to have Courage....In Family Life, In Spirituality, In Health, In Living Simply

I'm on a journey...... as we all are. Learning, remembering, re-discovering about health, spirituality, relationships, emotions and the mind.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Yesterday we had 3 of our favourite women come to visit us.........Grandma S., Aunty Joanne (from Cape Breton), and big sister Layne.  As a special treat Gaelyn and Mommy made challah.  The previous day we had read about Saskatchewan and growing wheat, and we read the book "From Wheat to Bread" and thought it would be a treat to share bread with our visitors.  Aunty Joanne loved to share challah with us when we prepared it for Shabbat in Cape Breton. 

So what?  if it wasn't Shabbat yesteday!!!!

But then Rauchelle called to say she would be visiting with us for the weekend. 

And viola!!!  Today it IS Shabbat, .......
and we have challah on the brain.  And thoughts of a twisted challah Rauchelle has been wanting to try since we made it in February while she was away in Manitoba.  But now..... there is Today.  Today we do the surprise challah for Rauchelle.

What's the surprise? 

Chocolates tucked into it. 

I know!  I know!!  I'm always tooting the 'healthy eating' horn.  But, I live it up sometimes too. 

And I LOVE Chocolate!

So here Toveli and I snuck in Reese's Pieces and Peanut Butter Cups. 

And what did Rauchelle think of all of it????

She thinks its Delicious.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Night Eating Syndrome

Paul Nison in 'The Daylight Diet'

"The addiction of late-night eating has grown to be a universal
epidemic. Scientists now believe Night Eating Syndrome (NES)
affects up to 27 percent of obese people, and roughly 1.5 percent
of the general population. (From my observation, it seems more
like 95 percent of the population.) It’s so enormously widespread
that it’s now officially a “mood disorder,” which, in my opinion, trivializes
the problem and relieves the patient of any control over
his condition. The patient can now accept the doctor’s diagnosis,
believing any solution is out of his control and absolving him of
any personal responsibility for his problems. This produces fear
and stress in the patient, resulting in further late-night bingeing.
Then doctors prescribe drugs to treat the issue and not the cause,
and, on top of that, the doctor says food must be taken with the
drugs, creating even more overeating.
To make matters even worse, doctors are now implying that
NES is hereditary. Well, yes and no. If the whole family has the
same eating pattern, then they will all suffer from similar diseases.
To a doctor, that may be “hereditary;” in my opinion, it’s a
lifestyle-related condition.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Confused over Eggs?

I stand baffled, in front of a stack of egg cartons wondering what type I should by.  The choices used to be white or brown in a variety of sizes, but now its Omega-3 Enriched, Free Range, Organic, Free Run, etc.  What's the difference between them all?  Are they really what we think we are getting?  When we purchase Organic do we believe that we are buying eggs from animals that were humanely treated and got some fresh air like a hen in nature would have?  What the heck is the difference between Free Range & Free Run?  Is there a difference? They suggest the same thing, don't they?

I'm still not clear on all of this, but this is what I've come up with:

Organic  To be labeled 'Organic' the hens must be fed a special feed having its ingredients grown without pesticides, herbicides and commercial fertilizers. 

Vegetarian :  These hens are fed a special feed containing ingredients of plan origin only.  Absolutely no animal by-products.

Omega-3 Enhanced : These eggs come from hen's that were given 10-20% flax in their feed, which results in the eggs being higher in omega-3 fatty acids than the conventional eggs.  Omega-3 is considered good for your heart.

Vitamin-Enhanced : As expected, these eggs come from hens that are fed a nutritionally enhanced diet, believed to result in higher nutritional value in the eggs.

Free Range : The hens have access to nesting boxes, open floor space, perches and even outdoor runs.

Free Run : These hens are allowed to roam freely in a barn or other enclosed facility.

Some claim there is no nutritional difference between organic eggs or any other kind, but studies show otherwise.  And if we are what we eat, then hens might be also!  We know that diet in humans greatly influences the health of eggs and sperm, so why wouldn't diet also affect the eggs of hen?

Here's two links to other articles about Eggs & the nutritional value/differences in the competing types.

Mother Earth News
Systemic Abuses in Organic Egg Production

We don't eat much meat at our house, but we do eat quite a few eggs.  We use them raw in smoothies, or fry them up for a Spanish Omelet, or have hard-boiled along side our salads.

