Monday, July 26, 2010

Me Mondays: The Reinvention Strategy...Stage I

So last week...yeah, I put it all out there. My sister was mortified:) I think it's funny though. I've spent a whole lot of time, trying to hide the truth about my body. I usually tell people that I have the opposite of anorexia...basically, I'm in denial about what I look like, and how healthy I am. But, hello?'s not like people can't tell that I'm fat! Believe me...when you have that mindset, it's no kismet, when you accidentally catch a glimpse of yourself in a full length mirror at a department store. I have gotten so good at avoiding mirrors, in order to continue my delusions, that it's like the naked-at-school dream, when I run into one of those danged mirror columns at the mall! It always takes me a second or two to realize that it's me!

Well, those days are over. Like a cat burglar, age has stolen my delusions from me, and I'm left with the all-too-real understanding of my ill-health. So, here we all know how much I weigh, and I have to do something about it. Besides all that...I can't necessarily go around talking about my passion for nutrition, sporting the poster body for processed food, now can I? Well, that's going to take some doing.

The Winds of Change
As of today, I'm going full throttle. I am going from not too much to a VERY full schedule. My best friend and I are beginning our Couch to 5k program, with the end result being a full marathon in Austin, next February. {hello...someone please send the white coats...I may have completely lost my stuff, this time} Go big, or go home, right? In my case, I could be "going home", either way:) Lord, help me...

The Prescription
I am going to concentrate on the new exercise schedule for the most part, this week, because I am also starting work full time, for my mom. Not only that, but, sometime in the next month, we are going to be moving, starting school, and beginning our child's illustrious sports career. (David Beckham, move over...this kid's going to be maj-a!) Anyway - I figure, if I'm going to reinvent myself...then I best do it, all the way. In order to make all of that possible, it's going to take some careful planning, self-discipline, and a pristine schedule, so it all runs smoothly. Sleep, hydration, and prayer are going to have to come center stage! that my body can restore itself, hydration so that I can have energy...and prayer, because well...did you read what I'm trying to do? I'm going to need guidance and mercy from above! I will add different aspects as the others become new life habits.

Paring Down
I really feel like I need to detox my body, but, I'm also a little concerned about biting off more than I can chew, at one time. So, I hope to maybe get a few pounds off, which will help, and concentrate on detoxing after I've gotten a head start. Is that backwards? I'm just going to listen to my body...because, I don't think it's a good idea to start a detox and a new running schedule at the same time. I know me...I don't do well while I'm detoxing. It's going to have to go in steps. So, to that end, I will work on portions, for now. I have had the greatest success, in the past, with eating 5-6 small meals a day. Being prepared is a huge part of being successful at that, because, if you don't know what you're going to eat ahead of time, and you wait until you're hungry...the right choice will NOT be made. That's like sticking a thirsty, newly recovering alcoholic in a bar, and expecting them to order water...probably not going to happen. It's the same concept...only the alcohol is food.

So, for now, that is Stage I. I have this really bad habit of doing the "all or nothing" dance...where, I make a plan, and if I deviate from it...then the whole thing goes in the toilet. I can't do that, anymore, so I'm going to do what I know I can, for that matter how it changes. I think the real key is going to be in the preparation. Having water on hand, getting up and starting my day in The Word, and meditating to set my mind to the tasks at hand. It's going to be very challenging...but, I either rise to the challenge...or I sink to the grave.

I think I'll rise;)

{i'm not posting stats, today, because there weren't any changes last week...only formulating my plan. so, I will begin next monday, and posts new stats, regularly.}

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Whole Marriage: His Needs, Her Needs

{ok...well, since I seem to have an issue with petering out by the end of the week, I'm going to go ahead and post today, what should have been posted on Friday. I've been suffering from intermittent and sporadic internet, bear with me...I'm really not this inconsistent of a person.}

Let me begin by saying: I'm no expert on marriage. I have been married for 7 1/2 years, and while I do have a great and solid relationship, we have had our ups and downs. One thing we do have in spades, however, is a great and mutual desire to make our marriage great...not just survivable. In that pursuit, we have attended seminars, counseling, and skill building events in order to make that a viable reality. Sadly, as I stated in my last post, I don't think that we give enough credence to the need for skills to build a lasting marriage. Additionally, I spend a significant amount of time analyzing the "what went wrong?" question, in response to the marriages I see falling apart around me. So to that end...I want to share a couple of really important things I've learned...this week, it's about needs.

Shifting Focus
I believe that, as a society, we share a common philosophy that states that marriage takes work. However, our action structure is very different. In other words...we say that we need to spend time putting effort into our marriages...but, our daily life consists of everything but. First and foremost, we have to begin the process of realigning our put the needs of our spouse, as the person we love, ahead of our need for them to fulfill a business partner role, on the logistic front. In other words...begin and end the day with "how is my spouse doing?", instead of "what is my spouse doing or not doing as a parent, financial contributor, laborer...?".

It Starts at the Heart
I care about my husband's heart...and he cares about mine. That is our first priority. It is, after all, what we pledged to be the one person on the planet, who cares most about the other. Certainly, we have to wear the different hats, in order to make our lives run smoothly...but, when you don't center those efforts around the foundation of fulfilling each other's needs...then at some point, it's no longer enough. It becomes platonic. You realize that you could have this relationship with just about anyone...there's nothing special left. It's simple and hard...all at the same time. So, it's time for people to understand what those needs are.

I want to build my husband up. I want to elevate his reputation, his confidence, his heart, and his viewpoint. It is the number one need of a husband...honor. Men need to be honored. You know that old saying..."behind every successful man, is a very good woman"? Well, there's a reason that it's a saying. I once heard a sentence at a wedding that will stay with me for the rest of my life. A pastor said to the bride..."Right, wrong, or indifferent...a man will always live up to...or down to...what his wife believes of him." Another half-joke I like to say, is "yes...he's the head of the home, but, I'm the neck, and I show the head where to turn." That is not to say that I play games with my husband, but it is very indicative of the fact that how I treat him, often times determines how he walks through the he makes decisions. For 10 years, Brandon and I had a certain issue. It drove me insane...and, no matter how many ways I put it, no matter how many conversations we had about never changed. I felt like I was blue in the face every single day of my life. A little over a year ago, I decided to change the way I handled it. I decided to just start treating him as though he were meeting that need in me, beautifully...even though he wasn't, yet. In other words...honoring him, even though I didn't feel like it...or that he deserved it. Guess what?...the honor I gave him inspired him to actually rise to the occasion. Once I began believing that he was going to fill the need, instead of dwelling on how he wasn't...he did it. After all these needs, in that area, are met. I knew that I was to be his helpmate, in this life...I just didn't realize that being his helpmate was going to help ME!

