR!

If you were like me EMR meant nothing! It is basically the micro waves that surround us everywhere and with all the wireless devices that are used within the home situation as well as work places, it is little wonder we are tired and struggling with energy loss.

I also loved the explanation of hydration within our systems. I love water, so it is not a big issue for me but I know many who barely drink enough to pee and poop let alone hydrate the rest of their systems.

Fasting is also a healthy practice. So that is a nice prompt to get back in to the practice. I have always found it to be a spiritual and physical practice. It has always been an important aspect of healing for me at various times in my life. I will follow this up later with a blog as I really believe in this.

So these videos are really another important message for health and wellbeing. Check it out. 

 

Until next time

Blessings Narelle.

 

 

 

Posted in autoimmune, energy, fertility, Hashimotos, health and wellness, inflammation, Night shade Allergies, stress, thyroid, weight loss

Adrenal Dysfunction, Auto Immune Diseases including Hashimotos, Diabetes, Thyroid and Infertility – Examining the Links

Adrenal dysfunction is so connected to Auto Immune disease! After years of adrenal issues caused primarily from living at high levels of stress, not sleeping well or enough, and ultimately really not caring for myself, I succumbed to some serious health issues!

This second video is so interesting and covers many different areas of dysfunction starting with the relationship between adrenal and thryoid systems. I can not recommend this video enough! The information is so helpful in understanding the correlation of all of these systems within our bodies.

“All or nothing” comments from the woman at 1:24 has really challenged me and is a bit of a wake up call. As with any product you take from the system, responses do seem to come back with a vengeance if you weaken and partake! I have been really cutting back on gluten products, prepackaged anything, and also sugary products, but in the last couple days I have eaten some gluten products and jelly (sugary) products and suffered with pain. So back to the commitment board! But more importantly I want to see this problem fully fixed so I can get back in to a “normal” routine and enjoyment of all healthy foods!

Fertility issues, energy, diabetes, hormone imbalance, thyroid issues, immune issues, so  many diseases and issues, are caused by unhealthy diets, and environmental toxicities. We know it but this video really highlights the need to cleanse and heal. I like the balanced approach from most of the health professionals.

This is an amazing video pointing out so many different aspects of our unhealthy lifestyle. I urge you to take the time to listen to this series a few times over if necessary to get the most out of it! Click here to connect!

I am looking forward and believing for healing to be able to live a healthy life, by eating closer to the food chain. How about you? So many have said they will listen to the video but how many will follow through to even do that, let alone make changes to their lifestyle? How determined to gain good health are we? Find new hope for health – check it out now.

Keep eating well – living well.

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

 

 

Walking the Camino – How to Prepare

The Camino de Santiago is an 800 km or 500 mile walk through France and Spain. It is a pilgrimage walk that has been around for thousands of years that has many trails originating around Europe. It was said that you could step outside your door and begin the pilgrimage from anywhere in Europe. During the time of occupation by the Ottomans in Jerusalem the Way of St James became a safer pilgrimage and acceptable in the eyes of the church for pilgrimage absolution.

St James was supposedly buried there after having floated there from Jerusalem on a ruder-less boat. I don’t know about that. There are many beliefs surrounding the pilgrimage that many believe or don’t believe but there is one binding factor with nearly all pilgrims who we encountered or spoke to had one thing in common: the sense of being called to walk The Way!

Many including myself when they find out about the Camino Way have a strong sense that not only would they like to do the long walk but there is a strong feeling of “having” to do the walk.

For me it started after I watched the movie, “The Way”, written and directed by Emilio Esteves and starring his father Martin Sheen.  It is the story of a father who completes the trek after his son dies on the Way getting caught in bad weather: something that is a common occurrence as seen by the memorial headstones dotted along the pathways.

Once I saw the film I knew I had to do it. But at the time I was pretty much chair bound with illness and pain. However, within a couple of years I set the date to make the journey.

It was 2 years down the track, the year we celebrated 40 years of marriage and Paul turned 60. Also, it would give me time to gain my health back, while starting to train for the walk.

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In training in the Philippines. Early hours of the morning because past sun rise, the heat was too much.

One of the first thing I did was buy a pair of comfy training shoes. They were light, a size larger then I needed (to help with blisters), and didn’t confine my feet and cause pain. The first pair of shoes that didn’t cause me pain!

I walked in rain, in the cold, the heat, the day, the dark, by myself, and with others. The time rolled by as the miles did.

So here are some of the preparations myself and Paul underwent to prepare for the Camino.

  1. Set a date – Setting a date  brings the goal into focus and plans will begin to take shape.
  2. Train – Set up a training program and stick to it. I tried to do at least 6-8 kilometers a day more on others in any kind of weather, wet, cold, hot, everything except for thunderstorms – They were a no go!  I would also recommend stretches to build strength. The one I didn’t do enough of was to door more hill climbs.
  3. Carry a pack – The more I started to walk I would add weights to a pack to increase my ability to carry a pack. I even used coral rock in the Philippines to get used to the added weight.
  4. Study – Increase your knowledge of the paths you will follow. Understanding the terrain and what is ahead in terms of weather, and accommodation. Also understanding how diet and water affects walking.
  5. Purchase the correct equipment –

       –  Pack – We changed Paul’s pack right at the end. It has to have a waist band to                 take the weight and not pull on the shoulders.

–  Rainwear  – A good rain coat is important. We will probably go with the Atalaa next time. Our ponchos were ok but not great. They needed to be longer although they were light weight – always a consideration. The Atalaa people seemed to just cruise by unscathed by the weather on themselves or their packs.

Footwear – Of course it goes without saying – correct footwear is a must. I was told to go a size bigger and it worked. Two pairs of socks fill the gaps. Duct tape is a must. Prevents blistering!

Underwear. We opted mainly for bamboo socks and jocks. I would hope for a better fitting pair next time that dried quicker. Also undergarments that wick moisture away from your body too.

 – Poles – this is not last for any reason but they definitely were our definite bring along. Some did walk without them – good luck to them. I would never think of it! They were invaluable. Spring loaded were good but not particularly necessary. We didn’t go very expensive due to financial constraints and it really didn’t seem to make a difference, except the tips do wear out after 40 days of pounding. They can be purchased along the way.

6. Stay the course – There may be  road blocks or at least detours so persevere. Keep focused. Don’t give up!