Donna’s Love Story to Steve

Donna’s Love Story to Steve

When I found myself single again after 2 failed marriages; I had lost hope of ever finding a true love story in my life.

When I met Steve, I knew that he was a good man, but his circumstances scared me. After all, he had 5 kids. Goodness gracious, how would I be able to survive that?

As time went by, I watched him with his family-how devoted he was to his mother and to each of his children. I had never seen anything like this. I always knew that I wanted a big family to love and be part of. Soon I found myself wanting to be a part of his world.

We both came through some pretty tough stuff and were learning to find solace in each other. We both had a strong faith In God and a desire to live a peaceful and positive life. We both loved to laugh and play. We also seemed to be able to encourage each other and keep each other on track.

When Steve was finally ready to tell me that he loved me, he did it through my love of music. He played Alan Jackson’s “It must be Love.”

I started slowly bringing him into my life. I must admit that my girlfriends could not understand how I could love a man who would put buggers in my bowling ball in order to get a lead in our Thursday night games. But that is the quirky sense of humor that we all know and love about Steve Bruce.

My kids respected him and learned to love him. They were a bit concerned about me marrying a man that still had kids at home.  But they respected my choice and gave the man a chance; because they wanted to see me happy. They quickly fell in love with this man that they called Stepfather.

One of the best things that a man can do for his wife is to love her children. One of the best examples that a man can show his child is to love their mother; and he did.

I watched as he treated my children and my mother as his very own. He has encouraged them in their education, their finances, and relationships. When the grandchildren came; he treated them as his own as well.

When my mother had open heart surgery, he opened up our home to her and was a very patient encouragement to her.

These are all amazing in themselves. But wait, there’s more.

When I had a hysterectomy, the first thing that I woke up to was him with his shaky voice telling me how worried he was about me. He slept next to me at the hospital and petted me while I slept. I knew that he was there and it gave me so much peace.

He allowed me to tear up his HOA backyard and turn it all into 12 raised garden beds. When I pushed the envelope and asked for chickens, he said “no”. But a few days later, he played a song for me that has become our theme. In My Dreams-by Josh Turner. He took me into his arms and lead me in a slow 2 step while it played. Then he told me that if having chickens would add to my happiness, then I could try it. As my chickens turned into goats, rabbits, and tilapia; he pretended that he was irritated but he worried about my plants and animals more than I did.

This all lead to the farm. Originally he thought that he was making my dream come true. But he found this place and fell in love with it. He said that it was his dream home and had visions of what the front could look like. So we bought it. Since moving here, we have been working on each other’s dream come true and having so much fun doing it.

Yes- we are day dream believers, but we are so happy together.

We almost never fight. We get along so well. Our relationship is pretty playful. We have encouraged each other in our relationships with God. We challenge each other on a daily basis to live a positive- up beat life. A good friend of mine recently told me that Steve and I had found something that many people do not. My friend said “Donna- how many married couples can tell you that they had a best friend in their spouse?”

Once he was diagnosed-he started trying to speed up the work on the property, but things progressed to fast and he worried about how I would keep up our place. My only worry was him.

The day after he found out about his illness, he was napping on the couch. I was out in the pasture praying-well begging really. I asked God how I should intercede for my best friend. I told God that Steve could be like the man who was lowered from the roof into the crowded house where Jesus was teaching. Jesus healed the man because of the strong faith of the friends. I told God that I had that kind of faith and asked him to heal Steve. The spirit responded that this was not about me this time. Steve belongs to him and this was between Him and Steve. He said that Steve had to walk through this in order to become the warrior that he really was and that I was to comfort and support Steve as he progressed.

Of course, I thought that this message was telling me that Steve would survive this trial. I went into the house and said to Steve “ I just had the most amazing talk with God just now” and he said “So did I, apparently I am some kid of warrior”.

This surprised me because of the peaceful way that he has lived his life.

As he dealt with the reality of his diagnosis; he was more concerned about how the news would affect his mother and children. He worried about my future as well.

During his hospitalization he had a few really lucid moments. He chose to use those times to give financial advice to his kids.

One night, he sat up and told me that I needed to pull out my notebook and pay close attention. He had thought long and hard about a financial plan and a budget that would allow me to keep our farm. He did not want me to sell our dream, but to keep it.

