Thursday, June 28, 2012

So I Had A Thought...About All Those Corn Fields...

...after field...
...after field...

... after field of corn.

For farm...

...after farm...

...after farm...

...after farm...

...after farm...

...after farm.

I think the pictures explain it pretty well, but just in case the point was missed, I'll explain it.


We were driving up to see my mother a few weeks ago, and during the trip (she's 3 hours away), I had a thought about all of the corn fields I was seeing.

I've always grown up surrounded by them, and never thought much of it.  It wasn't until that trip that I really realized just how many of them there are.  They are EVERYWHERE.  Around here, it's easily 3/4 of the crops being grown.  (The other 1/4 is split between wheat and soybeans.)

It made me wonder...why the hell do we have so much cow corn??

A good amount of that corn is being grown just to feed all the animals being raised for slaughter, like cows/pigs/chickens/etc., and there are millions of them.

The fact is that an average 1000 pound bovine is fed anywhere from 1-4% of it's body weight in corn a day.  That's 10-40 pounds of corn.  A DAY.  (And that's ONE COW.)  So just imagine how much a field of cows eat!!  According to the EPA, in 2000, the US produced 10 billion bushels of corn, which works out to 73 million acres of land, and just over 15 billion dollars in revenue.  It also says that 80% of that corn was consumed by livestock.

Astonishing, isn't it?!

Now, what if INSTEAD of growing cow corn, we grew other foods...ones that would be healthy and more digestible for humans?  (When it comes out the other end looking the same as when it went in...that means your body didn't digest it properly...)

What would that mean for us?

1.  It would mean that we would have to cut down on the number of cows (and pigs, and chickens) we are raising, because we'd have less corn to feed them.  That would be a mission in itself, but would benefit everyone in the long run.

Here are some numbers:

In 2010, the US consumed 26.4 billion pounds of beef.
The United States is the world's largest poultry producer and the second-largest egg producer and exporter of poultry meat. U.S. poultry meat production totals over 43 billion pounds annually.
In 2009, on average, each person in the U.S. consumed 46.6 pounds of pork.
In 2009, on average, each person in the U.S. consumed just over 607 pounds of dairy products.

Keep in mind, none of my numbers include any other corn-fed animals raised for food, like horses, sheep, seafood (trout), ducks, etc.

2.  It would mean that we would no longer be eating foods (or drinking milk) that was tainted with growth hormones.  HERE IS A LINK to information on some problems that they can cause.  I think common sense tells us that ingesting growth hormones is not going to be healthy for us.  Right?

(In the US, it is still very common for dairy cows to also get these hormones to increase milk production.  The facts are terrifying, and very real.  In Canada, cows are not allowed to be given any type of growth hormone to increase production of milk, though beef cattle are still being given hormones.)

3. It means that we would no longer be aggravating the problem of climate change, as livestock are a major contributing factor to that.

4. It means that we would have a surplus of food, instead of hunger.  And we could take it further...take it to our own front yards, not just the fields.  We could feed all the people in our communities and still have enough for our own families.  We could provide healthy, safe food for those unable to grow their own, and those in need.

No more need for growth hormones.

But it would mean breaking the meat/dairy addiction that so many people have.  And the stigma of NOT eating meat.  (As strange as that sounds, it's real.  Just Google "I hate vegetarians", or "I hate vegans".)
5. It would also mean that we wouldn't have animals suffering needlessly for human consumption.  Because we just don't need to rely on them anymore.

Bovine Feed Lots

"Cage Free" Pigs.

This is what every pig farm I've ever been to looks like.

"Cage Free" chickens.
We need to start thinking about sustainability and health, and stop thinking about what we WANT right here, right now.  We need to think of the consequences of living our lives like that.

This world has become very selfish.  Even the most caring people don't seem to really understand that what they're doing by buying meat and dairy is condoning this kind of practice.  Because unless you are raising your own animals, you do NOT know without a shadow of a doubt, that the animals are being treated humanely, that their lives are GOOD, that they are not genetically modified to grow to size in half the time as their pre-altered ancestors, and that they are killed quickly and as peacefully as possible.  We assume that what we're buying is good, quality meat.  We think that what we're eating is an animal that was fed good food that wasn't biologically engineered for profits in any way.  We believe that they are killed quickly and humanely, and most of us would suddenly feel the need to throw up when the truth is in front of us.  Because what we believe...what we've been LED to believe is just not the reality of it.

