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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Its been a pretty dull week here.

Sunday I did score a major self-victory by over-coming my fears and going back to the Imanga House. We took motorcycles half-way (the half where the road is not so bad) and walked the rest of the way. The boys took turns piggy-backing Patricia, so all I had to worry about was carrying Alice - which I did with the aid of the sling, so it wasn't so bad. It took 50 minutes to walk from Lunza to home, at a leisurely pace. Once home, I took a rest, then I went and did a little work in the shamba to start making a new garden. (When we had our portion officially surveyed, my garden wasn't in our part.) I only managed a 10x10 section, but I'm pretty happy considering I haven't done that kind of heavy work in many months. After that, I started to walk back, probably another 20 minutes, then my husband sent a motorcycle to fetch me because bad weather was coming. I had a lot of sore muscles the next day, but I managed it!

The rest of the week... blah. Business has been soooo slow since the schools closed for the term. I was too broke to go anywhere or do anything, other than what is absolutely necessary. Rains and my own lack of motivation and enthusiasm kept me from going out walking. And thursday I came down with a fever and a running stomach. Fever is gone now, but I'm still getting my exercise running for the bathroom.

The good news is... I'm down another 2 kg as of this morning. 89 kgs = about 196 lbs. I am back under 200! Yay!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUCKYDOGFARM 11/29/2014 11:52PM

    Congrats on the under two hundred! That is wonderful! I hope you feel better soon.

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TERRIJ7 11/29/2014 4:35PM

    That is a great accomplishment! It may seem small, but considering the effort it took to even get to where your garden is, I would call it significant! Good job--and I hope your muscles recover quickly so that you can continue getting the exercise. (Not the running to the bathroom kind!)

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NANHBH 11/29/2014 9:36AM

    Maureen,
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Congrats on entering Onederland! Being sick is a tough way to get there, though. Hope you are feeling better soon. The amount of functional fitness that you get is incredible. You are an amazing woman!
emoticon emoticon

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Suit up, Show up, do the next right thing...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

During the last weeks of my pregnancy, when I was too uncomfortable to do much of anything, I was imagining a beautiful, seamless transition back into every-day life once this new baby was born. Like wonder-woman I was going to manage everything, the farm at Imanga, my businesses in town, raising four kids, and serving the Lord. Of course I didn't imagine that the whole household would catch the cold-from-hell the very same day I delivered the baby, nor did I day-dream about the dreadful backache that would dog me every time I try to carry the baby anywhere, and of course my idealistic fantasies did not include a whole bevvy of financial difficulties and complications... and I conveniently forgot... or perhaps never even had the brain to anticipate the absolute exhaustion that comes with two babies under the age of two.

(Actually, on the subject of exhaustion... my newborn Alice is pretty laid back. She even sleeps a good 5 hours straight at night. Its the 1 and 1/2 year old, Patricia who is disturbing me. She has never slept well at night. I can count on one hand the number of times she's actually slept the whole night - its a very rare occurance. She squirms all over in her sleep, often flipping upside down in the bed, sleeping across all the pillows, or draping herself over one or both of us (yes, we co-sleep with our babies here in Kenya) and she wakes up crying 5 or 6 times a night. She HATES blankets, and refuses to be covered by anything. So if anyone has any helpful tips or advice on getting a toddler to sleep through the night... I'm all ears... or eyes for email!)

I am sitting bleary-eyed in front of the computer, popping ibuprofen with my morning tea for the backache, debating whether I should buy groceries or pay the electric bill. The good thing is I'm so tired, I don't even have the energy to be stressed over it. Its a lot easier to say, "God, you handle this," after four weeks of no-sleep. I'm kinda getting the idea that the last three years have been all about teaching me to stop trying to do everything under my own power. Mine is to suit-up, show up, and do the next right thing. Yes, I'm starting to get it. Maureen Atsali does not have all the answers, resources or solutions. And thats okay. My "suit" today is a big, loud, green shapeless dress which would probably qualify as a mumu if I were in America. "Showing up" seems to imply that I actually get out of bed.
And the next right thing? Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." So I will nurse this baby while I type, and send Alex to go buy veggies for lunch. The electricity bill will wait another day.
Oh yeah, I was thinking about getting back to every day life, wasn't I? My four weeks of self-imposed maternity leave are now over. My little flower is now one month old. So what's next?

