It is finished

After a harrowing week of watching another of my parents slowly succumb to death’s tight cords, my mom died May 17th, 2015. I have been caring for her and my dad since 2010.

Death, my dear reader, is not pretty. There was no dignity in what I saw (either time). Without the experienced aid of Hospice staff, I would’ve sunk into utter helplessness. It was a long slow wait for relief that really started as soon as my dad passed February 1.

And then, as quickly as it had descended it was over. Freedom, fresh air, and the beauty of knowing my mom had been released from this world into God’s Glorious Kingdom. I wanted to cry because because it had been a hard birth for her, but just like a new mother forgets the pains of labor in the face of their newborn… I just kept smiling to know she was finally free!

That last week, I told her, her dying was the last “labor” she’d have to deal with. This was the biggie, she was the “baby” and Jesus was just on the other side to receive her. I was only there to assist her as far as I could. She wasn’t able to talk at that point, but she squeezed my hand. 

I think she did a valiant job and I’m so thankful she’s on the other side! With my dad. Some may feel I’m lacking the proper emotions for the death of a parent. Some have even said all I’ve lost hasn’t hit me yet. They may be right. Only time will tell. But today I have Joy overflowing for so many reasons!!!

My parents have run their race and finished well. They left us a good heritage and lots of laughter! They worked hard and provided us with a path to follow Home. We have fun memories and wonderful family connections (if not too many nicknacks :). I have seen death face to face and KNOW for certain it is NOT the victor! 

Life is good- Jesus wins.

ForGlorySake! -Anna 

 

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Death’s Door

I’ve posted a lot of nutrition info lately… It’s been good to have something to obsess over besides my mom’s health!. She’s been bringing us a good deal of concern since back in December of 2014.

We really believed for several weeks following my dad’s death in February, that she might join him at any moment. Our kids gathered several times to tell her goodnight and goodbye, thinking we wouldn’t see her in the morning. However morning after morning came and finally my husband said for us all to stop. Hanging on the edge, waiting for someone to pass in this way is emotionally draining  -and unhealthy. Life had to continue. Especially the daily joys over things like growing up!

It’s been a special privilege to house and care for my parents in their last months, but as I’ve mentioned before it is also been exhausting.  We now find ourselves again at (the strong possibility of) “death’s door” -waiting and wondering what each moment will bring.  Yet in the midst of this struggle, there are birthdays and a learner’s license, a graduation and many exciting future plans being made!

I feel somewhat emotionally yanked around by the neck -accompanied with literal pain. My only solid ground is in the LORD. He encourages me again and again to ask Him for wisdom, err on the side of mercy and find my peace and Joy in Jesus.  Many times throughout the day I run to Him and ask for a refocus.

This has all been considerably more than I bargained for, but I pray it will be used in our children’s lives… (far more than I could ask or think). Until then I’m testing the depths of God’s great grace. -For the record I haven’t touched bottom yet!

ForGlorySake! -Anna

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Feeding Your Endocrine

How fascinating that we can help our bodies shed excess weight by eating instead of starving and over exercising. I love knowing that what I’m putting in my body has benefit. It’s guilt-free nourishment! …And there are so many good things out there to try. It’s very important according to all the sources I read, to eat things in their most natural state. No salt, sugar or chemicals added (No GMOs). Nuts and dried fruit for instance, should be eaten in the Raw ;)

I posted my favorite recipes a few blogs earlier: Fuel Bites and Energy Bars. Recently I tweaked them to be more thyroid-friendly versions (Nutra Balls & Granola Squares). I eat these every day!

Nutri Balls (great before a workout): 2T. Sunflower Butter, 1T. *Flax, 1T. *Chia, 1T. Hemp, 1T. raw Sesame Seeds, 1T. chopped raw Pumpkin Seeds, 1T. chopped raw Almonds, 1T. Molasses, 2 chopped Dates, 1T. Yerba Mate Tea (run through coffee grinder), 2T. plain dried Coconut. 1T. chopped raw Cashews, 3 chopped raw Apricots. Mix. Roll into 12 balls- store in fridge. 63 calories each. *Grind the fax & chia seeds.

