Tuesday, August 7, 2018

An Announcement

underneath the Jacksonville Beach Pier
My Dear Readers,

For a very long time I have wanted the title of my blog to match up with the Internet address. After much thought I finally figured out how to do that (without spending any money). My solution was to begin a new blog with the same title but with an address to match.

So with that said (and now done!) this is the last post that will be written at this address.

You can find me from here on out at the new address:

When you get there, you will see the header and formatting are nearly the same as what you see here.

If you want to continue to follow me with email notifications, you will need to re-subscribe. You will see where to do that in the left hand column at the new location.

I hope you will continue to read my posts and  you know I will be reading  yours and commenting as always.

Thank you for your flexibility! 


Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Saturday Evening Post

a sun-dappled path at Clarke House Park

It's been a good week here. Once again I am posting on a Saturday with the highlights of the previous seven days. I've got nothing unusual to say, just newsy stuff that documents my personal calendar.

my collage of the Smart Cut Salad
We made a trip over to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a new kitchen toy recommended by Sister, who I should be calling Gadget Queen, because she loves to try out new inventions to make cooking easier. 

Be warned: there is at least one other similar item like this that Sister has already tried and gave it a definite "thumbs down." I don't know the name of it. But this one works.

The idea is to pile the ingredients for your salad into the white "bowl" (the thing with the long slits). Cover the bowl with the green paddle-looking thing and then turn the whole thing over. Using a long knife, slide the knife through the slits to "chop" the salad. Make the slices as close together or wide apart as you want. 

You can even pivot the white thing around, allowing you to cut the salad into smaller pieces. I failed to include a snapshot of the clear acrylic bowl for serving the salad, but my bright yellow bowl shows it off better anyway. We eat salad here at least once a day, so this tool will be very handy in my kitchen.

But to be certain, the salad fixin' bowl was not the highlight of our week.

Tooth Fairy collage
Midweek,  delightful visitors came to lodge in our house, Surfer Girl, Surfer Boy,  and their entourage  Our daughter, like her siblings, has a vivid imagination that is especially manifest in the presence of children.

Grandson #4 told us he had recently lost a molar. His little sister asked her mommy if they could play "Tooth Fairy," a current favorite pastime in their home. Granddaughter #5 pretended to be asleep while the Tooth Fairy flew in to leave a toy under her pillow and then flew away (in a blur).

beach collage
The purpose of the visit was their "Second Annual Beach Trip Before School Starts." This happy tradition began at this time last year, shortly after we relocated from the Rocky Mountain High.

Beloved and I are sooo grateful for the loan of an open-air tent from our kids' neighbors, drastically reducing the exposure of sun rays on our aging skin. But those who are younger played in the water with bogie boards in youthful abandon.

Surfer Boy with his sand castle
A delightful discovery of talent was made that day when our son-in-law devoted no small amount of time constructing a sand castle with Granddaughter #5's buckets and boxes. 

Note: I had promised our little one that I would do this with her, however, I quickly realized that crawling around on the sand, making numerous trips to the water's edge, and trying to make sand hold together was extremely tiring. In other words, I gave up.

Surfer Boy, however, is an incredible artisan. He had a plan in mind and worked that plan diligently. I was especially impressed when he made the castle not two, but three stories high! To keep the younger ones from 'helping' too much, he created a dry mote around the perimeter and they quickly realized a mote needs water. Filling it up with many trips to the water kept the youngest one very busy.

the completed 3-story sand castle with mote, draw bridge and open tunnel under the bridge
After what seemed like hours, the project was done and the beach crowds thronged to see this amazing work of architecture and beauty.

Clarke House Park
The next day we visited an enchanting place tucked in among tall trees. I thought it was reminiscent of the Robin Hood movie. For no admission charge at all, children can climb up steps to explore slides, tunnels, look-out stations, and a rickety bridge. There's opportunity for much imaginative play in an airplane, a boat, swings, and even bells for making music.