They are (most of the time) un-knowingly supporting this kind of treatment of animals, and the damage to our environment caused by livestock.  *I know that most people have no idea, because I used to WORK in meat, and I had no idea either.  It's just not common knowledge.*

Also, all of this corn that's being grown is something that needs to be sprayed several times throughout the year.  That puts chemicals in the air, in our food, and in our ground water. We're breathing it into our lungs, we're eating it, and most people just have never thought too much about it.  But we need to.
**Unless of course, they use the genetically modified corn that doesn't need spray...and that's scary in a completely different way.  (Don't forget, the animals you eat are eating this stuff!!)

As a person who has grown food on a small scale, I know that growing food for people isn't EASY.  But "
backyard gardening helps the planet in many ways. If you grow your food organically, without pesticides and herbicides, you’ll spare the earth the burden of unnecessary air and water pollution, for example. You’ll also reduce the use of fossil fuels and the resulting pollution that comes from the transport of fresh produce from all over the world (in planes and refrigerated trucks) to your supermarket."  (Taken from HERE.)I know that common sense tells us that growing food other than corn or soybeans would require more work, especially if we were growing it responsibly.  But the outcome would be worth every drop of sweat.  We would all be better for it!

We have the ability to live and eat healthier.  We have the ability to help our planet (which we're leaving to our children, remember).  We have the ability to change our landscape, our communities, and our future.  We don't HAVE to watch this happen and just LET it.  We can say that we want better.  And we have the right to expect it. 

I hope for a future with more common sense, and less corn fields.  I hope that  one day, more people will say that it's getting out of hand...that eating meat, or drinking dairy just isn't worth the impact on our bodies, our health, and our earth.  Because it really just ISN'T.

*I just want to point out here that I don't HATE anyone for eating meat, or drinking dairy.  AT all.  But there are things that I feel people need to know.  There are things I think that people need to NOTICE.  And I'm GOING to say what needs to be said.
Not judging.  Just educating.

Friday, June 22, 2012


My two cents:

I thank everyone who has found a better way to teach their children than putting their hands on them.  When you were raised being hit, it's not always easy to do better, but it CAN be done.
My parents whipped my butt and I learned that I was never really safe.
I didn't trust them.
I still have trust issues with them today, especially when they tell me that I should be hitting my own children.  I know they still think it was justified.
I knew I would be spanked when I screwed up, because being less than perfect was a punishable offence.  I never got to do things my own way.
I did fear them.  And with good reason.
I feared that they would fly off the handle for something leaving a toy on the stairs.  I never really got to relax...I was always anticipating their next move.
I did not RESPECT them.  I FEARED them.  And those are two very different things.
I didn't always know what my boundries were, because they would vary from day to day, but I knew what would happen if I crossed them.
Spanking doesn't classify as "abuse", for some reason.  So I can't say that I was "abused", in the legal sense of the word.  They called it "discipline", and as a parent myself, now, I call it inappropriate, un-necessary, and mental, physical, and emotional abuse.
Being hit by the people who's job it is to teach them right from wrong, is why children these days have no "respect for anyone".  They have had no example at home to learn from.  They're a product of their environment.

Children shouldn't just have to "survive" their childhood.  They should be ENJOYING it, LIVING it, and not being afraid to make a mistake.  Why do we have SO many people in this world that just beat themselves up over the smallest mistakes??  Because we were taught that being anything less than perfect would result in punishment.  And now, as adults, there is no one there to inflict that punishment on they do it to themselves.  Emotionally damaged.
Additionally, putting your hands on someone 1/3 of the size you are, makes you a bully.  It teaches children that it's okay to hit when you're long as the person you're hitting is smaller than you, and has no ability (or rights) to fight back.

It's not always easy to live the words, "Keep your hands to yourself", but if you plan on teaching that, PLAN ON LIVING IT.  Children learn what they live.  That's a fact.
One last thing.  

Too many times I've read people say that "all children are different...this is the only thing that works for mine."

...I have a question...

If it works, why does it need to be done more than once??  If it "worked" so well, shouldn't that stop all the "bad" behavior?

The fact is that children are learning from scratch.  They came into this knowing NOTHING.  Brand new.  And they're GOING to make mistakes.  If you're going to have to repeatedly do something to teach them how to behave in a suitable manner, wouldn't you rather sit and talk with them, and TAKE THE TIME to explain things to them, instead of HITTING THEM??

