The thing that most impacted me in 2011….

It’s 2012. Man, 2011 flew by for me. I wanted to share the most impactful thing that happened to me in 2011. I got healthy. It’s funny to put it that way, because a lot of my friends have always believed I was a REALLY healthy woman. I am “skinny”, a yoga instructor (on hiatus), was a vegetarian for 5 years, ate a lot of fiber, tried to eat organic, cooked my own meals….well, you get the point.

But, the truth is I wasn’t healthy. Not really. In 2011, I started a journey to try to gain weight in an attempt to “prepare” my body for another possible HG-pregnancy. I started meeting with a great trainer, and shared with him my goals and fears. The first thing he told me was that food was going to make the biggest difference in my goals, my health, and my life. Boy was he right! I had been eating vegetarian, and then basically a Standard American Diet all my life. I was a carb-addict. A sugar-addict. A junk-food junkie. I would eat tostitos and salsa every night, in large quantities. I had a superpretzel with mustard EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for a snack. I was always told (and believed) that I could get away with eating whatever I wanted. Since I never saw weight gain from my eating habits, I believed that they weren’t harmful to me.

My trainer at the time, Justin, filled me up with information about the way humans are designed to eat. He told me about the Paleo/Primal way of eating and excercising. (*A disclaimer: I believe in Creation, and I don’t think that the paleolithic era existed. However, I do believe God didn’t create us to eat Doritos.)However, Paleo living just makes so much sense to me! The basic premise of the diet is to “Eat real, unprocessed food, as close to nature as possible and listen to your body. Pretend the modern supermarket doesn’t exist. Choose foods that could be grown, hunted, or gathered-nothing packaged or processed….Eat animals, marine life, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits. Eat plenty of healthy fats from pastured animals, fish, coconut, avocado, olives, and cold-pressed oils. Drink water….” (Quote taken from an insert I recieved from Steves Orginal.)

Needless to say…I was totally not into it. I wanted to be happy, and enjoy my life and I LOVE FOOD and ENJOYED what I was eating. I wasn’t ready for such a “huge change”. I believed also, that I felt healthy and well even though I did have a few “weird” physical issues I had been dealing with for years. I pushed that aside as “something my body has going on, just a part of life” and kept eating what I wanted. I didn’t think I could “pull off” changing my diet SO DRASTICALLY—by cutting out all gluten/grains/processed foods. That was my favorite! Ha!

After debate, and feeling defensive (on my part) while talking it out with my husband….I decided I didn’t have anything to lose. I would “try” this new way of eating temporarily if only in an effort to reach my main goal: weight gain. So, it begun. My husband was already on board-so we threw out all the junk food we had in our cabinets and pantry, and started buying even more fresh meats/eggs from our local farm, and even joined the vegetable CSA for the Spring/Summer season too. We started cooking even more then we ever had. It was different….

I didn’t notice an immediate change in my body. There were ups and downs, and at times it was hard to cook and clean just to make another meal and clean up again to start cooking! I frequently got discouraged. The thing I realize (most days) is….that’s life! We still have it way easier then most people in the world. I have a dishwasher to help me, thank the LORD! Anyway, the changes did come….and are still coming….

First, I should tell you that I was diagnosed many years back by a Rheumatologist with “myalgia” (which is basically muscle pain). This doctor told me I probably had fibromyalgia. I woke up every morning with stiff joints, and pain in my body. For years I had random joints that hurt me and were stiff….for seemingly no reason at all. I also suffered from migraines. Though i still get headaches, they are much less frequent, and severe. However, my “fibromyalgia”—well, that I learned, was a CROCK! Since I cut out the crap food from my diet, it is COMPLETELY  GONE!!!!!!!! I cannot tell you how amazing that is. I would wake up and cry some days and just wonder why my body was like this! Now, I am FREE!!!!

That’s not the only change I have experienced. *We’re about to get personal*. Constipation was an unwelcome friend when I was a vegetarian. Nothing crazy–but it was something I dealt with. NO MORE. I am a regular gal now, with no problems in the poop department! Hooray! Also, the most awesome thing….I HAVE SO MUCH MORE ENERGY. I used to feel so wiped out all the time. I thought it was just the way my body was. I would go to the mall, shop for an hour and then be EXHAUSTED–unable to do much the rest of the day! Those days are over. I take care of my 2 year old daughter everyday, I lift heavy weights twice a week, and I love to walk and spend time with my family. I FEEL GREAT!

