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Showing posts from 2015

About Bodies and Control

We think we can control things. . . but we can't.  Mostly, control is an illusion, a lie we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better.  We go though life thinking that we know the outcome of each day, but moment by moment, as each day unfolds, there are always surprises. 

Most of the time the surprises are small ones, and the general outline of one's day generally goes the way one plans.  Sometimes there are huge big horrible surprises, like the house catching on fire, or your family getting killed in a car crash, or cancer.  Some surprises are sudden, and some are slow to reveal themselves, like an autism diagnosis that is 13 years in coming, or a chronic illness that's been showing symptoms for years, and you finally get a diagnosis and you are actually GLAD, because now the big "it" has a name. 

All these examples are taken from my actual life, by the way. 

And this blog post is about control. . . and how we really don't have much control. 

We can c…

Fasting When You Cannot Fast

Today marks the ending of the Dormitian Fast on the new calendar and the beginning of the Dormitian Fast for those on the old calendar. 

Every time a fast approaches, I think: This time I will try and it will be better....

and it never is.

I am too sick to fast. 

And my children,with autism, sensory processing disorder and hypglycemia are too sick to fast. 

And my husband who is fighting cancer and recovering from chemo therapy is also too sick to fast. 

Even with meat on the menu, our collective energy levels are so low that two birthdays in one week derail us and we don't quite get the birthday shopping done in time.

The grass has gotten mowed ONCE this summer. 

We never do anything FUN because we are too sick and tired.  

Too sick to fast.  Also too sick to GO very fast. ( Yes, it's a pun. I had to.)

And it's difficult when all of one's faith community is doing one thing and one's own family is in a different rhythm:   But we are learning the OKness of that. 

S…

The Only Gluten Free, Dairy Free Carob Brownie Recipe You Will Ever Need

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It seems like sooooo may recipe blog posts go on....


and on....

and on....

about EVERYTHING before they get to the recipe. 

But I wont do that.  Because I'm nice.  So, without further ado:

preheat oven to 350F.

mix together: 
1 cup sugar,
1 cup namaste GF flour blend,
pinch of salt, and
1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Toasted carob powder (just ordered off Amazon). 

Melt some Earth balance supposed to taste like butter margarine without transfats in it stuff...

1/2 cup to be precise. 
break 3 eggs into your dry stuff

and stir it around. 

Add 1 cap full of vanilla (admit it, nobody gets out a measuring spoon for vanilla when that lid is soooo handy),
 and the melted buttery stuff. 

Stir like a madwoman.  Even if you are man, stir like a madwoman. 

When it's all silky and blended into a dark brown fudgy mass, dump it into a small pan (pie pan or a small rectangle...NOT a 9x13 unless you want crackers), spread it out and bake it for about half an hour.

I ran this recipe through a r…

Time to Grow up.

Last night I tried the Salmon, Potato and Peas bake...it was good...but there was not much of it.  I was satisfied for about an hour and a half, and then I felt like I needed a snack...luckily that was built in to my budget, so I ate some dry, crunchy gluten free ceral (instead of potato chips) because I was feeling very very stressed and I needed to CRUNCH.  (yes, I know I'm a stress eater....I'm working on it, but, babysteps here, and yes, I WILL buy some carrots when I go grocery shopping next).

Today at lunch I had a big salad (tomato, small zucchini, and greens) dressed w/ coconut spray and blasamic vinegar, and some chicken.  It wasn't quite enough.

I needed about 150 more calories (remember, I'm doing "free fruits and veggies")...

So I ate a peach with 1/3 cup raw oats sprinkled on, and some "just like sugar" chicory root sweetener.  It was so pretty looking in the bowl.  I should have taken a picture. 

I've noticed that 1800 calories is …

What a 400 Calorie breakfast looks like

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1 slice of Udi's Gluten Free bread (yes, the G and the F have to be capitalized.  Thus I have decided.  It's that important to me.), 2 T. Sunbutter, and a banana.  Oh, and the coffee is always black. And to think...this is the small plate.  I could easily pile twice as many calories on this thing.  Just using the small plate is obviously not enough discipline for me. 

The Breakfast Plan

Again, working with 400 calorie budget here, and the fact that I am a creature, very much, of habit. 

An honest assessment of my cozy eating habits revealed that I eat a bit too much at each meal...by about 200 calories, if you include snacks, that adds up to quite a bit of extra weight. 

So I decided 1800 calories a day would be a better target, and towards that end, I need to tweak my habits and my meals.  To make it easy at dinner (the danger zone time of day, donchaknow), I prepped pre-made freezer meals for myself. For breakfast, all I need is a menu, because I only eat about three different things EVER for breakfast....