Things back home on the farm have fallen apart in my absence... or so I'm told, I haven't been back yet. My cash crop this season - beans - has been ruined by the unusual, non-stop heavy rains, so I didn't even bother to hire anyone to weed them. Everything else has been picked off by my inlaws... the sweet potatoes, the bananas, the arrowroots, and the sugarcanes. You snooze (or have a baby) you lose! All of my chickens have mysteriously disappeared with the exception of one hen. (Luckily, I had already moved most of my chickens here to our house in town.) There was some vague uncertain explaination, "I don't know, maybe the mongoose got them, maybe they got sick and died...". I've come to the conclusion that successful managment of the farm requires more eyes-on supervision than I was able to manage during my pregnancy.

The Imanga house is not far from our business in town. (For the last 6 months we've been living at the business.) Its only about 10 km (6.2 miles). The problem is the road is extremely bad. I'm not sure it even qualifies as a "road" by American standards. When it rains, its impassable, and it has been raining EVERY day. It is full of washouts, mud-pits, rocky escarpments, bus-sized pot-holes and other untold dangers. The only vehicles that can pass (when its not raining) are motorcycles and even then its a dicey, hair-raising ride that leaves me with heart-palpatations and anxiety attacks every time. I've had several bad encounters with motorcycles in the last 3 years - 3 minor accidents and this past August I was hit by a drunk motorcycle driver while I was walking. I have developed a very real and rational fear. I can not see myself commuting back and forth to work by motorcycle every day, not to mention I can't afford the cost of hiring a driver 2x a day. I do have a bicycle... which currently has no brakes... but I can't figure out how I would use the bicycle with a newborn and a toddler in tow. (They don't have those funny pull-behind wagons here in Kenya! They don't even have those baby seats to mount behind.) I'm thinking about walking. I have walked it many times before, including many times with Patricia dangling off my front in a baby-carrier. But now, with two babies and a back-ache, how will I do it? I think I need a stroller... a heavy-duty, double seater jog stroller with the big bicycle wheels for "off-roading". But, I've never seen even a single-seater jog stroller in Kenya either. They have the regular kind of stroller, single seaters, with the little plastic wheels. I'm not sure how those puny wheels will hold up on our road, but I'm still thinking about it... and wondering how I'll come up with the money for one... being an imported item, such a stroller costs about $100 USD. (Dear God, wouldn't it just be easier to send me a Landrover?)

In the mean time, I'm working on building up my strength and stamina again. I've started going for walks with Alice in a sling, usually leaving a very angry, indignant Patricia at home with the boys. (Unless I can get a boy to walk with me and carry her when she gets tired.) Right now I'm managing about 20-30 minutes. If I can find a way to manage it with the babies, commuting by foot would probably be an awesome way to take care of all the extra weight I've gained in two back-to-back pregnancies... and then I would be able to manage both the farm, and the businesses in town. Staying in the Imanga house would have other advantages. I would be able to grow a lot of my own food, instead of buying it in town. What I don't grow for myself, I can buy from neighboring farms much cheaper than I can buy from the town market. (Food is by far the biggest expense I struggle with here in Kenya. Despite the fact that the current average daily wage in Kenya is somewhere around $1.50 USD, the cost of food is equal to or greater than the cost of food in America.) Food from the farms would also be much healthier than what we are eating in town.

What do I do Lord?
Suit up, show up, do the next right thing. Put on socks and sneakers with my mumu, start preparing lunch... take a walk with my baby, and let God take care of everything else.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANETRIS 11/21/2014 9:54AM

    I'm keeping you in my prayers Spark friend.....You are doing what you can do. One day at a time..... emoticon

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TERRIJ7 11/18/2014 1:01PM

    It's nice to hear from you again about how things are going with your family. I'm thinking about the jogging stroller and wonder whether you could find someone with mechanical abilities to simply put bicycle wheels under another stroller. I'm sure it could be done with spare parts if you could find someone to put it together; unless, that is, you are skilled in that way. It might look odd, but would be a load off your back and you might be able to use it to carry other things too.

Loved this blog, Maureen. I think your message is absolutely correct, "Suit up, Show up and do the next right thing"

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NANHBH 11/18/2014 10:58AM

    Marueen,

I just want to hug you. My heart goes out to you. You are a wonderful example of being faithful and trusting in God. I wish that I could tell you that it's going to be OK. All that I can say is that I'm praying for you and your sweet family. And sending you love.
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BEATLETOT 11/18/2014 9:09AM

    What a wonderful blog. I don't have any advice for you, but I enjoyed reading about your life and your struggles and how you OVERCOME them. Beautiful stuff.

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Its a Girl!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hi Everyone,

Well, its been forever and a day since I posted a blog here. But today I have something really nice to blog about.

I had a baby!