As he explained his plan, I began to cry as I realized how hard this had weighed on his mind. I realized that this wonderful man who had loved me so thoroughly in life, was caring for me after death.  When he saw that I was crying, he took my chin in his hand and looked weakly into my eyes. He said “Honey, you are beautiful and I know that you love me, but you are going to have to stop crying if you are going to get your work done.’

He told me that he believed that we bought that piece of property in that community of people for a reason. He knew that I loved them and that they would love me.

He said that he knew that there may come a time when I may decide to sell the place, but he wanted it to be my choice and not something that I was forced into doing.

I say all these things to share with you the kind of life that this man lived. He was kind even to those who showed him disrespect-which irritated me. He cared deeply for his friends and co-workers and spoke highly of them. He loved each of his family members more than his own life.

To the family-We Bruces and Paxtons are strong people. We are not used to losing our battles. But we got our butts beat this time. Our family has lost the companionship of a wonderful man. We would all say that he was the best of us. But I challenge you to remember the beautiful things that happened during the fight. A new love and respect for each other developed that would make Steve very proud. Let’s hold on to that.

You also need to know that whenever I would cry about anything, he would do his best to “fix’ whatever the issue was. When I would cry about his illness it absolutely sent him into a panic, because this was the one thing that he could not fix.

He did not want us crying when we sat next to him. He knows that we love him and would not want us to feel any guilt. He would fix our pain if he could, but he wants us to show the strength that he always encouraged in us.

Steve had initiated a conversation that when the time came to pass, we were to send him to some Hospice place to die. He was worried that to pass in the house would affect a possible future sale.

I rarely tell my husband no. But this was the one time that I would trump my husband’s wishes. I told him that when the time came, it would be in our home, in my arms and surrounded by family. I told him that this would not be a spooky story, but a love story- and it was.

Steve Honey- I love you. 

Love Forever,


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Strawberries in the Arizona Desert

My first strawberry of the season

My first strawberry of the season

For years I have been in search of the elusive “organic” Strawberry.
If you are a gardener, you know why commercial farmers use pesticides herbicides on their crops.
Strawberries do not ripen further once picked, so they must stay on the vine in order to become the beautiful sweet fruit that they are. That makes them susceptible to bug damage. The bugs do not care if they are completely ripe or not. That, my friend is the big reason for pesticides.

Strawberry plants stay in the same place year after year. That means that weeds will grow and cause issues. That, my friend is why chemicals are used to stop the sprouting of any weed seeds-enter  herbicides.

Now let’s look at the poriosity of the strawberry.  The strawberry has larger pores than a teenager. This allows for the chemicals to soak right into that beautiful thing.

So the next time you go to buy those big beautiful King Size Strawberries in the clam shell during the spring time, look to see if they are organic. If not, write to company that produced them and ask what chemicals they use in their farming.

I have finally figured out the secret to growing strawberries in my desert garden. No pesticides, no herbicides. Just big- fat- juicy- organic strawberries that are as sweet as sugar.
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My First Week Without Eggs.

I love to eat eggs, cook with eggs, bake with eggs. I miss my eggs.

I love to eat eggs, cook with eggs, bake with eggs. I miss my eggs.

One of the naturopaths where I work told me that she just knew that eggs would come back as one of my sensitivities. What was her clue? I told her often of my love for eggs as    an almost daily food. She said that any thing that we eat on a daily basis is most likely on its way to becoming a food sensitivity for any one with a leaky gut; which is almost everyone.

I thought that my original egg sensitivity was about the corn/soy feed that the chickens were eating. Though this can be a big part of the reason that some cannot eat eggs, sometimes it is truly about the egg.

I am no longer sensitive to corn or soy, but I am still slightly sensitive to eggs. (Boo!) It does make sense. I eat eggs almost every day. This is really too often, but I did not care. Not until I realized that eating eggs was standing in the way of healing my gut. It is truly now the egg protein that my body recognizes as an intruder.

I know, I am probably making too big of a deal about it, but these are not just any eggs. They are the eggs from my chickens who run and play in grassy fields, eating bugs and scraps from my organic garden. I worked hard to raise my flock organically on pasture that I planted for them myself. I have a right to whine. I feel betrayed. I am pretty sad over this. But I am a survivor, I have survived worse. I am a fighter and I will win this battle.

