About Me

My photo
As a daughter, granddaughter (still...at my age!), wife, mom, grammy, lover of God and life, it has become my mission in life to encourage others. The purpose of this blog is to introduce the reader to the sustainable life through organic recipes, gardening tips, cleaning and organizing methods, Spiritual help, and anything else which may encourage you in your journey to wholeness--body, soul, and spirit.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I'll be back!

In case you haven't noticed...I have not blogged in a week or so.  Sometimes, in order to keep balance in life, it becomes necessary to rearrange things.  Occasionally things...even things we love (like, in this case, blogging) must be put on hold in order to take care of practical things.

So I will be taking a slight--approximately a month--hiatus.  It seems that after a month of unemployment (April 1 to May 1), a school decided to hire me until the end of the school year to teach honors math...very exciting.  The pay is not great, but it is nice to be teaching again, and there are four "preps" involved...in other words, I am teaching four different subjects within mathematics--normally a teacher teaches three subjects within their content area, so this is an extra challenge.  Wonderful, exciting, and will pay the mortgage for the month of August...but sadly, not enough time to blog until mid June...so it might be spotty in the blogosphere for me.

In the meantime, there are about 26 blogs I wrote that you can check out...on lots of topics!  Check out http://sustainablesandy.blogspot.com/2012/04/organic-foodon-budget.html?showComment=1337214288281#c6748673076443088948 my blog about shopping for organic food on a budget, or any of the tabs above which have information about heirloom veggies, nontoxic cleaning products, and other (hopefully helpful) topics.

And I will try to check in from time to time until mid-June. Talk to me...I am on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/ShepherdsHarvest.  A sustainable life sometimes means you sacrifice the good for the practical.  It is only for a season...a short one!  I'll be back.  Soon!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What are you fishing for?

And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
~Mark 1:17 (the Bible)

Several weeks ago, I met with a friend of mine for lunch.  I had just left a job that had been draining me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually; and I was completely exhausted.  My friend asked me the following question:  "If you could do whatever it is you want to do with your life right now, what would it be?"  

The quote at the beginning speaks of Jesus passion for reaching people with the good news that He would save people from having to pay an eternal penalty for their sins.  He was single minded in his pursuit of the hearts, minds, and souls of the men and women who chose to follow Him.  Do you think He was successful?  He had obstacles!  Adopted by a carpenter who married a pregnant woman, in an era where the very thought of questionable parentage made a man unclean by birth.  Raised in Egypt, Galilee, and Nazareth...often he was in a strange land.  Yet, God gave Him the vision He needed to accomplish His task here on earth.  And it was accomplished.  In spectacular fashion, as the entire human race can now attest.  Virtually every human being either loves or hates Him, receives or denies Him...there is very little middle ground.  Vision, action, results.

If you could do whatever it is you want to do with your life right now, what would it be?

Think about that question.  What is the VERY FIRST thing that comes to mind?  Are you doing it?  If so, congratulations!  If not, why not?  Chances are, the first thing that came to mind is a goal or dream you have thought about, but perhaps were afraid to turn into reality.  Is it a reasonable goal?  Is it something that lines up with your deeply held values?  Think about and make a list of the obstacles which are getting in the way of your dream.  It cannot hurt to make a list, right?  My advice is to pray as you go through this process.

Develop a vision.

Which obstacles can be overcome with a few simple steps?  Circle them.  Write down a step to take to overcome the obstacle.  Think about it--once you have overcome those, what is going to stop you from overcoming some of the larger ones?  Some barriers look impossible to overcome...I am too old/too young, I cannot possibly afford to _____, I cannot ______; you fill in the blank.  Remember, where there is a will there is a way.  Too young?  Wait a while and learn all you can in the meantime.  Too old?  Grandma Moses started painting when she was 80.  Can't afford it?  If it is a worthy dream, scale back your lifestyle and save your pennies, then start your endeavor on a small scale.  Now, there may be some exceptions having to do with external restraints--for instance, if your dream is to join the military and you are 80 years old...you would not make the age requirement due to the military's rules!  Learn to differentiate between self-made obstacles and external restraints, remembering that God can overcome all obstacles!

