Do you Haiku?

When I am forced to sit (or lie) still for an extended time for physical recovery, I often turn to simple creativity. It both gives me a sense of accomplishment, but also a that little rush that comes from making art in some fashion. Sometimes, on “spoonie recovery days,” I write.

I suppose at “level 46,” with the amount of poetry I have written I could call myself a poet, though I have never claimed the title. But sometimes my thoughts gather themselves into rhythm and rhyme and I have to put them on paper (or screen). Today, my mind ran in the form of the haiku. I went with it.

Sometimes you have to just go with it. 😉

It’s Ok- it’s not your job…

Good morning friends,

Wow what a few months we are having, and the strain in the world seems to only increase. I was praying for a friend this week who has the added loss of a parent to bear this week, and I thought of her when I read this verse. And then I thought of myself, and all of you.

Romans 15:13 New International Version (NIV)  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

̶I̶ ̶d̶o̶n̶’̶t̶ ̶k̶n̶o̶w̶ ̶a̶b̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶, We could all use a little more peace right now. And perhaps as a Christian you feel like you should have more peace than you do.

Did you know that you don’t have to work up “joy and peace” in hard times?  The verse above says that God will fill you all joy and peace, and you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Joy and peace and hope are all described as God’s job! But you do have a role. Your job is  to work on trust.  It says this will happen “as you trust in him.”

So how do you “work on” trust?

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV, emphasis mine)
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Psalm 46:10 (NIV, emphasis mine)
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

It’s not our job to try to work up feelings of peace. If you have tried this, you know it only works for so long. It is our job to practice taking thoughts that are full of fear captive, and to replace them with thoughts of trust. We can be sure to include in our choices of music, books, and entertainment things that will encourage our hearts to trust. May I recommend extra time in the Bible during these trying times? Extra time in prayer?

And now again: my prayer for you today 

What other verses would you add to this collection for practicing trust? Let’s create a collection; post yours in the comments!

Best,

What you wish for….

I read this article the other day, called The Happiest People Are Those Who Realized That God is enough. 

The author makes observations about what she has seen, how she longs for that they have, and she began to sum up the article with this:

“I don’t know how they got there but I know that this is the ultimate truth, this is how you enjoy your life and this is how you stay calm, strong and patient in times of pain and distress. This is how you heal.

Because once you learn that God is enough, you’ll never have to question yourself, you’ll never have to doubt yourself or your decisions. You become whole again. You become complete.

Maybe we’re all confused, hurt and sad because we still don’t know how to talk to God. We still don’t get it. We still ask for things that are wrong for us. We still hope to change our destiny. We still think he’s being too hard on us. We still think he doesn’t know what makes us happy.”

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I immediately felt compelled to write a response, so I saved the article until I could take time to sit and process my thoughts. I felt compelled to write, not because I disagree, but because I wholeheartedly agree. And I felt like the author left out the most important part… how someone gets to that point.

This is really one of those “be careful what you wish for” scenarios. No one comes to the place where they know that God is enough, until they have hit such a low that God was all they had.

I was recently asked about our adoption story, and I don’t sugar coat it. I immediately talk about how hard it was, and how God changed me. A lot of those thoughts I processed in this blog post. I have been told “I wish I had your faith.” Or “I wish I had your strength.”

Well. So here is my response to those questions, and to the author:

Until you realize that God is good, even when every circumstance feels bad, you won’t find real peace. Until you realize that you can’t always tell whether something is going to be good or bad in the long run, you won’t feel real trust. Until you know that in the darkest of days, God will not let you down, that what you may wish would happen may not best… and may never make sense to you this side of heaven, happiness will elude you.

To quote my previous post:

              We do not really know what is a blessing and what is a “curse.” What if we were less focused on what these tangible things “mean?” What if we didn’t look to those things as proof that God is good?  Because if that is proof… there are a lot of believers on this planet who don’t have any proof that God is good.

I have walked through things I would never have chosen for myself or anyone else…..

      • miscarriage of my first pregnancy at 3 months
      • having to disrupt an adoption
      • an adoption that took 5 years
      • chronic illness for me and my daughters
      • medical debt I don’t know how we’ll ever get out of
      • all things and more that can strain a marriage
      • living with the affects of childhood trauma in people you love

And I have never believed in God’s goodness more than I do now. I have seen His fingerprints all over my life in so many ways… miraculous financial provision, (multiple times), a new friend come alongside in a difficult season, words from His scripture so perfectly timed, a “random” lead for a medical provider who finally finds the diagnoses, a deeper appreciation for the things that really matter, more healing… I have seen God meet my needs and those of people I love over and over again. Sometimes  I’d think it’s not how I wish it happened. But in the end, He is always good.

