Ramblings

Sometimes, my mind is a dangerous place and other times, it’s a safe haven. The past year has given me quite a lot to think about, quite a lot of self doubt, and quite a lot of fear. Trust in myself, and trust in others has suffered. Questions about my worth, my value, my decisions, and my strength.

Since my brain leads me down a path, then detours, veers off, gets back on track, then detours again, I began to wonder if everyone else does the same thing. Let me share this very specific journey of ridiculousness with you, and let me know whether you can relate.

I know that I have a lot of issues to work through. From an abusive and controlling relationship, to fluctuating hormones, to an autoimmune disease that affects everything in my life, to finally what I feel is the life I should be leading. Home. The man who is part of that life and home, is a trooper. From my tearful to angry and back to tearful outbursts and moments, to apologies for being an idiot, he is my rock. He deserves a medal for putting up with me, and my baggage. We have recently found our way together to an amazing church that is opening my eyes much wider to myself and my part in all of this.

Last night, I had difficulty sleeping (thank you Allegra-D), and that state of quiet peacefulness allowed my mind to wander in ways that I just seem to have no control over.

I have been seeking answers to the following questions, and apparently, my brain was seeking the answer to all of them last night.

Why do I color my past in either a dark way or a very bright way, when neither can be true singularly?

Why do I hold onto negative things so easily and tightly? I know I should let them go, I know how they affect my daily life, and I don’t want them to be a part of the present, or the future.

Why is it so difficult to give myself affirmations on a daily basis in order to let past hurts heal?

When I think of most of my past relationships (which is infrequent, unless the topic comes up), I tend to remember only the fun things like waterparks, meals, fun day trips, and shopping. If those were the only things that happened, then why didn’t those relationships work? Oh yeah, I forgot the cheating, the demands that I follow a career path that would make someone else happy, the need for children that I can not have, the lack of commitment, the abuse, or just a desire to be anywhere except together. Those things were just as real, and more important than the fun things. Why? Because those things determined the path I would take, and the eventual (or quick and sudden) end to a relationship. Whether it be dating, marriage, or friendship, nothing is all good or all bad, but there is usually a mix of the two at some point.

I still look in the mirror, and instead of seeing just my reflection, I hear the things that have been said to me over the years. My feelings should be well within my control; however, those thoughts seem to override everything I know. Sometimes, people tell me I’m beautiful. I look in the mirror and what I hear/see is “Have you taken a look at yourself? There’s nothing to feel good about.” I prefer to stay toned and fit. I look in the mirror and hear/see “you look like a man from the back.”

Those examples are the types of things that have caused me to be nervous in my present, and to easily have hurt feelings if I don’t receive positive reinforcement. It’s my job to give myself positive reinforcement, not anyone else’s. I know when an effort was made, and whether it was genuinely made with good intentions. Nothing more should be needed. My lack of understanding this comes from allowing myself to be “taught” those negative things about myself, and not being able to look at them, decide them to be garbage, and throw them away. This is daily work. And, daily struggle.

Affirmations are beautiful. My therapist gave me homework awhile ago that I haven’t started because it requires daily affirmations, and I’m afraid of them. They will work, because everything else we have worked on together has worked, meaning it has allowed me to understand where I placed myself in the importance of things.

Within the context of our marriage, I was definitely not in a partnership, was not valued or respected, and was always last to be considered in every situation. When I acknowledged that and started to stand up for myself, there was fighting. When I decided to leave, there was more fighting, vicious name calling and threats, and finally physical abuse. I could not believe I had stayed so long. Deciding to leave was like bringing in a large turbine and blowing the fog off of what I thought was my life.

A year later I sit in the present, unsure of myself and a little afraid that I’m going to blow it. I react to things I should think about first, and read too much into almost everything. I evaluate everything to determine whether I made a choice for myself or someone else, whether what I’m doing is enough, good enough. I don’t understand why he loves me, or how he can possibly continue to do so for the next 50+ years. Do I work hard enough on my flaws? Do I show enough enjoyment? Will people freak out if they ever get to see the whole me again? When will I loosen up and just be fun again?

Sometimes, I think I should have waited to start a new relationship, so that I could have brought something more of myself to the table. Then, I realize that if I had waited, I would likely have missed him. I will never forget the moment I knew I loved him. The ups and downs in my head of whether or not I could possibly be feeling this, or whether I was just making it up as a beautiful fantasy. For a long time, I saw him on an almost daily basis as a customer, and then he disappeared. For weeks. He walked in one day and as soon as saw him, I knew. A part of me that had been so sad and alone for so very long moved with joy inside me, and I knew. He didn’t know, and that was okay.

