To “Beat” Cancer, Team Up With It?

Doctoring the Cancer STEM Cell (Dr. Bradford S. Weeks, M.D.) – Highlights from the video below: Cancer is the messenger to let you know you have systemic toxicity in the body. Cancer tumors are a healing gesture of the body. Don’t kill the messenger and leave the underlying cause. Tumor shrinkage is not the way to tell if you are “beating” the cancer. Know the difference between cancer tumor cells (the messengers, NOT the enemy) and cancer STEM cells. Only the cancer STEM cells metastasize. Chemotherapy and radiation reduce tumor cells but cause cancer STEM cells to proliferate. You must address toxins (mental, emotional, physical), enhance the immune system, address nutrition, reduce the tumor cells (the symptoms of the underlying problem), and re-educate the cancer STEM cells. Four questions you need to ask your oncologist in order to optimize your care.

More lectures and info from Dr. Weeks here

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cancer-killers

Cancer Killers, by Sayer Ji and Ben Lerner – Excellent beginners book on the topic of how cancer works and how to heal it in the body. Easy, short read. Very much in line with Dr. Weeks’ lecture above.

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Oncology Nurse Quits After Discovering Nutrition Heals Cancer (Chris Wark of chrisbeatscancer.com interviews Valerie Warwick, R.N.) – Highlights from the video below: This nurse wants you to know you do have choices outside of toxic chemo and radiation and left her job in conventional oncology to coach cancer patients on successful options.

Resources Valerie shares here

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The Power of Nutrition in Seeds – SOUL, CORE, and FORM (Dr. Bradford S. Weeks, M.D.)
Highlights from the video below: We usually discard seeds from our fruits, but there is a tremendous amount of nutrition and anti-inflammatory benefits in seeds. Dr. Weeks discusses ways to get seed nutrition in your daily diet to fight inflammation (hint: don’t throw out the avocado pit or the watermelon seeds!) and shares about the benefits of Rain International’s products that make it easy to do so.

Handout from the talk available here
 More of Dr. Weeks’ lectures and handouts available here

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She Healed Stage 4 Breast Cancer with Nutrition in 1982 and Went on to Win the Iron Man (Chris Wark of chrisbeatscancer.com interviews Ruth Heidrich, phD) – Highlights from the video below: Listen to the vibrant, almost 80-yr-old Ruth Heidrich tell her story of joining a cancer trial of healing with nutrition. She thrived on a vegan diet and has lived healthfully the rest of her life. (I agree a vegetarian or vegan diet is a great approach to take when working hard to reduce inflammation, but I personally am not against meat in small portions in general.  You should definitely focus on lots of organic, non-GMO leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits as the bulk of your diet. If you do eat meat, it *must* be pastured, grassfed meat with no antibiotics, hormones, preservatives, etc.)

More about Ruth Heidrich here

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The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest, Part 1

The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest, Part 2

More info on The Truth About Cancer series here

Byenveni lakay nou – Welcome to our home

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I sit at my computer in an alcove that looks out four windows.  I see tall golden grass waving in a meadow and the top-heavy seed heads of weeds swaying just above. A wall of winter green juniper trees lines the meadow and performs as a backdrop for the golds and browns.  Just above, the clear blue expanse of a cloudless, winter sky.  This is my world.  What about yours?  Take a moment and quietly look up.  Look around.  What do you see?  Make a mental note of the beauty around you.  The things and people that make your surroundings “home.”

11313115_10153432174922502_4654066364066136340_o (1)From my home perch in middle Tennessee, my mind wanders up above the juniper trees, into the blue, blue sky and travels southeast … to a place far away.

Come with me?

Past the eastern Smoky Mountains jutting up into the sky, south over the dripping mossy trees of Georgia, down through muggy sun-drenched Florida, skimming the blue waters of the Bahamas, sideswiping Cuba, and swooping down low onto the island of Hispaniola. We are aiming for the western portion of the island, the country of Haiti.  We land on the northern coast of Haiti in Cap-Haiten.

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The world tells us Haiti is a poverty-stricken, sometimes violent, disease-ridden land with a string of political crises, shattered further by the 2010 earthquake, the scars still visible with millions homeless and living in shacks or on the streets, as orphans and refugees in their own country.  This is true.