We found a decent price since we moved.  From the local farmer they are $3.50 a dozen, or 3 for $10.  Unfortunately, hens don't lay as well with shorter hours of daylight so the supply isn't up during the winter.  (But this is also the time of year we eat lots of root veggies (yes, cooked!!) so that gives us variety with our raw meals until the hens lay more generously in the warmer and longer days in spring.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Class/Grade IV Cancer STINKS

I'd heard of stage 4, as in the last stages of cancer before one is expected to die.

But I hadn't heard of Class IV or Grade IV.

I enter a whole new arena, from a (unfortunately) personal position.  It isn't just somebody I know or have heard about.  It is my brother. My brother has Class IV brain cancer.
David with his wife and their sons.

Well, this isn't the first time cancer has touched our family.  My father had skin cancer, but it wasn't a big concern, and it was heart failure that took him (22 years next month!).  And my paternal Grandma (whom I didn't know) died of cancer.

The most involved I've been with a cancer patient was when Everette's Dad was diagnosed with colon cancer just over 5 years ago.  They figured he'd have about 2 years to live.  We buried him in 3.5 months.  And during those months we dropped most of our family projects (we were doing major landscaping) in favour of spending as much time with him as we could.  And when things suddenly turned for the worst we were so glad we hadn't banked on the two-years-we-didn't-get.  Danaka and Rauchelle had spent the last week staying with Grandma & Grandpa, memories they can always hold on to, knowing they were loving on them with their presence,  a held hand, a sip of water offered, a needed hug.

I believe in instantaneous and progressive miracles.  I do.  I've seen them.  My husband has been a part of them.  I WANT ONE NOW!!!  Yes, I'm yelling that.  My insides are screaming for that!  I WANT MY BROTHER HEALED!!!

Born on Christmas Day, next year we will be celebrating David's 50th Birthday.  It shall be a BIG CELEBRATION.  I say that in Faith for a great outcome.

Tumor grade

The grade of a tumor refers to how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly the tumor is likely to grow and spread. Cells removed by biopsy are used for grading. The following grading system may be used for adult brain tumors:

Grade I
The tumor grows slowly, has cells that look similar to normal cells, and rarely spreads into nearby tissues. It may be possible to remove the entire tumor by surgery.

Grade II
The tumor grows slowly, but may spread into nearby tissue and may become a higher-grade tumor.

Grade III
The tumor grows quickly, is likely to spread into nearby tissue, and the tumor cells look very different from normal cells.

Grade IV
The tumor grows very aggressively, has cells that look very different from normal cells, and is difficult to treat successfully.                            (from

I wish I had never had to know that.  I wish I didn't even know that Class IV existed.  Sometimes naivety seems more comfortable.  But that's not my option.  Unfortunately.

I know I will have much to learn as we walk this part of our journey.  Learn some things about cancer and health and the medical system.  But more than that, we have much to learn about relationships, about supporting one another in spite of personal view points, about patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, etc.....and self-control.  About forgiveness, about gentle answers turn away wrath, about preferring one another above ourselves.  Tough life lessons.

And about letting go.  Hopefully, we don't need to let go of David because hopefully he's stuck with us for a very long time.  But I probably have lessons to learn about letting go of my ideals, agendas, etc.

Class IV Cancer STINKS!!!!  but the lessons that surround it will be priceless.  This I do know.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gum Removal in Action

Everette is doing Gum Removal plus sanitizing almost anything with a European machine.  You can check out his website at  but here I've enclosed a really short video Mitchell took and Everette uploaded to YouTube.

It really is That Easy!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sale over at Upaya Naturals

I love Upaya Naturals for healthy and some raw foods.  And if you haven't checked them out, now is a good time to.  Just click on the banner on the right side of this blog and my affiliate link will take you to their site.

Yes that's right EVERYTHING in the store will be 10% off!
Their Customer Appreciation Special is ONLY available on orders placed from now until Sunday October 24th 11:59pm EST. While quantities last.*

To receive 10% off:

Coupon Code: UPAYA10
(all capital letters,no spaces- enter this coupon code into the appropriate section of your order to receive 10% off . Coupons cannot be applied after order has been placed- no exceptions)
Ready, Set Go!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Crunchy Minimalist

Come visit me over at my new blog Crunchy Minimalist.

....where I'll try to keep it more on-topic, covering being a Crunchy Mama and the Minimalist Lifestyle.

I enjoy writing here at Be En-Couraged more like a memoir ~ whatever is going on in my life and whatever is interesting me at the moment.  So I'll keep it going.  I enjoy sharing about my life & what's happening with my children, and the good photos some family member occasionally captures.