Granddaughter #5 and Beloved make beautiful music together
In spite of the lovely setting, the heat was oppressive and some in our group had uncomfortable sunburns from the beach experience, so we abandoned the fun for an air-conditioned food court at a nearby mall.

freshly-skinned peaches
One more adventure rounded out the visit. Beloved has become adept at blanching fresh peaches and slipping the skins off. This is a fun family activity we enjoy as long as the peaches continue to show up at the grocer.

wood path in the forest at Clarke House Park
Not all weeks take us on quiet paths of peace. I watch the evening news like everybody else and fear for those who are personally affected by fire, floods, tornadoes, and violence. 

We are learning to not take for granted our blessings of family, delight, health, provision and protection. 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Walking Through Life in the Past Week

the band shell at Daytona Beach
We made an impulsive trip south to Daytona on Saturday for lunch. It's been a decade or two since we were last there, so the number and height of the buildings along the beach impressed us. The structures we remembered have been dwarfed, in comparison. And the construction continues.

rented beach umbrellas at Daytona; lifeguard in center of picture with red flag
Of the eight beaches we have visited since moving to Florida last year, this one is the most crowded. 

Daytona collage from July 21
Fortunate for us, most of the people were out on the sand and in the water. (You know me, I don't wear swimsuits any more.) 

Both of us are past the brawn and bikini stage. We just strolled the boardwalk on this adventure.

The point of the trip was lunch (of course) and I wanted to walk the pier. I didn't know ahead of time (but frankly wasn't surprised) that my fav shrimp dish would be served on that pier...

collage from Joe's
Okay. I'll admit it. I took a brief vacay from my self-imposed strict eating regime for that day! I'm kind of a push-over for coconut shrimp!

Daytona Beach, pier, and Joe's Crab Shack
It was a very hot afternoon and we had to park 3 blocks away (at a cost of $10) so after eating and walking, we decided to head for the air conditioned car and go home. 

Now for the highlights of the rest of this past week:

3 postcards from St. Augustine - photo courtesy of Blondie
With our relocation to Florida from Colorado, we landed somewhere roughly between our two sets of grandchildren, but we are significantly closer (in miles and hours) to one set over the other. That's just the way it turned out. That means, of course, we get to see one family a little more often than the other.

In an effort to 'keep the memory alive' of us to the more distant relatives, we sent this fun set of post cards to them. The alligator's head was mailed off first, a few days later the mid-section with the feet, and last, the tail.  

Blondie texted me when they arrived and (to my delight) was even able to use them as a teaching aid with her homeschooling. I'm not wild about most reptiles, but I couldn't pass up this opportunity. She told me the kids loved the post cards.

Beloved watches the dishwasher repairman
I wouldn't classify this as a 'highlight' of the week, but it was something we were glad to cross off the "To Do List." In the past week we've had four visits from the repair people. I won't besmirch their name by saying who they are, but let's just say when you buy an appliance from this long-time, nationwide chain, you'd better buy the maintenance agreement. 

I say this for three reasons: the yearly maintenance check and any repairs that become apparent from that check don't get done on the same house call, and sometimes they send out a refrigerator guy to check off the list for the dishwasher (FROWN!!) and he can't answer pertinent questions. Also, they just don't make appliances to last as long as they used to (but most of you already have found that out).

In the course of all of that, I discovered there is a "clean washer" cycle on my laundry washing machine. Duh. It's been right in front of me for the past year, since we inherited it with the house. I just never paid attention to it. I've never had a washer with that feature before.

Glad I found out... I ran the cycle per the appliance manual and was aghast at the debris that washed out. I ran it a second time with a product made especially for cleaning washing machines and more debris showed up (although not as much). This is a little creepy but our clothes have looked clean to us all this time.  Not sure what I think about all that.

writing sympathy cards
As I mentioned in my previous post, we have extended family members who were near death's door. (extended = in-law relatives of our family) It's been a long week as this process unfolded but yes, they have passed and we know they are with Jesus now.

