Monday, July 16, 2012
Thursday, December 29, 2011
What a great day it's been & what a great year it's been. Since I turned 40 today, a lot of people have been asking me how it feels. Well, at this particular time in my life, I feel so blessed! How great to turn 40 and feel like you're in such a good place. And if you've read this blog at all, you will know that I don't sugar coat things, so it's saying something that I only have happy things to say at the moment. ;)
Posted by Natalie C. at 10:15 PM
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Today I got to go see one of my paintings in a real life art exhibit! I entered a painting in an art competition called "Fulfill The Vision." The paintings are now on display (for you locals) at the Washington DC Temple Visitor's Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located in Kensington, MD. The exhibit will be there from January 29 to March 27, 2011.
One thing I like about visiting the Visitor's Center is how kind the hosts and missionaries are. They make you feel like the most important person in the world, while they're talking to you. This evening, our family was invited to a reception for the artists. They had the Visitor's Center Director say a few words to us, then there was food, like little chocolate dipped strawberries and such. Then they took a picture of all the artists.
I secretly felt like a Nerd invited to a Cool Kids Party. But it was a nice experience, and I'm really glad I got to be a part of it.
Chris took this photo of the temple when we were there this evening. It reminded him of my painting with the clouds behind it and the sun setting.
They asked us to submit a statement about our inspiration behind the paintings. This was the statement I submitted:
"When I began to paint this painting, I was thinking about self-worth. I had heard a comparison to when it is cloudy and the sun isn't visible to us at the moment. We know that if we could just ascend above the clouds, we would see the sun. The sun is still there despite what clouds may cover it. Similarly, even when we don't feel the true measure of our self worth, and we may not know how precious we are in God's sight, that worth is still there. We are precious and loved by God, even if we don't see that we are. As I started to think about this concept, I realized that the place where I see the truth the most clearly is in the temple. Additionally, the temple for all of us can be a place of refuge from all the cares of the world and so called, "storms" that go on outside the temple. And finally, the temple image symbolizes the light of the Gospel, and how the Gospel shines like a beacon in our dark and confused world."
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
You could see obstacles in your way, but you could not make your body move the direction you wanted it to to avoid them.
You felt like someone had given you a shot of Novocain in your backside so you couldn't feel if you were sitting in the middle of your chair and you fell off 3 times during this training.
Your clothes felt like they were made of fiberglass.
You tried to drink a cup of water from a paper cup, only you couldn't tell how hard to squeeze it to hold onto it. So, you squeezed it too hard and the water spilled all over you. The next time you didn't squeeze it hard enough and it fell right through your hands and onto the floor.
Every time you tried to write with your pencil, it broke because you pushed too hard.
The different smells in this room made you utterly nauseous.
The humming of the lights sounded louder than my voice.
You couldn't focus your eyes on me because everything and everyone in the room catches your attention and your eyes just go there instead.
The lights are so bright you have to squint, then you get a pounding headache half way through the presentation.
Every time someone touches you, it feels like they are rubbing sandpaper on your skin.
You could only sit here for 15 minutes and then you had to take a run around the building or do 20 jumping jacks so you could sit for another 10 minutes before your muscles felt like they were going to jump out of your skin.
People's whispers sounded like they were yelling.
The tag in the back of your shirt makes you feel as uncomfortable as you would if a spider was crawling on you and you couldn't get him off.
You wanted to write something down but it took you at least 5 seconds to form each letter. You can see the letter in your head, but your hand will not go in the right direction to write it.
You had to pull the car over 3 times on the ride here because the motion makes you sick.
I am proud of Eli for the way he is coping. The toddler years were the worst, when his symptoms were most pronounced. But the good thing about where we're at now is that he is learning to communicate his needs to us.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
How cool is this organization? So cool!! Let me tell you about it. I first heard about The Tipping Bucket on an LDS radio program about non-profit organizations. The Tipping Bucket fascinated me when I heard about its concept. The organization picks one project at a time to raise money for. Say they need $5000 for computers for children at a school in Africa. Do I have $5000? No. But I may have $1.00, and I may have 5000 friends or friends of friends that also have $1.00. In this age of social networking, it is a great concept.