My husband, Jamey has experienced several dramatic changes also. We both are SO HAPPY that we learned the truth about food and are finally experiencing the benefits. We thought we “knew it all” when we were vegetarian—but we didn’t FEEL GOOD. We had issues and didn’t understand why. Well, now we do. We were created to eat -as I like to call it-like we live in the woods! Sure, eating all that processed crap is “convenient” and “fast”….but it isn’t worth it to me anymore because I can’t SURVIVE and THRIVE on that food. It didn’t help me, it harmed me.

So, you’re probably wondering, did I gain the weight I wanted? Sadly, no. (Not yet!) But, that is most likely because I’m still nursing my daughter. However, I’ve started a new training regimen, and am getting MUCH stronger and feeling wonderful! (Thanks Geoff Blake!)

I still don’t know if another pregnancy is a good idea for me. The jury is still out on that one. As for me and my family, we are looking forward to a healthy and strong 2012, filled with fun times in the kitchen and happy bellies. I want to thank some people who have really helped me in my journey so far. The first is my wonderful husband. He really helped me to start this journey with him by my side, and he’s been a real encouragement to me. Another is my trainer Justin Scott. He has since moved and now works at Norcal Strength and Conditioning in California. Bless you, Justin for helping me discover the truth about food and excercise! Also, Geoff Blake my current trainer; thank you for continuing to help me discover my strength and to love my workouts! The others, I don’t know personally, but I am inspired by you and your focus, creativity, and love for food! Thank you! (Links below to more of those I appreciate and continue to learn from.)

Sarah Fragoso-Everyday Paleo

Mark’s Daily Apple

Nom Nom Paleo

Robb Wolf

The Food Lover’s Primal Palate

Be careful little eyes what you see….

Well, believe it or not folks….i have been contemplating another pregnancy for several months now. NO, i’m not pregnant yet—so that’s not what this blog is about. What it is about however, is the journey i’m taking before i even try to concieve.

I have been doing my research. I have been thinking. I have been considering. I have been weighing the options, and commitment of being pregnant again.

It’s tough. Things i read encourage me, and then other things i read frighten me. I know the reality of a pregnancy with HG. I haven’t forgotten. But i also know, i haven’t wanted to remember all the time either. And, all this research….well, it’s getting me remembering. A lot. Do i want to do this again? The joy of holding another child in my arms, and growing my family is so hopeful….but what if i have to suffer through another year with HG to get that? Can i do it? I already know it’s worth it. You don’t have to tell me that. I have friends around me aching to be pregnant. I would be blessed to be able to conceive again, I know. But, what if in that blessing….also, lies a curse? A curse that could destroy me again?
This time on my journey I also have to consider my daughter. Her life. What could be stolen from
her if I battle HG again? I don’t want her to have to see her Momma sick, or not be able to be near me…What if i can’t stand her smell so badly that I can’t even hug her? (I had barely any physical contact for months during my last pregnancy as smells were just too nauseating).

All these heavy things weigh my mind down.

I’ve been trying to prepare. I’ve been trying to gain weight. Over four months ago i dramatically changed my diet to resemble that of a Paleo/Primal type diet. I’ve been meeting with a trainer, and have started lifting weights. To my discouragement, I haven’t gained a single pound. I sometimes wonder if God is not going to allow me to gain weight, because it’s really just me trying to scramble and “control” how I would feel when I get pregnant again, and I know I really don’t have much control over HG and whether or not it chooses me, yet again. I do know that God CAN and I pray that He DOES have mercy upon me and allows me to have a pregnancy that is better then my last, and hopefully—free of HG or all NVP. (Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy)

So here I sit…writing up some things I need to ask my midwife. To prepare. Things to still consider. Will I do this? Can I handle it? Sometimes, I answer myself with a resounding YES!
Other times, like today….I am sad to say I really just don’t know.

I do NOT want fear to rule my life or decision making. I want to overcome. I want to succeed. I want to birth another beautiful baby into this world. I know I can’t do it alone. I don’t think I can even do it again with only the small circle of family who got me through last time. I was too isolated. So this blog is the beginning of me reaching out to you, my community of friends and family, to let you hear my heart and to support me…..and my family….