Women need to feel secure. We are most successful as people, when we don't have to wonder all the time, if we're going to be OK. If we are spending our time wondering if our husband is faithful, or if we're going to make it financially, or if we are going to be creates a vacuum in us, where trust, fun, intimacy, happiness, and contentment are. Brandon always tells me that I'm good at keeping us progressing in our marriage. I'm never willing to stay in "survival mode", in order to not rock the boat. We have a pretty great marriage, as a result. However, what he doesn't realize is...he creates the atmosphere for me to be able to move us forward. If I were to constantly be wondering about his activities, constantly worried about whether or not we are going to make it...I wouldn't be at all concerned about building our communication skills, or upping our game in the emotional connection department. Through his honesty, and his commitment, I have the room to push us up our game. Because I know he is willing to do whatever it takes to support us, I don't worry that he doesn't have a job. I know it's going to be fine. He has created that security for me. This coming from a woman who has no home! I am still...because his character is secure...and that's what I can rely on.

These 2 issues, while central, are just jumping off points. There are many factors that go into each individual marriage...but, I challenge you to try focusing on these 2 specific things, if you are having trouble. Just experiment, and see if it works for you...moves you to a different place. It certainly won't hurt, and you never might begin to see your spouse through a fresh lens. Their heart is worth fighting for...even if you have to fight your own pride.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Red Rover, Red Rover...Kick Big Industry Over

So much of what prompted the beginning of the Whole Family Project, is that I'm scared. I'm scared for myself. I am worried about breast cancer, I'm worried about heart disease, hypertension, and high blood pressure, and I'm worried about diabetes. I'm not worried in a hypochondriac sort of way...I'm worried because I display signs of all of these things. Every point on the list of breast cancer risks...I have every single one of a severe degree.

Luckily, I'm blessed enough to have had a peek behind the curtain, so I know enough to know that I don't need to see it the way "they" want me to. However, one of my main priorities is to find a way to nip all that may or may not be going on, in my body, in the bud. part of my strategy is to get my body & hair care products in line. I've been off of parabens and aluminum for several years, now...but, this video opened my eyes to a host of other problematic chemicals.

We can only educate one another about these issues. Big Chem, Big Food, Big "M", Big Industry...they certainly aren't going to tell us. In fact...a good thing to do, is to check into what Europe is doing with their safety standards. They tend to have a much deeper respect for their citizens' health across the pond. That being said...we also have the unique ability to change things in a big way, in our country...because, we hold the money, and that's what "they're" after. We can, for all intensive purposes, "cut them off", to get what we want. We just have to do the monumental task of getting the word out, and changing some minds.

It's a tough job...but, I'm starting to really like doing it:)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Real Food Wednesday: Building a Nourishing Tradition

As most of you know, for the past few months, we have not had a house to live in. Along with a situation like that comes the upending of many of your daily habits. For a little while, it was unnoticeable, but as of late, I am beginning to see the affects of not having the same availability as we have always had.

When we first got our son, I was bound and determined to maintain a wholesome & nourishing diet for him. I had gotten a copy of Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon a couple of years before our son was even born. At that point in my life, the whole concept of this nourishing food was pretty overwhelming. However, when we got him, I knew I wanted to give him the best start I knew how. So, I jumped least for him.

For the first two months of his life, he had been exposed to heavy amounts of second hand smoke, and lots of processed formula. {I believe that parents need to make decisions that are the best for them, and that they have to follow their convictions, as they see, no judgments if you happen to have used canned formula. However, God gave me the conviction and the opportunity to be educated in a non-conventional way regarding infant nutrition, and so I wanted to do all I could to adhere to that.} When he came to us, and it became clear that this was going to be a long term situation, I began him on the baby formula recipe from the back of Nourishing Traditions. (I used Goat's Milk that was pasteurized, which is not optimal...however, it's what I could do at the time.)

At first, we struggled with some constipation issues, because there are lots of beneficial fats and oils, that his little body wasn't used to. But, after about 2 weeks, and some diluting methods to help build him up, he became very regular...and remains so to this very day. Not only that, but his lungs were able to heal very quickly. What I thought would take months to clear up, actually took about a week and a half. He went from having sinus and lung issues that you could hear, to sleeping soundly with almost no breath sounds in about 10 days. It actually used to freak me out! From that point on, he has been the healthiest child you could possibly imagine!

When he weaned off of formula, I wanted to figure out a way to keep all that nutrition, that he was getting from the formula, into his "big boy" diet. At that point, the thought of deciphering a way to add all of those nutrients into our regular food was daunting. My simply solution?...adapt his formula into a SMOOTHIE! Now...let me clarify, at the point that I threw this together, the thought of making my own yogurt and such was not even on the radar. And trust me...this is just thrown together. So, adapt as you will...but, this is what I do:

1 cup of yogurt (whatever flavor you want)
1/2 cup frozen berries (you choose)
2 tbsp. ground flax seed
1 tsp. extra virgin coconut oil
1 tsp. brewer's yeast
1 tsp. cod liver oil
1/4 tsp. bifido bacterium infantis (I use LifeStart which is a blend)
1 crushed acerola tablet
1 tbsp. raw honey

{throw it all in a blender and blend:)}

If you don't make whole food formula...some of these ingredients may seem a little strange...but, he LOVES it down!!