Posted by Natalie C. at 6:10 PM
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Admit it, this happens to you sometimes! Whether you're male or female (although females have the extra curse of moody hormones), and no matter what your life circumstance, we're all going to have down days. My philosophy is that every bad mood has a SOLVE-ABLE reason. And I will become a detective and track it down, trial and error until I find it and correct the problem.
- Take 5HTP OR read The Mood Cure to find out if you have a different amino acid deficiency, and take the corresponding supplement. And if the bad moods are not solved by that and come around way too frequently for your comfort, be sure you try to find an integrative physician. You'd be surprised what basic vitamin deficiencies they test for and how much better you can feel.
- Get out your light therapy lamp. This usually always helps me, especially if the bad mood occurs on a dark, rainy day. If you struggle with insomnia, make sure your light therapy occurs before lunch. Here is the model I own. I got a small one since we live in such a small home! I find it works great. But my sister owns one that is giant and huge and she calls it her "sun." :) You can also rent them instead of buying them. I'm not sure where, though, other than doctors' offices that specialize in sleep disorders, and in those cases, your health insurance might help out, too. Here is an article about light therapy.
- Listen to music that you like. Don't obsess too much about WHICH music. (Fellow OCD people?) :) Just put your music player on shuffle or random, and if the song makes you unhappy SKIP until you find one that makes you happy. Music accesses the pleasure centers in your brain.
- Call someone, especially if you know of someone who can make you laugh. I talked to a friend the other night that I have not talked to in a long time. It was SO REFRESHING to just laugh! Even though I was venting my problems, we were both laughing a lot. I went to bed happier that night than I have been in a long time.
- Go for a walk, do yoga or any type of exercise or as Flylady calls it, "loving movement." How many times have I come back from a walk or a work out feeling so happy and exhilarated.
- Write down your problems and see if you can guide yourself into either an action item to solve the specific problem that is bothering you or write down corrections for any illogical, distorted, exaggerated thoughts.
- Contrary to common advice out there, I don't find it very helpful to PRETEND I'm happy. Smiling in the mirror or being completely "fake" cheerful to others is just more than I can manage. Instead, I have to trick myself into smiling by watching funny TV or listening to a funny podcast. Once I catch myself "accidentally" laughing, it's easy to become more and more cheered up.
- Sleep. Could the cause of the bad mood be sleep deprivation? Take a nap. I give you my permission not to feel guilty about it. If a nap is not an option, I hate to say this, but I actually advocate a teeny bit of caffeine. My religion prohibits coffee, but it's amazing how much better I have felt on some days after a little soda or chocolate. If this becomes a daily or prolonged problem, you definitely need to see an integrative physician (see item #1) or read The Mood Cure's chapter on the supplement, L-Tyrosine. I don't like soda in general or caffeine in general, but once is not going to kill you.
- Find some spiritual uplifting reading. Search www.lds.org for specific topics that will make you feel hopeful and renewed. Search for "hope," "peace," "daughter of God," "happiness," "joy," or if the reason you are in a bad mood is that you need a do-over, search for "change" or "repentance.
