Candida Diet Check In

After successfully finishing the 21 Day Sugar Detox a few weeks ago, I transitioned to the candida diet. It’s a bit modified (I still let in the occasional green apple or green tipped banana), but yet stricter than the sugar detox. I’ve tried to get rid of a lot of the acidic things that I was eating, so coffee, tea, tomatoes, and the like are out. It was wonderful having coffee during the sugar detox, and I dreaded giving it up. Probably moreso than wine. So I let myself have one cup of coffee a week (that’s the modification part). And I’m doing well with that. As with the wine, it wasn’t as hard to give up as I thought.

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This diet is more of a spiritual walk for me. As I continue the diet for five more weeks, I realize it is more and more about obedience. It’s about saying yes to what God told me to do, even if it doesn’t make sense to everyone else. But it’s also about grace. Like the other day I ate some lunchmeat from Panera (I deconstructed the sandwich and made it into a salad). A couple of bites in, I realized that the lunchmeat had to have sugar, but I hadn’t thought about it before. So I just let it go. No sense beating myself up, just need to be smarter next time. And on a recent trip to Five Guys I ordered fries to go with my lettuce wrapped burger. And I felt like crap after. My thought was “oh they use peanut oil, not soy, it’s healthy,” forgetting that a) I’m avoiding peanuts (they can have higher rates of mold and apparently I don’t process them well) and b) fries are still not healthy (I’ve been avoiding potatoes for the last 6 weeks). Oh well.  Lesson learned. And no, they weren’t worth it. The steak with butter on Valentine’s Day though, totally worth it. Well, mostly worth it. Digestive issues aren’t fun. :(

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Valentine’s day was a bit challenging. Everyone had candy (my favorite) and coffee (favorite two), or so it seemed. We also hadn’t communicated well and ended up spending the night in, which is fine. I made steak with garlic compound butter which was amazing, but like I said, not really worth it. And I found a root vegetable grill pack from fresh & easy that had no sugar or butter in the seasonings (it’s a miracle!!) but they never really cooked through and we were unimpressed. :( Oh well. At least I had some really good wine.

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It has been fun finding new things that I can eat though. We made crispy waffles with almond and arrowroot flour the other day. They would definitely be better with a little maple, but they were still amazing. And I found a hot drink for the mornings that I can have, teecinno. It’s an herbal blend that’s supposed to taste like coffee. It doesn’t. But it’s good, well, it’s an acquired taste that I now think is good! I describe it as a mix of coffee and tea. I’ve jazzed it up with coconut milk and cinnamon though, and that’s tasty. Today I added pumpkin pie spice. Yum yum! Matthew also found a recipe for coconut + almond flour pancakes to make my heart shaped waffles on Valentine’s Day. And last night I made a lemon ginger chicken that was amazing!

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Packing for a road trip was a bit challenging, but really just took some extra time. I was super excited to find sunflower seeds without sugar (which is hard to do!) and made some crackers and assorted nuts (some raw, some roasted). Jerky has also been super helpful. I feel like I am more in the flow of things now, so I don’t need constant snacks like I did on the sugar detox. Although it is always good to have something healthy that I can reach for. Which is something I should apply long after this candida diet!

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This past week I have hit the middle point “why the heck am I doing this” mood. I got overwhelmed and frustrated by my (apparent) lack of choices and the seemingly pointless reason for doing this. I had wine on Valentine’s day, and it was good, but I had built it up too much in my head. And then my thought process was why not just bring it back? Why not just quit now? Who cares? I had to go back over my original posts, remember why I am doing this. And really, five more weeks is NOTHING in the span of my life! So I’m back on track now. Not that I wasn’t before, I was just getting frustrated. And I am remembering just how many options I do have. So many healthy things I can pick up and eat!

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I had wanted to try these banana pecan macaroons for a couple weeks. Forgetting (this happens a lot haha) that pecans sometimes make my mouth itchy (see what I’m doing there, not believing its an allergy hahaha). So we made them and they were delicious, but definitely left me feeling a little off. Not super sick or anything, just kinda like I ate what I shouldn’t have. So pecans are sadly back on the no list. Sigh. At least I know now.

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I’ve started getting into a solid workout routine. I’m taking some supplements to help me with energy for that (it’s carbs that process in a way as to help with the blood sugar regulation. I don’t really understand the science but trust it), and overall I feel really good. My digestion is great, my skin feels amazing (and my hubby says it looks good too!), and my energy is back. I feel good. Working out regularly has been awesome. I have some new training goals, so it’s nice to have those to focus on! Six and a half weeks down, four and a half to go! hard to believe I’m well past the middle point!