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And yet, in spite of the challenges, there is something about the people of Haiti, especially the children, that tugs at my heart.  I follow several organizations that work on the ground in this country.  Some offer a home to orphans and displaced children.  Some offer a place for the needy to get meals and schooling. Some offer a safe birthing facility for Haitian women to bring their babies into the world and training to care for their families.  Others offer medical care for the sick or training to bring the gospel of hope and life.  So much need, but so much good. Do you know what I see when I look at the pictures of Haitian people posted by each of these organizations?  You tell me.  What do you see?

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A light of joy in their eyes and smiles as big as the sunshine.

Delight and sometimes a bit of shyness at having their photo taken.

A childlike humility.

And color all around them
… bright yellow, turquoise, melon, lime, orange, pink …
that lifts your spirit.

Come with me and visit one home in Haiti.  We’ll leave the Cap-Haitien coast and travel inland less than half a mile as the crow flies to a property that is surrounded by an 8-foot concrete security wall. The wall was just recently repaired with donations that put six Haitian men to work and helped them provide for their families while also securing a safer place for the children who live in this complex.  Welcome!  You are at the Cap Haitien Children’s Home.

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As you come through the gate, you are sure to be welcomed by a young American couple named John and Jessica Marble. They’ve been at the CHCH for about two years.  They came and learned “The Haitian Way,” a different culture and a whole new language (Creole).  In turn, they spend time loving the children, earning their trust, and walking out an example of Christian living.

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Also visiting at this time is my cousin, Briana Lane, who lived in Haiti for 10 years of her childhood while her family worked as missionaries.  She has her own family now, but continues to work for the CHCH from her home in Ada, Oklahoma, along with her parents, my Uncle David and Aunt Sarah.  I give her a big hug and introduce you.

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In addition to John and Jessica, the American Administrators, you will meet around 15+ Haitian staff members while you are here, including a man who functions as assistant director, several house parents, security guards/gate guard, nannies who help with the youngest girls, and school teachers.

And then the children who call the CHCH home: twenty-three orphans live here; the youngest is age 6 and the oldest is age 18.  Several other children live at or are connected with the CHCH through special situations (e.g., one is mentally disabled and the CHCH supports that child in a relative’s home; others are being supported while they go to trade school).  So who are these children? Come and meet some of them!

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Here they are looking serious, all dressed and ready for school:

12010735_935656429833775_3619378999211206918_oBack Row (L-R) – Emanette, Daelle, Angelove, Babylove, Lisna, Wenchy, Davilma, Niki, Daslo; Front (L-R) Lovemida, Lourde-Jina, Izarak, Fritz-berly, Christela, Shinalove

11072893_935656796500405_3937393353266018245_o    Gaelle, 8th grade

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Max, 10th grade

12002386_935657133167038_8605421162495877240_oJephte, 7th grade

The children are so happy to have visitors. Izarak comes up and offers you a “Bonjou!” (if it’s still morning) or “Bonswa!” (if it’s afternoon).  You squat down in front of him and look into the eyes of a child who is content and secure and happy.  As you stand up, Gaelle insists she will help you learn Creole.  Jackenson bounces a basketball toward you with an invitation to play.  You are a bit overwhelmed but delighted with the welcome.  At mealtime, Wenchy shows you how to crack open a coconut for the first time. And at bedtime, you have a Bible study/Creole lesson with Rosemond.  What a full day.

Later, after the children are tucked in, we sit with Briana to visit and you ask about Izarak, the child who welcomed you at the gate. You find out he is not the child he was when he arrived at the CHCH. He was found sleeping in a church building, hungry and alone.  He had no place to go and no one to care for him.  So many children in Haiti suffer the fate of being alone on the streets, barely clothed, struggling to survive. Izarak was hungry and frightened when he arrived at the CHCH.  Your heart is sobered and you marvel as you recall his bright eyes and healthy body welcoming you today.  You thank God for the care and family that Izarak has now.

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“What of others here?” you ask. “Tell me their stories.”  You sit absorbing story after story, many including trauma. Not all of the children are complete orphans in the sense of having no extended family. All are orphans in the sense of needing care, though.

