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Are you serious about living a life of freedom? Then you need to invest in yourself. Yes, I mean spend money to learn what you need to learn to achieve that freedom.

The resources I have to offer you

If you’re in debt and/or want to be able to retire much earlier than the mainstream tells you is possible, buy my book Hatching The Nest Egg: Achieve Super-Early Retirement Without Gambling, Side-Gigs, Or An Above-Average Income.

If you know you’re not eating right, and need a nutrition/diet book that culls through all the confusion in the nutrition world, buy Simple Diet, Beautiful You.

If you want to get into a simpler and more sustainable lifestyle, I have two books that will be up your alley: Crazy Simple: 307 Ways To Save Money, Your Health, And The Planet, and Simplicity: Finding Freedom From The Inside Out (this is a book and course in one).

Need a step-by-step guide to achieving a particular dream? Buy Simple Success: Eight Steps To Dream Fulfillment. (Also an e-book course.)

Still looking for your soulmate (finding the right person is a critical part of living a free life!)? Buy my book, No More Broken Hearts: The Low-Stress, Joyful Way To Find Your Soulmate.

Want to get more food freedom? Buy How To Grow Vegetables Without Losing Your Mind.

You will not pay more than $6 for any of those books. If you bought all of them, you would pay under $40.

$3.99 would save you hundreds, even thousands, in future medical bills.

$2.99 would save you untold amounts of money when you apply the frugal living principles in the book.

$2.99 would help you leave the work force and live most of your adult life on your own terms – with more money in a nest egg than many people have even by the time they finish a 40-year career at a job they don’t like.

$5.99 would lead you to the life of your dreams.

If you’re serious about changing your life, you will invest money in books that will help you to do so.

Thanks in advance for checking out those resources! 🙂

Blessings to you,

Emily

 

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Ending The Conventional Produce Paranoia

Is organic food really better than conventional? Safer? Or is it the biggest racket to come around since televangelism?

If you read this post where I complain about the frustrations of a health nut living so far from a health food store, you were of one or two minds: sympathetic, or cynical. Like, “Good grief, girl, just buy conventional food at the local markets and deal!”

If you were of the sympathetic mind, you’re probably wondering why I’m even thinking about questioning the obvious superiority of organic food, of lowering myself to the level of The Stupid Ignoramuses who persist in poisoning their bodies with pesticides. Let’s deal with that latter assumption first, the assumption that people who don’t buy organic are ignorant.

Organic elitism

I’ve known for awhile that not everybody can afford to purchase certified organic produce. And I mean people who genuinely cannot afford it, not people who would be able to afford it if they’d cancel their cable and stop shopping for new clothes every Saturday.

But when we lived in Plano, we were surrounded by people whose household incomes often equaled, and often exceeded, ours. We were surrounded by people who could afford to shop at health food stores. There were two Whole Foods Markets within a twenty-minute drive of our house, a Sprouts within fifteen minutes, and all of the conventional grocery stores – all well-known chains – carried some organic produce. Mostly wilted and of questionable quality, but they carried it.

So when we lived in Plano, it was easy to forget about “the others”. The majority.

Where we live now, we have encountered few people who have enough wealth to be able to purchase organic produce. Rather, we are surrounded by people who can’t afford to.

Granted, many of these people might be able to afford to if they would kick their chain-smoking, beer-drinking, and/or meth-using habits. I’m not kidding. Stuff like that is pretty bad in the rural South.

However, many more are doing the best they can financially, and are happy they can afford what little the small, local, conventional grocery stores have to offer. They think that people like me, who take a five-hour round trip every month in order to buy certified organic produce, are snobs.

Maybe they’re right.

Sure, what I put into my body is my choice, and I have a right to go where I want to in order to buy my food. But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be alone if I admitted to having developed a bit of a superiority complex over the fact that I can and do purchase mostly organic food. “Those poor, ignorant people. If they only understood how they were toxifying their bodies…”

Speaking of superiority, let’s talk about the theory that organic produce is superior to conventional.

Is organic really organic?

When you think of the word “organic”, what comes to  your mind? You may picture farmers spreading manure over bare fields in the spring, then using compost tea to fertilize crops during the growing season. Pests are picked off by hand, or deterred with non-toxic, natural sprays like Neem, Spinosad, and essential oils.

