Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How to Utterly Avoid Halloween

I just have to write about my day.

I got up at 5:30 am. After getting myself ready, I got the kids out of bed, into their clothes and into the car. Seven a.m. Divine Liturgy in honor of St. John Kochurov of Chicago. He is such a cool saint.

He's Russian, of course, but came to America to labor as a missionary priest, late 1800's, early 1900's. He did. In Chicago. If you are ever in Chicago, go check out Holy Trinity Cathedral. He's the priest who over-saw the building of that Church. His parishioners were very poor, so he went to Russia to raise money for the building program. His ministry also was marked by lots of good preaching, and many chrismations and baptisms.

In 1907 he and his family returned to Russia. For a while he was a teacher, but then his wish was fulfilled and he became a parish priest again.

Was it the wrong place at the wrong time, or the right place at the right time? In October of 1917, after a prayer service, when his town was surrounded by Bolsheviks, he was arrested by them when they took over the town. Taken out to a field. And beaten. And shot. Cruelly. He did not die right away and his body was abused.

St. John was the first Hieromartyr (that means he was a priest who was martyred) of the Russian revolution. Evil times. The first of many, many, many. More than can be numbered and only God knows all their names. (More Christians were killed during the 20th century than in all other centuries combined, most of them in Russia.)

Today is the anniversary of his falling asleep in the Lord (his REAL birthday, so to speak), so the Church remembers him, and celebrates.

It's like meeting a new friend. What a dear, beloved Father, to come to America to labor as a pastor for so long. He did much while here. And then to go home and face martyrdom, eventually.

Most saints, I tend to think of as musty relics of the past. This morning the ambo bore not only two different icons of St. John, but also a framed photograph. That puts things in perspective.

After liturgy a bunch of us gathered in the back for some oatmeal. Father Justin has some photo albums of his trip to Russia (2001...back when he was a REALLY young man.) My priest was actually friends with some of St. John's descendants. Grand daughter, great-grandson, that sort of thing.

And so we sat around looking at this fabulous photo album of Russia, amazing pictures of all over, and hearing stories, connections, cultural was wonderful.

Makes me want to go to Russia for a visit someday.

After that we all adjourned to the Church office where the sub-deacon was burning samples of ALL the incense our parish owns, and making a master list of what would be good to use when. It was fun to give opinions. A great time was had by all, and I think we were all a bit drunk on the incense smoke. It was like a wine tasting party...only not. Tshaikovsky was playing in the background.

So now I know a new saint. That's special.

This evening we all met again on the hill for a special prayer service to/with the saints of North America...followed by marshmallows and s'mores down at the fire pit. Good times had by all. I think the priest's little son shnookered more than a dozen marshmallows off various folks.

Glorious Feast Day!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Things

*I utterly have no desire to finish reading the book I was on. Nor to pick up the next one in the same genre.

This is leaving me feeling somewhat restless, but I gar-on-tee you that my house will be cleaner as a result. (I'm one of those readers who can totally get lost in a book and only come up for food...air optional. Not so good when I'm the homeschooling mom of four kids.)

What to read? I like John Nicholas' suggestion of the Psalms, but I think I'm going to plow through the New Testament first.

*New friends: I'm being blessed. That's all I'm going to say about that. I'm so bad at the beginning of a friendship. Never quite know where the lines are or what to do. But I'm muddling along, and I'm grateful for the ladies in my Bible Study.

*New chance to serve: I've volunteered to become co-leader of the Lexington Fibromyalgia Recovery Group. The Guai protocol works. I'll be there to open the room on occasion, sing it's praises and help newbies get started on the protocol.

*New workout: I dusted off my dumbells about a week ago. Those are seeing action again. Without neglecting my walking.

*Nativity Fast is just around the corner. Time to get quiet. I'm looking forward to it.

*We have a new motherboard on our furnace. The nice repair man even let us keep the old one, and showed us the burnt out spots and the jiggly bits. Now our house is warm.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Is blowing cold air.



Sometimes great ideas backfire. Or they have an effect that one does not anticipate. Or an effect that one does not want to anticipate, but would if one took the time to think about it beforehand.

So, do you remember my big plan of reading a gospel after each crappy fiction book? Well, in two weeks I've read all four gospels.

And the crappy fictions books are much less appealing.

What ever will I do?


Church was really really really good this weekend. Between Vespers last night, a late night dinner of chicken soup with the family, pre-communion prayers, and a quiet, smooth morning, it felt like a retreat.

We were in the zone!