But do come over to Crunchy Minimalist for a visit, and leave a comment.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Meet the Teacher

The childrens' teacher Miss Mac came to meet us for the first time, and as you can gather from the picture she was warmly welcomed by the children, and they enjoyed her reading stories and showing her some of the school-y type of stuff they've done recently.  It's been quite an adjustment going from unschooling to trying to do some school stuff to jump the hoops of being enrolled and having funding available to pay for some educational expenses.

Unbeknown-est to busily-reading Miss Mac was that Laars, sitting behind her, started to spit/blow bubbles and was fascinated at how they looked in the rays of sunshine coming thru the window!!

We fessed up later.  She had a good laugh.  All is well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Say No to GMO (video)

This text will be replaced by the player

Monday, October 18, 2010

Whiffen Spit

An actual place name;  popular for a walk here in Sooke.  It appears as though its more popular to walk dogs than to take children though.  But Gaelyn was able to tell basically every person that was walking their dog that it was a 'Cute Dog' (even if it wasn't cute to the rest of Banjo, hey Layne?)

Laars is NOT a walker.  He always wants to hitch a ride.  He'd rather pick flowers, but the rest of the gang is always walking too fast for him to enjoy the flowers to his hearts content.

Laars' find was an acorn and a little carrot.  Mama said 'Yuck' about the carrot so he traded it in for a rock.

Hey, I lost my shoe!!!

                           'Twas a beautiful walk. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Impromptu Art Show

The doorbell rings.  Who would it be, in the dark, no lights on outside, and we don't really know anybody around here?

It's a travelling door-to-door salesman selling original oil paintings!  With a cute accent.  (I'm a sucker for accents.  This one is Israeli.  I love Israeli accents.)  Everette invites Ille (or something like that) in with his art package.

He rushes in with his big bundle and plops himself confidently in front of the gas fireplace.  He's certainly not shy, not one bit.

The children gather around on the newly arrived couches (Everette just picked them up this afternoon from his sisters.  Ahhh, we are relieved to be off of the floor finally!  Numb-bum has been a constant for 2 weeks now).

Voila!  Our living room is morphed into an impromptu Art Show.

We are told of some of the techniques used with the oils, the rubbing off, the tools (to apply and/or remove).  We feel the texture.  Marvel at the vibrant colours.  Recognize some of the famous painters they are trying to 'copy'.  Van Gogh, Picasso.  We see Jerusalem.  Paris.  Venice.  Tour d'France. Fields of poppies.  Ancient pottery.

All so beautiful.  The depth created by layers and colours.  The play with shadows.

The children loved it.  Up close and centre.  What a treat.

And I snuck some photos.

Most of the children liked the flower pictures

Inspired by Picasso

Field of Poppies was one of Gaelyn's favorites and looked great on our wall at the bottom of the stairwell.

Looks too much like Thomas Kinkade pictures.  Not my favourite artist at all.

A 'Van Gogh' look-alike

My personal favourite.  I was tempted to purchase this one, but chose to buy groceries for the littles instead.  Was a tough decision, though.   

Friday, October 15, 2010

Non GMO Shopping Guide

Months back we rented 'Food, Inc', a highly recommended documentary on how much of our food stuffs are being handled, and the control that the Big Guys are trying to impose on the farmers raising our foods.  It's not Business as Usual.  And after talking to one of my cousins who is an Organic Farmer in Saskatchewan, he verified that what is talked about in Food, Inc is most definitely happening.  There is much pressure, blackmail, etc happening to our farmers to produce foods in ways that are neither natural nor healthy for us, our animals nor the environment.

Anyways, whether we like it or not, there are already genetically modified foods in our supermarkets and likely in our cupboards.  What are GMO foods?  GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms.  They are made by forcing genes from one species of life (ie animals, bacteria, etc) into the DNA of a food crop or another animal in order to introduce a new trait to the host.  In other words, its mixing genes between different life forms.  So you could be getting pig genes within the DNA of your carrots.

And the reasons you want to avoid GMO foods is because "The American Academy of Environmental Medicine reported that 'Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food' including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system."

If you aren't yet sure how to shop and avoid these foods, here's a link for a guide to help you become informed and make wise choices with your dollars spent.

Non-GMO Shopping Guide.

The #1 foods to avoid are soy, corn, canola and cottonseed, followed by Hawaiian papaya, and some zucchini and yellow squash.   But be aware that even if the animals themselves are not GMO's, the food that they are fed might be.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Bouquet

Out with the boys in the backyard to swing, dig in the sand, and teach Anders to throw frisbee, and I couldn't help but bring some flowers into the house.  Thanks to Anders for helping mommy cut the beauties.

