Friday, March 30, 2012

Orthoodx Hymn Sampler...very lovely!

Chapel Veil Design

I designed a chapel veil today. Here are some photos. It is made from a D shaped lace, edged in flowers cut from the design and pleated in the back.from the front. It just sort of sits on my head.
Side view
On my head from behind.
Spread out on a pillow.

On Being an Autism Mom: A Post about Grief and Joy

Being an Autism mom means-

-the possibility of a never-empty nest

-watching your child "flunk out of" ballet lessons

-dealing with bullies and their parents

-feeling bypassed by the parents of normal kids

-being the mother of the odd-family-out

-finding kindred spirits in the strangest of places

-learning that age is no barrier to friendship and being grateful for ANYONE who will love your kids along with you

-not being invited to parties

-having no help or support

-not having people over as often as you would like

-spending all your money on doctors and medicine

-never being able to afford to go on vacation (see above)

-used furniture (see above)

-thrift store clothes because, in part, they are already broken in

-acceptance

-patience

-giving up your spontaneous side in favor of much needed routines

-watching the kids grow and develop at their own pace

-letting go of expectations

-fighting envy of "normal" kids' accomplishments and their proud parents

-accepting that some people will never be fashionistas...and being secretly grateful for that fact

-looking back and re-living the "golden days" of motherhood before it all came crashing down...before you KNEW...

-love, joy and hugs from people who, if they were neurotypical, might feel "too old" to want to hug their mom

-seeing a prolonged innocence in your kids due to their developmental delays

-knowing how to stave off a panic attack (theirs, not yours)

-have mad melt down alleviation skillz

-not being afraid of psychotic episodes

-keeping up with four different medicine and bio-medical supplement dispension trays

-last minute phone calls to get meds refilled because juggling all of it seems impossible

-being able to cook gluten free and live to tell about it

-the Gaps diet

-spending a large amount of money on food

-shopping at three or four different stores in order to find the right brands of everything that doesn't contain the garbage we are trying to avoid

-getting unwanted advice that is always kindly meant

-giving unwanted advice that is always kindly meant

-seeing your kids sitting alone during coffee hour...week after week after week

-bonding with other autism families

-offering up this grief to God

-wondering why, what caused this?

-asking "why me?"

-holding your breath and hoping none of your kids' cousins have autism...for their sake

-learning to accept your life as it is and not as you thought it would be

-seeing amazing talents emerge despite the kids' struggles

-"Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven"

Watchfulness at Night

This lent has been weird for me. I've had all this mental focus on my freaky health issues and the expensive tests for them, like the MRI. And then there's been making decisions about my oldest's care and medical treatment. And then there's been juggling the GAPS diet and the GFCF diet in our family and trying, trying, and certainly not doing it very well, or not being ABLE to do it very well...to eat less meat. Every fasting period, I watch Eric lose weight and deterioroate. We are at the official point of him not being able to focus on his school work. And this is WITH our family still eating fish (which he refuses) and chicken (which he will eat a small amount of).

(Please, no comments on how to get him to eat. He's a teenager and at this point it's really up to him. And when he was wee...well, force feeding and causing him to vomit are NOT good parenting choices in my opinion. Ancient history.)

So for him, and his anemic undernourished self, beef is back on the menu. I hope htis means he can focus on his school work better.

Why do I share that here? I guess I do so to share my lenten struggle. This is what I'm dealing with day in day out. I'm dealing with the stress of finding out too late, two months in a row that dd needs a refill on a certain medication, we find out on Thursday evening that she only has doses through Saturday and I may not be able to get it filled until Tuesday because her doctor has a three day waiting period on refills...stresses like that. Why, you ask, do we not keep better track? Ah, I ask myself the same question and the answer comes down to a perfect storm of us trying to give more and more responsibility for meds management over to our almost 18 year old, and the fact that Wes and I are always, forever and perpetually maxed out. Each day hold more work and responsibilities than we have energy and strength for. There are never quite enough "spoons".

