Yesterday was a very long day, academically. I had two deadlines in two separate classes: Psychology of Addiction, and Addiction Counseling Theory and Practice. Combined, I wrote a total of 17 pages. I used to get stressed out when I put things off and scrambled to meet my deadlines, but now it’s just part of the game. It’s not impractical either, though it may seem like it. We’re living in a fast-paced, skiddishly-spinning world in which dealing with high-pressured situations are all par for the course. (Unless you live in a hut somewhere in Africa, of course.) But in most peoples’ lives, rambling throughout the day and scrambling to get things done in a hurry is quite normal. I’ve just adapted to it nicely and I don’t really think that’s a bad thing.
I may be repeating myself, as I’ve pulled another all-nighter. The last thing I said to Josh (late last night) was, “Don’t worry. I’m going to sleep soon. I PROMISE.) Oopsy! I accidentally bought a new camera/Canon t3i and Vivitar Series 1 VMC 70-210mm f/3.5 MF lens to go with it instead. (And a 2x converter) I am FREAKING STOKED!!! Capturing pics of razor-sharp owls in flight is a breeze with that lens and I cannot wait to take it out for a spin with the new camera to boot. I’ll have a 2 week break in between semesters (in a few more weeks) and I’m needing to start building up my inventory of pics that I’ll want to start selling soon.
I’m not used to getting excited so much any more, and I’m really not wanting to blather on about Josh’s and my plant-based (mostly vegan) diet and lifestyle change, but really, ever since we made the switch (about a month ago), my mood has been ON POINT. 😉 I’m feeling good- chipper- light in the heels, and Josh and I do a good bit of laughing together. I guess you could say I’m happy. 🙂
Speaking of packages, I’m expecting one to be delivered any moment from Sincerely Nuts, and I have to make Josh’s protein shakes and his lunch, as he’ll be getting up soon for work.
Supper last night: Roasted beet and butternut squash salad with pan-fried tofu w/chile oil, sesame oil, and soy sauce + lemon, EVOO (extra Virgin Olive Oil), sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper a splash of “nooch” (nutritional yeast). and a nice chilled glass of Sunset Blush. It was….amazing. Until next time. x
I’m really not trying to be a lifestyle blogger. Josh and I just decided we wanted to take better care of ourselves, which meant converting to a 100% plant-based (Honey eating vegans, basically) diet. In the first month, Josh is down 25 lbs. and I’m down 8 or so. We women, I swear our battle (of the bulge) is always a little bit harder! We have the extra pounds on our love-handles. And, if you’re blessed with a whole lotta junk in your trunk (thanks to the Mama!) then it’s that much harder on top of everything else. My sister and I both inherited some serious junk in our trunks from our Mama! No complaints there. 😉
Anyway, it’s a lazy Sunday night, and I’m relaxing on the couch with my guy, our dogs and cats with the 55 inch ROKU wide screen + Netflix. I wish I could say that Josh and I love to work out, but alas- we hate to! I’d rather exercise naturally than feel like a hamster on a wheel, being reminded with every wheel-turn that you’re doing the work because you have to, not because you want to. For that reason, I’d rather get exercise from LIFE itself: walking, hiking, doing photoshoots, and being outdoors and in nature.
Josh has been off of work for the past month; thankfully we had enough in our savings account that allowed us to live comfortably without him having to rush out and find another job. He’ll be going back to work next week so our little vacation is over. But it’s been fun. I really don’t have much to write or report. I just wanted to leave a digital thumbprint for references. Even if I don’t have much to say, I like to update now and then so that I can keep a timeline of emotions, pics, thoughts/ideas, and just a general idea of how life is at that point in time. So on that note, I’ll make my exit and leave a pic of these incredibly, ridiculously, healthy and deliciously addictive oat flour pancakes that Josh and I have been making for several days in a row. Seriously, once you start, you’ll want them daily. I promise. I ripped the recipe elsewhere, but tweaked it to make it “my own”.