Spanking does not "work" for anyone.  It is an adult's temporary loss of control, resulting in the mental, emotional, and physical harming of a child.
What you did yesterday does not have to be what you do today, or tomorrow.  No one expects anyone to be the "perfect parent".  But, when you know that what you are doing is wrong, just stop. Try something else.  Hitting ANYONE is inappropriate, and hitting a CHILD...un-called for.  Be the person you want your kids to be...and who they DESERVE you to be.  If you need help, ask for it.  It's never too late to change.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Where Your Milk Comes From

I bet you don't really think about how they're getting the milk you consume, do you?  You probably know that cows are lined up and milked by big machines, the milk is pasteurized, and then packaged and sold in stores.  But there's a lot more to it than that.

Let's start at the beginning.

First thing you need to know;  A cow isn't called a cow until she's had a baby.  Before that, she is referred to as a heifer.  Many of the links provided will say both "cow" and "heifer", and so for those who may not know, they ARE two different things.

Heifers are bred at their first heat, and depending on the breed, that can be anywhere from 9 to 22 months of age, though bovine farmers are encouraged to wait until atleast 15 months old before breeding them.

As far as cows go, WikiHow says that the best time to breed a cow is 45 to 60 days after she's calved. (1)

Once the animals are impregnated, they give birth about 9 months later. (2)

To maintain high milk production, a dairy cow must be bred and produce calves.

Newborn calves are removed from their mothers quickly, usually within three days, as the mother/calf bond intensifies over time and delayed separation can cause extreme stress on the calf. (3)

A cow's natural lifespan is about 25 years, but cows used by the dairy industry are killed after only four or five years. An industry study reports that by the time they are killed, nearly 40 percent of dairy cows are lame because of the intensive confinement, the filth, and the strain of being almost constantly pregnant and giving milk. Dairy cows' bodies are turned into soup, companion animal food, or low-grade hamburger meat because their bodies are too "spent" to be used for anything else. (4)

"The misery that female cows endure is arguably worse than that of their brothers slaughtered for beef. Dairy facilities are gigantic machine-filled building, more like a factory than a farm. During the milking process, if the machines are not properly maintained, they can send a painful electric shocks though the udder several times a day. These animals are treated harshly, with no room for sensitivity to their comfort or simple needs. All these Mom's are either pregnant or lactating, yet their babies are nowhere to be seen.

Like all mammals, female cows only lactate when pregnant. To maximize milk production, dairy cows are kept pregnant their entire short life. Each year, she will be artificially inseminated on what industry terms a "rape rack" or with the farmer's arm. A cow's natural life span is about 20 years. In this highly intensive farming, however, the stress on her body will diminish her milk output after about 3 years. She is then what the industry terms "dried up." It is more lucrative to send her to slaughter and replace her. Her body will be sold as ground beef.

To insure the highest volume of milk, the calf is taken away from her immediately after birth. Even in seemingly "humane" dairy production, to maintain a profit, cows are sent to slaughter and the calves taken away. This is also to avoid the "mother/calf" bonding. Mother cows have been known to break down the stall in an attempt to find their offspring.

Imagine for a moment being kept pregnant every year of your life, just to have every baby taken away from you and your milk pumped into machines. What happens to these millions of baby cows? A female calf will follow in her mother's hoof-prints, yet she will never know her mother or suckle her milk, being raised on a bottle formula. But what of the males?


A male calf born to a dairy cow is the wrong breed to profitably be raised for beef. His fate, unfortunately, is much worse. Veal is the soft, pale, anemic flesh of a calf. Veal calves are kept inside in a crate barely bigger than themselves. Chained at the neck, they can't even turn around. They are fed a liquid diet deficient in iron, so their muscles don't develop properly. These babies never see their 1st birthday. Many people recognize the cruelty in raising veal and will not eat it, yet are unaware of the intimate connection between the dairy and veal industries. Supporting one supports the other." (5)

Cows are especially dedicated to their young and the bond formed between a mother and her calf remains long after the baby has grown to adulthood. Separation causes them tremendous stress and agitation. If mother and calf are separated by a fence, the mother will wait for her calf, even through harsh conditions like intense heat or cold weather, hunger and thirst. Cows have even been known to break fences and walk miles to be reunited with calves that were sold at auction. One can imagine the trauma a dairy cow must feel when her calf is taken from her shortly after birth. It’s well known to farmers but rarely discussed that mother cows continue to frantically call and search for their babies for days after the calves have been sold off to veal farms. (6)

WikiHow says this about "weaning" babies from their first-time mother:

" Beware of the likely reaction of the first-calf heifers. They will crawl the fence if you do not make it escape proof with a couple of strands of hot electric wire or steel panels. First-calvers are often so determined to keep their first born forever that they will do literally anything they can to get him back. You cannot let this happen." (7)
The mothers are just trying to get back to their babies!

