Friday, September 30, 2011

I'm A Bit Crazy, Maybe...

I have jumped in. 
Signed a pledge. 
Committed myself.

What have I done?!

It all started last week when I was stuck at home with strep throat. Give a girl a few idle hours & a laptop computer for company & she can get herself in all kinds of trouble. I was just doing the blog hopping thing. It's like jumping down a rabbit hole, let me tell you. I read through the posts from blogs that I already subscribe to & then I get to exploring the blogs that they recommend or I follow a link from a commentator to their blog. It's fun. I learn things. And I also sign up for things. Like this pledge.

I found this blog called 'Eating Rules' & I was sucked in.  It's a good read.  And the writer is hosting his second annual October Unprocessed challenge.  The basic idea is to avoid all processed foods for the month of October.  That's the easy part - summing up what the challenge entails.  The difficult part of course is actually sticking to the rule & not eating processed foods.

Obviously I've been thinking a lot lately about our diet & the things that we eat.  I am working on implementing some baby step changes for our household.  I'm going to keep that mentality with this pledge.  I don't know if I will last thirty minutes or if I'll last all thirty one days.  But I'm going to give it a try.  I'm thinking if I simply avoid diet soda & processed cheese products that will be a huge step in the right direction.  My main goal is to be reminded to read labels & eat thoughtfully. 

And yeah, I'll definitely crash & burn some days.  But maybe I'll learn something along the way.  If anyone decides to jump on the band wagon, let me know! 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wisdom of the G's

I'm sure that by now I've mentioned several times that I try to spend some time with my grandparents ('the G's') every week.  I see them at church for a few minutes every service, but I just need a little more visiting time, if you know what I mean.
Thursday afternoons are usually when we visit.  I go out to their place after work & we sit, chatting for a few minutes.  G-ma is always there.  We set our plans around that.  Depending on the weather & how he is feeling my G-pa may or may not be there.  He tries to keep moving as much as possible to keep himself limbered up.  He's a very motivated & disciplined fella.  The other day I went by for our visit & for the very first time I saw him without his shoes on.  It wasn't a good day.  He was having a lot of arthritis pain in his ankle so he had decided to take it easy, sip some green tea & chat with us.  During our little chats I learn so much.  Sometimes they are in the mood to reminisce.  That's when I learned that my G-pa was born at home, in a little shack that we used to be able to see from their farm.  And that's when I learned that my G-ma once won a bunch of Rhode Islander Red hens in a giveaway at the feed store.  Good, fun facts about their childhood.  I love it.
Every once in a while our conversations are more serious, more adult.  We debate the evils of society, the insurance industry, & nutrition.  Sometimes I think my G-pa likes to agrue with me just to see how riled I'll get.  Sometimes the conversations are heated but they are alway stimulating.
Even more often we talk about what makes a life & what things are worth remembering.  I don't know if they are motivated to topics like this because they are in their December or if it is just motivated by a desire to instill purposeful remembrance in me.  Because I am just not wired like that.  What jobs have I had?  Let me think...  How old was I when I had that apartment?  I'm not sure...  When did you get baptized?  Ummm...
One day as we were having our chat, G-ma suggested that I keep a diary.  Before I could even sigh through my many objections of who has time for that & blah, blah, blah, she went on to explain that it didn't have to be anything elaborate.  Maybe I could just keep a sort of time line of major events in my life.  Hmmm...this seems doable.  And worthy of some effort on my part.

So I have this little red journal (thanks, Steph!).  It's blank pages are just begging for some graffiti.  I think I need to begin to record the timeline of my life.  Keep me accountable, because you know all about the best laid plans...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Book Fairy

The Book Fairy strikes again!

And I've been so very glad.

Since I was sick last week I had a lot of time to read.
And there's a special kind of misery in having time to read
& not having any books that strike your fancy.
I'll let you know if there are any treasures in this stack!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fridgie Wallpaper

With the purchase of our house, along came a fridgie.  It's kind of funny, but I didn't realize it wasn't a full-sized fridgie for quite a while.  Then I noticed that I could easily see on top of the freezer.  I'm tall but I'm not THAT tall!  That's when I realized we have more of an apartment sized fridgie.  It's the almondy, off-white kind of color.  And I thought it was just really in need of a good scrubbing when I first moved in.  It just looked dingy & kind of stained in places.  Several cleaners & lots of elbow grease later I discovered that the way it was would be the way it stayed.  So we kind of use different things to 'wallpaper' our fridgie.  And since we have three nieces, three nephews & many friends who send pics in their Christmas greetings, we have lots of material to work with!

