Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gluten Free

I've had a few inquiries about my Gluten-Free Pinterest board.

I know that some of you are readers who found me years ago through the True Campaign. Those of you who know me in real life, or are long time readers, will remember my issue in the past with disordered eating. If you are one of those dear friends (or are a current friend who is struggling), please know that this is not a new fad-diet I've put myself on. I am not trying to lose weight by cutting out wheat. I do not believe wheat makes us fat. I do not believe eating gluten free will make us skinny. (Pictured above is a delicious brownie I made this week. Definitely a high sugar/fat treat, gluten-free nonetheless!)

However, in the interest of full disclosure (and an answer to those who are concerned) we do have other issues. I have had chronic uticaria and dermographism (hives) for almost ten years. I am currently on three different antihistamines. Thankfully, medical tests have shown that I do not have an autoimmune disease, but (perhaps) a histamine intolerance.

Unfortunately, for this carb loving girl, wheat is high in histamines (along with a lot of other foods!) and so I am choosing to eat as close to gluten- free as possible.

My son is also eating gluten-free due to stomach issues he has struggled with all his life (he would prefer I keep his personal biz off the blog). So we are trying to cut out wheat and high histamine/fructose foods together. We find ourselves eating a LOT of veggies, non-wheat whole grains, lean meats, and legumes these days. Its a challenge, but we extend ourselves a lot of grace.

Sometimes, when the need arises or we decide a stomach ache and itchiness is worth the meal, we eat what is set before us. Thankfully, our issues aren't celiac or any other medical condition that would require us to treat wheat as poison. That would be so hard. My heart goes out to those who really cannot have wheat because to their bodies it IS poison, and makes them very ill.

So, that is the story of my Gluten-Free Pinterest board (that ironically, consists mostly of sugary baked goods: once a carb eater, always a carb eater.).

I am uncertain who still reads this blog from those days when I shared how God mercifully carried me through years of eating disorder, but I am acutely aware that you may still be stopping by. I am also aware that there are young people (including my children and their friends) who occasionally click over.

"Going gluten free" is a trend right now that many people are trying out to promote better health and weight loss. This is not the case for me, which is why I hadn't mentioned it until now. However I DO realize that in this day of social media, anything I pin, tweet, comment or write is public domain. Your questions are always welcome.

I don't know that I will write much about this change in our diet for several reasons: 1)I want to be sensitive to the care and keeping of the La Vida family's privacy, 2) I don't want to cause anyone who may be struggling with eating issues to stumble, 3) There are MANY gluten-free websites and blogs that can share with greater depth and interest that I can. "Diet" is not an area I want to over-focus, in life or on the blog. 4) Food is such a personal thing... It stirs so much in us, both wonderful and difficult!

For these reasons, I may not be posting much about this (other than a recipe or two), but you are welcome to follow my Pinterest board!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Grace of Conviction

If there is a sure way to find myself in trouble it will be because of my mouth.

Today I find myself feeling awkward about a conversation that hindsight has shone a bright light: I knew too little, and said too much.

It always happens this way.

Had I kept silent for just ten minutes more, I might have realized that the conversation set before me was weighted in waters that run deep. I thought I understood the silent subtext that hung about the room, yet it is only in the looking back I understand.

I spoke openly about a subject that wasn't really on the table. My perception was wrong... my lack of experience and quick jump to conclusion a blazing sign of my ignorance. I should have kept my mouth shut.

I cringe under the weight of regret.

Today I am thankful for grace. Thankful, that God's love can lighten a burden of my own making and offers a reminder to depend on Him, be with Him,  conform to Him.

In all of my imperfection, I can press forward.

I am humbled when conviction is heavy, but feel relief in knowing the 'Giver of grace and comfort' can melt the hardness of my heart, the haste of my tongue, and my selfish perceptions, and turn them into praise.