'Twas a better picture for the day than the one of Laars' fingernail as today he lost his second one.  We were grossed out as it hung precariously from a little piece at the base, but he lost it somewhere's in the house today.  I think I like the looks better now with no nail, then the loose one pried up at a 45 degree angle waiting for its final accidental tug to disengage it.  Glad its over.  Like I said, the flowers are a prettier sight.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

7 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About Me

1.  My feet went from about a size 8 to a 9-9.5 shoe due to pregnancies, and have not returned to their previous size.  I somehow did not read about this Hazard in the Pregnancy Literature.

2. I won the Elementary School Top Student Award in Grade 7 (Teachers Pet) and received an S badge and a coffee table book on Photography.

3. I begged my dad for a new 10-speed bike and received one over the summer, to have it stolen by October.  I swear I locked it up at the school bike rack!

4. I get faint at the thought of needles, and have been dragged across the gymnasium floor after getting a shot, and once I fainted at the medical clinic (after getting a few tubes of blood taken) when I needed to use their telephone to call home and get some pertinent information.  When I went down, so did the nurses stack of files and papers ;)  I can deliver a baby no problem, just don't prick me!

5. I no longer believe that hell is an eternal place. 

6. I think that a woman's breasts are fascinating.

7. I still don't bake with raisins, but I am more likely to eat your baking with raisins in it than I used to.  I was so adamantly against raisins in any type of food that when Everette once snuck 1 lonely raisin into my morning oatmeal,  the moment my mouth identified the foreign object it was propelled across the table to my astonished husbands chest. 

Monday, October 11, 2010


(Us Canucks are celebrating Thanksgiving.......
Always anxious to eat turkey and pumpkin pie, we cant wait until November to celebrate.)

I love this time of year, not for the rain and cool weather we have, but for the warm sunny days that you don t sweat in, and the colours of the autumn leaves (more incredible in Cape Breton than BC, I must admit), and the crunch of them under your feet.

Autumn colours are my favourite colour schemes.  So warm, and earthy and serene.

Its a perfect time for making "Mrs. Johnson" soups that simmer away on the stove-top for the morning.  Warming body and soul.  Or making a pitcher of raw Hot Cocoa, a glorified & chocolatified (just made that one up) almond-milk.  And sitting on the couch all snuggled up under blankets and bodies and enjoying the read-aloud book with my little darlings.

And cool nights sliding between cotton sheets, seeking out the warm body of my husband to calm my shivers.

Ahhh.  I love Autumn.  For This I Am Thankful.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Doing Something Wrong

"When we do something wrong, 
we downplay our mistake as best we can.
When we are the ones who are wronged, 
we exaggerate the offense."
  ~by Marla Taviano in "From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Musical Pillows

When you don't have chairs

but you want to have a Fun Family Night

what do you do?

Pull out the stack of Pillows

Plug in the music, and.....

 Layne danced her way around the pillows, and amazingly was one of the last players still in at the end of each round!!
 We all had a hoot, and it was a great way to end our week with Layne, having so much fun!
                           And what do you do if your sister Maret gets the final pillow?????


Thursday, October 7, 2010

The DrySteam Team

 Everette is part of The DrySteam Team--a business on south Vancouver Island committed to cleaning and sanitizing while caring for our environment.

There is such versatility to this commercial machine, and all of the cleaning is done with high temperature steam (5% humidity) and non-toxic cleaners.  Check this out!!

The wad of gum is directly below the wire brush.
While power-washing floods the walkways with water and still can't remove the old wads of (black) gum, The DrySteam Team can clean up quickly.  Although aggregate helps blend the gum in to its surroundings, your customers still see it speckling their walk into your place of business. 

But in just seconds and without puddles of standing water, we basically dissolve the gum and remove it from your premises.

See below how the white paint that was rubbed onto a red Durango in a Too-Close Encounter is efficiently removed without any damage to the vehicle paint.

white scrapes

No more Scrapes
 Many places are washing their tiles, but whose paying attention to dirty and unsanitary grout lines?
When they are totally disgusting some unlucky person might get down on their hands and knees and wear out their backs, knees and arm muscles trying to scrub those lines clean.
 But look how clean The DrySteam Team gets these grout lines with no body pain!
Mattresses and furniture can be sanitized to kill mold, mildew, dust mites and bed bugs (and their eggs) On Contact!! 

Allergies Be Gone!! 

And get the Good Night and Sleep Tight (and don't let the bed bugs bite) that you deserve.

