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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fire Wife Life ~ The Night I Prayed For Mercy

It was primal...both what I felt, and what I saw.

I can tell you what I saw, but I'm still not quite sure what I felt.

I was in an 85 degree stagnant trailer with 4 sweaty, sticky little ones, and it was rocking like there was some hanky panky going on...but of course there wasn't. It was the 60 mph winds outside that were driving the desert sand so hard into all the trucks and trailers that everyone was getting a new paint sand job.

We were in the desert for an off-roading weekend, in the midst of Southern California's "worst" storm of the winter, which I realize is nothing compared to what the rest of the country, and world, go through.  We're weather wimps...I know this.

But they were pretty insane, those winds.

When they first picked up the kids whooped and hollered in delight at their flying hair and clothes, at the socks and hats zooming by, at the granola bars and apple cores getting caked in sand. Then when it began to whip up into mouths and eyes and sting bare skin we scrambled to find goggles and long pants and shirts.

And then it just reached not-fun-anymore status.

So the women ushered kids and cousins into trailers, and little faces smooshed up against the windows to peer out at the men battening down the hatches. They hurriedly detached awnings and canopies, secured folding chairs and tools and quad whips...all the while ignoring the stinging sand pelting their bare arms and legs. After securing the basics, they then went as a group to each rig, lending a hand with the heavier tasks of raising dirt bikes off the ground or tethering down a tarp or offering up a word of advice.

I felt...feminine.  

Pre-kids, I would have been out there with the guys, helping out, pretending the winds didn't bother me until I was physically in pain.  But now here I was, forced to remain inside with my two and my two nephews, which I didn't mind at all.  But it amplified my maternal role, my femininity, in watching the offspring and depending fully upon the men for security.  

The men would sometimes stop to smoosh their own face up to the window, making silly monster faces at the ones on the other side of the glass.

 They flashed confident, comforting smiles, appearing oblivious that there was a small tornado swirling behind their backs.

After awhile the novelty of the show wore off, and the rocking of the trailer became normal, so movies were watched, snacks were eaten, and pictures were colored.  The menfolk had enough cold beer to ignore the storm and go on rides in the dunes and attempt to have conversations through the howling wind.  I enjoyed my own cold one and the rare treat of sitting down with a book while the kids jumped around.

The afternoon wore on into the evening, and the wind was not only showing NO signs of easing up, but it was getting much, much stronger.  I got a tad nervous each time the trailer lurched with a gust of wind, and wondered how much sleep we'd all get that night.

Burgers and s'mores were grilled indoors. Cabin fever became rampant, so bedtime came early.  But just as the kisses were hitting foreheads and flashlights turning off, the trailer creaked and crunched and lurched so greatly, and the massive gust of wind howled so loudly, that my heart pounded right out of my chest and I broke out in a cold sweat.

I quickly glanced around to see where I might throw the kids in case of tip-over, while talking feverishly in my head to my guardian angels and all higher beings who might assist in sparing these 16 souls all alone in the middle of a massive desert.  

I reflected on our drive in the day before...how thrilled we were to see we were THE ONLY camp in this hugely popular off-roading destination; a place that was usually filled with thousands of people on any given fall or winter weekend.  Slightly eery, but mostly awesome.

Until the windstorm.  

Then I understood, we were THE ONLY crazy ones who hadn't heeded the weather warnings.  This was the one storm of the year the weather reports were actually correct about...usually they were all talk.  I remembered the 'Southern California Tornado Watch' post I'd scrolled by on my Facebook feed...I'd deliberately ignored it.  Tornado?  Southern CA?  pffftttt.  My mom had been texting me about the hurricane of rain and wind hitting them back at home...at least there was no rain out here, just the wind.

It felt like we were on a boat.  My son and his cousin giggled nervously with eachother and asked my husband if the trailer might tip over.

I glanced up at my fireman in his bunk and saw that he had turned so his head was on the opposite end of his bed...this way he'd be standing on his feet if we tipped over, instead of landing on his head. He caught my eye (which must have been really wide), registered my expression (which definitely was scared-to-death), nodded, and climbed down to get dressed.

When we'd arrived at the camp the day before, we'd filled in the circle of rigs in the only available spot, which happened to put us broadside to this wind. Fireman could see on my face that this was not going to fly...we needed to re-position nose to the wind.

So, once again, little faces smooshed to the glass to watch Daddy begin the tedious task of picking up our camp and re-hitching the trailer and firing up the truck, all in the dark and the midst of a 10-foot visibility sandstorm. I wanted to go out and help my husband, but the kids clung to me. I hoped the other men weren't asleep yet and they might see the flashlight beams and come out to help.