Past me was so full of life, happiness, and fun. Portions have returned, and I want it all back. All of it. I want to be an equal partner, a complete giver, and a complete taker. I want to give love fully, receive love fully, and do both with complete abandon. I want the future that I am reaching for, and want the past to stay in its place. I learned from it, and moved forward from it. I have nothing in common with it now, and although it has something to do with who I am, and who I will be in the future, it will not control me, or my destiny.

They say that realizing you have a problem is the first step in healing, recovery, or moving forward. Thankfully, there are amazing people in my life who help me on a daily basis. See, know, and believe. After all the rambling, disjointed, confusing paths my brain decided to go down, those are the realizations.

See life as it is today. Blessed, happy, full of hope.

Know that we are on a path to a lifetime of happiness, that we don’t take each other for granted, and that we love and respect each other.

Believe that I deserve this. The beautiful present, the amazing, unknown, frightening, glorious future, and the happiness.

For a long time, I thought I would take the rest of this journey alone, and was prepared to do that. Instead, I was fortunate and found a partner willing to walk, run, skip, jump, and dance it with me. I see myself, him, us. I know myself, him, us. I believe in myself, him, us. I am, he is, we are more than enough for a lifetime.

This may become my daily affirmation.

Advertisements

Ramblings

Sometimes, my mind is a dangerous place and other times, it’s a safe haven. The past year has given me quite a lot to think about, quite a lot of self doubt, and quite a lot of fear. Trust in myself, and trust in others has suffered. Questions about my worth, my value, my decisions, and my strength.

Since my brain leads me down a path, then detours, veers off, gets back on track, then detours again, I began to wonder if everyone else does the same thing. Let me share this very specific journey of ridiculousness with you, and let me know whether you can relate.

I know that I have a lot of issues to work through. From an abusive and controlling relationship, to fluctuating hormones, to an autoimmune disease that affects everything in my life, to finally what I feel is the life I should be leading. Home. The man who is part of that life and home, is a trooper. From my tearful to angry and back to tearful outbursts and moments, to apologies for being an idiot, he is my rock. He deserves a medal for putting up with me, and my baggage. We have recently found our way together to an amazing church that is opening my eyes much wider to myself and my part in all of this.

Last night, I had difficulty sleeping (thank you Allegra-D), and that state of quiet peacefulness allowed my mind to wander in ways that I just seem to have no control over.

I have been seeking answers to the following questions, and apparently, my brain was seeking the answer to all of them last night.

Why do I color my past in either a dark way or a very bright way, when neither can be true singularly?

Why do I hold onto negative things so easily and tightly? I know I should let them go, I know how they affect my daily life, and I don’t want them to be a part of the present, or the future.

Why is it so difficult to give myself affirmations on a daily basis in order to let past hurts heal?

When I think of most of my past relationships (which is infrequent, unless the topic comes up), I tend to remember only the fun things like waterparks, meals, fun day trips, and shopping. If those were the only things that happened, then why didn’t those relationships work? Oh yeah, I forgot the cheating, the demands that I follow a career path that would make someone else happy, the need for children that I can not have, the lack of commitment, the abuse, or just a desire to be anywhere except together. Those things were just as real, and more important than the fun things. Why? Because those things determined the path I would take, and the eventual (or quick and sudden) end to a relationship. Whether it be dating, marriage, or friendship, nothing is all good or all bad, but there is usually a mix of the two at some point.

I still look in the mirror, and instead of seeing just my reflection, I hear the things that have been said to me over the years. My feelings should be well within my control; however, those thoughts seem to override everything I know. Sometimes, people tell me I’m beautiful. I look in the mirror and what I hear/see is “Have you taken a look at yourself? There’s nothing to feel good about.” I prefer to stay toned and fit. I look in the mirror and hear/see “you look like a man from the back.”

Those examples are the types of things that have caused me to be nervous in my present, and to easily have hurt feelings if I don’t receive positive reinforcement. It’s my job to give myself positive reinforcement, not anyone else’s. I know when an effort was made, and whether it was genuinely made with good intentions. Nothing more should be needed. My lack of understanding this comes from allowing myself to be “taught” those negative things about myself, and not being able to look at them, decide them to be garbage, and throw them away. This is daily work. And, daily struggle.