- Treat yourself in some way. This again addresses the pleasure centers in your brain. Ok, if it's a dessert, I again give you permission, as long as you are not doing it every day and being in denial that it's a larger problem than just a 1-day bad mood. (Again, see item #1). If your budget allows, treat yourself to a massage, or some earrings, or something else that makes you feel special. We feel guilty about treating ourselves, but look at it this way- bad moods can ruin relationships & hurt the feelings of those around you. Wouldn't you rather get a small lift out of your funk and buy the $10 earrings than scream at your kids when they get home from school?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Here is a page from a phone book. By itself, it is very weak and easy to tear. But on the Discovery Channel it was shown that if you interlock the pages from a phone book with those of another book it is almost impossible to separate the two books.On MythBusters they drilled holes and put brackets and chains to secure the ends of the two interlocked books, and then tried to pull the two phone books apart with human power, but were unsuccessful. A pair of cars also failed at pulling the phone books apart. Last, they resorted to using a Sheridan light tank and an armored personnel carrier, which were finally able to pull the phone books apart. It took 8,000 pounds of force to pull the books apart, meaning that you could literally hang two full size cars from the interlocked books.It is extremely difficult to separate two interlocked phone books due to the massive amount of friction between the pages of each book.This interlocking is similar to the command Alma gave the priests he ordained to minister to the people at the waters of Mormon:And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.Now think about the force of millions of Relief Society sisters from all over the world, perfectly joined together – their hearts knit together in unity. This room [the audience at Women's Conference] is just one small example of the power of women coming together. By the time you have finished ‘Scattering Sunshine’ tonight and tomorrow – there will be hundreds of fleece blankets, thousands of hygiene kits, school kits, and newborn kits, as well as other items prepared to bless and uplift others worldwide.Perfectly joined together – we are unstoppable. Satan won’t have Sheridan tanks big enough to pull us apart. So how do we then become perfectly joined together?
The humor columnist, Dave Barry, captured this well in a column published in 1998 called: Men should look out if a woman asks, ‘How do I look?’ Mr. Barry wrote: If you’re a man, at some point a woman will ask you how she looks. “How do I look?” she’ll ask. You must be careful how you answer this question. The best technique is to form an honest yet sensitive opinion, then collapse on the floor with some kind of fatal seizure. Trust me, this is the easiest way out. Because you will never come up with the right answer.The problem is that women generally do not think of their looks in the same way that men do. Most men form an opinion of how they look in seventh grade, and they stick to it for the rest of their lives. Some men form the opinion that they are irresistible stud muffins, and they do not change this opinion even when their faces sag and their noses bloat to the size of eggplants . . . .Most men, I believe, think of themselves as average-looking. . . . Being average does not bother them; average is fine, for men. This is why men never ask anybody how they look. Their primary form of beauty care is to shave themselves . . . .[and] if, at the end of this four-minute daily beauty regimen, a man has managed to wipe most of the shaving cream out of his hair . . . he feels that he has done all he can, so he stops thinking about his appearance and devotes his mind to more critical issues, such as the Super Bowl.Women do not look at themselves this way. If I had to express, in three words, what I believe most women think about their appearance, those words would be: “not good enough.” No matter how attractive a woman may appear to be to others, when she looks at herself in the mirror, she thinks: woof. She thinks that at any moment a municipal animal-control officer is going to throw a net over her and haul her off to the shelter.Why do women have such low self-esteem? There are many complex psychological and societal reasons, by which I mean Barbie. Girls grow up playing with a doll proportioned such that, if it were human, it would be seven feet tall and weigh 81 pounds, of which 53 pounds would be bosoms. This is a difficult appearance standard to live up to, especially when you contrast it with the standard set for little boys by their dolls. . . excuse me, by their action figures. Most of the action figures that my son played with when he was little were hideous-looking. For example, he was very fond of an action figure (part of the He-Man series) called “Buzz-Off,” who was part human, part flying insect. Buzz-Off was not a looker. But he was extremely selfconfident. You could not imagine Buzz-Off saying to the other action figures: “Do you think these wings make my hips look big?” But women grow up thinking they need to look like Barbie, which for most women is impossible, although there is a multi-billion-dollar beauty industry devoted to convincing women that they must try.I once saw an Oprah show wherein supermodel Cindy Crawford dispensed makeup tips to the studio audience. Cindy had all these middle-aged women applying beauty products to