My Orchids Made it Back From the Dead!

My Orchids Made it Back From the Dead!

In January 2018 I had these beautiful thriving orchids that we needed to transport from West Virginia to New Mexico. It was cold, and we knew that there was a good possibility that I might lose one or all of them. Our road trip was long and it was freezing in the car where they were packed up. I worried about them the whole trip.

After a few weeks of watching them slowly wither, the leaves becoming the color of asparagus when it’s cooked too much, I thought I would lose them all. The only thing left was their root system. No leaves, the crown on each orchid…dead.

Yet, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t throw them in the garbage. There were two small orchids that died, crown and roots, but three of my others still had juicy roots. I put them in a water culture and would fertilize them once a week. After a few months, the first one got it’s first leaf back. Then the second one, and finally the third.

Never give up hope on you orchids! They can survive.

I’m hoping next year to put them in a good orchid growing medium again. For now, I’m just going to continue to baby them.

They’re still in their leafing phase, but I’m hopeful they will send up their first flower spikes after rising from the dead.

I need good names for these three little flower warriors! They’re underdogs and badass orchids.

Maybe a good Viking name for each of them would be appropriate.

I prune off a little more dead material each month. As you can see in the photos the original dead crown is still present, but I just pick at it ever so delicately.

Collecting Repurposed Materials

Collecting Repurposed Materials

We have a mini-collection of repurposed materials, and this coming week we’ll be adding to that collection if everything goes as planned. I always need to hold onto plans loosely since free or inexpensive materials tend to go very quickly. I’m a member of Freecycle and at any given time a product being given away might be claimed by someone who lives closer than I do, or can go and swoop it up quicker than I can even get in my car!

Freecycle, the free section on Craigslist, and even Facebook Marketplace has been instrumental in collecting needed materials.

Back when we first moved to New Mexico in 2008, we came with only the clothes on our backs. We needed beds, furniture, cooking supplies, clothing, rugs and more. Everything we needed was found on Freecycle or Craigslist. We rebuilt our lives utilizing those two resources. I still have some of the things acquired on Freecycle or from Thrift Shops because their sentimental value far outweighs their real value.

Part of the structure we’re building contains a lean-to greenhouse that will go the full length of the structure on the south side. Our original plan was to frame it out and use greenhouse plastic, but we might actually be acquiring large windows for it! This was such an exciting find. If my plans fall through for picking up these windows, we’ll just use greenhouse plastic.

The reason for the lean-to greenhouse is to house our kitchen and bathroom. Because of my mold allergies, it never fails that a leak of some sort can develop when there’s indoor plumbing. Building a kitchen and bathroom outside the actual structure, yet still a part of it will help keep the structure free of all water damage unless that damage comes from a roof leak.

We have three heavy duty metal and glass doors we brought with us from West Virginia. Dom collected them from an old job site. Two will be used on the east and western sides of the greenhouse, and the third one will be located where the coffee roastery will be built on the eastern side of the structure.

We also have an old short water heater, which we’re thinking will be used to create a rocket stove mass water heater. Geoff Lawton has a video on how it works if you’d like to watch!

A Dream Realized and a Hope Fulfilled

A Dream Realized and a Hope Fulfilled

“We are starving for spiritual nourishment. We are starving for a life that is personal, connected, and meaningful. By choice, that is where we will direct our energy. When we do so, community will arise anew because this spiritual nourishment can only come to us as a gift, as part of a web of gifts in which we participate as giver and receiver. Whether or not it rides the vehicle of something bought, it is irreducibly personal and unique.” ~Charles Eisenstein

I have this deep calling that gnaws at my soul regularly. Each day that I am not moving towards my calling brings pain to my spirit. I have a dream that will be realized. I am called to the agrarian life. I am also called to bless others with my gifts freely and abundantly, and to lavish on those within my inner circle of friends and family, my unconditional love.

Who are those in my inner circle? It is those people who are aligned with my values and have a heart like mine. That doesn’t mean they are exactly like me in any way. They have a heart song that I recognize and embrace because we are spiritual kin. It is like deep calling to deep.

There are those who sing a song that sounds similar to my heart song, but by the end of the song it’s evident that the melody might sound similar, but the words are all wrong. They think they’re singing the same song, but you see, the song takes months to sing and they just haven’t invested the time to sing it the way their hearts needed to. Sounds cryptic, right?

It’s not.

Each of us has a heart song. Those who do not betray their own hearts or reject their own souls will find comfort in others who do the same. That is the heart song. We recognize it instantly. It is a song that you sing to others with your actions, your time, your intentions. Those who betray their own hearts and compromise their integrity recoil at the sound of a true heart song. Those who have denied their own beautiful song will be suspicious, cruel, withholding, cold, distant, all while still claiming to have a song just like mine. Their words and actions betray them. My love is anathema to them as they choke on their own betrayal and inability to break free from their overabundant pride. I have been witness to this throughout my whole life. It’s a part of the human condition.

Yet…

My heart is soft, so it doesn’t break easily. I keep it soft because others are too hard on themselves. My softness is a part of my song. But being soft doesn’t mean being weak. Weakness is a habit developed by those who have lost their way and compromised their integrity. Being soft allows me to fully recognize my desire to love radically. To give abundantly. To forgive freely. To follow my wild heart and search for home.

I’ve searched for home my whole life. No matter where I have lived, I’ve always made a home for myself. My husband is my home. My children are my home. Seeking deep connections with others who have a heart like mine brings me home. But my desire to set roots and be home has brought me to a new place. A place where I hear other heart songs sung unabashedly wild and free.

We started a new chapter in our lives recently. We currently live in a very small place and out of necessity we started searching for a new place to live. Even though there are only three of us currently living in this small space we call home, we also have grown children who, when they come to visit have no place to sleep when they stay over. Add to that the fact that I operate our coffee roasting business from this same space AND having the little storefront here cuts into personal space even more. Along with running a business comes balancing my time during the day homeschooling Simone. Some days she’s on the computer working with an online program, and the rest of the time she’s sprawled out at my work table completing the lessons of the day while I’m working on a customer’s order. Our space is very limited for what we need.

I’m also a hardcore introvert with a great need to recharge myself away from the presence of other people. That includes my own family. Introverts draw their energy from solitude and time alone.

Our current living space is not honoring my needs. I keep trying to make it better, and Dom will take Simmi out of the house so I can be alone and recover, but it doesn’t always work out the way we want.

In the process of looking for a larger place to live, we found a gorgeous piece of land we decided to invest in.

It is sacred to us.

There is great peace there.

It is a place where my wild and innocent young daughter can run free. A place where her feral heart can grow strong and soft.

With the investment we’ve made in the land comes the investment we’ve made with friends who have become our family in that very place. They are home to us. Our friendship was forged in our ability to be vulnerable to one another. We strengthened our friendship by hearing one another’s heart songs, and then we became family.

We’re home at last.

Over the next few months, we’ll be building our first home on almost fifteen beautiful acres. Located about 30 minutes south of where we currently live, this place of beauty stuns me everywhere I look.

There are unforgiving steep slopes, pastures, rocky paths and river beds. Rising up from the deep earth are sycamores and cottonwoods, willows and oak trees, evergreens and shrubs. Grasses and weeds reveal the splendor of a fertile and untouched land.

There are quiet places to recharge the soul, and gathering places to engage our hearts.

Time stands still here.

I’ve started planning our gardens, ordering seed, and designing our first house. It will not be our final house, but instead, it will be the business hub that we move into.

In past posts, I’ve mentioned that we want to build a house that doesn’t have any electricity and that includes conventional or alternative. The space we’re designing and living in first will have electricity in it. It’s the place where our businesses will thrive. My non-electric house will not be built until we have observed the land and find the best place suited for it. We do have an area that we adore, however, we need to live there full time and go through the seasons to know for sure where to build.

The business hub will be located in an area that is near the pasture. It will have our offices, art studio, fabric studio, a roastery, outdoor kitchen, as well as a become a Farm to Table venue. It all starts with that space.

It will (hopefully) be a bit larger than the space we’re currently in, but ultimately it will allow me to cultivate the land and get animals established prior to building our final home.

We’ll be living in our current house until we’re able to move into the new space. Unfortunately, we don’t have a good timetable for when that would be. We want to do it efficiently and inexpensively, utilizing the timber nearby as well as other free or almost free repurposed materials. I will be blogging about everything we’re doing on the land, but it won’t just be me blogging!

I’ll be adding new features to this blog, including new writers and artisans in our community. In future posts, I’ll share who they are and how amazing they are because there is just too much to say in one blog post. 😉

In the meantime, here are some photos of our new land…

This area we’re considering as the location for the business hub/temporary home. It is located near an open pasture to the left and two paddocks on the right. One of the paddocks will be used for small and medium sized animals, and the other for our garden. Each paddock is about 50’x50′.

The view from the first paddock looking north.

Simmi running past the second paddock.

A view north-west.

The western side of the property.

Beauty surrounds us.

Simmi’s favorite tree.

An opposing gigantic cottonwood tree stands guard at the entrance to the pasture.

The grapevines have decided to be hardcore and skip cultivation. They’re total badasses.

The pasture awaits larger animals and meat birds in chicken tractors.

This is one of the paddocks that will be turned into an intensive French potager garden.

There is so much to love about this place. It is a dream realized and a hope fulfilled.

My Secret Life as a Mitochondriac: Part Two

My Secret Life as a Mitochondriac: Part Two

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Steve Jobs

Becoming a mitochondriac has been a process for me. For a number of years I have been making subtle changes to my life. Nothing happened overnight. Instead, the changes that I’ve made have stood the test of time. It’s not easy to change. Whenever I’ve changed a part of my life, there were unintended consequences but if I stuck with that change it made a huge difference in my life over the years.

