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Monday, February 27, 2012

weigh in monday 17- I'll take what I can get

A -.4 isn't much but it's better than nothing!  Way better than a +, so I'll take it and be happy about it.

Moving back up the scale, when I was so close to the halfway mark I could taste it, is not fun.  Like anything though it is an opportunity for reflection.  Seeking out what was in my control and what wasn't.   What could I have done differently?  

If pain is making working out more difficult then I need to carefully monitor food, points, calories...whatever it takes.  Monitoring food seems like a full time job in and of itself.  Food is no longer fun.....I'm not saying that I never enjoy it or that what and how I eat is boring, bland or gross but the amount of work and thought that goes into it daily kinda sucks the fun out of "entertainment eating".  The "ooh lets go out" excitement is gone.  I eat nicer things at home than when I go out.  

Hmm....I don't like the negativity here.   Yes, it's real. Real is not always positive.  BUT the bigger reality is that there is always a choice in how we approach or perceive our circumstances.  My choice should be to seek out the blessing because that is just as real as any negative aspect BUT it is worth so much more.  

Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.  
~Prov. 15:17

It's kind of a Daniel diet....I guess.  (Dan. 1:8-16) Daniel was better for it.  Stronger, healthier....this is blessing.  To eat only what the Lord can that not be good!   

I'm not setting much in the way of a goal for myself right now.  I don't quite have this pain figured out.  It's better, not quite as bad as last week but muscles are still pressure sensitive and joints are still sore.  Again, not as bad though.  So my only goal is to seek Him.  He knows whats going on and why and I'll rest in that.

Blessings to you this week for peace, joy and a positive perspective in whatever circumstance you find yourself, 
the Mrs.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

be present

The current moment has a purpose.  The current trial, has a purpose.   When something is uncomfortable the last thing we seem to want to do is settle into it.  God doesn't work the way we do or the way we want Him to.

John 14:27 - "My peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid."

We need to be present in the current moment.   To fully engage in the current season instead of wasting it wishing for the next one to start.   Paul talked about being content with weakness in 2 Corinthians 12.  "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." (v. 9)  Just prior to this loving answer from the Lord, Paul argues and pleads with Him to remove this pain but recognizes that the pain is humbling him.  He uses the word "conceited" twice, in the same verse (7) to describe where his character is going.  Pride is so sneaky......but how much more clever is the Lord to know exactly what Paul needed in his life that would heal him from pride.   Paul learned to be content with weakness because "when I am weak, then I am strong." (v. 10)  

Sometimes it is not our bodies that need healing but something else, something deeper and our bodies are used to heal that other sickness.   Hurt, pride, holding on to anger, guilt.....any number of things that hold us back......God sees them and He alone knows how to truly heal them.

I was doing dishes and praying for a sick friend as all this came to mind.   I began to sing, as I often do while doing dishes or when I simply run out of words....  I realized that like couples have a song that they call "theirs", reflective of their do we.  Simple words.  Deep and true but ones that my heart can sing without any accompaniment.  I wondered if other people have a song with Him all their own....  Not just a favorite worship song but that one song that echoes your heart and pours out to Him as your deepest most humble, heartfelt praise.

Blessings of contentment to you, for settling in to His peace in the present moment,
the Mrs.

Monday, February 20, 2012

weigh in Monday 16 - just swell

I'm not headed in the right direction.  A gain of 2 this week is not encouraging.

There are some mystery issues happening though and one of them is swelling...this may be playing a part.  For the last month I've woken up with swollen hands.  They've woken me up during the night aching and gradually I've ended up where I am right now which is swollen and having pain in both arms.  Initially I thought perhaps I'd consumed something or done a bit too much boxing and that was causing the hand issue.  But now I'm struggling shoulder to fingertips so that means something is being eaten.  ANY thing that could cause pain, also causes bloating and weight gain for me.

Ordinarily I would put in a good 2 hours on the treadmill on Sunday night while Mr plays volleyball, instead I opted for a movie under the covers of a warm, heated bed (oh how I love a heated mattress pad!).

So this week I'm going to eliminate anything with vinegar.  It's on my list of no, no's but in small doses only causes a bit of gut trouble.  So I made myself a list of vinegar containing things I may not eat this week: Ketchup, mustard, salsa (NOOOOO, this has become a daily staple to flavor wraps, sandwiches and replaced salad dressing), mayo, pickles, guac singles and BBQ sauce (not that I eat bbq often now that I'm not eating meat but it is good to dip some cheeses in).   I'll watch my salt intake as well, just in case.