Banana-Nut, Oat Flour Pancakes with Cacao Nibs and (real) Maple Syrup
Super Tak 135/3.5 film lens
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 cups almond milk (we make our own)
2 cups oats- ground to powder/flour
2 teaspoons (leftover) almond pulp (optional)
2 ripe bananas
½ teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoons of vanilla flavoring
pinch of salt
sprinkle of cacao nibs- ground up
Several teaspoons of coconut oil (for cooking)
Real maple syrup
Mix the vinegar and almond milk together and set it aside for 5 minutes. Mix everything else up (except for the cacao nibs and 1 banana) in the blender, blend it up for a minute or so, and then add almond milk and vinegar mixture and blend again. (This is now your pancake batter.) That’s it- it’s that easy. Makes 8 mini pancakes. Top with sliced banana, real maple syrup, and crushed cacao nibs, and voila.
Daily factoid: Cacao nibs are a superfood, and they contain the highest levels of antioxidants than any other superfood, or food, for that matter.
Josh and I have created our own spirulina smoothie. We call it: Green Velvet. It’s thick, creamy, delicious and ultra-filling. We’ve recently picked up a new blender (as well as a juicer), and wanted to make our own healthy smoothies. We winged it as we went on, but it exceeded our expectations and despite it looking a bit like paint, was really quite good!
We ground our organic oats in the coffee grinder- same with the cocao nibs- and added it to the mix. It’s wholesome and nutritious with a deep, earthy flavour. In short, it’s fantastic.
1 & 1/2 cups of Coconut milk (1 cup cold- 1/2 cup frozen)
1/4 cup of fresh or frozen cherries
1/2 cup of raw/organic oats- ground to oat flour
2 Tbsps. spirulina
1/2 cup of chia seeds
1/2 cup organic cocao nibs
2 tbsps. of all-natural peanut butter
1/2 cup of raw honey
Josh and I are down a total of 27 lbs. so far (20 for him, 7 for me) without any type of exercise at all (well um, except for sex, of course), but we’re wanting to sign on with our local gym soon. We’re beefing up our smoothie station as well. I’ve just put an order in with Amazon for Ashwaghanda powder, macu macu powder, maca powder, goji berries, spirulina, protein (plant) powder and a few other super foods.
Starting the year off right.
Fire in the pie hole, that is. Initially, I stopped blogging for a while because I have a crazy sibling who stalks my every move here at my blog, and after discovering her footprints all over the place here (such as, seeing her key word searches that she used- which were disturbing, to say the least) – I just really grew disgusted at the notion that she poured over my every word, and it really just creeped me out, altogether. I began feeling like my posts were going directly to her, rather than feeling liberated and being able to express myself freely. (She has a long history as a stalker, and I’m betting she’s changed very little in the past 5 years.)
Alas, I can’t live my life based on other people.- especially her. So I’ll pick up where I left off and simply do what I’ve always done: document my life in words and pictures so that my children and others will have a digital “life album” that they can access, both now and in the future. Apart from that, blogging is really healthy, and sometimes, getting those feelings out through writing is the only way to move past them. So, I’m going to try and blog every day again, and the purpose is not to entertain others; if I wanted to do that I’d just be a You Tuber instead. I don’t really care if I’m blogging about peas, just as long as I keep writing. I’ll only be able to free up emotional space if I’ve made room for new things. So, if you’re here and reading this, be warned- you may eventually be reading about peas.
Since switching to a plant-based diet, Josh and I have considered our options where “meat” is concerned. We’ve been researching meat alternatives, and came across a protein-rich, wheat-based, gluten-heavy protein called tempeh. Basically, tempeh is fermented soy beans that have been fried into small “cakes”. It’s packed with gluten, because gluten is the part of wheat that’s thick and sticky and keeps the bread together. Tempeh is a concentration of the sticky parts, so if you’re eating Tofurkey– which is a vegan meat substitute- you’re eating a gluten-bomb.
I thought I’d be o.k. eating it, because I’ve never had signs of being gluten-sensitive before and have eaten wheat all of my life. But almost immediately after making spaghetti with Tofurkey, my tongue began to burn on its underside. At first, it felt like I’d been burned, and then it progressed into a full-scale attack in which the top of the bottom (of my tongue) felt and looked like it was split open. It clearly had swollen and split apart and appeared to be growing in both size and intensity. Before long, my right ear felt pressurized and my right eye began to burn as well. Within 12 hours, I couldn’t talk and it hurt so badly it took my breath away. When I woke up this morning, I was in excruciating pain and could barely chew my food.
