Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The West Pasture Gang

    Out in the pasture,  on the left of our house,  on our little farm, we have put our silly and sassy assortment of barnyard animals that I fondly call "The West Pasture Gang". Members are Rosemary, my pet sheep. She was the last lamb born last spring, and the smallest. The other lambs, larger, would butt her away from the food and water. Then she got sick so we put her in a pen by herself and fed her food with medicine in it. My husband said if she pulled through we would keep her as a pet and never sell her. She is very sweet and serves as a mother figure for the little goats.
    Then there is Harriette. The sheep we have are katahdins. They are a hair sheep-not wool-and are supposed to shed their hair each spring. Harriette has not shed her hair for two springs so no one has wanted to buy her. She's quite rotund and foul tempered, probably due to the fact that she has a large cocoon of hair around her middle. Handy in the winter but not so much in the summer.
    The other members are pygmy goats. The ring leader is Louise. Louise has a propensity for head-butting anyone in her vicinity. I would say she is doing it in order to protect her babies, Lola and Lynn, but she has been head-butting the other animals ever since she came. She's just mean.
    Then there is Thelma. She is the same age, 3, and size as Louise; and is the target for most of Louises's hard hits. I've been thinking that she was getting awfully independent because she's been staying away from the others. But she surprised us Easter evening by giving birth to a baby goat I've named Taylor. We didn't even know she was pregnant,
   Then there's Peggy. Peggy is younger and smaller than the others. She's a feisty little thing. She can usually be seen frolicking in the sun or standing on top of the doghouse begging me for animal crackers.
    Louis's two babies are Lola and Lynn. They had a brother but he died, so sad, They love to run and jump their 4 legs straight in the air. Right now they stick close to each other and close to their mother . Louise is a good mother and doesn't head-butt her babies.
    All of the gang, sheep and goats, love animal crackers. They can't get enough. Other than that, they live a simple life. The follow each other to the front of the pasture in the mornings and parade back to the fence closest to the barn around sunset for the evening and to sleep.
    What's the spiritual lesson in all this? Community. God made us to live in relationship, with Him, and with other people. No matter if people are mean, or different, or don't act like us, we should try to build a relationship with them. No matter if they're a different shape, a different color, or a different race, we are to love them.
"Owe nothing to anyone-except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God's law', Romans 13:8.
"And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows", I Thessalonians 3:12.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Mood Cure

    Last week was a bad week for me. I have been on a pain medication, Tramadol, for my back pain for two years. Tramadol is a synthetic, man-made, opiate-like drug that is not considered a controlled substance except in a few states. It has helped my back pain and enabled me to live my life again, along with a couple of other meds I take.
    My husband and I went to Kansas City the weekend a week ago, to an alpaca show. Stupid me either misplaced my Tramadol or it was stolen from the hotel room. And my pain management doctor  has a policy to not refill lost or stolen pills. So I was forced to stop the Tramadol cold turkey.
    It was horrible. I've had the flu and the shingles this year but this withdrawal made me sicker than both of those combined. I had sweating, insomnia, body pain, depression. The first few days I thought I was going to die. I tried to get in to see my PCP but couldn't get an appointment with her until this week. I began to think God was wanting me to get off of this medicine but I didn't know if I could.
    Then I remembered a book I read several years ago that had helped me, "The Mood Cure" by Julia Ross. I got it out and started reading it again. She is a psychotherapist and pioneer in the field of nutritional psychology. She has treated thousands of women and addicts in her clinic in SanFransisco.
Her program uses four mood-building amino acids that can be bought at any health food store, as well as nutritional supplements and a diet rich in good mood foods like protein, fats, and vegetables.
    So I started following the suggestions in her book and immediately started feeling better. Now, a week later, I feel better than I have in a long time. Tramadol had not only helped my back pain but it elevated my mood also.  After two years on it though, it had numbed me so that I couldn't feel anything. I couldn't cry no matter how much I wanted to. But yesterday I went in tears to the altar of our church to be prayed over by an elder. The tears wouldn't stop. It was so nice to have that release of sweet tears.
    Last week, I couldn't wait until I could get back on Tramadol. I was counting off the days until my next doctor appointment. Now, I'm going to try to stay off of it. I'm going to follow the program in "The Mood Cure" to elevate my mood so that I can handle the pain better. So far it's working and my mind feels clearer than it has in years. All glory goes to my Savior always.
     I'm not saying everyone needs to get off their pain meds for chronic pain. That med gave me my life back when I was in so much pain I couldn't function. And I may have to get back on it again sometime. But if anyone wants a natural approach to elevate their moods so they can handle life than check out "The Mood Cure" by Julia Ross.
"Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have a new life. So use your whole body
as an instrument to do what is right", Romans 6:13