2015 Reading List

Every year I create a reading list. I created this stack / list in January, but never got around to posting it. I had it up on Instagram, but somehow blogging seems to take so much more time! lol

Last year’s list included: Unglued, Breaking Free, Wild at Heart, Rain on Me, Love & Respect, Created to be his Help Meet, A Stolen Life, Madame Tussaud, The Postmistress, Power of a Praying Wife, Allegiant & Insurgent. I read 7 of the 12. That’s not too bad. I know I threw some others in there as well. As you can see, my 2015 has some repeats (I want to finish reading them!) and some new reads. I already finished the 21 day sugar detox, the best yes, and the two macomber books. Not too shabby for only being in the beginning of February! I also forgot to add a few (like some marriage books from One Exraordinary Marriage, It Starts with Food, and I just borrowed The Lineage of Grace (Francine Rivers) from a friend).

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Matthew and I have started a nightly routine of reading with tea before we go to sleep. It’s peaceful. And keeps me off my phone. It’s also how I’ve been reading so much! I can’t wait to report  back at the end of this year with my accomplishments!

Friend Breakup

It has taken me a while to write this post. I’ve been going back and forth, between to share or not to share. I actually wrote this a couple weeks ago, that’s how much I debated it, but I realize now that God brings me through things so I can share with others. So I can give him glory. My intention is not to harp on anyone or be mean, just share the experience I am going through right now. And what better forum than my blog, because it’s where I externally process.  You’re welcome. haha

Part of me was not sure if I should write it because I did not slander her character. That isn’t my intention here at all. And in a second I’ll talk about how it feels like a friend breakup, and I think that’s a natural part of it. Being careful who you talk to. Not wanting to put that person in a bad light, which is hard when you have a bunch of mutual friends. But at the same time, I think people make their own decisions and they should stand by them. So I needn’t protect her for ending our friendship, if that makes sense.

At the end of last year, a friend decided that she no longer wanted to be a part of my life (as well as a couple of other close friends). It hurt deeply. When you’ve spent so much time with someone and had what appeared to be a solid friendship, it doesn’t make sense why they want you out of their life. There was no reason, just space requested. I was confused, hurt, and to be honest pretty angry. I get angry when I’m hurt. It kinda just felt like my heart had been tossed aside. It also hurt because a few of us went through it together, so once one of us had made progress and gotten closure, it felt like something would set off another person. It was a vicious cycle, but I think we are all in a good place now, focusing on the good.

It’s funny, I’ve never really lost a friendship like this before. It feels like I was dumped by a boyfriend or something, and it sucks.  It’s been a long time since I’ve broken up with a boyfriend (10 years ago and my relationships were only 1-3 months) but it still sucks. Granted I have never been dumped either. I feel like I need to take her stuff to her house and drop it off on the porch, because it would hurt too much to talk to her. (And actually in the 2 weeks since I initially wrote this, I can say now I would be fine talking to her. It’s more the pretending nothing happened that I don’t like. I’m genuine so that doesn’t work for me). I’ve gone through stages of anger, crying, and pure shock. I know that I need to just let it go, and brush it off. I know that God is working in her, and I need to just trust her with Him. But I don’t want to, my human heart wants to fix it, or at least be the one to say I’m done. (that would be the part of me that likes control. Totally healthy, right? haha)

So what I’ve learned through this is I would not be a good dumpee. hahaha I like control and I like having power. That’s just me being brutally honest. Actually, I can think of one somewhat relationship (it was college, we were never official, but we were pretty much dating, if you remember those days) where he broke it off, and I look back remembering the time I spent trying to fix it, the hours I spent crying, the heart that was so broken. When I Iook back at that and see the outcome now (we didn’t talk for months, but I think now we would be cool and catch up if we saw each other, we never had that close friendship again though), I realize that trying to hold onto this friendship would be like trying to hold onto that. So instead of trying to fix this friendship and make things right (trust me, I tried), I’ve decided to let go. The pain is much much fainter now as I’ve trusted God to take the hurt and anger and frustration away. And I’ve pulled myself together as I accepted the love of my dear sweet friends that are right around beside me. God has used this season of brokenness to truly work deep in me. To heal me. To prepare me for my next season.

If you’ve ever gone through the loss of friendship, I’m sorry for you. It sucks. In searching for an image for this post, I found this article. It’s great with a bunch of tips on how to make it through a friend breakup (cuz apparently that’s a thing?). Definitely check it out, I can resonate with so many of the things that she said. I definitely needed to stop obsessing, once I did that a couple weeks ago, I was in a much better place. And, also like she said, time heals a multitude of wounds, and we can move on. The addition of time (it’s been a few months) has definitely taken away the hurt (so did taking down pictures), and I can say I’m moving on.