  Soon other flashlight beams joined my husband's and I gave thanks once again for the power of the clan.
The atmosphere in our trailer lightened instantly as their deep, comforting muffled voices filtered in the thin trailer walls, and progress could be heard in the clicks and cranks of machinery being moved.

The sense of relief I experienced knowing a group of strong, able men were helping keep us from harm's way was trumped only by the sense of relief felt once our rig's nose was headed into the storm. 

 The thrashing trailer settled into a gentle rocking...the shrill whistle of wind became a constant low hum. Kids fell asleep...I thanked my angels.


In our modern world, and especially in our mild Southern CA weather, we don't often have the opportunity to witness a primal display of group masculinity: protection, strength, confidence. It has the power to settle the strongest of worries and fears that the feminine has for the safety of her children, her village.

The tribes and clans of long ago came to mind: the men who united to bravely defend and protect their villages and kinfolk; the circles that were made with covered wagons, just as we now make with trucks and trailers.

Most of us have experienced dads/boyfriends/husbands braving a storm to tow a car, run into a store, get a child to the doctor. But I think few of us have witnessed a group, a tribe, a clan of masculinity collectively assisting one another and protecting eachother's women and children in the face of a common threat.

I was reminded of just how often I have my guard up, how often I have to wear my daddy and mommy suit , with fireman being gone half the days and nights in a month.  I was forced to relax into only the nurturing role, not the protector role, which allowed me the opportunity to really feel my vulnerability in a refreshingly feminine way.  It was in this vulnerability that I was able to appreciate the masculinity that surrounded me.

I was reminded of this experience Danielle LaPorte posted about - a post about strong, vulnerable men that deeply moved me, just as this night of Arabian winds did.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fit Fun for Family Vacations - Guest Post by Kendra Thornton

With spring break and summer travels right around the corner, I'm honored to have teamed up with Kendra Thorntontravel expert, TV spokeswoman, PR businesswoman and busy mama of 3, to bring you tips for keeping your family healthy and happy on your journey.  

If anyone knows how to stay healthy and fit while traveling with kids, it's Kendra, having been born and raised in the travel industry.  You'll find her tips below, followed by mine.   

Fit Fun for Family Vacations
written by Kendra Thornton, Travel Advocate, TV Spokesperson, PR Businesswoman 
As a mom, I find it important to help my family make healthy choices. We do this on a regular basis at home. On the road, making healthy choices can be more complicated, but I have a few tricks I’d like to share:
1. Bring Dry, Healthy Snacks
Whenever my family travels, I pack healthy snacks to bring along with us. My kids love my homemade trail mix. I include healthy nuts and dried fruit, and I usually include a few M&Ms to satisfy the sweet tooth. Granola and fresh, raw veggies also make great snacks on the go. By keeping these snacks handy, I’m able to ward off the rumbling tummies that make little ones grouchy. Also, none of us are tempted to overindulge when we finally get to a restaurant as long as we haven’t gotten over hungry en route.
2. Make Good Choices at Restaurants
Of course, traveling usually means eating out, and that can mean high-calorie meals. When traveling, I try to stick to the standards my family follows when eating out near home. First, I choose restaurants with healthy options. Mediterranean cuisine tends to be a healthy alternative, and places that feature vegetarian food also have good, lean options. When eating out, I also cut back by ordering hamburgers without the bun or requesting no cheese.
3. Walk for Exercise
You probably won’t get your regular exercise routine in during a family vacation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work out. My family always walks a lot on vacation. We walk around amusement parks and other attractions. We also choose to walk rather than taking a tram or shuttle. We make a game of taking the stairs instead of the elevator at hotels and other places. Remember, every step counts on your family’s journey to health.
4. Go on a Run
My family likes to run. Whenever I plan a trip, I check to see if our stay coincides with a local fun run or other event. If so, I make reservations for my family to participate. Often, my entire family can enjoy a local 5k. Some of these events even feature short-distance races for the kids. These events also help us to learn more about the community where we are visiting.
When my family makes healthy choices on vacation, it helps us to more easily return to a healthy routine when we return home and these tips will be used on our upcoming trip to Orlando. We even booked a hotel with a nice gym for convenience and also just in case it rains. This proved to be a difficult process as there are just so many hotels in Orlando. Sites like Gogobot however are a huge help as they let you read user reviews so you know exactly what you’re getting into. I hope these tips help your family as well.

Top 5 Ways To Keep Healthy (and Sane) While Traveling With Kids 

written by Kim Plancich, tree-hugger, lightworker, Buddha-and-beer-lover, fire wife and mom of 2. 

5. Unplug.

You're getting away for a reason, right?  