Friday, October 17th I gave birth to Alice Nyangweso Atsali, by myself, in the comfort of my own home. Yes, you read that correctly, by myself. She came very fast after a very short, intense labor, there was no time to call anyone, and I wouldn't have called anyway. I'm a big advocate of unassisted childbirth. Now I've finally experienced it myself (after one hospital birth, and one home birth - semi-assisted.) There is absolutely nothing to compare with the thrill of catching your own baby.

She weighed at 2.5 kgs (5.5 lbs), petite and lovely! I've been *trying* to rest and recover - but thats much easier said than done with now 4 kids underfoot (5 if you count my husband). I have the usual new-mommy exhaustion. Alice has her days and her nights all mixed up, of course. Patricia is very happy with the new baby, except when the new baby nurses, then she becomes very jealous. Alex is ambivelent, and Dale is once again the doting big brother. Ishmael is of course very pleased with his newest daughter.

I've been a bit unhappy with my family though, which hasn't been as helpful or supportive as I would have liked. Instead of doting on me a little bit, they seemed to expect that I would just continue to help myself, and help them as usual. I've spent a bit of time sitting in the self-pity-pot over this lack of care and concern for my comfort and welfare, and have had one giant emotional meltdown so far. I think I need to devote a little more time and effort to self-care.

I don't have any pictures to share as of yet, since my phone/camera was stolen by the neighbor's kids. I'm really bummed about that, as I don't have the extra money to buy a new camera.

Well, what's next?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANETRIS 10/25/2014 4:48PM

    Congrats Maureen on you beautiful baby girl! emoticon I'm so proud of you for opting to do your very own home delivery! Awesome job. You do deserve some rest and pampering. I wish I could come and help you out. I pray your family wakes up and gives you a hand. Do the best you can. I know you are strong enough to carry on! emoticon to you and yours! emoticon

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ALLYALLYT 10/25/2014 4:01AM

    Congrats! Such a precious gift! I had 4 natural but by myself------ emoticon lol. Take care of yourself! Sorry about your family............seems some never learn. emoticon

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NANHBH 10/25/2014 1:45AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Congratulations, Maureen, on the birth of Alice. How exciting and amazing that you caught her yourself. You are one brave lady!

So sorry to hear that your family isn't giving you the pampering that you need and deserve. I am holding you and your family in prayer. Wishing you much love, happiness, and sleep-filled nights soon!
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LUCKYDOGFARM 10/23/2014 12:18PM

    Congratulations Maureen! You amaze me! And I'm sure your menfolk are amazed as well.
Men are just so insensitive to a woman's needs. Since they rarely admit to having needs other than the basics.


is your address still

Po box 2439 ?
I have something I would love to send to you.

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LUCKYDOGFARM 10/23/2014 12:17PM

    Congratulations Maureen! You amaze me! And I'm sure your menfolk are amazed as well.
Men are just so insensitive to a woman's needs. Since they rarely admit to having needs other than the basics.


is your address still

Po box 2439 ?
I have something I would love to send to you.

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TERRIJ7 10/23/2014 10:11AM

    Catching my own baby is beyond my imagination, but am sure that is was the thrill of a lifetime! Congratulations on a safe delivery of dear Alice. Hopefully, she will be an easier baby than Patricia was and you will regain your strength and energy quickly. However, don't rush things. It will take time for your body to recover and the post-partum hormones to settle down. Try to rest whenever you can and let the boys take care of some of the chores for you.

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EVIE4NOW 10/23/2014 9:55AM

  Congratulations. I'm happy that your at home adventure worked out. Stop helping your family when they can't be there for you in your time of need. Tell them the obvious, that with 5 children and a recent birth you don't have the time or energy and that you don't see any of them coming to your aid. Be honest, don't let them guilt you into something you are not wanting or able to do.

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GAYLLYNNE 10/23/2014 9:16AM

    Congratulations!! You are very brave to do this yourself!! I'm so impressed. Enjoy your new little one and I hope you get a little help soon!! I know how hard it is!

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GETHEALTHY83 10/23/2014 9:06AM

  wow I thought I had read this start of this blog wrong but I sure didn't. that's freaking amazing and scary at the same time. Congrats to you and the new addition to your family. May you all be blessed and protected. Sometimes people are selfish, give them time and stand your ground. Take care of you and your lil ones, husband. Best wshes to you!!

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1HAPPYSPIRIT 10/23/2014 9:05AM

    emoticon on the new baby!

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MISSROCKABILLY 10/23/2014 9:03AM

    Congratulations! So glad to hear that everything went well, welcome Alice!