Affirmations are beautiful. My therapist gave me homework awhile ago that I haven’t started because it requires daily affirmations, and I’m afraid of them. They will work, because everything else we have worked on together has worked, meaning it has allowed me to understand where I placed myself in the importance of things.

Within the context of our marriage, I was definitely not in a partnership, was not valued or respected, and was always last to be considered in every situation. When I acknowledged that and started to stand up for myself, there was fighting. When I decided to leave, there was more fighting, vicious name calling and threats, and finally physical abuse. I could not believe I had stayed so long. Deciding to leave was like bringing in a large turbine and blowing the fog off of what I thought was my life.

A year later I sit in the present, unsure of myself and a little afraid that I’m going to blow it. I react to things I should think about first, and read too much into almost everything. I evaluate everything to determine whether I made a choice for myself or someone else, whether what I’m doing is enough, good enough. I don’t understand why he loves me, or how he can possibly continue to do so for the next 50+ years. Do I work hard enough on my flaws? Do I show enough enjoyment? Will people freak out if they ever get to see the whole me again? When will I loosen up and just be fun again?

Sometimes, I think I should have waited to start a new relationship, so that I could have brought something more of myself to the table. Then, I realize that if I had waited, I would likely have missed him. I will never forget the moment I knew I loved him. The ups and downs in my head of whether or not I could possibly be feeling this, or whether I was just making it up as a beautiful fantasy. For a long time, I saw him on an almost daily basis as a customer, and then he disappeared. For weeks. He walked in one day and as soon as saw him, I knew. A part of me that had been so sad and alone for so very long moved with joy inside me, and I knew. He didn’t know, and that was okay.

Past me was so full of life, happiness, and fun. Portions have returned, and I want it all back. All of it. I want to be an equal partner, a complete giver, and a complete taker. I want to give love fully, receive love fully, and do both with complete abandon. I want the future that I am reaching for, and want the past to stay in its place. I learned from it, and moved forward from it. I have nothing in common with it now, and although it has something to do with who I am, and who I will be in the future, it will not control me, or my destiny.

They say that realizing you have a problem is the first step in healing, recovery, or moving forward. Thankfully, there are amazing people in my life who help me on a daily basis. See, know, and believe. After all the rambling, disjointed, confusing paths my brain decided to go down, those are the realizations.

See life as it is today. Blessed, happy, full of hope.

Know that we are on a path to a lifetime of happiness, that we don’t take each other for granted, and that we love and respect each other.

Believe that I deserve this. The beautiful present, the amazing, unknown, frightening, glorious future, and the happiness.

For a long time, I thought I would take the rest of this journey alone, and was prepared to do that. Instead, I was fortunate and found a partner willing to walk, run, skip, jump, and dance it with me. I see myself, him, us. I know myself, him, us. I believe in myself, him, us. I am, he is, we are more than enough for a lifetime.

This may become my daily affirmation.

Jump in the deep end!

Normally, I write about celiac disease and how it touches me daily. This is vacation time, so today has a little detour from the norm. When I really pay attention, learning is inevitable. Recently, I have discovered that I have trust issues. My belief is that this comes from years of having my heart broken enough that scar tissue grew over the breaks and I just stopped feeling as a defense. Now, exposing those scars and giving them the chance to heal is scary. Why? Because that also means I’m exposing my heart, and myself to breaking again. This is a huge leap of faith for me, and it is terrifying. I find myself thinking of reasons to run, which has always been “my thing” because it’s easier. This time, the only direction I’ll run is toward him. As afraid as I am, my heart is fully open and exposed to him. Never has this much of everything been presented to me, and every minute is exhilarating. Those quiet moments, though. They are where the fear lives, and I can’t let fear win. Love will win this time.

Short message today

No rest for the weary. That is the saying, right? The description closely matches how I feel right now. I need a long sleep, cry, vacation, and massage – not necessarily in that order. Some beautiful words of wisdom have been replaying in my head this week and I thought I would share them, just in case anyone else here may be feeling the same things:

I am not my past, or his past; neither is he his, or mine.  I will look toward the future with him instead of over my shoulder at the past that tried to break me.

I deserve to be loved. Not only that, I deserve this love, his love.  The beautiful love that is in front of me, touching my heart and holding my hand.

I must accept myself, and love who I am before I can love him well.

I felt myself pulling away in a relationship recently and almost simultaneously knew what I was doing and why, and that I had to put a stop to it.  I was looking for things to be wrong, instead of seeing all that is right and beautiful. setting expectations of disappointment and waiting for them to be met, letting small similarities bounce around in my brain trying to find a permanent seat.