It’s been almost 24 hours now and the pain hasn’t let up at all. I’m guessing I’m gluten-sensitive! Josh got some Orajel for me and it’s helped relieve some of the pain. So, I’ll be adding that to the list as well:
Thank God for Almond milk ice cream! Adopting a (mostly) vegan diet doesn’t mean food has to be boring. I’ve been making my own cashew milk too. It’s amazing! Josh discovered that almond milk has the nutrition of only 28 almonds, so we found a great cashew milk recipe that’s simple as well as wholesome and delicious. None of the pulp is thrown out, so nothing goes to waste. It’s actually tastier than cow’s milk. Lately, cow’s milk had begun to taste like water, so it’s nice to have a creamy milk that is rich in flavour and nutrients.
I’m taking the day off and resting in bed. I can’t believe January is almost gone! One month left of the cold and then the spring will be here again. ❤
Lewis and Clark’s cabin- overlooking the Ohio River
-Click on print to purchase-
Josh and I have been making some serious changes to our lifestyles. We watched the Netflix documentary What the Health two weeks ago, and were absolutely livid at how the animals are treated as they’re “super-raised”. Most all meat manufacturers (and “growers”) admitted that they pack their animals in so tightly that they can barely move around, and it’s not uncommon at all for many of them to be inundated in their own waste. In fact, many of them stand in several feet of their waste, and many of their neighboring animals were sick and diseased; those who weren’t sick and dying were already dead.
Watching that document opened a dialogue in which we discussed not only animal cruelty and our desire to omit all meats from our diets, but our desires to take better care of our bodies. I saw videos of people who were fighting cancer who decided to switch to a plant-based diet. After consuming a plant-based diet consistently for a year or so, one particular woman was able to eradicate cancer altogether. Today, she is healthy, happy, strong, and cancer free. Also, we learned that when a person eats meats- especially the unhealthy kinds- there are lipids and certain compounds that actually attack the arterial walls; not unlike a dart which sticks in the side of something. Over time, that dart changes the molecular structure of the artery so that it thickens up, ultimately causing it to harden.
Josh and I decided together that we would cut out all meats from our diet. Also though, we learned that milk manufacturers, and paid dairies, add hormones and other awful things to cow’s milk so that it contains puss and hormone-packed mucus that also contributes to unhealthy fats attacking our arteries. (Not to mention, milk does a number on both of our internal systems.) So, we tossed out milk as well. But then we learned that 1 egg yolk is equal to 5 cigarettes in the bad cholesterol department. So, bye bye eggs! As long as we’re cleaning house, we wanted to cover all of our bases.
That pretty much puts us level with vegans. Except, vegans don’t eat honey- seeing how honey is considered “animal-based”. But honey is where I draw the line. I consider raw honey somewhat of a super food, seeing how our it’s fantastic for boosting and protecting the immune system. Nope. Honey and I will never part. Besides, I don’t like to be labeled, and as far as I’m concerned, Josh and I are “plant-based” in our diet choices. We can eat anything we want, at any time. We just choose not to. And for me, having that allowance open at all times, but choosing not to will only continue to fortify our resolve.
We both feel so much better and far more energetic! It makes perfect sense, really. Eating meats (with all of its unhealthy fats) attack not only the arterial walls, but the brain itself. It’s not uncommon for individuals to experience a “clearing of the mind” when going Veganish, and that clearly happened to us as well. We’re alert, and focused and have even noticed that looking at lights and their auras seem so much brighter too. Everything is brighter! Josh has lost 10 lbs. in only two weeks and I’ve lost 7. We’re not even exercising yet, apart from the occasional mile walk at the park with our dogs, or the trip down to the river on the rocks. We’ve decided to join a gym, however, and are looking forward to starting that.
School is going terrific. I’m halfway through my 2nd semester. My two classes for now are: Addiction Counseling Theory and Practice, and Psychology of Addiction. Grad. studies are much different than I thought they would be! This stuff is not easy. I’m seriously giving some thought to obtaining my R.N. license in Nursing, after receiving my Master”s in Addiction Counseling, simply because I’m thinking about having a dual-license. I could work in Rehab as a nurse or an addictions counselor, but that’s so far down the road. And, as it goes with other things, that may not pan out at all. It’s all part of tossing ideas around until it gels and feels right. For now though, I’m focusing on Addiction Counseling.