I am very particular about sympathy cards.  It's hard to find cards that say what I want them to say. Many times I look for a tasteful blank card and then write my thoughts (but words resonate with me. Not everybody is like that, and I get it.)

So the cards are written and in the mail now, en route to sad families we love and care about so much.

from my church
On the subject of cards, this is one that came to my mailbox early in the week. All of us who worked in Vacation Bible School got one as a show of appreciation.  

It was an overall good experience but for me it was too fast-paced and nerve-wracking. I had tense neck and shoulder muscles day and night all week and fretted about getting my assignments done in the short amount of time allotted. 

Methods have changed a lot since my days of serving as a home room mom in the 80's. In spite of getting text messages and emails daily from leadership about what was happening the next day, I missed out three times (how???) and showed up a little embarrassed for not knowing [whatever] ahead of time. That, alone, told me this gal is getting old and not keeping up! There are other ways I can serve without going through that again.

But I appreciated the thank you post card.

Back to the subject of food, here is evidence that I am doing a pretty good job of sticking with the nutritional plans for myself (in spite of that temptation-more-than-I-could-bear at Daytona last Saturday):

Thursday and Friday night dinner plates
While I cook meat for Beloved, my main dishes are made up of a big selection of nuts, fresh and cooked vegetables, and a dressing or sauce (often oil-free). It's important to me to have colorful meals. Eating mostly-vegan is colorful!

The Vitamix continues to be a valuable assistant in my kitchen, making up the "Alfredo Sauce" on the right (on top of the rice, under the peas) made with raw cashews. Don't knock it if you haven't tried it. It's wonderful.

A Stitch in Time
To wrap this all up, here is a fun place I discovered this afternoon - a cross stitch shop. It's located inside an old house that is packed full of patterns, threads, tools, and fabrics for needlework. But just getting from the parking lot to the front door was a feast for the eyes!

I'm gathering supplies for football season, when Beloved watches the games and I do something productive with my hands so I can be  with him.

This week is over. I'm glad. Tomorrow is Bible study and worship at church, lunch out, and most likely a nap in my recliner while reading a book. 

Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Trying to Breathe

Atlantic Ocean near Daytona Beach

It has been an uncomfortable day for my extended family and also for some long-time friends. Death has come to one person, it seems to be imminent for another, and will come for yet one more probably before much longer. The thought of all this makes it a little hard to draw air to breathe.

But I take comfort in some words spoken by Jesus Christ after his resurrection from the dead, just before He ascended into Heaven:

I am with you always,
even unto the end of the world.
Matthew 28:20

Our pastor told a group of us a very interesting story, an experience he had in a previous church. The husband of one of his church members was an evil man. Nobody in town liked him; nobody had anything good to say about him because he was mean and had done wrong to a lot of people. 

The time came when this man became very ill and lay near death in a coma. The family called our pastor in to see the man. Our pastor, in the presence of the family and the dying man, prayed over him, praying how one can be saved by just asking Jesus to forgive him and come into his heart. 

Of course the man was in a coma, so no one expected a response out of him. Pastor Larry left. A few days later, the man died. 

When Pastor Larry was visiting with the widow, getting ready for the funeral, she said that before he died, her husband came out of the coma for a while. He was alert and spoke to everyone in the room. 

She said the odd thing was that he was very pleasant to everyone. He joked and they all laughed and they had the best time together, but it was so very unlike her husband to be that way. 

Not long after that, he slipped back into the coma and then died. 

Our pastor thought about that and when it came time to preach the man’s funeral, he suggested the man was now in heaven. After the service many people came up to him, angry, asking him how he could say such an evil man was now in heaven?!!!  

He replied he had shared the Gospel in prayer while the man was in his coma and that God can speak to people like that, no matter what their physical condition. He said when we accept Christ, we are a new person. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, 
the new creation has come: 
The old has gone, the new is here! 
II Corinthians 5:17 

Our pastor went on to say he felt the man in the coma had prayed in his spirt to be saved and when he woke up for that period of time with a good-natured spirit, he was “new” in Christ. He went on to say that this man had been a hardened sinner all of his days, so he didn’t know how to express to his family that he was saved now; he didn’t have the vocabulary words for that. But he was different all the same.  

