Rachael, My Health Story

Here is my first post as contributor to the project at Dirt Road Essentials.



Is Good Posture Healthy Posture?

I thought that if I kept a ladylike posture and only moved in a ladylike manner, it would be healthy for my body. However, much as I tried to follow posture and etiquette guidelines, I was swaybacked. My spine and shoulders hurt. My hip locked up easily. Efforts at physical labor were pitiful, because I felt pained and weak.

Learning a healthy posture took time. In vocal lessons, I learned to raise the rib cage. It was a simple step that my etiquette text had seemed to miss, but lifting and holding up the rib cage makes a difference.

Then I married and we started having babies. I bought several books about pregnancy, labor, and delivery. The Bradley Method had particular guidelines that would assist any woman, pregnant or not. Tailor sitting on the floor, squatting flat-footed, avoiding chairs, and bending over properly may not be “lady like,” the book explained, but they were motherly habits that were healthier than torturing the spine in a chair with one’s legs crossed all day. Best of all, these habits help the body prepare and progress through labor.

A friend offered me a cranial-sacral massage, and was it a godsend. Standing tall and moving smoothly comes naturally when your muscles and attitude are relaxed. It gave my hips some relief, as well.

Five months after one birth, though, I was positively miserable. My hips and knees screamed when I climbed steps or into the pickup. Several times I nearly dropped the baby (<10 lb.) because my left arm and wrist were painful, numb, spasming, and pathetically weak. A coworker told us about her wonderful chiropractor, so we decided to give him a try. Unlike my previous chiropractors, he is a sports oriented specialist using Active Release Technique, who works gradually to help the body align itself. He even gives patients stretches to perform at home to encourage the body to remain in alignment. I was so desperate, I consented to acupuncture in my wrist and between my shoulder blades; the treatment was successful. To this day I am constantly lifting children weighing 20-40 lbs without pain or numbness. Though one hip still gave me trouble, I was able to function again with the help of Active Release Technique and some acupuncture.

As my postpartum body gradually realigned under chiropractic treatment, my ribs started popping themselves into place until one day I stretched my arms upward and *SNAP* my sternum made a noise so loud I thought it was injured. Once I got over the shock, I realized my rib cage felt better than I thought was possible. From that day on I have been able to jog! I now realize that I never liked running as a kid because it was too painful. It’s amazing the pain you don’t realize is holding you back until the pain is relieved.

Some time later, I came across an article about peoples who have no back pain. Points 4 and 5 of this article were intriguing because they flatly contradict the usual rules of “Chin up! Stand straight!” Could these new tips possibly help? I tried. They did. Lengthening the spine and engaging the core accomplishes far more benefit than the usual advice. I believe these practices (along with hydration, vitamins, and walking) helped my cesarean scars heal quickly and properly. Every nurse and doctor examining me was impressed with my recovery. Perhaps there were other factors involved, but I suggest anyone undergoing abdominal surgery take a look at the above article. As for points 1 and 3, those are practices I have yet to achieve, especially since 3 feels silly and particularly unladylike in public. Maybe no one would really notice, so I suppose I can give it another try.

Eight years since I began trying new rules for posture, I found Roland Warzecha. He teaches authentic combat techniques and behavior to medieval reenactors. In his body mechanics video, he describes how people without structured shoes would walk. I have been practicing this “ball walking” for about three months, now. It does feel ridiculous at first, but in these weeks, my calves have shaped up considerably.

Most impressively, my hip, a problem I have had for twelve years, has stopped its regular freezing up. This freezing used to happen multiple times a day. The massage and our good chiropractor cut it down to every other day. In three months of ball walking, though, my hip has frozen only twice. Recovery is much easier, too; I can just walk it off in a few steps of ball walking.

Warzecha also discusses posture while sitting, reaching, and lifting in this earlier video. His description of “sitting straight” makes good sense by encouraging lengthening of the spine. I can sit still crocheting for hours without feeling sore, if I remember this advice.

These are all the methods I have found so far. There may be better ideas out there (please share if you know of any), but for now these practices are relieving my pain and helping me gain some strength. While I try to remember the ladylike manners in public, I have found that the healthiest postures do not necessarily follow etiquette, but the good design our bodies were given in the beginning.

Please share below if you have found other good lessons in posture.

Dear Mama, Wondering how to Keep your Kids Healthy

Dear Mama,

You ask how I keep my kids healthy?


we use Thieves essential oil/spray for immunity boost when we go out in public. It can be rubbed on their feet before we leave the house, sprayed on grocery carts, and spritzed on everyone’s hands as we buckle back into the car. Young Living produces Thieves; DōTerra makes the equivalent, OnGaurd. Especially when attending crowded gatherings, we utilize “Crowd Spray.” I spray it on car seats or blankets, and on the back of each child’s head and neck.

With the dry winter weather, I use a little saline in the babies’ noses before bed. Then I diffuse Eucalyptus Radiata oil so they don’t get congested overnight. Better sleep for the win!

I share a little of my Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C with the kids every day. This is an easily absorbed form of vitamin C that is excellent for preventing and fighting illness. Often I have taken seven packets during a cold, and the cold resolved in three days. This used to take seven to ten days for me to get over! Now that I am taking it daily, I have even fewer sniffles. I let my 3yo have half a packet; she licks it up as if it’s honey. For the 1yos, I just dip my pinky in the vitamin C and swab it around their mouths. Sometimes they love it, sometimes they think it’s gross.