In closing, I’d like to share a quote I found today that really hits home for me with where I’m at today.
“We are not doubting that God will do His best for us. We are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be. ” C.S. Lewis

Thanks for reading!

Me, faith, and God.

I’ve been thinking today and praying. I have been talking to God about how i’m feeling. The deep, raw reality of where i’m at right now in this moment.

I have to be honest with Him.

I feel like I put all my trust in Him and He let me fall. I feel like I trusted He would protect me and keep me healthy, that my future was to prosper and not be harmed… and when the outcome wasn’t what I desired…I felt alone. I felt abandoned. I didn’t feel God with me. I couldn’t believe it.

I’m struggling to figure out why. What does it mean? A huge part of me is sick of living and believing just “taking it in faith” all the time. For years I’ve just believed certain things about God and my relationship with Him….and when I didn’t understand I just took it in on faith.

I’m having a hard time with faith. Why can’t I be allowed to see? Why can’t I understand? I know that I’m only human and I know nothing of what God knows–or the purity in His love for us. But, how could my precious friend, my dear Lord—-how could he watch me suffer and not come to my aid?

I feel like He didn’t rescue me. It hurts. I feel like I cried and cried and cried and wanted healing and I had to just “wait” for time to pass and for my body to accept what was going on. I don’t really KNOW for sure that God actually healed me. What if WHAT IF what if—it was just time and my body adapting? It’s hard to decide. Why would God choose to heal me at all–if he didn’t heal me when i felt like and truly believed i couldn’t go on any more. Not another day. I am sickened by the thoughts i had, the decisions i was willing to make. Why did God allow me to go to such a dark place? WHY?

Was this a “test”? If so i feel that i failed. If so, i have to realize what i’m left with now. And decide what to do with it.

I feel obscured spiritually. I feel dead most of the time. I feel like i’m just living without God in my life–though i have no desire to NOT have Him in my life. I have no desire to be without. I still WANT to believe in his love and his healing and his miracles. I have seen them in the past…..I do know they exist. But, i guess i feel betrayed.

But, that’s where I’m at. Just sorting through….just pondering. Just thinking about hope, love, loss, life…..

I want the answers to be revealed. I’m going to keep on walking right through it all.

32 Weeks pregnant. My story.

Well, here i sit. I’m now 32 weeks pregnant. Let me tell you, it’s been a real journey and struggle. I have suffered (until about week 14 of my pregnancy) without the help i needed. I have a pregnancy condition known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It is not a very well understood condition, and there hasn’t been much research done on this illness because it only affects pregnant women (and who wants to test things on pregnant women, right?).

Unfortunatley, dealing with how sick i was took it’s toll on me mentally, emotionally and of course-physically. I lost over 10lbs, in weeks 6-14; and my mother finally got my very uncompassionate OB to finally prescribe a home-care service for me so i could be adequatly hydrated and given continuous anti-nausea medications from my own bedroom. I had made two trips to the ER, and it added up to over $1,200.00. I needed help. A service called Matria/Alere came to my home and gave me an IV drip of fluids which i had for several days, several different times as needed. I also was given a Zofran medicine pump which was a type of subcutaneous medicine that i wore 24/7 until about week 25 of my pregnancy.

Although thankful for the IV’s, and the kind nurses who called or came by the house to start my IV’s, it was a difficult process for me to have to go through. I didn’t get relief from my constant nausea–it was a total waiting game just being (im)patient that my hormones weren’t settling, or easing up on me. When the nurses came to find a vein and start my iv, i would always end up being stuck 2-4x while they struggled to find a good vein. They blew two of my veins out so bad my arm swelled up for 24 hours. It wasn’t their fault, i have difficult veins—but the process was painful, and on top of everything else sometimes all i could do was lay there and cry–just wanting it to be over. I’d sink deeper into self pity and depression, wondering–why was God allowing this to happen to me? Am i going to make it through this? Am i going to die?

I felt so alone, so much of the time. Jamey worked at home, and took care of me through my entire sickness when he could (which was a lot). My mom also came over most days to bring me magazines, fuzzy socks, and her love and support. My dad came over too, several times, to just sit with me, pray with me- or read me a devotional. But, then–i’d be alone again. Lost in the thick nausea and darkness of my bedroom.

