Friday, October 13, 2017

Hummingbirds

Entertainment that God Created for Us to Enjoy!

Oh how I love these little creatures! They show up around April and stay around until October. I saw the last one a week ago. I still have a feeder out just in case there is a late straggler coming through. The last week in September and the first week in October I think we had about 2 dozen in our yard. Of course, they were migrators headed south. I try to do my part in getting them ready for the trek across the Gulf by keeping all my feeders full for those few days and do tend to go through a lot of sugar water for those 2 weeks. 

I believe that God created them for many reasons, the main one being for our entertainment. 😂 I can watch them for hours! And when they are used to you sitting there, they tend to have no fear. They will chase & fight each other! Oh my lands! how fun it is to watch! In late March/early April I will start putting out my feeders and say, "let the battles begin!" Actually, the Ruby Throated Hummingbird is quite territorial. I have watched an adult female defend as many as 3 feeders, even from her mate and her fledgling young! They can be quite mean to each other. 

Another good thing about having them around, they also love mosquitoes! And let me tell you, if you make your yard a hummingbird highway you will have very few mosquitoes. I say the more hummers the better and that means less mosquitoes!

These little creatures are brave and fearless
ISO 800 ~ 200mm ~ f/5.6 ~ S1000 ~ Nikon D200
I hope that you enjoy some of the photos that I have taken of the hummers. For me it takes some patience to get decent ones, and I have seen some much better than these taken with an iPhone! I shoot manual, use a tripod and a wireless cable release. The more recent models of cameras will show less grain at higher ISOs. I have had the D200 for about 10 years. That technology has been around for a while and has been surpassed by much better technology, but hey, this camera is paid for. 😉 (I have included some exif info in these photos.) These guys are fast. As you can see in the above photo, a shutter speed of 1000 is not fast enough to freeze the movement when they are zipping by. 

My hummers prefer for me to keep a distance when I have a camera in hand.
ISO1100 ~ 200mm ~ f/4.5 ~ S250 ~ Nikon D200
Another reason for me to use the D200 is because it has a smaller sensor that gives me more reach with the zoom lens that I used. Hummers do not love for me to get too close with the camera and they certainly do not love the tripod up close and personal. Once I got my camera all set up, I even covered it with a red bandanna, which seemed to make them less shy.  

A shutter speed of 250 is too slow for photographing hummingbirds. You can see a good deal of movement in their wings, tails, etc. I did not love the photos where I had my aperture wide open as I lost all depth in the birds image. So in using the D200 I sacrificed ISO and shutter speed in order to get more reach with the lens.  The bird in the images above and below are sharp (in the head & body) because of the their decreased speed as they approach the feeders. Still, a lot of fun to observe and photograph. 

Always use sugar water in your hummingbird feeders
ISO1100 ~ 200mm ~ f/4.5 ~ S250 ~ Nikon D200



Hummingbird Food

God provides nectar in our colorful flowers planted and self sowed in our landscape. He also provides plenty of bugs like... mosquitoes. One way to attract Hummingbirds to your yard is by keeping 1 or more (I have 7) feeders in your yard filled with sugar water. Red & yellow are colors that attract them as most of the flowers with the sweet nectar that they love are red & yellow. However, you do not need to add any food coloring to the sugar water. The color in the feeder is all you need to attract them. Commercial hummingbird foods & mixes are usually full of preservatives and dyes. Not healthy for our little guys. So you will not want to use them. I use a sugar/water mixture that I make up myself using pure cane sugar. It gives my nectar an amber color and the hummers seem to love it! Because there are no preservatives or chemicals in the sugar water, I do have to clean the feeders and refill them every few days. I start out with just a little in each feeder, then increase the amount as the summer goes on. Usually during the fall migratory season I am filling them up and refilling a 2-3 days. 

Hummingbird Food Recipe

I use the standard recipe that has been around for as long as I can remember:
  • 1 Cup Sugar (I use pure cane or raw sugar)
  • 2 Cups  of Boiling Water
  • 2 Cups of Iced Water
Remember to change out the food every 2-3 days. The sugar water will get cloudy, fermented... And then you will have drunk or sick hummers flying around. LOL! Well, sick hummers are not funny. 

I will miss them over the next few months. If you live south of the equator, they should be showing up at your feeders. Enjoy them as they are a blessing from God and one of those...

