Gratitude…the Simple things 

31 days of gratitude…I have decided to plunge into the 31 day writing challenge and focus on gratitude for the month of October.

Gratitude can be defined as the quality of being thankful and the readiness to show appreciation. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you are tired. Even when life may feel like it is falling apart into a million scattered pieces. 

Sometimes, it is simply the simple things we need to pause and be thankful for. For me on this foggy Monday morning when I am tired before even starting my day and achey from running yesterday and dreading the busy week ahead, I am choosing to have an attitude of gratitude.

My simple thing to be thankful for today…

This find from The Fresh Market…low acid chocolate lavender coffee that does not hurt my stomach. My poor sensitive stomach has been struggling with my coffee addiction…we have found a compromise!!

Thought for the day….Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 118:1 NIV


Thoughts on Getting Older

I celebrated my birthday yesterday….36 years…not a milestone decade or anything, but nonetheless, another year older. I spend my days working on a dementia unit in a long term care facility with 80 and 90 year olds so obviously, I know 36 is not that old in age. The reality, though, is that none of us know how many years we are promised in this life. As I watch my children grow older and think of the things I want to accomplish like publish a novel, swim with dolphins, visit the Philippines again, become a nursing home administrator….then 36 starts to feel old.

My birthday itself was a fun day. Since I have been following the guidelines in Lyn-Genet Recitas “The Plan,” I have a better handle on the foods that my body can handle. Despite food intolerances, I was able to indulge in birthday treats with no major repercussions except for a chocolate buzz that delayed my sleep some, but so worth it!

Here are some food pics from my birthday:

A cranberry scone from my favorite gluten free bakery, Organic Bliss, and a latte from Starbucks made with coconut milk…yum!

Birthday Breakfast up close

A “Miracle Tart” chocolate tart made by Hail Merry with virgin coconut oil, Fair Trade cocoa, and maple syrup in an almond flour crust with So Delicious Cashew Milk cappuccino non-dairy ice cream topped with Trader Joe’s sunflower seed butter…so, so, so very good.

Birthday treats

Birthday Bliss

The best part of my birthday? Being with family and talking with friends who truly care about me and genuinely wished me a happy birthday. My son made me this unique Lego frame for my birthday. Homemade gifts are the best.

Jay-r Birthday gift

So, thoughts on my birthday?? God has been good. He has blessed me with wonderful family and friends, and He continues to use my current circumstances to prepare me for what is yet to come. Birthdays are a great time to reflect on all that has been accomplished and dream of all that is yet to come.

How about you? How do you view birthdays and getting older?

Mind Over Matter

Our thoughts possess a lot of power. A negative thought can steal our joy whereas a positive thought can redirect our focus. Our minds are an intricate weaving of memories, thoughts, information, and emotions…somehow all blended together to make us who we are.

I spend my days with people….I work with residents diagnosed with dementia, families, coworkers from all walks of life, other residents who may not have dementia but require assistance with their day to day living…I experience a multitude of personalities and emotions. I witness firsthand reactions to situations and experiences in response to various coping methods of people.

Life does not always go as planned, in fact, it seldom does. My life is nowhere anything like I pictured it would be when I was a senior in high school, but my life is good. It’s a meshing of experiences that have created who I am today. I consider myself a work in progress. One thing I do believe, though….we have the power of mind over matter. We can’t always control the situation or even the outcome of a situation, but we can choose our reaction as we weather the storms of life.

As I struggle with food issues and the frustration of reacting to what feels like everything and as I slowly use Lyn-Genet Recitas’ methods of testing one food at a time per day through her guided “The Plan”, I am learning to relax some about food. I have eaten out twice and had a work luncheon since starting “The Plan,” and I have been able to apply what I know about what I can safely eat, and I have been able to relax. I am learning to relax again and enjoy social eating…something that has caused me anxiety the past few years since dealing with food issues.

Mind over matter can be applied to so many areas of my life. We’ve all heard stories of people being healed of illnesses….people who remained positive through the storms of life and didn’t allow the situation to overtake their thoughts.

Food for thought today: Mind over matter….be mindful of your thoughts and don’t let them control you!

mind over matter

Iced Coffee Alternative and Summer Musings

It’s hot and humid here.

I want something to drink besides water, but I’m not really feeling like a hot drink when it’s so humid. I love dandelion tea so I decided to try it iced. Brewed and cooled. A little Rice Dream milk. A couple of ice cubes. Delicious. It has a coffee like taste without the jittery caffeine effects. Dandelion tea is a great liver detox drink. It is a natural diuretic and can aid digestion. I have grown to love it and drink it daily.

Iced Dandelion Tea

It’s a lazy summer day although the official start of summer is actually tomorrow, Sunday, June 21st…the longest day of the year. We are enjoying a lazy day at home watching a family movie on Netflix. My children leave for church camp tomorrow….no TV for a week.

