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Aretha sang about it. Parents admonish children to show it. Husbands and wives are told in the Bible to have it for one another. Rodney Dangerfield just couldn’t get any. And, all too often, neither does the consumer/patient in a healthcare system geared toward viewing patients as a run-down vehicle coming in for tune-ups or a broken-down vehicle needing diagnostics to reveal parts broken and in need of repair or removal. If we were simply a frame holding in parts, this might work, but we are so much more.

We think. We feel. Our body physically reacts to what we think and feel, to what we eat, what we do, to our surroundings – what others are thinking and feeling and eating and doing. We are marvelously complex creatures, created by a Creator who desires to interact with us. A health care system aimed at reducing us to images created by ionizing radiation, powerful magnets, sound waves, or the content of drops of blood or urine is a health care system desperately in need of reform.

And reform is exactly what happens when people begin seeking complementary care physicians, midwives, nutritionists, herbalists, body-work specialists, and so on in their quest for respect. The person with gallstones does not want to be viewed as the “gallbladder” in room 555. We may not mind when our pain is severe and relief is the only thing present in our mind. Yet there is this sense of dissatisfaction accompanying our healing process when we only receive a list of foods we can no longer enjoy, some wound care instructions, and a paper indicating when we should follow up with our primary care doctor.

There is little room for explanations on how health changes affect our lives, or support as we navigate those changes, or how we might respond differently than others to certain therapies or medications. And this is the place mutual respect is most needed. A caregiver can only be as good as the listening ear that values the information being shared so appropriate tests may be ordered or appropriate therapies might be recommended or prescribed.

This is where complementary health care providers shine. The very lack of availability for some of all the diagnostic bells and whistles causes observations skills to be honed, ears to be finely attuned to what is being said verbally, physically…and not said, and compassion to be poured out in time and resources, building an ongoing healthcare relationship of mutual respect for what each bring to the table when visiting.

See this in the skilled midwife in the family home with a laboring mama and her family. Without the routines of elaborate monitoring systems and trails of paper, frequent vaginal exams to “see where you’re at” and ultrasounds to check malpresentations, she observes mama, she listens to what she says and what she cannot put into words, and she responds to mama’s needs, allowing mama to make her choices, giving guidance when asked, and exults in her role of being given the honor to be there with mama while mama gives birth to her child. And all this as safe, or safer, for mom and baby than the mechanistic U.S. maternity system.

See this in the skilled herbalist with a client who wants to take charge of their own healthcare. Without the routines of slam-bam, thank you ma’am ten minutes or less office visits or elaborate, and expensive, diagnostic tests, she takes a long – and sometimes laborious – health and diet history, observes her client, listens with ears finely attuned to what the client says and what they cannot put into words, and responds with education as to standard conventional treatment options and complementary health support, discussing risk versus benefit, allowing the client to make her choices and to own the responsibility for those choices, pouring out compassion and support for the client’s choices, building an ongoing healthcare relationship that weaves the conventional with the complementary to meet client needs.

We were made in a Three-in-One image, in the very image of communal respect for the attributes and roles of the others. We don’t have to understand it; we do need to imitate it - in our homes, in the Church, in our friendships, in our work, in our health care provider relationships.

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Naturally Healthy Cuisine: Real Food for Real Families 
We have a designed interior. We have a cover. We are off to the printer, with a hopeful delivery date of late February or early March (hoping for Feb!). Thought ya'll might want to see what Vickilynn Haycraft, and I have been working on for the past few years. Pre-Order on our Home Page by clicking on the Holiday Special

Table of Contents:

Part One: Real Foods Make Naturally Healthy Cuisine
The Meaning of Eating
Kitchen Medicine: Carbs, Proteins, Fats
Optimal Nutrient Daily Intake: Vitamins
Optimal Nutrient Daily Intake: Minerals
Setting Up Your Real Food Pantry
Changes Made Easy
You Know You Need to Make Changes When ....
Tools of the Trade
Real Food Substitutions
Real Food Glossary

Part Two: Real Foods for Real Life
Help for the Challenged HomeMaker:
Convenience Foods
Bodacious Breakfasts
Magnificent Midday Meals
Super Suppers
Crockpot Meals
Working Smarter Not Harder…Batch Cooking
Pizza Pizzaz
Homemade Pasta
Surviving Summertime
Heritage Recipes
HomeMade Gift-Giving
“Putting By” for Emergencies

Part Three: “It’s a Keeper” Recipes
Vegetarian Main Dishes
Fish Main Dishes
Chicken Main Dishes
Beef Main Dishes

Part Four: The Hospitable Home…Nourishing the Body of Christ
The Hospitable Home
Opening Doors to New Relationships
Being Hospitable…When Life is Challenging
Celebrating the Lord’s Day
Feeding the Body, His Bride

Part Five: Real Weight Loss
Real Weight Loss
Real Food - Real Light

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Keith likes to say “ree-fresh” when pronouncing this word, which usually causes me to respond “ri-fresh.” I was teasing him last night by asking him to “ree-fresh” the test page for the website to see the changes made. His response, “I like it to be ree-freshing. That is what is happening…making fresh again.”