I thought I'd highlight two pieces of our current fridgie wallpaper.  This first one was recently penned by Madison.  We were all gathered at M&D's for a family dinner.  She snuck off into the office, wrote this poem, & then wrote a separate copy for everyone.  She delivered them rolled up like a scroll & tied with yarn.  Super fun delivery!

This second piece of fridgie wallpaper has been around for a while.  It was designed by our niece Caydance.  She is a very artsy child so I wasn't surprised when she decided to draw a pic of me.  She's in second grade & has taken the time to carefully label different features of my face, etc.  The one label that made us crack up was "a little dot" with an arrow pointing at my chin.  Yes folks, that little dot was none other than a little zit!  This is also the kid that checked up with me one day asking if I was liking my ProActive?  Just a reminder, when you are talking with a kid's mom & the kid is anywhere nearby, it doesn't matter how busy they might seem to be with something else, they are still listening to your conversation! *grin*

What's wallpapering your fridgie?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Observations From A Housecleaning Woman

I've been sick since Wednesday afternoon with a fairly vicious case of strep throat.  I've been trying not to complain about it too much because I've been strep free for two years, two months, and ten days.  And the only reason I know that for sure is because the last time I had strep was my wedding day.

Anyway, I didn't log in here to post about that messy business.  I was feeling a little better today so I decided to spiffy up the house a bit.  I've been sitting around for a couple of days & I needed to move around.  Plus looking at the dusty mess was making me grouchy.

While cleaning I made two very important observations.

First of all, I love this rug that we have on our living room floor.  It's nice and cozy.  It's a great place to dig your toes in after a long day or stretch out and take a little nap.  It's fluffy & wonderful.

But it sheds.  To the point that we might as well have a long haired dog with an underactive thyroid problem living with us.  *sigh*

My second observation also invovles cleaning the floor.  We mostly have hard surface floors in our house with just a couple of area rugs.  A couple of years ago I had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket so I went to get us a little vacuum.  I got us the best thing that the combination of $50 & Walmart could buy.  I got this blue beauty.  And it does a fairly good job.  But it is so loud that I'm going to need double hearing aids before I hit the ripe old age of 35. 

Seriously, my ears are still ringing.

Now I'm relaxing with a weird DVD I rented from the library.  I've been laughing at some scenes but I'm not sure they're really meant to be funny...

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's A Christmas Miracle!

I know it's only September.  But something amazing has happened. 

I have finished reading "The Maker's Diet."

This book is a very challenging read for several reasons.  I hope that I can give you a careful evaluation & honestly represent the spirit in which the book is written.

I love a good, gripping, dramatic story.  The author, Jordan Rubin, begins his book by telling the story of his own very desperate health crisis.  He was a healthy young man until he went to college.  As happens for so many young people, once he was away from home & fully in control of his schedule & his eating choices his diet was not what it should be.  The big difference between the author & most young people is that instead of just gaining some weight, he became deathly ill.  They diagnosed him with ulcerative collitis & began treatment.  Unfortunately, in the United States 'treatment' usually means drug therapy.  Don't get me wrong, I work in the pharmaceutical industry; I believe medicine is important & life-saving - in some cases.  His doctors treatments only seemed to exacerbate his problems so he ended up going to live with a man who was an 'eccentric nutritionist' who believed that the illness was caused because he was not eating the diet of the Bible.  Thus began the author's journey to health & his development of 'The Maker's Diet.'

There are a lot of things in this book that scared me, frankly.  Over the past year or so as I have regularly read several different foodie blogs & as I've seen family members struggle with some different health problems, I've become more & more interested in learning more about what I am eating & where it comes from.  I thought I was making a huge step when I started buying milk that said it was growth hormone free.

I had no idea how complex this whole food situation is.

As I read through the beginning of the book I had to set it down on several occasions.  I was just overwhelmed.  First of all, we should be buying meats that are hormone & antibiotic free.  We should be buying organic fruits & vegetables that aren't tainted with pesticides.  All of that makes sense to me & it seems to be something worth trying for, at the very least.  Then it gets more complicated...the animals should be fed the way the Maker intended them to be fed (grassfed).  And the fruits, vegetables, grains that we consume should not be genetically modified.  I did not realize how many GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods are out there.  Seedless watermelon = GMO.  Huh.  Now it's getting tougher.