Granola Squares : 1C. Oats, 1/2 C. Coconut flour, 2T. ground Yellow Peas, 1T. *Flax, 1T. *Chia, 1tsp. Cinnamon, mix with: 2T. Molasses, 4T. Yacon Syrup, 3T. Sunflower Butter, 1T. coconut oil, 1T. Hemp oil, 1T. Maca Powder, 1T. plain dried Coconut, 1T. chopped raw Almonds, 1T. chopped raw Sesame Seeds, 2 chopped Dates, 3 chopped raw Apricots.  Press into a sprayed square pan. cook 350 for 15 mins. CUT into 16 bars. Store in fridge. 96 calories each. *grind the flax & chia seeds.

Besides these yummy treats, I promised to share more from the “Do Eat” list for thyroid health. For the record I tried to add all the daily needs to the 2 above recipes :) The thyroid craves Iodine and Selenium and the list that follows has those covered:

Flax seeds, Chia seeds, Hemp seeds (oil and protein), all Coconut, raw dairy products (haven’t been heated to 180*), hormone-free chicken, turkey, grass-fed beef, wild saltwater fish and seafood (shellfish), eggs (with yolk), seaweeds, almost all nuts (especially 2 Brazil nuts daily) and all seeds (especially sunflower & sesame seeds), mushrooms (especially crimini), onions, winter squash, parsley, garlic, celtic sea salt, molasses, apricots, prunes, dates and all Gluten-free grains.

If you haven’t had time to look up Goitrogenic foods (ones that enlarge the thyroid and generally aggravate the gland), these are items that should be cooked!:  peanuts, peaches, pears, strawberries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, spinach, mustard and mustard greens, turnip greens, radishes, rutabagas, pinenuts, millet, kohlrobi, linseed and cassava (known as Yuca, arrowroot, tapioca, manioc).

As far as I’ve read- there were only a few Goitrogenic Foods to avoid as they impede the bodies ability to absorb iodine: Sweet Potato, Bamboo shoots, Soybeans and soy related products, Canola oil, Horseradish, Bok Choy, any Gluten grains, Garden Kris, Tempeh, and Babassu. ***Caffeine, fluoride and plastics with PBA -as with all chemicals are considered aggravators as well.

Next time I’ll share some of my favorite recipes -like yummy Bean Burgers and my daughter’s Trail Mix. Until then, eat something healthy :)

ForGlorySake! -Anna

Yumminess!

Yumminess!

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Fat Vegan

Three weeks ago as the warm weather arrived… I pulled the old shorts from my closet. I was horrified to find that that they didn’t fit! What??? I fluctuate a bit over the month :/ but have weighted relatively the same since my last pregnancy 13 years ago. I hadn’t been on a scale since my Dr. appointment last summer, so I decided to find one and jump on. Shock & dismay… 15lbs!!! How in the world can an exercising vegan gain 15lbs?!

I Googled “fat vegan” and surprisingly it’s a common topic. The more I read the more I realized my thyroid was sluggish and of course I was to blame for not supporting its amazing functions. The thyroid is the seat of the metabolism and without getting too technical about it, we can eat to encourage all it is intended to do. Gooo Thyroid!!!

I set off on a quest reading about anything pertaining to health of the endocrine system, including all the receptors in the body that take our fabulous little hormones and convert them to fat burning tools. I’ll just say, without ANY crash dieting or extreme exercise, I’ve lost 13 of the unwanted pounds in about 3 weeks! Now that’s really crazy. This was solely my body doing what God had already designed it to do (stabilize) as I cleared the path instead of being a roadblock!