Hopefully the vinegar is the issue.....well, I don't actually "hope", I did just buy a bunch of salsa for the pantry but at the very least I can make my own in the future and add some plants to my garden list.   This week my focus needs to be drinking LOTS of detox water, green tea and sweating on the treadmill as much as I can to get whatever is in my system, OUT.   By the end of the week I hope to be able to pull the cheese drawer open with my left arm without gasping from the pain.

Ceaseless moments
Such is life!  These are merely the details.  It does provide a topic of conversation between He and I and this morning I did have to apologize for a pain inspired inappropriate word uttered in the silence of my own mind....He does hear and see all.   I find the weekends hardest to hold His presence firmly in my mind.  More people, noise, things to do and distract the mind.   I am a weak minded person to begin with - meaning that maintaining focus on any one thing is a struggle for me - when I am having a reaction of some sort a mental component always comes with.  A slowing down and drowsiness that creeps in so slowly that I don't notice my mind isn't as sharp.   Yesterday morning in church, just before service, it got my full attention.  A friend sat behind me and asked how the week was, I so struggled to find words that her initial response was to think the week had been bad.  Honestly I just couldn't find words and was a bit confused for a moment.  Pain struck during service and raising my hands in praise was not part of worship, holding my pen to take notes wasn't really worth the discomfort. But He and I had our words and the songs were lyrically focused to Him instead of about Him.  I appreciate these songs more in worship.

Blessings are only shallowly hidden. My mind is mushy from whatever it is, the pain becomes a a light guiding you through dense fog, twinges of pain clear the mind for a moment, getting my attention and helping me to focus in again....on Him, not the pain.   While I cannot report success for long periods of time yet, I can say that the frequency of my attention is increasing.  This is good.

Blessings to you for an uncovering of their abundance in your life,
the Mrs.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pursuing ceaseless

Several times I've shared about this beautiful little book Practicing His Presence.  It is a compilation of letters and journal entries from Frank Laubach and Brother Lawrence about their "experiment of filling every minute with the thought of God".   The funny thing is that they did not know each other.  Brother Lawrence died in 1691 and Frank Laubach in 1970.   The similarities are uncanny though.  The descriptions of feeling, struggling to keep their minds attentive and how easily, at first, they are distracted.  Then the triumphant descriptions when they describe their successes......all so similar.

About ten years ago, I began a similar journey....without ever having heard about either of these men or this book.    I was a young wife and mother, struggling.....questioning my life decisions and desperately lonely.  At the time, knowing that I alone could not fix my marriage or cause my husband to grow in faith....I determined I had one viable option in my control.   The Lord would be my husband, my companion.

"For the Lord your maker is your husband, 
the Lord of hosts is His name;
 and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
 the God of the whole earth He is called.
For the Lord has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you."
~ Isaiah 54:5-7 

If the Lord was my spouse then, as in any relationship, I needed to converse with Him.   Develop our relationship to be more than random, blurted requests.   If He, being good and perfect, was my spouse then He would want to hear what was on my heart.....instead of the silence of "He knows, so why tell."  There is joy in someone you love wanting to share things with you.  So I began talking.  About anything and everything and I asked questions and sometimes I just kept silent but still holding a total awareness of His presence.   It was difficult at first and I failed miserably more often than not in the beginning.  Eventually it became easier...after months and months of effort.

At some point I discussed this relationship effort with someone at our church and I was introduced to the above book.   I was awestruck by the descriptions....the successes and the failures.....while the composition of the explanation was more articulate, more mature than I could have described at the blew my mind that I was reading someone else's words, that could have been documenting my experience.   It was my mountain top.

Reaching the top of anything usually means there is no place to go but down.  Personal tragedy struck in the death of my mother almost 8 years ago and while at first I clung to Him, grasp was loosened and I fell to the valley, where I stayed for near two years.   Now I see so much more clearly how He allows things to grow and stretch us.   There are times where we need to be taught the tough stuff of walking on our own.

I have spent the last 6 years looking back at that mountain top while trying to climb the next.   More times than I can count He has reminded me that I cannot move forward successfully while looking backward.  That is what has caused me to stumble and fall over and over again.  Had I just left it behind, stopped looking back, I would have been able to focus on Him, right in front of me, instructing me in how to climb.  Instead I operated out of my own will and confidence and missed the foot holds and the firm ledges to grasp.