their faces; she stressed how important it was to apply them in a certain way, using the tips of their fingers. All the women dutifully did this, even though it was obvious to any sane observer that, no matter how carefully they applied these products, they would never look remotely like Cindy Crawford, who is some kind of genetic mutation.I’m not saying that men are superior. I’m just saying that you’re not going to get a group of middle-aged men to sit in a room and apply cosmetics to themselves under the instruction of Brad Pitt, in hopes of looking more like him. Men would realize that this task was pointless and demeaning. They would find some way to bolster their self-esteem that did not require looking like Brad Pitt. They would say to Brad: “Oh YEAH? Well what do you know about LAWN CARE, pretty boy?”Of course many women will argue that the reason they become obsessed with trying to look like Cindy Crawford is that men, being as shallow as a drop of spit, WANT women to look that way. To which I have two responses:1. Hey, just because WE’RE idiots, that doesn’t mean YOU have to be; and2. Men don’t even notice 97 percent of the beauty efforts you make anyway.Take fingernails. . . . I have never once, in more than 40 years of listening to men talk about women, heard a man say, “She has a nice set of fingernails.”Anyway, to be back to my original point: If you’re a man, and a woman asks you how she looks, you’re in big trouble. Obviously, you can’t say she looks bad. But you also can’t say that she looks great, because she’ll think you’re lying, because she has spent countless hours, with the help of the multibillion-dollar beauty industry, obsessing about the differences between herself and Cindy Crawford. Also, she suspects that you’re not qualified to judge anybody’s appearance. This is because you have shaving cream in your hair.
Who is it that whispers so subtly in our ear that a gift given to another somehow diminishes the blessings we have received? Who makes us feel that if God is smiling on another, then He surely must somehow be frowning on us? You and I both know who does this—it is the father of all lies. It is Lucifer, our common enemy, whose cry down through the corridors of time is always and to everyone, “Give me thine honor.” . . . As others seem to grow larger in our sight, we think we must therefore be smaller. So, unfortunately, we occasionally act that way.
Jim Duke and Barry Johnson surveyed members of the LDS church back in the 1990s. Using a national sample of Mormon families, they asked both husbands and wives to respond to separate questionnaires about their religious practices. Respondents rated their church activity, scripture reading, frequency of prayer, and so forth. One question asked: if you were to die today, which of the three degrees of glory do you feel worthy to enter? What they found was:Men were more likely than women to believe that if they died today, they would be worthy of the celestial kingdom. Men were also slightly more likely to say their life closely follows the life that Christ wants them to live. Men therefore felt more confident than did women about their place in the final judgment, despite the fact that they rated themselves less religious than women on 26 of the 31 questions.Thus, the men had a more lenient standard for entering the celestial kingdom and gave themselves a high self-evaluation; in contrast, the women although they reported engaging more in behaviors such as church attendance and daily prayer, gave themselves a low self-evaluation.Sisters, having the same judgment requires us to not buy into messages of inferiority or low selfworth. We should not judge ourselves more harshly or set unattainable standards for ourselves relative to others. We are just as capable, just as worthy. The work we do may not receive worldly recognition – but it is essential to the Lord’s plan. He knows our worth – and we need to believe Him.
We are all in this together. We need each other, Oh, how we need each other. Those of us who are old need you who are young. And, hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old. It is a sociological fact that women need women. We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other. These friendships are a necessary source of sustenance. We need to renew our faith every day. We need to lock arms and help build the kingdom so that it will roll forth and fill the whole earth.
Relief Society should be our sanctuary. We should be able to come together in prayer and fasting, in testimony and faith, and in loving support of one another. No sister should leave Relief Society with feelings of guilt, isolation, or inadequacy. If we are perfectly joined together – what woman would not want to be part of such a society? We need all of us – young, old, tall, short, single and married – as Sister Parkin said: Bring your talents, your gifts, your individuality so that we can be one.It is only then, united, that we can move the kingdom forward. Perfectly joined together we can be an unstoppable force for good.
Posted by Natalie C. at 6:29 PM
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
When I was single, I had a roommate who was a culinary genius. For a couple of lucky months, she did a chocolate chip cookie experiment, trying to find the best recipe ever. Was Mrs. Fields the best? Was Mom's the best? How about Nestle? Do we like the add-ins, like coconut, etc.? All of us roomates so completely overindulged in trying out all the recipes. As far as I know, she never came to any conclusion after all that field work.
