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!

 

 

 

Posted in Beekeeping, Christian living, energy, gardening, health and wellness, Hobby Farming, honey, Life, Uncategorized

Tragedy of the Bees!

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Happier times!

So sad this morning as we approached the silence of the remaining hive. The recent blizzard conditions did the damage! The poor girls succumbed to the severe weather.

The wonderful aroma of honey left untouched, wafted up as we finally had some warmer weather when we were actually at the property. We lifted the lid on the bees to check out what happened over the severe weather.

It is an extremely sad sound not to hear the beautiful hum from an active hive.  As we lifted the boxes we came across the odd dead bee until finally we lifted the final box to the sight of our beautiful ladies unceremoniously piled in a heap at the bottom of the hive. I couldn’t believe how disappointed I felt at the loss.

So our first foray into bees this season has become part of the huge statistic percentage  of failed hives. The varroa mite is the largest contributor to a failed hive and we did have our share of them. Someone suggested “Whiffer” pads to trap them and we did find that worked.

However, I think our loss was the problem of lack of time to really “keep” our bees and pay closer attention to them, as well as the severe storms that we experienced on the Eastern Shore, Virginia and East Coast in general early, in January.

We will need to research the insulating of hives more thoroughly this year and do more homework on how to keep them from fleeing and freezing!

It was sad though and I can only imagine how farmers feel when they lose their herds or flocks as seen during some of Australia’s harshest drought seasons!

Anyway we will borrow a spinner and rob the hive of what honey was left by these before other hives become active and rob the honey.

The other hive was picked clean by the “cleaner team” who worked tirelessly for weeks to ensure nothing was left in the abandoned hive – not even a smidgen of wax or propolis  (the “mortar” they use to seal up the boxes) was left. When you consider the effort and time used to build a hive and produce honey I don’t blame them for not having to repeat the process if they don’t have to. This last hive didn’t have time to clean out.

I did find a site that discusses the aspects of insulating which we did attempt but didn’t follow through on, for various reasons. One of his comments is that the moisture content under the roof can sometimes layer, freeze and then in the melt down from warmer whether, fall down and drown the bees. I am wondering if this could have been a major contributing factor as I looked at the mildew at the bottom of the boxes. A link is provided lower down to the site that details more on insulating.

Here are a few lessons I hope we have learned and will remedy this coming year. They are also a reflection of life –

  1. You have to spend the time in “keeping” the bees.  – You can not leave it until you are able or feel like it. Paul  laughed at my blog about bee keeping. He said, “We are bee losers  not keepers!” Time in any animal husbandry is of the essence. You can’t put caring off. 
  2. Learn more. – Bee keeping is a science and we need more understanding and guidance. We have to be ever learning.  
  3. Learn more about wrapping hives particularly for winter – There is a lot of discussion regarding insulation.  I found a great site that explains some aspects of insulating. Click here to check it out  There are many opinions but you have to work out what works for you and learn from others’ wisdom.
  4. Don’t neglect the small things in every day life – There are so many little things in every day life that add up to the greater plan. These bees each only add a small contribution to their hive but each bit adds to the larger scale. They are content and faithful to their “call”. Do we have the same sense of purpose in doing the small things each day? Do the small things with purpose and sense of duty and destiny. 
  5.  Persist – Failure is bound to happen you have to keep persisting and try again.

That’s all until the next bee keeping adventure – Part 2

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

 

 

Posted in Christian living, communication, energy, Goal setting, health and wellness, Life, Uncategorized, weight loss

Staying the Healthy Course

IMG_24332014 was a massive year for myself and my family. It was the year of transformation for me from unhealthy to healthy: from overweight to slimmer; from near death to alive; from mind numbing work to fulfillment. So many changes, challenges, and victories! I saw these not only in myself but in my family as well.

In terms of weight loss I was able to shed nearly 40 lbs or 20 kilos. The change was so dramatic to my body, on a trip home after a few weeks away, in the dead of night Paul could not work out who was sleeping with him and freaked out!

Fast forward 4 years and many overseas trips and challenging dietary situations and I have still managed to maintain the weight loss give or take a few kilos. It has not been easy!