I think that making sure you are able to take care of you is very important, even if it's just something small each day. You will feel better and be better equipped to help take care of your family that way, especially if it decreases any sense of resentment toward them you might feel for their lack of help.

Sending good thoughts your way, as usual. :)
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Awesome start to August

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

August is off to a beautiful start for me. I'm really happy with the little bit of progress I've made since I dragged my self back here.

I've now been to church 3 Sundays in a row. I can't remember when I was last that consistant. Even before Patricia was born, I was only attending occationally. On top of going to church, I've committed myself to starting every day by reading my Bible and spending some time in prayer. It has made an amazing difference in my attitude and my day!

Today I logged my 3rd day in a row of exercise. This one is a real challenge for me. I'm tied to the shop most of the day. I have to wait for the kids to get home from school so that I have a baby-sitter for Patricia and someone to watch the shop while I take the dog out for a walk. Thats all fine, except that this is also the rainy season here in Kenya, and it rains about every day in the afternoon. Pouring heavy rain with monsoon winds and sometimes hail! So its always a race to see what will come first - the boys, or the rain!

All week last week I kept missing my chance. Then Sunday rolled around - and I had the chance, but I kept making excuses. My head hurts. My joints are aching. I feel tired. wah-wah-wah. But there was my little doggy, looking at me with his big eyes, wondering what the problem was. So, with a bit of grumbling, I said, "Fine, lets go for a short walk." But as I started, an amazing thing happened. Everything felt better. My joints stopped hurting. My headache disappeared. That heavy, dragging feeling disolved away. And I really started to enjoy myself! Our short walk turned into a LONG walk... although a slow and leisurely one.

This experience opened my eyes and reminded me of something: This has long been my habit and my problem. When I was in the USA and taking karate classes, I would do the SAME thing every day before class. I would start listing allll the reasons and excuses NOT to go to that class. But, I found if I would just drag my sorry self out the door and into the dojo - before long I was feeling great and always glad I went. Its the same here and now. If I can just get myself started, everything works out fine! Its just overcoming that initial inertia!

So, with that in mind, Monday I got brave and went home to our Imanga homestead to do some work on the farm. I had all the same negative messages running in my head. I'm too tired, it has rained too much, I don't have the energy to do heavy farm work, I'm too pregnant, I'll be sore, I'll wear myself out... I was THIS close to calling everything off. But then I just gritted my teeth and went. The work which needs to be done is a bit overwhelming, but I told myself to just go slowly, do what I can, and rest when I need to. Whatever little bit I get done is better than doing nothing at all. And really, I was able to get a LOT done that way... a little tortoise-vs-hare application. I was so proud of how much I accomplished, and very much encouraged to start going back more often.

Today... today I had a hump to get over again. NO SLEEP. Patricia is cutting teeth - her back molars now, and on top of being a fuss-bucket, it has given her a running stomach. Last night she had one of those terrible exploding diapers that just got alllll over everything. So before I did anything else today I had to wash ALLLL of our bedding. BY HAND. Sheets, blankets, pillows, her clothes, my clothes. WHAT a mess! So I had this ready made excuse - after I finished the laundry... lets just relax, I'm too tired, I didn't sleep, my arms are sore and tired from the farm work and all this laundry... but... there is my doggy in the back yard, looking bored and dejected. So I hurried myself along, made dinner early so that it would only have to be reheated, and was ready to go out the door with the dog as soon as my son got in from school. We managed a half-hour walk before the thunder started to rumble, and were back just in time, as the big fat raindrops were starting to fall. I was satisfied, and the dog was happy. (I was a little LESS than happy to find that my husband had come home and eaten about half the food that was meant for supper! But oh well, you win some, you lose some!)

Yesterday I weighed in... and I was actually down 1 kg - or about 2.5 lbs. I'm not actively trying to lose weight right now. In fact, my goal is just to hold steady at this weight as long as possible. (I gained too much too early in this pregnancy.) But hey, if it goes down, I'm all for that too - as long as its all healthy and good! I certainly don't feel like I lost. I look and feel like a walking watermelon already. I was just looking at my profile pic here on spark - and I am amazed that that picture of me and my husband was taken at 7 months pregnant... and there is barely a visible bump there. Whoo boy, this time around its VERY obvious I'm pregnant! I look it, and I FEEL it. Anyway, aside from losing a kg, everything else is looking great. Blood pressure was 115/70, blood sugars are staying below normal... the only thing that continues to annoy me are these constant digestive problems.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TERRIJ7 9/19/2014 12:28AM

    I've fallen behind on your blogs and didn't know you were pregnant again! Congratulations!