I would have written here again sooner, but it was the holidays and Josh and I had to endure yet one more year of my sister inviting the entire family unit to her house for Christmas and purposely leaving us out. This has been going on every year for many years now. I’ve told her on more than one occasion that what she’s doing is extremely hurtful. It’s simply neither fair nor “right” to host the most family-focused event of the year at your house if you and another sibling are not speaking. What hurts the most, however, is that my mother knows that it cuts our hearts out, yet she continues to go over there- year after year- knowing that Josh and I are not welcome. It would have helped, tremendously, if my Mom chose to have the family gather at her house instead. That way nobody would feel left out and all would feel welcome, but that didn’t happen, so, we’ll forge ahead, Josh and I, alone.
Close the door and move on.
Meyer-Optik Görlitz Diaplan 80/2.8
This one’s for you, Cari. I wrote this a few years back, as a challenge with Josh, and my daughter, Brianna. We were sitting around the living room, chatting, when I challenged them to a short story competition. I’d never really written a short story before, so this was new ground for me. I enjoyed it though. Hope you do too. 🙂
Her fingers felt like two hot stones that had soaked up the angry sun. The sweat was gathering on her back and Ellie knew that she was racing against the clock. She’d been out there for two hours now; digging, planting, and turning over the dry, crusted earth. She wiped her brow, smearing dirt on her face; mixing with the sweat that ran down into her ear. There wasn’t even a hint of a breeze.
“Good thing too,” she thought.
A gentle breeze would only have lulled her into the hope of being comfortable. She wasn’t much of a gardener, but her mother (and her mother’s mother) had toiled away in the burning sun, just as Ellie was doing now, and so she felt it was her womanly duties, if nothing else, to keep the grounds. It was her heritage. Her land now. Her large fingers tore at the soil and she carefully placed each small stone that introduced itself, into neat little piles. The smile that was beginning to form at the corners of her mouth, was evidence that she was quite pleased with herself. She squinted and stared up into the sun. The lemon-yellow glow, radiated out from the heavens, wrapping itself around her very heart it seemed. Panting, she let her eyes drift across the canvas of the sky, and thought of the tangy lemons in her basket over the stove. She would take a few, squeeze them tightly into a pitcher, (after cutting them in half), careful not to let the seeds fall in. She’d add a few cups of sugar (she could practically taste it now), rushing to the pit of her stomach as if it too were trying to get away from the burning heat.
Ellie wiped her hand on her brown, faded dress. You know the one. A rip, there at the hem from rushing through life, month after month; chores and endless lists to check off. A button, missing in the back, directly across from her burdened waist; proof that she’d rewarded herself bountifully after each carefully planned meal. The floral pattern, was beaten away by the unforgiving sun, year after year of hanging out those old stained linens. Why, they must be forty years old by now! Ellie wasn’t aware that she’d drifted off again; her eyes fixed to those linens as if it were the sheets themselves that took her back to her Jonah, and the sound of his harmonica…and her laughter. But Jonah was gone and so were the years.
She wiped her eyes, again streaking dirt across her lid. Her parched mouth brought Ellie’s eyes away from the sheets and back to her tired old hands. Lemonade. Ellie put her packages of seeds next to the neatly stacked stones, and tried to rise. It felt as if the sun had exploded in her chest; her breathing coming in heavy gasps and she fell to the ground, kicking the stones as she went. Ellie closed her eyes, for the sun was blinding, and she pulled at the grass, reaching for something.. (for what, she did not know) something to feel connected to. Even with her eyes closed, she felt the shadow move over her face. Ellie opened her eyes. The sun was hiding behind the peculiar man, causing a cool shadow to fall on her. For that, she was grateful. The ripping pain in her chest, seemed to have vanished, and Ellie was wondering who the stranger was that stood before her.
”Can I help you Ma’am?” he asked kindly.
Ellie shook her head, as if to say no, but then nodded her head in confusion. The glow of the sun seemed to make him glow as if he too, were indeed part of the sun.
