I couldn't believe it when Chris and I agreed to move to Columbus. He found a great house for us with lots of trees and lots of space. The kids and I went down to check it out and loved it. We sat around the kitchen and I grabbed some butter cream frosting and ate a spoonful while we all talked and laughed. Oh no. I stopped in my tracks, replaced the lid on the frosting, and hung my head and shame.
"I'm on the Whole30!" I exclaimed. "Why did I do that?!"
I had completely forgotten. It slipped my mind. I screwed it up.
~~~~
When I woke up from that dream, I was so relieved. I had NOT screwed it up!
I told Chris and we laughed. I haven't been craving sugar during the day, at all. When I had that dream I'd been sugar free for over a week....but my mind had not forgotten.

The next night, I had a similar dream but it was slightly more screwy.
I was going to town on some more butter cream frosting and throwing sugar covered starburst in mouth like a crazy kid on Halloween. Yes, sugar covered starburst. I don't think they exist, but I must say, they were DELICIOUS!
So, in this dream I, once again, suddenly realized what I was doing and shamefully put the sweets away. I was so bummed out as I tried to decide if I should just give up on the Whole30 or pick up where I had left off, then I woke up. Oh boy was I relieved....again. Then, I woke up....again!
What was that!? A dream about a dream about a major sugar screw up? My dreams are crazy!!

Of course, I felt the need to analyze my dreams. I explained to Chris that the pastor in Mexico knew I was a "dreamer" when he laid his hands on my head in worship. I like to connect that experience to a lot of my dreams. It's one of my special powers!  ;-)
So, I decided that I doubt my own self-control and that I fear being unsuccessful. (& moving is connected to that, I'm sure.)

Here's the good news....I have NOT screwed up. Sugar is not tempting me and I am in control of myself and I am going to be successful in the completion of the Whole30. If I can do it, ANYONE can. Seriously.

In closing, on this day 15, I leave you with these words from Bon Jovi......
"Oh, we're halfway there!! OhhhOH living on a prayer!! Take my hand, we'll make it I swear...Oooh - living on a prayer!" Oh, I love that song.

Blessings!
Rachel
 
 
Picture
Energized    Lively    Healthy    Spirited

These words describe how I feel this morning, on day 13 of the Whole30 thirty day food plan. I expected to feel better, but I didn't know I would feel this much better.  It's like a breath of fresh air for my whole body.

As planned, Chris and I read It Starts With Food while we were on vacation.  The more I read, the more I wanted and craved whole foods.  I also started looking at my favorite junk in a new way.  I still ate what I wanted, tho, until day one, 2 Mondays ago.

The food plan hasn't been difficult for dinners because we just had to change a few things.  We look forward to dinner because it's so delicious.  Our favorite right now is baked chicken and vegetables.  It is really good and the kids love it.  It's actually a lot like the veggie bakes I used to do when I was a vegetarian.  Now, we just throw some chicken on top!

The most challenging part of this process is learning to plan ahead for meals and taking the time to prepare them.  Like I said, the food is amazing, so no complaints there, at all!

My worst moment was day 2 when my body was adjusting to the lack of sugar/grain/dairy.  I learned that I probably also did not have enough fat in my foods that day.  I had a horrible headache starting in the early afternoon and thought I was going to barf.  When I got home, I had a banana with almond butter, 2 Tylenol, and a 30 minute nap.  I felt fine when I woke up. The lesson: make sure you have enough healthy fat in your meals.  That should help.

I'll be back with more updates and to tell you about my crazy dreams I'm having!  Lololol!!

Blessings!

~Rachel


 
 
This post is about my curiosity around the Whole30 program and inviting others along on my adventure.  If you're interested at all in the Whole30 program, making food changes, whatever...I will be posting my progress here. 

I learned about and got curious about this program while observing some close friends do it.  I thought it was crazy (so much dedication....so little sugar) but I'm seeing amazing results in their lives and I want to check it out.  Chris, too. 

