Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Eating plan update and ramblings

I'm right about halfway through my 30-day trial of the new eating plan. As most things go with me, I can feel that I'm losing steam. I was very dedicated and disciplined the first week. That was until we went camping that weekend and ended up eating pizza twice. Yes, twice! Ugh! Just call me Fatty Arbuckle. I learned a valuable lesson from that indulgence though. 

I had a couple of days of withdrawal at the beginning of the eating plan. My body was adjusting to missing out on all the carbs and sugar it was used to. I'm not going to lie. It was rough! By Wednesday afternoon though, I was feeling better than usual and the week continued on a high note. I felt a marked improvement in my energy and didn't have to take even one single Tum (which I typically live on most nights of the week). Then I had pizza. When the carbs came back, so did the indigestion, restless sleep, and lethargic mornings. 

I have since been fairly strict, only waffling here and there to accommodate cravings or eating out with friends and family. I'm happy to say that, even after I indulge in one of my "forbidden" foods, it's typically not satisfying me the way it used to and I'm craving something natural to almost cleanse my palate (typically fruit). I am finding much satisfaction in the convenience foods God gave us instead of in the convenience foods Little Debbie gives us. 

I'm pressing onward despite the fact that I haven't adhered totally to the plan as required, which is a huge step for me. Typically, I would feel as if I had failed and just quit. Instead, I am trying to make this a lifestyle change. It's just not feasible to say I'll never eat out again, or I'll never have cheese again. But, it is feasible to say that I will only do those things and the others that contribute to my PCOS sparingly. 

I will pass on a yummy recipe I made this last week in my search for a "dessert" that wasn't dairy, didn't have too much sugar, and was practically natural and clean as possible. Enter Watermelon Granita by the lovely Pioneer Woman. If PW doesn't ring a bell, please do yourself a favor and check out her site. Great recipes, funny posts, and awesome giveaways! 

I've wanted to make watermelon granita for a couple of years now, but thought it seemed like too much work. Until I saw PW's post. I made haste and got that granita going in about 20 minutes, which is saying something 'cause I'm slow as molasses in the kitchen. My little monster helped me make it, all the while saying, "I will NOT eat that!" 

Fast-forward five hours and he was sitting cheerily in front of the tele with a big bowl of watermelon granita. He forgot all about those silly watermelons; this was just a cool popsicle of sorts. Feed it to your fruit-challenged kids, I promise they'll like it if my kid did. 

Two more things to add to this long post (I'll be brief): 

If you like cherries, get yourself one of these. It's called the Cherry Chomper, and you can get one via various websites for between $8 and $10. It's super fun to use, kid friendly, and encourages gorging on mass quantities of cherries, which I'm all for! 

Are you still praying for our buddy Tripp? Please remember him in your prayers each day. He's not doing any better. Still about the same, heavily sedated and in pain when he's awake. It breaks my heart to see that he hasn't turned a corner yet, but I know God can and does work miracles. Tripp is a fighter and is more of an inspiration than I can ever hope to be. Please pray for God's will in his life and for strength and peace for his parents as they live out God's will for their precious little boy. 

That's all. Gosh, writing about Tripp at the end here kind of makes all the stuff above it seem like fluff, just not important. I feel so useless not doing anything but praying. However, prayer is precisely what God wants from us in times like these. I'm grateful to Tripp for keeping me in closer communion with my Lord. 

God bless,
Miss K

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spiritual marinade ~ Anger

In the Jonah Bible study I talked about in this post, I have been beyond blessed. Really. That sounds trite, but God has revealed much to me through this study and that I have SO much more to learn.

The final day of our study dealt partly with anger. Jonah is angry at God for changing his course and not demolishing the Ninevites. God gives Jonah (and all of us) a life verse at this point:

"Do you have good reason to be angry?" Jonah 4:4

Wow! I want to put this verse on a loop in my head so I can instantly replay it every single time I get frustrated and/or my ire gets up. Chances are, the resounding answer most times will be "No." 

Priscilla Shirer's teaching on this subject brought me to a very pointed question. Something I like to term a "spiritual marinade" because it truly is something we should ponder, let sink in, and then learn from. You know, let it marinate in you. Here it is:

We get angry at people and stay angry because we expect them to be here tomorrow. We take for granted that they will be around long enough for our grudge to hold out, for them to realize what they did wrong (according to us), or for us to have enough time to finally forgive them. If we are believers, we know that tomorrow is not promised for any man. None of us knows the time we have left on this Earth, only God does. 

So, supposing we knew they wouldn't be here tomorrow (if we could know), would we still hang on to that anger? Would it be THAT important? 

