Patience, Waiting, and Grace

waiting and patience

I have been without home internet for about 6 days. I have it again…yay! I haven’t had time to write at coffee shops so I had to endure life without the internet for a few days. When we get used to something, we don’t realize how much we rely on it until it’s no longer an option. Online banking. Blogging. Online shopping. Writing long emails (I hate writing long emails on my phone). And of course, the thousand ways to waste time on the internet through social media.

So, I am reminded once again lessons of patience, waiting, and grace.

After four days of being on the phone with my internet provider and experiencing less than stellar customer service, I was reminded to show grace even though I wanted to be short and snappy with the customer service representative. Long story short, I did end up receiving my requests met and my bill should be adjusted next month…we will see.

I have returned to the present day with my internet service fully restored and faster. Yay!

While  not having internet at home is a pain and inconvenience, it is a reminder to me that at times, waiting is necessary. Through waiting, we have opportunities for growth and blessings. Lessons of waiting….for healing, that better job offer, a financial break, a vacation, a broken heart to heal, answers to your mystery condition that has doctors baffled, relief for your child, the phone call that you have been matched with a child for adoption, a letter of acceptance or rejection…patience and waiting are never easy.

I don’t know what you are waiting for, yearning for at the present season in your life. Don’t lose heart. Continue to pray. Trust. Hope. He is listening. My home is filled with laughter and joy from my adopted son. My health is stable. My son’s condition is stable. Answered prayers through lessons of waiting. Right now, I am waiting for answers to another area in my life. I wait. I pray. I cry at times. I trust. His ways are always better.

Unsolicited Opinions

When you have food issues, you become the target of unsolicited opinions.

What are you eating? That’s dinner? Oh, you’re one of those healthy eaters. You eat the strangest stuff.

Yup, I’ve heard it all. I even had one of my volunteers after she preceded to tell me I eat strange food, reach into my Ziploc bag and grab one of my bean chips. Um, okay, help yourself???

After doing this modified diet stuff for four years, it doesn’t really bother me. People will sometimes laugh because on the rare occasion I eat an almond butter sandwich, I have the tiny slices of gluten-free bread. Or, I have a mug of chicken bone broth. Or, I offer someone the chance to try my chocolate pudding….only I don’t share it’s made from avocado…and they give me a look because it doesn’t have the processed taste of box pudding mixes.

My family has learned to live with me and my strange food. My teenage daughter who does all the family dishes in exchange for her cell phone bill is never fond when I use the food processor, blender, or juicer and especially not fond when I leave bone broth remnants in the crock pot…oops! A  nice bonus…..They always let me choose the restaurant which is nice.

I make green juice and smoothies. I make gluten-free mug cakes with no sugar. I use chocolate avocado pudding as a spread on my gluten-free banana bread. I tried cooking plantains in the oven…not a huge fan of that.

Food collage

I have been eating basically the same rotation of foods since I have been home from vacation in a valiant attempt to calm my gut. (Note to self: ketchup is not a happy stomach food). I’ll save the healing foods regimen for another post…it’s a slow process but my stomach is starting to calm down, and my skin is starting to clear up. And I am trying to be really creative with chicken so I don’t have a table full of complainers….chicken again?

I work with a bunch of junk food junkies. They come to work with their fast food bags, bags of chips, and cans of pop. It makes me want to say….You’re eatin that??? But I refrain from offering unsolicited opinions.

Any thoughts?

Out of Stock

Missing. No where to be found! My favorite Orgain organic protein powder…no where to be found at Costco…the main reason I braved the crowds.

Costco.com….”Out of Stock”

Vitacost.com…. “Out of Stock”

Orgain.com…. “Out of Stock”

My go-to breakfast…Orgain creamy chocolate fudge protein powder, PB2 powdered peanut butter, Silk Cashewmilk, my vitamin C sprinkles, a drop of Udo’s flax oil…all blended together in my Blender Bottle…keeps me full until lunch.

Orgain is plant-based, delicious, dairy free…so delicoius….apparently I am not the only one who likes it!

I am missing my Orgain….I have a substitute protein powder right now, but I hope I can find Orgain soon! It makes breakfast simple, and I like simple.

plant based protein powder

Deeper

deeper

A dear friend of mine encouraged and challenged me to go deeper with my writing. She reminded me I am more than my food issues, and I should never allow them to define me. So, my Sunday reflections…

I am not defined by my food issues…yes, they affect how I must live my life….not just by what I choose and not choose to eat, but in a social sense, my health issues, financial issues (healthier living costs more), and they complicate things like family get togethers and travels.

The frustrating thing about food issues is that it is not a “socially acceptable” issue…it’s not a defined disease like diabetes or even Celiac disease. When I tell someone I am gluten-free, I often have to face a litany of questions…do I have Celiac disease? Do I just choose to eat this way? And so on. I even had a waiter at a restaurant ask me once if I chose to eat this way or if I had to eat this way. Yes, it’s a choice….don’t we all make choices? Even the strict diabetic must choose whether or not to indulge in a double chocolate brownie and then thus deal with the consequences.

I could allow these food issues to consume me, and for a while, they did, especially in the thick of the unknown. As the GI bleeding ceased and my body began to slowly heal, I was still consumed by my food issues. I have a mental list of “dos” and “don’ts” when it comes to what and how I eat, but it’s not consuming my every thought anymore.

I am and will always have these food issues according to my much trusted nutritionist because of the damage that has been done to my gut. And, I guess that’s okay. I can learn to live with them, deal with the issues, and move on. They are not who I am. I am complex and complicated. Yes, I get frustrated by my food issues, but I also get frustrated by work, a messy house, weather…I am human.

