Summer smiles


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Back when I wasn’t doing real well and my health was poor, it became an obsession to create a place full of life and calmness. I made a garden in the front yard where there was none. I used the girls to dig out grass and do the backbreaking work of creating space. Then I got my hands into that precious soil and began to create.

Gardening has always felt like praying to me. Every moment was time spent communing with God. I can’t help but feel that my careful placement of flowers into the spaces they would best flourish was not unlike Gods in his placement of us, in me. Some need more sun, others more shade. The pruning process is hard at times, knowing that some branches and stems still have some life left, but removing them will allow the whole plant to gain a new start and better focus and clearer direction. Weeding is a constant need, or it becomes tough to distinguish the real flowers from the impostors. It takes work to keep the garden up, but the rewards are amazingly plentiful!

Today I brought in flowers for my kitchen and sent some home with a friend. They are little rays of sun, snippets of smiles.

To be able to simply walk out my door and snip a few is the reason I worked hard planting. I knew eventually this moment would be the payoff, and many more days like it. My swing sits in the middle of all this beauty and its my favorite place to disappear to. I love to lay on the swing and soak up the scents around me with my eyes closed. The breeze plays across my skin as the sun warms it through the awning. Its amazing.

Sometimes you have to put forth a lot of effort before you see the rewards, but the faithful work is fruitful and the smiles it imprints upon my heart daily now are beyond worth it!

I’m sending you smiles across the miles today. Here’s your bouquet!

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Mom! Stop!!!


It’s true.  I’ve been known to dance to the radio – badly – and do it with excessive flair.  My body loves to move to the beat.  It really doesn’t care who’s watching or if it looks good.  Heck, the more crazy the better for me!  I love getting my groove on.  My kids loved this as tots and we’d all move and shimmy and shake to the beat of whatever was on at the time.  It sped up cleaning and cooking and  getting chores done.  It made little kids who didn’t want to get dressed in the morning actually put their clothes on and do it with a grin. It made tired kids who were cranky do things that they were told, and it made little kids who refused bedtime crawl into them all on their own.  What if there was no radio you ask?  I would make up silly songs about what we were doing all in an attempt to be a great and goofy mom.  I succeeded very well.  Not bragging – just sayin, it was a trick i learned and it worked well, especially if I added a Pirate mom voiceover to narrate our fun.

Signal LightFlash forward to today.  My brain is not easily retrained, so what used to elicit giggles now brings forth urgent pleas to STOP doing the crazy mom thing.  Someone might see!  But the beat on the radio is so good!  I just cant help it!  I gotta move…  so I try to comply and just bop my head.  I get a sideways look and a warning from the teen sitting next to me.  Sigh.  But I wanna dance!  I look at her again.  She shakes her head no.  Oh okay.  I am nice and I stop because the other cars speeding past worrying about where they are going are sure to notice me and care that I was bopping my head to music in my own van.

But I have teens, not tots.  It matters very much what the eyes around them think and I am messing things up just a bit by getting crazy.

Will I always comply?  Heck no!  Thats my JOB!  If I want to get them ready for the real world, I gotta make sure they can handle a little crazy now and then.  A dancing mom in the car at a stop light is easy practice for handling the stress of crazy life.  It’s a tough job – embarrassing the kids – but somebody’s gotta do it.  Might as well be me!  🙂

PE class begins NOW!


20130818-235505.jpgMonday morning, bright and early, began the kids’ first official school day. They went off as 4th and 7th graders on the bus before 7 am hit our clock dial, and my oldest is a freshman in HS at the Campbell Academy… Meaning I am her teacher ( insert scary movie music here).

Since I need to figure out classes and the requirements, we will be doing her choice ——–running— for PE class together. Her choice of time is when her siblings get on the bus. Wow. So she’s more demanding than I am and I’m sposed to be the boss!

7 am we hit the pavement and either run or walk depending on the day (and my “oldness” factor) and do a 2 or 4 mile loop around our subdivision and park area. I don’t want to admit it, but I should probably thank her for choosing to do something like this. It will force me to get healthy too. (And really, who doesn’t need that?). She’s the kick in the pants I need to get out there and do this. So thanks Linds. Your old mom appreciates it, but I won’t say so anytime soon since that run will be too fresh come tomorrow at 8 am! Heehee

So happy fall and start to school everyone. May your days be educational and enlightening!

Chow friends!

