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Kindness is Key

Our guest blogger for October is Melanie Kenworthy. Melanie is the owner of Thousand Reasons health + fitness. For more great tips from Melanie, visit her facebook page. You can find it at facebook.com/thousandreasons.

Kindness is key, and it starts with a little perspective

As a Personal Trainer, when my clients come to me after they reach their goals and tell me they’re still not happy with how they look, I get really disheartened. I know they’ve worked so hard, and I’m so proud of what they’ve done and the results that they achieved, but no matter what I say, they still don’t see it. When it comes down to it, what they say to themselves, determines how they feel about themselves. And feeling good about yourself begins with being kind to yourself. So, when any of my clients come to me with this problem, my favourite thing to do to help them change their negative and often destructive thought patterns, is to simply change their perspective.

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Yoga Awareness Month

Special Guest Post

Did you know September is National Yoga Awareness month? To help us inform our readers about the many benefits of Yoga we have a special guest blog post this week from Yoga teacher, Caroline Horrocks. You can read more about Caroline at the end of this post or visit her website, Yoga4wellbeing.


What is Yoga anyway?

What is Yoga anyway?

When most people think of Yoga they imagine either lithe people dressed in lycra performing what look like impossible shapes with their bodies or elderly Indians standing by the Ganges on one leg! Both those things are true but Yoga is so much more than postures and is possible for everybody irrespective of age, size, religion, shape or health.

If you can breathe you can do Yoga.

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Weekend Wandering

We were out of town to attend a wedding over the weekend and found ourselves close to The Palace of Gold. We thought it looked like an interesting place to visit so we planned to join some of our relatives there for a tour. 

Palace of Gold
Palace of Gold

The journey there was almost as interesting as the place itself. Our navigation system took us on some desolate back roads. Our adventure included stopping and waiting for a random chicken to safely cross the road as well as swerving the car to keep from crashing into an insufficiently marked area where the road had caved in. Not how I imagined a road to a palace. However, even with all of the risks in this quest, we are glad we got to see New Vrindaban.

As we came upon this unexpected palace in the fields of northern West Virginia, we were awed by its beauty. We decided to explore the grounds while waiting for the rest of our party. One of the first things we noticed was the breathtaking view of the temple near the parking area. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to visit the temple on this trip but our tour guide explained they have a vegetarian feast every Sunday and all are invited.

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5 Ways to Make Walking More Fun

Walking is one of the easiest and most common forms of exercise. If you read this blog post on May 15, then you already know the benefits of walking outside. However, walking outside isn’t the only way to increase walking enjoyment. Here are a few more ideas for you to make going for a walk just a little more enjoyable.

1.) Grab a friend who likes to walk. When walking with a friend you get wrapped up in conversation and time seems to move faster than it otherwise would. You may even get distracted and be so involved in a discussion that you end up walking a bit farther than you intended.

2.) Listen to music. For me, music is the biggest motivator. A great song can change your mood, empower you to push through an obstacle, or even help you focus on a task. Try listening to your favorite songs while you go for a walk and see if it empowers you to climb an extra hill or walk an extra mile.

3.) Listen to a podcast. Podcasts are the thing right now. There’s a podcast available for everything imaginable. If you wish you could have a motivational speaker follow you while you walk then search for a podcast and pop in some earbuds.

4.) Get a pet. My cats do not walk on leashes. We’ve tried but they aren’t comfortable with it. We’ll keep trying. However, I know plenty of dog owners. And I know their dogs get them out of the house multiple times daily. So if you’ve been thinking about adding a new pet to the family and also want to fit more walking into your life, a dog might be the answer.

5.) And the final method to make walking more fun, watch TV. No, not on the couch. Place a treadmill where you can see the TV, turn on your favorite show and start walking. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime make it easy to find something enjoyable to watch at any time. It’s a great way for a couch potato to ease into regular activity.

There you have it, 5 easy ways to make going for a walk a more enjoyable task. Walking is simple but it doesn’t need to be mundane. Using these simple techniques to fight boredom may motivate you to become a regular walker. Have fun!

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A Purr-sonal Update

If you have been friends of Meadow Sense for a lengthy amount of time, you may recall that last year we suffered a devastating loss. We lost our beloved cat of 16 years, Zoeie, last April. Soon after that, I wrote a blog post dealing with my grief. You can read more about that here. During that time my heart was not open to a new pet. I wanted to give myself at least a year to allow my heart to heal. I had plenty of other projects to focus on and thought a break from owning a pet would be nice. I said to myself that the only way I would get a new pet is if a kitten just randomly showed up on my front porch and needed me.

Guess what. One day as we pulled into our street after work there was a kitten sitting on our front porch. I could not believe it. I screeched and asked Jason, “Is this my kitty?” He wisely replied it probably belonged to one of our neighbors and would be going home soon. So we scurried on with our day. But a couple of weeks later the kitten returned. I walked towards it and said hello. It ran as fast as it could away from me to hide. This happened repeatedly every couple of weeks for a month or so.

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Creating Our Clear Cut Shave Soap

Do you remember being in school and going on field trips? It was always fun to get a behind the scenes look at how some familiar items were made. This week we’re bringing you our version of a field trip and showing you how we make our Clear Cut Shave Soap. We just whipped up a batch last Saturday and took a few pictures to share exactly how we do that. Our shave soap is great for sensitive skin, it leaves your face soft and smooth.

First, we begin with the soap. We use an organic melt & pour base. We choose the organic base for the best quality. We slice blocks of soap into smaller portions and begin melting it with a double boiler.