As long as a person is alive, people can share Christ with them and the Holy Spirit will speak to their heart.

Call unto me
and I will answer thee,
and show thee great and mighty things
which thou knowest not.
Jeremiah 33:3

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Brief Book Reviews

my desk
Days such as this are perfect. I'm on the cusp of the weekend (it's Friday as I type this), major chores have been crossed of the To Do List, and a big one for today has been postponed due to rain. We have plans to go out this evening and for now the afternoon stretches out before me to do whatever I want!

Sitting at my desk while the rain drips just outside my window with the forest preserve in full view -- it's great! 

I thought I'd write about some of the books I'm reading. It's an eclectic mix. Maybe there will be something in here that appeals to you.

bathroom basket of reading material
Most of the places I lived when growing up had only one bathroom, so my family never took books in there. (we were also not avid readers) Books in the bathroom was a new idea to me which Beloved brought into our marriage. (he loves to read) 

My mornings start out with a groggy stumble into the b-room where this year-long devotional book greets me. I take very literally the Bible story where Jesus got up early before His disciples to find a quiet place to be alone with God the Father. (see Mark 1:35) This is certainly not a "rule" for salvation, you understand, but an experience-proven habit that helps me to get my days off to a better start.

Sometimes it's hard to articulate prayer in the early morning hour, so this book of one-page prayers by Puritans, The Valley of Vision,  wakes me up. The manner of speaking is old, so my brain warms up as I try to understand their point. Once that is grasped, I see the beauty and truth of it.

On weekdays after I've had breakfast, cleaned up the kitchen, made sure there are no urgent emails needing immediate attention, and got myself dressed for the day, I spend quiet time at my desk with more books that have blessed me over and over. I underline, make margin notes, and sometimes even doodle while I think about what I've read.

current reading
Some observations on the One Year Bible: I bought this just in the last few weeks after going through a one-year chronological reading of the Bible. I don't know why, but this One Year Bible's daily readings go faster than the Chronological Bible. I am preferring the one-year version because every day it has readings from the Old Testament and New Testaments, something from the Psalms and the book of Proverbs. I feel like I'm not restricted to a steady diet of the Old Testament for nine months and then nothing but the New Testament for three months. This just works better for me.

Moving on -- yes, I do more reading than just Bible materials. But I will say that immersing oneself in Scripture is a huge help in keeping the mind and  behavior where it should be. I am certain I am 'preaching to the choir here' ... Many of you do similar, I know.

books from the public library
In a recent post I shared my need to get back to healthier eating after a year of embracing southern cooking, only to discover the weight gain and other problems that come with that diet. We made a trip to the public library where I brought home six volumes of nutrition and cooking titles.

To be clear, I have not read every page of every one of these books, but (due in large part to our week of rainy weather) I have been able to spend hours going through all of them, making some notes.

I will give you an extremely brief appraisal of each one here:

The Big 5 by Dr. Sanjiv Chopra
this explains the benefits of  5 simple things you can do to live a longer, healthier life:
1) drink coffee
2) take Vitamin D
3) exercise
4) eat nuts
5) meditate daily

Whole by T. Colin Campbell, PhD
eat a whole-foods plant-based diet. He is also the author of The China Study, which I have not read - yet

Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD
explains why he thinks we should all avoid gluten

The China Study  Cookbook by Leanne Campbell
this lady is a daughter of T. Colin Campbell (see Whole above). Her book has recipes to support her father's research

Ani's Raw Food Essentials by Ani Phyo
another plant-based cookbook with appealing and not-so-much recipes

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
movie star whose success with a plant-based diet prompted her to write a cookbook. She calls for some strange foods I've never heard of.

