Sunday, April 29, 2012

A long way of getting to the point

It's been awhile since I wrote.  Many factors contribute to this, mainly that I still don't have a computer!  Yea, I know, who knew it could take so long to choose a computer, but I haven't gotten one yet, and my dear sweet husband has had lots of extra work.  So in the evenings when I would write, he works on the computer.  And during the day when I would write, I have been overloading myself with projects.  Yard projects, home projects, cooking projects, life projects.  My head is about to explode.  I need to take a step back and take each one in stride.

The project currently taking up most of my mental space is my diet.  I confessed to you that I had cheated on our joy free diet.  It happens, I get it.  What I underestimated, was how hard it was to kick the sugar habit again.  Holy cow, how I like deep, rich flavorful food.  And sweet food.  So the last few weeks have been this hard, trying to kick the habit, but then I'll be walking through the grocery store late and night, and a cookie, or doughnut will be calling to me.  Or I'll be speaking at a luncheon and for some reason, when someone else cooks for me, I just can't seem to say no.  It's like it's my biggest love language right now and I eat it up.  I can find a dozen different reasons why I choose to be strong, then chicken out, or cave.  There is always a reason.

What I was finding was that I don't like this had control over me.  I don't like that I can't say no.  Combine that with the knowledge that I gained over a month ago that I have Candida.  For those of you how don't know, no it's not an STD or anything disgusting or creepy.  Candida is in its most basic form, an addiction to sugar.  It is a yeast overgrowth that needs starch/sugar to feed and grow.  This is my basic understanding.  In order to rid yourself of this and gain some control over your cravings and eliminate the yeast, one must eat only veggies, lean meat, eggs, and a small handful of other things.  You CAN'T eat starch of any kind, even potato's, sugar of any kind, even natural, coffee, alcohol, or fruit, or anything processed.  Yea, that gives me a lot of options doesn't it.  The kicker is that this diet requires you eat this way for almost 4 months in order to truly starve the yeast and kill it off.

(This is a VERY limited overview of Candida.  If you would like to know more, please visit for more information.)

All that to say, I am in day four of my diet, and IT SUCKS!  I'm not gonna lie.  Most of the time the only thing going on in my head is, "I'm hungry, what can I eat?  I am so hungry, I want a chip.  I want a brownie.  I want a piece of my kids birthday cake.  I want bean and corn dip.  Mmm...I want ice cream.  I want to eat anything deep and rich and full of fat.  Then I want to wash it down with hot coffee, finished with a glass of wine."

Day two of the diet was probably  the worst since my body was going full throttle with no sugar or caffeine.  By the end of the day, my body could hardly move my head hurt so bad.  I laid in bed wanting to throw up, and eventually fell asleep.  Woke up the next morning feeling much better.  No headache since then though.  I got through that and then was faced with my kids birthday party.  Baking a cake and not getting to lick my fingers, or snag a small piece, or have one at the party.  At the party, I couldn't eat the rainbow fruit kabob, or my favorite Quino and black bean chips.  No glass of wine for me, yes we had wine for adults at the kids party, that just makes sense in our world, or no coffee on the chilly rainy day.  All things I love, all things I can't have.

At the end of the day, when I was exhausted from the activities, I was craving cake, or chips, or chili, or anything other than the veggies I was eating for supper.  I wanted something, ANYTHING real to eat.  Oh, to be in my head right now is just obnoxious.  So terribly annoying.

So I am stuck in this place of immediate want/need.  I crave, I have emotional connection to food and I want it.  Its hard to sit there in front of food that isn't even all that bad for you and still say no.

And then there is the knowledge and personal experience of knowing how good I feel when I eat healthy and am free of my cravings and obsession and guilt over food.  I love the freedom that comes from not having the cravings.  I love that my taste buds enjoy veggies when I am not eating a swiss cake roll.  I love how I don't feel bloated, or guilty or heavy or obsessed.  I love my energy level and peace of mind, and the amount of patience I have when I eat healthier.