Less and More

One of the mind changes I had in 2014 was that this was no diet experience. This was a life-style change. From now on my life had to consist of less– less stress, less of amounts of food, less of fats and sugars,  and less of those foods that cause me pain – night shade plants. It also consisted of more – More regular exercise, more regular sleep, more regular examination of where I am at with calories and step counters, more fun paths, more laughter, more peace and joy, more of those things that bring me joy.

When we focus on the less so much we can gain a mindset of lack rather than abundance. We feel deprived and that in turn will cause us to falter and feel somehow we are missing out. With that sense of deprivation it may not be long before we find ourselves breaking out!

I also don’t beat myself up. If I find I have had more rather than less of or less rather than more, I get up and start again. I love that His mercies are new every morning! Every day when the sun comes up I have a clean slate to start again regardless of the day before.

Today is a new day and I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Stay the course. Keep going. You are unstoppable if you don’t stop!

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

 

Posted in camino de santiago, Christian living, energy, health and wellness, Life, Night shade Allergies, Uncategorized, walking, weight loss

Weight Loss Confusion!

Watching someone try to lose weight rapidly and discover the “journey” of weight loss and awareness of calories etc, has reminded me of just how consuming the whole concept of weight loss can be.

In 2012 when one of my daughters was encouraged to go on a Paleo diet for urgent health reasons, we both emptied our cupboards and cleansed! I also remember the absolute shock I felt as I discovered for years I had been looking at charts rather than the ingredients on products – sugars, salts, fats etc as compared to what was actually in the product. The shock stayed with me for months as I navigated the labyrinth of labels and what I thought were healthy alternatives only to discover they were laden literally with “poisons.”

I also remember the confusion of what is “healthy” and what diet is best etc. etc.

Here are 5 keys I have learned to help people maneuver  the “diet” world.

  1. Dieting sucks – lifestyle change has to be your mindset.

A “diet” insinuates a limited time span; a beginning and an end. Dietary changes have to be a life time mentality – unending. There may need to be a period of getting back on track or staying on track which requires a kick start but then you have to always be conscious of what you are putting in your mouth and why!

2.  Mindset is priority – Why do you overeat?

There is a whole psychology around overeating and I don’t intend to get in to it here as there are many reasons why people overeat: sadness, grief, rebellion, laziness, low self-esteem, comfort and the list continues. The benefit of a “time-frame” or health scare  can push us on-wards to changing our mindset to want to change our negative life habits permanently. That is only a kick start though and you have to realize this has to be a life style change – otherwise that weight will come back and stick like glue!

3.  Find what works for you – Find what will keep you motivated.

For me doing life in a gym or pool is never going to keep me motivated. Fresh air, meeting people, walking a dog, finding new paths, these are motivating and invigorating. Finding foods that work for me without making me feel I am missing out also helps keep me motivated. High allergies or intolerance from night shade plants, cause me some issues and can become frustrating but I have discovered that I love feeling well so not feeling well for the sake of a few mouthfuls is a high motivating factor! I really recommend initially working with a health professional to ensure there are no underlying issues and then find what will keep you motivated and interested in food control.

4.  Moderation – How much and what to eat!

There is so much confusion in terms of, “eat this – don’t eat that”. For example, eat eggs; don’t eat eggs. Eat butter; Don’t eat butter. Eat meat; Don’t eat meat. The lists go on. I believe God gave us everything to enjoy! It’s the over indulgence that is the issue for most western cultures. Limit the sugar, salt and fat products and you will see a change too.

So long as you use more then you put in you can keep the weight down. My husband, Paul has no issues with this one and really doesn’t understand my struggles  because he is constantly on the go and utilizes all he consumes. I on the other hand am more sedentary and have to work hard to do the same. My last few kilos I need to lose and have struggled with, mean I have to increase my burning and decrease my intake even more.

5. No Excuses

I can make all the excuses for why I am obese – too tired, too sick, too old, too much work but my health has to remain the utmost priority as it affects every area of my life. There is no excuse to maintain unhealthy life-style habits.

So these are 5 keys I have discovered over the past years of food issues and I will explore them more fully as I continue my journey of lifestyle habit changes.

Until next time – keep persevering. You don’t stop if you don’t stop!