My quest for wellness has been a 25 year journey. My children have never known their mother as being healthy and strong, or vibrant and active. I’ve been ill for 25 years now. Let that sink in for a moment. Two and a half decades of being sick. Lymes disease, peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, SLE, biotoxin illness, severe mold allergies, extensive hospital stays being in intensive care with my life hanging by a thread because of pneumonia sometimes twice a year, alopecia, miscarriages and complete infertility, morbid obesity, and the final blow in the latest of diagnoses…Celiac disease.

I’m not well. And it shows. With the exception of going raw for more than a year and finally being in remission, that was the only window of time when I was vibrant, strong, and healthy. Two years in 25.

My quest all these years was to find a way to NOT be on any medication. For someone with an arsenal of ill health under her belt, I’m not on any medication. If I’m diagnosed with something, I have a knee jerk reaction and right away start researching how to get rid of a particular autoimmune disorder. The Celiac diagnosis was particularly difficult for me to handle. I already knew that I had a sensitivity to gluten, but I had no idea that my neurological problems were actually tied to gluten. High blood pressure is also another unintended consequence of eating gluten for me. I’m a fat Celiac. Most Celiacs are frail and thin. However, regardless of whether a celiac is fat or thin, we aren’t getting the nutrients we need from food. I haven’t had any gluten since I was diagnosed in 2014.

Tweaking my diet has been an ongoing challenge. I’ve made lasting changes to how I eat. You would think that someone who eats as healthy as I do, would just drop the weight quickly.

Morbid obesity is a mitochondrial disease. Old school thinking is “calories in, calories out.” If you eat 1200 calories a day, exercise, drink water and stay away from junk food, you’ll lose weight. Here’s a fun little story…

Back after my son was born, we were living in NJ. At the time we were vegetarians. I’ve always provided my family with nutritious food. No junk food. I started going to a doctor in NJ who was famous for his practice of fasting and reversing disease. Back then I was considered morbidly obese, and he said that if I just followed his plan and exercised, the weight was guaranteed to come off. I stuck with the diet, ran three miles a day, and didn’t lose even one pound over the span of a few months. He thought I was lying about exercise and what I was eating. He accused me of binge eating and being lazy. And then he fired me as a patient.

My doctor said he could not waste his time with me if I wasn’t serious about my health.

But I was. I have always been very health conscious. It makes no sense, right?

Here’s what Dr. Jack Kruse has to say about obesity and mitochondria:

The truth is, obesity is a quantum disease that dramatically alters quantum signaling that occurs on the inner mitochondrial membrane. The change leads to a dramatic change in current on the inner mitochondrial membrane due to changes in subatomic distance in proteins of cytochromes that alter vibrational resonance. This makes us very energy inefficient. The changes in protein conformation diminish energy transfers by altering bond lengths in Angstroms. When energy transfers are diminished, people have to eat more to offset the change in the Angstrom distances in the cytochrome complexes found on the inner mitochondrial membrane. The conformational changes lead to protein folding errors in the proteins that couple oxidative phosphorylation to the correct metabolic and environmental signals is lost or becomes very inefficient. The folding errors increase the subatomic lengths of bonds in the chemistry of molecules.

One thing scientists are correct about: obesity is not a disease of carbohydrates, excess protein or an excess of dietary fat or excess insulin. It is a metabolic process to limit collateral damage from a loss of energy transfer in the cell. It is tied to not being able to correctly tell time any day of any season of the year.

Obesity is tied to an inability of the brain to process the proper amount of photons and electrons in the body in all places it matters, specifically in the hypothalamus essentially throwing off energy balance between our semiconductors, our inner mitochondrial membrane, and our leptin receptor. The obese never get the correct signal from their metabolism or the environment, to tell what the energy balance status really is in their fat cells. Because they can not decipher this message correctly, and they are losing photons and electrons to the environment because of a lack of proper quantum tunneling and quantum time; they have the sense and perception that they must eat more to improve the current of flow over their altered inner mitochondrial membrane that now leaks like a sieve because of the altered chemical bond lengths. This is also why obesity is linked to all diseases of aging. Obesity and diabetes are two circles of a Venn diagram in this enigma. That much is crystal clear. Where they intersect is the key to solving the puzzle. To solve it takes systems thinking not reductive science by itself. At their core of this intersection is where mitochondrial inefficiency issues live.

As I stated in Part One of my Secret Life series, it takes a LONG ASS TIME to digest what Jack has to say. It’s so worth it though!

Currently, I’m correcting my circadian biology. Dom and I have been working on correcting it for nearly two years now. It’s not easy. Why? Because it means changing how I do life each day. This is why it is taking me so long to get my shit together. To sleep at night in complete darkness? I would go through phases where we would start to practice it, but then I’d get some sort of autoimmune flare up which always keeps me up at night. Tossing and turning in bed? That’s torture to me. So the vicious cycle of putting the tv on at night starts. Which ruins my circadian biology.

One way I’ve hacked that problem is to wear my blue blockers every night. It takes about an hour for my brain to finally calm down and I get very tired when they are on. Another thing we do is not have any artificial light on after dark. We use candles.

Getting my body to start healing is the most important thing I can do for myself. As long as I’m obese, I know I have a mitochondrial problem. Other people may not have a problem with obesity. Their issues might stem from migraines or other other disease processes where you need medication. High blood pressure is a mitochondrial problem. I used to have extremely high blood pressure. It would feel like my head was going to pop off. The medication I was on was very strong. After I stopped eating gluten, my doctor was able to get me off the blood pressure meds because my blood pressure regulated properly. However, there is one other thing that causes my blood pressure to spike now…EMFs. If I’m in a city or place with lots of WiFi and cell towers, my head will start to feel like it’s going to pop off. It’s scary sometimes. So I avoid going to cities as much as I can.

When my circadian biology is working properly, my hormones will also start to normalize. I’ve spoken to many women who can’t sleep at night, are restless, have problems with their monthly cycle, and are either depleted in progesterone or are estrogen dominant.

Our modern lifestyles are the perfect storm for infertility and hormonal problems.

Natural Fertility Info explains melatonin and fertility this way:

Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland, a small endocrine gland located between the two hemispheres of the brain. In relation to fertility, melatonin is also produced by the follicles (eggs) within an ovary, the mass of cells that surround the follicles, and in the immature follicle itself.

Melatonin has been found to be a powerful free radical scavenger exerting strong antioxidant effects, important for supporting cellular health and protecting an immature egg from oxidative stress, especially at the time of ovulation. One small study of 115 women at the Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan showed melatonin may increase egg quality by reducing the level of one oxidizing agent called 8-OHdG in the ovum, which is a natural product of DNA oxidation.

Another study in the Journal of Ovarian Research states that, “It has been believed that melatonin regulates ovarian function by the regulation of gonadotropin release in the hypothalamus-pituitary gland axis via its specific receptors… Higher concentrations of melatonin have been found in human preovulatory follicular fluid compared to serum, and there is growing evidence of the direct effects of melatonin on ovarian function especially oocyte maturation and embryo development.”

Melatonin also helps control body temperature, the timing and release of female reproductive hormones and possibly egg quality. In fact, melatonin has been found to control the onset of puberty in females, the frequency and duration of menstrual cycles, and even when a woman stops menstruating and enters menopause.

Preliminary evidence suggests that melatonin may help strengthen the immune system as well.

During pregnancy, melatonin in the blood passes through the placenta not only supporting its function and health, but also aiding in the creation of the fetal suprachiasmatic nucleus or SCN, where a human’s central circadian regulatory system in located. Because of its antioxidant effects, Melatonin may also protect the developing fetus from oxidative stress.

In conclusion, recent research of the role of a healthy circadian rhythm and cyclical production of melatonin is proving to be critical for optimal female reproductive hormone function, menstrual cycle timing, ovarian function (including follicle function- both health and quality), as well as placental function.

One can influence her circadian rhythms and melatonin production simply by waking when it becomes light outside and sleeping when it is dark. While we understand that many of us are not able to sleep the entire time it is dark outside, you can create a routine that allows you to slow and enjoy calm as darkness sets in and avoid bright artificial lights (from televisions, computer screens, hand-held devices, cell phones, etc.) at least one hour before bedtime at night (No TV in bed!).

Learning a new way to live life each day isn’t easy, and yet it’s so simple! I’m still just a Black Swan hatchling. I’m a mitochondriac who is striving to get my mitochondria healthy again. I am getting there, slowly but surely.

Since I started to religiously keep the lights off at night, go out and sun gaze in the morning and throughout the day, drink great water and begin to eat foods that are deuterium depleted (no longer eating foods that are high in deuterium) I’ve dropped one dress size. Go figure! This is something that is working for me. For every pound that I lose, I have gained a more robust mitochondrial function.

It’s a great trade-off.

Dom and I have discussions every day about the kind of center we want to open. It would be a place to jumpstart your circadian biology. This would the place you come and unplug from EVERYTHING. Leave your cell phones and wireless devices at home. It’s a digital detox. It’s actually becoming a trend in many coffee shops and cafes around the country. Cafes are opting no to provide any kind of WiFi or even places to plug in devices, because we as a society have forgotten how to really talk with one another. Our center would be free of all electrical devices. You’ll ground, drink great water, eat food from our garden, and our animals will not be grain fed, but instead pastured so that the meat will be deuterium depleted.

We need a place where artificial light doesn’t exist. Our place wouldn’t have any at all. Just Firelight. Under our dark clear skies at 5700 feet in elevation and not a cell tower in any direction. I want to create this. I want people to get excited about being able to unplug. To know that they aren’t alone in this.

We need land with water rights donated or purchased and away from any other neighbors or town and away from major roads. We need to build the infrastructure.