His love does not fail. Psalm 136

He provides for me. Matthew 6:25-34

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Have you ever wished you could read these words, and know, deep in your very being, that it is all true. I could say “Be careful what you wish for.” Or I could say, “Ask Him, and then hang on for the ride.” To know He is good, and He is all you need, you will have to live through a time where you test it, and find out it’s true. He is all you need.

Are you willing to walk through a dark valley, to find He gets you through to the other side? Are you ready to eat a meal miraculously provided by Him, in the presence of difficult times, or difficult people? Are you ready to lie still when you want so desperately to try to change things on your own? Will you sit and rest and be restored in His timing?

It’s hard. But I know God is truly all I need. And I wouldn’t trade that knowledge for anything. 

 

 

Need Sleep?

Having had four kids, I know that “sleep like a baby” sounds like false advertising. But sleep truly does seem to get trickier as we get older! As promised, here are a few “How-to” Sleep Tips for you to try, if restful sleep is eluding you these days.

Baby, Boy, Son, Child, Infant, Kid, Cute, Little, Happy

Try making your bedroom darker and or quieter

I have had seasons of life where I could sleep with the lights and tv on. But not so much anymore. For whatever reason, my natural melatonin production needs a little extra support nowadays. Darkening my room, (even blocking any light coming in under the door– I have teens who stay up later than I do!) made a big difference in my sleep quality. I do run a fan for white noise (and to drown out any noise of said teens and kids in the morning), but maybe experiment with silence if you live where it is quiet and see how that works for you!

Get some natural light exposure

As we head into the shorter days here in the north, sometimes I need to even go beyond natural light and use a light box. I wrote about how I work that into my day in a previous post. (And if you struggle at all with Seasonal Affective Disorder like I do, I did a series a few years ago on ideas for navigating that, and you can find it here! Whether I get outside, or sit by the light box, it’s important to do it early in the day, to help with your circadian rhythms. Train your melatonin to shut off in the morning, and work on getting it to kick in at the right time in the evening.

Take a hot salt bath: add essential oils!

If you know me at all, you knew it was coming, right!? ESSENTIAL OILS! Hands down my favorite sleep helper, in addition to a long soak in an epsom salt bath. If you are new to essential oils, purity is everything. Don’t buy them at Walmart or TJ Maxx. My favorite essential oil to sample people is doTERRA’s Serenity Oil. I just LOVE to help people sleep better. It’s truly life changing; it impacts so many areas of a person’s health! Lavender and Roman Chamomile are two other great oils for sleeping, as well as Ylang Ylang. (I’ll be sharing more about that fun-to-say oil soon as well!)

Get a massage or stretch before bed

Another thing I can tell immediately affects my sleep quality is some really good stretching  before bed. I am a big pilates fan, so my stretching tends to look a little pilates/yoga-ish, maybe I’ll use some exercise bands to stretch out tight hamstrings, focusing on deep relaxing breaths. My goal is to release tension while also keeping my heart rate at a relaxing pace.

Let me know if you try any of these ideas, and what your results are!

Also, if you have never tried doTERRA oils and would like to take some Serenity Oil for a test drive let me know! (And don’t pay retail… ask me how to get a deal!)

 

I will soon be taking on a few practice clients for my health coaching schoolwork. If you’d like to be one of them, reach out to me soon!

Got Sleep?

For those of you that don’t know, I am currently in school to become a HEALTH COACH! OHMYGOODNESS does my Learner theme (#1) LOOOVE to be in school! But also, I have been studying health for so many years, as modern medicine was not able to give me the help I needed.

The main focus in my classes currently is about the danger of the Blood Sugar Roller Coaster… and boy do I know that ride well! Usually we think “ok then I’ll have to give up sugar.” But there are several things that have an impact on the blood sugar rollercoaster that we often don’t think of… including SLEEP!

Image result for sleep free images

To keep it short and sweet (pun!), when we get sleep deprived, our cortisol levels go up. Cortisol is a “stress hormone,” both in good and bad ways. It allows us to get out of bed in the morning (unless your adrenals finally get worn out, and you find you can’t produce enough cortisol to get out of bed anymore… anyone ever get there? Just me?)

Cortisol has some other jobs as well:

  • cortisol increases the hunger hormone, ghrelin, urging us to eat more, in order to try to get our energy up
  • cortisol can increase blood pressure
  • cortisol increases comfort food cravings (often junk food, which helps intensify the Blood Sugar Roller Coaster)

Add some brain fog, increasing the chance for poor decision-making, and you can have a series of bad consequences on your hands.

