Embrace God's Creation this Summer! (But maybe not all of it)
Summer is fast approaching, and for many, that means summer camp. Some of my favorites memories were going to camp, fishing, canoes on the lake and exploring the great outdoors. It seems harder and harder each generation to get outside and explore God's amazing creations in nature. Whether summer camp is part of your plans or not, let's get away from television, video games, computers, cell phones and laptops. God is waiting for you; outside!
Although I promote embracing all of God's creation, sometimes we encounter the not-so-pleasant aspects of nature. My wife jokes about how she can't wait for God to share with her the inspiration behind creating chiggers. Being from Hawaii, these little creatures are new to her in Missouri and often make her summer miserable for at least a few days. We also have the infamous flies (horseflies are the worst), mosquitoes, wasps, ticks, annoying gnats, spiders and of course thorns, locust trees, stinging nettle and other plants as well.
The chemical industry has profited greatly from our desire to remove pests from our daily lives. Just think of all the herbicides, pesticides, bug sprays and pest control companies in our world today. Unfortunately these chemicals have caused a lot of damage to the environment and people because they are poisonous. If they kill plants and bugs, they can't be good for us either. Thousands of people have been injured and children have even been born with deformities because of these chemicals (such as DDT in the 1950's). Many chemicals still sold in stores today are known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). We can have a safe, healthy summer without spraying chemicals on our bodies. Hopefully, we can give you just a few tips to a cleaner, healthier summer...
1. Bug Sprays:
Bug sprays have a lot of dangerous chemicals. Citronella essential oil and candles are known to help. Essential oils are strong insect deterrents. There are many good natural insect repellents at health food stores. Here are some natural alternatives that really work. My wife and I used the Bug Off Balm all year last year with great results.
- Aloe Life Bug Beware: Contains Rosemary, Thyme, and Lemongrass in a water base
- Smoky Hills Bug Off Balm: Contains grapeseed oil, beeswax, catnip, peppermint, lavender, sage, rosemary, thyme, essential oil blend of citronella, clove, lemongrass, cajeput, eucalyptus, cedar, lavender, peppermint, rose geranium
2. Tick Repellent:
I gave this a special category because the concern over Lyme's disease is very real. We want to do anything we can to keep ticks away. I would encourage wearing socks and shoes in the woods, removing all clothing after being in the woods and having someone check you over, and repelling them with natural herbs and oils. We love a product called Protect-X specifically designed to work against ticks.
- Protect-X by North American Herb and Spice: Contains water and a blend of wild spice oils such as oregano, clove, sage, and bay leaf.
How could we talk about summer camp without talking about the sun? The sun is good for us. God designed us to absorb light and getting a tan is extremely healthy. However, burning is bad! Ideally, we slowly increase sun exposure with no need of sunscreens. There are many wonderful natural sunscreens out there that also work. We used the Sun Butter and loved it the entire time we were in Hawaii, especially for our two little girls. Again, any health food store will have many natural sunscreen options.
- Smoky Hills Farm Sun Butter: Contains coconut oil, shea butter, non-nano zinc oxide, beeswax
4. Long Clothing:
Wearing lightweight, cotton clothing can protect you from insects, plants and the sun. I don't think it will help against the thorns however! Long-sleeved shirts and pants can be comfortable in the summer if they are lightweight.
5. Good Nutrition:
The healthier you are, the less bugs like you, specifically related to your blood. If you seem to be a mosquito magnet, you might want to consider working on your health. The more acidic your bloodstream, the more mosquitoes come looking for you.
- Eat greens, veggies, b-vitamins
- Alkalize your blood with lemon, Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar and baking soda for good health and to make yourself less desirable to bugs.
God truly has given us all we need to enjoy the great outdoors. Enjoy your summer! We pray it is filled with God and nature, yet free of toxic chemicals.