(After everything I read-) Here’s how I began:

  1. Drink a mug of hot water and 2T. of lemon juice each morning, 1st off.
  2. Add a 50 Billion Probiotic daily to detox. Pricey, but really worth the money for at least one go-round.
  3. Eat 4 to 5, 300 calorie meals a day. This is what the thyroid likes best- small doses of nutrition at a time. Pick your own number of meals.
  4. Make sure each meal has about 3 oz of protein included. Yes, I’ve been eating hormone-free meat, fish, seafood. Yellow peas ground to flour (per VEGA) also make an excellent protein powder. Stay at 300 calories however!
  5. Sprinkle food (even smoothies, etc.) with cayenne pepper. About 1/16 tsp daily.
  6. Add 1 T of Apple cider vinegar somewhere. I usually hide it in my fruit smoothie.
  7. Search out these strange and exotic Superfoods that stabilize blood-sugar, and naturally support thyroid function: Yerba Mate Tea, Maca Powder, Sacha Inchi Seeds, Yacon Syrup, Goji Berries. I ordered mine through AmazonSmile. Each was a little pricy, but you’ll only eat a little of them every day… so maybe go in with a friend.
  8. Drop the gluten, white sugar and caffeine from your diet. This was definitely the hardest. Thankfully I had already done the work. For the record, I  only cut-back on coffee! I still drink 1 cup a day with coconut milk… You do what you can :)
  9. Add in any coconut products. Coconut is another Superfood Coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut meat, coconut water, coconut flour, coconut sugar. Just make sure to count the calories!
  10. AVOID all raw Goitrogenic foods. This made the biggest difference for me! This list is easily Googled and includes; kale, spinach, broccoli, turnip greens, mustard greens, cauliflower, millet cabbage, peaches, strawberries, pears, pine nuts, radishes, Bok Choy, cabbage, peanuts- etc. (ALL of which should be cooked instead). Soy was the only “Don’t Eat” I could find….I’ll keep looking.

There’s a lot on the “Do Eat” list, but I’ll save that for next time. Here’s a link if you’d like to start your own research. [https://experiencelife.com/article/repair-your-thyroid/]

In the meantime some raw sunflower seeds, seaweed, eggs, molasses and 2 Brazil nuts a day will hold you. Happy thyroid and happy health!

ForGlorySake! -Anna

Another great resource

Another great resource

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The Three C’s

For two plus years my husband and I gleaned information from a parent support group in conjunction to our son’s recovery/sobriety program. Each Thursday night different topics were discussed among the parents. One in particular came up again and again it was called “The Three C’s.

  • We (as parents) had not Caused it. -i.e.: this issue of addiction with our kids.
  • We could not Control it.
  • We could not Cure it.

This came up so often probably because so many of us were riddled with: the guilt of where we had gone wrong, what else could possibly be tried to correct this horrific situation and who might we involve to fix it. My peace slowly came as I gave it all over to God (again and again) allowing Him to do what He wanted with our child and us. I learned to “Let Go and Let God”- a favorite Al-Anon saying.

With life as it is right now –caring for my Mom, who seems to be hanging onto life by a few threads– and life as it’s been, –my Dad passing in February after suffering with Dementia/Alzheimers for 3  or so years- I’ve been thinking a lot about those three C’s.

I didn’t Cause the illnesses or outcome for my parents either. So when decline happened and aging took over there was never any need for feelings of guilt. In this situation, someone had to take charge and neither my Mom or Dad brought the “chaos” of needing so much care.

I can not Control where this is going… how fast… or how slow. I have only to love and serve to the best of my ability (remaining conscious of my own well-being). Comfort and safety are all that are needed at this point – hard as it is to watch.

I can not Cure this end of life procedure. But, Hallelujah!, I know the One Who can. I’m am forever grateful to my parents for planning ahead, not by paying for coffins and funeral plots, but with their firmly placed Hope in The Creator of the universe and His Son Jesus Christ.

There again, I have found peace in letting God have His way with the souls He created. I can blame Him for everything and thank Him at the same time. He understands my limited thinking, my frustrated circular feelings and the whole roll-of-sin in the world regarding sickness and death. I can trust Him, because He loves me wholly and completely. He even provided a way. He is the Cure.

