Something Beautiful or Humorous: Apples that Eli painted

Monday, July 16, 2012

Born To Be Wild

It started out as a normal kind of July day. Mini Swim Team at 10 a.m. Drove home and got a few things done. Then someone waved their bad luck wand over us and the rest of the day was horrible!


Kids trying to make mac’ n’ cheese in a rush- put the tupperware dish on the burner and it melts. Bye bye plastic dish! Running late so they ate in the car on different plastic dishes.

Dr’s appt. from hell:

The same bad luck wand waver had to have poured a 2 liter bottle of coke down each of their throats. Something came over them and they became wild animal children. People who know my kids wouldn’t predict that Eli would be spinning around on the stool to the point that he flew off and landed on his butt in the middle of the room. My normally quiet and well behaved boy was climbing on top of and underneath the medical bed! Mia- I could pretty much predict- her normal behavior- fighting, fighting, fighting with her brother.

But what irks me is that we had a special little talk about how this particular doctor does not do well with kids, and that she couldn’t concentrate on Mommy’s situation, and I needed her to do that so I could get well.  Somehow they interpreted this to mean “Ignore Mom every time she tells us to quiet down.” And “Ignore the doctor when she actually has to tell us to quiet down.” And “sit on the lamp tables in the lobby so they tip over.”

Labcorp chips in:

The main reason for going there was to get put back on thyroid medicine. I was taken off in June but really, I need to be on that medicine. So I was looking forward to it. But the doctor didn’t have the numbers she needed. She ordered a specific type of lab from labcorp, and labcorp wasn’t intelligent enough to actually run that test. So my doctor says, “We can test your blood in our office.” “Great!” I say. But when I get to the check out area, and my bill is $220 above what it usually is, it turns out my insurance won’t cover labs done from out-of-network providers. So they say, “We will take off some of the charge, but you need to go back to Lab Corp. But you have to pay us for taking your blood anyway.” So my bill was $20 more than it usually was. AND I get to go get my arm pricked again. Yay!

But wait, there's more! Other people wanted to charge me $20, too. Like the speech therapy office. My doctor’s appointment was at 1:00, and I thought I would have time to get to speech therapy by 3:00, but we walked out of there at 3:20!! And there is a same day cancellation fee. :(


Need I say more? In rush hour traffic I drove to lab corp to voluntarily get my arm stabbed a second time. I got there at 4:10 p.m. What time do they close you ask? 4:00 p.m.

4:15 p.m.

I went to the store to buy a Diet Coke and a cupcake, kids are up in their rooms writing me apology letters, and I am now feeling a bit better. Maybe a power nap could help, too. Hmmmm... might not happen because I wonder why I hear loud music, and stomping on the floor up there...? I guess the wild status isn't so abnormal for them afterall...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Turning 40

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. ;)

I've conquered depression & anxiety. This is the first holiday season in so long that I haven't been in counseling and feeling over-stressed and down. Thank you progesterone and thank you Mood Cure and other natural supplements!

I've overcome some health challenges. This is the first holiday season in several years that I haven't been sick with a sinus infection and multiple rounds of anti-biotics. I have overcome adrenal fatigue and I'm happily taking loads of thyroid medicine and feeling almost completely back to normal again.

I have such a great family and wonderful friends, 14 of whom went out to Mike's American Grill and celebrated with me tonight. Friendships are blossoming for me more than they have in a while. Thank you friends & family! You support me so much!

Lastly, my clothes are LOOSE! I get to celebrate today 30 pounds lighter than I have been in a while. So I'm not necessarily feeling any wiser, but definitely feeling so grateful and thankful right now.

It's great to be 40. :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Fulfill The Vision"

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

How It Feels To Be Eli

Most of you know by now that Eli has had a neurological condition his whole life (that we just found out about 9 months ago!) called Sensory Processing Disorder. The term Sensory Processing Disorder is actually an "umbrella term" for several different sensory disorders. For example, some kids over-experience their senses (like Eli), and some kids under-experience their senses, and there are sub-types. But I'm just glad to know that the things we have struggled through with Eli for so long are not because Eli is a "bad kid." There was a neurological reason he was throwing all those fits. If you suspect that your child suffers from this disorder, get an appointment with an occupational therapist and/or click here for a symptom checklist.

Part of the relief of getting Eli's diagnosis has come from being able to empathize with what Eli goes through. I came across this on a great website & thought I would share it. (It came from a presentation that the author of the website gives to adults who work in daycare and preschool.)
Imagine if:

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.

Any parents out there of children with sensory issues? How do you cope? What are your biggest challenges?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Charity During A Recession

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.

