What I’m Wearing on My Feet, How I’m Shopping Right Now

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Although we are currently enjoying a January Thaw with temperatures in the 30s and 40s, it’s been quite snowy and frigid here in the Finger Lakes. I’m thankful to have a home to shelter me and a space heater to keep me warm, as we keep our inside temperature is rather cool.

I posted a few weeks ago about how Young Living Thieves oils are giving me an extra boost of wellness during cold and flu season. Now I’d like to share a rather odd couple of subjects: how I keep my feet warm and how I’m shopping for natural foods this winter.

As far as what’s on my feet, I have Reynaud’s disease, which can make my feet feel unbearably cold and my toes go numb during the winter months. So this year I invested in five pairs of wool/cashmere/Angora socks from TJ Maxx that I hand wash and wear daily. Here are some from Amazon that look comparable.

I also purchased a pair of eggplant-hued Haflinger Wool Clogs that fit like a dream right out of the box. They are warm, soft, supportive and gentle on my flat, over-pronating feet and they’re cute as well. If you’re a Birkenstock fan, your size should be the same in Haflingers. At least they were for me.

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Shoes when I’m out during the weekday consist of my Keen Targhee Hiking Boots (mine are a few years older than these) or Dansko Professional Clogs in black if there isn’t much snow.

As for shopping, when I’m in Ithaca, I go to Wegmans, Greenstar and BJ’s, but I can’t get there as often as I’d like now that I live farther away. All my produce is purchased in Ithaca, but unless you know your prices, or items are on sale, other foods that I eat tend to be pricey. (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Meat-free. I also try to limit corn and soy because of sensitivity that shows up in my skin and digestion.)

For several years now, I’ve ordered from Vitacost for supplements, gluten free flours, natural household cleaners, and protein powder. Their prices are good, shipping on orders over $49 is free and fast, and they send coupon codes through email all the time.

And of course, Amazon has almost everything, so I order food items, such as this 3-pack of coconut sugar, which is a really good deal, here as well.

Recently I placed my first order with Thrive Market. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but decided their prices, especially on items with their own brand, were too good to pass up. They have a 30 day trial membership with the first three orders discounted 20% (for a maximum of $20). After that, it’s $59.95 per year for membership, which basically covers the year’s shipping cost.

Since I regularly include foods like gluten free pasta, coconut milk, oil & aminos, tahini, cashew and almond butter, protein powder and Nutpods coffee creamer in my diet, I was happy to find that their prices were reasonable for these items and will ship directly to my door. (I have a small vehicle which doesn’t do well on snowy roads.) I am happy to report that all of the Thrive Market brand of products, especially the nut butters and coconut aminos, are top quality and just plain great tasting. I will be placing another order soon.

So what are you doing to stay warm and cozy this winter?

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** This post contains some affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through a link I provide, I may be compensated in a small way, at no additional cost to you. I was not paid for my honest opinions, though–they are completely my own.

On the Trail of Wonder (Brief Book Reviews)

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I just finished reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Bright Evening Star: Mystery of the IncarnationA non-fiction book for the Advent and Christmas season or any time of year, really, it chronicled her life as it pertained to her faith story. In Madeleine’s intelligent, honest and thoughtful voice, she shares her unconventional childhood with two loving, artistic parents, her questioning teen years at boarding schools, her college and post-college years of searching, doubting and asking, and her years as wife and mother, writer and speaker where her faith became more natural, more a part of who she was. Because Madeleine was at ease with mystery and with not attempting to explain away everything, she has some fascinating tales to tell. It was not a book that will tell you what to think, but shows her way of thinking and encourages you to encounter the mystery of faith for yourself. I’m sorry to say that this book is out of print, but used copies, like mine, are available.

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God made me cry, smile, nod in agreement, and clutch the book to my chest while muttering, “It’s so good.” He expresses humanity’s reaching, searching and wrestling with the Divine in such a tender, turbulent, up close, sincere and universal way that a person of any faith or none at all would be able to relate to these verses. I finished it on Tuesday night and immediately wanted to order one for my daughter. It’s also beautiful–a deckle-edged softcover with delicate white filagree on the silver spine.

Wendell Berry’s Terrapin: Poems  is my first poetry book by him. This was one of Alan’s Christmas gifts to me and in his signature natural, straightforward way, Berry takes us to his native Kentucky, among woods and hills, listening to leaves fall like rain, noticing flowers growing up in April, contemplating a snake’s October dinner “big with a death to nourish him during a long sleep”,and musings on how a terrapin “is always home”. Uncomplicated and lovely in its artlessness, these are poems to soothe a modern mind.

I’d love to hear from you. What are you reading in the new year?

All Things New

 

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Happy New Year! Every end of December and through most of January, I go into “hermit mode”, become introspective, and think, read, plan, pray, write and dream. It helps that I live in the Finger Lakes Region of New York and it’s about ten degrees Fahrenheit outside and it’s snowing. Here is what I wrote on the 31st:

On this last day of the year, I’m taking a few moments to get quiet and reflect. To slow down and listen. Listen for God. Listen to the wind in the pines outside my window telling me that I am small but not insignificant. Listen to hope telling me to keep believing in God’s love for me and all the world, for God’s ability to make all things new. Listen to the winter birds that do not worry, that are provided for and known. Listen to my own soul that wonders, asks, doubts, and believes.

 

This year, for me, was a combination of sorrow and joy, confusion and clarity, lack and abundance, conflict and resolution, darkness and light, doubt and belief, waiting and fulfillment, being misunderstood and understood, rejection and acceptance, loss and gain.

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In an age where words find ways to stab and wound and destroy as well as mend and heal and bring life, I’m praying for grace to walk into the New Year with peace and health in my soul, mind, and body and that I will give these gifts to others in my words and actions. All things new. That no matter my failures of yesterday, there is still hope for me, today and tomorrow.

As often-quoted as the prayer of St. Francis is, it is in my head and heart today as I face the New Year and bid farewell to 2017:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

As you walk into 2018, may peace lead the way, may hope shine in dark places, and may joy find you wherever you are.

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