As a final note, I have eaten way too much junk food since he divorce. I’ll leave you with a recipe for non junk food, now that I have a kitchen again, and a partner who likes to cook with me!

TOMATO BASIL SOUP

INGREDIENTS
4 cups fresh tomatoes, cored, peeled, and chopped (8-10) or canned whole tomatoes, crushed
4 cups tomato juice (or part vegetable or part chicken stock) – I have done it with Campbell’s tomato juice and ½ Campbell’s, ½ vegetable stock
12-14 fresh basil leaves, washed
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 lb sweet unsalted butter
salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
lemon juice (optional)

PREPARATION
1 Combine tomatoes, juice/and or stock in saucepan. 2 Simmer 30 minutes. 3 Puree, along with the basil leaves, in small batches, in blender, food processor (or better yet, one of those handy hand-held food blenders, right in the cooking pan). Return to saucepan and add cream and butter, while stirring, over low heat. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with your favorite bread.

Love, peace, and delicious food to you all!!!!

Chopsticks!

Prepare for a bit of whining, closely followed by fun stuff.

When it comes to health, change is not something I look forward to.  Life has gone from: “Let’s do it. I’ll find something to eat.” to “Let’s do it. I’ll just pack snacks.” to “I just don’t have the energy to do it. I’ll stay here.”. Having this disease definitely dampens the spontaneity of life. If a trip is planned, I have a lot of work to do. If that same trip is a surprise, you have a lot of work to do, and then I’ll be nervous the entire time. It is always the same nervousness:  What if I can’t have food?

I place the blame for that squarely on the shoulders of those individuals who made a gluten free diet their choice for weight loss, rather than a lifestyle. Ordering a gluten free meal with a regular beer as your beverage does not inspire any cook, or chef to take the extra steps needed to make sure a meal is safe for those of us who require it.

When non-celiac people see a loaf of hot, crusty bread on the table in front of them, their stomach growls, they reach for the plate, the knife, the butter, all of the things they need to enjoy that bread. When celiac people see that same loaf of gluten containing bread, we remove our silverware to our laps, cover the pieces with a napkin, turn over any plates we’ll use on top of that napkin in our lap, move our drink far enough away that crumbs can’t fly into the glass when the bread is cut, or cover the top with an available coaster and keep our hands off of the tabletop.  When I see that loaf of bread, I don’t see hot, crusty, and delicious. I see something that can cause 78 types of cancer, internal bleeding, days of pain, brain fog, stuttering, and clumsiness.

Shared appetizers are a thing of the past. Swapping bites of food is possible only if the person with celiac is the one sharing, and they remember to get an extra set of silverware to avoid cross contamination.

I have found that cross contamination is my biggest risk, and has caused my only exposure in the past two years. It made me sad to see fear on the faces of my coworkers when I started to feel the effects, and to then see fear turn to guilt as they realized the reason I was contaminated was because I laid my fork on the table, instead of on a paper towel. That simple act of forgetfulness cost me dearly.

As new relationships establish, there are questions. They feel endless to me, although in reality they aren’t. Most of these people have no idea what gluten is, or what celiac or gluten free means. No label reading exists in their lives. They don’t know me, my limitations, or my freedoms, and if they want to know those things, I am back to day one with each of them. Most of the time, I make the determination of where I hold the relationship (superficial, or potentially close) based on their response to my answer of the inevitable question:  What was the hardest part of giving up gluten?

My answer? Learning to use chopsticks. Example: I am hangry, have no place to wash my hands and want to eat a fork unfriendly food. Solution: chopsticks. Once you learn to use chopsticks, every safe snack becomes possible!  Chips, nachos, pickles, meat, fruit, vegetables – it doesn’t matter. Chopsticks can be your best friend!

Don’t miss the blessings of having celiac disease when you understand it and dominate it (and there are so many blessings).  My favorite blessing is that food is my medicine. I eat as much as I want every day, and I supplement with vitamins and minerals I don’t get enough of in that food (cause let’s face it, I have junk food days). And, don’t forget those chopsticks – learning to use them properly is huge!

Education is key, so here’s a short list of gluten free foods that almost everyone will understand, love and be able to easily remember as they try to feed you (they will try to feed you, it’s inevitable):  Single ingredient meats, vegetables, fruits, rices, nuts, seeds, spices and juices are gluten free. When it comes to packaged foods I have a list but the labels are a must read each time, because processes and labels change, so I won’t list them here.