”Y-yes…thank you….sir….,” she answered; her voice trailing off, barely above a whisper.
She looked up and into his eyes. How could it be? Her Jonah was gone, and he looked nothing like him, but his eyes..she could almost be certain they were Jonah’s. Yes. She was absolutely certain that she’d looked into them before. She reached up, placing her hand into his waiting one. The man pulled her up; a gentle nod and smile as he did and Ellie let out a breath of summer air, returning his smile, and gently squeezing his hand. The sight of her linens, dancing happily in the breeze, caught her eye. The gentle wind kissed her hair, refreshing her for the first time in months. She could hear the faint trail of a harmonica playing, as many do in the country, and still holding the man’s hand, Ellie looked around, to take stock in all that she had to be thankful for. This is the house, that sheltered her through the many seasons of her life. The garden there, was her daily companion; patiently teaching her how to grow.
”Are you ready?”, asked the man.
Ellie paused, and looked back at the scattered stones. Lying next to them was the body of Ellie Parkins. Ellie saw herself, but felt as if she were looking at a stranger. Dirt streaked her forehead, and a faint smile, was still painted on her mouth. Hanging on the clothesline, were those white linens, which also seemed to glow with the strength of the sun shining through them. Ellie looked up at the man, and with one last sigh, she pursed her mouth together and nodded at her friend, as they walked together toward the shining sun…
I can hardly believe it’s been seven months since I last posted! Life has been super crazy and I’ve been trying to get all of my ducks in a row. I feel like I’ve been stuck for the longest time- spinning my wheels and going nowhere. I’ve been out of school for a year and a half now…free falling into nothingness. Days pass with minimal actions and reactions; sometimes it feels like life is passing me by and I’m watching it ride off in the distance. I’m just not entirely happy unless I’m doing something and getting things done.
The last time I posted, things were at a standstill, academically. My undergrad. college was holding my transcript hostage until I paid my balance (of $1,200) down completely. The chances of that happening were right up there with me learning Chinese overnight- it just wasn’t happening!
Bless my Mama’s heart. I explained my situation to her- she’s been my champion throughout my entire undergrad. studies- year after year, cheering me on, relentlessly and lovingly. I share what I’ve learned with her in the area of psychology and self-help and she shares in my joy. In a strange and neat way, we’re doing this school thing together. So when I let her know just how dire things were, she texted Josh to tell me that she had the entire balance- all $1,200 waiting for me to pick it up at her place. I just bawled my eyes out there in the hallway. She truly is my hero.
And so now, after much time doing absolutely nothing with my life, I’m able to get back on track and begin work on my Master’s degree soon. After much contemplation, I’ve decided on becoming a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor. It’s not going to be an easy road, but I’m up for the challenge. I’ll need to study for 3 or so years, and of course, there’s internship/practicum (560 hours) and as the years go on, I’ll need to put in 4,000 or so hours to be a CADAC II and eventually CADAC 4- CADAC being a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor. Being certified and licensed are two different things, particularly in the area of reciprocity. (One pertains to remaining within one’s state only, and the other allows for the practice in various other states.) But first things first!
My plans are to work on the education part, and then as time goes on, intern as a mental health tech. in a rehab. facility for 1 to 3 years, so that I can gain the necessary field experience to have a very good job down the road. With a Master’s in Substance Abuse Addictions Counseling + 4,000 hours of experience, I’ll be able to secure a job of $45,000 or so, starting out. Now that may be peanuts to some folks, but for me, it’s more than enough. I’m in the process of cleaning up my credit, so over the next 5 years, I should be in a very good position to work on buying a home (at a fairly low mortgage rate) and be right on track in most areas of my life.
I’ve officially been accepted into my Master’s program and am SO thrilled to begin school on October 3rd. That gives me a good month to clean my house. 😉 Josh and I are still trucking along- he’s the love of my life, truly. We’ve been each other’s heart beat for 11 years now! Where does the time go?