21 Day Sugar Detox 2015 (Week 3)

The final week! It’s now day 29, as I write this, finished up week 4, what!!?? (Technically week 1 of candida diet). I did add stevia back in, but I think I’ve maybe had it twice. As I said the whole time of this sugar detox, it was just different. The candida diet has been a bit more trying, as I had to give up coffee / caffeine. I bought this TeeCinno stuff, and it helps. It’s nice to have that morning routine with a hot beverage. I did, however, tell myself that I could maybe do 1 cup of coffee a week, if it was necessary. And it was necessary for my road trip up north. I had two sips of wine at my parents over the weekend and felt totally justified in the decision. It was delicious and even more flavorful than I remember. I can’t wait to savor a glass in seven weeks! The kicker came last night when my car broke down on the grapevine. I had to get towed 126 miles to my home. It was brutal. All I wanted was a glass of wine and some snuggles with my husband. Thankfully I had solid friends who reminded me that this is so much bigger than just a glass of wine, it wont really help (ironically she was telling me what I told her last week!), and God is doing all this in His timing. He’s stretching me and teaching me new coping mechanisms. (aka trust in Him. So much easier said than done). I did not prepare for this week, and yesterday obviously didn’t go as planned, so my meals today have been interesting. Matthew and I scoured the fridge, we found salad fixings and jerky — so I had a steak salad, as Matty put it. hahahaha Definitely going to run to the store to restock my fridge tonight!

Also, major thanks to my Mom for stocking her home with things I could eat. I didn’t want her to go out of her way, but totally appreciated it. Same with Matty’s sisters who made me a dessert last night. Definitely something bright in my day!!

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Instagram Challenge, Week 3:

You know. It’s kinda funny when you look at the difference in our supplements. Matt’s are for getting strong (and don’t you want the person pulling you out of a fire to be strong?) and mine are for health. When I started to get answers from the doctor last year, I found out that I had a lot stacked against me. I tried to bare knuckle it and tackle it all at once, but it was just too much. So I’ve slowly added vitamins and supps to help me attack each thing, before starting the sugar detox or candida diet. I’ve got a multi with folate (because I can’t process folic acid due to a MTHFR mutation), thyroid support, and various other things to help my body detox and digest and kick the candida virus. Eventually I will be able to take most of the stuff back out, as my body gets to a normal regulation. But for now, this is what I got. And no, I am not an old lady, thankyouverymuch. #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #supplements #thisiswhyidrinkallthewater

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Coffee. Sweet delicious coffee. For one more week I can enjoy it. Then the candida diet starts and I can’t have the acid or higher levels of caffeine. So to answer the #21dsdphotoaday question, #coffeeortea, it’s definitely #coffee. For this week at least! #21dsd #day16 #feelingfantastic

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We had quite the #fullmeal in our #diningarea tonight. Shepherd’s pie and salad with the Noerrs!! There’s nothing quite like dining with friends, I love it! And it was Matthew’s idea to cook and serve the pie in cast iron and not a casserole dish. Love it! #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #day17 #day18

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Last night we tried a #newtreat from the #21dsd cookbook. Green apple crumble. Man oh man was it good! We demolished the whole thing (but don’t worry, I ate less than the 1 Apple I can have a day. Boom)! #21dsdphotoaday #day20#goodfriends #goodtimes #laughter #theyaddedhoneyontop

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Time for my last #21dsdphotochallenge pic. I skipped one, but it’s cool because I finished the #21dsd strong for the first time ever. Today things get harder as I transition to the candida diet, and give up coffee, but it’s okay. In general I feel good (just bloated, thankyouverymuch candida die off). A little tired from the lack of coffee (I wrote this on day 22 when I had given up caffeine), but I’ll be over that in a day or two. This sugar detox was very different from the last two as God totally changed my heart and prepared me for this. I’m ready to tackle the next leg of this journey with Him by my side! (Also, my ever supportive friends #nomanisanisland) #after #day22

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Refresh Summit South 2014

When I sit down to write out all that is Refresh, I have no words. Lots of tears, when I see all that God is doing, but I feel like I don’t have the words to get it all out. [like Brittany said, “Not that I have nothing to say… I have too much to say.”] I’m gonna give it my best shot though.