Little Things in Life!
Hugs,
Missy

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tutorial on Making an Essential Oils Blend for Headaches & Migraines

Migraines

They are not just a headache. The headache is just a symptom of something neurological going on in the brain. I am not planning to go into all of that here as I am not a doctor/neurologist.  Bringing me to my next point, in no way is any of this information intended to be medical advice or a "cure all" claim. This is simply working for me with management of  my migraines. 

When I get a headache, I can usually take an aspirin, drink a glass of water and maybe a little coffee and it goes away. A migraine is different. Ocular migraines in particular. One of my triggers is barometric pressure change and that is something I cannot control. 

This piece of art depicts exactly how a migraine feels
When the pain is like what is depicted in the art work above, I can be desperate for any kind of relief that I can find. Battling the pain, nausea, sensitivities, that will sometimes last for days, is exhausting. Once, last spring, I lost 8 whole days! Yes! At that point I was even considering daith piercing, and my husband was ready to take me to the nearest tattoo parlor to get it done! I looked into Botox, but research indicated I would need up to 30 injections, not guaranteed to work. I may have to go back in 30 days and get 30 more injections.... Side effect is, this almost 60 year old would have a china doll face! 😅 Did I mention that I hate shots and needles? In no way would I be able to lie still for 30 injections. I do have the "quality of life drugs", but I hate taking them and when I have a migraine that lasts for days, I fear becoming addicted. But recently, I have had some success using essential oils in my pain management.

A year ago I found the recipe (listed below) on Pinterest. (What did we ever do before Pinterest!) I purchased the oils from the company I am affiliated with and used as directed. It didn't work. I was so disappointed! The Pinterest instructions said to rub on the forehead, temples and wrists. My blend went into the cabinet, the oils do have other uses as well, so I used them for other things. Then, I discovered this image, (again) on Pinterest! With instructions to rub basically the same blend of oils, but on the occipital lobe(s).


What to Look for in Essential Oils

With everyone getting on the essential oil wagon how do you know that you are getting the best products available? Do your research. There are only about 3 companies/brands I could consider purchasing EO's from and one of them, I am affiliated with. I stay away from the tempting "packets" at the box stores. They are cheap for a reason. I also stay away from what is offered at the health food stores. It is a hit & miss as to whether you are getting a quality product.


Do your research! 

When you do your research, use the following for your checklist:
  • Purity - you want an essential oil that is pure, undiluted and traceable to the original botanical source.
  • Fresh - your oils are best when they are fresh. Prices might be good, but how long has it been sitting on a shelf? 
  • Harvested by Ethical Practices - Are the oils harvested ethically? In many parts of the world where many of the plants are grown and harvested for the oils, slavery is still acceptable. Do you really want to support that type of institution? Even if it is on the other side of the world? If you purchase your oils from these companies, you will be.
  • Harvested by Sustainable Methods - Are the plants and trees being harvested for the oils from a managed farm/plantation? Are they from a forest/jungle? Are they harvested from plants that are endangered? When you purchase an oil, this is important to consider. We want future generations to also benefit from what these plants have to offer.
  • Integrity of the Company - What is the integrity of the company that you are purchasing your oils from? If an audit were to be performed on any of their oils, would they meet the above requirements? Are they in compliance of the Lacey Act of 1900?

Using Essential Oils to Manage a Migraine

Essential Oils are not a "cure all", but they can help a great deal! If I only lose one day verses 8 days (like I did last spring) I consider that success! 😃


As soon as I see/feel an aura, I will check my occipital lobes to see if they are throbbing (pulsing), swelling, tender, etc. That is when & where I will roll on my essential oil blend for headaches/migraines. You will see in the diagram to the right - the location of the Occipital Triangle. The lobes are located in there. I will also rub the blend in above the lobes in the shaded area. Then I will take an aspirin with a little food and a full glass of water. 
It is not a "cure all" (There is no cure for an Ocular Migraine), but you can function. In fact, most of the time, little or no pain, little or no nausea, fog etc. I reapply every 4-8 hours and I will take a hydrocodine at bedtime. Occasionally I will take a phenergan with it. (If you have migraines, you may have these already in your arsenal. Be careful! with their use!) Sometimes all symptoms are gone the next morning, sometimes not. The real litmus test will be this coming fall when the weather will begin drastic changes once again. I will be sure to keep you posted!


