Friday, April 28, 2017

Where you been, girl?

A friend on facebook recently asked me , Where you been, girl? And as I reflected I realized it had been months since I blogged. The truth is all I had was vulnerability to blog about and I didn't want to share it.
But I had a little push today when I listened to this you tube clip from Brene Brown

So in the spirit of vulnerability...here goes...
Its been months because since the first of March I have been in a dark place. No one likes to blog about the dark days. Its not cheery, its not encouraging, and in my world its a sucky record on repeat... that only the "privileged" ( poor things!)few get to hear.

Bla bla bla...I feel like crap,

one scary weird physical symptom after another,

 I strive and I struggle to keep myself eating within the restricted boundaries of my current doctor prescription.

 And I google and research more and more restrictions thinking perhaps if I just cut the right foods out then I will feel well.

In my fear, I harass doctors and nurses becoming the Elaine Bennis of Conroe.

I cry and cry to God.
 I isolate.
I try to shut the down the voices in my head that tell me:
 I will never get well.
I am alone.
No one understands.
You are so annoying to everyone.
Each new day I wake with dread, wondering what awful symptom will terrorize me today.
And the grand finale fear...is my body going to just shut down in a terrifying way that scars my family for life.
These fears are loud.
These fears make me feel like I'm going crazy.
These fears fill me with doubt.
And they make it damn hard to enjoy life.

I loose hours, days, weeks of my life...I don't draw or paint. I don't work on my coding. I don't engage with my friends or my husband like I want to. I don't reach out to new friends the way I want to. My quiet time is dull. But I try!

 O I try so hard to be well and to be happy and to not think!

 I smile, I say "Hi, I'm fine, how are you?"  when I walk the children's pick up line at school.
 I try to be a "normal" mommy to my kids and keep the slow burning anxiety out of my countenance as I take refuge in the mundane chores of afternoons and evenings.
But I dread when they all leave for school and I am left alone with my thoughts and myself all day.
Some days are better than others...I work out, I enjoy some music, I walk with my friend and laugh about random nothingness, I go to my volunteer time at the college, or bible study. I feel normal for a time.

But the question haunts me...will I EVER feel well again!? Will I make it out of this alive with my marriage and family still intact?

And all I can do is keep telling myself..YES YOU WILL. By the grace of God you will rise from these ashes and be the whole beautiful creation God made you to be.

So this raw junk...this raw junk post is for you girls out there who are struggling...anyone who can relate to this place....who sometimes thinks I cannot try anymore...I cannot put one more exhausted foot in front of the other.

All I can say is, ME TOO!
You aren't alone.
I ate a full package of gluten free oreo type cookies yesterday...one after the other...
And I laid on the floor and cried awhile...
And its okay...

I haven't been consumed yet.
I will get back up and keep going.
You get back up and keep walking too, ok?






Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quitting Coffee Again...the difference is Night and Day!


Watch this clip from one of my new favorite movies, Knight and Day. This is how I laughingly picture God talking to me in the experience I want to share with you below...



Hi everyone,
I just had to share the latest in my adventures with God and my body! So, if you have read my blogs about my food, you know that I began a journey back in August where I began to surrender control over my eating and trust God to lead me with my body and food. This January 1st I attempted to cut coffee and all sugars from my diet. It did not go well. I bombed hard after 12 days. So fast forward a few weeks and I am still struggling over wither or not to keep coffee and fruit in my diet. I had talked with a few friends who mentioned that they were cutting out fruit as well as all other kinds of carbs. The thought made me grumpy and you all know where I was on the coffee. But still I wasn't feeling great, my stomach was still hurting, and my energy levels were awful. I was using coffee every afternoon to get through the bewitching hour of kids coming home from school through the routines of homework, activities, dinner, and bedtime.

Finally, it occurred to me that I had said I was going to trust God to tell me what to do for me. I realized I hadn't asked Him.

So, February 2nd,  I sat at my kitchen table with my journal,a cup of coffee,and my bible and I wrote out my questions to the Lord.
And waiting to hear His response.
 I like to write down what I hear the Lord say to me, so I am copying exactly what we said to each other that day.