I realized the other day, that many of the reasons that I began my son on the Nourishing Traditions baby formula, still need to be addressed, even as he is nearly 4 years old. That didn't necessarily dawn on me, until a few weeks ago, when he started having issues with growing pains in his legs, in the middle of the night. I was racking my brain trying to figure out why, after all this time, he was suddenly having these episodes...especially since his growth rate has slowed, significantly. It also led me to the realization that much of his behavior issues have been timed around this, too. So it dawned on me...for the first time in his whole life, the quality of his nutrition has slipped. He's not getting all the nutrients that he was getting on a daily basis, before...and, we're both suffering for it! I realize that regardless of what they eat, three year old boys are going to be nutty. However, the same way that eating too much of the wrong things, and not enough of the right things, affects the mood and overall ability to handle life in's going to be even worse for a developing little body. Well, it ends here! I'll keep you posted on the progress;)

I'm off to get some ingredients today, and as soon as I do...I'll post pictures of the process to go along with the recipe! We are also going to begin our relationship with green, I'll let you know how that goes, as well...for all of us!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Valuable Moment

I'm posting a second time, because I am dedicated to putting out any information that I find useful! We MUST take back the reigns of our own wellbeings...and that of our children and family! It's going to take some doing...but, we CAN and WILL loosen the grip that big industry has on our lives. We just have to work together...please don't let the status quo be more important!

S.O.S.: The Preschool Boy Conundrum

I'm having trouble with these Tuesday posts. I want to post regularly on the issue of child-rearing. The problem is...I'm in a raunchy place with it. My son will be 4 in October, and we are in that stage where I can't do a. single. thing. without it being extremely difficult. I find that I'm either tripping over him, begging him to be quiet for a single second...or it's quiet, and I'm terrified about what I'm going to find. I'm not even going to start on the physical wounds I receive, just because he happened to walk by me, at any given moment. I'm want to celebrate this stage of his life...but, can I be honest, here? I'm really ready for the next one!

I. am. exhausted.

I don't want anyone to think that my child is not absolutely my favorite part of my whole life...because, he absolutely is. He's very sweet, kind, and nurturing...he loves to help with anything he can. Not to mention, he's becoming very intuitive about other people's feelings. It's just that in order to easily be effective in keeping him reigned in, right now...I'd have to be an octopus on steroids! He's faster than a speeding bullet, louder than an approaching train, and as destructive as a tornado in a town made of glass...not to mention sneaky as all get out.

We are staying with some friends, right now, and in the past 3 weeks, he has done more damage than our non-existent income can maintain. During one of those quiet moments a couple of weeks ago, I went to look for him, and found him shredding the sheet that was on the air mattress he was sleeping on with his dad's pocket knife, that I had unwittingly left on the washer when I was cleaning out pockets for laundry. Upon closer inspection, I realized that he had also stabbed holes in the mattress (a motorized Aerobed at that), and it is now ruined. Just day before yesterday, while clearing his breakfast dishes, he threw them so hard that he broke a one of a kind bowl that was in the sink...very rare and expensive. This was just a couple of days after he fried my parents' DVR by spraying it with a water bottle. None of this stuff is's just natural boy curiosity coupled with an unbridled and freakish amount of force...the likes of which are confounding to all who witness it.

I don't know what to do...I really don't. I might be able to come up with some creative solutions...but, I can't hear myself think. As it is, it's taken me aaaaallll day long to finish this one measly post. It's nearly 4 'o clock!

We have soccer in the pipeline, and hopefully we will be able to put him in some part time preschool...but, I could really use some practical advice, here. Does anyone else have a barbarian child? I don't want to squelch his spirit...I've read Wild at Heart...I know it's how he wired. However, I also can't let him run, I need some input on balance from anyone who has any! To put it plainly....

H E E E E E L L L L L P P P P P !!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Me Mondays: The State of My Body

Well, first of all I want to apologize for the unplanned break on Th, F, & Sa. I had unforeseen internet issues, and I was unable to get anything posted. You know something...I really don't like it when I can't blog. Last week I talked about being driven to forward the Real Food Movement...well, it includes blogging. I love the connection and the community that it provides, while talking about things that matter. I am so very happy and grateful that God opened these doors for me. I. am. truly. happy. I know I keep emphasizing this point, but I just can't get over the fact that I am inhabiting this level of excitement after so many years of not having any. It's almost like a second chance in a way? I guess I had kind of resigned myself to just needing to get with the program and rejoice that I had what I had, and stop looking for "more". Silly me...Jesus died so that I might have the MORE...not so that I would just survive. He died so that I could have LIFE...TO THE FULL...PRESSED DOWN, SHAKEN TOGETHER, & RUNNING OVER. Freedom...He died to give me freedom. To Him be the Glory. So...that brings me to my next point.

The Speed Bumps

There are many great obstacles on this path toward living freely. Some people have emotional issues, some have mental issues, many have physical issues, and others carry the heavy burden of being victims to some core-shattering event (or events) in their life. I happen to believe that often times, it's all at the same time. Mine?...mine begins with my body.

I have very few emotional and mental hardships in my life. Certainly, there are some...but, I am fully aware that in the grand scheme of things...I've gotten off easy. But, when it comes to my physical's the bane of my existence. I come from a large number and stature. It has always been like an identity marker for us, in some way. It was almost as identity-solid as one's we were just born that way, and there's not a whole lot to be done about it. We're just...fat people. This identity label has followed me my entire the point that I saw myself that way, regardless of whether or not it was true. I always self-identified as "the big girl." You know what's funny...I look back on pictures of me in high school, and, while I was always curvier than my classmates...sizewise...I was generally in the same bracket. When did that happen? I fully believed there was a significant gap between me and....well, being "thin".
There really wasn't...but, there is now.

I am about to turn 33. Thirty-three. XXXIII. Wow.
It's Time to Know I'm a Grown Up

I'm not one of those who is all caught up in the age game. I don't have that "dun, dun, duuuuun" song playing in my head every time I have a birthday. I enjoyed turning 30, and I feel like it's an honor to get long as I'm getting wiser. What I DO have a problem with, is the fact that there are all these silent, little milestones that have been residing in my head, year after year. These subconscious goals of "well, by that time, I'll be thin, and I will be able to do those things I want to do." Well "by that time" has passed me up more often than I can even begin to tell you. The By That Time Meter is starting to steam....pressing the hand into the red zone of..."No Time Left". Does anyone else have this strange dichotomy going on, where you feel old, you're starting to look old, you are raising a child, having financial stress...yet, there's a part of you that is still run by the 20 year old, wild-at-heart beatnik that you were? Like, you could be equally as close to your slightly older friend and her high school-aged daughter? Well...that's me. Problem body is totally one-sided in this little debate.