A beautiful girl laying beautiful eggs.

A beautiful girl laying beautiful eggs.

I am feeling pretty grumpy right now. I miss my eggs. But I am determined to kick this leaky gut thing-seal up my gut and have the ability to eat eggs again-in moderation (who said that?).

So instead of acting mean about it. I will bring the eggs to work and share them with my co-workers, I will share them with my family and friends.

Soon my body with have repaired the leaks in the gut and I will be able to eat eggs again.


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Paleo Apple Kale Cooler for Breakfast

Kales and apples for breakfast

Kales and apples for breakfast

I told one of the doctors in our Naturopathic office about my decision to give up eggs for a month. This decision was based on the results of my food sensitivity  test that I wrote about last week.

Her suggestion was to eat vegetables for breakfast. Nutrition packed vegetables. She told me that her latest kick was to put kale and lemon juice in the blender. I have plenty of kale, but that sounded pretty boring to me, so I changed it up a bit.

After my H.I.I.T. (next post)training on the elliptical this am, I decided to make my cooler. I put a cup of filtered water into my Vitamix. I peeled half of a lemon and put that all in, I put 1 chopped up seeded green apple and flipped the switch on. Then I added a couple of big handfuls of kale and turned the dial to 10 for a couple of minutes. Once the kale was liquefied, I added a dropper full of liquid stevia and then about 4 ice cubes.

It is beautiful, it is healthy and it will help me get those 6-9 cups of veggies in that the doctor says that we need every day. To stay full though I will be looking for a clean source of protein later today.

Update, January 29th. Since coming up with the  Paleo Apple Cooler, I have been mixing it up. I have used my broccoli leaves, and actually any of the edible greens from the garden in my breakfast coolers. I like the apple, but have added strawberries. oranges, or cucumbers.

I have also found that if I get home before Steve and make one for him that he will drink it before dinner.

I win!

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Food Sensitivity Testing

Much better than last time.

Much better than last time.

The results are in. I have mostly good news, a little bad news and some great news.

The good news first. A few years ago I had my food sensitivities drawn. At that time peanuts were very bad for me, corn and soy were also bad. Dairy and eggs were high. There were others, but these were the main ones that troubled me.

So I said “Good bye” to my  first love- peanut butter. I grew up on PB&Js on wonder bread, I ate peanut butter on a spoon and in my Reese’s cups. Chocolate and peanut butter was my favorite combo.

Corn and soy were not hard to give up, except the part about reading every label, because corn or soy is in just about everything. I started feeding my animals corn/soy free feed and only drank the milk from my goats and ate the eggs from my chickens. These foods did not seem to bother me, so I assumed that it was the corn and the soy that the animals were eating.

Now that I had my labs drawn again. I have found that I no longer have the peanut, Corn and soy sensitivity. Yes folks, that’s right. Gone.

Now I am only slightly sensitive to chicken, milk and eggs. Only a +1 mind you, but it is still there. My employer/doctor says that even though this seems like bad news to me; it is really great news. He said that it shows that I have been working really hard on sealing up my leaky gut. Because I went 100% off of peanut butter, corn and soy; the antibodies that my body was creating against them have died.  I can now enjoy an occaisional spoonful of peanut butter. But I have to be careful, because my body still knows how to make those antibodies. So moderation is the key. The funny thing is though now, I do not care about eating peanut butter anymore. The addiction is gone.

So after the doctor said “Way to go!” He tossed me a bottle of Colostrum and a bottle of Glutamine. He said that those two products will enhance my gut healing. He suggested that I stay off of chicken, milk and eggs for a couple of months and then re-test.

Does that mean that my gut will seal and remain sealed forever. Does it mean that I will not ever be sensitive to any other food? Will I ever be 100%? It is possible, but only if I work very hard and stay vigilant.

But I am going to give it my best shot. Sealing the gut will take care of keeping the foods where they are supposed to be-inside the gut. That way our body will not have to work so hard to create antibodies (guardians) that are made to keep the food particles (invaders) out of the atmosphere (other places than the gut). This in turn will allow our bodies to work harder on other things like expelling toxins, and getting healthy. But our leaky  gut is an ongoing battle, it is a response to several things. Poor diet, stress, toxins antibiotics. We cannot control them all, but it is my goal to get as close to 100% as possible. So here goes….