Balancing out your blood sugar is so much more than just avoiding sugar. I find it so exciting that it’s not just being “perfect” about sugar in take that can have an impact. You have multiple tools for helping to create balance. And one of them is as easy as going to sleep!

In my next post, I will share some tips in case getting more sleep doesn’t come easily to you!

What’s your ideal amount of sleep?                                                                                                                     Mine seems to be about 8 hours and 40 minutes.

I will be taking on a small number of practice clients in the near future! If you’d like to be one of them, please reach out to me soon!

Wintergreen, How I Love Thee

When doTERRA decided to feature this oil today in an email, I HAD to do my own post! Wintergreen Oil has been my buddy for the last few weeks at bedtime. I love to put a couple drops and massage lightly into my neck and shoulders. It gives a lovely warming sensation and help to melt the tension of the day away!

You can also add 1–2 drops of Wintergreen oil to warm bath water (I put the drops into Epsom salts before pouring into the bath), and enjoy the soothing sensation to your muscles and the uplift to your mood!

DoTERRA’s wintergreen oil comes from Nepal. The oil from Nepal has a very rich, earthy scent, and many people feel it penetrates deeper than the previous wintergreen we carried, and I agree! And the scent is more to the birch/root-beer scent to me, than a “wintergreen” lifesaver scent.

I LOVE this video about the sourcing of Nepal, and our Healing Hands efforts there

The latest tip I learned for this yummy smelly oil, is to use it in stinky shoes. Heaven knows with 2 active teens at home, and a preteen boy I can use this tip!

If you have any questions about using your DoTERRA Wintergreen oil, or how to get some, please let me know!

The Waiting

I was not born with a gift for waiting.

Some say anticipation is half the fun.
But I never got that.

For me, the School of Waiting included mandatory classes like:
Chronic illness
International adoption
Marriage
Parenting
Being in the World but Not of It

And you know what?

Waiting is a skill you can get better at.
It turns out, patience, trust, faith are all muscles you can strengthen.

I don’t love it.
But I am thankful for the result.
My Faith is bigger.
My Peace is stronger.

Electives like: Piano Practice, Journaling, and Singing help the time go by.
Frequent Bible Study, and Bible-obsessed Friends are a big help.

Image may contain: 1 person, text

In fact, if you are suffering from some divinely-sent waiting, I strongly prescribe Bible study for an early and effective treatment. Google “bible gateway” and an emotion you are struggling with… say “peace” or “fear.” Read all the verses. Let one verse lead you to another. Get a friend who will remind you of this prescription.

You are not alone.
I am not alone.

I am well-loved, even in the waiting.
Or, I am well-loved, therefore I wait.

Back in the Kitchen (Back on the blog!) **TORTILLAS**

It feels like I barely cooked for 18 months! I know my family ate. (I know we bought a lot of precooked chickens last winter. And healthy pre-made food is expensive!) While healing from chronic Lyme, and MCAS and various other new diagnoses, cooking took a back seat. (So did blogging). Of course, healthy eating is so key to healing, but it was a struggle to keep up with life spend the amount of time I used to spend on creating healthy homemade food.

A recent diagnosis of having severely low DHEA (pre-hormone from your adrenals that allows the production of cortisol, and other hormones) made me feel better, just know it was possible to measure in a lab how exhausted my body always is! (The over-achiever in me feels better anyway).

I have started a new supplement specially compounded for me that my body seems to be accepting! So with renewed hope in more energy coming, and finding a cookbook to help me with inflammation-reducing recipes for my healing body, I venture into the kitchen to create a tortilla using non-grain flours. (Grains are going to be off the menu for quite some time for me).

I was inspired when I found the Lectin Free Mama blog, and her cassava tortilla recipe. Of course due to our MCAS and multiple food allergies, I can never seem to just find a recipe that works for us. Cassava is a common cross-reaction protein for people with celiac, and it feels almost like eating gluten to us. I also have a daughter with a major dairy sensitivity. So I looked to tigernut flour, and palm shortening, looking at how some other bloggers combine flours with tigernut to get the right consistency, and VOILA! I am so glad I did not give up and decided to go for it!

I am SUPER excited about how these tortillas came out! I believe they are Plant Paradox friendly (I am new to that food list).

SPRING’S TORTILLAS

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 c. shortening (softened but not liquid)

1 1/2 c. tigernut flour

1 c. arrowroot flour

1 c. warm water

2-3 tbs coconut flour until right texture achieved

I mixed the first two flours and the shortening in my kitchen-aid until crumbly. And then added the warm water. I then stirred in coconut flour one tablespoon at a time until the flour no longer stuck to the bowl. The texture to touch was fluffy and not sticky.