I went into this retreat a little differently than the other. I was going as a host to refresh others. I was going to let God use me. I was also going to try and remember names better. We (that would be the host team of Bobbi, Brittany, Amia, Heather, and yours truly) have been preparing for this pretty much since the last Refresh Summit. We’ve been tweeting and emailing and instagramming and meeting via Skype and preparing our hearts. We each bring something different to the table and God was using our gifts to cover all areas of this retreat. As I got on the plane on Wednesday, it was hard to believe it was already happening! How could it be here already? How could it feel so effortless and right? There were 40 of us coming from 14 different states. I kept getting a picture of a map with each of us flying closer and closer towards each other!

imagine this with 38 more arrows, that's the visual I kept seeing!

imagine this with 38 more arrows, that’s the visual I kept seeing!

Heather and I arrived about an hour apart and headed to meet Bobbi and Michelle (her sis in love). We spent the first couple of days spending time together and also getting last minute details finalized (like packing swag bags and putting together welcome mugs). Bobbi, Heather and I went on a chilly run in 30 degree weather! Brrr. And I finally got to hug Brittany and she is a doll! My favorite little Southern whippersnapper! We’re also walking through infertility together. So lovely to make another connection and be able to share in each others joys and sorrows. We hit the town on Thursday night and got to taste some southern favorites as well as listen to live music, including dueling pianos!

Photo Nov 12, 6 36 06 PM Photo Nov 13, 4 36 16 PM Photo Nov 13, 5 51 04 PM Photo Nov 13, 10 37 09 AMWe arrived on Friday early afternoon and set up Deer Run Lodge for our refreshers. To say that the lodge is wonderful is an understatement. It’s nestled on a backroad outside of Franklin Tennessee (oh my gosh, I just realized I never played Tennessee Boys by GRITS while I was there. Missed dance party opportunity for sure!!) We spent the early afternoon getting the Lodge ready for our guests. There were cozy touches all over the place, I love that we (okay Bobbi ended up doing the crafting!) made mugs for each guest with their name on it. Seriously, it was the perfect touch! Heather and I did check-in and got to put a face to each name!

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The Refresh Summit South hosts!

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Friday night we had a lovely time of worship with Krissy, an intro session with Amia, and Holy Yoga. I had never experienced holy yoga before. It was awesome. We also chatted in our room until way too late at night! As we were finally falling asleep, one roommate screamed bloody murder. She thought someone was standing over her. Nope. After our heartbeats all slowed down, we were able to relax. Saturday morning started with lots of coffee and a delicious breakfast!

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We had workshops on body image with Lindsay, nutrition with Brittany, and how to study the bible with Amia.

 Photo Nov 15, 8 46 32 AM Photo Nov 15, 8 37 25 AM Photo Nov 15, 8 43 43 AMWorkouts included bootcamp with Bobbi, PiYo with Reina, Zumba with Amia, and Holy Yoga. Oh how I love the yoga and the zumba, but for completely different reasons!

Photo Nov 16, 12 49 16 AM At the main sessions on Saturday morning and night, Krissy led worship and it was absolutely beautiful. Amia was the main speaker again (we brought her out to California in May), and it was wonderful to watch her being used by God! We learned a lot about letting go of baggage and letting God use us. She has so much wisdom, it’s hard to capture it all in one post! After the last session on Saturday, I got to lead my workshop — pinterest crafts! I taught a few girls how to turn old t-shirts into tank tops. But it turned into a time of sharing and opening up and prayer. It was awesome! So cool to sit back and watch God do what He does!!

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Of course we took lots of pictures as we said goodbye, but we also had an awesome raffle (everyone went away with something!) and farewell session with Amia.

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So much more that I could say, but I will leave it at this. Refresh will truly refresh your soul. It will bring you to a place of stillness where you can reconnect with God and with other like minded women. You will leave rejuvenated and with new dear friends. 

For more recaps, you can see posts by Brittany, Ericka, Kimbre, Lindsay, Kelsey, Jolene, Lindsay S, and Dana!

And a major thank you to all of our sponsors. Brittany wrote more about them. But I stole a list of them from her page. :)

Reebok, Organic Valley, Detour Bar, PB2, Quest, KIND Bar, Growing Naturals, Vega, RX Bars, Plant Fusion, Love Grown Granola, Skoop, Nu Naturals, Zevia, Musselman’s, The Good Bean, Purely Elizabeth, Cocogo, Evoke Foods, Chipotle, Wisdom Walks, Glorify Apparel, Jeremy Scott, Sara Haley Fitness, My Vitamins, Raw Threads, NHerShoes Shred, Sizzlefish, Healthy Bites, Refit, Sweat Pink, Bic Bands

Sponsors

And a major shout out to Love Grown Foods for sponsoring breakfast on Sunday and Chipotle for sponsoring lunch on Saturday.