The Convicting Spirit -

(Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett))

Come, work repentance in my soul;
Represent sin to me in its odious colours that I may hate it;
Melt my heart by the majesty and mercy of God;
Show me my ruined self and the help there is
     in him;
Teach me to behold my Creator,
     his ability to save,
     his arms outstretched,
     his heart big for me.
May I confide in his power and love,
    commit my soul to him without reserve,
    bear his image, observe his laws,
    pursue his service,
    and be through time and eternity
    a monument to the efficacy of his grace,
    a trophy of his victory.
Make me willing to be saved in his way,
   perceiving nothing in myself, but all in Jesus:
Help me not only to receive him but
    to walk in him,
    depend upon him,
    commune with him,
    be conformed to him,
    follow him,
  imperfect, but still pressing forward,
  not complaining of labour, but valuing rest,
  not murmuring under trials, but thankful
     for my state.
Give me that faith which is the means of salvation,
    and the principle and medium of all godliness;
May I be saved by grace through faith,
    live by faith,
    feel the joy of faith,
    do the work of faith.
Perceiving nothing in myself, may I find in Christ
  wisdom, righteousness, sanctification,

Friday, February 24, 2012

Big, Brown, Bulky Scarf (that makes me happy)

Today it is nearly 75 degrees outside!

A great day to make a scarf!

Actually, this warm air is (apparently) the front-end teaser of cold weather predicted to visit the Carolinas. So it may still come in handy!

The good news is that this scarf is SUPER easy and quick to make. I know you want to make one too!

I used the Lion Brand Hometown USA super bulky weight yarn in Chocolate Brown, and a P (11.50mm) hook.

Chain 81

Row 1: single crochet in second chain from hook. Single crochet to end or row. (80 stitches). Chain one, turn

Row 2-8 (or until you run out of yarn to complete a full row) Single crochet, in back loop only, to end of row. Chain 1, turn.

Finish and work in ends at last row.

I worked in VERY loose stitches. Too tight and it won't have loose drape. This is a very bulky scarf but the length gives room too play with it and it is very warm.

I hope I get to wear my scarf at least one time before winter ends here in the Piney Woods, but until then I will go take a walk in the sunshine!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

These Are The Times: A note to myself

Normally, it isn't hard for me to see the good things that come from a change in plans, but after two weeks (and counting) of illness, this optimist was beginning to feel a little down.

However in the course of the last two hours, my perspective has changed.

This morning when I opened my Lenten reading to Psalm 34:

"I will praise the LORD at all times."

All times: When my plans are changed. When optimism has left the building. When timing isn't right. These are the times: when faith is easy, and when it is not.

Amazingly, it was in the midst of this mornings pity-party prayer time that I was reminded of a preacher I heard speak nearly twenty years ago. His name was Dave Busby.

I remember hearing him speak praises of the Lord with genuine love and energy.

This man, his slight frame made shorter by a body coping with the fallout of disease, had been sickly all of his life. Polio and cystic fibrosis had not been kind. Yet he could preach with power of ten healthy men. I had seen it with my own eyes.

Dave died in December 1997, just a year or so after I heard him speak, but I was able to find a website that has some video and quotes taken from Dave's sermons and journal.

This last week has not been what I had anticipated. All four of us came down with the flu, and instead of enjoying a week of fun filled togetherness, we have had a week on the couch, or in the bed, chasing Advil down with orange juice. The Mister has turned a corner, but the kids and I are all still very poorly at various stages of this virus.

It hasn't been what I had planned.

But perhaps this plan was better...
"Difficult day... a nation at war, a recession in the economy, flu in the house and flu in the body, cold weather, busy schedules...the list goes on. These are the times that are most conducive for God's sweet refreshing presence. A joy, a peace, a contentment regardless of circumstances. I turn to You, oh God, my rock. You are my hope in despair, my security in stability, my spring in winter, my peace in war, my joy in sickness. Energize me to endure with joy. "   Dave Busby (Jan. 30, 1991)
It was Providence that I should come across this quote this very morning.

These are the times that are most conducive for God's sweet refreshing presence... Kellie, these days on the couch have not been lost, but God has met you in the midst... 

So go:
"...praise the LORD at all times.
...constantly speak his praises....boast only in the LORD;
let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces." (Psalm 34:1-5 NLT)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

House of Hacking

The Little Yellow House on the Hill has become The House of Hacking.

As a result not much is happening here. 

But we are together. Not quite the mid-winter break we anticipated, but we're resting all the same.

Today I will remove myself from that chair to take The Girl (who is the lone healthy holdout in this bilious brood) to Girl Scouts. She is about to go crazy being trapped in the house for a week!

I can't leave without sharing my tulips with you.

While we languish, and sip hot beverage and soup, she is happy and bright.

(As you can see, my cough has not changed my propensity for the dramatic.)

Spring is coming!