I realized a few years ago, that much of my problem is about that label I wear every day...the "fat girl" label. Thing was never my friends. I was teased once or twice, but I was blessed enough to have beautiful, kind, and accepting friends my whole life. I was born with that label. It was no one's family had it, too. It just never dawned on anyone that they didn't have to wear it. That, and this label isn't a peel-off sticker's more like a chiseled-in-stone know, like a tombstone. It's as difficult a mentality to erase, as a child who was told they aren't worth anything their entire life. It's perpetuated into the very marrow of your bones. So, my challenge is to find a way to bust it begin to behave my way to freedom from obesity. Even if I were to reach 2% body fat, I would never be "skinny"'s not how I'm built. But, I would have a really strong, athletic, healthy shape. It's not that I'm looking to be a model...I just want to be the best that I can!

Besides it being a health hazard...for what I'm passionate about, it's also a credibility issue. Already, I'm having people ask me to come speak at events, and answer questions online. I'm seized with this fear of actually showing up in person. While I'm a project at work...I feel like if I were to walk into a room right now, no one would take me seriously as I tout the benefits of Real Food. I'm 130 pounds overweight, for pete's sake!

Weight is about a whole lot more than where you get your food, and it takes many years of consuming the wrong things for the wrong reasons to get where I am. Unfortunately, ignorance doesn't excuse your responsibility. So much of my problem is that I have the set in stone label I carry around, and it's coupled with a passionate, sensual affair with the art of food. I love the way it tastes. Period. No trying to create a protective layer, no trying to overcompensate for was meant to nourish and enjoy...and boy howdy, did I overdo those 2 things with gusto! Most times, when I's not because I don't know I'm's because I don't want to stop experiencing the taste and texture that was so wonderful...the very meaning of "too much of a good thing." (You know...kind of like my insatiable need to over-describe my life, in exhaustible and epic blog posts:)

So, here's the thing...I'm going to keep you posted on the state of my body. I need to get free of that I can carry out my many purposes in this life...with credibility, energy, and an amazing story of healing. I will give you the stats, and if you so can keep me accountable. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

The Issues:

Sleep Apnea; heart palpitations; achiness; blood pressure issues; blood sugar spikes; chest pain; too much belly fat; chronic discomfort; joint pain; sallow skin; infertility; major hormone imbalances; overall endocrine dysfunction; one foot in the diabetic pool

The Numbers:

HEIGHT: 5' 5 1/2"


BMI: 44.7 (morbidly obese)


Bust - 49"
Ribcage - 43"
Waist - 46 1/2"
Hips - 56 1/2"
R upper arm - 15 3/4"
L upper arm - 16 1/2"
R Thigh - 33"
L Thigh - 33"
R Calf - 18 1/2"
L Calf - 18 1/2"

Ok...So, now that you've got all the information you never wanted to can watch to see how it goes. I'll post stats at the bottom of every Me Monday post, so that, if you're can keep track. Anyone else having similar issues? Anyone want to join me?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Real Food Wednesday: Local Resources

Well, as I hinted at Monday, I have a treasure trove of resources for you, today!

I always love getting the free copy of Edible magazine when I go to the Farmer's Market. This magazine is distributed regionally, all throughout the U.S. Inside is a wealth of resources for eating whole foods, guides to farmer's markets, and custom sourcing for restaurants, food programs, and other Real Food events in your area. They have even compiled a cookbook, that I don't yet have, but I'm jonesin' for it in the worst way!

If you are in the DFW area, there is a cafe that I am so excited about! Potager in Arlington is owned and operated by people who are passionate about real & local food, and their tagline is Think Globally, Eat it! They get all of their food from local sources, including Gnismer Farms on Bowen Rd., CSA's, & pastured beef, chicken and egg sources. Not only that, but they are actually delegates for this year's Slow Food International Terra Madre conference in Italy. That's a HUGE honor! If you haven't, yet, please go eat at Potager, located at 315 W. Mesquite Street, Arlington, TX 76010. It's really important that we vote with our food dollars and support establishments that are going the extra mile to support farmers, provide real nourishment, and are active in the Real Food community!

If you are looking for a restaurant closer to Dallas, you will find that you have a few more choices. Restaurants like Bolsa, Parigi, and Smoke are committed to local, quality ingredients, and any check paid, at these restaurants, is money into the local food economy that will NOT be wasted on Big Food. Want dessert? Think it can't really get into the local food game? Not if you go to Dude, Sweet in the Bishop Arts District! I LOVE that this list is growing:)

Something fun to do on the weekend is to take the family to the farmers market. We have frequented the Dallas Farmers Market on several occasions, but we are looking forward to checking out several more. There are several local farmers markets in great towns like Historic Downtown McKinney, Keller, Coppell, and one in Fort Worth on Beach Street. There are so many options in the metroplex, that it's hard NOT to shop local! Not only that, but seasonal food, picked ripe...the sensory experience is absolute heaven!

If you are looking for a farm or CSA (community supported agriculture) program near you, the best resource on the web is However, you can go straight to a few sources at Eden Creek Farm, Your Health Source Co-op, or Eden's Organic Garden Center.

If you have been reading for a while, you know that I have been lamenting the sparse nature of local food resources in this part of the country. Well, this weekend I was greatly encouraged! The flames of this fire are being fanned, and I can't wait to help! I count it an honor to be a part of this movement toward the reclamation of our food, in this country. There is much more to come...but, until then I will entice you with a snapshot of just a little of our beautiful bounty from this past weekend...

Salsa, anyone?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Manic at the Museum

{looks mean, I know. but, we weren't actually successful at feeding him to the T-Rex}

Well, I'm not sure if you have ever taken your 3 year old son to the museum...but, if you are planning it, any time soon...I would like to share some wisdom with you, in hopes that you would be more prepared than I.