Fire House World

If you think back really hard, you might just remember that last year I went down to San Diego for Fire House world. Matthew and I made a weekend out of it and got to meet some awesome fire families (and wives) there. We had planned to go this year, but I never actually looked at the dates. What do you know, it’s a Sunday through Thursday, aka my work week. Ugh. Lame. I was so looking forward to going. My twinsie is gonna be there! Other couples that we LOVE will be there. But, you know what, it’s okay. For some reason, the whole conference is not in the cards for us this year. HOWEVER, I will be going down for the FireFighterWife meetup on Wednesday night. If you are anywhere near, you should come join us!

This could be you!! Join us!

This could be you!! Join us!

We will be at the Rockin’ Lobster in the Gaslamp in the Puerto Nuevo Room. The fun starts at 6pm, and lasts til 9. I may be late though as I work that day and have to get my booty down there!

21 Day Sugar Detox 2015 (Week 2)

Today marks day 17 of the 21 day sugar detox! Like I said last time, it has been a completely different experience this time. Sure, I’ve wanted wine and sweets (birthday cake oreos) here and there, but I have never really been tempted to cheat. It’s just. Different. I did have a major meltdown on Saturday though. I think we can say my hormones are getting back on track. Ugh. I got so angry with Matt and told him I wanted to throw the cast iron at him / on the ground. he ended up calming me down, but I spent a good few minutes crying at the sink with the water running. The realization that this isn’t just 21 days set in. The realization that this is my fade in. That it gets harder after this (candida diet / GAPS diet). But then I remember why I’m doing it and that it will be worth it for my health. So I’m gonna keep on keepin on. And enjoy my coffee this week, because it’s bye bye coffee next Monday!

I love the 21 day sugar detox book and cookbook because it’s giving me lots of options. We’ve also created a few of our own things. Below you see a tomato basil bacon casserole, open faced chicken sliders, shrimp pad thai, almond “cheese” and crackers. Tasty. Bright and colorful. Different. I have to remember that I still have SO MANY options. oh, and next week I can add in some stevia if I so desire. Whoop whoop!

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Now. Onto the #21dsdphotochallenge

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Today’s lunch is leftovers! My favorite!! We’ve got a slice of meatza, mashed faux-tatoes (cauliflower), mustard chicken, herb biscuit, and roasted garlic spinach soup! A variety of flavors, and a nice change of pace from giant salads!! #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #day8 #lunch

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There are some kitchen tools that I just can’t live without. My knives are one of them. I get so frustrated when I’m cooking at someone else’s home and they have dull knives. That’s just asking for an injury!! The food processor is also super helpful. Lately it’s been helping me “mash” cauliflower, and it’s great for quick grating. What kitchen tools are must haves for you?? #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #kitchentools

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Tonight’s #21dsd dinner, which was shared with good friends. Shepherds pie (with lamb + ground beef + bacon + carrots + peas + mashed cauliflower). I brought this to my pastor’s home to share with him and his wife, before we prayed him off to India! #21dsdphotoaday #dinner

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A few days late on my #21dsdphotoaday challenge. Groceries. Today I picked up a bunch of veggies and a few cuts of meat. Most of my meals this week will come from leftovers in the freezer! I forgot to take a picture of all of the bags, so here is one of the bins from my fridge. #21dsd

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These #treats are pretty tasty. It’s coconut oil + coconut butter + cocoa, topped with unsweetened coconut. Clean chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth. #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #treat #day12

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The doctor told me to eat more fat, these lemon meltaways have been the perfect fix. It’s coconut oil + coconut butter + lemon juice & zest. Glad I expanded my palate and tried something new. #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #somethingnew #day13

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#21dsdphotoaday #drink #water. Always need more water. Tracking to make sure I’m getting in 100 oz a day! Feel so much better with all that water tho! #21dsd

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I’m also learning to take what people say with a grain of salt, and know my facts. Two people told me that I was probably drinking too much water and could be in danger of water intoxication. First off, with the amount of supplements I’m taking, I need lots of water. Second, I’m trying to get my liver to detox my system, it need water to do that. Third, my doctors have all told me to drink more water. Third, 100 oz is not even a gallon (128 oz is), and I learned from a quick google search that your liver can process a quarter of a gallon per hour. So I am drinking over the ENTIRE day what my body can process in four hours. Also, you are supposed to aim to drink as much water as 1/2 to 1 ounce per pound you weigh. That puts me at aiming for 118 a day. I think I’m good. I guess I’m not used to online criticism. oh well. Time to get thicker skin and deal.

Are you doing the 21 day sugar detox? How’s it going?