Me:"Do you want me to stop drinking coffee? "

                The Lord: "Child, are you depending on it to get you through the day?
Me: yes
               The Lord: Is it healthy psychologically?
Me: umm, no.
               The Lord:"It is making your tummy feel good?"
Me: no
               The Lord:"Do you feel emotional resistance to giving it up?"
Me: YES!
               The Lord: "Will you trust Me and give it to Me?"
Me: " I don't want to , Jesus! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"
               The Lord: "Remember I said I would withhold no good thing from you. My anointing is on                  you to do this. You failed last time because you tried to do it without ME. But I am teaching                    you I am for You and You can do it."
Me: But I'll be so unhappy...I'll have headaches and no energy....Can't you just make me hate the taste?"
               The Lord: " 😉I could, but I choose this way. Will you trust Me?"
Me:"But what can I have instead?"
               The Lord,"Trust Me."
Me: When can I have it back?
              The Lord: "Trust Me."
Me: "I'm really weak Abba, I need You to give me a boundary of days."
              The Lord: "Here Daughter, take one last sip of that cup you just made, then I am asking you to               give me the coffee to hold until your birthday. on that day we will re-convene on the matter."
Me:" ok"

I want you to understand the gentleness of His Spirit as He asked me to do this. It was very similar to a story I heard during a Women's retreat many years ago about a little girl and her fake pearls. The little girl loved her fake pearls and wore them always, even to bed. Every night when her Daddy kissed her good night, he would ask her for the pearls. She always laughed and said no way! But finally one night she agreed to give them to her Daddy and in return he pulled out a strand of real pearls he had been carrying around waiting to give her. So this is the way I felt God's heart  towards me, as He asked me to give Him my coffee. He knew how much coffee meant to me.

So what happened, You see up there that I agreed. I took one more sip and then I dumped my coffee out. But the next morning, I took back the coffee. I just couldn't do it. I was so grumpy about having to give up one more thing that I loved. And do you know, the Lord did not strike me dead. Instead, He gently pursued me like this:

Feb.3rd I received a surprise package in the mail. It was an adorable gift box from my friend Leanne and inside it was TEA! It was a cardboard box that contained photos of us over the years, her sweet note, and a graphic that said, "Sip Joyfully". I immediately thought, God, this better not be a sign that you really want me to give you the coffee. Then I thanked my sweet friend and went on my coffee sipping merry way.

But Feb 4th, feeling bored, restless, grumpy and unconnected, I had another conversation with God.
And it went like this:
Me: I'm tired. Lord, I'm kinda scared to enter into conversation with You right now after the other day...did I hear right or wrong? have I disobeyed drinking coffee?
are you angry with me?
            The Lord: Daughter, I am not angry with you. I just want you to know I'm willing to take your               "fake" pearls and give you real ones. "

Me: "I'm such a mess!"
But I was not ready to surrender.

Feb 5th found me at church. In our class we were wrapping up a series from Andy Stanley on making Wise Choices. These words he said pierced my spirit.
"The Goal isn't to just know what I should do, but then to DO it."
"We easily trust in the laws of this earth: ie: physics, gravity, etc, yet we struggle to submit to the Creator of it all."
"A wise decision comes from submission to the Author of Life."
"Sometimes to understand why, you have to submit to apply."
We ended the lesson with this question:
Have I surrendered my will to God's will?
And there we were again.
 I realized that I had taken back my surrender. That I had stopped surrendering to God my body and food like I had told Him I would. No wonder I was struggling. Still I wrestled with the surrender all that afternoon and into the evening. Right before bed I was googling Adrenal fatigue...we all know how smart it is to be randomly googling your ailments before bed....lol! Yet, God arranged for my search to land me on a site that had the testimony of a woman saying everything fell into place for her with her physical issues when she gave up coffee.
 And that was the straw that broke this donkey's back! I got up Monday morning, drank tea instead of coffee and I have not looked back since.

 It will be 3 weeks tomorrow since I had coffee. Have I missed it? only a couple of times.
Honestly, my experience this time is Night and Day different from those 12 days in January. The first day, I was tired and had a headache but then starting the 2nd day until now, I have had more energy and more clarity and my stomach has felt so much better. I cannot even express the improvement in how I feel! And naturally, as with any relationship, when you trust someone and follow their instruction, it brings you closer together.

 God is so so good and He is so so kind.
 If you don't get from this story anything else, get this:
           The God who made us and this whole world, not only loves us each in very personal real to life ways, but He also is long suffering with our ignorance and stubbornness. He pursues us with such love and care.

