12 Apr

Life’s Toolbelt


Stop for a moment and consider your life and how it begins. We come into this world with nothing and leave with nothing too although we are a race of accumulators.
Consider what we gather over a lifetime, money, cars, houses, friends, lables, awards… The list is long.
Let’s also consider the invisible things, baggage from failed relationships, good and bad memories, guilt, egos, promises, love and pain.
As we travel the journey of life we collect our tools and useful things from parents, teachers and friends.
From a parents perspective I look at this differently than some may so let me explain why.
I carefully consider this as the mom of an adult daughter and a teenage son, I’ve been there and am there again.
There are 10 years between them and my how quickly times change.
Every parent thinks of things they’d do different and I’m not alone.
My daughter was pegged “gifted” early on by a teacher, she is artistic, creative and deeply thoughtful and quiet she got good grades, was beautiful and teachers knew who she was.
She began kindergarten as scheduled and by 2nd grade was put in “enrichment”, and graduated on time. She blossomed and sailed forward, she is now a mother and I learn from her, she is an amazing person.piumini moncler outlet
Move forward 10 years, my son went to Pre-K, then Kindergarten, pause here, he also is creative and a deep thinker, and very active. This was a far different experience, he was pegged early as “busy” and it followed him, every teacher complained, he doesn’t pay attention, he daydreams, disrupts class, it was pretty clear where we were going.
By the 4th grade his teacher was so clearly biased on his behavior and unwilling to help. He was clearly the one suffering, I had to do something.
I was given the tool of persistence and know how to use it.
So I set out to learn about what was happening and how to help him. He was clearly not happy, his self esteem so low, being picked on and left out I could see what was happening.
Both of my kids got open table discussions from me at home and we have honest conversations. I was getting feedback from him that coincided with what I was hearing from his teachers and other teachers who observed what was happening and called me to warn me.
I tried to follow the channels in place to get support but the channels were broken. I dutifully took him to Neuro Pediatric specialists who gave the ADHD diagnosis, I foolishly believed this was the way to go. Even the diagnosis wasn’t enough to get immediate help and he was suffering. One individual flat out refused to look at it and said we’d revisit the placement of a 504 plan for him, but next year was a long way off.
Enter cyber school and the rest is history. I found a team who did want to help, who cared and wanted to teach him. I didn’t have to beg, the support was there. I began to realize that I was not the only parent watching this happen in the current school system, I was surrounded by people with similar stories. it is a cookie cutter system that some just don’t fit into, sadly many don’t have the options in my house.
Homeschooling was a pretty unpopular choice back then, I knew only one person who chose this, but one was more than none and that was all I needed. We’ve done this for 5 years now and it works.
Nowadays he is older and in high school so we have more one on one time to talk. And of late since our lifestyle has slowed and changed so different things go on at out house. My illness made it so that I needed his help, had to teach him how to do household tasks, cook and more, it has been a blessing to have him here.
So part of what we do weekly is watch educational videos and TED talks as a conversation starter. We talk medical, scientific, nature, nutrition, history and more…. It’s not so much the topics but the teachability of the things that come up.
The freedom we have to mold him one on one to follow an authentic life is one of the things I treasure most and the thing I’d like to redo with my daughter. 
I consciously think about his tool belt and make conscious decisions to put things there.
Kindness, humility, servitude to others, curiosity, responsibility, a relationship with God, respect, an understanding of nutrition and keeping a healthy body, good habits and a loving countenance.
He was allowed to use his own saved money to buy a tractor, an old Farmall H that needed some TLC. It has been almost a year since then, and I could not have dreamed with the world’s best teachers the lessons he learned.
The discipline and maturity were first, he had to seek out people who knew about the mechanics of it and learn whatever he could to make it work. He learned about money, he worked and saved to get parts and have repairs done. We did no favors and allowed him to get frustrated (just ask him) and find solutions.
These are tangible skills… He isn’t slaying aliens in a video game with planned outcomes, this is trial and error.
There is no medal for everyone at the end of the game, his prize is a tractor that runs and it all depends on the effort he puts in. 
He learned things like respect, patience, perseverance, communication, gratefulness, humility, things he will use in real life.
He learned mechanical procedures, the people who donated time to help him all brought knowledge to share. He had to listen to sage advice and do his own research, combine the two and find solutions to problems.
So I will leave you now with some points to consider.
Mike Rowe recently came out speaking about and entire generation without laymen skills, without builders, farmers, mechanics, laborers what kind of world will it be?
All the techie stuff doesn’t fix it, build it feed or make it, does it?
The debt for college students is incredibly high and the employment rate is low, is this working? Who is paying for this?
The median age of today’s farmer is 59 years old, who will feed us?
Today’s schools are becoming political and unsafe, shootings, stabbings, prescription drug problems, unethical teachers… all you have to do is read the news.
In my 26 years of parenting I have watched it decline and change, there are sad realities.
I am one voice, one person, not a genius, not the best at anything except knowing and loving my children. And so are you my friend, you know best for your children, don’t forget that.
This is the main reason why my son does his cyber school classes and his homework and then is free…
Free to learn with his hands, to be dirty, to embrace the world and drink in the lessons. Yes he has work to do, the barn requires attention and animals depend on him. I cannot think of a better way to teach parenting and responsibility than to give a kid a baby something and then teach them to care for it. He has chores and jobs that his dad and I put on  a list for him, he works.
There is no silvery bubble that will pop when he reaches adulthood, he understands very well that he is the biggest piece of the puzzle that will make his life happen.  Anyone can do this on a farm or in a small house on an acre, it is not anything more than an approach with ideas. His tool belt will continue to be filled with things that will serve him through life. Lessons, hard ones, life is not easy and can be confusing, it is so much easier when you know who you are.
I have a belief that at 10 years old or so we are very much an authentic version of ourselves, I have seen this in my own life and in my kids. The heart of who we are is formed and though life may set us in different roles and we may evolve this heart remains there, it is up to us as adults to tap into that.
I knew very early in life that I saw the world differently, at 10 I was not consumed with appearances and tainted by media. We had no TV set, the farm and the world around me was my playground. I loved animals, nature and books, I felt things, deep compassion for others and had a heart that wanted to help. I have not changed, that person still exists, if you know me you know this is true.
I see it in both of my children and it makes me smile…my girl is not spending time in a dryer box with cats and playing Polly Pocket and my boy’s pockets are not teeming with bugs and snail shells anymore, things have changed and time moves on. But they are the same in so many ways.
If you, like me,  don’t like what you see in this world then do something different. Don’t look at  God and say, “it’s broken, do something!” His reply may challenge you as it did me, he said “I did, I made you”.
Innovation does not come from cookie cutter societies. It is driven by the open minded, the eccentric, the free thinkers who tap into education and let it shape them while following their heart and ingenuity, they break down walls and open doors for the rest of the world.
Blessings, Marla