That’s what I used to think. Are you sitting down? Because I’m about to reveal the shocking truth about organic produce:

NEITHER OF THOSE TWO IDEAS ARE TRUE!

Now, I heard several years ago that some commercial organic farmers never replenish the soil – or don’t do it nearly often enough. Which is one reason I’m so keen on figuring out how to grow as much of our own produce as possible.

But I had no idea that organic farmers were allowed to use synthetic pesticides on their crops.

Not all of them do. But check out the graph on this web page. It shows that almost 50% of “relatively non-toxic” (relative to what??) synthetic pesticides – SYNTHETIC – are approved for use for organically certified growers. Even a few moderately and slightly toxic (again, compared to what, and how do “they” know for sure) pesticides are approved for organic farms.

And who knows which crops are receiving synthetic pesticides, and which aren’t? And where those pesticides fall on the continuum as illustrated in the graph?

Could it be that organic lettuce that I thought was so clean? Is that why I never find bugs on my Whole Foods organic lettuce, like I used to twenty years ago when I first started shopping there? What about the carrots, of which I consume one to two every day? How about the organic frozen vegetables?

WE DON’T KNOW!

Come to find out, much of the produce that is labeled “organic”, really isn’t organic!

“You’ve gone off the deep end, Emily. Just because the pesticides are approved, doesn’t mean the farmers use them.”

Okay, then, look at another article from Steve Savage’s website and look at the pie chart entitled, “California Crop Pesticide Use By Category.” The organic farm wedges – the yellow and red – take up more of the pie than the non-organic! And only a small fraction of the pesticides represented are truly “natural.”

From the ecfr.gov website, here is a partial list.

  1. Ethanol.
  2. Isoproponal.
  3. Chlorine-based materials.
  4. Copper sulfate (gets into water, and is toxic to aquatic life).
  5. Sodium silicate (dangerous to handle/inhale, dangerous to aquatic life)

Do any of those materials sound like something that you think organically-certified farmers should be using?

“But farmers shouldn’t need to use pesticides!”

In the ideal world, farmers would not have to use pesticides.

No, in the ideal world, everyone would either grow their own food, or they would grow on just a large enough scale to share with some neighbors, with each neighbor specializing in a just a few crops so everybody wouldn’t have to try to grow all the variety they wanted to eat.

In other words, there would be no large farms, except perhaps to raise emergency food or something.

But let’s face it: those days are over. Actually, they’ve never really existed. So let’s get back to reality.

The reality is, I would never be able to sell much of any of the pesticide-free (and I’m talking both natural and synthetic pesticides) food that I grow. Lettuce and dark, leafy greens all have some nibbles taken out of them. Many strawberries have little bug- or slug-bite holes. As do my peppers and tomatoes. And so on. Imperfections that I tolerate for the sake of not spraying my food would not sell in any farmer’s market. Period.

Remember how, a couple of decades ago, I would occasionally bring home lettuce that had little green bugs on it? Apparently I was one of a few organic lettuce customers who didn’t mind evidence of pure organic growing. I’m guessing that pressure from the picky majority drove organic greens growers to start spraying their lettuce with something so that they would be able to continue selling it!

Here’s my point: even though any farmer you might ask, conventional or organic, would agree that not having to use pesticides on food would be ideal, they can’t. They either wouldn’t be able to produce nearly as much because they would lose crops to pests, or they wouldn’t be able to sell the food because there would be evidence that bugs had munched on it.

Pesticides: as evil as we’ve been told?

These farmers – again, both conventional and organic – understand about toxins. GMO corn and soy growers aside (can you say “Round-Up”?; and anyway, that’s an herbicide), I’m going to guess that most commercial fruit-and-vegetable growers of either camp want to avoid using chemicals that are carcinogenic or that can be deadly to wildlife in relatively small doses.

Look on the graph here again. Even conventional farmers are allowed to use only a small percentage of the “moderately toxic” chemical pesticides available. And from what I have read on the topic, conventional growers try to use the lesser-toxic methods of pest control as much as possible.

