Resurfacing

Yes, it’s been a while. It isn’t that I haven’t had time to write, it’s that I don’t need the distraction that comes with blogging. Every blogger *loves* comments. Whether one loves attention or not. Whether one is self confident or not. Everyone wants to know that someone is reading and likes what you wrote. I tend to get distracted by that. And I’ve needed to focus. To really focus on what my family needs rather than my own hobby (or hobbies), to give Chloe what she needs in this new, demanding school year, to focus on Halle, on my husband and our marriage.

See, the thing is, good kids don’t happen by accident. Marriages, friendships, school years, family relationships, etc. aren’t successful by accident. It takes focus.

And I’m a dreamer.

Focus doesn’t come easily to dreamers.

But I’m not content to just say, “That’s the way I am”. And leave it at that. I don’t think that my personal needs are the trump card in life. Yes, what I need is important (lest you think I’m a martyr, believe me, I am not) but the list of things I really, actually need is very small.

And what Chloe needs is for me to walk through 5th grade with her. I may not be her full-time teacher but it’s my job to set her up for success rather than failure (more on that later). Halle needs me to be fully present when we’re going through her lessons. Travis needs me to be his biggest supporter. And what do I get in return?

I get a husband and kids that adore me. They think I’m the best ever…even when I don’t think I’m the best ever.

And that is why I need to focus. It doesn’t mean I won’t write, I will. Maybe I always will. I can’t really seem to stop writing forever. I guess I can say that I’m a work in progress. I’ve seen homeschool moms that do outings and blog and own a business and all manner of craziness. I can’t imagine that’s the way it will be with me. But if I can do school and clean and cook and write and be very present in the lives of my family without being distracted…then I suppose I’m doing my job well.

Hugs, Amy

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Something New!

Last week during the little adventure that Chloe and I took, I stumbled upon a little clearance patio table. It was half price plus another 25 percent off. It wasn’t super-cute, rather it looked like my neighbors pool furniture from the ’80’s. But it was a table and it was cheap! Then my phone rang. It was the hubs with some news about something or other and I was able to present my table purchase for approval (I hadn’t intended on purchasing a table that day) and he did the math and figure it should be $24. Sold! When I got to the register it ended up ringing up for the regular sale price but I explained that it was supposed to be another 25 percent off and I think he must have given me a percentage off besides that (possibly because it rang up wrong?) so it was $24 out the door. Ahem, I didn’t realize that it rhymed…at the time. Haha…I’m stopping now.

Here’s Trav putting it together. Which he did in about 10 minutes. He’s really good at that kind of thing.

He hates having his picture taken but I like this one. He’s pretty cute.

This is one of my sunflowers. I thought it was funny that it was almost exactly half open. I love it when they’re blooming. A few days ago I saw a hummingbird sipping nectar from some of these flowers. I just stood there drinking it all in. I didn’t rush to find my camera because I knew I’d miss it.

Here’s my new table.

It was dark by the time it was all together. What’s that you say? Those chairs are rusty? Well, I never! How did I not notice that? Kidding. I bought those cushions last year and knew I needed to refinish the chairs but wasn’t in a hurry so they didn’t get done at all. It’s probably a good idea for me to hurry. Now of course, it’s my goal to do the table and chairs at the same time so they all match. Which will likely happen sometime after we get back from taking Amanda to college.

Oh, and did you notice the sunflower wall? Oh yeah! I didn’t plant any of those, the birds did last year. I actually pulled out a bunch and that was after I’d dug out the entire garden. These things are unstoppable I tell ‘ya! It makes a really great screen between our patio and our neighbors house. The neighbor on our left is a really nice guy but I like to sunbathe and our houses are too close for comfort. A fence would be great but that’s not happening right now. So the sunflowers will do.

It was about 78 degrees at 10 yesterday morning so I thought I’d read my Bible and sip coffee outside…at my new table. Yay!