Recently, as I am re-reading through this book of Practicing...I began to wonder.  "Should I be recording my experience of rekindling the intimacy of this relationship with You?  Is it ours alone to share or, like these men, would it somehow be beneficial - to someone, anyone - for me to share this journey in a more public fashion?"  This was my very real question earlier this week.   I shared it with my husband who wisely did not try to answer but encouraged me to keep asking.   Yesterday, while I waited in the car for Dude to be released from school, I once again picked up the book and was met with the answer......"October 12, 1930  How I wish, wish, wish that a dozen or more persons who are trying to hold God endlessly in mind would all write their experiences so that each would know what the other was finding as a result!  The results, I think, would astound the world.  At least the results of my own effort are astounding to me." 
"September 28, 1931   When one has struck some wonderful blessing that all mankind has a right to know about, no custom or false modesty should prevent him from telling it, even though it may mean the unbarring of his soul to the public gaze."

I tipped my head back against the headrest, smiling and said "Okay, I'll do it.".....and sighed that sigh that comes when you know that giving in to His wishes are so much easier than sitting in your insecurities and coming up with excuses as to why you really shouldn't do this.   Surrender to the One who knows infinitely more, that is infinitely more satisfying.

So here is your introduction.....your foretaste to future sharing of this experience.  

If this experience is so similar between 3 people who have not been alive during the same span of is this not what we were truly meant for?  Is this not the relationship we were meant to have with our creator? When Jesus told us to "Abide in Me."  "By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit ans so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has love Me so have I loved you. Abide in My love." In John 15.....isn't this what He was talking about?  Abiding, staying with Him at all times and in all circumstances.  Is this not what He did?   The model that He set for us?    To be Christ like.....means to be like Christ.  To do as He did.  So if He, being fully human and fully divine but denouncing that privilege to show us what an abiding relationship with God was meant to be.....isn't this the ultimate pursuit?

"What I want to prove is that the thing can be done by all people under all conditions, but I have not proven it yet.  This much I do see - what an incredibly high thing Jesus did."  Frank Laubach June 1, 1930.

Taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
~ Ps. 34:8

Blessings of ceaseless sharing of your heart with He alone who can hold it without harm, 
the Mrs.

Monday, February 13, 2012

weigh in monday 15 - fail

SO I'm up 1.8.   Lame.  I'm supposed to be moving closer to my 30lb halfway mark not farther away!  It was a crazy week, I got a cold and made excuses that I didn't have time for the treadmill and didn't count much.  I was busy and most days couldn't place the treadmill as priority but where there is a will there is a way and obviously there wasn't much of a will last week.

Time to make this week better.   hmm....I think I said something like that last monday.....

Valentine's day tomorrow.....I'm thinking I'm not going to be the star valentine.   Mr went out and got himself new golf shoes and his clubs re-gripped.  Why do men do these things right before a holiday?  Its like going on a shopping spree right before Christmas.   So I don't know what do do now but I'll have to figure out something...I can't tell you what because HE READS THIS.   Crazy man.

So I'm cutting this short before I say the wrong thing and give whatever little thing I do away.

Ah...laundry beckons.....and weekend birthday party dishes I was too tired to do.   I need a vacation from my weekend.  And a nap.  maybe two.

Blessings of mushy, squooshy love,
the Mrs.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

He whispers

...and it echos loudly in my heart.

Marriage.  There are a few around me...marriages I pray for, worry about...wives I want to take under my wing to calm their anxiety.   Guide them away from mistakes I made.  Teach them what I've learned.

The Lord presses into my heart to put our experiences to use....sometimes it aches.  When I am the most discontent with some area of life.....I know He is about to move, or move me.  I feel it now.  Wives, marriage, presses.   "train the young women to love their husbands and children"  Titus 2:4

Teach them.......I'm trying.

The most dangerous prayers are the shortest.  Teach me.  Use me.  I'm Yours.

In the last few days, despite the chaos and the cold that has been clouding my head and making me exhausted.....He has been so clear.   Like a puzzle there are little pieces coming to mind that I haven't thought of in so long.  Phrases.  Stories.   Comments made to me so long ago.   Write.