First of all...if you have visions of bond-building, scientific discoveries reflected in your child's bright eyes, dancing in your head...please remove them, promptly with a pair of pliers. Maybe it's just my kid...but, when there is a really intriguing demonstration of electricity, using a Vandergraff orb, going on...don't expect them to be wide-eyed and engaged. Maybe yours, too, would be the one kid that can't sit still, & likes to wander around the room, pausing only to block another child's view, while all the other children are plugged in and excited...

Or...maybe your child, when given the option of building wonderful structures & doing exciting experiments on kinetic energy or centrifugal force, would rather get a mouth full of water from one water table, only to run and spit it into another...

Or maybe your son also has an unbalanced amount of time with his mom, so the grocery store set up is infinitely more interesting than the construction area...

Or maybe, you'll find, like I did, that after all that...the urge to go the Sharks! presentation at the IMAX theater is most attractive for it's well-orchestrated napping you have not only had to chase your extremely fast preschooler around for the previous 2 hours...but, you've also had to do it, alone, because that other kid you brought with know, the one that's almost 40...he was busy doing all the experiments, fort building, and museum participating that you had wished upon the aforementioned child.

Or maybe you have fun at the museum...different strokes:) Either way...I suppose it's best to realize this:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Me Mondays: On Passion & Drive

Good Monday to you all! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

I had a pretty good one...steamy, but good. It wasn't necessarily what we did this weekend, but rather that I realized something about myself. I know that I have found my purpose. I know it. This is going to sound really strange, but since I left high school, I haven't been passionate about much other than the people I love. I have always had a passion for my husband, my son, my family and my friends, but as far as outside interest...I haven't had it. I went to college at the regularly scheduled time...but, I dropped out, because I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had no direction...therefore, no drive. I think that's what the deal is...I haven't had any drive since high school music.

It dawns on me, that having drive translates to so many other areas of my life. I've been passing my "mood" off on a serious case of apathy, but I realize now that it's not for a lack of's just that there hasn't been anything that I have felt driven to do. I have been seeing my lack of "inner fire" as a personal character flaw, like if I could just get my act together, and behave correctly...I would be "that person"...the one that does things with gusto, and has zest, and brings her enthusiasm to her relationships, her home, her prayer, her marriage, and her interactions. I think I was wrong!

Now, I have to tread lightly here, because I believe in balance. I believe that you can create passion, and that you need to do what you know to do...not just what you feel like doing. But, this weekend, I realized that I'm am extremely emotionally connected to Real Food activism. I get down right teary eyed when I find out that Wendy's is hearing the call, or that we have made some kind of impact in Congress. I am driven to do things that I wouldn't normally do...take chances that I wouldn't normally take. I am NOT the kind of person that makes cold calls to ask for opportunities or possibilities...I don't "step out" to make things happen. However, if it has to do with the issue of Real Food...I am more than willing to do so. I am driven to educate, learn, promote, spread the word...and, I do it because I am genuinely excited...the enthusiasm is authentic! For the first time...well, ever...I feel like I am spending my time doing a job that is noble, good work, and that has the potential to affect real and lasting change for people. I am more than willing to do whatever it takes to make this a workable career for myself!

How This Fits in to the Whole Family

In keeping with the theme of Me Mondays, and focusing on ways to take care of ourselves in order to have what it takes to give the best to our's how this affects my role as a wife and mom: My husband is incredibly attracted to the intellectual parts of me. He has always made it clear that he has 2 favorite things about cooking, and the fact that I cherish wisdom...and, can succinctly communicate it when needed. He always challenges me to develop myself personally & philosophically. So, there's extra sparkle in his eye when he sees me branching out and talking fervently about Real Food...writing my blog, marketing it, getting even small measures of success...and getting feedback from people who are hearing the message. It does wonders when respect and admiration have a role in a relationship of 11 years. We've always had it...but, it can recede when there's nothing to get excited about. Seeing your mate live with passion is a very attractive thing.

Having something that keeps you driven is also good for your kids. First and foremost, my brain is challenged every day. I have been experiencing stagnation for the past several years. Certainly, there were circumstantial issues, but for the most part, I just didn't have a reason to apply my reasoning & critical thinking skills. Just the act of exercising my intellect has made me a more creative mom...not to mention, that since I have an outlet, it's much easier to not feel "trapped" or "lost" in motherhood. I want my son to have a joyful mom. That is a much more realistic scenario when I'm not wondering "where am I in all this?". I believe in being content with your role as a mom...but, I also believe that if God has given you the gift of a certain talent, or if He has put a desire in your have to find a way to invest in that, or you're probably not being the best mom you can be, anyway.

It's important to make our families know that while we are voluntarily and enthusiastically doing the work of caring for them, that we are also committed to letting ourselves be used for whatever other purpose God has for us. I want to be an example in that way, also. I want to answer "Yes!" to my other callings, as well. Of course...if it's ever at the expense of my family, I pray that God will find someone to call me into account, so that I can remedy it, immediately.

So...Real Food. That's where it is, for me. I can't wait to tell you about the progress that our region of the country is making...about all the wonderful and exciting things that are happening to further the cause. Good things are happening, folks...good things. Curious? This week's Real Food Wednesday is going to be full of wonderful resources and links:)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Backpacks, Chef Hats, and a Heavy Dose of "What Have I Gotten Myself Into?"

Well, I alluded to it in Wednesday's post. But, yesterday, I actually did it...I enrolled in school to get my AAS in Culinary Arts. I am waiting on financial aid to come through, but I will most likely be registered for fall classes at Tarrant County College by Wednesday. Ummmm...yay? See, if this were someone else, who would be turning 33 on the 6th day of the semester, I would admire the heck out of them! But, the last time I went there I was maybe 19 years old, had random braids all through my hair, I drove a clunker sports car, stayed out all night every night, and several other things that were detrimental to my health.

As I sat waiting for the student advisor yesterday, I began taking in the scene around me. I started studying the people waiting with me...people who were about 4 YEARS OLD the last time I was enrolled there! If you can imagine returning to a place that you frequented 14 years ago, signing up to do the same thing again, but this time, instead of wondering where your friends' band is playing that night, you're wondering if you're going to be able to sleep through the night without your joint pain waking you up. This is not the activity you want to pursue if you're having issues with aging gracefully. I'm just sayin'...

