September 30, 2016

It's almost time for the October Readathon again!

The date has been set for October 22, 2016!

Are you reading?  

Are you cheerleading?

Are you participating in the challenges?

There is so much fun to be had and lots and lots of prizes to be won.

I hope you join us!

September 24, 2016

Three Like Me...

There were so many I thought about but these wound up being my favorites.

I am most like Frankie Heck.... she is a mom that shares my soul!  She loves her crazy imperfect messy, dysfunctional family but if we take a deeper look they are all so much like so many of us in our own families.  Life is not perfect and bills get paid late and school issues arise and kids bicker.  She lives a life so much like mine from that fictional place.  Watching her life is almost like watching a script of my life that is being played out on screen.  I could swear that they are videotaping my life and writing each episode based on that.  

I am also a lot like Colette.  I thought about Remy but Colette is so much more like me in the kitchen with her instructional ways from an impatient place.  LOL  Being the woman in a professional kitchen full of male egos is very hard and I have been in those kitchens.  I kept going... I still keep going... for the love of great tasting food that nourishes those around me.  Colette was all about making thoughtful delicious food.

As I looked at all of those characters from Downton Abbey I can most relate to the heartbreaks and triumphs of Lady Grantham as she moves through life with children who don't always make decisions she would choose but she loves them through it all anyway.  She is the rock of that family in many ways even though she is living under her husband and his families traditions and ways.  She is the practical American who is not afraid to speak her mind and yet still a lady who wants it all to be proper and  perfect for those who enter her home.  I am often torn between those same emotions.

I also considered Lorelai and Rory Gilmore.... I am really a combination of the two but opted to go a different direction.  If the truth be told I might be a little like Emily Gilmore, too.  That one all bled together for me.  LOL

So, there is a bit of fun for Saturday.... who would you choose for your three fictional characters?

September 09, 2016

Ditching my Whole 30 for a simpler plan

I know, I planned to get back on the Whole 30 wagon.  I did for one whole day but kept having this crazy nagging feeling that I needed to do something else.  I have been studying about the affects of the Autoimmune Protocol on people who have autoimmune disorders/diseases.  

Some of you know that I have Lupus but I also have Fibromyalgia and Hashimotos.  They really all go hand in hand and the symptoms overlap a lot for each of them.  I call it my autoimmune mess!  

I need to say, up front, that the Whole 30 elimination experiment is brilliant and when I did it in May 2015 it was very helpful in teaching me more about listening to my body and knowing about things like "no brakes" foods for me or things that I was sensitive to in my own diet that I should avoid.  I had every intention of doing it again this month but, again... the nagging feeling.

My body has been telling me to go simpler.  I have removed some of those restrictions that are part of the Whole 30 in order to give myself a less stressful, yet completely successful, experience.  I decided to go with what I already know.... I have reactions to dairy (mostly lactose), soy, wheat/gluten, and sugar and then the occasional reaction to certain corn products (I suspect GMO or super processed).  

I decided to take the book by Eileen Laird (Phoenix Helix) that I just read and use it as my ultimate reference for what I can and cannot eat to heal my gut.  The book is called called A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol.  Healing my gut and feeling better is my primary goal right now.  I am not looking to lose weight, although I won't fight that, or fit some image of super fit.... I just want to feel better!

So, four days ago I restarted...

I have had no sugar, wheat/gluten, dairy or soy since then.

I have also added the restriction on certain nightshade vegetables.

I am keeping eggs, coffee (one to two cups per day tops) and potatoes for now but if things are still not feeling better in two weeks I will ditch those, too.  I want to take it on a day to day basis at this point.  

Here is my stack of reference books and cookbooks to keep me focused right now.  I have one more book coming the end of September from Dr. Amy Myers on the thyroid called The Thyroid Connection.  

For those on this journey I am giving you a list of blogs I frequent to help me understand this process.

September 08, 2016

A Little Topical Reading.... Food Writing

I took some time to go through my books earlier this year.  I cleaned out all of my cookbooks, fiction, nonfiction... all of it.  

This was the recent mountain I climbed before dwindling things down
I have managed to haul over 20 boxes of books out of this house.  

These three pictures are all that is left after the purge.  LOL  I know it is still a lot.  I might do another purge again before Christmas but for now this is the collection of a chef/home cook/foodie

I am trying to clear my life and my brain because, for a very long time, I have neglected writing and blogging about food.  I love doing both of those things and it has been missing in my days for far too long.  

I gathered this little stack for me to work through over the coming months.  
It is a jumping off place for me to get back to doing something I love doing.

I plan to write another 31 day series in October and I think it will be food related for the entire month.

Do you have something you have neglected for far too long?

Is there something you love doing but just don't take time for anymore?

How can you work it back into your life?

Are you, maybe, doing the 31 days of blogging series, too?  If you are please let us know what you are doing when you have a plan!  :)

August 27, 2016

You Are Forgiven Study... beginning August 29th

I have been leading a group for the Love God Greatly studies for several years now.  I have a FB group that studies and prays together each session.  We have had some ladies leave and some join later throughout our time there but, for the most part, we are still the basic group we started with.

For most of that time we have been downloading the free study guides and reading plans along the way but this session I decided to actually get the book.  I had a little extra in savings I could use on such a splurge so I did.  I don't think I will go without from now on.  The books are great resources and hopefully, will keep me on track a bit more this time through.  I tend to get behind sometimes.