2014: Insta-Review

So last week I deleted a post in my drafts called “fall,” because I realized it was from Fall 2013!! Whoops! I had fun posting my semi-regularly instagram updates, and had planned to do the same this year, but alas, plans can sometimes fail! So here are my favorite instagram pics of 2014, all ready to share with you! Although, some are missing, like Christmas and Refresh, because I have other posts planned for those! Most photos are in collage form, but my top 3 come first!

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I love this picture because it represented a huge chunk of this year for us. Kekoa being injured, Matthew being exhausted, and our house being a disaster. True story. I am so grateful that a good portion of that season is behind us. Kekoa has completely blended into our family and the only injuries are small scratches, Matthew is still pretty tired, and our home is much cleaner now that I started using (and selling) Norwex. Good stuff!

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This is our family. That pretty much sums us up right now. The two of us laughing and being attacked for snuggles by our crazy pups. (Yes the cats also decided to fly the coop this year. It was pretty rough and I still get sad about it, but I keep telling myself they were stolen by needy old ladies, not coyotes).

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Lastly, this year we got to know our nephew. His family finally moved back in November and it has been a delight to spend so much time with him. Matthew loves him dearly, and I will admit it does break my heart a little bit that we don’t have one of our own yet. I see how good Matthew is and how he just flowed so naturally into the uncle role, that the unknown timing of the father role makes me ache. Usually it’s good tears of joy, but sometimes it’s painful. At Christmas he was running around with little J on his shoulders, and he reached down to kiss him. Break. My. Heart. haha

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Top: Big Family pic at Thanksgiving; Pies from Scratch
Bottom: Matthew and J at the Station; Crazy how much things have changed in 2 years!

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Top: Girls Night, Kekoa’s First Injury, Anniversary Date (before B & B getaway)
Middle: Entitled KO, Spa Day with the Cuzzo, Two Little Beggars
Bottom: Disney Drawing, Working in the Field, Puppy Play Time at the Dog Park

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Top: Rylee’s First Birthday, Megan’s First Oyster (verdict: meh); fourth of July
Middle: FireFighterWife Paint Day, Matty & the Pups, Snuggling with J
Bottom: Disney Day; Sushi Date (which was nearly weekly), Auntie & Uncle Time

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Top: Our Family; Disney for RJ’s Adoption Finalization; Big Bear for HJ’s Birthday
Middle: #biblein90summer; FireFighterWife Beach Day; Reading with the Parentals
Bottom: Fresh Ink; Marriage Inspiration; First Norwex Party!!

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Top: Nashville with Sarah; Halloween at Disney; Halloween with the Hovey’s
Middle: Refresh Summit South Cozies; Halloween Fun Run Costumes; End of an Era
Bottom: Wine / Beer Tasting in Nashville; Matt’s Refresh Tees, SMART Conference

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Top: Big Family Thanksgiving, Cooking Birthday Dinner at the Station, First Zumba Class
Middle: Thanksgiving Brunch, Grand Ole Opry; Disneyland Christmas
Bottom: Thanksgiving Fun Run; Matt & His Pups (they love him); Big RJ Birthday

As I look back over the pics, I remember the fun, full year that we had. There were also tough moments too, but who takes pics in a counseling session? hahaha I also don’t see any Refresh Summit (inaugural!) or Flame Fest pics, but then remember that I did individual posts about those. And a post of all my craftiness, although that has definitely taken a backseat to other things this year. It’s cool tho. God has me right where he wants me. He’s planted me, pruned me, and I’m starting to see fruit.

What was your 2014 like? What pictures would best define it?

Insta-Crafty

I had an abundance of crafty instagram pics on my phone from 2013/2014 that I wanted to share. So here you go!

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That blanket is probably my favorite project of 2014. It’s beautiful. It photographs well, and it used up a lot of yarn. it’s the perfect addition to my blanket stack, and is great for cuddling on the couch!

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Top: Repaired my KO chewed boots, Making a bottle cap tray together
Bottom: Owl Chevron Blanket for Ryles, Coffee Cozies I made for Refresh (also in my shop)

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Top: Zebra Baby Shower Gifts for my Goddaughter, Starry Blanket, Easter Basket
Middle: Love the Blanket, More Cozies, Blanket in Progress
Bottom: Hawaiian Cozies (collab with my dad), Crocheted Cheesecake, Charm Necklaces

Oh what a crafty year I had in 2014. For not having a ton of craft time, I feel like I made good use of what I had!! What did you create last year?