If you have someone new in your life who is interested in your disease, share with them. Sometimes, it gives you a renewed sense of how far you have come, how much you have learned, and how much less afraid you are. Sometimes, it just lets them in on your reality. Always, it reminds you that although you have celiac disease, celiac disease does NOT own you!

Recipe time!

Chicken enchiladas:

Chicken:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or 6-8 thighs seasoned with salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin to taste. Pan sear and shred when it’s fully cooked, usually 8-10 minutes per side for thawed meat (you can also buy and use cooked, unseasoned shredded chicken or ground chicken).

Enchilada sauce:

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a skillet.  Add 2T of your favorite flour or cornstarch, and 4 Tbsp chili powder.  Stir until smooth and do not allow it to burn. Slowly stir in 1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, 1 1/2 cups of water, 1/4 tsp each ground cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder. Let it simmer until it thickens, taste for any seasoning addition (probably salt as it is not added as a main ingredient).

Corn tortilla prep:

Heat 4 Tbsp oil in a skillet.  Add corn tortillas one at a time. Heat for 5 seconds, flip and repeat. Remove the tortilla to a paper towel to drain, and move on. Do this for the number of enchiladas you will be making.

Enchilada prep:

ONIONS ARE OPTIONAL:

Place one corn tortilla on a plate, or in a baking dish. Add 2 Tbsp or more of meat, just to the side of the tortilla center.  Add 1-2 Tbsp sauce to cover, add chopped onion, your choice of cheese, and roll the enchilada up.  Repeat until you have the number you want. Cover the enchiladas with sauce, making sure to get the ends wet so the don’t harden. Sprinkle chopped onion, then shredded cheese over all of them, bake at 350 until the cheese melts, or put in the microwave and heat until the cheese melts.

Optional toppings after the enchiladas are finished, and before plating or serving: Sour cream, jalapenos, olives, avocado (or guacamole), salsa, and cilantro.

You can also add chopped green chilies into the shredded chicken. There is no heat, and the flavor is incredible.

Enjoy your day!

Menopause (sorry guys)

Did anyone tell you about menopause?  No one told me.  Everyone I know seems to be in denial about everything except hot flashes. There’s more. There’s forgetfulness, confusion, extreme emotion, extreme exhaustion, and a 10,000% increase in your sex drive. At a minimum.

For about ten years, I have been in perimenopause with few symptoms. It just is with celiac disease. Hormones out of whack until you get your diagnosis, hormones thrown into balance when you change to a gluten free life, then the roller coaster takes off.  For the past year I have been getting closer to the top portion of the roller coaster, ready to hit that first high speed downhill ride.  I will tell you one thing – menopause is not for sissies.

Last summer, I would run from my air conditioned truck, to my air conditioned store, clock in, then run to the cooler for a few minutes so that I would not spontaneously combust right there where my coworkers could see.

Night sweats have you wake up thinking that you must be on a nice beach vacation and had a swim, only to eventually realize it’s 3 a.m. and you’re just having another hot flash and sweated yourself into a puddle.  When a hot flash starts, it feels like your skin is on fire.

Fast forward one year.  I am now all balanced out in the part of the hormone area that causes hot flashes.  There have been exactly zero in several months, and I laugh now when I think “it’s cold in here”. This is thanks to Black Currant Oil, and a beautiful essential oil blend (customized to me, see your Naturopath) that I roll onto my stomach area.  After all, that small intestine has always been my weak spot.  Now that those hot flashes are under control, guess what?  My emotional reactions are on par with a fifteen year old girl. Laugh, burst into tears, get mad, laugh.  Yup, I’m losing my freaking mind. Losing it.  I remember to feed the bunny but forget his milk, and forget to feed the dog – whose bowl is right next to the bunny, and whose food is on top of the bunny’s food in the fridge.

I forget to eat.  Sometime around the middle of the day, nausea sets in, and then I remember.  Puffy Cheetos, Teo goat cheese and cherry gelato, pickles, pickles and popcorn, and caramel (covered in chocolate) are regular visitors now.

Extreme energy to extreme exhaustion, there really is no middle ground.  A year ago, I went to bed reasonably, and woke up 8 hours later.  Now, I’m ready to go to bed at 8, actually go to bed around 1, and I’m up at 6…. or 5, sometimes 4. I used to nap every day for a little bit.  Now, I can’t nap.  I’m too hot, cold, hungry, sad, mad, giggly, or worried. Or worse, I feel like I have forgotten something. So I think. And think. And think.