In Canada, dairy cattle are not given sex hormones to increase milk production, so they are fed high-energy food to get them to make the amount of milk that suits the farmer.  This can cause several painful ailments in these cows. (8)

In the US, they DO allow dairy cows to be given sex hormones to increase milk production.


So, my final word on this is that there are clearly no real positive points for the animals involved in milk production, of us consuming it.  Yes.  Cheese is good.  (Awesome, really.)  And yogurt is a kid-favorite.  And everyone wants cream in their coffee these days.
But the next time you order extra cheese on that pizza, think of the baby cows that were taken from their mothers so you could have it.

I encourage everyone to do the research for themselves, because I assure you, this is not a post trying to show only one side of an issue.  This post just states the facts.  I assure you, there are not two versions of the truth...even when you wish there were.  (I didn't want to find out that they did this to baby cows.  I love cheese...!!)

So now I'm off of milk completely (previous blog post was about my opinion of the most popular non-dairy milks), and have been trying out different non-dairy cheeses.  When I find one I like, I'll write a post of the ones I've tried, and my opinion of them.

I'm not trying to demonize anyone, or "judge" anyone.  I'm just trying to point out something that is not common knowledge.  It's hidden quite well, isn't it?  And no one tells you that the milk mustache on that super-hot celeb should be on the super cute baby cow that it belonged to.

"Weaning" baby bovine.
The mothers and babies call to each other through the fence.
**Also, for those that will no doubt claim that a cow's udder would explode if not milked, I challenge that.  If cows were not fed food that increased their milk supply, and were allowed to naturally wean their calves, their udders wouldn't grow to such intense size, and they wouldn't NEED to be milked at all.  Yes, once given the sex hormones they use in the US on their dairy cows, that cow depends on that farmer to milk her. Because she was altered from her natural state.  But if left alone, if she was allowed to live the life she deserves to live, there would be no need for milking machines.

The problem is the consumption.  They do this because the people want it.  Someone forgot to tell the public that first, they are not baby cows.  And second, they should be weaning from their human mother, and that's it...not moving from mother's milk to milk from another species.


Here's a video (happy ending) that you might enjoy.

Getting Rid Of Milk

I live in Canada.  Our milk is anti-biotic and sex-hormone-free.  But I don't like the fact that I know that in order for a cow to make milk, it has to have a baby every year, only to have it's baby taken from it in the first week of it's life.  The facts all disturb me, so I'm trying alternative types of milk.

Rice Milk.

IMO, not wonderful.  It kind of tastes like watered-down milk served after sitting in a shoe.  An old shoe.  I guess if you're a 1% milk kind of person, maybe this is the kind you'd like.  I have been drinking homo milk for years that's what I'm used to.

Truthfully, I'm sure it's one of those things that start out being nasty, and after a few times, you don't want anything else.  But I'm not there yet.

Almond Milk (Vanilla)

In my fridge right now!
Okay, so my first opinion of this was that it was HORRIBLE.  I'm NOT a fan of almond flavorings, though I love almonds.  (Weird...)
But after buying such a big carton of this, I wasn't going to let my $4.99 go to waste...I kept on "trying" it.

After drinking a little everyday for about 4 days, guess what??  It's GOOD!  I think I really started feeling better about it after I tried the rice milk.  When compared to that, almond milk is thicker...more like cow's milk.  And although it DOES taste like almonds, having only tried the "vanilla" flavor, it was also very sweet.  Which my son likes.  This has been my go-to choice for my coffee.

My son drank 3/4 of the container of this.  It says that it tastes like chocolate covered almonds.  Well, IMO, maybe ones from the dollar store.  LOL  It's not terrible, but not my favorite.  My son (just turned 4 a couple of days ago) is not picky about his chocolate milk.  He said that was his favorite kind yet.