All that being said, Brandon and I walked around the state of the art kitchen, and I even peeked in a few drawers. I have to tell you...little balls of excitement jumped in my stomach. I love cooking so much...I love the chopping, I love the chemistry of it, and I certainly love what it does for people. A bonus?...professional knife skills! I have wanted to chop like a pro for years:) So, that's my little adventure for the foreseeable future.

As for other news...I am having a serious case of blogojealousy. You know I'm passionate about promoting the Real Food Movement, so when I ran across the Go Local Challenge over at Kitchen Stewardship...well, I was very impressed! There is an amazing and practical schedule of posts that make transitioning into local foodieism very doable. The blogger who runs that site, Katie, is extremely knowledgeable, has honed the educational aspect to a fine art, and is sharing those resources for all who read! If you are interested in making the transition in your family, I highly recommend reading her blog, and participating in this challenge! One day, I will be the highly developed food educator that I want to be, but until then...I'll just spread the word!!

Well, I'll be at the rainy farmer's market this weekend, hopefully having some fun with friends, and playing around with making mozzarella. Happy Weekend...I'll see you Monday!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Whole Marriage: The Problem

I believe in marriage. I believe in it, strongly. I believe in it when it feels good...I believe in it when it doesn't. I make no secret of the fact that I find it stomach churning that marriage has become so expendable, in our society. I abhor the fact that being committed, through thick and thin, is a virtue that my particular generation views as yesterday's fashion. A trend that I find particularly disturbing, is the way it's almost viewed as an "accomplishment" to finally break away from the "oppressive" lifestyle of marriage, so that you can "find you", again. It's like there's a group out there lobbying to change marriage vows to state, "I pledge my life to you, as long as my ethics hold out, or as long as I feel like it."
{DISCLAIMER: If someone is being abused or cheated's a different story. I would never think less of someone for divorcing over infidelity, and if you are being beaten, PLEASE LEAVE NOW!!....just so we're clear on what I mean.}

What's behind it?:

While I believe that there is a fundamental character flaw in my generation, concerning all things integrity-related, I don't think it's productive to just sit around and wax philosophical about the shortcomings. I think there are ways to practically make steps toward making real change...especially when considering marriage.

So often, marriage is associated with emotion. It's dramatized on screen and off, and is promoted by the most emotionally manipulative industry known to history.'s the feeling that everyone is trying to achieve. The Big Lie? is NOT a's an action. We associate it with the butterflies in our stomachs, or by a rush of appreciation for our spouse's very existence, but the truth is, it's about DOING what it takes to make them know they are loved, committing to be the one that meets their needs...not about how we feel about them at any given moment. Love as a feeling is not a bottomless is finite. (Blessedly, it's renewable...but, we'll get into that in a different post.) However, somewhere along the way, we've been done the grave disservice of being made to believe that when that feeling doesn't show up for a while...we're given a justifiable ticket out.

What to do?:

Do I think that one needs to stay miserable in a marriage, simply because there is no physical abuse or infidelity? Certainly not! However, I do think we ought to give our marriages the same respect and attention that we would give any other area of our life. We're more than willing to make adjustments in our diets and exercise plans if we aren't getting the results we desire. We're more than willing to go to school to learn a different trade, because we aren't happy in our careers. We're even willing to read books about how to address problems we're having with our children, in order to know how to better raise them. When it comes to marriage, however, it almost seems like the mainstream doesn't want to promote it, in order to not offend the massive population of people who have allowed their marriages to fail. You heard me...I said allowed their marriages to fail. You know that saying "you can't choose who you love"?...well, pardon me...but, that's a load of bull! We fight all day, every day for our right to choose. However, when it comes time to be responsible for those choices...we drop it like it's hot, wanting everyone to believe that it just couldn't be helped. You may not be able to manufacture chemistry on a first date...but, you can certainly choose to do the act of loving your spouse. (and if they made it to spouse, then there was most likely chemistry there to begin with, which means that if it has can get it back!)

The Hump:

There are plenty of people out there who are willing to do what it takes to make their unworkable marriages work, again. I know several of those. They've been miserable for years, but are unwilling to just abandon their vows without doing some work, first. They are willing to do a trial separation, intense counseling, finding guidance from mentors, prayer, seeking the Lord...and they do those things with acute attention to the matter. However, the spouse in question simply doesn't have the willingness to do any repair work, simply doesn't care, or have found their "freedom" to be a more attractive circumstance than working to make their marriage a happy one. That's abandonment, and Paul is clear that a person's refusal to "cling" or "cleave" to their spouse is sufficient grounds for the offended spouse to seek divorce. Sometimes, there is nothing you can do to make a situation change, and God's mercy is always in authority over rules of law.

The Challenge:

I want to go deeper into this issue in a series of posts, because I believe we need to intensively chip away at the notion of disposable marriage if we EVER intend to achieve whole families. Because, seriously, how can you have a whole family, when the very founding relationship of that family falls by the way side? I have a really solid marriage, but we have recently had a series of extraordinary circumstances that have caused a "snippy" season. You know what I mean...nothing really big is going wrong, but we've been uncharacteristically short and a little rude to each other for a few weeks. I've been intentionally acting more merciful toward my son in the past couple of months, in order to break a dysfunctional cycle of "snippiness" with him. So this week, I am going to do the same with my husband. I'll fill you in on the progress I know for certain I will be able to report...because, when I choose to do the act of loving my husband in more purposeful NEVER fails to bring about that know...the one they call love?

{2003: our engagement photo. it's been nearly 8 years, so some cuteness has left the building:)}

Maybe you could use a week like that? I'd love to know how it works for you:)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mountain Rose Herbs

I have lots of ambitions regarding the direction of my home and the products that I will use to care for it and all it holds. As soon as we get into a place of our own, it's going to look like a chemistry lab in no time flat. Laundry soap, deodorant, body care products, cleaning products...these are all on the list of industrial casualties for our home. I had long ago stopped using chemical cleaning agents in our home, but I have been wanting to go beyond white vinegar for quite some time, now. There is also the issue of wanting to become more frugal, consume less, create less waste, and pull money out of the pockets of large corporations. So, how does that happen? Where do you start?