What about the chemicals I listed earlier that are approved for organic growing? They are not the best, but they are not the worst, either – and are not known to be dangerous when ingested in small amounts. They are not known carcinogens – and unlike additives that the FDA allows in packaged foods, these pesticides have been well-researched for both health effects and environmental impact.

Further, there are other chemicals on the list that sound quite ominous – sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate, for example – but when you look it up it’s actually quite a benign substance. Many of the chemicals on the list break down into natural parts – oxygen, hydrogen, etc. – in soil and water. The only potential harm most of them carry is to irritate eyes and skin should direct contact with the chemical happen.

Well, that happens with hot peppers and the leaves of many food crops – green beans especially irritate me – too!

Speaking of relative toxicity…

On the same page of the bar graph showing the percentage of pesticides approved for organic use, a little farther down, is another eye-opening graph.  In it, Steve Savage shows the percentage of pesticides that are actually less toxic than substances that many people consume on a regular, even daily, basis. For instance, 55% of pesticides are less toxic than vitamin C. Uh, my husband and I both take a vitamin C capsule every day. We take a vitamin A capsule, even more toxic than vitamin C, every few days. And check out the bottom of the graph – caffeine  is more toxic than 97% of all pesticides used for commercial produce production! Do you know how many coffee-drinkers there are who insist on eating only organic, because they’re afraid of the toxicity?!

And from what I can ascertain from the article, Steve is including the pesticides used by conventional growers!

Are you getting this yet?

Some other interesting points

Another eye-opening article I found while researching the truth about organic foods is on the Don’t Waste The Crumbs blog. The author makes some interesting points; you might want to read the article in its entirety. The one that stood out to me in particular is the whole conflict of interest potential between the the companies that dole out the organic certifications and the organic growers.

“Pay me every year, and I’ll see to it that you get your organic certification.”

Hmm…and maybe since the certification company is getting paid, they’re willing to overlook a little cheating here and there by the growers?

I finally begin to understand the skeptics of the “organic” label.

The nutrition question

What about nutrition? Isn’t organically-grown food more nutritious? If you read study results that came from organically-biased researchers, it probably would be. If you listen in on a conference call of a multi-level marketing trying to sell multi-vitamins, you will probably hear that the soil is so depleted in minerals that ALL store-bought produce, organic or not, is nutritionally deficient.

However, the fact is that relatively unbiased researchers comparing non-organically grown to organically-grown produce haven’t found much difference between the two, if any. Actually, as I mentioned earlier, in some cases conventional produce has more nutrition, because they will use synthetic fertilizers while some organic farmers don’t replenish their soil at all!

Ever go to a website to find out the nutrition in a particular food? This data is based on the nutrition in conventionally grown produce, not organic. Of course, one might argue that if the nutritional testing is done on recently-harvested food, the data may not be accurate for food that has spent two days in a truck and another two days on the grocery store shelf.

But then, that would be true of store-bought organic food as well.

Never buy organic again?

All that leads to the question: is it even worth buying organic? Will I continue to bother with the extra pain and expense of choosing mostly organic over conventional produce?

The answer to both questions is, for me, “yes.” As much as is practical, we will continue making the once-a-month trip to Whole Foods until we get to the point where we are producing most of our own fruits and vegetables. (For fruit, anyway, this will be several years down the line.)

Why? First, organic farmers, though not really “organic” since they use synthetic pesticides, still use pesticides that are overall less toxic to both people and the environment than pesticides used by conventional farmers. Second of all, organic farmers do not use synthetic fertilizers. While such fertilizers are fine in hydroponics or container gardening, when added to the soil they cause an imbalance in the critical micro-organism life within the soil.

I believe it’s worth supporting growers who are taking responsibility to cause as little harm to the earth as possible.

That said, it has become impractical for all of our groceries to be organic. We’ve actually been purchasing conventional almonds and bananas for a while. Organic almonds are at least 50% more expensive than conventional – and we eat a lot of them – and the skin of bananas is so thick that the EPA tells us that it protects the fruit from incorporating chemicals that are sprayed on them.

Now, with everyone in our family basically having turned Raw Food Vegan, the freezer simply isn’t big enough to house all the frozen fruit we need each month at one time. I will buy only what the freezer will comfortable hold, and purchase the rest as needed from the local market.

