Fighting: body and soul

A shower these days is one of the most exhausting things I can do. About an hour ago, I made it to the bed and threw myself on it haphazardly, relieved to have showered and made it back in one piece. Yes, I’m out of the hospital and greatly appreciate your prayers.  Things didn’t go as expected and perhaps soon I’ll entertain you with stories of ICU in a developing country, but back to my exhaustion and relief…

I grabbed a couple of probiotic pills and swallowed them.  Do you know what probiotics are?  They’re a dose of good bacteria for our bodies.  Antibiotics are awesome at killing bacteria but the problem is that they often kill good bacteria as well as bad. We need good bacteria to re-balance our health.  So I take probiotics.

As I lay there recovering, I thought about the high-powered antibiotics with boxing gloves on, giving the 1, 2 punches to my Lyme disease.  Then I thought about the happy probiotics coming behind and refilling the destruction with happy bacteria.  Okay, okay, maybe the hot shower and/or antibiotics were playing with my mind (or possibly, I’m just giving you a rare back-stage pass to my own little world) but whatever it was, God used it to bring me to a lesson about him.

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Mom’s Banana Bread: Gluten-free, Sugar-free

Banana Bread was always a staple at my house.  The smell and taste make me feel at home! I’ve never liked anyone’s banana bread as much as I love my mom’s.  As a kid, I knew something just wasn’t “right” about other breads.  As an adult, I know the difference: mom’s is sweeter.  And not in a metaphorically, i-adore-my-mom-and-she-adds-sweetness-to-any-dish kind of way (although she does).  It is actually sweeter.

I’ve made a lot of sugar-free banana breads in the last year.  Most were okay, a few were failures, and this one was JUST like mom’s.  So, if you’re interested in baking sugar-free banana bread, and you like it sweet, you’ve come to the right place.  And, as always with us, it is also gluten-free! Continue reading

Should I Give Up Sugar: for Lent?

I feel compelled to write about Lent today, Ash Wednesday, as the entire web has lit up with conversations about what people are giving up for the days leading up to Easter.

I can’t recall if I’ve ever given up anything for Lent.  I know for sure there have been seasons of my life where I’ve given up significant things for 40 days to journey deeper with the Lord. I remember them well because they made serious impacts on the way I do life. But I’m drawn to this idea of being sacrificial and purposeful in the days leading up to Easter Celebration.

I joke about giving up sugar for Lent because, at this point, it would be no sacrifice.  I haven’t had refined sugar in 10 months. But, is that how I live my life sometimes? I want to live a life of offering to God.  I truly believe he deserves my best. Yet, is that belief shown enough in the things I sacrifice or remove from my life to make more room for him to move in and through me?  Probably not.  I could definitely sacrifice more. Continue reading

Ode to: Presidents, Husbands and ME

February 20th is a special day.  It always is.  But this year, people are celebrating around the world!

For what, you ask?  For me, of course :).  Just kidding.  I mean, a select few are celebrating me as it is, in fact, my 33rd birthday.  That IS reason enough to celebrate.

But as she tends to do every time my birthday falls on a Monday, America has decided to also split my birthday celebration with that of two great men: President George Washington and President Abraham Lincoln.  Happy Birthday, Abe and George!

But let’s be frank here.  Abe, your actual birthday was over a week ago and George, you have a few days to go yet, so I trump you.  Maybe trump isn’t the right word since you actually ran our nation, but for today, let’s just pretend, okay?  Now, enough of talking to dead guys. Continue reading

Lyme: ticks me off

I’ve touched on some of my struggles with chronic illness and most of my life I’ve found ways to live in harmony with illness and exceed expectations.  But this year has kicked my tail.  As promised, here’s what’s going on:

In July 2011, our whole family came down with Giardia, a small parasite that reeks much havoc. Apparently, we drank bad water during our trip to the mountains of North India.  After treatment, Bryan and Lucy recovered well, but I just couldn’t kick sickness. My symptoms changed and I began to get high fevers that cycled through other ailments throughout each month.  I tested positive for Mono, so we attributed my complete lack of energy, fever, aches, weakness, fainting, skin discoloration, speech problems, pink eye, etc., to that.  4 months later, we suspected there was something else going on. Continue reading

Cream Cheese Pound Cake: Gluten-Free (with Sugar-free option)

CreamCheesePoundCake

When I was in college and roommates with my buddy (and now sis-in-law) Christi, we’d get these fantastic packages from her awesome step-mom Trudy with the most delicious cream cheese pound cake in it.  Oh, it was glorious!  (I even think there was one time we ate it while watching a new workout video! Man, I miss that metabolism!)  I looked forward to finals because that meant receiving a great study-buddy box with the amazing pound cake enclosed.