Approximately 5 minutes after I took this picture the sun came out and started baking me. I tried to keep reading but had to try to shield my eyes from the glare. I was defeated. But autumn is coming. Now if I could just somehow score a deal on a firepit…

Respite

My, my, my…these last few weeks have been a lot of things. The good, the bad, the ugly all somehow wrapped into something beautiful. A friend asked last week, “So what’s going on?” Basically, what huge thing is happening that’s turned everything upside down? And I really struggled to put into words things that are happening. And while a few things are external, things we can see, a lot more of it has been internal, a chipping away at so many things. It’s just a season of change for us and as much as I want change, as much as I want God’s will to be done in us, change is hard.

And it’s good. Really, really, really good. Again, mostly it’s internal. It’s not something you can stick in the bank. But I can see it and it’s amazing. I can honestly say that I have never been more excited about God’s timing than I am right now. His plans for us are good and rushing things (like I always try to do) isn’t helpful. He wants a completed work. And I’m really, truly excited about that.

Over the last couple of years I have been emptied of everything both good and bad and I’m being filled back up with so many good things. I’m really excited about painting again. It doesn’t have to be daily but painting at all is good. I’m writing for fun (besides blogging) and am really enjoying it. I bought a very girly, super-cute journal and I’m handwriting a story. Mostly because staring at a blank computer page seems like it would be soul-draining. Plus, at some point, it will give my girls something to read and it seems more special since it’s handwritten.

Music will still be part of my life because it’s just part of who I am. I’m not sure in what capacity. When I was a kid it was the only thing that I ever thought or dreamed of. Being a singer on stage was the greatest thing ever to me. But I’m coming to realize that there are many other things that I love to do and I don’t have to be completely one dimensional as far as interests. I am certain of one thing though. Whatever I do, it’s going to be artsy. I’ve tried to not be the artsy girl. I’ve tried to be more serious and it’s mostly because I’m not taken seriously. It just comes with the female, blond-ish haired, blue-eyed territory. Not by people that know me, but by those that don’t. I have a story I could illustrate with but I won’t. I could say that it doesn’t bug me but it does. I’ve just decided that I’m going to go with my strengths.

I’ve tried to be interested in the things that I thought were noble or academic or pleasing to other people. Or (and this is a big one) what I thought would be pleasing to God (“Surely if I do *this* it will make God happy!”) And while I do want to minister to people in whatever capacity the Lord gives me, I found that I’m really interested in flowers. And art. And cottages. And glass doorknobs. And I have to think that being what God made me to be instead of what I think that people want me to be  has to be okay with Him. He made me this way. And if I’m not Mother Theresa, He’s okay with that. Because He only called Mother Theresa to do what He asked of her.

I suppose it’s pretty obvious that I’ve really struggled with this.  Being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom that paints and writes and cooks and bakes is not how I saw myself. I wanted to do more. And “more” is a whole other subject. But for me, that’s a trap and a snare. The guilt of not “achieving” something tangible. But even when I was doing something “tangible” all I thought of was my kids, gardening, cottages, and glass doorknobs.

And for now I’ll leave it at that.

The Long Awaited Gluten Free Post

I wrote that in my sarcasm font you know. I realize that you probably weren’t sitting at your computer waiting for me to post this. I have debated a bit about whether or not to even write about it. Then I got a frantic call from my mom wanting to know where in the world to start with the whole gluten free thing. The next day I got a call from my dad wondering if there was any way to not spend so much on bread. There isn’t. So, here’s the gluten free saga as it pertains to me.

I apologize if you’ve read this before.