Certain non-organic foods I will never touch. Conventional apples are waxed. Blech. And to consume conventional grapes from Chile, from all reports, is like eating poison.

But I am done with being afraid of conventional produce in general. And I am done being sucked in by the “organic” label.

Organic produce really isn’t so organic after all.

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A Tale Of A Picky Eater

I don’t think B has eaten a bite of meat since he was four years old (six years ago). The last time he had a taste of eggs was more recent – since we moved to this property – but the last three or four times he asked to eat eggs he only had one or two bites before declaring he didn’t want anymore.

This is all okay, since when, last summer, J and I talked about going vegan we didn’t have any protests from B. Well, not much, anyway. More on that in a moment.

Still, our son’s lack of desire to eat meat and eggs was more of a texture/taste thing than an ethical thing (although he’s never liked the idea of killing things for food).

Vegetables? Eew! Not for this kid – who, by the way,  happily ate broccoli, carrots, green beans, and lettuce when he was a toddler.

“So, what did he eat??”

For a while his diet consisted of raw goat milk, smoothies, fruit, and grains. When we decided to go vegan, he had a hard time giving up the milk, but at least he had his smoothies. And after some gentle discussions about using animals for food, he decided to give up goat milk and give full-on veganism a go. I’m not sure that lasted even six weeks, and we were back to the dairy, buying raw goat milk.

Then, he came down with a sore throat. For several days this past winter he felt so bad he could hardly eat anything. Dutiful mother that I am, I offered him soft foods. Which was easy, because at the time he was practically living on smoothies anyway.

But his throat hurt, and the cold from the frozen fruit made it worse.

So what did Mr. Picky do? Develop an aversion to smoothies!

The frustration begins…

Then, I made the mistake of listening to a radical unschooling podcast where the mothers tried to convince me that I should let my son eat Cap’n Crunch and Twinkies all day – and not make him brush his teeth! – because of course sugar-loving kids are going to magically one day in the not very near future realize that sugary processed foods aren’t very good for them and they need to moderate their diet by adding salads and Granny Smith apples to it.

NOT!

While the radical unschoolers didn’t convince me completely, I did begin to wonder if I wasn’t being too much of a control freak about what he eats. After all, maybe if we just forgot that he is vulnerable to Candida overgrowth he could eat refined-flour baked goods and sugar-laden ketchup (which he requires for each and every bowl of grains), it would never happen again!

Okay, so I wasn’t quite that naïve or cavalier about it. But when B continued to insist that he could no longer eat smoothies, I couldn’t let him starve. I started making him pancakes (really oven cakes, because I bake the pancake batter in pans) out of einkorn all-purpose flour, and we started buying goat milk for him again. His diet became, basically, milk and grain, with an occasional piece of fruit thrown in. I had him start applying tea tree oil to his belly twice a day to keep the Candida under control.

After a few weeks of this eating regimen, BAM! He got the worst flare-up of Candida ever, this time affecting his private parts. ‘Nough said.

I talked to him about changing his diet back to what it was before the sore throat. Nope.

“I’m sorry, I just don’t like smoothies anymore.”

In the meantime…

…thanks to the local goat dairy moving their operation to the county seat forty-five minutes away, buying their milk suddenly becomes a challenge akin to trying to keep a sperm whale and a giant squid from fighting. Also, I grow increasingly resentful of the time I have to spend cooking a food (pancakes) that I know is not healthy in general (flour-based foods are not, no matter how “ancient” the grain you use), and dangerous for B in particular (ever read what can happen if Candida overgrowth gets really bad? Like, death? Not kidding here, folks!)

Almond milk soon replaced the goat milk – another reluctance on my part, because it was only for B to have something to drink with his meals (it doesn’t have nearly the nutrition as goat milk) and it only has thirty calories per glass. For a growing boy who is already underweight and refuses to eat enough because he is extremely picky, this is not a good thing.

I began to desperately wish for something to give. I wanted nothing more than for him to give up the stupid pancakes and (for the most part) grains, and to go back to smoothies.

The plot thickened some more!