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NANHBH 8/11/2014 10:57PM

    Maureen,

Gosh, lots going on in your life. Lots to hold you in prayer for.

I recently read an article that said that our brain gives up long before our body is physically exhausted. The way the article said to overcome the brain giving up is to say affirmations just like did the day you went to the homestead.

Congrats on your weight loss!
emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/11/2014 10:58:23 PM

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JANETRIS 8/8/2014 12:56PM

    I'm so glad you are feeling better and getting some tings in the day that make you feel accomplished! YAY! emoticon

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ALLYALLYT 8/6/2014 12:56AM

    glad you are finding some "me" time. walking always makes me feel better!

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LUCKYDOGFARM 8/5/2014 7:31PM

    HipHipHooray for you Maureen! Im so glad that you are carving out some YOU time! Do you have access to rice or bananas? Both of those are great for your baby's tummy issues.
It sounds to me like you are going to have some twins! Oh my! Do twins run in either family? That would be kinda fun. emoticon

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sleep!

Monday, July 28, 2014

I have been so sleep deprived... for such a long time... i've struggled with insomnia for years. Lately falling asleep is not my problem... the problem is I'm interupted dozens of times during the night. Patricia still doesn't sleep through the night. She wants to nurse. The dog doesn't sleep through the night. He wants to poop, and it seems that I'm the only one in the house who hears him asking to go out. My husband... my husband sleeps like a dead person from about 9pm to 2 or 3 in the morning. Then he is wide awake, full of energy, and usually wants... well, you can guess what he wants. And because he functions beautifully on little sleep, and always has a super-abundance of energy, he has no sympathy at all for my tired, dragging self. Aside from those... there is the baby playing solo soccer matches en-utero. There is my poor bladder which is being squeezed and kicked by the same. There is my own mind which tends to disturb me with racing thoughts and random worries and anxieties... and on and on it goes. I tried to figure it out yesterday... I average about 3 hours of sleep a night, but only in bits and pieces. I can't even get three solid, uninterupted hours.

And then I keep wondering why I'm so darn TIRED all the time! So my work this week is to try to increase my SLEEP. Because God help me, what will I do when this next baby arrives?? I am no longer playing door-man for the dog. Either someone else can let him out, or someone else can clean up the mess in the morning. (He is newspaper trained, so its not quite so bad...) I tried to tell the husband that I am unavailable for intimacy in the middle of the night... that if he wants to start that he better do it before we sleep, or early in the morning before the kids wake. And I am going to take a nap during the day, whenever Patricia decides to crash, I'm going down with her. I will close the doors to the business - or if my husband doesn't want the doors closed, he can make a point to be here to watch the shop for himself. Its not fair that I'm tied here from morning to night, while he is free to do whatever. Sometimes he's busy with field work during the day, but more often than not, he ends up spending his time at leisure. Then if he comes home and finds me sleeping he'll make nasty, rude, unsympathetic comments and give me long, annoying lectures about how I'm ruining the business and I'm not taking it seriously. Humph. But he can say whatever he wants at this point. If I don't start taking care of me, there isn't going to be anything left to take care of him, or the kids, or the house, or the business. End of story!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANETRIS 8/8/2014 12:50PM

    I hope you are making progress in the sleep department. For me it's my age and night sweats! I can live with it though. I don't have little ones to take care of so I can get a nap when needed. I'm praying for some relief for you! emoticon

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LUCKYDOGFARM 7/29/2014 3:01AM

    You do need more sleep! Will Patricial bottle feed at all? Maybe your hubby can take care of the feedings when he wakes up and the dog too! Just close the door and lock him out so you can get your rest! lol. emoticon

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ALLYALLYT 7/29/2014 2:54AM

    good for you! i pray you are able to get rest soon!

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POSITIVEHOPE 7/29/2014 1:00AM

    I had insomnia because at certain times of the year, I have to take steroids for my Asthma and insomnia is one of the side effects.
I read a recommendation for the book Say Goodnight to Insomnia by Greg Jacobs and I was able to access a copy online in Open Library for free.
The author gives good insight into the issue and detailed explanations of all the various things that contribute to our sleep struggles. He explains the issues for different sleep problems from getting to sleep at night or returning to sleep during the night.
The author is a bit self-impressed (he is a well-known researcher at a major university) and applauds himself frequently in the book but despite that, the information is sound. After reading and implementing his step by step plan I had significant improvement. In fact, I no longer have trouble getting back to sleep at night.
I really recommend reading this book.

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