I was sick for over 9 years. There were many, many days that I couldn’t even get off the couch. I felt like the biggest slacker mom in the world and I was wracked with guilt at times. Doctors couldn’t tell me what was wrong so I quit asking them and I really wondered if I would ever feel well again. I was diagnosed with insulin resistance (a precursor to full-on diabetes), and hormone imbalance. My doctor put me on the highest dose of Metformin available expecting that the insulin resistance would reverse and it didn’t. But I felt horrible all the time because it kept my blood sugar so low. I was a literal wreck because of that and the hormone imbalance made me feel like I was losing it. I was so irritable but that seems so tame to say considering I felt like a ticking time bomb, and it was a constant struggle to not snap at my husband and kids. Travis said that he didn’t really notice. I’m going to give the Holy Spirit props on that one. I also strongly suspected adrenal fatigue due to chronic stress and my allergies were getting worse and worse. I was so tired all the time that it was often hard to breathe. I could sleep for 4 or 5 hours during the day at times and then sleep for 10-12 hours at night. It was debilitating fatigue. That’s the best way I can describe it.

My doctor was a pharmacist before she became an M.D. and was never hesitant to prescribe something. I don’t like having prescriptions for symptoms because I know there has to be a root cause somewhere. What’s the root cause? I had to find another way because even with meds I still felt sick. I told my Dr. that I felt sick all the time and she finally just looked at me and said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.” So, I decided to ditch the Metformin since it made me feel terrible and since I wasn’t actually diabetic. I read that Metformin was 30-ish percent effective for reversing insulin resistance and that diet and exercise were 50-ish percent effective. So I went for it.

That was over a year ago and I started eating low-carb which meant no bread. Then I found some research on gluten intolerance and how that could make someone insulin resistant and could also cause a hormone imbalance. It took months for me to figure out all the triggers and things that are hidden in food, like modified food starch. But slowly things started to really turn around.

I should probably say that I don’t eat gluten and that’s pretty much the extent of my dietary restrictions. I’m not egg free, casein free, nut free, dairy free, vegan, etc. I say that because a lot of websites and things devoted to gluten free are also all of the above. A friend of mine asked recently what websites and things I read for recipes and I told her that I didn’t. And later I checked out a website but the recipes call for egg substitutes and almond milk or coconut milk and a myriad of other ingredients that I’m not going to go out and buy. Eating gluten free has changed my health drastically but since I have no other health issues with food of which I’m aware, it seems like going to such great lengths to change other things puts me in a type of slavery to food. I realize that not everyone sees it that way but I do. I do realize that there are probable health benefits to eliminating other things but I question where it ends. I’m just a girl that can’t eat gluten. If that resonates with you then you might find some of this other information helpful. If not then there are dozens of other gluten free sites that will fit the bill.

I haven’t been much of a label reader in the past. If food on the shelf looked good I bought it. In the last year or so though I’ve turned into a full-on label reader. I have to and Travis does too. He’s actually saved me from eating something I shouldn’t have on a few occasions. And sometimes he takes it more seriously than I do. It was really hard for us as a couple when I was so sick and neither of us ever wants to go back to that. So here’s the nuts and bolts of things that I’ve found that I can and can’t eat.

Udi’s bread is by far the best. I tried other brands because Udi’s is a little pricey but they’re kind of gross. The texture was like sandy pound cake and fell apart when I tried to make a sandwich. I still don’t eat Udi’s bread without toasting it because it’s a bit dry but it holds together for a sandwich and I like it toasted with butter. Or butter and honey.

Pamela’s mixes are, in my opinion, the best out there. The cake just tastes like cake. And the chocolate cake is really to die for. I like to put chocolate chips in the mix. Her pancake mix is fabulous and you can make a lot of different things with it. I’ve used the scone recipe several times and it’s good but they don’t really have the texture of a scone. It’s more like muffins only kind of dry. They’re good with coffee though.

Bob’s Red Mill products are good too but I prefer Pamela’s. Bob’s is my go-to for gluten free oats though. Gluten free oats? Yep, these oats are grown away from wheat fields and so they aren’t contaminated. I made a gluten free blueberry crisp recently using them and it was really good.

