All posts by localyokelgal

My glass is half empty (yes, I did say empty)

Life is an adventure full of trials & tribulations where we are constantly reminded of the importance of gratitude.  I reflect upon this during times of good and bad.  We make choices each and every day, some more difficult than others.  And, no matter the pains, there is almost always someone else out there who is not as fortunate.  The reality of life is that it is what you make of it.  Preachy words…I know.  Nonetheless, words deriving from self-talk that exists to save ourselves from self-absorbed behaviors.

Depending upon perspective, you live life with a glass half empty or half full.  Optimists are taught to crave a glass half full while having a glass half empty is associated with a negative perception.  I’d like to flip the switch on this age old idealism.

What is so wrong with longing for more in life? Does this necessarily translate into not appreciating current blessings and what may already be in the glass?  I believe the answer to these questions may come down to an exercise of self awareness.

On one hand, my glass is half full.  I am truly grateful.  But on the other and more humbling hand my glass will always be half empty.  I don’t pretend to have all of the answers and can always make room for more.  I personally don’t believe there is anything wrong with craving more patience, wisdom, understanding and empathy while at the same time appreciating what is already in my glass.  I think the real lesson is that, whether your glass is half empty or half full, it is important to make every effort to raise it up and share it with others.

So proud of my son, graduating middle school.  And my daughter who is moving into her final year of elementary school.  They are my joy of life. Nothing makes me smile more than to watch them grow, celebrating achievements both big and small along the way.  And nothing makes me happier than seeing them at the start and end of every day. 💜

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Balance: Autoimmune Disorders

 

It was August 2016, I had just returned from an awesome adventure in Gunnison National Park, CO when my world was turned upside down. I began to experience aches and pains quickly dismissed as battle wounds from my recent mountain adventure.

After a couple weeks had passed the pain and swelling spread throughout the left side of my body, traveling from lower back to wrist and foot.  I couldn’t grasp a tea cup, was having trouble opening doors, operating zippers and buttons.  I hadn’t connected the pains I was having at that time nor did I understand what I was up against.

I no longer felt like the same person that I was just a month prior nor was I capabable of putting a brave face to what was happening.  I began to feel scared. Really scared.  And, for the first time in my life I went from playing the role of helping others to the one always seeming to need help. My husband, children and mother turned into caregivers. I felt tremendous guilt over all of the help required by others just to get through a day.  I feared the worst wondering if I would ever be able to function again.

I was misdiagnosed twice before landing in a hospital bed unable to walk.   I underwent every imaginable test and scan.   I was treated by several specialists via a series of the strongest antibiotic cocktails administered intravenously.  I lost hair due to reaction of all of the hard core drugs.  I was laid up missing my kiddos field hockey and baseball games, weddings, girls nights, day hikes…well you get the picture. I missed my mobility, independence and life as I knew it.

While hospitalized with condition now traveling from left to right side of my body, I was introduced to a Rheumatologist who ran additional bloods and quickly connected the physical pain, swelling & presentation to chronic inflammation resulting in diagnosis of Psoriatic Arthritis.

It took  three months for the prescribed biological to kick in. After six months, and some orthopedic shoes, I started feeling semi normal again.  Eight months later, I became obsessed with reading about Autoimmune Diseases convinced that what was happening to me was a condition that I could conquer.  I hung on to hope that the trigger was bacterial and after a year passed, I could discontinue my dependency on the biological that kept my immune system from attacking my body.

Fast forward to today and no such luck…I still rely upon the biological, but have not given up the fight. I have come a long way.  I can function and my inflammation levels are down. And, while  I accept that I am genetically predisposed (HLA B27),  I continue to research and experiment with my diet being mindful of triggers.

Two years ago, if you asked me what an autominnue disease was…I couldn’t tell you. Instead, I may have simply replied “you are what you eat” not fully realizing the depth of this truth.  At that time in my life I felt fantastic. Never looked better and was loving life having fully committed to a plant based whole food diet. The daily menu read fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes & quinoa ( and plenty of them). I had replaced flour bread with Ezekiel sprouted grain products. I even replaced traditional flour pastas with lentil and chick pea versions. It was all about how much I had gained instead of lost. I was far down a path of wellness, or so I thought.