For a long time now He has been teaching me about the power of the written word.  Come to My Word, come to Me.  Much as I love scripture, its been a battle to change the feelings of it as a text book into seeing it as a love letter.   My entire education was scripture based but in those days, it was education without emotion.   It was the details and the history that was taught, not the love and the reason behind the details.  He has been working on changing that for a long time.  I see it now, but many times it is a battle to pick it up for Love, not study.   Oh how the enemy knows our weakness.

I used to be an avid reader.  Not, but non-fiction.  I have book after book on spiritual disciplines, humility, spiritual gifts, christian living, prayer, reference book after reference book....anything I could get my hands on that could teach me.   I did this intensely for many years......but in the last few....He pressed.   Not their word but Mine.   Stop relying on man to teach you what He already has.   Each time I would try to pick up a new book....I couldn't finish it.   I couldn't get through a whole page without being distracted.....reminded.    I've spent the last 3 years (or is it 4? I've lost track now...) with very few books I felt I had permission to read.  So many books have been suggested to me and in my heart I hear the whisper......No, not that one.  Only Me.  I can only smile and agree.......thanking the person with a transparent look that clearly says I won't be reading that book.    I can hide nothing....I am an open book.

When you give something up, suddenly it seems to have a spotlight on it.  If you diet, suddenly everyone on the planet has chocolate.  You see it everywhere.   In the last few years I've felt like a observer of scripture, the presence or lack of it, has had a spotlight on it.  People share enthusiastically about books they are reading and I hear the weight they are giving to the words of man.   They speak of an author as if they have heard the Word of God itself......the Lord can use mere man, yes.....but what I don't hear is discernment.   Have they weighed the words against The Word?  A nugget of truth can so easily be manipulated into looking like a boulder.  In church, sermons sound different, I notice clearly if they are based on the Word or if the Word is used as a prop to support the message they want to deliver.   If it's full of God's Word or void of much so that at times, I get distracted by verses flooding my mind that could have been used.  Verses used out of context screech like an alarm.  I hear talk of modeling things after another church and I hear idolatry.   Please, follow Him not them.  I see church classes and themes built around books.....and how they aren't the minority but the majority.   It isn't inherently wrong to teach based on some book but what I notice is how off balance it is.   Stack it all up on a scale and it will tip to the worlds side.   People rely too heavily on someone else to teach them about the Word instead of trusting the Word itself.   The Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edge sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Heb. 4:12  

When did He become not enough?

He whispers.  I listen.  I watch.  I wait. I pray........Use me, I'm Yours.

"Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.  As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you.  Abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."   John 15:4-11

Blessings of Sonshine and whispers, 
the Mrs.

Monday, February 6, 2012

weigh in monday 14 - the super birthday bowl bash

What a busy day it was yesterday!   Our boy turned 11!  He woke up to a room that had been flooded with balloons in his sleep and streamers in the hallway and living room, happy birthday banners up in doorways.....  I expected an excited response of how it freaked him out when he woke up or how cool it was...instead, what I got was: "That was so kind of you guys to do that for me."   I was speechless at how genuine and mature this statement was....and it was coming from my child.   I stumbled through a "we wanted to do something fun to surprise you" and again "it was so sweet of you guys mom, to blow up all those balloons and put up all the streamers".  Again, on the day of his birth....I'm reminded of the gift he is.

When we got to church the worship team sang him a special ho-down version of happy birthday during rehearsal.   He got lots of happy birthdays, hugs and high-fives.   He felt very grown up getting his first "$5 foot-long" sub....even though he, responsibly, only at half of it. "Best birthday ever".

And today......he's home from school sick with a gut ache and sore throat. The couch and blanket will be his monday.     Mine, will be clean up and planning for the rest of the week.

Weigh-in wasn't too bad considering the birthday treats and the super bowl food.   -1.2 today.   I was hoping for a bit more but I did get at least a taste of everything in yesterday and realized that the sloppy joe (homemade, from scratch - not a can, and a whole wheat bun) was not the best idea considering I spent a couple hours just trying to maintain focus and not seem totally out of it.   That would certainly throw off things a bit today.  half or even a quarter of one would have been a better choice.

I'm exhausted today but it's time to make a plan for the week and move forward.  Time for lists and the abundance of dishes from yesterday to be tackled and prepare for the upcoming birthday celebration for the Dude.   We decided that attempting to have a birthday party on super bowl weekend was not the brilliant choice.  Lacrosse game, sleep over and party to plan and prepare for.....hopefully those RSVP's start coming in!