I weight 2 oz-ish on my scale so they would be similar in size, and pressed them in my electric tortilla maker. I experimented with times between 1 minute and two, and somewhere in the middle was my favorite. (Cooking both sides at once, it does not take as long as in a skillet).

Recipe makes 8 tortillas at this size. (I also experimented with how flat I wanted to press them for different thickness, hence the bigger thin one at the bottom of this plate!)

When I was done, I called my daughters down to help me test them out! We heated one up in wet paper towels in the microwave for 25-30 seconds, and then put a piece of leftover turkey and some lettuce in it to see how well it “wrapped.”

Success! The flavor is so subtle, we could really taste the fresh turkey, and there was no weird after taste (sometimes grain-free taste like love-at-first-bite-and-no-thanks-at-last-bite according to my girls 😉 )

Happy-Healthy-Eating!

Spring

SPRING’S TORTILLAS

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shortening (softened but not liquid)
  • 1 1/2 cup tigernut flour
  • 1 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut flour until right mixture achieved

Instructions

  • I mixed the first two flours and the shortening in my kitchen-aid until crumbly. And then added the warm water. I then stirred in coconut flour one tablespoon at a time until the flour no longer stuck to the bowl. The texture to touch was fluffy and not sticky.
  • I weight 2 oz-ish on my scale so they would be similar in size, and pressed them in my electric tortilla maker. I experimented with times between 1 minute and two, and somewhere in the middle was my favorite. (Cooking both sides at once, it does not take as long as in a skillet).
  • Recipe makes 8 tortillas at this size. (I also experimented with how flat I wanted to press them for different thickness, hence the bigger thin one at the bottom of this plate!)
  • When I was done, I called my daughters down to help me test them out! We heated one up in wet paper towels in the microwave for 25-30 seconds, and then put a piece of leftover turkey and some lettuce in it to see how well it “wrapped.”
  • Success! The flavor is so subtle, we could really taste the fresh turkey, and there was no weird after taste (sometimes grain-free taste like love-at-first-bite-and-no-thanks-at-last-bite according to my girls

Room to Breathe

This month, I started a new Facebook community for people who love to learn, love to cheer for others, who like or need accountability,  while on their own wellness journey. It’s called The WHOLE You with Spring.

For the month of January, my personal health focus (and the focus of a five-day challenge in the Facebook group) is BREATHING. No weightloss. No major character-transformations. Simply working deliberately on my breathing.

I have shared in the group a little of what I learned about breathing last year, that I am now taking time to put into personal practice.

We could get all philosophical (and easily negative) about a society that has to deliberately choose to return to practicing breathing. But I choose to see it as learning to adapt to modern changes, while also mining for the treasure of previous wisdom that gets buried in the shuffle of our modern pace. And learning how to take the best of the “now,” while not letting it drown out other important things. (Oops. See? Philosophical!)

The merging of traditional wisdom about our bodies and modern science has shown us some amazing things! My cardiologist introduced me to the biofeedback app called HeartMath, and I am using it daily in my breathing exercise this month. (Twice daily, actually!)

I have found the app fascinating in experimenting with essential oils, which ones help me maintain coherence (more on that in a soon-to-publish post), which ones help me focus etc.

I know that ultimately, with the scent-association, I will be able help trigger relaxation/coherence without using the app! Yeah, I’m geeking out a little bit with all the science this month too.

If you’d like to follow along in the Facebook group, you can request to join here!

Have you ever deliberately practiced breathing? I’d love to hear about it!

 

Romans 1-12 (in a tiny nutshell)

Sometimes words start coursing through my brain, pleading to be released. As I sat down to chapter 12 of my Romans bible study, this “summary according to Spring’s brain” started writing itself. In order to be left alone, I am typing it here. 🙂

ROMANS 1-12 Spring’s Brain’s Summary Version

You are a mess.
Stop pointing to other people’s messes and ignoring your own. That’s an even worse mess.
You do not get to decide what is a mess and what isn’t. God does.
You cannot stop being a mess on your own.
There is hope for your mess in Jesus.
As Jesus cleans up your mess, don’t judge people who are still in their mess, the ones who didn’t find Jesus yet. It’s not because YOU are awesome; it’s because HE is.
Jesus has made you a part of something bigger, something God has been doing since the beginning.
When you realize all that Jesus has done for you, what will be your response?
Live differently. Love differently. Do good.
Let God handle the rest.