09 Apr



Welcome to my blog, today I just want to touch on a few things that have been on my heart of late. Last weeks run of mud in my life which I am learning to love thanks to a very good sermon on Elevation Chruch’s website called aptly “Love The Mud”. I try to find nuggets in the dark places to use in the light so here goes.

I struggle with depression, my physical circumstances at times go hand in hand with it and I know many can relate. I think it is so important to stay in the right frame of mind and I thankfully have a wonderful network of loving, faithful, God believing friends and family that keep me pointed in the right direction. Last week on one particularly difficult day, I went to my attic to look for things to sell and realized how much I have accumulated over the years. I am an advocate of saving things for repurposing but I have a melancholy heart too which makes me hold onto memories.

For the most part the memories are boxed, filed and organized but the rest is boxed and sitting waiting, for what? I am not sure. So amid my boxes it overwhelmed me and I sat down and cried. I called out in a prayer, more like a what do you want me to do here kind and waited. The epiphany was pretty clear to me…look at all of this stuff, you spent years of your time working for money to get it all, you spent time away from your family chasing it, you compromised things to obtain more and more. And here you are today, all alone, in pain, needing help and it cannot help you. The time wasted that I saw in this was heartbreaking to me.

I realized that the thing I focused most of my energy on is worthless to me now. I was so good at it too, gathering things, that is. I was in the corporate world, on a fast track, career, nice house, nice car…holding up all of the appearances. But what are appearances? Apparitions, imagery, ego….yes all of them.
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When illness took me hostage and I could not quickly find my way out of it I fell off of the wheel. Physically and mentally unable to keep up, the job went away, the salary went away, the shopping for fun went away, going out to eat went away, the friends went away too unfortunately, the ego could  not keep up so it went too, thank God. I had to learn fast how to survive and not take down the ship with me, there are 2 other passengers who depend on me and need me so failure is never my goal.

I struggled past the pain and problems and began to re-invent our lives, I did not come to this place by my own planning and design, I found myself here and began to dig for a “how to” manual to carry on. There was not one to be found so I set about writing my own for us, I did so many things, learning all the way, we all did. So now that we have arrived here and are all on board we are sailing into clearer water. Habits and schedules keep things flowing, we cannot plan for my bad days but we work around them. My husband and son are the ones that do most of it with me coaching right now but I will not be sidelined forever.

We are blessed to call 38.3 acres of PA our home, we live alongside a lovely fresh water stream and have equal woodland and tillable land, barns for livestock and nature abounds all around us. It is hard to step outside and not see something beautiful..so I look to this natural world for my solutions.

I believe that God provides everything we need to live, the plants, the trees, the wildlife holds healing for the physical and emotional being. How many times do we find that communing with nature heals our anger, frustration or sadness. How many times have we tried aged, natural approaches for physical healing and happily see that they work?