Hopefully this has been coherent because I don't really feel all that coherent.   I see lots of green tea in my future today.....good thing my order came in last week.  Sweet timing.

Blessings to you today for a productive day full of drive and endurance for the race ahead,
the Mrs.

Friday, February 3, 2012

"cuz yer hot"

So apparently there is a down side to downsizing.

When your husband is late to work because he hit the snooze button too many times....he's late "because you're hot".

It's becoming an excuse for a lot of things.   The compliment wrapped in humor used as a distraction from whatever the question might be.

I'm not buying what you're selling, Mr.

Though I will confiscate it and use it for motivation to get on that treadmill.

But don't think that I will believe that you forgot to do the dishes because my 'hottness' distracted you.

I'm not yet halfway to my goal weight so you better get a hold of yourself or when I actually get there, you'll be a drooling mess incapable of completing a task.  We can't have you getting fired because your wife is hot.  This, would not be good.

Am I the smallest I've been since about when we got married?  Yep.  But do you remember when we met?  Think on that my love, and no, I will not eventually fit into your pocket. Sorry.

It is funny what happens when you downsize.  More sass, less....well, you get the point. Though the downside is that when goofing with Mr it's a whole lot harder to stand my ground.  I used to be able to, at the very least, push hard enough to get him to take a step back...(picture a Yogi and Boo boo moment), he can kinda just pick me up and move me.  Granted that's kinda fun too in a "sweet, I'm less fat" kind of accomplishment.

I don't really care that valentines day is coming up.....lately......every morning I wake up feeling like it's valentines day.   We might be the mushiest couple that I know but I have more gratitude in my heart, than I have words, for what the Lord has done in our marriage.  I can say that in the last 6 years, each new day finds me falling more in love with Mr than I was the day before.

Who needs valentines day when everyday you have your valentine?

Blessings of abounding love,
the Mrs.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

story time

Once upon a time....not so long ago....there was a young girl.  It was the early spring in her life and all around her was grey, appearing lifeless.   She wondered if anything would ever bloom.  Would life always be so dark, so endlessly tiring?  Fruitlessly she searched within her own power to change her surroundings.  An iron fist had no power.  A nagging voice, no effect.  The melodramatic sigh of dissatisfaction brought forth no melody.

"Turn around." a Whisper came.

Time and again the Whisper called but she'd forgotten the familiar voice she once knew and waved it away as nothing.

Alone in spirit, grieved and afraid of her future the girl wondered about the choices she'd made.  Tears too frequent a companion and too little a comfort, her will finally broke.  The Whisper came again....stronger.

"Turn around."

And she did.  The Light shone on her darkness and she was no longer afraid.

"Fear not for you will not be ashamed."  came the whisper that washed over her.  "I, the Lord your Maker will be your husband.  I have called you, like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, with great compassion I will gather you."  she imagined this was how the raging storm felt when Jesus calmed it with a word.....the stillness of it.

A simple command followed: "Talk to me."

So she did.  She started talking all the time.  They laughed and they walked together.  She talked.

Her heart poured out to Him and all the hurt, dreams and wishes poured out.

"Ask." came the new Whisper.  So she did.

Lord, keep us safe.
And He did.

Lord, give my husband a new wife....and let it be me.
And He did.

Lord, open his heart to going to church.
And He did.

Lord, make him yours.
And He did.

Lord, help us to feed our family and pay our bills.
And He did.

Lord, give us a new home.
And He did.

Lord, save my marriage.
And He did.

Lord, help his work...prosper him.
And He did.

Lord, make my husband a godly man and a godly father.
And He did.

Lord, let him love me like You him how.
And He did.

Lord, I love You.  Make me worthy of all Your gifts.  Help me see them and never overlook them.
And He is.

She looked around and all the world is in bloom.  Time to grow, is what was needed.  Patience and the Hand of the gardener.  While she talked and shared, He was Whispering to others.....growing and tending to them as only He can.   She needed to let them grow, in their own way and time....their soil was different.  Their needs, different.   In His hands, all grows to perfection in His time.