The Essential Oil Blend for Headaches & Migraines 

Now I am a visual person and it just so happens that I have also put together a video (for other visual learners) on how to blend these oils together. It is only a few minutes long and is very helpful. 

YouTube Tutorial on Blending Essential Oils for Headaches & Migraines

Here is the recipe for the Headache/Migraine Blend. Sometimes (as you probably noticed in the video) oil drops are a tad hard to control. It is OK (as in the blend will still work) to have one or two more or less drops of each oil. 

And here is a printable copy for you:  Essential Oil Blend for Migraine Headaches

Hopefully this blend will work for you as it has worked for me. If you find some success with it, please comment below and let me know. 

We do not want a headache to keep us from enjoying the...

Little Things in Life.
Hugs,
Missy

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Aortic Health Awareness

December 7th, 2011 my life changed, forever. Actually, it changed before that, but it was this day when I came to the full realization of that change. I got up that morning feeling miserable. My chest ached, I ached, my back was killing me. The previous August, my husband had taken me to the ER with the same pain. I was diagnosed as having a mild heart attack. The pain and discomfort continued. 9 days in the hospital and my cardiologist had me believing that the pain was in my head and I was enjoying the attention too much. (BTW, if you are in chronic pain and your doctor tells you that, FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR!!!)

That day was a Wednesday. I dragged myself out of bed, dressed, took my daughter to school then I decided to go workout. After all, a workout always makes you feel better, right? I did very little at the gym, continued to feel worse so I decided to call it quits and and head home. I passed by a place that does hair and there was a sign outside the door that said "Walk - In's Welcome". I decided to get my hair done because getting your hair done always makes you feel better, right? Not that day. Afterwards I go home, went to bed and curled up in a ball. The pain continuing to get worse the whole time.

After phone calls to my GP and my husband, we decided a trip to the ER was in order. An EKG showed that I was not having a heart attack so they sent me to have a CT (Cat Scan) and that was when my dissection was discovered. An aortic dissection of the descending aorta type B. And it had been there a while, but the medication that I was put on in August slowed the progression of the dissection.
My dissection was/is not as severe as the example in the middle bottom, but this graph shows the location of where my aneurysm was located.

My New Normal

I was fortunate. After a night in CVICU with IV infusions of meds that would take my blood pressure down really low, it was determined that surgery nor a stint was needed. My meds were increased & I got to go home a couple of days later. For months I could do very little. No more workouts for a long time. I could however do a 30 minute mile walk.

Almost 6 years later, life is much different. I take it at a slower pace. I understand that it is a miracle of God that I am even here. I am blessed beyond measure with a supportive husband, family and church family. Life is a "new normal", which I have accepted.

Aortic Dissection Awareness


September is the month for Aortic Health Awareness and September the 19th is a day that we emphasize and promote awareness for aortic dissections. In 2011, 50% of all aortic dissections were diagnosed on the autopsy table. YES! that is correct! 1 person in 10,000 have an aortic dissection and they are totally unaware of it. Save a life! Know what the symptoms are. Know "Ritter's Rules". If you are experiencing chest, back, torso (also can radiate to the neck & jaw) pain, indigestion, stomach upset, go to the ER. If an EKG shows that it is not a heart attack and they try to tell you it is something you ate, etc, insist on a CT or MRI. Rule out a dissection! 

How Can You Help?

This month and in particular, this week there are fundraisers in the form of 5k Run/Walks all over the country. To find one near you go to www.active.com and in the search section type in "Aortic Health" and participate! There is a great one scheduled in Tuscaloosa, AL by the Riverwalk. I am so excited about participating in that one. 😊 An Aortic Warrior sister, Diane Bishop has done a great job organizing and setting up that event. And if you are in the Central Alabama area, please come join us! Diane promises that we will be finished before the Alabama Football Game! 

What Else?