I think that's what it's supposed to be every week. Normal Orthodox worship: No distractions. A space for quiet. A build-up to the Eucharist.

Thanks-giving and fellowship afterwards.

Now, how do I, as MOTHER(aka family puppet master), make this happen every week? Or at least more often?

I think the thing that made it all happen was just letting Saturday night be set aside as a time of prayer, and not for anything else. No movies, or books, or games. Just prayer.

I so needed that.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Walking in the Rain

I've been really busy and have not really had any whispers from God these past few days. That's probably for the best.

I've had to do my walking in the rain, these past three days. I was so grateful today that it was not a downpour, but rather a misting sprinkle, since the air temps are in the 50's, which feels cold right now. Having been in the 100's and 90's for so many moons and then still hot until just this week, it seems like a sudden onset of fall weather. (Our bodies are not adjusted. My kids are convinced it is freeeeezing!)

The rain is welcome. Our reservoirs have been distressingly low.

The first day of walking in the rain was pure joy. The air was warmish and I relished every step. Splashing, drops in my eyes, streaming down my face. Perhaps I looked happy with a dog-riding-in-a-car-with-his-head-out-the-window expression. That's how I felt.

Yesterday was colder, but dstill fun. It rained even harder and I was happily soaked to the bone. Oh, what an adventure! By mile three I didn't even have to bother with avoiding the puddles, since my feet were already wet.

Today, I just wasn't in the mood. One of those "force myself" days to begin with, even under the best of conditions. But I went anyway. For an hour. In the chill damp wetness that is today. Gray and alone with troubled thoughts turned into prayers. My black polar fleece jacket was enough to keep myself dry today.

I'm very aware of the ups and downs of my moods, and the fickleness that is the essence of me. I think St. James was writing about me when he admonished believers not to be blown and tossed about.

So, that is my point of growth these days: Steady, keep on keeping on, doing the right thing no matter how I feel. No matter my mood.

And it's not just with my "spiritual life" that I need to learn this, but also in other areas. I had a good week with Weight Watchers this past week. A very good first week. So much enthusiasm, so much energy. That energy will wane. And so will the enthusiasm.

And then I will need to keep on keeping on. Because that is what repentance looks like.

Ain't that the way it is with everything, though?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dropping the Gauntlet

I can't remember precisely what Father Justin said last week in his homily, but something in me clicked, and I got one of those Holy Spirit nudges: I need to be reading the Gospels/Scriptures more, in greater proportion to my other (very light and very brain-candyish) entertainment reading.

So I resolved: To read a Gopsel (I may change that to book of the Bible at some point) after each non-Scripture book I read. In other words: Crappy fiction, Gospel According to Matthew. Crappy Fiction. Gospel According to Mark. Crappy fiction. Gospel According to Luke. Crappy Fiction. etc.

Currently I'm already on John. And I've actually not read as voraciously as I usually do this week because I have been spending some time ramping up with the Weight Watcher's info.

But over all, I think this is going to be good for me.

I've been having this thought this week, that we spend time with what we love, and it is certainly possible to make a rational "this-is-my-will" type of decision about feeding the good. We are not slaves to our passions, after all, and it IS possible to cultivate a taste for things divine, even when tempted to do otherwise. But I"ve also learned enough about my own heart to know that I have to go slow, and build brick upon brick, inch by inch. Otherwise I crash and burn.

God have mercy on me a sinner.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Swiss german for beginners

1:23 am on Saturday morning. I had caffeine today. I can't resist!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Well, looks like I shouldn't have ANY trouble getting my HSA to pay for Weight Watchers since I was diagnosed with both Obesity AND Hypertension today.

So that explains those palpitations and that shortness of breath I've been experiencing.

My caregiver said that if my BP does not drop with weight loss, I'll have to be put on meds. I should check it regularly at the grocery store thingy.

No wonder I've been feeling older lately. Gone are the days when my weight does not affect my health. My knees hurt, my BP is us, I can feel pressure in various places and pulls on various ligaments.

So, I will NOT listen to my friends when they tell me I look good for my height, or when they say I carry my weight well. I will listen to my body which is clearly telling me I do NOT carry it well at all.

Pray for me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What's Up, Doc?

My weight.

I joined weight watchers yesterday. So far, there are some nifty e-tools to play around with. So far it's not getting on my nerves. But this is only day one. He he he.

But progress is progress: Dieting without self-loathing. Now there's a concept.