"For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but My steadfast love shall not depart from you, and My covenant of peace shall not be removed", says the Lord who has compassion on you.
~ Isaiah 54:10

Blessings of His never ending love, 
the Mrs.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Being "well" takes work.  I don't think it's something that just happens, not in the truest sense of the word.  Too often people completely take for granted being well......or even forget what it feels like to be truly well and end up mistaking mediocre for wellness.

Well: adjective /wel/ 
  1. In good health; free or recovered from illness
    • - I don't feel very well
    • - it would be some time before Sarah was completely well
    • - he was not a well man
  2. In a satisfactory state or position
    • - all is not well in her ideal-looking town
  3. Sensible; advisable
    • - it would be well to know just what this suggestion entails

The sense of being well is different for each individual, I doubt that what well looks like for me would be good enough for some and for others, sadly, it would be a welcome relief.  Well, for the individual is when that person is performing and feeling at their optimum levels in life.  What that looks like varies from person to person but I'm sure at the basic level, they are more similar than different.   We want to be satisfactorily rested, as free from illness or pain as possible, content with our sense of self, our relationships and our surroundings.  There is inner well being and a physical well being....they both need attention.

When various conditions enter into the equation, the solution changes. For me, there is a lot that goes into wellness.  As a child who was always sick, illness is no stranger.  I was a regular patient at Mayo Clinic for many years with an autoimmune condition.....all of my teen years, actually.  A few years into that I was in a car accident that left me with permanent damage to my brain and my body.  Pain, is no stranger either.   A year or so after having my son, I began to develop symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), something that seems to have been passed down the line on my mom's side of the family.  A few years after that, food became the enemy and affected nearly every system in my body.  I wrote more about that here.

What I've learned keeps me well...

Sleep.  I learned that my brain needs a sufficient amount of sleep in order to function clearly.   When I don't get enough it's hard to stay focused.   I feel like I'm in a fog and everything is moving slowly.  Is this common for everyone? Sure.  But for me, even at optimum levels all across the board, I have to put real effort into focusing on any one thing.  Conversations, take concentrated I prefer written communications because people deserve the best of what I have to offer.  Those venues allow me the ability to articulate things more clearly by taking my time, choosing my words carefully and being able to actually think about not only what to say but how to say it.  Words matter and I find that I use the wrong ones more often when I can't really think about things.  In order to really think, I need sleep.  

Diet.  What I eat matters a great deal.  I cannot eat blindly or without thought.  Not just because I'm trying to lose weight but because everything I put into my body has the ability to either nourish or hurt.  There is no in-between for me.  Whole, nourishing and mostly organic.  I've cut out most meat and added more and more veggies and fruit.  I can feel a difference.  When temptation hits and I want sweets...MnM's, cake, a beer, pop, fast food.....I have to stop and think.  Those indulgences have a price.....not only on the scale but I pay with pain and time.   I need to drink lots of water, not too much diary - IBS and dairy are not the best of friends.  Not too much bread but when I do, only whole grain, no corn products, nothing "enriched" (that word does not mean what you think it means - it's not a positive word in your food).  Fresh, REAL food.  The things a body was meant to consume.  There were no Doritos trees in the garden of Eden.  There were no burger trees or french fry trees.  There were no plants with packets of powder to add to things.  Eat as if your only resources were the earth itself.  If man hadn't stepped in and tried to make things cheaper, lazier, more profitable, worthless, "easier" we would eat from gardens and local farmers.  We wouldn't be listening to people tell us that protein was SO essential that we ate WAY too much of it and found any possible way to shove it into our bodies in forms that are not natural.  We would eat when we were hungry and only until we were full.....because we wouldn't be eating food that blocked the receptors in the brain that tell you "stop eating, you're full".  If it's processed, powdered, something you can't grow, pick or kill - I don't eat it.

Stress.  Stress triggers a great many things.  IBS is triggered by stress.  My brain doesn't function well under stress.  When my brain doesn't function well, I don't make good decisions about eating which triggers reactions in my brain, joints, muscles and IBS.   Stress is not good for anyone.  For me, it just makes a lot of things more complicated.  I manage stress a few is to make sure that our calendar does not get filled up with things to just be busy.  Relationships flounder when there is too much going on.  When people are always in a hurry relationships float at the surface, there's no time for real conversations or even time to think, feel or know how you really feel about anything.  "Fine" becomes the answer to how you are because you haven't had time to identify how you are.  Is that what life is?  Being too hurried to connect to the people you love?  Too rushed trying to accomplish "things" and "tasks" that "should" be done?   I read a phrase many years ago in a book that changed my way of thinking.  I don't remember much of the book but the one phrase made an impact:  You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.   And I do.  Hurry serves no good purpose.  Eliminating it, keeps stress in check.

