Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rainy Delight!

ikat bag: Princess Pavillion Tent


It has been a rainy, dreary day here today...outside. It's sunny inside though! Jacob and Bennett and I have had great snuggles, cuffing around and snacking. We are very excited for tomorrow...when we head to get our nephews and bring them to our house for our first overnight. WithOUT their parents! :D  I've been planning sugar rotten snacks and activities to do ...because...I'm the aunt and I am fun, and every once in a while - I believe we need to bend the usual rules! ;) I was on Pinterest and seeking out some recipes, as I plan my grocery list and menus,for the next two weeks. I stumbled upon the link above.

This is fantastic. I am going to talk to my friend, Kim and see about us trying to make one of these buggers! I can already see our kids playing and imagining all kinds of stories in a tent like this!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reality vs. Fantasy

Last night and this morning, I am struggling between the realms of reality and fantasy. I can’t go into what caused a flare up last night…..but I got angry and worked up about something….and immediately…..pain was present. This morning, it’s gone, but I am so tired and drained.

I was not born or wired to be an anger ball. Life….has brought me some things that I see now I haven’t handled in the best ways …which has led to me having picked up a bulldog characteristic. I could be the greatest friend you’d ever want….because of loyalty. When I love and believe in you, I will chew the ass off a rhinoceros, lose sleep, ignore logic and be willing to make a complete fool out of myself, on your behalf.

I didn’t follow my alkaline diet, over the weekend. By Sunday, I was noticing pain creeping back in. Monday, I did what I was supposed to diet-wise and by yesterday afternoon, felt myself again. So, something I thought would be healed by diet and nutrition alone [fantasy], reared it’s ugly head when I had too much negativity surging through me. The part I was so frustrated about is that I had no voice to do anything on behalf of someone. There was no action I could do…..except …..pray and thank God….and pardon me but sometimes that just seems so…….not enough [unreality], not when flesh and blood, in front of me, needs [unreality] to be told how ignorant, self-seeking, and foolish they are and how they mess with people’s lives…so flippantly. Would that help anyone? Nope. Would it bring some relief to be able to express, succinctly, to someone all the things I believe to be true? For a moment. The end result wouldn’t be changed though. We have free will and I can’t control these things. So….if I can’t control them, why do I allow myself to feel and bottle to the point of dis-ease growing in my body….then need to explode and have no where to go and no one to validate me?

Today’s post may feel more like a journal. Oh well. I can’t write a post on “A Perfect Tuesday”[yesterday’s post]  and choosing to see life perfectly…and not write how the same evening…..I allowed myself to be the worst version of myself. I am seeing that these health issues are manifesting because of not loving myself enough to keep my eyes on the beauty and lovely things, in my life. I keep jumping the same hurdles because I’m on the same track.  I have allowed defensiveness and the opinions of men and women to have a higher place, in my mind, than they ever should.

Here’s a reality and something I saw on my facebook feed this morning which really resonates in me:

“If it is detrimental to you emotionally, physically and spiritually, what choice do you have but to let go and flourish with self-respect.” ~Dodinsky

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” ~Phil. 4:8

I hope you don’t find my posts, preachy. I write what comes to me, as I am dealing with my own crap, for my own reference and to keep me in line. I don’t even pretend to be able to advise anyone what they should do. I’m just processing, out loud.

Love & Grace,

Beth

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Perfect Tuesday...

I think it is perfect.

Sometimes, I think my diet changes have allowed scales to be removed from my mind, sight and soul. Sometimes, I think the commercials and marketing of all things FOOD, in American society are not only to make a buck…but to keep the average human/american from hungering what life is TRULY about for ourselves. Preservatives, fast food and convenience, to me are a tool to dumb us down. “Let’s profit by keeping them in the dark, while we fatten them up, keep them sick AND they pay us to do it.” You may ask, “Beth, who do you accuse of such a conspiracy?” Hmm….I don’t know how to answer that question without certifying to you, my Reader, that I may be nutz. But surely, I do believe that if God has plans to prosper us and not harm us, well….there has to be a force of the exact opposite to keep us from that path. I’ll just call him the emperor….yes….like the emperor of Star Wars. I LOVE those movies!