And yes, these are all mixes. When Travis and I first got married I didn’t really cook or bake at all. And then we were really broke and a bag of flour is really cheap and you can make lots of things with it. As I started baking from scratch I found out that homemade treats taste a million times better than things that are boxed and full of preservatives. So I baked and learned and tried different things and achieved a level of baking that I was happy with. And now the wind has been taken out of my sails and I feel like I have to learn to bake and cook all over again. Quite honestly, I haven’t really felt like it. I mean, what soup can’t be turned into something spectacular when started with a roux? Homemade muffins are wonderful. But gluten-free baking is complicated by the different types of flours that you have to use to get a bread type product. I’m sure they have them all at Whole Foods but I’m just not up for it right now.

I have found though that gluten free mixes, even mainstream brands like Betty Crocker, don’t have things like hydrogenated oils. So in that regard I feel fine using mixes.

All-in-all I think that eating gluten free has made me eat healthier overall. How? Because nearly every junk food that I’m very fond of has gluten in it. My favorite BBQ chips, Doritos (the regular nacho cheese), Nestle Crunch bars, Whoppers (the candy and the burger), etc. Basically anything that’s malted I can’t eat. Malted barley flour is found in chips, Twizzlers has wheat flour (not that I liked those anyway), and I’ve found modified food starch in jelly beans. By law it’s supposed to be listed as wheat but even if it isn’t I stay away from it because I have a bad reaction to it. I do eat it if it is listed as modified corn starch or modified food starch (corn) or potato.

Oh, my friend Mary saved me too. She found wheat listed in crab that she was going to use for soup one night when Travis and I were visiting. It really means a lot to me that my friends really take it seriously too. They watched me struggle so much and I feel very fortunate that they see the difference and don’t want me to be sick again. I think that for anyone with food issues one of the worst feelings is to not be taken seriously.

So that’s a partial list. I don’t expect this to turn into a food blog. Mostly because I like to write about other things too. Occasionally though, I will probably blog about gluten free food…like cupcakes filled with custard and topped with buttercream.

Blue

It’s a feeling not just a color. I think that whenever I make a declaration to not complain about circumstances my circumstances get, um, challenging.

I also think that I can be thankful that Travis has a steady job while being completely honest in saying that his job stinks right now. Really. He’s working a lot. Like really a lot.

And the car is in the shop and right now the diagnosis is that it’s going to cost major moolah to fix it. I mean, major moolah. It’s a broken bolt. But the bolt can’t be replaced currently without replacing a bunch of other things. Unless we can find the part or the mechanic can find the part. Because that part isn’t made for our van anymore. Which means that if the Button family is going anywhere at all, it’s going to be in Lazarus. That’s what we call Trav’s van. It’s ugly and old but it just keeps running. And I’m thankful for that, I just don’t want to ride in it. Plus it has no a/c.

And Amanda is going through some really tough stuff. And while it’s not me personally that’s dealing with it, she’s my kid and it weighs on me. This last year and a half has been really hard for her and trying to help her through it and watching her be in so much pain is really, really hard. I want to fix it all and knowing that I can’t hurts. A lot.

So, I guess that missing my husband and watching my daughter work really hard on some really tough emotional things and feeling like a single mom at times and other things have just piled up and I’d like to run away somewhere. I mean, I can’t but I’d like to.

Have you ever done the Nestea plunge? My brother and I used to do it when we were kids and I have to say that it’s highly misrepresented by those happy people falling backwards into a swimming pool. It stings. A lot. I feel like that now though. I’m doing the Nestea plunge. Trusting that there is a really big set of hands back there to catch me. I know He’s there. I know it’s okay. I still want to finish this season out strong. I’m just really thankful that, “…His strength is made perfect in my weakness…” I don’t have to convince myself that this isn’t hard or that it’s all okay. It will be okay but I don’t know exactly how everything is going to work out.

Part of what I’m learning in the last couple of months is that I lie to myself. I have thought that I am far too mature to be disappointed when things don’t work out the way I want them to. Or that I’m too strong to be upset or that faith means that I’m unshakeable. What I’m finding is that when I keep that standard for myself I end up internalizing it and getting really angry. It’s not usually until I end up yelling at the kids or am ready to kick the dog that I realize what’s going on.

