Monday, April 30, 2012

The Granola Effect

So in my last post I shared that the exploration into gluten free baking (from scratch, not a mix) has taken me to some interesting places, and I've found something for me along the way.

I cam across some interesting blogs, beginning with

Oooooh, I thought. What is Crunchy living? Sounds like granola to me. (Have I mentioned I love Granola?) I was intrigued. A little research revealed that Sorta Crunchy is about more natural living. Ok, I can get behind that. To the right of the home page was a little picture that said "I wash my face with oil." That sounded different. But interesting.

A little more research and I thought, well... that sounds... (you guessed it) interesting! Now, a little history. My skin is beginning to show a few signs of age.  And I recently invested in one of those expensive face creams (after I ran out of the Avon stuff). And my skin reacted to it. Little red dots, and dryness. Which was odd since I was buying moisturizing lotion. After an allergy to my husband's propellant had me running to the doctor for a steroid shot (my eyes swelled shut), the reactions to the creams got worse. So, I thought, let's trade the steroid cream out for some all natural oils. (It worked wonders for the girl who would become Queen Esther.) Further research on the how-to's led to a blog about washing your face with "pure" honey.

Oooooh, I thought (again). I have pure white clover honey in the pantry. A really big bottle. Rather than spending a lot of money to buy some oils, let's try this honey thing!

So today I began an experiment. Taking the time I would spend in the shower and using it to help out my poor skin, I first filled the tub with warm water and epsom salt (to give this busy Mama a bit of relaxation along the way, and soothe those muscle aches). Then I gave myself a "honey" of a facial. I followed this by washing my hair with baking soda (another blog I saw in my research: and then, I used the honey as conditioner.

The results? My hair felt... well, a lot like hair. (I hear it takes a while to see changes. That's one of those non bounding processes I referenced before.) But my face felt... Nice. I mean really, really, nice! Soft and smooth and only a tiny bit of dryness left in the "trouble spot" that has been lingering since  the allergic reaction in November.

After getting ready for the day, I noticed the skin just below my lips was dry. And this time instead of grabbing the chapstick I decided to try a little honey as the moisturizer. I put a tiny drop on my finger, and rubbed it until it was a little bit warm. The effect was... sweet! 

A couple hours later and my face still feels smooth. (It's been a no make up kind of day.) My lips aren't chapped anymore. And I think I may just try this honey thing again... or even, the 'oil cleansing method'. It's nice to try something new every now and then. Keeps life fresh and interesting. It's also good to be sure I am taking care of me so I can take better care of those I love. I've learned that finding balance is a process, created day by day, until it becomes habit.

So I encourage all you other caregivers out there to take a little time to renew, and refresh.  Look for something that lifts you up, adding sweetness to your spirit. Take time to delight in a golden day, to bring a little more nourishment  to your heart and soul. And be sure to gather gratefulness along the way!

~Just Me

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Living Healthy

Ever since my days in Maryland I've wanted to be a Granola Mom. It was during this season that I first began to learn lessons about nutrition that had escaped me in my post pregnancy Atkin's Diet and Weight Watchers days. I found Trader Joe's-- and I learned to see food as fuel, not filler. The boys and I started taking Juice Plus then, and I began to exercise daily and cook healthier. Then we moved to San Antonio, with very little notice (one of those surprise military moves) and shortly after that my oldest son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

And so I was plunged head first into a deep gorge of knowledge about healthier living. Healthier GLUTEN FREE living. Because not everything that is gluten free has nutritional value. (Though I did find Gluten Free Granola.) These days, the boy is completely gluten free and the rest of us are "whole grain based". We're a couple years in and I am still learning. Recently I decided I'd like to try baking my own gluten free bread. Not from a mix. The old me would say I was crazy. I mean, I daily deal with (get ready, I'm gonna list 'em) Diabetes, PTSD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Celiac Disase, and one more "medical issue without a name"--i.e. my 13 year old son is not growing. He's the size of the average ten to eleven year old.) The old me says: one more reason (or five more reasons) NOT to add anything else to my plate.

The new me says, Well, it's all about balance.

I could preach a bit here-- (so I will). Every one of those diagnoses can be improved with a healthy diet. Fake food exacerbates sensory/autism issues. Eating real food (not fluff that our body does not recognize) improves our lives and our emotional well being (PTSD). The research tells me that it is worth the effort. (Soap Box spiel over.)