At any rate, I attended our recently founded Indee SAHM[Stay-At-Home-Mom] group, this morning. I got to visit with other moms and a dad we were lucky to have join us. As I listened to our kids screech and scream, in our lovely city park, and watched the babies crawl and scoot around on the blankies AND discovered Bennett’s serious love of grass... [haha I crack myself up.] I found myself soaking it in and thinking how great it all was. Then, came home, took a nap while Bennett napped and Jacob played with toys. I awoke and couldn’t wait to go out to check on my “farm”. I was out there this morning, but simply had to go see if there were any changes. :)


From left to right, I introduce you to: broccoli, two rows of sweet peas, 1 row of green onions, one row of gourmet lettuce, and one row of green leaf lettuce. In the bed further back, are my tomato plants and pots with seeds for green beans, cukes, parsley, dill, basil and oregano. Just one week after planting the seed, all have sprouted that are going to sprout and soon, I will have to figure out where to plant the “thinning out” of plants. I need to go put up the fencing to keep bunnies out. Then, as I was going around the back of our house to the patio, I smelled a lemony-mint fragrance. I knew which plant it was …as it kind of has crept all over the area back there. I picked up a sprig, came in and googled it. It is called Lemon Balm.



It is good for teas - hot and cold and to even cook and bake with! I found recipes for ice cream using it. Lemon Balm may also be used as a garnish. It is also good for relieving mosquito bites! How awesome…because here, under our noses is the answer growing to combat the pesky bugs, which often keep us from enjoying our patio.

As I was entering our family room from the patio…this is what I found ….




Be still my heart! Yes, life IS perfect. Because this moment, I choose to view it as perfect.

And again…



Boy Wonder enjoyed his chocolate donut. He also got his first sunburn on Saturday from his slip and slide. No. Wait. I didn’t apply sunblock clear down his back to his buttcrack….which is why and where he got burned, lower back to buttcrack. This is why he doesn’t have his shirt on. He loves getting aloe vera applied. He giggles because it tickles while it cools. My Darling Bennett is so thrilled to have Jacob home. He will be one sad baby when school starts again. Bennett is getting up on all 4s and rocking back and forth. He will be crawling soon.

I hope each of you has been able to let go of the expectations and pressure to do more to be perfect and just rest, in the fact, that you are perfect...just the way you are. :)

Love & Grace,

Beth

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Own Little Farm...

Today is Boy Wonder’s last day of Kindergarten. My Darling is 8 months old. For some reason, these two facts are really tugging on my heart strings and causing me to cry. Of course I am excited for what the days ahead have in store for me and my boys. I find that this morning I grieve a little bit at how fast time goes and condemning myself for not being a perfect Mommy. Let me get another cup of coffee………….

Well, let’s divert my attention to our project that I’m calling my own little “Farm”. My family has a small farm in Pennsylvania. I am originally from there. As a child, I used to imagine all the good times we’d have there. Then, we moved to Iowa and the Farm, as we’ve lovingly called it, is no longer a place I can call home anymore. However, farming and planting and cultivating is kind of in my blood. The story of how we got from PA to Iowa is a great one. Must table that for another post.

This summer, I am not pregnant AND we have removed old shrubbery and trees and overgrown landscaping so that we could have our own little farm. I should call it tiny farm. Nope, should probably just call it a garden....but what fun is that? ;)

Hubby built me some raised bed frames and stained them to match our play set. He and my MIL put landscaping fabric on the bottom of them to prevent grass and weeds growing up through.



Last Saturday morning, Hubby and Jacob went to get dirt to fill our garden beds.




Look at Boy Wonder directing his daddy on backing up the truck. Have I said how much I love having boys?


Next? Well, for Daddy and I, we shoveled and raked dirt out of the bed of truck, into the garden frames. Jacob? He got in the back of the truck and had some fun. I love Iowa dirt!


Oh ya, Jacob insisted I take another picture of him with the dirt. heehee
The next night, I was prepping to plant my seeds of two different lettuces, onions, sweet peas and broccoli. I enlisted the help of Farmer Boy Wonder to haul away the big clumps of dirt.


I was sure to get a photo of him working so hard to rake those clumps into the extra dirt pile. By the way, we totally ruined his pair of tennis shoes with this whole process. Thank goodness school is out today so I don't have to buy a new pair!