Blessings Narelle

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Making it to the top of the ridge, following the thousands of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago or the Way who have passed this way before: a far cry from the couch potato of yesteryear! Determine today to follow the lead of those who have walked the paths of life style change!

 

Posted in Beekeeping, Christian living, communication, health and wellness, Hobby Farming, Life, Uncategorized

Baby Bees – Arrived

We are pleased to announce the arrival of our baby bees to the Darg-Kelvin family! After much anticipation and frustration, yesterday we were able to pick up to nucs or nuclear boxes with a queen and some rather unhappy bees who have travelled a long way; been inspected and then travelled to the farm in the back of a pick up.

We had expected them the previous week but thankfully they weren’t ready as the weather was foul! The week they were ready was amazing weather, this week back to foul! So they arrived in perfect conditions.

There was a bit of an issue as one of the boxes wasn’t sealed well and we had some “escabees”! Naomi sat in the back seat watching the escape, giving us a running commentary of how many were finding the  rushing air too much, and ended up blowing off the back of the truck! We had to don our suits as soon as we got home as they formed what is called a beard on the outside of the box and then got a little upset when we shifted them around to their new home. Some settled on Paul’s tool box so we had to take the truck and then the tool box near the garden to try and coax them in to their hive.  At this stage we have opted for the traditional box system but will look into investing in a “Honey Flow” hive from Australia, a system that has taken the bee world by storm!

Carol our mentor came to help us set them up which was much appreciated as there was some nervousness regarding certain aspects of setting up and she was like a midwife, guiding our questions and our concerns!

It was very exciting to watch them start to settle into their new boxes. There were 5 frames sent in the nuc and we set up another 5 frames in each box to begin the process of building wax onto and collecting honey to make brood and build their numbers. We have opted for plastic starter frames and it was recommended we give them an extra coat of wax and we also plugged the edges with wax to stop hive beetles hiding in there (a design problem apparently).

We are feeding them a sugar mixture for a few days just to keep them settled. Our flower garden planted around their new home will be amazing but they have so many honeysuckle vines and a local wild violet that is out and blackberry vine flowers and all the flowering trees on 16 acres, we think we won’t have to sugar feed them for too long!  I am sure we saw quite a few out already searching for flowers after they spent some time circling around their new home orientating. It is amazing that they circle their area getting their bearings on the hive and then take off within such a short time.

We saw one queen in one hive but not the other. So we have to go back in the next few days and have another look otherwise it can be a little problematic and we will have to get another queen asap.

They also had a little “swimming pool” built for them out of an old bird bath. They need water so we just decided to put the bath close by.

It was fascinating to watch as they settled and started immediately to clean up their new home. We watched as a few came out with the dead bodies of their counterparts, either squashed or perhaps overheated during transit.

“Bring out your dead!” Naomi commented, as we watched them toss them off the side of the hive. We left the transport box as the few stragglers found their way into the hive and cleaned off any useful material on the inside of the little box. They were leaving nothing behind and getting rid of anything that wasn’t productive to the hive!

Three bee lessons from today!

  1. Stick close to the source. The ride on the wind might be exciting but will soon send you reeling when it picks up speed! Those bees who thought they should look outside of the hive soon found more than they bargained for! Our God is our source of life just as the queen is. Always stick close to where He is regardless of the temptation to experience the “excitement” of the world!
  2.  Stay on top of things! They are not called “busy bees” for nothing. They are always busy, as should we. Not just flapping our wings either but with purpose and vision for what we are doing! They cleaned up the good things, wax, pollen, any thing else that was beneficial to their hive and left the superfluous or potentially harmful things behind! “Get rid of those things that so easily entangle us,” Paul the apostle says! Those dead bodies were immediately tossed. What do I need to toss from my life that is potentially smelly and disease spreading?
  3. Be prepared! There was no way any of us were going to go near our little bee friends today without the correct clothing. Suits with hoods, to stop them coming up to our faces, every zipper closed and Velcro closed to stop crawling critters as well as leather gloves with elastic to keep them closed. It was soo hot and we looked like space   walkers or rappers in Naomi’s case as her suit was too big and her crotch hung down passed her knees, but it is worth the safety factor. Don’t try to walk this life without the proper clothing! Paul again tells us in Ephesians 6 about the armour of God. So many times we become blase about the fight we are in and forget to put on the armour that helps us fight against the enemy. That is a blog in itself…but just a quick reminder we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers!