If a project like this resonates with you, drop me an email at ourfirelightfarm@gmail.com

 

 

 

My Secret Life as a Mitochondriac: Part One

My Secret Life as a Mitochondriac: Part One

Caution and a raised eyebrow can be found after saying the word mitochondriac. It almost sounds like the word hypochondriac, right? But I promise they are very different from one another. Most of us know what a hypochondriac is. Often hypochondriacs are preoccupied with thoughts of impending doom, look up symptoms they may be experiencing and believe they have something wrong with them. In some of my research, hypochondria has been explained as a mental illness.

A mitochondriac, however, is someone who is pretty obsessed with their mitochondria, how it functions, and how to protect it. They are fascinated by their second set of genetics and have discovered that their mitochondria, which is passed on from mother to child, is actually the workhorse of the body. We’ve been taught that our DNA is everything, and when things start to go wrong with our bodies, it must be because of a genetic abnormality. However, our mitochondria are at the root of our health or ill-health.

I’m not going to get into what the mitochondria do, or don’t do. I want to touch a little on why I’m a mitochondriac and how that has affected my life to this point. 

I consider myself a black swan mitochondriac, but I am at the hatchling phase…a cygnet if you will. My mentor is none other than the amazingly controversial and mindblowing practicing neurosurgeon Dr. Jack Kruse. Although I have never met him, someday (December 2018 😉 ) I hope to share a bottle of wine with him one evening on the beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and talk about how much he has changed my life. He shattered my old perceptions of what health was and like a bull in a china shop leveled my beliefs to the ground.

I told Dom that someday soon I’ll have a t-shirt made that has a photo of Jack and that states, “God’s Gift to the World.” Because that’s what Jack is.

This is what Black Swan Theory is to Jack:

The black swan theory of events is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise to a paradigm of belief, has a major effect on those who realize it, and is often inappropriately rationalized by the paradigm after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. The term is based on an ancient saying which presumed black swans did not exist, but the saying was rewritten after black swans were discovered in the wild. The implication is, absence of evidence is not absence of effect or reality or truth. Just because evidence is not present right here, right now, does not mean the possibility cannot exist or is not true. What nature allows, will certainly happen. It is the basis of the Kruse Thereom of living systems. This is why the wise among us build arks for the black swans among us. As they gain wisdom in unison, they begin to flock together. Then, the ark of wisdom, buried deep within the threads of nature can protect them from the poor thinking and the beliefs of paradigms built on half truths.

I’ve been following Jack’s work as it has evolved over the last several years. Most of what he has said went right over my head. It would take me HOURS to read just one of his blog posts. I needed a decoder ring to understand most of what he said until finally, I just relaxed and said, “fuck it, it is what it is and someday I’ll get it.” There was always a practical takehome from his blogs, and so I’d glean as much as I could and put it to practice.

A few years prior to knowing that I had electrohypersensitivity, he kept writing about non-native EMFs, blue light, circadian biology, the time clock in our eye and our skin, and the damage man-made devices do to us, but I didn’t understand.

But it went in. Like a silent time bomb set to explode. BOOM! One day it all made sense, and the work began. It isn’t easy becoming a mitochondriac. In fact, it’s freaking hard as hell. Want to know why? Because it’s so simple you won’t believe it! I couldn’t believe that the blue light that was coming from the artificial light like compact fluorescent bulbs, halogen, and worst of all LED bulbs, TVs, wireless device screens, and even the damn regular blue light that plagues most devices has the MOST profound effect on our circadian biology and mitochondria.

It wasn’t easy because it meant that I would need to change how I used light. I needed to purchase incandescent bulbs which don’t harm the same way that the new light bulbs do. Funny thing is that I have never liked having lights on at night. I would much rather have firelight. Candles or oil lamps always seem to calm me down at night. Yet, when I would go to bed, there was some sort of light on in the bedroom, such as the TV, and in the hall another light. I have on several occasions gotten a concussion from walking around in the dark. I’m extremely accident prone as well as being a sleepwalker, and if there is anything in my way, I’ll fall.

I had to learn how to keep the lights off. That is still difficult for me at night. My fear of more head trauma makes it difficult for me to see the value of keeping things pitch black at night. But I continue to work at it.

Being a mitochondriac also means I get to wear funny looking glasses when I’m exposed to artificial blue light at night, like my computer screen. Dom calls them my douchy glasses because I look like a douchwaffle in them. The photo on the right I took of myself in March as my hair was finally starting to come back in after falling out due to mold exposure.

So, my douchwaffle glasses serve a very important purpose. I put these glasses on at night a few hours prior to going to bed. They’re very trippy and it takes a little time to get used to them. They block out all the blue, green from artificial light and electronic devices, and encourage my body to release melatonin. During the day, I have a set of blue blockers that aren’t as aggressive as my TrueDark glasses but will block about 50% of the blue light from my vision.

We also have Iris software installed on our computer which helps to filter out blue light. You’ll see in the right sidebar an ad for Iris. It is my affiliate link. I don’t think I’ve ever had an affiliate link before, but this product I use, and I would encourage you to get it for your computer or wireless devices.

From the website Blue Light Exposed:

Light is made up of electromagnetic particles that travel in waves.  These waves emit energy, and range in length and strength. The shorter the wavelength; the higher the energy. The length of the waves is measured in nanometers (nm), with 1 nanometer equaling 1 billionth of a meter.  Every wavelength is represented by a different colour, and is grouped into the following categories: gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet (UV) rays, visible light, infrared light, and radio waves.  Together these wavelengths make up the electromagnetic spectrum.

However the human eye is sensitive to only one part of this spectrum: visible light. Visible light is that part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is seen as colours: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.  Blue light has a very short wavelength, and so produces a higher amount of energy. Studies suggest that, over time, exposure to the blue end of the light spectrum could cause serious long-term damage to your eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue light is highest in the morning, and it is always balanced with the other colors in the spectrum. As a mitochondriac, it is important for me to get up first thing in the morning and greet the sun. Dom and I go out every morning and look towards the direction of the sun.

What this does is it shuts off melatonin and lets my body know it’s daytime. It also does another very special thing…it creates MORE melatonin and stores it later to be used by my body at night.

Guess how much it costs? ZERO DOLLARS. Guess how difficult it is to do? Hard AF.

We don’t go outside anymore as a people. Who gets up first thing in the morning, takes off their shoes to make sure you are grounded, and takes in the morning sun?

Mitochondriacs do.

When I’m outside, I don’t use anything on my eyes, like sunglasses. My eyes are always naked and searching near the sun. I know that in those morning moments as we either watch the sun rise, or are getting morning sun, we are giving our bodies a great start to the day.

As a farmer, it’s easy to be outside first thing in the morning. However, I still don’t have land to farm, so instead, we just go out and greet the morning.

Light also affects our skin. We have receptors in our skin that affect our circadian biology. Artificial light at night is a problem, so we cover up our skin when we’re in the presence of artificial light. Dom started wearing his orange glasses to work and he keeps his body covered as much as possible when he’s working indoors under fluorescent or LED lighting. It has had a dramatic effect on his energy levels, even though he’s exposed to very high WiFi signals. He’s also affected by EMFs, just not as severely as I am.

It takes time to change how I live. How do you live without a cell phone? How do you live without WiFi? How do you live without electricity?

That is the next evolution of my experience. I live without the cell phone and I chose to live in a place that is so scarcely populated that telecommunications would find it difficult to justify putting in a cell tower beyond the half-working one they have going in our main town.

I live 8 miles south of a cell tower. There is one cell tower near Datil which is about an hour north from me, and another very small tower in Glenwood, which is an hour south of me. There are no plans on getting more towers installed.

I chose to live here purposely because of that reason.

We are also at 33 degrees north latitude at an elevation of 5700 feet above sea level. This is important for another reason as a mitochondriac…

We want to make Vitamin D year round. At our latitude and elevation it is possible for us to make Vitamin D all year, and because we are not inundated with nnEMFs from cell towers and the wifi from neighboring buildings is low enough not to affect us, we can now make Vitamin D. As it turns out, if you are bathing in nnEMFs, you won’t be able to make Vitamin D. Even if you were at the equator. It’s not going to happen. Those great devices that we all love to use (remember I’m a technology whore) can sap our bodies of Vitamin D. You can take all the supplements you want, but if you aren’t changing your light environment and find a less densely populated place to live, you’ll continue to suffer as I did for so long.

My life changed dramatically in the last two years. At first, they were subtle changes, like being able to actually sleep at night. How many of you have autoimmune problems? Pick any autoimmune problem, and I bet you have an issue sleeping at night.

My sleep improved. It continues to improve, and as I fix my light problem, guess what else is improving? My hormones. Even though I’m almost 50, my hormones are not too terrible. I have a monthly cycle that wasn’t always perfect. Once we moved to the east coast and my exposure to molds increased, so did my issues with my hormones. Everything got messed up to the point that I thought I was finally entering perimenopause. My cycle was off sometimes by MONTHS, and it was erratic at best. This was a problem I never had before. When we lived in Vermont, we started implementing changes like using candles or oil lamps at night, as well as using a grounding sheet, which caused a dramatic shift in my hormones.

After moving to another house in Vermont, we hardwired our computer, got rid of wifi, changed our smart meter to a regular analog meter, got a wired phone instead of wireless DECT phone, shut our power off at night, and purchased our first blue blocker glasses.

All those things helped to get my hormones under control. We slept better at night, and Simone improved emotionally as well as educationally.

It has taken over two years to get to where we are. It was baby steps that got us here.

My diet has changed over the last two months as well. I have been on and off keto for the last 7 years, but because of inflammation in my body, I chose to go mostly raw. 

I have been slowly transitioning to a raw food diet, but it isn’t a raw vegan diet. 17 years ago I was trained as a raw food practitioner and chef. Originally when I became a raw vegan, I put my autoimmune condition in remission.

Now that we have locked down our light problems, I’m taking that next step in implementing a raw food diet with intermittent fasting.