Right now, all day long, it is a choice,.  Immediate satisfaction that is fun while it lasts, or looking at the possibility that I could really be free from this.  That I could find a place in my lifetime to not obsess over food.  To not feel guilty over what I eat.  I don't know if this place exists, but I am going to spend the next four months trying to figure it out and see if I can get there. 

The thing is, I don't want to be a secret eater.  I want to live fully in our diet, and look in my sons eyes with pride and understanding of what it means to eat healthy.  But you can also live on carbs and sweets even on our diet, and I don't want to be a slave to that either.  So I don't know if I can make the whole four months, it seems really, really daunting right now.  But if I take this one day at a time, I may get to four months.  As I write this, I have made it four days, and it's sucked.  But I know the first two weeks are the hardest.  I"m getting there.

One day at a time.  Or in my case right now, one meal at a time, and then at the end of the day, I can say, I did it!  Candida is a real issue.  One that I have.  I can either ignore it, and just live life as I have.  Eating healthy while waiting for the sleeping giant to rear its ugly head all the time.  Or I can face it, and see if I can live in a better place.  I'm not sure you can rid yourself completely of Candida, but I am going to try to find the best way to live with it.

I am choosing freedom over cravings.  Big picture over in the moment.  Health over obsession.  But I am so cranky about it, and I'm not sure how long I can last.  So here's to hoping and praying for better things.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A fallen time

So admitting this means I have to admit defeat.  It means that I have to confess to not being stronger than I think I am.  Confessing this means I am human.  In being human, I fall, I make mistakes, I look at what I do and feel ashamed, and then just like any fallen person, I have to choose.  Do better, or continue in my sulking and sinning.

This weekend I broke the diet and broke it hard.  Sorry to all of you out there who had better faith in me.  I realize why I did it now, and I have noticed a books worth of repercussions.

This weekend we had strong weather advisory.  There was a strong tornado path that was coming and going from Friday - Sunday.  The thing is, Paul was gone till Sunday at a gig.  Chad our renter was gone most of the weekend at a wedding, and Jeromy, our saving grace last time was with Paul at the gig.  So all my people were out.  It was just me and the kids.  What I realized as I watched my son grow more and more anxious at the wind, that I too was very anxious.  I always masked my nerves by associating them with the kiddos.  What I needed to admit myself was that the tornado left a long impression on me as well.

The thing about me and stress is that we have a complicated relationship.  When I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I eat.  That is my M.O.  I eat.  But to make sure that no one can see that flaw in my D.N.A. I secretly eat.  If no one sees you, than it doesn't happen right?   For some reason I suppose my ability to eat whatever I wanted made me feel like I could control one thing in my life.  Which is kind of ridiculous if you think about it, since it really means that the cravings actually have control over you.

I couldn't believe my lack of control.  I couldn't believe how easily I fell.  The wind and the storms made me nervous.  The fact that my security team wasn't here totally unnerved me.  I wasn't sure what I would do without those three men here, and it would just be me and the kids if something happened.  And so I ate to relieve the stress. (And when I mean eat, I mean ice cream, cookies, hamburgers, etc. When I binge, I do it all out.)

This is what eating terribly for a weekend revealed to me:

1. It is almost impossible to eat healthy when you are eating processed sugary foods.  Who the heck wants salad and asparagus when you can eat a burger and fries and it tastes SO good?  There is no room for eating healthy when you are graving grease and sugar.

2. I was having these flash backs to my previous life when I would do is obsess over food.  I understand that I am always thinking or buying or preparing food, but I don't obsess over it.  I don't crave it.  I don't feel guilt over it.  I don't calculate it.  On our allergen free diet, I enjoy food.  I eat a wide range of food.  I always feel satisfied, but never over indulged.  I never feel guilty.  I have freedom from the pains of food, from the dysfunction of food.  But binging this past weekend, it threw me right back to all those unhealthy places.  I would eat cereal and then I couldn't get enough.  After I ate icecream I just kept thinking, when could I get my hands on another treat?  I felt like I walked right back into prison.  My mind and body wasn't free from cravings or addiction to sugar anymore.  I let it own me.  I couldn't say no to processed sugary food.  And my body felt gross.  I felt so gross, bloated, heavy, guilty, all of it.  Eating process food only made me want more of the processed food and none of the healthy food.