Let me preface with I am so blessed that we have insurance. My husband is able to provide for us comfortably and is thankful that I am alive. Many Aortic Warriors are not so fortunate. They have lost jobs, businesses, or worse, discovered that they can no longer handle the stress and rigors of their jobs/businesses. That leads to loss of insurance, spouses, well you get the idea. They have medical bills piling up. Some have little ones to feed. I have read some heartbreaking stories on some of the forums. Recovery is very long and hard. Some cannot ever go back to work and disability (if they can get it) does not come near what they need to cover their expenses. The Aortic Warrior may look fine on the outside, but I promise you, it is all that they can do to get out of bed, get dressed and stay upright for as long as they need to. Until about 6-8 months ago, I slept 9+ hours a night and took a nap everyday. 

Minister to Them

And I mean more than the "I'll pray for you..." Ask where they need help. Offer to set up some type of fundraiser for them. If the yard becomes overgrown and needs work, get a group of neighbors together to help them with their yard. (This patient may not be able to do yard work for a very long time, if ever.) The same with the house. Be the "Hands & Feet of Jesus". For a year or so I could dust, sweep, do dishes, but I couldn't vacuum. Recovery is long! Offer to transport the children or even the patient to where they need to go. When it comes to food, remember that the patient needs low sodium or sodium free food. Low in fat and sugar is a good idea as well. If you know of a job that is stress free and very low activity, let them know. It may be something that they can do to provide an income. I now do consumer direct marketing with a eCommerce company that manufactures wellness products for their customers. I am able to work at my pace and it is a form of work, that if I had to, and given time, could make a comfortable living.

Learn and be aware of the symptoms of an aortic dissection and aneurysm. If you suspect that you or a friend or loved one is experiencing a dissection, call 911! If you get to the ER and you are told that it is not a heart attack, insist on a CT or MRI. Be an Advocate! Whether for yourself or a friend/loved one. 
And, if you know of someone who is recuperating from a dissection, remember it takes a long time to heal. Life will never be the same for them. Find out how you can help. And if you need to, enlist some people to help you help them. You will truly make a difference in their lives. And the blessings that you will experience will be one of those special... 

Little things in life. 
Missy


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Latest Neighborhood Produce Co-op Haul

Co-op Haul

We had a great co-op haul this past week! And many thanks to the ladies who did our shopping. They did an incredible job! Since we have had an early cold snap here in the deep south (60's in September is unheard of !) I made some delicious tomato soup with the tomatoes and made some cheese toast to go with it. It was so good! I do hope we will get a few more tomatoes before the end of the season.

A basket of fresh produce will last a family or 3-4 about 2 weeks.
Our co-op is a very simple one. We pay $15 per basket. A large family may get 2 baskets. A small family, like ours (we are now empty nesters) may need to find someone to share with. A full basket will last a family of 3-4 about 2 weeks.The shopping is done 2 times a month. All of our members take turns doing the shopping. Everyone gets an opportunity to shop 1-2 times a year. The shopper(s) get their basket for free the week that they shop. We also have an "Angel" basket. We are able to purchase enough to fill an extra basket to give to a family who needs a "blessing". All of the money collected for the shopping is spent. It is a great way to economize and get those fresh fruits & veggies!

Some basket items may be purchased from wholesalers. Still fresh just not local.
There are several different kinds of co-ops. As I mentioned, ours is simple and inexpensive. I know of a couple of other co-ops that have only organic produce. They usually work directly with the organic farmers to provide the produce for their members. And still, so much cheaper & fresher than shopping in the local stores. Of course, working with local farmers, they will have locally grown produce. Our co-op is more of a combination. We purchase what is available at the market when our shoppers go. And we have to get there early!!!! I am talking before 6:00 AM. At 4-5:00 AM the selection is even better. The last time that I did the shopping I was able to get several cases of organic tomatoes and huge bushels of organic corn (all locally grown) for a very good price. I also purchased some of our basket items from local commercial farmers. Sometimes we find fresh items that are not local, but still great for our basket.

Below I have a YouTube of our latest haul:


And here is a link to a recipe for the parmesan crusted chicken w/zucchini that I mentioned in the video. I have made it several times and it is so good!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken w/Zucchini

Finding A Neighborhood Co-op

If I were looking for a co-op, I would first go to Facebook and Google to do a local search. Be specific. If you want organic, make sure you put organic in your search. You can even be specific about your city or neighborhood! 

Ask around. Find out from friends if they know of one. Ask around at your church or local community centers. As you are asking around, be sure to make a list of anyone you speak to that mention that they are also interested in a produce co-op. Hang onto that list because if you do not find a local co-op, that list will be a great start to a co-op!