21 Day Sugar Detox 2015 (Week 1) & a Rant on Pregnancy Talk

Two years ago I did the 21 day sugar detox, twice! I blogged about it too. The first time (January), I fizzled out after Matt’s grandpa died, using that as my excuse to welcome wine back into my diet. The second time my goal was to get back to gluten free and eat clean, and I stayed gluten free for about a year after that. Pretty decent. (you can read my recaps of week one, week two, and week three, if you are interested). My motivation for the sugar detox wasn’t very solid though, and I think that’s why I kinda gave up on it. You see, getting rid of acne and a gluten baby are good goals, but honestly I will choose the Reese’s over that any day. My will power is strong, but only if I want it to be. I can pretty much do anything I put my mind to, but I can also talk myself out of a lot of things. Confusing, yes. Welcome to my mind. I digress, this time things are different.

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A few of my meals and a puppy who wanted some meatloaves!

I started seeing a functional medicine doctor last summer. Matthew and I wanted answers to my infertility, and we also wanted a baby. So I asked my go to health person for a recommendation and he recommended Dr Hubbard. I have to say she was fantastic, but not covered by my insurance. I spent a few months seeing her, and had so much blood drawn (18 vials the first time, which was a lab mixup, they were only supposed to do half of it that day. oh well). All of the labwork showed a multitude of issues (greeeeat lol), including most likely PCOS. The diagnosis didn’t really scare me, in fact it comforted me because I already knew it, I just hadn’t had a doctor agree with me yet. However, after three or four months with really no changes and lots and lots of money spent on appointments and supplements, we decided to stop the appointments. I knew in my heart that my diet was a huge reason that no changes had happened. I hadn’t fully invested in my health yet. I wasn’t making changes for the right reasons. Fertility was the ONLY reason to make changes, and while good, it can be a frustrating road, especially after lost pregnancies. I knew that I actually needed a stricter eating plan (let’s just avoid the word diet) than her recommendation (no dairy, gluten / eggs / chicken / soy every 4 days), and I needed to fully eliminate sugar. Basically I need to go on an anti-candida diet. Until I got serious and did that, no supplements or acupuncture or essential oils would help. I had planned on a sugar detox in October, but decided to wait until after the holidays. I already knew that would get me off track, so why bother. And a pesky dirty needle stick to the hubs (thank you, AMR medic who is no longer employed) meant postponing the baby making for 6 months (thank you potentially underlying diseases that are dormant for 6 months. Really though we think he’s fine as the patient didn’t have it, but we just choose to be safe).

So with four months of that left, I can really, truly, finally focus on my health for the right reasons. I can accept the heart changes that God has been working in me and focus on health. I will choose to clean my diet and lifestyle because God made me to be his temple. It’s crazy how freeing it has been. I know everyone says “just stop trying to get pregnant and relax and you will get pregnant,” but can you honestly say you did that? I mean, honestly? Unless you are someone who did, if so I want to know how. Because I have tried. I stopped tracking and charting and even taking any meds. I tried to not think about it. It got me nowhere. We ladies have a monthly reminder at the very least. Go get wasted and then it will happen. Nope. Honestly. I love how everyone tries to help, but the biggest thing I have learned in this journey is no one is the same. My mentor had three failed attempts to IVF, adopted two handsome boys, and five years later (at fourty something) found herself pregnant. Do you really think that’s because she stopped stressing because she adopted? Also, I had one person tell me just to adopt because then I would get pregnant. I mean, it was what happened for her. But seriously, that is the worst reason to adopt. I really want to adopt. I do. But not so that I will not stress about a baby and be pregnant. Also, my sweet friend adopted an infant who is now seventeen months, and she didn’t magically get pregnant either. Would she love to be? Yes! Is that why she adopted? No. Okay, so I have totally gotten off track here and gone on a rant. But truly, I have no idea what to say some days when I talk to other women facing infertility. I can say it sucks, I kinda get it, ugh. But I can’t give them a magic pill, I can’t tell them why I’m at peace now. But I can tell them that I have truly been in the depths of despair and I am truly at peace now. And I can join them in prayer.

Okay. Seriously. So I’m doing this sugar detox to get my body healthy. I think it was hard to take the first step because I knew that it would not end in 21 days. I honestly have no idea when I will have wine again. Is that bad? Nope. But a lot of my social life was spent having wine with friends. That will change. Or at least, my beverage will change. And that’s okay. I just needed to be at a place where I was truly okay with it. Where I chose it. Where I stepped in freely. That’s how this sugar detox has been for me. Natural. Right. Normal. And I know it’s because God changed my heart about it. He has been preparing me. He has readied my heart and equips me with strength daily. He’s also given me a supportive husband (although he almost got punched when he told me how AMAZING the sugar free donuts were with brown sugar and honey on top. haha) He’s also given me wise friends who offer nutritional advise, council, and hugs! (Oh, and I can probably add stevia or honey back in at some point, but for the foreseeable future, no sugar / fruit / wine / etc even after the 21 days!)

