Monday, March 26, 2012

Eating to Live: Changing Course

Last year I began a journey that led me to explore food combining, gluten free (GF) and juicing in order to help my gut feel better while Crohn’s disease, or as I refer to it⎯Little Monster, reared its ugly head. For a time, all these dietary lifestyle changes seemed to work very well for me, smooth sailing⎯until the wind died and I needed to change course. After seven months, I was losing too much weight for my small frame (due to eating less starch) plus I began having the same digestive distress (cramping/constipation) I had prior to this dietary journey.

It all came down to this⎯current medication protocol and dietary changes were not working for me, and I could not afford to lose any more weight. The next step on the Crohn’s journey was a new medication protocol, and as my gastroenterologist put it, “Just EAT!” At this writing, the new meds seem to be working and I have indeed gained back the weight I lost.

As one does when sailing into new regions of life, I have continued to hold onto a few elements from last years dietary journey:
  • I add carrot juice and a handful of spinach to my morning smoothies⎯great for digestion.
  • I’ve cut down on the amount of starch I eat and sometimes choose to eat a starch that is gluten free.
  • I found the most amazing and healthful GF cranberry/orange muffins at my local grocer. After Googling recipes with similar ingredients, and many attempts at tweaking various recipes, I came up with my own wonderful version.
WARNING: the following muffins are very good for you and you may just find yourself craving them because they taste so incredible. Even if you don't know a jib from a jibe when it comes to sailing, we all must learn to change course from time to time. It's what we pick up along the way as we sail through life that is most important. Bon app├ętit!

Photo courtesy of martinak15

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Zen of Friendship

"A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same."
Elbert Hubbard 

Now that my ribs have healed, I went back to the slopes with no thoughts of out-of-control snowboarders. I was determined to become one with my skis once again. My Zen ski mindset could not have come at a better time. In a month of giving myself time, last week I gave myself time to be with friends.

Three of my ski buds and I went to Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia, Canada. While we have skied together for eleven years, we have never gone away on a trip. We shared food, wine, stories, history, smiles, laughter, hot tubbing, more food, more wine, hugs⎯oh, and we skied! It was a celebration of friendship.

Friendship is a bond of caring, respect and love⎯friendship is gentle. 

On our ski trip, I could see our friendship growing. Yes, the skiing was fun, but moreover, the time we gave to one another in the spirit of friendship meant more than the skiing. We created snapshots in time we will cherish and not forget, for we had become one in friendship.
Photo courtesy of Scott Maxwell

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Springing Forward

Spring is natures way of saying, "Let's party!"
Robin Williams

With the sun spreading golden rays of warmth and the carpet-cleaning technician working away on the floors of my home, I felt the pangs of spring fever come crashing in. With fresh and clean carpets, I wanted fresh and clean everything⎯inside and out. My mind started to race with thoughts of moving furniture, freshening drapes, washing windows, cleaning closets, vacuuming, dusting, and on and on. I know when I get this way, I even find myself smiling just thinking about fresh and clean. It’s like I have rose-colored glasses and all is just that⎯rosy.

This is the time of year when everything seems to sprout anew, start the cycle over and come out of the hibernation of winter. The birds are celebrating the season by singing their songs and flitting around from here to there as if they are trying to catch up on lost time. The tree frogs celebrate the season by croaking away fever-pitched each night as the sounds of spring gather to a cacophony of different beats. Spring fever for me is a big kick of motivation, and right now I am highly motivated to get moving with the rhythm of the season into spring.

As I spring the clock forward an hour, I will use the motivation that spring fever gives me, and allow it to gather momentum, as I move through spring and summer⎯ until it is time for me to let go and begin the slowing pace fall brings⎯and I gain back the hour of time I lost months ago.

So what are you waiting for? You’ve lost an hour⎯march forward and get your rosy rear in gear, BUT with all the momentum of the season you will be gathering, don’t forget to give yourself time...

Photo courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt

Monday, March 5, 2012

Old Bones

As we drove around the Lake Chelan area I was overcome, once again, by the apple orchards rolling over the hillsides. We visit this area throughout the year; however, it’s the starkness of winter that brings a chill to my bones, and arouses memories of the orchards my Grandpa Leo tended in the Yakima Valley of my youth.

When there are no longer leaves clothing the limbs of the fruit trees, I see history in the thickness of the limbs and trunksthe old bones. The bent nature of the branches is one formed in youth by the ongoing guidance of the orchardist. The open structure allows for airflow, sunshine and maximum crop bearing for many seasons to come. From season to season my grandfather found purpose and marked time as he fell into the rhythm of the orchards, as he merged with its history.

This is the time of the year when one hears the clickity-clack of the three-legged ladders as they are moved about the trees and the snip, snap of the loppers as the pruning crews work their magic through the orchards. As a child, I would find my grandpa preparing for the job at hand by sharpening his loppers and repairing the orchard ladders in his shop. Over the years, I spent hours watching him hone his tools⎯many of which I still use as I snip, snap the loppers in the trees around my home.

Grandpa died more than twenty five years ago, but when I look out on any orchards today, I see him in the layered bark. So rich with history are these layers as they form⎯recording the lean years, the rich years⎯marking the passage of time. There seems to be an endless routine of life here⎯as if my grandpa's old bones have become one with all fruit trees. I am drawn to routine and a certain cadence of life. I am drawn to the garden to snip, snap my way around, bringing life to my old bones.

Have you considered what your comfort routines are, what your cadence, rhythm or pace is? Do you honor this rhythm from time to time, or do you find yourself moving beyond what your comfort is? Perhaps it is time to explore just what your cadence of life might be; after all, it changes from time to time. Bring new life to your old bones⎯no matter how young or old you are.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March: I Intend to Give Myself Time

I will be adding to my year of intentional thinking by giving myself time throughout the month of March. As in previous months, I will begin my day with this intention. I know⎯who has time for THAT!

I can be just as guilty as the next person when it comes to giving myself time. I understand the importance of doing this on a regular basis because it helps me create a balance in my life, but I get caught up in the gotta-do-its and have-to-do-its just like everyone else. Before I know it, my calendar is full and I am not a very happy person. I start feeling like I am being pulled in all directions⎯and I’m the one doing it because I allowed it to happen!

I received a holiday card with the following anonymous ditty inserted:

A Thought For Your Days

  • Give yourself time!
  • Give yourself time to work; it is the price of your success.
  • Give yourself time to think; it is the source of your power.
  • Give yourself time to play; it is the secret of your youth.
  • Give yourself time to read; it is the foundation of your knowledge.
  • Give yourself time to be friendly; it is the door to happiness.
  • Give yourself time to pray; it is the way to heaven.
  • Give yourself time to love; it is the time which returns to yourself.
  • Give yourself time to be happy; it is music for your soul.

I’m going to review this list each morning and pick one of the above to work into my day. I think having a variety to choose from will be a fun exercise. Wouldn’t it be great if we could make an effort to include each of these things into our day on a regular basis?

Join me this month and create a little space for YOU by giving yourself time⎯start small with ten minutes a day and schedule it if you need to. I would guess by the end of March you will be giving yourself more than ten minutes. I know by the end of March, I will feel the invigoration of time to myself⎯rather than the overly scheduled, pulled in all directions kind of time.

Photo courtesy of Evil Erin