It was a tough time, and it did something to me. I can’t say what exactly, but it took me to a very dark place, somewhere i could have never imagined i’d ever go in my life. Some of the thoughts i had, and decisions i almost made during that time shock me but i felt i had lost complete control, and many times–had no choice. I also never anticipated that i’d take any drugs while pregnant, only to be so sick that i took many different ones–sometimes all at once; and it still didn’t help. The nausea was completely debilitating. Sometimes i would salivate so heavily from the nausea i would have to keep spitting in a cup beside my bed to keep myself from vomiting, only to vomit anyway eventually. It was so disgusting. Sores covered my tounge from the stomach acid that kept having to be passed through my mouth from the puke. I couldn’t shower sometimes for a week or more, and when i did–Jamey had to help me and i sat on a bucket in the tub because i was too weak to stand. Other times, all i could do was wash with a soapy rag while lying in bed. Basically sponge bathe. I literally felt like a dying cancer patient.

Those are just some of the gory details. There are more, and some that only my husband would really understand somewhat–and still others that only another woman with HG could possibly comprehend. It’s a hard price to pay, to get to the prize—a beautiful baby.

So here i sit, at 32 weeks pregnant. I am told Jamey and I have made a little girl, and we are so excited. It feels good to be able to feel well enough to eat things again, decorate my baby’s room, do her laundry, and wear maternity clothes instead of pajamas all the time. It feels so great to take a hot shower, and enjoy the smell of soap and shampoo and of being clean. I cannot wait to have my baby, and experience the joy and reward of all my effort. But there are still fears.

The medicines i took while pregnant are not all considered “safe” for pregnancy. Not many medicines are. I pray health into my little girl as often as i think to, and pray that she is perfect in every way. I already have so much inside myself to work through, i can’t imagine if she was injured in some way by the things i had to do to stay alive while i was pregnant. It’s a fear that i can’t let myself run wild with–or i’ll go back too far into the darkness.

Now, I cling to Purslane Kate Hoff’s birthday. The day Jamey and i pray about, and practice for with all our relaxation and belly breathing. We can’t wait to see her face, and hold her in our arms.

I also awake everyday to the knowledge that, deep inside,—i feel far away from God. Before my pregnancy, i felt so close to Him–closer then i’ve ever felt. And so loved. I truly felt i understood his love in a new way–and i did. But now, i struggle with doubts and confusion as to why i was so sick and why my biggest fears came true most of the time. It’s hard for me to get past at this moment in time. But, i am trying and i want to fix what has been broken. I believe one day i will be healed from these “wounds”, with the support of my husband and by the Grace of God that i do still believe is upon me.

One day at a time, all i can say to the Lord is ….”God, i believe-but help my unbelief”.

And, until I’m done being “pregnant, and Pursey is in my arms—it’s a daily struggle but i know that it will be worth it in the end. That’s what everyone tells me. I just can’t wait to experience it for myself.

And Hello 2009….

Wow. I can’t believe I haven’t written since 2008. It means it was around the same time of year that I felt the all too familiar tug to write. Things are changing; things have changed; and for other things–change didn’t last long.

So here’s to 2009.

I’m still learning to let go. Embrace life. Release the spirit of fear. Learning to trust again. Starting to heal. Trying not to hold so tight to things I have no control over. Giving all up to God, every day.

In 2008, I….(in no specific order)

Read the Bible from front to back. Saw movies on Sundays after church with friends. Started teaching yoga to students at Ojas Wellness Center. Gained my first PRIVATE yoga student. Felt God’s love for me. Wrote letters. Visited a family member in an addictions rehabilitation facility. Made some possible life changing decisions. Held a puppy. Bought my first house with my husband. Attended my last surviving grandmother’s funeral. Reconciled with a family member who I hadn’t spoken to in years. Laughed a lot. Cried a lot. Picked up my old guitar and started playing again. Gained new friends. Said goodbye to a friend who moved away. Worshipped God with abandon. Layed in the sunshine. Took photographs. Walked with London. Had sushi with Jamey. Read MANY good books. Had intimate conversations. Did asanas and stayed in the moment. Felt hopeless. Wished my brother would turn his eyes upon Jesus. Celebrated six years of marriage with my wonderful husband. Was given many gifts. Was blessed more then I deserve. Spent quality time with strangers at Hope Lodge in Baltimore. Had moments of not taking life for grantid. Smiled and meant it. Missed loved ones lost. Listened to others share at Naranon meetings. Had my heart broken. Comforted a friend. Good girl time over tea/coffee. I’ve loved. I’ve grown. I’ve changed.

