Book Review: Eat and Think Yourself Smart

I realize it has been some time since this book has launched. I felt a huge affirmation as I read Eat and Think Yourself Smart in 2016. I sensed strongly that my desire to raise as much of my own food as possible, teaching others as I learned, sharing my ideas and experiences was a an inspired path. It has taken some time to manifest and truly is still in its beginning stages.

About the Book

Dr Caroline Leaf takes on the Modern American Diet(MAD) advocating the importance of real local food for all.  She speaks to the food choices we have and the impact that “cheap” food has on our health.  When one considers the rising cost of health, it is not such a bargain after all. A large section of Eat and Think Yourself Smart takes a look at how the brain functions. Dr Leaf’s Geodesic Information Processing Theory formed the basis for her 30 (+)years of research with clients and research. She includes a 21 day diet plan complete with recipes. This book ends with a note section(73 pages) from which one may continue to research the subject of the impact our food choices have.

My Thoughts

Most intriguing to me is the study of the brain, our thought processes and how we can change our brain structure  by changing our thought patterns.  This concept has been studied extensively and unfortunately not taught in our public school system.  In this book Dr Leaf shares how we may use the concept to learn a new outlook on choosing food and eating.  I am still applying what I learned for it is not a concept that changes over night.  This is not about a quick fix, but rather an invitation to shift our perspectives and begin making healthier food choices.

In Conclusion

Eat and Think Yourself Smart became one of my inspirations to move forward with a homesteading lifestyle and share the journey to inform others of ways that they might produce their own food.  It is a journey for me as I work to change my own thoughts toward food and put new habits in place when making food choices.

Check out Eat and Think Yourself Smart on Amazon by clicking on the ad below.



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Choosing Garden Vegetables

When it comes to eating, we all like different foods.  What goes into a garden is much like planning menu for a week or month.  Choosing what we plant and how it develops may actually influence our food menus in coming months, based on what choices we have available.

We have many options when it comes to producing our own food, no matter if we live in town or city, suburbs, or way out in the country .  There are wonderful options for apartments, a city lot, 1, 5, 10, 20 acres or a large farm. Almost everyone has options when it comes to producing at least some of their own food if given the correct information.  Sometimes, a bit of creative ingenuity will be required. 

A financial investment up front is needed(there are ways to reduce the costs), in some cases more than others.  The end result lowers the grocery bill and may improve ones health reducing medical costs in the future.   Check out Dr Caroline Leaf’s book Eat and Think Yourself Smart for data links and informational ideas on how our diet effects our health.   I read this book a couple years ago and will be posting a review link in the future.  Click here.

Here are a few guidelines I consider as I decide which seeds I am planting this year

What and where is my available planting space

I have not worked up the ground here for a garden with the exception of where the garlic is planted.  I have plans for some ways to prepare the ground for a garden space, but until I do, I am going to use mostly container gardens.  I have been offered to share garden space by two of my neighbors.  I like my neighborhood!!  I am not sure yet, how much extra space that will give me. Renting or sharing garden space is definitely an option for those living in an area with little or no ground of their own.  In my case, I simply have not prepped the ground for lack of tools to make it easy and lack of energy to get it done the hard way.

What are my favorite foods

Peas, green beans, lettuce, both sweet and red potatoes, spinach, heritage and cherry tomatoes, different varieties of onions and lettuce, bell peppers of any color, squash

What vegetables do I desire to store for the next winter

Peas, green beans, sweet and red potatoes, onions, tomatoes (for ketchup and tomato Juice)

What tools will I be using I currently have

Tools I will be using include:

Cracked/broken buckets, shovel, small spade, cultivator, various sizes of plastic containers I have been washing and saving for seed starting,

What do I need to purchase and corresponding cost

I have a wish list of products I would like to try, but they are likely going to wait until next year.  Items I would like to purchase are:

  • a warming mat for seed starting   $15 – $90
  • a grow lamp/light(s) $ 20 – $170(+)
  • a small green house, possibly partly underground to utilize the earth’s heat  $80 – $10,000(+)
  • self propelled gas tiller  (Depending on model) $450 – $1,000(+)

We will be discussing the how and when to start a vegetable garden in future blog posts.