I have found many wonderful blogs since I started this gig, and they have helped enormously! I had been finding wonderful recipes for homemade home & family care on other blogs, but I was always wondering where they got their ingredients. Since I don't live in a part of the country that is saturated with resources for the life I want to live, I was getting frustrated. day, I realized that lots of the blogs I read had the same button on them for Mountain Rose Herbs. Well, wouldn't you know's a wealth of resources! It's oh so much more than just herbs...there are carrier oils for aromatherapy, there are butters (like shea, cocoa, and kokum), there are essential oil kits, containers for everything, and my personal favorite...bulk coconut oil...for an AMAZING price, which is huge, because I use it for everything from cooking my sons eggs in the morning to making deodorant...VERY versatile. That's just scratching the surface. I. am. thrilled!!!

Soooo...naturally, I promptly went to the website, applied to be an affiliate, and was approved! Now, let me clarify...I realize that many readers are bloggers in the natural home realm, themselves, and are more than likely quite familiar with Mountain Rose Herbs, and most likely an affiliate. So, I totally get that...but, I do have a few readers that are looking for resources to help them on their journey toward keeping a natural home, and I will happily provide that link! There is a button on the right side of my blog page that will link you directly to their site!

I feel good about recommending their products, because they are committed to providing quality, EXTREMELY well-priced, very versatile and usable products. Add to that, they are also committed to community & organic agriculture, education and activism for it, and I am honored to be promoting them! What a great company!

Just to make it even is a link to their eCatalog:

Happy shopping, my friends;)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Real Foodie Mishaps & A Fuzzy Ball of Madness

Well, I know I said I would be back yesterday, but when we got home from our weekend in Lubbock, I was working on about 2 hours of sleep (followed by a good stretch of head bobbing, neck snapping, half snoozing in the car on the way home), and I frankly, had to go to sleep. So, I beg your pardon for the bogart.

As for today, I am going to bring attention to a little problem that I'm having. With joblessness & homelessness being our set of circumstances at the moment, we are having a hard time figuring out how to incorporate Real Food into...well, poverty. Having a farm or backyard homestead might help with this problem...but, alas...have you checked the stats on buying land or a house with no job? Sooooo, some creative solutions are in order...(as well as a serious attitude adjustment for me.) {Cue: I might be registering for school tomorrow!!! What!? I'll elaborate when I know more:)}

I am so ready to get started on our new lifestyle, and I have this "the way it should be" problem...which, if you were reading during the time we were on our trip, you should recall this problem, readily. I am struggling with visions of colorful, seasonal bounty dancing in my head, so food is becoming a real struggle.

The Scene: I bought 3 peaches from the grocery store, today. (I know, what was I thinking?) But, it's peach season, and I'm desperate, because I'm yearning for them, and the farmer's market is several days away. Besides, I'm one of those annoying foodie people that smells each piece of produce before I select it...and these peaches smelled gooood....very peachy. Well, I got it home, washed it, sat down to eat it, and it was tough, sour, and just plain AWFUL! Remember the Veruca Salt fit I pitched the other day?...well, Take Two. I LOATHE bad produce. Strangely, a few years ago, I would have just eaten it, wondering where along the road of my life peaches had lost their charm. Well, I now know that the charm has literally been stolen, and a bad produce experience is beginning to get equal billing alongside getting my purse snatched.

{don't be fooled by it's fuzzy cuteness. it's an imposter. an imposter, i say!}

Well, I guess that teaches me...I suppose I will just have to make friends with a local farmer this weekend at the Farmer's Market, and buy all I can carry. Maybe that way, I'll be contributing to my local food economy, contributing to a small farmers' ability to still be one next year...and I'll finally be able to have my peach...and eat it, too.

Friday, July 2, 2010

We're Outa Here

Ok...well, I have a post about marriage in the works, but I'm emotional about it, and it's pretty, in the interest of wisdom and discretion, I'm going to wait. Besides, when I feel like this about something, it tends to dwell and swell in my psyche, until I'm having a bad day, and don't know why.

So, instead of writing an article about how marriages are falling apart, I'm going to conserve my energy, and invest it in my own marriage, this weekend. I'm choosing to let go, and fully soak in the 4th of July celebrations in Lubbock, all the while thanking God for my wonderful husband. We've been annoying each other quite a bit this past week, so I'm going to make it my mission to pave over that rocky path, enjoy the family time, enjoy celebrating our freedom, and make some wonderful memories:)

God has blessed me beyond measure, and allowed me to be born in a country where I can post my opinions on a public forum, not get stoned, and go home to a husband that won't stab me in my sleep because I rolled my eyes at him. Theatrics, again...I know. But, seriously...the truth is more dramatic than any fiction.

I love doing this. I appreciate it with every fiber of my being. And I also love fireworks...with the giddyness of a child...I love those colors exploding across the sky. What's better? I get to watch them with my kid...and he's reached the age where he totally gets why we're doing it. So, I want to thank you all for reading, wish you the happiest Independence Day, stickiness from watermelon juice, achy sides from laughing, euphoria under the plumes of exploding colors, and contentment in the arms of the ones you love. Have FUN! Give THANKS!.....