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Paleo Prep




I have started these anti-inflammation diets before. It is not so much about weight loss for me as it is for inflammation busting. I did well for awhile but then fell away-all because I did not prepare well.

The one thing that I am doing now that I think is most helpful, is the food sensitivity test. Our office does this through a company called Immuno labs I am waiting for the results to come back. I think that it would be awful to go through the process without first finding out what foods are causing my issues. I will share that with you when it comes back.

Surroundings-I hope that this time will be different. I now work in a Naturopath office that is on board with Paleo. We do not keep junk food around. It is a type of positive peer pressure. Part of my job is to  encourage our patients to make this switch too.

People – other than the office; I mostly hang out with  family. I lovingly call Steve my twinkie eater. But he has an appointment with the Naturopath coming up. He sees how excited I am about this and I think that I can get him to help me stick with it. Who knows maybe he will join me.

Information-I have been scouring the internet for Paleo information. Some sites are more helpful than others. I will be sharing with you what I learn as I learn it.

A reason. I have a genetic predisposition to a chronic inflammatory condition. Uveitis. It  is like arthritis in the eye. I have been taking Celebrex for years to keep the flare ups down. Celebrex can cause many health issues on its own. As I have improved my diet over the years and taken turmeric, I have been able to reduce the amount of the drug significantly, but I still rely on it from time to time. I want to become Celebrex free.

We all have inflammatory issues-caused by genetics plus diet. My research is telling me that though we may not be able to change the genetic issues, we can control the inflammation through diet. I intend to do that for myself and to teach my family and friends how they can do it too.


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Paleo (esque) in my life

Too much information can be misleading and frustrating.

Too much information can be misleading and frustrating.

You all know that I have dabbled with elimination diets, low carb and paleo eating plans in my attempt to kick the uveitis issue that I have.

What I have learned is that many of us will not do the hard things until we are forced to. Pain vs pleasure and all that.

We know that inflammation is the cause of almost every disease out there.

Now that I am working closely with an amazing naturopath doctor (who happens to be my new boss). I am learning even more about the relationship between disease-inflammation and diet.

What I am learning is that it is a lifestyle that has caused the inflammation in my (our) body (bodies). It is going to take a lifestyle change to undo the damage. I need to change. I need to turn my occasional dabbling into a new lifestyle.

I am not going to call it Paleo. I am going to borrow my Dr’s term “Paleo-esque”.

Paleo is a diet that is at least 9 cups of raw veggies per day along with good quality meats, nuts and oils. Some occasional fruit is allowed. It sounds like a lot of diets actually. Whole 30, Sugar detox, Caveman, Elimination diets. I just like the word “Paleo”.

When I look at Paleo blogs, I see beautiful pictures of scrumptious looking baked goods and candies. This confuses me and my friends, so I asked my doctor. He told me that he refers to these items as Paleo-esque. He says that they are not to be used in the beginning or often. They are there only for an occasional treat. So I have some research to do and will start really taking a good hard look at some Paleo books.

Before you start throwing rocks at me, I will say this. I totally understand. I grew up in the 60’s in America. That means that my mom allowed us to drink Kool-Aid almost everyday. She bought into “Wonder Bread”. Ding Dongs were my favorite fruit and real fruit (because of shipping the food) was more expensive than a package of cookies. Captain Crunch was one of the hero’s in my life, I was Coo-coo for Cocoa Pops and Trix were for kids.

Fast forward to the 80’s; I thought that I was doing a good thing for my kids when I perfected my homemade bread and oatmeal cookie recipes. You will never see a box of Ding Dongs in my house. But I make delicious brownies, fudge and caramels from scratch. My kids also drank lots of fresh juice (because I thought that was a good thing). Now we know that those things were not the answer either. Today my adult children both suffer with inflammatory issues as well.

So here I go. I have taken a food sensitivity test through my  office to determine the foods that I am sensitive to and will start a Paleo-esque lifestyle. No body is perfect (especially me) but it is my desire to learn to change, and to share what I am learning with others.
















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