What vegetables do you desire to grow this year?

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Book Review: She Believes

I was given the opportunity to read She Believes as I participated on the book launch team the last half of 2016.  My heart was changed as a result of reading this book.  I began believing a bit more that I was indeed created for a purpose.

Debbie Lindell shares how we are created uniquely, each one of us. From the amazing details that must occur in order for a human to arrive to all of the variations that could be. Yet here we are and specifically who we are for a purpose. Pretty amazing when one stops to think about it.

Written for women, Debbie shares her own self esteem struggles.  Based on believing the lie, “I am not enough.” I identified with that.  How refreshing to know I am not alone in this struggle. She leads her readers to the antidote for overcoming this limiting belief.



Topics include prayer, leadership, wisdom.   Drawing on scripture and quotes Debbie encourages and teaches on there importance as part of ones relationship with God.  She shares real life examples from her life.

She Believes encouraged me to remember the importance of my relationship with the Lord and how I am a work in progress.  How a persons chosen attitude impacts productivity in all areas of life.  Peace is found inside, no matter the circumstances.  Light and darkness share the good intentions of our Creator.

This book encouraged and taught me my importance to my Savior and Creator.  Reminded of truth from God’s word I found myself strengthened. When Debbie revealed the struggle she went through while writing this book, my heart believed in a deeper level how God can sustain me and use me no matter our circumstances.  If you would like your own copy click here.

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Roots and Wings: A Living Moment

I celebrated Christmas in a different way this year. I often find myself missing someone at Christmas and feeling lonely. It gets in my way of enjoying the day.  Now I know grieving the loss of a loved one is going to happen, but this has become a pattern for me.  A habit of wanting what is not going to be and choosing to live in the pain.

Some of the people I miss are my sisters and their families.  They live a long distance from me and our connections take place during warmer months of the year.  Largely due to the extra work it takes to care for my animals when we are having winter weather and the expense of travel I do not see them during the Christmas Season. I decided this year I was going to live in the moment(s) and enjoy myself in my current circumstances.

I created Christmas DVDs for each of their families and mailed them early so they would be able to view them Christmas day. I pictured a Christmas morning at their individual houses and the kids viewing the DVD’s.  I left it to my sisters discretion of when it actually fit into their day the best.  I knew that I was making a connection with my nieces and nephews even if I was not there in person.  One of my sisters text me the kids were re-watching the video and the youngest was jabbering through the video.  I guess she liked seeing the pictures of herself and her siblings on the TV screen.  While it was special to hear the reactions, even without, I had a fullness and peace on my heart with the knowledge that I had planned for a way to connect with them.

Knowing I enjoy children, I decided to make plans with a different branch of the family.  I felt compelled to invest in the lives of my in-laws.  I made plans, but they did not turn out quite what I orginally imagined.  As Christmas day unfolded, I learned, many I invited were not going to be able to attend.  I had peace (that passed understanding).  For you see, I believed in my heart that I planned and acted on the Lords prompting in my heart.  I realized that He had prompted me to act and plan knowing full well how the day would reveal itself.  He would use my actions as he had planned.  It was only me who had a preconceived notion of ‘why’ I was doing the things I was doing.  I could choose to be disappointed, if I wanted to be.  In this circumstance, I rested in knowing He had it covered all along.  Nothing happened this Christmas that He didn’t see coming.  With that outlook the day was a complete success!!!! I rested in knowing He had it planned this way all along!!!

It was a cold after noon and I spent the remainder of the day caring for the animals.  I believe my PM chores took me about 2 hours.  What did I do when I was done?  I fell asleep!!!! It was a restful, peaceful sleep, with the feeling of contentment and a happy heart! I had lived fully in each moment of the day!!

What did Christmas mean to you this year?


Preparing for cold Weather

We are getting ready to have much colder temps here in northern Indiana.  The following is an example of what my to do list looks like when frigid weather is in the forecast.

  1. Adequate supply for heat source
  • Haul wood into woodshed. It is the best feeling to have wood ready to provide warmth for coming cold.
  • Have propane tank filled.
  •  What ever your heat source make sure to have plenty of fuel to heat your dwelling

2.    Fill chicken feeders

  •  Many chicken feeders are large enough to provide feed for several days. This reduces chores in cold weather. If I am lucky it will be a bit warmer by the time they need to be filled again.