Maybe the problem here is that I'm not buying unsweetened?  This stuff is so sweet that I can barely stand it.  Like, I'm all for sweet milk.  But not THIS sweet.  Holy.  It is a good taste, other than that sweetness!!

I thought I was going to be stuck with only a couple of not-so-great options...

until I found this....

Coconut Milk.

And just when I thought THAT version of it was good, I found THIS!  It's in a can, and it's lovely.  It's not sweetened, but it doesn't NEED to be.  It's excellent.

I put mine in the fridge (un-opened), and left it for a day before opening it.  Then, when the creamy stuff had separated from the watery stuff, I used the "cream" (more like "butter") on the top for my coffee.

**Now, a few weeks in, I mix it up and use it for smoothies too.  It is super tasty, and gives the smoothie that creamy texture without using dairy.**

I found this organic coconut milk at the local health food store.  In the grocery store, I have found three kinds of canned coconut milk, none of which are organic.  I've tried one of them, and it's not bad.

" Unlike some fortified soy beverages out there, So Nice soy products use only organic, non-GMO soybeans grown right here in Canada and the US. At So Nice, we are proud to say that most of our fortified soy beverages contain more than 95% organic ingredients and bear the Canada Organic logo."

Soy isn't my favorite thing to consume, but I love the taste of it, so when it's on sale, I buy it.  I got a 1.89L carton of it on the weekend for $1.75 on sale.  I couldn't say no.  But I'm glad I took the time to look at my other options, because there are some great ones out there.

I think this post shows that there are quite a few choices out there for people who enjoy milk but don't want to drink dairy.  

My next step is removing cheese completely.  I'm working on finding one that contains no dairy that tastes GOOD.  Because I'm not someone that can eat crap and smile about it.  If it tastes like crap, I'm NOT eating it.

My next post will be about WHY I am removing dairy from my diet.  I've tried to keep too many details about it out of this post because I wanted to focus on the things I use to replace milk, and save the long story for another time.
Please stay tuned for my next post, which I hope to have done by the end of the day.  (Fingers crossed!)  

Until then, take care.  xoxo

Friday, June 8, 2012

To All The Women Out There...This Is For You.

I'm writing this post for all the women who read my blog.  And for the women in your lives.  Because this needs to be said.

To start at the beginning, I was watching a show on tv (because my computer was broken and I needed a break from sewing).

A long story short, there was a woman on the show who was looking for an outfit for herself, and was in tears.  She was uncomfortable shopping for herself, and said that she almost never does.  She said that she couldn't justify spending money on herself when she has children to clothe.
The woman on the show made a very valid point; 
"You need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, so you can help the other people around you."

Now, I know this.  I've heard this before.  But watching that woman on there break down just hit home.

I know that it's not just me who does this.  I know there are millions of moms out there who put everyone else before themselves, all the time, no matter what, just because it's what we DO.

The fact is that in the US, the leading cause of death in women is heart disease.  In Canada, it's cancer.  There is a ton of information on line that will clearly show what is killing our mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and ultimately US, all across the globe.  The facts are right there in front of us.


Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. (

Medline Plus:  A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health

Leading causes of death (Stats Canada)

But let's take a step back and look at the big picture, shall we?

I think women are dying because we fail to put ourselves first.  We put the oxygen on our loved ones before ourselves, so to speak.  We put our families needs before our own to the point that we're risking our own lives.  We don't take care of ourselves the way we need to.  We are so worried about everyone else, that we put ourselves on the back-burner.

My own personal story on this was when I had a very serious gall-bladder attack just over a year ago.
I didn't know what was wrong with me, I just knew I was really really sick.  But I had a small baby at home, and two 2 1/2 year olds, and so I just did my best to get through the day, laying down as much as possible.

After about three days I was sick to the point that I could not eat anything whatsoever.  Any food I put in my mouth would end up in the toilet within seconds.  Still, I kept on taking care of my family.  Even though the pain I'd been feeling in my side got so bad that it was starting to make me feel insane.

A week into it I started feeling afraid.  I knew that whatever was wrong with me was severe.  But how could I leave my kids??  How could I even go to the Dr. when I was breastfeeding so often?  What if he made me go to the hospital?  What would I do for the baby?!