So we start our journey into keeping bees! I am sure we are going to learn a lot more as we keep pressing on!

Until next time

Be blessed and keep busy

Narelle

 

 

 

 

Posted in Christian living, energy, health and wellness, Life, Philippines, travel, Uncategorized, walking

Philippines Journey –  Walking Life with Friends

Loved rereading this blog and remembering our walks…Friends forever!

Written in 2014 –

This weekend my Philippines journey continued with a walk of 12k. Well 11.6k according to my pedantic husband.  I walked it with a new found friend.

Next year I want to walk 800km, needless to say I need to train for that, which I have been doing in Australia starting the beginning of this year. When I heard about Josiah’s relapse this year I walked – for about 6 km even though I hadn’t been walking far at that time. I found it helped cope with stress-filled situations. Throughout the year I continued to walk.

I walked by myself on some spectacular walks. I walked with friends and family and even my dog. I took an 85 year old who has a pace-maker on a nature walk that she had never seen in the 50 years she lived at the beach.  (She made it there and back BTW) It was wonderful to share the joy of these experiences with others.

I have loved it. Even though getting up or getting going can be challenging it is always worth the reward of the feeling the effects in my body after exercise and I love observing the beauty of God around me. The challenge was to try and do different walks all the time.

I cancelled my gym subscription as I hate exercising within 4 walls. I secured local walks maps from the council. I have walked Sydney city, suburbs and beaches. There have been hikes on rugged bush tracks and relatively easy walks on cement paths. It has been wonderful. The temperatures have ranged from 2 to late 20’s. There have been some light showers which I don’t mind but I can’t quite come at thunder and lightning.

And then…I came to the Philippines. It’s impossible to get Paul to walk with me. To date I think we have taken one stroll along the beach together. The locals suggested it was not a good thing for me to walk by myself, something I prefer to do.

I found a couple of women who I wore out on their first walk and haven’t seen since – of course due to work and family commitments! The numerous passing typhoons did nothing to encourage walking. I was getting desperate.

Then the Pastor next door spoke to his wife who goes jogging every day. After a couple of weeks she invited me to join her, which means I slow her down. To complement our walking we include some challenges for her and me also. These include the 11.6km walk to Surf Camp a beach, 11.6km away from our village!  Today we tackled Radar Hill whose road almost requires 2-hand drive to climb it.

For me, it has been wonderful having a walking buddy. Every morning at 4.30am I hear a, “Good morning, Mam”. Some mornings I beat her to it and am up. Other mornings I beg God not to let her wake up! And still others I just wish she would go away. The other day I had a headache of epic proportions. It had raged for 2 days and I was feeling it that night. The pain was awful. After Paul massaged my head and neck, sleep came – so did Medi!

“Good morning, Mam.”

“Good grief,” said I from my befuddled mind. I even suggested to Paul I not go but he wouldn’t let me off. So I dressed and started out and the head cleared in the early morning air, validating his, “I told you” so attitude.

Yesterday Medi and I found another walking buddy as we left the village around 5am. We laughed and chatted our way down to Surf Camp. Did I say it was 11.6km away? The longest these girls have walked and they were very proud of themselves. I would have walked back but wasn’t sure they would cope – 🙂 Paul came down and picked us up – much to their delight.

Life lessons I am reminded of:

  1. Some days you feel good – Other days you don’t. You have to suck it up and push through the barriers, setting your mind to achieve your goal. Nothing will be achieved through wishing and wanting.
  2. Make sure you have the correct equipment – I bought great shoes this year and have forgotten the pain of yesteryear’s ill-fitting shoes. Make sure you have correct gear to do the job well. My previous walking partners tried to walk in “slippers”-“flip-flops” or as we Australians call them, “thongs”. No wonder I haven’t seen them since!
  3. Friends keep us motivated and honest. Medi and I challenged ourselves to get to the top of Radar Hill this morning even though each corner revealed another new level of incline. Continue to stretch your limits. Although it pays to have some back up for support if you need it. Don’t be content with comfortable.
  4. Walking works out the stressors of life – I have walked out a lot of anger, sadness and frustration this year. Find practical ways to deal with stress preferably not an addiction.
  5. Enjoy the journey. Our new walking buddy kept stopping to find new plants, and flowers, etc. We talked, we looked, we explored. Our times mightn’t break records but really in life is that all we are about – How we can beat others? I wonder at an amazing seaview, smell the dank rainforest, revel in a breaking dawn. I weep as we walk along and my companions share their stories of survival, loss, and hope. The journey is much more than just reaching the target.
  6. Celebrate the achievement. I so often forget to do this. My grandson Josiah has taught me how important it is to celebrate each milestone you achieve. You have to celebrate those times when you have reached a goal. We did a little whoop yesterday at that beach thankful we made it in the oppressive tropical heat and weren’t collected by any of the numerous cars, trucks, motor bikes or trikes on the narrow cement road! Celebrate then move on and up.

My son-in-law recently said to me about living in the Philippines, “Do you think you will like it? How will you go without your friends?” Too easy – make new ones and of course stay in touch with my old ones..

Keep moving forward with your goals. You can walk to anywhere in the world. You just have to start and keep walking. You can do whatever you believe you can do. You just have to start and keep going.

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

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Our spectacular sunrise on the way to Surf Camp! 
Posted in camino de santiago, Christian living, health and wellness, Life, Night shade Allergies, travel, Uncategorized

Night shade allergies!

Just sitting in one of my favourite writing places chatting to a guy sailing up the east coast of the US. He was amazed as I recounted my healing in 2014. I just found this old blog which recounts some of this story. Talking about it always makes me feel like skipping…with joy. 

2014 was an amazing year for me. I know so many people were glad to see the end of it and there were definitely some tragic times of grief and loss but for me personally it was a year of breakthrough. Yesterday I read about a John Mellor healing crusade in Scotland that saw a woman healed of chronic fatigue and long term unexplained issues who have since gone on to run marathons etc. I so feel their joy and excitement and feel the same.

For nearly 6 years my body has been going through major health challenges. I had so many challenging health experiences, mini stroke, thyroid issues, head trauma, shingles, not to mention chronic fatigue. Weight kept piling on due to inactivity and the thyroid issues. This created issues for my legs with swelling, pain in joints and incredible feet pain from plantifasitis. I felt like a broken down machine. Nothing seemed to work. Doctors, naturopath, massage, osteopaths, chiropractors all had moderate success for periods of times but then my body would fail me again. I refused to go down the path of anti-inflammatory pills. I had seen the effect of long term use of anti-inflammatory on my mother and didn’t want to even begin that path.

There were a couple of scary periods where I literally felt so down that permanent sleep seemed a good option. They were scary times for Paul as well because I just couldn’t seem to get myself up out of that place and it was such a foreign place for me. There were “normal” periods but then the depression would hit again as my body let me down again. Prayer was hard, reading harder.

Then 2013 after desperately seeking help from doctors I demanded tests which came back with many markers out of normal range but not enough to “cause concern”. No concern for the doctor maybe, but I hurt. I seemed to have a constant low grade fever and the fatigue was debilitating. It was concerning me. And then..I visited my naturopath with the same results and in the course of conversation she came back with, “Maybe you are intolerant to “nightshade” plants.”

What are they you may ask as did I? Potatoes, capsicum, tomatoes, eggplant, chilies all belong to that family. Well wouldn’t you know it? All of the above were my favourites except potato and I ate them nearly every meal! Sweet potato doesn’t seem to have the same affect. I thought the loss of the others would be hard. However, the benefits to my body were almost instantaneous. Within days I started to feel better. I began to notice that when I did introduce them back in to my diet I felt the effects, especially potato, literally within minutes. It seems to be more of an allergy than just intolerance. It has become such an issue that when I forgot and added chilies to a homemade cracker mix my lips swelled to “Jolie” proportions within a few hours. After two days of tomato paste included in meals I was eating, I could barely walk up three steps without help.

So now I avoid them all together. I hope that as my body comes back into alignment the allergy will normalize but I will wait to test that for a while yet. I am enjoying the feeling of health.