Do I agree with these authors? My answer to that is yes and no. But I'm not going to get into it more than that. Everybody has to find what works for them and go with it. These books were all very interesting reading skimming.

much lighter reads
As time allows, here are two books I'm enjoying. I especially like to read Eugenia Price's book when I'm on the treadmill. Caveat: the print is small but I don't walk very fast, so that how it works for me. 

Everyday Kindness by Bounty Books
this is one of those coffee table books with a pleasant little quote on kindness for every day. A feel-good read. Many authors.

Savannah by Eugenia Price
Another book by an author I enjoy. Gotta say, however, that this one has a more interesting plot than her Lighthouse Trilogy. Really enjoying it.

True confession, to get me onto the treadmill with any faithful regularity, I need either a good show on the large flat screen TV across the room, or a hard-to-put-it-down book I can hold with one hand while I hang onto the treadmill rail with the other. I'm delighted with how much faster time goes by when my mind is focused on something besides the walking and sweating.

very helpful reference book
Not long ago I found this book at Sam's Club. It's become essential when we want to go exploring on day trips. 

found at Hobby Lobby
My sewing machine is taking the summer off (who wants to quilt when it's hot and humid?) so I found this book on embroidery to keep my creative juices going. 

Oh sorry, Barbie. Looks like I cut your head off in this picture. 

My faithful readers will remember I featured her new shoes in a post earlier this week. (click here to see that)

reader glasses
As I close this out, I'll share that my most recent pair of prescription glasses have been a sore disappointment (the reading portion is entirely too small). Half the time I use my older pair because they just didn't get this pair right (and that, after two tries). 

I will eventually address that, but for the time being I am finding great relief with simple over-the-counter reading glasses, +250 strength. Wow. What a difference they make and how much more enjoyable is reading with them!

Beloved suggested earlier this week that I buy a package of four glasses for $20 at Sam's Club. I love it! With them and a couple more pair I already had on hand, I've got glasses placed all over the house so when I land in a chair (or in the b-room), I can push my prescription glasses onto the top of my head and grab a pair of reading glasses.

We also recently purchased some cute melamine hot dog dishes, which I found to be most helpful to hold my glasses on lamp tables,  and such. 

So, there you have it. This is what I'm reading this summer. Please tell me, what are you reading?

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Hodgepodge Winds of Change

This summer I've not had the time to link up with the Hodgepodge most weeks.  You see, the deal with Hodgepodge is that after you answer the questions for yourself, you're supposed to link up at Joyce's blog and then visit the blog of the person linked up before and after you. Joyce is providing a service to us all, so it's only right that we read and comment on the blogs of others. And it's fun.

But -- time. I didn't have enough of that.

Anywhoooo, on Joyce's Hodgepodge this week she announced she's needing to scale back because she has many things to do and some dreams she wants to chase. 

To sum it up, this week is the last Hodgepodge for the summer. She'll come back in September but my understanding is that it's iffy how much we'll see of the Hodgepodge after that....

oh.  (puckered sad face) 

But don't we all understand?!!! Of course we do and with that I wish her the very best with today's blog post, my responses to this week's queries. 

1. I feel most energized when I __________.

... know I'm eating right, getting in a little exercise, spending time in Scripture daily and have written a blog post I am really proud of.

2. Where were you ten years ago?

Ten years ago I was living in a southern suburb of Denver, quilting, busy busy with church activities and completely unaware that I'd have a debilitating injury later that year that would lead me to become a blogger!

3. July 17th is World Emoji Day. Do you use emojis? Which one's your favorite? Your most used?

Yes, I use emojis but I tire quickly of trying to find just exactly the right one for the current issue, so I use these two the most.

This one is for Beloved:

And this one is when I'm short on time and need to send confirmation or notification that I get it or I agree:

4. What song would you put on a wedding DO NOT PLAY list?

"Me and Mrs. Jones" by Michael Buble. But do include "The Hokey Pokey" because that's what it's all about it's one song that the children at the party will enjoy.