Then, everyone gets a dose of Zarbee’s vitamins daily. Someday I hope to find a decent raw vitamin for them, instead. Garden if Life was my go-to raw vitamin/probiotic, but they sold out to Nestlē, a company that utilizes HEK-293 to test their flavors. I don’t knowingly purchase anything from Nestlē if possible. So if anyone knows of another good, raw vitamin for children, please drop a comment.

If any of my kids starts coughing or getting runny noses, I give them a dribble of colloidal silver two or three times a day, for just a couple days. The only side effect of colloidal silver is turning skin blue if you use it daily for too long. This only seems to effect some people. Colloidal silver is also good for eye irritations and infections, ear infections, flu, cuts, burns (I’ve seen it help severe burns), fungus – Anything antibiotics can do, colloidal silver does better, only it can work on viruses, and it won’t destroy healthy gut flora. My mother-in-law makes colloidal silver for the whole family. Pharmacies usually have it, too, as does Amazon.

If they’re plain sick, lemon, lavender, and peppermint blended and rubbed on their clothes and blankets give children relief. Peppermint can get too hot if it’s applied directly on little ones’ skin undiluted. Lemon on anyone’s skin can burn if exposed to direct sunlight too soon, so apply under clothes. For me, it’s easier just to rub these on the fabrics kids use. Add Thieves to the blend and you have a dry cough suppressant.

These products seem pricey at first, but it saves us so much time and misery. We may come down with something once a year, but it’s usually mild. Even though all three of my children were born prematurely, and are supposed to be more susceptible to illnesses and conditions, I haven’t had to take anyone to the doctor yet. That’s three and a half years and no sick visits or prescriptions for colds or fevers. No bills or insurance haggles! Our family thinks spending on vitamins, oils, and a colloidal silver generator are worth avoiding the stress of the clinic and the pharmacy where possible.

Finally, we have our vaccine policy based on religious convictions, research, and personal experiences. That’s a lengthy subject for another day. Suffice it to say that our vaccine policy has great bearing on the frequency of illnesses in our household.

I hope these ideas can help your family as well. Sick ain’t fun!

Take care, Mama!

This post is intended to share experiences and answer questions, and cannot be construed as professional advice.

Infant to Toddler Hat Pattern

This is a pattern I made up as I went, to create a hat my niece could wear for more than three months. The finished product was a hat that could fit a seven-month-old and a three-year-old. This John Deere example is my second hat made from this pattern.

Infant to Toddler Hat

With the band folded in twice, this hat will fit an infant. As child grows, unfold the band to fit up till age 3 or 4 years.

•Two complimentary yarns, at least 1/2 a skeen each, size 4Medium

•5mm crochet hook

•Tapestry needle


Chain 5. Singe crochet into the first chain twice. Single crochet twice into each chain, making 10.

Increase with sc again to make 20.

Half-double crochet one row.

Increase with single crochet to 40. Half-double crochet one row.

Increase one third with single crochet: sc twice in one stitch, sc once in next stitch, sc once in the next; sc twice, once, once, etc. until row is completed. Radius should be 53 stitches.

sc 18 rows.

Tie off.


With contrasting color, chain 5. sc into second chain from hook. Single crochet 53 rows. Slip stitch ends together to make a loop.

Slip stitch this band to the hat, matching stitches.


With the contrasting yarn, wrap around your palm 50+ times. Cut. Wrap another string of yarn around this bundle, thread through a couple times with tapestry needle and tie off TIGHTLY, leaving loose ends. Cut the 50+ loops on each end and trim to create the ball. With loose ends, tie onto the hat.


The band can also fold inside to better fit smaller infants.

This just fits my 3 1/2 year old daughter.

If you try this pattern, please show us how it went!

Happy Feast of Dedication!

“Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve…”


The story of the eight nights of oil is the most recognized reason for Hanukkah, but the history is far deeper. The “abomination of desolation” shown to the Prophet Daniel (Chapter 12) had a fulfillment under the King Antiochus Epiphanes, and foreshadows the abomination of desolation to come in the Last Days. The full account of Hanukkah is gory and heart-wrenching, which is probably why so much of the celebration is redirected to the rabbinical tradition of the oil. However, only when you recognize the extent of the evil can you appreciate the principles and righteousness of the protagonists. The account in I and II Maccabees shows the importance of loyalty, religious liberty, and trusting in YHWH’s strength when the fight is impossible to win.

The Maccabean revolt against Antiochus is an inspiration to stand for the Truth and our covenant with the Almighty, against the abominations and lies of the world, cleansing our temples in which His Spirit resides, and Dedicating ourselves to His purpose. 
We don’t have to stress with “must have” decorations, extra spending, and propping up fables of a red-suited man. We can simply gather together, learn about our history, and inspire our children with real-life heroes and the Light of the World!
Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, Chanukah, Hanukkah – may it be full of family, joy, love, thanksgiving, and Shalom!

Dear Mama, Who just Gave Birth


I’m sorry that you can’t go home soon enough, that your baby can’t be discharged yet, that everyone is demanding answers from you when you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, that your labor didn’t go as well as hoped, that breastfeeding and pumping are hard, that you don’t have much support, that you aren’t bonding as you had hoped, that someone didn’t treat you kindly, that you are in pain, that your hormones are whacked… whatever has saddened you after that initial joy of birth, I’m sorry.

Even if a lot of bad things did not happen during birth, post-partum recovery can still stink. After my first successful pregnancy and birth, it seemed like everyone else was enjoying my new bundle while I was left to endure misery on my own. I told myself, and others told me, that a healthy baby is all that matters. That…

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