You know how just yesterday I was talking about ‘reintroducing foods’ and doing it cautiously?  Well, yeah, that’s a good idea.  I wrote that blog yesterday morning, and by last night, my husband’s birthday, I had ordered three entrees, two appetizers, and two orders of naan from a local Indian restaurant and had purchased two bottles of red wine to go with it.  For the first time in over two weeks, I did not worry about what I was eating — I thoroughly enjoyed that food and let me just say, it was delicious!

However, when I woke at 3:30 feeling a little “rough around the edges”, I rethought my choices and decided to do be a bit more cautious today.

We had vegetable pakora, lamb saag, bhindi masala, yum, yum, yummy.  None of it is bad in itself, but after almost two weeks with little more than rice, vegetables, chicken, fish, broth, and more recently fruit, potatoes, and eggs, it was a bit of a leap. Combine that with maybe one too many glasses of cabernet and you’ve got a tired, dehydrated, stiff, achey girl who wishes she would’ve eaten more of the basmati rice and drank more ice water instead of that last glass of wine.

So, what do you do when you fall off the horse, you get right back on.

This morning I started with the juice of half a lemon in hot water with one teaspoon cinnamon and two tablespoons honey — a new addition that is purported to decrease inflammation.  Then I had my UltraInflam shake mixed with one banana and a handful of frozen berries before I met a friend to go walking for an hour.  After our walk, we each had a cup of green tea before I headed back home.

Lunch was two eggs over easy with a half cup of rice.  Right now I am on my second cup of black tea.  I’m still not feeling great, but hopefully a day or two of discipline will restore me back to the energetic self I wrote about yesterday.

All of life is like that, isn’t it.  We have good intentions, we walk down a straight path for a while, but then we slip off the path into the rough and it feels, well, … rough.

So, here’s to getting back on the horse, and back on the path.  Here’s to a fresh start, a new day, a clean slate.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail; they are new every morning.

Great is Your faithfulness.

Updates, anyone?

A couple of weeks ago, I spent seven days on the Ultra Simple Diet, (  Then last week I decided to embark on the Minimalist Challenge (  After four months on a pretty predictable routine, these activities have been worthwhile digressions.

The Ultra Simple Diet was an experiment suggested by a new doctor I am seeing — she practices Integrative Medicine which means that she is open to traditional Western medicine, but also finds value in using supplements — vitamins, minerals, and herbs,  believes that nutrition can impact health, and generally just thinks that there are a variety of ways to approach physical issues. The first time I saw her, she listened to me talk for an hour and then suggested we start with the Ultra Simple Diet to eliminate all foods that have been known to cause inflammation. After two years of seeing doctors who believe that medication is the only route to deal with my symptoms of fatigue, pain, stiffness, etc., I was willing to give it a try.

Last week I reported that I had not been miraculously healed. After further evaluation, I believe that I am feeling better than I have in a while.  Specifically, I have more energy.  Yesterday I got up, did my devotion, wrote my blog, listed a dozen or more books for sale on Amazon, tidied the house, ran to Target, then to the library, and stopped to get a haircut.  After that I went to the Post Office, then the drug store, then to two thrift stores to donate items and look for a couple of things. I then came home, took the dog on a short walk, made dinner — baked fish, kale chips, fried potatoes, and fresh veggies — and took a break to eat dinner with my family.  Finally, I listed several items on eBay, did a little more tidying and then read for a while before I was ready to go to sleep.  Did you notice anything? No rest.  No nap.  No junk TV. Guys, I wasn’t tired. I was energized.

I have resumed some of my regular diet, but I am doing it cautiously.  For one thing, I am still drinking one cup of green tea every day.  It’s not horrible.  I have done a little bit of research on its benefits and I think they are enough to warrant drinking one cup a day. I have also more than quadrupled my intake of magnesium and added a pretty significant dose of Vitamin D.  Finally, I am still starting each morning with the UltraInflam shake — the doctor recommended that we keep some things the same while I experiment with adding foods back.  And, just for your information, I have NOT run right back to coffee.  So far, I have only had 1-2 cups of black tea each afternoon. And that’s all I want.

Interesting, isn’t it?

And guys, as far as the Minimalist Challenge goes,  it hasn’t been difficult to let go of one, or two, or three, or four, or five, or six things each day.  I haven’t even had to look outside my office yet.  (And, I still haven’t dusted!) It’s actually quite freeing to let things go.  I am actually looking forward to tomorrow and getting rid of seven things. As the clutter has cleared from my desk, I more clearly see what remains — pictures of my family, my Bible study materials, a candle, writing supplies.

Re-evaluating my diet and paring down my possessions–not typical December activities for me.  Historically, December has been about indulging and acquiring.  But, you know, neither has left me feeling content.  And, maybe, if I am being honest, it has typically made me feel a little overwhelmed.  And feeling overwhelmed, has typically just caused me to dig deeper into my soldiering.

This Next Chapter continues to be a journey of discovering what I’ve been missing, what I’ve been doing wrong, and what I could be doing to live a healthier life. I know I can’t live on rice and vegetables alone, and I will never give away both of my copies of Five Smooth Stones, but I can and will continue to make adjustments that take me further away from soldiering, and draw me closer to a life of being still.