- On a parchment or foil lined baking sheet, place heaping-full tablespoons of dough.
- Put as many as you can get on the sheet.
- Put baking sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight.
- Remove from the sheet to an airtight container or freezer bags.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Theme Song... meaning I've almost had a nervous breakdown trying to live this way.
I was thinking about how to write some posts about eliminating the stress in our lives, and this poem popped into my mind. Can we not let go of false facades? False facades not only discourage authenticity and friendship, but also the stress of trying to keep this up will kill us.
Raise your right hand. Repeat after me: "I will only read this poem if I understand that I am not get more ideas on how to emulate the craziness, but rather LET GO OF IT!"
The Girl in a Whirl
by ‘Dr. Sue’
(a.k.a. Vickie Gunther)
Look at me, look at me, look at me now!
You could do what I do
If you only knew how.
I study the scriptures one hour each day;
and I pray.
I always keep all the commandments completely;
I speak to my little ones gently and sweetly.
I help in their classrooms!
I sew all they wear!
I drive them to practice!
I cut all their hair!
I memorize names of the General Authorities;
I focus on things to be done by priorities.
I play the piano!
I bless with my talents!
My toilets all sparkle!
My checkbooks all balance!
Each week every child gets a one-on-one date;
I attend all my meetings (on time! Never late!)
I’m taking a class on the teachings of Paul,
But that is not all! Oh, no. That is not all …
I track my bad habits ‘til each is abolished;
Our t-shirts are ironed!
My toenails are polished!
Our family home evenings are always delightful;
The lessons I give are both fun and insightful.
I do genealogy faithfully, too.
It’s easy to do all the things that I do!
I rise each day early, refreshed and awake;
I know all the names of each youth in my stake!
I read to my children!
I help all my neighbors!
I bless the community, too, with my labors.
I exercise and I cook menus gourmet;
My visiting teaching is done the first day!
(I also go do it for someone who missed hers.
It’s the least I can do for my cherished ward sisters.)
I chart resolutions and check off each goal;
I seek each “lost lamb” on my Primary roll.
I can home-grown produce each summer and fall.
But that is not all! Oh, no. That is not all …
I write in my journal!
I sing in the choir!
Each day, I write “thank you’s” to those I admire.
My sons were all Eagles when they were fourteen!
My kids get straight A’s!
And their bedrooms are clean!
I have a home business to help make some money;
I always look beautifully groomed for my honey.
I go to the temple at least once a week;
I change the car’s tires!
I fix the sink’s leak!
I grind my own wheat and I bake all our bread;
I have all our meals planned out six months ahead.
I make sure I rotate our two-years’ supply;
My shopping for Christmas is done by July!
These things are not hard;
It’s good if you do them;
You can if you try!
Just set goals and pursue them!
It’s easy to do all the things that I do!
If you plan and work smart, you can do them all, too!
It’s easy!” she said …… and then she dropped dead.
Posted by Natalie C. at 4:15 PM
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Why are we hearing more and more that people are depressed, hypothyroid, hormonally imbalanced or have adrenal fatigue and other endocrine problems? Part of it is the stress in our lives, but I have started to learn that there are prevalent things in our environment that may be messing with the hormones in our bodies. They are called Endocrine Disruptors, Xenoestrogens and Phytoestrogens. I thought I would bring some of them to your attention because some lifestyle changes are worth it, when you have felt awful & we especially would never want our kids to end up with these problems in their adulthood or even adolescence.
- Throw away any plastic containers once their color or texture has changed
- Never put plastic containers in the microwave
- Switch as much as possible to buying food that comes in a glass container instead of plastic
- Get rid of all our tupperware and switch to these handy glass containers instead
Saturday, November 13, 2010
All of the books below are on my bookshelf and have been read and reread and underlined and dog-eared. If you have trouble deciding between a couple of them and want to ask me any questions, please feel free to email me.
Thyroid, Adrenal and Hormone Imbalances