5. What deserves less of your attention? More of your attention?

Less: checking email

More: reading a good book for long stretches of time

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Sometime after Joyce moved into her fabulous house on the lake, she started using a new header that I loved from the first moment it appeared on my screen:

Already a lady with good taste, her choice of this water color took my imagination to places of beauty and serenity. 

But her Hodgepodge questions did not always stir up contentment within me. Sometimes she asked probing questions that made me think hard. I questioned if I really wanted 'blogdom' to know what I thought about that topic. In the end, I found ways to skirt the issue if I wanted and then I enjoyed seeing how others handled it. 

As the years went by, I realized the questions were not unlike sitting in a friend's living room where anything and everything could pop up in the conversation. I learned to be more bold and to not worry so much about my replies. With only a few exceptions, the comments people have left on my blog have been kind (and often helpful!)

Thank you, Joyce, for all the fun with Hodgepodge. You have helped us to expand our audience and develop valuable friendships across the miles.

Whether you decide to continue with Wednesday Hodgepodge or not, you are a good writer. You draw people in, and you are very interesting. Entertaining, too.

Linking up today at From This Side of the Pond

Studying the Bends

access boardwalk to Little Talbot Island beach

Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you 
will not be shaken 
nor my covenant of peace be removed,
says the LORD, 
who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10

Yesterday I began creating a timeline of my life -- just for me to record highlights, and low times leading to where I am today.  It's a record of what has helped to shape my thinking,  attitudes, and actions.  I expect to gain insight into a great many things. 

I also intend to ponder God's Presence in all of it. He loves me and because of that love, He doesn't leave me to fend for myself. He allows all manner of thrills and chills to touch me, to form me into who He created me to be. It should be very interesting, enlightening even.

Author Lisa TerKeurst says, "We must process our hurts through the filter of God's love, not through the tangled places of our hearts." This is my goal. I want to see the Lord more clearly, to get a better understanding of maybe why things had to go the way they did, why some dreams have not been fulfilled, and to marvel at the victories and surprises.

Thankfully, I appear to be in a place of peace right now. I  think I can work on this timeline exercise without diving back into the dumpster of ill-feelings. I really want to study what God has been doing through my years to get insight into His wisdom and love for me.

Some questions may be answered and some may not but I look forward to tracing God's love for me through it all.

beach at Little Talbot Island

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Keeping Up a Merry Heart

my assistant at the embroidery table

I'm not making this up. 

Last week the repair service came to our house twice for problems regarding our dishwasher, including the yearly maintenance check-up and the replacement of the motor. The appliance is only one year old (we had it installed a week after we moved into this house). 

Just hours after the repair truck disappeared down the street, I discovered another problem, so we made an appointment for yet another service call for another day. The man finally showed up at late afternoon (this, after Beloved called to ask if he was indeed coming at all). 

The diagnosis was a need to replace the circuit board which, of course, had to be ordered. The new part will be sent directly to our house and after it arrives, somebody will come out to install it. I am hopeful after that fourth trip, we won't need to deal with our appliance service for a while. 

We are very glad we paid for the maintenance agreement because otherwise this would be a very costly experience. Appliances aren't made as well anymore  so it behooves the buyer to pay the extra for the maintenance agreement. This is just a sad statement on how things are today.

Anyway, with that out of the way for the day, I had more unhappy news for Beloved when I shared with him that my Barbie doll needed shoes. She's not had any for a very long time. He suggested we go to Ruby Tuesday's for supper and then visit the toy store at the same mall as the restaurant.  #whataguy!

But the toy store had nothing in the way of Barbie dolls, let alone accessories.  I couldn't believe it. There were many other dolls, but no Barbies. #Walmart-to-the-rescue  #again

While I can't say the Walmart selection compares with DSW, we did find a package containing an assortment of five pair of shoes.  As we all know, a gal can't have too many.

