Posted in Family, Health

Getting Back to Nature

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back again after spending a rainy morning working on my WIP. It was a good weekend for working on it because it is definitely cooler outside. Although, I did get my six-mile run in. That felt awesome. When I was done that is. 😊

 

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          Today, I’d like to talk about getting back to nature. We have become the indoor generation. For a clearer picture of this check out this post here.

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          In my opinion, we’ve become a nation of strivers, trying to be uber-efficient so we can accomplish more each day. We’ve become unbalanced, putting work and accomplishment ahead of our health. So, we try to squeeze exercise and self-care into tiny increments. I know I’m guilty of this, but I’m not the only one.

To be fair, we’ve got a lot on our table, with kids, work, and writing, it’s hard to find the time. But find the time, we must or as the old adage says, “if you don’t make time for your health, you’ll be making time for your illness.” I know this is one hundred percent true.

So, I’ve had to set priorities for what’s important to me. I’ve been forced to pay attention to my health. So, I’m making exercise and getting back into nature a priority. I feel better when I exercise and getting out into nature is a great stress reliever that doesn’t cost any money. Win-win.

I try to run on the treadmill in the morning at least a couple of times a week. I find I have more energy throughout the work day when I run. The frequency of these morning runs will increase as soon as the snow flies, and I can’t get outside on the weekends. But enough about that. I want to talk about getting out into nature and relieving stress.  Did you know that walking through the woods is good for you? It’s true. Check out this post on the benefits of  Forest Bathing.

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                We need to reconnect with nature and be part of the circle of life again. We’ve become disconnected and believe we have risen above that need, but we haven’t. We’re destroying our planet with our quest for money and status. Why has this striving become more important than our health and our families?

That question can only be answered individually. I don’t think we were meant to compete so much that it affects our health, both mentally and physically. I know there’s only so many jobs out there and we must compete for them, but it shouldn’t be to the detriment of your health. Let’s take a step back and slow down. Spend more time with your family, and less time striving. Is all that striving really getting you anywhere? Or are you a hamster on a wheel because you’ve forgotten how to take care of yourself?

 

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          Sorry, I digress, I got caught up in the moment. I was supposed to be talking about getting back out into nature. Back on track, folks. 😉

Walking among the trees is good for our health and it relieves stress, so does walking barefoot. Do you remember going barefoot as a kid? Remember how happy and carefree we were? I think part of that happiness was because we were receiving anti-oxidants and reducing inflammation while we were running around barefoot. The practice is called “earthing” now, and it has been scientifically proven to be good for you.

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          So, if you can spend more time in nature, do it. It’s good for you and try to get your family out there, too. What are your thoughts? Do you feel getting out into nature is beneficial? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in inspiration

Friday Inspiration

I saw this on Facebook and I thought I’d share it with everyone. It’s a great reminder to get outside in nature and enjoy it. Winter is coming friends and we’ll be stuck inside for most of it!!

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Posted in Personal

Lessons from Nature

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It’s been a while since I’ve written a post and I apologize. I’ve been busy with work and kid events. My youngest has decided to play tennis, and it has been great fun watching him. He is improving every time he plays and that has motivated him to keep practicing.

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I’m so thankful to the coach who asked him to play. His father and I had been trying to motivate him to try a sport because he’s very agile, but whatever we suggested he just wasn’t interested in that activity. Sometimes it takes another adult that you respect that makes all the difference, and for my youngest it was his math teacher who was also the tennis coach.

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So, I am very thankful for his teacher who recognized a spark in my youngest and motivated him.

 

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about something I’ve noticed in nature, and that is, every species seems to work together to take care of each other except for humans.

For example, there is evidence that trees in a forest can communicate with each other through their root system. When there is one tree that is doing poorly, the other trees send nutrients and healing antibodies (for lack of a better word) to the one that is sick.

 

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Another example is elephants. Did you know the females stay with their mother their whole lives and help raise the babies? When one of the weaker elephants falls and needs to rest, the other females circle it with their tails facing their fallen friend and ward off predators until their friend can continue her journey.

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Did you know the only species that kills within their species is humans? Sure, animals fight for positions within their herd, pride, or tribe, but they never reach the point where one of them dies. Why is that, I wonder?

Maybe we’ve gotten too far away from nature and need to go back. I wonder what kind of world we would have if we all tried to cooperate and look out for each other? Instead of competition we’d have cooperation. Wouldn’t that be nice?

I know, it’s an unrealistic thought. There’s always going to be competition. It’s the way humans are wired, but if we can, we should take a lesson from nature and do our best to look out for each other. 😊

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment!

Posted in Health

Are We the Indoor Generation?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It has been a dicey couple of weeks what with ice storms and power outages and there seems to be more on the way. Sigh. I’m done with winter, how about you? While I was snuggling under my blanket during one of these storms, I saw a short video on Facebook, and I was introduced to a term I hadn’t heard before describing our generation. That term was the “indoor generation.” Are we the indoor generation?