3.   Gather extra chicken waters

  • Having them ready will save time when needing to switch out while frozen ones thaw.

4.   Turn over any water tanks not in use

  • It will eventually warm up, snow will melt and water will refreeze. This may crack any plastic containers.

5.   Wash bedding for indoor dog crate

  • I do not put my short haired indoor dog outside except for the short time it takes to potty.  I wash her bedding before the cold weather hits while she is spending time outside in nice weather.

6.  Have hay delivered

  • I do not have to open large door during cold weather.  I, also, like the extra insulation hay provides for the animals in that barn.

7.  Fill water tanks

  • Full tanks mean that I have only to chop ice or use tank heater at least for a few days of cold weather.

8.  Drain water hoses

  • It seems much easier to start with drained hoses before it gets cold.  If I don’t, I find myself hauling frozen hoses into the house to thaw before I need to haul them back out to fill tanks. SO much more work, and who needs that when dealing with frigid temps and snow.

9. Check oil, radiator, wash fluid, brake fluid, and tranny fluid in cars/trucks and fill fuel tanks

I would rather do this work while the weather is warm than when the wind is blowing wind chills of -0 degrees. Plus who? wants to deal with a broken vehicle in cold weather.


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Book Review: Everything is Possible

Reading, Everything is Possible, reminded me of some of my core values, but also this book inspires me to take them to the next level.  It can be easy for me to become discouraged when I do not feel good.  I felt a renewed hope when I read Jen Bricker’s story of grit and determination. I found myself thinking, if she can accomplish so much with no legs, what can I do.

Jen was given up for adoption by her biological parents because she was damaged goods, in her Dad’s opinion.  Placed in a loving, Christ centered home, she grew up believing all was possible.  Isn’t it amazing where ones perspective leads when achieving and accomplishing plans, goals, and dreams?  Instead of her lack of legs being a disability, instead of her biological parents rejection being truth in her life, these became guide posts to a path to find her purpose.

She has a purpose, while sometime still revealing itself, despite her apparent physical limitations.   I certainly have a God given purpose too.  You too, have a God given purpose.

We are coming close the end of one year and the beginning of another.  I find myself giving thoughts to what plans I am making for the next year, what steps would the Lord like me to take?

If you would like to read an excerpt of Everything is Possible click on the picture below.

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Roots and Wings: My Favorite Holiday

Exciting!  In one week, we get to celebrate Christmas, my favorite holiday!

I was born on Christmas. It was no easy feat to even arrive. I required a forceps and broke my moms tail bone getting here. I have in years past, and may again, been unhappy with the fact that I was turning one year older, but not this year!! I am choosing to take a look back and celebrate the victory of some of what I have lived through. I am choosing to feel thankful I survived a traumatic brain injury, broken pelvic bone, among other not so serious horse wrecks and, daily, I have awakened every morning to date, despite, low sugars, struggling adrenal glands, and low thyroid. Yep! I am going to celebrate!!

I have many fond memories of Christmas.  One of the earliest, is going to my grandmas house to decorate the Christmas tree.  Memories of home made gifts from relatives.  A couple that come to mind at the moment are the cross stitched picture of a barrel racer with the words ‘dare to dream’.  Shelves made by my uncle and grandpa which still hang in my house to this day. Homemade gifts are the best kind, in my opinion.

The presence of loved ones, a few who are no longer living on earth, are the memories I cherish the most.  I carry the sound of their laughter, singing, and words of wisdom in my  heart.  Speaking of singing, a Christmas tradition I enjoy is caroling.  It is not a tradition in the sense that I go every year. But when I do, the warmth in my heart over rides the cold air, that along with insulated Muck boots and Carhartts.

My intention is to impart specific impressions into the heart of those loved near and far.  Encouragement, hope, joy,  laughter, and a knowledge of the importance the difference a relationship with a Savior makes when times get tough.  What better time of the year to sow seeds into others lives? This year I am looking for ways I can be intentional when it comes to connecting with people near and far.

There is a more important celebration than my birth happening across the world on December 25th.  Jesus, God’s only Son, entered our world all to become our Savior.  This often has me feeling my birthday pales in comparison.