Well, last week he had another flare-up. Not “down there”, just painful gas for a couple of days. And I’m talking, complaining to the extent I was starting to have visions of us taking him to the emergency room! I ramped up the tea tree oil to three times a day. And I decided all the radical unschooling moms could go to…a nice, sunny beach and keep their opinions to themselves. I decided that I am the parent – the parent who has been studying diet and nutrition for the past twenty-plus years – and I am going to be the Nutrition Police in my house, no apologies.

I Am The Mom!

I told B, after he started to feel like eating again, that he was going to have to nix pancakes (at least, those made from all-purpose flour) and dates for awhile. I also told him that eating a lot of grains-based meals, even the whole grains like quinoa and brown rice, wasn’t that much better.

I need to take a short detour here, because some of you are going to be wondering why bananas and other fruits would not facilitate Candida overgrowth, while grain-based foods do. Especially since when you do a search on “Candida diet”, most of the results will lead you to a page that tells you that fruits are either a no-no when you’re trying to eliminate Candida, or that you can only have one serving per day of fruit.

Here’s what I learned from an article on The Healthy Home Economist’s website: grains contain disaccharides (so does dairy milk, by the way), and when the gut does not contain enough of the beneficial flora to help in digestion (or is already overloaded with Candida) , the gut cannot break down all of the disaccharides efficiently. This leaves them floating around as food for Candida.

Fruits do not contain disaccharides, but only monosaccharides. For months, I have abstained from eating grains, or have only eaten 1/2 cup once in a great while. And I am the only one of us three who has not dealt with Candida overgrowth lately.

However, I did when I was eating grains.

All that said, after I laid down the Food Law with Benjamin, I wondered about using sprouted wheat flour to make the pancakes. I muscle-tested and discovered that sprouted grains do not impact Candida overgrowth. Why not? Once a grain is sprouted, it is, at its molecular level, more like a vegetable than a grain.

Then I woke up and remembered that it’s getting warm outside. Having the oven on, even in the morning, ain’t gonna fly.

“You’re going to start having a smoothie for breakfast until it gets cold again,” I announced to B.

He was not happy. I promised him I’d make the smoothies tastier than they were before (he doesn’t like to taste nuts and seeds, but I have to put some in to make them filling, and give him protein and more calories).

When mommy stubborn fights kid stubborn…

The next morning, it took him for-EVER to take the first bite of smoothie. Then, when he finally did, “It tastes nice!”

That day he had a small smoothie for breakfast, some sweet brown rice for lunch, another small smoothie in the afternoon, and something else – a mango and almond milk? – in the evening.

The next day was similar. But he had trouble getting through the rice.

Oh, did I tell you that a couple of months ago, we bought a twenty-five pound bag of sweet brown rice because B said that he loved it and that he would eat it?

So that day, “I don’t like it anymore,” he declared over the rice. “I’m used to smoothies now.”

After I picked myself off the floor and finished mentally slapping myself for not going with my gut feeling and deciding against buying a huge bag of grains (we’d done the same for quinoa), I silently thanked God. Hopefully, the more he eats healthy, the less the Candida will tempt him with cravings for unhealthy (refined/high-sugar) carbs. In other words, I’m hoping by the time cold weather rolls around, he won’t care about eating pancakes (or crackers or any kind of bread) anymore.

A mother can dream.

At least, for now, the lion’s share of his diet is fruit (eight servings per day!) and nuts. (In case you’re wondering, yes, he does have to take supplements, because he won’t eat greens or seeds.)

Lesson learned? Sometimes, you have to be your child’s parent, not – as the radical unschoolers believe – your child’s equal partner.

And, oh, yeah, it’s good to have a solid working knowledge of natural health and nutrition.

P.S. – And now, a new dilemma. The last time we went to Whole Foods, we did not buy nearly enough frozen fruit to sustain B’s sudden renewed interest in smoothies until the next time we go. I am going to have to resort to purchasing the EVIL CONVENTIONAL frozen fruit from the small grocery store in town.

Or, is conventional produce so evil? More on that, coming up…

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How Does My Garden Grow? – May, 2017

It’s been a long time since I posted photos of my garden anywhere online, so I thought, what the heck? Let’s get back to it!

I also need to start posting my YouTube garden update videos that I’ve started doing weekly, the day after I publish them. But for now, look at these photos, and be happy!