There is a lot of controversy over nightshades but elimination is really a great way to test the results. Night shade intolerance is controversial among mainstream health professionals, but really in the grand scheme of things you are the one who is most interested in your own health and need to take responsibility for it. To eliminate is really not going to cost you anything and might in fact reveal a lot. This may not be your issue for chronic fatigue and joint pain but it might just be a good place to start.

I now walk at least every other day anywhere from 6-12 km and even do the odd “jalk” (jog walk) in there. This was only the beginning though of my return to health. There was a long way to go. It was an amazing healing process.

As 2015 begins I start this year in amazing health and wellness and love the feeling and freedom it brings. I pray the same for you.

Health and wellness to you in 2015!

Love that now two years later I have walked thousands of kilometers!!!  (add skip right here)

God is sooooo Good..!! 

Blessings until next time. 

Narelle

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Camino De Santiago Walk of 543 miles 820 Kilometers! 

 

Posted in Christian living, grandparenting, health and wellness, Life, Marriage, Parenthood, travel, Uncategorized

Achieving Goals – Change Now!

Again I wrote this in 2015 but still as relevant today two years later!! It doesn’t have to be the New Year to start to change your life!

The way to achieving your goals – START

I saw a great post the other day that basically said , “In 2015 I am going to complete the goals I set in 2014 that I didn’t finish in 2013 that I had set in 2012 etc”

How many of us do that? Set goals and then life gets in the way and bang before you know it the year has flown and nothing has been done to get you toward your goal. We should say we are setting up our good intentions!

One day a few years ago when I was jalking (jog-walking) along the beach I noticed something about focus.

As I headed up the beach I kept my eyes focused on a cliff that overshadows the beach area. Whenever I stayed focus, I could look behind me and see my footprints in the sand were fairly straight. When I strayed in thought and started to wander off , I could look behind and see my foot prints straying all over the place. I was still heading the right direction but I was deviating off course considerably without noticing.

I realized how important focus was to not waste time or energy or direction.

Last year was one of those years. As a couple we had determined a few goals. However, immediately, I became sick in the first few weeks of the year and was flat on my back. I read a book by an old missionary, Praying Hyde. It was inspiring to hear of the amount of prayer this faithful intercessor did: Praying all night, for hours, for days. I was inspired and determined. Things were going to change.

I set myself to focus on prayer, fasting and studying the Word. The days turned to weeks, turned to nearly 2 months. In that time I can honestly say I really didn’t “feel” like I had broken through to any great degree yet within a couple of days I was amazed how quickly God moved. One of those areas was for Paul to get work he loved and opportunities to open up before us.

We shouldn’t have been but we were surprised when literally a day after praying that way the phone rang and he was asked to go to the Philippines to help with the rebuild after Typhoon Yolanda.

He headed off while I planned to go to him after getting a few things sorted in Australia. Then a few weeks after that we received some very challenging news – our grandson Josiah had the leukaemia he had been in remission from, return. It was a blow to us all but our daughter told us to continue to make plans to go thinking they had another 2 years left of chemotherapy. However, a few weeks later it became evident the cancer was not going into remission as well as the doctors liked, enough to say it would never come back.

Bone marrow was really the only option in the natural to follow up on for him to survive – in the natural.

In the spirit we continued to believe that as his name says, Healed by Jehovah. Josiah was an amazing little trooper and literally from March through to October his life and the family’s life revolved around hospitals and doctors. For a 4 year old he was inspirational!

As I reflect on just what goals I set myself during that time of prayer I realize just how much we did achieve what we set out to do despite the challenges and forced change of direction!

Reflecting on goals these are my 5 steps to achieving them in 2015

  • Check your progress.

One of the keys to setting goals is to look behind.  Watch just how far your footprints have deviated off course or stayed on course depending on your focus.

  • Celebrate the victories along the way.

One of my goals was to lose 20 Kilos by Dec 2014. I managed 17. Am I unhappy with that? Of course not but I am still inspired to complete my goal this year and in fact need to add another 5kg on to that amount to achieve my final goal weight.

  • Be realistic.

A building has to have a plan, projections, a budget, a time frame and resources to see it happen. A plan doesn’t happen just by writing it down but that is the start and you need to start. Be realistic in terms of what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve. But by the same token – dream big. 

