Tuesday, November 24, 2009

4 Years Ago Today . . .

Remembering my twin sister Cathy, who passed away on November 24, 2005 after fighting melanoma for just over a year. I miss you, Cath.

(Cathy [on left] and I in Feb. 2004, wearing matching sweatshirts that our mom had given us at Christmas. It was totally unplanned. She was visiting us in MI, and we both came out wearing the same thing!)

It's become my tradition on the anniversary of her death to take some photos that honor and remember her as a designer and artist; and remind those of us still here on earth of the beauty around us everywhere, everyday that should be enjoyed.

These are for you, Cathy; although I'm sure they don't even compare to the glorious beauty and color in heaven!

(both photos taken at sunset at Holland State Park; Holland, MI)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gluten-Free Bread & Muffin Mix Reviews

Both my youngest son and I have sensitivities to wheat, so we try not to eat it as much as possible. Aaron gets eczema, and I can feel achy, sluggish, and "brain fog" if I eat too much wheat.

I also feel better if I limit carbohydrates in general, so I haven't tried too many wheat substitutions - I just don't eat flour-based foods for the most part. But for Aaron, whom we've been eliminating wheat for only a couple months, has a harder time not being able to eat things he's used to - especially bread, crackers, pretzels, and baked goods like cookies and muffins.

We have found one type of bread that we both like. It's made by Sami's Bakery (www.samisbakery.com). It's a little dry compared to regular wheat bread, but far better texture and flavor than others we've tried. The particular basic bread type our local health food store carries is the Millet & Flax loaf bread, but I see on Sami's website that they have many others types of products also. Our store keeps the bread frozen, as it is shipped from FL. I just noticed on the website that you can order directly from them, at a cheaper price than it is at our local health food store. hmmmm . . . I'll have to think about that.

Today we tried the "Gluten-Free Pantry" brand of muffin & scone mix. We made blueberry muffins with it, using frozen blueberries. In addition to the directions, I added about 1/4 cup of oats for more texture and 1/2 tsp. almond extract. They turned out great; and we also loved the extra flavor of the almond extract. We'll definitely use this mix again, and try some other their other mixes. (www.glutenfree.com).

Sometime soon, I'm planning to compare some all-purpose gluten/wheat-free baking mixes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sleepy Improvement

I'm so glad I was able to get out and enjoy and photograph the beautiful fall colors in late October; before all the leaves fell, and before I got "sick" again. Because since then, I've pretty much been here, at home.

The good news is that a week ago, my doctor prescribed an additional medication because I wasn't seeing any improvement, and I was losing my ability to cope. The new medication took most of my anxiety and depression away in about ONE day! One day! What a relief and answer to prayer, because I literally felt like I'd been hanging on by the very last thread, which was about to snap.

The main side effect of this medication however, is that it very calming. Sedating is probably the more accurate word. After so much anxiety and inability to relax and desperation, I welcomed sedating with open arms!

So, my past week has somewhat resembled the schedule of a 3 month old baby - wake up, take medication, eat breakfast, do a few things until med. starts to knock me out. Sleep for 1 - 2 hours, wake up, "play" a little, take medication, eat, then sleep again. I take the medication 3 times a day, at meal times. At first, I would feel the effects of the medication within 20 - 30 minutes, and then sleep soundly for at least 2 hours. As the week's progressed, I am usually awake for at least 1 hour before needing to head to bed. And my naps have become a little shorter too.

This sedation effect is supposed to go away eventually, for which I will be glad so I can function a little more normally. Our oldest 2 boys left last Tuesday with my parents for a trip down to TN to see my sister and her family. So we've only had Aaron home. But you can't leave a 5 (almost 6) year old on his own each morning and afternoon while you're sound asleep for 2 hours. S0 we've had to ask for some help with him. How thankful we are for friends who have been able to watch and entertain him. And Wednesday, grandparents and big brothers will be back, so Aaron won't have to be shuffled around.

And for now, I need to go sleep, I'm getting tired of having to correct typos every other word!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ugh . . .

After 6 or 7 weeks of feeling well since my depression in late August & early September, I've found myself back at that horrible, anxious, depressed spot again.

We aren't exactly sure what caused the relapse, but most likely a combination of some scheduled changes in medication dosages as well a couple new nutritional supplements. Supposedly, the supplements I was taking shouldn't or usually don't interfere with most prescription meds. But my body always seems to be the exception, and it just got out of control.

There's so much we don't know about the brain, so I'm again needing to stop the nutritional supplements that have helped me with past issues, and concentrate only on getting my meds. stabilized. I'm again needing to give this completely over to God, because I worry about being on medication long-term.

The fear that comes through in my dark times can be intense and paralyzing. How thankful I am that the light of Christ lives in me, even when I can't feel it. Praise the Lord we won't need medications or have weary, sick, stressed, or depressed bodies in heaven!!

I'm so greatful for the wonderful, supportive friends and family that I have - huge blessings in the midst of the yuck. And thanks, Mom and Dad, for coming up to help again. We couldn't do it without you!