3. I couldn't believe my emotional response to food.  I have often talked about how Big's response to food has been all emotional and behavioral.  It reshaped my understanding of food's role in our life. Now, I was watching myself firsthand and paying very close attention to my behavior and emotional response.  It floored me.  Eating unhealthy processed food, along with gluten/dairy/sugar/soy I became more on edge than I usually am with my kids.  Where I was able to easily get out of bed before and embrace my day, I had to drag myself out of bed.  I didn't have any energy.  I was lethargic, slow, empty, and kind of depressed.  My energy zapped, my taste for fatty food the only thing in my mind.  I was sitting and watching TV at night and not doing anything.  I was ready terrible fiction and it was consuming my time.  I was getting swallowed by own lethargic self.  I had no motivation.  I didn't care about much.  I was cranky and angry with the kids.  I was more my old self than I have been in over a year.  I couldn't believe how much eating my old way effected me.  Effected my behavior.  Effected my emotions.

4. When I am eating healthy I have the capability to choose.  Even in a quick moment, I know I have a choice in my behavior.  This is what I keep explaining about Big, so I don't know why I was so surprised to see it in myself.  I would pray and pray for the patience to deal with my kids.  To help them, to parent them, to train them and guide them.  God has shown me much in what it means to be a healthy parent.  It was astounding to me though to realize how much food effected my mood.  Eating a ton of processed food took away my ability to choose.  I would INSTANTLY react.  There was no second for a quick choice.  My emotions were directed by the sugar and fat I was putting in my body.  It was almost an out of body experience.  I watched myself loose control.  Get frustrated easy.  Go right to directing behavior instead of encouraging character in my kids.  When I live on our new diet, I have been amazed at how God freed me from instant reaction.  I have this capability to choose in a second how I want to respond.  I am not as stressed out or filled with anxiety.

5. I realize that many people see our life and think it is overwhelming.  They come to think we live in this food prison not getting to enjoy all the things they get to enjoy.  Not getting the convenience of processed food.  But I have to say.  When you see our life and it looks like there are bars in the way, I think you are looking from the inside out, not the other way around.  My life may look high maintenance in regards to food and you may feel sorry for us, but don't.  This past weekend has taught me in spades that I will do the hard work and get the sugar out of my system again because I don't want to live in this space anymore.  I feel like I openly walked into this prison of addiction and guilt and I want out.  I want my brain back.  I want my energy back.  I want my evenings of getting real rest, quality time with my spouse and the attention to work on projects back.  I want my life back.  I want a deeper, richer life that is free from guilt, shame and addiction.  I have had a taste of my old life, and I hated it.

I hate that I fell.  Clearly I have some deep rooted habits that still need to be worked through emotionally and spiritually, but I'm getting back on track.  Wish me luck, detoxing and clearing sugar addiction out of your system is hard work, but like I said, I want my life back.

And selfishly, I want to fit in my pants better again.  Man I forgot how easy it is to gain weight when you eat like crap!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Living between fear and trust

I wasn't sure how to start this blog.  Some of the things I want to share will concern some of our family.  Others may think I am overreacting.  And if I hear one more person tell me that we should move, I may start scratching myself on the arms till I bleed.

We live in North Mpls.  Is it the most dangerous place to live in the Twin Cities?  No, but we sure are close.  We call it the hood, not the ghetto, the hood.

Over the years, all sorts of strange things have happened here, some of them dangerous.  On average we call 911 once maybe twice a week.  More often in the summer.

We live in the city and for the most I love it.  We are close to so many things.  We bike all over, walk to the store and thrive on doing all sorts of artsy fartsy things.  We love the variety and accessibility of food and theater and music and art and parks and trails.  It's wonderful.