Briana explains, “We have all situations. We have children with one living parent, children who have extended family. Some were found on the streets or rescued from slavery. For some we don’t even have a birth certificate so we don’t know their ages.”

“What can you do for the children who come here traumatized?  The transition must be very difficult for them and you.”

Briana pauses before responding, “Yes, we may speak a different language and have cultural differences, but children all over the world need the same things: food, shelter, clothing, security, love and attention. Most importantly, children need to know about their loving Father and how to love Him back. The children that live at the CHCH have been through many difficult times. Though we don’t know some of their stories of how or why they came to us, we know that they need help with how to trust and depend on their caregivers to provide for their needs. As caregivers, we are trying to learn more about how to help these children who have experienced trauma in their lives.

“In April 2015, we had the opportunity to provide training to our house parents to help them understand and know how to meet the needs of traumatized children. It’s so important to understand that trauma affects brain development and how a child sees the world around them. One of the things we learned is that we can’t just get upset about their bad behavior, we need to help improve their roots by meeting their needs of safety, permanency, and well-being. Tanya Pirtle, the woman who provided the training said something that really stuck with me: ‘Our kids have a powerful story if they can learn how to overcome their trauma.’ That’s our goal. With God on our side, we can join together and help these children overcome.”

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Your heart leaps in your chest, “Amen. Can the children be adopted? Is there a need to find them forever families?”

Briana explains that after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Haitian adoption law changed drastically. “The CHCH is not a licensed ‘crèche.’ There are a limited number of these organizations in the country and unless you are on that list, children cannot be adopted from your orphanage. So technically, the CHCH is not an orphanage but a children’s home.”

Briana continues, “Being adopted is not an option for these kids because of the laws that were passed, so we are working to raise them in the best family we can offer them. We are also working very hard to raise them in culturally appropriate ways with Haitian parents so that we don’t raise them in a little slice of America and then send them out into a culture that is foreign to them. Whether the children who have extended family choose to go back to their remaining family or not is up to them. Sometime they do and sometimes they don’t. Our general assumption is that if they are with us, their family is unable to care for them, so our goal is to raise children who can care for themselves.”

You nod and respond, “I can tell the CHCH has put a tremendous amount of thought and heart into giving these sweet children a future.  What happens after they leave here?”

“Haitian law says that we cannot keep children older than 18 so we work with another mission called Emmaus House. When the children age out of our orphanage they move to the Emmaus House and there they finish their education and/or learn a trade. One of the girls I mentioned above was too far behind in school to go to the Emmaus House (6th grade at 18) so she chose to go to cosmetology school and we are supporting her through that.”

Briana reaches for a framed photograph on the shelf and says, “Here, let me tell you Ketlie’s story.”  She hands you the frame and you see a radiant black woman with her hair pulled back and a smile on her face.  She wears a black dress with a red geometric pattern and has one arm casually propped next to her.

ketlie“Ketlie is a wonderful example of the ‘later’ that we hope, work, and pray for. Ketlie came to the CHCH when it first started. Back then she was a very strong-willed little girl with a quick mind. She has grown up to be a Christian wife and mother to two sweet children. Her loving husband has many wonderful things to say about her.” Briana reaches for the frame, and says, “Here, flip it over to see his testimony of his wife.”

On the back you see a note taped and Briana translates: “Ketlie is a wise wife, kind mother, a good servant of God. Her past time in the orphanage was like complete food to develop her physical body. She received many tools to develop her character and help other young ladies.”

You smile. “Ah, I love it. Thank you for sharing her story.”  As Briana replaces the picture on the shelf, you ask, “So how can we Americans help?”

“Well, the CHCH is low in basically every way so there are lots of ways you could help.”

You grab the notepad and pen you brought and jot items down as she talks.