I didn’t take a picture of everything in the garden, and the really interesting things will be a month in coming. But what’s here is fun!

Since these peaches are now in their second year out of their pots, they’re growing like crazy…and have consequently produced more fruit than ever! Let’s just hope that the squirrels don’t find them all before we do.

I started a lavender plant from seed last year, which “they” say is very hard to do. I believe it – it was the third try (the charm, right?), and I had to plant several dozen seeds to get this one (they are teeny, tiny seeds).

It’s next to our stone walk in the front yard, a few feet away from the rose bushes. I hope it will spread so that in a few years, lavender will choke out all the weeds in this little area.

Here’s one of the blossoms close-up. Sorry it’s a bit blurry. The flowers just opened about a week ago – fun, because there were no flowers last year.

These carrots are growing in 200-gallon SmartPots. We harvested a few this past week, but they were still much smaller than I expected them to be based on the greens. So I’m going to give them a couple more weeks.

The mostly-empty space at the front of the pot I planted a little over a month ago, just when the grasshoppers where really starting to get going. So most of the baby carrot plants in this space got eaten down before they had a chance to grow. Row covers coming up for the next few plantings…

Our sweet potato patch is (mostly) in the front yard this year. The reason is that I’m building a keyhole garden bed where I usually plant them in the garden. Long story there; I’ll tell you all about it later.

We have a lot more apples than ever! Hopefully, this year a critter won’t get into the orchard and steal them all like it did last year. 🙁 My finger is there to give you an idea of the size of this apple; I think it’s the biggest one.

There are so many goumis on two of the four bushes, that the branches are bending! If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t have ordered them. The berries are very sour for a long time – even while bright red – and are only sweet and not rotting for a short time before they begin to turn to an icky mush.

It’s also almost impossible to tell when they are finally ripe enough that they won’t pucker your lips when you eat them. At least they’re pretty while they’ve got berries.

These broccoli plants I seeded indoors, and were the largest when I transplanted them. I covered them with row cover for a couple of weeks to protect them from the hungry grasshoppers.

I’ll soon begin to harvest the leaves. The leaves are tougher than the florets, but they are also more nutritious and more prolific than the florets.

These broccoli had grown in the same pots as the larger plants, but had germinated later and so were still pretty small when I transplanted them. I also did not cover them, so I was 90% sure that the grasshoppers would eat them down to nothing. So I was pleasantly surprised when only one of the plants got eaten down – but it is now growing two new tiny leaves.

Considering the pathetic number (five) of sugar snap peas that actually made it to maturity this year, we’ve had a decent harvest. I only use them to add extra pizzazz to salads, so it’s not like I want to be harvesting quarts at a time.

I probably sowed around 100 lettuce seeds in this bed several months ago. Need I say more? (The small plants at the back of the bed are weeds, a red malabar spinach, and a baby zinnia.) Go, Kratky method!

These red malabar spinach plants are growing right next to the lettuce bed.

And these are growing in between two boards that serve as the path next to the broccoli.

And these are growing under the kiwi trellis. They are the only ones – and only maybe five of them – I am going to allow to grow to maturity. The others will be pulled up and used to create my keyhole bed.

Trust me – not even a large family needs dozens of red malabar spinach plants growing! And if you don’t trellis them, boy, do they make a mess!

So, that’s a little bit of how my garden is doing right now.

Minus the volunteer tomato, because I forgot all about it. Next time…

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Four Things I Am Excited About Right Now

What a difference a few days makes! It’s May 9 as I write these words, and two days ago I was practically dancing on the ceiling because of four great things that I realized have happened to me.

Thing number one: I can sit down.

In case you missed this post, I have piriformis syndrome. No, it’s not an autoimmune or terminal disease. It simply means I pulled the piriformis muscle in my left hip and butt cheek, and I’m hurting.

Come to find out, I’ve been suffering for it for perhaps as long as twenty years, gradually making it worse because I never did anything to help heal the muscle.

Long story (that I’ll detail someday) short: I began the exercise in this video, and after nearly a week of having to stand up most of the time – sometimes that was even more comfortable than lying down – I can now sit for long periods.