I realized this was exactly what is happening with our website and Naturally Healthy business. We are renewing, filling up again, reviving a work begun twenty years ago come the first of January 2009. Around the Parker home, we are pretty excited about this.

Our web presence has been fairly static since December 2002. Oh, we’ve added a few things and deleted a few things, but for the most part, on the web, we’ve looked the same. Yet so much has changed in our family and business during these last 6 years.

Simon, our miracle baby and seventh child, was born Dec. 22, 2002 after a very difficult pregnancy where partial placental abruptions were occurring up until two days prior to his birth, despite plenty of rest and optimal food intake and supplementation. The prayers of God’s people and His mercy toward us were sufficient to sustain him. Despite a rough start of newborn time, he rallied and is such a delight to our family (who really needs to quit calling him “bebe” now he is six!).

A blood clotting disorder, Antiphospholipid Syndrome, with periodic elevated anticardiolipin antibodies as well, was discovered, which provided some explanation for the difficult pregnancy/abruption issue with Simon, as well as our nine miscarriages. The perinatal pathologist, Carolyn Salafia, M.D. of, who examined Simon’s placenta was able to point us to checking on this disorder, as well as making the suggestion I could have cardiac issues impacting the blood supply of oxygen and nutrients to my body.

Mommy Diagnostics™ was revised and expanded by more than 100 pages and released in September of 2004.

I became battery-operated in 2005, after months of testing and three cardiac ablations in effort to correct what had become a quite symptomatic tachycardia problem resistant to treatment with herbs, lifestyle altering, and pharmaceuticals (the problem was due to a “wiring” issue I was born with that did not become symptomatic until my teens, managed with herbs until…um…age(?) made it more significant. My pacemaker now serves in the place of my atrioventricular (AV) node, and I’ve suddenly become more thankful than ever for batteries.

We purchased SLC Birth & Parenting Supplies in September 2004 from Leslie Parrish (now Leslie Nabong), who was readying to leave to serve in the Philippines at the YWAM Project Life in Olongapo – see and We renamed the business Naturally Healthy…Birth & Beyond and served midwives and their clients until April of 2007 when we sold the Birth & Beyond portion of the business. It was such a pleasure to serve and the Lord increased the business four-fold during this time, but we reached a point where decisions had to be made as to where our business focus needed to be. Since education and product development had been our prior focus, we chose to continue that path.

Prior to the sale of the business, we had the blessing of procuring the supplies for, packing and shipping 400 birth kits for community birth attendants being trained in Madagascar, purchased by ADRA in combination with USAID. What a joy that time was for us, even if I did end up with a staple in my forehead due to standing up on top one of the shipping crates and placing my head in direct line of the office ceiling fan – whoops!

The Naturally Healthy Woman and Naturally Healthy Pregnancy books were revised and expanded each by at least 100 pages and released in December 2007 and March 2008 respectively.

Vickilynn Haycraft, of , and I are expectantly awaiting the final design to send Naturally Healthy Cuisine: Real Food for Real Families to print for release in February or March 2008.

And, finally, our herbal study course, has been restructured for us to be able to offer a beginner’s Family Herbalist course; a Certified Family Herbalist course for those desiring personalized progress review sessions and Shonda-instruction; a more in-depth Community Herbalist course for those wishing to minister in their communities, with an option to do additional reading and show teaching skills proficiency to certify as Certified Women’s Health Educators and Certified Family Health Educators, and a Clinical Herbalist course for those wishing to have a career practice as a professional herbalist.

So…much has happened in the past few years, yet our focus remains unchanged: to provide health education, specifically in the areas of herbal and food medicine, to develop products to support health, and to promote personal responsibility in one’s own, or one’s own family’s, healthcare.

And Keith is right (and he’s very glad to have me say that in writing!). We are re-freshing Naturally Healthy, and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve you and your families.

Blessings and peace,

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