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“The main need is regular support. I’m sure there’s a more appealing way to say that. This would include child sponsors, the feeding program, and support for the general fund that pays our employees and keep the orphanage running. It’s much easier to get people to give a one-time gift for a specific project (which is needed as well), but we run a couple thousand under budget every month and have to scrape corners to get by. God always provides but we’re really trying to get that to a more comfortable level. Let me give you specifics:

1.
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We have a sponsorship program where each child has one or more sponsors who pay for the children’s monthly needs. Sponsorships are typically $30/month, but a total of $100/month per child is needed for elementary students and $150/month for secondary (7th-13th) students. Most of the children have multiple sponsors to help fund their needs.  Currently, we need sponsors for one girl ($50/month) and one boy ($80/month). Those can be divided between multiple sponsors or donated by one person.

With our program you can give whatever you are comfortable with. We have a little girl who gives $5 each month of her allowance to support one of the children. We also have older people on fixed incomes who do smaller amounts and then we have some people who send more than $200/month and support multiple children. We also have congregations that have small groups and those groups support a child.

Each child’s sponsorship is divided up to cover:

  • 55% for education (tuition, uniforms and school supplies)
  • 15% for personal (clothing, medicine, trips to the doctor, etc.)
  • 35% savings for emergencies or for when they leave CHCH to help them either continue their education or to help in the business they plan to work at

{If you’d like to commit to sponsoring a child, send a message for more info (child’s name, picture, age, etc.) via the Contact Us portion of the  CHCH web page or e-mail Briana at chchsponsor@yahoo.com.

Monthly sponsor donations can be made on the CHCH website by clicking the Donate button then putting in the Paypal “Purpose” line the name of the child you are sponsoring.  You can also contact Briana if you are interested in setting up an automatic bank withdrawal so you don’t forget to send your monthly contribution.}

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One popular way of giving is to donate food for a child each month (food is not included in the sponsorship described above). You can choose any amount to donate, but the chart gives you an idea of what your money goes for.  It’s a great way to get your own kids involved.  For example, your child could send $10/month, and every time they eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, they can know that they helped buy peanut butter for two children at the children’s home.”

{Donations can be made on the CHCH website by clicking the Donate button then putting in the Paypal “Purpose” line how you want to designate your funds.

You can also the Contact Us portion of the page if you are interested in setting up an automatic bank withdrawal so you don’t forget your monthly contribution.}

3.
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We have a general fund that pays for things like employees’ salaries, food, gasoline for the vehicles and generators, grounds maintenance etc. You can donate to the general fund ‘in general’ to meet the most pressing needs, or you can designate your funds to be used for something in particular like a current maintenance project (see below).

{Donations can be made on the CHCH website by clicking the Donate button then putting in the Paypal “Purpose” line how you want to designate your funds.}

4.
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As far as specific projects go, we are working on raising money for a pump system to help drain the water out of the orphanage yard. The orphanage is located almost right at sea level so when it rains, we flood. When it floods we have all kinds of trouble from the difficulties that come with having a foot of water in your yard to more specific things like the increase in mosquitoes and diseases (like malaria) that they carry. The pump project will cost around $2,000.

{Donations can be made on the CHCH website by clicking the Donate button then putting in the Paypal “Purpose” line how you want to designate your funds.}

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“Whew,” you blow out a small breath as you finish taking notes, “ You all are doing such valuable work here.  I can’t wait to get back and share with my family and friends about the children I’ve met and how we can help.”

We all decide to call it a night and before you settle in to sleep under mosquito netting, you breathe thanks to God for evidence of his love alive in people caring for orphans and giving children “a cup of water” in Jesus’ name.  “Your Word says they will certainly not lose their reward, Father.  Reward them abundantly, with strength and wisdom, and especially by sending more help for the Cap Haitien Children’s Home.  Stir up our hearts that we would joyfully and sacrificially partner with the CHCH to meet the needs of these children and those who work with them.  Empower the house parents to meet the emotional needs of the children. May the children overcome trauma they’ve experienced and truly have a powerful story to tell that glorifies you, dear Father!  We joyfully thank you for a HOME for these children and that we have had the opportunity to share in your unfolding story at the Cap Haitien Children’s Home.  For it is in the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen!”