Continental:
1 slice Udi's toast
2 T. Sunbutter
1 banana

or
Breakfast Sandwich:
1 slice Udi's toast
1 sausage patty
1 banana

or 
Muesli:  
1/2 cup raw oats
2 T. protein powder
1 c. blueberries
1 c. coconut milk
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

or
The Hobbit:
3 slices bacon
2 eggs
1T. bacon fat for the eggs
1 piece of fruit (not a banana)

Coffee, in my world, is …

Calorie Controlled Freezer Meals, part 3 (The recipes)

You will need quart sized freezer bags.  Label your bags first, and do this assembly line style, one recipe at a time.  I put them in a logical order, as you will see if you reasd through all the recipes first.  I was seated at my dining room table and even though I was having a bad day physically, I was able to get this work done. 

Each meal has 400 calories. 


Bean and Corn Chili with Turkey (2 cans of black beans will get you five meals)

1 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans (drained)
1/2 can diced tomato
1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken or turkey meat
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin powder
1/2 t. salt

Heat and serve.

Chickpea Curry

1/3 cup brown rice
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup frozen peas
1 T. coconut cream
1/2 c. diced tomatoes
1 t. curry powder
1/2 t. salt
1T. lemon juice

2 cans of chickpeas and 2 cans of tomatoes will yield about five of these dinners.  

Add 2/3 cup water and cook as if you are cooking rice.  Don't do what I did and scor…

Calorie Controlled Freezer Meals, part 2 (the shopping list)

The shopping list: 

You will need: 
Frozen Chicken breasts
Brown Rice
24 oz. mushrooms (if you make more than the number of meals I made, you will need more mushrooms...I only did up 4 chicken meals because I only had 4 breasts on hand).
1 can of coconut cream
Bag of Frozen Corn (get organic if you can, corn is often GMO)
Bag of Frozen Peas
Ore-Ida Natural fries
Costco Salmon Patties OR Salmon fillets
Grass Fed Beef patties (4 oz. each)...I get mine at Trader Joe's.
Bag of frozen cut up red, yellow and green peppers...again, Trader Joe's.
2 cans of chick peas
2 cans black beans
7 cans of diced tomatoes
1 pack of fettuccini noodles (mine are gluten free)
bag of frozen broccoli florets
5 cups of cooked turkey meat or leftover chicken or something poultryish that's pre-cooked
1/2 cup nutritional yeast.

Bear in mind...I buy giant VATS of things at Costco..which explains why on the spur of the moment I was able to raid my freezer and come up w/ a month's worth of 400 calor…

Calorie Controlled Freezer Meals

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What's a broke lady to do when she knows it would benefit her to be on one of those pre-packaged meal diet plans? 

What's a gal to do when she has so many food allergies that any and all of those pre-packaged diet plans wouldn't work anyways? 

What's a mama to DO when she doesn't even own a MICROWAVE...? 

Well, do it herself, that's what. 

So today I made 29 dinners with five different recipes, each with 400 calories, of things I am not allergic to...and they are sitting in my freezer ready to go.  They can go into the oven, the crock pot, or be heated up on the stove top, depending on the dish. 

I just raided my freezer and put together stuff I already had...

There are: 

4 Beef Fajita Bake meals
4 Chicken breast with rice and mushrooms meals
6 Salmon, potato and peas meals
5 Turkey and Black bean and corn chili meals
5 Fettuccini, Turkey and Broccoli meals (with a vegan "cheeze" sauce)
5 Chickpea Curry meals

They are deliciously sitting there w…

Beauty is the Wrong Paradigm (a poem for girls)

I would rather be courageous than beautiful.
beauty is fleeting
it goes away.
I would rather be strong
I would rather stand with my face to the wind
in wide, open spaces where my soul can be
free
than have the need
inside of me
to be pretty.
I would rather be remembered for what I DO.
I want the world to see me and say
"There goes a maker." and
"Look at the work of her hands...
and her mind...and her soul."
I would rather be loving than beautiful.
Love lasts forever,
and beauty is food for worms.
Girls, oh girls! Gather 'round and and hear
my wisdom:
Beauty is the wrong paradigm.
Beauty is not enough to strive for
even if you think you want it from the very bottom of your soul.
Don't strive for beauty in your life, because if you do
you will find it
slipping through your fingers like
sands of time.
No.
Reach for love.
Reach for goodness.
Reach for creating beauty around you.
Reach for tenderness.
Reach for mercy.
Reach for graciousn…

Looking for the Good

I watched a video by Rivka Malka Pearlman this morning, and something she said really got me thinking:  She spoke of transition being a good thing!  And this, just after I have blogged about how the cancer journey feels like exile (SO NOT a good thing)...

but it challenged me, and I started to ponder...I should look for the good.  What good things have come about in my life due to Wes having Glioblastoma?

I'm not going to make a comprehensive list here, but I will share a few points.

For one thing, this diagnosis and fight has shown me how good Wes has always been to me.  What will I do without him?  He is precious.  Looming death makes me wake up to that fact.

Cancer has taught me that my faith is small, very small, and needs to grow bigger...and it has.

Cancer has taught me that I am surrounded by community.

