Monday, September 5, 2022

A follow-up on my allergy journey

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1PdVcX7wi_uD-L4GrVPRgYmTWT3V11RlQ

A follow up on my allergy journey.


It has been 20 weeks and 4 days since I gave up:

Eggs
Duck eggs
Almonds
Hazelnuts
Black beans
Kidney beans
Pinto beans
Whey protein
Mushrooms
Coffee
Black tea

This shift was due to allergy tests after being told I may have an autoimmune disease. Nope. Just turns out I’m allergic to stuff. Which you can read about in my first #roseymugshot post.

20 weeks in and how do I feel?

I feel fricken fantastic. I don’t hardly have any caffeine anymore. And best of all, I haven’t had a migraine in… you guessed it, 20 weeks! Which is so wild.

There are so many more changes but let’s just focus on this one today.

I used to get a migraine once a week or every two weeks. It would cause a weird optical illusion in my eye called “ocular hallucination”. It basically looked like I was looking through water at something very bright. I could see, but not well. And it would precursor a horrific headache if I didn’t head it off. Like one of those migraines that hurt so bad you vomit and end up in bed for a day then the next day you feel as though you are completely hung over, without any of the fun of getting that way. Yeah. Once a month to once a week this would happen to me.

Now?

20 weeks and counting.

If you have ever had any thoughts about getting allergy testing done, maybe consider it. Especially if you already live in a bit of pain all the time or have reoccurring pain.

Just check it out.

See where that road takes you.

You have to ask for it, but most willing drs will help you obtain the tests and see if you have anything that is causing a huge amount of inflammation in your body.

It hasn’t easy at first, my body was used to having these things and this level of inflame every day, so the adjustment period wasn’t fun. But after about 8 weeks it started to change my world, and I couldn’t be happier now to have put in the effort. ❤️ ✌️
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Monday, August 15, 2022

Summer Flowers

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1GrpZN8apO1hu3tcI6oQBCbTvzdk15d_z

Goodness, I’m in love with these beautiful blooms. 

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1U97-2ygqHYb02DoM-BW3rJ4W3rkELueU

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1a8zIb3ltz6NwsH_vtmdvIfkeCQFpKJVG

Last year I spent quite a bit of time researching dahlias and this spring I set about prepping my soil and getting everything ready.  About two weeks ago I got my first blooms and I couldn't be happier with this summer sunset color range and gorgeous big, healthy blooms. 

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1cA9VrpbRolPNu6A0zzkNzgEV7EBmkrwE
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Friday, July 22, 2022

Being slowly poisoned by healthy food

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1bFXYioZUIfa0_gS98ShFcieqqC-8Nw2V

A few mug shots ago, I posted about how this can never be coffee and I missed the coffee culture and how my food allergies have taken over my life.  Well, my friends, a lot has changed since then. 

It has been 16 weeks since I found out I was allergic to:
Eggs
Egg whites
Almonds
Hazelnuts
Whey
Beans
Coffee
Black tea

And in those 16 weeks I have had a fundamental shift in my health and I want to tell you all about it because unknowingly I was poisoning myself for the last 16 years with things I “knew” were good for me. 

Nearly every morning I would have a whey protein smoothie with almond milk and yogurt or eggs from our pampered backyard hens with bread (sometimes homemade). Sounds like a really sound diet, right?  Turns out the only one of those things that doesn’t send my histamine count into a tailspin is the yogurt! 

To tell you what has changed requires me to say what my symptoms were, so here it goes. 

I was always chemically very weird. I couldn’t have normal things, like a glass of wine, or a cup of coffee because I would break out in hives or get a headache very quickly and spend the rest of my day feeling sick. 

I never sweated. I know!  Might be a blessing for some but for me, I work out hard and enjoy being warm. But if I were to over heat at all, I’d end up with a roaring headache. Pushing through for CrossFit only worked if I had a set routine like drinking 2 quarts of water (equal to everyone else’s daily allowance) and taking a warm shower as soon as I was done… and even then it was a crapshoot between if I’d feel like garbage for the rest of the day or not. I was told that it was a transition but it lasted a year and eventually I gave up CrossFit. 

I would get these huge red blotches out of no where. They would just show up. My face would feel like it was on fire and my chest, arms, and neck would turn blotchy and bright red. Randomly. 

I had ocular hallucinations, which is a type of migraine headache, about twice a month. My body would just stop one of my eyes from working for a few hours. It would look as though I was looking through a pool of water with a light on the other side of it.  These would last until I fell asleep. Didn’t matter what time of day they happened and I definitely couldn’t  drive while they were going on so sometimes I would get stuck at a job, or a homeschool club, and have to find a dark space and try to shut my eyes for as long as possible. If I couldn’t find that space, I’d end up with a migraine so awful that it occasionally made me vomit from the pain. 