I do think we as a culture have pulled away from much of that. In the name of convenience we sold ourselves to clever marketing, a brainwashing of sorts, listening to the TV keeps us there. How many young people are programmed from an early age to just go get what they want? I think one of the worst ideas to date (and have experienced this) is handing a small child a gift card and saying go get whatever your heart desires, does this happen in any other area of life? It is an unrealistic thing to do and develops expectations that cannot be sustained. You only need to look at the end of driveways at what gets thrown away on a weekly basis to see our homes, lives and habits are not sustainable at all.

Sustainable Choices is not all about food, it is a whole lifestyle to embrace …try it today is what you are doing able to continue indefinitely? Can it sustain itself? You may not like the answers and some won’t even bother to pose the question.

I hope that you can open your mind and continue on this journey with me. I will take you along with me as I re-invent us from a fast track, tired and typical American family to a thoughtful, quiet existence that is filled with peace and love. Let’s create simplified lives that don’t require this upkeep, I promise you will learn to breathe again.

One of my favorite things to do (once it is warm out) is to walk  in the morning to loosen up (barefoot is best for grounding you) and smell, see and feel the energy that comes from the morning. Everything is  awake, the birds singing and flying, the water rippling by, warm air blowing over the grass, it is impossible to not drink it in and feel the glow. Breathe in gratitude and breathe out love…

Stuff is nice, stuff can be fun but shedding the stuff allows for these other things to come and the best part is that it is free.

Today I am looking up, there is no other direction for us to go.

Sending love to all,


02 Apr

Questioning the Norm


Hello friends,

I am coming of a rough run of long days that were not very kind to this body I live in and trying to rise above it can be a real challenge but is something that anyone with a chronic illness knows is important to do. My faith in God is the rock I stand on and he helps me find perspective to share.

Part of what I have done in the last year was clean up my body. During the journey of this illness and the enduring of the misdiagnosis I found every specialist I went to was ready with the prescription pad and set to send me out the door to the pharmacy. After a time when my body was failing in many ways and I was only in my 30s I paused to look at what I was taking becuase I just didn’t feel good. I was on 10 prescriptions from 4 different doctors and felt over medicated and mis-managed.

I now have completely made it through getting all of the detoxing, getting all of the chemicals out of my body, I am clean. My theory is how can you truly know how you feel or see how your body is really doing if you are pumped full of things that cause other problems and mask pain.

This is not something for the faint of heart, I will be honest, there are days raw with pain and physical misery but I have found that with my faith being strong I can see the other side of it. How many of you achieved a gaol without some type of pain or struggle? I’m not scared, I know God won’t let me suffer without His comfort, I fully trust in what I believe. The beauty is that I know exactly what my symptoms are now so helping my Functional Osteopathic Doctor seek the root cause is simpler because there is no guessing.

I had time on my hands during this illness, time that I spent alone. I study the human body and have a certificate in Anatomy and Biology that I earned during my training for Massage Therapy and Reflexology. I have an understanding of things because I pay attention, it interests me. I do not resist the norm and conventional thinking to be different and to lose friends over my opinion,  I was also trained in the financial  industry where I analyzed things, people, data, learned to question things and challenge roadblocks. So when I saw the deception in the food and drug industry and can see behind Agriculture and Pharmacology to understand the financial gains I have to see it for what it is, I cannot bury my head and ignore it.
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As I changed what I ate and how I gave my body nutrition there are many things that improved as a result. If you have had a similar experience I ask you to speak up and share your story.

There is a lot of talk about conventional medicine that uses pharmacology and homeopathy. Some try to comare the two but this can’t be done equally. You can’t compare an apple to an orange and be fair, they are totally different. I wish the people trained in conventional medicine would quit knocking the clean, natural approach especially since they more than likely never tried it. How can you have such a strong opinion over something you never experienced? Whose opinion is it? 

In all fairness let the people who have fully embraced and experienced both worlds have their time to speak.

Healing is an important word, what is the definition of it?

heal  (hēl)  v. healedheal·ingheals

1. To restore to health or soundness; cure. See Synonyms at cure.
2. To set right; repair: healed the rift between us.
3. To restore (a person) to spiritual wholeness.

To become whole and sound; return to health.
Please tell me how the current mainstream medical industry is doing this?
By shuffling people around, categorizing them, by filling them with pills that have fatal side effects? Pills mask symptoms and quell them, they do not heal disease. I do realize sometimes pharmaceuticals are very necessary, I am not that narrow minded. But we are over drugged as a society and you can see it if you are looking through the right lens.
So much of what we see in this world is through a lens, the lens of the preacher, the teacher and the media. It is not wrong to look the other direction and see what other methods are out there.
Seeing through the lens of a healer who understand the body, feeding it, nurturing it, caring for it, from a  physiological standpoint offers a far different perspective. 
My journey is not over, the tests to see what is happening will be in soon and I will know exactly what is happening inside of my body under my skin.
Stay tuned… I am not afraid to share my experineces if it helps another person achieve optimal wellness.
Until then, lets keep on keepin’ on,