5:25 PM

A heart at peace gives life to the body.  - Proverbs 14:30

When I think of the word investment, I immediately think of wedding photography. So many photographers have changed their pricing section of their web-sites to be labelled “Investment” so clients are already prepared for what they are about to embark on: spending a good amount of money on photography which will hopefully consist of images they will have for their whole lives, and even afterwards for future generations. An investment is something you do with the hope that in the end it will pay off with profit, gain, or some kind of reward or return above your initial sacrifice that makes the “ouch” worth it. 

Lately, that word has been buzzing through my mind. Investment. 

You see, what we do with our days, time, dreams, gifting, skills, bodies, and efforts are all investments. Over the past few years, there has been an ever increasing dream in me to invest in the health and wellness of the body. It isn’t easy and there is a lot of discipline and research involved in this commitment. Some days are harder than others. It’s even quite an expensive choice. But despite the cost, it’s an investment. You do what you do hoping that it will increase your quality of life now, and maybe even extend your life span (if you treat your body right, it may work longer). I don’t even really think about the length of my life. I think that is way too unpredictable. I think about the quality of life while I am alive.

Since the time when an interest in health and wellness grew within me, I have spent countless hours researching and still only feel that I’ve touched the surface of what is available to learn. I have spent more time researching health products, reading medical journals, and studies on alternative medicine than I have on any other one subject: photography, home renos, teaching, etc. I have become a bit obsessed with it really, transfixed by the chance to make things better. So many things in life are outside our control. What we allow into our bodies and our homes is one thing we can try our best to control. 

What is really hard is that we will never get rid of every chemical, every toxin, every bacteria. It’s just not realistic. Not all bacteria is bad…not every chemical is bad. Some things come to us without our knowledge or can’t be helped. We have to constantly weigh our options and just do our best. There will be pollution in the air, there will be synthetics in our clothes. It’s actually overwhelming to begin a journey of wellness because “where do you draw the line?!?” In the beginning, far before this journey began, I felt in my heart to ask God for wisdom in my life. Not for any specific need, but in general, that God would make me a wise person who makes wise decisions. Seeking wisdom is seeking the things of God. When you seek what is right, you find life abundant. As I sought wisdom, health and wellness left the back burner and moved to the forefront of my mind. If you read Proverbs 4….you can see how physical health and spiritual health are so closely linked together. God grants us things in the physical which are planted elsewhere. Wisdom adds days to our lives. From our hearts flows the springs of life. We are called to take care of our bodies, our families, and our homes with great care. 

Though the journey to do better may involve baby steps, the more you take, the easier it gets. I priced out oils for nearly a year before I finally made the purchase I needed. I still will buy one thing organic and then a quick pizza. However, even with a few stumbles here and there, before you know it, you are running and no longer walking towards better health. 

This past month I have made two huge changes in our home. I am throwing out any harmful or toxic household cleaning chemicals AND changing my dogs over to a mostly raw food diet. I never knew this day could even come haha….but here I am. I am so stoked about it!

I have found Norwex products for cleaning and have been borrowing some from my friends to try and I love them. I cleaned my whole kitchen yesterday with two cloths, water, and an all natural cleaning paste for the stove top - that’s it!

For my dogs, I am really just following my intuition with this one. Milo has been sick for months, throwing up almost every morning, once a day. I thought it was a new food he was on so I changed him back to his old food and he seemed fine for awhile. Then he ate a muffin wrapper and kept stealing bread crusts and before I knew it he seemed to be moving towards being very sick again and was back to throwing up every morning. He is a little scavenger, ALWAYS trying to steal food...and will eat things he shouldn't. His whole life I have fed him nothing but a very high end dog food, his treats which are also high quality, and the very occasional carrot as a treat. “No human food” was my mandate. Now I realized I was half wrong. Dogs in the wild are not meant to be able to digest processed food, especially grains, even in high quality dog food. There are so many additives and interesting ingredients. Milo’s stomach was always upset and I had a feeling he was getting mild Pancreatitis, which is most common in his breed. I did research, fasted him for 20 hours, and switched both dogs to raw food with small amounts of dog food kibble as filler. His condition has improved immensely in a matter of days. Not only that, but my lazy dogs who do absolutely nothing are hyper and acting like puppies. I have a feeling so much of their energy went to digesting hard foods (much like people after a big turkey dinner) that they were always exhausted. There have been days lately when Meadow wouldn’t get out of bed until 3 or 4pm! Now she is jumping on me and waking me up most mornings. So far we have prepared for them: sliced banana, apple, fat and sugar free yogurt, kale, beef liver, and sardines. I plan to keep adding things week to week, so that there is always variety and never too much of one thing. I want to add salmon, fresh fish, chicken, rice, sweet potato, coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, green beans, oatmeal, peanut butter, turkey, etc. Basically we will all be eating clean by the end of this change! They are loving their new diet. It’s still trial and error right now but so far things have been amazing. The throwing up every morning has stopped and there is such a notable difference in their behaviour.

Pinterest has been an awesome help in finding great meal ideas. I feel like in some ways Pinterest has drained my photography passion and yet ignited so many others. For photographers, Pinterest can be like slow poison…always realizing day after day that expectations for quality keep being raised while the price people are willing to pay goes down. It’s rough! But Pinterest has been an incredible tool for me in other ways - falling in love with interior decorating more and more and wanting to pursue other dreams to the point I really feel it’s possible. Life sure surprises you!

So as I think of investments, I think of time. I think of all the time I have gained out here in the country and how little I find myself making great use of it. 2016 is a year of slowing down time. No more busy…or the glorification of busy. No more doing things that suck my passions dry and leave me feeling like the floor has been pulled from underneath me. We will attempt to make as much of a normal homestead life as possible, even if we are faced with another year of Scott working away from home. My heart has been challenged and changed to pursue simple joys and to rest and be peaceful in all circumstances.

“Ain’t no dollar sign on a peace of mind, this I’ve come to know.” - Zac Brown Band

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