My stomach hurt whenever I ate. I just got used to it. Food never really felt good to eat. Ever. 

My cycles were hell. Not in the crappy, painful way… but in the “sneeze and half my uterus comes out for nearly a week” type way (sorry, guys). 

I started losing hair. Every time I would have stress in my life, my hair would fall out. This was actually the last straw for me that sent me to the doctor asking for these tests. My hair was thinning, and it just wasn’t ok with me. 

Now I wonder how I lived that way for so damn long, seriously. 

And I am sure you are, too. 

My restrictions were already many. My stomach doesn’t handle any fruit, most cucurbits (cucumbers to melons), or several other things.  

But it wasn’t until I got a blood and urine and body composition test that it finally started clicking….  

It took 10 weeks to really feel the progress. And for about 6-8 of those, things got worse. Not ☝️ those things. Everything ☝️ there got better immediately upon eliminating all of those things completely from my diet, but other things got worse. 

I called it “weird bad” because it wasn’t my normal bad but it wasn’t fun. 

However, I trusted what the tests were saying and I kept going. 

Now?  
Now I sweat. 
For the first time in literally my adult life. Not a ton, because I don’t think my body’s a super sweater, but I sweat. On my stomach and my back. It is absolutely strange to me as I don’t EVER remember doing it before, but i don’t get a headache when I work out. I can physically handle heat. That part’s been wild. (My armpits smell different when I sweat, too! This one is the most wild and the most unexpected for me. I didn’t even know toxins could stop you from sweating!?)

I can drink alcohol. I have never been a heavy drinker and I doubt I’ll start now, but if I want to have a margarita with my SIL over tacos, I can. And I can just, magically, go on with my day. 

My cycles have calmed down to what others have said is more normal. I am hoping this trend continues. 

I haven’t had an ocular migraine in 16 weeks. Last one was in March, right before I stopped eating all my trigger foods. 

The only time I got the huge blotchy patches was when I tried to eat eggs. My body had a HARD pass on that protein. It just said no. It took two days to recover from a 2 egg omelette. 

Hurting and bloating and pain is no longer normal for me. It happens. I think it happens to us all, but it’s not anything like what I have experienced previously. 

My hair has completely stopped falling out. I no longer roll down my car window to throw out the clump of hair because I decided to take my ponytail down. It’s one or two hairs at most. And this one has stayed consistent for 2 months now. 

My skin looks consistently brighter. This one could just be summer, or it could be this chemical change in my system. I’ll be able to tell you that by November. 😉

Last of all, and least important in my mind, but I have lost 7lbs. All that inflammation I was carrying around is consistently gone. My body is starting to regulate differently. Even my PMS is completely different.

Why do I tell you this?  

Because I thought I knew my body. 

I spent the last 5 years playing whack-a-mole with what I could and couldn’t put into my body so it wouldn’t hate me. I have actually eliminated all of the trigger foods at one time or another…. But never all of them at once. 

I felt like I had tried everything. And it did take me a while to figure out what I could eat and an even longer while to figure out how to get more protein in my meat-light diet without eggs, almonds, soy, beans/rice, or whey protein. 

I felt like I was failing at the whole food change thing too…. 

Until I realized my back was sweaty one day during a hard yoga class. And then I realized I still felt energized when I got home and didn’t get a headache. And then I hadn’t had a migraine in 8 weeks, then 10, and now 16 weeks migraine free….  

Small changes made a huge difference. And I feel like I have gotten a whole new lease on life. Some of it is wild. I actually need to change after I workout hard. That was never an issue for me before. But other parts are just filled with sweet relief for what I have spent my life trying to figure out. 

That. And a whole lot of hope.
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Sunday, April 10, 2022

Nature Study Resources for the Charlotte Mason Homeschooler

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1mVxVw5qWySVgy4K9sxeKH5AuHnJUeQMp

For the last 16 years I have homeschooled my children with an eclectic tilt towards Charlotte Mason education and a heavy bent towards the constant study of nature.  In that time I have come across some of the very best nature study, living book reading material and I wanted to share that with you.  It has many vintage choices, but no worries, I found most of them on Amazon and put the links up just for you!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1TaOCT23Zl9KyVzO1ejgw-z7B9Aum9Ntr

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1tPsWu6J367BLHcKGCG62lm6ExMM_nXZS

According to simplyCharlotteMason.com, 'Living Books' are:
Living books are usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject and writes in conversational or narrative style. The books pull you into the subject and involve your emotions, so it’s easy to remember the events and facts. Living books make the subject “come alive.” They can be contrasted to dry writing, like what is found in most encyclopedias or textbooks, which basically lists informational facts in summary form. You might be surprised to find that living books are available for most school subjects — even math, geography, and science! 
I search constantly for books that fit these credentials because it really does bring life to the Nature Study for my kids.  My kids wait for the next chapter or book with enthusiasm, and remember so many of the facts that they constantly shock people with the facts they know about these wonderful animals.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1AHTAAFZBEMABtHPY9kBdfHeZgamGGmf6