I was operating under some very basic rules:  if it was plant based, unprocessed and did not contain additives such as oil, sugar, meat, or salt – the more the merrier! I had established some go to favorites not realizing that the combination was a perfect storm for leaky gut and chronic inflammation.

Since then I have limited some foods consumed prior, and in abundance, such as; evening shades, legumes & quinoa that were later proven to aggravate my condition. I have also introduced healthy omegas from sources such a fish, coconut, olive and hemp oils.

And, while I still believe today that “you are what you eat”, I have learned that a diet is not a one size fits all solution. It is instead a personalized and delicate balance.

Listen to your body and find your own balance.

Chia Seed Pudding

I recently have rekindled my love for Chia Seed pudding. It is a quick and easy meal that packs a powerful nutritional punch and is sure to satisfy. I would post a picture if my bowl were not empty!  My tip for today is to try with coconut milk adding cocoa nibs topped with raspberries.

Combine:

-2 cups coconut milk (almond works too)

-1/2 cup chia seeds

-handful of cocoa nibs

optional: dash of almond or vanilla extract, and/or cinnamon.

Refridgerate over night for breakfast or snack the following day. Top with fresh berries to serve.

Enjoy & have a good day!

 

 

Thankful

Been months since I have written my reflections of gratitude.  

There is not a day that goes by where I do not feel truly grateful for all blessings in life.  Sunrises, sunsets, change of seasons, new beginnings and ends.  Family and friends of past and present, heaven and earth.  

Those who have touched my heart, broke it, knocked me down and helped me up.  All reminders that I am human and alive.  Just trying to be a decent, honest, caring, forgiving, friend to all who accept me for my imperfections.  And also,  those who do not. 

I recently came up with a new word for all of the self serving posts and posters that I see in social media around the holidays.  You know who I am talking about….the manipuHators.  Not a misspelling, just a poor attempt at word play.  

You know who you are.  You wake up every morning, filled with loathing thoughts of guilt and insecurity.  Desperately trying to find a new poster to plaster on your “wall” that furthers your own self inflicted state of unhappiness.  Soliciting support from your army of ill advised followers.  The world is waiting for you to “like” and “share” the same feelings, through real actions, in real LIFE. 

Walk the talk….words and actions that match those of others that you manipuHate to serve your own purpose. Only further spreading the hurt that you feel inside.  If I could take away your pain, I would.  Embrace truth, accept yourself and others. Sounds easy, right?  

As I write down these thoughts, I am reminded that only those who truly do for others, and without an agenda, can understand what love and gratitude is. 

I have heard others describe what I am writing about like this; “There is no luck in the cards, it is all about the hand you play.” 

Well, I don’t know about that.  Seems like fools gold to me…. 

“Put down your cards and set yourself free.” That would be my advice…..

I am thankful for the good and the bad in my life, mostly the bad today though.   It is a reminder that judgement clouds thoughts of true gratitude and happiness. I am blessed.  I am humbled. And I am happy to have the capacity to transform bad thoughts and actions into good.

 Feeling grateful in this moment of truth.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

On The Fly: Week 23-24

It is a quiet Saterday morning.  The first time in two weeks where I need  not worry about where I need to be first thing or play the role of air traffic controller with making sure the kids are where they need to be, safe and happy.

So what does a localyokelgal do with this time?  She enjoys a cup of coffee, watches I Love Lucy, and catches up on her blog of course!  The kids will awaken soon and it will be time for baseball.  My son Lee won his first game in the play offs so we return again today to challenge the mighty Mansfield Mariners.

On the list of things to do today is straighten out my family data share plan.  Suddenly am without the ability to take photos and videos of all of those special moments I like to share.  Cloud back up capacity has maxed out since arming my son with his first phone.  Time for that boy to get a job!  I am a storage & data nightmare.  Look out AT&T….here I come!

The last 2 weeks are a blur.    We celebrated my fathers birthday, hosted the children’s friends for several play dates, baseball games, Ava’s Science Fair, Lee’s Shakespeare school play…I am sure I am missing something!!  These are some of the pictures that I managed to take before storage issues took over: 

  

   

  

  
            
Feeling great but missing my Pro-Activity friends.  Very busy so will not be able to get back to base camp until July.  