My diet consists of one meal a day that has about 5 oz of a raw protein of some sort, a raw yolk, fruit, greens, olive oil, rice vinegar, spices, and an avocado. It’s basically the same thing every day around 10am.

I eat either raw beef or raw oysters or both with each meal. On other days I will switch out the raw meat for two cans of sardines.

It’s basic, very filling, and doesn’t require me to think of food after 11 am every day.

I know it doesn’t sound very appetizing eating raw beef, but believe it or not, it’s freaking delicious. I couldn’t have imagined eating raw meat even just three months ago, but I am enjoying it.

The reason I’ve chosen to eat only one robust meal a day is for mitochondrial biogenesis. You can do a little research about how intermittent fasting affects mitochondrial function. It’s fascinating.

Moving forward…

So where does a black swan cygnet mitochondriac go from here?

As I continue to heal my body, my desire to farm becomes stronger. I am blessed to live in a county that has some of the darkest sky in the world. Without light pollution or nnEMFs around, I would LOVE to start a center for mitochondrial healing where people can come to get their bodies jumpstarted.

The change happens so quickly, and even though I’m nowhere near finished with my own personal health journey, I feel this is such a powerful experience.

Having a place where people can completely unplug, will not be exposed to nnEMFs, can ground, eat great organic food, and kickstart their mitochondriac journey is so exciting to me!

Dom and I have been looking for the perfect location, and we’ll be looking for investors who want to help create a new center. It’s all in the hatchling stage of planning, but it’s something Dom and I are very passionate about.

For the sake of time and the fact that this has been a super long post, I’ll stop there.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

What’s Growing on My Counter

What’s Growing on My Counter

Dom and I are both sprawlers. Actually, Simmi is a sprawler as well. Dom has his bottles of mead and beers fermenting, along with lacto fermented veggies and pickles, Simmi leaves a trail of belongings everywhere and doesn’t like to throw anything away, and I have jars of things rooting or being nurtured on the counter.

I chose the north side of the house where our kitchen is because it gets some moderate light and won’t be too hard on my little water babies soaking up water and love.

I started my water baby collection back in March when my orchids were suffering. Our climate doesn’t offer any moisture in the air, and can be quite a challenge to keep injured orchids from dying.

On the right are my orchids last June, just coming to the end of their flowering. The blooms last through the winter and after the flowering stops, they go into leaf growth. I obsessed for weeks prior to relocating to New Mexico about how my six orchids would make it across the country in the dead of winter with no heat. Three survived the trip and three died.

In an effort to save my remaining orchids, I started the process of trying to save them in February, but it seemed hopeless.

I know it sounds ridiculous to be so attached to these little beings, but they mean the world to me.

After I wasn’t getting many results pampering them and seeing that my remaining three orchids were declining still, I chose to put them in a water culture, which is just a fancy way of saying that I keep them in a jar with a third of the jar filled with water. One of them is so pathetic that I keep her in a full water culture.

It’s working. Finally.

One of my orchids finally grew two new leaves. I’m waiting for the other two to start to sprout. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m optimistic and I refuse to give up on them.

So, in no particular order, here’s a look at what’s on my counter:

The new leaf growth on one of my orchids.

The second orchid hasn’t sprouted new leaves yet, but I’m hopeful. She’s in a full water culture.

This is what she looks like in the water.

The third orchid. She’s juicy and ready to leaf. I’m hoping this month it will happen.

A clipping from one of my random house plants.

Rooting Rosemary. These were from clippings I got at the grocery store.

I love to see the roots of new plants that never had a chance to make it.

I LOVE this tree so much that I took clippings home to root them and plant them by our house. This is White Poplar. Back about 15 years ago when it was a medical mystery why I was sick beyond having Lupus, my doctor arranged for me to get allergy tested to see if mold could be tied to my recurring intensive care stays at the hospital. It turned out that I was indeed allergic to not only many different types of mold, but to poplar, willow, birch, (12 trees in all) different grasses, horses, guinea pigs, cats, and dust mites. I thought I was just allergic to the pollen with those trees until I went into anaphylaxis after drinking real birch beer. I finally identified the clippings as White Poplar and I wanted to know what the medicinal and food properties were. It turns out that poplar contains salicylate which is another compound I’m highly allergic to. It’s also in birch.

Now I know why I’m allergic to those particular trees. It’s the salicylates in the trees. I’ve gone into anaphylaxis with aspirin and ibuprofin. It’s not pretty! So, while I won’t be using any of the trees I’m allergic to for medicinal purposes, I will still be planting them. How can I not? They are so beautiful.

The pretty buds ready to send out roots.

Oh green onions how I love you! Did you know you can keep green onions on the counter in water and they will continue to grow for you? You can even clip down to a few inches above the roots and it will grow back for you. Next time you have slimy green onions that slipped to the back on the fridge, remember you can always put them in water. Don’t worry if some of the green leaves die or change color, because it is always setting out new green growth. The water needs to be changed every day or they will die from a lack of oxygen.

See the new growth? The old growth can be clipped with a scissor and used. Just discard any small portion of the green onion that is yellow or brown.

This lovely collection is Dom’s different brews. He has some natural beers and mead. All his brews are wildcrafted and pack a wallop if you drink too much! He did a first racking of the meads the other day, and it was pretty strong.

Dom’s kombucha. Behind one of them is a coffee kombucha he’s working on.

Transfering mead to a new container. Oh, and in the background you can see I also keep romaine lettuce in a jar of water. Only the base of the romaine touches the water. I don’t recommend keeping it in water if you won’t be eating it quickly. The water needs to be changed daily, AND if you don’t like to eat lettuce everyday, it will continue to grow. I once left romaine in fresh water for a week and it was not edible because the inner leaves turned bitter. If you’ll be eating it within a day or two of putting it in the water, it will taste fine.

So that’s what was on my counter. Next week the rosemary will be potted and put outside. I do have rosemary already growing out there, so I take more cuttings and root them as well.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

King of My World

King of My World

“I want to do things so wild with you that I don’t know how to say them” Anais Nin

2018 has proven to be a profound year for me and we’re only halfway through the year. Our lives have forever been in flux due to my autoimmune disorders and severe environmental allergies to mold, but this year is of particular note. It was the year I ridiculously fell deeper in love with Dominic. I didn’t think it possible to love someone this deeply, and it scared me so much that I didn’t even know how to tell him.

I often think back to when we first met in 2002 and how as colleagues we enjoyed working together. It was a blessing to work with such a talented chef and healer. I would have never known back then that he would be the greatest love of my life. He has always been someone who encouraged and listened to me as if I were the only one that existed on the planet. The support he offers strengthens me daily, giving me the confidence to keep moving forward.

His unwavering compassion in the face of my ill health is everything to me. He loves me as I am, all of me. To be loved this way is a treasure. A gift that doesn’t seem to have an end to it. My life would be very different if he never invaded my soul.

I’m unsure how it happened, this new deeper love I have for him, but it rocked my world. You know how when you first fall in love, there is this infatuation and desire that can’t seem to be extinguished? It’s thrilling and exciting to look into your lover’s eyes and feel your heart race a little more as he/she smiles warmly at you. Well, I was disarmed this year and knocked over with this new wave of feelings.

In trying to express myself, I would start to shake, and then cry. I couldn’t get it out in a way that would make sense. I was a wreck.

Generally, when two people are in love, it’s kind of mutual…don’t you think?

I had to think about why I felt so emotional about falling in love deeper, and it hit me. Fear crept into me for the first time ever. I began to wonder if it could be possible for me to be more in love than he was. What happens then? Can one person be more in love than another? What does that look like? Self-preservation is a strong and devious advesary to deep lasting love and friendship, and I felt like I had some sort of self-preservation creeping up in my heart.

Self-preservation says to its selfish desires, “Don’t love too deeply or you’ll be vulnerable and exposed.” or “Only love as much as you are loved.” Self-preservation is something that Dominic and I don’t practice. Neither of us has ever felt the need to defend ourselves from one another or be on guard. And yet, here I was with self-preservation rearing its ugly head.

I put to death my self-preservation because it only leads to self-pity, selfishness, false motives, the need to be ‘right’, and the desire to further my own agenda.

Instead, I choose to fully accept this new deeper love I feel and lavish it all on him every day.

I thought this last move to New Mexico was going to break us emotionally. The traumatic events of leaving Maine three years ago broke us emotionally and stripped us of the ability to make sound decisions. We endured it together. Over the last three years, we have had to move a total of nine times. Most of the time it was because of my severe mold allergy or being electrohypersensitive. It didn’t break him, and it didn’t break me. This last move did the opposite; I fell in love all over again. He and I were exhausted, I had to recover physically from biotoxin illness, my lungs were not working right (they are still recovering slowly). We were (and still are) financially underwater. And yet, here I am stupid in love.

Beyond my own feelings of deep love and admiration for him, I feel he exemplifies what it means to be a father. He is always there for our children if they need to talk. He cares for his stepchildren as though he was their father from the day they were born. He stepped into the role of a father embracing my children as his own. They are his children even though they are not biologically his. When Simone was born, he didn’t emotionally distance himself from our other children but instead felt an even deeper bond to all of them.

He is their protector if and when they need him. He never pushes them or forces his beliefs on them. Instead, he gracefully loves them right where they are. His warmth, care, joy, love, laughter, positive outlook on life, generosity, and gentleness have had an impact on our children and I believe have even impacted how they choose companions for themselves.

I trust him fully. Admire him breathlessly. He is king of my world.