ForGlorySake! Anna

Trillium

Trillium

 

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repost- Jesus’ Reminders by Philip Yancey

Jesus’ Reminders
Philip Yancey

The image Jesus left with the world, the cross, the most common image in the Christian religion, is proof that God cares about our suffering and pain. He died of it. Today the image is coated with gold and worn around the necks of beautiful girls, a symbol of how far we can stray from the reality of history. But it stands, unique among all religions of the world. Many of them have gods. But only one has a God who cared enough to become a man and to die.

Dorothy Sayers says:

For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is – limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death – He had the honesty and courage to take His own medicine. Whatever game He is playing with His creation, He has kept His own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that He has not exacted from Himself. He has Himself gone through the whole human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When He was a man, He played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worthwhile.

To some, the image of a pale body glimmering on a dark night whispers of defeat. What good is a God who does not control His Son’s suffering? What possible good could such a God do for us? But a louder sound can be heard: the shout of God crying out to man, “I love you!” Love was compressed for all history in that lonely, bleeding figure. Jesus, who said he could call down the angels at any moment and rescue Himself from the horror, chose not to – because of us. For God so loved us, that He sent His only Son to die for us.

What practical effect does Christ’s identification have on the person who actually suffers? A dramatic example of the effect of this truth was seen in the ministry of Dr. Paul Brand while he was working among leprosy patients in Vellore, India. There he preached a sermon, one of his best known and best loved. At the time, Brand and his workers were among the few in the area who would touch or closely approach a person with Hansen’s disease – townspeople quarantined them. Brand slipped in late to a patient’s gathering, sitting on the mat at the edge of an open courtyard. The air was heavy with combined odors of crowding bodies, poverty, stale spices, treated bandages.

The patients insisted on a few words from Dr. Brand, and he reluctantly agreed. He stood for a moment, empty of ideas, looking at the patients before him. His eyes were drawn to their hands, dozens of them, most pulled inward in the familiar “leprosy claw-hand,” some with no fingers, some with a few stumps. Many patients sat on their hands or otherwise hid them from view.

“I am a hand surgeon,” he began, and waited for the translation into Tamil and Hindi. “So when I meet people, I can’t help looking at their hands. The palmist claims he can tell your future by looking at your hands. I can tell your past. For instance, I can tell what your trade has been by the position of the calluses and the condition of the nails. I can tell a lot about your character; I love hands.”
He paused and looked at the eager faces. “How I would love to have had the chance to meet Christ and study His hands! But knowing what He was like, I can almost picture and feel them.”

He paused again, then wondered aloud what it would have been like to meet Christ and study His hands. He traced the hands of Christ, beginning with infancy when His hands were small, helpless, futilely grasping. Then came the hands of the boy Jesus, clumsily holding a brush or stylus, trying to form letters of the alphabet. Then the hands of Christ the carpenter – rough, gnarled, with broken fingernails and bruises from working with saw and hammer.

Then there were the hands of Christ the physician, the healer. Compassion and sensitivity seemed to radiate from them, so much so that when He touched people they could feel something of the divine spirit coming through. Christ touched the blind, the diseased, the needy.

“Then,” continued Dr. Brand, “there were His crucified hands. It hurts me to think of a nail being driven through the center of my hand, because I know what goes on there, the tremendous complex of tendons and nerves and blood vessels and muscles. It’s impossible to drive a spike through its center without crippling it. The thought of those healing hands being crippled reminds me of what Christ was prepared to endure. In that act He identified Himself with all the deformed and crippled human beings in the world. Not only was he able to endure poverty with the poor, weariness with the tired, but – clawed hands with the crippled.”