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The Sunshine Vitamin

In last week’s blog, I mentioned a benefit of walking outside is getting some vitamin D. But some of you might be wondering what exactly is vitamin D, why do we need it, how much do we need, and where do we get it?

So what exactly is Vitamin D and why do we need it? You might be surprised to learn that it is actually a hormone. When skin is exposed to Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, your body can produce vitamin D. Pretty cool, right? But why do we need it? Because it does all kinds of stuff. It helps control calcium levels, regulates the immune system, balances minerals in our blood, supports heart, thyroid, and nervous system health and more! Bad things happen if you don’t get enough. Low vitamin D levels can increase the risk of cancer, cause a fast heartbeat, contribute to Type 1 diabetes, cause weak bones, and lead to tooth decay. And you know what else? If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you’ll feel awful. Exhausted, hopeless, and unmotivated. I know because at one point my levels were very low. I was constantly tired and depressed. It made everyday life so hard!

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Lets Take a Walk

I met a friend in college who was from the west coast. One day we were discussing why we decided to attend West Virginia University (WVU). She explained that she didn’t like how everything was close together on other college campuses. While attending WVU she enjoyed the change of scenery and various experiences she had simply by walking to class. As anyone who has attended courses in Morgantown can tell you, you have to walk quite a distance from one building to another. As I look at my treadmill covered in a layer of dust I can understand exactly what she meant.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the treadmill. I have spent plenty of time walking on it while watching my favorite tv shows. It’s been great when I’m participating in a challenge and need to get my final steps in for the day. I also like that they give us the ability to walk even when the weather outside is not great. And in West Virginia, it rains. It rains a lot. But walking outside is a totally different experience. Just as my college friend stated when we walk outside we feel like we are going somewhere. Even if we aren’t. Even if we’re simply on a trail that circles around back to where we began.

So let’s celebrate walking this spring. We should do it as much as possible. When we head outdoors we get more than just a walk. Walking outside on a nice sunny day means we’re getting some Vitamin D from the sun. We’re breathing in fresh air. One of my favorite things about going for a walk is the scenery. You get to see animals, flowers, trees, and people. Every walk is different. The scenery is never completely the same. Going for a walk invigorates us. It changes our entire attitude. Stumped on a problem? Head out for a walk. You’ll likely see it from a different angle when you return.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, try it for yourself. Put on your walking shoes and head outside. Make it a habit and maybe one day we’ll run into each other out there. Enjoy your walk!

What do you like about walking outside? Comment below and let us know!

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Grief and Trees

As anyone who has ever been fortunate enough to have a pet knows, losing them is difficult. That is a big understatement.
Here’s a short description of my afternoon after losing my cat, Zoeie. I think this provides a more accurate portrayal.

We arrived home after the euthanasia and burial. I walked into the kitchen and collapsed. The screams of anguish coming out of my mouth were unrecognizable to me. I stared at an empty food dish trying to absorb the knowledge it wouldn’t be used again. I was inconsolable. I didn’t want to think. I didn’t want to move. And at that moment, I didn’t want to live. The light of my life was gone.

Although I was still wandering around in a state of mindful numbness, I went to work the next day. Society expects us to keep showing up. It doesn’t matter if we can’t concentrate, the tears are flowing, our heart has shattered. We must go to work and move on. This tradition of disallowing grief after pet loss only made me angry. People are uncomfortable with silence and with pain. Although we mean well, we tend to want to cheer each other up. Grief is not wrong. It is not a state we need to change. Grief is vital. It’s a state we need to exist in so we can learn how to move forward with this change in our life.

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Mosquitoes!

It’s the first day of summer! Summer in West Virginia is a wonderful season of warm weather, days at the pool, and trips to amusement parks. Unfortunately, due to the many lakes and rivers across the region, it’s also a prime time for mosquitoes. So many times I’ve spent an evening outside enjoying the wilderness and then wake up to a swollen itchy red dot. Those tiny creatures are stealthy. Much of the time I don’t see them and I don’t feel them but I wake up and have proof they were there. The itch of the bite is enough to drive even the calmest person crazy. But the itch isn’t the worst thing that can happen from a mosquito bite. The West Nile and Zika viruses are now in the US and that’s an even better reason to keep those bugs away.

Last year as confirmed cases of the Zika virus grew and travel advisories were issued there was an announcement that Lemon Eucalyptus oil was as effective as DEET. DEET is the most common ingredient in commercially available insect repellents. This announcement turned out to be a bit misleading. While there is a component in Lemon Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) oil that does repel mosquitoes, it is only occurs naturally in the oil in a very small amount. The product that was tested and compared to DEET had this component in a much larger amount. So if you are purchasing the essential oil and expect it to work just as well as the insect repellents you’ve used in the past you will be disappointed.

Here are a few tips if you’d like to create your own spray. Keep in mind these sprays will have a short shelf life if you are using water without a preservative. Catnip and Peppermint oil are both effective oils to use in a spray for your skin to keep away the mosquitoes. (Peppermint is fine for adults and older children but shouldn’t be used on children under six.) You could also begin by using a Catnip or Peppermint hydrosol and then adding essential oils to it. Turmeric is a great essential oil to use in a mosquito repellent. And, of course, Citronella essential oil has been found to be effective at keeping these pesky insects away. Just remember that natural insect repellents need to be applied more often than others so reapply often if you don’t want to end up with those itchy bug bites!

If you decide to create your own mosquito repellent, make sure you do a skin patch test first to ensure you do not have a reaction to the oils. Another alternative is to use the spray on your clothing. Safe dilution rates will depend on how often you are using the repellent. If you have any questions, let us know. Wishing you a fun-filled and bug bite free summer!