There are my two beds side by side. The one on the right has just the tomato plants. The one on the left has my seeds in it. I hope the seeds grow. I was trying to be frugal and not buy actual plants. Um….yes, we know we need a couple posts to get that chicken wire to look right. I am still going to put up two trellises for my green beans and cucumbers to grow up.

My final photos for today are of my boys. Jacob, with pink eye, on his last day of school. No worries, we’ve been using drops, and the doc and pharmacist say he could go to school. The photo of Bennett is while he was eating his supper last night of green beans and sweet potatoes. After each bite he would use his kung fu grip and try to chomp on the wrong end of the spoon to relieve his gummies. Only 3 hours and 45 minutes to go until Summer 2012 begins for my boys and me.


Somewhere, along the line, I’ve developed pretty severe allergies to this time of year. I am hoping a new allergy medicine will clear me up to be able to get out and plant all of this today.


Plants for hanging baskets and bedding flowers for a flower bed in the front yard.

A busy day ahead!

Love & Grace,

Beth

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Food and Fuel for Thought...

The past 3 weeks, my diet has changed completely. Monday, was a day I wanted to bake a treat for Jacob’s “un-birthday” at school, since he has a summer birthday. Jacob requested demanded Monster Cookie Bars. I pinned the recipe from Pinterest. Here’s the website: http://domesticatedduchess.blogspot.com/2011/08/monster-cookie-bars.html

They are SO delicious! I love monster cookies. It’s really nice to make the bars because they’re quicker and oh-so-yummy-gooey! I was hoping there would be some leftover from school at the end of the day. Sure enough, there was. I had 3 over the course of that evening. I haven’t been eating sugar like that. I’m not saying I haven’t had any….but I’ve really not had added sugar except for the brownies I blogged about last week. All I am going to say is my digestive track didn’t do well. Two days later, I’m still recovering. While, I am bummed that it seems I can no longer do shuga….I’ve been thinking about what I have been doing. I’ve been learning about fueling my body properly. I also haven’t eaten much meat. I’ve had a little chicken breast and fish. But last night I had hamburger. I don’t think that did so well with me either. I’ve been eating veggies, salads, eggs, beans, nuts, and juicing. I drink an occasional coffee, and drink water and almond milk. I’ve eliminated pain! I did what I set out to accomplish! NO pain! I had nagging pain on Friday, but since then, none of that sluggish, achy, shooting pain and inflammation through my joints and limbs. In fact, I took a pain pill Saturday evening, then not another until Sunday evening and not another since!

I have had so much more energy and clarity of thought. It’s been wonderful. I’m playing on the floor with My Darling again. Last night, Boy Wonder and I played Monopoly on the floor. The only soreness I’ve been feeling is from planting my garden and the one walk I took last week for 2 miles. I am 4lbs. from my pre-Bennett weight. Although, until I get my serious exercise on, my jeans still fit strangely….baby-related.

My next post will be about our garden. I’m so excited and hope it will be a success. My passion for fueling our bodies properly, leads me to ask, “Do you love yourself enough to give your body what it needs to function according to it’s truly amazing design and so your soul can flourish and be the driving force in your daily life?” We are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Love & Grace,

Beth

The basis…

I’ve been thinking about sharing, with you, why I named my blog “Hallelujah Mama”. It is as simple as this:
I love God. I haven’t always been as close with Him as He would like. A fundamental truth that rings true in me, no matter what is - I give him praise for whatever I’m experiencing. If it’s good – He is worthy of credit. If it’s not good – He’s worthy of my gratitude and love as I let Him bring me through it. Most importantly, when daily life is neither good or bad – He deserves my praise for who He is.
I will never forget how close God was to me as we lost Levi. I will never forget singing How Great Thou Art and how His presence showed  up in the room where they performed the D&E. Losing Levi, is what made me want to get creative with writing and blogging, amidst other things. It’s what awakened, in me, God is alive and so much bigger than all I imagine and dream. Remembering Levi, is what reminds me of being true to me and what my Creator put me here for. There will be no “You’ve arrived!” sign. It’s a daily walk – one foot in front of the other. The most brilliant blessing in my life are my children – here and my son in my Father’s arms. Hence…..Hallelujah [an exclamation of praise to God] Mama.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Asparagus makes me happy? AND it fights dementia? I'm in!