Basically, menopause means everything that was normal is gone, and you have to figure this whole new normal out.  Fortunately, my weight hasn’t changed, and there isn’t a grey hair to be seen.  Not that there aren’t a LOT OF THEM THERE NOW, but no one is going to see them for awhile.  They make me cry.  There are a LOT of them. A.lot.of.them.

No one can tell you how long this will last “it’s different for everyone” or how they survived it. Friends have offered me a hug myself jacket (straight jacket) on those days when I’m literally walking in circles and don’t realize it. No one wants to talk about it, as though they got through it just fine (so easy) and I’m being weird.

When I was younger, I always said I would age gracefully – let my hair grey, be proud of my wrinkles, laugh at the chubbiness I was sure would come.  Nope. I was lying. I’m not ready for grey hair. Thank goodness wrinkles don’t run in my genes. I’m only 7 pounds heavier than high school graduation in 1988, which is fabulous for the wardrobe budget.

I’m determined to find a way to embrace this instead of feeling sad about it (honestly, am I sad, or should I just use more oil?) I’m not giving up anything I really wanted – except my hair color, and I’m almost tempted to stop coloring it and find out how grey it actually is. Almost. Not quite.

I have given away all of my really fun shoes. No heels over an inch in the closet anymore (thanks for the PA and RA, celiac!). Some have been donated, and some of the really fun ones may grace the feet of a wonderful 19 year old friend, which is where they really belong. Quite a few never even made it out of their boxes.

For now, shirts will remain sleeveless, shorts will remain short. I will stay fit, happy, healthy, loving, and loved. My beliefs and faith will stay strong, and grow stronger.  At some point, I will live at a Texas beach.

Hopefully, all of these symptoms stop and I’ll be me again – does anyone know the answer to this?

If you do – let me know!  I can’t stay this crazy!

Celiac disease and untreated celiac disease are two different things

Why do some writers or editors, publish with the intent to dishearten? Y’all know what my obsession is, and that I continue to read about it on a regular basis, just to stay informed. This morning, an article caught my attention while I was reading something from Dr. Osborne (<3 him). This is the first paragraph: “Celiac disease has already been linked to arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, and possible heart failure. Now, a new study has found that people with celiac disease have almost a two-fold increased risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), compared to the general population. The study also suggests a slightly higher risk for stroke among people with celiac compared to their peers.” (from http://www.healthline.com/health-news/celiac-disease-linked-increase-coronary-artery-disease-033114)
 
If they had been truthful with the addition of 1 simple word “untreated” in front of celiac disease, the article would have had an entirely different tone. If I were diagnosed today, and this was the first article to populate my search, I would believe I had received a death sentence.  Malnutrition, 78 different types of cancer, malabsorption, destroyed intestinal villi, weakened immune system coupled with the inability to receive vaccinations.  The list goes on for untreated celiac disease.
If you live with celiac disease, follow a gluten free lifestyle, and supplement with the vitamins and minerals you are deficient in, your risk for all of those horrible things normalizes to equal with that of any other person.  If you are strict, your risk can be lessened further.
There are some vicious cycles out there that we can all get stuck in.  Never let yourself get stuck in the cycle of hopelessness. You will always be able to find a community of people who are where you are or have been where you are, and will help you through.
Have a great day.  Don’t be discouraged. Lay down all the can not’s, and pick up only the can do’s today.  If it feels good, do it again tomorrow.  There are no limitations, unless you put them there!
Breakfast this morning is toast with orange marmalade, turkey and provolone omelette, grapes, and apple cinnamon Kombucha.  It’s going to be a fabulous day!

4th of July and pets

If your pets are anything like mine, fireworks terrify them.  If they aren’t, and fireworks are cool, you don’t know how luck you are!

This year, we’re trying a thunder jacket, calming treats, essential oils, and some busy treats for Lacey in order to help her through the night.

If a few of my neighbors weren’t so deeply committed to shooting fireworks from July 2-July 5, then the 4th might not be that bad for her.  Unfortunately, our yard is usually covered in the remnants of those neighborhood delights which just angers me even more than the sleep I didn’t get with frightened pets.  Fortunately, a lovely officer from Leander Police Department confirmed for me last night that it is perfectly okay to sit in the front yard with my 60 ft. water hose on jet setting to take care of anyone I can reach with the 18 gallons per minute I get from the spigot.  So we have that going this year!