I like Christmas for the gathering of relatives and for a period of time one can immerse in the reminder of what it is like to have faith.  Not in Santa, but in a God who sent His son to eventually die for me, for us all.  That is a pretty special gift wrapped up in a baby.

What are the ways you make connections with those close to your heart no matter the physical distance?  Sending cards? Gifts? Caroling? A phone call? Enjoying a meal together? Viewing Christmas lights?



Roots and Wings: Christmas Candy

I had the pleasure of making Christmas candy with a neighbor and friend last evening. I met her a little over a year ago. I stopped by her house to introduce myself as I realized there were people living in a house that had been empty. She had moved into the area from Iowa. I learned I am the same age as her mother. That felt weird to me at first. It doesn’t seem that long ago I was her age. We became friends quickly and last year made Christmas candy and snacks together. I hosted last year and this year was her turn. We intend to make this a tradition.

The snow flakes were speedily blowing across the landscape as I drove the short distance to her house. I admit, I entertained visions of driving a sleigh instead of my old car.

We chatted and laughed while we made chocolate covered pretzel complete with sprinkles, buck eyes, chocolate covered peanut butter sandwich crackers, and home made peppermint patties.

I snacked on the Chex mix she had taken out of the oven soon after I arrived. We drank coffee and told each other stories. Oh, did I say we laughed a lot? We did!! We decided to play Justified – Once in a Manger while we were crafting yummy sweets.  She told me a story of when her little sisters were in the area to visit.

She said, ” Oh you should have seen them.  They gathered all their dolls, stuffed animals, blankets and pillows around the lap top and huddled there, listening to your CD.” (Justified ~ Once in A Manger)  My heart was blessed.  A warmth filled my heart and bubbled out of my eyes ever so discreetly.  How precious to have made a difference in the lives of little ones.  I shared with her the special memories I had as Sheila, my Mother and I put the CD together.  I am thankful that even though I was going through some dark moments personally while we put the CD together, the Lord can show up and bring beauty out of ashes.

These moments spent in the presence of people dear to our hearts are moments that live on much longer than presents under the tree.  I challenge you to find ways to be intentional about what is important, no matter what struggle you are facing.


Roots and Wings: Importance of Peripheral View

I am an advocate of intentional planning to be sure, but certain excellent experiences lurked in my periphery. I heard this idea put into words recently.

Don’t get too far ahead of yourself, you won’t see the shiny thing out of the corner of your eye. ~ Tim Minchen

A few such times come to mind in my life. One was modeling with my mare, Roses Casino, for Lakota Trailers billboard and (2008,2009) product catalog, going turtle feeling(don’t ask), and making a Christmas CD as the lead singer. These were never life long goals of mine. I wonder if that is why the Lord often shows us the next step and not the whole journey? To be certain, I had already developed basic skills allowing me to be ready for these events. With a bit of coaching, I enjoyed them to them to the fullest!!

Justified and the making of a Christmas CD

Deciding on the songs

All three of us, Sheila, my Mom and myself, spend many hours deciding on songs for the CD.  One of us would suggest and if it did not pass for the other two or if it was going to take too much time to learn we scratched it! If my memory serves me correct, the list was never finalized until the recording began.  I think we had 12 songs picked out and ended up with 10.

Practice, Practice, Practice! 

We would get together for a few hours and practice 1 or 2 times a week.  My Mother often made a 3 hour round trip for our practice.  To save on gas and time she would spend the night at Sheila’s house or mine.  I look back on that time with warm feelings of the fun we all had.


In the Studio…

Laying the basic track with basic vocal.  I sang lead vocal while the basic instruments were recorded, guitar, drums, bass, and some keyboard.  My vocals were later scraped, or dubbed over for my actual vocals on the CD.

Adding the vocals to the basic track.  I did most of the lead. On some songs, we featured my Mom’s wonderful soprano, and Sheila’s beautiful voice.  I learned harmony lines in parts of Silent Night, Down From His Glory, and O Holy Night.  I think Sheila and my Mom probably reached deep for the patience to teach me those lines.   Remember I had spent the last 30 years focused on horses, not music.  I did learn.  Between their coaching and taking fiddle lessons, I am beginning to develop my ear.