Jacob came home from school yesterday and wanted us to make brownies. So, we did. Then, the pan of brownies was sitting there. I was faced with a serious dilemma. Do I grab the pan with both hands, pull it up to my face and dive in OR do I take the butter knife and keep slicing off the edge......until the edge is at the other end of the pan? Just then, I saw my neighbor outside....be aware of your surroundings. You never know when a little divine intervention is waiting for you! I went outside to visit with our neighbors and they offered me asparagus, already grilled. They had too much for their supper and were willing to share with me if I liked it. Holy Cow! Yes! I love asparagus! Jacob was in the mood for PB &J last night, and daddy was at work late. So, I didn't feel like cooking and the pan of brownies was calling to me to eat it for supper. Here, my lovely neighbors shared their asparagus and didn't even know that it was going to be my nutritious supper. The asparagus was seasoned and grilled wonderfully and I am very grateful. Later in the evening, when I was relaxing with my Kindle Fire, I downloaded a book for free about how food affects our mood. Mood Boosting Food Mood Boosting Recipes
I noticed that I was feeling sublimely happy, content, at peace. I don't know when the last time was I felt this way...which is why I noticed I had such energy and patience and was giggling with Jacob the whole evening as if I was part of a Lisa Frank picture with rainbows and unicorns and for some reason I was so happy that I got to hug a koala......ok..ok....I digress. But you get the picture. I was a happy girl.

I start to read the book after the boys went to bed. First chapter: Asparagus - and I quote: "Asparagus is a great "brain food" and is loaded with folate. (A lack of folate has been linked to depression.) Just one cup of asparagus has 66% of the daily recommended amount of folate. It is also full of compounds that are necessary in order for your body to produce serotonin, which helps boost your mood. There is some evidence that asparagus might also be able to help ward off dementia. ....... Asparagus also helps your body produce enough red blood cells which help to keep your brain supplied with enough oxygen to keep it alert......"   I about fell out of my chair. I squealed with glee, as I put my recliner mechanism down, making my husband jump, and exclaimed, "Honey! Listen to this!" I bored him to tears with my new knowledge and a confirmation that it wasn't because he walked through the door that I had transformed into Mary -Frickin-Poppins. Though, he'd be goofy to think anything other than me being completely happy to see him. ;)

I will be buying asparagus this weekend. Unfortunately....something ....has penetrated through the Mean Green and I am having a lot of pain today. At first, I thought it was from my walking yesterday. I took a break this morning and didn't go walking today. As the day has gone on....the humidity is increasing or the heat is...or both...and I feel like someone has popped an IV in me that is circulating poison/acid through me. I did have 3 brownies between last night and today...could it be that? I don't know. I need to get this over with so I can attend our first coach/pitch game tonight. Jacob declared after his last practice, as he walked in the door, "MOM! I smoked them balls!" Aaaahhh....so grateful to have boys I can talk like boys with!

Enjoy your weekend my dears!

Love and Grace,
Beth

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cheers!

A Health Cocktail. My Mean Green this morning:
4 stalks of kale, 2 stalks of celery, 1/2 lemon, 1 inch of ginger root, 1 cucumber, 1 green apple
First time I'm adding ginger root. I've been meaning to but I kept forgetting it when I make my fridge veggie round-up each morning. I actually don't even taste it. I'm surprised because ginger has a distinct flavor.


Kale is full and I mean cup overfloweth full of Vitamins K and A and C. It is a natural detoxifier. It is loaded with omega-3 which aids as an anti-inflammatory. Kale is an antioxidant and a powerful one. Kale aids the liver by lowering cholesterol intake. Knowing these qualities of Kale get me excited about my lifestyle changes.

Celery is packed with vitamin C, so it strongly supports my immune system. It is also a blood pressure lower-er [oops....a Bethanese word]. Celery is rich in potassium and sodium - originally known as a diuretic- a powerful regulator of fluids.

Cucumbers have nutrients that also aid in detoxing, preventing cancer and eliminating inflammation.