In addition, I’m going to try and keep Lacey busy and distracted.  The list is as follows:

  1. Thunder jacket:  https://www.k9ofmine.com/diy-thundershirt/

These cost an average of $40 from most retailers, or you can make your own from an old t shirt that you can bear to live without (we all have them).

2. Rescue Remedy:  https://www.amazon.com/Bach-Rescue-Natural-Capsules-Sleeping/dp/B004151F8Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498991294&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=rescue%2Bremedy&th=1

This product has great reviews, and I have spoken to several people who swear by it.

3. Pet Naturals of Vermont Calming Treats:  https://www.amazon.com/Pet-Naturals-Vermont-Calming-Chews/dp/B06Y56L4F5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498991643&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=pet+naturals+of+vermont+calming&psc=1

These work for dogs AND cats!!! I’m excited!  I have also gotten feedback from individuals who swear by them.

4. Homemade busy treats!!!!!:

Small dogs:  Cut up an apple into their bite sized pieces, put them in a bowl with 1 cup of peanut butter, and 1/2 cup honey. You can add some pieces of their favorite kibble or small treats.  Make cookie sized balls and flatten them onto parchment paper.  Freeze them until you need them.  Because they’re frozen, they’ll keep the pup busy for a bit, and the deliciousness should help distract them, especially in combination with 1, 2, and/or 3 above.

Large dogs:  Core an apple, fill the core with the same mix as above (obviously you won’t need as much), and freeze the apple.

The goal of these treats is distraction.

We will probably also watch a movie so the surround sound is on.  As long as we keep the pets inside the surround sound radius, we’re hoping for barrier 5.

Have fun!  Enjoy the holiday and the festivities that come with it.  Please, please remember not only the amazing pets that most of us love, but the wonderful Veterans who have always fought, and continue to fight to maintain the independence that we’re celebrating.  Fireworks are beautiful, but they can sound like a battlefield to those who have served.  Many of them came home, many of them didn’t.  The ones who came home – OUR country’s children regardless of age, deserve to be respected.  A little fun in your home, can equal a lot of stress, anxiety and nightmares in someone else’s.  Like mine.

Much love, great food, and great friendship to all of you!

Flour in the freezer, and a recipe!

When I was growing up, my mother always taught me to keep flour in the freezer.  That never made sense to me because it isn’t something that spoils, it’s dry, and it seems as though it should be shelf stable.

After the diagnosis of celiac disease, my flour adventures became wide.  Almond, oat, coconut, buckwheat, and tapioca all needed a spot in the freezer too.  There was a bag of wheat flour in there, in case I needed to make a gluten containing something for someone.

There simply was not enough room in the freezer for food and flour, so the flour all moved to the pantry – including the wheat flour.  Guess what happened?  Weevils happened.  I opened the pantry one day, and there was white flour on the shelves, on the floor, and I had to find the culprit and determine what happened.  Initially, I thought I must have hit one of the bags with something and torn it open.  Nope, the weevils in the wheat flour that had come out of the freezer had eaten through the side of the bag.  All of the gluten free flours had intact bags, and no weevils.

Do you understand what that means?  The weevils were already in the flour.  They didn’t exist in my pantry waiting for a delicious bag of flour to appear.  They were in there, after all of the processing, grinding, heating, bleaching, and freezing.  Do you understand what else that means?  Regardless of where the flour is stored, if you eat foods that contain wheat flour (breads, pasta, cookies, candies – oh yes, at least half of the candy you eat has wheat flour in it – ice cream, soy sauce, biscuits, pancakes, stuffing, etc.) you’re eating weevils, and weevil larvae.  Yum, extra protein!  I wonder, if all of the processing doesn’t kill them, does cooking?  Well, have you ever seen weevils in a loaf of bread, bag of pasta, or package of cookies or pop tarts?  Yeah, so have I.  Your stomach doesn’t get as hot as boiling water, a toaster, or a 350 degree oven, does it?

The good news is that they won’t make you sick.  There are mites and other little bugs in wheat flour as well that can make you sick.

There are people who claim you can freeze everything you buy for 4 days, then open the package and drop in a clove or bay leaf to keep the eggs from hatching but who has the time and space for all of that?

It’s inevitable.  I’m sure we all eat bugs every day, and I do think about it sometimes.  This post struck me because someone asked why they have fruit flies in their house.  I responded with the question “do you have fruit in your house?”.  Just as my favorite color is purple and my favorite flavor is red, my favorite look on a human face is:  that’s gross.