This Haul Will Last Us At Least Two Weeks!


Starting A Co-op

  • First you will need to determine what type of co-op you will be. All organic, combination, etc. 
  • Recruit members. For decent hauls you will need a minimum of 10 committed members. These will be members who will participate in every haul. 
  • While you may need a minimum of 10 members participating, you will need to max at about 30. When my family shops, we have had as many as 26 members and subs participating. We do not have a truck, van or suv. It takes us 3 cars (totally packed!) to transport the produce to the collection point.
  • A sub list. These will be members who do not want to participate every time, but will be glad to fill in once in a while. 
  • Schedule-Weekly? Bi-weekly? Once a month?
  • Who will do the shopping? One person every time or each member take turns?
  • Collection & basket drop-off point-you will need a place for that
  • Price per basket-I am thinking that this may very depending on what area of the country that you live in. For instance, in winter months, we still get fresh produce from central & south Florida. 
  • Do you want to break during holidays and winter months? We have found that there is low participation on holiday weekends, so we change the schedule to start back the following week. Winter months we will have hauls once a month and raise the price to $20 a basket. We still have plenty.
  • Set up a communication system (We have a Facebook group page and a text system.)
Do you belong to a produce co-op? How does yours work? Please feel free to post, add links to your pages and hauls. Also, if anyone has any ideas on how to prepare Greek peppers (besides salad), please feel free to post. 😃



Friday, September 8, 2017

Dorm Room Haul Part II~Move In





If you would like to see a tutorial on the Photo Wall Hanger, be sure to comment!


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Isaiah 6:3



Holy, Holy, Holy appears in the Bible two times. Once in the Old Testament- Isaiah 6:3 and once in the New Testament- Revelation 4:8. Isaiah (author of the book by the same name) and John (author of The Book of Revelation), while caught up in the Spirit, experienced very similar visions. Both had different reactions. Isaiah terrified because he, a sinner, was in the throne room of the God Almighty, Creator of the universe and he was "unclean". John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, had a slightly different reaction. He had walked with Jesus, stood at His feet when He died, saw Him after His resurrection and finally, witnessed His ascension. He knew and understood that the blood of Jesus made him "clean". 

We as believers can approach the throne of The Lord God Almighty because we have been made "clean". 

Holy, holy, holy
Lord, God Almighty
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee
Holy, holy, holy
Merciful and mighty
God in three persons blessed Trinity
Holy, holy, holy
Though the darkness hide Thee
Though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee
Perfect in power, in love, and purity
Holy, holy, holy
Lord, God Almighty
All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea
Holy, holy, holy
Merciful and mighty
God in three persons blessed Trinity

Friday, August 25, 2017

Dorm Room Haul Part I

One of the most wonderful times in a parent and child's life is when your child is ready to leave the nest.  It is especially encouraging when your child's mentors, Bible study leaders, close friends come to you and say, "You've done a good job. S/he is ready." For us, that day has come. Our daughter moved into her college dorm earlier this week and starts her classes on Monday. 😊

For an 18/19 year old young lady who is getting ready to go off to college, one of the most important things in her life is shopping and collecting decor for her dorm room. And I have to admit, it is a lot of fun for mama as well. Here is a video down below of her dorm room haul. It is much longer than most of my videos. I will be following it up with a Part II sometime next week.


In the interest of Full Disclosure I need to say that at this time I am not sponsored by any of the company's or manufacturers mentioned in the above video or listed below. Everything featured was purchased. I am affiliated in the roll of a Customer and an Independent Marketing Executive with the Wellness Company that I purchased the cleaning products from.

To find out more about the about the cleaning products and the wellness company I am affiliated with go to
Link to Missy's Wellness Products or email me directly by clicking the envelope in the top of the sidebar to your right.

Coordinated Dorm Room Set:  www.roomify.com
Vacuum Cleaner:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06X1G4KTW/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Lap Desk: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005DIQDI2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_9lZCzbSMEH7TC
Sorbus Organizer:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005DIQDI2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_9lZCzbSMEH7TC
Teal Tapestry: Urban Outfitters https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/shop/maina-medallion-tapestry
(The teal is no longer available.)


If you have a question about any of the other items in this video, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

Next video will be Part II! So stay tuned!