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Sugar free treats. Almond Butter Cups, Lemon Meltaways, Green Apple Donuts, and Chocolates

Last time, I did a photo challenge for the sugar detox. I’m doing it again this time. And, funny story, as I was reading the book, I found my blog in the back. No joke. I was listed as someone who shared their journey. I nearly peed my pants reading that. I also find it funny because I’ve never gone the full 21 days before. hahaha Maybe Diane needed an example of real life / finishing meh. hahhaha Anywho, I am doing the photo challenge again, and it’s really cool to see how God has completely changed my perspective this time around! The photos + this instagram captions below. (some of it is a repeat of what’s been said above. sorry)

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Today is day 1 of the #21dsd — and it feels like day 1 of something a whole lot bigger! Honestly. My #goals for this sugar detox are to completely eliminate sugar for the whole three weeks, but mostly to kick the wine. I don’t think there’s a problem with wine or loving it, but for my health it needs to go. My functional medicine doc says I have candida (along with a whole slew of other things like PCOS) and the best way to eliminate that and get healthy is through dietary changes. I tried over the summer, but got frustrated every month when I wasn’t pregnant. So I would binge on junk food and wine to say screw got body you don’t work right. However God has been doing a work in my heart to show me that I shouldn’t be healthy and whole for fertility, it’s because that’s how he made me. So I’m doing this as a kickstart into the anti candida diet. And I’m doing it for me. Not for fertility, although I do hope that all works out. Hopefully my hormones can get to where they need to be and I can be healthy! And I also hope my acne gets better. Just being honest!

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#21dsdphotoaday #day2 #before I wasn’t sure what to use as a before picture. As I said yesterday, it’s about so much more than cutting sugar for me. But one main reason is to regulate blood sugar. I HATE the 3 pm slump / blood sugar crash. It has me turning to coffee and dragging til later at night. I feel drained all the time and there’s a certain pep in my step that’s missing. I’m sure there’s adrenal issues going on too, but we shall deal with things one step at a time. I am also excited for the acne to go away, but didn’t wanna post a red faced blotchy pic. Hahaaha

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#21dsdphotoaday #day3 #inspiration So I just found my blog posts / photos from my last sugar detox in 2013. It’s crazy how different my goals and inspirations were. Yes I wanted to clean up my diet, but it was more about checking things off a list. This time it’s completely different. It feels different. It’s more spiritual. I’ve been praying a lot. Because I know this is more of a soul shift for me. It’s choosing to be wholly healthy. To heal my body from the inside out. And God is totally doing it already. My attitude is completely different. And really it doesn’t feel hard. It feels right. And praise goes to Him for that! I asked my girls for a verse on #health and Alice gave me this word. Such a great one. And perfect inspiration for this! #21dsd #soulsisters

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#21dsdphotoaday #breakfast — the biggest thing that’s helped me be so successful this time is prep work. I started a little late (Tuesday night!) but I made buffalo chicken egg muffins (yum!) and mini meat loaves and some lemon melt away “not sweet treats.” Breakfasts and lunches are hardest for me because I’m always running late, well not late but I just prefer sleep to cooking, and I’m at the office for lunch (monday through Thursday). So the meat loaves have been great lunches, and egg muffins are easy enough to reheat. Plus it’s something fun and different!

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#21dsdphotoaday #day5 #fridge our fridge is packed full of veggies and meat, also far too many jars of pickles and jams and condiments that really need to be sorted through. The freezer is full of veggies, meat, fruit (which I normally use in smoothies) and lots and lots of coffee!!

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I love snacking on nuts, but plain almonds get old after a few days. So tonight I whipped up some Cinilla Nuts, from the #21dsd cookbook. Basically vanilla and cinnamon (plus an egg white and oil) baked onto your nut blend (I used almonds, macadamia nuts, and walnuts). So ready for the next work week! #21dsdphotoaday #day6

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For those asking about the detox that I’m on, it’s the 21 day sugar detox. Basically cut out all sugar and sweeteners and retrain your mind and body to not crave carbs and sweets. For me it is a bit of an intro to the GAPS and I have no idea how long I’ll be doing it. But this is the book I’ve read and other #resources I’m using. Highly recommend it. #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #day7 #oneweeknobooze

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I’ve also been drinking 100+ ounces of water a day! It’s a miracle. Oh, and I can still have coffee. Praise the Lord!