The effect on the listening patients, all social outcasts, was electrifying. Jesus – a cripple, with a claw-like hand like theirs?
Brand continued, “And then there were His resurrected hands. One of the things I find most astounding is that, though we think of the future life as something perfected, when Christ appeared to His disciples He said, “Come look at My hands,” and He invited Thomas to put his finger into the print of the nail. Why did He want to keep the wounds of His humanity? Wasn’t it because He wanted to carry back with Him an eternal reminder of the sufferings of those on earth? He carried the marks of suffering so He could continue to understand the needs of those suffering. He wanted to be forever one with us.”

As he finished, Paul Brand was again conscious of hands as they were lifted, all over the courtyard, palm to palm in the Indian gesture of respect, namaste. The hands were the same stumps, the same missing fingers and crooked arches. Yet no one tried to hide them. They were held high, close to the face, in respect for Brand, but also with new pride and dignity. God’s own response to suffering made theirs easier.

T.S. Eliot wrote in one of his Four Quartets:

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

The surgery of life hurts. It helps me, though, to know that the Surgeon Himself, the Wounded Surgeon, has felt every stab of pain and every sorrow.

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1 Thing for Me, 10 for You

As some of you know I’m crazy about veggies! I’m about 90% Vegan with an occasional raw sushi breakdown. Recently I was given the Book THRIVE by Brendan Brazier (professional Ironman Triathlete). It’s “the vegan nutrition guide to optimal performance in sports and life.” Brendan is the creator of the VEGA health products (yumm).

All I can say is it’s totally awesome! Great info! Great recipes! I’m learning much daily, which I love. He’s very generous with all he has learned even giving out his recipes for VEGA’s drink mixes… as in you can create your own at home!

I’m no triathlete, but I do exercise and I want the most out of my body and food. I measure on the lowest rung of  Thrive’s workout scale -based on length of time and difficulty, but I can truly say I feel more energy and am recovering faster from working out with his suggestions. It’s a little something for me and I feel good about it.

10 things I’ve learned from THRIVE:

  1. Lower the ph in your body through foods – fight potential cancer. (Lists of “highly alkaline-forming food” are available on line.)
  2. Seed are amazing. Each offers a different benefit not to mention Amino Acids. Like: Flax -potassium, sesame -calcium, pumpkin -iron, sunflower -22% protein, hemp -35% protein.
  3. Almost all seeds and beans can be “sprouted” -as in a jar with water rinsed over them daily- after they have soaked over-night. Great on digestion of their nutrients.
  4. Appetite diminishes as the quality of food improves. This is so true it’s creepy. Eating nutritionally well, turns into eating less!
  5. If I have a fruit smoothie with pea protein powder, a BIG salad, a homemade energy bar and a couple of “fuel bites” daily -I’m doing well.
  6. A small pre-workout drink made in the blender (fruit, water, sea salt) and post work-out drink (fruit, dates, water, protein, good fat) really do help with recovery from exercise, keeping adrenal glands from becoming over-taxed.
  7. Flax seeds need to be purchased whole and ground at home in a coffee grinder/stored in the fridge. Add a little to everything.
  8. Soaking nuts (pumpkin & sesame seeds too) makes them even more nutritious.
  9.  Fuel bites are yummy and keep low blood-sugar away. I’ve been making these for years: 1/2 C. almond butter, 1 C. oats, 2T: flax, sesame & sunflower seeds, agave (sweetener) and chopped dates (dried fruit), 1 T. coconut oil. Roll into balls- store in fridge.
  10. My Energy bars (with Ann Machel) are: 2 C.oats, 1 C. amaranth flour, 2 T. both flax and chia (ground), 1 tsp. cinnamon, MIX with: 3/4 C. Agave or honey, 1/2 C. almond butter, 2 T. coconut oil, 2 C. total various raw nuts, seeds, dried fruit! Press into a sprayed pan. 350 for 15 mins. CUT into bars. Store in fridge.

Ok, the last 2 are my own concoctions because I don’t want to give away Mr. Brazier’s recipes without permission. His are very similar, however. It’s just good stuff for you and since you’re one of a kind, why not eat something healthy?

ForGlorySake Anna

IMG_0010

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