So in all of this it is easy for me not to make it to lenten services. Going is a torture. They are in the evening during the time of day when I literally feel ill. Daily, I wake up fatigued. I rest for a couple of hours in my chair with my feet up, then start school and do any chores or errands I need to or must fit in. On many days, by 4 pm I am feeling like I have the flu. Yesterday the fatigue and aches and weak legs hit me at about 2 pm while I was in Walmart getting groceries. I still had to finish that, take B to a therapy appointment and then run to Costco before home again. We made it home by 5:30. I had a cup of coffee at 2:45 on the way to the appointment. The devil is in the details: coffee now for safer driving abilities on I-65 and at rush hour, or no coffee, extreme fatigue and dangerous driving in exchange for the hope of a better night of sleep.

Needless to say I picked the coffee. I knew what I was choosing and was not disappointed. So last night sleep was hard to come by until after 1. And my upstairs neighbor...he gets up for the early shift around five. He's quiet, but even his normal footsteps wake me up. I don't think I ever really sleep deep. My doctor and I are discussing this.

Today, I am grateful, grateful, grateful that I have no appointments. Just at home work and perhaps, just for fun a quick zip over to Hobby Lobby so I can do some etsy shop sewing.

Holy Week Approaches and all this, at least, I am learning to offer up to God. All the weakness and tiredness and stress. It's more than I can handle, but it's not more than God can handle.

So I'm grateful, in an odd way for the watchfulness that I have at night. I say I never have private time. But I do. All those hours of not sleeping ARE good for something.

Prostrations



This is a lovely video. For those of my friends and family who are not Orthodox Christians, perhaps it is an inside glimpse into how we worship. At our parish we do have pews and so the prostrations often become simple kneeling. This is a blessing for the ill and elderly.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On Colors and Thrifty Ways of Being.

How things come together: I'm thinking of colors and where to put furniture in what room when we move this summer...and what we have and what I love. I have these two wonderfully comfortable, "shabby chic" at this point, leather chairs with half circle ottoman footrests...in dark GREEN. Not my color of choice. But the chairs are here and they shall remain. I love baskets, lace curtains, wooden furniture like a cedar chest, piano, old dish cabinet, spinning wheel...old world country. So how do these green overstuffed leather chairs fit into that picture? Here's how:



I'm not planning on doing a sunflower theme, mind you. That's too 1990's and matchy matchy for my taste. But that pale yellow against the dark green and brown (I know the color of the wall and it fits!)...truly inspired. So now I know what accent colors to start thrift-collecting for my future "parlor". Feeling grateful today.

Monday, March 26, 2012

GAPS Walnut Blondie

You know those awesome and amazing walnut blondies at Applebees? There they get served with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream and white chocolate sauce, which items I will have to perfect gapsy later. But for now, I bring you, inspired by the blondie, the GAPS WALNUT BLONDIE:

3 eggs, beaten
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup of honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/2T. gaps friendly vanilla extract (I found some at Meijer w/ no sugar. McCormicks also has one with no sugar. Or you can make your own with vodka, vanilla beans and three months of waiting).
2 cups of almond flour or almond meal.

Mix all together. sprinkle top with soaked and re-dehydrated walnuts. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 or until done.

Yum.

Baptismal Gowns

It's time for a shameless plug for my etsy shop. I've put up three infant baptismal gowns at www.freetocover.etsy.com. I hope these sell fairly well, as I am raising money, in my own quiet way, to help my kids along in scouting. I've been too sick lately to take them door-to-door selling flowers. Here's a photo: For more details, follow the link.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Walking when very fatigued

My legs get very weak, all of a sudden like. When they do, this is how I walk. video

MY Brain.

Today I went for an MRI. I've been having some neurological symptoms lately and my doc wanted to check out all possibilities. I have no idea what it could be, but I have "peace that passes all understanding". Possibilites include Lupus, RA, some other autoimmune disease, or MS. I guess the MRI was looking for MS (or a brain thing, har har).