I know what I would do, or rather, what I should do. For I don't know the count of anyone's days; there is always the chance that someone you see today will not be here tomorrow. What would you do? 

Marinate on it. 

God bless,
Miss K

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Please pray for Tripp

If you've taken a gander down the right-hand side of my blog page, you've seen the pictures of three sweet ones that need prayer. I know they are a few of many, but they are near to my heart as I have been following their stories for some time. 

One of them, little Tripp, needs your prayers badly right now. Tripp has a skin disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa (or EB, for short). You'll notice little Jonah has EB as well. I'm not sure even how I became acquainted with both of these families' blogs, but I'm grateful to the Lord that I did. I have been able to see true heroism lived out in these toddlers and their parents. 

Tripp is battling fevers and infection right now, and is in immense pain (even moreso than what he's typically dealing with from EB alone). The doctors are trying to put him on pain medicine that will ease his discomfort and allow him to get well. To be honest, I don't know the prognosis. I know that the life expectancy of EB children can be short. Tripp just turned two years old; he has so much life ahead that he should be able to live. But, we do not know God's plan; only God knows and He's in control, so we must trust in Him. 

Would you please add Tripp and his mother Courtney to your prayer list? I have been awestruck at the strength that Tripp has displayed as a child managing a pain that he doesn't even understand and that Courtney has displayed at raising, loving, and nurturing this sweet little guy in the midst of a devastating disease. 

It's strange, but I can safely say that I love Tripp. I've never met him and probably never will, but he has touched my heart in a way that I can't express in words. Take a look at Tripp's website, read his story, look at all his adorable photos, watch this little guy inspire you in his videos, and see if you don't love him, too. I dare you. Then, pray for him. Please.

God bless, 
Miss K

P.S. Grab a button for your blog while you're at it and spread the word. Tripp needs all the prayer warriors he can get! 


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bible in 90 Days ... read with me!

In my life, I've yet to read the Bible in its entirety. I've made it most of the way through the New Testament and part of the way through the Old Testament. I've always desired to read it from cover to cover though, like a book should be read. I've been a believer for 20 years; it's high time I get around to it. 

Thus, I've signed up for a challenge. It's called "The Bible in 90 Days." Yes, you read the entire Bible. Cover to cover. In 90 days. Sounds like quite a challenge, right? 

I have realized things about myself in my time on Earth. One very important one is that I am great with deadlines. Not so great without them. Left to my own devices, I might have the best intentions of reading the entire Bible the rest of my life and never actually get around to it. Give me a deadline, and voila, I can make it happen. At least I hope to. 

A good friend of mine referred me to this, and I am so grateful. It actually started on July 11, so I am a couple of days behind, but I have already almost caught up to today's reading. It's really not that much. Don't quote me, but I think it equates to about 12 chapters a day. It's recommended to allot 45 minutes per day for the reading. Won't you read along with me? 

Keep in mind that this is a reading of the Bible, NOT a study. I have been bookmarking important verses and making small notes as I go for reference/research later, but I am reading it as I would any old novel. This makes the reading go much faster and the stories seem to read more easily and vividly to me. 

I would recommend reading it on a Nook, iPad, or eReader of some sort if you have one. I'm using my iPad, which is totally cool because I can just bookmark and make notes as I go without digging out a pen and paper. And, if you download the Bible app, you can actually sign up for free and begin the 90-day reading plan from your device. The only downside is that the plan can't be made retroactive to July 11, so your plan is a few days longer than the original.

As far as I know, the challenge is still open. Go here to sign up if you're so inclined. I'd love to read along with you and be blessed together. 

God bless,
Miss K 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday funnies

Howdy y'all,

Remember when we used to get the "funnies" with the newspaper every Sunday? Boy, I sure do. One of my favorite things to do growing up was to read the funnies. If you no comprende what I'm laying down, the "funnies" are the cartoons in the paper. You know, the old greats like Hagar the Horrible, Family Circus, Garfield, and who can forget Luann. I always cut out my favorite ones and kept them. I still love to read the funnies, but don't get to often because we don't get a Sunday paper. (Mental note: get a Sunday paper subscription). 

Well, here's something that should give a good chuckle the way those old funnies did. I've captured the meat of an email message I received yesterday and have it here for you to read and enjoy. Be sure to read the fine print; that's where the real laughs are at. 

Based on your industry status, you're exactly the kind of
top-level executive who should be reading every issue of
Cleaning & Maintenance Management magazine.

The success of even the finest publication depends on
getting it into the hands of the audience it was meant to serve.
We look forward to keeping you up-to-date on all the latest
happenings in the world of commercial cleaning.

Simply click the Verify Button below to accept your 
FREE* introductory subscription to 
Cleaning & Maintenance Management magazine. 

