Consolidation

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Better has been incorporated into my other blog, Bean Around the Block.  I hope you’ll join me there!

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Scary Close

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I’m so looking forward to Donald Miller’s next book release on Feb 3.

Scary Close by Donald Miller

If you’ve read any of his books you know he’s a different sort of Christian writer. He’s not a proselytizer. What I like about him is that he shares his story, his experiences. It’s been five or so years since his last title but I’m still working my way through Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance. I also have Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation on the TBR pile.

One of the areas I’m trying to get better in is personal vulnerability. I’ve realized that I don’t operate as a solo entity and part of growing means you have to admit when you need help. I really think I’m learning to embrace that better than I ever had in the past. Now I’ve moved on to Vulnerability. Capital V. It’s absolutely foreign to me to admit that I am this fractured, delicate person. I want to be strong all the time, no matter the situation. So I’m looking forward to Scary Close and seeing what is in store for me.

What books have you read that have helped you to grow?

Better Than Better!

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I am so freaking healthy right now I ought to have a show on OWN. Not just physically healthy either, mentally as well. I think I’ve finally let go of the grief that was holding me back. I don’t know that I did anything too special to get through it other than sit in the time of it, you know? I feel like college me: free and adventurous and invincible!

This post will be about better health. I’ve made some changes and I am just now starting to reap the benefits.

About 3.5 years ago my carpool joined a gym. We decided to keep each other accountable and made a commitment to miss no more that 3 days in a row of working out. I’ve been faithful to that however I have only seen about 6 pounds of weight loss. Even during holidays I would run up stairs, do crunches or yoga videos or something so I wouldn’t miss days. My eating is decent (always room for improvement) and I log everything I eat. I went to several doctors and my final consensus is doctors don’t know a lot. One tells me to cut my calories to 1500/day which leaves me listless, hungry and irritable. Another tells me to exercise more. When? I am already going to the gym for 1-1.5 hours a day 4-6 times a week! I do cardio, yoga and weights just like I’m supposed to. I wear a fit bit tracker and I’m getting 7000-10000 steps in per day. I spend a good deal of time fixing my fresh meals. And I have a job. When am I supposed to get more exercise in? While I’m sleeping? And honestly, if one more person tells me muscle is heavier than fat, they will get a personal demonstration of that fact.

So, since doctors are virtually no help at all in the area – they mainly just spout off the common advice and chalk any lack of results up to patient error – it was up to me to find the reasons why I wasn’t losing weight. I first started with the obvious – thyroid. I do have nearly all the symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Chronic fatigue, inability to concentrate, weakness, inability to lose weight, cold extremities, cold hands and feet, low immune system, tenderness in the neck, sore throat, vertigo, ringing in ears, hair loss, thinning eyebrows and lashes, vision issues, easy to bruise, slow wound healing, tingling limbs, joint pain, lactose intolerance, new allergies, anemia, shortness of breath. There are more, but these are the ones I wrote down. I visited 3 doctors and none of them looked at the list even though I tried to hand it to them. What they would say is, “these will probably all go away once you lose weight.”

All my thyroid tests came back in the normal range. A nurse friend explained that my thyroid may be in decline and I’m still in the normal range for the time being. I decided not to use any of the natural thyroid replacement supplements you can buy over the counter as they are expensive and the active ingredients and results seem to vary widely. I opted to try a course of essential oil therapy first because it was relatively cheap and not invasive. If it didn’t work I wasn’t going to grow a 3rd eye or something. I apply myrrh essential oil neat (undiluted) directly to my neck 5 nights a week before bed. During the day I use a combination of oils (lemongrass, frankincense, clove) in a carrier oil. What I can say is my eyebrows grew back and I felt less tired.

You have to be careful when looking for medical information on the internet. Check 5-10 different sites and you’ll see that most articles use the same source material. They’re not actually giving advice based on their own research, but merely parroting someone else’s. So you have to be prepared to do a lot of digging to get to some form of the truth.

Next I decided to add maca root to my diet. Maca root is a Peruvian tuber that is most used for female fertility and male virility issues. It also helps to balance out the hormones. I figured my hormones were slightly out of whack because I was maybe starting menopause, but the addition of maca root (start small, I’m up to 1 teaspoon a day) brought everything back to normal for me. There are some claims that it helps build muscle quickly but I’ve not seen that. I am building muscle but not disproportionately to the amount of weights I’m doing. I get my maca root in the powdered form from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Lastly I’ve added magnesium to my diet and lifestyle. I use magnesium oil transdermally on my lower back and as a deodorant (today’s discovery? This is not good when the temp is 90 degrees and you’re out for a walk.) I also take about a half a teaspoon of magnesium powder in water each evening before bed. I don’t know what that it’s made a difference, but I seem better able to let things roll off my back. I feel happier.