The author also has a lot to say about how the conveniences of this modern age are definitely adding to our health problems.  We just don't have to work as hard for anything.  And foods of all kinds, many laden with extra fats, sugar, & salt are far to easy to come by.  I see evidences of this in my own life as I go through my day to day activities.  I've come to be grateful for the fact that our washer & dryer are in the basement, causing me to work that much harder to get the laundry done.  It's good for me!

Another point the author made that sticks out in my mind is his encouragement to play in the dirt.  The dirt has many components that are actually good for us - enzymes & other things that actually help nourish us (through the food that is grown in it) & other organisms that help with allergies & asthma.  I found this part to be very interesting. 

The author breaks down the different types of fats we should be consuming & gives information about how to get those fats in our diets.  He also discusses the benefits of raw dairy (that was another one that set my mind reeling).  He discusses fiber, carbohydrates, & proteins.  I learned so much about the composition & function of food - it's kind of like chemistry class!

The author also takes several opportunities throughout the book to talk about the whole man.  Our bodies are not independent of our minds, emotions, & souls.  The whole system must work together in harmony.  The body will evidence the ill effects of unrest & tension within the mind, emotions, & soul.  This struck a chord with me.  I know that if I am not right with God, am dwelling on angry or anxious thoughts, & do not have  my emotions under the Holy Spirit's control that I do not feel good physically.  It just makes sense that they are all inextricably joined together.

Mr. Rubin also points out the necessity of proper rest, regular fasting, & regular exercise.  I must confess that I stink at resting properly.  I am constantly paying for it.  It has become a matter of prayer for me; that I would learn to be obedient & rest.  The section on fasting was interesting to me, too.  He doesn't recommend 40 day fasts or anything extreme.  His suggestion is to fast through breakfast & lunch & then eating dinner.  It makes sense that this would give the body some time to heal or reset & also give me time to focus my mind on the Lord.  He advice when feeling the hunger pains of fasting to turn your mind to prayer.  I like the idea of something physically reminding me to pray.  I try to be conscious of my need to be in prayer but if I am honest, I fail many times to do it.  We all know that if I fast, my stomach is going to growl & I'm going to feel hungry.  And then I'll be reminded to pray!

When Mr. Rubin discussed exercise I found I could not wholeheartedly agree with him.  He strongly advises against any sustained cardiovascular exercise saying that it is harmful & often leads to injuries of overuse.  He advocated using 'functional fitness.'  As I read through his suggestion I could not really get a true definition of what it was, just that our exercise should mimic daily activities.  Then the reader was referred to the appendix where there were resources listed for videos, information, etc.  The author also stresses the importance of walking, suggests rebounding on a mini trampoline for exercise, & deep breathing exercises.  I think some of his ideas are valid, but I personally have received too many benefits from running to lay it aside.  When a runner takes the time to warmup, stretch, & cool down properly many injuries can be avoided.  It is also important to listen to your body no matter what the exercise or there is great possibility of injury.

There was also a chapter at the end of the book that discussed spices & essential oils.  This was very intriguing to me but I'm not sure it's something I'll have the opportunity to explore in great depth.  I kind of wish I could pull this section out of the book to keep on hand for future reference.

Finally, there was a theme throughout the book that I kept picking up on that did not sit very well with my spirit.  My personal desire in evaluating my daily diet & health is to keep my body as healthy as possible so that I may have the strength I need to best serve the Lord.  I also want to live with the knowledge that I am accountable to the Lord for the way I care for this body He has given me.  I am called to be a good steward.  Mr. Rubin does mention this.  But far more often he mentions 'the long-lived' people of this society or that society.  His point seems to be that we clean up our diets & our health so that we can be long-lived people.  That's not really my goal. 

All in all, I would recommend this book.  There were parts that made me cringe with a bit of fear about how messed up things are & how drastic changes in my lifestyle may need to be.  But that kind of evaluation is good for us.  I really learned a lot.  This was a difficult book for me to trudge through, but I'm very glad I finished it.  The public library is glad too, because it's way overdue.  I've got to get it returned or they are going to come asking for our firstborn child!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nothin', Nada, Zippo, Zilch

Lately I've had this little thought niggling in my mind.