* All photos belong to the Cap Haitien Children’s Home *

Our Favorite Books for Toddlers

littlemouseThe Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear

redbarnBig Red Barn

goodnightmoonGoodnight Moon

goodnightmoon123Goodnight Moon 1 2 3

fivelittlemonkeysFive Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

ladybugsTen Little Ladybugs

mothergooseThe Real Mother Goose Board Book

babyanimalsTouch & Feel Baby Animals

firstsignsFirst Signs (Early Sign Language)

mightymoversfarmMighty Movers: Farm

first100wordsFirst 100 Words

curious georgeCurious George Board Books

Oh, magnify the Lord with me!

“Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!” ~Psalm 34:3

Today, I’m thankful that as I abide IN Him and feast on thanksgiving, my heart and eyes see His glory everywhere …
in baby’s wide eyes and mysteriously voiced “wows,”
in contagious yawns, in cooking and serving,
in random pieces of life that suddenly link together,
in the whispers of soul names who come to mind for prayer,
in perfect timing,
in chance stops at antique stores,
in body fatigue that forces 2-hour naps,
in sudden revelations,
in slow smiles,
even in the swoosh of a dishwasher loaded with dishes that tell a story of happy bellies and a tired but thankful mommy and wife.

Chime in! How about you? “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!” ~Psalm 34:3

His praise shall continually be in my mouth!

“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth!” ~ Psalm 34:1.

Praises for today:

#1. a heavenly Father who delights in me, who loves me with an inexplicable love, He who is not only approachable but already near; He is here!

#2. the same Father who is holy and wise and generous

#3. the gift of a husband who is faithful, steady, dependable for his family

#4. the gift of precious children home with me all day (it feels good and right)

#5. spills and messes but no broken dishes

#6. the aroma of wholesome, simmering broth filling the house and seeping out of every crack to tempt the kitty on the porch

#7. piles and piles of laundry folding, hung, and put away

#8. an active baby up way too late giggling and trying to reach those just-folded clean clothes to ruffle them up again

#9. a surprise phone call from my long-distance mother and delightful plans for meeting up again

#10. anticipation of the Romans Project … memorizing Scripture that tells the story of life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit

#11. bubbling excitement of children looking forward to their first homeschool co-op day next week, including delights like crochet club for the girl and football for the boy

#12. darkness gathering outside like a soft blanket

#13. peace and joy reigning inside

He daily loads us with benefits {oh, yes!}

What’s on your plate for today? “Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits…” ~ Psalm 68:19.

He loaded me today with:

#1. morning snuggles in bed with three children and their giggles and kisses

#2. silvery, frosty, misty morning pierced with rays of sunshine

#3. a ridiculously good smoothie for breakfast

#4. a baby who in just a few short weeks runs for his little red Bible {used to be mine} after breakfast and hops up on the couch

#5. God’s word spread open on four laps as a girl practices her reading by sounding out “Jerusalem” and “power” and “heal” and “forgiveness”

#6. silly laughter and gasps as we later read another adventure of an outrageous pig

#7. wagon rides and walks on the farm with a little tyke who is wowed by a donkey, a kitty, goats, chickens, and a fluffy white horse of a dog

#8. a great relationship with my inlaws and growing better every day

#9. forgiveness and tears from a boy

#10. kitchen inspiration out of the blue

#11. mostly clean & organized laundry room

#12. my haven, our home

#13. peace

Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined-Sugar-Free Breakfast Recipes

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Grain-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free … that’s a mouthful!  I’m finding many friends who want or need to follow that diet regimen for health issues, though, and as we have found it doable, I am sharing my list of go-to and want-to-try breakfast recipes.  Most of the recipes are imported into Plan to Eat, where I organize and print my recipes.  Once you open the pdf (at the link below), you can click through to each recipe. Original sources with links are listed on each recipe (unless, of course, it’s my own recipe).

Grain-Free Breakfast Recipes
(pdf)

One of my goals was not to replace gluten breads with other high starch breads, so most of the breads (muffins, pancakes, etc.) are simply made with almond flour and/or coconut flour.  I also strive to include vegetables in our breakfast menu and fewer fruits, although we do make green smoothies that include fruit and juice fruit with our vegetables, too.

This list is years in the making, friends.  Lots of research and trial and error (bless my husband’s and childrens’ hearts) has gone into what ended up on our breakfast menu, but thanks to the good old Internet, like-minded friends, and Pinterest we have found some winner recipes for our family.  I hope you find some here for your family, too.