This "whole" thing comes from the book It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig.  They have a website where it's all laid out.  You can find it at www.whole30.com.
I've learned some things from my friends.  So far, here's what I've got:

  1. Eat fruits, vegetables, and meat. 
  2. You can eat as much of those things as you want. (awesome)
  3. Don't eat carbs like pasta, bread, even couscous!
  4. No sugar or dairy (except eggs).
  5. No legumes



It doesn't sound like much fun...except the eating as much as you want part.  I really like that part. 

This really sparked my interest.  This weekend, my aunt and a friend were talking about sugar.  I guess that it can affect your memory.  My aunt thought it was age but found it was related to sugar.  The way she described the memory loss was identical to what I experience.  Not being able to come up with the word you want to use....not remembering names of people and places.  It's been a problem for me for a couple of years so I assumed it was related to the anti-depressant that I take.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.  I guess I will find out.  Aunt Lynda says that cutting out sugar has helped.  I'm eager to see if it works for me.

So, this morning, for the first time in my coffee drinking life, I drank my coffee black.  I thought about putting almond milk in it, but I'm not sure how old the carton of almond milk in the fridge is, so I thought screw it.

I survived and it wasn't that bad.  Isn't that crazy?  Well, I think it's crazy.  I had 2 cups and have lots of energy for things like blogging and I have zero sugar/cream guilt.

I decided to keep going through breakfast so I chopped up red pepper, onion, and a little arugula and spinach and cooked it with scrambled eggs. 

It was good.  Really, it was.  Then, guess what I was craving.  Water.  Yeah, it made me crave water so I'm drinking water as I type this.  Miracles, I tell you!

I read the 1st chapter of It Starts With Food, texted my friend to see if my food this morning passed Whole30 inspection (it passed) and decided to blog this adventure. 

2 reasons....to keep track of what I'm doing & to invite others.

So, here's the deal.  I may do some blogging on it this week as I try some things out and start reading the book.  BUT, Chris and I plan to have the book read by August 10 and we want to officially start the Whole30 program that week.  

If you want to do it, too, let me know and we can support each other.                     I've found that community is one of the most important parts of my life and that   life goes better when we live it together.



Let me know what you think.

Finding Joy-

Rachel

 
 
Check it out- this works.  Mom, I hope you read this!

Here are the simple steps:

1. Get Borax (from your laundry room or from the laundry aisle at the store)

2. Get Sugar (I used powdered because it was all I had)

3. Mix equal parts sugar and borax

4. Mix in water

5. Put it where ants are

6. Tell whoever shares  your kitchen so they don't wash it off

7. Watch the ants enjoy their dinner

8. Wake up the next morning to no ants

9. Be amazed that they don't come back even when you leave dirty dishes out

Here is what's up with the pics above:

-Obviously, borax, sugar, and water mixed in a small dish

-Ants moving from Lillian and my jelly experiment over to the borax experiment

-Ants lining up and calling dibs

-My sink the next morning

Try it and let me know how it works for you and if you have any other fun experiments to share!

Note: I do not support killing innocent creatures without reason.  Lillian was concerned about this.  I explained that ants do not belong in our house.  I don't really want to talk about it past that.

Note 2: There was no ant clean up.  They must go home to die.

 
 
I gave up my super delicious breakfast smoothies and spent some time with bad habits that made me feel sad.  Yesterday, I was at the grocery store and almost passed by the frozen fruit and then thought twice.  So, yesterday I loaded up and today I blended up, and now I am sipping the smoothie you see in the image above while I blog to you about it. I know that it looks like a mud puddle, but it's really good, really easy, really healthy, really filling, and really natural. Really.  I kept track of what went in so I could send it along to you. Please let me know if you try it and like it or if you have a yummy recipe that I should try or share here on my blog.