Update on “The Plan”….I haven’t had bloating in over two weeks and the cleanse helped shed excess water weight. My edema is better. I do find that I have a bit of food anxiety fretting over what I can and can not eat. Under the Plan, only one new food should be introduced a day. It makes social eating at work and with family challenging, but I am doing the best I can to incorporate safe foods and follow the 20 day plan. I do have my coffee back….it’s good with a little Kerrygold butter and cinnamon in the morning.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day….Happy Father’s Day to all dads out there! Enjoy the longest day of the year!

Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies…Healthy Version

I have a problem with chocolate…a love hate relationship of sorts. I love chocolate. Most women do. But…when I start eating it, I want more of it. Then, I wake up with acne….doesn’t that end after the teen years???!!!

Henceforth….enter the small batch chocolate chip cookie recipe. Gluten free. Low sugar (depending on the amount of chocolate chips you add…at your discretion).

Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 360 degrees.
6 Tbsp buckwheat flour
1 Tbsp ground flax mixed with 1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp. applesauce
1/2 Tbsp cocoa
3 Tbsp milk alternative
pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
chocolate chips…to your liking
Mix ground flax with water and allow to sit for a few minutes to gel together. Add the ingredients together and mix well. Bake on parchment paper or greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Makes approximately 4 cookies.
Not too sweet, soft, and chocolately.

The Problem with a Little….

I love chocolate. Repeat. I love chocolate. Most ladies I know do, too. I work in a dementia unit, and nothing seems to light up a room (besides puppies and babies) like chocolate. Chocolate is that feel good, comfort food.

Friday morning, I decided to make a quick stop before work for some chocolate. It was a long, stressful week, and in my mind, I deserved chocolate, something I have been trying to avoid due to stomach issues. I can tolerate small amounts like chocolate chips in trail mix, but when I start eating a lot, then I experience stomach pain and acne.

The problem with a little chocolate is I want more. I look for ways I can add chocolate to this or that. And when I start eating chocolate, it breaks my resolve to want to eat other things I know I should not…things not necessarily bad but things that aggravate my sensitive stomach.

So, I  must use my self-control and indulge in a little. I like the brand name…”Enjoy Life”…life is meant  to be enjoyed. So, I will enjoy my chocolate, relax, and enjoy a laid back Saturday. To tie in my themed posts on stress lately, I am taking a day today to decompress, take a deep breath, and relax. Writing at the coffee shop, movies with my son, and a little chocolate. How do you like to spend a laid back Saturday?


Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Food Reactivity

Last week, I shared something on Facebook that another friend had shared with me about top anti-inflammatory foods. The list included several foods I eat fairly regularly such as walnuts and those I eat almost daily such as turmeric. But, that post led to a comment by another friend who suffers from food intolerance issues as well. She shared with me that she is currently following “The Plan” by Lyn-Genet Recitas. I requested the book from my local library and began to search for more information on the internet. I located a food reactivity chart that is part of the plan. It takes several foods and rates their reactivity level. Not surprising to me, several of the foods I have been eating were rated high on the reactivity chart.

Quniona….50 % reactivity….every time I eat quinoa despite it being a gluten free grain, I end up with achey joints. Every Time.

Non-organic spinach….85 % reactivity…my tongue itches every time I eat raw spinach that isn’t organic.

Cauliflower and cabbage….85 % reactivity…every time I eat these foods, I end up with a very upset stomach and it triggers a colitis attack. All those Paleo cauliflower rice recipes, never tried any of them for this reason.

So, all week, I have been trying to eat on the low-end of the reactivity chart. I have avoided the four foods I know have triggered reactions for me personally…my beloved coffee, chocolate, peanut butter, and even bananas. My friend who is going through “The Plan” said we crave what our bodies react to, but if we quit feeding our bodies these things, then we quit craving them.

So, how do I feel after just 4 days of eating like this? Better, not perfect, but better. I have been eating bone broth, Silk almond milk with Orgain, chicken, organic greens, broccoli and carrots, sweet and white potatoes, raw nuts, berries, and flax/buckwheat flatbread that I make. I am trying to be very careful, and it seems to be helping.

Last Saturday, my stomach hurt, my joints hurt….I was a mess. This week has been better. I am hoping the book is in at my library soon so I can really dive in. I also plan to see my nutritionist soon so she can guide me and help me. I continue on my supplements..I need them!

Here  is the link:   and

People who eat whatever they want with no adverse reactions sometimes think this stuff is crazy. If you have food intolerance issues, you understand the effect food can have on your body. You understand the frustration, sacrifice, and struggle, but you can celebrate the successes, no matter how small.

This week, I have experienced small successes…no bloating, no pain. I’m willing to press on.