We choose to live where we do because we couldn't afford anything else.  We choose to stay because we can't afford to move. Within the first month of moving in, my husband got jumped in the park one block from our house.  It is "our park" according to our kids because we walk there all the time.  We have been broken into a handful of times but no one was ever injured.  We have a two bedroom house where our space is limited, but we love that it forces us to live more simply, although I think it just forces me to be more creative in how I stash our stuff!  We have tried to move once, and then the economy tanked.  Like thousands of others, we ended up being tens of thousands of dollars under our mortgage.  The bridge that linked us to NE got blown up and since then, what was the riskiest place to live in regards to crime, shifted to where we live in North.  NE is now the art hub of the cities, weird right?  Then a tornado hit, demolishing already run down houses.  Where we sit now, we'll never be able to move.  I couldn't believe a houses value could sink quite as far as ours did.


The homes around here are looking great including ours.  A true blessing if you ask me.  Improvements that never would have happened without the force of the tornado.  The bridge opens at the end of June and I am curious to see how things shift again in regards to crime and shootings and deaths where we live.  Our area of Mpls was also chosen out of dozens of cities across the United States to receive a special improvement grant for our side of the Mississippi.  They will be cleaning up the north side of the river, adding trails, parks, businesses and making it a go to spot when traveling to the cities.

We live in this juxtaposition of good and bad, as most people do, it just seems to be kind of extreme.

In the last couple weeks, I have seem what usually is a whole summers worth of police cars.  A whole summers worth in the last couple weeks.

Eight cop cars and an ambulance brought out a man from a home on our block five doors down.  There was all sorts of screaming at the cops while they took the gentleman away.

Four days ago a young man was riding his bike to deliver a meal that his mom made for a friend three blocks away.  Two boys shot and killed him taking his bike in the process, two blocks from us.  Mindless, ruthless hate.

I wrote about the cops coming and arresting and searching for someone in the home right behind us.

Detectives have been searching our alley corner, including our yard for evidence to God knows what.

Twice in the last two weeks I have come home to different routes being blocked off by the police because they are looking for someone.

Three times I have come home and there have been drug deals/exchanges happening between cars right in front of our home.

Two years ago there was a girl shot and killed right in front of our house because she was at a party where there was angry gang activity.

That was the first murder that started a string of gang related murders over the next couple weeks causing that to be the most murders that Mpls has seen in over 20 years.

One year ago a party let out and while everyone was walking down the street they decided to smash our friends window while jumping on the hood of their car.  (Gheezz, writing all this together makes me a little nervous.)

I get it.  It happens everywhere.  I know that to be true.  Maybe it isn't as obvious where you live, maybe it is, but the murder of this boy on his bike has kind of been our last straw.  Mindless, senseless killing.

Before there was this sense of false security that if you leave "them" alone, "they" will leave you alone.  We call it targeted violence.  We lived in this belief that the main stream of violence happened within circles of people defending their territory, their family, or proving to themselves or to friends that they were dangerous enough to pull of "said" crime.  We know it happens around us, but our lives don't really intersect to bring us face to face to life altering violence.

There have always been random acts of violence.  A rape at our park at dinner time, a child dying by a stray bullet that was shot in the air, but now this.  Killed for his bike, two blocks away.  This poor boy did nothing wrong and his family will suffer forever.

The crime here seems to be escalating.  Other good friends who live in the hood have been feeling this constant low hope dread feeling as of lately.  They say they feel like they have to always be looking over their shoulder.

So now we are presented with a choice.  We can't move.  That isn't a choice, at least not right now.  So our choice is to live in fear or trust God that whatever happens can be worked to his glory, even if that means one of children suffer death or a permanent life altering handicap because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I don't know how to live in that place.  A place that allows my children to still play outside because their kids and they need to be outside without making myself sick worrying about their safety.  Do we always have to fear the person walking down the street?  That creates unfair judgement and fear to everyone involved.  What does that do to my faith and my heart when all I do is wonder and worry about things out of my control?  Perfect love drives out fear right?  In otherwords, that means trust.  I trust in God's love to be enough.  Trust his ability to work good out of all situations.  Trust him that even while my kids ride their bikes, that if a stray bullet hits one of them, he would still be good.