About ten years ago I made the red dress she is wearing.  The Walmart Barbie doll clothes were sparse. Maybe there will be more closer to Christmas,  although I can tell you right now, the workmanship will be shoddy. Readymade doll clothes give heartburn to those of us who know how to sew. Anyway, my assistant now has shoes and that beats going barefoot. 

Here  she is with her new shoes and her personal photographer:

The day ended on a pleasant note  with a simple but delightful dessert. 

Beloved doesn't like to eat peach skin, so he has perfected the art of blanching the fruit to remove the skin. During the summer months we often have peaches sometime between supper and going to bed. This is how we brought a trying day to a close.

All the days of the afflicted are evil:
but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
Proverbs 15:15

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Lessons from a Detour

coffee mug, a gift from Mary
We are waking to another beautiful day in northeast Florida where last night's temperature dipped into the lower 70s. Already (at 7:30am) we are at 78 degrees with 95% humidity and sunshine. We expect rain this afternoon and for the next several days but the mornings are dry (relatively speaking, you understand, with our high humidity). I thank the Lord for central air conditioning. How the early settlers of Florida survived this climate in all of their heavy clothing is beyond me.

But even with the benefits of indoor climate control, I will be frank with you in saying I am feeling well today for the first time in weeks a long time. No achey muscles or vague headache. My hands, though getting progressively more gnarled due to arthritis, feel limber and flexible. That blue state of mind is not threatening. 

Ah, it feels so good to feel so good!!

It's been a year since we moved to the deep South. Over these past twelve months I gradually let go of allergy-related eating habits I had developed in the previous four years. I also found a powerful pro-biotic that seemed to have improved my gut-health to the point that the offending foods were not bothering me as much (or so I thought).

Although in the past I had benefitted from avoiding the trigger foods that exacerbated my allergies, I guess I fell into thinking, "I feel good now. I can loosen up a little."

What that thought pattern overlooks is that we feel better because we are doing the right things and to stop doing them usually means we will regress.  

sign in my kitchen
I also just wanted the fun of embracing the foodie culture of the deep South. My new friends here have noticed that I almost always order a dinner-type salad at restaurants, so I didn't lose my sensibilities entirely. But apparently the number of deviations I did make have built up, over time, to bring down my state of health.

The change from feeling great to kinda lousy most of the time crept up on me subtly. It is my opinion many people live this way all the time and just accept it as aging, or blame it on a myriad of other influences they don't think they can change.

Finally one morning earlier this week I suggested to Beloved that my continual slide into ill-feeling might be due to the leniences I've made with my diet.

Beloved, whose body doesn't seem to be as sensitive as mine to gluten, dairy, eggs, and sugar, surprised me by agreeing!  That very day I pulled out my healthy nutritional books and began re-reading the mantras of eating that I used to embrace before our arrival in the South.

I also stopped eating most meats, gluten, dairy, eggs, white sugar, and  the powdered creamer that mellows out the bitter in my daily cup of light-roasted coffee.

That was four days ago. The change was not instantaneous, but with the first meal after that decision, I did not feel at all bloated or stuffed, just comfortably filled. My weight appears to be slowly dropping, and this morning I woke up feeling truly rested and well. I am so encouraged!

This is my story. This is what works for me. People have to find out what will help them get to where they want to be in their health. What benefits me may not be the exact answer for you. 

Sometimes we 'fall off the wagon' and get a little lost. I think I did that but I'm not going to beat myself up about it because I look at this past year of variant nutrition as an educational experiment that has confirmed my research. I am learning from it.

This morning's breakfast was great:

grapefruit, mandarin orange, banana, Medjool date, toasted almond slices, chia seeds, and a light drizzle of agave syrup

All of the ingredients met in a salad bowl and then were (after the picture was taken) combined well with a spoon. The flavor and nutrients were all there. That, combined with plenty of chewing, made for a very satisfying breakfast. 

I am thankful my problem is decreasing as easily as a change in diet. 

Then God said, 
"I give you every seed-being plant
on the face of the whole earth and
every tree that has fruit with seed in it.
They will be yours for food."
Genesis 1:29 NIV