First up, the baby animal series written by Berneice Freschet, illustrated Jim Arnosky

To anyone who is familiar with nature study knows Jim Arnosky.  If they don't, they should.  ;)  He is an incredible naturalist that has styled and yet accurate drawings of all the amazing nature experiences he has.  All of his books are packed with information!  I tend to trust anything that has his name on it.  If you have never heard of him, try anything that has the word "Crinkleroot" in the title.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1wgMDaMQ9T4SPeA_bDUjAta_9gVztIDV0

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1G5Ue1wJcjsVZx-nMjlERFzu6R6c87ud4

These books are for preschool - 4th grade.  They are adorable!  They follow a baby animal while adding true facts about how they grow and interesting facts about their life-cycles.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1Hzn_i3o7_JUHqLLu4dyy-CfgC1CiOu_E

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1OOm2lgnEyZN-Ha1crZHSRPrIPd7Fz6Um

Next up, Shirley Woods books.  

Shirley Woods is a Canadian nature writer who captures the essence of each story about an animal with the enthusiasm and interest of a season of Meerkat Manor.  The topics vary, each book containing the first year (usually) of a particular species.  He follows anything from a deer mouse to a fox to a beaver.  The books contain one life cycle, from birth to having their own cubs/kits/pups.  The author brings the topics to life by writing in the narrative style of the animals, as if they themselves are telling about their experiences.  

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1lUTTUuOURX2cknaWzFvp9TPJKb9gxzlu

Last up for living books, Anna Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study.

This book (or book series, depending on how you buy it) has more of an 'informative' style.  But it falls into the "living book" category because it has stories about each subject as well as lists of facts.  The book even goes so far as to prepare the reader with questions to think about each subject as well as places they may be found and information that helps the reader study the subject more effectively.  

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1TXhaFKzW1OjLkVm_KVGrgPesivvjOLNJ
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How To Save A Life

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1rFA1QXD4T2_tZh00LkIEOXViiv4Nf7vf

“Mama. You can go home and rest easy now. He is in good hands and he’s not going anywhere. Your shift is done. We have him.”


After one of the worst months of my entire life, I found myself on a red-eye last Saturday.

My oldest son has been homeless for over a year. And three weeks ago he called me and told me he was going to kill himself.

And then he went radio silent.

I knew that he had been robbed many times and I knew that it was a distinct possibility that his phone had been stolen, but I also knew that these couldn’t be the last words I heard from him.

So I took the week off, made all the plans for childcare (because my husband can’t take time off work right now #bluelinefamily), printed out everything my boys needed, went on an extra grocery shopping trip for easy-to-make food, and took a red eye with my daughter to find my oldest son in a homeless camp 3500 miles away.

The only thing I had to go on was a Wendy’s that I bought him food at regularly, that, and a hundred prayers.

I had told my pastor before I left that I wasn’t sure what to do and he connected me with a pastor in a church in the next city.

So armed with prayer, I left. Not having any idea what I would find.

We got there at 6am. We got settled in. We slept a bit. Then we went to sit at the Wendy’s and wait.

And he came.

Dressed in holy pj bottoms and a woman’s sweater, he looked terrible, but he didn’t run. He just hugged me and cried.

I was right. His phone was stolen. Along with absolutely everything he owned.

So.

First things first, dignity and communication.

We got him clothes, shoes, and a few simple supplies to shower with. We had him put them on as soon as we bought them.

He came out and looked human.

Dignity is absolutely invaluable.

Then communication. Next stop was Best Buy to purchase a phone and some prepaid Mint Mobile cards. (They are the best value, and the easiest to use.)

And now I had checked off all of the boxes I had for the trip. On day two.

If only I had had some idea of what God had in store. Because, my friends, God works in mysterious ways.

No.

God works.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1AOadVE7GO8rBvLoJR5NapfwLbu8AcVNj

The next day I went to visit the pastor.

He just wanted to connect.

And after all, my son was still homeless… dignity only takes you so far.

My ‘loaves and fishes’ moments were just beginning.

Although we gave him dignity and communication (and my daughter bought him a used bike so he had transportation, too) he would be in a very similar spot when we left there and flew home.

I was just hoping for a few resources that he could lean on to help ease his way.

I met with the pastor for 20 minutes. In that amount of time he set me up with a woman who’s son had been in a similar situation and ended up dying of a drug overdose 4 years ago in May.

To say this woman had a thumb on this part of the population is a gross understatement.