Understanding My Own Inner Dialogue

Understanding My Own Inner Dialogue

Something has happened to my rich inner silence. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m nearing 50 years old or if I’m just changing but I used to have a very deep sense of silence in me. For a very long time, there was no inner dialogue. I never thought of myself as stupid if I made a wrong choice, I didn’t wonder why people would make the choices they do…I just didn’t think that way. I had a silent mind in terms of speaking to myself. In times of abject vulnerability I have been known to say things about myself that were less than kind but for the most part, I don’t carry the burden of self-hate. In my early life as a pre-teen and young adult, I did have a LOT to say inwardly about my outward appearance, which lead to an eating disorder. But that was a very long time ago. I silenced that voice that said I wasn’t worthy if I wasn’t “thin.”

There were grunts and groans in my soul, but none that expressed itself in a way that made sense. Until now. My mind has grown chatty. I have an opinion about everything, even if I don’t express it. My brain is on fire now with loads of inner dialogue. And yet, I’m surprised by it; thrilled to finally hear my own inner thoughts. How did this happen? What caused me to break from that joyful deep silence I enjoyed for so long?

I have never been one to NOT have an opinion. If you ask me a question, I’ll give you an answer. Dialogue with others I can do. It’s this interesting inner dialogue that has me intrigued. Nonetheless, I embrace this emerging new sense of self.

I often hear other people’s inner dialogue when they say things like, “I’m an idiot because I don’t know how to talk to others,” or “I look so ugly in that photo,” or “If I could do life over again…” fill in the blank.

How many of you have a sharp critical inner dialogue? It’s that voice that tells you-you’re not good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, daring enough, and on and on. Those voices are cutting and designed to keep you in the dark about your true worth.

My dirty secret is that I don’t have a critical inner dialogue. I don’t second guess who I am, how I live, how I love, or even my own being.

I can state the obvious without attaching worth to it. Do you know how to do that? Take for instance the featured photo of my gorgeous daughter Shoshannah and me. The photo was taken on June 8th at her wedding. My son Noah was commenting to his girlfriend, “Mom doesn’t like to have her photo taken.” I had to think about that for a moment and I started to wonder why. I didn’t wonder why he said it, because it was true, I don’t like to have my picture taken…but why? I thought about that question from the time the first photo was taken until I got home last night from Maryland.

My inner dialogue got jump started. And I finally knew the answer! The obvious answer (which is wrong) would be that I don’t like the way I look. That’s not true. I actually love everything about my body and the way I look. It’s me. It’s who I am in the flesh. The real answer is that photos of me have never reflected who I am inwardly…but how can they? The whole thing almost feels like a weird riddle. So I don’t enjoy seeing photos of myself. It’s like that old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Photographs feel like a betrayal to me. I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s why I don’t like them. I never have, even as a child. I never liked having to stand and smile, or sit and gum it up for the camera. It feels weird and makes me feel out of place and completely uncomfortable. It’s a good solid reason why I don’t have loads of selfies. I don’t find enjoyment or pleasure in seeing photos of myself, but I do know that those who love me, want to see me in a photo. I much prefer to be behind the camera capturing moment to moment life as it happens. However, I will say that even if I’m behind the camera, I HATE posed photos.

Where was I? Oh, yes, being fat…

The beauty standards of the modern age would have you believe that because I’m fat, I must hate myself or devalue my own sense of self-worth. Even when I say out loud “I’m fat” or “I’m a big girl” or “Where’s the fat lady store, I need to get a dress for the wedding” I’m met with shock as though saying I’m fat was a bad thing. My worth is not tied to my outward appearance. Being fat is a symptom of having a mitochondrial illness. It is nothing more than a sign that something is seriously wrong with my body and I’m doing everything I can to figure that out.

I came to a place of body acceptance about four years ago. I didn’t always accept my body although I loved myself fully. I hated that it betrayed me at every twist and turn. Ever since I contracted Lyme’s Disease in 1993, my body has never been the same. I’ve spent half my life dealing with the ravages of autoimmune disorders, environmental sickness, mitochondrial problems, and the only thing anyone could see is what? My fat?

I’m fat. There, I said it. Now you say it and let’s clear the air, because it’s no secret nor is there anything to be ashamed of, unless, your personal worth is tied to how you look on the outside.

I’m also kind, exceptionally generous, wise, understanding, warm, intelligent, amazingly loving (even if you don’t deserve it), worthy, joyful, interesting, fully engaging, a good friend, very resourceful, a businesswoman, a mother, a wife, a lover, a healer, and one who doesn’t take this life for granted.

I. am. worthy.

What does your inner dialogue say about you? We hear people’s thoughts all the time. I often hear people who have lost massive amounts of weight shame their own bodies when they were big. They shame their former body betraying themselves with harsh words and criticism as though it’s all different now that they are thin. Not true. The devaluation and loathing of our physical form doesn’t allow us to accept ourselves as we are. We desperately want others to accept us as we are, and yet, we shame ourselves at every turn, betraying our own beings. And for what? The loss of a few pounds?

My inner dialogue inwardly stirred and started to rumble when my son’s girlfriend Aizlin sent me photos of me at the wedding.

What was stirring? Deep compassion and understanding for where I am in healing my body and feeling like my ankles were going to pop off in those shoes. Yes, that last part was a joke, but so very true. My body doesn’t handle environmental stresses very well and it always retaliates by exploding on me. Being gentle with myself is of the utmost importance if I am to heal.

I am not well, but I am getting better. Everyday day I get a little stronger. My heart feels like it will burst with each new day because I know I am one step closer to reaching my goal of complete healing.

Often people at my age look at photos of themselves or their peers and think, “You look so OLD!” and with that begins the journey of trying to look like they are 25 years old again. I don’t want to be 25. In 20 years I want to look back at myself in appreciation of where I was at that time in my life and how much I loved myself. I love myself enough to try new things even if they might seem crazy to others, all in an effort to stay off of all medications and steroids. I refuse to bow down to the illnesses that ravage my body. Instead, I boldly try to make my life better. Isn’t it amazing how we will go to the ends of the earth for our loved ones…walk through fire if need be, but when it comes to our own person, we won’t even act kindly towards ourselves?

Love and acceptance of our outer selves help to soothe the restless soul. A restless soul is one that longs for us to be fully present. It longs for us to say beautiful things about our own being. Our souls have immeasurable worth if only our conscious and unconscious minds would acknowledge it.

Our society has a lot to say about outward beauty. But outward beauty cannot instill a true sense of worth. It can only invoke desire and/or inspiration, and neither of those things feeds our souls or make us whole.

Let us strive each day to love ourselves more deeply. To silence the word “perfection” or “perfect” from our vocabulary because there is no such thing as perfection. Perfection implies that one can do no better, that they could never be more. We can always improve, strive to be the best version of ourselves we can be. That doesn’t make us perfect, but it does make our souls sing.

Sacred Silence

Sacred Silence

There is a place just a few blocks from our house that feels sacred to me. It’s away from the hustle of the main street, distant from other houses, and does not have any electrical lines going to the property, or even near it. In some of the photos you might see them off in the distance, but they do not invade this part of the land.

Being an electrosensitive person means that electricity bothers me. For many who suffer as I do, often their difficulties stem from wireless devices such as cell phones, cordless DECT phones, computers that have built-in wifi broadcasting, baby monitors, cell towers, wifi enabled computer modems, and more. I have friends who are electrosensitive and when we lived in Green Bank, WV, it offered a reprieve from the onslaught of cell towers, wifi devices, etc. I also suffer from a mold allergy which made it nearly impossible for us to live in Green Bank. Dom’s Vitamin D deficiency also required us to be in a place where he can make Vitamin D year round.

Many of our friends and some of our family were concerned about where we were headed since I am electrosensitive. It isn’t easy to find a place that has no cell towers, is very scarcely populated, where I can be safe from many of the wireless devices that cause me great pain and suffering. Without going into all the details right now about what happens to me in an electromagnetic field (EMF), it just so happens that my personal electric affliction is more complex and yet, extremely simple.

When a person reaches that tipping point of electrosensitivity like I did, other electrical things start to bother them as well. This is not fun, especially because I LOVE technology. I was the person who had an iPhone, wifi router, needed the latest and greatest booster if my signal wasn’t good enough. I needed cordless Bluetooth enabled keyboard and mouse, I was ready to throw a bitch-fit if the internet was down for even just an hour, and we had multiple streaming devices in different rooms in our house. Cordless phones were a way of life and keeping my blogs and the freelance work I did online constantly demanded the bulk of my time in front of my wifi enabled computer.

So now that I figured out a huge part of my physical problems, from high blood pressure and heart problems (that was very scary) to migraines and idiopathic hives that were not only painful like having shingles, but embarrassing because my face and chest and other parts of my body would break out in very painful hot welts when I was exposed to EMFs, now also something as simple as the refrigerator and electric stove cause problems. My computer, while wired directly to a modem without wifi, has to be set away from me or I’ll start to get a migraine, and dirty electricity from the utility poles still cause me to break out in hives at different times of the day or night.

For me, all electric has an internal *buzz* or feeling. It’s an incessant presence like a bad spirit I can feel and as it accumulates creates a sense of dread, anxiety, a little bit of despair, and a lot of exhaustion.

There are ways to mitigate these things, and the most extreme is to just shut the main breaker off for the whole house. That does work, but that internal noise is still there, just more faint. The problem with shutting off the main is…you guessed it, nothing works! We live in this electric world, surrounded by devices that are supposed to make our lives better, faster, more efficient. But they don’t. We don’t have more time at the end of the day nor are our lives any better, especially if people are self-medicating with drugs (whether legal or illegal) or alcohol to alleviate the feeling of dread they have in their lives or this sense of hopelessness they just can’t seem to shake.

Dom and I knew after we moved to Green Bank that we would eventually need to leave our electric world behind. To build a home that was free of electricity (even solar or alternative power). A place of solace from the buzzing and noise created by electricity. Until you have experienced what the absence of all electricity is like, while being grounded barefoot near water, you may likely never know the true peace it brings.