Cancer has taught me that people are generous and giving...and that through them, I experience the faithfulness of God.

Cancer has shown me that I am not alone.

Cancer has s…

...We Used to Sit and Weep at the Thought of Zion

So yesterday in Church we dusted off "On the Banks of the River of Babylon...".  Lent is soon here, and I have echoes of Bridegoom matins services already echoing through my head:  "Oh my soul, why are you slee-eeping?"

Except, I'm NOT...or at least I don't think I am.  Spiritual sleep is not the issue for me on this cancer journey.  Yes, all of life has become "the Cancer Journey".  It fills EVERYTHING.  It tinges every joy, it enhances every sorrow.

It feels like exile.

And  while I am in a better, more hopeful place than I was a year ago, when I felt like Wes would die any second, it is STILL exile. 

Today I am full of tears once again. 

I wonder if this is how the exiles felt?  Taken captive from their homeland, awakened and weeping at their loss.  At first, perhaps, it was with the looming certainty of death...but then time settles in and there's a new-not-so-great life to be lived...in exile. 

This cancer journey feels like exile.  And…

Bill Doyle: Treating cancer with electric fields

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This is the treatment that Wes is seeking next.  He met with the doctor today, and it looks like in 1-3 months he will be set up with this electrical field therapy device.  He will continue doing chemo as well, or now.  There's no official protocol for chemo at this point in his GBM....it is anybody's guess what to do. New science.  CUTTING. EDGE.  -

Walking Into the Door Jamb of Repentance

So today we stared singing "Open to me the doors of repentance..." in Church.  The Lenten triodion has begun.  Am I ready?  Am I ever ready? 

I doubt it. 

In fact, when God opens to me the doors of repentance, I'm just as likely as not to walk straight into the door jamb.  That bruise you see in my forehead...

Because that is the very nature of repentance.  We pray for it, we ask for it "create in me a clean heart, O God..." and yet, in this life...

we fall down...

we get back up. 

we fall down....

we get back up. 

We pray "open to me the doors of repentance", and then we walk into the doorjamb and don't actually go THROUGH the door. 

I can think of all the ways I have gotten complacent.  I ponder the areas of my life about which I must cry out to God for mercy and say "purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean"....that, my friends, is a literal prayer for God to cleanse us of our shit.  That's what a "purge" is, and that i…

About Fear

Today I woke up and my emotions and thoughts were back in that fearful and negative place where I am panicked about the future, about the increased cost of living, the cost of illness (I stare at my med bottles wondering which one I could do without to save money) and of course underlying and overshadowing everything, Wes' cancer. 

I felt stressed.  And rather helpless.

Due to increased insurance costs, our budget is not quite what it once was.  Lets just leave it at that, shall we?

And it is grocery day and I knew exactly how much was (or wasn't) on the bank account. 

I felt stressed.  And rather helpless. 

At some point in my morning of putting one foot in front of the other (oh how I wanted to be working in my etsy shop to try and earn some money) in which the demands and needs of my kids took precedence over my desires I had a very very clear-as-a-bell thought: 

Manna in the Wilderness. 

I thought of how God gave just enough manna for that day, and double on Fridays so tha…

Disney Lied to Me!

Disney lied to me!

 I was taught by Snow White that cleaning first a castle and then the dwarves' house would get me surrounded by friends, a jam session and a long nap afterwards...still waiting on the musical friends and the nap. But they got the part about naps being disturbed by unwelcome kisses right....

Cinderella...again with the cleaning! I was taught by Cinderella that if I did all the household chores, someone else would do my sewing for me and I would have energy to dance until midnight. It just isn't so! (pardon the pun). They lie!

Pocahontas...I can't EVEN. She didn't seem to HAVE chores.

Beauty and the Beast: that being a bookworm gets you unwanted suitors...Ha. Not unless by "unwanted suitors" you mean a few extra pounds.

Little Mermaid: That there's room for collecting lots of stuff. Not EVEN.

Princess Jasmine: HOW is her outfit and palace NOT covered in Tiger fur????? because I have a couple of cats whose total …

2014 Family Newsletter Post

2014 has been a year of God's mercy and grace.  Of course we have been reeling from Wes' cancer diagnosis which we got the day before Thanksgiving of 2013.  We have kept on walking though, and started going to Gilda's Club, which is a wonderful cancer support organization.  By late September, early October (the anniversary of his seizure that we thought was a stroke) I started getting my feet back under me.  That first year felt like I was falling. 

Bethany and Maia got their GEDs, and Eric and Ariana got enrolled at Jeffersontown High School as Juniors.  Maia is on the cusp of getting her drivers license and she bought a car with money she has earned from her Library job. 

2014 saw ZERO growth in Wes' tumor, which is wonderful.  Wes said something rather profound the other day:  "I know I'm TAKING chemo, but I'm not TRUSTING the chemo to keep me alive.  I am trusting God to keep me alive."  And glory to God, Wes is still functional, normal, working a…