  • Let go.

  If it turns out you didn’t really want to do or become something, be prepared to let it go. Keeping on keeping on for the reason of staying the course is senseless. 

  • Don’t Give Up or In.

 Just as important as step 4 is to keep moving forward despite road blocks and humps. Despite life’s challenges goals can be achieved they just might look a little different or be on a different time line.

The Chinese are calling this the year of the sheep…We proclaim it the year of the Lord’s favour. As you wait on the Lord you will be successful in all you do!  Let’s get started. Blessed in 2015….

Now that I look back over that year I am in such amazement at just what that year produced…more on that later!

 

 

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Achieving my goal to walk every day! Something I struggled hard to achieve after years of inactivity. 
Posted in Christian living, Life, Love, Marriage, sexual issues, Uncategorized

A Good Marriage Does Good Like Medicine

I wrote this at 39 years married. We are now approaching 42 years! I wrote this blog in health and wellness for a reason. Having a healthy marriage can improve the health of people – note I say healthy; as a sick marriage can cause some major health issues, both physically and emotionalley. Here are my thoughts on maintaining a healthy marriage.

I think if you have a good marriage you are less prone to many of the other stresses of life which cause dis-ease and sickness. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. I am not saying that married couples are healthier than singles I am just saying that being in a happy relationship is definitely a healthy way to live.

Someone asked me the other day what did we do to have a good marriage?

I had to stop and think about it. There are quite a few answers to that one but I guess the first one comes from what I carried down the aisle on our wedding day 39 years ago instead of the traditional wedding bouquet – A Bible. A bunch of flowers is lovely but are a bit like some expectations after the wedding – Nice for a day but die quickly thereafter. I wanted something that would reflect what I wanted from my entire marriage not just the wedding day…a foundation of Truth.

We had decided that at the very outset, the Word of God was our foundation. We also really only sang one song during our service – Turn your eyes upon Jesus which is what we have done over the 39 years (41 now).

Has it been easy? No. Have there been tears – on both sides? Absolutely! Have there been fights? For sure! Has there been anger? Of course! Has there been love? Lots!  Fun? Insane amounts!

We never started off on an easy footing. We were both young. I was 17. He was 20. We were dirt poor. We both carried incredible baggage. We were both insecure in many areas. We both were determined – in good and bad ways. We both loved the Lord.

There have been some really hard times where divorce could have been an easy out. I guess I was particularly proud and determined not to have my parents and others say, “I told you, you were too young.” I was also determined that the enemy would not have his way in destroying yet another marriage.

I believe the enemy, Satan, has been trying to destroy two institutions ordained of God for millennia – marriage and the church. So we did not want to be a statistic and we have fought hard to keep our marriage together and strong.

I also know we are often our own worst enemies, desiring our own ways, living for ourselves and not desiring the best for others above our own needs. This spells disaster to any relationship.

There have been a lot of learning experiences but these would be my top 10 steps if applied, for a relationship to survive .

  1. Keep Christ number ONE – by being in relationship with Him and keeping the Word of God as your guide and praying together. We always say to each other there is Someone we love more than the other. He is our #1.
  2. Forgive, forgive, forgive, Keep short accounts – 1 Corinthians 13 saved our 4 year old marriage when I realized I didn’t ‘love’ my husband anymore – meaning I didn’t feel like I loved him. I had to learn what true love is. I learned not to keep a record of wrongs…more on that in a later blog. Never forget; You are not perfect – neither is your partner!
  3. No/Know you can’t change the other person – you can only change yourself and how you behave or react.
  4. Give 100% without expecting anything back – When you give with that kind of love you will receive it back. I know we are told it is a 50:50 arrangement but when you only give 50% there are bound to be some issues down the track.
  5. On the same token – love yourself – Don’t neglect yourself and become a doormat. Know what you want and express that as well. Don’t lose yourself in the other person.
  6. Communication is a must. Learn how to communicate effectively with your partner – we are not all the same and have different ways to express ourselves.
  7. Keep passion alive – This is a blog in itself..but if you lose the passion in your relationship you set yourselves up for looking elsewhere for excitement. After the kids leave home the two of you are left and that is a lot of years looking at each other if you don’t find fulfillment in each other anymore. Don’t let the kids and life, dictate your passion. Fall in love with each other frequently.
  8. Keep intimacy alive – different to passion…Non-sexual touch and kind words are important. Learn to do things you like together.
  9. Be kind to one another – Spiteful, critical, demeaning words do damage and are hard to take back.
  10. Keep humour alive in a marriage – have fun! Life is hard enough without losing your ability to laugh at yourselves and the situations you face together as a family.