Conclusions: I drink too much wine, I cook with too much fat and indulge myself in illegals such as pastries at Church about once a week...far too often. Yeah, that about sums up my fifty pounds of overweight.

Things I'm already doing right: eating fruits and veggies. Eating whole grain sugar free cereals, and limiting the carb portions each day. I read labels. That also puts me ahead of the game. I rarely eat out and I cook from scratch.

Now I just need to learn to cook with less FAT.

And I HAVE been walking. I'm back up to 2.5 miles nowadays.

Since I have family history for everything: heart disease, diabetes AND cancer, perhaps I can get a doc to write me a nice little note to get my HSA to pay for this.

Wouldn't that be nice?

So, wish me willpower, self control and a dying to self indulgence. It's that part of me that wants to indulge myself that gets me every time.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Go Cats!

The Kentucky Wildcats just beat #1 ranked LSU in triple overtime with a final score of 43-37.

Amazing! UK has not ever had a good football team in all the years we've lived in this town.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Interesting Opinion Piece in Christian Science Monitor

If I include the link am I breaking some law? Here it is:

An Orthodox balm for Europe

By Nicolai N. Petro Thu Oct 11, 4:00 AM ET

Kazan, Russia - For decades, many social scientists had pretty much two things to say about Eastern Orthodox Christianity: 1) that like all religions, it was disappearing with the advance of modern civilization; 2) that it derived most of its support from the reactionary tides of authoritarianism and nationalism.

Those pronouncements are being proved wrong. Today, as in the parable of the prodigal son, throughout Eastern Europe people are returning to the Orthodox Church in droves, and the effect in the public sphere, contrary to most expectations, is quite benign.

Though historically viewed with suspicion by Catholic and Protestant Europe, Orthodox Christianity can actually help bridge the Russia-West gap.

At the heart of much of the miscommunication between Russia and Europe today lies the unacknowledged and untapped longing of Orthodox Christians to be recognized as part of a common European cultural family again. The latest effort to bridge this divide was Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II's remarks in France, where he spoke poignantly of how the Christian identity Europeans historically share should promote dialogue on issues like human rights and peace, even with atheists and members of other faiths.

The patriarch was pointing out that, while they may differ on specific political issues today, a profound religious bond actually underpins Western and Eastern European cultural and political values. Sadly, this common bond is rarely mentioned, in either Russia or the West. Today's Slavophile Russian nationalists seem uncomfortable recalling that, despite his uncompromising critique of Western secularism, their avatar Fyodor Dostoyevsky always regarded Europe as Russia's "mother" civilization.

In the West, this oversight has more to do with the fact that Catholic and Protestant Christianity have so often denied an equal voice to those who disagreed with them. In both instances, Orthodox Christianity is seen as part of the problem in East-West relations, instead of part of the solution, as it should be.

Western suspicion of Eastern Orthodoxy can be traced back to before the Great Schism that divided the Christian Church in 1054. One hundred and fifty years later, it fueled the Crusaders' zeal for the sacking of Constantinople. In the 18th century, it became a main theme of Edward Gibbon's influential interpretation of the Roman Empire, which was later echoed in the writings of Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee. And in modern times, Samuel Huntington, among others, has warned direly of the potential for clashes between "Slavic-Orthodox" civilization and the Catholic-Protestant West.

With the exception of Greece, this sad legacy has made Western Europeans notoriously slow to accept countries with large Orthodox populations into pan-European institutions. In the current expansion eastward, however, it is inevitable that the values and mores of European institutions and alliances will be shaped more and more by the traditionalist views of Orthodox Christian believers and less and less by the modern, secularized Protestant assumptions of Western European democracies. Orthodox believers already far outnumber Protestants across Europe, and by some estimates they may eventually even surpass Roman Catholics. If 21st-century Europe ever develops a religious complexion, it will be predominantly Eastern Orthodox.

In the long run, therefore, while the greatest challenge to Europe's cultural and political identity may come from the growth of Islam, its more immediate challenge is how to deal with some 40 million to 140 million Orthodox Christians who, when given a voice in European policymaking, will argue that churches should have a more prominent voice than heretofore in the shaping of social policy.

There are two ways of dealing with this challenge. One way is to stick to a narrow definition of "the West." Make modern-day secularism the gold standard of democracy and decry all challenges to secularism as examples of a "values gap" between East and West. This tried and true formula has the advantage of already being familiar, thanks to the cold war. Unfortunately, it is also a recipe for a conflict within European institutions. And, given the rapidly growing numbers, influence, and wealth of the Orthodox Churches of Eastern Europe, it is a conflict Western Europeans are likely to lose.