And if my son is not growing, despite the Gluten free diet and the massive effort to balance food intake with insulin so that his body can get what it needs to grow, well, something is off balance. And that's one more reason to do whatever I can to bring us back into balance, as a family. If I were to bake my own Gluten Free bread it would:
1) Save money (gluten free alternatives are pricey)
2) Streamline (instead of making a healthy meal for the rest of us and a gluten free alternative for T, I could Just Make One Thing.)
3)Eliminate more additives (which will help with the 'not growing' issue)

 So, as we prepare to get T on growth hormones, I am researching Gluten Free Bread Baking. And How To Pack More Nutrition Into One Very Picky 13 Year Old Boy. I haven't started yet, but the journey has taken me into some interesting places.  (More about that later.) I am researching the best grains-- meaning the healthiest grains, the ones with the most bang for their nutritional buck. I'm examining bags of Quinoa and Tapioca Flour, and looking at the all important Nutritional Labels, which direct the purchases of a mom with a son who has a food allergy. I'm shopping at Sprouts instead of Tom Thumb (who has gluten free stuff, with a little less bang for my financial buck.)

I've often said that life is a journey. Nothing that is worth doing can be accomplished in a single bound. (I will resist the urge to attempt "super mom" burnout.) I am learning to wait... in many areas, not just the food issue. I find that I am very grateful for the availability of alternative products to help my special needs family, and I am grateful there is so much information out there on how to live healthy. Most of all I am grateful for a loving Navigator who lights the way towards what is best for my own unique family.

And I am excited because along the way, I've found little something for me! More about that next time. Stay tuned!

~Just Me

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Since I am "going public", it's time to share: My family does "church at home". Now, don't go running screaming for the hills. It's not that I have a problem with other people of faith. Not at all. It is simply that PTSD has shaped my life in a myriad of soul carving, heart changing ways. In this season, the mission field God has called me to is my family. 

I feel like we've gone back to our roots, discovering the beauty of gathering together in the home and loving God. And I'm closer to him now than when I was running music and children's ministry at one chapel and teaching and serving on the board at another. (Can we say over-commitment? Yes, this is how I coped while my husband was deployed.) I find that I am always connected to his heart when I walk with him, accepting the course he's plotted for my life in each individual season. 

Once someone accused me of "forsaking the gathering together of the saints." (Just after I shared that I love gathering in small groups, but sometimes miss large group corporate worship- as I would if we worshipped in any number of smaller church buildings in the area).  While this admonition was taken out of context (Hebrews was written to the persecuted church), she also missed the point. Home Church-ing is not about rebelling from the status quo. It's about caring for the the needs of the 'specially wrapped gifts' God has placed in my care. Not everyone has known the words that have shaped the parameters of my life: PTSD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Juvenile Diabetes, and Celiac disease. (And another I will talk about later.) 

Any one of these would make church attendance challenging. (My husband can not "do" larger groups, due to PTSD.) But all together, well, at times I feel hemmed in. I used to feel limited in what we could do as a family, but now I choose to see this as one more gift from God. He's made the path very clear. If I re-frame my life lens, I will see this 'hemming in' is His protection. "Think of it as a Gift," he recently whispered. A gift that keeps me on the path to wholeness and new life. 

And so, I choose to stay where He's placed me. To look to Him to sustain, and seize hope. He's given me wonderful kindred spirits as support- sojourners on the way, as we partner in plumbing the depths of His heart. My own "small group" weekly (both where I live and through the miracle of technology) to "spur me on" (Hebrews 10:24) and lift me up. To "bloom where I'm planted." And, now, the journey continues. 

~Just Me

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Own Voice

 I love words. Oh, yes, I do.  A word can bow, or scroll, or soar. Words are carried into our hearts, and if we choose wisely our words can create life and love and goodness. I love the flow of an ink pen, and the click of the keyboard as I type. My life is full of words… I want to let them pour out with authenticity and grace, though I fear my flaws may often take over. I feel the need to have a space to hold those words, and maybe to reach out to kindred spirits, sojourners who long for simplicity and greater wholeness.

And so I take the risk to nest in a new place- my own blog. Maybe it’s because I work from home, and need a little conversation now and then that is not about helping wounded veterans.  Maybe it’s because I am mother of two medium size boys with medical/special issues, and I would love to talk about something besides Legos and Star Wars- The Clone wars. (There is a difference, I'm told, so we’d better be VERY clear about that.) Maybe because I have a husband who is a medically retired veteran with PTSD (hence the day job) and he spends a lot of time in his office involved in the therapeutic making of stuff. Or maybe I simply want to have a voice, somewhere out there. 

I am, even now, a writer, currently contributing to 3 blogs: (weekly) (consistently-as often as I can) (occasionally- we're retired now)

Subjects range from medical/special needs, to faith and growing, to needs of military families. So I do blog. Often, but usually within certain parameters that affect the overall direction of my life.  And I’d really love a little nook of my own, a place for ramblings on things like, I don’t know, stripy kitty cats and little boys with chocolate drop eyes.

I don’t know if I have time. Would I really show up? Every day—or at least every week? I’m not really sure, but how will I know if I do not try? So here I go. Is it better to be a guest writer or to attempt to launch out and create a space of my own? Time will tell. And so I begin. 

~Just Me