THE Apple. The word "apple" is a noun a verb and adjective and adverb. The old adage: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." No joke! It's fiber. It helps slow down the digestion of carbohydrates. It reduces glucose absorption. Helps regulate blood sugar by sending a message to our pancreas to make more insulin. The apple has cancer-fighting benefits as well as anti-asthma benefits. I didn't used to like apples unless they were baked in something. Knowing what I know now? I HEART them! :)

Lemons are full of vitamin C. The polyphenols in lemons fight cancer and protect against rheumatoid arthritis as an anti-inflammatory. Get a pitcher of water and squeeze a fresh lemon in the water. Drink that for a day. It's a natural cleanser. Lemons are so refreshing!

Ginger is a great aid in fighting inflammation. It is also a protector against colorectal cancer.

I just googled "benefits of __________" to give you this information this morning. The website I was consistent to pull up is www.whfoods.com .

I had another day without pain yesterday. This morning, I am sore. But that is because I met friends and walked this morning. I got approximately 2 miles in. I have people keep throwing up to me about weight loss since I'm juicing. I'm down a little bit. I have not been doing a juice fast. For my lifestyle, that is not practical. I eat breakfast usually eggs as an omelet or a hard-boiled egg. I am also a huge fan of steel cut oats! I just saw a recipe on Pinterest about some oatmeal cakes. I'm going to try that this weekend. My son got me started on toast with honey on it. So, since it's morning, I go ahead and have that. I try to pack my most calories in before 10AM so that I have the rest of the day to pack in the juice and allow my body to not work at digesting as much as repairing cells. Lunch time, I've been having a huge salad, with dark leafy greens. Supper time this week, I am drinking a juice. Last night, I had a beet juice.
4 stalks of kale, 1/2 cucumber, 2 stalks of celery, 1 Pink Lady apple, 1/2 lime. Check out www.nosugarsweetlife.com for her beet juice recipe. It is delicious!  

Everything on the plate above, makes this tall glass of juice. It's sweet and I really love the color. I want to paint a wall in my house this color!


For snacks, I eat a handful of nuts or fresh fruit and veggies. I make guacamole and dip celery sticks in it. I don't eat anything after 6 PM. I do have a cup of green tea once my babes are settled into bed for the night, usually 8-8:30'ish. I am not doing this to lose weight. My motivation is to eliminate PAIN by getting healthy. The weight won't really peel off me til I can really get moving with exercise. I'm listening to my body on that. This morning, I felt like an old car shaking apart trying to go 90 down a highway. I definitely lost a muffler and maybe the carburetor. ;)

Grapefruit juice is one of my absolute fave juices. Straight up...grapefruit juice!
This is the juice from one grapefruit. It's plenty! Now...where's the vodka.......?
I'll leave you with this thought, which someone shared on Facebook a couple weeks ago:
It's none of your business what others think of you!

Love and Grace,

Beth

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Mean Green

For the past couple of years, I’ve been dealing with pain. I didn’t know what chronic pain is..but have since learned I have chronic pain. I don’t remember when it started exactly. I know that the past 2 months it has reared an offensive ugly head. I was scared. It happened on a Thursday. I could barely walk. I truly looked like a 98 year old woman trying to get around the house. I couldn’t get on the floor with Bennett. It was extremely difficult to navigate the stairs going from the main floor to the basement. Either I felt like I was losing control and going to fall down them and going up them was like climbing a mountain for a 98 year old woman. Such pain in my joints – all of them. I was bruising very easily, and just a general pain and ache all over my body. For years, I had been telling myself, “You fatty…get off some weight and then you won’t hurt. You carry more than your body is built to carry!” Real loving, right? The Fall that Levi died…I had shed 30lbs. really fast but looking back the whole time my self-talk was SO hateful towards myself.