Another way is to expand the definition of what is "Western" through dialogue with Orthodox Christians. The goal of such a dialogue would be to stress the common roots that bind various religious traditions, to encourage models of tolerance that do not presume secularism, and the different ways to balance the disparate roles of church and state, while avoiding total estrangement of one from the other.

Such a dialogue would allow Europe to build a new foundation for East-West relations that is based on the common Greco-Roman and Christian heritages. Most important, it would promote a greater understanding in the West of the Orthodox churches' de facto role as the largest nongovernmental organization in Eastern Europe. In this capacity, they inspire the philanthropy, social welfare, and civic activism that help establish a healthy civil society.

It's time to rethink old assumptions about Orthodox believers and to tap the enormous contributions that they can make to the creation of a peaceful and prosperous continent.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

White Pumpkin Pancakes

These were delicious. Very similar to potatoes in taste, but more fragile than potato pancakes would have been, due to the higher water content of the pumpkin. Next time, I'll try to squeese some of the water out by putting the pumpkin in a colander and sticking a weighted plate on top for a little while. Many "ersatz" potato recipes that use cauliflower call for this step.

Also for next time: chopped onions...for more of a hashbrowns effect.

I ate these with ketchup for supper last night, my daughter had them with honey-mustard sauce, and my husband and another daughter ate them with maple syrup. The other kids wouldn't try them.

Very yummy, and a definite "repeater" in some form or other.

Oh, I forgot to add: this was about 1/3 of the pumpkin flesh, four eggs, processed in the food processor, cooked in an oiled pan.

And notice, please, how CLEAN my stove top is! I got the black gunk off with several of those magic eraser sponges and lots of elbow grease and some knife scraping. Just thought I'd mention it. I'd let my stove top go to pot and it was quite a job, rescuing it. I suppose this shows that my health and energy is improving.

The Poor Among Us

Thinking about Almsgiving.

Not something one talks about much. After all, the right hand does not need to know what the left hand is doing. It should be done in a modest way. (Not modest quantitatively, but modest as in covered up.) So, no specifics.

What is before me: Alms-giving to specific people and their specific needs that I know of, or alms-giving to anonymous type organizations.

What do you all think?

I'm thinking if I have to choose one or the other, the personal trumps the impersonal, even when the personal can be done anonymously so as to preserve the modesty of almsgiving.

What do my blog readers think?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Great White Pumpkin

Is this a Charlie Brown tribute? Or was it Linus? I never can remember.

Well, Bethany and I found a White Pumpkin at the store the other day. Since we are all about pumpkins and squashes, now that she's on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, we picked up this beauty, and decided to give it a try.

Baking pumpkin from scratch is not difficult.

First I wash the outside with dishsoap and my scrubber. Then I plunk it, as you see here in the top picture, into the baking dish. Oven at three fifty until it smells done.

What does "done" smell like? Burning rind. It's not rocket science.

Once it's baked, it is soft. The skin is no longer rind-like, but is rather fragile and easy to peel back. After that it's just a matter of cutting it apart, scraping the seeds out and (which is much easier after it's baked than before), and scooping out the good stuff.

In this case I decided some of the flesh was still a bit on the firm side. So it is now in the steamer, getting even softer.

What, you ask, does a white pumpkin taste like? Well, this one is not sweet at all. It is rather bland and a bit squashy...but will make an EXCELLENT potato substitute, I think, for those of us banned from eating potatoes.

For a sweet tooth, get those little pie pumpkins, or a butternut squash. And acorn squash can also be sweet, depending the blessings of the random squash sweetness fairy. A large orange pumpkin is not as sweet as the smaller ones, and a bit stringy, similar but not as pronounced as spaghetti squash.

A wonderful thing to have in the oven on a fall day that feels cool just by virtue of it being "not hot".

I like the Photo Booth

I like the fact that I can actually get pictures of myself that don't make me want to scream in horror and run away. I'm very camera shy, and this tool lets me be more in control.


So, here are some, from yesterday. My age is showing, especially around my eyes, if you look closely. You know what? THAT'S OK!

I'm pushing 40 (got a couple of more years to do the pushing) but I have to say that this phase of life is feeling much more fulfilling and less desperate than the last ten years or so.

Feels like I've rounded some sort of corner. And I can look in the mirror and smile instead of cringe.

Proof that the Holy Spirit is hard at work mending the broken places, I guess.