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the patterns of this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —

His good, pleasing, and perfect will.


It is day 6 of 7 of my journey on the ‘ultra simple diet’ and I haven’t been miraculously healed.  Sigh.  But it’s not for lack of trying.

I have stuck to this thing — even the 30 minutes of daily morning Pilates, the mid-day walk, the late night restorative yoga, and the nightly epsom salt/baking soda baths. That’s on top of drinking the olive oil/lemon juice combo every morning and eating mostly rice, vegetables, and chicken all week.  It has been a full-time job!

I will admit that I have had the energy to do all of the exercise and the cooking required for this regimen.  So that’s something.  I will also acknowledge that I have fallen into bed each night dead tired.  Zonked.

So what have we learned from this little exercise?  I am not sure yet.  I will go back and see the doctor on Monday.  She should have some lab results by then.  Also, I think I will learn more as I attempt to add foods back.  I am not the typical ‘customer’. I had already eliminated gluten, dairy, and soy from my diet for most of two years. This week took out nuts, beef, pork, most of my fruit, any starch other than rice, most of my caffeine, all alcohol, all sugar, …

So what am I going to add back first?  The doctor said to be gentle with myself over the weekend until she sees me, but I am going to have to have some popcorn.  And some raisins/dates.  And probably a glass or two of wine.   I won’t have a cheeseburger or a steak, but I might have a baked potato.  I won’t eat pizza, but I may have some scrambled eggs. I eyed the clementines sitting in a bowl on my countertop today and thought to myself, “Two more days.”

I’ve been on a strict diet for a week.  I’ve been dealing with chronic pain, fatigue, and a variety of other annoying symptoms for two years.  It sucks. (Sorry, Mom.) But this morning a friend from the past sent me a photo of the car she was in during a crash in 2008.  She then described the journey to relief/healing she has been on for six years — back surgeries, physical therapy, steroid injections, etc.  That sucks, too. (Sorry, Mom.)

We all have our stuff, don’t we?  We have physical issues, emotional issues, family issues, work issues.  Yours don’t diminish mine.  Mine don’t diminish yours.  We are all on a journey of trial and error.  We’re trying to figure out life — how to hurt less, how to live more.

And we are not alone.  We have each other to lean on, to share with, to encourage. And we have the Creator of us all, who knows each and every hurt intimately.  He is aware of when we are having good days and bad days. He knows the stuff that we won’t say out loud to anyone.  He hears our cries — the loud ones and the silent ones. He wipes every tear from our eyes. And sometimes He uses us to wipe those tears.

Today is a good day. My pain and fatigue are about a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10.  But I know people who are closer to an 8 or a 9.  Perhaps today I will be their tissue; perhaps tomorrow they will be mine.

Isaiah 25:8

The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces;

He will remove His people’s disgrace from the earth.

The Lord has spoken.

Here’s to our health

I’m sitting here in the middle of the afternoon nursing my last cup of black tea for the next seven days.  I’m pathetic, right?

Why are breaks in routine so hard?  Why do I like things to be ‘just so’? Why am I such a creature of routine?  Why is it so hard to go with the flow?

Am I alone here?

I mean routines are good, right?  ‘The experts’ advise us to get up and go to bed at the same time every day, to eat our meals at regular intervals, to take our medications on a schedule.

But we also get advice from other ‘experts’ to vary our routine — don’t take the same route to work every day, choose from a variety of fruits and vegetables, and mix-up our exercise routine.

You could say I listen to both schools of thought– I always drink caffeine; I mix it up by choosing from either coffee or tea.

But this week, starting tomorrow, is going to be a bigger mix up than I have had in a while.  Not only am I putting all black drinks to the side, I am choosing, of my own free will, to drink things like extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice with hot water, and green tea.

In preparation for this experiment I purchased two kinds of green tea.  I have tried one, and I can honestly say I kind of like it.  It’s Yogi Green Tea with Goji Berry and my internet sources tell me that it has 52 mg of caffeine per serving!  So, guys, I won’t be caffeine-free after all!  You can send the troops home! The ‘ultra simple diet’ allows for me to have up to two cups of green tea per day.  Problem solved!!

So, see, going out of our comfort zone, varying from our routine, doesn’t have to be scary!  We can, like Miss Frizzle said, “Take chances, get messy, make mistakes!” If I weren’t willing to take a chance with this doctor and her ‘ultra simple diet’ for one week, I might not have learned that I like green tea with goji berry.  Who knows what else I will learn this week?

I am going to go out on a limb and say I probably won’t like drinking olive oil, but hey, I’ve been wrong before. After all, it’s only two tablespoons per day and you mix it with the juice of 1/2 of one organic lemon.  (I am really not making this up.)

I’ll try to bring you along on the journey this week, especially if I am thrilled and amazed by the results.  I feel  bit like a guinea pig, but it is encouraging know that I might be learning stuff that benefit more than just myself, that I’m ‘taking one for the team.’

In the mean time, I will continue my daily prayers that God would heal me completely — body, mind, and spirit — through whichever means He chooses.  I pray that for you, too.

3 John 1:2

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health

and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.