Exercise.  Okay I totally admit that I don't like this one.  BUT I confess that I know that I feel better when I am regularly active.   I don't enjoy working out at all but I know that  exercise is very good for people with IBS, it helps to flush toxins out of the body faster which is very good for my food issues.  I have some limitations here because my arms never fully recovered from the months of being incapacitated by food reactions.  I don't have the strength in my hands that I once did.  If I overexert the connections in my hands and arms it is painful....not always right away but later, being completely still will be my only comfort.  It's been hard to know, and I'm still learning this, what my max is.  Its hard to know how much is too much when there is no immediate reaction or sign to alert me.  So I move.  Not aggressively, not in a way that many would even consider a significant workout but for me, it works.  It keeps me feeling good, moving forward in weight-loss goals and most of the time, without pain.

Vitamins and supplements.  I take a lot.

My health and wellness depend on this more than I ever realized it would.  When I run out of an essential, I am more susceptible to illness, pain, brain fog and food reactions.  High doses of Magnesium keep my IBS in check and my muscles relaxed.  Vitamin D helps in our climate for energy and boosts the immune system - I don't consume a lot of dairy and don't care for sunbathing so I have experienced significant deficiency here, thus a daily dose in the winter with smaller doses in the summer.  I take a high potency Vitamin B complex which helps avoid nerve pain, boosts immunity, great neurological benefits and when I don't take this I notice a nearly uncontrollable desire to eat. It also has mood boosting, PMS busting benefits!  Folic Acid helps to balance the B complex as well as makes your hair and nails healthy.  Taurine works with neurotransmitters...basically people who are highly sensitive to MSG/Manufactured Glutamate benefit from taking this regularly. Evening Primrose Oil nourishes joints, muscles, skin and inflammation. Echinacea boosts immunity and healing.  Calcium keeps my muscles from twitching and all the regular bone health and such.  Green tea for energy and antioxidants.  When I need them I take White Willow Bark and Bosweilia for pain.  When I miss a dose, I feel the difference....sometimes it's only that I don't feel as well as I could, other times I get sick or experience some other negative effect.

Attitude.  I strongly believe that attitude is significantly linked to wellness.  There is NO reason to dwell on the negative.  None.  Attitude is a choice.  Free will is so much more than only the choice to believe in God or turn your back on Him.  We have a choice in how we receive information.  We have a choice in how we move through life.  You can have a negative experience and still have a good day!  Choose it!  You can endure pain and still be joyful!  There is always something good to focus on.  I choose to not give weight to any limitation in my life.  I forget things, so?  I experience pain quite often, so what?  The Lord blessed me with a high tolerance for it so I'm equipped to handle it.  I can choose to be bitter about the things in my life or my past or I can choose to embrace the moment I'm in, the place in life I'm in and see all the amazing things.  Sure, some days stress gets to me and I'm not so positive.  I'm human.  More often than not though.....I'm going to choose joy.  I choose to smile.  I choose to look for the lovely...because it can always be found.

Faith.  The Lord has brought me through a great many things in my life.  He has made me wiser from them.  Better, deeper, richer for it.  He is my constant companion, I am never alone.  Without Him I would be a different story.  More than likely I wouldn't be here to tell that story either.  He has saved me in more ways than I can count, carried me through more pains and illnesses that I thought would destroy me.  Refined by fire.  He brings me out the other side of each trial stronger for it......and in His amazing and brilliant, glorious way, He always puts someone right in front of me who needs to hear the story.  That they aren't alone and someone else understands.  He shows them that He offers healing and joy and proof that the past can be left behind.  It IS possible to heal and stand tall, the past doesn't always have to hurt, nor does it have to be forgotten.  The past is can't hurt you unless you chose to hold on to the hurt. There is freedom in letting go.   Freedom in His love and mercy and presence in the here and now.  He is always good, always perfect, always loving.  He makes me well.

There is a lot that goes into being well.   I don't always get it right. I screw up a lot.  I make bad choices and have to pay for them.  Though the act of putting thought into what it really takes to BE well, may just be one of those things required to maintain being well....

Blessings of wellness and freedom to you, 
the Mrs.