 

According to statistics, we spend ninety percent of our time indoors. We exercise indoors, work indoors, and socialize indoors. When we don’t let fresh air into our homes, that indoor air becomes more polluted than the air outside. This isn’t good for our families and the lack of sunlight can affect our children’s learning.

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Living in a damp and moldy home increases the chance of asthma by forty percent. That is a scary statistic. We need to let fresh air into our homes by opening our doors and windows and not rely on air conditioning so much. I know during the winter this is hard to do because it’s so darn cold, but the more fresh air we have the better off our families will be.

Photo credit: Michael Gabelmann on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC

 

So, we’ve drawn the conclusion that living solely indoors isn’t good for us physically, but what about mentally?

Depression is on the rise, especially in the teen demographic. Could it be possible that spending time outside in the fresh air and sunlight would help people struggling with depression? I’m drawing the conclusion the answer is yes.

Why do I draw this conclusion? Because it’s been scientifically proven that walking in nature is good for us. It relieves stress and boosts our immune system. Plus, everyone knows we get vitamin D from the sun, right?

There’s this new term called Forest Bathing and when we walk through the forest we inhale phytoncides. The trees in the forest release these compounds into the air they boost our immune system and help us fight cancer. I’m all for that! For more information on Forest bathing, check out this link.  https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/the-benefits-of-forest-bathing/

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Also, being near the beach is good for us, too. It reduces stress levels and blood pressure, and of course being out in the sun allows you to get that vitamin D we need, and it increases the level of serotonin in our brains, which helps with depression. So, you can’t go wrong spending time in nature. We have to slow down and take care of ourselves. That means taking the time to hike through the woods and head to the beach.

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Let’s not be the indoor generation anymore. Let’s be the generation that turned our health around and taught our kids the importance of getting out into the fresh air, nature, and sunlight. Our planet has everything we need. If we take care of it, our planet will take care of us.

Thanks for reading my post today. How do you feel about being the indoor generation? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Future, Parenting

What Should We be Teaching our Future Generations?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about some vital skills our future generations will need to survive on our planet.

 

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Our kids are going to inherit this messed up world we inhabit and they’ll inherit all the problems our greedy society has created in our quest for more. More money. More possessions. More power. More. More. More.

 

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The thing is we’re teaching our kids that striving for more is the only way to be. It’s not.  We need to teach our kids the concept of enough and the concept of balance.

 

Why?

 

Because being in Striver mode all the time is not good for our health.  If we continue in Striver mode and we continue to reproduce at the rate we are, we’ll soon be fighting over smaller and smaller space. We’ll be producing more trash and our landfills will overflow. This is a problem. By any chance did you see the movie “Wallie?” The Trailer is below.

 

 

In the movie, humans have to leave earth and move out into space into a floating world because earth is no longer able to sustain life. It’s covered in garbage and all the humans are too heavy to move or exercise. It’s an awesome movie and I’d recommend watching it with your kids if you get the chance.

That’s where our society is headed if we don’t start taking care of our planet and each other. Haven’t you heard? Obesity is an epidemic.

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We need to teach our kids to slow down and take care of themselves.  Because we’re in Striver mode, we eat fast food and processed food. We do this because it takes less time to prepare and gives us more time to work. What happens when we reach that pinnacle of success? We have more money than we ever dreamed of, but we can’t enjoy it because we don’t have our health.

 

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Sad.

We need to slow down and teach our children to garden and how to cook for themselves so they can control what they put in their mouths. By doing this, they control their health.

 

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  We need to teach our kids to be fair. We can do this by teaching them to empathize with their fellow man. Empathy? How do you teach that?  By encouraging a love of reading.  By reading about different characters, our kids step into their worlds and learn about them.

 

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The more knowledge and tolerance they have for others, the better they’ll be at getting along with their peers. A vital skill when space is becoming smaller and smaller, wouldn’t you agree?

Reading you say? Yes reading. It’s also an awesome coping mechanism when you’re dealing with stress. Just an FYI. 🙂 Sadly, it isn’t a cure-all. We need to teach our kids how to communicate, using I messages so they can resolve conflict without a lot of negative feelings.

These Negotiation Skills will be in high demand in the future.

How can we teach this? By having our kids interact with their peers. Don’t let them play video games all day long. Don’t let them use their phones as their only means of communication.  Arrange play dates and get them outside, playing games, and solving their own conflicts.

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Last but not least. Teach them a love and respect for nature. Walking in nature is good for you. It’s called “Forest Bathing.” This practice originated in Japan, and there’s scientific proof it’s beneficial. Something I’ve known for a long time, but didn’t know there was actual proof of it.