Keeping your marriage healthy and fun will aid a long way to keeping you each healthy. So plan to make this year a turning point in your marriage and enjoy the experience.

 

Until next time

Narelle

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Celebrating 40 years with our zany Josiah and family!
Posted in Christian living, grandparenting, internet marketing, Life, Marriage, Parenthood, pornography, sexual issues, Uncategorized

Pornography and sexual issues

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I remember a conference I was at a few years ago for internet marketing. The training led to examining such sites as Second Life where people live as avatars in a fantasy world but pay in real dollar terms. As of 2013 it had over a million users engaging in this fantasy world.

The discussion led to other sites where avatars engage in violent sexual acts on-line. During the discussion some ignorant person commented and said, “Well at least it keeps them off the streets and from acting out.”

Why do I say ignorant? Because these people obviously do not understand the phases of addiction. As a counsellor and former manager of a rehab, I have seen and studied addiction and addicts. What initially gratified will eventually no longer satisfy and a stronger more potent form will be required to try to reach the first “hit”- but will rarely succeed.

What initially satisfied with being played out on-line, in the mind, in house, can eventually lead to a much graver scenario being required to maintain or worse, increase satisfaction. The more times graphic situations are played out on-line, visually etc. the greater the action required to fulfill that desire.

Why do I broach this subject that is already so widely discussed?

Recently I noticed an article regarding the views of 15 year old girls and how they are handling or not handling the epidemic of pornography from their young male peers and the pressures they are facing in terms of sexual relationships. I was so saddened to hear the depth of expectation to perform sexual exploits to have a relationship.

I remember as a 15 year old the pressures around then,in terms of magazines, books etc. that opened the mind and eye gates to pornography. Now there are so many more avenues to contend with, for not only young people but older people also.

When we have such movies and books as 50 Shades so sought after by women – I have to ask myself two questions – Why? and When?  Why would women support such violent relationships being portrayed and then cry “foul” when men are confused with “NO”! When will we learn that what we eat we become! What we watch and read – well……I am still in shock as to how many women have sought after this book and movie, including young Christian women  with the reasoning – “But he loves her.” Sorry people wake up! This is a lie from the pit and  not the kind of love anyone should aspire to!

Lust and its acts are never going to be contained without Christ – we are human and it is a condition of sinful man, but when we see laws abolished or not upheld with limited prosecuting of those who participate or sell pornography; magazine placement in stores go unchallenged or un-protested; TV shows, questionable movies and books supported by viewing and purchasing;  we can be assured we will reap the results. Violence against women and children increases. Unplanned pregnancies of teenage girls, and subsequent abortions rise. STD’s continue to plaque the population. We reap what we sow!

I love it when I hear of young people who have kept themselves for marriage and marriages that are untouched by the smell of the fire of lust.

I don’t stand in judgement of those who have failed in those areas, because it is only by grace that any of us stand, and I know the pain of these failures, but I pray for a standard and a voice for righteousness to arise to see this flood of lust and greed stemmed. I say greed because the bottom line is they are only selling what the market demands!  And it is not just those who call themselves non-believers. I have known men in church life to visit prostitutes regularly or struggle with pornography in a big way!

Pornography does damage on so many levels: Lives shattered, physically, emotionally, and most importantly – spiritually. Paul and the other apostles warned us constantly to withdraw from sexual immorality, in whatever form that comes.

We know though that when we repent we have someone who is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins! He can set us free from the bondages of sexual issues.

We will never see a complete demise of sexual deviancy in this world, because it is a matter of sin but we can alert our young people and remind ourselves of the need to guard our hearts always and start to speak up for purity!

Until next time

Blessings Narelle