Today's Smoothie

4 Frozen Strawberries

20 Frozen Blueberries

1/2 cup Frozen Cut Pineapple

1 cup Frozen Cut Spinach

1 cup pure Coconut Water

Dump everything in your blender (no, it does not need to be a smoothie maker or other fancy gadget).  Blend until smooth.  Poor it into a cup.  Drink it.  You will feel better and look better than you did when you had 2 bowls of sugar cereal like I did yesterday.

 
 
I had an appointment with Dr. White a couple of weeks later and Chris met me there.  My mom stayed home with the kids.  At the time I wasn't thinking much about what my mom and dad might have been thinking or feeling during that appointment, but looking back, I hope I am never in the same situation as they were that day...my child getting biopsy results. 

Dr. White explained the biopsy results- that I did have skin cancer and it was melanoma.  He gave me a plan...another procedure followed by another biopsy, to see if it had spread.  If it had, I was going to need some type of dye which would travel to my lymph nodes so the doctor could see where to work next.  Then, maybe chemo.  He told me that my chances were great.  He said that it was more likely that I would get in a car wreck and die on the way home from the appointment than that I would die from melanoma.  That seems like a weird thing to say now that I think about it, but you would not believe how slowly and carefully I drove home from that appointment.  I know that my survival from skin cancer was in no way related to how carefully I drove home, but it seemed like it did.  What Dr. White meant was that my chances were really, really good.  I get that now. 

On that seemingly long 10 minute drive home (Chris and I drove separately), my brain went to some crazy places.  Like, what it would look like for my kids to grow up without me?  I just prayed over and over that God would let me raise my kids.

I completely broke down emotionally when I got home.  Chris was really good about it.  I told my mom "It's cancer." That's all I remember.

I'm an introvert.  There are times when I like a lot of attention, but mostly I don't want people to look at me or make a big deal out of anything that has to do with me.  I told my dad who was my pastor and boss that I didn't want to tell the youth or the church.  I kept it a secret and only talked about it with my immediate family and very few friends.  I was okay with my extended family knowing, but I didn't want to discuss it.  I also didn't want to scare the youth who I worked with.  I didn't want them to automatically assume something more tragic than what was actually going on.  So, for those of you who are reading this and had no idea that I was going through this at that time, I'm sorry.  I know now that you would have given me my space and been a huge prayer support.  I just couldn't deal with sharing any more than I had to.

I had the 2nd procedure and waited. 

That Christmas Eve was very memorable for one reason.  We sang Silent Night and lit our candles and I was praying it wouldn't be the last time I experienced that service.

I started doing a very early morning devotion where I read from a book and then journaled and prayed.  I woke up before anyone else in my house and just sat there.  I found a deep peace and a much stronger faith because I gave it all over to God and accepted whatever might happen.  I chose to be faithful in a desperate place.

In January, Chris and I had another appointment with Dr. White.  The cancer had not spread.  I would have checks every 6 months. That was it.

Miracle.

My parents were at my house when we got home and shared the news. My dad and I looked out the back window where there was a rainbow and he told me it was a promise from God. He was right.  No, it doesn't mean that I will never have cancer again, but it does mean that God will not leave me in my darkest time and that I have no reason to fear.

Lilly was born on April 4, 2 weeks early and beautiful and healthy.  I was healthy, too.  Today, she is 7 years old, David is nearing his 9th birthday, and Chris and I have been married for 10 1/2 years.

A few months before the first visit with Dr. White, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  I will blog more about that later.  But, it relates to this story because I was haunted by melanoma for a very long time.  I would wake up to panic attacks that it was back and would make appointments with Dr. White for re-checks.  I couldn't listen to anyone talk about cancer and when I watched "The Bucket List" I went through intense anxiety.  I am better about all of that now.

And I do my best to remember that God will never leave me and that I have no reason to fear. 

You are God's creation and you are deeply loved.  No matter what you are going through in your life, whether you are in a dark place, a joyful place, a confused place, or a place of doubt....God is there and will not leave.  God loves you even if you scream at, shrug off, or ignore God's presence.  God has not forgotten about you. 