Now, fast-forward 10+ years and I’d do almost anything for a slice of cream cheese pound cake.  In fact, a year ago, I made the cake (adjusted to be gluten-free) much to the awe and wonder of my husband who now requests it often.

But how, I ask myself, can I make this for my husband when I know my now sugar-free-self will be burning with jealousy every time he has a piece?  So I haven’t made it in a loooong time. (I’m now over 10 months sugar-free!) But I love him and I’m ever-obsessed with making his tummy happy.  So, when his 2012 Valentine’s day request was for a cream cheese pound cake, how could I say no?

Happy: double banana!

You know I love bananas.  So imagine my joy when I peeled this one!

It’s the best when simple things make us super-happy, isn’t it?

Happy: Valentines Day!

I love February!  It’s my favorite month. (I say that now, but second-guess it each December.)

What’s not to love? There are hearts and pink everywhere and it’s a great excuse to tell people you love them. Oh, and of course, there’s my birthday next week. This year I’m sharing my birthday with the Presidents again.

I’ve loved Valentine’s Day as long as I can remember (and believe me, I never had boyfriends for it before college.)  I’ve just always loved celebrating the love shared with family and friends.  But I’m still super-happy and thankful, of course, for my two special Valentines.  Happy Valentines Day, Bryan and Lucy!  I’ll love you forever.

And it’s because of God’s great, unfailing LOVE that I can find peace in chaos and joy in sorrows.  He is my first love!

No love of the natural heart is safe unless the human heart has been satisfied by God first.  -Oswald Chambers

Alright, now on to the fun Valentine’s photos and video!

Most of these are taken on our front porch where Lucy loves to play. The captions aren’t showing up on this slideshow, so keep an eye out for:

  • her reaction about wearing the tutu today. (Notice she didn’t in the photos where she’s smiling!)
  • the shoes she insisted on wearing all day today even though they were still a size too big.
  • the pic of her from last Valentine’s at Chilis–it was our first time at Chilis here and her first time in a high chair.  We celebrated yesterday at Chilis again.
  • her sippy cup.  What?  This girl has never wanted a sippy cup and has used straws since way before she was 1 year.  But this week she has become very attached to this sippy that has “Elmo” and “Bird, Bird” on it.  It also has Cookie Monster, but instead of saying his name she points to him, then pretends to eat while shaking her head and making noise.  That’s our kid.

(If the slideshow isn’t coming up, happily click here!)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Radio: Silent

thanks to the ioffer.com seller for this photo. it's for sell if you want it (and have a lot of money)!

Hi friends!  I logged into my blog for the first time in over a month (for a number of reasons which I’ll discuss shortly) and was floored by the number of visitors I had while I was gone.  Thanks for your interest in my life and what I have to say.  What a motivation to begin blogging again!  I’ve missed my little corner of the web.

God’s been doing a lot in our lives.  It’s been a crazy few months of seeking his guidance, begging for answers, trusting his plans, praising his name regardless of the circumstances (and failing to do that at times.)  I’d been sick with fever and relentless flu-like symptoms for over six months when finally, at the start of December, I received a diagnosis and started new treatment.  More on that soon.

We spent a month in the states for Christmas with family and that was such a treat! These things, combined with my laptop being on its deathbed, have kept me away.  But let’s renew our relationship because I have some awesome new recipes and life lessons to share in the coming days!

How to make your own: Date Sugar

MakeDateSugarI use date sugar in some of my sugar-free recipes.  Why?  Dates are a naturally sweet fruit that can become the same texture as sugar and be substituted cup-for-cup in your favorite recipes.

You can order Date Sugar from amazon.com, buy it from your local health food store, or make your own from dates.

My only option is to make my own, so this is what I do:

1. Buy fresh or dried dates.

2. Take out the pits, slice the dates in half, and dry them fully in a really hot oven (I use 400*C and watch them.  Mine come partially dried from the market, so it takes them around 10 minutes more in the oven.)

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