So I am not ashamed to admit that along with a great number of people in this country, I am pretty strapped right now. A large Sub-for-Santa project would not be in our family's budget AT ALL! To be perfectly honest, even an ornament on a Giving Tree would add stress to our budget. But I do have $1.00. After I donated the first time, I was automatically on their mailing list and they would notify me when they were fundraising for their next project (a few weeks later), and I was happy to give $1.00 to that next project. It makes me feel like the widow's mite CAN make a difference. The default donation is $1.00. They really are happy just for that small amount! That's where the name, The Tipping Bucket came from. Every donation is like a small drop in the bucket. When they reach their fundraising goal, the bucket overflows or "tips" over, and they celebrate and move on to the next project. If they don't meet their fundraising goal (which has happened once so far since I've been following the organization,) they actually refund you! Their website actually says, "Change the world or your money back!"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How To Overcome A Bad Mood

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.

Bad moods can snowball and become horrible moods and a long string of bad moods can equal clinical depression. Try to solve it right away so that it doesn't grow larger. Bad moods can cause strife in your family or workplace. It may be more comfortable to stay in the mire of a bad mood, but it is costly! Are you really willing to pay the consequences of not working to fix your grouchiness?

There are so many things I could put on this list. I'm sure I'm going to think of more after I post this, but for now, I will just stick with my top 10.

Here is my "Go To" list of things that help with bad moods:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Find some spiritual uplifting reading. Search 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.
  10. 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?
OK- I knew I would think of more than 10. Here are some honorable mentions:
Will you please share your ideas with me in the comments on how to get over a bad mood?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why Can't Women Get Along?

I just read the most FABULOUS FABULOUS article that was an address at the BYU Women's Conference this past May by Renate Forste. I really wish every LDS female could read it (hey, non-LDS women have the same problems of non-unity, too, actually!) I don't think that can be accomplished, but I can use my little voice on this little blog & share some excerpts with you. I'll give you the crib notes. But if you have more time, go read the original. :)

The title of this post is taken from an article cited in Professor Forste's address, and although the topic is technically something different, I think that question is the one she was ultimately trying to ask and answer.

Have you ever felt that way? I have. And it's something no one tells you about "growing up." There are cliques in adulthood, too! But I think deep down inside all of us women, even the Mean Girls and the People In The Cliques is a super soft heart, one which can recognize the beauty in others without feeling threatened by it. And also an admission that we are so much stronger as a group or society (like the Relief Society!) when we get along then when we find so much fault with each other and with ourselves.

Here are some great excerpts:
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?
Sister Forste then talked about the problem of women being obsessed with various forms of perfection, especially when it comes to physical appearance, and she shared this hilarious Dave Barry column:
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; and
2. 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.
Sister Forste touches on jealousy by quoting Elder Holland:
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.
And it's also low self-esteem and ridiculous feelings of inadequacy that get in our 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.
Later she quotes Marjorie Hinckley:
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.
And her main point:
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.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe?

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.

Recently, my sister did the same thing! After a while, she actually made up her own recipe. I'm sure she wouldn't mind if I shared it with you. She's pretty proud of it. This cookie is a combination of a few different yummy flavors like vanilla, toffee, almond and chocolate. It actually does require a teensy bit extra time in the kitchen than most recipes, but it's worth it.

I recently pre-measured the ingredients and had an Activity Day Girls activity where they made this recipe by themselves. We then baked the cookies & they wrote appreciation notes to our bishopric, then I delivered plates of cookies to their families. Enjoy the recipe below. Note: it makes a lot. You could either half the recipe or prepare the cookies to go in the freezer this way:
  • 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.
In the comments, feel free to share your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Hillary's Chocolate Chip Cookie Creation

4 sticks of soft butter
2 cups white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1 T dark Karo syrup
4 eggs
2 cups oatmeal that has been ground in the food processor
1 pkg dry vanilla pudding mix
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 giant Symphony Toffee Almond Chocolate Bar ground in the food processor
5-6 cups flour
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 bag of your choice chocolate chips (milk chocolate or chocolate caramel swirl for example)

Mix first 6 ingredients well, then add everything but the flour. Mix. Add a cup of flour at a time. Add chocolate chips. Mix until the dough comes off the side of the bowl, and the bowl is clean. If you add too little flour, the cookie will be flat once cooked and the dough is too sticky. If you add too much flour, then the cookie is too hard.

Bake for 13 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Monday, November 15, 2010

This Poem Is My Theme Song

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;
I bake,
I upholster,
I scrub,
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.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Endocrine Disorders Series Part 6: Are We All Being Poisoned?