*I'll be back on Tuesday...have a safe and happy weekend:)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Livin' La Vida Locavore

Often, when I tell people in my hometown that my husband and I have this dream to buy a farm, start growing our own food, hand making most of our household products, and to can and preserve all summer so that we can eat in the winter, I get these blank and questioning stares like they have just run into a certifiable masochist. The look is always followed with the inevitable question, "but, WHY would you want to work that hard, when you can just go to the store?!" It makes me giggle:)

To put it lightly, the DFW metroplex is not necessarily a haven for agrarian minded people. I get it...I really do. I'm a city girl. I'm one of those that actually finds it relaxing and wonderful to be in the middle of New York City. I've grown up and lived in one of the largest metropolis areas in the country for the last 20+ years. So, it's a little counter-intuitive that I would actually choose a life of weed pullin' and feather pluckin'. But, there is a reason...LOTS of reasons...and I'm about to give you my Top 5. *Notice I said top five...there are MANY more. {these are not necessarily in order of importance}

5. Quietness
Everywhere, all the time, there is noise. It's funny to me, how everyone always yearns for a better time. They yearn for the time when everything wasn't so scary, and everything wasn't so tense, and everything wasn't so hurried. I have a thought about that. When I sit and listen to all the opinions about every single thing that's going on in the world, it dawns on me that the information age may have a hoodwink buried in it somewhere. Who said it was a good idea for everyone to know every moment? I get tired of all the noise, all the political BS that comes from everyone knowing how the president reacted when he spilled guacamole on his shirt in the middle of a security briefing, or what happened when Brad Pitt was shaving this morning. Just a bunch of sheep, being told what to think, what to care about, what to buy. Nothing good comes of it...ever. I'm ready to learn the opinions of the ground, as it gives up the fruits of my labor, communing with the bees as we work together to make the garden grow, to feel the sun warm on my back, or the few whispers of rain, letting me know it's time to go in. Job 12:8 says, "speak to the earth, and it shall teach you"...yeah, I intend to hear it.

4. It's Biblical
I have been in church my entire life, and I never knew this part. We are called to a sustainable, manual life in the Bible. I Thessalonians 4:11-12 "11Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we have told you, 12so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." Now...I don't think that God expects everyone to be a farmer. However, I do believe that it's important for people to at least know HOW. I believe we need to live in community with one another, and to be able to contribute our skills into the lives of those around us. However, at this point, the closest thing we know to having a relationship with those who produce our food, is saying hi to the checkout person at the grocery, or thanking a waiter for their service. We need to go deeper.

3. It's the Opposite of Consuming
Our daily lives consist of a long series of acts of consuming, interspersed with moments of expending. Here's what I mean...(and this is a general look at the American lifestyle...not every person)...we eat, we buy, we type, we gas up, we burn that gas, we listen to radio, we watch TV, we read, we watch the news, we read emails, we read tickers, we workout, we bathe, we eat some more, we work at a job where we push buttons a bunch, we turn on lights, we dry our hair, we sit, we grocery shop, we stop in for a just goes on and on. There is so much that we do to consume all kinds of energy. Producing your own food is a practice in creating fuel, expending physical energy, putting life into the earth, putting nutrients into the soil, creating health benefits, creating environmental benefits, and living with purpose...for a noble cause. It's a life that is spent giving forth, with highly valued times of reaping harvest, consuming truth, and sharing with those you love. See the difference? It's intended life...not life happening to us.

2. Real Health
Man, this one's loaded. order for me to fit this paragraph into this post, I'm going to have to completely leave out the issue of our fake food debaucle. Chances are, if you're reading this, you are looking for answers to the "how the heck do I get off this crazy thing" question regarding what has been allowed to pass as food, in our country. So, I think I'll just address the integrity of our supply of "normal" food, and leave the Frankenfood discussion for a time when I'm blogging with a glass of red wine in hand. order for food, namely produce, to be transported 1500 miles, and still look nice when it gets to the grocery, things have to go a certain way. First of all, if it were to be harvested when ripe, it would be a soupy mush by the time it traveled in the back of a semi all the way across the country or up from Chile. So, they pick it green (unready), load into the truck, and throw an ethylene cartridge in, shut the door, and LOOKS ripe when they get it at the store. What's the problem? Well, the ripening process as God designed it, is the part where are the good stuff know, like flavor, nutrients, color, phyto-chemicals, disease healing properties, disease preventing properties, and the like. When that thing is picked "green" all that stuff that we think is in there....well, it ain't. It's just made to LOOK good, so that when we go to the grocery store, and "stick to the outer perimeter" in order to ensure that we're making the best health choices, well, it's really just a smoke and mirrors game where they all laugh while we buy a very colorful array of, let's be honest...sour water. Then we wonder WTF is going on, when we go to the doctor, and despite our best efforts, have some horrendous disease, for which we will take a little pill for the rest of our lives, and actually die of the affects of THAT, quicker than we ever would have died of the disease, itself. Cue weepy loved ones at the edge of the grave....Aaaaand, SCENE! Man, they're clever.

1. Sustainability.
I'm becoming less and less inhibited about telling people that I am somewhat of a conspiracy theorist. Now...I'm not carrying around copies of The Catcher in the Rye, and I don't think there are government agents following me (yet;). The kind of thing I'm talking about is the kind of thing that we are dealing with right now. I believe that greed and convenience addiction are literally killing us; that how we have come to depend solely on those philosophies to run every facet of our lives is dangerous...and a ticking time bomb. And friends...that timer is winding down...AND HOW! The BP oil spill is really just like seeing the flashlight in the Watergate. It's just the warning shot. There's always going to be that guy...the one who's phone rings in church, that reminds everyone else that they need to turn theirs off...BP is that guy. We have a problem, here, folks...and, it's not going to get any better as long as our very livelihoods are completely dependent on a giant, oil-guzzling infrastructure to bring our food to us from an average of 1500 miles away. That is INSANITY! All it's going to take is for some sleeper cell somewhere to fully understand the fact that if they screw up our ability to get oil...the whole country folds. Seriously...the grocery stores are empty, the stores go bare...and then what's a consumption-addicted, push-button country to do for food? At this point it would be laughable to think we'd just pick up a hoe, and get to work. Kids don't even know that their food came out of the dirt, much less how to get it there and get it out! That is a problem...a serious one. The system that we all adhere to, every single day, is really just a giant sinkhole under the day soon, the whole thing is going to open up, and take us all down with it. So...yeah, not sustainable. I don't want to be a part of it, anymore...This sheep's jumping the fence.

* I realize that there is a very irreverent tone to this post, and I apologize. But, that's where I am...I'm sick of it. It's like life is a joke, and it's not getting any better until we start taking a hard look at taking back the reigns. There shouldn't be a single person left in this country that believes that "they" have our best interest at heart. They don't.

Check out this post in Fight Back Fridays at


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