We've never had a DVD player in the car, although we haven't driven cross-country with the kids yet...  But I have vivid memories of staring out the window on road trips as a kid, daydreaming and looking for shapes in the clouds, and I smile to myself when I see my kids doing the same in the backseat.  If the thought of car or plane rides without devices for the kids sounds unbearable, then hide them after arriving, and tell them mom and dad are unplugging, too.  Make a game of it, and give them a minute more at the park/zoo/arcade/pool/amusement park for every time they catch you checking your phone for anything other than the time or the camera.  If they throw an epic fit at the first sign of boredom, stand your ground!  They'll soon cross over from boredom to creatively assessing their new environment.  Helping our kids and ourselves be truly present in the moment reaps vast rewards in discovery and connection.  

4. Stop and smell the roses. 

 If flying, arriving at the airport with enough time to explore will keep everyone's sanity healthy, so kids aren't stuck sitting all day in terminals, planes and trams. This list highlights the top ten kid-friendly airports.  If driving, stop often, even just to stretch and do some roadside yoga headstands for the amusement of passersby. This can be difficult for those drivers, like my husband, who like to push on through to get to the destination quicker.  But enjoying the journey really does make for a happier crew and some fun, unexpected memories.

3. Snack well.

I'm known as the mom-who-always-has-snacks for good reason - my son can go from happily playing to whining and flopping on the ground in 3.2 seconds if I don't keep protein in him.  Trail mix too boring?  Avert low-blood-sugar meltdowns with different snacks from those your kids normally eat at home.   We love pistachios, dried fruit, beef jerky, pepitas and sunflower seeds.  Clif bars, dark chocolate-covered almonds and these protein-packed "Cookie Dough" Balls are our favorite snack "treats." If you can take a little cooler bag with you, whole carrots, cucumber spears and yogurt tubes offer a refreshing change.  And of course, drink lots of water.

2.  Keep your vitamin/supplement routine up.

This is one of the most important things for me.  

No matter what new, strange, unhealthy things we may eat, or what kind of time/routine change may throw our bodies for a loop, keeping up our whole food supplements and daily probiotics is an absolute must to keep our immune systems and digestion in working order. 

I divvy up our whole food herbal multivitamins from Dr. Schulze and our Bio-Kult probiotics, both of which the kids just chomp and swallow, into baggies for easy transport, and our bottle of Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil in our snack/cooler bag.  Not only do the kids seem to enjoy the one routine from home that travels with us, but keeping it up gives me peace of mind for my final tip......

.....1. Forget about staying healthy once a day. 

Or however often suits you. Let your kiddos get that roadside slushy or airport Cinnabon (gasp!) or deep-fried Oreo. Showing my kids that letting a little loose nutritionally (and otherwise!) when on vacation is a big part of them learning how to keep themselves un-deprived and in a healthy relationship with food as they grow into more independence.  

I enjoy a bite of the guilty (and sometimes downright nasty) pleasure myself, and make sure to keep my mouth shut about the carcinogenic "bad colors" or cavity-potential it may have.  They hear enough of my rhetoric at home to know it already, and after all, we have to put our vitamins and supplements to the test, right?

Happy trails to you!

Love + light ~


Monday, March 10, 2014

GIVEAWAY - DIY Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes

It's Spring Cleaning time!

And Mommypotamus' DIY Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes book is not only 25% off through March 31st (code: SPRING25) but she has generously offered to give me TWO to give away to YOU!

You may or may not know about my love affair with Mommypotamus.

I've posted about her Nourishing Baby book that led to us adopting a traditional way of eating, trying her recommendation of  grass-fed tallow for eczema, and getting the incredible Berkey water filter to clean up our terrible municipal water.

Why do I love Mommypotamus?

Well, it's because she does all the research that I don't have the time to do...and because she lives on a farm...which is my secret dream, too.

You might be thinking that you already know how to make some simple cleaners with your vinegar and baking soda and lemon essential oils so really why should you take the time to read this ebook?

Ya I kind of felt like that.

But then I thought about...

...the time my son put his cheap sticker from the dentist on my car window and when I peeled it off, it left some annoyingly sticky residue: Mommypotamus' Goo & Gunk Remover recipe to the rescue.

...that big bottle of basic hand soap refill I keep buying because the organic ones just get too costly:  Mommypotamus' Liquid Dish Soap recipe...to the rescue. 

...how embarrassed I am EVERY time I go to pour a guest a glass of wine and see those annoying hard water deposits on my glasses:  Mommypotamus' Citrus Shine Rinse Aid....to the...you guessed it!

Seriously, it's an amazing ebook.  There's sections for basic cleaners, for the kitchen, bath, laundry, wood care, carpet care, leather care, metal care, air fresheners, and more!