On the 8th day I was so sick I couldn't get out of bed.  I couldn't lift the baby.  My husband had to bring her to me to nurse her.  I couldn't move.  I hadn't eaten a single thing in 5 days, and had been living on water.
I started thinking that I was going to start needing to write things down, just in case I wasn't around to raise my kids...things someone would need to know about them.  I really honestly did not think I was going to survive whatever it was that was wrong with me.  (And I'm not one of those dramatic people who say things like that.)  I really truly felt as though if things were left alone, I wasn't going to make it through whatever it was.

When I'd been sick for 9 days, my husband took me to the Dr.  It was the walk-in clinic (which is actually an appointment-only after-hours clinic), to see the Dr.
He was amazing.

He didn't know what was wrong with me...only that there was something VERY wrong.  He gave me a sheet with a huge list of blood tests he wanted done, he made an appointment for me to have an x-ray of my entire chest/torso/belly, and put me on a strong antibiotic, just until I could find out what was causing me to be so sick.

Well, the next day I had an x-ray, and did the blood work.  I had already started to feel like maybe I wasn't going to die after all.

The blood work and x-ray both showed things that told the Dr. what was wrong with me.  I have seven gall stones in my gall bladder.  Sometimes when they're in there they can cause a gall bladder attack.  Which is what I had.

At the time I was told what it was, my Dr. strongly urged me to have my gall bladder removed ASAP.  He told me that the stones were small and could travel through my bile duct, and cause jaundice, or kill me.

I looked at him and said, "I can't have surgery.  I'm breastfeeding."

Despite what he told me, I was holding my ground.
Before I left he made me promise that as soon as I was done breastfeeding, I would go in and at least talk to him about getting it out.  Whatever.  We'll talk about it again when that time comes.  The idea of removing an entire organ from my body because it attacked me ONE time seems kind of crazy.  But then I saw what ignoring a Dr. could do...

...My MIL passed away suddenly in November from sepsis caused by her gall bladder.  


I know that there are going to be people who get upset over someone telling mothers to look out for themselves, because we think that it means we're being selfish if we do.
I get it.
(And sometimes people ARE being selfish...we all know atleast one mom who takes it a little too far and looks out for themselves before everyone else, and it's at the expense of her family...
But I'm not talking about THOSE moms.)

The fact is (and it IS A FACT), that you cannot take care of your family if you're not alive to do it.

Your family needs you.  They NEED you.  And they deserve to have you here with them for as long as they possibly can have you.

Please take care of yourself.  Please see a Dr. regularly.  Please get a pap test done every year.  Please do self breast exams on a regular basis.  Eat right.  Take a walk from time to time.  And stop making excuses!!

I guarantee that if a child was suddenly not feeling well, and you couldn't figure out what was wrong with them, you would take them into the Dr. just to be checked out.  You wouldn't wait until you thought they were standing on death's door to take them in.

I'm not asking for you to suddenly start spending all of your money on things for yourselves.  I'm asking for you to treat yourself as well as you treat your family.  That's it.  Look out for yourself like you would look out for them.  Because you are important to them, and by taking care of yourself, you ARE taking care of them.

Like I said, I'm writing this as someone who is also very guilty of putting that metaphorical oxygen mask on my family first.  I understand the thought process.  But really, let's stick around and watch them grow up, shall we?  Let's not die from things un-necessarily.  Let's be there for the people we live for...and let's LIVE for them.  And let's set an example for they know that it's not only OKAY to take care of themselves, it's REQUIRED.  Let's not make them live their lives without us, and let's not teach them to follow that pattern.  Let's do things differently, and model that for those people who mean the very most to us.

As a united group we need to stand up and say, "I will take every measure possible to live as long as I can.  My family deserves that.  I deserve that.  And I am NOT selfish for taking care of myself.  I am selfish if I DON'T."

To ALL of the beautiful women out there, I say this; Put on your oxygen mask.  Take care of yourselves.  Your family needs you even more than you think they do.  They DEPEND on you.  They WANT you in their lives, and they do not want to watch you die because you cared more about them than yourself. Your family NEEDS you.  They need you.

I want all of you to be here to watch the little ones grow up.  I want you to live your lives free of un-necessary pain, disease, worry, or sadness.  I want you make your own health and mental well-being a priority.  You need to do that for yourself, and for everyone around you.

I am putting that out there for all of you, but it's up to all of you to make it happen.  Please.  Make it happen.

Love and light to all of you.  xoxo