So, I’ve started admitting to God when I’m upset or disappointed or angry. I’ve quit trying to be so mature that nothing bothers me. That may be something that’s easy for you but for someone that prides themselves on being strong, it’s really difficult. The death of pride is another subject for another day. I had to admit today that part of why I’m so blue is that I really just miss my husband. My usual M.O. is to just shut down emotionally, focus on what’s ahead and soldier on. It usually takes us a week or so to get past that.

So, there you go. I’m bummed. I said it…repeatedly. And I like to end on a happy note but I think that maybe I’ll wait for another day.

So Much

I think I’ve mentioned the season we’re in. There is much stretching and weeding and planting going on, much like in my little garden. This was all quite unexpected and honestly, it was also quite unwelcome. I felt like I’d had thismuch downtime, so little time to have nothing to be stressed about and I was angry about it. It’s amazing to me that a little stretching and pulling happens and I can turn into a two year old, kicking and screaming and crying for my own way. Clearly some things in me needed to die and I can say now that I am truly thankful for this season. This isn’t my first rodeo and I knew I would be thankful but it seemed like I would never get there. I suppose a few months isn’t really that long. I am starting to see though that Travis and I are so different now than when we’ve gone through rough times before. And I think that “thankful” is a really big understatement. Words like grateful and humbled also come to mind. Travis and I are closer than we ever have been, especially considering how much he’s working. It’s *a lot* and to be able to communicate without having a meltdown…or very few meltdowns…is a miracle.

It’s funny that every time we say we’re going to put the house on the market, some big life thing happens and really slows everything down. We were a house-fixing machine for a while there. And now Travis has been working nearly non-stop. At this rate I can really see it taking at least most of the rest of this year to finish. And I have to be okay with it. Actually, it helps me a lot stress-wise to give myself more time. Although I’m really nearly done with everything I can do. I still need to paint trim and the ceilings and after that I think I’m done.

We’ve lived here for nearly 5 years now. I can’t even believe it. And during that time Travis has refused to buy a hedge trimmer. Why? Because he was very, very hung up on where to put it. We don’t have a lot of storage space (I’ll give you a tour of our storage closet sometime) and it really stresses him out. Do you remember me writing about how much I love the view from our front windows? Well, I couldn’t see out of them.

Really, one of my joys is to sip coffee on the couch in the morning while looking at the hills in the distance. But I couldn’t see the hills. All I could see were these burning bushes. I love them, really. They turn the most amazing red in the fall and through the winter they sport orange-red berries and they look amazing covered in snow. Now? Not so much. So I finally had a conversation with Travis that went something like this “I love you and I know you said to not buy a hedge trimmer but I’m buying a hedge trimmer.” He stammered a bit and objected with “but where will we put it?” And I offered a solution. “Hang it on a nail in the storage closet.” And that was it. He occasionally get so focused on a problem that he can’t see past it (personally, I never do that) but I offered a solution and he bought the trimmer for me. That was a marriage light bulb moment.

So, the morning after he bought it, before I’d had any coffee, I attacked the beast of a bush.

Unfortunately, it was tall and I am not. I also don’t have a ladder but I’m going to have to side with Travis on that one. We really don’t have room to store it. So I had to resort to plan B.

Why, yes, I did trim them from inside. I’m thankful that I can just slide the screens up to the top of the window rather than having to remove them. It was easy, if not slightly embarrassing. One of the neighbors drove by and I think they were pointing and laughing.

But I got to drink coffee while looking at the hills in the distance. Nice.

Quickly

There’s just too much going on here to talk about any of it in any depth. Things are good and busy and challenging and changing.

Amanda got a new job today. In a week and a half, she’ll be done waiting tables and will have a big-girl job with the same company that Travis works for. God gave her a heaping helping of favor and I think her super-cute shoes helped too. Like, seriously cute shoes. I used to buy cute shoes. Sigh.

The bathroom remodel is going to have to wait a week. It works out better that way though because I’ll end up getting to spend my Dad’s birthday with him. I can’t remember the last time that happened. And for how ever long we live here, I will not have to look at that turquoise bath tub again. Ever. Except in pictures…which I will throw darts at. Kidding.