Brian and his gal, Gabby, have moved out so Josh and I finally have the place to ourselves for the first time ever. I wish I could say we’ve been sad, but um…we’ve been running around in our underwear hooping and hollering and acting like it’s a frat house! 🙂
I feel the grey clouds rolling out and everything’s starting to take on a vivid, golden hue. When I was a child, I never imagined that I would become a counselor when I was older. My dreams are literally coming true, and I am so happy. ❤
Rim Rock Trail- Garden of the Gods, Illinois- Helios film lens/manual-Aug-2017
For the life of me, I don’t understand why a man chooses to view pornography when he has a beautiful, FAITHFUL woman who loves him. I’ll never understand. No amount of words that he may utter from his lips could ever make enough sense for me to understand.
I just returned from Texas, from my Aunt’s memorial service. She died of a heart attack as soon as she got into her car, following her work day. She and her husband had been married for 63 years. It was a beautiful service and I was finally able to meet all of my extended relatives in Texas (my native home state in which I was born). That made it especially bittersweet, that I was able to meet them for the first time, as a result of my Aunt’s death. In that way, I’ll consider it her parting gift- and her sacrifice.
I had left my home, and my guy was here alone for a week. We’ve had many (too many to count) “situations” in which he views pornography as soon as I so much as walk out of the room. He’s quite addicted. And in some cases, he’s admitted to viewing pornography with me sitting right in the same room. What kind of man can lust after naked women with his lady right in the freaking room?! An animal. That’s what kind. A crude beast- without a heart or any measure of decency. And he professes to be a Christian! That’s the kicker.
And so, as I was travelling to Texas last week, a little (Spiritual) birdie flew into the car and let me know that he was at it again. I tried to put it out of my mind, because really, I’ve given too many years (10) to this and have given him too many chances. At some point, I simply must take a stand for myself and say “Enough is enough; you blew it, kiddo.”
And so I came home yesterday, to a filthy house (in more ways than one)- every dish in the house- stacked up on the table- nothing had been done. Dog feces on my bedroom floor. I had left this bedroom clean as a whistle for him, before I left. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this man doesn’t care much for me. Isn’t it funny how we tell ourselves things? And we believe them. Because the truth is just too painful. We choose to believe a fairy tale lie because it hurts far less than the brutal truth.
Well I’m tired of his lies, and I’m tired of lying to myself- thinking that he loves me. No. If he loved me, he would have made different choices. I don’t have the patience or the ignorance any more to believe that he looks at porn but he REALLY loves me too. The problem is that he may love me “a bit”, but he just doesn’t love me ENOUGH to choose our love over porn. Every choice has a consequence. And you just can’t have your cake and eat it too. Not anymore.
A man that is constantly cheating on his woman (over the years) doesn’t deserve a good woman. He deserves a trashy tramp- somebody with no self-respect. That’s what he deserves. Not somebody who loves him with all of her heart and never so much as even thinks about looking in the opposite direction. He doesn’t deserve that woman’s love.
And so now this is my life. I find myself feeling frozen, in a strange and cold tundra. I’m numb. And I’m tired of crying. My eyes are swollen from crying for hours. Everything I thought I had is gone. Shattered. In shambles. 10 years with this man- down the drain. I’m so tempted to simply lie here on my bed and crawl inside myself and disappear. It hurts too much to move and think and feel. But I can’t do that. I made myself get up out of bed and go make coffee. I made oat meal- I even made a bowl for him and left it on the counter. I think it’s important to choose compassion when somebody’s done you dirty. It builds character.
Anyway, I’ve lost 7 lbs. I wanted to have lost 10 already, but no go. I’ll just have to start taking my daily mile walks again. I’m forcing myself to stay busy all day long- and active. I need to stay distracted- at least during these first few initial weeks. It will do me no good at all to lay down and die inside. And so I’ll continue to work and clean and scrub and not give any thought to the situation at hand.
And I’ll continue to pray, and ask God to give me the strength to endure these painful days and lonely nights. I’ll continue to ask God to help me to forgive my offender. And to not hate. It’s too easy to hate right now. I really do believe that God has all things in His hands. And if I ask him to share His love and grace with me, I know He will. He’ll give me the love I need to carry on. Just because I’m alone now doesn’t mean I’m loveless. God loves me. So I’ll dwell on that, and heal.
Saltillo, Texas- 5 pic panorama (Photo-merge)- Carl Zeiss Sonnar DDR- film lens + Canon Rebel XSI
More Texas pics (83 degrees in January- barefooted)