We begin our study on Monday and I am planning on blogging it a bit more than in the past.  I suppose ANY blogging about it would be more at this point.  LOL

If you are looking for a study they usually have great ones.  Another place for study is one hosted over at If:Gathering.... on their If:Equip page.  Jennie Allen started that ministry and it is fantastic.

So, what are you studying this Autumn?

Do you have a local group or do you study online somewhere you want to share with us?

August 26, 2016

Still On the Journey... September Plan for Food

I am heading toward another Whole30 journey for the month of September.  This time I am adding the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) restrictions.  I just finished this book to help me with my planning.  Eileen Laird is the AIP blogger at  This is not an all inclusive guide but it is very helpful for those who are starting and want to understand more about the Autoimmune Protocol for reducing inflammation in the body.  If you have an autoimmune disease/disorder then you, likely, suffer with some kind of inflammation on a regular basis.  

I have Lupus (SLE) and Fibromyalgia and my biggest battle seems to be with the arthritis that comes with it.  I have triggers that are external such as the rise in barometric pressure, excessively hot summer days, lack of sleep, and overexertion.  

I have food triggers, too, that I discovered last May (2015) during my last Whole30.  I struggle with soy, wheat, corn, dairy and a whole slew of preservatives and chemicals found in many prepackaged foods.  Since May 2015 I have struggled to keep those things out of my diet and have found that I seem to be sensitive to the nightshade plants as well.  I need to be back on track after all the crazy summer eating while we were traveling and dealing with a bazillion changes in our lives as a family.  Well, maybe not a bazillion... but it felt like it.

The book gives a good overview of what you should NOT be eating and then an extensive list of things you can eat in abundance.  It gives you helpful information for setting up your kitchen before you begin.... which is what I am doing this next week.  It gives you a basic grocery list, how to deal with spices that may be causing issues and how to make your own blends.  She addresses eating out at restaurants and travel tips, and my favorite... HOLIDAY EATING!

She encourages you to write everything down.  Keep an eating journal and a symptom journal as you go.  She even shares common mistakes and how to troubleshoot as you move through the changes you are making.  I wish there had been a more extensive list of resources because I know they exist but she really just shares things from her website and a few friends that she has worked with in this realm.  She has loads of personal experience so it is all great information.  The book is very practical and can help you right away as you start your journey to feel better.

I will be using this book in conjunction with the Whole30 book and website resources and It Starts With Food from Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.  I highly recommend everyone read It Starts with Food before you dive into the Whole30 plan.

Something you need to remember is that this is not a diet to be sustained longterm.  It is meant to be a 30 day elimination plan.  Once you get the junk out of your system you start reintroducing things back in.  The goal is to see how you tolerate them until you build a healthy eating plan for you that does not trigger inflammation and sickness in your daily life.

If you have any questions on this please feel free to ask and I can answer or point you to an answer.  We should never have to be on this journey alone.  I am grateful for my fellow sojourners that encourage me daily.  No man is an island.... 

I will be sharing, in the coming days, about two other resources I will be using through this, too.  They are from Amy Myers MD and address Autoimmune and Thyroid issues specifically so stay tuned for those resources.  She certainly warrants a separate post.

PS.  This is not a book sent to me for review.... it is just one in my stack that I wanted to share.  I paid real money for this one!  LOL

August 24, 2016

They Were Christians by Cristobal Krusen

One of the first things I do when I get a book with an author I am unfamiliar with is search for the author on google.  Maybe I am a huge geek but I want to know more about who wrote the book I am about to read.  I knew absolutely nothing about Cristobal Krusen when I got this book.  I suspect many of you don't know who he is either so I will tell you a bit about him before we get started with the book review.

Cristobal Krusen is a director, writer, producer and actor.  He has two degrees in film arts and has a lifelong love of classic literature and writing as well as photography.  One of the first entries I found when I did a google search on him was a link to IMDb!  He has worked on a few Christian biography projects on film.  The projects include a biographical movie called Undaunted: the early life of Josh McDowell and one about the early settlers to Jamestown called First Landing.

It seems only logical that he would write a biographical resource such as They Were Christians based on his love of history and writing.  This book is full of short biographies of some of the most influential people in history.  The subtitle says "men and women" but there was only one woman represented in this text.  It also speculates that some were Christians who may not have actually said they were but the fruit of a relationship with God was there according to Krusen's accounts of their lives.  I believe this book is well researched and historically accurate.

It is very well written.  I think I would enjoy reading more by Krusen.  I see potential for a series of books like this from him.  The book is not intended to give huge in-depth biographical information but, rather, it is designed to show faith in action in the lives of those he has chosen to write about.  

If you love reading biographies this is perfect for you!  I think it would lend itself to a homeschool library very well.  It is definitely for the older student.  The book is full of faith accounts and I believe it will strengthen our own faith to read about the challenges and faith during hard times in the lives of these historical figures.  My favorites were Florence Nightingale, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens and Frederick Douglass.  There were a few that were new to me, too.  I always love meeting new people in history!

This book was sent to me free of charge in exchange for reading and honestly reviewing it by Baker Publishing Baker Books Division.

I recommend this book highly and give it 4 out of 5 stars.


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