But that’s not the most exciting part. The most exciting part is that, contrary to what I’d started to believe, the constant ache in my lower back is not going to afflict me for the rest of my life. In fact, thanks to Mr. McKenzie (see link above) and my new best friends, it is already disappearing!

Hallelujah!

Thing number two: the Kratky method of hydroponics.

Once upon a time, a researcher who was into hydroponics asked himself, “Do we really need to run a pump in order to grow food hydroponically? Could there be a way to do that without having to use electricity, and still maintain the same level of low work?”

The researcher was Bernard Kratky, and he discovered that the answer was “YES!”

If you check out this post, this post, and this post, you will have a decent idea about the frustrations I’ve been experiencing with having to water a large garden (not to mention orchard) by hand. Finding a solution to the irrigation dilemma (which wasn’t helping my piriformis, by the way – dragging gallon jugs of water around) has been utmost in my mind.

Since I recently talked about my discovery of the Kratky method, I won’t go into any more detail except to reiterate that I found my solution. But I do want to say that I’M EXCITED! I spent some money on Amazon for supplies to get set up, but once it’s done, it’s done, and the system will quickly pay itself back.

I am also going to end up with a lot more freezer space, because I will now have a never-ending supply of greens.

Thing number three: A cure for Irlen Syndrome?

About six weeks ago, I began taking extra magnesium (50-100% more than my regular dose) during my P.M.S. time. Not only have all the nasty perimenopause P.M.S. symptoms been whittled down to almost not noticeable, but also my eyes are working better.

I have perceptual processing disorder, or Irlen Syndrome (don’t I sound sick? This syndrome, and that disorder…), which for me means that I get tired easily when reading, and can only do so much for so long on the computer before my eyes get super-dry and develop an ache.

Well, that’s what it used to mean.

This is another post topic in and of itself. Also, it’s too early to really tell if this isn’t just some kind of fluke, Thus, I’m not going to go into great detail. Suffice to say that the past couple of days, I’ve been able to read more before getting tired, and have been spending quite a bit of time watching videos and reading articles related to the Kratky method, and to piriformis syndrome and lower back pain…without any detrimental effects.

The only thing I could figure that might have caused the change was getting more magnesium. I did an online search. While I could find nothing related to PPD or Irlen Syndrome and magnesium, I did find several articles that affirmed that supplementing with magnesium can and does help with a variety of other eye problems.

I am cautiously excited on that one.

Thing number four: I’m done with my novel.

No, you don’t understand. I mean, I am DONE with my novel. As in, have lost all interest in it.

This does NOT mean I won’t be publishing it. What it means is that I’m done knocking my brains out over it. I’m done stressing over doing the launch promotion to try to get up in the top 100 of its categories.

So I am neither going to do an official launch, nor am I going to proofread it three times like I typically need to for a book in order to clear out most of the errors. I am going to finish the first proofreading and then get it published.

After that, I’m done with novels in general. Novel writing has always been like pulling teeth for me. You ask, “Why did you do it, then?”

To make money.

Yep. Me, the person who tells you to do what you love, and the money will follow (okay, so I may be borrowing the phrase), has involved herself in a particular activity for the sole purpose of making money.

No more.

More truth be told: novel-writing is hard for me, and I could never come up with the clever plot lines that so many other authors do. I also can’t stand it when a project takes longer than two weeks to complete. I’m a blog post and short story and 100-page nonfiction book kind of writer.

The fact is, once I gave myself permission to let the book go, I experienced a new level of freedom. I’ll get some negative reviews saying that my book needs to be edited, but I don’t care.

Here’s more: I am no longer going to work at marketing any of my other books. Not as aggressively as I was thinking about a few weeks ago, anyway.

In other words, I want to start acting like I’m a financially independent woman with five acres and a family to enjoy!

For the time being, this blog remains. And I plan to keep posting to it several times a week. It’s fun, and once in a while I help somebody with one of my posts. I’ll write a short story when an idea pops into my head.

However, I’m not sure I’ll ever write a novel again. I’m just not patient enough. And my passion is to help people live simple yet fulfilling lives, not to write a mediocre romance or throwaway thriller.

It could be that this newfound freedom of not trying to make money has me more excited than anything else on the list!

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