Chloe is all moved into her room. She vacuums it every day and makes her bed. Except for today because I had to wash her comforter…but she made it as much as she could. Her room is the cleanest one in the house and I can’t take any credit for it.

Halle slept in her own room for the first time ever. I expected crying and screaming and begging. Instead she asked for her door to be left open “four amounts” and she went to sleep. When she got up the next morning she dreamily sighed, “I have my own room.” I’m crediting that to divine intervention.

We went to Bowie Nature Park a couple of times last week. The first was with just the Life Group ladies and our kids. It was great to sit and talk while the kids played on a huge playground. It’s similar to Pinkerton Park but the one at Bowie is bigger. It takes 20-ish minutes for us to get there but I really love it so I think it’s worth it. We met most of the Life Group there after church on Sunday too. There are a lot of hiking trails and the one I walked with the LG ladies on was nice and wide and shady…and there may or may not have been a pile of horse poo that I stepped in. We walked with all the girl kids and we got to meet a couple of horses. The kids loved them and so.did.I. They wanted to be petted and were so friendly. Apparently they really like peppermints so I’m taking some with me next time I go just in case I see them again.

And now I must clean for I have asked a friend to come over at 9am and there will be no time for that in the morning.

March 24th

Where to begin?

The contents of the playroom/Chloe’s room are in the hallway and kitchen and I’m getting ready to paint. I think that it kind of stinks to have to get a house ready to sell. I mean, by the time I’m ready to sell, I’m completely over the whole thing and want to be done with it but that’s when I have to really dig in and do a ton of stuff that I’d really rather not do. I don’t want to clean out the closets. I’d rather do the dishes or the laundry or nearly anything else. Which is probably why Travis usually does it. Bleh. But Travis is working and my Life Group really wants to get over here and help me with stuff and in order for them to be able to help me, I have to clean out the closets. I just want it to be well documented that I really, really, really don’t want to do this. I’d rather paint.

Which is what I’m doing today. But not this color.

This is the one Chloe picked out a few weeks ago and I have to say that I’m really glad I didn’t just dig in and paint it then. I think I’m going to go with yellow. Although I’m not sure I have quite enough and I don’t have enough for Halle’s room but I suppose I’ll figure it out in the next hour or two. I think that the color Chloe picked out is good for things in nature but on a wall it hurts my eyes.

I do like it on our redbud tree…

I can’t help but get sentimental about a few things around here. There are things that I love about our house…mostly the things we’ve improved like the bamboo floors and new windows. But there are also things that I really hate…like our very long driveway. I’m not sure why I hate it so much but I do. Although living on a hill and having a long driveway give me this view every day…

Power lines aside, I love this view. I love watching dark clouds roll over the hills before a storm, I love it when the hills are completely obscured by falling snow, I love it when they’re bright green in spring and crimson and golden in the fall. I will definitely miss this the most.

Sigh. Now I must go paint.

Thankful

Today I’m thankful.

Thankful that even though my life has somewhat unexpectedly become about fixing and primping and selling a house, it’s temporary.

I’m thankful that my life is about more than selling or buying or moving.

I’m thankful that things like selling and buying and moving are ultimately just a means to an end. The cause of Christ and what He’s called us to is what it’s really about.

I’m thankful for a husband who occasionally works all day and into the night, gets an hour of sleep and is off to do it all over again (yeah, last night) without even grumbling about it. I’m sure my sympathy is appreciated though.

I’m thankful for amazing kids.

I’m thankful for our Life Group family that has come along side us to help us in so many ways…and the most recent is “fixing” the house.

I’m thankful for worship and my relationship with Christ and the peace it brings.

I’m thankful that making things happen isn’t really up to me, I’m required to be obedient. Making things happen is up to God.

I’m thankful for Philippians 4:7…

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I’m thankful that nothing can separate me from the love of God…Romans 8:38-39.