The final thing I’m doing is avoiding the news. It’s one I’m having a hard time with because I like to be informed, but bad news has a very debilitating effect on me. I’m the kind of person who has to dive for the remote every time that Sarah McLachlan commercial with the abused animals comes on, so wars and crimes tend to stick with me for weeks at a time. I’m better off avoiding it. Which means I feel stupid in conversations about current events, but my overall happiness makes up for that about 60% of the time. The other 40% I can usually manage to throw in an opinion or change the subject.

So, I’ve incorporated 4 minor changes to my life and I feel better. Not 100% but close to. I wake up happy and thankful and I have a positive outlook for the future. I feel healthy and strong. I’ll talk more about the emotional aspect in another post.

Phase Two

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Commuter's RainbowI thought I had left this blog behind. It was too much to think about writing – composing my thoughts into comprehensible and relevant bits of information rather than the slew of word jelly that bats around in my brain. The good thing about the bloggy interwebs is this was all just sitting here waiting for me.

The past two years have been a growing period. It looked rather a lot like a slug period, but trust me, I grew. In some things I’m still in a holding pattern. I seem to have trouble creating things lately. My stuff looks like crap. I make stupid mistakes in my knitting that I don’t notice until a million rows later. Things I think are funny are not when I put them on a card. It’s a growing period. Growth, if you remember it from adolescence (who doesn’t – so much fun, right?), is awkward and gangly. It’s walking around on new legs and not knowing how to navigate the world or how you fit in it. That is where I’ve been.

I’ve had to make some pretty major decisions. I’ve had to face some hard truths. I’m battling some health issues. I’m handling some $%&* I’ve ignored for too long. It’s exhausting. I think it’s why I’ve been dreaming about making a dining room table fort and living there for a weekend. Or a year. Don’t judge. At times I feel as though the weight of all this will just compress me flat, but mostly I have hope for what my new life will be like.

What does this have to do with the theme of this blog? Better is about making changes and finding better ways to do things: creativity, health, life. What I’ve noticed over the past two years is that I prefer a simpler life. I used to think if I had this thing or that thing, my life would be complete. The right shoes, the perfect kitchen, a great car, an amazing job. But it really doesn’t have that much of an impact.  I am so much more than the things I own that these things hold me back!

A couple of months ago I realized I couldn’t keep repairing my ripped jeans and wearing them to work. It really didn’t look any kind of professional. I had also worn out several pairs of shoes. I bought both on ebay. I spent very little money and I got exactly what I wanted. It occurred to me that I hadn’t had the “need” to actually shop since I stopped growing in high school (unless you count my freshman 15 in college). I used to shop a lot. Now it just tires me. While I may still want a new dress I don’t want to waste the time looking for one. I’d rather spend time with my friends or read a book.

My life has turned. I’m wasting less money on food and gas. I’m enjoying time with friends more. I don’t feel that need to “compete” with others for possessions or position. I’m absolutely excited for what that will become. And that’s what brought me back here. Let’s see what it becomes.

Mourning

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I’ve been away a long while. It was intentional, not neglectful. I lost my very bestest friend to cancer in January and needed to give myself time to be still and mourn. I thought I had already done all my crying, but that’s the thing about losing a friend. It seems there are so many interwoven lifestrings that bound you in friendship over the years, that you realize they are everywhere. You drink out of a glass she gave you, hang the Christmas ornament she made or even wear the underwear she went out and purchased for you because you were a little remiss in your packing that one time you went for a visit.

Families mesh in a different way than friends.  Friendship is deeper and more pure, I think. Your family has to love you if it is decently functional. A friend can always walk away when times get tough.

Anyway, that’s a lot to say that I just needed not to produce for a while. I needed to watch a lot of television (whole seasons of Buffy, Angel, Downton Abbey, Futurama) and eat and enjoy the company of “new” friends while I adjusted to life without my best.

New posts will be sporadic in the holiday season and resume again regularly in the new year. Until then, be good to yourself, okay?