This past week, I went back to work after a wonderful week of vacation. In less than one day, all that relaxation from vacation was once again replaced by the daily stress of life. I had to deal with an expensive car issue, my husband missing a day of work due to a migraine, an unplanned state inspection at work, work stress, school meetings for my kids, not as much sleep as I would have liked…in other words, LIFE. Life happens.

I have been reflecting a lot. I have been having prayer conversations  with God on my way to work. I realize I have goals, but I must have a plan, work hard, and sacrifice with intention. When I am discouraged, I need to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. I believe I am where I am for a purpose even if I don’t like it at the moment. I am learning, I am growing.

“Not only so,  but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

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I snapped this photo on vacation…through the long winter, hope of new life…a tiny green plant… is peeking through…the extraordinary in the ordinary. God’s way…always a lesson if I am only still enough to listen to the quiet in the noise.

My challenge for the week: notice the little things and find joy in them.

Travels with Food Issues

Traveling used to be a lot easier. I mean, there is a Subway or McDonald’s every few miles along the interstate. Well, gluten-free and a host of other food issues aren’t so easily accommodated as one travels. I packed my favorite Larabars, Luna Bars which are now gluten-free, apples and bananas, and some rice crisps.

Day  2: We visited Gardner Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, and they had a dedicated allergen free cooking area. I enjoyed a delicious salad with homemade dressing and a pork chop. Kudos to the college for acknowledging the food issues of some of their students.

As far as food for the majority of our vacation, we chose to rent a condo with a kitchen. Breakfast was always eaten inside our condo. We alternated lunch and dinner out. I love my  “Find Me Gluten Free” app on my phone which allows me to locate restaurants, read reviews, and preview menus before eating out.

One of my favorite parts of vacation is finding good clean eats. We have a family rule of no eating at chain restaurants on vacation. Sometimes my kids grumble, but it’s become my unspoken job duty to locate these interesting, sometimes off the beaten path, eateries. Usually, we are not disappointed, and we have many fond memories of really good meals shared together.

One day for lunch, we found the cutest coffee cafe. I normally don’t eat bread and was looking forward to a salad but unfortunately, all their homemade dressings potentially had gluten. So, I opted for a grilled cheese on gluten free bread with tomato and bacon with homemade coleslaw. It was so good although two days of coleslaw equaled an unhappy stomach.

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My daughter and I also enjoy finding good, local coffee shops. We ran along the beach and then treated ourselves to coffee…something that also irritates my stomach…grr!

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And some good chocolate can calm the nerves when prom dress shopping….see this price tag???

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No, we did not choose that dress.

So, I lived off gluten-free waffles, peanut butter, bananas, coffee, chocolate, sweet potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and restaurant meals of meats and veggies. More peanut butter and gluten free grains than usual, but my stomach survived. Now, back to reality and stricter eating to tame my gut!

It is What it Is….

Carefree…spontaneous…at what point in life do we transition from carefree, spontaneous child to serious, schedule and task oriented ruled adult…

I am learning to be still. To enjoy living in the moment. To accept myself for who I am flaws and all.

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Yesterday, as we biked through the beautiful Hilton Head Island, my carefree 11-year-old son was singing…”Waffle, waffle, waffle” without a care in the world without caring who was listening. Later, we ate at a cute coffee cafe called Watusi for lunch, and he told his father he could now cross something off his bucket list…he had eaten at a cafe. As we played putt-putt golf at a Legendary golf place, my daughter read all 18 Bible verses at each of the 18 holes without caring who was listening.

I want to be able to eat a square of dark chocolate without any guilt or worries. I want to be able to not be so hard on myself because I didn’t finish everything on my to do list for the day. I want to accept I am still on my journey to my dream career and writing goals. I want to realize I am still learning to live with food intolerances, and it’s okay if I mess up one day…tomorrow is a new day.

Yes, I am on vacation and reality is only a few days away. Yes, I like routine, but I am enjoying this break from daily stress and routine. But I want these life lessons and reminders from this week to resonate and stay with me just as I want the peaceful sound of ocean waves to stay forever etched in my mind.

I know learning to manage day to day stress is important…sleep, exercise, devotion and prayer, healthy eating, positive relationships, writing, quiet time…all help me to release stress. Sometimes life is what it is, but I can choose how I react to it. And the best part…each morning is another chance to try again!

Mercies are new

Sweat, Sun, Spandex, and….an Allergic Reaction?

I live where it is cold, and I am vacationing where it is warm. Finally. Warmth with no snow. One of my favorite things to do is run on the beach. I’m not a fast runner by any means, but I love the peaceful sound of oceans waves, the wide open feel of the beach, even the disorienting sense of not knowing where you are….all those condos look the same from the beach!

So yesterday, my daughter and I went for a short run…nothing too intense. It wasn’t too warm yet and I don’t remember sweating too much. I had on a pair of running pants and a matching running top. I’ve worn them before to exercise class. We ran, we walked, we stopped for coffee, we walked some more, and we joined back up with hubby and son.

When I was ready to change into beach attire, I saw that my skin where the pink spandex stripes had been was now blotched with pink spots. Apparently, I had somehow reacted to the spandex. How ironic after blogging about skin issues yesterday.

running pantsreaction

Food intolerances go hand in hand with other strange body issues. Lucky me. Fortunately, the spots have mostly faded. I will not be running in those pants today!

Living with food intolerances and strange things like this can be frustrating, but I am reminded I am light years away from the place I was just a few years ago. I have witnessed the power of answered prayer through God’s healing in His time, never my own. Patience. Perspective. Hope. And running pants without spandex stripes!