Here’s to more LIFE and FREEDOM in Christ in 2009! Amen.

My Yoga Journey

So I’m on a new “leg” of my yogic journey.

I start taking my yoga teacher training in the fall (September) at Yama Studio in Baltimore. (www.yamastudio.com) As some of you know, I’ve been doing yoga for around 2 and 1/2 -3 years now. It wasn’t until this year that I’ve begun to notice a major change in my body. I feel like I’ve become more flexible, more strong, more steady. I appreciate that I put in the time and effort, the commitment it took (and still takes) to bring about these changes in myself. I am still working on myself! I am praying that God will change things in my heart, my attitude, my personality even.

I am aware that I have the tendency to be extremely negative and not very fun to be around. I can be uptight, and a complainer. I really really want to work on changing these things about me. I feel like I am ready to put in the work, and also to ask God to show me things in myself that I need to work at un-rooting. Bitterness, anger, and selfishness have rooted themselves into my life. They are deep within my heart. At times in my life I had wished they were gone, and other times I have tended to the poisonous garden and not cared. Told myself that this is who I am—and people, my husband for example, will just have to except it. This is wrong. This negative, selfish side of my being is not what i want to embrace and love. I want to change it. I want to love more freely and speak more lovingly and not just wish I could. I want to do it.

So I’m taking this journey, with God, and myself–in my yoga teacher training. I am using this time, to grow and to hopefully change some things within myself. Also, to brighten the positive things inside me—my compassion for others, my sensitive spirit, my heart to worship and love the Lord with all that I have and all that I am.

I ask from my friends, family, mentors, teachers, that they be patient with me as I learn more about myself and try to be more like the person that I feel Christ calls me to be.

Namaste.

Ghetto Food Lion

OK….so i just got back from Food Lion near my house and i have the most ridiculous story to tell.

First, let me say that this Food Lion is notoriously ghetto and everytime i go there they make me bag my own groceries and they treat me like crap.

So, today i had to go there, just to grab a few things. Woohoo, i was excited as i’m sure you would be after experiencing the bag your own groceries and get treated like crap escapades i have.

So i’m standing in line at the checkout, and i step in something gross. i look down and i realize i stepped in a strawberry yogurt-like substance. I immediately wiped my foot around on the ground to get the yogurt off my shoe and kindly looked up at the cashier and said as politely as i could (cuz i’m sweet like that) “Um, excuse me…there is some yogurt spilled on the floor over here and i just stepped in it, you may want to call someone with a mop or something to clean it up.” The old lady in line before me says “oh my, thats against the law! Someone could slip and fall”. So, the cashier (a younger girl) gets a bunch of papertowels and tries to hand them to me. I said….”Uh….i didn’t spill the yogurt on the floor”. She said “oh, you didn’t? Well, could you clean it up some?” I was like….”Why should i clean up the yogurt, i don’t work here!?”. She kept saying “well, could you wipe up a little bit please so no one falls?”. I was totally flabergasted that this cashier wouldn’t instead HERSELF come out from behind her little world and clean up the yogurt but instead wanted ME, a customer, to bend over with gross papertowels and clean up the grocery store floor. UGH. I was pissed—but i didn’t know if i should make a scene or just clean it up for her a bit, and shut up—because i honestly didn’t know what else to say i was in total shock. I cleaned it up with a quick swipe—but more remained, and i told her she should call someone with a mop to get the rest. She acted irratated that i hadn’t cleaned it all up. UNBELIEVABLE.  I called the manager and complained on my way home. WHERE DO THESE PEOPLE IN CUSTOMER-SERVICE or CUSTOMER-CARE COME FROM? PLANET OF @SSHOLES? Seriously, i encounter this in my area almost daily. I’m so freakin sick of the inconsideration, disrespect, and idiot-cy. It’s really gotten outta hand.

Just had to rant. I HAD to get this off my chest.

And, also had to tell you NEVER to go to the Owings Mills Food Lion if you want a quick and easy checkout with no clean-up duties involved. Also, you’ll most likely end up bagging some if not all of your groceries at 0$ per hour.