We found a place after we moved to Reserve that offers sacred silence. It is a place that to me connects me to my Creator, sets me at peace, and unburdens my soul. Dom and I have visited this piece of land many times and each time, as we walk around or even stand still, I can feel my shoulders release all its tension, the buzzing begins to calm down inside, and I just breathe deep, taking it all in.

There are no wireless devices that can be found near there. No cell tower for more than 15 miles and even that tower is so weak it’s hard to get a signal in town for those who have cell phones. Neighbors are off in the distance. It’s heaven.

My hope is that someday I can find a patch of earth like this sacred space where we can build our non-electric home. Our home should be a place of sacred silence, filled with firelight, natural beauty, and healing. Especially for those with electrosensitivity. It has taken a long time for me to tame my need for electronics. It’s not easy. Those who suffer from migraines would rather take a pill than live without their cell phone, wireless devices, or blue-lit tv and device screens that are often the cause of many migraines. High blood pressure…meds are available. Anxiety? There’s a pill for that. Depression? There’s a pill for that too! ADHD? There’s medication for that as well. There’s a pill for just about everything, but just as those who have heart conditions often need to change their diet or even their environment to help them, the same goes for those with electrosensitivity. You don’t know how electrosensitive you are until you remove it for a week or more. You might be surprised how many people are actually afflicted with this problem but don’t talk openly about it because they will sound crazy, or just don’t think it’s possible.

We are electrical beings. That’s basic biology.

Since reaching that tipping point, living in a house with electric or even alternative power hurts me just as much. We know there needs to be one place in our lives that is electric free. You can always put a little alternative power shed off in the distance from your house, but where you sleep and spend most of your time should be electric free. We observed this first hand in Green Bank. So many of my friends were still suffering even though there were no EMFs actively around them. Just having the power on during the day bothered many of them. For those of us like this, the only answer is non-electricity.

I’ll stop there! I can keep talking for days about this, and I really don’t want my life to be about being electrosensitive. I want my life to be a victorious evolution from how we have always lived in our modern society, to carving out a way of life for ourselves that is not only edifying to our physical bodies but also that brings a great inner peace to our very souls. We are worth it in this lifetime, and it is achievable. It just means learning a new way to live. Now, I’m not talking about living like they lived in the 1700’s, although there are many aspects of old technology that I find fascinating. I believe we can strike a balance between our modern lives that involves electricity and counterbalancing it with time at home away from things that require electricity.

Here are photos I took today as the sun was getting ready to set. We went back to clean up a pile of garbage that was thrown out there. In this part of the forest, cows and other animals come to graze and enjoy the water. Cows will eat anything that looks remotely interesting, and we didn’t want any of them to try and eat cassette tapes or broken plastic. Many years ago when I worked on a dairy farm, I had to sit and comfort cows that were dying from eating tin cans and other crap people throw out their windows. Waiting to see if they pass the can or other things in their stomachs is so painful for them. So we picked up anything plastic around the property.

 

 

Home at Last!

Home at Last!

We’re home! We arrived in Reserve, NM on January 25. Altogether the trip took 5 days and 4 nights. Most of our hotel stays were moldy in the bathrooms and just added more insult to injury with regards to my health. One of the hotel stays was so bad that we had to flee at 6:00 am because my breathing was so labored that I couldn’t stop coughing and sneezing.

We are located about 12 miles south of the main town of Reserve. Our house is a tiny little adobe building with two bedrooms and open area where there is a kitchen, dining area, and living room. We were amazed that we could fit all our stuff into this little structure. We had to get creative with the space in order to make it work, but it’s coming along nicely.

I thought I would give a picture tour of the property and at a later date, when our house is fully set up, I’ll give a little tour of the interior. We still have pictures to hang, more clothes to unpack, and shelves to hang.

Sometime in the future we’ll probably paint as well, but for now, because I’m still recovering it wouldn’t be wise for us to paint. The chemicals would affect my lungs too much. This little adobe place is a landing of sorts. It’s a mold free environment for me to heal, and as we get to know the area, locate a place where we can build our house. Our hope is that we can build very close to where we are at right now.

The house we want to build would be completely non-electric. That means no solar or alternative power either. It’s fine for in the buildings we’re using for our coffee business and other exciting plans we have, but our home will be built with no electricity. I’ll touch upon that subject at a later time.

So, where do we live? We live on a 40-acre plot of land that has three spring fed ponds (stocked with fish) in the Gila National Forest. We are at an elevation of 5,700 and we are surrounded by astonishing beauty, amazing rock outcroppings, canyons, evergreens, grasses, and wild game. The water here is crystal clear and tastes like heaven.

Just a week ago, I couldn’t walk more than a few minutes without sitting down, and I needed a nap at mid-day or lay down for a short period of time because I would become too dizzy to stand, and now one week later not only can I walk without running out of breath, but I can walk a whole block, as well as walk to the ponds. The first pond is directly behind our house up a little hill. Because of that hill, you don’t even know the pond is there. The first pond spills over and travels to the second pond, and then to the third pond. I have not made it as far as the second pond, but in the next week I know I’ll be able to accomplish that as well. I’m trying not to push myself too hard.

I’m so excited about these ponds. They are pure poetry.

In looking at it from an aerial view, it’s easier to see the vast beauty of the 40 acres. Over the next year, I’ll be planning out the different zones surrounding the riparian areas. Then observing the best way to utilize the land for orchards, gardens, and market gardens. It’s such a big project that it will take years to complete. I feel beyond blessed to have this land to cultivate.

Our county has a very large population of elk. The elk outnumber people and can be a nuisance or downright destructive in agricultural systems. I was so excited to see the first 10 acres being prepped for elk fencing. We don’t have a date yet on when the fencing will be installed…and I was so thrilled to see the tractor out there today!

There is a cute little greenhouse and a few garden plots that looked like there were tyme and other herbs growing maybe last year.

Here is another exciting area. Behind the cottonwood tree is the wood structure that will become our coffee roastery.

Here is a close-up shot. It’s just a stick built shed. The whole building, including any additions we put onto it will be done in salvaged very old doors and windows, and the walls will be infilled with straw-light-clay. The coffee roaster will be a cob/stone hearth, and the coffee will be wood fire roasted. I will be talking with the people who made my coffee drum about making a 20-30 pound drum custom for our new roasting hearth. Our inspiration for roasting coffee this way comes from Summermoon wood fired coffee. Below is a photo of their roaster. Ours will be similar in many ways.

The building will have very little power coming to it, and off the side of the building will be the art studio I need for creating the different products we sell for Buffalo Mountain Coffee Roasting Company.

I roasted our first few batches of coffee on February 1, and after a few roasts, I was able to get a feel for what it will be like to roast in the high desert. Altitude can affect how coffee is roasted, so I wanted to make sure I could get it consistent with how I roasted when we lived in West Virginia.

Our Etsy shop for our coffee company is now open for business if anyone is interested in buying coffee. Click here to visit our Etsy shop. 

I will be working on Buffalo Mountain’s website to offer coffee for sale there as well, it was just a low priority last year while we were building our business.

Okay, back to our little tour…

Here’s a cool little building that is right next to the roastery. At first, we thought it might be something we would want to restore and make our home, but after seeing that it is so close to the access road for the pond, we felt it would be better served as a bait and vermiculture area. Worms baby! I think it would be a great area to sell worms since people love to come fishing at the pond.

It’s in rough shape, but it’s dry inside. It just needs a little TLC and a torch. Haha, no, just the TLC and a roof.

And no, it’s not haunted.

You might be tempted to think that it’s just termites holding hands, but under that weathered wood is plastered walls. 😉

Our house is heated by a tiny little woodstove. It does a pretty good job of keeping us warm at night. We also have two propane heaters, but we don’t use them often.

This gorgeous creature showed up and is such a great outside companion for Simmi. We’re allergic to cats, so it was nice to see him show up and hang out with us. There are three other cats as well, but they don’t stick around like he does. Simmi named him Fluffy Lucky.

There is also a gorgeous beautifully natured dog that comes around. Her name is Whisper and her person is a contractor who works in town a lot. She tags along with him, and comes to hang out with me when I’m roasting coffee. She got her name because she doesn’t make a sound. No barking. She’s like the perfect dog.

Life is good here! We are settling in, making a life for ourselves here, and enjoying the beauty of New Mexico once again. It’s good to be home.

Relocation Countdown: Six Days to Go

Relocation Countdown: Six Days to Go

Our countdown has officially started. We are picking up the Uhaul on Friday, and Saturday morning we will be leaving West Virginia for our new home in Reserve, New Mexico. I’ll miss West Virginia. It’s the birthplace of my coffee company, Buffalo Mountain Coffee Roasting Company. It’s also a place of unimaginable natural beauty. The air so clean and fragrant, the wildflowers-beyond compare.

I would have loved to stay and continue our love affair with West Virginia, but there are no suitable homes for us and our mold allergies. The only option would have been a tent in the woods, but we looked at that option and there wasn’t anyone willing to sell land at a reasonable price. That was the saddest part of it all.

New Mexico is our home. Dom and I joke around about our odyssey as a very long extended vacation from hell where most of the two and a half years were spent ill. Hey, we can rewrite our own narrative, right?

As I continue to deteriorate, Dom is becoming more worried about my health by the day (often moment by moment) and he continues to show great strength and resolve. He’s like a machine!

Most of our things are packed up and now we’re just finishing up the last of the packing. Well, Dom is finishing the last of the packing. His last day of work is tomorrow, and then he has one other building project to finish up in town. After that, it’s getting all the boxes and furniture organized and ready to go on the truck. We’ve moved so many times that I think we’ve become experts in how to NOT do things. Ha!

There are so many factors that go into moving across the country with a child who has severe multiple food allergies, a sick wife, and sick husband with a weak stomach because of the mold. Think about that for a minute. We’ll all be in a Uhaul truck, unable to eat what we want because of Simmi’s food allergies, hacking up a lung on my part, and well, a very smelly cabin because my poor husband has suffered terribly with some sort of bacteria overgrowth in his gut. Not fun. Kind of the perfect storm.