At any rate, the MRI machine is a great place for the Jesus prayer. I was clicking through the pictures on the DVD they sent home with me and found this image:



What do you see? I see a person kneeling at the foot of the cross, body is to the right of the cross, head/face to the left of the cross. Hair is hanging down.

I needed that today. God doesn't look at my fatigue and see a fat useless "lemon" of a person. That may be how I feel, but it's not the reality. This picture is like an icon of "me".

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

GAPS banana bread

Into food processor put:

four ripe bananas
four farm fresh eggs
1/4-1/2 cup honey
1/4-1/2 cup of coconut oil
pinch of salt
dash of lemon juice
1 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond meal

blend all until smooth. Scrape down sides as necessary.

Spray baking dish with olive oil spray. If you use a 9x13 it will be sort of flat. I have a baking dish that's the size of two small loaf pans side by side. Use whatever works for you. :-)

Pour batter into baking dish. Sprinkle soaked and toasted walnuts on top. Bake until a knife tests done...probably 45 minutes or longer, at 350 degrees.

Can you tell I'm not really into measuring my ingredients?

Lentil Stew (GAPS and Non-GAPS versions)

Alana's Lentil Stew:

1 onion, chopped

4-5 carrots, chopped

sautee these a bit (coconut oil is nice)

add 2 cubed potatoes and 1 large cubed sweet potato
bag of lentils
can of tomato sauce
1 T. salt
1 T. middle eastern five spice blend (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cardamon)
1 T. cumin
Water to cover all. Simmer until all is tender.

Alana's GAPS Lentil stew:

3 days before making the soup: Soak a bag of lentils in filtered water for a day, then drain and allow to sprout for a couple of days in a covered bowl.

Proceed to make the following into a soup:

large onion, chopped,
6 or so carrots, chopped
sautee the above in a healthy fat. (I like coconut oil or beef tallow)

Add: 1 bag of frozen cauliflower, I bag frozen cubed butternut squash
1 T. salt
1 T. middle eastern five spice blend
1 T. cumin
1 can of tomato paste (make sure it's GAPS legal)
sprouted lentils
water or bone broth to cover all.

Allow to simmer until all is tender.

This is less carby than the first version but has very much a similar taste/texture. Sprouting the lentils makes them more nutritious.

Sisyphus (They guy in Greek mythology who couldn't get his rock to the top of the mountain)

Well, lent has been peaceful so far. I've been struggling with my health, but then again, what else is new? Last fall seems like a long time ago, and that one month of feeling good was so NICE, but by December it was all over and I started feeling sick again. This has just gotten worse and worse and worse.

So...next week...I go for an MRI. And yesterday I had a bunch of blood taken. My doc is testing me for Lupus, RA, and any other auto-immune disease they can think of.

Maybe it's "just the fibromyalgia" but the levels of fatigue I've been having and the weird neurological symptoms are new. Not as much pain, just ginormous fatigue...like my arms and legs are concrete. And my legs get weak and I walk funny.

Recently someone told me I worry about my health too much. Someone else joked that I have Munchhausen's after I opened a pocket knife and clumsily cut myself on the finger. I know he was just joking, but that sort of stuff hurts a tiny bit. But I guess it's my cue that people really don't want to know about it all. It must get tiresome...here comes Alana with her litany of ills.

I think I just want to learn to shut up about it all. (Ha!) Does that mean I'll blog about it more or less? I don't know. But then the problem with shutting up about invisible chronic illness, is that people expect you to be there, be able and to produce and put out and participate. And sometimes that is just not possible. Not enough energy.

I recently closed down another blog I have been writing on, and referred its readers over to this one. So, I may start blogging a little bit more about my faith than I have been in the past few years. I hope that's OK. More GAPS recipes to come as well. I made a wonderful pot of sprouted lentil stew the other day and it has been the gift that keeps on giving. I love leftovers!

Peace, my friends.