It seems like we just don't ever leave anything alone.  How many things do we change from their original state so that they are more appealing to us?  It's kind of like we have lost the appreciation for many things in their natural state.  The way they were made is just not good enough anymore.

And that kind of bothers me.  Not in an angry way.  In a wrinkle-between-the-eyes-from-pondering kind of way. 

I believe that God made this world & I believe that He made each one of us.  And that includes all of everything.  And who am I to say that He didn't do a fantastic job?

So why do we feel the need to enhance just about everything under the sun?

For example, when I read through a blog post that enumerated the many beauties of the flowers this spring, I really enjoyed it.  But then I noticed that every single picture in the post had some sort of filter enhancement.  It just seemed kind of incongruous, in a way.

And it got me to thinking...we enhance all kinds of things.  We enhance our food.  Are you familiar with MSG?  We also enhance our music.  I'm sure I don't really know all the ins & outs of the music recording industry but I'm pretty sure that if I were to attend a concert of nearly any artist there would be some major differences between the show & the CD.  And there are innumerable ways that we can enhance ourselves - hair dye, breast augmentation, make up, colored contact lenses - we can fix our complexions, our gray hair, our 'defincies', & even our eye color.  If we think our own fingernails (or even toenails!) aren't good enough, we can have fake ones put on. 

Don't get me wrong - I employ quite a few of these enhancement.  I wear makeup; I dye my gray hair.  I use Instagram to edit photos & make them shiny & bright.  And I don't intend to quit any of that any time soon. 

But I do hope that I quit underappreciating the way God had made things.  Goofy as it seems, the fact that God made our food in a certain way makes me feel even more determined to limit the amount of processed foods we eat.  He intended our food to be a particular way & I'm sure that's the way it will best nourish my body.  And I hope that I can quit feeling like I MUST dye my hair, I MUST have makeup on before I can leave the house.  God also made me in a particular way & while I have no intention of 'letting myself go,' I do feel like I need to be a little more at peace with the way He created me to look. 

And so I'm going to be brave & post a pic of myself in my natural, relaxed state - old race t-shirt, no makeup, hair pulled back & the frizzies flying out.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully & wonderfully made. 
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:14 

Friday, September 16, 2011

My New Favorite Thing

Recently I participated in an International Craft Swap & in the process I found a new toy.
I adore this new toy.
I'm not afraid to admit that I like to doodle, note take, list make & so on.
And I love chalk boards.
We have two in our kitchen.
On one I usually write our menu for the week.
On the other I usually write a verse or appointments or a thought provoking something.
I used to struggle with chalk because I am a fine point pen kind of gal.
Chalk is NOT fine point.
Not to worry, my friends.
Thanks to the project that I completed for the swap, I found Bistro Markers.
They are like chalk in a marker.
They are fine point.
I am a happy chalk board doodler!

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Monday - By The Numbers

I had a crazy day at work today.  The little collage above tells a story.  The moon was shining on me at 5 a.m. when I clocked in & got behind the wheel.  The top right shows the sun coming up as I tool on down the road.  The bottom left shows my view on the world at around noon.  The bottom right was taken at 4 p.m. when I finally parked it for the day.  Whew!

My personal theory is that Mondays are supposed to be gentle days that ease you back into the workaday world calmly & softly.  That is not what happened in my world today!  Here's my Monday - by the numbers:

5 ~ a.m. when I clocked in to work
11 ~ hours in my workday today
465 ~ approximate number of miles I drove today (mind you, I got nowhere; I just drove in circles, slowly losing my mind as I made deliveries)
4 ~ % of battery strength I had left on my phone by the end of the day
1 ~ number of gas station hot dogs I ate for lunch (I know, I know, but it was free so I ate it!)
2 ~ loaves of apple bread I made
4 ~ loads of laundry that got washed, folded, & put away (victory!)
2 ~ miles that I ran
1 ~ mile that I walked
1 ~ life changing phone call we received (Mike's uncle went home to heaven tonight; we mourn but not without hope - we will be together again one day)
1 ~ joy inducing email (congrats on your happy baby news, Erin & Jeff!)
6 ~ tomatoes that I picked
1 ~ weary PharmGirl that needs to go to bed very soon

So how was your Monday?  I hope it was gentle...