 

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“A 2010 research review found that forest environments promoted lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than city environments. [6]

Forest environments have been found to be advantageous with respect to acute emotions, especially among those experiencing chronic stress.[7]

Nature isn’t just good for you, we as a species need the trees and the bees in order to survive. The bees are our biggest pollinators. Thirty percent of our food crop depend on them to grow and ninety percent of our wild plants depend on them to flourish. That’s a tall order for those tiny bees wouldn’t you agree?

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And trees? They provide oxygen. It takes TWENTY-TWO trees to provide enough oxygen for one person. There are 7.442 BILLION people on earth. That’s a lot of trees. Now do you see why it’s important to have a love and respect for nature?

 

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So there you have it.  My view on some of the essential skills our kids will need to survive on a shrinking planet. Are there any vital skills I’ve missed? Share your thoughts!  I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Family, nature, Uncategorized

The Orchards at the Orchard and Thoughts on Saving the Bees

 

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you!  I’m back after an awesome Saturday spent at the Apple Orchard. Some of us moms got together and we took our sons to one that was close to home.

It was the perfect fall day. A crisp breeze blew our hair back, but it left us with that sharp, fresh cleanness that only a brisk wind can. The sun was out, but it didn’t take the chill away. It was perfect for playing games, hot cider, and donuts.

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We’re trying to get outside as much as we can before winter’s hibernation. The theory this year is we’re going to have a snowy one. According to one source, the Great Lakes are the warmest they’ve ever been and as a result we’re supposed to get more snow. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I’ve got my fingers crossed for snow days. I’m just as bad as my kids on that one. 🙂

We’ve been fortunate, these last two seasons have been awesome. We had that hot, steamy weather that I love in the summer, and because of it, we made some awesome memories at the lake. I witnessed some beautiful sunsets and some glorious starry nights.

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I’m awe-struck by the beauty of the Universe. Our Planet is amazing. I see it when I go on hikes or take my kids to the orchard, don’t you? I always take a minute to stop and breath in the crisp or humid air (depending on the season), then I take in the bright colors of autumn or the brilliant shades of the setting sun.

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I enjoy my hikes alone because I’m able to think about the stories I’m writing and solve plot issues, walking in nature does that for me.  But when we went to the orchard, I was glad I had the other moms with me. We got to bond and the boys deepened their friendship with each other. I’m grateful they’ve found some great friends, and I’m excited to see all of them grow up together. I hope they stay friends forever. 🙂

When I think about my boys and their friends and the future they may have, I wonder about what kind of world we’re leaving them. I hope we leave our kids with a healthy planet and not a dying one. We need to save the bees. Without them, there would be no apple orchards or wonderful autumn colors. Our plant life would die off, and trees would stop growing which means our oxygen supply is in peril.

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Did you know that honeybees and wild bees are the pollinators of the majority of the crops we eat? Out of 100 crop species that provide us with 90% of our global food supply, 71 are bee pollinated. Check out this article for more info http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/17/opinion/spivak-loss-of-bees/

What can we do to save the bees? We can plant flowers that aren’t contaminated by pesticides. We need to feed the bees so they can feed us. So we can enjoy our wonderful nature walks and all the pollinated fruits and vegetables they provide. Let’s leave the Earth a beautiful place for our future generations.

 

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. If you have any suggestions on what we can do to save the bees, leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

To check out some other Slice of Life Posts, click here.

 

Posted in Health, Slice of LIfe

A Slice of Life Post: Walking in Nature

 

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Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Slice of Life Post. I had an awesome weekend and I’m in a very positive frame of mind. I thought of something to make my last WIP stronger and I also worked out a plot issue with my current WIP. That’s always a good feeling, isn’t it?

The weather was fantastic this weekend and hubby is working hard on our basement. It’s shaping up very nicely and we’re getting excited about the prospect of having a place to go during the hot weather. There’s definitely a temperature change when we go downstairs!

I went for a walk on Saturday and Sunday. Nothing clears the mind like walking in nature. I solve plot issues that way and release tension. In fact, studies show walking in nature is a great way to deal with depression

 

 

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As I strolled down the road, enjoying the sun on my back a fawn stood to the side watching me. He must’ve seen me before I spotted him. He was calm as I approached, he wasn’t scared at all. In fact, he didn’t bound away until I was about five feet away. I reached out my hand to see if he’d come closer, but he didn’t. That’s the closest I’ve been to a fawn out in the wild.

 

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 I’ve heard this is a sign from a loved one that has passed. Whenever something like this happens, I want to believe it’s a message from my dad. I miss him a great deal, and it gives me comfort when I have a moment like this.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if it were true? I love the idea that there are relatives on the other side, watching out for me.

How about you? Do you have any moments you’d like to share? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

If you’d like to check out other Slice of Life Posts, click the link below:

Slice of Life