Y’all have a beautiful day full of loving friendship and fabulous food!

Speaking of fabulous food, give this one a try and let me know!

This recipe came into existence because I crave Empanadas (basically a foldover, personal pie).  I started with my mother’s flaky pie crust, made it gluten free, and it turned out to be the perfect choice. There are so many options with this one, my favorites are pumpkin, peach, and apple filled although you can fill them with meat, veggies (broccoli and cheese would be wonderful), cheeses, or fruits.  You can also add to the outside with a glaze, powdered sugar, butter, cinnamon and sugar; or in the case of meat or cheese filled you could use garlic butter, or dip it in a chili sauce, marinara, etc. The crust really is the recipe, and the rest is up to you!

Turnovers

This is a double pie crust, and you can cut it in half for 8 turnovers instead of 16. I haven’t included the time, or the approximate yield because every person is different and those expectations are just silly.  Many of us have RA, and just can’t get to that “10 minutes” time when it comes to mixing things by hand.  I also have not determined the calories, fat or other nutritional information.  If you would like that information, I can do so and will provide it to you.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour (I use oat, or mix oat and tapioca equally)

2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. shortening or lard (needs to be a solid fat)

At least 1/2 cup cold water available, more is acceptable.

2 eggs beaten, in a bowl (optional, this is for brushing on the crust before baking)

Sift the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl (if you don’t have a sifter, you can use a fine strainer and shake them through). Cut in the shortening (if you don’t have a pastry blender, use a fork).  Do not cut it in too finely, there should be pieces the size of peas before you consider it done. Add 6 Tbsp of cold water and continue to cut through with your pastry blender or fork. The dough should gather together so nothing is sticking to the bowl. If it doesn’t, add water 1 Tbsp at a time until it does.

This beautiful ball is your crust. You can refrigerate it for up to 24 hours, or you can roll it out immediately.

Rolling the dough:

Flour your rolling surface, and your rolling pin.  You can either tear or cut your dough ball into 16 equal(ish) pieces.  Flour your hands and toss each ball between them.  Roll them out to around 4 inches across.  You can roll all 16, or roll and fill each one.  Add 2 Tbsp. of filling to each circle’s middle, fold the ends together and pinch the ends, or seal with a fork. The goal is to keep the filling on the inside, so it doesn’t have to be fancy, but it can be if you’d like.  Fluted edges are very pretty. Brush with the egg wash, should you choose to use it.

Place 8 on 1 greased, or parchment lined cookie sheet (I use a pizza pan) and put into your 350 degree heated oven for 12 minutes – until the edges start to brown.

If you need filling ideas, let me know! You can buy prepared pie filling, or we can make it from scratch!

I do not recommend coconut flour for this recipe, because you will end up with 8x the amount of dough by the time you add enough water to make a ball.  However, if you are familiar enough with its expansion abilities and can properly adjust the cups, feel free to use it and share how it turns out.

Thank you for reading.  If you try this recipe and love it as much as I do, please let me know!

This amazing week!

There are times when I get so busy taking care of others, and working, that I forget to take care of myself.  This week, I took care of myself by visiting my amazing Chiropractor and Naturopath.  The first exciting thing we realized is that even though I haven’t seen her in a year for an adjustment, this was a maintenance visit, and not a “fix something” visit.  I don’t know that I have ever had one of those before, which speaks very highly of my current job where I only sit for about 10 minutes when I’m there versus the old one where I sat for 8 hours a day.  I believe my level of happiness factors in here as well.

The next, and most exciting thing?  She fixed my hot flashes.  I have a simple oil blend in a roller bottle.  I have applied it once per day, and no more hot flashes.

When I see her, I always think that I have to remember to take better care of myself, then I leave her office and go back to life.  Once there, I put myself last consistently.

Now, I am writing a list of the things I like to do to take care of myself.  Bubble baths, visiting the amazingness that is my Chiropractor/Naturopath, cooking, visiting friends, getting hugs and kisses from the boys.  All of it. On a list, on the refrigerator (because let’s face it, I’m at the fridge a LOT).

I would love it if you would do the same for yourself, and then take those small things and do them.  At least once per week, do something that you love, and remind yourself that you are taking it as a healing moment.  Quiet moments in life where we focus on ourselves are special, and necessary!

Lots of love to you, and may all of your choices this week bring you happiness!