So, nothing silly....just me in the middle of the day yesterday.

Here's wishing I could have a nice cup of coffee and a chat with each of my faithful blog readers....all five of you, LOL.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


So, my kitchen has been stinky. I've cleaned it thoroughly every day, like I always do, but it's just had this smell.

Today I continued sleuthing and threw out a bag of narshty rotten potatoes that I discovered on top of the fridge. That was probably overkill, getting rid of the whole bag on behalf of a few baddies, but I was grossed out and it seemed the thing. Rotten potatoes are particularly vile smelling, for some reason.

Lately I've been on a bit of a cleaning binge. I wanted clean. So I got rid of the rotten taters, scrubbed the basket, scrubbed the top of the fridge and rearranged stuff.

Now things should be nice and fresh.

Well, it was almost good.

But still there was funky around the edges.

....Later in the day.....

Time to make dinner. I'm loading the dishwasher, getting ready to peel a bunch of carrots, apples, onions, and other stuff of similar ilk to go in the baker with the chicken.

And I see this tail.

A mouse tail. So, why is it not rapidly disappearing?

Oh dear! It's a dead mouse tail that got stuck between the edge of my cabinet and the wall.

Oh even more dear! It's a HALF DECOMPOSED DEAD MOUSE TAIL WITH THE SKIN CURLING OFF OF IT! And a dead half decomposed mouse body attached, wedged in a great tightness, leaving drippy stuff on my wall behind the splash guard behind the sink.


Time to haul out the biohazard suit that I keep on hand for just such occasions. Eeeeeeeeew, eeeeeeeewwwww, eeeeeeeeeeew, eeeeeeeeeew, eeeeeeeewwwwwwww!

Yes I cleaned it up. And I even managed not to vomit.

That, my friends, ranks so far as the grossest thing. Ever.

It's all about ME ME ME!...or is it?

On Wednesday nights I participate in a women's Bible study. I'm the lone Orthodox in the group and one other person is heading towards Rome even as we speak. The rest of the crowd are of the Emergent persuasion. Is that protestant? They do seem to be protesting many things, but things different than Luther and Zwingli and those guys. Defies categorization.

It doesn't matter. We have some good talks and good fellowship and some good good good delving into the Prophet Hosea.

Boy, there sure are some zingers in that book, let me tell ya!

And I know it was directed, originally, to the idolatrous and unrepentant Northern Kingdom of Israel. I know this.

So how come I keep finding myself in those pages, as well. My faithfulness is also like a vapor. I say that I'll press on the seek the Lord and then my zeal fizzles out. This happens over and over again. I guess I'll just keep pressing on. Doh!

And I KNOW there are idols in my heart. Ones I have not even begun to see yet.

One prayer that the priest prays over the penitent during the sacrament of repentance (confession) is for the light granted in this confession to shed further light on sins yet uncovered. That's putting it in my own words, but you get the idea.

I always have this mental image of my heart being like the grand canyon, with lots of twists and turns. And I'm traveling down at the bottom, in the dark with a lantern. Each confession is a step forward, and a bit of light is cast. But only God knows the depths of my heart, and only God knows what lurks in the darkness.

Because each and every time I go, there's always then more to be uncovered down the road. Step by step by step.

That's why the book of Hosea is all about me. I'm learning, slowly, that my heart really is that black, and twisty. And there are things that matter far to much to me that a month ago I never would even have contemplated to be a problem...but the light of one confession sheds its rays into a new corner. Some healing over here suddenly reveals the sickness over there.

You know, like if you have two things hurting at once, the bigger one is all you notice until that heals and then you see the other thing. It's like that.

And I KNOW for a fact it's not just me. We are all the same, aren't we?

Friday, October 05, 2007


I just checked the ten day weather forecast. Oh, slay me! It's not just going to be mildly warm for the, that won't happen until the slight "cool down" into the high seventies mid next week. No, it will be genuinely HOT here for the next five days or so. As in, the nineties!

Not that the weather is really worth blogging about. It's just that...well, I was curious this morning when the house hadn't cooled down any overnight, and then I had to vent.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Be Happy and Successful or else God Will Smite You!

I love my chiropractor, I really do. He helps my back.

Today, however, I went in there for my monthly back crunch, and he was stoked on McDonald's Sweet Iced Tea, by his own admission.

Now, he's usually an obnoxiously upbeat, seven habits kind of guy...very "positive thinking, success is my friend" etc. type of person. I like him, I really do, despite these personal quirks.