Filling up on premium: Going Gluten Free


So willpower has never been a strong suit for me. I don’t seem to have a lot of personal restraint. I hate to tell myself NO, I guess, is what it comes down to. If someone else tells me no, I may hate it, but I can usually respect that. Telling myself the same thing? Forget it!

Unknown-1So when I found that I had new dietary restrictions, I thought, “Oh HELL No!” Truth is, though, I had been suspecting this issue for a very long time. So long, in fact, I had been doing various things to prevent anyone knowing I was having the issue at all. I just didn’t want to deal with the massive change in lifestyle…and the saying NO to myself.

But here I am, on week 4 of a gluten free diet, AND I am living through it. Not only am I living through it, I am better for it, and I haven’t even cheated once! That is HUGE for me. I nearly always cheat at some point. I see it as I’ve earned it by being good for so long. It’s completely flawed thinking, but I’ve been doing it my whole life. I especially do it with chocolate. “If I just get through this,” then I will have a little smidgen of dark chocolate love. I’m no better than a child who’s mother has to bribe them to behave in the checkout lane at the store. I know this isn’t good healthy behavior, so dont look at me like that!

UnknownOver the last four weeks I discovered something that was kind of mind blowing for me. Number one, I CAN say no to myself and do it amazingly well. Furthermore, the biggie revelation needed no learning, nor any research. It is obvious and it’s stupidly easy to see… (yet many of us do the same dumb thing I’ve been doing for years and rewarding ourselves with “treats” that are bad for us when we do hard things.) But listen, here’s the kicker I finally came face to face with, “You don’t EVER earn the right to make your body sick.” Period. That thinking is ludicrous, really, when you just stop and see it for what it is. When would that ever even make sense? My thinking on food has been skewed for a very long time apparently.

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NO! I’m not pregnant! This is the reaction to eating gluten. It’s immediate and extreme. There’s no denying that it is not something my body tolerates.

So four weeks of a gluten-free diet and I’ve lost some lbs. and that’s nice, but I’ve lost something I cant believe I’ve lost… I’ve lost permanent daily headaches! I thought I would never ever be free of these damned things, but apparently a food allergy can do that. It can give you one heck of a bad reaction and until you stop taking it in. Keep eating the wrong food and the body it wont stop beating you up for it. My body has been thanking me in so many ways since I stopped. I’m less cranky, tired, my daily headaches are gone (though my Chiari based ones have stayed, I dont mind them nearly as much!) and my gut is a LOT happier. Like a LOT LOT LOT happier.

I had taken to wearing one or more compression garments whenever I knew I would be out and have to be eating something.  Because I hadn’t yet targeted the cause, I was embarrassed at the outcome and hated being asked “when I was due.”  I am a small boned person, so the extreme reaction to my meal was obvious to most and I was trying to find new ways to cover it up at every turn.  Finding the cause of it has been life changing.  It’s been far less restrictive than those compression garments.  I cant begin to tell you how much happier I am!

Bottom line: my view on food itself has completely changed.

I now see food as fuel. It may sometimes be a nice and enjoyable experience fueling up, but it’s fuel. It’s not a treat, it’s not a reward, and it’s not something I earn. If my body needs fuel, I give it what it needs. My body doesnt run well on standard fuel. The cheap stuff like unleaded gasoline at the gas station. My body wants the premium stuff. It wants to cut through the stuff that literally weighs a body down and only go for the good stuff God made. Along those same lines, every time I pass a gas station, I don’t stop and fuel up my soccer mom van, because the sign is shinny and the gasoline pumps are colorful. The lure of food because it smells and looks yummy is the same. I only eat when hungry, and I stop when I’m not. I dont eat past the full stage, and I only eat things that my body can process and use as fuel.

I haven’t got away from desiring all the yummy things yet, but that is okay. I am finding alternatives. On my birthday I bought a gluten-free brownie mix and made it up and put it into muffin tins. This gave me individual servings and no chance to cut a bigger piece. I then froze the left overs in seperate baggies and now i grab one out and thaw each time my family has birthday cake (we had several birthdays this last month!) and other treats. I am not tempted when I have alternatives like this. It’s keeping me on track.

So while I have a long way to go in learning all the crazy ins and outs to gluten-free eating, I am getting a handle on it, and on my health. Why didn’t I do this sooner? I can’t believe how long I let this go, and how many headaches I could have prevented!