Oh, and then Dom has to listen to me endlessly worried about my orchids. Will they make it? Will it be too cold for them in the car without any heat? Will they hate me and end up giving up the ghost before we can even get to New Mexico? I’ve only killed one orchid in my life and that was before I knew anything about how to care for them. It still haunts me that I could have avoided such a horrible death.

I don’t own any fancy orchids. Just six that have my heart because they were given to me by Dom at different occasions in Vermont and Virginia. One was gifted to me by a dear friend. I will, however, get some orchids when we move to NM. I really love them. They have this elegant presence about them, even when they don’t have flower spikes.

I’ve ordered some supplies to make the move to NM easier in a few ways. I’ve purchased orchid supplies (see! there I go again talking about those damn orchids) to re-pot and give them a good dose of probiotics and fertilizer. We purchased a cheap little pink handheld game device so we won’t listen to her say how bored she is on the road for four days. And finally, a small hot plate to cook on and a toaster oven to bake in since we don’t use a microwave.

Beyond that, I’m beginning to put together the list of perennial native species, riparian vascular species (we’ll be near a few large spring fed ponds), pioneer tree seeds, fruit-bearing ground cover, and geeking out over the fact that we will once again have a place to start our gardens, orchards, animal systems, earthworks and water harvesting.

Here are some of my favorite perennials native to the southwest:

Yellow Bird of Paradise

Fernbush

Desert Willow

Western Sandcherry

Silver Buffaloberry

I’ll stop there for now. More musings of a future perennial high desert garden to come!

Back to the Future

Back to the Future

We’re going back to the future. Back to a time when we knew what was good for us. Back to a place that served us well and where we flourished and grew strong. Back to New Mexico. The first time we decided to move to NM was in November 2008. I was suffering from biotoxin illness (the same as right now), we didn’t know anyone at all where we were going, and me and my children would be alone for an unknown number of months before Dom would join us. We were penniless, all our belongings were gone, all precious things I held close to my heart; destroyed. My life was destroyed. Moving to New Mexico was something I knew deep in my heart that God wanted for us. Not moving meant certain death for me. A hint that it was God wanting us to go to NM was the fact that I did NOT want to go there. Nope! Nothing in the deepest parts of my being wanted to move to the desert. NOTHING! I hated the thought of going to natures largest kitty litter box 2,000 miles away from where I was currently dying. I was born for the call of the ocean and the deep abiding sounds of the forest.

But, trusting God, we took deep breaths, blocked out all the naysayers who thought we were crazy for leaving the east coast and got on a plane to a place that I never in a million years thought I would ever come to love.

Dom and I took a road trip to Idaho not long after we were married, and THAT was my land flowing with milk and honey. That was the place I wanted to call home. Up in the Idaho panhandle straddled between Bonner’s Ferry and Sand Point, was my nirvana. Never before had I ever felt such peace and joy being there. It was heaven to me. Who knew?! We traveled the northern route from Pennsylvania all the way to Washington state. I had just been released a few weeks earlier from the hospital, and we wanted to see if being in a drier climate would help my health. We couldn’t stay in hotels or motels because of mold that usually exists in the heating/cooling units, so we made our way across the country in a conversion van.

We often smile recalling the events of that trip. We didn’t have a honeymoon, and I started needing to be hospitalized about 7 months after we got married, so even though I was frail, it was an amazing road trip. As we traveled through each state, and as the climate started to get drier, my breathing began to improve. I don’t even recall all the medications and steroids I was on at the time, but I do know that by the time we were in Idaho I didn’t need to take a rescue inhaler.

So why don’t we move to Idaho? Good question! Simply put, it’s where I want to be, but not necessarily where I belong. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but as much as I’ve always dreamed of living in Idaho, I don’t think it will ever happen. It’s kind of how I wanted to move to Nova Scotia to be on ancestral land and really dig deep into my family history being an Acadian. I wanted it. We (Dom and I) wanted to be near the ocean and close enough to visit family on the east coast. Maine was a good in between for us. Although it is pretty far from family in NY, at least it wasn’t in New Mexico…or Idaho.

Being on the ocean in Maine was a dream come true, and then a nightmare! I didn’t contend with mold in Maine. The buildings we lived in were up off the ground and had good circulation. I’m convinced I would have thrived in Maine without any biotoxin illness. But it wasn’t where we were supposed to be. I know that now. At every turn on the east coast, we have witnessed death encroaching upon me. Just like prior to living in New Mexico in 2008. Death in many forms can teach me about the life I can live fully if I return to the place that God had chosen for us. That is where I belong. That is where I grow strong. That is where blessings overflow and life springs forceful and abundant.

It has been a costly lesson. If we continue to live here stubbornly believing that we can make it work, I risk my life. So back to the future I go! Back to a life that gives me a future, and hope. A place where I learned to farm the high desert and learned about my calling. Back to a future of good health and well being. And it’s not just my well being…

For most of Dom’s adult life he has dealt with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In the beginning of our marriage, every winter like clockwork, he would move out and leave us. Was I angry? No. It was very scary though not knowing if he would come back. He always did. He would hit a massive depressive state where he would retreat into himself, not wanting to talk with anyone. He would run far away from me into this dark place where he couldn’t even express himself. We didn’t know at the time that he had SAD, I just knew that I married a man who was kind and loving, and then would disappear into himself quietly. Like a ghost walking around, he really just disappeared, until, he would just leave altogether. Gone. No apologies, no excuses. I didn’t know how to help him. He was never unkind during those times, he just wanted to curl up into a ball and disappear. I gave him the gift of being able to do that, understanding that something was happening that had nothing to do with me or us.

When we moved to New Mexico, I expected that in the fall/winter of 2009 he would leave again. He was finally able to find a job in NM and join us there about 6 months after our family moved there in 2008. But, he didn’t leave. As a matter of fact, he was actually smiling, happy, filled with hope instead of dread. He was talking. You see, Dom is an extrovert who enjoys being around people. He’s the bright spot in a room full of people. You can’t help but want to be around him. That part of him always disappeared when we lived on the east coast, and for the first time after 5 years of marriage, he didn’t leave in the winter. He and I could have our morning conversations, and drink coffee together, and spend time together.

I didn’t question it. Honestly, we never thought about how depressed he used to get, and I no longer had knee-jerk reactions to impending winter. I felt safe. Secure in the knowledge that he was actually happy and wanted to share his thoughts with me.

The pain of seasonal affective disorder seemed lost in the history of our past until we returned to the east coast. In the fall of 2015 something started happening. It felt so familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it. He started retreating into himself in October. He lost that soft fluid look in his eyes and it was replaced with a cold almost soulless stranger. It happened almost overnight! And then it happened…

We had our first world melting historic fight. We had NEVER fought before. We have never fought nor do we ever bicker. I know it seems weird to think that a married couple could go years without arguing or fighting, but we don’t! There is no back and forth arguing, no bitterness ever, no spiteful attacks, no negativity. Our life was built solidly on emotional security. So, this was an EPIC fight we had, and it is the only one we have ever had. Dom snapped at me like a hungry dog backed into a corner and I lunged back at him to hand him his ass. That was my knee-jerk reaction to this situation.

When the dust had settled and we both apologized for our horrible behavior towards one another, it dawned on me that we were heading back into winter and we were on the east coast. I started doing the research to see if there was a supplement that Dom might be able to take to help him through the winter, and it turned out he was deficient in Vitamin D. We learned all there was to know about having a Vitamin D deficiency and how it can affect certain people during the winter. It was then that we realized that the reason Dom did so well through the winter in New Mexico has to do with where we were living.

In order to make Vitamin D in winter, your geographic location needs to be at about 33 degrees north latitude. We were at 34 degrees north latitude in NM but we were also up at an elevation of 4,800 ft. in Los Lunas. He was able to make Vitamin D naturally all year. When we moved back to the east coast, he couldn’t make Vitamin D anymore in the winter. He has been managing his deficiency by taking large amounts of Vitamin D not only in winter but throughout the year.

We will be moving to Reserve, NM which is at an elevation of 5,800 ft and is at 33 degrees north latitude. He will once again feel good in winter and be able to make Vitamin D on his own.

Going back to the future is good for both of us. I’m excited to return to our home state. As costly as this lesson was to us, we will be returning home wiser than when we left. We now know that because of my mold allergy and Dom’s Vitamin D deficiency, New Mexico was a state handpicked by God to heal us and make us whole.

Lesson learned. Our hope is to be in Reserve before the end of this month.

Staying Soft When Things Get Hard

Staying Soft When Things Get Hard

 

Dom and I have been married for almost 14 years now. Before we became romantically involved we were great friends. We were vulnerable, soft, caring, and compassionate to each other. Professionally, it served us well as raw vegan chefs running our own catering company and later starting an organic CSA. Working together is a gift we share with one another. It is a pleasure each moment we plan, conspire, build, and complete projects. It was like that in the beginning of our relationship when we built a solid foundation of friendship, and that friendship has endured and grown ever stronger with each passing day. It has also given us the unique ability to work well with others who are open to real friendship. It has become so ingrained in us that it just naturally flows out to those around us.

We have always been soft towards one another. Being soft requires strength, courage, and bravery. Emotional safety is the hallmark trait of remaining soft in any relationship, regardless of whether it’s a marriage or a friendship. It means that we can be honest with one another without fear of reproach. It also means that when things get hard in life, we don’t turn against each other, biting and gnawing at the other’s very being. It means that we don’t accuse the other of nefarious activities and unpure motives, mention past offenses to open old wounds or gush on about how much we do for each other as if that is a justification for any type of bad behavior we might be exhibiting at the moment or as a way to manipulate the other person into submitting to our will.