But today...Oh....he rubbed me the wrong way. It was the sugar and the caffeine. Scary combination in a person so naturally upbeat and gregarious.

I mean, my husband is also a sugar and caffeine fiend, but in his case, it keeps his pulse going. He's so low key and mellow that I'd hate to see him if he MISSED a fix. (Ok, scratch that...I yell at him when he goes too long without his Mountain Dew...) But Dr. Mike on caffeine and sugar...

Let's just say this gal who has PMS did NOT appreciate it.

First he comes barreling in the room: "How ARE your workouts coming along?!!!?" "Ummmmm, workouts?"..."I walk?".

And then he launched into a speech on how he's getting up at 4:45 am every day to go work out and if HE can do it, so can I!

Oh. Slay me. I'm SO enthused.

4:45 am you say? NOT! (Doesn't this guy remember I have fibro???? Didn't he walk me through over a year of fruitless weight lifting workouts when I got neither thinner, nor (in the end) stronger, thanks to my illness?) Nope, the sugar and caffeine have wiped his memory.

And then the conversation progresses, regresses...something. He ends up saying that he believes that God rewards excellence, ignores mediocrity and smites stupidity.

OK, yeah. Whatever.

Obviously the man is not a theologian.

Or has never met Jesus. Who came to the lame. The sick. The poor. The blind, hungry, maimed, demon possessed. Who came to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the year of the Lord's favor. Never met Jesus who talked about taking up a cross and following Him. Who was crucified. Who died.

Yes, God rewards excellence. But perhaps it is a different kind of excellence than the getting up at 4:45 am to work out and get "body beautiful". And perhaps it is just the sort of excellence that is only one thing: a clarity of vision that enables one to pray with the Publican "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner!"

Personally, I'd rather call a spade a spade than to force myself to be happy, happy, happy! in order to try and prove something to the rest of the world.

I'm reminded of St. Isaac the Syrian: "This life is given to you for repentance. Do not waste it on vain pursuits."

And of course I can only ever think of the right words in retrospect. Sigh.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Chicken Soup for the Autistic Soul

Well, the CDC (that the Center for Disease Control, or the Center for Damaged Cerebrums...whichever) is at it again, spinning the data that might statistically link neuro damage with their vaccination schedule into something innocuous sounding for the media to pre-digest and feed to the American public. Gag.

Here's a good rebuttal by David Kirby

As a parent of the child on the Autistic spectrum, I don't really know what to think or who to believe. I don't think it's impossible that big pharm has damaged our children for the sake of profit. I also don't think it's impossible that in the name of a perceived good, the government would unwittingly cause damage to many children that occurred in unforeseen ways. While I don't believe it's intentional on anyone's part, I do see lots of money being a factor...both in the profit motive and the prevention of lawsuits motive.

I just don't know. But I wonder.

And another interesting linkage between the whole vaccine thing and the Autism thing: Back in the day, when Kanner was first defining autism, it was called...drumroll encephalitic syndrome. Now, how do you like 'dem apples?

But then I wonder...did vaccination give my daughter the ability for her fingers to play classical recorder music as easily as a social butterfly works a party? Did it cause her to be able to read at age two (aka hyperlexia)? Or perhaps the neuro damage just rearranged things so that those abilities came to the forefront?

And then there's the whole news bit about the gut-brain connection...

I'm just a mom...what do I know? And how do I navigate all this information? Does it conflict? Will the foods I cook and feed my daughter makes such a difference?

If you have a kid on the AS spectrum, go check out

After two weeks on the SCD diet B has better eye contact, more sociable, ability to confront people and talk about her feelings, even when she's upset, much much less headbanging (I can only recall one time and that is when morning prayers were causing her neglected applesauce to start scorching on the stove), her sense of humor is showing, and she's smiling and laughing more, talking more, etc. Only after two weeks.

This is only the beginning. I like the genius unique aspects of my daughter, that some would call "autism"...her music, her intelligence, her unique perspective on life, her synesthesia, and her moral strong sense of right and wrong...but the heartbreaking parts: the head banging, the "locked in her own world", inability to communicate, inability to cope with unpredictable moments and too much sensory input, her erstwhile tantrums...those things I can do without. As can she.

I have hope. And this in addition to the increased hope and betterment we've seen from the Gluten Free Casein Free diet. The SCD takes things a layer deeper to address the reason for the gluten/casein intolerance. Very very interesting....

(The title of this blog post stems from the fact that the in the intro phases of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Chicken soup is a staple.)