Monday, February 20, 2012

When Life Hands You A Cold, Make An Afghan

Winter has been so mild this year. I was sure we wouldn't see snow.
I was wrong, we got some last night. And it is my favorite kind of snow: briefly beautiful with its quiet falling and glittery way, and gone by noon.

This was the view from my favorite spot on the front steps.
I didn't stay out long. The truth is I managed to catch the bug that has systematically made its way through every person in this house. It's just a respiratory virus, but it's enough to make moving about uncomfortable.
So I made the best of a Sunday at home with some yarn and a lot of TV.
I put a good dent in the Dahlia Throw. I had originally Thought I would do the borders of each square in white, but the contrast was too stark and I didn't like it. I switched to sage green, and I love the way it is coming together.

I have had a couple inquiries regarding this project:
1.) What pattern are you using?
2.) Why/Who are you making this (for)?
The pattern I'm using is from the Mar/Apr 2012 Crochet Today magazine. I am not using the colors suggested in the pattern, but am trying to use my stash.

The answer to the second question isn't as definitive. Being flower obsessed, I was so excited I could hardly read the pattern when the magazine first arrived in the mail. I don't really need another afghan but I simply could not resist...

As I crochet I keep thinking about what I will do with it, but in the end all the things I make find homes. It might take awhile, but they eventually find their rightful owner.

After dealing in sage green for hours, I needed a break. So I picked up a light pink yarn, called Sea Shell. My cousin had a little girl last week so I made this hat and will soon place a Camellia and some leaves on the side.

I would like to make a pair of shoes to go with it, but it seems I may have found my crochet kryptonite. This is my fifth attempt at shoe making since I began to crochet two years ago, and seriously, little shoes are not my forte.

All right, time to start some laundry and then sit down for awhile!

I hope that you are well (and warm) where ever you are!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mid-Winter (almost spring!) Break

I told myself I wouldn't take pictures of the green things this spring, but this morning I was out with my camera before I knew what hit me.
The tulip plant was an impulse buy when I was at Trader joe's this week. But at $2.49 i couldn't resist. (I'm sensing a theme here.)
It rained all day yesterday and it was just enough to perk everything up. When I woke up and opened the blinds, there was a definite, but ever so slight, hue of newly sprung green.

I love green.

The daffodils bloomed just in time to get a long steady shower. This morning their petals were heavy with dew.
I love waking up each morning to see what new bit of earth has decided to wake up.
As if the signs of spring weren't enough to make this heart feel content, it is also the eve of our mid-winter break. The Mister will be home all next week, so we decided to close school too. This is the great part of having started our school year in July. We won't travel or plan anything big, but I think we'll get some seedlings started and get the garden beds ready. It will be nice to relax.
In preparation I did a big clean-up yesterday. I had a bunch of papers and notes all cluttered and piled in different parts of the house. So as I cleaned each room I picked up all the piles and placed them on the kitchen table. When I was finished I headed to the table...the dreaded task put off to the end.

As is the usual case, the anticipated dread was far worse than the task, and in just a few minutes I had everything sorted and put away.

For a long time I have needed a place to keep important "to do" projects kept in a central location... otherwise I forget them. I scrounged through some homeschooling organizational supplies and found this hanging file pocket I wasn't using.

So now I have a little organizer in my kitchen to keep things like Bed Bath and Beyond coupons (do you know they honor even outdated coupons?), Girl Scout Cookie business, and correspondence that needs to be addressed within this week. The Girl immediately put this system to use by attaching a note for me: she needs picture of her dad and I for a project.
So now I can relax and begin our mid-winter break.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

$4.00 Sunshine (And Other Things That Make Me Smile)

~I had planned to run in 'real quick' for some spinach, but I was drawn to the floral department. Stop and smell the roses, I heard myself think... though it wasn't the roses that called me.

Their faces were brown and orangey-yellow, as if having stored sunshine for this particular winter day. I bought a bundle for less than a five note and carried them, happy, out into the grey morning.

Now they live in my dining room, on a walnut table sprinkled with crumbs from last night's dinner. It is there they sit, in the center-place of my family's life, adding an extra measure of beauty to an already full and lively home.

~I've been making dahlias over the last few weeks, deliberately trying to slow down and enjoy The Process of instead of focusing on The Finish.

I've only a few more purple flowers left before I get to pick up the green yarn and make these rounds into squares.