The next time you see a rainbow, breathe deeply and be thankful.  I will be doing the same. 

 
 
My firstborn, David, was born on July 13, 2005.  I had just turned 24 years old.  When the nurse was checking on me, she noticed the mole on the front of my left thigh and suggested that I have it checked before I left the hospital.  I was in new mama bliss and didn't do anything about it. 

My life kind of goes in fast forward sometimes...I think a lot of it has to do with Chris and I always moving or getting into new adventures.  We get really busy and are both guilty of not taking the time we need to take care of ourselves.  Having a mole checked was one of the last things on my mind. 

I found out I was pregnant with Lillian soon after I had started working with the Lima Trinity youth.  Several months later it was December of 2006 and I saw a segment on The Today Show where Matt Lauer went to a dermatologist to have his skin checked.  The show followed him through the process and listed some things to look for that might be signs of melanoma skin cancer.  I listened closely and immediately started looking at the mole on my leg to see if I had any of the symptoms.  Uneven edges- check. Uneven color- check.  Equal to or larger in size than a pencil eraser- I found a pencil and held it eraser side down on my thigh.  The mole on my thigh was exactly the same size as the pencil eraser. That's when I accepted that I should go get it checked.  If I had the symptoms, I had to, just in case.  For a sense of peace that everything was ok, if nothing else.  I had no idea. 

I made an appointment with a dermatologist nearby, explaining to the receptionist that I needed a mole checked.  I was about 6 months pregnant with Lilly.  When I got to the appointment, I was nervous and I just looked through a celebrity magazine.  An older guy in the waiting room had a bandage on his face.  I felt sorry for him, and just as much as ever, didn't think it would happen to me.  I was young and healthy, pregnant with my baby girl.  God doesn't do things like that to people like me...

I showed Dr. White the spot on my leg that I had assumed was an ordinary mole and he did whatever dermatologists do.  I was really looking forward to having the appointment done and moving on.  Dr. White told me that he was concerned about the mole on my thigh. He was getting ready to go on vacation for the holidays and urged me to allow him to remove the spot that day...right then....at that appointment where I was just supposed to get checked and then go on my merry way.  Wait...what? Removing it...sending it for a biopsy...results later...

Being 6 months pregnant and since I had been at the office for awhile, I had to pee really, really bad.  I asked the nurse about going before the procedure.  She pointed me in the right direction and said "I guess we really scared it out of you!"  She was teasing me, of course, but all I could think of was......"She thinks I have reason to be scared.  This is serious."  It was like walking through a dream or watching a movie about someone else. 

Dr. White removed it and it didn't really hurt much.  He said I would hear from him when he got the results.  I wanted to know a million things, but also didn't.  I had a million questions, but I didn't know what they were.  I wasn't prepared for my life to be turned upside down.  Are we ever?

Sometimes life changes in the blink of an eye.  When you least expect it.  Like, when you are in a new job and pregnant with your 2nd baby and married to the greatest guy on earth and then you go to the doctor and he says it could be cancer.




I will continue my story in my next post.  Until then, check out this information which is similar to what I learned on The Today Show in 2006 and consider any spots or freckles or moles on your own body. (My mole looked very much like image E in the diagram)

 
 
Real Life RachyBurns....Here's one I don't talk about very much.  I'm bringing it to you today because the message is important.

Recently, my family was eating dinner at a Subway which had a tanning salon next door.  I was sitting facing the parking lot and watched teenage girls and young women enter and exit the salon throughout my meal.  I saw myself in them. 

I don't know why anyone would ASK FOR something that I would have given anything to have taken from me.

I don't know why someone would take the chances.


Here's the thing...I was not a year long tanner.  I got a suntan in the summers from playing outside.  I went to the tanning salon for 3 years in the spring time so I would look good in shorts or a swimsuit.  The doctor told me that those things may or may not have had anything to do with the cancer and not to feel guilty.  But, I know what I did and that if I had made different choices that I may not have gone through that...or at least wouldn't wonder. 