Romans 2:4 says
"Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"


Consider for a moment, can you see a place in your life where God is gently, lovingly, and relentlessly pursuing you to surrender to Him?

If I know Him, He is.
And if I know Him, its for your good.
So learn from one stubborn donkey...surrender its always worth it!

                                                                     xoxox,
                                                                             Michelle







Monday, January 16, 2017

Free Coloring Sheet








Hi There,

I decided to take a stroll through my Pintrest boards yesterday.
I found inspiration for this adorable snowman drawing. It makes me think of my parents buried under many blankets of snow in Colorado right now.If you are stuck inside on this winter day, print off this sheet and let your creative side out! 
XOXO, Michelle





Friday, January 13, 2017

Shoot for the Moon.....( I gave up coffee one time)



I shot for 3 months, I made it 12 days.

As I sit here happily drinking my cup of decaf coffee, I'm ok with that.

If you know me, you know that I'm an "all in or all out" kind of girl. I mean, have you seen my hair extremes?



 I often bite off more than I can chew and sustain. I should've tried to cut back to a cup a day with out sugary creamer. But instead I cut all coffee out. ha! Typical of me.

But I choose to look at this as not a failure or one more way I'm a nut case, I see it as growth.

12 days is still longer than I've gone without coffee in my adult life. 😅

I tried a big leap, I didn't quite land where I intended to,

But I leaped ( or is it lept?) in the first place, so there ya go.

At the beginning of 2016 I laughed at the thought of no sugar....and I've come a long way on that front. So who knows what 2017 holds...
For now, I'm going to embrace the coffee and its boost to my mood, energy, and GI tract!

How do I feel about publicly "failing"?
Well, I just figure I can get used to that. If you are authentic in your life, people are going to see your faults.
Yall know mine: I tend to go too big, too fast! 😁
Or as Charlie says to Maverick in Top Gun,
 "At that speed its too fast. Its a little bit too aggressive."



But God's can work with that and its why He gave me all you supportive, gut checking, wise friends. I'm sure there will be a future post on how God is teaching me to slow down...bahhhhhhhahahaha!

Coffee Ban is now OVER.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Quit Coffee and What the Hell was I Thinking? (An Update!)



So here is the update for all you guys out there considering quitting coffee...
DON'T.

Day 10 and I'm still waking up angry that I can't have my coffee.

Over the last week we have had some of the coldest weather Houston ever gets, hmmm, what goes nice with gloomy cold weather? oh yeah, COFFEE!!!
Me and Coffee Snuggling on a  cold morning
So they say, detox lasts a few days.
They say day 9 and 10 are the hardest.
And maybe they are but days 6,7,8 weren't all that easy either.


Me with my Tea
If you find yourself committed to a season of no coffee, and are scouring the internet for a timeline of the withdrawal effects here is what I've experienced:
  • SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TIRED!! Like its too much energy to find the remote to change the channel tired.
  • Constipation (ugggggh!)
  • Irritability
  • anxious tight chest

Watch out for your very logical reasoning that will come telling you that this is ridiculous, your body needs caffeine and its silly to not have just one little cup of coffee every morning.

                                                             Because you will be damn convincing!

Still, I'm hanging on by a thread.
Here are some of my strategies:

1. I drink tea .
                I am trying to like it.
       I cannot have my favorite kind, black chai tea at the moment due to my food sensitivities,
      So I am constantly experimenting with making my own herbal teas or trying store bought. So far,  Celestial Seasonings Blueberry and Peppermint are my top favorites.
      I made a really yummy ginger, cinnamon tea the other day, however I cannot duplicate it to save my life...the dangers of creative cooking.

          Many people have suggested Rooiboos tea, but I think it tastes like a swisher sweet cigar! GAG! Anyhoo, adding a lot of almond milk and a dash of  cinnamon, and nutmeg makes my tea a bit more fun.

2. I drink hot bone broth and lemon water.
       For healing your gut and supporting your immune system, these are awesome and soothing.


3. I GO DO SOMETHING!

  • walk with a friend
  • do a chore
  • work on some art
  • do yoga
  • whine on my blog about not drinking coffee...
I hope to report in another week how awesome being off coffee is, until then, here is an 
 excellent quote from my coffee loving Dad on tea..

And I totally agree.