Those who know me would tell you that, second only to my coffee mug collection, is my water bottle collection. Several years ago I got rid of all H2O bottles that contained BPA, which greatly decreased my water vessels. Recently I bought a lifefactory glass water bottle and I love it. My only complaint is that it only holds 22oz, which means I am refilling. A lot. Oh, and I really wanted the pink one, but green was all they had...

I finally broke down and bought a key board for my iPad. Why didn't I do this before? I love my iPad, but the touch screen typing did nothing for my already lacking typing skills. Now I can get my emails, comments and blog posts done in less time and with only half the typos.

For years The Mister has expressed a desire for a reading pillow commonly called a husband. I call it ugly, which is why I have been reticent to buy one.

I finally came to my senses.

This man, exceedingly generous with me and easily content with a twenty-dollar pillow, was being denied. I found a pillow in a neutral color and gave it to him for Christmas. It made him happy.

In a great turn of events, I recently used said pillow as a means of propping when I sat in bed one morning to read. It was in this moment that I realized the pillow was... nice.

Not wanting to reveal my enjoyment of the 'ugly pillow', I continued to used it each morning in secret. Until one day I failed to hide the evidence that sat on my side of the bed.

Upon acknowledgment (but not quite admittance) I acquiesced the pillow might be considered useful, perhaps even comfortable, but still unattractive.

The Mister, being a man of true character, stopped short of crying thievery, but was seriously tried later that evening.

He, desiring to lounge upon the pillow himself, found it occupied and asked, "Isn't that my pillow?"

Not wanting my pride to be broken, nor my personal pillow procurement to be exposed, I simply replied, "You shouldn't leave things on my side of the bed."

My tactical trickery didn't work. He quickly took possession of his property.

I may be making a trip to the store (very soon) to make a match set.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Being A Friend

I took The Girl and her British Best Friends Forever out for some ice skating. The Girl, having only skated once, had decided early on that she would not leave the wall

However the BBFFs, having better skating skills, thought this unacceptable. They each took a hand and without concern or permission led The Girl out onto the ice, free from that which might hinder.

I sat and watched, and my mind went back to all the friends God has put in my life. Friends who told me the truth; who wouldn't let me be chained to places that would not let me grow. Women who came along side me, holding my hand, occasionally, holding me up. I thought of those who weren't satisfied to just watch, but got involved when the moment had the best of me.

Soon The Girl began to skate unassisted, wobbly and unsure, but with confidence a wall will never give.

I pray that I will be the kind of friend I have received in others. And I pray that God will continue to send my Girl true friends in life who will be brave in the places where she is not; and will not merely talk of better places where there is room to grow, but will take her hand and lead her there.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

More Than Many

While shopping last week with The Boy I came across this bag.

It looks like you, he said, are you gonna get it?

A lover of birds, in particular the sparrow, I was trying to think of a good reason to buy it.

You could put your crochet projects in it..., he said quietly with a grin.


I do love it. The way the little bird has her head turned toward the sky.

I've written about it before, but sparrows make me think-y. I don't know why it is so with me, but often it is the littlest things that lay my heart open.

I am again pondering the words of Christ in Matthew 10: 26-31.

"So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:26-31 NIV)

This morning especially, tucked under a down comforter covered with my Anniversary Quilt (with sparrows sewn betwixt the seams), I'm thinking of the host of sparrow that flew into my yard last week.

I sat at the pane, basking in the warm of the sun rays while so many sweet, grey little puffs of down pecked away at cold earth. They weren't worried, their little beaks hard at work. They do not fear.

I was reminded that God has me tucked safely under His wing. Me, a half-pence sparrow, purchased at a costly price and known (down to the very hairs on my head) by Christ.

But what about those being remembered this month? Children like Matthew and Alethia, and Tobias? Children I will never meet (on earth), but love all the same.

What about the boy named Blake? Born the same year my son took his first breath, who three weeks ago climbed an electric transformer, was electrocuted, fell to the ground, and was gone before the ambulance arrived.

Not one falls to the ground outside our Fathers care.

Not even one.

Once I begin to see past the loss (and, let's be honest, my fear that I might someday experience it) I can give thanks that these children did not have to be held captive to the chains of this earth; they don't have to be content in the faith of knowing God is with us, but Matthew, Alethia, Tobias and Blake (and others like them) make their home near the altar of the Lord Almighty, our God and King (Psalm 84:3). They can look into the face of God and really know that He and is Word are true.

Yes, sparrows fall, but they can also fly on wings like eagles. They do not worry about tomorrow, God feeds them today.

On earth and in heaven.