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I’m thankful that I’m not required to be perfect. He’s perfect. My struggle for perfection only ends up making me tired.

I’m thankful for music and blue skies and warmth and an amazing husband.

I’m thankful for my puppy.

I’m thankful for so much more. For trials, for hard times and for making it through trials and hard times. I’m thankful for restoration and healing and the love I’m given. I have so much more than I deserve. It may not seem that way to look at it from the outside, but it’s true. If you could take a peek inside my life you’d know that it is. There’s more love and laughter and fun and hugs and kisses at my house than I ever thought possible.

And I am very thankful.

Living…

Living gluten-free is sometimes a pain in the, um, backside. I’ve done really well since I realized that it was gluten that was making me sick. I’ve researched, shopped and avoided everything I could. I found out that modified food starch is actually wheat, unless it specifies that it’s corn,  but that companies don’t have to label it as such. Which means a whole lot of foods are off the table. I have accepted it but was thrilled when I found a bottle of BBQ sauce that uses modified corn starch instead of the wheat variety. I figured that I’d have to either live without BBQ (one of my most favorite foods) or make my own sauce. I’ve done that with so-so results.

The wild card in this whole thing is eating out. I don’t eat out often but when I do I usually check the restaurant out online first. I know I can have a chicken Caesar salad at Panera or black bean soup. I know that Mellow Mushroom has a gluten free pizza. Steak at Chili’s is a-okay. I haven’t ever checked out Cracker Barrel. Mostly because we haven’t been there since last spring…before I cut gluten out of my diet.

I had a get-together there this past Saturday with the gals from my Life Group. I had a weeks notice, which is plenty of time, but I also had a really busy week. I hadn’t even decided that I was going to go until Thursday and I spent the whole morning on Saturday talking to Travis. He and I tend to do that on Saturdays. I rushed out the door a few minutes late and I never even thought about checking the menu. Big.Mistake.

I had a great time talking with our Life Group gals and ordered a grilled chicken salad. Those are usually safe. Any place I’ve ever checked has had a “safe” grilled chicken salad. But not this time. By that evening I had a stomach ache, the next day I was feeling weak and winded and my sense of taste was gone and by yesterday my body was in full revolt mode. I haven’t been that miserable in quite some time. It makes me think that it was more than just exposure to something like modified food starch and was actually cross contamination with some wheat flour. It makes me wonder how I ever survived eating bread.

I’m not down on Cracker Barrel. I like going there and not checking it out was totally my fault. I also didn’t tell the waitress that I can’t have gluten. I hate, really, really hate having to make a fuss. Travis doesn’t. He tells people I’m allergic to gluten without hesitating. Last time we went to Chili’s he told the server and the manager even came to our table to let us know that the server had informed him of the gluten allergy (I don’t think it’s an allergy but that’s the term that people take really seriously) and that they were really careful. I was impressed. It was the Chili’s in Cool Springs if anyone is interested. Anyway, I didn’t make a fuss and I’m still struggling today. The thing is though, it’s not just about me. If I’m out because I accidentally ate something, that means that Travis is going to have to stop by the store to buy soup because my stomach refuses to have anything other than soup or gluten-free oatmeal or toast (gf, of course). After he’s worked all day. That means that the girls and I are doing the smallest amount of school work possible because I have to lie down. Can I say that it really pisses me off?

I went out to eat with my parents a few weeks ago and as everyone else is ordering ice cream brownies and fried cheese, my Dad just said “It’s not like other people who break a diet and just gain a couple of pounds, you actually get sick.” And that’s it. I’m not tempted to eat regular bread, no matter how good it smells. I’m not tempted by regular cake or my favorite potato chips (they have malted barley flour), my favorite ice cream or any of my other favorite food things. It’s kind of like putting your hand on a hot burner. You only have to do it once to realize it’s a really bad idea. I have accepted that the bread I eat will be crumbly and chicken noodle soup will be a bit grainy. Fine. I want to be well more than I want to eat any type of food. It makes eating much less fun. So be it.