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Non-toxic Woman

I frequently mention my mom on this blog, otherwise known as “Non-toxic Woman” – my trusty sidekick. 
The reality is that she is more like the super-hero – doing feats of greatness, while I am more like the sidekick – cracking the silly jokes. =) 
(Although I was the one who climbed in through the tiny bathroom window the day we got locked out…but otherwise she’s had the harder job for most of the last 8 years.)
During her tenure as my full-time caregiver, the amazing Non-Toxic Woman has done the shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning, massaging, grasshopper killing, cross-country driving, researching, form-filling out, recipe inventing, cheering, encouraging, praying, and so much more! 
I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without her selfless, loving, prayerful and devoted care.
So to Non-toxic Woman – today as you celebrate your 70th birthday, I just want to say again – 
THANK YOU!!! 
You are my hero! 
I’m so blessed to be your daughter and your friend.
Happy Birthday! =)

My real life super-hero and her sidekick (me). =) 


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Indoor Air Quality

You’ve probably heard that indoor air is much more polluted than outdoor air. I wish it weren’t true, especially since most of us spend as much as 90% of our time indoors.
I just read a long article about this topic that frankly, is pretty scary for people who are unaware of the dangers. 
We’ve done a LOT in our home in recent years to significantly improve the indoor air quality:
– removed furniture items made of particle-board or other toxic materials and replaced with metal shelving, wood or glass furniture
– removed all carpeting and replaced with tile or laminate wood flooring (Tile is best, but we learned that after using the laminate in some rooms. I believe the laminate is still better than carpet.)
– got rid of mold in the bathrooms and painted with a non-toxic paint 
– replaced synthetic air ducts with metal ones
And of course, we’ve invested in several air purifiers. We’ve tried different kinds over the years, but by far our favorite is the 160R2 Room Air Purifier from Foust.  
Some other things we do to help the air quality are:
– open the windows and air the house out on dry, clear days
– frequently set plates of baking soda out for 15 minutes at a time to absorb chemicals and smells that accumulate
– allow any newly purchased items to “off-gas” outside or in the garage before bringing them into the house (all new items contain some measure of chemicals–either wash or let them air before using)
– leave wet towels or clothes outside and keep a light on in the bathroom to help prevent mold
– use a filter in the air conditioning intake vent (these are also available at Foustco.com)
It does take effort, but improving the air quality in your home is well worth it.
Question: What suggestions do you have for improving indoor air quality?
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CELEBRATE!!!

I’m SOOO happy, just have to celebrate another of God’s miracles in my life — yesterday I went to CHURCH!!! 
The last time I attended a church service was 5 years, 7 months ago. And it’s been even longer since I was able to go to church consistently. 
This is something I’ve been praying and hoping for for a very long time! And yesterday the dream came true! God’s promise to me was fulfilled! And I was back with my church family for a WONDERFUL time of worship, fellowship, and rejoicing! 
I’m SO grateful for everyone who has prayed for me on this long and challenging road. Praise God for His healing power and His perfect wisdom! 
I would never have chosen this particular journey for my life, but looking back I can see that it was God’s perfect plan for me. I wouldn’t trade the last 8 years for anything!
I’ve learned that the best dreams are the ones we’d never think to dream for ourselves, but God dreams them for us. 
This is the journey I needed. This is the path God prepared so He could give me a better dream than I had imagined! 
As I celebrate this HUGE milestone in my recovery, I’m overflowing with joy and looking forward to the beautiful plans God has in store for me! =)
“I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” -Psalm 9:1-2
Here’s a photo of me after the church service with my brother and my nephew. =)
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Searching for “Not Made in China”

In my ongoing efforts to never buy anything “made in China,” I’ve had some challenges lately.* But thankfully God always provides what I need. 
This summer I really needed a pair of sunglasses. Every store I looked in only had sunglasses “made in China.” (I found ONE pair that was “made in Taiwan,” but the lenses were blurry.)
So then I went online. After much searching I found a few brands that are “made in the USA.” However, I can’t afford to pay $80-$150 for sunglasses! So I kept looking.
Finally I found some that were “made in Italy” for less than $10! It sure felt like a miracle to me. =)
The good news is that for most products there ARE still alternatives to “made in China.” It’s just a matter of reading labels and trying a different brand. For certain products you have to work harder and really search. But so far I’ve always found what I needed. 
For example:
cotton T-shirts – made in El Salvador
shoes – made in Italy
multi-colored pens – made in France
double-stick tape – made in USA!
spiral notebooks – made in USA! 
Bible – printed in USA!
I’m very glad that some companies are still choosing to sell products not “made in China.” However, if we don’t make a BIG effort right now to support those companies, then eventually we’ll have no other options. 
So please, if you aren’t already, join me in this commitment of NOT buying “made in China” products. Take a little extra time and effort to find better alternatives and know that it will be worth it! 
*There are several reasons to not buy “made in China” products. The Health reason is that almost all products “made in China” are HIGHLY toxic. Whether this is from poor internal regulation or some other reason, I don’t know. But the products have high levels of formaldehyde, aluminum, mercury, and other dangerous toxins. So for the health of yourself and your family, I encourage you to avoid all “made in China” products.


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Recipe for Gluten-free Pancakes

For the last year or so I’ve been trying to eat less wheat, usually only once (or sometimes twice) a day. I’ve tried several alternative flours, but cooking with them can be a little tricky. Thankfully my mom is very inventive. =) 
I posted our recipe for delicious whole wheat Irish soda bread here
Today I want to share the recipe my mom came up with for blueberry pancakes – using gluten-free flour. And they’re actually pretty tasty! 
Enjoy! =)
Gluten-free Blueberry Pancakes
– 2 cups flour — we use “Bob’s Red Mill: Gluten-free All Purpose Baking Flour” (It’s available at most health food stores, and their website has a lot of information and more recipes http://www.bobsredmill.com/)
– 1 Tablespoon baking powder
– 3/4 teaspoon salt
– 1 egg (we use organic eggs)
– 1/4 cup organic coconut oil
– 3/4 cup water (or more if needed)
– about 3/4 cup organic blueberries (or however many you want to add)
Mix dry ingredients. Then add egg, oil and water. Stir mixture, then add blueberries and stir again.
Fry in organic coconut oil in stainless steel skillet. (We always avoid teflon & non-stick pans because they’re highly toxic.)
Makes about 6-8 pancakes (depending on size).


Question: Do you have a healthy ‘alternative’ recipe you’d like to share? Please post them in the comments. Thanks!

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Still Learning

I’ve learned that none of us should ever stop learning. 
Whether it’s with our health, relationships, skills, or walk with God, there is always more for us to learn.
It’s good for us to learn from experience. However, sometimes our experiences can limit us from learning new things that we really need to know. 
My friend Martha wrote an excellent post about this (especially as it relates to E.I.), called 
The Limitations of Learning from Experience.
I couldn’t say it better than she did. I hope you’ll be encouraged by her words. 
May God give us grace to have teachable hearts and to always keep learning.