The DrySteam Team works on both Commercial and Residential premises.  We can help you schedule a maintanence plan so your customers are assured of a clean environment when they do business with you. 

For further information please check out or call Everette at 778.977.0418

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Project 333 and How Minimalism is Shaping Up in our Closet

My new-fangled trend is to become a minimalist.  I think its more than a trend.  Its a new way of life we unknowingly ventured into 3 years ago when we left house and island for our cross-country adventure. 

It seems like at every new turn we are unloading more and more stuff.

But now we have a big house, fairly empty still although there are 10 of us in here (Layne is visiting).  Little furniture is making it uncomfortable in the living room with just some pillows and blankets we call 'the couch'.  But we are managing.

Taking a break from all the school stuff I've been busy with over the past few weeks, I checked out some of my favourite minimalist sites and was thrilled to find the Project 333.  When I read about it, I got excited to join in, and then a bit of panic rushed through my veins when I thought I'd have to pack away some of my stuff.

Project 333 is about restricting your wardrobe to just 33 items for 3 months, Oct 1- Dec 31.  That includes footwear, winter gear, etc.  Box excess stuff up, and put it out of sight for 3 months.  And at the end of the Project one might (easily) find that they don't even need the boxed items anymore!!

So, I checked out my closet and discovered (ahhhhh) I already had less than 33 items there.  So......I get to keep them ALL!!

 Added to what's in the picture would be 1 winter jacket, 1 wool jacket, 1 winter hat, a pair of driving gloves.
 If I had other things to pack up and put away, I wouldn't have my sandals here.  But I don't have things to put away so I'm leaving them out.  I also have 1 pair of runners I'm using, but no boots at the present time.
 I only own 1 purse.
 Up on the top shelf (see pic below) on the far left is this stack of 2 pairs of jeans (and 1 belt) for my next size DOWN from where I'm at.  I've gone from a size 14-16 to an 8 since Dec 2009..  I bought myself some size 6 jeans at Value Village so I've got them 'stored', along with a dress I bought in Quebec City for Layne's wedding (that Was Not!).  I'm keeping it for living in Mexico or Ecuador!

Beside that is some of the boys' out-of-season clothes.
 The Plastic box has my lingerie & 4 pairs of socks in it.  The next shelf down is Anders' clothes (he has a bit in the laundry) and Laars' clothes are on the bottom shelf.  Their socks and underwear are together on the floor.  Right above my purse and beside my shoes are 2 of the boys' sweaters.

Also not pictured are my 2 rings (other than wedding rings) my pendant and 1 set of silver earrings.

I believe my count is 31, including the pieces of jewelry and other non-pictured things I mentioned above.  That's without doing anything to my wardrobe.  I'm delighted!!

And then the other side of this big walk-thru closet.......
Some Bibles and tallits on the top shelf, along with an empty iron box and about 4 pairs of shorts/swimwear.
The lower shelf is folded t-shirts and sweat shirts, a couple pairs of pants and a box with his socks and underwear.  He's really pared down, too.

I know its past the Start Date, but if you are interested in joining in, here's the rules:

Original rules

  • When: October 1 – December 31 (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
  • What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring, underwear, sleep, in-home lounge wear,  and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)
  • How: over the next two months, outline your 33 items, by the 1st of October, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of site.
  • What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. If you purchase items for project 333, stick with the one in, two out approach. Consider the essentials and stick to 33.
 This post isn't just about the Project 333.  I've taken the opportunity to show pics of how its looking for us now that we are in our own house and seeing that we really have pared down on our things.  In future days I hope to show pics of more areas of the house and show how we are minimalizing the stuff in our lives.
I'd love to hear if you join in. Leave a comment below, and let me know how you approach this challenge.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Update on My Brother

Head shaved, he went into surgery this morning, confident that all would go well.

And so it did.

Although they weren't able to remove all of the cyst, nor all of the tumour things are looking good.  Drugged for the mean time, he is recovering well.  Slowly but surely he will return to active life.  This is what we proclaim.

Thanks to all Well-wishers and Pray-ers.  It is all appreciated.

We give thanks for many things, but particularly for the Blessings of Family & Friends and our Health.

Thank You, God.  You are Always Faithful.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Our New House

The yard is backed by greenspace with deer and bear.  Almost every day some of the children challenge the steep bank and the local bears to venture down to the creek which empties into the nearby Sooke River.

The van would be parked in the garage because there's lots of space.....but it's too tall!   Unlike most of the neighbours whose open garage doors display an abundance of stuff with nowhere to park their vehicle inside. 

Crazy North Americans.

Sunday, October 3, 2010