No. That is the behavior of someone with a hard heart. A hard heart breaks easily, is offended often and is annoyed at the slightest provocation.

Have you ever gotten something stuck in your finger, like a piece of glass or splinter? If it doesn’t get infected and we don’t remove it, our bodies will begin to create a hard casing around the object to keep it from harming us. Like an internal callous, these objects can be physically felt and rarely hurt, but they are there nonetheless. They are a constant reminder that there is something foreign under our skin that we have not removed, either because of fear of pain, or sheer laziness. We can often remember just when that piece of glass entered our bodies and have stories about how it happened. We recall it easily and remark at how clever our bodies are to be able to keep it encased.

We do that with emotions and hurts too. Emotional hurts and slights become encased in bitter feelings and emotions and lodged in our hearts and minds like a shard of glass. We put layer upon layer of excuses and justifications to wrap it up tight, and at just the right moment we tell those who have harmed us to feel the bump they caused. “Feel it!” we say, “See what you did to me and all I ever did was try to love you…this is what I get in return.” We become hard. Our softness begins to dissipate, and it becomes increasingly difficult to get through the cohesion of hurt and hardness.

Dom and I don’t live this way. We never have. Staying soft when things get hard is a lifestyle choice. It means that you won’t put up defenses because they aren’t necessary. It means that he can say what is on his mind and heart, and not be criticized by me or judged harshly. If he feels I have hurt him, he can tell me without fear of reproach. I can hear him say the thing that hurts him most and offer the most loving thing I have to offer…a soft heart. There is no pride to protect, no egos to overcome, no scorecard or *one-up-manship*, and no need to defend myself when he says I have hurt him. And vice versa.

When couples are able to practice being soft and malleable, it makes it possible to face hardships that come at us. Our marriage is steeped in hardships! Not towards one another, but because of different circumstances.

We have been homeless, penniless, friendless, family-less, very sick and often very alone. One thing we do have is a softness to each other and those we come into contact with.

Softness has nothing to do with demeanor. We aren’t pushovers, nor can we be easily crushed. We are soft even in the face of great adversity.

Right now as my health declines, Dom is frantic. I’m physically weak and become out of breath just walking from one room to the next. I wake him up at times wheezing and coughing at night, and all the life is draining from my face and body. It has set him to panic mode, where he alone is now responsible for not only working 7 days a week, but also packing up the house, cooking dinner at night, cleaning dishes and doing laundry. He is doing it all while I sit weakened, emotionally vulnerable and always on the verge of tears.

He could destroy me right now. He could beg that even though I am unable to take a bath without extreme effort, I should try to do more. I can’t though. This is what happens to me in moldy houses. I begin to fade away, vulnerable and emotional. But he doesn’t destroy me in these times. Does he get upset? Hell yeah. Is he upset with me? No way! We have been through this situation so many times that it’s completely predictable. Most people fear the unknown, but when it comes to dealing with my health and mold, we see it clearly. Mold is the enemy…not each other.

There is no need to get upset with each other or take it out on one another. He understands what is at stake and has always been my protector, my shield, my everything.

We have had times when I was so sick that I needed to be hospitalized, and then coming out of the hospital after 3 or 4 weeks in intensive care, would come 3-4 weeks of home care. He would have to quit his job to care for me because I can’t even move. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened while we were living on the east coast in the early days of our marriage. Through it all, however, he has always maintained a soft heart.

Dom’s softness has often been confused with being “happy-go-lucky” and “roll with the punches” but I can assure you that is not who he is. He is deeply mindful of the emotional needs of others. He excels this way. I, on the other hand, have a very soft heart but a rugged exterior. My softness doesn’t seem apparent until after you have known me for some time.

We compliment each other well. This is how we have survived as a couple over the last 14 years. We have been dealt some pretty nasty blows over the years but as a team, we have faced those challenges head-on and it has made us even more bonded than we already are. People we have met and shared our story with have often commented on how strong we are, or that they don’t understand how we are still married, but I can say with all candor that it is our softness of heart that gives us the strength we need to endure life’s hardballs.

Hardballs can be anything from needing to get rid of everything you own because of mold, to being hurt by the selfishness of others. That happens a lot to soft people. But we don’t become hard to endure their abuse, we simply choose not to be involved in the lives of those who would harm us emotionally or try to manipulate us. Easier said than done sometimes, I can tell you that much! People are complicated creatures with their own set of values and rules. Not everyone comes equipped with a soft heart and luckily we can see that while developing friendships and make decisions about how close we want to become to others.

Hardballs hurt. They leave marks in the flesh that we don’t easily forget. We flinch at times remembering a past pain or traumatic event, yet, we stay soft. We stay resilient.

Our lives are rich and full whether we are in good health and have a house full of treasured belongings, or if we’re homeless, sick, and left destitute.

We’re ready for a good change. We don’t know yet how it will all happen, but we trust that God is in control and will make a way for us. He is the ultimate reason our hearts have remained soft through all these years.

Life is good, even when it disappoints. Love is real, even when despair causes our hearts to weep because of an unknown future.

We are soft, even when things get hard.

Happy 2018!

Happy 2018!

Another year has passed, and I’m thankful yet again that God has sustained me and kept me alive. I’m in very poor health and slipping further into illness as the days pass. We knew this would happen, I just wish it didn’t have to be this way. I’m becoming weaker, and continue to deal with extreme inflammation and edema. Dom shaved my head last week because my hair was so thin you could see my scalp. Ironic that shaving my head would help with seeing my scalp, right? Well, when my hair gets super thin I don’t look healthy at all. I mean, let’s face it, I’m not healthy going through allergic reactions to mold, but why look the part too. It really comes down to how comfortable I am and how much Dom can take. Seriously! Losing hair is a very itchy experience. It feels like there are bugs crawling all over my head and body. That happens because as my hair falls out in clumps, it touches my arms and legs and feels like bugs crawling. Beyond that is dealing with hair everywhere. On the floor, in the tub, in places hair shouldn’t be. I also can’t have hair falling into coffee when roasting or packing up orders. That’s just gross. Being bald works for me on so many levels, and Dom likes it too. So he shaved it off. 😉

I have my prescription for clearing my body of mold, however, I can’t take it until we are out of this house and in a mold-free environment. I hate that I have the one thing that will make me better, but I can’t take it. In the meantime, I am taking Oreganol, Oregamax, and fermented cod liver oil. They are helping somewhat with the inflammation and allergy, but they are no match for my immune response to mold. It’s only a matter of time before it stops working.

Our timeline for the move back to New Mexico is set for between January 15 through February 1. I hope it doesn’t go that far, but as it stands right now, we don’t have the money needed to rent a truck and travel cross country. We’ve factored the cost of our move and it’s $5,000 for the Uhaul, car trailer, gas, lodging, boxes, and food. We need to be careful of where we stay as we travel also because of moldy motels. Finding an affordable hotel isn’t easy, and if the air quality in the heating system for the room isn’t clean, I risk having my airways begin to constrict. Fun, right?

We need a miracle. Dom wanted me to put together a Go Fund Me page to help raise the money, but I’ve tried that for other things in the past and it didn’t work out for us…at all. We’ve sold some things that we don’t use anymore, and there are many household things we’ll leave behind here at the house, but it still doesn’t get us anywhere near what we need.

We’re in between a rock and a hard place. We know where we’re going in New Mexico. We can see it and almost touch it…but it’s out of reach to us. In a panic because of the state of my health, Dom is ready to just abandon everything we have own, jump into the car and go. Yeah, we can do that, but then we have a repeat of what we went through when we first moved to New Mexico in 2008. I’m tired and feel defeated. I don’t want to start from scratch again! I don’t want to leave behind all the beautiful things we’ve acquired over the last several years. We will though if it comes down to me being hospitalized. It’s almost too late at that point.

We have managed to keep me pneumonia free for seven years now. The last time I had pneumonia was in 2011 when I contracted RSV, a viral respiratory infection. I contracted pneumonia when we first moved to New Mexico in January 2009 because of mold in the house due to a swamp cooler. That was the last time I had bacterial pneumonia. They say that after seven years, you have a brand new set of lungs. I hope so! I need new lungs, or at least lungs strong enough to continue to handle the onslaught of allergic reactions I’m enduring here.

Dom is also ill, as is Simmi. We all go through cycles of illness where it gets bad and we’re knocked on our butts, and then we start to get better, but never fully recover before getting ill again. This has been happening since August 2017.

It has to stop. I’m tired. I just want us to be well again.

Every December for as long as we have been married, we have discussed what we want to see happen in the coming new year. We don’t do resolutions. Instead, we set our course, create goals, and set out to accomplish them. We’re not “New Year New Me” people. We set the tone for what that new year will hold for us. In December 2016 we said that we wanted 2017 to be the year of abundance. Dom laughs every time he thinks of that word abundance. He says, right, abundance… an abundance of trouble, abundance of MOLD, abundance of heartache, the abundance of physical harm, an abundance of betrayal, an abundance of insanity.

Were there good abundant things that happened in 2017? Yes, for sure! Buffalo Mountain Coffee Roasting Company was birthed in 2017 (technically 12/16), my computer Agnus was born in 2017 and NOTHING good would have happened professionally or personally if it wasn’t for our dear friend gifting us with Agnus. We received rich blessings financially and maintained deep connections with friends and family despite not having a phone to communicate for a full year.

In looking ahead to this new year of 2018, Dom wanted to be clear in setting the tone; abundant good health for he and I and our family, financial prosperity for us as a couple, fulfilling my calling as a steward of the earth in caring for animals and growing food for my community, and setting down roots in a town we can call home and serve faithfully.

It has been a very long and trying year. We are weary but optimistic that better days are on our horizon.

Happy New Year! May 2018 be a spectacular year filled with rich opportunities for growth and prosperity, and abundant in exciting new experiences and joy.