I went to the doctor. He ran some labwork that showed high auto-immune levels and inflammation. He referred me to a rheumatologist for further examination and a diagnosis. I had an exam with the specialist and he ordered lab work. Almost 3 weeks ago, Steve and I went to meet with the rheumatologist. He had taken 13 screenings. The inflammation screening got missed. This was the most important of the screenings to me, because I know I have inflammation. Instead, the lab did two tests on the auto-immune levels which were a non-issue based on the newer technology and science, ordered by the rheumatologist. He told me I’d have to have another round of labwork drawn up and then he’d call me if the inflammation levels were alarming. I haven’t don’t his yet. I keep putting it off, because I’m annoyed. In the meantime, he gave me pain pills - a medication they prescribe for fibromyalgia patients. We left. As we drove out of the parking lot I learned that Steve heard everything positive – because the specialist ruled out rheumatoid arthritis and lupus –though it “may be the beginning stages of it”. I didn’t receive it positively. I heard him telling me that based on the lab …I don’t have anything. As if the pain and excruciating pain was in my head. So, two days later, I started taking the pain pills and I also started juicing at least twice a day, for meals. Why? Because I want to give my body a shot at healing itself if I fuel it properIy. I also decided to drink only water [no more than 60oz./day] and an occasional cup of coffee and the occasional gin and tonic or martini. It’s about balance for me. I need to program myself that it’s not an all or nothing gig. There are “sometimes” foods and beverages. I basically cut out sugar except for a seldom treat. I’ve been using agave nectar and honey and Stevia in the raw. I’ve been successful thus far in mostly cutting out aspartame and the likes. It’s long been known the damage those agents will cause to joints. I’ve been doing the common sense things like portion control and listening to my body and asking myself, “are you hungry or trying to fill up some hole that keeps eating away at you?” Rarely is it hunger. So, I give the hole to God. This happens over and over. The pain pills worked the first 6 days. Then, they started working less and less. I’ve continued to take them because once when I missed a dose by 3 hours – I was laid out again and could not believe the pain. So, I know they tame the pain down. Then, last Thursday, I had a relatively pain-free day. Mother’s Day and most of Monday – zero pain. Tuesday was good til the afternoon and I had a Mean Green juice for supper and within an hour [and I accidentally missed a med dosage by 2 hours] I was pain free. When I say pain free it’s what I mean. I am limber, can almost run up and down the stairs…it’s amazing. That is how I want to live! Knowing the benefits of juicing and how it’s helping me feel, I’ll soon be able to start aerobically exercising. I had such energy last week, even with the pain. I’m occasionally doing pilates. Very occasionally. Like twice in the past 15 days.  ;) 

After talking to my mom, we are believing the pain is less because I’ve gone to a more alkaline diet instead of acidic. All I know is that I’m more in the moment and happier without the pain. It’s about being good to myself. I bought a Kindle a couple weeks ago. I love it! I’m reading more. A couple weeks ago, we organized a stay-at-home-moms group, in our community. We’ve been attending church regularly and are in the process to become members. Eating naturally has been a growing passion of mine and I am excited to share this journey with you. There are some fantastic resources and blogs available to inspire and guide me on this adventure. Here’s the recipe for the Mean Green juice I drink. One can put any kind of produce in a juicer and all of it is good for us. However, for detoxing, blood cleansing, alkalinizing, and overall strength – drink green juice!

My Mean Green:

4 stalks of kale, 2 stalks of celery, 1 green apple or green pear, 1 cucumber [with peel on], 1/2 lime[optional] and 1 kiwi


I really do like what 1/2 lime does to the juice. It jazzes it up a bit with that tang. I love it!

My Breville juicer cleans very easily. The container which the juice goes in to, has a lid that will prevent the foam from pouring into your glass if you prefer that. I guess I mostly like it without the foam on top.

It takes some getting used to..but hey...who ever drank beer or wine for the first time and said, "Damn! I got to have more of that NOW!" ;)


Here is a picture of my Darling Bennett. He is wearing 18 month clothes and he’s not quite 8 months old! He is such a lover. He eats well, sleeps well and still loves to snuggle. He’s starting to get up on all fours to prepare to crawl. We are super excited for big brother to be done with school so we can all be together this summer – only 7 more days to go! We have so many plans….swim lessons, coach/pitch, gardening, riding bike, mom’s group, reading, a wedding in Arkansas, their Mimi [my mama] is coming to Iowa! Jacob is reading! I’m so proud of him. His year of kindergarten was a huge success and he’s so good at school. 



So, stay tuned. Blogging has been an outlet I have missed tremendously.

Love and Grace!
Beth