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  • Writer's pictureJewel L. Mack

2020 The Year "FROZEN" in Time!

(Or at least is feels that way. When will it UNTHAW? Will it ever feel "normal" again?)

So much of what we all took for granted, changed when COVID-19 hit our lives. Jobs, school, church, family celebrations and most other things in our lives have not been the same since earlier this past year and we are going into 2021 not knowing how soon we will return to that "normal." And yet most things like births, deaths, marriages, graduations, etc. happened anyway; they happened differently, but they did indeed happen. The big question is how did/are you (myself included) coping, adjusting, navigating and maybe more importantly conquering the obstacles COVID-19 thrust you/me into without warning and with a vengeance?

I have mourned (in fact literally, when my 96 year old mother died and COVID-19 played a part) the many simple everyday pleasures that seem so out of reach for an unknown period of time. I mourn the loss of months and months of practicing as a licensed massage therapist. So much so that I have decided to suspend my license indefinitely due to continued COVID-19 restrictions that make it difficult for me to comply without hardship. But in this altered world we live in there have also been many wonderful surprises. I have learned to fall back on skills and training of year's past to jump into a new job market and even though I am working part time, and not at the same income level as before, it is indeed a blessing. Spending time with extended family through Zoom meetings and playing virtual family games (organized by me who generally hates playing games LOL), walks in the parks and trails, playing outside games with family like bean bags and such, has stretched my creative self (which believe me is limited at best, and non-existent much of the time) to make the best of a difficult situation.

More silver linings to this cloud of COVID-19 that has enveloped and covered humanity...

I finally got around to posting another blog post, which as you might have noticed is the first one since last year around this time! Yikes, even in a COVID-19 subjected year, life flies by so quickly. I spend more time in my daily devotions. I have finally taken the time to work on a promised granny square afghan for my daughter and it is moving along quite nicely! I am working vigorously on my aromatherapy certification course, which always seems to be put on the back burner because of perceived "more important" stuff that needs to be done. My point in sharing all this is...(insert drumroll please) COVID-19 has made me look at my life and inspired (well maybe forced) me to re-evaluate my time and resources and to make room for things that are important to me. It is my hope and prayer that you too have found ways to successfully navigate your Life and Health Journey in this altered universe we find ourselves in.

Some thoughts on how we can all navigate along the path of our life and health journeys. Try to eat as much unprocessed food as possible! I know this can be difficult, but the grocery pick up at your favorite grocery store whether an order/pick-up choice or a masked, socially distanced in-person one can still be filled with healthy choices. Variety in fresh veggies and fruits are harder to come by this time of year if you live in the colder climates of the United States but there are still frozen fruits/vegetables (with only the fruits/vegetable as the ingredient) available and are a good choice that still allows for the next best thing to fresh. And with soups and chili's calling our names during these brisk days of Fall and Winter,

frozen vegetables work great! Frozen fruits for homemade jams (canned or freezer variety) to spread on homemade bread or muffins and homemade pies are always a welcomed treat for our families. And if you were able to freeze some of your own surplus garden produce/farmer's market finds from this summer, all the more reason to use them up now. Or make a note to do that next summer. If you don't/can't have a garden, visit local farmer's market and buy extra when they are the cheapest and stock up your freezer for next winter.

Speaking of homemade bread, have you tried your hand at it yet? I invested in a two handled cast iron Dutch Oven and have been loving making homemade no-knead Artisan

bread in it. I also use my bread maker "dough" setting and then use my stoneware bread pans for the final rise or shape the dough in many shapes and sizes. This is great for homemade pizza crust too! There are no-knead quick breads, muffins, yeast breads, flat breads, no-yeast flat breads...the list is endless. Oh, and making bread the old-fashioned way from start to finish is a great workout when you come to the kneading steps. Everything tastes better with homemade breads. And with all the gluten free flours out there on the market now, even those with gluten allergies can indulge. The best part of homemade is no synthetic chemical and preservatives! Non-processed homemade foods mean much healthier foods are put on the table for your family to enjoy.

And since I mentioned synthetic chemicals, I have mostly "cleansed" my house of nasty chemical all-purpose cleaners, air fresheners, soaps and bath/beauty products. I will admit, however that in this COVID-19 world, I do have a few store bought necessities on hand to keep my family safe. But these are far and few between and used scarcely. Pure essential oils can help you use less synthetic chemicals in your home. Bought from trustworthy companies that offer you their GC/MS reports ON THEIR WEBSITES for any essential oils you buy from them is a must when buying/using essential oils. Replacing some of the products in our homes that have synthetic chemicals we don't need will help keep our homes and families healthy. Please check out the resources page on my website for two companies that sell pure essential oils that I highly recommend. You can also check my aromatherapy page for some examples of ways that I use essential oils to help our home smell wonderful and our house/laundry/bodies clean without harsh chemicals. Remember...essential oils are made up of chemical components too, and although straight from nature, they are to be respected for their potency and it is important that you pay attention to any safety and dilution protocols. Research all essential oils carefully before you use them on yourself or your family, especially children and pregnant women. There are contraindications and safety measures to be followed for all ages and specific ones for certain populations. The two essential oil companies, listed on my resource page, have a lot of great information to get you started that will help you make wise, informative choices when using essential oils.

I will close this post by praying you all have a wonderful and safe Christmas and Holiday Season. And maybe I will make one of those New Year's resolutions that include posting more! WAIT! I think I did that last year. Oh well, maybe I will do better this year. Remember...Life and Health is a Journey pursued by Mere Mortals but Ordained by God...Embrace the Journey!

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