Take action.

Start taking those steps that you listed to overcome the obstacles.  Pray and act.  Act and pray.  If you read through the accounts of Jesus' ministry you will see that is exactly what He did throughout His time on earth.  You will find that as you start the process of fulfilling a vision, each step becomes more exciting and invigorating.

See Results

The first set of results is the actual steps you take as you remove obstacles which are in the way of reaching a goal.  How encouraging!  Keep going...

The second result is actually reaching the goal.  What happens then?  You celebrate, then set the next goal!  Because once you have set and reached a goal, you realize that it is worth working hard to achieve your dreams.  

As a teenage mom, I didn't think I had much of a future.  Over time, I realized that I could set goals and achieve my dreams despite many obstacles--developing vision, taking action, and seeing results.  So far I have been very blessed to have graduated high school, which many teen parents never do, then continued on to an undergraduate and graduate degrees in college.  Currently I am taking steps to start a business.  Will it succeed?  I have no idea, but I have to try!  God knows.

What are you fishing for?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

All Natural Freshness...an alternative to chemical antiperspirants

When I was a child in the 60's, I remember the commercial for antiperspirant, and the tag line at the end..."with aluminum chlorohydrate for freshness!"  At the time, no one knew the hidden dangers of aluminum.  Contact dermatitis, neurotoxicity, breast cancer,  renal dysfunction, and the everpresent...armpit stains.  That's right, the chemicals in antiperspirants react with body fluids to cause...armpit stains.  And yes, there are also documented links to all of the other maladies listed--some stronger than others.

Antiperspirants basically work by blocking the sweat glands so that you cannot excrete sweat.  Eventually through the natural sloughing of skin these "plugs" are released from the pores.  The other effect is that the sweat glands contract slightly due to the astringent effect of the aluminum, further preventing sweat from reaching the skin.

So, what to do? We all want to smell fresh!  There are alternatives.


Crystal deodorants are literally rocks that you moisten and apply to your underarm after showering.  The mineral salts inhibit the bacteria that cause body odor.  They are odorless and can last up to a year.  Because they are odorless and do not leave residue, you can apply them to other parts of your body in addition to under your arm--the chest, feet, and inner thighs are not uncommon areas for use.

All Natural Stick or Spray

These are simply all-natural versions of the products you purchase in the grocery store, health food store, or Co-op.  Tom's of Maine, Jason, Aubrey, Bubble and Bee, and Lavanilla all have all-natural aluminum free deodorants.  I have used several of these brands over the years and the best advice I can give is to try different brands until you find the one which suits your body chemistry and lifestyle.  Some seem to work better than others.

Creme Deodorant

Creme deodorant is packaged in a small jar or tin.  To apply rub a small amount on a pad, piece of cotton, or your fingers, then apply under your arms.  Creme deodorant is commercially available, or you can make it yourself. 

Home Made Deodorants

Speaking of "make it yourself"...there are several options in this department!  There seem to be two keys to maximizing the, er, effectiveness (shall we say) of the product:  reducing bacteria and a pleasing fragrance.  Reducing bacteria can be accomplished through the use of minerals, essential oils, or alcohol (ethyl or isopropyl).  Fragrance is generally an essential oil--a few drops in a containerful should do the trick.  There are various options for "carriers" such as liquids, waxes, and creams depending upon your preference for a spray, stick, or creme deodorant.

One very simple method for home made deodorant which is considered effective by some is to simply mix a few drops of essential oil into several ounces of rubbing alcohol, then pour into a spray bottle.  One key here is that if you shave under your arms, you might want to keep in mind it will sting for a few seconds!  Give it a try.

Concerned about aluminum and other nonorganics on your body?  Try an all-natural or home made solution!  Let me know how they work.