You will feel so GREEN and confident knowing you CAN actually quit every last one of those toxic chemicals that may still be hanging around in your cupboards.

Get your copy HERE at 25% OFF with code SPRING25 OR enter in the Rafflecopter below to win a copy!**

**This giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to Lori G. and Jackie F.!!

Happy Cleaning!

Love + light ~


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Who Knew Water Could Be An Anti-oxidant?

It's been a long time since I've posted...i've been deep in the trenches of some massive changes...all of them super exciting but time-consuming!

One of them that's been a loooooooong time in the works (4 years of hemming and hawing) is the water system we just purchased with tax return money: Kangen alkaline water system.  

We thought spending $300 on our Berkey water system a couple years ago was hard to swallow... oy!  It's become this important of a factor in our continued health for us to take this step...a $1500 step.

But WAIT!  

Don't close your browser just yet...I know you're thinking why should you waste your time reading about a crazy-expensive water system that you're never going to buy...

Let me just plant some seeds of health knowledge in your head for future reference.  There are many nay-sayers out there in Google-ville about alkalized water, just as there are many nay-sayers about ANY subject.  But after literally years of questioning, researching, asking, tasting, learning and being treated by this incredible man who says his Kangen machine is the one thing he'd take with him to a desert island, besides his wife of course, I've become a stout believer.

I did not know that water could be an anti-oxidant.  

Did you?  Am I alone in this?  I like to think i'm pretty health-savvy but this was a new one for me.  It blew me away.

You have probably heard the terms "free radicals" and "anti-oxidants", but do you know what they really mean? Free radicals are unstable oxygen atoms that cause oxidation in our bodies, which can exacerbate the aging process. To understand the effects of free radicals and oxidation, think of an apple after it has been sliced open. As the oxygen in the air comes into contact with the surface of the apple, it begins to turn brown. Another similar effect can be observed when metal is left out in the sun - it begins to rust. 
AntioxidizingThis rusting is oxidation, and that is exactly what is happening when free radicals enter our bodies.
Thankfully, changing the water you drink can help! Kangen Water® is a delicious drinking water that is also a free radical scavenger and can act as an essential component in maintaining optimal health and hydration.

I had never really understood what was so great about "alkalized" water, anyway. 

Simply put, the cells in our body need to stay at their natural alkaline balance for optimal health. Unfortunately, our Western diet and lifestyle can jeopardize our body's original state. Dehydration, stress, acidic foods and beverages, and processed foods do not support a healthy alkaline body.
Our American diet is super high in acid-producing foods like meat, eggs, dairy, white flour, sugar, coffee, soda, chemical sweeteners, pharmaceuticals, etc.   I know for our family, especially my carnivorous son, we can only eat so many alkaline foods to balance ourselves out...knowing our water can assist in this is incredible!

I didn't know "better" water can actually help your body absorb vitamins and nutrients better.

Not all water is the same! Tap water can contain high levels of chlorine and other contaminants and pesticides, and both tap and bottled water can often times be acidic. What's more, drinking the recommended amount of 8-10 glasses of water a day can leave you with a bloated feeling if you're drinking tap or some types of bottled water.
This is why Kangen Water® is changing the world! Kangen Water® is formed of smaller water molecule clusters, which enables every nook and cranny of your body to become super-hydrated.
Ordinary water occurs in large clusters of anywhere from 10 to 13 molecules per cluster. But alkaline water Kangen Water®, when processed appropriately, has smaller clusters - only 5-6 molecules per cluster. These small clusters make alkaline water Kangen Water® more soluble and permeable, allowing you to absorb the important vitamins and nutrients your body needs.

These machines produce various ph levels, one of which is called Beauty Water and is phenomenal for skin and hair...we have high hopes for my husband's psoriasis which has already shown signs of early improvement.  

I'm clinking my beautiful glass of water in a cheers to you and your family's good health.
Do you own a water alkalizer?  Ever tasted water from one?
Love + light ~

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Overwhelmed? Stressed? Take Care Of Yourself First (Reiki)

You may have read this post about my Reiki Master friend, Nicole.

I recently called upon her and her energy work again for my 2 year old daughter who was having another bout with insomnia and teething, and for myself after feeling overwhelmed and scattered with such a long list of to-do's and projects and career moves to contemplate.

Let me just say, regardless of your "belief" in Reiki, or in any form of energy healing, you will feel lighter, more carefree, less stressed after Nicole's work.  

That's just how it works.

Even after just one session.

Do yourself and your family a favor, and take care of Mama first so that  you can better take care of others.

Because we all know if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

Take a look at Nicole's website here.

Love and light and Happy Holidays!



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