I knew the risks, they were printed on the back of the door in each tanning booth, but I convinced myself that the rays were good for me and that the truly dangerous rays came from the sun, not a light bulb.  Dark skin made me feel more confident, prettier, even healthier. 

I asked for something that I would later have given anything to have taken from me.

I took the chances because I didn't think it would happen to me.


Today, if someone asks about my scar, I am happy to tell them about it.  Or, if the subject somehow comes up I will openly share my story.  But, I don't typically confront people who seem to be at risk or who talk about using tanning beds.          Even though inside it feels like a slap in the face. So, I'm telling my story here, because it's important for others to know.

It's the age old story of judgment based on skin color- just in a different way than we are used to seeing it.

And- it's the age old story of a sick mixture of vanity and poor self image. 

This is part 1 because I don't want to sell this short.  I want to really tell you about it and I hope that you share it. 

It's important.  Stay Tuned.



 
 
Picture


















Here's how it goes down:

1. Light Sensitivity

2. Headache/"My Forehead Hurts"

3. Upset Stomach/Throwing Up

4. Tears

I took my daughter to the doctor today because I couldn't figure out why she was tired all weekend, wouldn't eat, was sensitive to light, threw up, and had a headache.  C'mon!  My son has been getting migraines for at least 4 years.  Why I didn't realize that was what was going on is beyond me.  My kids are 8 1/2 and almost 7.

What is it with migraines?  I need to do some more research. For David, we think that he gets them when he has been active and not hydrated properly.  He loves to run and play hard and he sweats a lot, so it doesn't take long for him to dehydrate which leads to a migraine and throwing up.  He knows the signs now and we are getting better at preventing them, but they still happen.

I didn't get headaches when I was a kid.  I never had a migraine until after I had kids and they are not as intense as what I've seen other people go through.  Chris gets horrible migraines. 

Is this something that is more common then it used to be or are we unique?  Does anyone else have experience or advice for kids with migraines? 

#whattheheckisgoingonhere











 
 
Picture
Looking for the image for this post was uncomfortable.  Like, it made my eyes water and my nose tingle.  I think my armpits might start itching.  Is that weird? 

I really like pop.  Really, really, really!  It's SO good!  I like the fizziness and the SWEETNESS and the caffeine and the cold-ness.  It is just so refreshing and yummy and wonderful!!  The sweeter, the better, and that's why I LOVE Cherry Coke and Vanilla Coke.  I think Vanilla is the sweetest, so it's my favorite....I could go on and on.

I understand that pop isn't good for me.  I started gaining extra pounds when I turned 30, so I decided to drink Diet pop.  That didn't make me lose weight and I'm concerned enough about aspartame that I switched back to the good stuff.  My weight has leveled out and I'm *usually* okay with my new 30-something figure, and I'm totally convinced that my figure has nothing to do with my pop addiction. 




But, Ash Wednesday happened. 


Picture
The service at church was really pretty good.  I thought about it all very seriously and decided that I should deny myself something that I really loved during Lent.  Pop was the easy answer and so that's what I went for.

It is wrong to whine and complain about wanting what you gave up for Lent, so I'm not going to do that. 

Did you know that Sundays during Lent are "mini-Easters"?  Well, my dad says they are and he is a for-realskies-ordained reverend, so it must be true!  That means I can drink all the pop I want on Sundays.......so I AM!!!  It is sooo good and it reminds me that Jesus is also soooo good.  It's really a win-win situation.


Picture
This is Chris and me at Aladdin's after church last Sunday.  It was about 2:00pm and I was close to 3 pops in.  Do you see the satisfaction in my eyes?  I do.  I can see it.

The pop had a great effect on me at that meal.  I was a little silly. 




This silliness from pop is something I haven't experienced in more than a decade, so I'm grateful. 

God is good.




Any Lenten stories out there?