Ain't that a hoot? I mean, seriously. I wasn't aware the cleaning industry knew of my status. I'm fairly certain that if they knew of my cleaning status, they would be well aware that I am nowhere NEAR a top-level executive in terms of cleaning and maintaining my home. I am functioning somewhere near apprentice or assistant to the secretary at best. 

I love it! It's so laughable it's not even funny. Wait ... is that an oxymoron? Anywho, as I was out trolling the local Big Lots today, I came across something to aid me in furthering my skills as a top-level cleaning executive. 

By the way, am I the only one who loves Big Lots? I mean, yes, there is a lot of junk there and sometimes questionable people, but, at times, there are such good deals. Real diamonds in the rough, so to speak. Like a Z Gallerie-esque picture frame for $5. I like nice, but I like cheap. Those two meet sometimes at Big Lots and when I'm there to witness the meeting, I'm all over it like hen crap on a steel pump handle (props to my buddy Lee for coming up with that jewel). I digress ... 

Wanna know what I got at Big Lots to help me work my way up the corporate cleaning ladder? Here she is:  

Yep, it's a leopard-print mop. Hey, if I've got to mop, I might as well be stylish while I do it, right? This will fit neatly alongside my leopard-print dishwashing brush. I see a trend starting here, and mama likey. I just happened to need a new mop and they just happened  to have this purdy gal, so there we go. I can't resist leopard print. I'm pretty sure I'll be the old lady wearing leopard print in the mall with everyone gawking, saying, "Doesn't she know she's too old to be wearing that?" 

Now mopping can be a *little* more fun (OK, so it doesn't even register on the fun meter), but at least I will enjoy pulling my cute mop out before I groan about using it. Maybe I'll become President & CEO of Cleaning & Maintenance Management magazine before long. It's not a far stretch; I was an editor in my former life. Watch out world, here I come! 

God bless,
Miss K

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Dreaded "D" Word

That's right. You guessed it. Tomorrow, I'm going on a DIET. Ugh! I abhor that word. Really. Whoever invented it should be ... well, I'll save the end and maintain my ladylike charm. 

This isn't just any old diet though. I'm actually excited about this diet. Scratch that. I'm excited about this new eating plan, which will be a better label for my purposes. 

You see, I have something called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS, for short). I have been asking for a diagnosis from my doctors for darn near four years now, so I was finally relieved to have the diagnosis confirmed a few months ago. If you know anything of PCOS, it ain't good. If you have PCOS, I'm sorry for you, and me. It causes fertility problems, cycle problems, and a host of other unsightly and downright embarrassing symptoms that no woman should have to deal with. Ever. Period. To put it bluntly, PCOS makes you a hot mess. 

Here's a good example all my girls reading this can relate to. Take two women: let's call them Fiona and Vivian (two names I downright love). Say Fiona and Vivian eat the same exact diet for a month. You'd think they would both either maintain their weight or gain roughly the same amount of weight, right? WRONG! You see, Fiona has PCOS. Thus, Fiona can actually GAIN weight while Vivian (who is PCOS free) will NOT gain weight and may even LOSE weight. You're screaming it with me, right? How unfair! Unjust! Downright awful. That, my friends, is PCOS. It caused me to gain 20 pounds in one year. I kid you not. PCOS causes insulin resistance (much like a pre-diabetic state), so those of us who are blessed with it have to be super-cognitive of what we eat. 

Herein lies the need for the new eating plan (the aforementioned "diet"). In seeking a natural remedy for my PCOS symptoms, I stumbled upon this wonderful book The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility. This book is chock-full of explanations about PCOS, the foods we eat, and how it is all intertwined to either help or hurt those of us with PCOS. If you have PCOS, I would recommend you get the book (it's available online as a PDF) and read it promptly. I devoured the book in one evening and it's nearly 500 pages. Good stuff.

The new eating plan starts tomorrow. So, if you have the pleasure of interacting with me face to face, I'm pleading for some grace this first week (if not for the entire month, depending on how well I adjust). This eating plan is like the Full Metal Jacket of eating. There is no cutting corners, there is no cheating. It's strict as Mommy Dearest. It allows mainly fruits, vegetables, lean meats, eggs, and some nuts and healthy oils. That's it. Here's what it doesn't allow (I hope my keyboard doesn't short out from all the tears that fall as I type this): processed foods (of any kind), grains, soda (of any kind), and, here's where my heart actually aches: DAIRY. No dairy of any kind. No milk. No yogurt. No butter. NO CHEESE! Oh dear Lord, spare me the agony. A life without cheese? What kind of life is that? It's nearly unbearable. 