She asked the right questions, had intimate knowledge of the area and the population I found my son in, a no-bullshit attitude, and a huge heart for him as well as the things I had gone through. “Does he have insurance?” “Yes. But only for 4 more months”. “Well we should use those wisely then.”

She had a room in a private rehab facility for him within hours.

The speed of it made my head spin.

She was an absolute force to be reckoned with and she had friends.

Then he failed intake.

He “didn’t need help”. He “was fine”. He “Wasn’t a danger to himself”.

They saw right through it.

But I didn’t.

Thinking he was going to a rehab facility, I decided to help get him ready. Having no idea I was being lied to.

The next morning we went to his camp and got all of the clothing items he had left to take to the laundry mat to be sanitized. And I was humbled and terrified by what I saw at the homeless camp.

I thought it was all buttoned up. Until she called me and said he said he wouldn’t go.

She connected me with two other contacts. Steven and Mark. Both former addicts that had found salvation and spent the last few years dealing with the addict and homeless population.

They started texting me asking for his whereabouts and asking for more history. They had another spot, if only he would answer questions honestly about what he was dealing with.

He failed intake again.

I was now in the loop, though….

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1FTLw5I-mpn8H-FqMQqRV9iaNwjp_8Fk6


Me being in the loop he came upon some hard realities.

I wasn’t taking him home.

First off: He is on probation and has to stay in FL.

Second: I have younger kids still living in my house. There was no way I was adding the chaos of mental illness and addiction back into that mix.

Third: Boundaries save your damn life. They are SO important. The only way that *I* was going to get through this is if I had clear and consistent boundaries. I knew it when I decided to come.

So I held firm.

And slowly he started to break.

He admitted he needed help.

He admitted how dark his mind was.

He admitted where his dealer and ex girlfriend (also an addict) were and they were just blocks away from the cabin I rented. So close to him that the only thing between him and using was a phone.

And I had just handed him that.

But, by God’s grace he had just failed the intake at both of the local places. The only one left that we KNEW had a room was 4 hours away.

This time, he didn’t fail intake. And they sent a car 4 hours to pick him up.

The drivers name was also Marc.

(God bless the Mark/c’s of the world my friends. That name will forever be in my good graces.)

At 8:30 Wednesday night, Marc comes with the car from the rehab facility - 4 hours from my son's troubled past and current pitfalls - and took him to a place filled with therapists, medical professionals, and HOPE.

……………

Yesterday morning I got a call. After reviewing as much medical and mental health history as was needed, the therapist said:

“Mama. You can go home and rest easy now. He is in good hands and he’s not going anywhere. Your shift is done. We have him.”

It’s the only time the whole trip I cried.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1DIGkQUmRdzfe_tdgF11QT36QwtCtfera

But wait! There’s more.

The successful ending of the trip had not even truly dawned on me yet where we had to go to the airport. I was still in the heavy work of processing processing processing… it had only been an hour since I had spoken to the therapist.

I had done a great job of not falling into my more detrimental patterns of self-soothing while we were gone, but with the end looming and relief coming, I wanted a coffee, badly. Even though I knew it would hurt me.

Bad habits don’t always have to ruin your life. Some just ruin your day.

I am walking towards the Starbuck’s line, kinda like a zombie… but trying to convince myself to walk past when I see a familiar face.

Guys.

When I say that God’s hands were on this trip… that the obviousness of miracles was so near that I could feel the beauty of the grace right next to me like the gentlest welcome touch…. I can’t even express my shock and awe at the “coincidence” of it.

Because here I was, at the Tampa airport, 3500 miles from home and I see one of my best friends.

We have raised our kids together. Gone through tragedy and divorce and (yes) her brother’s addiction together.

We had drifted apart due to our kids being in college these last few years, but not in a bad way. In a “we can pick this up next time we have time” kind of way.

And she was right in front of me.

Then the absolutely unbelievable happened.

We were seated together on the plane.

I kid you not.

We had assigned seats SIDE BY SIDE.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1nnUl396EEEwon698YysP6VOEnYfRqxM0

She being the only one of my close circle that didn’t know about this because we hadn’t talked recently. And also being the only one who would truly understand what we had just accomplished. She was next to me for 7 hours and 14 minutes.

My mind was blown. My “loaves and fishes” moment had happened.

God had spoken.

And he said that it was good.

God works in mysterious ways.

No.  

Wait.

God works.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2022

I thank you, God, for this most amazing day….

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ePs87Fgjd-JXmbH4fqG4zseYkskABFlg

I thank You, God for most this amazing
day:

for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;

and for everything
which is natural

which is infinite

which is yes.

I who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;

this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:

and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any — lifted from the no
of all nothing — human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

- E. E. Cummings
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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The extraordinary will take care of itself.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1etsa37SXficYjVlM2QY2dzfS6Dc239fN


“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.

Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

- William Martin
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