Big news on Stone Row Farm front….we have a new roof on the barn (pictures to follow). Man power is truly incredible.  Am feeling very grateful for all of the help from my husband’s Uncle Doc who is back here this morning to finish.  Thank you to Wilcox and the Schierer (sp?) family for pulling off some crazy long days in the heat.  You guys are amazing…💪

Happy Birthday to my awesome nephew Kelvin.  Sending lots of love your way 😘. Give my brother a big awkward hug and kiss from me and and lots of love to your mom for me.  Miss you all.

And, also, Happy Birthday to my loving and selfless mother.  Mom- you are beautiful inside and out.  We love you and appreciate you, your sacrifices & decision to be part of our every day life.  Your daily presence is the best gift you could ever give.  Thank you for all you do.  Looking forward to celebrating you later today.  Love you so very much 😘

 

On The Fly:  Week 22

Tonight I am listening to the sounds of some much needed rain & reflecting upon the busy week now behind.

Rewinding to Memorial Day weekend:

My daughter became sick with a stomach bug from Friday night – Saturday, however managed to make a quick recovery and enjoy some of the holiday weekend.

We had a great time at a family BBQ last Sunday.  We brought along some portobello mushrooms to grill along with some spinach, cheese, flank pinwheels.  Yummy!  I had a taste of the pinwheels but happily stuck to veggies and the Bombay Saphire, tonic & limes that I sipped on around the fire pit.  I also had a great time playing yard soccer with the kids.  Thank you Snyders of Belvidere for another good time👍

The following day I joined my daughter Ava, and her softball team, in the Memorial Day Parade.  The girls came prepared with candy, and were so excited to throw it out to the spectators.  Together we marched from the Hackettstown train station down to the Cemetery located on Mountain Ave.  It was a great time.

On the way home from the parade, I thought about how in years past I would drop the children with their teams and join the crowd sitting curb side.  It felt good to be moving and at the same time supporting my daughter & all of the brave men  and woman who have served our country.  It was a win – mind, body & soul.

The below picture was taken of the girls enjoying the shade as we waited for the parade to commence.  My daughter Ava thought it would be an excellent idea to wear a pink, fuzzy mustache while marching.  And so did I!  Go Ava:
  
 Following the parade, we came back to the house and enjoyed a nice snack:

 
And, after a busy weekend, I dove  into the short work week feeling full of energy and once again finding great options at the Met-Life salad bar for lunch:

  
I am now down 30 lbs and way up in the energy department. I continue to feel motivated, inspired & ready to take on more physical challenges.  I missed my friends this past week at Pro-Activity & am looking forward to seeing them next week.

I am grateful for family & friends. Especially those who continue to support with positive influence.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.💚

 Clover taking a rest from carrying around what she considers to be a fetching stick!!  Go big or go home? 

On The Fly:  Week 21

Started my new job this week!  So far, so good.  I made it out of the house every morning with a delicious greens and fruit smoothie plus fruit & veggies to snack on.  I was also delighted to see that the MetLife Bridgewater cafeteria has a fantastic salad bar 👍

My new friend Snoopy and I had a lunch date on my first day: 
It was a busy week but I still managed to make good choices, remained positive and tried my best to get move minutes in (despite the occupational hazard of a desk job).  I took the stairs over elevator and managed to get outside on Friday with a friend for 2 laps around campus (1 mile).  The new office offers a nicely equipped gym that offers a schedule of classes.  Just need to figure out what on earth “Yopi” is:

  
Feeling on track, motivated & inspired.  Did the usual running around with the kids and sports after work throughout the week.  Attended the children’s school Art Show & Spring Concert:

   
      

Home sick today with my daughter Ava.  My poor baby has the stomach flu.  Hoping that she gets better quickly and can enjoy some of her long weekend.  

 
Gumby says “Happy Memorial Day”!!!  

Am feeling especially grateful for all of those who have made sacrifices to serve our country and defend our freedom. 

Remembering my grandfather today who was one of the brave whom served in World War II. Love you and miss you every day Pop-Pop ❤️