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.

This post is not to mean that I jump on the band wagon with the most panicked environmentalists out there. The things I've listed below are things that I've heard again and again from more than just a few sources. If I hear or read something once, it doesn't scare me. But if I hear it again and again from trusted sources, I start to be a little concerned.

However, I think we all should be able to take a middle of the road approach that acknowledges research out there that certain things are in fact bad for us, but realizing we still have to live in society without being fear-stricken all the time. But if you tend not to agree, before you point a mocking finger at me, read all the articles I have linked to. We can all make our own choices and not judge each other.

Here are the changes our family has made:
  • 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

Our family shops at Trader Joe's. I really appreciate how easy it is to find hormone-free meat and milk there. I have noticed Costco also sells hormone-free milk (or is it just antibiotic-free? I can't remember.) On top of that, I choose the organic version. I also try to get cage-free organic eggs.*

Why is the normal milk and meat bad for us? To make more money, large farm owners give cows & chickens growth hormones (more animals or more milk production in less time=profit). They also give the cows & chickens antibiotics, which is beginning to cause antibiotic resistance in both animals & the humans that eat the meat. Growth hormone rBGH is now linked to cancer because it causes humans to produce too much of something called "insulin-like-growth-factor" responsibility for uncontrolled cell division (=cancer). Growth hormones are also linked to infertility, early puberty and the over-production of estrogen which can cause breast cancer.

Another interesting note is that American livestock is banned in many countries. This article scares me, and so does this one.

I have heard that these substances are especially harmful to the thyroid gland. I personally have had a hard time giving up my laundry bleach and my Colgate. But a friend of mine is so sensitive that she felt unwell after showering in chlorinated water and got a filter for the shower. She also switched to un-fluoridated toothpaste. Some people believe that our chlorinated and fluoridated tap water is a big cause of the rise of hypothyroid instances in the US. Here is an article about the water. Here is an article that questions whether fluoride really prevents cavities in the first place. All that said, I still haven't made any changes in our family. Maybe I should? What are your thoughts?

Why are they bad for us? They hurt the earth, they hurt our brains, and they hurt our endocrine systems. The Mood Cure even talks about how they increase depression. Here is a great summary of some scientific studies.

This is another area where I've read about convincing research that these are bad for us, but I just can't bring myself to make the switch. No matter how many testimonials I've heard that baking soda and vinegar are just as good at cleaning bathrooms as Lysol and Comet, I just can't do it. Similarly, thinking about giving up fresh-smelling Tide or my favorite air freshener grips my heart with sadness. I love those things, but I've read that they are dangerous. Again, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

I think I linked to this article before when I was talking about depression. Soy is a Phyto-estrogen, which means it overloads your body with estrogen, causing hormonal havoc. Since Estrogen Dominance is one of my biggest problems, I try really hard not to eat anything with soy, and it's hard, if you also want to increase your protein. For awhile, our house was free of protein bars (because you just can't find any with whey protein. All they use is soy protein isolate, dang it.) But once in a while it creeps back in, because I figure that once in a while a protein bar is better than an actual candy bar. But for the most part, I am definitely on the band wagon against soy!

This is an easy switch. Whenever I eat fish at a restaurant, I ask first if it's wild or farmed. I never eat farmed fish, if I can help it. At the grocery store, fish is clearly labeled, wild or farmed. I'm sure you've probably heard a lot in the news about why farmed fish is bad. If not, just google "dangers of farmed fish" or something. The biggest concern is mercury toxicity, which is a different nightmare than endocrine disruption. But the more I read about farmed fish (franken-fish, genetically modified, etc.), I am sort of saying, "who knows what is in that stuff?" Also, as far as salmon, wild salmon contain more healthy omega 3 acids because it occurs in their bodies naturally as they swim against the currents. In a farmed environment, the salmon don't have as much omega 3. They aren't even pink! They are DYED pink. Farmed fish also can contain PCBs, which are endocrine disruptors.

Have I left out anything?

*I have not seen the movie Food Inc. yet. It is on my Netflix Queue. I have a feeling once I do see it, I will probably post again, having been thoroughly freaked out. I have heard just a preview of what a nightmare it is especially when they talk about how meat and poultry are produced in this country. Yikes!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Endocrine Disorders Series Part 5: The Book Store

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.

I may add more books as time goes by & I continue to read more good books on these subjects. I know there are a lot more out there that I haven't read. Feel free to pass on to me any recommendations you have, too.



Adrenal Fatigue

Thyroid, Adrenal and Hormone Imbalances