That feels like a tall order.  I don't want to be lazy in my parenting, and I want to be smart in listening to my gut, paying attention to what is happening outside and making smart choices.  That is how I make responsible choices for my kids.  That is how I make healthy choices for my family.  But for all my being responsible, accidents still happen and I don't control what goes on in my neighborhood.  In the middle of the day, while I was out with my kids, we were run down by the SWAT team. No way of seeing that coming.

So, we live in a scary place.  It feels scarier to me now more than ever anyway.  We make sure we are in before dark.  I am always outside when my kids are.  And I pray everyday that I could trust in God's ability to take care of us, even if something happens.  I pray for my ability to believe in his goodness.  That I wouldn't give up hope.  And I pray that he keeps my kids safe.  And if something should happen, that I would still have faith that he is good.

I'm not sure if a lot of this makes sense, mostly I just needed it out of my head.  The juxtaposition of living in a scary place and trying to be safe, while ultimately trusting that God will be enough.

There are many things I love about living in the city, but I'm not gonna lie, my heart is ready for my old brick farm house on acres of land.

I choose to trust that God is good.

Please keep the families of this young man in your prayers.  They have a lot of hate and frustration they need to work through.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


The best parenting advice ever offered to me:

"Teach your thinkers to feel and your feelers to think."

Hardest parenting advice to put into practice:

"Teach your thinkers to feel and your feelers to think."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

a fun idea for the future

All these thoughts are running through my head:

1. A conversation I had with my friend Pastor Graf about the idea of modeling behavior and disciplines.  I don't have a lot of people in my life who walk alongside me that model behaviors that I want.  I don't have a mentor in my spiritual life, in my family life, as my role as a woman/wife, as a speaker, or as a cook.  Jesus was a model in behavior, yes I understand, but what does it mean to have someone who's life looks like mine to model behaviors that I desire?  To learn from?  To ask questions from?  To gain wisdom from?

2. Sitting in my kitchen with my friend and wishing we had more time together than we normally do.  She was asking questions about what I was cooking and I thought, man wouldn't it be great if she moved in here for a couple weeks and I could teach her how to cook?  I could show her my meal plan, where I shop for diet restrictions, things I have learned in the past year and how to cook allergen free on a budget.

3. My sister has been sick for a long time and I wanted to bring her here so that she could be seen by Dawn at New Dawn Health, and we could explore a different approach to looking at her health.  For 10 days, we detoxed her, I cooked for her, we shared recipes, we went to the grocery store and looked and talked about food.  I am sure it sucked for her, and was way more than she bargained for and felt very overwhelmed.  She is on a new diet of gluten/dairy/sugar/soy/pork free.  But for me, I LOVED it!  I loved having her here while she sat in my kitchen and we just talked.  We talked about faith, life and friends, and while we talked, I was slowly teaching her how to cook.  She doesn't cook at all, so I got to walk her a long in small ways learning the way around the kitchen.

This became a dream of mine.  Someday in the future I want to run a modeling house.  A place that thrives on health for the physical and spiritual soul. I want to bring people in for a period of time and sit with them, listen to them, talk with them, cook with them, pray with them.  I want to teach them what I know and have learned about healthy living. I want to help walk them into a place where they can cook and enjoy food without gluten/dairy/sugar.  I want to set them up for success in wanting to live this way.  I do NOT know everything there is to know.  I am NOT an expert.  I am NOT a doctor.  I am a mom who transitioned her family into a healthier way of eating and living and I have taken LOTS of notes.  I have journaled our progress a ton.  I feel like I could help others transition out of a heavy starch/meat diet and set them up for success and freedom from unhealthy food .

The idea of modeling life.  Christ lived with a few to model life to them.  I get that I have that with my children and I love that.  But I think, when they are grown a bit more, why stop with just them?  There are so many who suffer physically and long for a better, healthier life.  We have knowledge to share.  Health and life to share.  I want to do that for others in a cool camp like, sit in my kitchen and lets drink wine and gab and cook kind of way..  How does that not sound like the best idea ever!?

I got a taste of it with my sister and I love this idea.  It is only a dream and an idea right now, but I made tons of lists with notes of how to do it better and set my time up for better success next time.  It was wonderful.

I have a dream.