As I regain my composure, I realize that man does not live by cheese alone. Or was it bread? Heck, they're both good, so it doesn't really matter. I must remind myself that I'm doing this to heal my body, to bring it back to a more natural state of being so that it can function properly. There are so many foods I CAN eat on this plan, it's ridiculous. So I will focus on that. I'm actually excited to toss out the processed foods, as we've been eliminating those bit by bit for a while. And the soda needs to go, too. It's unnecessary. 

I'll be going this plan for a month, to start off. Then, if I feel ready, I can reintroduce some foods here and there (obviously not the processed ones though, or the soda). I'm resting on the notion that I will be energized and feel empowered by fueling my body with nutrients and vitamins instead of processed "foodstuff." I have heard great things about the restorative properties of this diet, so I am looking forward to those. 

I'll be making many new recipes in the next month, so I'll be sure to share those that succeed and might be pleasing to someone else's palate. I'll also report on how the plan's healing properties are working for me in case someone would like to try it for themselves to alleviate their own PCOS symptoms, or just in an effort to be more healthy. 

If you have any healthy eating tips and/or recipes that fit the bill, please send them my way. I can use all the artillery I can get for this war. Seriously. I'm a foodie, so this is not going to be easy. But it will be worth it. 

Wish me luck!

God bless,
Miss K

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Of Bible Studies and Brownies

I'm random, I know. But bear with me and hear me out on two things. Just two things. Then I'll let you get back to your regularly scheduled programming. 

1. Brownies

Right below is a sacred recipe for the best brownies I have ever had in my life. Seriously. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read past the first ingredient. I know it will be hard, but you can do it. Test drive these babies. You won't be disappointed. I promise. Take a chance on me. If you're all alone when the pretty birds have flown, honey I'm still free, take a chance on me. (Sorry, I spontaneously burst into ABBA songs, or any song for that matter, frequently. Forgive me.) Without further adieu, I bring you: (drumroll, please)

Dark Chocolate Beet Brownies

Servings: 24
Time: About one hour total; 30 minutes active

8 ounces raw beets, peeled and halved (YOU CAN'T TASTE THEM. I SWEAR.) Keep reading!
8 ounce unsalted butter (2 sticks)
¾ cup dark brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar
4 eggs
1 ¼ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, not imitation
¾ cup white flour
1 cup chocolate chips, preferably 60 percent or more cacao 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a small pot, add beets and cover with water. Heat over medium heat and cook 20–25 minutes until very soft. Drain, puree and set aside to cool.

3. In a medium pot over low heat, melt butter. Turn heat to medium-low and add both sugars. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, about 2–3 minutes, and remove from heat.

4. Beat the eggs on medium with a mixer for about 2 minutes. Add cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and vanilla extract, and incorporate well.

5. Add pureed beets and butter-sugar mixture and mix well. On low speed, add flour and then chocolate chips, scraping the sides as needed.

6. Spray a 9 x 13 pan generously with cooking spray, add batter and bake 30 minutes until knife comes out clean or with just a few crumbles. Cool in the pan before turning out onto a cooling rack. Enjoy warm!

Make these. Like tomorrow. Your children will gobble them up like they're candy. You will, too. And you'll all be getting your folate, Vitamin C, and iron. Thank me later. I accept payment in brownies and/or meatballs.

2. Bible Studies (or one wonderful one, in particular)

 If you're looking for something to turn your attention away from your children who are on school vacation this summer and driving you bonkers (or if you're just a woman), avert your eyes from "All My Children" and check out this Bible study "Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted." I'm currently more than halfway through this study with a church women's group, and it has impacted me tremendously. As I was sharing with my husband, I don't know whether it's the season of life I'm in or the age I am, but I am finding so much that resonates with me in this study. It's almost overwhelming to feel the Lord reaching out to me in this way. I mean, I've been in Bible studies, but this is probably the first one that has affected me in ways that will change who I am as a mother, a wife, and a person in general. Priscilla Shirer is good! She is on fire for the Lord and she's so authentic. She's a mother of three boys and she's living to tell AND give God glory about it, so you bet your bottom I'm going to listen! 

The ladies in my group are amazing (and I don't mean that in the flippant sense of the word). Each of us have been transparent throughout the study, which I have been so thankful for. We are diverse in age and I feel there is so much knowledge and wisdom to glean from each of the ladies I'm studying with. Suffice it to say, I think this study is better done as a group, but it cuts the mustard all on its own. Who would've thought four little chapters of the Bible could do so much? Please do check it out. Let the Lord speak to you. 

That is all. Brownies and Bible studies. Good stuff, eh? Nourishment for the body and the soul. 

God bless, 
Miss K