Instrument fills when recording songs allow for ones artistic side to fully express itself.  My Mom and Sheila were not newbies in the studio like me.  They had a definite ideas about what they wanted where.  By the time we were done with the CD I had even voiced a few thoughts as to what I was hearing as well.  How fun to find a new way to express my artistic side.

Sheila worked in the studio we recorded in. She led us as the project manager and edited the CD with input from my Mother.  The mixing and producing credits appear on the CD.

Ordering CD’s

We opted to order the CDs from a company in Texas.  An early winter storm brought shipping to a stand still.  A consequent delay of 3 to 4 weeks left less than 2 weeks until Christmas when we finally received our CD’s to sell.  We did eventually have them. I recall my excitement!


This particular project signifies my musical roots. I did not dream of being a lead singer on a CD as a child.  While I have always loved music I did not believe it to even be up for consideration until the year it happened. My mother, on the other hand, had been offered a place in the Nashville scene with her sisters as a late teen. (They declined.) I grew up in the shadow of regret for her dream that got away. The time spent while working on this project with my mother allowed me to connect with her and see her musical gift brought into fruition once again. For me, I woke up to a part of me that never had enough of my attention.

Would you like to hear a song from the CD?

Do you have a copy of Justified – Once in A Manger?  Would you like one?  To order send an email by filling out this form.  


Shiny Spots in my Peripheral View

I have to ask, what is lurking in my periphery now? What is lurking in yours?

Roots and Wings: Seasons

Transitions in my life proved difficult for me.  Truthfully, only in the last four or five years was I even conscious I struggled when faced with change.   Any changes happening out of my control I seemed to temporarily lose my way. In addition, I have noticed myself avoiding certain decisions for the changes they would bring.  Feels easier to stay in my comfort zone.  The recent health struggles I have faced made it difficult and not in my best interest to continue the path I was on.

Have you ever had a skill set that was no longer an option to use?  I had the privilege of riding with my 10-year-old niece on the foothills of the Canadian Rockies.  I rode a horse that acted ‘green’.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with that term, that represents the opposite of a quiet, broke horse.  A ‘green’ horse is one a skilled or experienced rider would be able to handle.  He was over all good but I forgot he was ‘green’ pulled my leg up fast to fix the bottom of my pant leg.  The quick unexpected movement startled him and sent him sideways.  Not bragging but sharing an example…I never lost my seat, shortened my reins as we were going sideways, and settled him down.  I have some skills when it comes to staying on the back of a horse.  I can be and have been dumped with the best of them too. Ha! Ha!

As for seasons of change,  while I can still stay on the back of a horse, fatigued adrenal glands leave me feeling exhausted after a short one or two-hour ride.  On top of feeling tired, I run the risk of adrenal crisis if the cortisol levels get too low.  I do still make cortisol on a daily basis and I am thankful for that.  I find myself feeling weak and tiring easier as blood work shows I do not make the extra in times of crisis.  Seems one needs that extra when dealing with an unruly horse or certain aspects of training and riding.  Changes…I have the skills but it is not in my best interest to use them, at least for the current time frame.  Seasons of change that open doors of unplanned opportunity are hard to see looking backward.

There is beauty in different seasons.  Growing up in southern Michigan we enjoyed spring, summer, fall, and winter.  Each one can be enjoyed, but in different ways.  Seasons require me to let go before as I move on to the next.  We do not walk around in winter clothing during summer months, right?  Even animals change with the seasons, loosing a summer coat and growing a winter coat.  Do you know what I like best about the changing of seasons? Knowing as long as the Earth exists, a season will come around again.  Why not enjoy the one I am in?

No two seasons are exactly alike.  As humans we look for similarities documenting weather patterns, but the truth is no two are exactly alike.  The Creator demonstrates His diversity.  One can never go back, but I can look forward to how the previous season presents itself the next time around.  Uniqueness abounds and who am I to bulk at that?

The last few years feel like a chicken molting.  Their feathers fall out and they look pretty ugly until the new ones grow in.  Seasons of change have produced the beginning of this homesteading journey.  I believe there are other feathers growing in too, yet to be discovered.  Stick around for the details….